Trump in Exile

Oct 14, 2016

By Sam Harris

It is a cliché, of course, to claim that a presidential election is the most important in living memory. But we arrived at that point in the 2016 campaign many months ago, when both sides declared their opponent unqualified for office. Unfortunately, this time the cliché is true, and one side is actually right. A choice this stark proves that there is something wrong with our political system.

Hillary Clinton is a terribly flawed candidate for the presidency, and this has allowed millions of otherwise sane Americans to imagine that she is less fit for office than Donald Trump is. Much depends on a majority of the electorate seeing through this moral and political illusion in the weeks ahead.

To consider only one point of comparison: We have now witnessed Donald Trump bragging about his sexual predations in terms that not even Satan himself could spin to his advantage. He has admitted to repeatedly groping women, kissing them on the mouth without their consent, and invading the dressing rooms of teenage pageant contestants to see them naked. Every day, more women come forward confirming the truth of these confessions. Trump has even said that he would have sex with his own daughter, were she the offspring of another man. He talks about his libido as only a malignant narcissist can: as though it were a wonder of nature, a riddle no mortal can solve, and a blessing to humanity.


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108 comments on “Trump in Exile

  • That Trump will never be POTUS should be obvious. And yet…

    Democrats are notoriously apathetic when it comes to voting, and Republicans the exact inverse.

    Millennials (that vote) still smarting over Bernie have backed Johnson, I can only guess because he gets high.

    Anyone who complacently says this election is wrapped up needs some cold water splashed in their face.

    Trump is already calling on his minions to “guard” the polling locations, and is priming for plan B: it’s rigged!



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  • Winners tell jokes; losers cry “foul”.

    Trump has postured already as the loser. He has handed Clinton the election and history will remember him as an absolute piece of shit. I would not be at all surprised if when she wins, he walks out of the wings and hugs her and hollers “gotcha” to the entire Republican party. He is the perfect foil and villain. they just think he’s “their” villain. He’s not, the GOP got CHUMPED — or should I say “TRUMPED”. He will do anything to save face and claiming collusion with Clinton (after the fact) would allow him to do that. you heard it here.



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  • Anyone who says that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to undermine US companies’ competitiveness is a fool, – or being very dishonest. Now who else can we include ? Off the top of my head, Rubio, Inhoff, Carson, Kaisch, Bush, Perry, and others whose names escape me for the moment. Hell I nearly forgot God’s chosen one Cruz ! Yon Ted has a lean and hungry look !



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  • Vicki

    Your red flag is well taken. I’ve been waving it for about a year now…get laughed at…but…you know…”water-off-an old-duck’s-back”…quack, quack.

    What I dread the most is the notion that all we have to rely on for this very dangerous game, in late stage, is that our only retreat is : Hope.

    Hope that a fickle American electorate will not push America over the precipice, while the Darkness unfolds and completes it’s cycle of cultural regression and suicide.

    And on that cheery note, I ain’t so sure Billary will not do her share of precipice-pushing, by dint of deception or simple incompetence. Her past (and current) posturing is the fundamental core reason why the election of Trumper has become a clear and present danger…

    What choice are we really left with ? Chaos, or an incipient, corrosive mediocrity over the next 8 years.

    These are the desperate choices of a failing culture.

    Not a successful culture.



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  • @James #4

    I have more faith in Clinton. She’s a professional politician who knows how to wheel and deal; not exactly the most flattering trait at first glance, but in fact that’s how Washington works.

    For the last 8 years there’s been little to no collaboration between the parties, and often within the parties. It seems everyone’s falling over themselves to get to the farthest right or left. She’s a moderate. That position appeals to me greatly (it could be my age). I am sick to death of the partisan politics.

    Will I get everything I want? No. Will “they” get everything they want? No. It’s called compromise, and in a nation made up of such a colorful bunch as ours, that, IMO, is the best route to go.



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  • Hillary Clinton is a terribly flawed candidate for the presidency. —Sam Harris

    And you are a terribly flawed man too, Harris. How is she flawed? Are you a historian? Stick to atheism and religion and neurobiology. And who isn’t flawed? Shut up and pray that Trump isn’t elected. Sick of this stupidity. Obama care, for example. would have been better, but certain provisions, and the public option, were blocked by the Republicans. Now they blame the Democrats for cost of premiums and want it repealed and replaced with a more private, for-profit system.

    Her’s a good objective endorsement:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hillary-clinton-for-president/2016/10/12/665f9698-8caf-11e6-bf8a-3d26847eeed4_story.html?utm_te

    Bernie’s supporters for Johnson! Ha. That is proof of complete ignorance. Johnson is all for everything Sanders is against!!!

    Trump all along has been a clinically self-involved con man who never took the issues, the presidency or the future of our country seriously. Can there be any doubt that his campaign is a branding exercise gone, quite literally, mad? He is attacking the press now, like a good neo-fascist.

    As for the latest controversy (and subsequent accusations):

    The problem with his surrogates’ argument is that he thinks it matters, that it is material, what Trump thinks about, what Trump does, but fortunately, in a sane world, a world that puts law and ethics above the will of powerful individuals, that does not matter. Who cares what goes on in the mind of Trump. We need objective standards of ethical and legal behavior. Trump crossed that line. He was describing his participation in sexual assault. I don’t give a shit if fucking Trump thinks he is justified in what he says or fucking does. He crossed the line anyone who could possibly entertain any other opinion is an apologist in his pay or has their head so far up their own fucking ass they are mistaking the shit floating by for reality.

    http://www.forwardprogressives.com/debunking-anti-hillary-clinton-myths-lies-conspiracies/



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  • Even if some of these latest allegations are false (and I am not saying that they are) now Trump may know what it is like to be plagued with false or distorted accusations. That is what the Clintons (especially HRC) have had to endure, but on a much larger scale and for decades, and Hillary never responded with anger or vitriol, but bore it with resignation and dignity. Perfect justice. I love it. Welcome to politics, Trump, you lightweight amateur, you sick bully, you fraud, you huckster, you neo-fascist.



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  • @ Vicki

    …I can only say that I strongly believe our cultural/social/political landscape has been busy “compromising” itself to death…To neglect the real danger of mediocre politics, slowing sucking dry the spiritual and scientific enlightenment of my generation, is no less that a recipe for slow death.

    Just take a brief look at the dangers facing the Millennials : Digital addiction, passing for “creativity”; creative stagnation in the form of commercial creative “compromise”; the very real threat of runaway A.I. on the foreseeable horizon; the distaste and mistrust of science; the wholesale rejection of critical thinking; the dumbing-down of the education of our children…There’s a host of harbingers out there that wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to see…

    My mother’s family crest motto :

    “Dum Spiro Spero”

    But if “hope” is all we’ve got to play, we’re in serious trouble, not just as a country, but as a species.



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  • Quote (Sam Harris) :

    Blockquote

    Every day, more women come forward confirming the truth of these confessions.

    Blockquote

    …I’m at a risk playing the Devil’s Advocate here, but I am loath to extend any credit to the carnival of confirmation bias now saturating the idiot winds of the commercial media. (Bless you Bob Dylan)…The fact that PBS and all the other once “high brow” legitimate purveyors of “truth”.

    Confirmation bias, Sam…It surprises me that you haven’t picked up on that. Do we dare venture into that tempting foray of crediting, and passing final judgment, for sexually ambiguous crimes that one devil admits to, yet forget the same ambiguity and dastardly sexual misdeeds committed, but barely admitted to, from our past political “heros” ?? Had J.F.K, or Billie-Boy Clinton himself, been subjected to the same confirmation bias of the current commercial and Internet carnage, would they have ever been considered suitable for the Presidency ?

    Quote :

    Blockquote

    A choice this stark proves that there is something wrong with our political system.

    Blockquote

    The rift and plunder of the American psyche run far deeper than our “political system”…We’re in trouble. Big trouble. Started with Reagan.

    It will end with this “election”.

    It will take just a little more time for a clueless electorate to take notice. When it’s too late.



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  • “Hillary Clinton will almost certainly be the next president of the United States. And, with any luck, she will usher in four years of exquisite boredom.”

    “Hillary Clinton is a terribly flawed candidate for the presidency, and this has allowed millions of otherwise sane Americans to imagine that she is less fit for office than Donald Trump is.”

    No one has anything nice to say about Hillary, including Harris. (He’s against Trump. Congrats!) Sexism? I think she’s a terrific candidate and will be an effective leader. That’s a prediction.



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  • @James #8

    My mother’s family crest motto :

    “Dum Spiro Spero”

    But if “hope” is all we’ve got to play, we’re in serious trouble, not
    just as a country, but as a species.

    Great crest motto! I wish my family had one. (sad, wistful face)

    Personally, I see a president as more of a rudder for the direction of a country. And frankly, I’m tickled pink with Clinton’s platform. Unlike the Republican’s regressive and reactive platform, it dares to look into the future. Again, do I expect every item on it to come to fruition? No. But neither do I expect my elected representative to save me from the social ills that surround me. *Note: but I do expect her to deal effectively with the global ills that threaten me.

    https://www.demconvention.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Democratic-Party-Platform-7.21.16-no-lines.pdf



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  • Dan #7
    Oct 14, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Even if some of these latest allegations are false (and I am not saying that they are) now Trump may know what it is like to be plagued with false or distorted accusations.

    I think the record shows, that knee-jerk assertions and knee-jerk denials, are pretty much a standard response from T-rump!



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  • Vicki

    Great crest motto! I wish my family had one. (sad, wistful face)

    How about this one?!

    Sapere aude

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

    Sapere aude is the Latin phrase meaning “Dare to know”; and also is loosely translated as “Dare to be wise”. Originally used in the First Book of Letters (20 BCE), by the Roman poet Horace, the phrase Sapere aude became associated with the Age of Enlightenment, during the 17th and 18th centuries, after Immanuel Kant used it in the essay, “Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment?” (1784). As a philosopher, Kant claimed the phrase Sapere aude as the motto for the entire period of the Enlightenment, and used it to develop his theories of the application of Reason in the public sphere of human affairs.



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  • An ex boss of mine used to quote his old RAF motto:-

    Per Ardua ad Astra (“Through adversity to the stars”)

    and its spoof alternative.

    Per Ardua ad Asbestos – which is more Trump-like, and claimed to mean; “blow your adversity – I’m fire-proof”!



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  • Dan #17
    Oct 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Wanting to “investigate the investigation” of Hillary,

    That is a standard tactic of doubt-mongering and asserting the need to debate some pseudo-controversy!

    It’s like muppet Smith needing to investigate climate scientists at NASA – AFTER he has been given the data he is too scientifically illiterate to read!

    The investigation did not meet the requirements of his denials, wish-thinking, or delusional preconceptions, so an assertion is made that this needs to be “investigated” into how this “failure to confirm his views”, came about!
    ( He couldn’t posssssibbbly be wrronnnggg! – so it must be a conspiracy!!!)



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  • Everyone—

    Knee jerk reactions

    That would be okay Alan, if that was all it was. But he is more calculating; has a team of highly skilled people working for him. Not all knee jerk reactions. He has someone named Bannon running his campaign. Bannon is a thug, a degenerate, and one of the most dangerous political operatives in the US. Trump has used this latest issue to attack “the media”, the Republicans, the Democrats, the FBI – you name it – as his enemy and his supporters’ enemy. That, I understand, is Bannon. Us and against the word.

    Trump is not a Republican; he is worse, is leading a radical insurgency.

    Wanting to “investigate the investigation” of Hillary, to prosecute and jail Hillary, is reminiscent of Mussolini, and is usually the kind of thing we associate with corrupt third world politics. Probably Bannon’s influence there too. Trump is surrounded by, and being guided, to a large extent, by highly skilled operatives, propagandists and thugs (as was Hitler).

    He is far more dangerous than people think.

    “…I can only say that I strongly believe our cultural/social/political landscape has been busy “compromising” itself to death…”

    What? James, the Republicans block everything! Too much compromise, yes, but Obama was forced into that! Don’t blame both parties.

    James, get off the fence and vote for Trump. He will make America great again. Aren’t you tired of politics as usual?

    And “Billary” is not a nice term. Bill was a good president and Hillary is a strong and resilient and brilliant person who does care and who has been maligned. Come on, who would you rather have, Bill Clinton or someone like Trump or creationists Pence, Cruz, and Carson? Where’s your sense of proportion?

    LaurieB Steven007 ’24!



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  • LaurieB Steven007 ’24!

    They would have my vote, but I foresee another birther movement regarding Steven.

    Laurie: Love the motto! Now I just need a helmet and crest…



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  • Dan #17
    Oct 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    That would be okay Alan, if that was all it was. But he is more calculating; has a team of highly skilled people working for him. Not all knee jerk reactions. He has someone named Bannon running his campaign. Bannon is a thug, a degenerate, and one of the most dangerous political operatives in the US.

    Well! – Every sponsored wooden political puppet, has to have a ventriloquist with a hand up their backs working their mouths!

    Of course, like creationists mindlessly quoting from a (blind them with) “science cannot answer list”, – they are totally at a loss when someone who understands the subject, debunks their claims, – but that sails right on by without contacting any brain-cells, as those who did not understand the question they asked, do not understand the answer it produces!



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  • You’re too kind Dan. I can’t wait until this embarrassment of a campaign season is over. I do have to query @ Vicki why you see another birther movement re: me. Unless you’re pointing to another Steven?!

    Trump is clearly a total, utter disaster in seemingly every way imaginable. Imagine any one of the ‘respectable’ candidates having just one of his many scandals/implosions. They would be done in 5 minutes. And now he’s having his Cosby moment as more and more victims come out of the woodwork and of course he denies everything even though he has stated on tape that he’s done and will do the very things they accuse him of! Incredible. That his racist and misogynistic cronies prop him up and keep him afloat is reprehensible and again, just embarrassing. Hillary was my second choice in 2008 (after Jon Huntsman and before Obama) but she was my #1 the entire time in 2016. There just wasn’t/isn’t anyone else near as qualified.



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  • @ Vicki

    “She’s a professional politician”

    That’s the problem.

    But that is not the only problem. My beef with Billary (who postures quite deceptively as a “feminist”, yet still clings to philandering hubby’s namesake in the service of her own unabashed greed and ambition…) entails almost exclusively (almost, I said) with the fact that she’s a war monger…Let’s see…Hummm…she did vote for the Iraq War, yes ? An instinct that some feminists falsely attribute solely to men.

    She’s made it VERY clear that she is and will continue to be a war monger, keeping us and the bulk of the American economy entangled in the bottomless Middle East Tar Pit. Her close association (“friendship”) with Henry Kissinger and her secretive ties with Wall Street and DOD “defense” contractors speaks volumes to her intent when she is elected. This is not rocket science.

    Last night on PBS a very cogent, well centered billionaire, Tom Barrack, put on a very plausible defense of what I’ve been saying all along (I promise : No “conspiracy” !) :

    Would Trump disrupt the economy? This billionaire hopes so
    PBS NewsHour‎ – 21 hours ago
    Billionaire Tom Barrack, who made his fortune as a real estate investor, is a long-standing …

    PAUL SOLMAN: (Voiceover narration) "But to Tom Barrack, Hillary Clinton is part of the economic system and that system is broken:

    over-indebted, over bureaucratized, overregulated, overtaxed —
    problems papered over by a Federal Reserve that’s printed too much
    money.”

    PAUL SOLMAN To TOM BARRACK : Are you saying that the economy, the
    United States economy is a mirage? The extent to which things look
    good, markets look good? Unemployment is down? TOM BARRACK: Of course,
    it’s artificial stimulation and an illusion. PAUL SOLMAN: And it’s
    going to end catastrophically? TOM BARRACK: My belief is, unless
    something happens, it will end catastrophically, one way or the other.
    PAUL SOLMAN: And so, the, something that would prevent it from
    happening would be? TOM BARRACK: A disruption. PAUL SOLMAN: Like Mr.
    Trump’s election. TOM BARRACK: Yes. PAUL SOLMAN: And, is that what’s
    fundamentally driving you economically? TOM BARRACK: Absolutely.
    Absolutely. A hundred percent. So, I think whoever the next president
    is, it’s going to be high on their list, and that Congress will pay
    attention this time. And that they’ll move it. It’ll move 15 degrees
    with one, seven degrees with the other, but I think the debate will
    have done a good job of getting them to move period.

    DISRUPTION !…Like I said : Chaos, Disruption’s “evil” twin…

    But unlike Tom Barrack’s quiet optimism, I say if HRC wins, we will have continued stagnation and suffocating mediocrity. If The Magic Man wins, we will have chaos.

    You best be prepared for either outcome.



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  • @Alan4

    “I think the record shows, that knee-jerk assertions and knee-jerk
    denials, are pretty much a standard response from T-rump!”

    Carefully listen to the Jeffrey Brown interview of billionaire Tom Barrack, a friend of Trump, and see if you come back with the same opinion.

    Trump is a showman. A “Magic Man”. That is self-evident. According to Barrack, a very calm and well-centered billionaire, there is the other side of Trump that he rarely shows to the “Idiot Wind” commercial cesspool that passes for “the media” on this side of the Atlantic. Food for thought.



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  • @Dan

    “Who cares what goes on in the mind of Trump. We need objective
    standards of ethical and legal behavior. Trump crossed that line.”

    …Really ? “objective standards” and “legal behavior”…You mean like : The media. Our current broken “legal” system ? Not familiar with your habitat. Are you living here Stateside now.

    You believe Americans are not already accustomed to chaos ? Trump would not be a problem in this moment of time, were it not for the fundamental instability of the American electorate. Sorry to disappoint…



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  • @ James, if “continued stagnation and suffocating mediocrity” means four more years of an Obama type presidency, my response is “yes, please!”, particularly given the alternative. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you lean towards that wisdom as well given the alternative. The word chaos means “complete disorder and confusion”, so I can’t see how that’s even a viable alternative.

    As for your opening implying that being a “professional politician” is somehow a problem, my response to that is that’s what presidents and leaders do: politics. i.e., they govern. This is where political experience is not only good, it’s a requirement. If you need a root canal you don’t call your plumber. The president is a politician by nature and requirement. She’s a politician. He’s a failed businessman who was born on 3rd base and thinks he hit a triple. And that he’s entitled to kiss every cheerleader regardless of what they might want.



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  • @Dan

    “James, get off the fence and vote for Trump. He will make America
    great again. Aren’t you tired of politics as usual?”

    Nope, sorry Dan. I’m voting for my Netherland Dwarf Rabbit. He’s smarter than all of them…A “non vote” is actually a vote in this fragmented culture. It is a vote of “no confidence” in today’s political cesspool.

    That’s what freedom is really about. The ability to say “NO !”

    “And “Billary” is not a nice term. Bill was a good president and
    Hillary is a strong and resilient and brilliant person who does care
    and who has been maligned.”

    “Billary” was not always pejorative…Don’t know if you were old enough, but when I voted for Slick Willie while living the life in San Francisco, my buddy went behind my back and placed a “Clinton/Gore” bumper-sticker to the rear of my new van. I later made it clear to my friend that, “No…I’m not really voting for Clinton, I’m voting for ‘Billary’…because she’s obviously the smarter of the two…”…LOL… My friend concurred.

    Times have changed. And so has my “Billary”. She’s what’s known to my generation as a “sell out”. And she’s buried deep in Washingtonian “mindset”. Very deep.

    “Come on, who would you rather have, Bill Clinton or someone like
    Trump or creationists Pence, Cruz, and Carson? Where’s your sense of
    proportion?”

    Proportion ?…I’m still growing, Dan Not standing still. The…uh…”proportion” you speak to was cannibalized and sabotaged by an insane American electorate who elected a third rate actor for “President”…Sorry…Can’t preach to me about “proportion”…

    Been there. Done that.



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  • James Ballard #22
    Oct 15, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    @Alan4

    Carefully listen to the Jeffrey Brown interview of billionaire Tom Barrack, a friend of Trump, and see if you come back with the same opinion.

    I am English, so have the dubious privilege of paying US taxes on my US investments, but have no vote in your election.

    Our own political “Trump equivalent” whimsical Brexiteers, against most of the expert advice, have introduced their “Emperor’s New Clothes type isolationist utopian economics”, and consequently reduced the value of the pound and our overseas purchasing capability by about 17% so far.

    I suppose, looking on the bright side, I now get more pounds for my US dollar cheques!



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  • Steven007 #24
    Oct 15, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    As for your opening implying that being a “professional politician” is somehow a problem, my response to that is that’s what presidents and leaders do: politics. i.e., they govern. This is where political experience is not only good, it’s a requirement.

    Ah! but professionalism and professional expertise is a serious problem for Republicans!

    I mean – you wouldn’t find Lamar Smith seeking advice from professional scientists – while as you know, Supreme court judges have to be appointed on the basis of their political and religious affiliations – not their legal experience, honesty, or knowledge of the law!



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  • @ “Steven07”

    “The word chaos means “complete disorder and confusion”, so I can’t
    see how that’s even a viable alternative.”

    …We’re commenting on a blog that clearly supports all the sciences, including cosmology. Without getting to deep on this format, some Eastern schools (not the WOO sects) of philosophy posit that without chaos, there is no order. Most physicists that I’ve read about seem to concur that our universe is, indeed, a spawn of chaos…you know, the old Chinese Yin/Yang…

    My point is : Perspective, not “proportion”, is the applicable term here.

    We sit here pasted to our computer screens while the world goes hungry. Suffering is the hallmark of humanity. Your humanity. Our humanity. You say HRC is going to make it one step better. A woman so ensconced in a corrupted and broken system, I’d be amazed if she could tie her shoe strings, if she has any….

    Now comes Trump. And we all act surprised and horrified of his presence. Don’t you get it ? It’s a Cosmic joke. We’ve brought this upon ourselves. Just step back for a moment from your TV screen and try to filter OUT (!!) all the commercial garbage and “political” blabbering that’s been dumped into our heads. Tell me that our media has no MONETARY vested interest in Billary winning the election ??…Tell me that those sterile, humanoid, Wall- Street-corporate-supported-TV-Yuppies aren’t trying desperately to distract and mislead us, solely by dint of their own agendas. They’ve gone absolutely cuckoo. They are now obsessed and consumed by the prurience, handed to them by Trump, The Magic Man. They have SUCCEEDED in sharing their obsessive greed for ratings with us, and expect us to jump in : lockstep. There’s no such thing as “objective journalism” anymore, not even on PBS.

    “This is where political experience is not only good, it’s a
    requirement. If you need a root canal you don’t call your plumber.”

    False equivalence. I’ll always need a plumber.

    Try to imagine a foreseeable future when there is no need for politicians at all. The evolutionary baggage of chaotic genes we’ve inherited form our primitive ancestors will no longer apply :

    Leader ? What’s a leader ?

    You need to look outside your sphere occasionally. We all do. It’s tough, but I do it all the time and my feet are still on the ground, thank you.

    I’ve fought religious fanatics all my life. My home is in a state governed by very ignorant munchkins.

    Tell me why HRC was reportedly so “happy” about her selection of Kaine. Tell me she’s not pandering.

    She’s smooth manipulator, very much like Trump. Just more subtle. Beneath the veneer.



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  • @ James

    I live in the US.

    Trump admitted to sexual assault.

    Yes, we need criminal justice reform. The media is a problem for everyone. What’s your take on the media? Not sure what you are talking about when you say The Media. What precisely are you referring to and what precisely do you object to? Some coverage is good. Most is bad. No real journalism. But the media is serving mom and pop: The Corporation. That is why the media loves Trump. ($) He’s so ungrateful. Free exposure and air-time almost 24-7. Every politician’s dream.

    Montel Williams, the radio talk-show host, a serious, intelligent man with a military background, was being interviewed by some air-head, some gleeful, corporate-owned performer on MSNBC, about the candidates. He supports Hillary, and was talking about funding for vets. The air-head interrupted him and asked him about the “trust issue”. He said that that is just a game played by the networks for ratings. She got all defensive, like lying idiots do, and Montel then said: “It’s a game, now let’s move on!”

    They keep repeating the “trust issue” and emails. That’s what gets ratings. They need something to discuss and debate. And it is hurting the country. The TV news media is awful. (The internet is a mixed bag. You have to dig and – dare i say it – discriminate.) But I like Joy Reid and Laurence O’Donnell. A few others. The best get fired. They will probably be fired too eventually.

    I like Bill Moyers, by the way. A gem. You can still find real journalists.

    Notice how Moyers and Noam Chomsky are never on MSNBC? Bad for business. So don’t tell me about the liberal media (if that is what you mean by “media”); that’s almost an oxymoron.

    The Times and NPR is pretty good. What do you read, watch?

    Trump is (now) a staunch reactionary, a climate change denier, supports religious freedom (discrimination), school “choice” (the dismantling of public education), praises Hussein’s counter-terrorism, is a demagogue and a liar, is dishonest and a hypocrite (defended Bill in the 90s, strongly supported intervention in Libya and was not opposed to the war with Iraq), wants to lower taxes only for the wealthy, is a failed business man who stiffs his employees and lost a billion dollars in one year, won’t release tax returns, wants to appoint supreme court judges who will overturn roe v wade, makes one insane, irresponsible comment after another, is an autocrat, probably has business ties to Russia, wants to repeal Obamacare and completely privatize health care (back to no more coverage for people w/ pre-existing conditions!!), wants to scrap the Iran deal, said we should “take the oil” which is illegal and impossible, led the birther thing till the bitter end, still thinks the exonerated “central park five” are guilty, etc.

    How much can the media hurt him? All they have to do is quote him.

    I am sure he is calm and well-centered at times. Who gives a flying fuck?

    (I left you a reply on the climate denial thread. I liked you comment.)

    Not voting in this election is not a vote of no confidence; it is just bad judgment.

    Sold out. Give me an example of how campaign contributions have affected any decisions that she’s made. Show me the evidence. Perhaps they have, but on her worst day she is a hundred times better than Trump. Proportion.

    I am fifty-four. I didn’t like the term Billary then either.



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  • @ Dan

    I have to log off soon because I’m supposed to be working my turf.

    “That is why the media loves Trump”

    Are you joking ? The “media” loves RATINGS, not Trump.

    Montel’s OK by me; I just don’t watch much commercial TV. I believe I did see that bit on MSNBC…They’re all airheads. But more importantly, they do what they’re told. The corporate mandate trumps everything (pardon the pun), and if you’re a media employee, you’d better stay in lockstep or your gone. The commercial media stage is littered with the carcasses of pretty yuppie wannabe “journalists” who either got too old, or refused the insane loctstep march toward oblivion. Ironic, would you not say ? Now these same Yuppie clones are complaining about the dastardly sexual misdeeds of Trumper, while at the same time, the corporate media agenda is to showcase youth and covert (yet no so “covert”) sexuality as their stock ‘n trade…Such hypocrisy ! Are you kidding me ? They hate Trump. They hate Trump, because, now, on a day to day basis, they project their own prurience, and feign offence if it is suggested they are hardly better than Trump !

    Moyers is great. Eric Sevareid was better. Can’t stand Chomsky. Meanders too much. His speeches are boring. Put me to sleep.

    “What do you read, watch?”

    Jebus. You want a list ? Pretend I’m Sarah Palin and that I don’t read. That’ll keep you satisfied.

    “How much can the media hurt him? All they have to do is quote him.”

    Yeah well they’ve been “quoting him” for over a year now, and he’s taken out his due revenge and maneuvered his way into the “Wall-of-White” GOPer Party. I’d say he’s faring reasonably well, his dastardly sexual trespasses notwithstanding. (Gee, I wonder who else shares the same bed with him ???)

    “calm and well-centered”

    …Was referring to his friend, Tom Barrack. Did you hear him last night ?

    Have to go now.



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  • @ Steven007 24

    As for your opening implying that being a “professional politician” is somehow a problem, my response to that is that’s what presidents and leaders do: politics. i.e., they govern. This is where political experience is not only good, it’s a requirement. If you need a root canal you don’t call your plumber. The president is a politician by nature and requirement. She’s a politician. He’s a failed businessman who was born on 3rd base and thinks he hit a triple. And that he’s entitled to kiss every cheerleader regardless of what they might want.

    Very true. And funny. Bravo, Steven.



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  • @ Alan04

    …Doesn’t help the art trade over here either. Poor Mother Country; a little grown-up island, plagued by centuries of chaos…We can hardly preach to you about chaos !…Well, you have The Bard…Be happy. (That is, you have The Bard, when you can prove WHO The Bard really was !!… :)…



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  • Hi, James,

    I was mostly questioning and addressing your (inferred) position that not voting in this election is a good idea. I am not entirely sure if that is your position. I think it is. (You later said it is, right?) I have a somewhat higher opinion of Hillary than you do and (if I am not mistaken) a lower opinion of Trump. Sorry if I sounded aggressive or if I mischaracterized in any way. And not voting is a choice. I respect that choice in principle, but don’t happen to agree with it; not for this one.

    Yes, that was Barrack.

    I was curious to know what news you like. Sarah Palin! Funny. Sorry about that.



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  • Steven #20

    Maybe Vicki thinks you’re that guy Steve from malaysia. But he admitted to being born there. Remember him? Very interesting guy. Miss him.

    Don’t worry about the certificate. I’ll talk to her. She’s green (I’m an old hand.) But do send me your tax returns for the past twenty-five years, ASAP. How’s your health?

    (I am Laurie’s campaign manager, soon-to-be chief of staff, and spiritual adviser.)



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  • Marshall McLuhan: The Medium is the Message.

    I didn’t grok this when I first heard of it. Intrigued, I read up on it and got a headache until I let it go.

    Now I start to see what he meant. Reality TV blowhard “You’re Fired” becomes the actual president. Only possible because thru the medium of TV, everything is a TV show. If he could be president on The Simpsons, he could be president on the ultimate reality TV show, the news, as mediated by CNN and Fox.

    Every technology throws up it’s apparent winners, those who rise dramatically to the top of the charts, now measured in terms of Ratings.

    Would the German Nazi’s have taken over so completely without the technological magic of radio broadcasts and PA systems able to bring the leader’s voice directly into the ears of vast crowds? If that technology “enabled” the nazis, what is the technology of “reality television” enabling?

    Anyone care to discuss McLuhan’s insight….



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  • Looking across the pond from the UK, watching this freak show unfold in the USA, it’s terrifying knowing that there’s still a mathematical chance that a narcissistic psychopath could still possibly become president of the world’s largest economy and largest military. Back in the day over here we had a political candidate called Screaming Lord Sutch. Those over a certain age will remember him well. It was never serious, he only got a few votes and it brought a bit of levity to the proceedings. But in the US you have an actual Screaming Lord Sutch who won the Republican nomination and at least for a while had a viable path to the Presidency.

    Trump is not the main problem. The real problem is that 40% of the electorate are so insane they’ll vote for someone like him. Making sure he loses the election is just a band-aid. The cure is educating the American electorate past the point they’ll ever vote for someone like him again. At the core of this is the absolute hatred the evangelical Republicans have for the Democrats. Religion as ever poisons everything it touches. America was not like this until Jerry Falwell et al dragged religion into politics in the 70s and 80s. Hatred this deep only stems from a very few places and religion is at the top of the list. When religious fervour motivates someone then it becomes a holy war, good versus evil in their mind, anything to defeat the enemy.

    It’s long been said that even if the candidate were a rabid yellow dog then 40% of the electorate would still vote for it and now we’ve seen that the candidate can be a rabid orange orang utan and the premise still holds true. Most of it has never been about voting for Trump but voting against the bitter enemy who think abortion should be a woman’s choice not a crime and that gays should just be left the fuck alone to live their lives.

    However every year that goes by sees religion gradually weaken its hold. By the time the current young people who believe less and less in invisible sky pixies become the middle aged of the next generation, and they have children who will believe even less, religion’s grip on politics will fade. I won’t live to see it but one day America will join the rest of the civilised nations. Homosexuality and abortion will be forgotten topics. Tax cuts for the very rich a thing of the past. The lie of trickle down economics a faded memory. Who knows, one day you might even have a proper health care system 🙂



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  • Hi James and OHooligan

    I think you two are eerily close in perspectives.

    I have a close relative, whom I love dearly, who is a prepper. He plans on voting for Trump because he believes it will speed up the disintegration of the government, and he is anxious to begin the ‘cleansing.’ He doesn’t watch television, but always tunes in to Rush Limbaugh on the radio.

    Obviously, we have had many discussions: he maintains society is dependent on the government’s direction, and only by wiping the slate clean can we as a nation move forward. I maintain society is a culmination of its people, with the government as its end result. He counters if that is the end result, he is right to be alarmed. I counter if his only media source validates his position, he is living in a vacuum.

    When Clinton called half of Trump’s supporters “deplorable” she was referring to the angry, frightened people who will blame others for society’s ills without digging any deeper into causes.

    But then there’s that other half of Trump’s supporters: they think the country needs an overhaul, and Trump’s just the guy to do it, Constitution and Bill of Rights be damned. They’ve given up hope.

    James, you say ‘hope’ is all we’ve got? I think you’ve already discarded it. Your mother was right.

    Steven: I thought you lived across the pond. I hereby drop my birth allegations, and back you wholeheartedly!



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  • At the core of this is the absolute hatred the evangelical Republicans
    have for the Democrats.

    Hi Arkrid

    The Republican party is imploding, and yes the Tea Party and evangelical far right wing nuts are only helping the process.

    They’ve spent the last 8 years focused on undermining the black guy in the White House, and completely ignored the need to adapt their platform to the country’s changing demographics and economy. All their minions were adrift until Trump came along, offering them security.

    Making sure he loses the election is just a band-aid. The cure is
    educating the American electorate…

    I agree 100%. I’m not sure what the GOP will be after the election, but I would say their first step would be to take a good hard look at their platform in relation to the actual stats of the 21st century.



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  • Vicki, OHooligan, others

    Governments are by their nature authoritarian and coercive but that doesn’t not mean that they are not legitimate. If your relative thinks that any given government is not legitimate than he may reasonably argue that it should be gotten rid of it. But what do you replace an illegitimate government with, a legitimate one, or with no government at all (anarchy)?

    We need rules and laws; man needs authority; if I tell a kid not to cross at a red light, that is a legitimate expression of authoritarianism; what would he advocate, absolute freedom? the freedom to walk in front of a car? and the freedom of corporations to impose total control (the worst tyranny of all)?

    These are legitimate political philosophical questions, but to say that all government is bad because it implies an element of domination is just the whimpering of a defiant child, frankly. He sounds like he’s been reading too much Ayn Rand – one of the most evil figures in modern intellectual history. My sympathies.

    I don’t think this is about evangelicalism versus Democrats, although that is not insignificant. But I think what Vicki’s relative is expressing goes much more to the heart of the problem: individualism, self-reliance versus government. I think within American conservatism there is a very deep strain of libertarianism that can’t be denied – and within the history of libertarianism, which is now sheer savagery and nothing else, there are racist and elitist overtones that can’t be denied.

    The irony, and the ultimate tragedy of the whole thing, is is that if we were to eliminate government regulations and oversight, the corporation, private power, would have total control. And without coercion and domination in the form of laws we would have the wild west, or better yet, the law of the jungle, all over again: survival of the fittest, dog eat dog, social Darwinism.

    And you’d have a society without health care, without any form of public assistance. And you’d have the super wealthy on top.

    OHooligan, I saw a conversation between Norman Mailer and Mcluhan. You might find it interesting. It is on YouTube. It’s from the late 60’s, I think. Mcluhan kept interrupting Mailer, which irritated me. He had the listening skills of a five year old – and he was very religious too. Did you know that?



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  • I agree with a lot of the comments above. There is a crisis of how insufficiently rational too many of the American electorate are.

    I tend towards Arkrid’s collaring of religion a little more than O’Hool’s collaring of the medium becoming the message, though these and some other elements are all in play.

    For me the root problem is that of the personal self centredness of the defining American narratives. Much flows from religion, the need for personal salvation, the account of just deserts for your own efforts or lack of them, the love of flag over the love of the people themselves. The overarching narrative of organised selfishness that is crystalised in Libertarianism as Dan suggests seeps into just about every American heart, proud and free and very singular.

    The key to locking this narrative in place is the simplistic rule that big government is more corrupt, interested in itself and necessarily seeing itself in power, rather than being in office. Big money needs this narrative most to be accepted to control the costs of manipulating governments to meet its needs. This lie is easily disproved by looking at some northern European governements.

    These religious ideas of just deserts are paricularly poisonous in poorer communities. Black folk should have chosen Bernie over Hilary. They seem particularly trapped by the ideology of the former slave owning classes. With simple effort they believe they will lift themselves in the way of the most successful white folk, following their moral self centred model. If they understood the libertarian myth of the omni-competent individual, for what it was and that poverty un-aided simply breeds poverty and that black communities, say, never got that fair start to begin with, then perhaps they could rediscover a more specific anger at the failure of a callous and punitive society rather than thinking the fault is simply theirs.

    The truth is there is no-one now feeding a positive new narrative in opposition to Libertarian/religious self centred schtick.

    Simply to avoid the catastrophe of a Mango Mussolini, this time Clinton and none other should be voted for by any concerned American.

    After that its time for Americans to hear some new stories, recognise much of its great success was not simply its unique organised selfishness, but that it had a virgin continent to ravish. It must build on its considerable strengths and add to them a new and inclusive mutuality, recognising the power of positive re-inforcement over negative. (The virtues of the latter being another damaging religious narrative to be shunned.)



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  • @Dan#39

    “And without coercion and domination in the form of laws we would have the wild west, or better yet, the law of the jungle, all over again: survival of the fittest, dog eat dog, social Darwinism.”

    Social Darwinism is an oxymoron. Survival of the fittest is a term coined by Herbert Spencer and only included (unfortunately, in retrospect) in the fifth edition of “On the Origin of Species” published in 1869. Richard Dawkins argues forcefully in “The Extended Phenotype”, chapter 10 “An Agony in Five Fits” that the concepts which have been associated with Sotf are flawed, and they certainly have been the source of much misunderstanding, probably often willful deception. Darwin’s original term was natural selection.

    This is what makes social Darwinism an oxymoron of the highest degree as far as I can see. Darwinism means NATURAL selection. Anything social in connection with humans since the neolithic revolution leading to agriculture and breeding has been UNNATURAL selection. In fact, human social evolution has been positively Lamarckian, in that what was experienced during a lifetime could be transferred to the next generation through memes.

    There have been many arguments about how fitting (sorry, pun unavoidable) memes are as social equivalents to genes in genetics, copying fidelity being right at the top. But Richard Dawkins himself has pointed out (not necessarily naming his own coinage memes specifically, my memory occasionally gets muddled with all the books of his I’ve read) that epidemiology is what we should be thinking of rather than genetics. He specifically does so in “A Devil’s Chaplain”, chapter 3.2 “Viruses of the Mind.”

    Viruses. Infection. Also bacteria and eukaryotic parasites. Cholera. Makes me automatically think of mental diarrhea (anyone wanna guess why?) Mental infection is what drives the fanatic fundamentalists hogging the news recently (at least outside the US …), the Islamistic criminals. (Taliban, Al-Qaeda – transcription can be tricky – the Dubya-era criminals, now IS, Boko Haram). Side note: there was a Time Magazine cover more than a decade ago about an “American Taliban.” US kid who converted to Islam and was captured in Afghanistan or something like that (memory fades …). One kid, wrong religion. No mention of the true American (US) Taliban. Evangelicals are the major source of mental infection – though not all Evangelicals are evil, no one taking the sermon on the mount seriously cold be – nor are all “supporters” of Evangelical agendas believers.

    For the parasitic 1 percent and big business managers (big overlap there) Evangelicals are useful idiots. Duhnald, case in point. This side of officially so named organized crime, nothing is as criminal, and I mean world-wide (check out details about why so many people got killed in shabbily built housing the most recent earthquake disaster – or the last 100 or 1000 such disasters) as the building construction industry. Does this psychopathic narcissist care squat about anybody but himself? Well, at least he has managed to stay out of jail, which many (but what is the percentage?) psychopaths do not manage to do. But maybe Duhnald, being one of them nevertheless, recognizes how he can turn infected minds to his advantage. Not maybe, highly likely. Feed them lies that confirm their dogmatic “certainties”, for all intents and purposes irrational fears.

    Infection. Immediately leads me to immunity in the medical sense. Or rather immune system deficiency. Cripes, AIDS! And ACQUIRED is very much what this is about. Acquired from parents, 99 percent of the time – perhaps the odd percentage point less, but not many. And to hell with those conservatives who basically sanctify Alzheimer Ronnie (the comment “if just The Führer knew about this” was wide-spread in Germany during WWII; yes, these poor deluded millions thought that some evil subordinates were subverting Hitler’s true intentions!!!) – it started in January 1981.

    @Vicki38

    “They’ve spent the last 8 years focused on undermining the black guy in the White House …”
    Yep, no question. But they or their predecessors in Congress also spent 1993-2001 undermining Bill Clinton.
    Because Clinton won with “only” 43.0% of the vote (Dubya Daddy had 37.4%, and that dastardly intruder Ross Perot – a vague precursor of Duhnald – 18.9%), they considered him to be an illegitimate president. (Yup. 1968 Richard Nixon 43.4%, Hubert Humphrey 42.7%, Dixiecrat George Wallace 13.5%). Hydrophobia – rabies – is the only fitting description of the Republican (or whatever insane subset of the party driving it) response to Clinton. It only got worse when Clinton managed to get the US economy out of the Alzheimer Ronnie induced doldrums (OK, I’m aware that even a president’s ability to influence the economy is limited), because this was by definition (dogma) not allowed to happen: that the economy works better under a Democratic president (funny thing – it did so practically during the entire 20th century …).

    The for all intents and purposes fascist part of the US (a very heterogeneous group) was outraged that after Alzheimer Ronnie’s two terms (they were lukewarm on Dubya Daddy) the unthinkable happened: their “natural right” to the highest office (for me as a German the pre 1945 term “Führer” comes to mind naturally) was denied them by a guy getting 43% of the vote (Wikipedia surprises me: Ross Perot was a candidate in 1996 too!!! Clinton 49.2%, Bob Dole 40.7%, Perot 8.4% – still not over 50%!!!)

    Dubya. Election 1 stolen (and that before the criminally stopped – yep, the Supreme Court can be criminal! – recount in Florida). Purging voter rolls in Florida (Jeb BUSH country, but not only there). Election 2 possibly stolen too (Greg Palast). Waiting time to vote in known Republican precincts in some states – 15 minutes. In known Democratic precincts closer to 15 hours (ouch!!! I’ve caught the Goebbels Channel bug causing extreme exaggeration!!!) – well OK, but we are definitely talking hours and people waiting in line way into nighttime hours – and never mind fascist scum challenging voters – if not white – about their right to vote.

    Dubyacrap’s presidency made me worry how close the US had come to the end of Germany’s Weimar Republic (the time after WWI and before the Nazi takeover abetted by conservatives – what can one say in retrospect? – suffering from advanced dementia). Duhnald is up to now the US’s closest approach to Hitler. Your (in parts also flawed – mostly side-stepping the issue of racism, and not being able to foresee how moronic some primitives (NRA) would interpret some passages by ignoring parts of them) old Constitution might allow you to survive Duhnald’s election and inauguration. But I only see (I may exaggerate here – ah – probably not) one scenario. 5 minutes after his inauguration, the House of Representatives passes about 100 articles of impeachment. 10 minutes thereafter the Senate passes roughly 80 of these articles by about a 90 to 10 vote.

    Err … Duhnald does have a candidate running with him for vice president, doesn’t he? Do we (oops! you) need a second impeachment process to get rid of him too?



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  • I see T-rump and Co. are excelling at psychological projection, as they are already making up claims that an election (where the votes have yet to cast), is “rigged”!

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/16/donald-trump-rigged-election-poll-giuliani-gingrich-pence

    Donald Trump’s campaign allies joined his baseless accusation of a “rigged election” on Sunday, with Rudy Giuliani speaking in racially charged terms amidst growing fears of a violent backlash from supporters of the Republican presidential nominee.

    Trump himself furthered the charge, tweeting: “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.”

    A request for clarification from the Trump campaign about which polling places he meant was not immediately returned.

    The move appeared to be a concerted effort to deflect attention from allegations of sexual harassment or assault by nine women, following the release of a video in which Trump boasted about groping.

    On Saturday, House speaker Paul Ryan said he did not have any doubts about the American electoral system. “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity,” his spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.



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  • • Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who “only loved himself” — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization and what Mr. Ullrich calls a “characteristic fondness for superlatives.” His manic speeches and penchant for taking all-or-nothing risks raised questions about his capacity for self-control, even his sanity. But Mr. Ullrich underscores Hitler’s shrewdness as a politician — with a “keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people” and an ability to “instantaneously analyze and exploit situations.”

    • Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a “bottomless mendacity” that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message. A former finance minister wrote that Hitler “was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth” and editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.”

    From NY Times review of new book ‘Hitler’ by Volker Ullrich



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  • P.S. Dawkins said theses exact words in a conversation: “I would not like to base our societies on Darwinian principles; they would be brutal, harsh, and unpleasant; I would not want to live in a Darwinian society.”



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  • @Arkrid: I must quote your entire last paragraph:
    “However every year that goes by sees religion gradually weaken its hold. By the time the current young people who believe less and less in invisible sky pixies become the middle aged of the next generation, and they have children who will believe even less, religion’s grip on politics will fade. I won’t live to see it but one day America will join the rest of the civilized nations. Homosexuality and abortion will be forgotten topics. Tax cuts for the very rich a thing of the past. The lie of trickle down economics a faded memory. Who knows, one day you might even have a proper health care system.”

    I’m 60. And unfortunately, from my experience, the hold of the religious nut-cases on the masses is not decreasing. Not in the Islamic world, not it its “Christian” counterpart in mostly, but not entirely the US. Not in Hinduistic India (though Hinduism is far less dogmatic on faith-based issues that are the three perverse monotheistic creeds – but then it is the most rigid creed in terms of caste). And as for patriarchal scum apologetics, one can dump Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, “Christian” Evangelicalism – argh! – what religion NOT??? – in a common cesspit. Add those parts of Africa that are not contaminated with monotheistic stuff – not a pretty sight.

    I might agree very generally with your statement if Duhnald gets crushed electorally in every sense (total vote, and the perverse US sickness of the electoral college) as badly as Barry Goldwater was body-slammed by Lyndon Johnson in 1964. And Barry Goldwater’s nail clippings are most likely more intelligent than Duhnald as far as the latter’s mental diarrhea is concerned. From one book by John W. Dean that I have read, Barry Goldwater might have done the equivalent of thermonuclear carpet bombing on this pathetic cesspit.



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  • @ Arkrid Sandwich

    “Religion as ever poisons everything it touches. America was not like
    this until Jerry Falwell et al dragged religion into politics in the
    70s and 80s.”

    Hear ! Hear ! Christopher Hitchens !…

    Don’t forget the major ingredient…It was Reagan and his astrology-addled fickle spouse that courted the evangelicals and utterly discarded the separation of church-and-state Constitutional mandate. The poison had long exited the bottle, but Reagan and his dupes spread the fumes. Fanaticism got a free pass by the government.

    Back in the 70s, there was a very large undercurrent of pseudo-science and high profile cults that, of course, carried the same superstitious tools by which all religious orthodoxies brainwash their children.

    There was at least one psychiatrist, Arthur Deikman from San Francisco, who maintains that all religions are essentially cults, and details the obvious similarities in his book :

    “The Wrong Way Home: Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior in
    American Society”

    Written in ’94. Great book. Very informative.



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  • @ Vicki

    “James, you say ‘hope’ is all we’ve got? I think you’ve already
    discarded it. Your mother was right.”

    To the contrary. I said :

    If “hope” is all we’ve got to play…

    …And the crest motto is centuries old; my mother had nothing to do with it’s creation. It was her ancestors. The impetus of the motto is NOT to relinquish hope until one stops living.

    And I hope you’re not putting my name in the same crowd as those who do give up…Not in my blood.

    Because I can’t stand HRC does not translate into me being a Trump supporter. I was a Bernie supporter. Now I’m leaning toward Stein (who was on C-Span this afternoon…)

    But Bucky, my albino dwarf rabbit, will likely carry the day.



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  • @Dan#44+45
    OK, I think we can exclude r-selection from what RD meant about Darwinism, humans are the K-selectionists without any competition.
    Just to take the difference between Pan troglodytes (common chimpanzee) and Pan paniscus (bonobo):
    “{Common} chimpanzees are somewhat larger, more aggressive and male-dominated, while the bonobos are more gracile, peaceful, and female-dominated.”
    Both are Darwinian. Frans de Waal has studied both Pan species (mostly, possibly exclusively, in captivity – people trying to study the bonobos in the wild in their natural habitat south of the Congo river have found following them there excruciatingly difficult, and have not been able to confirm de Waal’s conclusions about captive bonobos) and has come – if memory serves (always iffy) – to some group-selectionist conclusions. Not a theory RD finds conclusive when it strays far from W.D. Hamilton’s kin selection (the names R. Trivers, J. Maynard Smith, and G.C. Williams somehow also pop into my mind). So maybe – just a guess – these distinct lines of Darwinian evolution have not registered with RD for wrong reasons. What male field researchers pre Jane Goodall may have – in relics of the primitive 19th-century Victorian mind-set, something very British but replicated in the rest of Europe under other terms – described as “harems” have since in many – not all! – cases been debunked as probably wishful thinking.

    There is much that is Darwinian, in some species, that would be utterly atrocious to most of our sensibilities (most – there are mostly patriarchal cesspits which would have no issues with such criminal crap behavior). But there are solutions that natural selection has arrived at (if perhaps a minority) which put Homo stupidens (officially, in breathtaking arrogance, sapiens) to shame. Not Duhnald voters, most likely. Trying to guess what level of damage their prefrontal cortex must have suffered to degenerate to such a level of early-onset dementia.



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  • @James #48

    And I hope you’re not putting my name in the same crowd as those who
    do give up…Not in my blood.

    I can’t help but associate a wasted vote with giving up. As I am strongly against Trump, I worry about how much those rogue votes will help him.

    Still, that is your right and I respect that.



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  • Hillary was radiant, disciplined, presidential. Trump was horrendous. He’s done.
    And another avalanche of lies from the Donald. Here’s one of many, and fact checked by The Guardian:

    Clinton called for “open borders” —Trump

    Clinton is correct that Trump took the quote out of context: she was talking primarily about trade to Banco Itau, a Brazilian bank that eventually became Unibanco. Here’s what she said, according to a hacked email released by Wikileaks:

    “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”



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  • Trump is off the radar screen with no chance to win. James Ballard raises valid concerns about Hillary’s integrity, motivation, and ability to lead coming into office with low trustworthy-approval ratings. There are a lot of corrupt skeletons in her closet. If she is going to turn the country around she has to turn herself around first.
    America, wait and see. Best of luck.



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  • Let’s see some of those corrupt skeletons come out of the closet. That’s where they are; and that is what they are: skeletons. No meat on them and designed to scare. Are they coming out on Halloween?

    Has anything truly significant actually been verified? Any incontrovertible proof? We should believe it all? (This is a Reason and Science site.) Just how many of these corruption allegations are true? How many of the accusations of dishonesty are valid? All of them? Some of them? Which ones? Emails. The FBI came up with nothing prosecutable. Are they corrupt too, as Trump has suggested? Benghazi. She spent eleven frigging hours in front of a congressional committee, was grilled by Republican pit-bulls. Nothing, or not a hell of a lot. Whitewater. Absolutely nothing. Clinton Foundation (a great foundation). Zero proof of pay-to-play. The latest quid pro quo allegation. BS. Supports open borders. Crap.

    How’s her health?

    And why didn’t she hold up a big sign: “I have pneumonia!”? All part of a pattern, they say – but this “pattern” has been greatly exaggerated. This idea that Ms. Clinton is unscrupulous and mendacious is essentially a creation, something manufactured.

    She’s been maligned mercilessly by her political enemies (and to no avail) for years. They never miss an opportunity. One attack after another. People are now questioning her integrity because it’s been drummed into them.



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  • Dan #53
    Oct 21, 2016 at 4:08 am

    She’s been maligned mercilessly by her political enemies (and to no avail) for years. They never miss an opportunity. One attack after another. People are now questioning her integrity because it’s been drummed into them.

    There are various examples of Trump and his gang maligning anyone who opposes him or challenges his rantings! – as my comment and link on this other thread show!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/10/a-plan-to-defend-against-the-war-on-science/#li-comment-213014



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  • Dan #51
    Oct 19, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Hillary was radiant,

    Wrong

    disciplined,

    Wrong

    presidential.

    Wrong. She’s a horrible woman.

    Trump was horrendous.

    Wrong. That’s been debunked. Only hateful liars say things like that about me. I’m so great.

    He’s done.

    Wrong. I’m going to win. Bigly. But if I don’t it’s because the election is rigged. So rigged. So many people, good people, are saying it’s rigged. Well just me but there are many, many good people saying that inside my own mind.

    And another avalanche of lies from the Donald.

    Wrong. I never lie. I tell it like it is. Or at least how it seems to me at a particular point in time regardless of what crooked Hillary says I said in the past, even on video. Which is still wrong if it differs from what I want to think now.

    You’re clearly part of the rigged system against me. I hate you. I’ll kill you if I can. You smell. Bigly. You just keep putting your left wing lies out there about me but I’m rubber and you’re glue. Nothing will stick. Neener neener. I have a mental age of five and you’re a stinky nasty poopy pooper and you smell so bad. More badly than anyone has ever smelled before. I’m going to get you at playtime. I’m going to take your lunch money you whiny little bitch. I’ll sue you. My daddy was so much more bigly than your daddy. He’ll beat you up if you’re mean to me.



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  • @ dan (#53) – nice work. The main reason people hate Hillary is very simple: misogyny. All of those things they mention (she’s a liar, corrupt, sick, etc) are things that have always traditionally been glossed over, whether they were true or not, by the public regarding male politicians since the beginning of time. FDR (health), Kennedy (health, serial womanizing), Nixon (do I really need to mention?), Reagan (Iran Contra, Alzheimer’s) – you could nearly name them all. So it’s none of the named things. It’s simply misogyny. They hate that she’s smart, capable and yes, presidential. And of course, a woman.

    @ Arkrid (#55) – that was tremendous. Really tremendous. I bet you have big hands. Or at least bigly hands. Larger than mine anyway, which are considered “micro hands” by the scientific community, though that’s a community that’s also rigged against me. And I’m not sure why, since you were so right, but I feel the need to interrupt you anyway and say, “wrong”.



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  • Dan: Let’s see some of those corrupt skeletons come out of the closet. That’s where they are; and that is what they are: skeletons. No meat on them and designed to scare. Are they coming out on Halloween?

    Obviously you support her, she has your vote , and you like her as a person. This is your right. She has my vote too because the election is not giving many voters the choice of a candidate who rises above “the lesser of two evils.” A pathetic state of affairs in a democracy.

    When president Bill appointed Hillary, coincidentally “his wife,” to draw up national healthcare reform, she immediately withdrew with “her” team behind closed doors and produced a behemoth document of 1300 pages without consulting the congress or stakeholders, public and private. Hawking “her” plan personally around the country she provoked exacerbating jeers of distrust from the public. “Poof” went the plan. A penchant for “secrecy” was also attributed to her engaging a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state on which she communicated with some major donors to the Clinton Foundation who had done business with the U.S. government and foreign nations. 30,000 emails were destroyed. The actions imply not so much “secrecy” as hiding information about transactions with dubious characters from oversight of the government and the American people while holding leadership at the U.S. Department of State.

    Steven007: ” “The main reason people hate Hillary is very simple: misogyny” Many people (including myself) find Hillary to be “simply” an obnoxious, abrasive person whose personal qualities are not a good match for the the job of president who must persuade if not charm opponents to cooperate in forging compromises. Barack Obama rowed his little wooden boat out to meet Hillary’s battleship, armed with establishment support and donor cash, and blew her out of the water in the 2008 primaries, not because he was a man but because he had what she lacked, – charisma, personal appeal, integrity, and vision that ignited a groundswell of support among Americans, including women, seldom seen in presidential elections.

    I would love to see a woman win the presidency -it’s over due- but a person superbly qualified to do the job decisively overrides irrelevant questions of gender.

    A meme has been planted in the media discourse that Clinton worked effectively across the aisle as a Senator from New York. I hope she stays the course and demonstrates her alleged bi-partisan political skills in the oval office. I wish her every success for the sake of the country.



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  • @ Melvin (#57) –

    not because he was a man but because he had what she lacked, –
    charisma, personal appeal, integrity, and vision

    I would argue that only one, possibly two of those attributes are important as president. And those two are subjective at their core and only recognizable with the luxury of hindsight (two examples: Eisenhower was seen in his time as a dull president who “did nothing”. Revisionist history has treated him and his programs, the highway system among them, – much less his ability to keep us out of another war as visionary. Reagan was lauded for everything during his presidency but now it’s seen as mostly a sham and the ugly beginning of a slippery slope of evangelical influence in American politics).

    Hopefully Hillary has learned from those early mistakes such as the healthcare failure. The email thing is ridiculous. She did what’s been done before, most recently by Colin Powell as we all know now. It’s a non issue for most reasonable people. Hillary gets things done and can be uncompromising at times like many politicians. Male politicians who do this are called tough. She’s of course called a bitch. It’s really not that hard to see the misogyny.

    I would love to see a woman win the presidency

    Dog willing, you’re about to.



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  • Dan,

    I have to retract quite a number of things I have said and implied about Hillary.

    My first beef with her about support for her husband on on zero tolerance policing I subsequently discovered that she (and he!) see the error of this. Now I discover that their combined effort on the Clinton Health Care plan was in my terms wholly admirable, flawed only by an excess of ambition fighting a pernicious stranglehold of vested interests, which would naturally have led to a degree of secrecy in its formulation. The opposition from the healthcare industry was going to be huge if its cosy unsupervised cartel was going to be up-ended in this way, then its delivery of the worst value for money healthcare system on the planet for decidedly mediocre results, i.e. a hugely profitable business, would be next in line pressured by businesses to get better value for their new obligations to pay. Republicans panicked because-

    The long-term political effects of a successful… health care bill will be even worse—much worse…. It will revive the reputation of… Democrats as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government.
    — William Kristol, “Defeating President Clinton’s Healthcare Proposal”, December 1993

    Later Hillary admitted

    In 2005, referring to her previous efforts at health care reform, she said, “I learned some valuable lessons about the legislative process, the importance of bipartisan cooperation and the wisdom of taking small steps to get a big job done.”[30] Again in 2007, she reflected on her role in 1993–1994: “I think that both the process and the plan were flawed. We were trying to do something that was very hard to do, and we made a lot of mistakes.”

    I think accusations of naivety at that time are sustainable given this.

    More and more I think Hillary might be exactly right. I think she has learned from over ambition and believing the simple analyses of say drug crime. I think she is more to the left than I gave her credit for. So long a Democrats stop being such pussies and closet Republicans then this could indeed be pretty much whats needed.

    Learning on the job and changing your mind is much more the CV I’m looking for.



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  • I enjoyed reading today’s posts. Arkrid’s was quite amusing. Phil has changed his mind a bit, and I admire that – and on another thread expressed admiration for Hillary’s ability to change her mind (about the complex trade deal TPP). Why is changing one’s mind, why is the process of evolving on an issue, confused with dishonesty? How ironic. Now when someone like Pence or Romney (two consummate liars) contradict themselves and get caught that is just dishonesty. When Romney, for example, disavowed his own health plan (which worked in his state and was the one good thing he did) that was dishonest. If he had said that he had concluded that his health plan would not be good for the country and had explained why, and the explanations were sound and reasonable, then that would be different.

    What struck out for me was the use of the epithet “obnoxious” in one of the comments. That was revealing, as it is such an inaccurate description. If she is obnoxious – and we can all be obnoxious at times – it would have to be in private; in public, she is the soul of amiability.

    I am sure she does have a private persona and a public persona – although I doubt she turns it on and off like a light-switch. She has to. I greatly admire that. It’s the mark of a disciplined person. Who can be “nice” and smiling all the time? And there’s a fine line between that and engaging in outright dissimulation and being two-faced. For what it’s worth, I met someone about a year ago that knows the private Hillary quite well and she told me that Clinton really is a lovely, caring and deeply committed person. It’s real.



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  • P.S. Someone just sent me an article about Libya. I am not so sure that what we did in Libya was a good thing. (And the second Iraq war was a bad war.) I just don’t know enough about Gaddafi and all that stuff. Our foreign policy since WWII has always sucked, for the most part. But on domestic issues I think she will be good, and I’m hoping she’ll be – at the very least – a steady and stable commander in chief. Trump, on the other hand….



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  • Recent poll results show not only a “defeat” for Trump supporters but implicitly predict a rout. It’s no contest. Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. Flush your dread down the toilet and sleep peacefully tonight. Newly elected Senate Democrats may well wrest majority control from Republicans with a few down-ballot victories. The house will probably remain under a Republican majority but there is a contingent possibility that the states could also return the house to Democratic control.

    Under the cloud of low trust and low approval ratings, Hillary must show a new face of transparency, congeniality and dedication to a core vision for the progress, productivity and welfare of the American people. How well and how soon she redeems government from stagnated gridlock and the corrupt status quo over the next 4 years will be the test of her worthiness.



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  • Someone help me out. I am sure that there are quite a few math whizzes on this site. (Phil? Anyone?) How can we be so sure that Trump supporters (who don’t participate in polls) won’t come out in droves and elect Trump? The polls area all over the place. His numbers have gone up a bit since he started talking about the rigged election. Stupid Trump supporting asses!!

    What do the polls say? Is it close or isn’t it? No clue. They all contradict each other. Nate Silver is the foremost pollster and he says she has an eighty-plus percent chance of winning, but what does he base that on?

    Do you all know who Nate Silver is? He’s been hailed as a genius but I don’t see how he gets his percentages.

    His website is called fivethirtyeight.com

    (I am having an anxiety attack.)



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  • Why is changing one’s mind, why is the process of evolving on an issue, confused with dishonesty?

    Because, the dishonest media, selling advertising, find hypocrisy better bait than some revised or nuanced facts and the subsequent reasoning and conclusions that result.

    Because folk still believe in idealism over pragmatism, because they believe the world is as simple as their own minds.

    I’m no pollster, Dan. I don’t know what I don’t know about the subject.

    I do use here quite a lot

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_clinton-5491.html



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  • @Dan #62

    I think that is probably your best post yet on Clinton. Kudos! I enjoyed it!

    @Melvin #64

    I will not breathe easy until November 9th, and for the record, I’m am hoping for a Democrat sweep of Congress as well-I do not like one-party governments, but the Tea Party whack jobs need a clear message.

    If elected, Clinton will be walking into a pissed off hornet’s nest. My hope is that her staff is competent and amiable to and with the public, and she has a reasonable amount of support from Congress. I hope Bernie steps up in that role.



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  • PeacePecan #61

    Very, interesting on authoritarianism.

    I am puzzled by the claim it was equally spread between the parties in earlier times. When and who? I certainly recognise an earlier style of “Square Deal” Republican occupying a much more centre ground, perhaps confusing the voting issue.

    But Jonathan Haidt firmly attaches authoritarianism as one of the five moral aesthetics held by those on the right of politics.

    I rather more think that Republicanism since the eighties has moved more obviously to the right of its populace giving a clearer choice to the anxious, poor and religious, less mentally encumbered folk and creating a far more biddable power base. The Democrats by contrast stayed pretty much centre.



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  • I am puzzled by the claim it was equally spread between the parties in earlier times.

    She says it was “likely”, without providing any evidence. I suspect people prone to authoritarianism are drawn as much (maybe more) to personality, regardless of party, particularly if/when there is not a stark difference between the parties’ platforms. When the differences are clearer (as we see these days), the authoritarians migrate to (and help to promote) the personality that better fits their preference.



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  • Dan: “admiration for Hillary’s ability to change her mind (about the complex trade deal TPP). Why is changing one’s mind, why is the process of evolving on an issue, confused with dishonesty?”

    Dan, you’re not following the very suspicious circumstantial evidence underscoring Hillary’s political opportunism on the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) free trade deal. She vocally supported NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) crafted and passed under her Husband’s administration. Bill Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore, vigorously and successfully debated independent candidate Ross Perot on the issue. Perot argued the arrangement would send jobs to Mexico and lead to massive layoffs in the U.S. . Recently she called the TPP “the gold standard of trade agreements” coordinated with the Obama Administration’s promotion of the deal. It is naive to believe that Hillary, with “Secretary of State” on her resumee, was not familiar with the specifics of the TPP and only recently changed her mind from support to opposition because she had been “confused” about how implementation would take place. She changed her mind on the heels of Bernie Sanders popular criticism that put her at a political disadvantage with labor and more generally the younger, more progressive wing of the Democratic party. The belated “me too” populist turn-around reinforced the perception that Hillary believes more in self-serving power than any core vision for where she wants to take the country. The Goldman Sacks speech reassured Wall Street that she stands firm in support of expanding free trade. When the public starts asking for conscientious professions of real positions on particular issues in the absence of proactive coherent agendas, then Hillary who evinces many unpleasant personal traits accrues more and more leadership deficits.



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  • Laurie—

    I am speechless. Such colossal ignorance and effrontery. Haul him over the coals.

    Never heard of him before. Thanks.—I feel more inclined than ever to just stay in bed with the blinds drawn.

    You’re well, I hope.

    D



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  • Dan, We have won the election, the Democrats are going to run the house and senate. The religious have linked
    themselves to Trump and i’m guessing will loose some “faithful”.
    Its going our way for once.



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  • Melvin,

    I think I too would have made the calls that Hillary made on TPP.

    It is a more moral plan to keep trade open and allow poorer communities to undrcut you. It is the way to lift people out of poverty with dignity, it is the way to create global stability through economic interdependency and it is a way to drive your own economy forward to new heights, to carve out new businesses, and it may make the permeability of your southern border less of an issue. Protectionism is inflationary, short term and a hostage to fortune.

    When would it not be a good idea to do this? When folk are starting to notice just how spectacularly they have been ripped off by the uber rich and thinking of voting in quasi terrorist ways. It became perfectly clear that Bernie’s stand was the one that struck a chord with the downtrodden. There was little taste for the morality of freer trade. What is needed is a politically expedient pause and a more thought through plan to mitigate the harms of such a policy before charging into it.

    If its the right thing to do, to make the situation manageable. Political expediency wins in my book



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  • Wake up!!

    All democratic and independent voters can’t afford to waste their votes to stop this malevolent leviathan! This is really happening!! Voting for a third party candidate is like putting out a forest fire by spitting on it. Useless, feckless and unencumbered independent voters can critically compromise the whole thing. This imperative alarm cannot be silenced or ignored and there is no more time for ditzy undecided luxury. All Democrats must fall in for duty and vote for Hillary to protect us from the oncoming pestilence and ignorance that is now ominously darkening the horizon!!!! We are now precariously at the precipice of a real dystopia, and we must vote him back under the rock from which he crawled out from before he metastasizes! Take action!! All hands on deck!! Vote for her!!!



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  • Alf,

    You’re probably right, but over-confidence can be a problem. There are no guarantees and it’s not over until it’s over.

    (Found the pill. It was where you said it was.)



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  • Phil: If its the right thing to do, to make the situation manageable. Political expediency wins in my book

    Unfortunately “political expediency” can serve self-interest at the expense of the public good (and vice versa). That’s the pending question about Bill and Hillary in general and Hillary Clinton in particular as she takes the oath of office on January 20. There are too many unknowns about this ambiguous character to proffer predictions now.



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  • Yes but though self serving political expediency without a palpable reason is naked and clear, with a palpable reason, it shouldn’t license first a jump for cynicism.

    In the UK I’ve met and talked to and socialised with a number of politicians, elected MPs, behind the scenes movers and shakers and I’ve had nothing but positive responses to their earnest intentions even if they were sadly misguided on a thing or two. (Hopefully a little less misguided now). I often think MPs are thumpingly wrong but I think they are cynical manipulators only third or fourth on the list of flaws if at all.

    I note how much of a gear change is necessary to think “American Political”. The typical and automatic level of cynicism extant is entirely corrosive to useful debate, up and down the intellectual scale, in regard of policy. No wonder so many are government phobic.

    I certainly drank the coolaid of a duplicitous Hillary, because she made bad judgement calls two decades ago on topics I have become newly sensitised to. Having spent a couple of days now reading about the likely next President, I find her mostly naive initially, increasingly pragmatic and diligent. As a politician if your foe (at the time) has a better more pertinent policy than you do, the cynical politician will not adopt it but seek to rubbish it. As we see the American public and especially media will punish you if you dared endorse it also.

    Is she the dream President? Hell, no. But she’s probably the right president for now. She’ll probably get the apparatus of government working in concert a little more. She will be modest in what she achieves, but it will turn a tide with any luck. Sanders would have been symbolic and wonderful, healthy but doomed in all probability. There’s a lot of bitter and hatey folks still need winning over to normalcy after they were robbed blind by the psychopath parasite rich… their once heroes. No wonder they are fucked up.

    The Mango Mussolini may have the Braggadocio, but Hillary has the focus, the dilligence, the staying power and the Balls.



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  • @Alf #75

    The religious have linked themselves to Trump…

    Hypocritical idiots. They thought by hitching their wagon to him they could weasel their agenda into the Supreme Court and overturn gay marriage and legal abortion. Hop into bed with the guy who represents the opposite of everything they preach. The end justifies the means.

    IMO, it just validates how little they actually believe in their god’s omnipotent plan. Seems to me if their god was all that, they would be less fearful of this interim on earth.



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  • I see Hillary Clinton now plans to ignore Trump’s diversionary rantings and concentrate on serious real issues of planning a future.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2016-37743890

    US Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has said she no longer cares what her Republican rival Donald Trump might say and will focus on issues instead.

    “I debated him for four and a half hours,” she said, recalling their acrimonious exchanges. “I don’t even think about responding to him anymore.”

    She was speaking to reporters aboard her campaign plane.

    Mr Trump used a rally in Gettysburg to promise curbs on lobbying and new trade and climate change negotiations.

    With just 16 days until the election, much of the recent focus has been on controversies linked to his campaign.

    On Saturday, he again promised to sue every woman who had accused him of sexual assault or inappropriate behaviour as soon as his presidential campaign was over.

    While the tycoon lags behind Mrs Clinton in opinion polls, he recently narrowed the gap to about four percentage points.

    Asked about Mr Trump’s threat to sue his accusers, Mrs Clinton said her focus had turned to helping elect other Democrats on 8 November, when Congressional seats are also being contested.

    “He can say whatever he wants. He can run his campaign however he wants to,” she said.

    “I’m going to let the American people decide between what he offers and what we offer.”



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  • Phil

    “She will be modest in what she achieves…”

    Maybe not. Perhaps she is more progressive than we think, and it will all come out now. This is her moment. Who knows? But at the very least she will prevent catastrophes: nuclear war perhaps, the loss of human liberty, a benign or not so benign fascism (military law to maintain law and order), increased income and wealth inequality (which will give rise to riots), a continuation of Citizens United (which will destroy our country), aggravation of the environmental crisis, overturning gay marriage, and Roe versus Wade, the removal of financial regulations and oversight, market rates, repeal of the ACA and nothing to replace it with except what we had before, a system based on greed that was twisted and corrupt, was horrible. (See Michaels Moore’s Sicko.) – and much more; there is much that can’t be foreseen. Close cooperation between big business and politics will continue and flourish, there will be a diminution of the right to dissent; those who do engage in dissent will be ridiculed and marginalized and labelled as unAmerican, a belligerent nationalism and jingoism will be on the rise, along with its cousin: totalitarianism.

    Preventing some of that would be an important legacy in itself.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicko



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  • Hillary Clinton will come into office with serious disadvantages: Her approval and trustworthy ratings are low.
    She will win largely by way of voters that dislike her less than Trump. Frankly she is not a good politician. Her public speaking comes across cold and stiff. (She has been trained with mixed results to raise her voice without shouting.) Her proposed policies and programs are expressed in pandering, stylized wish-list litanies. Many doubt her enthusiasm, integrity and vision despite conceding her experience, energy and work ethic.

    Perhaps the most daunting challenge will come when she tries to move to the left, goaded by Bernie Sanders’ supporters, into progressive territory where she feels uncomfortable. A self-proclaimed centrist – trying to graft the “free college tuition” promise onto her agenda may get her into hot water if the left-liberal base sees her falter and retreat from a budget-busting disaster. Her “major stimulus” proposal seems to mimic Obama’s noble economic-crisis project with a “me-too” aftertaste and may run into perceptions that it is an anachronistic measure in an era of economic recovery. (Infrastructure spending will certainly enjoy limited support.) Finally her promise to “raise taxes on the 1%” has been sullied by the confiscatory rhetoric of “going where the money is.” She must smooth and compromise transactions between opposing constituencies and interest groups. Starting behind the field of charismatic, persuasive politicians, she must soften her abrasive, secretive and controlling personality.



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  • phil rimmer #80
    Oct 23, 2016 at 5:18 am

    She’ll probably get the apparatus of government working in concert a little more. She will be modest in what she achieves, but it will turn a tide with any luck.

    A lot will depend on politics in other elections!

    @#82 – Asked about Mr Trump’s threat to sue his accusers, Mrs Clinton said her focus had turned to helping elect other Democrats on 8 November, when Congressional seats are also being contested.

    It the Congressional obstructive Republican majority is broken, in addition to a Hillary presidency, much could be achieved.



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  • @Melvin #86

    There is a lot of truth in your perceptions; Clinton’s strength is in bargaining, not persuasion, because she doesn’t have the charisma of someone like Reagan, who made his career in front of cameras.

    My hope is that the party shifts in Congress as well, then she needs to work like hell before the 2018 midterms. Personally, I hope her focus in her first year is on restructuring taxes. Supply side Reaganomics has all but destroyed the middle class.



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  • Vicki: Thank you for your comment.

    Vicki: My hope is that the party shifts in Congress as well, then she needs to work like hell before the 2018 midterms. Personally, I hope her focus in her first year is on restructuring taxes. Supply side Reaganomics has all but destroyed the middle class. …..I couldn’t agree more but the subject of taxes in American politics is the third rail outside of the false comfort of “tax the rich” platitudes. If you follow campaign rhetoric, you will never hear a candidate from either party talking realistically about raising taxes on the middle class or successful small businesses to fund public services. Everyone is assured that only some elusive guy who is “richer than you’ will be picking up the tab.

    The trajectory of the economy since the mid 70s has been determined more by status quo political consensus and developments in the global economy than by trickle down Reaganomics. America is the Big Mama of the consumer economy. 70% of GDP is driven by consumer goods and services. American’s are conditioned to enjoy ” a standard of living that is the envy of the world” by spending on bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger appliances, indulging in frequent restaurant (or fast food) dining, assorted entertainments, and luxury or near luxury “hospitality services” while on expensive vacations. The relative health of such consumer economies is threatened by taxation which takes more and more discretionary income out of the pockets of consumers and allocates it to the public sector – transportation, education, healthcare – etc.. As people spend less in the private sector, aggregate demand falls, businesses lose profits, lay off workers and a downward spiral toward recession is set in motion.

    Other factors have decimated the middle class since the 1970s: loss of well-paid manufacturing or industrial jobs to low-wage countries (China et. al.) substituted with lower-paying service economy jobs; asset inflation of real estate under population pressure; funneling profits to small elites in information technology and social media giants (Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, etc.); and, of course, under-capitalized and over-leveraged global investments in volatile financial instruments.

    The age-old problem of economies never materialized from any single cause: the stable balance of private and public spending where dollars are spent productively in both sectors. Hillary Clinton, no more than husband Bill Clinton, will not be inclined to do much more than tinker at the margins if she wants to maintain a status quo consensus on maintaining a consumer economy that keeps her and the Democratic party in power.



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  • Melvin #89
    Oct 24, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    The relative health of such consumer economies is threatened by taxation which takes more and more discretionary income out of the pockets of consumers and allocates it to the public sector – transportation, education, healthcare – etc.. As people spend less in the private sector, aggregate demand falls, businesses lose profits, lay off workers and a downward spiral toward recession is set in motion.

    This is just garbage hype from the US media!

    Moving workers and funding from superficial profligacy, into longer term public sector investment in transport infrastructure, utilities, and healthcare, simply has people who are in more useful employment spend their earnings in place of those employed on superficial consumer services.
    Infrastructure investment, often simply moves profits from superficial service industries, to contractors in construction and engineering industries!

    A few less casinos, tattoo parlours, nail bars, and hair dressers, and a few more hospitals, housing developments, and more reliable utilities, is not a dire descent into recession!



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  • Melvin #89
    Oct 24, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    The relative health of such consumer economies is threatened by taxation which takes more and more discretionary income out of the pockets of consumers and allocates it to the public sector

    If we are talking about US taxation, the US government takes large sections of revenues raised from tax payers and allocates it to the “public sector” military, and to paying bankers and foreign governments, interest payments on the $trillions Bush borrowed to fund causing years of civil war chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan!

    Trump is urging other countries to follow this example of spending on reckless military adventures!



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  • Melvin #89
    Oct 24, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    American’s are conditioned to enjoy ” a standard of living that is the envy of the world” by spending on bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger appliances, indulging in frequent restaurant (or fast food) dining, assorted entertainments, and luxury or near luxury “hospitality services” while on expensive vacations. The relative health of such consumer economies is threatened by taxation which takes more and more discretionary income out of the pockets of consumers and allocates it to the public sector – transportation, education, healthcare – etc.. As people spend less in the private sector, aggregate demand falls, businesses lose profits, lay off workers and a downward spiral toward recession is set in motion.

    This is nonsense right wing hype that continues to put America at odds with every other western nation in how it spends its taxation. The real problem is the profligate for-profit healthcare system and the absurd amount of military spend. The USA spends nearly twice the percentage of GDP on healthcare than the UK , 17% vs 9% for a lower life expectancy.

    http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/health-care-spending-compared

    It also comes to just over twice the spend per capita. Nearly 1 trillion dollars in total. The total spend on education is 70 billion dollars. Imagine the education system you could have with just a fraction of the money wasted on healthcare. A proper single payer healthcare system free to the end user would save nearly 500 billion dollars. That money could go on infrastructure, education, veterans benefits and science and still leave a ton left over.

    The 600 plus billion annual discretionary spend on the military is over 1/3 of the entire world’s spend and 11 times what the UK spends with 1/5th of the population. Again about twice as much per capita like healthcare.

    If it chose to do so the USA could have the world’s best infrastructure, roads, rail etc, the best education system, every veteran cared for properly for life and still reduce taxes massively if it didn’t piss so much money away pointlessly.



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  • I just watched YouTube for about an hour, was watching interviews with Trump supporters and surrogates, like Coulter, Ingraham, McEnany, Betsy McCaughey, Pierson, and others. I have all but concluded that some of these people are not sane. They are not rampantly psychotic but are exhibiting psychotic processes. The others are, at the very least, psychopaths, are clearly mentally deranged.

    I haven’t relinquished my conviction that evil exists. Mental illness and what I call “evil” are not mutually exclusive.

    Trump is now saying that the polls are rigged (along with the election). Beyond irresponsible. He is a sick man.

    A distinguished attorney just offered to defend all of the women who came out with allegations that Trump molested them. Pro bono – in the spirit and tradition of Brandeis. Other leading attorneys have done the same. “Thank God” for good people.



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  • Alan4: I commended Vicki for her wish to see systemic changes in the American [income] tax structure.

    In the popular imagination that fulminates at the extremes of political imagination, Democrats are socialists and Republicans are fascists. Neither caricature carries much water. Both parties are committed to a narrow centrist portion of the spectrum where a strong status quo consensus prevents large shifts in tax policy. Democrats favor somewhat higher rates of taxation while Republicans favor somewhat lower. Democrats favor greater public sector non-military spending while Republicans favor less public sector spending with the vigorous exception of enhancing “national defense” military preparedness.

    Americans including young Americans have been conditioned to believe in an American dream that centers on the rewards of consumerism. “More taxes for the common welfare” clash with a deeply held sense of entitlement to spend one’s “own” money on goodies in pursuit of personal happiness.

    For better or worse, the American economy happened to work out in favor of a uniquely affluent consumerist paradise in the decades after WWII – decisively confirmed with the collapse of the Soviet Union leaving the U.S. alone as the world’s sole super power and the richest nation by far in world history.

    For the record, I am a Democrat who believes this model is not sustainable or desirable. Like Vicki, I would like to see gradual effective tax reforms that allocate more resources to the public sector, discouraging runaway over-consumption, greed, gross income inequality and the despoiling of the environment. Though progressive historical forces have facilitated safety nets like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid (tentatively Obamacare) and various programs distributing welfare and unemployment benefits, the western European welfare state founded on small, stable, homogeneous populations clashes with American sensibilities mandating rapid immigrant-driven population growth combined with growing a consumerist economy assuring individual and “middle-class” prosperity.



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  • @Melvin

    Both parties are committed to a narrow centrist portion of the spectrum where a strong status quo consensus prevents large shifts in tax policy.

    I don’t see this looking in from Australia. I see the two sides separating like a continental drift. I don’t see a Bell Curve of political opinion, I see a dumbbell curve. American politics is Bipolar and should be on lithium. I speculate that the media arrangements in America are partly to blame. Because the media drive to be an independent Fourth Estate is suffocated by the nature of America’s commercial media, the journalism the citizens receive is not free of bias or fiercely independent.

    Commercial media exists to make money. Commercial media must glue readers, viewers and listeners to their platforms to get ratings, which determine how much money they make. To trap people and boost ratings American media has divided into Market Driven sectors. FOX sells to the Right. NBC sells to the left. (Limit of my detailed US media knowledge.) But commercial media must spice up the news and make it dramatic and confrontational. That is what rates well. There is very little public sector news apart from PBS which I watch in Australia. The UK has the BBC and Australia has the ABC and SBS, both bastions of high end 4th estate journalism and highly regarded. They are the go to source for most Australians when they want to know something.

    What this commercial media arrangements means is that those on the right, only get news from the media on the right and visa versa for the left. Instead of Right and Left media suppliers being fringe dwellers like they are in the rest of the world, they are the main players. This polarizes the American political scene, resulting in both sides refusing to endorse anything done by the other side, paralyzing the House, the Senate and political governance at all levels. Bad for America.

    Steven Pinker has a take on this which I like. In short, the view that Americans have of their world is greatly exaggerated by their media and bears little resemblance to reality.

    Steven Pinker — Journalism is about things that happen, often the unusual and dramatic ones. These events stick in the mind, and because of a feature of our psychology that Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky dubbed “the availability heuristic,” they affect people’s assessment of risk: The easier it is to remember an example of something, the more probable people think it is. So people fear the kinds of threats that make the news — shark attacks, plane crashes, terrorism — when they should fear boring but more likely risks like accidental poisoning, falling off a ladder, and texting while driving.

    In the case of violence, you never see a reporter with a microphone and a sound truck in front of a high school announcing that the school has not been shot up today, or in an African capital noting that a civil war has not erupted. In Better Angels I presented data showing that most measures of violence have declined over time. But as long as the rate of violence hasn’t fallen to zero, there will always be enough incidents to fill the news, and people’s intuitions will be disconnected from reality.

    Of course I can criticize an aspect of journalistic culture while still speaking to, indeed admiring, journalists! Without journalists, how would we know anything about the world beyond our petty little circle of acquaintance? What I would like to see is more statistical and historical context in the background paragraphs of a news story (if it’s a matter of space, editors could always by deleting those inane vox-pop quotes). All the more so in the accompanying analysis pieces and in op-ed columns — there should be a law against any pundit noting that X happened yesterday and then concluding that X is increasing. We are blessed with many government agencies, think tanks, NGOs, and academic centers that tabulate data over time. Perhaps their annual findings on trends, suitably sexed up, could be the subject of news stories.

    I have a related concern about science journalism, which I think also has too much coverage of one-off studies (which are often, we now know, unreplicable or misleading, as in the carcinogen- or healthy-food-du-jour stories), and too little coverage of meta-analyses and literature reviews, where more robust conclusions are drawn.



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  • Melvin #95
    Oct 25, 2016 at 1:04 am

    Americans including young Americans have been conditioned to believe in an American dream that centers on the rewards of consumerism.

    The tribalism of enhanced leadership status from conspicuous consumption is deeply ingrained and goes back leaders who could produce a surplus, being preferred to those who led starving groups with deficits.
    Once this is perverted into exclusivity of elite groups, excluding the wider population with surpluses diverted to military spending to enhance and support the exclusive elite, the wider population suffers.

    “More taxes for the common welfare” clash with a deeply held sense of entitlement to spend one’s “own” money on goodies in pursuit of personal happiness.

    This is the ideological dogma promoted by the elites’ puppet propagandists in the USA. Anyone with a modicum of understanding knows that collectively and co-operatively organised services, are better than ad-hoc individual purchases. It is the sort of reason why Americans lack or are overcharged for health care, but are abundantly served by coffee bars!

    For better or worse, the American economy happened to work out in favor of a uniquely affluent consumerist paradise in the decades after WWII – decisively confirmed with the collapse of the Soviet Union leaving the U.S. alone as the world’s sole super power and the richest nation by far in world history.

    This was an accident of geography!
    The USSR and Europe had massive debts from the war, and massive damage taking decades to repair!

    The USSR also had the handicap of Stalin having purged most of the intelligentsia with management skills. – Replacing them with ideologists!

    America had repayments of war loans, a continent of natural resources, a homeland untouched by the ravages of war and new territories in the Pacific.

    This appears to have misled people into believing that these benefits derived from the internal political governmental structure.



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  • Trump is getting worse and worse now. This call to arms, this whole thing about the rigged election, is bullshit and dangerous. I really think these people, like Bannon, are psychotic.

    And most of the Trump supporters are red neck tattooed idiots. But not all. Many Republican leaders support him.

    The Republicans are the scum of the earth. Now that is true. And these T supporters are filed with shame, just like the Brown Shirts.

    They have it set up now where they could probably organize a fascist revolution if they win, and a powerful operation/movement if they lose.

    http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2016/10/team-trump-revolution-will-be-monetized.html



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  • Look I hope I am wrong, and that we are nowhere near fascism’s door. But rigged elections? put her in jail? rallies with fights? dog whistles galore? Bannon? He’s a thug! He’s probably a white supremacist – and he’s running the campaign? conspiracy theories? lies upon lies? a sophisticated organizing mechanism (a la Facebook), angry, virulent supporters who are not educated and numbering in the hundreds of thousands? second amendment?

    This isn’t good no matter how you look at it. A I being an alarmist? an hysteric? I am thinking of fleeing the country! My mother can get me dual citizenship; I would move somewhere in the EU. Too bad England is not an option.

    I hate baseball, by the way. I won’t miss that. Most boring sport ever invented. Not even a sport; it’s lunacy.



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  • Dan #100
    Oct 28, 2016 at 10:09 am

    They have it set up now where they could probably organize a fascist revolution if they win, and a powerful operation/movement if they lose.

    Apparently the courts can’t keep them under control!

    The surprise verdict acquitted them of conspiracy and firearms offences.

    A lawyer for one of the leaders, Ammon Bundy, was tackled to the ground by US marshals after shouting at the judge.

    The militia occupied the refuge in early January, accusing the government of unlawful interference in the affairs of ranchers.

    One protester was shot dead by police during a confrontation outside the refuge when some of the defendants were arrested, days before the occupation was brought to a peaceful end in February.

    The stand-off highlighted the simmering resentment among rural communities in the US West over federal control of land.

    A total of 26 people have been charged over the stand-off. Some have already pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

    A second group of defendants is due to stand trial in February.

    Prosecutors argued the defendants, led by Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan, had kept federal employees from their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

    But defence lawyers say the jury was unable to find beyond reasonable doubt that the occupiers had intended to prevent federal officers from going to work.

    Drama erupted in the courtroom after Ammon Bundy’s defence lawyer Marcus Mumford shouted at the judge, demanding the immediate release of his client. As the exchange escalated, court marshals tackled him to the ground and used a stun gun on him.

    Judge Anna Brown said Mr Bundy could not be released because he and his brother still faced charges in a separate armed stand-off case at their father’s ranch in Nevada in 2014.

    Lawyers for the defendants expressed their surprise at the verdict, including Robert Salisbury who described it as a “stunning victory for the defence”.

    I don’t think anyone in the UK would be going free from court after involvement in days of an armed stand off with police!



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  • AAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH. There, I feel a bit better. I think I just needed a damn good scream. If that’s how badly I feel about this American election sat here safely in Scotland I shudder to think what it must be like for Americans who are actually sane having to live through it. Comey’s disgusting stunt a few days ago had Trump howling about “Crooked Hillary” as usual and now that Comey has admitted there was nothing to see on Weiner’s computer Trump is howling how the election is rigged again. I see he’s also saying the Iraqi invasion of Mosul to retake it from ISIS is purely to help Hillary so she can take credit for it!!

    There simply appears to be no lower limit to what this insane man will sink to. Every new depth he plumbs turns out to be just a ledge on the side of the undersea cliff he’s still descending. What now seems like a lifetime ago, Ben Carson revealed that the pyramids were built to store grain in, somewhere inside the mounds of solid rock no doubt but he never quite explained that bit, and I really thought I’d seen it all. Nutter! I could not have imagined back then that this was a mere triviality in terms of how insane the Republican party was going to become a short while later.

    The brilliant Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) was on a chat show over here last week and he apologised to everyone in the UK for the horror show that was taking place in the USA that we’re all having to live through. It must be extraordinarily embarrassing to be a “normal” yank at this time when the supposed shining beacon of democracy to the world is enduring this deluge of voter suppression, gerrymandering, interference in the election by the FBI, lying by Trump and his surrogates on a scale never seen before, foul and disgusting smear tactics, calls for violence, for Hillary to be jailed, Trump supporters beating people up.

    This is not an election, it’s a freak show. This is not democracy, every trick in the book is being used to try and stop people exercising their right to vote.

    It feels a bit like going through a life crisis or the loss of a loved one. Those stages you’re meant to go through, denial, anger, bargaining, depression etc. I think I’ve been through all of those so far plus a few others like “WTF!!!”, “I think my head just exploded”, and “did he really just say that?”

    And yet, so far in and so deep down in the filth now, but this might only be the tip of the iceberg to date. If Trump refuses to accept defeat and starts suing all and sundry for rigging the election against him he could trigger violence on a scale we’ve never seen before, ensnare the USA in a morass of political uncertainty that lasts for years, bring government to a standstill again and cripple the country.

    There is so much to be sad about in all this. That the press there barely do their job in an honest fashion, that the only place to really get an honest take on it all is in the satirical tv shows like SNL, The Daily Show, Real Time, Samantha Bee and John Oliver, that so many of the population can think Trump is a viable presidential candidate, that the divisiveness and partisanship is far far beyond anything we see in any other western democracy. How can the USA ever hold its head up as an example to other countries after this? Even the bible says do something about the plank in your own eye before complaining about the mote in someone else’s.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich #104
    Nov 7, 2016 at 4:31 am

    AAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH. There, I feel a bit better. I think I just needed a damn good scream. If that’s how badly I feel about this American election sat here safely in Scotland I shudder to think what it must be like for Americans who are actually sane having to live through it.

    The whole world is being threatened by “American dumbocracy”.

    If that’s how badly I feel about this American election sat here safely in Scotland

    Most of Scotland is reasonably high above sea-level and a bit of extra warmth and rainfall from the predicted climate models will make Scottish hydroelectric and wind-turbine systems work better!

    Unless the Gulf-stream dies, Scotland could be OK for quite some time. – Pity about the more low-lying and tropical areas!!!!



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  • If this election is lost I think it may have had a major contribution from folk like Sam Harris and maybe from folk like me.

    Hillary Clinton is a terribly flawed candidate for the presidency, and this has allowed millions of otherwise sane Americans to imagine that she is less fit for office than Donald Trump is.

    I saw a few serious bones to pick with HC on her support of crime legislation and thought the other stuff might have been true. I just didn’t do my homework, nor were any of the opinion outlets pro-actively supporting her but merely defending her.

    I dread to think I might have said something so extreme as “dreadfully flawed”.

    Nope. Quite the reverse. She learned and knows that betterism is better than idealism in fixing things.

    Sorry.



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  • Having campaigned for a further investigation into non-misconduct, the expected knee-jerk response has been forthcoming from T-Rump! – After all! Dedicated conspiracy theorists have votes – even if they do lack brains!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2016-37892348

    Trump cries foul as FBI clears Clinton

    The FBI director said a fresh inquiry into the Democratic candidate’s communications found nothing to change the bureau’s conclusion this summer.

    The Clinton campaign said it was “glad” the lingering issue had been resolved.

    The dramatic twist lifted a cloud from her campaign as the final day of the marathon US election race loomed.

    The latest opinion polls on Sunday, before news broke of the FBI announcement, gave Mrs Clinton a four- to five-point lead over Mr Trump.



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