Thursday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: General, 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. Bill says:
  2. Bill says:
  3. sam says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Steve Chamraz
    @TMJ4Steve

    :: We crossed 1,500 COVID deaths today in Wisconsin.

    A big reason: a lot of people in our state are not taking this thing seriously.

    One of them emailed tonight asking “Yeah, big deal. How many died of the flu last year?”

    The answer is 183.

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  5. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    If you’re a Trumpkin, you pretty much have to believe that Covid-19 is a hoax/scam, although you also have to square that with the fact that Trump himself and his wife contracted it.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: If I’m a trumpkin cognitive dissonance is my constant companion.

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  7. sam says:

    Spinach Gives Fuel Cells a Power Up

    I yamp what I yamb.

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  8. Jen says:

    Tommy Lee bringing me the morning energy I need on a Thursday.

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  9. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    If you’re a Trumpkin, you pretty much have to believe that Covid-19 is a hoax/scam, although you also have to square that with the fact that Trump himself and his wife contracted it.

    In my experience, relatively few people are outright deniers, but a lot of people think it’s overhyped or overblown. It goes along with the fact that conservative media has been sending mixed signals about it for months. I think it’s one of the reasons why the Tulsa rally flopped so epically–a not insignificant number of Trump supporters actually take the virus at least somewhat seriously. I’m not defending them. They’re all detached from reality to some degree. But it’s on a spectrum. It’s part of the way extremist beliefs spread, where you have a lot of people who may not accept the full-blown version of those beliefs but who still think there’s some truth to them. It’s one of the effects of the Overton Window.

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  10. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    I agree. I see for myself that there are people in Massachusetts who support Trump (to some degree) who also strictly observe the hygiene protocols. In a bright red area, this would probably be different.

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  11. CSK says:

    Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, a Republican, is not backing Trump’s re-election bid. He says he wants to concentrate on getting the state through the pandemic.

    Baker’s disdain for Trump isn’t exactly a secret.

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  12. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: If I recall, Baker didn’t support Trump in 2016 either. But he didn’t endorse Hillary, and he’s not endorsing Biden either (so far anyway). Given how blue MA is, his statement is not exactly courageous. Among the things I’m still steaming about from 2016 was the failure of high-profile Republicans to endorse Hillary. It sent an unmistakable message that there was no urgency to stopping Trump, and it also contributed to the idea that Hillary was an equally toxic candidate. Fortunately, I’m seeing much, much less of that this year. A number of prominent Republicans have endorsed Biden. (The same is true among leftists. Chomsky has become a vocal Biden supporter, which seems crazy, but it reflects a broad recognition among non-Trumpists from across the political spectrum that getting rid of Trump is an absolute priority.) I usually tend to think that endorsements don’t make much of a difference, but there are exceptions–for instance, I think Cindy McCain’s endorsement of Biden could matter quite a bit in Arizona. I’m not sure if it matters what Charlie Baker is saying, but the overall narrative does matter, and every voice counts.

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  13. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    To be fair, I don’t think most Republicans felt any urgency to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016, because everyone was positive she was going to win that election.

    This year is a lot different. A lot different. For one thing, Biden is considerably better liked than Clinton was or is. (I’ve never really understood this myself; Clinton may not be the warmest and wittiest person alive, but I’ve never voted for anyone because I wanted to have a drink with him or her.)

    As for Baker himself, he’s a New England Republican, which is afar, far different breed from a southern Republican or a midwestern one.

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  14. Teve says:

    Gabrielle Blair

    Aug 28th 2020,

    I saw a tweet where someone described that when they find out someone they know personally supports Trump, they lose all respect for them instantly. I liked it and retweeted it, but stopped short of sharing it on Instagram.

    Why?

    1/x
    I suppose because I also know Trump supporters in real life, and they already know I hate Trump, and know that I will frequently criticize Trump supporters as a group, but I’ve hesitated to tell them directly that I’ve lost respect for them individually.

    2/x
    But I woke up this morning, read reports of the final night of the RNC, grew deeply angry, and now my hesitation is gone.

    3/x
    My instagram content is different than my Twitter content. On Twitter, I mostly retweet people. On Insta, I share more personal stuff—renovations, vacations, and updates about my family. I also highlight tweets and political opinions, but it’s maybe 20% of my content there.

    4/x
    A frequent DM I receive on Insta: “I come here for design and to see your life in France. Stop posting political stuff.”

    These DMs are, without exception, from Trump supporters, or people who claim to be independent, but will vote for Trump and are ashamed to admit it.

    5/x
    My response: I do not create content for you.

    It makes me sick to my stomach that you, a Trump supporter, ever read or watch or listen to anything I’ve created. This is true even if I know you in real life.

    6/x
    I see what you are trying to do. You want me to treat you like a decent human being. But you are not behaving like a decent human being.

    A decent person doesn’t align themself with people who are proudly racist and who insist America doesn’t have a race problem.

    7/x
    A decent person doesn’t align themself with people who believe viral right-wing stories on Facebook over trained journalists, who think Q is real, who think the pandemic is fake, who think the earth is flat.

    8/x
    A decent person doesn’t align themself with people who faint over celebrity-child-trafficking-rings that don’t exist, but support the ICE family separations at the border that actually lead to child trafficking.

    9/x
    A decent person knows what it feels like to do a job and not get paid, and recognizes that Trump is first and foremost a con-man, liar, and thief.

    A decent person knows and acknowledges that Trump only looks out for himself.

    10/x
    A decent person knows Trump raped a 13-year-old, has read her description of the rape, has read all the other accounts of Trump sexually assaulting girls and women, and never forgets Trump is a rapist who has never had to face consequences for his assaults.

    11/x
    I see you. Especially my fellow white women. You want to read what interesting people are reading, you want to see good movies, you want to know what the designers and artists are creating.

    But you don’t want anyone to know you are voting for Trump.

    12/x
    You don’t like when people you follow talk politics. You say it’s because you want to “focus on the positive.” But really, it’s because it reminds you of your Trump shame.

    You want to vote for Trump and experience no negative consequences.

    But that’s not an option.

    13/x
    One of the consequences of your actions? I do not respect you.

    How could I?

    How could I respect someone who hears about a Black man being shot by police 7 times in his back, while his kids watched, and their first thought is: “Well, we don’t know the whole story.”

    14/x
    Another consequence of your actions? I have a deep desire to withhold my community and my creations from you.

    Instagram has data that could tell me exactly which of you support Trump. I wish they would give me that data. I would block every single one of you.

    15/x
    My Instagram followers request access to my life daily. Voting for Trump and you want to know the source for my daughter’s dress? No. You want to know the paint color we chose for the attic renovation? No. You want to participate in a parenting discussion on Design Mom? No.

    16/x
    I want to shun you from my community.

    If gatherings were safely happening, I want you to be shunned from all events hosted by decent people. No wedding invitations. No conference tickets. No backyard barbecues.

    17/x
    I want decent event hosts to send you a card, explaining you are not invited because you are a Trump supporter.

    I wish Ikea and Target wouldn’t let you buy their products.

    I wish your internet provider (who for sure knows you vote Trump), would cut you off as a customer.

    18/x
    I want to see you shunned by every person and organization that doesn’t support Trump. No more access to their books, movies, products, music, events, artists & influencers — till you are left with nothing but Smashmouth concerts, and Ben Shapiro talking about his sex life.

    19/x
    Some of you will tell me you have no choice; that you’re a single issue voter and that your single issue is abortion, so you can only vote for an anti-abortion candidate.

    And I will respond: The Republicans are making a fool of you.

    20/x
    We all know Republicans talk big about being anti-abortion but their policies don’t reduce abortions. Republican policies *increase* things like teen pregnancy, which also increases abortions.

    The fact is: abortion numbers go down under the policies of Democrats.

    21/x
    If you want to reduce abortion, the most effective, proven way to do so is to vote for Democrats. If the most important issue to you is reducing abortions, then the only choice you have is voting for Democrats up and down the ballot.

    22/x
    Some of you will tell me you support Trump because of the stock market.

    Well, that is certainly something a selfish asshole would do.

    A whopping 90% of Americans have no stake in the stock market. I’m one of them.

    23/x
    If you want existing and newly created wealth to continue to be concentrated in the top 10%; if you don’t think employers should provide a living wage; if you think hoarding a billion dollars is ethical; if you don’t want to tax the rich; then I don’t make content for you.

    24/x
    I create content and community for decent people. Do we agree on everything? No. We may debate how to educate kids. Or disagree on baby names, favorite books, or suburban vs urban vs country living. But I won’t make space for you to debate the merits of white supremacy.

    25/x
    You want respect, but your behavior and beliefs are not worthy of respect.

    You don’t want to be shamed or mocked for supporting Trump, but you align yourself with people who want to “make liberal snowflakes cry” and who mock anyone who wears a pandemic mask.

    26/x
    Do you think I care about losing you as a follower? I do not. Not one bit. I will actively block you on Instagram if I know you’re a Trump supporter. You unfollowing me doesn’t hurt me in any way. I literally—in the true sense of the word—won’t notice you are gone.

    27/x
    You can’t support Trump and also be a decent human being. You can’t support Trump and earn my respect.

    Want to be a decent person? Don’t want to worry about being shunned? You’re in luck! The solution is easy and free:

    Stop being a Trump supporter. Don’t vote for Trump.

    28/28

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  15. Michael Cain says:

    All of our stuff has been moved to the new place in Fort Collins. The fire west of town burned another 30,000 acres in the last three days. Spectacular smoke plume. Basically non-existent sunrises and sunsets because the smoke is that opaque. Fire season was supposed to end several weeks ago.

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  16. Sleeping Dog says:
  17. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    For one thing, Biden is considerably better liked than Clinton was or is. (I’ve never really understood this myself; Clinton may not be the warmest and wittiest person alive, but I’ve never voted for anyone because I wanted to have a drink with him or her.)

    Well, a couple of things. First, Biden is naturally warmer than her (or at least he projects it better in public), and that matters. When he expresses emotion, it feels very genuine. I think one of the most powerful moments at the debate was when he launched into Trump for attacking his son. Either it was great acting or he was really pissed, and I have no reason to doubt the latter. I also think one of the most underappreciated moments from the 2008 vp debate was when he got teary-eyed talking about his wife and daughter who died in a car accident. (I felt it was a missed opportunity for Palin, who could have offered condolences, which would have made her seem more likable.) Hillary’s never been good at that sort of thing: she usually comes off cool, calculated, and cautious. And she had the decades of Clinton-hate built up against her. And, last but not least, she lacked that Y chromosome.

    Still, we need to put this into perspective. Biden may be better liked than she was, but he isn’t particularly well-liked. His favorability ratings on RCP are slightly underwater. Even that may not capture the full picture: as I said the other day I believe that if you dug into those numbers you’d find there are a lot more people who are just kind of “meh” about Biden as opposed to actively disliking him than was the case with Clinton. I just think Biden doesn’t inspire very strong feelings among voters one way or the other. Polls have found a lot more enthusiasm for Trump than for Biden–but a lot more enthusiasm against Trump than against Biden. If Biden wins, it’s going to be on the strength of him serving as an avatar for hatred of Trump.

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  18. Teve says:

    @CSK:

    This year is a lot different. A lot different. For one thing, Biden is considerably better liked than Clinton was or is. (I’ve never really understood this myself; Clinton may not be the warmest and wittiest person alive, but I’ve never voted for anyone because I wanted to have a drink with him or her.)

    Starting in the early 90’s, GOP misogyny went bananas on her. After 26 years of that she was radioactive.

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  19. Jax says:

    @Michael Cain: I saw the evacuation orders had expanded a lot yesterday. We had 101 mph winds west of here, on top of Mt. Coffin. 56 mph here at my house!

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  20. Jen says:

    @Teve:
    @Kylopod:

    She’s also somewhat introverted. Much better in small groups and one on one than projecting to a crowd.

    She’s a policy nerd and always has been–she’d rather dig in and get to work than glad hand. This is why her numbers were so high when she was in jobs and doing them, rather than in election cycles.

    Being a successful politician is a very strange mixture of personality characteristics. I figured out VERY early on in my political work that running for office would never, ever be in the cards for me, no matter how much I enjoyed the work (I was a legislative assistant for a state senator and absolutely loved constituent work. Solving people’s problems by navigating state government processes was hugely satisfying to me). Hillary Clinton never seemed comfortable with the aw shucks glad-handing, that was Bill’s forte.

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  21. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    It wasn’t just GOP misogyny. I know lifelong, ardent Democrats who couldn’t stand her from the get-go, either. Again, I’m not quite sure why.

    One thing about her that I did notice, early on, was that, like Al Gore and John Kerry, she tried to adopt a folksy persona. This never works, because it’s so clearly phony. Recall John Kerry’s Recall John Kerry’s request to “git me a huntin’ license” (guys from St. Paul’s and Yale just don’t talk this way. Trust me.) and Gore’s impersonation of a hotblooded stud by grabbing Tipper on stage and shoving his tongue down her throat? (Actually, I cringed when Elizabeth Warren said: “I think I’ll get me, um, a beer.” She doesn’t talk that way, either.

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  22. Teve says:

    @robertjdenault

    NYT: US Intelligence believes the Burisma “emails” released today are forged and part of a Kremlin-GRU attempt to influence the election.

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  23. Long Time Listener says:
  24. Teve says:

    @CSK: I didn’t say it was only GOP misogyny. But I had a front row seat to the GOP misogyny because I was living with relatives at the time and in 1993 they started watching Paul Weyrich’s new channel National Empowerment Television, to go along with their 3 daily hours of Limbaugh. NET spent seemingly half their airtime on what a commie ball-buster she was.

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  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Say WHAT??? A forgery?!??!?! Why, I never would have guessed that!!!

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  26. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    No, I wasn’t implying that you did say it was only GOP misogyny. I was pointing out that even some Democrats disliked her, or at the least weren’t enthusiastic about her. And it’s true that a fair number of Democrats are “meh” about Biden.

    But “meh” is better than the visceral repulsion a lot of people feel toward Trump.

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  27. Teve says:

    Breaking NYT: On Feb. 24, Trump’s economic team privately addressed the Hoover Institution and implied that a COVID outbreak could prove worse than advisers were signaling to the public. Aides appeared to be giving wealthy party donors an early warning.

    Go take a look at the DJIA around that time. From Feb 24 to May 23 the Dow goes from 27,960 to 18,591.

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  28. Mu Yixiao says:

    @CSK:

    For one thing, Biden is considerably better liked than Clinton was or is. (I’ve never really understood this myself; Clinton may not be the warmest and wittiest person alive, but I’ve never voted for anyone because I wanted to have a drink with him or her.)

    For me it was the feeling that Hillary never did anything for anyone except Hillary, combined with her projecting the attitude of “You owe me this”. I was in China during the election season, so the news I got was probably quite a bit different from what was available in the US, but nothing I saw about her gave me the idea that I could trust her.

    The e-mail server thing was a symptom of this. If she couldn’t follow established security protocols for something as simple as a server, how would she behave when things got really tough? It’s same as the notion of “If you want to understand how someone does business, watch how they treat the waitress.”

    Biden isn’t an inspirational and charismatic candidate , but he’s something more important: harmless. He’s simple, moderate, straight-forward, and safe. That’s something that we really need right now.

    There are plenty of others I’d rather have in the Oval Office, but I’ll accept Biden (vote was cast a couple weeks ago).

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  29. Kathy says:

    Jill Lepore goes into some detail about a proposed National Data Center in the late 60s, in her book about the Simulmatics corporation.

    The idea was to have a central government clearinghouse to store and consult all sorts of data, including data gathered on individuals (gathering data on people is something governments have done since the dawn of civilization, and it’s one reason writing was invented).

    She explains how this failed, too much concern about invasion of privacy, lack of transparency, and misuse of data. Dr. Lepore done’st take a position on the issue, but she mentions that it was a failed opportunity to regulate how data are gathered, stored, distributed, and used.

    She’s not wrong, but I dislike the notion that for some things there is just the one opportunity which will never again recur. This is true fo so few things as to be a major exception when it does happen. For most things, the opportunities recur, or are there all the time.

    So, there have been other opportunities to regulate the gathering, flow, and use of data.

    Like, say, right now. Nothing stops any government from regulating such things. And seeing how important personal data has turned out to be, it would be no small accomplishment for a US president to pass legislation regulating such things.

    Yes, it will be harder now, not least because all those rich, powerful companies who will lobby incessantly to stop, ameliorate, and declaw any regulations. On the other hand, we have a far better idea of what data collection means and what consequences it has.

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  30. Jen says:

    For me it was the feeling that Hillary never did anything for anyone except Hillary,

    This is a common refrain, and yet so easily disprovable. She graduated from a top law school and could have had her pick of lucrative jobs, instead she worked on ensuring handicapped kids had equal access to a public education. I’m not going to go through her entire CV, but she’s helped people without much recognition for it for literally decades.

    It’s the same BS we see directed at a lot of successful women, and carries a whiff of keeping women in their place.

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  31. Teve says:

    Lancet article that’s not for everyone. It’s a lengthy explanation, written by epidemiologists, on why herd immunity with Covid is absolutely the wrong plan.

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  32. Kathy says:

    So as not to derail the NY Post’s forgery caper thread, I’m replying to Teve’s post here:

    If you have a good product but it’s too early, it fails, if it’s too late, it fails, but the most successful new businesses have the right product at exactly the right time.

    This reminded me of Polavision, an instant color film by Polaroid that could make 3-minute movies in Super-8 definition (as I recall, the standard home Super-8 camera had film for about a 3 minute movie as well).

    It came out late in the 70s, when VHS and Beta video recorders were beginning to come out as well. Sure, the early “portable” VCRs were rather big, expensive, and with very limited and heavy battery packs, but they could record from 1 to 4 hours with sound, they could be reproduced in any TV screen, and the tapes could be recorded over.

    The Polavision was 3 minutes, had no sound, could be reproduced only on a dedicated Polavision projector, and required a darkened room to do so.

    Bad timing, right?

    Though I think out of that project Polaroid did develop an instant slide film, which was rather popular for a while before digital cameras took over the world.

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  33. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    My feeling is easily disprovable?

    It’s the same BS we see directed at a lot of successful women, and carries a whiff of keeping women in their place.

    You don’t know me, so you don’t understand just how wrong you are if you’re directing that at me. I grew up in a family of strong women, I’m surrounded in my work and life by strong women, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. “A woman’s place” is anywhere she has the desire and skill to be.

    There are a lot of other women in politics that I would rather have seen run. It had zero to do with Hillary being a woman. It had everything to do with how she failed to project herself as presidential material.

    Hell… way back when, I was hoping Geraldine Ferrarro would have been VP and then on to POTUS. I’m looking forward to Harris as a 2-term POTUS–and I hope that Biden puts her into some meaty roles while she’s VP. From what I’ve seen I think she’ll be very good for the country.

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  34. Sleeping Dog says:

    Mike Lee and the Illiberal Chic
    With his criticism of ‘rank democracy,’ the Utah senator signals his friendliness to the opponents of classical liberalism.

    But at another level, Senator Lee sent a well-crafted message, one that came through loud and clear: The American experiment is worth it only when my view prevails.

    This message fits a growing and disturbing trend. Among the conservative intelligentsia, especially in certain legal circles, it has become stylish to view self-governance as nothing more than a means to a very particular set of ends. And should “conservative” policies lose out in the democratic process, then liberal democracy itself should go.

    This provides a nice addendum to the discussion in Tuesday’s Forum of David French’s book, Divided We Fall. And a supplement to Dr T’s posts from this past Saturday and Sunday.

    Coups can be quick and violent, but they also can be like the frog in boiling water.

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  35. charon says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The e-mail server thing was a symptom of this. If she couldn’t follow established security protocols for something as simple as a server, how would she behave when things got really tough? It’s same as the notion of “If you want to understand how someone does business, watch how they treat the waitress.”

    The State Department servers were hacked, Clinton’s was not. She did the same as her predecessors Condi Rice and Colin Powell did for the same reasons, the official way was verkakte.

    For me it was the feeling that Hillary never did anything for anyone except Hillary, combined with her projecting the attitude of “You owe me this”. I was in China during the election season, so the news I got was probably quite a bit different from what was available in the US, but nothing I saw about her gave me the idea that I could trust her.

    So you were efficiently and effectively spun by righty propaganda. Bully for you.

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  36. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Apropos to that discussion is the Vox article from a couple of months ago about how many American conservatives admire Viktor Orban.

    This sort of thing isn’t new, of course. In the ’50s National Review was praising Franco. But I think it’s indicative of the general direction of the movement in recent times. Hungary was a democracy that quickly transitioned into an authoritarian state, yet it retains the trappings of democracy (if increasingly less so over time). It still holds regular elections, it’s just that those elections are rigged up the wazoo so they always produce the results Orban favors. And it’s more subtle than what you see in the more classical authoritarian states: he isn’t wracking up absurd totals like 98% or something. So when conservatives praise it, they do it without any awareness that it’s an authoritarian state. Either they think it’s a democracy, or they adopt the “republic not democracy” chestnut, in which case they’re still viewing it as a legitimate form of government no less than the US. But it’s a reflection of the fact that many of today’s conservatives truly do believe that large swaths of the populace do not deserve to have the right to vote. They’re authoritarians who don’t think of themselves in that way, since it isn’t quite the cartoonish model which they then go on to apply to the left through the “liberal fascism” trope, which above all demonstrate that they don’t understand what actually made the classical fascists objectionable in the first place. To them it’s all about “big government” and “identity politics” rather than, say, denying people the franchise.

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  37. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    For me it was the feeling that Hillary never did anything for anyone except Hillary…

    That was the image that her and the Clinton’s political enemies wanted you to have. Being in China, you were at a disadvantage in evaluating the political milieu that existed in the US at the time.

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  38. Mu Yixiao says:

    @charon:

    So you were efficiently and effectively spun by righty propaganda. Bully for you.

    And… there we go.

    The only possible reasons to dislike Hillary are being a misogynist or an idiot dupe.

    I’d rather either Bernie or Hillary than anyone on the right (they all appeared incompetent and/or overly aggressive). I preferred Bernie for his charisma, but disliked his social policies (I’m a centrist). I don’t know which of them I would have voted for in the primary. Neither seemed like a good choice.

    Had I been in the country and voted in the general, it would have been for Hillary (or I would have “thrown it away” and voted Libertarian).

    The State Department servers were hacked, Clinton’s was not. She did the same as her predecessors Condi Rice and Colin Powell did for the same reasons, the official way was verkakte.

    And both Rice and Powell were wrong to do so. If something is broken in your house, you fix it. You don’t go off on your own. If the Secretary of State can’t fix things in the State Department–directly under their control–they have some serious problems. Especially when it’s something as simple as hiring a competent IT security team.

    I expect someone whose job is to execute and enforce the laws to follow the laws (or rules).

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  39. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Except that most of the news I got about Hillary was filtered through a Chinese lens–which was quite pro-Hillary.

    ETA: And my dislike of her went much farther back than the 2016 election. I didn’t care for her as First Lady or directly after.

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  40. charon says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The only possible reasons to dislike Hillary are being a misogynist or an idiot dupe.

    A festival of strawmen. I said nothing about only possible reasons, or misogyny or idiocy.

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  41. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I think you let yourself absorb a lot of right-wing hate in your media in the 90s. That’s where a deep dislike for Clinton comes from.

    I always liked her better than her husband, who really is a dirt ball. And who has also been subject to the right-wing slime machine, to the point where you can’t tell what is real and what isn’t because there have been so many lies.

    Sure, you like other women, just not the one who has been the subject of a right wing smear campaign for the past thirty years.

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  42. DrDaveT says:

    @Gabrielle Blair:

    The fact is: abortion numbers go down under the policies of Democrats. If you want to reduce abortion, the most effective, proven way to do so is to vote for Democrats. If the most important issue to you is reducing abortions, then the only choice you have is voting for Democrats up and down the ballot.

    This is correct, but it misses the point that many (most?) abortion opponents are not focused on reducing abortions — they are focused on punishing sluts. Again, conservative policies are not outcome-based. They are not trying to achieve the best world. They are trying to reward what they see as right and punish what they see as wrong, even if it makes every single person on earth miserable. They will be righteous in their misery.

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  43. JohnMcC says:

    @Kylopod: I discovered as a matured political observer that the book I carried with my high school textbooks ‘Conscience of a Conservative’ was not written by Sen Goldwater. The actual author was the elder Brent Bozell. And that that gentleman so preferred Franco’s Spain over the U.S. that he lived there full time. There was a strong pre-Vatican Conference Catholicism flavor to what seemed proper social organization and policy. That is, the Catholicism of Pius 12th instead of John 23d.

    Which kind of illuminates a thought I’ve had for quite a while — that what we think of as a native American “conservative movement” actually is growing closer and closer to what any European monarchist of the late 19th century would recognize as “conservative” in that context.

    To the extent that’s true it represents a huge shift in what is called “conservativism” in this country. Gosh! Do you think Mr Murdoch could have something to do with that?

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  44. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “For me it was the feeling that Hillary never did anything for anyone except Hillary,”

    As opposed to her opponent, noted philanthropist Donald Trump.

    “You mean like use an unencrypted cell phone to talk about classfied information? Or just to hand classified information to Russian visitors?

    If you were so blinded by hatred of Hillary that you couldn’t see Trump was a thousand times worse on every possible thing you had against her, I don’t believe it was the issues driving her.

    And by the way, “I can’t be a misogynist, there are plenty of strong women in my life” is what every Republican senator says just before he votes against the Violence Against Women act.

    @Mu Yixiao:

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  45. charon says:

    @DrDaveT:

    many (most?) abortion opponents are not focused on reducing abortions — they are focused on punishing sluts.

    They are also focused on men being in charge, women obeying. Imposing rules on women is part of that.

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  46. Kathy says:

    From the what comes around goes around file:

    It’s common for people to look at products at stores, then buy them on Amazon. Well, yesterday Audible (an Amazon company) held a one-day sale, offering several audiobooks at $6 each. I browsed the sale selection and found two titles of interest (a Big History* book and a Trek Picard prequel novel). Then I headed over to Scribd, and lo, the books were available there, too.

    I pay a $9 monthly subscription to Scribd for just about unlimited titles off their catalog (albeit not to own), so I marked them there for latter download.

    This will hurt Amazon not one bit, of course.

    *Big History is a trend consisting of a broad, non-narrative overview of history, often going back to the beginning of the universe (or to the Big Bang, which may not be the same thing).

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  47. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    It had everything to do with how she failed to project herself as presidential material.

    You just got through telling us that it had everything to do with Hillary only every doing things for Hillary. Which is it?

    You made a claim of fact: that Hillary’s record is one of pure self-serving acts. Someone pointed out that this is full of sh!t; that if you actually look at Hillary’s record, that’s not at all what you see. You immediately moved the goalposts into the next county, which does not help your argument.

    A person who only did things out of selfish motives would not have spent multiple years of her husband’s presidency foundering on the rock of healthcare reform for others, spending political capital like water. To pick one example of many. At a fundraiser in 2004, she told a crowd of financial donors

    Many of you are well enough off that […] the tax cuts may have helped you. […] We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.

    How self-serving.

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  48. Teve says:

    @JohnMcC: it fits. The original right-wingers, at the French National Assembly in the 18th century, were the monarchists.

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  49. Teve says:

    When I first saw Mu Yixiao’s post two hours ago I thought ‘what a pile of biased subjective garbage, I need to straighten that out’. Then I thought, ‘I’ve got other shit going on right now and it’s such obvious garbage that surely other people will take care of it’. Glad to see that was the right move. 😀

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  50. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    And… there we go. The only possible reasons to dislike Hillary are being a misogynist or an idiot dupe.

    Who you like or dislike is your own business, but the only possible reason to think that Hillary Clinton’s record is entirely self-serving is to be an ignorant dupe, because her record is public and You Could Look It Up. Disliking her for her history of purely self-serving behavior is on the same evidential foundation as disliking her for running a pedophile pizza parlor.

    I wouldn’t presume to tell you how you should feel about Hillary Clinton, but I will correct errors of fact. If knowing the facts doesn’t change your opinion of Ms. Clinton, then whatever.

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  51. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: I was going to say essentially the same thing. It just goes to show how effective the Republican slime machine is that people who know a lot about politics still think that Hillary Clinton has never done anything for anyone but herself. For god’s sake, just take a look at her Wiki entry:

    During her second year, she worked at the Yale Child Study Center,[47] learning about new research on early childhood brain development and working as a research assistant on the seminal work, Beyond the Best Interests of the Child (1973).[48][49] She also took on cases of child abuse at Yale–New Haven Hospital,[48] and volunteered at New Haven Legal Services to provide free legal advice for the poor.[47] In the summer of 1970, she was awarded a grant to work at Marian Wright Edelman’s Washington Research Project, where she was assigned to Senator Walter Mondale’s Subcommittee on Migratory Labor. There she researched various migrant workers’ issues including education, health and housing.[50]

    During her postgraduate studies, Rodham was staff attorney for Edelman’s newly founded Children’s Defense Fund in Cambridge, Massachusetts,[65] and as a consultant to the Carnegie Council on Children.[66odham became the first director of a new legal aid clinic at the school, where she secured support from the local bar association and gained federal funding.[76]

    As a court-appointed lawyer, Rodham was required to act as defense counsel to a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl; after her request to be relieved of the assignment failed, Rodham used an effective defense and counseled her client to plead guilty to a lesser charge. She has called the trial a “terrible case”.[77] During her time in Fayetteville, Rodham and several other women founded the city’s first rape crisis center.[76]

    Rodham maintained her interest in children’s law and family policy, publishing the scholarly articles “Children’s Policies: Abandonment and Neglect” in 1977[90] and “Children’s Rights: A Legal Perspective” in 1979.[91] The latter continued her argument that children’s legal competence depended upon their age and other circumstances and that in serious medical rights cases, judicial intervention was sometimes warranted. An American Bar Association chair later said, “Her articles were important, not because they were radically new but because they helped formulate something that had been inchoate.”[63] Historian Garry Wills would later describe her as “one of the more important scholar-activists of the last two decades”.[92] Conservatives said her theories would usurp traditional parental authority,[93] would allow children to file frivolous lawsuits against their parents,[63] and exemplified critical legal studies run amok.[94]

    In 1977, Rodham cofounded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a state-level alliance with the Children’s Defense Fund.[46][96] Later that year, President Jimmy Carter (for whom Rodham had been the 1976 campaign director of field operations in Indiana)[97] appointed her to the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation.[98] She held that position from 1978 until the end of 1981.[99] From mid-1978 to mid-1980,[b] she was the chair of that board, the first woman to hold the job.[100] During her time as chair, funding for the corporation was expanded from $90 million to $300 million; subsequently, she successfully fought President Ronald Reagan’s attempts to reduce the funding and change the nature of the organization.[88]

    During her second stint as the first lady of Arkansas, she made a point of using Hillary Rodham Clinton as her name.[c] She was named chair of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee in 1983, where she sought to reform the state’s court-sanctioned public education system.[114][115] In one of the Clinton governorship’s most important initiatives, she fought a prolonged but ultimately successful battle against the Arkansas Education Association to establish mandatory teacher testing and state standards for curriculum and classroom size.[101][114] It became her introduction into the politics of a highly visible public policy effort.[82][114] In 1985, she introduced Arkansas’s Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth, a program that helps parents work with their children in preschool preparedness and literacy.[116] She was named Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983 and Arkansas Mother of the Year in 1984

    Clinton was chairman of the board of the Children’s Defense Fund[4][127] and on the board of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital’s Legal Services (1988–92)[128

    And what is it that the Republican’s most hate about Clinton – her effort to guarantee health care for everyone in America. Clinton came from a solidly white collar background. Money was never a problem for her and her childhood was happy. And she spent most of her adult life covered by the best health plans available. None of this work was for her benefit.

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  52. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: From your quoted link,

    This message (Mike Lee’s) fits a growing and disturbing trend. Among the conservative intelligentsia, especially in certain legal circles, it has become stylish to view self-governance as nothing more than a means to a very particular set of ends. And should “conservative” policies lose out in the democratic process, then liberal democracy itself should go.

    In Dark Money Jane Mayer recounts David Koch’s run for veep on the Libertarian ticket. His candidacy was motivated solely by contribution limits that didn’t apply to a candidate spending his own money. They got 1% of the vote.

    The brothers realized that their brand of politics didn’t sell at the ballot box. Charles Koch became openly scornful of conventional politics. “It tends to be a nasty, corrupting business,” he told a reporter at the time. “I’m interested in advancing libertarian ideas.”

    The Kochs were not alone. As they sought ways to steer American politics hard to the right without having to win the popular vote, they got valuable reinforcement from a small cadre of like-minded wealthy conservative families who were harnessing their own corporate fortunes toward the same end. Philanthropy, with its guarantees of anonymity, became their chosen instrument. But their goal was patently political: to undo not just Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal but Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Era, too.

    The sentiment from Lee is not new, it’s been part of the Republican business plan for decades. What’s new is the willingness to say anything like it in public.

    The Koch Bros father hated Russia, but what he really hated was Stalin who imprisoned and executed some of the Russian oil industry people he had done business with to create the Koch fortune. The brothers inherited this hatred, along with the money and the company, but Russians are no longer godless commies, they’re now capitalists. Republicans can do business with them. And their oligarchic, faux democratic, system is a role model for Koch and his ilk.

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  53. JohnSF says:

    @Jen:
    For a sorta, kinda parallel, look at UK politics and Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
    Blair was the glad-handing, gregarious, speech-making smiling guy; Brown the policy brute, who never did quite master the trick of winning over big audiences.

    Or for that matter, Cameron and Osborne; Johnson and Gove; Churchill and Eden.
    Quite a common pattern.

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  54. CSK says:

    This morning Donald Trump accused Gretchen Whitmer of wanting to be a dictator.

    Project much?

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  55. Teve says:
  56. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Disliking her for her history of purely self-serving behavior is on the same evidential foundation as disliking her for running a pedophile pizza parlor.

    No it isn’t.

    Believing that Clinton runs a pedophile pizza parlor (everyone talks about the extra cheese, but how is the crust? The crust is what makes the pizza) requires believing absolutely crazy shit.

    Believing that Clinton acts only for herself and is somehow shady can be achieved by just being around all the crazy accusations, and slowly absorbing the emotional content. And the nebulous questions of why she stays with a cheating scumbag… is it because she is riding his coat tails to power or because she loves the jerk?

    I expect our friend @Mu Yixiao has done the latter. Possibly all while saying “Those people who think she killed Vince Foster are idiots.”

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  57. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    As opposed to her opponent, noted philanthropist Donald Trump.

    It’s not an either/or situation. I disliked both options in that race. Trump far more so.

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  58. Mu Yixiao says:

    @wr:

    If you were so blinded by hatred of Hillary that you couldn’t see Trump was a thousand times worse on every possible thing you had against her, I don’t believe it was the issues driving her.

    Where are you getting this from? I didn’t “hate” Hillary, I just thought she was a bad choice for a candidate. That Trump was (is) infinitely worse doesn’t change that.

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  59. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Less than a month before an election, and when voting has started. They are really far behind where they should be.

    If Trump was not polling so poorly, would these services be willing to risk offending the President this way?

    I think Trump’s threats against the social media and the media in general have been having a chilling effect, which is only cracking when he is heading for defeat.

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  60. Teve says:

    @Gustopher:

    If Trump was not polling so poorly, would these services be willing to risk offending the President this way?

    Exactly. In the last few months a few journalists have been celebrated for standing up to trump. Of course they’re only doing so because they think they’re not going to need access soon.

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  61. JohnMcC says:

    @Mu Yixiao: “…I didn’t ‘hate’ Hillary, I just thought she was a bad choice as a candidate.” Which is indisputably true. But the reasons she was a bad candidate were mostly not because of her character or record.

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  62. Mister Bluster says:

    This is why I call him President Puke:

    A former Navy SEAL who was involved in the operation that killed Osama bin Laden has condemned Trump for his touting of the conspiracy theory that it was a body double that the US actually killed. “Very brave men said goodby [sic] to their kids to go kill Osama bin Laden. We were given the order by President Obama. It was not a body double,” Robert O’Neill wrote on a post on Twitter Tuesday. Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.
    Source

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  63. Mu Yixiao says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Last comment on this.

    You just got through telling us that it had everything to do with Hillary only every doing things for Hillary. Which is it?

    The two are not mutually exclusive. “Appearing to do things for self-benefit” and “not being presidential” are a big overlap (see: Trump)

    You made a claim of fact: that Hillary’s record is one of pure self-serving acts.

    Factually incorrect. Go back and look:

    For me it was the feeling that …

    You immediately moved the goalposts into the next county, which does not help your argument.

    Everything I’ve said has gone back to my feeling–about how I felt she presented herself.

    A person who only did things out of selfish motives would not have spent multiple years of her husband’s presidency foundering on the rock of healthcare reform for others, spending political capital like water.

    There’s more than one sort of selfish motive. It always appeared to me (note the opinion) that both Bill and Hillary did things in order to get more attention and more power–to be able to say “Look at what I did”. They wasted political capital on big things that they couldn’t get enacted when it could have been better used to affect infrastructural changes that would have had longer-lasting benefit for the country. But those changes weren’t glamorous, and wouldn’t get them written up in the history books.

    Hillary’s run in 2016 seemed to be (opinion) all about “first woman president” rather than what she could do for the country.

    In my opinion, a much better choice would have been Tammy Baldwin. At that point she had 14 years of experience in the House, has a voting history and long-held positions on topics. She’s always appeared to care more for the state and the country than for her self, and she addresses issues in a fairly straight-forward manner. I don’t agree with all of her positions, but I believe that she holds them for the right reasons.

    Maybe in 12 years? She’ll be 70 then, so still young enough to handle it if she wants.

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  64. Joe says:

    From James Carville, this worthy read at The Bulwark.

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  65. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnMcC: Just to pile on, an article about how Hilary Clinton went undercover in frickin’ Alabama in 1972 as part of her work on civil rights and education. No, it wasn’t marching against Bull Conner and his attack dogs, but if found out she risked a severe beating or much much worse.

    Funny, I can’t think of a single leader in the modern Republican Party who ever did a single positive thing or took a single risk for civil rights. I wonder why that might be?

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  66. Bill says:

    My biopsy results came in. They aren’t cancers.

    I had my annual echogram for my heart yesterday. In 2008, I had heart valve replacement surgery plus repair of an ascending aortic aneurysm. Haven’t gotten the results, but I see the cardiologist next tuesday. If anything was wrong, I’d hear from him before then.

    Just like when they did an xray of my head. The doctor didn’t call me back because they found nothing.

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  67. CSK says:

    @Bill:
    Congratulations! This is a case where no news is definitely good news.
    Glad you’re well.

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  68. MarkedMan says:

    On another thread, Kathy brought up the subject of masks again. Here’s the problem with any discussion about their efficacy. When we say “masks” in the US and Mexico we mean “cloth masks”. In that much discussed incident in Korea, where a whole lot of mask-less customers in a restaurant got the virus while the masked staff did not, we can assume they were talking at least about surgical masks, if not N95 grade. Not cloth. There have been a few studies done on the general public wearing masks but they were all done using surgical or N95 masks. It simply never occurred to any researchers that an advanced country would be unable to supply its population with at least surgical masks.

    Why don’t these studies apply to cloth masks? Two reasons I can think of (there may be more). First, medical masks have a liquid barrier to prevent fluids from going inward toward the mouth and nose. If, say, a sneeze droplet lands on a surgical mask, it won’t make it through. If that same droplet lands on a cloth mask it will wick into the fabric, along with whatever viral load it carries.

    The second reason applies to individual viral particles floating in the air. Filter media is not a screen, with holes so tiny a virus can’t get through. In fact, compared to the virus, the openings of filter media are giant sized. But there is a mesh of random fibers that insure that by various mechanisms, small particles end up attached to those fibers. If you hold it up to a bright light and magnify it, you’ll find that you can’t see straight through it. Sooner or later a fiber blocks the path. The trade associations and journals for filter manufacturers usually have “non-woven” in their title because this random fiber orientation is critical. Cloth, with very few exceptions, is a woven media. In many cases if you magnify it enough you can see the holes and the light beyond. These are like bus lanes for the virus.

    While I was thinking about this, I realized I have access to equipment that can test the penetration portion of the NIOSH standard that gives the N95 designation. Next week, I’ll try to gather up some cloth masks and see how they do on that test. It won’t tell us anything about liquid penetration but I don’t think that really needs an experiment. Wet one side of cloth and the other side gets wet too.

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  69. sam says:
  70. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I started out with a home-made cloth mask. Then the company started handing out masks, which are kind of like surgical ones (though the packaging explicitly states “not for medical use”). they’re non-woven, triple layer, pleated, and do seem to resist penetration by fluids. I’ve not tried to wet one and see what happens, but when I’ve sneezed with the mask on, the outside remained dry*.

    So I’m reasonably confident these offer some protection. Just the same, given the lack of universal masking, I’m switching to the KN-95 ones.

    I think it’s not too late for Biden to use the defense production laws to push for more capacity for N95 masks. For one thing, in anticipation of the next pandemic, it would be great to have plenty stockpiled to distribute to the whole population, and for other countries to do the same.

    It’s hard to say, but perhaps if everyone had been able, and willing (aye, there’s the rub) to ear an N95 mask at all public places, all over the world, the pandemic might have been over by now.

    It would be a good idea, too, to develop an N95 mask that can be reused dozens of times, along with the means to sanitize them.

    *I’m due to change my mask in a few minutes, I’ll try to get it wet outside and see what happens.

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  71. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Thank you.

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  72. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    It would be a good idea, too, to develop an N95 mask that can be reused dozens of times, along with the means to sanitize them.

    If you can do that, the world is your oyster ‘-) I recently was looking at various ways to inexpensively pre-filter particles to save on the expense of HEPA filters which, depending on the size, can go for thousands of dollars. The thought was to knock out the bulk of the particles with something really cheap. During my research I realized the holy grail of small particle filters is something that can somehow be “scrubbed” and reused. I saw papers going back decades that were working on this problem. My guess is the fundamental problem is that for a filter to remain effective the fibers must be randomly distributed in a three dimensional matrix. Wet them and they may dry clumped and if you physically manipulate them it will disturb the matrix.

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  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: And yet you fell for the Hillary is evil BS anyway. It’s one thing to not like her, I never did. But then I never disliked her either and I was able to see the caricature the right imposed on her for what it was.

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  74. Kathy says:

    Ok, I dribbled some water on the mask. It kind of formed drops on the outside, and some seemed to seep inward but it was hard to say; it might have been coalescing into drops as well. I don’t know about the middle layer, but the inside layer stayed dry.

    I then put it under the faucet. most seemed to slide right off, some formed drops on the surface, none seemed to seep in this time, and the inside stayed dry.

    My old cloth mask, which I still have, took a while to get wet inside when I washed it daily, but it did get wet on both sides. It has two layers which formed a pocket into which you insert a third layer. It wasn’t just thrown together.

    At the office most wear the masks provided by the company (we get two daily). Some wear cloth ones commercially produced. I’ve stuck to the pleated, disposable kind.

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  75. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    If you can do that, the world is your oyster ‘-)

    If you can patent it, and convince some manufacturer to buy the rights, and split enough money with you, and some other dozens of manufacturers don’t just steal the idea anyway…

    But, well, how about a mask/filter that can be recycled into a similar grade mask/filter, after being sanitized with UV rays half a dozen times?

    Or something different. there’s been talk about incorporating silver in cloth fibers for years, as apparently silver has some kind of antimicrobial properties. More recently I read copper kills pathogens because it leaches electrons from small objects, it being a good conductor and all. the idea was to cover surfaces in thin layers of copper.

    Copper is very ductile (see copper wire), but I don’t know if it can be made into fiber-thin strands you could mix with cloth or synthetic fibers. But perhaps it could be scattered as sprinkles on a dessert, simply covering most of the surface while letting air through? No clue.

    No clue either how long a pathogen must be in contact with copper in order to die or be damaged. if it’s minutes, then it’s not useful for a filter (but still good for surfaces).

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  76. MarkedMan says:

    Some years ago I read an article about some experiments run by biologists. I don’t remember the exact details but they revolved the mating behavior of some type of small fish. The scientists realized females were more attracted to males that had… the longest snout? Biggest fin? I can’t remember, so I’ll just say it was a snout, but it was definitely a “size matters” situation. They took it to the next logical level and carefully created false snouts to attach to the males who had lost the mating games. Sure enough, now the females preferred them. They then took it farther, adding increasingly larger and larger snouts, resulting in real life losers with snouts so huge it would have meant certain death in the wild, but that didn’t matter, the females seemed mindlessly attracted to the biggest snout.

    Why did I bring this up? Well, to me it is helpful in understanding a Trumper. They are mindlessly attracted to his ludicrous, over the top Alpha Male behavior. Their brains just shut off. “But wait!”, we shout, “Can’t you see the behavior is just a fake?” “Snout!” they cry, and march helplessly towards this incredible vision.

    What’s interesting right now is I’m detecting a distinct drop off in the sycophancy of our regular Trumpers. At least for them, the snout is starting to droop.

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  77. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Good news Bill, good news indeed..

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  78. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: It’s an interesting idea. Silver is being used in medical environments for exactly that purpose.

    Most of the stuff I saw involved various types of conductors being charged up so they would electrically attract the particles. Being made out of hard, tough metals or semi-conductors meant that they could stand up to a solvent bath, and having the particles bend due to electrical forces meant the fibers didn’t have to be so dense. I assume you would need an ionizer as a front end in order to make sure the particles were charged. Perhaps you would end up with something like this:

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  79. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Kathy: there is my non-scientific mask test:
    My dear wife uses KBoom spray ( non aerosol) the clean the shower walls. Despite that I might be 20 or more feet away non another room I can smell it and to my nose it is very irritating. My method of avoidance in the past has been to vacate the house. Dear wife suggested that I try to use my surgical mask to see if that would help.
    Frankly I was amazed that with the standard surgical mask I couldn’t smell the cleaner, even if I was in the same room as it was being used.

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  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: They are mindlessly attracted to his ludicrous, over the top Alpha Male behavior. Their brains just shut off. “But wait!”, we shout, “Can’t you see the behavior is just a fake?” “Snout!” they cry, and march helplessly towards this incredible vision.

    Heh, never thought of it that way. I’ve had the “trump is tough!” conversation with a couple of trumpsters (my usual reply is a snort of derision followed by a very sarcastic “Hardy har har!” and then a follow up of “I’ve never met a tough guy yet who said, ‘My lawyer can beat up your lawyer!’ ”

    They didn’t have much to say after that, but they didn’t abandon their trump love either.

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  81. Teve says:

    LOL Trump can’t successfully pronounce the name Burisma off a Teleprompter in 3 tries.

    https://twitter.com/thegoodliars/status/1316529823322443776?s=21

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  82. MarkedMan says:

    Anyone else notice how often Trump is talking about how he will “kiss everyone in the audience, men and women both”? Given that a significant portion of his base are homophobes, what’s up with that?

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  83. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: He’s trying to prove how “clean” he is of the Covid?

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  84. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “he plays YMCA at his rallies, he said he’d kiss all the guys, we may be in for the mother of all October Surprises”

    -Jimmy Kimmel

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  85. Teve says:

    OK this is fucking bizarre and I don’t know how I didn’t hear about it before. In 2013 Barack Obama had a gorgeous inauguration cake made out of nine layers by a famous pastry chef named Duff Goldman. In 2017, Trump’s inaugural cake was a carbon copy of Obama’s cake. The baker was given a photograph of Obama’s cake and told to make that exact thing. Except, only the bottom layer was actual cake, the other layers were made out of Styrofoam.

    If that’s not symbolic of what an Obama-obsessed utter fraud Trump is, I don’t know.

    linky

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  86. Teve says:

    From the looks of Twitter, with 20 days to go, the Trump campaign is now trying to get #CrookedJoeBiden trending. Apparently, now, instead of being sleepy, and senile, he’s a political Moriarty.

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  87. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Crooked Joe Biden????? What happened to Crooked Hillary????

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  88. Teve says:

    @CSK: it’s a lot of bots. A few sincere morons like Errol Webber, but probly mostly bots.

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  89. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    It always appeared to me (note the opinion) that both Bill and Hillary did things in order to get more attention and more power–to be able to say “Look at what I did”.

    This is what I really don’t get. I’m not picking on you–I’ve seen this sort of explanation coming from a lot of voters, this obsession with a politician’s motives. I understand your argument that their selfish motive led them to be less effective in making lasting change, but I just think that’s crap. What you’re describing is something that’s true about virtually all politicians. Politics is by its nature a narcissistic enterprise; you’re basically a salesperson where the product you’re selling is yourself. You might think I’m being cynical and essentially calling them whores, but that doesn’t have to be the case. At their best, politicians are offering to serve the community and do things which improve people’s lives. That isn’t contradictory with having narcissistic motives. Many politicians do want to be loved and admired for the things they do, and at their best this pushes them to do things that are in fact worthy of that praise. Obviously that isn’t true of all politicians, but when it is, I don’t feel the need to dwell on the lack of pure altruism. What matters to me is the results.

    This is very different from the Trumpian brand of narcissism. The kind of adulation he’s after isn’t about being loved for helping others, it’s about being worshipped for being awesome and powerful and at the top of the food chain. That’s why he pursues the Superman meme after surviving Covid (assuming he has–we’ll see), as if voters are supposed to reward him for not suffering the fate of the 200K+ less fortunate souls. He’s less interested in being known for fixing the crisis than for being known as a fine enough biological specimen to withstand it.

    That kind of narcissism is toxic; the kind you’re describing simply isn’t.

    You may think the Clintons’ need to be admired pushed them in the wrong direction, but why not skip the psychoanalysis and evaluate what they did on its own terms? You might say that that’s exactly what you’ve done, but I’m not buying it. It looks to me like you’re using the character issue as a kind of all-purpose explanation to dismiss the Clintons’ legacy. Look at how you brought up the email controversy and then when people mentioned Condi Rice and Colin Powell, you said what they did was wrong too. How convenient! The problem is, it never became the scandal of the century with Rice or Powell (or any of the other officials who did the same thing), and nobody to my knowledge used it to paint Rice or Powell as self-aggrandizing or entitled. You tried to use the email example to support a narrative about Clinton, but what you actually did was use it as part of a laundry list of complaints that don’t prove what you think they prove.

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  90. Monala says:

    I saw a few YouTube videos where mask-skeptics were challenged to blow out a candle while wearing a cloth mask. They couldn’t do it.

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  91. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: well, he also talks about the love letters he and Kim Jong-Un exchange…

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  92. Kathy says:

    The dueling town halls are on. I don’t get ABC or NBC at home, but may follow on The Guardian’s live blog. Biden might say something worth hearing.

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  93. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: He sounds like he still has sinus congestion, too. And his voice is scratchy. If I were a cynic, I’d say he’s probably still sick and not want to be around him. (Not that I have any desire to be around him in any other circumstances either, you understand.)

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  94. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: Good point. Mostly I’m less concerned about why politicians do what they do and more concerned about what they do in terms of policy and goals related to what I would like to see done.

    In terms of both Clintons, my dislike is mostly visceral. My primary objection to Hillary running either time was my feeling that she was a polarizing enough figure that her very presence in government would be enervating more than productive. But that’s only my take, YMMV.

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  95. Teve says:

    @mercedesschlapp

    Well @JoeBiden @ABCPolitics townhall feels like I am watching an episode of Mister Rodgers (sic) Neighborhood.

    She meant it as an insult. The replies are having great fun with her.

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  96. Kathy says:

    Some advice for Donnie: When you’re being fact-checked in real time, stop lying, a**hole.

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  97. Teve says:

    @mkraju

    Trump admin has rejected California’s request for a disaster declaration for six destructive wildfires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres across the state, including a massive central wildfire that has become the single largest in state history.

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  98. Gustopher says:

    At the risk of trampling over Bill’s Headline of the Day tomorrow, I need to share this

    Police find cash hidden between Bolsonaro ally’s buttocks

    “To give you a sense of just how preposterous the situation was, some of the recovered notes were stained with faeces,” reported Revista Crusoé, the conservative magazine that broke the story.

    Having caught a brief clip of Trump, I needed something to clear his image from my mind, and this worked.

    Also, “feces” is spelled all fancy, so this is high brow stuff.

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  99. JohnSF says:

    @Gustopher:
    But, but, isn’t that where everyone keeps their spending money?

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  100. Jen says:

    People do absolutely weird stuff with cash. You should always wash your hands after using cash or coin. YUCK.

    (re: @Gustopher and @JohnSF)

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