A growing number of Contaminants (aka Republicans aka Magatrumpers) believe that Liberals and Democrats are pushing vaccines in order to make conservatives and yahoos dislike and therefore avoid vaccines, so that on election day, more Republicans are dead of Covid than Democrats.
Maybe we are doing that, maybe we are not. Not my job to tell you. I am not the mule skinner.
I know the answer to that question. You are bad people, every one of you. You are morally, ethnically, and intellectually incapable of doing the right thing. Every single one of you who considers yourselves still a Republican is not worthy to breathe the same air our children are being poisoned by as we speak. Continue reading Dear Republicans: What is taking you so long?→
Before you spend any more energy criping about Pelosi and impeachment, find out what impeachment is and how it would go.
What people need to understand is that the Senate, i.e., the Republicans, i.e. Mitch McConnell himself, runs the show in the impeachment hearings. It is done by the Senate. They do it. It is them. Not the house.
It is a trial is run by the Senate with the Chief Justice presiding, and the President present the whole time in the front of the room. Trump will be able to call witnesses. Repeat. Trump will be able to call witnesses. McConnell will be able to call witnesses. Repeat. McConnell will be able to call witnesses.
This means that not only will the impeachment fail, but the Republicans in the Senate, led by Mitch McConnell, will basically be putting on Celebrity Apprentice 2.0 staring Donald Trump.
It won’t just be a fail. It will be a multi day show put on and arranged entirely by Trump’s people.
Unless we get to a point where there is the necessary number of Republicans in the Senate to convict, we do not want this to happen. Pelosi is right.
It looks to me that more mobilization is needed. Groups you would think have the highest stakes in this year’s election have low numbers.
Related to potential Kavanaugh effects, from the same poll:
Women are smarter than men, people with college degrees are smarter than those without, younger is smarter than older. Oddly, Independents dislike Kavanaugh to a greater degree than one would expect given the previously graph. (I’m suspicious of the category “Independent,” however.)
Regarding who should control congress, this:
The Republican Party is the party of whites, men, and to some degree older folks, while the Democratic Party is the party of people of color, women, younger folks, and the better educated.
Most critical may be the fact that 50% of likely voters prefer Democrats nation wide, while only 41% of likely voters prefer Republicans.
This will not, however, translate into more Republican members of congress. Local tradition, local campaigning, election rigging, and gerrymandering, determine who wins a given Congressional seat. Sadly. As I’ve suggested before, it is highly unlikely that a Democratic leaning American electorate will actually elect a Democratic majority Congress, in either house.
This happened. I was sitting on the couch watching a football game (go Vikings!) and a political ad for our local Democratic candidate for Congress, Dean Phillips, came on. It was a positive, informative, up beat ad. Nice. Then, a political ad for the Republican incumbent, the Trump Lapdog Erik Paulsen, came up. It was negative, disgusting, and full of lies.
So the person watching the game with me, asked about why that ad was so horrible and why do the Democrats have such different ads. I said, “The Democrats used to use negative ads too, both parties did. ”
“Because experts told all the campaigns that they worked, and they did seem to work, so everybody did them. But this year, Democrats, at least here, decided to do no negative ads. So you see Republican negative ads, no Democratic negative ads.”
“I think,” he said, “If you have negative ads, some people learn to hate the other candidate so you win, but more people hate the whole idea and just stay home and don’t vote, and that matters more.”‘
“Hmm,” I replied. “Pretty smart for an eight year old, since that is exactly how we lost this race two years ago!”
Here’s the thing. Right now, Republicans are going to double down on negative ads, and they are going to work. Or, just ads that lie. For example, Representative Sarah Anderson, of the Minnesota house, is famous for a) reducing funding for education and b) opposing heath care reform. Her opponent, Ginny Klevorn, is famous for a) being very pro education and also, knowing a lot about how the school systems in her district are run, and b) wanting to link the health care plans state legislators have to the average cost and availability of health plans for all the citizens of the state, so they know exactly what everyone is experiencing (currently, Sarah Anderson and her Republican buddies in the MN Legislature have really great heath care plans!)
The people who live in this district have made it clear that they want more attention paid to, and more money spent on, education, and they want health care reform. So, naturally, anti-education and anti-health care reform Republican Sarah Anderson has put out lies in all her lit and other ads, painting herself as the savior of the education system and the savior of health care. Erik Paulsen is putting out negative, lie-filled, hate ads against Dean Phillips, in the US Congressional race here. The Republican dweeb running for Governor, Jeff Johnson, has been putting out hateful, dishonest ads, in his effort to catch up with Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Time Walz. And so on.
That’s all expected. What concerns me right now is the fact, just reported by the New York Times, that while Democrats have been out raising Republicans in recent weeks, Republicans have way more money to spend on elections, starting now.
Republicans entered the final month of the campaign with more money in the bank than the Democrats, providing them with vital ammunition as they wage a furious effort to hold on to control of Congress.
The most recent round of campaign finance disclosures, filed Saturday, showed that Republican national party committees, candidates in key House and Senate races and their top unlimited-money outside groups, or “super PACs,” had $337 million on hand as of Sept. 30. Their Democratic counterparts had $285 million in the bank on the same date.
What I don’t know is if this is simply more false balance reporting by the New York Times, or good analysis. Democratic superpacs have raised piles of money, a few million more than Republicans, and the superpacs represent more than half of the total campaign budget. But, it could be that Republicans are going to play their usual trick, swamping media markets where they are about to lose with lies, negative campaigning, and fear, and so in the end pull out and win. I would like to hope, but I dare not think, the post 2016 American electorate is not quite so easily manipulated.
Now is our chance to chime in on how the Space Force should be organized and what it should do.
I have the following suggestions.
First, make no mistake, the Space Force is to fight off new alien invasions, and to find, root out, and kill any and all aliens from previous alien invasions. I know, I know, most people believe there are no aliens, or if they are out there somewhere in the Universe, they are not going to invade us. But those unbelievers tend to be Democrats, and the Space Force is a Republican idea. So, my first suggestion is to put aside any equivocation. USSF is our first line of defense against aliens. Own it.
Second, do incorporate a scientist high up in the chain of command. Time and time again, we have seen either aliens or home-grown monsters (usually as a result of nuclear radiation in the sea or someplace) get way ahead of the US Military because military commanders are bad at listening to scientists.
The senior scientist, and his attractive 20-something daughters, and the other more junior scientist or perhaps journalist on whom the daughter is sweet, should not be ignored! We should know this by now!
Third, the USSF should be in the business of separating children from their parents. None of this liberal namby pamby nice guy shit. When you get an alien child away from its parents, you do NOT reunite them. That is just asking for trouble.
Fifth, even though the USSF will diligently search for, find, and kill all existing aliens from previous invasions, it is ESSENTIAL that their technology be preserved and studies. As sure as The Doctor’s favorite expression is “Sorry” and his second favorite expression is “Run!!!” we will need that technology to fight future aliens.
Fourth, do not eschew or fail to respect the space forces that exist already in other countries. Just as American intelligence services have a “special relationship” with British intelligence, the USSF should develop and nurture a special relationship with Torchwood.
And speaking of special relationships, the USSF should have liaison with the secret service. It is not uncommon for aliens to masquerade as high level politicians, or to seduce them in other ways.
The creation of the United States Space Force is a great idea, an idea whose time is come. But I think it is very important to not pretend it is something other than it is. It is an idea to win the hearts and minds of the 21% of the United States population who believe in aliens, and were abducted by them one or more times. I worry a little about the 2% of Americans who believe they are aliens. But in any law enforcement or military operation, there are always a few who just won’t go along with the rest.
The Marines have “Semper Fidelis.” The Army has “This We’ll Defend. The US Air Force says “Aim high, Fly-Fight-Win.” And the Navy’s motto, and they just got this motto last year, is “Forged by the Sea.” (I’ll bet you thought it was “not just a job, but an adventure,” but no, you were wrong if you thought that.)
The motto of the United States Space Force? I’ll go ahead and suggest “Klaatu barada nikto,” but you should feel free to suggest your ideas below.
And finally, this shall be the United States Space Force uniform:
Top officials with the donor network affiliated with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch this weekend sought to distance the network from the Republican Party and President Trump, citing tariff and immigration policies and “divisive” rhetoric out of Washington.
At a gathering of hundreds of donors at the Broadmoor resort here, officials reiterated their plans to spend as much as $400 million on policy issues and political campaigns during the 2018 cycle. Earlier this year, they announced heavy spending aimed at helping Republicans to hold the Senate. But in a warning shot at Trump and the GOP, network co-chair Brian Hooks lamented “tremendous lack of leadership” in Trump’s Washington and the “deterioration of the core institutions of society.”
Note the number: 400 million bucks right now on campaigns and policy rhetoric.
It was a Republican shut down but Trump took a lead, so we shall call it the Trump Shutdown.
There is a non-zero possibility that a bill to keep things going will pass in the Senate and House, that Trump will veto it, and that Congress will override Trump’s veto. Not too likely, but it could work out that way.
My advice to students I’ve had the chance to supervise is extensive, but includes the phrase “look both ways.” In that case, I refer specifically to library research. This worked better when most of our research was done using dead tree fragments. Here’s how it works. You find out about a book of interest. You go find it on the shelf in the library. Instead of just pulling it off the shelf and checking it into your carrel, you stop for a moment and look both ways. There is a good chance that the books right next to the one you found are by the same author, or about the same topic, or in some other way related. Indeed, you may have located a useful source, the one you sought, but didn’t know that the same author also did research in exactly the area you are working, wrote the classic tome on it, and in fact, that classic tome is what you thought your thesis was going to be on based on this great idea you had at the bar last night! Continue reading When investigating Trump, Look Both Ways→
Chris Hayes is correct to point out that the historical source of Coates title is critically important and deeply disturbing (this is something we’ve talked about here in the recent past). He is incorrect, as Coates points out near the end of the second segment, that there will be a future in which we debate the relative merits of the Trump vs the Obama presidency. I have no idea what possessed him to day that (I see Hayes slip into the false balance mode now and then when he’s tired, maybe that’s what he did there for just a moment).
On the book:
“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”
But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.
We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.
General John F. Kelly is retired from the US Marine Corps, where he commanded the Southern Command. He replaced political operative Reince Priebus as President Trump’s Chief of Staff.
The White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking staff member in the White House, and was formalized as such in 1961. This is not a Senate confirmable position. What the Chief of Staff does varies from administration to administration but it is almost always about the same. This person can be the puppeteer, in the case of a President who is weak and in need of a guiding hand. This person is always a gatekeeper. Communication with the president is actually communication with the POTUS/COS and if the actual president is present is the decision of the Chief of Staff. If a president is not present or unable to make an important decision, it is not the Vice President who steps in, but the Chief of Staff, short term. Or, at least, this is what we have come to understand from the combination of glimpses into real life and realistic fiction about the workings of the Executive.
The Trump administration has never been in control. Trump has blundered from tweet to tweet, changing and randomizing American policy, bringing the US to what feels like the brink of a war with North Korea, destroying all of our relationships with other nations, frightening and angering most of the citizens with bone-headed domestic policy blunders, and generally being annoying. Much of this confusion and clownish governing happened prior to about two weeks ago, peaking with the rolling out of a particularly awful communications director, a character from a first draft of a Carl Hiaasen novel. And when the insanity reached that crescendo, they called in the Cavalry. Or, actually, the Marines. In the form of General John Kelly.
At the time, everyone said the same thing. The General, being a general and a Marine and all, would impose order, control Trump, bring some sense of normalcy to the White House.
But that didn’t happen. Of all the bad things that have happened in the train wreck known as the Trump administration, some of the worst things have happened since Kelly landed on that particular beach. It was after Kelly arrived that we moved to the brink of a new Korean War. It was after Kelly arrived that Trump lost the confidence even of many of his supporters with his blatant nod to the white supremacist movement. Most recently (though I’ve not checked my twitter feed in 45 seconds so who knows) we have top advisor Steven Bannon declaring his own war on All The Staff, reversing Trump’s North Korea policy, and doing an end run around the State Department to advance an entirely new policy with China. Who knows where that will go?
So, there are two facts that tell me that there is a fallacy lurking here, for which I think I have a simple explanation.
Fact 1: Everybody knows that a disciplined Marine General like John Kelly means the restoration of order. This fact is so clear and certain that after two weeks of unmitigated chaos exponentially worse than any prior two week period in the Trump Circus, it is still held on to by everyone.
Fact 2: Fact 1 is clearly untrue.
The fallacy is that being of a military background (in this case a Marine General) fully qualifies a person to know how to generate and impose, restore or maintain, and manage, order.
It could be that John Kelly was actually a lousy general, or that he is purposefully trying to Ruin America, or perhaps some other explanation pertains. But none of that seems to apply.
Rather, I think this: Order exists in the military when you get there. Ask around. You probably know people with this story. A person who is wandering, directionless, unable to maintain order in their own life, joins the military and there finds order not because the military inspires it in them, but because the military imposes it on them. This changes their life, for the better, and thereafter they can thank the already in place inherent fundamental order of the military.
Marine generals do not create order and discipline, nor do they bring it with them to unordered chaotic climes where they can put it. The military has evolved over centuries of time, and is older than most existing nations. It has the order and discipline built in, it is a hierarchical structure based on chains of command and the concept of order itself. It is not a coincidence that the essential communication, utterance, linguistic event, in the military is called an “order” an that order is obeyed on pain of punishment anywhere from doing 100 pushups up to execution by firing squad.
Marine General John Kelly moved from an environment where order is the order of the day, often in the form of orders inevitably obeyed, to a place of deprived chaos. He moved from a milieu in which his wish was someone else’s command to the job of baby sitting a psychotic megalomaniac with zero impulse control who is, in fact, his commander in chief. Having a retired Marine General put in charge of a Trump in this manner, at this time, is actually the worst possible idea. Marine Generals give orders and they are followed. A Chief of Staff for Trump can not order Trump to do anything, and is likely unequipped with the laser pointers, shiny objects, yummy cookies, and psychological tasers needed to control the stupendously horrific combination of the world’s biggest baby who happens to also be the word’s most powerful person.
I suspect Reince Priebus had more of the skills to manage Trump than Kelly will have in ten lifetimes. Controlling the staff and the communications is Kelly’s only option, and that is clearly far less than what is needed. There may be no controlling Trump in any event, but this commander will never be controlled by any general.
General John Kelly can not serve as an effective Chief of Staff on the basis of his experience in an environment of order, precisely because the remnant of that environment is the Commander in Chief that he needs to, but can not, boss around. He might have been a good Chief of Staff for other reasons, or on the basis of other experiences, but that apparently is not the case.
I believe this is the fallacy. I believe this is a deep fallacy, because it is unnoticed even though it is right in front of everyone’s face. I expect that someday we will know of a thing called the “Kelly Effect,” when someone moves from a place of great order to a place of chaos, and the chaos wins.