2017 Politics open thread, August 13-19

Politics, anyone?

Advertisements

209 thoughts on “2017 Politics open thread, August 13-19

  1. It’s too bad that only Orrin Hatch seems to be old enough to have close relatives who died in WWII.

  2. When I lived in England, the Afghanistan war began. My landlords were elderly and barely acknowledged me until then. When the war started they made a point of saying to me, paraphrasing, “you were there for us in WWII, we will be there for you”. That was not a popular stance in London among my generation and younger. I’ll never forget them.

  3. Trump’s dramatic escalation in rhetoric seemed to upend carefully crafted U.S. policy that has stressed working with regional partners to increase pressure on Maduro, who has been consolidating power, plunging the country into chaos. It also contradicted high-level administration officials, including Trump’s own national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, who had warned that any perception of U.S. intervention would stir decades’ old resentments and play into Maduro’s hands.

    And that’s from Fox News.

  4. In an interview with the journal Science in 1979, Dr. Morawetz recalled that when her children were young — a time when few women pursued professional careers — people often asked whether she worried about them while she was at work.

    Her reply: “No, I’m much more likely to worry about a theorem when I’m with my children.”

    That was perfect

  5. I googled her kids, her daughter Pegeen was the VP of HR for The Limited for 22 years then in a similar role at Chanel. Lida Jeck is an MD and a faculty member at Duke. Not too shabby.

  6. Back to my theory that the real culprit is automation and AI and not trade and immigration. Audi recently announced that the 2018 A8 will feature level 3 automation. Level 2 is what Tesla has where the car can drive itself but the driver needs to pay constant attention. The Audi will, under certain circumstances, drive itself with no human supervision required. You can read, watch a movie, text, etc. Charles Murray’s UBI is going to be here sooner than you think.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/11/audis-new-a8-will-have-level-3-autonomy-via-traffic-jam-pilot/

  7. Also The A8 also includes AI-based remote parking for both surface spaces and garages, which don’t even require the driver to be seated in the car to both hail and send the vehicle to its spot. All of that is controlled via a mobile app for the driver’s smartphone.

    So you can drop yourself off at the door to your office and then the car will go park itself. And when you’re done, it will go pick you up again.

  8. The WaPo Sunday print edition had a long feature on “anarchists,” profiling two attractive young people (complete with photo) who work by day and destroy other people’s property in their free time. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/what-draws-americans-to-anarchy-its-more-than-just-smashing-windows/2017/08/10/030f92e0-2eae-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html?utm_term=.75029c0ca2c5

    Here was the money quote (though if you have time, the whole piece is quite instructive, especially in the almost respectful tone maintained by the reporter):

    “Carrefour said he knows that some people who are sympathetic to the anarchists’ general beliefs would not approve of the tactics used at the inauguration. But, he said, recruiting more anarchists is never the goal.
    “The notion of convincing people is a liberal idea,” Carrefour said. “I also think it’s important to attack the symbols of capitalism. It’s just property at the end of the day.”

    On the opposite page was an obituary of an obscure (to me) German nun dubbed the “Mother Teresa of Pakistan:

    “As a young physician and nun, she had planned to begin her missionary work not in Pakistan, but in India, in 1960. Waylaid in Karachi with visa difficulties, she visited a leprosy colony and was so distressed by what she saw that she could not bring herself to leave.

    The facility was overrun by rats and soiled by sewage. Speaking to the BBC in 2010, she recalled watching a young man as he “crawled on hands and feet into this dispensary, acting as if this was quite normal, as if someone has to crawl there through that slime and dirt on hands and feet, like a dog.”

    “I could not believe that humans could live in such conditions,” she told the Express Tribune in 2014. “That one visit, the sights I saw during it, made me make a key life decision.”

    Under Dr. Pfau’s leadership, that facility became the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre, the nerve center of a national network of medical professionals who sought to house, treat and, at times, rescue victims of the disease. Dr. Pfau recalled collecting children who had been stowed away in caves or in cattle pens because of their illness.

    With support from German donors, Dr. Pfau and her colleagues managed to bring leprosy largely into submission. Since 1996, the World Health Organization has considered the disease controlled in Pakistan.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/known-as-the-mother-teresa-of-pakistan-she-helped-defeat-one-of-the-most-stigmatized-diseases-in-human-history/2017/08/11/0b2aa848-7e9f-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html?utm_term=.3b3786f7b581

    The editors probably didn’t realize what they were doing, but the contrast could not have been starker.

  9. Scarlett,

    In their minds, the entire U.S. government should be abolished and reimagined on a much smaller scale.

    Much smaller government? I thought you favored that.

  10. They are really in favor of *no* government. Except themselves. They have far more in common with the white supremacists than they would like to admit.

  11. Scarlett,

    Agreeed. My pet theory is that if you take any ideology far enough in either direction they all meet at the same place in back. But you’ll notice how similar their anti-government rhetoric is to libertarian scented conservatism. The idea of crony capitalism, etc. Both are radical ideas I’m sure you’ll agree.

    Notice how that contrasts with Trumps conservatism in the sense of conserving what we have. He embraced the idea and got elected on the idea that it’s the governments duty to defend the interests of the little guy. In a lot of ways similar to a more German/European conservatism in the CDU sense of, “…espousing the principles of the social market economy, which rejects socialism and laissez-faire economics and sees the government’s role as providing the framework for fair competition, low unemployment and social welfare.”

  12. You can see by the collapse of Obamacare reform how weak support for laissez-faire economic policy is on he right and how the average republican voter buys into the CDU model far more than small government zealotry expuased by some on the right.

  13. Rhett,

    There is a lot of disagreement on both the right and the left. Maybe it’s always been there, but since the runup to the election, both sides seem much more divided than united. And somewhere in the middle, my sense is that many, perhaps most, people in this country probably agree on many points, and just want to live their lives in peace.

  14. Maybe it’s always been there, but since the runup to the election, both sides seem much more divided than united.

    In terms of rhetoric maybe but certainly not in terms of policy. The collapse of Obamacare repeal just underlines how little they actually disagree.

  15. ” the idea that it’s the governments duty to defend the interests of the little guy.”

    In my interpretation of libertarianism, that’s one of the key roles of government. More generally, it’s to protect and defend everyone’s freedoms from encroachment by others.

  16. Most people in the US want to be free to choose at all times. Choose how to spend their own money with no more taxation than required to cover those things that government must provide (wide divergence here on the scope of that last point). Chose where and how to worship or not, choose whether and whom to marry, choose any and all non specialized legal medical care within a reasonable distance of their home, choose to ingest any type of food or other substance (including some harmful or dangerous ones), choose their own entertainment, choose whom to associate with, choose schools at public expense that educate their children and reflect their family values, choose whom to serve in their place of business even at the cost of loss of income, choose to patronize any business without being turned away for the owner’s personal reasons, choose whom to hire or promote or not without external mandate, choose to follow any profession or job without being excluded for prima facie reasons of age, religion, race or gender. These are sometimes in conflict, and everything costs money, so not everyone can afford exactly what they want and government can’t level the financial playing field by stepping in. The big conflict is not fringe domestic terrorists, but between the two flavors of limiting personal scope of action. What most people want is a religion-indifferent centrist party, close to the old Rockefeller Republicans.

    There are other countries where don’t tread on me is not the national motto, and loss of perceived personal autonomy is either a virtue in societies where group, clan or national solidarity/conformity is highly valued, or a tradeoff in societies, either autocratic with strong police and order or homogeneous socialist democracies, where state protection or support is highly valued.

  17. Rhett, many political scientists agree with you that at the far extremes, political ideologies tend to coincide. Most people don’t live at the far extremes, though.

  18. “What most people want is a religion-indifferent centrist party, close to the old Rockefeller Republicans.”

    Yes.

  19. In my interpretation of libertarianism, that’s one of the key roles of government.

    How does that apply to trade. I believe libertarian position is if you want to buy something from China or move your factory to China that’s your business. Trump and the CDU would say it is one of the primary duties of government to protect the interest of workers because while it may be good for you as an individual to buy an item from China, the overall impact on the country is negative unless trade is properly managed.

  20. I’m also surprised how few people understand or support at will employment. How these things work and how the public thinks they work seems very far apart.

  21. I’m also surprised how few people understand or support at will employment. How these things work and how the public thinks they work seems very far apart.

    No kidding. People seem to think that if you have a Constitutional right to do something, you can’t legally be fired for doing it. It doesn’t work that way.

  22. There was a conversation about this on Facebook, and a friend remembered being fired for telling his boss that “thinking” wasn’t the boss’s strong suit. Constitutionally protected? Sure. But you’re still just as fired.

  23. RMS did your friend say whether the satisfaction of saying that to his boss was worth getting fired over?

  24. “I’m also surprised how few people understand or support at will employment. How these things work and how the public thinks they work seems very far apart.”

    Very true. And each company has a different risk-aversion factor when it comes to potential lawsuits.

  25. RMS did your friend say whether the satisfaction of saying that to his boss was worth getting fired over?

    He didn’t say, but he has been employed at a different place for a long time now, so I guess it all worked out in the end.

  26. I’ve been surprised at how poorly people understand the right to free speech. They seem to think expressing one’s opinion has no consequences.

  27. Many people do not understand that the First Amendment restricts government, not private, action. And the ignorance of history and civics is appalling.

    “More Americans could identify Michael Jackson as the composer of “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” than could identify the Bill of Rights as a body of amendments to the Constitution.

    More than 50 percent of respondents attributed the quote “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs” to either Thomas Paine, George Washington or President Obama. The quote is from Karl Marx, author of “The Communist Manifesto.” https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/06/americans-vs-basic-historical-knowledge/340761/

    Maybe it’s time to bring back Schoolhouse Rock.
    For those of us of a certain age, there is no need to post the link, because the song is already playing in your head.

  28. “More than 50 percent of respondents attributed the quote “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs” to either … or **President Obama.** The quote is from Karl Marx, author of “The Communist Manifesto.”

    Well…one can certainly understand the mistake. ;)

    Kidding, kidding.

  29. I’m surprised people knew that Thomas Paine was even a historical person. Was it multiple choice?

  30. This is a Vice reporter who was with the supremacists over the weekend. It is one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen.

  31. When Trump was elected, I made a comment about how there was no acknowledgement from the conservatives about the fear that many people were feeling. Scarlett asked why they had any reason to be afraid. This is why. Trump again refused to denounce the white supremacists and insists the “alt-left” is as much to blame. He is empowering the neo-Nazis and the white supremacists. This should be scaring everyone who is not a white supremacist, not just minorities.

    And can you imagine the outrage from Fox News and the conservative talk shows if Obama ever said something like “Wait a minute, I’m not finished fake news” to a reporter in the middle of a press conference? Obama may have been arrogant, but he sure as hell wasn’t disrespectful to the reporters who disagreed with him like Trump is.

  32. I agree DD. I am a straight, white, middle-aged, upper middle-class woman – I am not a target of these people, and I find them terrifying. I cannot imagine what it must have felt like to be a minority in Charlottesville this weekend. I am so stunned, disgusted — I don’t know what word to use. I feel like I need to do something to register my outrage and opposition to the world they propose, but don’t know how to do it.

  33. “I feel like I need to do something to register my outrage and opposition to the world they propose, but don’t know how to do it.”

    There’s always Facebook. It seems like 95% of my news feed feels that they need to denounce white supremacy, in case, I suppose, they thought there might be doubts. My congressman, the one from the neighboring district, state senator, pastor, associate pastor, left wing people, right wing people, SAHMs in Georgia, old Navy buddies living on the West Coast…

  34. Milo, here’s a nice summary:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/clean-up-on-aisle-trump-president-reverses-course-on-neo-nazis-slams-the-alt-left

    Here’s a nice quote from Trump:

    “You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides,” he claimed. “You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down, to them, of a very, very important statue, and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

    Yes, he really called (some) white supremacists and neo-Nazis “very fine people.”

  35. I feel like I need to do something to register my outrage and opposition to the world they propose, but don’t know how to do it.

    I’ve been donating to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

  36. There is a strong sentiment out there, particularly on Facebook, that if you say nothing you are condoning the behavior of Nazis. (Screw alt-right, they’re Nazis.)

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” — Martin Niemoller

    Scarlett – violence in any form should be denounced, but to say both sides are equally to blame is bullshit. And you know it. And so should Trump.

  37. And yet, Scarlett, it wasn’t a member of the Left who ran his car into all those people. And when Islamic terrorists do it, you clutch your pearls and gasp about the horror without pointing out that U.S. foreign policy plays a role in why many Islamic terrorists hate us.

  38. And this time, they might come for the Catholics. Steve Bannon will be out on his ass. Shall we say that “the Catholics are to blame as well”?

  39. Kerri,
    Yes, Trump should not have waited two days to denounce the various white supremacist groups by name. No question about that. He is his own worst enemy. But I don’t believe that he really supports all of that alt-right horror — he just can’t bring himself to criticize those who say nice things about him.

  40. But I don’t believe that he really supports all of that alt-right horror — he just can’t bring himself to criticize those who say nice things about him.

    Is that supposed to be an endorsement of him? “He’s not racist — he’s just a pathological narcissist”? That’s not very reassuring.

  41. Tip O’Neill used to say all politics are local. Here is some background on the politics in Charlottesville and the Lee war memorial. Last year the town council created a blue ribbon commission to look into moving the Stone Wall Jackson statue and the Robert E Lee war memorial. They voted to move the war memorial to another park and keep the Jackson statue in Lee park. The town council ignored the commission’s findings and attempted to have the memorial moved. It was later discovered that it is against state law to move war memorials. There are law suits on both sides regarding this.

  42. There are many people in town against moving the statues and the new name that the city council has given the park. Some of the local’s that were in town Saturday are not alt anything and against moving the war memorial. Mr. Trump has property here in town and has visited several times. It is possible that he could be aware of some of the local controversy. Many members of the town council will lose their seats in the upcoming election in November.

  43. But I don’t believe that he really supports all of that alt-right horror — he just can’t bring himself to criticize those who say nice things about him.

    Not condemning it is the same as supporting it.

  44. C’ville, you can protest moving a statue without wearing Nazi armbands.

    Mr. Trump has property here in town and has visited several times.

    Yes, he made a point of mentioning that he owns a winery there.

  45. The protests and counter protest were planned for at least two months. After daily demands that the Unite the Right group not be allowed the freedom to speak the ACLU got involved a few weeks ago. The city did issue permits to two counter protest groups to assemble in other near by parks on the same day.

  46. Living near the beltway the federal government has more influence on central Virginia than other places but that doesn’t make local problems all about Trump. The city of Richmond canceled a Rally for next month today because they don’t want outsiders coming into town.

  47. “He’s not racist — he’s just a pathological narcissist”?

    That has to be it. If you read the transcript he started off making a few very valid points about the need to reform America’s infrastructure permitting process. Then someone asked him if he had faith in Bannon. He could have said, “Yes, next question.” But he didn’t he want on a rambling rant about he doesn’t really know about Steve and anyway he isn’t really anything special he didn’t help Trump win. Etc. Then they asked about Charlottesville. He could have repeated his talking point about how terrible it was and racism is appalling Yadda yadda. But no, he had to say some of the white supremacists were great people.

    It doesn’t make any sense, it can only be the result of some sever psychological problem.

  48. What is the justification for keeping Confederate war memorials? How is it anything but honoring those who wanted to keep slavery?

  49. “David Duke approved of Trump’s statements today. That pretty much tells you all you need to know.”

    So when is the Black Panthers endorsed Obama, that told you all you needed to know?

    TCM – Personally, I agree with your implied point about Confederate statues. I’d give them the OK in battlefields, cemeteries, and museums. But not in some sort of public square. And not because of slavery, but because that is not where you honor people who took up arms against their country. While I recognize the fact that many in the antebellum era considered their states to be their countries, Lee was a career U.S. Army officer with his commission from West Point who took his oaths to the Constitution, not Virginia.

    I would even further support renaming Jefferson Davis Highway, and Lee Highway.

    As for the Confederate Flag, it seems that there were actually more than a few Confederate battle flags, and the now-familiar stars and bars was not necessarily the most prominent. Anyone who really loves history and heritage could alternatively display one of the many others, particularly when you know that the S&B one is a painful symbol for many people.

  50. What is the justification for keeping Confederate war memorials?

    There was an interesting Venn diagram of people who don’t think losers should get participation trophies and those who object to the removal of confederate civil war statues.

  51. “Milo, you think the Black Panthers are the equivalent of the KKK?”

    Nothing is ever totally “equivalent.” They’re both radical, fringe hate groups that espouse anti-American values.

    From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

    The New Black Panther Party is a virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers.”

    What else do you need to know, really?

    I’m not sure why you think that David Duke’s endorsement of President Trump is somehow disqualifying, or, as you put it “tells you all need to know,” but a different hate group’s endorsement of President Obama was…what? Meaningless? No cause for concern?

    Why the double standard?

  52. Here, read some of the quotes from Black Panther leaders, the group who endorsed President Obama, which, as you say, “Tells you all you need to know.”

    “Our lessons talk about the bloodsuckers of the poor… . It’s that old no-good Jew, that old imposter Jew, that old hooked-nose, bagel-eating, lox-eating, Johnny-come-lately, perpetrating-a-fraud, just-crawled-out-of-the-caves-and-hills-of-Europe, so-called damn Jew … and I feel everything I’m saying up here is kosher.”
    — Khalid Abdul Muhammad, one of the party’s future leaders, Baltimore, Md., Feb. 19, 1994

    “Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!”
    —Malik Zulu Shabazz, the party’s national chairman, protesting at B’nai B’rith International headquarters in Washington, D.C., April 20, 2002

    “I hate white people. All of them. Every last iota of a cracker, I hate it. We didn’t come out here to play today. There’s too much serious business going on in the black community to be out here sliding through South Street with white, dirty, cracker whore bitches on our arms, and we call ourselves black men. … What the hell is wrong with you black man? You at a doomsday with a white girl on your damn arm. We keep begging white people for freedom! No wonder we not free! Your enemy cannot make you free, fool! You want freedom? You going to have to kill some crackers! You going to have to kill some of their babies!”
    — King Samir Shabazz, head of the party’s Philadelphia chapter, in a National Geographic documentary, January 2009

    I imagine that, based on this, all of us Americans should have been very, very afraid in 2009 when President Obama was inaugurated.

  53. Rhett – They’re not interested in complaining. They’re interested in “kill[ing] some crackers” and “kill[ing] every goddamn Zionist in Israel.”

  54. Milo,

    Did Obama then endorse the Black Panthers and say that many of them are very fine people?

    To the actual point at issue. I think you have a sincerely held belief that racism isn’t really a thing anymore based on your time in what may be among the most diverse and least racist organisations in the world, the US military. Do these recent protests and the rise of the alt right make you think that maybe racism is more common that you thought?

  55. “Years before a 20-year-old Ohio man allegedly rammed his car into a panicked crowd of activists in Charlottesville, it was his disabled mother who was terrified.

    James Alex Fields Jr. was barely a teenager in 2010 when his mother — who uses a wheelchair — locked herself in a bathroom, called 911 and said her son had struck her head and put his hands over her mouth when she told him to stop playing a video game, according to police records. On another occasion, records show, he brandished a 12-inch knife. Once, he spit in her face.

    “Mom is scared he is going to become violent here,” a dispatcher wrote in a log of the November 2011 call in which Fields’s mother, Samantha Bloom, requested police help in getting her son to a hospital for assessment.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/judge-denies-bail-for-man-accused-of-ramming-car-into-charlottesville-protesters/2017/08/14/2177a028-80fd-11e7-ab27-1a21a8e006ab_story.html?utm_term=.77187706c5c7&wpisrc=al_alert-COMBO-local%252Bnational&wpmk=1&xcv

    Fields served in the Army for four months (presumably someone figured out that he was not suited for military service), and was working as a security guard. He didn’t use a gun for this attack, but he seems to have a lot in common with other angry young men who pull out a gun in a schoolyard or workplace. Perhaps his attorney will raise a mental health defense.

  56. Perhaps his attorney will raise a mental health defense.

    Because he’s surely not a terrorist as the President was kind enough to note.

  57. “Did Obama then endorse the Black Panthers and say that many of them are very fine people?”

    No, nor did President Trump endorse the Klan and say that many Klansmen are fine people.

    “Do these recent protests and the rise of the alt right make you think that maybe racism is more common that you thought?”

    No. There have always been fringe elements. When I was getting ready to go to college, there was a Klan rally in downtown Annapolis. These things are not new.

  58. “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”

    Is that statement supported by the facts?

  59. “Did Obama then endorse the Black Panthers and say that many of them are very fine people?”

    He more than endorsed Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright, for decades, finally throwing him under the bus when Wright became an obstacle in his presidential aspirations.

    And then he embraced Black Lives Matter, some of whose leaders incited violence against police officers.

    “I would not describe the White House as concerned about these protests,” Mr. Earnest said. “They’re exercising their freedom of speech, they’re exercising their freedom of assembly. That’s a good thing. That’s a good start.”http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/14/white-house-more-black-lives-matter-protests-good/

    Seems like a double standard.

  60. Scarlett,

    I’m trying to follow your train of thought here. Are you saying the BLM and the KKK and the neo-Nazis are equal in having no grounds for complaint?

  61. “Is that statement supported by the facts?”

    Probably. Sounds like it was, according to what C’Ville posted. Statues were an issue in our state’s recent GOP gubernatorial primaries, and Richmonders have been arguing about the statues on Memorial Row, or whatever it’s called, for decades, at least. So I think it’s a safe assumption that the President’s statement is correct.

  62. Rhett – Nobody has grounds for looting, for destroying private property, for assaulting other citizens, for murdering five police officers, or for driving a car through a crowd.

    President Obama took care to rightly point out that not all of the BLM protestors had ill intent, and this drove some on the Right crazy.

    President Trump took care to rightly point out that not all of the statue protestors had ill intent, and this drives some on the Left crazy.

    Each side then screams at each other “Can you imagine if [the politician from my party] *DARED* to do the same thing?!?! OMG!!!”

    Pure hokum, all of it.

  63. Probably.

    Based on what? The fact that the protest permit was issued to the KKK, National Socialist Movement, 3%, etc?

  64. President Trump took care to rightly point out that not all of the statue protestors had ill intent,

    Please point these folks out.

  65. “BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.”

    We all know what the KKK and Neo Nazis are working towards.

    To equate the two is ridiculous.

  66. How? I wasn’t there.

    Then how do you know that while the permit was issued to the KKK and the Nazi party there were many participants who aren’t racists?

  67. “BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.”

    According to some of their chants, they want a lot more than that. Kill pigs, etc. But then we get back to “not *all* of them are like that,” which is true.

    And then we get to Black Panthers, which is an obvious hate group, but again, one that endorsed Obama.

  68. “there were many participants who aren’t racists?”

    Because the statue debate has been a mainstream issue for a long time.

  69. Because the statue debate has been a mainstream issue for a long time.

    And that means folks who aren’t racist protested at protest organized by the KKK and the Nazis?

  70. “And that means folks who aren’t racist protested at protest organized by the KKK and the Nazis?”

    Probably. Just like I’m sure that not every single attendee at a Black Panthers rally actually supports what they’re calling for.

    Similarly, I certainly hope that not every single worshipper in Jeremaiah Wright’s “church” shares his racist and hateful views. Even the ones who listened to him for a decade, and had their children baptized by him.

  71. Milo,

    Do you really think this and are you really trying to defend this or are you just arguing for fun? I assume you agree Trump should have just stuck to the talking points his staff prepared.

  72. Obama disavowed Wright. Trump cozies up to the Neo Nazis and gets them excited by claims of bitherism. Pretty obvious was people like David Duke think they have a friend in our President. Especially when he doesn’t send a strong messages disavowing them and instead dances around what is really going on.

  73. Rhett – Don’t try to belittle a legitimate counter-argument with your old “Do you really think this?” It’s a sound argument, and yes, it’s what I believe. I didn’t vote for President Obama, but I excused the J. Wright thing as Obama just currying political support when he was a rising politician. Many of the times when I was polled over the phone, I responded that I approved of the job President Obama was doing.

    And I will continue to point out the hypocritical double standard that the Left tries to impose on President Trump. Christ, it’s not like Donald Trump attended Klan rallies for 10 years and had Ivanka and Donald Jr. and Eric baptized by the Grand Wizard.

    I assume you agree Trump should have just stuck to the talking points his staff prepared.

    If I were controlling any candidate, I would give you John Kasich. And we saw how far that went. Talking points are the antithesis of authenticity. President Trump speaks off the cuff, not always with the utmost coherence, but that’s as much his charm as his liability.

  74. According to some of their chants, they want a lot more than that. Kill pigs, etc. But then we get back to “not *all* of them are like that,” which is true.

    I’m pretty sure that *all* the neo-nazis are like that, though. That’s pretty much the definition.

  75. “Obama disavowed Wright. Trump cozies up to the Neo Nazis”

    One of these two attended the meetings for 10 years, listening to messages filled with hateful rhetoric. Which one was that? Which one was “cozying up”?

  76. “I’m pretty sure that *all* the neo-nazis are like that, though. That’s pretty much the definition.”

    As we’ve already been over, I’m pretty certain that not every protestor on Saturday was a neo Nazi. Some just like statues. Same can be said of Black Panther rallies.

  77. And I’m pretty sure Wright was never part of an organization that spent decades lynching people and setting fires to churches, etc. But many white supremacists are “fine people” according to our president.

  78. As we’ve already been over, I’m pretty certain that not every protestor on Saturday was a neo Nazi. Some just like statues. Same can be said of Black Panther rallies.

    Nah, just the ones wearing the nazi armbands. But you’re right, it’s totally unreasonable to expect the president to denounce them and not call them “fine people”.

  79. Strawman, Denver. The President did not defend anyone wearing Nazi armbands. And he denounced the specific hate groups.

  80. “And I’m pretty sure Wright was never part of an organization that spent decades lynching people and setting fires to chuches”

    We haven’t even gotten to President Obama’s friendship with Bill Ayers, who did actually try to kill people by bombing the Pentagon.

  81. How is it a strawman? He said there are many fine people among the neo Nazis and white supremacists. That’s undeniable. And if you want to continue to argue that not everyone in the
    protest was a neo nazi, if you’re protesting with them, you are condoning them.

    The strawman is eveything you keep bringing up about Obama.

    Trump simply had to do the easiest thing a president can ever have to do: denounce the nazis. And he didn’t do it. Then he sort of did. And then he said many of them are fine people. You’re defending the indefensible.

  82. His words and statements were characteristically less-than-coherent. And you’re further misrepresenting them when you say “He said there are many fine people among the neo Nazis and white supremacists.” because he did not actually say that.

    Obama’s not a strawman. It’s pointing out that you are willing to blame Trump for the endorsement he gets from one hate group while you apparently have no issue with Obama getting an endorsement from another. “We should all be afraid!!! Very, very afraid!!!”

  83. You’re defending the indefensible.

    With the argument that surely some of those at the Nazi/KKK rally aren’t racist.

  84. “With the argument that surely some of those at the Nazi/KKK rally aren’t racist.”

    Surely some are not, same as Wright’s congregation.

  85. Milo,

    REPORTER: Was this terrorism?

    TRUMP: The driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family and this country. And that is, you can call it terrorism, you can call it murder, you can call it whatever you want. I would just call it as the fastest one to come up with a good verdict. That’s what I’d call it. Because there is a question: Is it murder, is it terrorism? And then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer and what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.

    Murder/terrorism it’s all just legal semantics, am I right?

  86. So the same person who had no problem painting the entire Muslim world as terrorists who “hate us” is now worried about tarnishing the good names of hypothetical, innocent people who just happen to have been out marching with torch-bearing Nazis. This is utter bullshit.

  87. Rhett – what’s your point? What difference does it make? Do we want to get back to arguing about whether Ft. Hood massacre was nothing but “workplace violence”?

    Trump didn’t object to calling it terrorism.

  88. “So the same person who had no problem painting the entire Muslim world as terrorists who “hate us””

    What are you talking about?

  89. So the same person who had no problem painting the entire Muslim world as terrorists who “hate us” is now worried about tarnishing the good names of hypothetical, innocent people who just happen to have been out marching with torch-bearing Nazis.

    Because obviously plenty of not racists people march in Nazi rallies. In fact, Just the other day, I was marching in a Nazi rally in support of their very sensible infrastructure proposals.

  90. Who were the very good people there arguing to keep the statues? Even if they are not part of a Nazi or other hate group, aren’t they there to support statues with racist symbolism that also represent anti-American symbolism?

    BLM’s main message is not about putting one race above the other or saying that people should die because of the color of their skin or their religion. They are shining a light on the continued bias and racism. I do not understand how one says the main message of BLM is as a terror group similar to Nazis.

    Trump did not denounce the alt-right. He said some token words with a wink to them that he doesn’t mean it.

  91. “I do not understand how one says the main message of BLM is as a terror group similar to Nazis.”

    Not BLM, Black Panthers.

  92. “Even if they are not part of a Nazi or other hate group, aren’t they there to support statues with racist symbolism that also represent anti-American symbolism?”

    I disagree with them, too, but that doesn’t make them bad people.

  93. but that doesn’t make them bad people.

    Their wanting to honor traitors who took up arms against their country to defend their right to own other people doesn’t make them bad people? Yes, it does make them bad people.

  94. Milo, I’m talking about the interview he gave during the campaign in which he said “Islam hates us”. That was, apparently, not painting with too broad a brush for him. But it was for important for him to allow for the possibility that there were “very fine people” protesting alongside Nazis and Klansmen. It truly beggars belief.

  95. “Their wanting to honor traitors who took up arms against their country to defend their right to own other people doesn’t make them bad people? Yes, it does make them bad people.”

    Agree.

    I have sympathy for the argument that remembering our history is important, and so I am conflicted about just tearing down all Confederate statues/memorials, full stop. I do think it is appropriate to contextualize, to move to museums, and – in some cases – to just remove/destroy them. I certainly do not agree with the activist group in NC that vandalized a statue by just pulling it down themselves. But at its heart, a lot of these are memorials and statues that idolize people who took up arms against the US for the right to own other people. And I find it incredibly sad that 150 years later, we still have groups marching in favor of the Confederacy and white supremacy.

    While I believe that rational people can disagree about what exactly should be done with the statues and with parks named after Robert E Lee, I also do not believe that people who would be out protesting at an event sponsored by hate groups would have particularly nuanced views on these issues.

    I think all of these private companies kicking the Nazi groups off their services and servers brings up some really interesting conflicts about so much control being given to the Googles, Facebooks, and GoDaddys of the world as well. It’s a little frightening how much control these private companies have.

  96. Rhett,

    “Are you saying the BLM and the KKK and the neo-Nazis are equal in having no grounds for complaint?”

    Let me be clear. Black Lives Matter is a diverse group of activists, some of whom openly advocate and incite violence against police officers. Not all, may not even most, but some. A black man who claimed to have been inspired by BLM murdered five police officers in Dallas after a BLM rally.

    If BLM is not responsible for their deaths, then the white supremacists who did NOT run over people in Charlottesville are not responsible for the actions of the guy who did.

    Do you agree?

  97. The KKK rally took place at Lee Park in July the permit for August was issued to a group call unite the Right. At the rally in July between 30 and 40 KKK members marched to the park stayed a short while and left. 1000 counter protesters attempted to block them from leaving the parking garage and threw things at the police who had to use pepper spray on the counter protesters.

  98. “And I find it incredibly sad that 150 years later, we still have groups marching in favor of the Confederacy and white supremacy.”

    I totally agree. And IMO the best way to defeat this mindset is by not showing up at their rallies at all. Just let them march and yell, with video cameras set up to record their shameful conduct so that their family, friends, employers, potential employers, etc know who they are and what they stand for.

  99. President William McKinley cited reconciliation between the North and South in a speech that followed the conclusion of the Spanish American War on December 14, 1898. A number of former Confederate officers had volunteered for service during the war, which had helped secure U.S. victory, McKinley said:

    … Every soldier’s grave made during our unfortunate Civil War is a tribute to American valor. And while, when those graves were made, we differed widely about the future of this government, those differences were long ago settled by the arbitrament of arms; and the time has now come, in the evolution of sentiment and feeling under the providence of God, when in the spirit of fraternity we should share with you in the care of the graves of the Confederate soldiers.

    The Cordial feeling now happily existing between the North and South prompts this gracious act, and if it needed further justification, it is found in the gallant loyalty to the Union and the flag so conspicuously shown in the year just past by the sons and grandsons of these (Spanish American War veterans).

    What a glorious future awaits us if united, wisely, and bravely we face the new problems now pressing upon us, determined to solve them for right and humanity.

  100. Scarlett,

    I don’t know where the issue of who is responsible for the death is coming from. The question was, “Are you saying the BLM and the KKK and the neo-Nazis are equal in having no grounds for complaint?”

  101. Scarlett – BLM denounced the cop killer quite publicly. White Supremacists celebrated Heather Heyer’s death – calling her a slut, fat and useless. How you think these two groups are morally equivalent beggars belief.

  102. The greatest issue is free speech. The ACLU has been and is representing the Unit the Right group on free speech grounds. As Scarlett stated above let the groups speak and show who they really are. The antifa are a big problem as well.

  103. This: http://www.cbs46.com/story/36137662/governor-candidate-calls-for-removal-of-stone-mountain-carvings#.WZL8QyR8MIk.facebook
    and many others are popping up on FB a lot recently by some of my outraged conservative friends.

    I’m arguing from one side of the aisle on here, and simultaneously from the opposite side on FB. Many of you think they’re “bad people,” and some of them would probably feel the same about you. The rhetoric is too strong for something as insignificant as statues, but it’s getting increasingly lonely in the middle.

  104. Who is responsible for the Heather Heyer’s death? Ultimately it goes back to the Charlottesville city council and the mayor. There are reports, the most current dated April, that the cross streets in the pedestrian downtown are a hazard. Instead of spending money on temporary barriers for use during large events thousands of dollars have been spent on the monuments issue. We frequently have concerts and other events in this area and they should be blocked.

  105. Who is responsible for the Heather Heyer’s death? Ultimately it goes back to the Charlottesville city council and the mayor.

    It really doesn’t. James Alex Fields Jr. killed Heather Heyer.

  106. “Are you saying the BLM and the KKK and the neo-Nazis are equal in having no grounds for complaint?”

    I am saying that, if they use the same violent tactics, the grounds for their complaints are irrelevant.

  107. C’Ville – Unite the Right and the KKK rally the night before was not about free speech, it was about intimidation. Don’t be naïve.

  108. And now I’m arguing with statue-supporting conservatives whom I don’t even know, because one of my coworkers also commented on it, and I ask him who this guy is, and he doesn’t even know.

    Fun times.

    The one argument that I don’t get is the “they want to erase history!!!” For God’s sake, the one thing the Left does NOT want to do is erase the history of the antebellum South. Heaven knows they bring it up every chance they get!

  109. “The greatest issue is free speech. The ACLU has been and is representing the Unit the Right group on free speech grounds.”

    ITA. The ACLU deserves support for its truly courageous stand in defending the free speech rights of such indefensible groups. It takes zero courage for corporations to jump on the anti-supremacist bandwagon, but the ACLU is getting a lot of flak from its usual allies in this case, just as it did in 1977 when it defended the rights of the Nazis to march in Skokie.

  110. The 1000 alt left people that protested the 40 KKK attendees in July was also about intimidation. There is also some filtering going on about the alt left chanting Saturday. Plenty of that occurred as well.

  111. Rhett, do you agree that, if people resort to violence, the righteousness of their cause doesn’t matter?

    And do you also agree that, no matter how odious their beliefs, people in this country have the right to express them peacefully?

  112. Rhett – I will say that BLM has some basis for complaint, although I think what they see as racial bias is more likely rooted in class bias. In any event, it doesn’t matter; their agenda is certainly more admirable than any hate group’s.

    BLM doesn’t really have any leaders or organizational structure, as far as I’m aware. They tend to “be” just whatever those who claim allegiance actually do. There were some powerful positive images in the immediate aftermath of the Baltimore riots when BLM members stood in front of a police line to stop the violence.

    Far more maturity and wisdom there than from the elected official who said that the looters should be allowed the necessary leeway “to destroy.”

  113. The ACLU deserves support for its truly courageous stand in defending the free speech rights of such indefensible groups.

    I agree. I’m also not sure why they want these people silenced. It seems many on the right want to pretend that racism totally ended back in the 60s and has no bearing on anything in the present day. That these people exist and that many people still feel the same way that people felt back in the days of Jim Crow is enlightening.

  114. “The ACLU has been and is representing the Unite the Right group on free speech grounds. As Scarlett stated above let the groups speak and show who they really are. ”

    I agree with this and support the ACLU as well. It is their constitutional right to assemble and show us who they are, whether I agree or not, until they commit a crime. Same goes for the Westboro Baptist Church, as truly deplorable as they are. Yes, they intend to intimidate, but they do have the right to have the government grant them a permit to gather.

    That said, in case it is unclear, I believe that Trump is a terrible and immoral person, and I am completely appalled yet unsurprised that he continues to mildly support these groups. His press conference yesterday was shockingly antagonistic and divisive as he has been since the beginning. I think the business leaders abandoning him are doing the right thing in both a personal and a business sense.

  115. Rhett, do you agree that, if people resort to violence, the righteousness of their cause doesn’t matter?

    Not at all. By that logic the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was wrong.

    Indeed all the rhetoric about the Second Amendment revolves around the right of the people to take up arms against a tyrannical government. I’m not really sure how to parse that logic however.

  116. Rhett, do you agree that, if people resort to violence, the righteousness of their cause doesn’t matter?

    So you agree that there should be no violent response — no military response — to Islamic militants here and abroad? Because violence is never, ever, ever justified? There is no such thing as a just war?

  117. “What actually happened?

    Here are several first-hand accounts of Saturday’s events in Charlottesville, collected from journalists, protesters and far-right ralliers who have published their accounts of what they saw that day.”

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-charlottesville-witnesses-20170815-story.html

    This is a good, and apparently even-handed, summary of the events in Virginia. Tl;dr — There were a lot of bad actors on the street from both sides.

  118. If you take up arms against your own government and civil society, you probably need to win (Washington, Paul Revere), or at least have history ultimately determine that you were correct (John Brown, Warsaw Ghetto).

    But that’s different than drone attacks on ISIS groups, who have clearly declared themselves to be at war with us.

  119. “The one argument that I don’t get is the “they want to erase history!!!””

    Yeah, I agree. I don’t really see the pro-statue removal push as one to erase history or pretend it was prettier than it really was.

    I would argue that the people who want to erase history are those who want to frame the Civil War as about things other than slavery (e.g., “states rights”….to own slaves, “economics”…of ending slavery), the people who wrote the plaques around the South at historic sites talking about “servant’s quarters”, those who don’t want to mention the slaves that built and worked at Mount Vernon and Monticello, and the like.

  120. “By that logic the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was wrong.”

    OK, I’ll give you that. In a wartime situation, in which the Nazis are trying to exterminate you, fighting fire with fire is not only justifiable but admirable.

    But in the United States in 2017, we’re not in that situation. Despite the suggestion that we should all be very afraid. If the voters in Charlottesville want to remove the Lee statue, there are legal remedies for doing so.

  121. In regards to how Trump goes off script, The Fresh Air podcast had Peter Baker form the NYT on July 27th. One of his points in interviewing Trump is that he goes off script but unlike other presidents he’s interviewed, Trump does not ramble on about a talking point but will drop some other piece of information that was not an answer to the asked question but was important to know. So in his prep work for a 10 minute interview, he decides the top five questions he wants answered. Then in the interview he will ask question X but Trump’s answer involves something important so now he is torn does he to back to his question or follow up with a different question. He did say that in that individual setting, he found Trump open to the interview and allowed him to interrupt him and such. He countered that with Obama where the rule was that you were never to interrupt under any circumstances so if Obama rambled with question 1 you were stuck and couldn’t get your other questions answered. I found it an interesting podcast about covering presidents.

  122. “I found it an interesting podcast about covering presidents.”

    While I disagree with the overall tone of the author’s assessment, there’s a fascinating, and very funny article in the current Harper’s Weekly about how President Trump developed his political skills in the realm of reality TV, and how perfectly those fit our current time. It’s not so much that he came in and changed everything as it is that he was the best positioned to take advantage of it.

  123. But in the United States in 2017, we’re not in that situation.

    And Germany wasn’t in that situation at first in the 1930s. How do you think the Nazis started? Like this.

  124. “the people who wrote the plaques around the South at historic sites talking about “servant’s quarters”, those who don’t want to mention the slaves that built and worked at Mount Vernon and Monticello, and the like.”

    Surely you’re not talking about any place in the past 20 years. At least half the focus these days is on the “enslaved people” (never “slaves”) who worked and spent their lives here.

    That said, two Christmases ago, we were at Williamsburg, and one of the docents, I think for the Randolph house, was a black scholar who was particularly focused on the slavery issue. I thought he was fine, if only a little bit strident. And he built up to the whole issue of what went on with some foreshadowing, and ultimately produced a copy of an advertisement for a “Negro Auction” which, of course, horrifically described in dehumanizing terms the people who would be offered for purchase and families separating.

    And still, there was at least one couple in the group who were put off by his tone, and she’s asking “But were they kind owners? Did they treat them well? You have to consider that, too!”

  125. But in the United States in 2017, we’re not in that situation.

    With out of control government agents getting away with extrajudicial killing? An argument could be made that is occurring. I find it interesting that BLM is claiming that out of control government agents are running amok and they are opposed by various militia groups who also believe government agents are running amok but at the same time they are equally sure that any BLM complaints are totally meritless.

  126. very funny article in the current Harper’s Weekly

    The one by Naomi Klein? (And do you mean just “Harper’s”? I think it’s a monthly. This is a genuine question since I may be thinking of the wrong magazine.)

  127. “And Germany wasn’t in that situation at first in the 1930s. How do you think the Nazis started? Like this.”

    No, not like this. Not at all.
    In a different country, with a very different legal structure, and in a completely different historical situation.

  128. “With out of control government agents getting away with extrajudicial killing?”

    Sorry, you lost me here.

  129. I will say this – while I think Trump is unhinged and a completely unfit President, and some of the things that the Justice Department is attempting are disturbing, so far, the checks-and-balances are really working as intended. I don’t think we are in 1930’s Germany. More like 1960’s and 1970’s America than anything else.

  130. “Maybe, as a nation, we’re lucky that our inevitable right-wing strongman phase only yielded an incompetent buffoon.”

  131. Sorry, you lost me here.

    What is the BLM all about? Isn’t it about out of control government agents getting away with extra-judicial killings?

  132. “What is the BLM all about? Isn’t it about out of control government agents getting away with extra-judicial killings?”

    Excessive force, or overreaction to a perceived threat, even if based on unfair racial bias, is not the same as extrajudicial killing, and certainly not in the sense that Hitler’s SS troops engaged in it.

    Honestly, sometimes you people have as little nuance as the right wing nut jobs with Obama/Hitler bumper stickers and Confederate license plates.

  133. Excessive force, or overreaction to a perceived threat, even if based on unfair racial bias, is not the same as extrajudicial killing, and certainly not in the sense that Hitler’s SS troops engaged in it.

    I’m not making that leap. I’m talking about BLM vs. various militia groups, the Jade Helm types, etc.

  134. The militia groups are nut jobs. To the extent that I think BLM has legitimate concerns, it’s based on a very understandable demand to not have black men unduly perceived as a threat to police based solely on their race. Now, if BLM is really out there saying that the cops are just out there looking to kill them, then I wouldn’t support them. But I don’t think that’s what most of their supporters feel.

    The unfortunate thing about BLM is that their members have often picked the wrong cases to stake their claims. Michael Brown was the wrong death to protest; perhaps if the video of his violent strong arm robbery moments before his encounter with the police officer had come out sooner, than the Fergusson riots could have been avoided.

    On the other hand, the North Charleston killing (Scott?) was pretty horrific, and at least from what we saw on the cell phone video, a drastically unnecessary escalation of force. But that whole incident met with relatively minor demonstrations.

    So then the main images and memories the public at large gets of BLM is of their protestors burning cars and looting stores to support some thug (and yes, Michael Brown was a thug) who violently stole from a convenience store and assaulted a police officer, and even the Obama Justice Department determined that the officer’s testimony was entirely consistent with the forensic evidence, and several eyewitnesses who claimed otherwise were not even present to see it.

    That’s the movement’s greatest tragedy. If they get organized, they need to be more selective about what they demonstrate for.

  135. I figure republicans are in the same position democrats would be in if, through a series on unlikely events, Bernie Sanders was elected. He’d make some comment about his plan to expropriate the deodorant industry and we’d be like what he really meant was stronger consumer protections. His staff would trot him out and he’d read from the teleprompter about consumer protections. Then the next day he’d go off on a tangent about his plan to expropriate the deodorant industry.

  136. “It was one of the biggest messes I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe it happened,” said Timpf, a co-host of “The Fox News Specialists.”

    “It is honestly crazy for me to have to comment on this right now because I’m still in the phase where I am wondering if it was actually real life — what I just watched.””

  137. “through a series on unlikely events, Bernie Sanders was elected”

    I don’t think it’s all that unlikely. One thing I’m sure of is that political parties have never, in at least the past 150 years, had such little control over electoral politics. When you consider that we didn’t even have presidential primaries until, what, the 1960s?! And we have a record number of Americans who refuse to identify with either major party, and what seems like a pretty high number who will swing from one to the other from one cycle to the next.

    Consider the fact that in recent elections, the major parties could
    1) barely nominate their clearly chosen Hillary Clinton in 2016
    2) not only fail to nominate JEB!, but fail to rally their people to their second choice, Little Marco, who himself had been an anti-party upstart in the senatorial race just one election earlier. (or their third choice…Kasich, or their fourth choice…)
    3) could not nominate their chosen Hillary Clinton in 2008
    4) iirc, McCain wasn’t ever the first choice of GOP establishment, but he got it in 2008
    5) iirc, I thought even John Kerry was considered a long shot in 2004. I think the DNC establishment (the Clintons) liked Wesley Clark.
    6) Ronald Reagan, 1980.

    Anyway, the voters have never been less interested in what their party recommends. I also think elections often are decided based on who we just like a little bit more (or dislike a little bit less), policies be damned.

    And I’ll tell you this, while we wouldn’t agree on too much, I just can’t help but like, I mean truly like, Bernie Sanders. And if I’m saying that, then you’d better GD believe that he could get elected.

  138. @Rhett – It didn’t have to be Bernie, who is a kook but at least has been in the Senate forever and has some sense of how the government works. It could have been Trump. It’s not like he’s actually a Republican or anything.

  139. “It’s not like he’s actually a Republican or anything.”

    At some point, if a President appoints conservative Republicans to his Cabinet and supports their implementation of Republican-style executive actions and reductions in regulations, if he nominates a conservative justice to the Supreme Court, and if he pushes for and signs the legislation that Republicans in the Congress and Senate send to him, and throughout all this he takes no real actions that are antithetical to the Republican platform, he’s actually a Republican.

  140. if he pushes for and signs the legislation that Republicans in the Congress and Senate send to him,

    He’s certainly not doing that in any constructive way.

    What I was struck by was his comment about military action in Venezuala. 1. There is no chance that’s going to happen. 2. He ran against this kind of interventionist nonsense. 3. His making the statement was the best thing that could have happened to Maduro.

    I assume you agree he’s just running his mouth and has no idea what he’s saying or what the repercussions will be.

  141. Anyway, the voters have never been less interested in what their party recommends.

    The evidence seems to be that republicans got a lot of mileage out of their quest to repeal Obamacare. But, it seems they knew that while the voters claimed they wanted it to happen they didn’t really want it to happen. I guess that goes for anything. You can campaign on slashing government spending but the reality is the government only spends money on what people really like – SS, Medicare and Defense. So while you got elected on a plan to slash spending you know you’d get voted out if you actually did it. It goes along with Churchill’s observation that nothing does more to undermine one’s faith in democracy more than a 5 min conversation with the average voter.

  142. lol.

    I don’t know anything about Venezuela. I think Trump often just runs his mouth, and sometimes I think there’s a method behind his madness, so it’s often a little bit of both. I actually think he handled the North Korean thing fine. One option is to do what Bill Clinton did: send Jimmy Carter over with a five billion dollar check in exchange for promises that NK had no intention of keeping, and give Carter the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

    Or you got Trump, who called their bluff. “OMG, he said there’d be ‘fire and fury'” Well he’s absolutely correct, there would be. Even the cerebral Mattis published a column telling them “You shoot first, it’s Game On.” And now they’ve abandoned their plans to strike Guam.

    Trump’s efforts at getting Congress to repeal Obamacare failed, but they were a lot more involved than what Obama did for the failed Cap and Trade, which seems quaint now, but it was a big issue in 2008, with even McCain tentatively favoring something of the sort. So without looking too much into that history, I’d say that’s a parallel issue of what politicians are elected to do vs. what voters actually want them to do.

  143. I also really thought we’d get some sort of additional gun control measures after Sandy Hook — something, smaller magazines for semi-auto rifles, symbolic even. But while President Obama talked about it, he really wasn’t the kind to push Congress much, and even the mildest measures were derailed by four senators from his own party.

  144. Churchill also said this:

    “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms”

    The man had a way with words.

  145. I actually think he handled the North Korean thing fine.

    I sort of agree and I can only imagine the NK underlings trying to figure out how to respond to anything but the carefully parsed statements from the past. On the other hand IIRC the Korean War started because Truman drew a circle on a map indicating our scope of influence and it didn’t include Korea. So I think there is a risk to running ones mouth.

  146. The home country goes through fits of getting rid of its colonial past. Many state governments have gone changed the names of cities back to the local pronunciation even though the said city probably didn’t exist prior to the pre colonial days.
    After the changes, what to do with the colonial statues of queens, lords riding on horseback, conquering the natives ? Well, without a fuss try to move it to some dusty historical society.
    Then replace colonial statues with native kings or statues of recently deceased politicians.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MGR_Memorial

  147. I can imagine them scrambling to watch old episodes of The Apprentice, or maybe his debate performances:

  148. That was in response to “can only imagine the NK underlings trying to figure out how to respond to anything but the carefully parsed statements”

  149. “Neo-Nazis and white nationalists are homesick. For all their violence and their rallies, they don’t really know how to get home, aren’t even sure what home they’re trying to get to; they just know this moment doesn’t feel like home. The stability of this country relies on the mainstream envisioning a future white supremacists can come home to. The vast majority of Americans must remind white supremacists that the past is not the only place to find comfort.
    This is why I believe the left must rely on its pacifist branch. Pacifists must speak up and invigorate activism.”

    I like that. St. Josemaria Escriva urged that “when confronted by evil we shall not reply with another evil,” but should “drown evil in an abundance of good.”

  150. I’m on vacation in Ivy’s hometown. I and my 12-year-old self is beyond ecstatic to see Hamilton tonight. I cannot get over the miracle that our country is and continues to be My heart has been filled up over these last few days being in a city full of diversity. And I know in my heart that we as a society continue to move towards a better future. I try to keep that in my heart instead of screaming at those who don’t denounce Nazis and the alt-right full stop. I give zero shits if BLM or Black Panthers or anybody else also does bad things in addition to Nazis or the alt-right. Why is it so hard to say that what they represent is wrong full stop? Why do we need to mention others who do wrong? Why is it so difficult to say that Nazis and the alt-right are bad?

  151. The thing that I find terrifying is the people he has hired. I hope Kelly and Mattis stick around because I don’t trust the Goldman cabal or the alt right Bannon, Gorka, and Miller. None of those people are there (excepting Tillerson, Mattis and Kelly) because they have sincerely held patriotic beliefs. They see a puppet in Trump.

    I am so angry that I have not unclenched my jaw since watching the press conference and don’t think I can speak to my trump-voting inlaws for a couple weeks. He is a terrible, terrible person and is not fit to hold office. I sincerely believe he is off his meds or possibly in early stage dementia. If I were his kid, he would be on a 72-hour hold in a mental hospital evaluating whether it’s time for memory care unit.

  152. http://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/08/16/faneuil-hall-name-change-boston-group/

    Did any local Bostonian here this story today?

    It brings up an interesting point… where do we draw the line? Only Civil War memorials? If we removal any and all founding fathers’ names who owned/traded slaves from buildings/monuments, we’d have a lot of work to do. I think Hamilton, Paine, and Adams would be the only “famous” names left. A number of presidents owned slaves (IIRC, Washington was the only one who freed his). Does owning slaves make these folks any less important in our history? And can we ask that question of the Civil War?

    This is an emotional issue. I’m asking the question scientifically, without emotion. How do we decide which historical figure is worthy of memorializing? Is slave ownership an automatic disqualification? For TCMama – who tells your story?

    TC – I’m super jealous and I hope you had a wonderful time! The soundtrack is on repeat around our house, and we’d love to see it but I fear when it hits our area tickets will be sold out or too expensive for our entertainment budget.

  153. Rhode – renaming never stops at one particular monument or place. It opens a whole flood gate. Lots of experience with this in the home country. With each successive generation or so, even the things that were renamed once before become objectionable and then it is deemed that they have to be renamed again.

  154. Anon – I agree that treason is vastly different from slave ownership.

    But that doesn’t change my question and Trump’s argument Tuesday that (paraphrasing) Washington owned slaves and therefore shouldn’t have his name memorialized. Was he citing a straw-man argument? I’m not so sure.

  155. @TCmama – I hope you had a great time!! We loved it – even the reluctant 9 year old who I catch singing some of the songs in the shower.

    I know we had this discussion on the main page. I draw a hard line, personally, at honoring treason. Honoring being the operative word – building majestic statues and naming schools and highways is different from memorializing battle fields and having a place to remember the horrors on both sides of the Civil War. Lee was obviously a hugely important figure in the history of this country, and we should not erase him or our history. I haven’t read much about him, but he also did good things for the US and for The South, and I don’t think we should erase that either. All our leaders were flawed and human.

    I have a hard time making clear distinctions otherwise. I would have a hard time sending my kid to a George Wallace Elementary School, but I see no problem with honoring Woodrow Wilson at Princeton. What does that mean? FDR was President when we interned Japanese Americans. Should we rename FDR Drive? What Andrew Jackson did to the Native Americans was horrific, but I would have sent my child to Andrew Jackson school without protest (a magnet school near me). Back in the 1800’s, they wouldn’t give Tyler a street in Chicago when they gave one to all the other Presidents because he fought for the Confederacy, and I’m okay with that. I just don’t know.

  156. Going forward, perhaps it would save a lot of future angst if the powers that be decided to name things after, say, geographical features, rather than people. It has taken decades for “Reagan National” to come trippingly off the tongue for DC-area residents. We had Cape Canaveral/Cape Kennedy/Cape Canaveral in Florida. There are far too many places and things named after people now deemed to have been imperfect — why not just agree that, unless it’s something truly egregious, we’ll have a freeze on statue removing/name changes and focus our energies on other matters.

  157. Personally, I really don’t understand renaming all of the streets and removing the monuments. If anything we should add the historical context – I am not a fan of erasing history. Add more information about the terrible things done. I didn’t understand how racist and segregationist this city was because people are awfully polite. We can’t pretend these things didn’t happen. I would rather there was attention focused on all of history.

  158. In Dallas, there is a highway and school named after a mayor that served in the 1950’s and 1960’s who was a prominent Klansman. There is a statue of him at the park where the state fair is held, a state fair that used to have Klansmen Day. The white people visiting the fair didn’t like seeing the poor black people in their shacks so the city granted eminent domain to buy up all of their houses (in the 1960’s!!) and pave over it for more parking and distance the poor people from public view. Whites that owned land were paid 10x what they paid black families in the taking process. Black families who tried to move into white neighborhoods. This neighborhood, only 3 miles from downtown and adjacent to an enormous park with beautiful Art Deco buildings has an unemployment rate of 50%. When Kennedy arrived in Dallas, the wealthy people here were protesting his presence because of his stance on civil rights. This history informs the present.

  159. The decision of which monuments to erect or tear down is a local issue if ever there was one. Why should out-of-towners care if democratically elected officials choose to remove a statue from the town square? This is a just another wedge issue being used to divide us, and Trump is exploiting it to the hilt. If we keep re-litigating the last civil war, we will end up with another one. Sadly, I am beginning to think it is unavoidable.

  160. I am (at least to everyone but the white supremacists) white. I don’t have a negative gut reaction to memorials to the fallen on both sides of the War between the States (sic) – I grew up south of the Mason Dixon line, although Maryland was not in the Confederacy. Confederate flags have symbolism that does make me uncomfortable. I don’t like heroic statues of any generals on principle. But I am not descended from African tribespeople captured, transported and sold, so it is not my place to tell those descendants what symbols of the slave period and the war to preserve it are offensive.

    I am, however, descended from an historically persecuted religious minority, with 4000 years of cycles with periods of acceptance in majority society, even prominence, interspersed among the default state of geographic and economic isolation, and of course, periods of persecution, expulsion from the country of residence and genocide. So don’t tell me that European origin “Christian” civilization has advanced to a period where it can’t happen again. 80 years is last month in the context of 4000. So don’t tell me what is offensive and perceived as dangerous to me and mine.

    It is of course unlikely that a fascist full throat nativist regime will be established in the US. The President, while emboldening the fringe right by his tolerance of extreme views in return for support, has made things worse by mainstreaming a lot of heretofore unacceptable hate speech and actions. But he is not a young handsome demagogue with good handlers and self control. He is not the one to usher in a new era while we all sleep. But it will be pretty bad in the interim, and if he does quit mid term in a fit of pique, we will all hope that Mike Pence focusses on getting the government running again and not on a narrow political and/or religious agenda that will look more reasonable to a relieved nation in context.

  161. But it will be pretty bad in the interim, and if he does quit mid term in a fit of pique, we will all hope that Mike Pence focusses on getting the government running again and not on a narrow political and/or religious agenda that will look more reasonable to a relieved nation in context.

    This is my concern. As much as I think Trump is psychotic, Pence scares the crap out of me because he has the political savvy to actually advance his ultra-conservative agenda.

  162. Leaving aside the question whether Pence actually has an “ultra-conservative agenda,” if he is able to advance that agenda by persuading Congress to pass legislation that will survive judicial challenges, what’s the problem? Isn’t that how a democracy works?

    If Obama had used his own political savvy to do the same, rather than using his pen and phone to issue executive orders that Trump can just as easily undo, Trump/Pence would have a much more difficult task.

  163. ” if he is able to advance that agenda by persuading Congress to pass legislation that will survive judicial challenges, what’s the problem? Isn’t that how a democracy works?”

    I don’t think that’s true for democracies in general. I don’t think that all have the checks against tyranny of the majority that we have.

    But even the process of passing legislation that deprives minorities of rights, and having it overturned judicially, would be a problem for the affected minorities in the interim.

  164. if he is able to advance that agenda by persuading Congress to pass legislation that will survive judicial challenges, what’s the problem?

    DD doesn’t think a conservative agenda is a good idea would be the problem, I would guess.

  165. Leaving aside the question whether Pence actually has an “ultra-conservative agenda,” if he is able to advance that agenda by persuading Congress to pass legislation that will survive judicial challenges, what’s the problem? Isn’t that how a democracy works?

    The problem is I think that agenda would be really bad for the country, like Rhett said.

  166. “unless it’s something truly egregious”

    I agree, I think, with the spirit of your comment. Now we can haggle out the definition of “truly egregious”.
    – how does that differ from just plain old egregious? (reminds me of the disclaimer you hear on every sports telecast “rebroadcast without express written permission is strictly prohibited”. Is that different than just “prohibited”? As George Carlin said in his airline bit “extra word to sound important”.)
    – possibilities of egregious acts: treason, slave-owning, high crimes and misdemeanors etc etc

  167. Fred, yes, the devil is in the details. (Truly egregious just sounds better than ordinary egregious.)

    As someone else mentioned earlier, it should usually be the decision of the local community. And because we all have feet of clay, the bar should be fairly high for removal or renaming, IMO. There may be some pacificists who sincerely find every tribute to a soldier or commemorating a battle to be offensive. You can’t make everyone happy, but that is true for everything that the government does. The art of compromise seems have been lost on both sides of these contentious issues.

  168. So news outlets are reporting that NYT is reporting that Bannon is out but I can’t get behind the paywall of NYT to confirm. Anyone have details?

  169. President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

    The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.

    As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

    Mr. Bannon had clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers and members of the president’s family.

    But the loss of Mr. Bannon, the right-wing nationalist who helped propel some of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises into policy reality, raises the potential for the president to face criticism from the conservative news media base that supported him over the past year.

    Mr. Bannon’s many critics bore down after the violence in Charlottesville. Outraged over Mr. Trump’s insistence that “both sides” were to blame for the violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally, leaving one woman dead, human rights activists demanded that the president fire so-called nationalists working in the West Wing. That group of hard-right populists in the White House is led by Mr. Bannon.

    On Tuesday at Trump Tower in New York, Mr. Trump refused to guarantee Mr. Bannon’s job security but defended him as “not a racist” and “a friend.”

  170. A comment from Vox today about POTUS in an article about how most of what he says via interview, news conference or twitter has no legal force, is ignored by the executive branch and the military, and is no longer in his mind after a day or two.

    American politics is hurtling toward a very strange place. The President of the United States is clearly unfit for the job, but the good news, to the extent that there is good news, is that everyone around him knows it, and he is willing to be sidelined as long as no one takes away his phone. Whether he is being marginalized by his own administration or choosing to marginalize himself I don’t know, but Bannon’s ouster is another piece of evidence that Trump is interested in Twitter, not Trumpism.

  171. I hope my prediction that Trump would be an impotent figurehead, and not the instigator of war with North Korea, ends up coming to pass.

  172. Used to lurk – I just read about carvings of Confederate leaders in granite on a mountainside near Atlanta. No idea how they’d get rid of those (if they wanted to), so my idea is to send all the unwanted statues there. Sort of a fallen heroes/ traitors park people could visit and make what they will lot of it. In Gail Collins’ NYT column today, she suggested have a sunset period on statues so folks could periodically vote to keep, remove or replace statues. I like that idea too.

Comments are closed.