Feb 1, 2020

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89 comments on “OPEN DISCUSSION FEBRUARY 2020

  • Welcome to the February 2020 open discussion thread.


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  • Just watched this on France24…

    Trumps evangelicals – the full size ark featured in the middle of the report is scary! First time I have seen that.

    I never understand how these Christians are able to square their beliefs with Trump’s behaviour and  environment stance – the pollution of “God’s creation”. Report abuse

  • The only word that leaps to mind is “irrational”.  I’m convinced the Tuumpists don’t have beliefs — They have prejudices which Trump validates.  They are a frightening group of people.  And, they don’t realize they are being played for suckers.  Trump is the master con man. Report abuse

  • The Ark Encounter is very well known amongst atheists who follow the well known batshit crazy religious apologists like Ken Ham who is responsible for this particular monstrosity.

    It was built with a shit ton of taxpayer grants which is a disgrace and rather ironically is held together with massive amounts of steel, which wasn’t actually available in the bronze age of course, because wood alone isn’t strong enough to hold together in structures that size as shipbuilders know very well. Its very construction proves that Noah’s Ark couldn’t possibly have existed. It’s just a con job designed to fleece the gullible i.e. a pretty good description of all of religion. Report abuse

  • WalsallBoy #2

    You are too reasonable, too rational, to make sense of those American evangelicals. Their basic principle is Faith in the Word of God, coupled with the Sadducaic notion found in the Old Testament that the righteous person, obedient to the will of God (as revealed through his Word), is blessed and rewarded with health and wealth (the Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife). The plutocrats who like to control the political system in the USA may not be particularly religious, but they find that Sadducaic notion inherent in evangelical Christianity (which does promote belief in an afterlife and also favors thisworldly health and wealth for its adherents) to be politically useful in finding common political cause with them. Michael’s point at #3 about these evangelicals is spot on. One would pity them if they were not such a danger to the USA. Report abuse

  • One would pity them if they were not such a danger to the USA.

    I fear it might be worse than that.

    One would pity them if they were not such a danger to the planet.

    Its our problem now, folks… Report abuse

  • Arkrid Sandwich says:

    The Ark Encounter is very well known amongst atheists who follow the well known batshit crazy religious apologists like Ken Ham who is responsible for this particular monstrosity.

    In fact Noah’s gopher steel brackets, laminate ply constructions  of Ham’s petting zoo, animatronic dinosaur shed,  and insurance claims for rain damage, would be comical,  if not for the waste of taxpayers’ money and de-education of children.


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  • All eyes were on Iowa yesterday to see the results of the Democratic Party Precinct Caucuses, and the party dropped the ball. To understand what happened, you need to know a bit of history.  In my opinion, the problem is that the Party is trying to adapt an antique system to the computer age, and it just doesn’t work well.

    The caucus system was designed decades ago so that Party activists could choose delegates to the county convention, which in turn would choose delegates to the congressional district convention, which would choose delegates to the State Convention, which would choose delegates to the national Convention where the presidential candidate would be chosen.  Because Iowa used such a convoluted system of choosing delegates, they had to begin the process early in the year so that the state party had time to choose delegates to the national convention.  It just happened that nobody else went first.
    In those days, there were a handful of people in each precinct who took an active interest in the workings of the Party.  Most caucuses were held in very small venues, often in the home of the precinct committee person.  He/she would have their fellow party members over and they would sit around the kitchen table drinking coffee (sure, coffee!!).  The people would debate a proposal or two to submit to the County Platform Committee.  They would select the precinct’s representatives for the various county central committee offices, and finally they would decide who would appear at the county convention.  When the business of the caucus was completed, the results would be recorded on paper signed by the precinct captain and the caucus secretary.  The captain drove the envelope to the party’s county headquarters, where the results would be recorded and reported to the congressional district party headquarters and finally reported to the state party headquarters.  The only people who had an interest were the people who belonged to and were active in the Party.  That was Iowa — other states chose the delegates to the national convention in other ways.  But finally, the delegates from all the states would meet in a national convention, usually in the heat of the summer, and fight over who the nominee of the party would be, it would be the decision of the delegates guided by the party bosses who hammered things out in the proverbial cigar smoke filled back rooms.  The last such convention I remember was when John F. Kennedy ran against the majority leader of the Senate, Lyndon B. Johnson.  The favorite was LBJ because Kennedy was a Catholic and the conventual wisdom was that a Catholic could not be elected, and LBJ was a very well known and very powerful Senator.  The convention went on for several days, with the delegates voting numerous times without producing the required number of votes to nominate a candidate.  Finally, the party bosses twisted enough arms, and Kennedy was the nominee.
    After the Watergate scandal it was decided that the nomination process would be open to the general public.  In 1976, Jimmy Carter, a relatively unknown governor from the State of Georgia, came to Iowa to launch his presidential bid.  That year, the United Auto Workers labor union wanted to have a significant presence on the floor of the Democratic Party national convention.  By this time, the Iowa delegates were chosen on the basis of presidential preference.  The Union, decided to send its members to the caucuses and to support Carter – not because they though he could win the nomination, but because he didn’t have a lot of other support and therefore, it would be the union members who would be elected delegates.  The union was more successful than they realized they would be, Carter won the Iowa Caucuses and the next thing you know he was in the White House – remember Nixon had resigned, Ford had pardoned Nixon, and the economy was in the tank partly because we were paying the bill for the Viet Nam war.  It didn’t take a political genius to win that year.
    Thereafter, because of Carter’s victory, the Iowa Caucuses took on a more important role in the nomination process, mostly because it demonstrates the ability to organize large numbers of people.  Those candidates who could organize enough people to come in in the top three could thereafter compete in other states.  Those who come in at the bottom of the list usually drop out of the race because their money dries up.  By late spring or early summer, it becomes clear who the nominee will be and before the convention everyone has pledged their support to the presumed nominee.
    The problem is that the framework of the caucuses has remined unchanged.  We have a horse and buggy system being used in a computer age – a system designed for a few friends and neighbors is now being used by hundreds of people multiplied by more than a thousand precincts in 99 counties.
    If the Party is going to invite the public to participate in the nomination process, why not simply have a primary election and conduct Party business at a different time?  The only reason Iowa has its importance is because it is the first event in the nation to test candidate strength.  Traditionally, New Hampshire holds the first primary election.  If the Iowa Democratic Party decided to hold a Primary, it would have to be later in the season.   Because of the small number of delegates Iowa sends to the national convention, the candidates would spend very little time trapesing around Iowa for months before the first-in-the-nation caucuses.  I heard this morning that Fifty Million Dollars has been spent in Iowa this campaign season.  Iowa is not going to give that up without a fight.  It’s not only the candidates who come to Iowa, but their staffs, the world and national press, film crews all stay in hotels and eat in restaurants and buy gas for their cars and buses.  Print shops make a fortune printing fliers and other campaign ads.  TV and radio stations operate for months on the revenue generated during the caucuses.  In addition, Iowans like the attention they receive, and being able to meet and talk to as many candidates at they desire.  Lots of Iowans have photos of themselves with Presidents and first ladies.  Iowa doesn’t want to give all that up.  But how to make the caucuses relevant without becoming a primary election.  That’s the problem that has escaped a solution.  In the meantime, the Iowa Democrats have a lot of explaining to do.        

  • My view, as an outsider, is that there aren’t any strong candidates for the Democrats.

    Apart from maybe Bernie Sanders, there aren’t any memorable characters. It is sad to say, but I can’t see any of them beating Trump.

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  • WalsallBoy #9.  I can understand your view that none of the Democrats are strong enough to defeat Trump.  Most, other than Bernie are relatively unknown.  However, as I write this, I’m thinking of an unknown guy from Chicago who decided to make a run for the presidency.  The cautious voices said that he was not well known enough to be successful.  As the campaign progressed, however, he caught fire, was elected, and turned out to be one of the most successful and most popular presidents in the history of the country.  Likewise, Jimmy Carter began with no one knowing who he was.  Although the differences between Carter and Obama are legion, the point is that being unknown at the beginning of the campaign season is not necessarily an insurmountable hurdle.  Interestingly enough, both Carter and Obama got their initial shot out of the cannon by the people who went to the Iowa caucuses.  This time, it looks like Pete is the one being shot out of the Iowa cannon.     Report abuse

  • Michael100: I hope you are right and Pete steps up to the role.

    The Democrats have shot themselves in the foot with the impeachment attempt though. It just plays into Trump’s narrative. Report abuse

  • That only makes sense from Trump’s narrative.  To anyone not inside the bubble the impeachment was necessary as a result of his conduct.  Thankfully, the majority of Americans seem to agree.

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  • Sean, I agree that the impeachment was necessary.  We all knew what the outcome would be, but if it had not been undertaken, the Democrats would have breached their duty to history and to the Constitution.  Trump must continue to be exposed for the criminal he is.  Last night’s State of the Union speech was a carpet of lies.  Pelosi spoke for all thinking people when she tore the speech and threw it on the floor.

    Along these lines, If you search YouTube for Andrea Bernstein Commonwealth Club, you can hear a fascinating in depth summary of Bernstein’s book, American Oligarchs.  Just when you think you know how rotten Trump is, you learn that you don’t know the half of it. Bernstein’s book is on my short list of must-reads.
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  • You have to hand it to Nancy Pelosi. Trump gets crushed every time he tries to face up to her. She treats him like a bad little boy and he obligingly behaves like one every time. He came across like a petty little jerk when he refused to shake her hand and then she stole every bit of oxygen from the room when she tore up his speech behind him as he preened and gloated. Then the final knife in the gut, “It was the courteous thing to do” she told a reporter, “considering the alternative”. I imagine the alternative was to go on camera and say what a disgusting turdblossom Trump is.

    David Pakman on Youtube has a new video showing the two times that Trump’s brain glitched during the SOTU. Not quite as violent as some of the other recent glitches but it’s happening so often now that one wonders if he’ll even be able to speak come November. The more it happens the more afraid he’ll become of it happening again each time he speaks in public and soon he’ll be in a flop sweat every time he has to go on camera, even before his adoring sycophants at rallies.

    Well for those of us who had any doubt, the full extent of the corruption and sycophancy of the Republican party has been laid bare for all to see. Every senator voted for acquital except for Mitt Romney. Prior to the vote, Romney gave a tearful speech to show the world how incredibly brave he was going to be and even then couldn’t quite bring himself to vote guilty on both counts. Zombie lizard witches Collins and Murkowski, who occasionally grumble mildly but always vote for Trump in the end, contorted themselves into knots to reporters to try and explain how Trump shouldn’t be found guilty.

    The electorate have their choice now. Vote Democrat or vote Corruption. Report abuse

  • WalsallBoy

    If you’re so concerned about Trump’s approval rating then how do you think this should’ve played out? Just let him go his merry way with harmful policies inspired by his base? No consequences?

    There are consequences for actions in this life but there are also consequences for NOT acting too.

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  • LaurieB

    Having looked a parts of the televised hearings, what is obvious outside of the Trump and Republican political bubble, is that with a very  small number of exceptions. the Republican Party and its elected representatives, have deeply implicated themselves  in the corruption of the Trump regime, and the rest of the world is taking note!

    These hearings are on video record, with copies likely to be retained and preserved for future reference, outside of America.

      Report abuse

  • That’s just life.  Sometimes when you call someone out you take a hit.  You become less popular, and they become more likable.   I’ve been in both positions.  🙂  What I’ve learned is that it’s better not to focus entirely on trying to manipulate that dynamic.  Instead, try to find some independent purpose.

    Romney’s speech yesterday is a perfect example of a man doing just that.

    This is not a recipe for success. –I know, if you’ve got the experience you didn’t need to hear that; still… Report abuse

  • Sean

    Sometimes when you call someone out you take a hit.

    It’s an important point. I don’t know how some people sleep at night with the positions they defend in the daylight. I may disagree with just about everything about Romney but he did stand up and take a position that he believes is the morally right thing to do. Probably politically expedient too but whatever. There’s always a calculation somewhere in the background.

    It’s not easy to stand up and take a position in an environment of overwhelming negativity. There’s a price to pay as many of us here are well aware of. Report abuse

  • Alan

    I do hope other countries are speaking out against  our lurching to the hard right and all of the toxic policies that come with that. The toxicity isn’t limited to the US. The effect on other places is so regrettable. I feel like the Middle East is doomed. Report abuse

  • LaurieB says:

    I do hope other countries are speaking out against  our lurching to the hard right and all of the toxic policies that come with that.

    Some in Europe are. but in the UK we are stuck with the mini-Trumpoid BoJo the Clown for the next five years.

    He is still full of lies and rhetoric, but does not look any nearer to acquiring any negotiating skills, or putting together a coherent plan on the future of international trade with the UK.

    The brain-dad brexiteer base THINKS they have achieved their precious brexit, but many are too stupid to realise that BoJo has not even started to arrange any of the fanciful “wonderful” new trade deals he promised them!

    The EU has told him of the rules the other 27  members operate and the terms which are likely to be offered , but as a non-member (applying for a trade deal), egged on by the right-wing gutter press, he is going to stand up to them and tell them (in his dreams) what HE is going to accept!

    EU trade is about 45% of UK exports, but that trade is only about 8% of the EU’s export business!

    So a deadlocked no-deal mess will hurt 45% of UK business and 8% of the EU’s trade.

    The Australians have also pretty much said they are not interested in any fancy free trade deals with him!

    Like Trump BoJo is full of bombastic noise, but appears clueless about dealing with real government issues.

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  • Laurie B. You have got me wrong, I dislike Trump as much as you, but why are his approval ratings going up?

    Somebody on here commented that most Americans agree with the impeachment attempt. The polls say something different. America is split down the middle.

    Look at the the UK election. Labour wiped out because they were seen to be frustrating Brexit. The UK voters had enough of politicians telling them they were wrong. Labour were seen to be just frustrating the process with no alternative answers and people were bored of the whole farce going through parliament last year.  Now the UK has no effective opposition to the Conservative PM – it’s a mess.

    I just think the Democrats have got to get past “get Trump out” as their main focus.

    Don’t think I am some right winger, because I am not. I despair at the thought of Boris Johnson in power for the next 5 years. Conservative party immigration policy affects my family a lot Report abuse

  • WalsallBoy says:
    Look at the the UK election. Labour wiped out because they were seen to be frustrating Brexit.

    I don’t think so!
    Labour were wiped out because BoJo promised the air-head brexiteers  what the brexiteers and the gutter press had told them they wanted.
    The majority Remain section did not trust Corbyn the closet brexiteer, fence sitter, to deliver any useful decisions or forms of government.
     Corbyn had messed up on every major decision along the line.
    An indecisive weak campaign before the referendum.
    Whipping his MPs to vote for article 50 with the plan he should have been demanding, missing.
    3 years of  fudge and fiddle with stupid comments like  “having A customs union”, rather than “THE customs union”, – as if the EU 27 were all going to change their rules to suit him!
    The sheer stupidity of suggesting a second referendum would be between “Remain” and some “unspecified deal HE would negotiate”, instead of Theresa May’s deal v Remain!
    When there were enough Tory Remain rebels, he threw the chance to fix the problem away, by refusing to stand down and have a temporary government under someone else

    The UK voters had enough of politicians telling them they were wrong

    Again Corbyn should have been hammering the point that the referendum was advisory for 3 Years, and challenging the lies from the  brexiteers and the gutter press! Instead he just played to the brexit gallery to try and win a few ‘Kipper votes, hence giving credibility to ‘Kipper objectives.

    Labour were seen to be just frustrating the process with no alternative answers and people were bored of the whole farce going through parliament last year.

    You are right there! but various people in the Labour Party – Tom Watson for one, and other MPs who left, gave up trying to get sense out of Corbyn.
    It wasn’t just the voters who were fed up with him or fed up with  the workers brexiteer foot-shooter in chief! – moron McClusky!
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  • Somebody on here commented that most Americans agree with the impeachment attempt.

    That was me, and it’s true.  FiveThirtyEight’s tracking of the issue shows that since October support for impeachment has been greater than non-support.

    But it is the Senate’s job to impeach in situations like this regardless of public opinion.  The Republicans are lying when they say that we can replace impeachment with an election. Report abuse

  • Marco says:

    A survey of 500 people who had voted Labour in 2017 but did not do so in December 2019 found that the overwhelming issue was Corbyn himself, and his overall leadership.

    That comes as no surprise to me.

    I was actively campaigning, and numerous people including active Labour Party members identified Corbyn as an electoral liability!

    Unfortunately voters were given the choice of BoJo the Clown or Corbyn the Clueless, so they chose the one who actually stated a position on the issues.

    Having refused to make a coalition temporary government, to fix the problem of indecision, Corbyn  actually sidelined brexit in the list of Labour’s campaign priorities!

    I think he was hoping to negotiate a soft leave plan to put to a second referendum and split the remain vote to shuffle through his personal version of brexit.

    It’s not just that Corbyn lost, but he lost to the worst bunch of split Tory incompetents and rogues that we have seen for quite some time! Report abuse

  • WalsallBoy

    There are plenty of Trump haters who were opposed to impeachment. I’m married to one. But when I ask what in the world we should do about him and all the damage he has done and is doing every day to this place they respond in a blithely passive way. “Oh we need to get everyone out there for the vote!” Sure! We do need to vote him out but that doesn’t mean that we retreat from his very blatant corruption and destruction of everything that anyone in the political center and to the left of that hold dear. This is really dire. I don’t even know if a new administration can fix everything him and his entourage have screwed up here and abroad. I doubt it.

    Whining about impeachment at this point is pretty much concern trolling. Report abuse

  • Alan

    We get very little coverage of Brexit here but I watch BBC news every night and that bizarre state of affairs does translate into the 10-15 minutes I get every night about it.

    We see your BoJo blustering in a remarkably Trumpian fashion about how tremendous new deals will be made by him followed by EU people who appear to be completely unconcerned and going about their business with no apparent emotions about the situation.

    As an outsider, this does not bode well…They’re going to punish you.  🙁 Report abuse

  • LaurieB says:

    As an outsider, this does not bode well…They’re going to punish you.

    Watching from the other side of the planet, I agree with your perception, Laurie, that the UK is cruising for a bruising. But I would caution against lending weight to one of the Tories’ tricks, namely blaming the EU for bad things happening in the UK because of Tory policies. The punishment that the UK will be getting will be entirely self-induced, but we can expect the Tory leaders in the UK once again to blame the EU for it. Report abuse

  • Unfortunately voters were given the choice of BoJo the Clown or Corbyn the Clueless, so they chose the one who actually stated a position on the issues.

    UK voters also rejected the Liberal Democrats, with their remain policy, though. I think everyone just wanted Brexit over and done with.

    I agree Corbyn and the Labour manifesto was a disaster. The fact Corbyn hasn’t resigned as leader shows how delusional he is. If Labour go for another Corbynite hard-left leader, the Conservatives will be in power for another decade.




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  • WalsallBoy

     I think everyone just wanted Brexit over and done with.

    Except that they didn’t.

    If you look at the vote shares, more people voted for for parties advocating a 2nd referendum than for those pushing for Brexit without one.

    Pro 2nd ref:                                  Pro Brexit without 2nd ref:
    LAB        32.2%                           CON     43.6%
    LD         11.5%                         BRX       2.0%
    SNP          3.9%
    GRN         2.7%
    _________                                  ________
                    50.3%                                          45.6%


    You’ll see that this table doesn’t include the much smaller parties with vote shares under 1%, but you can expand the results for those and see that, even if you include all of them, more people still voted for parties advocating a 2nd referendum than for those saying “just get it done”.

    First Past The Post skews everything: just because a party wins an enormous majority of seats, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it also won a majority of the votes. Report abuse

  • LaurieB says:

    As an outsider, this does not bode well…They’re going to punish you.

    Despite the headline ranting of the “Daily Fail” and the “Daily HExpress”, the EU has calmly stated their treaty and constitutional position, while BoJo the Clown insists that if they don’t change the entire system to let brexiteers “have their cake and eat it” as self proclaimed “privileged non-members”, –  (applying cap in hand to the EU for  deal), he will “threaten to walk away” with no deal!

    This is pretty much a threat of: “I have shot myself in the foot, by  deliberately jumping off the cliff with no plan, and if you don’t catch me in a padded blanket and treat me as a celebrity, I will shoot myself in the other foot” – but with airs of Dunning-Kruger superiority and no idea about the implications of WTO rules!

    Any “punishment”, will be self inflicted, – not that that will make any difference to the brexiteer scapegoating of the EU or the fantasy propaganda stories in the gutter press! Report abuse

  • Cairsley

    But I would caution against lending weight to one of the Tories’ tricks, namely blaming the EU for bad things happening in the UK because of Tory policies.

    That trick is to be expected, I suppose, but if EU had anything to do with this I’m unaware of it. Why in the world would they want to dump UK in the first place?! Britain brought so much to the union. Hard to imagine the EU without it now. Report abuse

  • Laurie

    Britain brought so much to the union. Hard to imagine the EU without it now.

    The EU will do just fine without us. They have come through this whole Brexit process with their integrity, their sanity and their unity intact, which is more than I can say of the UK. Yes, of course there’ll be an economic hit for them as well as us but, as Alan has pointed out, EU-UK trade forms a far smaller proportion of EU GDP than UK GDP, so the pain to them won’t be on anything like the scale of the pain to us.

    What’s more, opinion polls across the remaining 27 EU members show that support for remaining in the EU has risen in every single one of them in the wake of the Brexit fiasco, and there isn’t a single one of them where support for ongoing EU membership is less than 71%, and in most it is comfortably in the 80s.

    I think the EU is sad at our departure, because it really is based on the notion of partnership and co-operation, and our exit flies in the face of that. But I actually suspect they will come to feel quite relieved that we are no longer able to block any more ambitious plans. In the face of climate change and the shifting geopolitical situation now all of us in Europe are caught between a hostile Putin and a hostile Trump, they really need to start flexing their economic and geopolitical muscle, and there is no doubt that we would have blocked that all the way.

    In fact, for me it is one of the very few consolations of Brexit that I genuinely think the EU will get on better without us, once the immediate hit is behind them. I even know of one passionately pro-EU Brit who voted Leave for that very reason, and I don’t suppose they were the only one.

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  • Marco

    In the face of climate change and the shifting geopolitical situation now all of us in Europe are caught between a hostile Putin and a hostile Trump, they really need to start flexing their economic and geopolitical muscle, and there is no doubt that we would have blocked that all the way.

    Very interesting indeed! I’ll be watching for further developments on that front. Report abuse

  • @ Marco  #31


    If you look at the vote shares, more people voted for for parties advocating a 2nd referendum than for those pushing for Brexit without one.

    Pro 2nd ref:                                  Pro Brexit without 2nd ref:
    LAB        32.2%                           CON     43.6%
    LD         11.5%                         BRX       2.0%
    SNP          3.9%
    GRN         2.7%
    _________                                  ________
                    50.3%                                          45.6%


    This is  p**ing in the wind.  General elections are not single-issue decisions, so you can’t naively totalise voter support for a specfic policy proposal from the information given there.

    The facts are these :  a majority of the UK voted for Brexit,  and a majority of the UK voted for a Conservative Government to implement it.

    Fiddling with some figures might make you feel better but it makes no difference to the outcome.

  • If you look at the vote shares, more people voted for for parties advocating a 2nd referendum than for those pushing for Brexit without one.

    Sorry, yes I can see that the Lib Dems actually increased their vote share but didn’t translate it to seats.

  • A change of subject…

    Do people on here think the Coronavirus outbreak is something to be worried about?

    I am based in Asia, so I am seeing the effect it is having.

  • This horrible little sketch encapsulates everything that I think is wrong with America.

    Fat, ugly, bigotted, stupid, homophobic, bible thumping woman votes for Pete Buttigieg in Iowa then gets interviewed afterwards during the course of which she finds out for the first time that Pete is gay. It does not seem even slightly credible that after 9 months of campaigning, the single most headline worthy piece of information about Mayor Pete which is mentioned in the first sentence of every article about him could actually not be known by now by any American voter. However as Bill Maher has reminded us constantly for the whole of the 20 years I’ve been watching his shows, the American electorate is the stupidest, lowest information electorate in the history of this planet.

    “You mean he has a same sex partner?” she gasps in shock as if she’s still slightly unclear on the whole concept of gay. “I never heard that before”. Then she starts babbling about the bible and demands her voting card back to change her vote which she eventually does to Elizabeth Warren who is presumably heterosexual enough for her delicate sensibilities.

    So why did this whackaloon vote for Pete in the first place? Who knows. She probably saw a quick clip of him once on tv between the soaps and reality shows which is all she watches and thought there’s a nice clean cut young man in a smart suit and tie. She can’t possibly have known anything about his policies and still not know he’s gay. It seems unlikely that she’s ever read a newspaper, or an online media source or even watched a news program on tv to be able to remain so catastrophically uninformed.

    There should be a test for eligibility to vote like there is for driving, diving or becoming an American citizen if you weren’t born there. However if you were born there you can be as dumb fuck stupid and ignorant as you like and you still get to reproduce and vote. If you can’t at least score your age on an IQ test you don’t get to vote IMO. I doubt this one could score her shoe size.

    And of course lurking under the bigotry and homophobia as usual is religion. The poisoner of all things. Report abuse

  • Rogeroney #38

    Sigh. I realise that every evangelical Leave voter has been programmed to pop up like a jack-in-the-box with some variant of “You lost, get over it” every time Brexit is mentioned online, but #31 was not about the outcome of the referendum or, indeed, of the general election. It was about how people actually voted, in response to WB’s contention (at #30) that the drop in Labour’s support at the election had been primarily due to “… everyone just want[ing] Brexit over and done with”. Neither an analysis of former Labour voters who did not vote Labour this time (see #24) nor of how people cast their votes in the election as a whole (#31) bears out the contention that it was primarily about wanting to “get Brexit done”.

    And while it is true that elections are usually multi-issue affairs, to suggest this means that votes for parties advocating a 2nd referendum cannot be taken as support for a 2nd referendum, while votes for parties advocating “getting Brexit done” can be taken as support for “getting Brexit done” smacks of attempting to have your cake and eat it. Not an unprecedented stance among Leavers, I know, but hardly a sign of intellectual honesty.

    Nor did “a majority of the UK” vote for Brexit. Ever. Not even a majority of the UK electorate voted for Brexit. 2 of the 4 countries that make up the UK did not vote for Brexit. None of the 3 devolved parliaments in the UK approved the Withdrawal Agreement.

    What actually happened is that 17,410,742 people in the UK who were entitled to vote in the referendum, voted for Brexit; 16,141,241 voted against it; 12,949,258 did not vote, and 18,604,470 people in the UK were not given a say in it at all. The most you could say with any intellectual integrity is that Leave won the largest share of the votes in the referendum. And fine: that’s how referendums work. But to extrapolate from that to claim that “the majority of the UK” voted for Brexit is just plain dishonest.

    Furthermore, no major opinion poll in the last 12+ months has put Leave ahead of Remain. All the available data from the last 12+ months suggests that the UK remains deeply divided on the issue, with, if anything, a small preference now for Remain. FWIW, I’m not claiming Remain would have won a 2nd referendum: I think it would have been extremely close and could have gone either way.

    Funnily enough, as someone who follows the ins and outs of current affairs rather closely, I had in fact noticed that Leave won the referendum and that the Conservatives won the general election. But election outcomes are at least as dependent on systems as they are on votes and, as I have already pointed out, under First Past The Post, it is possible to achieve massive majorities in the Commons without coming anywhere near to getting even half the votes. If the UK had PR, we would now have a small pro-2nd referendum majority in the Commons.

    In the 2019 election, 46.5% of those who voted, voted for pro-Brexit parties (43.6% for the Conservatives, 2.0% for the Brexit Party, 0.8% for the DUP, and 0.1% for UKIP) – an increase of just 1.4% over 2017.

    Yet, under our FPTP system, they (in the form of the Conservatives + DUP) got 57.4% of the seats in the Commons in 2019, compared with 50.5% in 2017. That’s 6.9% more seats, a huge majority, and consequently vastly more power than in 2017 – all on the back of a mere 1.4% increase in vote share that still only totalled 46.5%. (Source: and

    So if you really want to know what people in the UK think, simply looking at seat allocations in the House of Commons is a terrible way of trying to find out.

    And the thing is, Rogeroney, you know that perfectly well yourself.

    There is now, in any case, another one for your list of outcomes: Leave won the referendum, the Conservatives won the election, and … wait for it … Brexit has now actually happened (even if the transition period means it will be 2021 before the reality of that really begins to bite).

    What actually happens once the transition period has ended will depend very much on the approach taken by the UK government this year, but already it seems to have abandoned any idea of the frictionless trade with the EU that it used to promise us and, with international trade deals generally taking years rather than months to negotiate and ratify, the chances of significant amounts of trade with more than a tiny proportion of the rest of the world being ready to roll by then are practically zero. And if we get a trade deal with the US that quickly, then it will be entirely on Trump’s terms. (Speaking after the collapse of the TTIP talks between the US and the EU a few years ago, one US trade negotiator spoke of the US’s shock at having found itself in the unprecedented position of having to negotiate with a bloc of similar economic clout to itself: “Normally we just fax the other side our terms and say ‘Sign here'”.)

    So what happens then will be on you and all the other Leave and/or Conservative voters now, Rogeroney. Every company that relocates because of Brexit; every job lost because of Brexit; every doctor, nurse, midwife, vet, abattoir inspector, agricultural labourer, plumber, lecturer, carer …. who leaves because of Brexit; every scientific research project from which UK scientists are excluded because of Brexit; every UK musician who cannot perform because bands and orchestras need them to have freedom of movement across the EU; every half-empty supermarket shelf because of Brexit; every family that can no longer afford European holidays because of Brexit; every young person who can no longer study abroad because of Brexit; every patient who can’t get their medication because of Brexit; every £ that ends up feeding the profits of US healthcare corporations rather than sustaining our NHS, every case of food poisoning due to the US’s abysmal food safety standards, every workers’ right lost, every environmental protection discarded, every £ stripped from supporting the disabled and the unemployed and the poor under the pretext of the economic downturn that will follow Brexit; every assault on our human rights that follows now you’ve voted to jettison our EU protections … I could go on … they’ll all be down to you.

    So god help you and god help all of us. Time to put your tired slogans back in the box and get on with holding the government to account to damn well make sure the Brexit you voted for doesn’t turn out to be the absolute bloody disaster it’s currently headed for.

    It’s on you, Rogeroney. You won. Get over it.

  • Marco:

    Just thought I should mention my view on the EU as Brit and just to clarify my previous comments in context.

    As mentioned, I am living in Asia and the Tory immigration rules affect me and my family.

    The EU rules allow for any member state citizen to bring in a non-EU spouse to their EU country of residence.

    This in effect, means that another EU citizen in the UK can bring in non-EU family members without having to comply with the normal UK rules for non-EU family visas.

    So, say a French person living in the UK can easily bring a non-EU spouse. Whereas I, as a Brit, have to comply with the very strict visa rules to be able to do so.

    It is a very small part of the argument, but I do feel it is unfair to Brits.

    I know you will say I have the same freedom in other EU member countries, and Tory party immigration policy is not the fault of the EU but it is a problem for many UK expat with family outside the EU. As I am sure you know, UK non-EU spouse visa rules are very tough – cruel in many ways.

    It is something that is hard for me to accept.

    I guess you will also think I am naive if I think things will get any easier for people in my situation post Brexit.

    One can only hope…

  • WB, nothing in the EU rules ever prevented the UK from offering more generous immigration terms to non-EU citizens, had it wished to do so. It didn’t do so because it didn’t wish to do so. Period.

    Given the Windrush scandal, with the Tory govt deporting huge numbers of people with Caribbean backgrounds on a “deport now, ask questions later” basis, even though many of them had lived here since childhood, and even though large numbers of them have subsequently been found to have been wrongly deported even under this govt’s own draconian rules, it would indeed be extremely naive to think immigrants of any nationality are going to have it any easier now we have left the EU. Indeed, the UK has set a £30,000 minimum earnings requirement for migrants to the UK, which will leave even many nurses, carers and teachers unable to move here. Average salaries are well below that figure in much of the UK.

    Brexit was won on the back of a surge of English nationalism and xenophobia. There is no way it is going to lead to an improvement in the immigrant’s lot.

  • Brexit was won on the back of a surge of English nationalism and xenophobia

    The Asian country I am in is equally xenophobic to foreigners. Not much fun being stuck in the middle – between a rock and a hard place.

  • @WalsallBoy

    The Asian country I am in is equally xenophobic to foreigners. Not much fun being stuck in the middle – between a rock and a hard place.

    The tragic consequences of the rise of nationalism, and it isn’t unique to one country or region. Report abuse

  • No, indeed, WB. I can well imagine. Ethnic nationalism and xenophobia are scourges on humanity and have never brought anything but misery in their wake.

    That’s another reason I am so passionately pro-EU. It was built from the ashes of a continent that had literally been destroyed by ethnic nationalism and xenophobia, and from a group of countries that had for centuries pursued their own, conflicting nationalistic interests and had consequently been at war with one another more often, and more disastrously, than any other group of countries on the planet. And while not stripping us of those national identities, the EU allowed us to add another identity on top: our shared identity as Europeans. And by pursuing a policy of co-operation and partnership between countries that had formerly fought one war after another, it helped to bring real, lasting peace to a historically riven continent. Because the EU is based on the simple idea that, where nations can agree shared goals and values and interests, where they are deeply interconnected on the basis of those shared goals and values and interests and pull together in pursuit of them,  they will become peaceful partners rather than warring enemies. And Freedom of Movement has a huge part to play in that, since it means that all EU citizens have the right to move freely around the EU, to travel, live, work, study, marry, retire anywhere in the EU. What a hugely enriching idea that is, both for the individuals concerned and for the countries concerned. What a flourishing of relationships that allows, and what a huge boost to creativity as people encounter a whole host of ideas and traditions they’ve never encountered before.

    I am pro-immigration, WB, and would be happy to see that Freedom of Movement expanded to include far more countries as well. But that’s not a view you will find very widely in Brexit Britain, I’m afraid. On the contrary: Brexit Britain is so affronted at the idea of that kind of international openness that it would rather destroy its whole economy and standing in the world in order to escape it. Report abuse

  • Well, on a positive note, at least in the US and UK you can still say what you want – call Trump or BoJo clowns without getting into trouble for it.

    Out here you have to be very careful.

  • Marco says:

    But that’s not a view you will find very widely in Brexit Britain, I’m afraid. On the contrary: Brexit Britain is so affronted at the idea of that kind of international openness that it would rather destroy its whole economy and standing in the world in order to escape it.

    I have been thinking about the future of my family, and the possibilities of them regaining EU citizenship despite the nationalism of the “Little-Englanders”.

    Apart from the remote possibility of the UK rejoining the EU on worse terms than at present, it may be possible for my children and grandchildren  to regain EU citizenship through a nationalist back door!

    My wife is Scottish and Scotland really wants to be back in the EU!

    The Northern Irish may also do some rethinking of their position. Report abuse

  • Alan #48

    Happily, the independence movement in Scotland is pursuing civic, rather than ethnic, nationalism.  You’d be hard put to find a more open, welcoming or inclusive group of people. The independence movement here has undoubtedly been given a boost by the rejection of the kind of exceptionalism and ethnic, xenophobic nationalism driving Brexit in England and, to a lesser extent, Wales.

    You and your family would be very welcome! Report abuse

  • Marco says:

    You and your family would be very welcome!

    We aren’t very far south of the border, and cross to see some of my wife’s relatives from time to time.

    Or course what would happen to the border if Scotland became independent, is another question.

    Historically people used to bring back cattle as souvenirs from visits,  – in both directions! ☺

      Report abuse

  • Or course what would happen to the border if Scotland became independent, is another question.

    Once iScotland rejoins the EU, there’ll have to be border checks on goods because there’ll be different regulatory and customs regimes in Scotland and England. There’ll be no avoiding that.

    But there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a Common Travel Area for people, just as there is currently between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, even after Brexit. So there’s no reason to think we’ll need passports to go to and fro.

      Report abuse

  • Marco says:

    Once Scotland rejoins the EU, there’ll have to be border checks on goods because there’ll be different regulatory and customs regimes in Scotland and England. There’ll be no avoiding that.

    I have some misgivings about that.

    As I was saying to my wife’s cousin in Glasgow, I would be more sympathetic to Scottish independence if we could also move the border! – Say from the Humber to the Mersey, or from the Wash to the Severn! ☺

      Report abuse

  • Alan may recall epeeist a long time poster here and still posting on Patheos Cross Examined.

    He has announced a departure for north of the border. Am jealous. I have some work with insects in Edinburgh, but not enough to allow the permanent move.

    Currently I mostly work in Wales in vertical farming, so my plan (after securing the launch of the United States of Canada) is the creation of the United Celtic Isles, formed by a conjoining of Brythonic and Gaelic Celts, maybe with a few aligned city states from Little England. Report abuse

  • Laurie. I wasn’t imagining you’d be signing up for the leftovers, The Confederacy of Dixie.

    I am pleased though. There are some senior roles in the administration that need an honest and wise pair of hands… Report abuse

  • Phil

    I know what position I want in the new administration.

    I want to run the division of the dept of education that will be concerned with development of our most important resource – our young people. I want an agency that has access to young people at least by the time they hit high school. In US now, our high school guidance counselors are overloaded and pretty much ineffective at giving students the amount of help they really need. Students who don’t have pro-active parents who are college graduates themselves are at a great disadvantage and fall through the cracks. This is a terrible waste of talent and the class discrepancy is tragic and unethical (because there is harm).

    I want the kids in the lowest economic areas. I want the people in prisons, foster care, military, special ed depts. We need a special group for the young entrepreneurs with protections in the system to give them the freedom to create.

    We will need access to a wide range of services including psych services, quality science based addiction treatment, educational tutoring, vocational training and a small army of advocate case workers. The community colleges and state universities must be made either free or much more affordable than they are now.

    We need decent practical housing for members of our program (I want it for everyone else too!). The housing will start off free while the student is in the program giving it their all but once they’re employed there will be a financial review and payment will be decided as part of a sensible budget. (The bean counters will deal with this. We will hire some of those too.)

    Medicare for all participants is a must. (I also want that for everyone, of course.) Gaining and losing health insurance based on the ups and downs of personal employment is a terrible insecurity and the amount of time wasted on scrambling to file paperwork and search for a solution (that often never appears) can’t be tolerated in an effective society.

    I’m not even close to qualified to lead a national dept of education, having no education or experience in teaching or designing curriculum, but I do have experience in grabbing hold of disadvantaged young people and giving them a forceful shove in the right direction. It’s a long road with many setbacks to be expected and it’s much more expensive than what many people might imagine but after seeing what wonderful, very smart and deserving kids we have here who are languishing by the wayside, I honestly can’t think of a better thing to do with my/our money. Not one single better thing.

    What a thrill it will be to design this very important department from the ground up with your help.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    References on request.


      Report abuse

  • Hi Laurie. You’re on. This…

    Not one single better thing.

    is your qualification.

    I believe this with a passion.

    The Invention of Childhood was utterly transformative for society. Time for Childhood II. I’m still determined to do this MSc in Neuro-Constructivism in Education (for 2 to 10 year olds) even if only to get some specific research projects into younger hands. Determined, also, to strong arm my innovative educationalist friend to commit his success story to a book, oh, and totally rewrite the political map of the western world, yeah, that.

    I see its time to prepare for the next pendulum swing. We must better ratchet the return swing to the good.

      Report abuse

  • ShadowMind

    Awe come on, Bean Counters are good people too. Some of my best friends are Bean Counters!

    Everyone has something to contribute to the United States of Canada. Report abuse

  • A pretty amazing result in Iowa for Mayor Pete who seemed to be heading for the bottom of the pile only a few weeks ago. Catastrophe for Biden though. 9 months ago when this process started up I’d have said Biden was a shoe in for the nomination. He had all the name recognition you could ever want, a reputation for honesty and the best possible connection to Saint Obama. It wasn’t long though before I realised there was actually a candidate who could crush Joe Biden’s chances and that candidate was also called Joe Biden. Joe’s main problem is that campaigning for president requires one to speak quite a lot and whenever Joe does that he says something really stupid. These have ranged from “poor kids can be just as smart as white kids”, “that’s a load of malarkey”, the record player gaffe, to calling Senator Kamala Harris “kid” during a debate. However the one that made me realise just how out of touch he is now was when he said that once Trump is gone the Republican congressmen will get back to being reasonable people and he’ll be able to work across the aisle with them. I have no idea where Joe was during the 8 years of the Obama administration but Trump wasn’t around then and still all that Republicans tried to do was block everything Obama wanted including refusing to vote on Merrick Garland and trying to repeal Obamacare over 50 times. With or without Trump the Republicans have no intention of ever working with Dems because in the religious cult that is what the Republican party became 30 years ago the Dems are the mortal enemy. I realised that Joe is hopelessly stuck in the 1950s in much of his outlook both political and personal. He’s never really realised that women politicians are serious about it rather than just having a break from cooking and changing nappies. That the cordiality of politics across the aisle of bygone days is never coming back. The primary motivation of modern republicans is not really in having many firm policies of their own other than perhaps being anti gay and giving tax cuts to the rich but rather just opposing anything Democrats want. Basically if Dems want it then they hate it on principle.

    Joe just hammered another nail into his political coffin. He just called a female democrat voter who asked him a civil question a “lying dog-faced pony soldier” whatever the hell that is.

    One has to conclude he’s completely lost it.

    So as Joe kept shooting himself in the foot Elizabeth Warren made a charge. Standing for 4 hours for selfies at a rally was a headline grabber as is sprinting around whenever a camera is on her to show how fit she is. Her weakness though was always the cost of her health care plan which she would never give a straight answer to. I saw her on Colbert and she dodged it completely when he asked too. Finally she had to come clean and very little stacks up on either that or her plan to tax the rich massively. Of course it’s a travesty that the USA has no universal health care system but the for-profit system is so entrenched that it will take a lot of digging out. Surgeons are not going to want to lose their million dollar salaries overnight. Warren might have lofty ideals but probably very little chance of being able to implement them.

    I’m not sure what to say about Bernie. I like him, I like his policies, I hate his nasal phlegmy voice which sounds like he has a permanent chest cold and I think he’s too old as frankly is Joe Biden.

    So Mayor Pete. He’s impressed me from the start. I think he’s the smartest of the lot in terms of raw IQ and generally the best and most polished speaker. He served in Afghanistan and knows the realities of combat. He’s young and not mired in out of date thinking. I think his policies represent what’s doable rather than what’s theoretically ideal but you need to get a foot under the table before changing all the rules. Very sensible basically. He’s getting no traction with black voters though which is going to be tricky in the south. He would be my choice if I had any skin in the game. Report abuse

  • Great analysis, Arkrid.

    I must confess I haven’t been following the Democrat race all that closely – there seems to be rather an over-abundance of politics right here at home just now, and I’m running out of political brain space.

    That said, I’m interested, of course. And like you, I thought Joe Biden would stand a good chance at first, though I was always half-hearted about him. His strongest point for me was his connection with Obama and the obvious respect and affection Obama had for him: that was some character reference. But for that, I suspect his campaign would never even have got going. He’s been a complete non-entity in the bits of the debates I’ve caught.

    I like a lot of Bernie’s ideas, but he’s never struck me as presidential. Substance is far more important than style, I know … but for all that, to me he neither looks nor sounds like a president, and there are some roles where looking and sounding the part really does matter.

    Elizabeth Warren has always impressed me, and I’d still like to see her as president, though I take your point about the possibly insurmountable difficulties facing her healthcare plans.

    I still wouldn’t know Pete Buttigieg if he was standing on my front doorstep, but I’m happy to accept that as my failing rather than his. Like I said: I haven’t really been paying all that much attention.

    It’s an interesting dilemma for progressives, though. Do you keep your plans modest and potentially achievable? Or do you go for bold, aim to really transform a society desperately in need of transformation and accept that, even though you inevitably won’t achieve it all, you might achieve more simply by having aimed more rather than less high, and that you’ve at least planted the idea of real transformation in people’s minds? Because right now, it seems that so many countries – not just the US – are closed to the idea of real transformation. Personally, I can feel myself bucking the demographic trend and becoming more, not less, radical as I get older, more, not less, willing to embrace real change, provided it’s in a more progressive direction. I have grown impatient with the tweak-round-the-edgers and steady-as-she-goers, because more often than not – in effect, at least – they simply prove to be conservatives with a smiley face.

    I have certainly grown weary of the most powerful positions around the world being in the hands of old white men. My apologies to any old white men reading, but c’mon, you can’t say you haven’t had your chances. Just carrying on as before while tweaking this and tweaking that isn’t going to change anything to speak of, and if there was ever a time when the world needed real change …

    I’m not saying any woman would automatically be better than any man, or any person of colour automatically better than someone who’s white. And in the past at least some women with real potential have tried to adopt a male persona in order to be taken seriously, which isn’t what I’m advocating at all. But looking around the world, there are some really impressive and inspiring female leaders now – the US could do worse than have a woman along those lines as president …

    So ideally I’d still really like to see Warren as next President. But at the same time, on this occasion the top priority for the Democrats really HAS to be to select the candidate who’ll stand the best chance of defeating Donald Trump. Compared with the horror of a second Trump term, any differences between the candidates really pale into insignificance, don’t they? I’d be happy to defer real change for the better until the 2024 election, in order to prevent real continued change for the worse in 2020.

    Is Mike Bloomberg still thinking of running? He’s another one I know very little about, but might he at least have the Big Name status that might be able to match Trump’s? Report abuse

  • Quarecuss #65

    Greta gives me a reason to smile in these dark Trump days. Seeing Trump’s image online makes me nauseous, or is that nauseated? Seeing Greta’s weird little face makes me grin like a mad loon. Hearing her passion when she speaks makes me cry. Happy tears though. I adore her. Report abuse

  • Half way through the NH results and it’s the Bernie and Pete show all over again. Bernie in the lead at 27% of the vote, Pete just behind at 24%. Joe Biden dead in the water at 9% behind both Klobuchar and Warren.

    Another couple of results like this and we may see the one time front runner Joe Biden dropping out of the race in abject defeat. It is an extraordinary contrast between Dems and Republican voters though. Trump lies continually and not just little lies but batshit crazy stuff like he only lost to Hillary in NH in 2016 because of hundreds of buses full of Massachusetts voters going up to NH to vote illegally – but his supporters don’t care at all about his deteriorating mental conditions, lies, narcissism or anything else. Just look at this awful video of Trump supporters nodding and applauding his lies.

    Joe Biden said a few mildly wacky and stupid/tactless things over the months and his campaign seems to be over. Everything Joe has said added together wouldn’t even make enough for the first five minutes of a Trump rally. It’s easy to blame Trump for everything that is wrong in the USA today but he had to be voted in by tens of millions of people as disgusting as himself and enabled in office by spineless and corrupt Republican congressmen. The corruption and insanity runs far deeper than Trump. He’s just the bottom feeder who exploits it. 50% of the American people are homophobic, racist bigots who actually want someone like this in charge. If you dig down under the racism and bigotry to find the root cause it’s primarily religion. That’s the real problem in America. Report abuse

  • All 4 prosecutors in the Roger Stone trial resigned yesterday after the DOJ under corrupt Bill Barr interfered to try and reduce Stone’s sentence at Trump’s behest. The entire government apparatus is now corrupted to Trump’s will and a tool to do his bidding. This IS the dictatorship so many said couldn’t possibly happen in the USA much as others said about Germany in the 1930s.

    There is talk of John Bolton being investigated now as retribution for what he wrote in his book about Trump and Ukraine and even possibly framed by the DOJ for something like revealing state secrets or whatever else they can pin on him.

    Meanwhile Trump has released a budget that slashes hundreds of billions of dollars off Medicare, Medicaid and other social safety nets to try and reduce the deficit caused by the massive tax cuts for the rich. Robbing Hood is now stealing from the poor to pay the rich as many knew he always would. The very people who voted him in are suffering the most and still refuse to see it. Rule 1 is never question the cult leader. Report abuse

  • @Arkrid #69

    All 4 prosecutors in the Roger Stone trial resigned yesterday…

    To be clear, one resigned from the Just Us Department, and the other three took themselves off the Stone case in protest to Barr’s actions.

    It seems that Trump has found his soulmate in Barr. Report abuse

  • If you dig down under the racism and bigotry to find the root cause it’s primarily religion. That’s the real problem in America.

    Personally, I’d say better education would take care of most of our issues, including religion. Report abuse

  • WalsallBoy #70

    Thanks for that link. Since posting my comment here, I’d seen comments/tweets etc flagging up some of his repugnant comments about minorities, but the article goes into more detail, which is helpful.

    No, the Dems need to find someone better than Bloomberg. Report abuse

  • (first time poster, so I hope this is the right place for this; apologies otherwise)

    “Blasphemy is no crime” (in France at least) but still: how easy it is to ignite so many people’s bad feelings, get hate and threats:

    Why do right-wing extremists like Le Pen have to be the loudest voices in rescuing a teenager? It’s sad that not much other support is given, independent of political colours… Report abuse

  • Every time I hear Dawkins debate a religious person they always say even if religion isn’t true it only helps people and it only tells you good things and Dawkins will say yeah but I prefer the truth. This article I just read from the Symbi Earth blog on blogger or blogspot called “How to defeat evil” explains the negative effects religion and religious belief has on society better than anything I’ve ever heard. I think Richard Dawkins should make these same points in his next book or his next debate since he has such a large following and a public platform that can help to educate people and spread these ideas. There’s another good article on there that goes into more detail on the same subject called “Free America”. Somebody read these articles and tell me if you think as I do that this is what we need moving forward to help the country to move toward science and away from superstition. Report abuse

  • Frank.


    It seems to me there is one person arguing for tolerance against two groups delighting in their intolerance. Why should we make any effort to live peaceably with others they both say.


    Mila, called a dirty lesbian and dirty whore, argued against religion when it is intolerant and for it when practised in peace. Keen to leverage some intolerance of their own the French fascists, disinterested in such tolerant niceties, wish to punch down any religious non-Christian as dirty foreigner. Report abuse

  • On this Darwin Day, I just read the most fascinating section in Professor Dawkins’, The Ancestor’s Tale —The Lamprey’s Tale.  I had to read it twice.  Although the point of the tale, namely that to understand evolution one must take a gene’s eye view of the process, is a theme of every page of all his books on evolution, I think it is beautifully illustrated here.  The section tells the story of Haemoglobin. Prof. Dawkins writes:

    “There is not just one evolutionary tree in which species divide and give rise to daughter species. Every gene has its own tree, its own chronicle of splits, its own catalogue of close and distant cousins.”  …  “Each one of our genes, if you go back far enough, owes its origin to the splitting of some ancient gene. Something like this entire book could be written for each gene.”  … “We could also write a backward pilgrimage for any gene.”  … “The gene’s eye view of evolution keeps forcing itself upon our attention”

    I know this is old news for long time students of the subject of evolution, but for new comers, like me, I recommend Professor Dawkins’ books (and I emphasize the plural “books” don’t stop with one), the thrill you get form each new nugget of understanding will rival anything induced by incense, bees wax candles, and Latin Georgian chant.

    Happy Darwin Day Report abuse

  • I hear often so many Christians claim, ‘ But we aren’t with the extremist, those people aren’t True Christians” etc, etc.  But really if one honestly looks at what the bible says the true Christians actually are the Fundamentalists. Report abuse

  • Michael 100,

    The Ancestors Tale is excellent. If you haven’t  already I recommend The Greatest Show On Earth.  Evolution is a key foundational  idea in all the sciences, vital for understanding. Was it taught in school, where you went? I didn’t learn about it formally until I got to University. Report abuse

  • Vicki,

    Better education or even just any education might work, but than one has to factor in parental and peer  influences.   Also  many religious people are reasonably to well educated. They’ve made the choice to compartmentalize their thinking and ignore evidence that doesn’t conform to their beliefs, Not sure what can be done about those. Report abuse

  • michael #77

    we are almost on the same page of the ancestor’s tale!

    what a fascinating book

    king henry the first died of a surfeit of lamprey eating!

    just finished a difficult section on ‘gene’s eye view’
    belated happy darwin day to all rdeffers! Report abuse

  • Once again it seems apropos to highlight the trajectory of the American landscape as of late.  George Carlin’s prescient observations are holding up well concerning our degradation with his assertion that we are “circling the drain”. The lawlessness is, as the youth profess, off the hook.  Seems we will be offered classes on how to offer accolades to the dear leader before much longer as mirrors events of antiquity.  One cannot escape the parallels with a quick comparison of the eras and dogma on offer.

    Take a quick look at the new EPA chief of staff that pushed our leaving the Paris accords and this is minuscule to the litany of offences that have collided with sanity as directed by the Orange one of destruction.  I would think the evangelicals might be thinking of a rewrite of their religious texts before much longer to include the one who glows Orange, can’t be far off I don’t think since they consider him the second coming.  Anyway I will leave you with George’s opinion for you to contemplate.  Oh how I miss his banter.

  • Laurie

    I fear you’re right.

    The US presidency: for sale to the highest bidder, it seems.

    The more I read about Bloomberg, the more appalled I become. Ok, I’d still rather have anyone but Trump, but honestly, if Bloomberg’s the best the Democrats can do, they’re suffering from a serious lack of vision and ambition. Report abuse

  • On the plus side, Bloomberg might be able to garner the Independent votes–the biggest voting demographic. Independents number more than Democrats, and more than Republicans (although, not combined). They claim that they tend to vote more right-of-center, but their voting record actually is more left-of-center.

    Another plus if Bloomberg is nominated, it is possible that there won’t be as big of a backlash in the mid-terms.

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  • There are some outcomes you can expect from a President Bloomberg.  I would say his affection for Israel will doom any positive prospects for the Palestinians and the embassy will not be relocated to its former location as it should be to unwind the giveaway that Trump instituted.  He is a buddy of Wall Street so expect that party to continue unabated.  You can expect little to nothing from him on the climate emergency for the obvious reasons, business will be his guiding principle and the concerns for the planets health will take a back seat.  

    Welcome to the new Oligarch party and Michael will be quite welcome since he is a member of that class.  To sum up: Business as usual but without the constant tweeting.  That’s my take off the cuff. Report abuse

  • The uncomfortable aspects of our effect on the planet are often swept to the sidelines but I still attempt to throw the condition out there for consideration.  I will include a link that has interesting data relating to populace at large.  In light of our smallish biomass percentage the effect we have is monumental.  There is scarcely a corner of the Earth we have not exploited/impacted. Report abuse

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