Open Thread: It’d Be Funny, If the Rest of Us Didn’t Have to Live with the Results…

gop suicide hotline pett

(Joel Pett via

Mr. Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire, QFT (Quoted for Truth):

… Who looks after shitkickers like you?

In his magisterial biography of Huey Long, which I would advise everyone to read before this presidential election gets completely out of hand, T. Harry Williams explains the thinking behind the long game that the Kingfish saw himself playing as the Great Depression played out… The energy behind the two men is as similar as the parallel is inexact.

Huey Long actually did come from the ranks of the poor and dispossessed that he later enriched himself by championing. He relentlessly vilified the economic and social elite, first in Louisiana and then in the entire country. He, Trump, on the other hand, was a child of that elite, and he had never departed from it, except in his public persona, which is where we find him now. A huge portion of the Republican electorate—and, sadly, a not-insignificant portion of the American people—wants a strongman, the more vulgar the better. Huey Long came by his vulgarity naturally. He, Trump has had to work at it, buying bad taste by the bucketful with his millions and coming to embody it the same way the Kingfish did. I am one of you, they both said, you poorly educated suckers. Look how common and vulgar I am… In the Republican party in the year of our Lord 2016, He, Trump is simply the man of the historical moment.

And why shouldn’t he be? For the past 30 years, the country has been told that its government is a strange, alien beast with little or no connection to the lives of the people of the country. At the same time, a series of political developments—most notably, a couple of dreadful Supreme Court decisions—has validated that argument by blocking the basic avenues of self-government with great barricades of unaccountable cash. At the same time, the country was encouraged by politicians of both parties to look at the political process as a television show. And now we’re surprised that a guy who made his living at the latter has become successful at promoting the former?…

…[T]he only way to stop He, Trump is to give up on the twin fictions that have given him life—that government is something alien to us, instead of being the political manifestation of the popular will, and that elections are purely entertainment. The only way to stop He, Trump is to re-engage as citizens of a self-governing republic again, to realize that politics matter and that voting is more than an excuse for the PTA to run a bake sale. It is not time to make America great again. It’s time to make America America again…

Jon Ralston, Nevada maven, at the Reno Gazette-Journal:

… Trump… gave an unfortunately apt salute to the Silver State, declaring during his victory speech, after his habit of rattling off polling crosstabs, “I love the poorly educated.”

Forget “Battle Born.” Forget “All for Our Country.” We have a new motto: “Nevada — The Poorly Educated State.”

To understand Trump’s appeal here and elsewhere is to listen to him while he was in our benighted state as he played to his usual teeming throngs, mused about punching a protester in the face and treating people like it was the good old days. All I could think of as I watched Trump’s smashmouth speeches is how I occasionally hear people wistfully long for the days when “the mob ran Nevada,” as if things were better then. Yes, people – or too many of them – believe Teflon Don can make the trains run on time in the country and if you don’t like it, you should be consigned to a proverbial (I assume not literal) desert dirt nap…

Cruz’s subdued speech after his third-place finish was something even the slick senator could barely sell as he argued that his was the only campaign that could defeat Trump and that once he got home to Texas, he would be the lone star standing. And Rubio, who slipped off to Michigan before the counting began, was on television Wednesday morning talking about how quirky and weird Nevada is (guilty!), conveniently forgetting how he had claimed the state as his second home in the days running up to the caucus and how his campaign for months had whispered that he could win here….

Tuesday proved that despite the best efforts of Cruz and Rubio, Trump was unstoppable in Nevada. That, too, may prove to be synecdoche for the country, as the Establishment wails and whines and Trump storms toward the nomination.

100 replies
  1. 1
    superpredators4hillary says:

    A vote for Hillary is a vote for Trump.

  2. 2
    Misterpuff says:

    The New Teflon Don – they will be acolytes by the Convention.

  3. 3
    Calouste says:

    The America that Pierce wishes for never existed. Before 1965 racism was codified in this country, then there was the start of the Southern Strategy with Nixon, and in 1976 Reagan was already making a competitive primary run.

  4. 4
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    Edward Tufte would be pulling his hair out about that NBC News graph.


    1) The y-axis sure doesn’t look linear, even though it probably is. The color bands seem to be stepped in non-integral increments.
    2) The y-axis has no tick marks and doesn’t start at zero.
    3) The lines indicate some sort of continuous relationship between the data points while the x-axis represents an evenly-spaced discrete quantity (a state). What’s halfway between SC and NV? Arkansas?



  5. 5
    rikyrah says:

    They built this….accept the consequences.

  6. 6
    The Republic, Blah Blah Blah... says:

    A few months ago, I finally got around to reading The Selling of the President, Joe McGinnis’ 1968 book about Nixon…

    Farkin’ prophetic… and not surprisingly, one of the central characters behind the selling, or foisting off on the American people if you will, of Nixon was a much younger Roger Ailes…

    Ailes and Trump may not publicly like each other, but I’ll be damned if Ailes isn’t as responsible for the current situation as anybody in American politics… he helped create Trump, no matter what he says…

    Fark him and horse he rode in on…

  7. 7
    Technocrat says:

    A different take on the much-maligned 1994 crime bill:

    1994 was the fifth consecutive year in which the FBI counted more than 23,000 murders: an all-time high. Then, as now, about half of the victims were African-American. As it turned out, that was the peak. Today’s murder rate (and total violent-crime rate) is just about half of its 1994 level. From our perspective now, making crime a primary political issue looks a little bit nuts. That’s in part, of course, because the suffering of poor people and minorities continues not to count very much in the political calculus. If the homicide mortality in the white population were at the current African-American level – let alone at the 1994 African-American level – that would be considered a national crisis

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Keith G says:

    It seems to me that the political class of this society has seldom (never?) been held in less esteem than it is now. I think that for more than a few Trump voters, this run of Trump is their chance to flash a big F.U. to to the whole lot of the DC crowd. I do not think that this is a rational bit of thinking, but millions of other voters might disagree.

    I do not want any real or imaginary Republican to be president, but if that is our fate in 2016, I would rather it be D.J. Trump than anyone else on that side.

    At least, would make for a very entertaining four years.

  10. 10
    beltane says:

    I just saw the following news headline:”Romney warns of possible ‘bombshell’ in Trump’s taxes.”

    This is rich coming from the man who would not even let anyone see his tax returns.

  11. 11
    hamletta says:

    OK, y’all freakin’ out about the Sandoval trial balloon: turns out it came from Nevada, not DC. So it’s not Obama trolling, it’s Reid Trolling — ask for it by name!

    Because it’s just come out that Sen. Grassley, Judiciary chair, will meet with the POTUS.

    Well done, Harry, well done.

  12. 12
    danielx says:

    The fact that @ewerickson is miserable is one of my favorite things about this election.

    — Josh Barro (@jbarro) February 24, 2016

    True, although I imagine in some few places – like the RNC headquarters, say – you could toss a rock out an office door and hit a miserable Republican at the moment.

    Edit: or the offices of the National Review.

  13. 13
    PeakVT says:

    Every Repuke who won’t vote for Trump will still vote against Clinton, including Eric bin Erick.

  14. 14
    dmsilev says:

    @hamletta: I could well imagine that Obama and Reid are coordinating their trolling.

    I picture the two of them relaxing in the Oval Office, maybe with a glass of whiskey or something, looking at news reports of the GOP jumping at shadows and saying “dance, monkeys, dance!”.

  15. 15
    Mike J says:

    A review of public records shows that some of the men who were with Scalia at the ranch are connected through the International Order of St. Hubertus, whose members gathered at least once before at the same ranch for a celebratory weekend.

    Members of the worldwide, male-only society wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross and the motto “Deum Diligite Animalia Diligentes,” which means “Honoring God by honoring His creatures,” according to the group’s website. Some hold titles, such as Grand Master, Prior and Knight Grand Officer. The Order’s name is in honor of Hubert, the patron saint of hunters and fishermen.

    Anybody ever doubt Scalia was in a group that had grand masters? (To be fair, I used to be a member of FIDE and US Chess.)

  16. 16
    Percysowner says:


    I just saw the following news headline:”Romney warns of possible ‘bombshell’ in Trump’s taxes.”

    This is rich coming from the man who would not even let anyone see his tax returns.

    What followed was even funnier. He said maybe Trump doesn’t have as much money as he claims AND maybe he didn’t pay as much in taxes as he should have! The one and ONLY time Republicans will advocate for a rich man paying his fair share of taxes.

  17. 17
    lamh36 says:

    A little bit of what I’m dealing with right now.

    One of my sisters was diagnosed with cutaneous t-cell lymphoma in 2013. the cancer has progress causing her to go on short term disability and so her money is real tight, so she has started a gofundme account to try to raise money for her latest round of chemo.

    I’m not asking for monetary donations (if you feel it in your heart to do so, great, you can find the link on my FB) but at the very least, I asking for prayers or good vibes, whatever you believe in for my little sister tonight and beyond.

  18. 18
    Peale says:

    @Mike J: Honor them by shooting them? Actually it sounds like that hunt club that Claudette Colbert and Rudy Vallee met up with in Palm Beach Story.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:


    That’s a really interesting essay, and I realize now that I haven’t been reading Mark Kleiman lately. People do tend to forget that VAWA and community policing were both part of the much-maligned 1994 crime bill. And I think Kleiman is correct when he identifies the most harmful parts of the bill as the “truth in sentencing” provisions (which basically tripled existing sentences) and the removal of education services from prisons.

  20. 20
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: I’m glad this is a blog where Edward Tufte can be trotted out in support of an argument (although I’d be more impressed if you actually dragged him in, a la Woody Allen’s use of McLuhan.)

  21. 21
    beltane says:

    @Percysowner: That is funny. Weak sauce, even weaker coming from Mitt Romney.

    I’m not sure why the Republican establishment is so pissy. For the first time since W, they will have a nominee who is genuinely popular with their base. Why do they see this as problematic?

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:


    That scene creeps me the hell out. I just can’t find it funny that drunk white guys are demanding that black bartenders hold targets for them. Preston Sturges, why did you have to be so embarrassing about race?!

  23. 23
    Mike J says:

    @Peale: The guys that shot at the porters? I’m guessing the members of Scalia’s club didn’t think very highly of black people either.

  24. 24
    NotMax says:


    The Ale & Quail Club.

    Ale first; everything else was secondary.

  25. 25

    I kinda love you Anne Laurie – I woke up this morning and the first thing I said, watching the news was: This would be so funny if it wasn’t so terrifying.

  26. 26
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Keith G:

    I do not want any real or imaginary Republican to be president, but if that is our fate in 2016, I would rather it be D.J. Trump than anyone else on that side.

    At least, would make for a very entertaining four years.

    I think Trump has the highest chance of actually committing mass murder (of Americans, at least). I don’t want him in for that reason alone.

  27. 27
    ljt says:

    @lamh36: Please provide link to gofundme (or your facebook page). Holding you and your sister in my heart.

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:


    I was going to ask why Medicaid isn’t paying for her chemo, and then I remembered that you live in Louisiana and didn’t get Medicaid expansion. Ugh.

    ETA: Also, I agree that you should just go ahead and give us the GoFundMe link if your sister’s okay with it. People who want to will donate if they want/are able to and everyone else will ignore it.

  29. 29
    billinsantee says:

    Apparently my own representative in Congress has endorsed Trump. Sigh.

    Fun facts about Duncan Hunter

    He was elected in 2008, succeeding his father….also named Duncan Hunter.

    Like his father was, he is strongly anti-amnesty for illegals, sometimes anti-free trade, pro military kickass, so the trump endorsement has a certain internal logic to it.
    At a “telephone town hall” tonight he said a person could walk up to the San Diego border station, verbally say he has a fear of persecution, and be welcomed to the country no questions asked.

    He also said several times (as a matter of common knowledge) that planned parenthood was selling baby parts for money, so there’s that…

  30. 30
    NotMax says:


    Would be horrid had they asked any bartender, of any hue, to “hold” targets for them.

    Didn’t happen.

    They asked to have crackers thrown into the air, skeet style, initially to pretend to shoot at with unloaded rifles.

    Still stupid, but meant to be make mock of them.

    (I know full well there is zero chance of diminishing, even a teeny bit, your reservoir of focused ire directed at Sturges.)

  31. 31
  32. 32
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Keith G: it doesn’t help that the GOtea has been in the business of playing the role of corrupt incompetent partisan for the last thirty years. No small amount of the resentment can be traced directly back to Gingrich, Gohmert, Boehner and the rest of the clowns. Only fitting that the rebellion is hammering them first and hardest.

  33. 33
    p.a. says:

    @lamh36: Yes, with others here: positive thoughts. link pls. also too, Dem gov in La now. Any hope for M expansion?

  34. 34

    If you haven’t been reading Bernie Thoughts, you might consider reconsidering.




  35. 35
    Summer says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think the humanity of the congregation in the church scene of “Sullivan’s Travels” is extraordinary, and telling commentary on racial injustice. I read that studio execs didn’t want to keep it but Sturges did. NAACP president Walter White wrote to Sturges thanking him for the scene.

  36. 36

    @Keith G: So I guess it’ll be “entertaining” to see the country get tossed over the fence and given the business, right? And I guess the Bush II years must have been entertaining too.

  37. 37
    p.a. says:

    My advice to the elephant in the cartoon: JUMP.

  38. 38


  39. 39
    lamh36 says:

    @Mnemosyne: my sister lives in Texas actually…not here in Louisiana. She moved back to DFW area to find work in her field of experience.

    She figured she had the cancer under control, but as we all know…cancer is a bitch…

    Here is her gofundme page Help Nicole Fight Cancer

    Again…money or no money…I’m a firm believer in sending out light, love, prayers or whatever you got when it comes to stuff like this…

    I’m off to bed now though…just wanted to come back and say on behave of my lil sister FUQ CANCER!

  40. 40
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Donald Trump loves the “poorly-educated.”

    Donald Trump would eliminate the Department of Education.

    It all starts to make sense now.

  41. 41
    boatboy_srq says:

    @beltane: Old Money throwing shade at New Money. Nothing more, nothing less. There’s little doubt SOMETHING will show up in Trump’s returns; whether a) it’s significant or b) Romney has privileged info is anyone’s guess.

  42. 42
    MomSense says:


    Sending healing thoughts to her.

  43. 43
    MomSense says:

    Seconded. Please give us the link.

  44. 44


    Ok, enough. Time to explore the insides of my eyelids.

  45. 45
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Edward Tufte would be pulling his hair out about that NBC News graph.

    Heh. Without even studying or analyzing that graph, my very first thought was “Wonder what Tufte would make of this?”

    I took a two-day seminar with him a long time ago. It’s not my field, at all, but it was fascinating and insightful.

  46. 46
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Speaking of things that are totally not signs of the apocalypse and people who are totally not using “thugs” as a euphemism for ni-CLANGs:

    “I have an issue with thugs. I want to make sure my family and my employees are protected.”

    That’s Lance Toland, a Georgia insurance executive who has outfitted all 12 of his employees with a handgun. And not just any handgun. Toland’s workers are packing the Judge, which fires either a .45-caliber slug or a .410 shotgun shell.

    “It’s a hand cannon,” says Toland.
    Agents carry their own insurance: a gun photo
    Channel 2 Action News
    Lance Toland, founder of Toland Associates insurance. (photo credit: Channel 2 Action News)

    He told his workers that if they’d take firearms training and obtain a Georgia carry permit, he’d supply all of them with guns. They did, and he did, and now Toland’s offices in Atlanta, Griffin and St. Simons Island are armed and ready.

    Can an employer require that his workers be armed at the office?

  47. 47
    boatboy_srq says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The entire GOTea would gladly dump that department. Trouble is too many of their constituents value skuling of some kind, so they can’t just turn out the lights; and too many of their campaign backers like making money, which iggerant workers won’t be able to do foe their employers.

  48. 48

    An important point to remember about the 1994 Crime Bill is that it was widely popular and seen as a way of helping the black community through a tremendously destructive crime wave. That’s why it was supported by the Congressional Black Caucus. I also assume that’s why Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted for it.

  49. 49
    Irony Abounds says:

    Can we really be surprised that Trump is doing well in a country that has the repugnant Kardashians as role models? Or has a gun fetish that puts David Vitter’s diaper fetish to shame? Or a widespread distrust and in many cases outright hatred of the “other.” The worse part is that the Dems are going to nominate one of the few people Trump can beat because like it or not, her “scandals” no matter how bogus they may be are baked into the public psyche and he can deflect any criticism aimed his way by just insulting Hillary on any one of a number of fronts. This isn’t just a Republican meltdown, the Dems are not exactly shining brightly here having a Socialist and a poster child for the establishment (yes, a woman can be part of the establishment) as their only two candidates. The whole system is breaking down.

  50. 50
    Mike J says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Can an employer require that his workers be armed at the office?

    In Georgia? Is there anything an employer can’t require?

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Irony Abounds:

    repugnant Kardashians as role models

    May as well stop there.

  52. 52
    Technocrat says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Agreed, on both points. I lived in inner-city Philly in the 90’s, and at it’s nadir it was pretty bad.

  53. 53
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Mike J: Require? Probably not. Terminate if they refuse? Sure. Welcome to at-will employment.

  54. 54

    Republican caucus-goers in Nevada are older and angrier than in previous GOP contests..

    I get that, but angry at …. who? The mailman? Stupid in-laws? Or maybe what, constipation and hemorrhoids? The government? Yeah, that narrows it down a bit.

    58% are angry could also be 53% hungry and 77% past their bedtime, FFS.


    Swear to Gaia, I’m out.

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:


    Sturges is making fun of both the bartenders and the drunks, but we’re supposed to be on the side of the “comical” drunks because they were nice to stowaway Jerry. Way too many shots of the bartenders rolling their eyes and cowering in fear for my comfort.

    I wish I could hate Sturges, but I can’t. All I can do is cringe whenever someone with a complexion darker than skim milk steps and fetches onto the screen during one of his films.

  56. 56
    SFAW says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I’m glad this is a blog where Edward Tufte can be trotted out in support of an argument

    Not to mention his son, Olaf.

  57. 57
    boatboy_srq says:

    @BruceFromOhio: Benefits that don’t keep up with inflation, and kids and grandkids that are to busy living their own lives to be arsed to care for them, plus a steady diet of Fauxnews. That’s a formula for anger. Sad but predictable.

  58. 58
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Mike J: That was actually the last line of the article, wasn’t my question!

    The answer is of course yes, an employer in Georgia can require all its employees to carry guns.

    And it’s totally reasonable to make that a requirement in response to a crime that occurred 40 YEARS AGO YOU FUCKING MORON.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:


    I know this is heresy among Sturges fans, but Sullivan’s Travels isn’t one of my top Sturges movies. I would put The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, The Lady Eve, The Palm Beach Story, and Unfaithfully Yours above it.

  60. 60
    Technocrat says:


    They’re not just angry, some of them are in despair:

    White, Middle-Age Suicide In America Skyrockets

    I’m no fan of wingnuttia, but when people are killing themselves, they don’t have a lot to lose.

  61. 61
    SFAW says:


    Thanks for letting us know about the GoFundMe page

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @lamh36: Donated. Good thoughts to her.

  63. 63
    sinnedbackwards says:

    @BruceFromOhio: A profoundly misinformed opinion. Our cats not only desire greatly to talk to us, they fairly often succeed. It is only through my more than ten times greater bulk and thumb and fingers ability to open cans and scoop litter that I can keep the upper hand. So to speak.

    Also AL, Joel Pett is so cool.

  64. 64
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Technocrat: No BLEEP. But again, that comes from the hopelessness of three major events shredding your retirement funds (oil crisis / stagflation in the 70s, dot-bomb and the first jobless recovery 2000-03, and the Great Recession) plus the new norm that to qualify for federal supports you have to be nearly penniless. Add to that the increased life expectancy well above what they were told when they were young, and the conversion of elder care into prolonging death instead of extending life, and that despair isn’t too difficult to fathom.

  65. 65
    trollhattan says:

    I’d like to point out for everybody that JebRIPs! PAC has tens of millions left in the coffers and nothing better to do with it than stir up shite on the Dem side of the aisle. Lord knows, they’ve proven they’re incapable of torpedoing das Trumpster.

  66. 66
    eemom says:

    Mr. Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire


  67. 67
    Steeplejack says:


    My thoughts are with you and your sister. Does she have health insurance?

  68. 68
    PurpleGirl says:

    @lamh36: Will hold your sister in my thoughts and hope that she goes into remission. Small donation made.

  69. 69
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @hamletta: I remarked in the comments several days ago on one of the SCOTUS posts that Senator Reid had a plan.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Reid, please.

  71. 71



    Grapefruits are wannabe pomelos.

  72. 72
    boatboy_srq says:

    @trollhattan: Trump has been kept below 50% of the returns. In the primary. Given the Trumpmentum, that’s significant.

    OTOH, Clinton has been through nearly three decades of this, and from bigger and better funded orgs, and she’s still doing decently. Sanders, though, hasn’t had to face this kind of resistance – yet. And the GOP establishment hasn’t given up the search for the antiTrump yet. Let’s not count HEB?’s bales of cash just yet: wait a little to see how he spends the next fistful first. If Murdoch and Ailes couldn’t get Clinton permanently retired after two-plus decades trying, it’s doubtful HEB?’s PAC can.

  73. 73
  74. 74


    Our cats not only desire greatly to talk to us, they fairly often succeed.

    They succeed all the time in talking to us. Getting us to understand is the big point of failure; it’s the drawback of a very limited vocabulary.

  75. 75
    NotMax says:

    @Roger Moore


    Pedant: Grapefruit came after the pomelo, being a backcross hybrid.

  76. 76
    Kropadope says:

    Question: Can losing Republican candidates release their delegates to vote for someone else (say, other than Trump) on the first ballot?

  77. 77
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You people want everything… Fixed!

  78. 78
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Him too!

  79. 79
    opiejeanne says:

    @BruceFromOhio: I am imagining this in Carl Reiner’s voice, which is kind of what Bernie reminds me of when he shouts.

  80. 80
    opiejeanne says:

    @boatboy_srq: And they live in the most godforsaken desert in the country, with the exception of the bits against the mountains and Lake Tahoe in the west. Carson City is quite nice.

  81. 81
    boatboy_srq says:

    @opiejeanne: The trend trollhattan described is national: not just Nevada. Though at least for NV you have a point.

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Cats have a very large vocabulary, but it’s mostly nonverbal, and silly humans just refuse to learn what the various whisker angles mean.

  83. 83
    Aleta says:

    @lamh36: Sending live love to you and your sis.

  84. 84
    Calouste says:

    @Kropadope: Depends on the state, but in most states the delegates are bound on the first ballot.

  85. 85
    mclaren says:

    Ways in which the Republicans’ obstruction of Obama’s presidency are unprecedented:

    “Unprecedented,” Washington Monthly, 24 February 2016.

    * Shouting “You lie!” in a speech to a Joint Session of Congress,
    * Refusing to accept the date for a speech about job creation to a Joint Session of Congress.
    * Negotiating a speech to Congress from a foreign head of state behind the President’s back.
    * Seeking to undermine U.S. negotiations with a foreign country by writing a letter to their head of state.
    * Refusing to hold a hearing on the President’s proposed budget.
    * Tossing the President’s proposal to shut down Guantanamo Bay Prison in the trash (and videotaping the process).
    * Refusing to hold hearings on a Supreme Court nominee before the President has even named one.

    That is a list of the way Republicans in Congress have taken unprecedented actions against President Obama. Of course it doesn’t include the unprecedented use of the filibuster by Senate Republicans to block his nominations, appointments and legislative agenda when they were in the minority. Nor does it include all the times that Republican politicians, candidates and officials have questioned his citizenship, love of country, and clearly professed religious beliefs.

    As Josh Marshall says about the latest example of refusing to hold hearings on the President’s Supreme Court nominee, it is “a culmination of Republican efforts not simply to block Obama’s policies but to delegitimize, degrade and denigrate his presidency and the man himself.” (..)

    Even for those who deny the inherent racism involved in attempting to delegitimize this country’s first African American president, it is obvious that – while there is nothing illegal in what Republicans are doing – it is dangerous to the very underpinnings of our democracy. When the people have spoken and elected someone to lead this country – but they are thwarted in carrying out their Constitutional duties to do so by attempts from the opposing Party to undermine them – it is not merely an affront to that leader. It is a challenge to all of us who participated in that electoral process. And it eats away at our confidence is doing so going forward. It is also a recipe for chaos.

    Our democracy is not based on all of us agreeing with each other. The founders gave us a process for voicing those disagreements and doing the hard work of taking care of the country’s business in the midst of them. These unprecedented actions by the Republicans to undermine and delegitimize one of the three branches of our government place their side of the argument above those processes and thereby pose a threat to its very survival.

    It is not up to President Obama to challenge this threat alone. As citizens, we need to recognize what is happening and use our voices to call it out…be that via words or ultimately in the voting booth.

    Next up:

    “Here’s Why Bernie Sanders’ 5% Growth Plan Isn’t Crazy After All,” The Fiscal Times, 23 February 2016.

    Controversy erupted last week when University of Massachusetts Professor Gerald Friedman produced estimates showing that under the Sander’s economic plan, “The growth rate of the real gross domestic product will rise from 2.1 percent per annum to 5.3 percent so that real GDP per capita will be over $20,000 higher in 2026 than is projected under the current policy.” The reaction from critics is exemplified by a letter from four former heads of the Council of Economic Advisors under Democratic presidents, Alan Krueger, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson:

    “As much as we wish it were so, no credible economic research supports economic impacts of these magnitudes. Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic.”

    Defenders such as Jamie Galbraith, an economist at the University of Texas, argued that there is nothing “magical” or outlandish about the estimates, Professor Friedman used a defensible model to obtain his results:

    “What the Friedman paper shows, is that under conventional assumptions, the projected impact of Senator Sanders’ proposals stems from their scale and ambition.

    When you dare to do big things, big results should be expected. The Sanders program is big, and when you run it through a standard model, you get a big result.”


    “Can the President Appoint Principal Executive Officers Without a Senate Confirmation Vote?” Matthew C. Stevenson, Yale Law Journal, Vol. 122, No. 940, 2013.

    It is generally assumed that the Constitution requires the Senate to vote to confirm the President’s nominees to principal federal offices. This Essay argues, to the contrary, that when the President nominates an individual to a principal executive branch position, the Senate’s failure to act on the nomination within a reasonable period of time can and should be construed as providing the Senate’s tacit or implied advice and consent to the appointment. On this understanding, although the Senate can always withhold its constitutionally required consent by voting against a nominee, the Senate cannot withhold its consent indefinitely through the expedient of failing to vote on the nominee one way or the other. Although this proposal seems radical, and certainly would upset longstanding assumptions, the Essay argues that this reading of the Appointments Clause would not contravene the constitutional text, structure, or history. The Essay further argues that, at least under some circumstances, reading the Constitution to construe Senate inaction as implied consent to an appointment would have desirable consequences in light of deteriorating norms of Senate collegiality and of prompt action on presidential nominations.

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    Kalimama says:

    @lamh36: Sending love and light to your sister. I made a small donation (all I can afford). As a cancer survivor, I agree: fug cancer!

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    mclaren says:

    Interesting poll results on Trump supporters:

    a third of Mr. Trump’s (and Mr. Cruz’s) backers believe that Japanese internment during World War II was a good idea, while roughly 10 percent of Mr. Rubio’s and Mr. Kasich’s supporters do. Mr. Trump’s coalition is also more likely to disagree with the desegregation of the military (which was ordered in 1948 by Harry Truman) than other candidates’ supporters are.

    The P.P.P. poll asked voters if they thought whites were a superior race. Most Republican primary voters in South Carolina — 78 percent — disagreed with this idea (10 percent agreed and 11 percent weren’t sure). But among Mr. Trump’s supporters, only 69 percent disagreed. Mr. Carson’s voters were the most opposed to the notion (99 percent), followed by Mr. Kasich and Mr. Cruz’s supporters at 92 and 89 percent. Mr. Rubio’s backers were close to the average level of disagreement (76 percent).

    According to P.P.P., 70 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters in South Carolina wish the Confederate battle flag were still flying on their statehouse grounds. (It was removed last summer less than a month after a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston.) The polling firm says that 38 percent of them wish the South had won the Civil War. Only a quarter of Mr. Rubio’s supporters share that wish, and even fewer of Mr. Kasich’s and Mr. Carson’s do.

    Nationally, the YouGov data show a similar trend: Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Southern states during the Civil War. Only 5 percent of Mr. Rubio’s voters share this view.

    Source: “Measuring Donald Trump’s Supporters for Intolerance,” The New York Times, 25 February 2016.

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    Steeplejack says:


    Chipped in a bit for your sister.

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    chris m says:

    @Matt McIrvin: The other republicans are just as capable of committing mass murder, they just do it less dramatically and in slow motion by destroying the middle and working classes and eliminating what little safety net the country still has.

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    Keith G says:

    @Marc McKenzie: Yeah, there were moments of delicious farce as well as high comedy. That doesn’t mean that the troubles we experienced made up a narrative I wanted to see, but nonetheless there is humor to be found even in the darkest times.

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    Cermet says:

    @Irony Abounds: O’Malley was a zero vote getter so exactly who do you think is better than Hillary? Sanders? lol

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    Joy in FL says:

    @lamh36: good thoughts for your sister.

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    satby says:

    @lamh36: I’m adding to the good thoughts for your sister. And also kicking in a bit. Best of luck to her and your extended family as she goes through all this.

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    AnonPhenom says:


    A different take on the much-maligned 1994 crime bill…

    As the vast majority of politicians are lawyers they would all be familiar with the saying (regarding witnesses on the stand) ‘Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to’.
    The political equivalent of which would be; ‘Don’t take a stance on an issue until you are sure of the outcome’
    and that they saw the curve was bending in the right direction and it was time to take a stand so they could take credit later on much as the rooster does for the sunrise.

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    DCF says:

    It’s Official: ‘Idiocracy’ Writer Says His Satire of a Brain-Dead America Has Become Reality
    Nathan Wellman | February 25, 2016

    Idiocracy has been a long-cherished sci-fi satire in cult circles, telling the tale of two people who wake up from a cryogenic sleep to find that the country has become a wasteland of anti-intellectualism.

    Now, ten years later, the co-writer of the cult comedy classic, Etan Cohen, thinks that the movie is satire no longer, marveling that his movie has gone from fiction to non-fiction. On Twitter today, Cohen used his movie to perfectly sum up our current political climate.

    I never expected #idiocracy to become a documentary.

    — Etan Cohen (@etanjc) February 24, 2016

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    VOR says:

    @sinnedbackwards: Cats would talk to us, if only to tell their human servants what to do.

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    Paul in KY says:

    @Steve in the ATL: There are youtube videos that show what firing a large caliber handgun does to the arm. After seeing it, I will never fire a large caliber handgun, unless I’m in fear of immediate death.

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    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Roger Moore: Yes, there’s a ton of revisionist history going on with regard to that bill. The law of unintended consequences definitely applies but people seem to forget how high the murder rate was back then. Violent crime rates have come down dramatically in the interim but nobody at that time could have predicted that would be the case. I walk the streets of most of DC today without fear but back in the early ’90s most of the city was off limits because the shootings were real, frequent, and there was a legit reason to fear for your life. Kids were getting killed in drive by shootings. Maybe the solution was an imperfect one and had dire unintended consequences but something definitely did need to be done. At the time, many in the African American community were on the front lines demanding something be done. Since they were the prime victims of the unintended consequences I can see why they’d have second thoughts in retrospect but they were also the prime victims of the unprecedented violence that was happening at the time.

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    Technocrat says:

    @What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?:

    Check out Time’s 1993 cover.

    But 20 years later, rosy nostalgia makes it seem like crime was some sort of myth.

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    Johnny Coelacanth says:

    ” The only way to stop He, Trump is to re-engage as citizens of a self-governing republic again…” so we’re fucked, basically.

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