Thursday’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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The right-wing channel Fox News, whose top personalities have for months assailed the concept of vaccine passports and argued that asking about vaccine status amounts to a major intrusion of privacy, told employees this week that they must disclose their vaccination status to the company.

    In a Tuesday memo updating staff on Covid-19 procedures, Fox News Media chief executive Suzanne Scott said that the company has “asked all employees — whether on site as part of our essential workforce or working remotely — to upload their vaccination status” into an internal database. “All employees must enter their status no later than today, August 17th, by close of business,” Scott wrote, bolding that particular sentence in her email, which was obtained by CNN Business, but first reported on by AdWeek…………….

    Still, the mandatory reporting of vaccine status flies in the face of the commentary from the network’s top stars. Tucker Carlson has repeatedly suggested to reporters who ask him about his vaccination status that the question is akin to asking about their sex life. And Sean Hannity has repeatedly talked up “doctor-patient confidentiality.” Fox News spokespeople did not respond when asked about the discrepancy between the rhetoric from the channel’s top stars and its own internal policies.

    Fox quietly implemented its own version of a vaccine passport in June. The system allowed for employees to voluntarily self-report to Fox the dates their shots were administered and which vaccines were used.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘It’s soul-draining’: Health workers deployed to Covid hot zones are overwhelmed by deaths among the unvaccinated

    BATON ROUGE, La. — Bren Ingle watched through a set of twin glass doors as her patient drew his final, halting breaths, a terrifyingly long pause separating each one. She could hear every haunted exhalation he made, a sound halfway between a snore and a scream of pain.

    It was not her first such vigil. But the knowledge that the patient was unvaccinated made it, somehow, bleaker than the rest.

    As part of an emergency response team maintained by the federal government, the 59-year-old nurse has deployed more than a dozen times during the Covid-19 pandemic, to hospitals, clinics, and even cruise ships. It seemed impossible that the death rituals that have defined her nightmarish 18-month world tour could become more grim. But the current wave, and the utter needlessness of the patient suffering Ingle bears witness to each day, are more devastating than ever.

    Now, she is unhooking IV drips from the body of a patient who could have lived. As she removes his catheter, slips off his blood-oxygen sensor, and switches off the monitor that had displayed his heart rate and blood pressure, she admits to experiencing a new level of trauma. Treating coronavirus patients in a post-vaccine world, she says, has added an entirely new layer of despair.

    “Ninety-nine percent of the patients being admitted are unvaccinated,” she said. “They’re sicker when they get here. They require more acute care while they’re here. And unfortunately, many of them are not surviving.”
    ……………………….
    “I’ve been doing this for 18 months, and I’ve seen people just do one or two missions that are torn up over it,” she said. One stint, she recalled, involved running a resuscitation team for patients who “code” — in essence, when their heart or lungs threaten to give out.

    “It’s very emotional watching people die every day,” she said. “You start seeing the same look on their face where their eyes are bugging out and they’re grabbing at you: Don’t let me die. Don’t let me die. And all you can do is intubate them and hope for the best.”

    But she does what she needs to do to stay safe and stay sane. Her cell phone notification tone is the sound of a sneeze — that way, when she gets a text message, those around her say “Bless you.” (“I need all the blessings I can get,” she said.)

    A lot more about the National Disaster Medical System, which is basically a National Guard for health care and emergency response, at the link.

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  3. Scott says:

    During the debate for the infrastructure bill, there was a lot of demands (mostly by Republicans) for “payfors” for the cost of the bill. Of course, increased taxes are off the table.

    Those same demands are not made for anything related to defense. It is not just DoD ($750B) but the VA ($270B), Intelligence ($70B), National Nuclear Security Administration ($20B). Easily $1.1T for national defense.

    No one demands “payfors” or increased taxes for any of this. Keep that in mind during those dishonest budget discussions.

    Cost of caring for Iraq, Afghanistan vets could top $2.5 trillion: report

    The cost of caring for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan could top $2.5 trillion by 2050, creating tough financial decisions for both the veterans community and the entire country, according to a new analysis by the Costs of War Project released Wednesday.

    “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created a veterans care crisis, with disability rates soaring past those seen in previous wars,” said Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes, lead author of the new estimates.

    “This will take a long-term toll not only on veterans, but the U.S. taxpayers that will bear these costs for decades to come.”

    The latest analysis of the costs of veteran care in coming decades is roughly $1 trillion over previous estimates by the group. Researchers cited “more frequent and longer deployments, higher levels of exposure to combat, higher rates of survival from injuries, higher incidence of serious disability, and more complex medical treatments” as the reasons for the higher price tag.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Today’s Moment of “Duh!”:

    The federal government deliberately targeted Black Lives Matter protesters via heavy-handed criminal prosecutions in an attempt to disrupt and discourage the global movement that swept the nation and beyond last summer after the Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, according to a new report.

    Movement leaders and experts said the prosecution of protesters over the past year continued a century-long practice by the federal government, rooted in structural racism, to suppress Black social movements via the use of surveillance tactics and other mechanisms.

    The report was released by the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 50 activism and advocacy civil rights groups and professional associations representing Black communities and published in partnership with the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (Clear) clinic at City University of New York (Cuny) School of Law.

    “The empirical data and findings in this report largely corroborate what Black organizers have long known intellectually, intuitively, and from lived experience about the federal government’s disparate policing and prosecution of racial justice protests and related activity,” the report stated.

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  5. Scott says:

    Just when you’ve thought we’ve reached peak BS.

    Trump’s Pledge to Exit Afghanistan Was a Ruse, His Final SecDef Says

    President Donald Trump’s top national security officials never intended to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, according to new statements by Chris Miller, Trump’s last acting defense secretary.

    Miller said the president’s public promise to finish withdrawing U.S. forces by May 1, as negotiated with the Taliban, was actually a “play” that masked the Trump administration’s true intentions: to convince Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to quit or accept a bitter power-sharing agreement with the Taliban, and to keep some U.S. troops in Afghanistan for counterrorism missions.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The end-of-year report from Cruz’s committee, filed with the Federal Election Commission, reveals that two weeks after One Vote Away was published, his campaign spent $40,000 at Books-A-Million. Shortly afterwards, it spent a further $1,500, and in December, another $111,900. All of the purchases are described by the campaign as “books”, and Forbes speculated that they may have been used to boost his book sales, quoting Brett Kappel, a lawyer specialising in campaign finance, who said that “the FEC has issued a long series of advisory opinions allowing members to use campaign funds to buy copies of their own books at a discount from the publisher, provided that the royalties they would normally receive on those sales are given to charity”.

    Forbes previously reported what three other US senators had made from book deals in 2020: Elizabeth Warren earned $278,000, Tom Cotton $202,000, and Tammy Duckworth $382,000. All three used campaign funds to buy books, but Forbes said that their purchases were all under $20,000.

    A spokesperson for Cruz’s campaign told the magazine that the senator “has not received one cent of royalties in connection with any One Vote Away book sales”, but declined to reveal which books the campaign had spent more than $150,000 on.

    Heh.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: So basically, “We signed an agreement we had no intention of honoring.”? That’s in character.

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  8. Jen says:

    This piece about Israel’s rising case numbers is interesting. (NYT)

    Is there something different about mRNA vaccines that lead to a rapid decline in efficacy, or is this solely about delta getting around the immune response? I haven’t read anything about boosters for J&J, and I’m wondering if this is a new tech vs. old tech thing?

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  9. Kathy says:

    HBO Max has a bunch of animated DC comics movies. In one, Superman/Batman Public Enemies, no major spoilers, Lex Luthor gets elected president, and manages to do a worse job than trump.

    I find that absolutely remarkable.

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  10. KM says:

    @Kathy:
    Worse on purpose for ultimately greedy or evil intent or just because he was so bad at the job? TFG’s failure was lack of intelligence, investment and foresight to carry out the scam – Luthor wouldn’t have that problem.

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  11. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    The last I read about boosters for J&J, which was yesterday, indicated that not enough data had been gathered to make any kind of judgment yet.

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  12. CSK says:

    @CSK:
    No edit function, so I’ll add this very latest: The J&J may not require a booster, since it’s highly effective against the Delta variant. I emphasize may not.

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  13. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: Trump isn’t Lex Luthor, he’s Gen. Zod.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Lex Luthor gets elected president, and manages to do a worse job than trump.

    That will never get made into a movie because people will find it wholly unbelievable.

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  15. mattt bernius says:

    Question to Keef:

    Hey, I noticed your recent return and was genuinely curious.

    It looks like your last post in 2020 was in the election day thread:
    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/i-voted/

    From that day until recently you were silent (at least according to a google search).

    I am genuinely curious about what prompts someone to stop regularly commenting and then later restart. It wasn’t like those were a particularly uneventful series of months. Your absence and return were noticeable (since you’ve been a voice of the opposition for a while).

    BTW, if anyone else has done this (stopped and then later restarted), I’d be interested in hearing your answers too.

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  16. mattbernius says:

    @Kylopod:

    Trump isn’t Lex Luthor, he’s Gen. Zod.

    Hmm… if we’re talking Superman 2, I’m thinking he’s more like Non. Or is Ned Beatty’s character an option?

    I kid of course… Non was more articulate. 😛

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  17. Kylopod says:

    @mattbernius: Kneel before Zod! ZAGA!

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  18. Kylopod says:

    @mattt bernius: In the final weeks before Election Day, the forum Political Wire was flooded with trolls predicting Trump’s victory. I politely asked some of them to make specific predictions about which states Trump would win, how many electoral votes he’d bag, etc., and then I screen-shotted their responses. Here is my collection of them. One comment in particular (from Oct. 31) I’ll reprint here:

    I knew that Trump had this won when the democrat scum who allowed thugs to burn down Minneapolis tried putting a halt to last night’s Trump Rally in Minnesota and 25,000 still showed up to give them the finger….
    remember this come Tuesday Night.

    Every one of these commenters disappeared into the ether on Nov. 5 and haven’t been seen since.

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  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: I liked the guy who said after Trump wins we Ds will be charged with “dissent”. I guess to be honest, I’d have been guilty of dissent. I take it the implication is the commenters were Russian, or RNC, trolls and there was no reason to keep them working after the election.

    How’d you you do that? Your linked image shows as a Disqus file, but the Disqus instructions seem to require an image upload icon in the comment box.

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  20. Jen says:

    @mattt bernius: I got super-busy with work and travel towards the end of 2019, which is also when I was diagnosed with blood pressure that was so high it tipped into the “get thyself to a doctor immediately” category. I basically shut down all participation online and social channels, and even avoided the news, for 3+ months to get my BP stable. That included commenting here (because it’s sooooo easy to comment here, then click a twitter link, then read that content, leading to an article or two or four…etc.).

    Once my BP was closer to normal, I checked back in. 🙂

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  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Food for thought: The Ides of August

    I’ve been silent for a while. I’ve been silent about Afghanistan for longer. But too many things are going unsaid. I won’t try to evoke the emotions, somehow both swirling and yet leaden: the grief, the anger, the sense of futility. Instead, as so often before, I will use my mind to shield my heart. And in the process, perhaps help you make some sense of what has happened.

    For those of you who don’t know me, here is my background — the perspective from which I write tonight.
    ………………………..
    From that standpoint — speaking as an American, as an adoptive Kandahari, and as a former senior U.S. government official — here are the key factors I see in today’s climax of a two-decade long fiasco:

    Afghan government corruption, and the U.S. role enabling and reinforcing it.
    Pakistan
    Hamid Karzai.
    Self-Delusion.

    One final point. I hold U.S. civilian leadership, across four administrations, largely responsible for today’s outcome. Military commanders certainly participated in the self-delusion. I can and did find fault with generals I worked for or observed. But the U.S. military is subject to civilian control. And the two primary problems identified above — corruption and Pakistan — are civilian issues. They are not problems men and women in uniform can solve. But faced with calls to do so, no top civilian decision-maker was willing to take either of these problems on. The political risk, for them, was too high.

    Today, as many of those officials enjoy their retirement, who is suffering the cost?

    Not very long, but well worth reading.

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  22. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    I wonder what Sergei thinks “dissent” means. Does he believe it’s a synonym for “treason”?

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  23. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Ah, I see. I had wondered why you vanished, and I believe I welcomed you back when you reappeared. I hope the BP is well under control now.

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  24. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: Political Wire allows users to upload images to Disqus, and then they become permanent links.

    The commenter in that screen shot who called himself Rex-Biden Voter with the image of the T. Rex initially called himself Ex-Biden Voter, though he didn’t exactly sound like someone who had ever supported Biden.

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  25. Jen says:

    @CSK: Thank you (and, yes, you did welcome me back–I was genuinely surprised that anyone noticed my absence!). BP is good. I’m on a very low dose beta blocker, which my doc decided on because it tackles anxiety too (the one I’m on is commonly also prescribed for stage fright, interestingly enough). Since my diet and weight didn’t appear to be factors, and stress did, it appears this combo works.

    And, it’s been remarkably in the good zone since TFG exited stage left. 😀

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  26. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Jax:

    When I dream about you guys, you’re always basic blobby figures with square heads

    Mon Dieu! It’s as though you’d met me in real life!

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  27. Matthew Bernius says:

    @Jen:
    Thanks for sharing. I am happy to read that you are feeling better.

    I suspect that health issues — personal or family — are often a reason people drop off for a while. I know that was true for me when I was going through a personal mental health emergency a few years back.

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  28. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I think probably the national level of hypertension has declined since January 20, 2021.

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  29. CSK says:

    Oh, FFS. Worcester and Middlesex Counties here in Mass. have a tornado warning as of 10:21 this morning, and Soon-to-be Hurricane Henri is approaching the northeast.

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  30. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod: Thank you.

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  31. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    Well, that would be a spoiler for a direct-to-video 12-year old movie.

    Spoiler alert:

    He plain doesn’t do the job, but rather uses the office as his means of settling scores with Superman. He also tries very hard to let an asteroid devastate the Earth.

    Ok. That’s positively trumpian. So much so, in fact, I’m surprised the Ass hasn’t sued for copyright infringement.

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  32. keef says:

    @mattt bernius:

    To be honest I think this place is a self congratulatory, group think waste of time. I almost never got a worthwhile insight; rattling the monkey’s cages was about all the place was good for. Cheap entertainment. But it got boring. There have been rare exceptions: I thought Andy’s comment just the other day was very good.

    I have stopped in from time to time just to see what is going on. But its just more of the same. In best Neanderthal voice: Democrat – goooood! Republican – baaaaad! The stunningly incompetent handling of the Afghan withdrawal (even though I agree with the final objective) prompted me to drop in just to see reactions, which have been, well, largely clownish.

    So. Quickly bored again. Time to leave James’ and Doc Taylor’s merry band of men and women to play their little game.

    Capiche?

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    I have a prediction: within ten years the Taliban will be on the US payroll, fighting Chinese and Russian moves in the region, and will host a US listening post aimed at Iran.

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  34. Mu Yixiao says:

    @mattt bernius:

    I am genuinely curious about what prompts someone to stop regularly commenting and then later restart.

    While I haven’t done it for very extended periods, there have been a few times when I’ve walked away for a few weeks (which probably went unnoticed).

    For me, it’s getting fed up with some of the attitudes. I don’t need the stress, so I just walk away–not even reading–until I feel like I can tolerate it again.

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  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @keef:
    It’s ‘capisce.’

    I’ve never seen anyone so desperate to be accepted into a group he claims to despise. You keep popping back in with some news item you imagine will justify your appalling opinions and gain you acceptance. That’s never going to happen, Drew. Trumpies have no path to redemption. You will never regain a position in decent society.

    Go find a blog run by lunatic culties. Gabba gabba they’ll accept you, one of them, one of them. . .

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  36. mattbernius says:

    @keef:
    What I’m stuggling with is I have never seen you post something beyond “Democrats Bad! Republicans (or at least Trumpists) Good!” It’s a bit hard to see your moral superiority here (or how you are doing anything beyond being the reverse of the folks you are criticising).

    It also strikes me you disappeared for a period where it would have been all but impossible to defend Trump and Republicans… Not to mention the Covid-19 minimalization you had been doing for months.

    And your silence during that time seems to confirm that you might have realized that as well.

    Either way, thanks for the honest response.

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  37. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jen:
    And we are glad you did (both check back in and get BP under control)

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  38. Kylopod says:

    @keef:

    To be honest I think this place is a self congratulatory, group think waste of time. I almost never got a worthwhile insight; rattling the monkey’s cages was about all the place was good for.

    And yet you responded rather quickly the moment your screen name was mentioned.

    I admit I find responses like yours fascinating. The last time you and I had an exchange, you posted a link to a right-wing site, then I and another commenter took the time to examine the link and provide a point-by-point rebuttal. You then completely ignored our responses and came back with an insult.

    I’ve seen this pattern over and over here, where a commenter posts right-wing talking points, then completely refuses to engage with any of the rebuttals, but soon is back accusing everyone of groupthink and closemindedness. It’s a bizarre form of projection that comes from the fact that your brain is literally incapable of conceptualizing the notion that the arguments you make can even be subject to dispute, and therefore just the fact we’re disagreeing with you at all automatically proves our mind is closed, because only someone closeminded could be blind to the obvious truth of your arguments.

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  39. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Trumpies have no path to redemption. You will never regain a position in decent society.

    Let’s not be hasty. Most of them claim to be Christians, and that faith does kind of believe in human sacrifice by proxy as a means of redemption. So, if they were to crucify Trump, along with McConnell and Barr, I’d be willing to look into the matter.

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  40. Monala says:

    @JuddLegum
    I spoke to a veteran communications professional who has been trying to place prominent voices supportive of the Afghanistan withdrawal on television and in print.

    They told me it has been next to impossible.

    “I’ve been in political media for over two decades, and I have never experienced something like this before. Not only can I not get people booked on shows, but I can’t even get TV bookers who frequently book my guest to give me a call back…

    “I’ve fed sources to reporters, who end up not quoting the sources, but do quote multiple voices who are critical of the president and/or put the withdrawal in a negative light.

    “I turn on TV and watch CNN, and frankly, a lot of MSNBC shows, and they’re presenting it as if there’s not a voice out there willing to defend the president and his decision to withdraw. But I offered those very shows those voices, and the shows purposely decided to shut them out.”

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  41. CSK says:

    @keef:
    Try Lucianne.com if you want to see “self-congratulatory group think” in operation.

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  42. inhumans99 says:

    @mattt bernius:
    In yesterday’s Biden/Afghanistan thread I replied to Keef. First, I did what Michael R does now when he encounters a post from JKB, Keef, Bandit, Guarneri, etc., and asked Keef if he could name the current President of the United States, as I am genuinely curious as to what his answer might be.

    Next, I tried to point out to him that when he makes it sound like no one in the “mainstream” media is going hard at Biden for how the withdrawal from Afghanistan shook out, that is a laughably untrue claim. CNN, NYT, Wash. Post, and plenty of other “mainstream” sources are pounding away at Biden for a withdrawal that went a bit rougher (to put it mildly) than anticipated, it is not just OAN and Newsmax that are “brave” enough to speak out against this administration.

    I then asked him if he would like me to help scrape up the funds to move to Russia seems he seems to dislike living under the the current administration in the United States. I also asked my question again as to who he thinks our current Commander in Chief is?

    I should check the thread again before I declare that since I replied Keef has ghosted me….but he has probably ghosted me and not replied, lol.

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  43. inhumans99 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Thank you Michael, as someone who has Sicilian blood in him (from my Mother, who is Sicilian) that made me cringe. If you are going to close out your post by trying to sound gangster than please get it right. Also, as others have already pointed out, Keef’s post is actually quite revealing because he does exactly what he thinks we liberal are doing, declaring our side is good and righteous without applying a critical eye towards any action from our side.

    He seems to be clueless that he actually does the exact thing that he criticizes us for, he shakes his head that we do not see how good and righteous Republicans are. Hello Keef, you never seem to put in even a modicum of effort to call out Republicans when they are in the wrong, or their policies are not quite working as they claimed they would, that really is what frustrates you about us Liberals, dude(ette?) please look in the mirror.

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  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @inhumans99:
    Drew (keef) is a fairly well-off, very cliché older white male of the sort you might find in The Villages in Florida. He cannot conceive of a world in which he’s not right. He cannot conceive of a world in which his white male privilege has been heavily discounted. None of these people can accept the fact that as far as 60% of the country is concerned, they moved way out beyond the pale and not only are we not anxious to get along with them but we find them distasteful.

    They are the political equivalent of lepers, and they cannot wrap their little heads around the fact that absent a cure for their condition, we’d really prefer they went away rather than force us to look at their noseless faces and fingerless hands.

    Drew, the silly twit, still thinks he’ll trot out some imbecility from OAN and we’ll all cry, “OMG, we see the error of our ways, join us, guide us, lead us.” It brings out the disreputable sadist in me, watching him crying, “I don’t even wanna be part of your club, you guys suck, sob, sob!”

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  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:

    It’s a bizarre form of projection that comes from the fact that your brain is literally incapable of conceptualizing the notion that the arguments you make can even be subject to dispute, and therefore just the fact we’re disagreeing with you at all automatically proves our mind is closed, because only someone closeminded could be blind to the obvious truth of your arguments.

    Nicely put.

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  46. Mu Yixiao says:

    Atlanta school segregates classes by race.

    The parent said she found this out when she let [Principal] Briscoe know she wanted her child placed in the classroom of a teacher she thought would be a good fit.

    Posey said the principal told her that wouldn’t work.

    “She said that’s not one of the Black classes, and I immediately said, ‘What does that mean?’ I was confused. I asked for more clarification. I was like, ‘We have those in the school?’ And she proceeded to say, ‘Yes. I have decided that I’m going to place all of the Black students in two classes’”

    [emphasis added]

    Principal Sharyn Briscoe is a black woman.

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  47. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I’ve read a couple of articles about this, and I can’t find any reason given by the principal why she did this.

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  48. Mu Yixiao says:

    @CSK:

    She thought it would be “good for the students” is the only reasoning I’ve seen.

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  49. mattbernius says:

    @CSK:

    I can’t find any reason given by the principal why she did this.

    According the the article that @Mu Yixiao linked, it appeared to be to focus support resources. It would be useful to look at the communities that school is drawing from to see if there are any significant divisions in terms of income levels.

    The article states they have the enrollment to have 6 white classes and 2 black classes.

    I’m not supporting the strategy, but I do wonder if this is a case where a poorer and underresourced neighborhood might be adjoining a more affluent area.

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  50. mattbernius says:

    The edit button isn’t showing up, so let me add a few more details.
    @mattbernius wrote:

    According the the article that @Mu Yixiao linked, it appeared to be to focus support resources.

    I wanted to edit that passage. The closest to a rationale in the article was this comment from the Vice-Principal, recorded by the paren. From the article:

    “I just wish we had more Black kids, and then some of them are in a class because of the services that they need,” the administrator said on the recording.

    So I’m guess there were two things at play:

    First, the desire to concentrate support services. That goes back to my previous comment.

    I also suspect that the principal, correctly or incorrectly, felt that once you centralized the high/special needs kids, the remaining students if integrated into the other classes would make up such a minority of those classes that it would be a challenging learning environment for them from a cultural perspective (i.e. that each class might only have a few–less than 5–black kids in it).

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  51. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Yes, I saw that, but it really doesn’t address the issue. Why will it be good for the Black students?
    @mattbernius:
    We shouldn’t have to speculate or dig around to find out the reasons.

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  52. Mu Yixiao says:

    @CSK:

    Yes, I saw that, but it really doesn’t address the issue. Why will it be good for the Black students?

    Well… this goes into speculation territory again, but I’ve seen quite a few news stories about minority college students demanding segregation. The reasoning presented always boils down to some sort of “we need a safe space”. I’ve also seen several incidents where college curriculums/faculty offer “minority only” classes so that they can be taught differently. It’s always framed, again, in that “safe space” mentality where the SoC insist that they can’t participate fully if there are white kids in the class.

    FWIW, the above are where College Reform–a blatantly right-wing, crybaby publication–is good for getting the lead, and then taking it elsewhere to do some proper research on the story.

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  53. Kurtz says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    FWIW, the above are where College Reform–a blatantly right-wing, crybaby publication–is good for getting the lead, and then taking it elsewhere to do some proper research on the story.

    This is a good approach.

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  54. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Gotta love it. The far right and the far left agree on separate but equal.

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  55. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Gotta love it. The far right and the far left agree on separate but equal.

    Separate, anyway. Not so sure about the equal part.

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  56. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: They have a bigger problem. The Afghan military evaporated…the Taliban didn’t defeat it. They now have the same problem we have. They are the visible power and cannot use insurgent tactics.

    They can’t kill all the former ANA in the country and all the former ANA is not leaving.

    So a couple of hundred thousand trained ANA vets will be amongst the civilian Afghan population with motivation to settle scores. What could go wrong?

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  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: @Michael Reynolds: He’s a drive by troll, and not a particularly honest one. Just another penny ante pissant trying desperately to convince himself of a superiority so delicate it melts away at the slightest pushback.

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  58. @OzarkHillbilly: As best as I can tell commenters like this have come to believe that some version of “owning the libs” is the point of political discourse.

    So, he is willing to show up when he thinks he can score some points in a game only he is playing.

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  59. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: You are far more polite than I am.

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  60. Jen says:

    So, he is willing to show up when he thinks he can score some points in a game only he is playing.

    So a political and rhetorical form of Calvinball?

    It’s fascinating what people find to do to amuse themselves.

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  61. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    …within ten years the Taliban will be on the US payroll, fighting Chinese and Russian moves…

    Nope. Not a chance.

    Unless Pakistan and China fall out bigtime; and that’s not going to happen so long as they both see India as a rival.

    Islamabad don’t precisely contol the Taliban; but they do sponsor and therefore influence it.
    And it would be a reckless Talib who p*ssed off the Markhors (aka ISI)

    OTOH you might get them onside against Iran; Taliban are Deobandi Sunni (when they’re not just Pushtunwalia chauvinists) so they hate Shia pretty much by definition.
    Ask the Hazara.

    (ps As for the Russians, the only viable future role for the Putinists is playing mini-Me to Beijing; and they know it; and how it galls their miserable excuses for souls.)

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  62. @OzarkHillbilly:

    You are far more polite than I am.

    Well, I have my moments.

    I am actively trying not to let people rile me up (how well I am doing is variable).

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  63. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Oh, come on, it wouldn’t be fair not to invite Pompeo, Miller, and Bannon to the party!

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  64. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The Y’all Qaeda Yeehawdist, in the lifted 4×4, at the Library of Congress has surrendered.
    The source of the problem is clear.
    What are we going to do about it?

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  65. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jen:..Calvinball has no rules…

    1-2-3 GO!

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  66. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    It’s fascinating what people find to do to amuse themselves.

    But it goes back to why they find it amusing. I don’t think keef comes here and thinks “Why don’t I post some intentional nonsense and see how everyone reacts.” That kind of troll exists (it may even be the most common variety), but I don’t think that’s what’s going on here.

    A great deal of the brainwashing that goes on in the right-wing ecosphere is designed to make them believe that liberals are not just the enemy, but totally and absolutely ridiculous. It’s something that goes back to Limbaugh. It’s why conservative “comedy” is so baffling–it’s based on the presupposition that everything liberals do and say is inherently laughable, and so all you have to do is simply depict a liberal doing and saying these things and suddenly it’s hilarious. It isn’t even intended as a parody because the conservatives who do this don’t even know they’re engaging in caricature, they think it’s the literal truth. They just think the literal truth is that liberals are pathetic fools that no sane person could possibly take seriously, and so all you need to do to get guffaws is show them in their true form.

    That’s why it’s so difficult to talk to these people–no matter what you say, no matter how eloquently you lay out your arguments, they’re programmed in advance to view you as a blubbering clown. They bring a snowball into the halls of Congress, and that demonstration alone is an applause line that owns all the libs everywhere, eternally and forever. No matter ho calmly you try to explain to them that global warming doesn’t mean there will never be snowstorms again, they think you’re just making a pathetic attempt to save a self-evident hoax that could never survive outside the ivory towers of the hoity-toity coastal elites of Chicago. Any and all counterarguments to their way of thinking is automatically drowned out by the maniacal sound of laughter.

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  67. Mu Yixiao says:

    In other news… 90 rights organizations call Apple’s latest dumb idea “dumb and harmful”.

    Does Apple not have a Red Team on staff?? Or at least a PR intern?

    How in the hell could they not anticipate the backlash on this?

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  68. Andy says:

    @mattt bernius:

    I am genuinely curious about what prompts someone to stop regularly commenting and then later restart. It wasn’t like those were a particularly uneventful series of months. Your absence and return were noticeable (since you’ve been a voice of the opposition for a while).

    BTW, if anyone else has done this (stopped and then later restarted), I’d be interested in hearing your answers too.

    That’s an interesting question, here are my thoughts.

    I’ve taken many breaks over the years at various places and times, including at OTB. For example, I don’t think I commented much if at all from May-July this year and not just here.

    For me, commenting on blogs and similar fora is basically a hobby. And like any hobby, it is low on the priority list, so gets pushed aside for more important things. I have a job, a family, other responsibilities, and other hobbies and interests.

    And, even though it’s usually enjoyable, it’s very easy to get burned out and frustrated. A lot of the “debate” can be very repetitive, boring, and consist of bad-faith arguments and ad hominem. That gets old. And I’ve grown less interested in the typical partisan debates over time, so I don’t often comment on those anymore, I roll my eyes and move on to something more interesting. It seems to go in cycles, but sometimes there are periods with a lot of those types of posts here at OTB along with “look what this dumb Republican/Right-wing person is doing” type of posts, which really don’t interest me at all anymore. So I avoid those and will comment somewhere else.

    Matt Yglesias’ substack, in particular, has attracted a lot more of my attention. I see Michael there occasionally. MY puts out a lot of interesting ideas that aren’t much heard elsewhere, and the comment section there is quite good with a high level of good-quality comments and very little ad hominem, integrity-questioning, and other bad faith responses. So my participation there has come at the expense of more participation at OTB and other places.

    But another thing that will cause me to take a break is when the debate really isn’t possible here.
    There’ve been 3-4 times over the 15-odd years I’ve been on this blog that the level of bad faith responses, responses that call me a liar, or question my integrity, or otherwise avoid the merits of my comment in favor of dumb personal attacks, just made any engagement here a waste of my time. It ceases to be any kind of fun. Life is too short to deal with that kind of BS.

    Also, I’ve been here long enough to know what kind of reaction my contrarian opinion will generate, and have gotten pretty good about estimating the level of time and effort I will need to put into defending it from both legitimate and illegitimate attacks. And so, before I actually comment, I assess if that estimated time and effort will ultimately be worth it. And it’s often the case that I decide that it’s not.

    So, in my case at least, there are different reasons for extended periods of no engagement. Sometimes this is a deliberate break, at other times it’s the other factors adding together – my time, level of interest, competing blogs/forums, the BS factor, etc.

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  69. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’ve been curious about something for a while. I’ve been on this blog for a long time and don’t ever remember “Drew” but do remember the other pseudonyms. When was he “Drew”?

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  70. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As best as I can tell commenters like this have come to believe that some version of “owning the libs” is the point of political discourse.

    So, he is willing to show up when he thinks he can score some points in a game only he is playing.

    It seems he’s admitted this is basically the case.

    But I also think this should cause some reflection. There really aren’t any right-of-center commenters anymore and there haven’t been for a long time (a fact that’s been often discussed here over the years). Occasionally when one shows up, they are quickly chased away, leaving JKB and Drew/keef to continue to lay out the easy bait, which is quickly snatched at.

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  71. Andy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    He was Drew before Guarneri. Drew is the original handle he used both here and at Dave Schuler’s place and is the first one I remember. He still uses Drew over there. I didn’t know he was also “keef” until I read this comment thread.

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  72. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Apple is trying to stave off having Congress mandate that they build a back door into their system. The way the police and FBI have been ginning up support for such legislation is to talk about how Apple is protecting child molesters.

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  73. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’ve seen commenters elsewhere be a bit more obvious. The game is, “I’m smarter than you libs because you’re too stupid to understand {insert random wingnut talking point}.”

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  74. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Andy:

    There really aren’t any right-of-center commenters anymore

    I would argue the host is right-of-center.
    The sad reality is that the people who come by here with right wing views are by-and-large right wing nuts.
    They cannot defend their views without mis-representing, or out-right lying about, the facts.
    I could imagine a great discussion about the pluses and minuses of a $3.5T Infrastructure Bill…which I have my own doubts about…but not with some kooks who are gonna just rant about how Trump built the greatest economy in history and now the socialist communist Marxists are destroying ‘Murica. And, yeah…those folks will likely be chased out.

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  75. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Years ago, Limbaugh coined the phrase “liberalism is a mental illness” and it caught fire among his acolytes. There isn’t a day goes by that at least three people repeat it over at Lucianne.com (probably more than three, but I’m not that dedicated to searching for it). The phrase has become an all-purpose response to anything a Democrat says or does.

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  76. JohnSF says:

    @Andy:
    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Well, I’m supporter of Monarchy, an Established Church and hereditary peerage.
    Does that count as right wing these days?

    Of course as a non-American I’m rather off the map in the first place.

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  77. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    You might describe yourself as a traditionalist.

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  78. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Years ago, Limbaugh coined the phrase “liberalism is a mental illness” and it caught fire among his acolytes.

    The odd thing is that in my post I almost included the sentence “It’s almost a form of psychosis” (a line I’ve used before here) but then I deleted it.

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  79. CSK says:

    And speaking of the demented, a North Carolina Trumpkin named Floyd Ray Roseberry drove his pick-up onto the sidewalk outside the Library of Congress today and initiated a stand-off with police in which he demanded that we “kick ass” in Afghanistan. He also wanted a personal chat with Biden.

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  80. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:
    Maybe.
    But then I’m also in favour of individualism, equality and progress as well as collectivity, hierarchy and tradition.
    I am large, I contain multitudes
    Which explains why my old trousers don’t fit these days.
    Possibly.

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  81. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    They cannot defend their views without mis-representing, or out-right lying about, the facts.

    A problem that extends to the supposedly respectable pundits and pols on the right. The side they’ve chosen wants to ignore AGW, reduce taxes on the wealthy and corporations, gut corporate regulation, impose voting restrictions, and create a glibertarian paradise for billionaires, and there is no honest case to be made.

    There used to be intellectually honest conservatives. I would be most interested in Bruce Bartlett’s opinion of the 3.5T$ infrastructure bill. But he doesn’t seem to be very active and I’m not sure Rs recognize him as as one of their own any more.

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  82. Jen says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    The Y’all Qaeda Yeehawdist

    This is the second time today I’ve laughed out loud at a comment here. I’d seen the Y’all Qaeda moniker before, but not “Yeehawdist,” which is a perfect addition.

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  83. a country lawyer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I just saw on another news feed that the Taliban are asking for the pilots to return and fly for them. The aircraft abandoned by the Afghan army include OH 58 (scout) helos as well as UH 60 Blackhawks. The Taliban will soon find that it will take more than pilots to get their air force off of the ground. These are highly sophisticated machines which in the best of circumstances require a high level of maintenance. In combat situations any squadron which can maintain 70 % availability has superior maintenance. In addition to the regular military personnel all squadrons have techs from the various contractors (Boeing, Sirkorsky, P&W, GE, etc) to keep them flying and the systems working. Lot’s of luck on getting contractors or replacement parts into Afghanistan. They may have some success with the abandoned ground vehicles but the aircraft will soon become static displays.

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  84. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    That made me laugh.

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  85. MarkedMan says:

    @Andy: I think there are plenty right of center opinions here. Reynolds expresses some. I express some. The hosts certainly do. HarvardLaw92 and others come to mind. What we don’t have are people that adopt the current Republican talking points en masse.

    FWIW, I think equating “Right or Right of Center” with “Republican” is a legitimate way to look at things but isn’t really useful as it simply creates a synonym for “Republican”. And doing so makes it impossible to equate it with “conservative” because, while Republicans may occasionally adopt a conservative talking point, they don’t do so out of any kind of philosophy. The modern party is purely reactionary.

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  86. mattbernius says:

    @Andy:
    Thanks as always for your thoughtful response. I really appreciate it.

    One thing in particular stuck out and I think you are right:

    But another thing that will cause me to take a break is when the debate really isn’t possible here.

    I think that ultimately this is right. Yes some debate happens at the margins. But I agree that robust debate–what you, versus Keef–are interested in, really isn’t possible in this space.

    I think a lot of us, and I’m including myself it this, get into preformative commenting (I hold the higher ground–however we choose to define it). Or try to talk authoritatively on things outside their areas of expertise (that’s something I’m trying to work on).

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  87. Andy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I would argue the host is right-of-center.

    I think this makes the point. James is right-of-center only compared to the commentariat.

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  88. @Andy:

    James is right-of-center only compared to the commentariat.

    This is going to sound pedantic or, worse in context like I am starting a fight 🙂 but that very much depends on what “right-of-center” means.

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  89. mattbernius says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I think there are plenty right of center opinions here. Reynolds expresses some. I express some. The hosts certainly do. HarvardLaw92 and others come to mind.

    I don’t think some necessarily constitutes many. And honestly, the only right-of-center host is James. Steven on most issues is firmly center/left of center.

    I think we also need to admit that the tone of argument here quickly devolves. Expecially if one is staking their heterodox (to the general community) position on being an expert. I know Steven can talk a LOT about that on the topic of receptions to his expert view on whether or not the GOP is a cult.

    Likewise, when we hit topics of race, things tend to descend pretty quickly, usually on predictable lines, into name-calling on both sides. Granted that’s the price of admission here. But let’s be honest, this is definitely a space full of fighting words where none of us can throw a punch. Which is probably just as well.

    And a lot of folks tee off on subjects that they think they are experts on, but really aren’t. Or demand that they be considered an expert in one area while not respecting someone’s proven expertise in another area.

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  90. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Well, I just had to check and see what the folks over at Lucianne.com, my one-stop shopping outlet for all things Trump, are saying, and they’re claiming that:
    1. This is a false flag.
    2. This is Antifa.
    3. This is BLM.
    4.This is a diversion, because…large military aircraft took off from Rammstein in Germany today.
    5. The evil FBI is behind it, because–are you ready–the FBI is only ten blocks from the Library of Congress.

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  91. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: oooo i can geek out on my new hobby. It’s kinda slang, in Standard Italian one would say “tu capisci?” Capisce is third person present, as in “Lui capisce?” For “he understands?” Maybe it comes from the children of immigrants who were mispronouncing it?

    (I could be wrong, I’m not fluent. But how often does Italian grammar come up here 😀 )

    PS or it could be a dialect, Italian is lousy with them for historical/political reasons.

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  92. Andy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I think those are all good and fair points.

    One thing your comment reminds me of is my annoyance at the imprecision of the words used in discourse these days, pretty much everywhere. For example, “conservative” can mean anything from a hard-core Trumper to one who believes in the classical liberal notion of conserving the liberal principles of the nation’s founding. These are not the same things.

    The nature of our politics forces too much into binary constructs and it becomes difficult to try to have a conversation outside of those constructs. Even the right-of-center / left-of-center characterization (which I just used in another comment above and am now regretting) presumes that everything is on a continuum with two poles, which I don’t personally believe is true.

    @mattbernius:

    Thanks for the kind words. I always appreciate your perspective and you are consistently fair and honest here.

    I think a lot of us, and I’m including myself it this, get into preformative commenting (I hold the higher ground–however we choose to define it). Or try to talk authoritatively on things outside their areas of expertise (that’s something I’m trying to work on).

    I try very hard to avoid performative commenting but realize I’m probably failing. And I think we all try to argue with more authority and expertise than we actually have. I’m guilty of that too. If pundits can do it, why can’t we? 😉

    But you’re right, we all ought to have a bit more epistemological humility.

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  93. Jen says:

    @CSK: Oh for heaven’s sake. I guess the truth can be hard to digest.

    @mattbernius:

    I think we also need to admit that the tone of argument here quickly devolves.

    This surprises me, because one of the reasons I enjoy OTB is that while disagreements do happen, it rarely seems to affect the tone.

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  94. Andy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    This is going to sound pedantic or, worse in context like I am starting a fight but that very much depends on what “right-of-center” means.

    Very true, see my comment above.

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  95. Teve says:

    Fun fact, James Inhofe was on TV a few days ago claiming that he never called global warming a hoax.

    Somebody should remind his that he published this book 9 years ago.

    https://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Hoax-Warming-Conspiracy-Threatens/dp/1936488493

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  96. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JohnSF:
    I’ll stand on my bet, bearing in mind that I never make a bet that isn’t long odds. (No fun winning with the odds-on favorite horse.)

    China does not have a history of getting along with other countries. Certainly not with deeply religious countries. I don’t think their secular totalitarian mercantilism will mix with the Taliban any better than our ideology did. The government of Pakistan may play ball, but the people may be a different story when Chinese money starts to flow to Pakistani leaders, and the poor stay poor. And I don’t think Talib types will be thrilled to realize that they’re just a pile of natural resources to the Chinese.

    I suspect in the end China will join the queue behind the Brits, the Sovs and us in being disappointed by Afghanistan.

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  97. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:
    I lived in Tuscany for eight months. You now speak more Italian than I ever did.

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  98. Michael Reynolds says:

    @a country lawyer:
    I saw people upset that the Taliban would have Blackhawks. My prediction was that they’d be able to get them in the air. . . once.

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  99. mattbernius says:

    @Jen:

    This surprises me, because one of the reasons I enjoy OTB is that while disagreements do happen, it rarely seems to affect the tone.

    To be clear, if the discussion is at the edges, then things are usually pretty great. It’s when people stake out more opposing position that things often go off the rails. Especially if neither side is willing or able to move.

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  100. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Andy:

    There really aren’t any right-of-center commenters anymore and there haven’t been for a long time

    What do you mean? There’s plenty of commenters here who support Biden’s policies.

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  101. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: after 2 years of extremely lazy studying I can barely—barely—follow most of a typical episode of Peppa Pig in Italiano. 😛

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  102. KM says:

    @Andy:

    One thing your comment reminds me of is my annoyance at the imprecision of the words used in discourse these days, pretty much everywhere.

    And yet calling someone a MAGAt or even Trumper is considered rude. What’s the point of a new term if it can’t be used?

    Definitions shift and a huge problem lately with “conservative” is that the old school kind don’t like that they’re the ones who’ll likely have to give up the term. The party is actively and fully embracing Trumpism so they are the de facto conservatives. That’s what the term means now. There is a term for someone who is like @James or GOP of the past – RINO. It was coined specifically for conservatives of the old mold by the newer ones around the time the ancestor of MAGA took off. Yet RINO remains an impolite term specifically because it designates the individual as not being part of the current mindset and thus a “liberal”. Who gets to keep the term – the ones wielding the power to set the tone or those who had it previously?

    Political language is imprecise because every new term singles out a political sub-division and thus makes them Other. You’re not entitled to the normal term (“Conservative”), you get the new phrase (“MAGA” or “RINO”) and implication you’re the deviation. Once the deviation becomes the default behavior over time, should it not then be “conservative”? They’ve been this way for decades so there’s a fair claim to the term. Perhaps it’s not imprecision that’s the problem but the inability 0f the old guard to accept they’re out of favor and don’t want the term to go with it.

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  103. Kylopod says:

    In any political space, whether left or right or whatever, there are going to be disagreements, as not all political disagreements are about left vs. right. Often things get most contentious on forums like these during primary season when there are many people within the same party favoring different candidates. But everyone has a limit to what they consider an “acceptable” point of view and will at some point regard some positions as beyond the pale. So the fact that we have debates with one another here at OTB doesn’t prove we aren’t guilty of group-think.

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  104. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: I’m finding this story a little hard to believe (but not saying it isn’t true, merely difficult to visualize). I don’t have any doubts about FG reneging on a negotiated settlement, but the total plan seems unlikely to have come from anyone inside his administration. It strikes me as too reasonable and carefully thought out for that cohort.

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  105. flat earth luddite says:

    @mattbernius:

    Well said. Probably a major reason I only comment around the edges. Despite what a number of commentariat view as left-leaning biases, I find it pretty right-to-center of my views. But again, while I may be someone you want to have your back, I’ve never been accused of being someone anyone in their right mind wants in charge.

    My areas of expertise (in no particular order)

    – Chemotherapy as practiced 2011-2015 (Stage IV cancer survivor)
    – Herding attorneys
    – Mid-30’s daughters who won’t marry their long-term fiancées
    – Being raised by survivors of WWI and Great Depression who (may have) worked for Triad/Tong
    – Incarceration as practiced 40+ years ago
    – Galactic levels of snark
    – Generally being a surly, smart-mouthed POA

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  106. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy: @mattbernius:

    Hmm. See, I think I’ve learned a fair amount hanging around here. But my ‘learning style’ may vary from yours. My approach is to state an opinion and then see if anyone can knock it down. Any idea I express has already been run past my own internal red team, but sometimes, despite that, I’m wrong. (I know!) So that’s a lesson.

    Equally useful is when I find a position of mine can’t be knocked down. Absent hard data on any given topic (often the case in politics, philosophy, art, etc…) I judge the likely truth or falseness of a given position by argument. But without an element of provocation you’re likely to get something polite and mealy-mouthed. Platitudes. So, I take a stand, poke everyone with a sharp stick, see what they got. They have to want to beat me. It’s my bastardized Socratic method.

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  107. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I saw that one while I was in Korea. It was pretty good. I’d seen a couple of others on Hulu. Not as good, but now I’m sad that I need to buy DC Universe to see any more. Lot’s of potentially interesting stuff for a Silver Age comics fan, but the monthly strikes me as high (as do most of them, said the guy who cancelled Paramount+ because of a glitch in the transition from All Access.)

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  108. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I think it’s a simple refusal to believe that Trumpkins are guilty of anything. Or, more likely, a need to deny they’re guilty of anything. Remember that on January 6, and for a day or two thereafter, the people who stormed and trashed the Capitol, and threatened to hang Mike Pence and put a bullet in Nancy Pelosi’s brain were Patriots fighting the good fight. Defending Our Constitution. Then they started getting busted, and the whole, undeniable truth about what a moronic crew of thugs they were emerged.

    At that point all the Brave Proud Patriots magically became…Antifa infiltrators! BLM infiltrators! The evil minions of the FBI! Anti-American stooges of the CIA!

    Certainly not Trump supporters. Never them.

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  109. MarkedMan says:

    @mattbernius:

    Yes some debate happens at the margins.

    But isn’t that the inevitable case, and not specific to this site? And isn’t that actually a good thing? By that, I mean that with this many people here any debate you may be interested in is only going to involve a few people. The odd thing about an online forum is that such a debate is intermixed with a lot of other chatter. Some of that chatter is debate about things you may not be interested in (but others are), some is chest thumping, some is just exchanging insults, and on and on. If I find a good debate mixed in that slumgullion, I’m happy. I don’t follow or respond to the stuff I’m not interested in, and try to ignore the trolls and chest thumpers.

    I’m curious. I figure I’m a regular enough poster that people recognize my moniker. I see my interactions here as engaging in debate for as long as we are actually debating, trying to understand different points of view when they are offered in good faith, recognizing when we’ve reached an impasse and stating that with no hard feelings, and not diluting the experience by engaging with people who are not serious (trolls, belligerents, etc). But I recognize that we often come across differently than we see ourselves, especially online. I’m curious, for those familiar with me: how do I come across to you? And especially you, Andy, since we rarely agree completely. If you remember any of those interactions, how do they come across to you.

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  110. MarkedMan says:

    @Andy:

    James is right-of-center only compared to the commentariat.

    I think James is conservative by nature, as am I. But I don’t know what that means in “right” vs. “left”.

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  111. Michael Reynolds says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    – Chemotherapy as practiced 2011-2015 (Stage IV cancer survivor)
    – Herding attorneys
    – Mid-30’s daughters who won’t marry their long-term fiancées
    – Being raised by survivors of WWI and Great Depression who (may have) worked for Triad/Tong
    – Incarceration as practiced 40+ years ago
    – Galactic levels of snark
    – Generally being a surly, smart-mouthed POA

    My areas of expertise:
    – Relocating/Geo-therapy: 14 states, 3 foreign countries, 50 plus homes.
    – Waiting tables, including table side cooking.
    – Ooh, also a member of the orange jumpsuit brigade, also 40ish years ago.
    – Writing.
    – Sometimes writing like an asshole.
    – And to my shock, being good at marriage.

    Skills now obsolete:
    – Avoiding bill collectors.
    – Making fake ID with press-on letters.
    – Explaining to women that I don’t dance. No, not ever.
    – Potato bong manufacture

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  112. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: In some ways I think it’s less important how conservative James actually is with how often he posts arguments for a conservative position these days, which let’s face it isn’t that often. He and the left-of-center commenters are at least temporarily on the same side because we’re all anti-Trump. And I think even the OTB hosts who leaned to the right (I include the late Doug, RIP) have tended to prefer analytical pieces to argumentative ones, which made them more approachable if you leaned more to the left.

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  113. Teve says:

    I just went to Lucianne dot com. 17 out of the top 20 stories are OMG Biden Taliban Saigon Moment!

    Remember that study a few years back that found that people who got all their news from Fox did poorer on a current events quiz than people who consumed no news at all? I’m still not surprised.

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  114. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: An interesting approach to substitutionary atonement. Are you sure you didn’t go to seminary at some point?

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  115. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    The folks at Lucianne.com get all their “news” from The Gateway Pundit, The Conservative Tree House, OANN, and Newsmax.

    Fox is far, far too left wing for them these days, except for Tucker and Laura. Brett Baier is a Communist.

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  116. Andy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    What do you mean? There’s plenty of commenters here who support Biden’s policies.

    Lol, touche’ (If I spelled that wrong, Micheal will be along shortly to correct me)

    @KM:

    Sure, the meaning of words changes, but the problem is that people don’t agree on the meanings or how they apply. Your definition of conservative is much different than it is for other people, for example. And who gets to decide who is a conservative or RINO and who isn’t?

    IMO, these words have limited utility as universal descriptors and end up telling us more about the person using them, than about the meanings of the words themselves.

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  117. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: That may well be less mysterious than it seems. Years ago, I used a anthology called American Dreams for my text for English 101. It appealed to my inner subversive because in addition to including Malcolm X’s The Ballot or the Bullet, it also included an essay about a black gated community trying to discourage whites from moving in (and from what I recall, this is more difficult than it might seem).

    I bring up the second essay because, as I recall, the gated community in question was in Atlanta. A black administrator deciding to try to segregate students (to what will appear to be the advantage of said black students in this case) isn’t a leap for me. Unusual, sure, but not even improbable.

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  118. Teve says:

    I learned this morning that while Fox lets lying demagogues babble in Prime Time about tyrannical vaccine mandates, all FoxNews employees are required to update an internal database with their vax dates or GTFO.

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  119. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Forgot to note that when I tried to order the same book for the fall semester of the following year, my bookstore reported that it had been completely pulled from publication. Not even used copies were available. Hmmm… I sometimes still wonder about that.

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  120. KM says:

    @Andy:

    And who gets to decide who is a conservative or RINO and who isn’t?

    Hmmm, as I’m not part of the in-group I’d have to say as an outsider by repeated documented behavior to establish a norm. If there’s 10 people claiming to be “conservative” and 2-3 are Trumpers with another 2 Q-curious and 3 that just go along with it, that means “conservative” = Trumper. They’re enacting laws and policies specifically based on that ideology so yes, they are the de facto conservatives for now. Ideas like the Big Lie, replacement theory, QAnons’ various idiocies, CRT and other cultural shibboleths have trickled in the majorities’ mindset – FOX dictates and Grandpa will likely end up repeating it shortly. The classical understanding of what conservatism meant has not been visibly present in the right’s ecosystem in a long, long time.

    If we’re going by in-group defining the term, we’re still at “conservative” = Trumper because that who’s running the social media, the tone of the messaging becoming policies and the rhetoric coming from the leadership. The efforts to take back the party from Trump’s rule has been repeatedly quashed and going against the group-think costs you. Take GQP darling Crenshaw who, when stating Trump lost in the middle of a debate decrying “the military falling to woke ideology”, got straight up called a RINO to his face by his audience.

    Disagreement about the meaning ultimately cycles back to control – who maintains control over the valuable term has the narrative in hand. “Conservative” has for several decades now had a connotation that become an explicit part of the definition with this last Admin. Conservatives listing themselves as Independents in public while still be a conservative voter is a trope a decade old for a reason. Using the term with it’s old meaning when that’s not how it’s become commonly understood is a person’ own imperative; however, if you go around saying things like “have a gay old time” you don’t get to be unhappy at linguistic imprecision.

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  121. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: @Mu Yixiao: It may be unusual, but it is not outside the boundaries of my experience–going back to when I was in high school (1967-1970)–for blacks (and Hispanics at my predominantly white but existing in the agricultural belt of Washington State graduate school) to report that being the only minority student (or even one of 10 or so percent) can be wearing day after day. (The upper middle class black girl in Daria all those years ago referred to it as having the role of “the princess of the negroes,” declaring the role to be burdensome [for those of us who will buy that art imitates life].)

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  122. JDM says:

    @Teve: My Sicilian father and grandparents would just use ‘capisce’ as in “understand?”. Pronounced, “Kapeesh”.

    Basically used as a line in the sand that I wasn’t supposed to cross. Whatever I was being scolded for, it was time to stop.

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  123. KM says:

    @KM:
    Edit button!! My kingdom for one!

    I guess another good way to define a term is if you were a visitor from Mars with no other context then what you can observe, what you define a concept as? An intergalactic visitor wouldn’t have historical context or previous usages in mind – looking at a dog, they wouldn’t know of the domestication of the wolf and would likely express surprise a Chihuahua is the same animal as a Lab. As there are more Lab and Lab mixes around, they would likely get labeled “dog” and the Chihuahua something else despite the fact they are likely the older established breed.

    So if the Martian is looking around right now, who would they label “conservative”?

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  124. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I’m sure it can be wearing. But in this case, it was a Black mother who objected to the segregation of Black students into their own classes, which complicates the issue.

    I wish the principal had been more precise and explicit in her reasons for the segregation.

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  125. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I won’t say I don’t go too far from time to time, I’m sure I do and could well be unaware of it. Still, I try to be careful. You guys can tell me how often I totally blow it. The one sure thing to set me off is when I rightly or wrongly detect condescension on the part of somebody I am having an argument/discussion with. Most other stuff is just stuff.

    Regardless, I never revisit an argument the next day. Let it go, start with a blank slate. Life is too short to spend it all in verbal pugilism.

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  126. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I think you make a good point. Relative to where “the center” of the current American right wing ideology exists, any comments that might be considered “right of center” in other contexts are “hard core leftist” here. “Right of Center” has little meaning in the current climate where my friends in Korea refer to Joe Biden as a conservative Democrat and the more conservative public here considers him a socialist. (And Democrats argue about whether he’s too progressive or not progressive enough. What would “right of center” comment look like?)

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  127. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: “– Being raised by survivors of WWI and Great Depression who (may have) worked for Triad/Tong”

    Doesn’t count! Anyone who could definitively verify the accuracy has been gone for decades. It’s all conjecture now (and was then, too 😉 ).

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  128. Jen says:

    @Andy:

    Your definition of conservative is much different than it is for other people, for example. And who gets to decide who is a conservative or RINO and who isn’t?

    Almost every poll will make clear that when Party ID and leanings are part of the poll, the responses are self-identified.

    It’s almost impossible to have a definition if everyone uses themselves as the benchmark. It’s like everyone determining for themselves what constitutes an inch–rough understanding or not, if you build something, it isn’t going to hold together.

    Personal example. I consider myself a moderate Democrat. This assessment comes from a reasonably educated place; I was a poli sci major and I worked in politics for a while. I’d bet you a bottle of Balvenie that my sister in law would describe me as a lefty liberal. Why the discrepancy? Because she’s measuring based on her values as being the baseline.

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  129. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: As do I, but my experience with school administrators (jaundiced as it may be) is that since any statement can and will be challenged, it’s better to avoid saying anything that can’t be described as “policy.” So we got “not gonna happen” instead of explanation of “why I decided this.”

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  130. EddieInCA says:

    Random catch up thoughts on the thread.

    1. I disappear from OTB when work gets too busy. Right now, I’m six weeks out from starting, so it’s relatively calm, but each week will become increasingly busy and chaotic.

    2. I have found my mental health improving very much due to deleting several websites and blogs from my daily reading. Additionally, I’ve stopped listening to political talk stations on SirriusXM during my commutes, and instead am listening to music; old, new, and in between. I arrive at work in a much better mood, and arrive home in a much better mood.

    3. We do have some center right commenters who aren’t insane. Hal is one. I would call Andy Center Right. I would call Mu center right AND center left – depending on the issue. I used to consider myself center right until GOP became what it is. Now I’m just this side of a socialist.

    4. I’m beyond frustrated that our media, in its never ending search for clicks and viewers, have abandoned all nuance and complexity. Our current political and media climate doesn’t reward telling stories that are deep, nuanced and complex. Seems like every single story devolves into a binary assumption, dependent on which team you’re on. For example, I fully support Biden getting out of Afghanistan. I also happen to think it was handled worse than it should have been. However, I also fully believe the intelligence was faulty, and that Biden and his team did what they did with the information they had. Someone screwed up. I don’t think it was Biden. I think there is 20 years plus of blame to go around. Yet the media seems to be saying “Biden lost Afghanistan”. GMAFB!!

    5. Covid is gonna get a whole lot worse now that certain leaders in politics and media, are just doubling down on the stupid. Looking at you, DeSantis and Abbott.

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  131. CSK says:

    I can tell you that if you’re deeply embedded in MAGAworld, anyone who isn’t 100% on board with Trump is a Communist. Or CommuNazi, as they like to say.

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  132. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Well, at least she doesn’t think you’re a Communist.

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  133. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I don’t read comics. I liked the 90s Batman animated series, and some of the movies and subsequent series that followed.

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  134. Kylopod says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    ”Right of Center” has little meaning in the current climate where my friends in Korea refer to Joe Biden as a conservative Democrat and the more conservative public here considers him a socialist.

    My basic problem with this description is that both sides aren’t speaking from an equal level of knowledge. While I consider it a bit of a stretch to refer to Biden as a conservative, people who do take that position are usually basing it on a fairly broad knowledge of how the political spectrum is framed historically and in the world at large. Furthermore, conservatives who call Biden a socialist are typically defining that term in bizarre, nonstandard, and often downright incoherent ways. See the interview with the Trumpist I posted a while back where the woman calls Biden a socialist on the grounds that he “wants to bring down his race” and is “all about the money.” Not only is their understanding of socialism completely ahistorical, they are typically misinformed about Biden’s actual positions.

    The functional purpose of calling Biden or any other Democrat a socialist is to imply he’s a radical outside the mainstream of American public opinion, and that isn’t just a subjective judgment—it’s a claim that’s empirically untrue. Whether Biden is “dangerous” is a matter of opinion; that his positions are mainstream and well within the center of American opinion is pretty much an objective fact.

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  135. Stormy Dragon says:

    Apparently the new COVID19 conspiracy theory is that the reason so many unvaccinated Republicans are dying is that the entire medical system is in on it and is murdering Republicans in the hospital.

    So expect the GOP to start calling for a Stalin-style Doctors Purge any day now.

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  136. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kylopod:

    The functional purpose of calling Biden or any other Democrat a socialist is to imply he’s a radical outside the mainstream of American public opinion, and that isn’t just a subjective judgment—it’s a claim that’s empirically untrue.

    Seen elsewhere (paraphrasing): remember how, when you were growing up, your boomer parents called every video game “Nintendo” like there was only one video game and that was the title? That’s how they’re using the word “Socialism” now in politics.

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  137. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Well, I did hear that the Democrats deliberately infected Trump with Covid to try to kill him because they were so terrified he’d be re-elected.

    This from the same people who claim that Covid is nothing worse than a cold.

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  138. Kurtz says:

    @JohnSF:

    Which explains why my old trousers don’t fit these days.

    I hear that at LBJ’s grave on the eve of the Summer Solstice, just before midnight, the wind picks up, carrying a voice that whispers the phone number of his tailor.

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  139. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    If the Chinese are smart (which they can be) they’ll carry out any commercial mining in Afghanistan using Pakistani proxies.
    The mines they operate in Balochistan (google “china pakistan mineral deal” for lots of stuff on this) have caused issues already.
    Working via proxy company would require Islamabad wetting its beak, but Pakistani Pushtun security troops would cause less local friction; and they’ll know who and how to court and pay off locally, and how to navigate local land law.
    As long as China control the finance and the bulk transport via Gwadar they can make money and lock in Pakistani elites via profit shares, and utilise the product.

    … Chinese money starts to flow to Pakistani leaders, and the poor stay poor

    Same ol’ same ol’ from the POV of a Pakistani peasant.
    The various Pakistani elites (Karachi mercantile, Punjabi land magnates, military, the political families) have monopolised power and wealth in Pakistan for ever and a day (not merely since independence, some Rajput families for instance have been military aristocrats since at least the 14th century)
    If the poor don’t just get flat-out robbed they can count themselves lucky.
    Though Pushtuns and Balochs are a lot testier than Punjabi, Sidhi or Kashmiri peasants or urbanites; they tend to be treated with a little more caution.

    But as to revolts: been an on-off simmering insurgency in Balochistan since 1948.
    Doesn’t worry Islamabad all that much; though it irritates them a bit.
    Was (well, still is, at less intensity) also the murky “Pakistani Taliban” semi-insurgency; bloody, but the elites just rode it out, and some used it for faction fights.
    (Pakistani politics makes the Mafia look like Sunday School teachers)

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  140. JohnSF says:

    @KM:
    Rottweilers?

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  141. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Another thing to remember is that Afghanistan shares a border with the Xinjiang autonomous region, so China also has to worry about the Taliban turning their attention there.

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  142. Kurtz says:

    @mattbernius:

    I think a lot of us, and I’m including myself it this, get into preformative commenting (I hold the higher ground–however we choose to define it). Or try to talk authoritatively on things outside their areas of expertise (that’s something I’m trying to work on).

    It’s a tough road. The best one can do is keep moving inch by inch while always trying to learn.

    I sometimes censor myself if I realize what I’m saying is coming from the wrong place. Sometimes, I just don’t have anything to add.

    Most of the time if I’m quiet, my brain is telling my mind which is telling my brain which is signaling my mind to tell my hands that it’s disordered and refuses to participate in anything involving the external world.

    Too bad my body rejects alcohol.

    @Andy:

    And who gets to decide who is a conservative or RINO and who isn’t?

    I’m sure Steven has plenty to say on this, right?

    Quick take: Some combination of voters in primaries, media outlets that are mostly commentary, and who wins the Presidential election.

    Also, for maybe the fifteenth time, I’ll tell you I place a high value on your perspective.

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  143. JohnSF says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Doubtful.
    China – Taliban deal already in place.
    Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of Afghanistan’s Taliban, in Tianjin, China July 28, 2021

    I doubt either side trusts the other as far as they can spit, but China wants the strategic and economic benefits, the Taliban want money, the Pakistanis want lots of money and an ally against India, the Taliban aren’t controlled by Pakistan exactly, but they are sponsored by them, and unlikely to risk crossing the ISI by screwing the deal.

    All ties together nicely, for now.

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  144. Jax says:

    @Stormy Dragon: My Dad calls everything he sees on his iPad “Facebook”. Weather, breaking news alerts, doesn’t matter the app, the whole iPad is called “Facebook”. 😛

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  145. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    This surprises me, because one of the reasons I enjoy OTB is that while disagreements do happen, it rarely seems to affect the tone.

    I’m going to suggest that’s because you’re in agreement with most of the commenters here.

    It’s a bit different when you’re slapped with a label that you never agreed to, told what you believe based on that label, ignored when you say “No, that’s not what I believe”, and dismissed out of hand.

    Those are the times I walk away for a couple weeks. Why bother joining a discussion–much less a debate–when everyone already has already put you in a pigeon hole?

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  146. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    True dat! When asked by her kids, she’d just smile and say ‘nah’. But she did have interesting friends, and an odd way with a deck of cards… And she was great fun at NW rasslin!!

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  147. Andy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    It’s a bit different when you’re slapped with a label that you never agreed to, told what you believe based on that label, ignored when you say “No, that’s not what I believe”, and dismissed out of hand.

    Those are the times I walk away for a couple weeks. Why bother joining a discussion–much less a debate–when everyone already has already put you in a pigeon hole?

    Yeah, that’s very well said. It’s really annoying. I think it’s the thing that bothers me most about any kind of conversation on the internet, not just here.

    But on the other hand, I like to think that behavior indicates that they are unable to criticize your position on the merits. When someone resorts to that behavior, I like to think that, to a neutral party, I’ve won the point.

    @Kurtz:

    I’m sure Steven has plenty to say on this, right?

    Quick take: Some combination of voters in primaries, media outlets that are mostly commentary, and who wins the Presidential election.

    Also, for maybe the fifteenth time, I’ll tell you I place a high value on your perspective.

    I personally would object to “liberal” and “conservative” being defined in relation to the median primary voter or in terms of partisanship generally. But, as an anti-partisan, I would say that.

    I still prefer to think of “conservatives” as biased toward tradition and the status quo, liberals as biased toward traditional liberal values, and progressives as biased toward continual progress toward some idealized goal or end-state. But those don’t really work anymore in today’s politics.

    And thanks for the kind words – I value your perspective as well and, especially, the honest and forthright way you conduct yourself here.

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  148. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    My favorite walking songWent for a walk late this afternoon. Late in the day, it starts getting breezy down by the river where my apartment is. Makes a nice walk. This song always comes to mind while I walk. Don’t know why. It makes a kind of ear worm, but in a nice way. I’m back up to almost an hour. A walk, a cigar, life is good again. (The only problem is that the wind keeps trying to blow my hat off. Oh well.)

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  149. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I’m going to suggest that’s because you’re in agreement with most of the commenters here.

    No–I am specifically referencing times that I’ve been in disagreement with others. In all the time I’ve been commenting here, there have only been a handful of times when people have been nasty/mean/spiteful.

    As a discernible female on the internet, I can tell you, that’s rare.

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  150. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: “Now I’m just this side of a socialist.”

    My Korean friends in Daegu told me that I was much farther left than people my age (late 50s at the time) usually are. I considered myself fairly conservative at the time (for example, I was hoping that Park Geun-hye would be a good leader for Korea when she was elected–I was sorry when she turned out to be nuts. 🙁 ) And Luddite assures me that I’m significantly less conservative than when I left. It’s happening everywhere, Eddie. And chances are you didn’t even really have to move to end up on the left. Go with the flow.

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  151. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Cards? My understanding was that the guy she worked for owned restaurants. 😉

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  152. Scott O says:

    @Andy: I’ve stolen this from Charlie Sykes, about 20 minutes in. Let’s add a vertical scale to the left vs right debate. Which party values honesty, democracy and common decency? Those are more important to me at this point in time than debates about tax rates or social spending. When one party is flirting with fascism I’m voting against them.

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  153. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: @EddieInCA:

    It’s happening everywhere, Eddie. And chances are you didn’t even really have to move to end up on the left. Go with the flow.

    I sometimes wonder about the extent people internalize general folk wisdom such as, “people get more conservative as they age.” as a result, taking it as a natural feature of aging and follow that trajectory.

    I tend to think people change significantly less than the world. But I can see those two things sort of forming a positive feedback loop.

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  154. Kurtz says:

    @Andy:

    I personally would object to “liberal” and “conservative” being defined in relation to the median primary voter or in terms of partisanship generally. But, as an anti-partisan, I would say that.

    The bolded declaration seems to be lacking in people in general. But I think it’s a serious issue in US political culture. There are a bunch of reasons for it–political processes, socioeconomics, etc. No need to rehash them here. But you’re one of the rare people with whom I’ve interacted who I feel comfortable taking at their word on it.

    As far as the substance, your position makes sense. At least, I can see the reasons to hold that view.

    I just see it differently:

    I can’t help but compare left/right positions here with those in similar political economies. Nor can I find a ‘reasonable’ way to distinguish between tradition and regression; moving toward a more perfect union and abandonment of laudable ideals.

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  155. Andy says:

    @Kurtz:

    But you’re one of the rare people with whom I’ve interacted who I feel comfortable taking at their word on it.

    I really appreciate that.

    Honestly, I’ve always hated our binary partisan system. I’d personally much prefer a parliamentary multi-party system but of course, the difficulty is getting from here to there. Impossible. This is where our host Steven and I have our disagreements – not about goals, but about process and how to get from A to B.

    My first political memory was the 1980 election. As a really dumb 12 year old, I thought it was outrageous that Carter refused to even be on the debate stage with John Anderson. It seemed so petty at the time and, honestly, still seems petty today, so that outrage, at least, wasn’t so dumb. And, although I remember absolutely nothing about the debate or what was said, I do remember that I liked what Anderson said in comparison to Reagan.

    That and a tiny dose of libertarian thinking was my gateway drug to basically hating the two-party system and never joining, giving money to, or supporting it in any way.

    I’ve always voted for who I thought was the best candidate, which has been Republican and Democrats and Independents, though I haven’t been huge supporters of any of them. As I recall these are my presidential votes:

    1988: Didn’t vote, I was in college, my registration was messed up and I was too busy failing to chase girls.
    1992: Perot – Because it was the best chance to wreck the two-party system. Sadly, Perot wasn’t up to the task.
    1996: Didn’t vote, I was deployed (Navy) and my registration got messed up. Would have voted for Clinton most likely even though I thought he was an ass. Because: Dole.
    2000: Bush – solely on the promise of a “humble” foreign policy.
    2004: Third-party candidate, don’t remember who. Thought Bush and Kerry were both dishonest Yale douchebags.
    2008: Obama, secretly hoping his plans for Afghanistan were only words. If McCain hadn’t gone full-warmonger and crazy-town, I would have voted for him.
    2012: Romney, because Obama’s plans for Afghanistan were very real and very bad which ended up killing and maiming friends and colleagues for nothing. Also, stupid warmongering in Libya that turned it into another Somalia.
    2016: Johnson, because he was objectively better than the worst two candidates in my lifetime.
    2020: Biden because of non-blob foreign policy that doesn’t come with Trump’s fatal flaws.

    Most of these votes were made reluctantly as the lesser evil. The exceptions are Johnson in 2016, Biden in 2020, and Bush in 2000. My strong support for Bush in 2000 was entirely based on his promise for a more “humble” foreign policy, because I had spent the last six years deploying my ass off for Clinton’s brand of fuck-the-Russians,we’re-number-one armed diplomacy. But clearly, Bush’s humility didn’t last long.

    Johnson, despite his quirks, was objectively the best 2016 candidate in my view. I got a huge amount of vitriol and hate here at OTB for not supporting Hillary, but I don’t vote for lying, two-faced warmongers and don’t regret it one iota. And I would never vote for Trump.

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  156. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao: @Andy:

    Oh BS to both of you…

    People here aren’t criticizing you personally. They’re reacting to things YOU WRITE.

    So if you consistently post about one side of an issue, I think it’s fair for people to take you at your word.

    I’m going to use and analogy to illustrate the point, but want to preface it by saying I’m not directing this at either of you, but it makes the point.

    There is a certain type of racist who claims he’s not racist because he has a black friend, but is constantly calling other black people N***er and worse, and insists on using every negative African American stereotype on any and all black people. In his mind, he’s not a racist, but based on his actions he is; 100%.

    I can say I’m “not conservative” all day long, but if I spend time using [on this site] conservative talking points, I shouldn’t be surprised if people ignore my self-labeling and instead judge me on my own words in print.

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  157. JohnSF says:

    @Kurtz:
    A bit late but what the heck:
    I’ve mentioned before how American right-Republicans often absurdly think of Angela Merkel as a socialist, when she’s leader of a mainstream conservative party. Macron similarish.
    Sometimes works the other way, too: European left have often been quite “culturally conservative”.

    My impression is that politics is a lot more partisan and culturally embedded in the US these days than in the UK, and in much of Europe for that mater.

    Which is interesting, because arguably the opposite has tended to be the case, historically.
    Left wing parties in particular were often tightly bound to labour movements trade unions, and included a lot of social activity: welfare, education, and just recreational: e.g the German SPD
    Similarly the role of the Communist Part in France and Italy; and across the political spectrum the Pillars in the Netherlands, Proporz system in Austria.

    But this has tended to fade away since the later 20th century.
    Perhaps because of the rise of the welfare state, consumer affluence, and the tendency to more “centrist consensus” politics.
    And in any case partisans association seems to have been as much social habit as political ideology.
    Similar to religion in Europe: being a Church member didn’t and doesn’t necessarily involve much in the way of personal belief.

    There used to be, to extent still is, an informal social rule in Britain: “Don’t talk religion or politics. Too liable to lead to argument.”
    But UK and Europe nowadays seem to generally lack the deep, and grouped, cultural/political dividers of the modern US.

    For instance, the “vaccine hesitant” tendency in the US seems about 20%; and also seems to overlap with other “Right” signifiers.
    In UK 95% now poll as pro-vaccine, and minimal political alignment (mostly identifiable as either thick or nuts, LOL)

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  158. Matt Bernius says:

    @EddieInCA:
    Thanks for the response and I agree that cutting it some political stuff is good for your mental mental health.

    Also I can totally see how your job contributes to time away.

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  159. SC_Birdflyte says:

    As to ideological buzzwords: last week the GOP in Aiken County, SC (where I live) condemned Lindsay Graham for voting in favor of the $ 1T infrastructure bill. It was, they said, a product of “Socialist-Marxist” thinking. The retired educator in me would like to give them a three-question exam: “Define in two sentences or less, the meaning of ‘Socialist,’ ‘Marxist’, and ‘Marxist-Leninist’. Your responses will be checked against standard historical reference works.”

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  160. Andy says:

    @EddieInCA:

    People here aren’t criticizing you personally. They’re reacting to things YOU WRITE.

    So if you consistently post about one side of an issue, I think it’s fair for people to take you at your word.

    Well, you are wrong. People frequently criticize my integrity and imply or say directly that I’m being dishonest.

    And you’ve confirmed some of what we’ve stated as a problem here:

    So if you consistently post about one side of an issue, I think it’s fair for people to take you at your word.

    I’m going to use and analogy to illustrate the point, but want to preface it by saying I’m not directing this at either of you, but it makes the point.

    I can say I’m “not conservative” all day long, but if I spend time using [on this site] conservative talking points, I shouldn’t be surprised if people ignore my self-labeling and instead judge me on my own words in print.

    The fact that your first instinct is to dismiss arguments that you perceive as “conservative talking points” or is “on one side of the issue” just proves the point. The fact that you (and others) “ignore self-labeling” in favor of the label you’ve created in your mind is exactly the kind of assumed dishonesty that is so annoying. You are stating here that you don’t take people at their word (ie. they are lying) if the argument fits some arbitrary “talking points” framework that fits in the ideological box that you don’t like.

    You should note that I don’t do the same to you and don’t think I ever have. I don’t dismiss the substance of your arguments as “talking points” and I also don’t dismiss them simply because of my perception of your political ideology and what “box” you fit into. I don’t assume that what you say you believe isn’t what you actually believe or that you are being stupid or dishonest when you give your opinion about a topic.

    I think all that Mu Yixiao and I are asking for is the same in return.

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