Winter Solstice Forum
Steven L. Taylor
Monday, December 21, 2020
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).
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As reported by CNN, a Fox News poll finds that 22% of voters deem Trump one of the greatest presidents ever. On the other and, 42% reckon he’s one of the worst, with 18% saying he’s below average and 16% above average.
@CSK: Kill one person and your a murderer. Kill 300,000…
25 years of news photography: from the death of Diana to Covid-19
Greg Whitmore, who is leaving his job as Observer picture editor, looks back at the photos that made the news during his quarter century at the paper
Some iconic photos there.
I’m continuously in search of reasoned perspectives from those I disagree with, or don’t understand. This self examination from a self-professed white evangelical is interesting, and the comments also give a window into the thought processes of this movement.
Some of us on this forum have expressed strong opinions over the years (I’m looking at you, Reynolds!), making it easy to discount what we say as outside the mainstream. However, when one person runs into the diner shouting, “the dam has burst!”, there is no merit in deciding, well, most people aren’t saying the dam has burst so the proper course of action is to remain seated, sip some coffee, and contemplate whether, setting hysterics aside, the dam might just be a little burst after all.
In particular, I’ve stated that Trump IS the Republican Party, and that the GOP is an actual danger to America. Now that yesterday saw two posts about Republican officials demanding military coups in order to overthrow the result of a vote, and the incredible silence of the party officials that accompanied those calls for sedition, maybe it’s time to move on from, “that’s just the way politics are”, and acknowledge the danger.
‘I’m Haunted by What I Did’ as a Lawyer in the Trump Justice Department
That brought back memories…mostly bad.
I did enjoy the second to final shot–the one of Trump with devil’s horns.
FINALLY got my new stove installed yesterday. It’s damn hard to find an appliance installation person around here (the stove had to be switched to propane), so it took a couple weeks. It was very strange being able to make bread and cook it at the proper temperature for the actual allotted amount of time and not have to fiddle around with guesstimating how much longer it would take at 300 degrees!
And it’s got a griddle in the middle. That pleases me almost as much as a dress with pockets! 🙂
Analemmas for everyone (even the night owls)!
On a friend of a friend’s Facebook page 5 minutes ago I ran into a guy saying that Trump should just let Biden take office because Joe and Hunter’s corruption was so awful that people would beg Trump to take over.
I find this to be painfully accurate, surrounded by Trumpies in a dark red state.
Alas, my analemma post was too link-heavy for the filters. *sigh* You’ll all just have to imagine something way more enjoyable than watching a cult supporting a transparent idiotic con man try to take over the government.
I think that after hearing about Friday’s coup plot in the White House, I get it:
Trump is the ultimate example of Karen Kulture.
“What??!!?? Me? Lose the election?? No, no, no… that can’t be right… let me speak to a manager.”
Exactly four weeks ago I wrote:
I claim no special insight; I bet at least 90% of the people here were thinking exactly the same thing. Trump’s behavior is just so flippingly predictable. But it’s also part of the “emperor’s new clothes” effect that’s been in operation ever since he entered the political scene. He’s so obvious and transparent that a lot of people manage to convince themselves they’re not seeing what they think they’re seeing.
Lucky! My new stove isn’t scheduled for delivery till the 4th at best. We ended up fixing the old stove to get us through and it’s going to go in the new basement space. As that’s shaping up to be an apartment by itself for another member headed back home, I guess it all works out.
My new stove will be all mine, though. I might be willing to share with the retired bakers if they give me a cut of the profits, though……
For those who thought Lloyd Austin was a not-great pick for Biden’s cabinet, here is another POV. I hope James reads this:
And Daniel Larison, a sane right-winger, agrees:
I’ve noticed how over the last four years statements I made about Trump and Republicans have migrated from over-the-top bomb-throwing rhetoric no one should take literally, to become quite mainstream and even obvious.
The three main examples:
1) I said Trump was a stupid psychopath with the predatory instincts of a great white shark and also the intellectual capacity of a great white shark.
2) I said Trump was owned and controlled by Vladimir Putin.
3) And I said Trump’s MAGAts were not mere political partisans but formed a cult of personality.
I consider all three statements to be simply factual. As I did four years ago. The difference being that now a strong plurality if not the majority of Americans, and virtually all Democrats, agree. I turn on the TV and there’s Jake Tapper sounding exactly like me. Too fucking late.
We’re facing actual coup plots from the President of the United States, open collaboration with Russian security forces, and streets filled with gun-toting, suicidal loons braying their religious devotion to their orange Jesus.
Is my point to say, ‘look how clever I am?’ Of course it is, I’m a massive egomaniac. But the larger point is that lack of imagination, and an unwillingness to call things what they are, as well as fear of being outside the mainstream, left Americans mentally unprepared for what has happened. The frog took a very, very long time to realize the water was getting hotter.
The other day I was searching for my Apple TV remote. Could not find it. 20 minutes, I searched every improbably corner of the house. Turned out it was right there on the coffee table, but my wife had put a red sticker on the shiny side to make it easier to find. But every time my eyes skimmed over the table I saw an incongruous and unexpected red sticker… and dismissed it. I didn’t see what I didn’t expect to see. A parable on the danger of assumptions.
No one expects the Spanish Inquisition, and no one expected a psychopathic traitor leading a rabid cult of personality. To quote Paul Simon, A man sees what he wants to see, and disregards the rest.
Several of the questions on the standard form used for security clearance investigations ask about whether one has ever been a member of an organization that advocates for the violent overthrow of the US government. I think we have reached the point where Republicans would be committing perjury if they answered “no” to that question.
Though from lurking on National Review I’d say David French isn’t considered a conservative by most Trumpists (which says all you need to know about how off-the-deep end they’ve gone).
What’s really interesting is how many conservatives consider Trump a greater president than Reagan.
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring as you’ve never heard it before.
I should add its a very interesting read. I doubt it’ll be popular among Trumpists.
Oh, Trump is the greatest president of all time, as many of them will be happy to tell you. These people aren’t so much conservatives as they are right-wing populists attracted by a personality rather than driven by ideology. The vast majority of them wouldn’t know the difference between Edmund Burke and the Edmund Fitzgerald. Such knowledge would be for the “elites,” whose guts they hate.
@MarkedMan: Forget how I got there, but saw the French piece yesterday. Quite remarkable for an avowed Evangelical to admit that evangelicals being hateful is a component of dislike of evangelicals. Read it after reading an American Conservative piece by Dreher about how nuts the religionists at the Jericho March looked. I wanted to comment on the Dreger piece but failed to come up with a sufficiently constructive way to note that how they look to Dreher is how Dreher often looks to the rest of us.
@Michael Reynolds: In my professional and personal life I’m usually the voice of reason. I’m the one who puts the dampers on those panicking and lights a little fire under those not going fast enough. But it’s all too easy to adopt “voice of reason” as your personality and leave out the “reason” part of it. Sometimes reason means you have to act aggressively and with haste. It hasn’t happened often, but I’ve put major products due to safety issues within minutes of learning about them, more than once. I’ve fired people because they thought safety was meaningless paperwork, rather than job #1. Sometimes the threat is real and imminent and middle-of-of-the-road is where the accident is going to happen.
@CSK: You noticed that too, eh?
Lord, this is funny
Trump wants an airport named after him or maybe an aircraft carrier.
All the while another 1000 or so Americans die each day.
Maybe a garbage barge.
@sam: Some people have too much time on their hands. Thank dawg.
Thanx for that.
Oh, yeah. It popped right out at me.
@Sleeping Dog: I’d be OK with renaming the USS Bonhomme Richard after Trump.
@CSK: What do you have against garbage?
French was never a Trumpist himself. In 2016 Bill Kristol tried to recruit him for an independent candidacy, and unlike some never-Trumpers he remained against Trump after the election. He also says he was the target of vile racist harassment against his adopted black child.
I have tended to be a little cynical about never-Trumpers, especially given how many of them seem to come from the neocon, interventionist wing of the party (French was defending the Iraq War as late as 2014), which gives the impression their opposition to Trump is more ideological than rooted in decency or respect for democratic values. In some cases I’ve gotten the sense their anti-Trump views were more of a career decision than a personal evolution. I haven’t read a whole lot by French, though he does give the feeling of being more personally reflective than, say, Bill Kristol. But I also was less than impressed when he stated in 2016 that he wasn’t voting for either candidate. (I don’t know how he voted in 2020.) Yes, he lives in Tennessee where his vote “doesn’t matter,” but I think people who took that position were part of the problem, because they contributed to the perception that Trump and Hillary were equally bad candidates, and that there was no urgency in stopping Trump from being elected. These critics tended to focus more on Trump being morally repugnant than him being dangerous. And that’s part of how we got to where we are now.
@Teve: Trickle down economics? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA… gasp….. wheeze….
Well, considering that the Bonhomme Richard had an honorable history and Trump’s personal history is about as dishonorable as it gets…
Okay, how about a radioactive waste disposal unit?
If you’re able to send off quick emails of thanks to your healthcare providers as we make our way through the holidays, please consider doing so. They can use any small kindnesses that come their way right now.
Exactly and well said. Like you, I’m normally the calm guy in the room, but you have to know when to stay calm and when to start yelling. Many long years ago I was waiting tables at a restaurant in Ocean City. Suddenly we got an overpowering whiff of something like ammonia – the ice factory next door had sprung a leak and coolant was flooding. I took it on myself in my exalted position as headwaiter, to evacuate the customers. My manager lost her shit – dinners went unpaid for! Hundreds of dollars! Which would have been insignificant compared to the lawsuits if we’d insisted on continuing service. Never a thank you, by the way, just suspicious looks for the rest of the season.
Same thing Republicans did to McCain in South Carolina.
Stupid people with shitty values.
@OzarkHillbilly: wasn’t that great?
@Michael Reynolds: good for you. Ammonia isn’t just poisonous, it’s explosive too.
How about an attritable dumb munition?
A Bloomberg reporter, hoping to write a book, set about interviewing Martin Shkreli (the dudebro who jacked up pharmaceutical prices 5000%). She fell in love with him, divorced her husband, lost her job, and still pines for him in prison, even though he has ghosted her.
I. Do. Not. Get. It.
Story in Elle
I love Sunny. That scene is a lesson in how humor can handle nuance and make complex points, in ways that are often much more effective than lecturing.
Did you hear they were just renewed for four seasons?
Addiction takes many strange forms.
I have tended to be a little cynical about never-Trumpers, especially given how many of them seem to come from the neocon, interventionist wing of the party (French was defending the Iraq War as late as 2014), which gives the impression their opposition to Trump is more ideological than rooted in decency or respect for democratic values. In some cases I’ve gotten the sense their anti-Trump views were more of a career decision than a personal evolution.
@CSK: My septic tank could use a name.
But what does “dislike” mean in this context? It could mean little more than discomfort with his crude style. In some cases it may come from some social conservatives who are actually consistent when it comes to judging politicians on matters of personal morality. They reject Trump for the same reasons they rejected Bill Clinton. That makes them more the exception than the rule on the right these days, but they do exist. All of that is a far cry from recognizing how fundamentally toxic and destructive Trump actually is.
Indeed, many people who disliked Trump for the above or other reasons ended up supporting him anyway. They would go on to rationalize their support for him by arguing that the Dems were worse. In fact in 2016 this was a far more frequent explanation for supporting him than making a positive case for his candidacy. In 2020 Trumpists tended to turn more to his “accomplishments” while in office, but it was still a way of rationalizing support for someone with a personality they could not defend. Ben Shapiro’s argument was basically that Trump is a moron, but he’s our kind of moron.
This reasoning might even make sense if we were talking about someone who was simply crude and had boinked pornstars, but was otherwise an effective leader. That’s why when anti-Trump conservatives rejected Trump for these reasons it tended to seem lame and/or superficial. They rejected Trump, but seemed blind to the most important reasons why he was someone who never should have come anywhere near the presidency.
I like that. “The Donald J. Trump Septic Tank.”
@Not the IT Dept.: I don’t think James’ objections (or mine, not that they matter) to Austin have anything to do with his competence or beliefs (which seem strong on both counts to me). It’s all about requiring yet another legal exception for another retired general to assume a role that should be civilian in nature, and that requires more political savvy, and civilian-style leadership skills (ie less rigidly hierarchical), than military experience typically provides.
@CSK: here’s literally a c&p from a comment I saw on a friend of a friend’s page this morning:
@Teve: my favorite reply to that comment is the woman who said, “you sound like an asshole.”
@CSK: My problem with that is that septic tanks serve a vital and important purpose. I propose we name something more Trumpian, like a new strain of genital warts, or discarded mattress at the side of the road.
@Michael Reynolds: four seasons??? That’s unheard of.
I heard an analysis which said, normally a show about four selfish sociopaths trying to screw each other over would Not be a hit, but they’re so bumbling and incompetent that you empathize with them when they inevitably fail. 😀
I think HarvardLaw92 and I were right there with you, as far as Trump is concerned, back in 2015.
@CSK: Sewage treatment facilities could probably use a good name, I know some outhouses that could.
@MarkedMan: Good point.
“I wish people would stop trumping outside their car windows.”
“Just look at that pile of trump.”
“I got the trump. Hope the antibiotics take care of it.”
That sounds like 99% of the posters on Lucianne.com.
I’m trying to think of the Latin translation for Trump genital warts.
The only thing it would be appropriate to name after Trump is COVID-19. No single individual in the world has done so much to advance the spread and lethality of that disease.
@Mikey: Man, I worded that clumsily and the edit button has taken the week of Christmas off, apparently. Hopefully you all get my meaning.
ETA: Speak of the devil. Maybe it was just on lunch.
@MarkedMan: It’s some relief to note that David French is finally getting it. I hope that he can get others within Evangelicalism to realize who they are.
@Mikey: Good suggestion. The 2020-21 recession should go down in history as the Trump Recession. Along with the 2007-09 Second W Bush Recession, the 2001 First W Bush Recession, the 1990-91 HW Bush Recession and the 1980-81 Reagan Recession. (See a pattern there?) Consistency demands we refer to the 2020-21 epidemic as the Trump Plague.
Saw this in the NYT story about the aid package.
“We can finally report what our nation has needed to hear for a very long time,” Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said Sunday night. “More help is on the way.”
The nation awaited this help since March. And why did it take so long? Oh right, it was held up by McConnell. And why did this man refuse to help pass something sooner?
1.) Fear of the size of direct payments to individuals and the extension of unemployment benefits (things that would be most helpful to the bulk of people.)
2.) not wanting to aid the budgets of state and local governments (entities that provide services to everyone, relied on most by middle and lower class people.)
3.) His insistence on blanket liability protection from coronavirus claims (the only plausible real beneficiary of this would be wealthy business owners)
Fuck this guy.
Indeed. The few, the hysterical, the correct.
@CSK:@OzarkHillbilly: No boat, no garbage barge, no nuclear disposal unit, no waste treatment plant, no septic tank, not even a rubber ducky. Just. No.
@DrDaveT: Not even that. Nothing. Named. After. Trump.
Sometimes–not here–I felt like that lone guy in all those sci-fi movies who desperately tries to warn the populace that the aliens who just landed on the National Mall aren’t benign, that they mean us harm.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Not even one of those ships the navy uses for target practice and weapons exercises?
I don’t get it, either. She destroyed her life for that schmuck.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
I named the SARS-COV-2 and the pandemic it caused after Trump.
I’ve no regrets.
Quick update: it’s Hell Week 2: You Thought Hell Week Was Bad?
On top of that, I’ve a persistent pain on my right shoulder, likely due to repetitive stress from Hell Week last week. Mostly I’m fine, but I can’t raise my shoulder at all. Tylenol and other NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) help a bit. yes, I should see a doctor. I plan to, when I have the time, which may not be until the new year. Most likely it will resolve on its own before then.
also, Mexico City and the State of Mexico went into high alert and added restrictions due to the Trump virus (see?). Or there are supposed to be added restrictions. Frankly, I don’t see them. Meantime, the hospitals are near capacity, and vaccines are supposed to begin arriving this week, mostly earmarked for front line healthcare workers.
I keep a KN95 on at all times.
@OzarkHillbilly:..My septic tank could use a name.
I call mine ole’ sludgebottom. Might be too good for Trump.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
His greatest suffering would come from being completely, totally, forgotten. People saying “the president after Obama and before Biden? Can’t remember what’s his name.”
@Kurtz: i’m sure part of the calculation is that they wanted to force state and local governments to lay off employees.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: My dog just took a dump in the yard. I’m calling it a “trump” whether you like it or not.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: i’d be fine with somebody naming a megachurch after Trump. Trump and megachurches have the same goals and the same prey.
@Mister Bluster: I’ve set up an art piece called “Real Donald Trump” that’s 45 decrepit dumpsters arranged haphazardly in a barren field, and each day some number of them light up randomly. A connected computer sends 20 emails a day to Patriots who Fight for Freedom (TM) by paying for slender pieces of kindling with (if they’re lucky) “Trupm” hastily scrawled on them by an unpaid intern to be dropped into a random dumpster (which may already be on fire!); 99% of the profit goes to a shell corporation controlled by the Trump family.
(It turns out this whole thing is a lie, which I guess makes it the best reflection of this presidency.)
@Kathy: I’m paranoid about messing up my shoulders. There are gym exercises I won’t do anymore because they can cause impingement. You might want to check out a set of YouTube videos by two physical therapists named Bob and Brad. Very useful stuff.
I had no trouble cooking Saturday.
Alas, I also had no trouble washing the dishes and utensils afterwards.
@Kathy: In the meanwhile ice it down at the end of the day.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to be flippant.
I am resting the arm as best I can as much as possible. Over the weekend I did very little web browsing or writing, instead I watched TV (BTW, Season 2 of The Mandalorian, I kept expecting the show to be renamed “Star Wars: Fan Service.” There were characters from the movies, characters from the “Rebels”* series, and more retroactive continuity.)
*I’m not convinced Ahsoka works in live action. And shouldn’t Sabine have been with her?
@flat earth luddite: You are more accurate then you know. People who knew Trump in the eighties when he was blowing through the fortune his father left him, would tell of Trump calling them up bragging about some newspaper article or magazine story . “But didn’t you see what they said about you? It was horrendous!”, to which would delightedly reply, “Front page! I was on the front page!”
Is Amy Coney Barrett Secretly Joe Biden’s Dead Daughter? QAnon Creeps Think So!
Actually, having known, worked, and lived with sociopaths, psychopaths, and flat-out bat-shirt crazies, I’m pretty sure that this, more than anything else, is what hides in the back closet in Trump’s mind, under the 2nd rock from the the left rear corner. Forgotten nothingness, a blank abyss. Sounds like the perfect reward for him, doesn’t it?
Absolute best time to see the Jupiter/Saturn thing, and almost all of North America is under cloud cover.
Fuck you, Trump.
@Teve: Clear here in SW FL. Striking. With binoculars you can clearly resolve the two planets, but not with the naked eye.
Well, okay, but according to the Trump Fan Club, ACB has proven herself to be a cowardly liberal communist. So how would that square with Trump putting her on the SC to protect her?
@gVOR08: oh trust me, i noticed that. grr.
@CSK: Okay, maybe that. 😉
@OzarkHillbilly: You’re not a government agency; you can do whatever you want. First Amendment and all that.
@Kathy: Again, private citizen, do what you want. Additionally, if Mexico wants to name stuff after Trump, that’s completely their/your affair. I just don’t want OUR GOVERNMENT doing it. (Although if the CDC in their grand wisdom wanted to name the disease that people get from Covid-19 virus after Trump, I guess I’d have to figure out how to live with it.)
I’ve read the New York Times most of my adult life life. When they got a new columnist named Ross Douthat I read two or three of his first columns. He was obviously a conservative affirmative action hire. I haven’t read him since. But it entertains me when other people do and how they react to his gibberish.
This is for YOUR safety…FTFY
No one is afraid of these POSs–and if anyone is they’d better not act like it. They feed off it.
This is why I dont even look at the anti-maskers walking around the stores here in Florida. The first confrontation I have with any of them…Im going straight to 10. If Im going to have to expend that kind of energy …I want to feel like it was worth it when the cops come.
BTW, Over the weekend I also watched a couple of Marvel movies, and I keep reading today’s open thread as “Winter soldier forum.”
People speculate about what Trump is going to do with regard to 2024, but as soon as he’s out of office, he could find himself in a legal Sharknado that changes everything.
@Jim Brown 32: Oh, I got a nice, healthy dose of how my fellow cattle women feel about me this fall, since I’m not a Trumpie.
Good thing I’ve got a 3 mile long driveway. Them bitches can bring their own cattle home from the mountains, I’m not even gonna say anything about seeing them.
@Sleeping Dog: Hey, I can go along with that. I’m sure the Navy would welcome USS Donald Trump, a garbage scow, into the fleet.
@gVOR08: It was clear enough in our part of SC that we could see it clearly with the naked eye (thanks to my opthalmologist). The observatory at the local university was mobbed with hundreds of people waiting in line for a look at the pix sent from the observatory telescope.