Open Thread for Thursday, July 6, 2017

"Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids..."

“Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids…”

Some quick topics; I’m kind of snowed today:

  1. SC won’t release voter info to Trump panel. SC GOP will get it instead — Say what?!?!? I mean, good on the first part — SC is joining most states in this — but as to the second: How is that better, especially since the state GOP head says he’ll turn it over to the Trump Fantasy Election Committee? I mean, if he’s going to do that, what’s the point of the initial refusal? And how is it that a private entity, a political party, has any standing in this? This is nuts, and the Election Commission needs to revisit the decision. Do like the secretary of state in MIssissippi, and Just Say No.
  2. Trump wonders whether Western civilization has ‘will to survive’ — I dunno. I mean, we elected him to be president, which is definitely not a good sign of our republic’s health. Of course, he brings up a good topic to ponder, as I’ve suggested more than once lately — except his notion of what the West is about differs from that held by those of us who actually believe in liberal democracy.
  3. Majority Of Americans Believe Trump Acted Either Illegally Or Unethically With Russia — In other words, they hold uninformed opinions. Did he act illegally with regard to Russia? We don’t know yet. Did he act unethically? Well, yeah — but “ethically” in the sense of violating actual ethics laws? I dunno. It’s a profound dereliction of duty for the POTUS to completely dismiss the fact that our intelligence agencies are certain that Russia interfered in our election, and particularly unethical — in a moral sense — to dismiss it considering that Russia interfered on his behalf. What we know is that a man who would do that has absolutely zero business being president of the United States. Whether laws were broken — we’ll see, if he stops trying to hinder the investigation (by things like, you know, firing the head of the FBI).
  4. Mars covered in toxic chemicals that can wipe out living organisms, tests reveal — So don’t invest in Arean real estate just yet. Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids…

75 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, July 6, 2017

  1. Richard

    I wonder what the majority felt about Hillary’s campaign… but I doubt that’ll ever be discussed here.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Why do you keep bringing up someone who is completely and utterly irrelevant to anything going on in 2017? Why not bring up, I don’t know, William Jennings Bryan? We could debate Free Silver and the Cross of Gold…

      1. Richard

        Because when we went to the polls in November we had two choices, Trump or Clinton. People, including you, keep ranting and raving about how awful Trump is when what was our other choice? The people spoke and said Trump was the least of the two evils. How much better do you expect things would be today if Hillary were in office?

        If you want to talk about irrelevant comments, let’s talk about the dozens and dozens of irrelevant people who have been dead for centuries you bring up every week. Let’s stop discussions of Captain Joseph Warthen of the Royal Navy who lead the grandest British ship ever into the greatest sea battle in history and happens to be your 14th great grandfather.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Thanks for remembering Captain Joe! I knew this would happen, as long as I mentioned him enough….

          “People, including you, keep ranting and raving about how awful Trump is…”

          Yep. See how right I was?

          How much better would things be with Hillary?

          Well, first — as I said a number of times before the election — things would be miserable. The partisan hatred that would be directed at her from the moment of her election would have made the nastiness of the Bush and Obama years look like a picnic. Republicans have DEFINED themselves by their hatred of this woman for a quarter century. No president but Lincoln ever started out with such a popularity deficit. It would poison everything.

          It would be extremely unpleasant, and we would all look forward to the day when we could elect someone else and maybe things would calm down.

          On the other hand, the presidency would be in competent, grownup hands. Which is what counts.

          We’d be unhappy, but enormously better off…

          1. Richard

            “Republicans have DEFINED themselves by their hatred of this woman for a quarter century.”

            And Democrats loved Trump up until the time he announced his candidacy.

            So what you’re saying, if Hillary Clinton had been elected nothing would be any different other than the President’s wardrobe. Have you seen and read about Hillary’s meltdowns? And you want to sit here and say she’s emotionally fit for this job?

            I’m doing pretty well since January, but then I haven’t sat around griping and talking about what could have been over the last six months like some.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Sorry, but I don’t much care how you’re doing, or how I’m doing. Not in the context of this conversation.

              The subject at hand is how the country is doing.

              And here’s how it’s doing:

              Today, our mockery of a president is meeting with Vladimir Putin, the guy who intervened in our election to help elect said mockery.

              The man representing us in this important encounter is apparently the only person in our government who doesn’t believe Russia did what it did — not because he has evidence to the contrary, but because it hurts his fragile ego for ANYONE to think he didn’t win the election on his own. All the professionals, and all the people whose self-esteem is NOT tied up in the matter know that an extremely hostile act has been undertaken against our country, striking at the very heart of what our country is about.

              Everyone knows Russia must be held to account for that, everyone EXCEPT the guy who’s going to be in the meeting, the one and only person who is the LAST person, the least disinterested person, who could possibly be representing us.

              With everything going on in the world right now, this is a lousy, stinking, rotten position for our country to be in.

              THAT’S how the country is doing.

              I won’t even get started on the fact that we have this ignoramus in charge during this North Korea crisis. Oh, but wait: He’s threatened “some pretty severe things that we’re thinking about!”


                1. Doug Ross

                  Yes, this is what we have sunk to now. People spending their days analyzing handshakes and tweets. Remember how stupid it was for some to say Obama was bowing down to a foreign leader? Same stupidity with these “deep” analyses.

            2. Lynn Teague

              If Brad said that with Hillary nothing would have been different other than the President’s wardrobe I somehow missed it. It must be written in invisible ink that can be seen only on your monitor.

        2. bud

          The people spoke and said that Trump was the least of the two evils.

          No. They Didn’t. The PEOPLE chose Hillary Clinton to be POTUS.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yes, that’s right. Hillary. The only sane, qualified person left on the ballot with a shot at winning.

      I’d have preferred a Kasich, but the overwhelming number of Republicans saw fit, in their madness, not to nominate him or anyone like him (which is to say, a normal person with qualifications).

      Of course, who was on the ballot once upon a time is completely irrelevant now. We have a deeply ignorant man with the emotional maturity of a dyspeptic toddler as the nation’s chief executive. THAT’S the problem we have to deal with…

      1. Richard

        Weill if the Democratic primaries wouldn’t have been fixed for Hillary she probably wouldn’t have even been on the ballot and you Democrats would have had sane man Bernie Sanders as your candidate.

        Yes, we shouldn’t even have elections where millions of people vote, we’ll just take your recommendation because you’re so much wiser than the millions who voted for Trump over Clinton. With your vast political expertise I’m amazed on a weekly basis that you aren’t a panel member on one of the Sunday morning television shows. Apparently they don’t believe you know any more than the rest of us here… you just have the loudest voice.

        Not the first time we’ve had someone as you described in office, won’t be the last. Joe Biden will probably run in 2020 and then we’ll have Chelsea to deal with in a few years.

    2. Scout

      They just had a fellow on the radio debunking the Amelia Earhart captured by the Japanese theory. His alternate theory seemed pretty credible. He contends that she landed on a reef surrounding Gardner Island and was able to transmit radio messages from her plane on the reef for a few days before the tide became too high and washed the plane off the reef. Supposedly a British officer found a skeleton and campsite remains on the Island in 1940 that they contend investigations point strongly to being Earhart.

      The alternate theory info is here:

      It’s interesting.

  2. Richard

    I’ll just leave this here. I read on another forum that someone I’ve never heard of is offering a $20,000 award to the best MEME involving Donald Trump vs. CNN.

    There are already some out there:

  3. Harry Harris

    ” I dunno. I mean, we elected him to be president, which is definitely not a good sign of our republic’s health. ”


  4. Jim Cross

    #1 As you might imagine, the records request has generated a lot of discussion among us archivists, especially those in state governments (I suspect the Society of American Archivists will be issuing a statement soon). The letter from the Commission was sloppily written; it asks for publicly-available voter roll information, but then lists various types of information it would be interested in, some of which (like SSN’s) are not publicly available or are generally not part of voting roll records. This has led to some confusion over whether the Commission wants this information only if it is part of the voter rolls or wants it even if it is not part of the voter rolls. The latter would require the creation of a “new” record with the combined information and would likely be very expensive to create.

    Each state has its own laws governing what information can be publicly released, who it can be released to, fees charged for gathering the information, the mechanism for obtaining the information (NC, for example, has a website) and sometime restrictions on what the information can be used for. In South Carolina, the information in the voter rolls that is publicly available includes names, addresses, dates of birth, race, gender, voting precincts, electoral districts a voter belongs to, and election history for the 2014 and 2016 election cycles. It does not include SSN’s, party affiliation, or who a voter voted for. There is a fee of $2,500 for this information.

    The State Election Commission determined that it could only release the information to a South Carolina resident. That is where the SC Republican Party comes in; the party chairman is requesting the data as a state resident which he has every right to do under South Carolina law.

    This shows one of the problems with the request–once the data is released to an outside entity the state loses control over the information. This has lead to all kinds of cybersecurity, privacy, and confidentiality concerns among archivists. How secure is the government ftp site the Commission’s letter suggests using. How secure will the database be? (currently the database will be housed in the White House computer system and a member of Vice President Pence’s staff will oversee it) Who will have access to the data and what will it be used for? If the database is to be publicly-available as the Commission’s letter state, how will that be squared with various state laws governing access to such data? It did not help that the Commission took this route and failed to use the existing access framework the states have put in place. As you might imagine, this has the potential to turn into a major records management nightmare.

    1. Lynn Teague

      Unfortunately the voter rolls are routinely obtained and used by political parties. What confidence can we have in their security measures? Do they even have any? DOB should be excluded from data available for purchase, and transfer to another person or entity should be prohibited. And all of those security issues are just part of the problem. Kobach is planning a “zombie voter” campaign similar to South Carolina’s experience in 2012-13, and as in SC, the point is to back up efforts to suppress votes. Simultaneously, DOJ has asked states to confirm that they are “purging” voters, signaling that they will seek to enforce anything they consider inadequately aggressive. It is all very dangerous.

  5. Karen Pearson

    It looks like the SC Voting Comission is stuck, and so are we since the public info can be sold to anyone in SC. I don’t appreciate what the GOP chairman is doing, but I can’t do anything legal about it other than send him a letter asking him not to. I don’t want this administration to have anything that’s related to my vote, but there’s no way I can see to stop it. And once they have names, addresses, and age, there’s little to stop the government from matching it with social security numbers

  6. Bart Rogers

    Read an article about it in the Post and Courier. Apparently anyone can purchase the information as long as it is not intended for commercial use but for political. So, what was the point of refusing to provide the information, the Republican Party Chair paid for the list and is providing it anyway. This to me is an intrusion into my privacy especially when the last four digits of my SS number is included in the information.

    1. Scout

      I am not happy about it either. But as I understand it, the public information that the Republican Chair can access and share will not include social security numbers or party affiliations. Social security numbers are not public information, and SC does not track or register people by party affiliation. Whether or not the people who get the list can cross reference it with other information and find that out somehow – and what they want to do with the information – I don’t know. It is concerning.

      Are there any legal implications to sharing this info after he purchases it? Does he have the right to share it – especially if the intentions of the people it is being shared with are unclear? What I heard was South Carolinian can request and receive this information as long as it is being used for political purposes, not commercial. What all falls under the umbrella of “political purposes”? If a non-South Carolinian is not allowed to request/receive this information, then is it legal to share the information with a non-South Carolinian?

      I dunno; I’m just thinking out loud.

      1. Bart Rogers

        My mistake, the information provided will not contain the last four digits of SS numbers. But the fact it was even requested is very disturbing to me on every level possible. This along with the mere fact that the list can be purchased by anyone as long as it is not used for commercial purposes is also very disturbing. Anyone who has access to the list working for or with a political party can copy and sell or share the list with someone using it for commercial purposes. Once out there, what happens is unpredictable at best.

        About the only positive that can come from this ill-advised venture is to put to rest the theory that massive voter fraud is taking place. We cannot deny voter fraud doesn’t happen but to the extent according to Trump, not likely at all.

        As an example, when considering the discovery of approximately 303 missing ballots in Minnesota in Democrat strongholds that when counted gave the win to Al Franken by a narrow margin does create suspicion and doubt in voter’s minds except for the Franken supporters. Now, if Coleman had been the beneficiary of the missing ballots, you can bet Democrats would have shouted, “voter fraud”, from the rooftops just as Republicans were doing.

        In other words, if voter fraud is taking place on one side, you can be assured it is taking place on the other side as well. Unfortunately too many are willing to compromise their integrity when it comes to politics and voting.

  7. bud

    1. Doug Ross is conspicuous by his absence so far on this matter. Seems like this would be in his liberatrian wheel house. But I guess after defending Trump so vigorously its pretty hard to weigh in on any matter that so obviously makes him look bad. States are supposed to run their elections not the Federal government. Let’s see if this goes to the courts.

    1. Doug Ross

      a) I have a job and can’t always comment immediately
      b) I haven’t looked into the issue in any detail because it bores me. Pure political posturing on both sides.
      c) Assuming you think the election was rigged in some way, pray tell how you would figure that out without knowing who voted? I know, just believe whatever Rachel Maddow tells you to believe.

  8. Doug Ross

    This is far more important than whatever Trump meme, handshake, or tweet is pushed into the hyper-media:

    A million bucks from the Penny Tax for roads going to USC as part of the ongoing Innovista debacle… Notice below how Phase I of the Greene St. project was budgeted at $12 million and came in at $17.4 million. Wanna bet a bunch of people got raises and promotions for staying with 150% of budget?

    Innovista, like the Penny Tax itself, was all hype with not much to show (except for millions funneled off to well connected people).

    “Why Is The Penny Tax Building Innovista?
    in EDUCATION, LOCAL GOV. on 05/07/17

    ‘Transportation Penny’ Completing $50M Of USC Prestige Project

    A crucial element of USC’s acquisition plan that escaped debate, however, was one that also seems to have escaped attention entirely; namely, that USC intends to pay for a $950,000 renovation of a two-story mill building using Richland County penny tax funds “as part of the Greene Street project,” the executive summary reads.

    The Greene Street/Innovista project — a key component of USC’s original Innovista master plan first announced back in 2005 — has an overall penny-tax budget of $50 million and is broken into three phases. Phase I was the first major project undertaken and completed using penny tax dollars. Originally budgeted at $12 million, the project was completed last year for $17.4 million and featured intensive renovations to Greene Street by the Colonial Life Arena, including the construction of Foundation Square. Phase II involves the connecting of Greene Street between Gadsden and Pulaski to include building a pedestrian bridge over the rail lines and the widening of Greene Street west of the Colonial Life Arena. Its preliminary budget is $20 million. Phase III of the Innovista Project would take Greene Street to the river. When asked about the use of penny tax money to renovate a 67,500-square-foot mill building off Assembly Street, the man in charge of the penny tax program itself — program manager David Beaty — said he was not aware of any such plans until contacted by Quorum. “This is news to me,” Beaty said.

    “Call me crazy, but I thought the penny tax was for transportation,” said Rep. Kirkman Finlay (R-Richland). “Why did penny tax money build Foundation Square? That’s a USC project. Innovista is a USC project. Why is the public paying for USC to relocate employees?”

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “This is far more important than whatever Trump meme, handshake, or tweet is pushed into the hyper-media…”

      Actually, no, it isn’t. As a guy who spent decades concentrating entirely on local and state issues, trying to get local folks to pay attention instead of rattling on about national politics, it hurts a bit to say that.

      But no, it isn’t.

      This is a big deal locally. It’s important. But here are the parameters to that importance: It matter here in Richland County, and the cost of the problem can’t exceed $1 billion. Yep, that’s HUGE locally. But even back in the 60s, Everett Dirksen was making jokes about how much a billion mattered on the national level.

      I know you refuse to believe it, but it’s true: A single wrong word by this president who has NO control over himself and his words — a single Tweet, one eruption, one bad moment (and this guy has bad moments all day long) can have horrific effects on the world.

      You may have heard that the North Koreans, who have nukes, tested a missile able to reach American territory.

      This is an EXTREMELY dangerous moment to have a man who can’t control himself in the White House. And every word, every belch, from this guy matters. Which is why we’re not supposed to elect someone like this president.

      And anyone who thinks that’s less important than ANY issue we have going here in Richland County is running from the truth.

      Now… we can discuss the transportation tax mess. We should. Let’s talk about it. But don’t use it to try to dismiss something that could lead to nuclear war…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        And since we’re discussing it…

        In answer to Kirkman, who asks what Greene Street has to do with the priorities of the penny tax….

        That was always one of the listed projects, from before the referendum. Building down to the river and developing the riverfront has long been a stated local priority, which is why it was included on the list. It’s not something out of nowhere.

        Now if there are particulars we want to question and challenge, fine. But the overall project is a priority that the county had city have been very open about, and some of the tax was intended to pay for it from the start…

        1. Doug Ross

          Kirkman was specifically questioning funding for projects that USC should be funding.

      2. Doug Ross

        “I know you refuse to believe it, but it’s true: A single wrong word by this president who has NO control over himself and his words — a single Tweet, one eruption, one bad moment (and this guy has bad moments all day long) can have horrific effects on the world.”

        What might that word be? Give me an example… a single wrong word that would cause horrific results. We’re six months in and we’ve yet to see anything happen besides some hurt feelings from some world leaders who expect the U.S. to pay for their safety.

        “You may have heard that the North Koreans, who have nukes, tested a missile able to reach American territory.”

        Oh yeah. that’s a totally new situation that would never have happened had Hillary been elected. What exactly would she be doing differently now?

        I’m naive. I’ve never been able to figure out what the U.S. policy is with North Korea. Seems like we occasionally take out leaders we don’t like but other times we just watch them from afar and wait/pray/hope/assume they won’t do anything stupid. You know who should be most concerned about North Korea? South Korea. Let them lead and ask us for help. Anyway, if they launch any nuke, their country will be a parking lot in 24 hours.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “Oh yeah. that’s a totally new situation that would never have happened had Hillary been elected. What exactly would she be doing differently now?”

          What the what? What does THAT have to do with what I just said!

          Of COURSE it would still have happened had she been elected! The difference here is that the U.S. government trying to figure out how to react to it — and don’t look at me; I’m no expert on North Korea — wouldn’t be led by an out-of-control ignoramus.

          There’s enough crazy over there in Pyongyang. We don’t need another self-obsessed twit with impulse-control problems over at THIS end of the equation. But that’s what we have…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Anyway, the point here has to do with our eternal disagreement.

            The thing is, words matter. They matter ENORMOUSLY. And in a crisis, they matter even more.

            They PARTICULARLY matter in the office of president of the United States. The job doesn’t involve manual labor. The president doesn’t hoe weeds or lay bricks — and he doesn’t write code, or make investments, or do anything else involved in white-collar jobs. The JOB is words, from the most casual statement to the press (or to foreign leaders, or members of Congress, or to his 33,400,000 Twitter followers, or whomever) to orders given to the guy who carries the nuclear football. It’s ALL words. He says things, out loud and in writing. THAT is how he wields the power of the office, intentionally or inadvertently.

            This is truth. This is the way the world is, period.

            1. Doug Ross

              The job is leadership and action, not words. Obama was a word guy. He accomplished little in 8 years. His hallmark program will be decimated in the next few years.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author


                Yep, Obama was a word guy.

                Bush was more of a word guy than people give him credit for. He was careful with them.

                Clinton was a gifted word guy.

                Bush was OK, except when he said “read my lips” that time. Bad move.

                Reagan’s whole thing was being a major word guy — the Great Communicator.

                Jumping back a bit, JFK could mesmerize with words, and no one since maybe Lincoln used words to greater effect than FDR.

                “The job is leadership and action, not words.” That’s a self-contradictory statement. Leadership IS words. Presidents have no alternative means of leading. And “action,” for a president, involves persuading or ordering other people to do things. And how does one order or persuade? With words.

                Presidents aren’t medieval kings who say nothing but ride into battle at the head of their armies, letting their swords do the talking for them and leading by physical example. (Unless, of course, they are Harrison Ford in “Air Force One.”)

                They talk. Sometimes they write. It’s all about the words…

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Or perhaps I should say, “It’s all about communicating…”

                  Mostly that’s words, but sometimes it’s done nonverbally, especially today.  That’s why a president’s handlers — and smart presidents have handlers — spend so much time thinking about the optics. Because a picture is worth a thousand… what?

                  And we must all admit that Trump, for instance, communicated volumes when he did this:


    2. bud

      Meh. About 1/50 the salary of the SCANA CEO spent on a project to renovate an old warehouse vs a crazed madman on the verge of ICBM capability and a US POTUS apparently suffering dementia. Call me an idiot but really the penny tax stuff is pretty penny ante that is not worth 1 brain cell fretting over.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I’m with you on the comparative importance, Bud, but I’m with Doug that the mishandling of the penny tax by the county is a big deal we should care about here locally.

        It’s a mess, and I’m pretty sure we haven’t heard the last of it.

        I was just defending the Greene Street part because that, at least, was something they’re SUPPOSED to do with the money — the street part, that is. I don’t know what to think about any money spent on buildings…

        1. bud

          Ok maybe it’s sort of important but the way Doug goes on and on about this you’d think his family was having to dumpster dive for scraps in order to survive. Let’s keep this in perspective. We have a 1% sales tax in order to make road improvements and help with the buses. Has it been perfectly implemented? Of course not. But seems to me the results are largely positive. Hardly the calamity described by Doug and his go to libertarian hack tabloids. For a bonafide calamity just drive up to Jenkinsville and check out that mostly private venture.

          1. Doug Ross

            Yeah, it’s only millions of dollars.. why worry about it? That’s the typical liberal attitude – it’s not my money, it’s someone else’s so blow it however you’d like.

            I’m not looking for perfection.. even expecting mediocrity would be a challenge. I know if I missed my budget by 6 million on an expected 12 million project, I’d have trouble finding a job again.

            1% of every dollar I spend in Richland County goes to this boondoggle. Maybe the reason my family isn’t dumpster diving is because I care where MY money goes and how it is spent.

            1. bud

              I would suggest the reason you’re not dumpster diving is because government at all levels is working well to create an environment that allows hard working, innovative people to prosper. Local government provides clean water, police and fire protection. The state in covert with local and federal entities builds, maintains and patrols the roads. The federal government ensures our security via intelligence and military assets. Courts at all levels serve as arbiters and enforcers of the law. The Feds also control the airwaves and air space along with the internet to maintain a certain measure of order to these valuable resources. No government or family is perfect in how it spends its resources. It’s ridiculous to constantly nater on about every failure of government while ignoring the many, many, many failures of big business who poison our air and water and peanut butter, steal billions through mendacious business practices like Enron, Bernie Maddof, Martin Shkreli and
              Lehman Brothers.

              We’re all in this together and I suggest we pull together as a united team to make our nation and world a better place to live. By focusing exclusively on one sector while ignoring completely the failures of capitalism is a foolish game that will only bring us all down. So let’s work to improve our government but let’s also regognize its successes. A cynical Ayn Rand approach will only succeed in tearing us apart. Let’s stamp out the counterproductive words of this vile atheist and condemn them to the scrap heap of history along with Mein Kampf and Chairman Mao’s little red book. Perhaps then we can succeed together.

        2. Richard

          I wonder how much of the penny sales tax will be used for important things such as the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

      2. bud

        Doug go read about WW1 sometime if you don’t think words matter. The diplomats of that era were pretty casual with their words and the result was a calamity that resonates even now. Trump is clearly suffering some type of mental illness. Maybe we get lucky and his handlers can guide him away from calamity. Or maybe not. I sure do miss Obama.

        1. Doug Ross

          Brad said “a word” – singular. Perpetuating the hyperbole that is necessary to keep the fear going. Ramping up the anxiety levels to a point that something MIGHT happen. The left is goading Trump to do something so they can say “See, I told you so!” There is no sane person on either side. It’s all blather and fear mongering.

          I guess we’d prefer Obama’s lines in the sand and beers on the South Lawn.

          1. Scout

            You say that “a word” was hyperbole. Maybe, but it could literally be true as well. Words like “Sad” and “Disgraceful” as commentary on the ends of tweets. His penchant for using derogatory single word epithets when insulting people or things, which he does as easily as breathing – Lyin Ted, Crooked Hillary, Fake News. It is entirely believable he could insult the wrong world leader at the wrong time with a single word epithet or single word commentary. Consequential!

            But even if it was meant as hyperbole – does that change the point? The point was “Words matter” which I believe was said many more times than the single word statement, anyway.

            Words Matter. Yes, even a single wrong word. No hyperbole required.

            1. Doug Ross

              Like Obama’s “line in the sand” in Syria? That was pretty damaging, wasn’t it? How about all the liberals who literally laughed in Trump’s face from November 2015 to November 2016? Remember all those words?

              Seriously, you’re going to extrapolate a word used in a Tweet as a potential end to Western Civilization? Sad!

    3. Richard

      Pastides is going to continue the Innovista because it was his mentor Andrew Sorenson’s pet project.

  9. bud

    Seems like we need a middle ground between Brad’s obsessive, near paranoid approach to Trump and Doug’s irrational indifference to an obviously mentally ill man.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, we don’t.

      There is NOTHING that is “paranoid” OR “obsessive” about my continued indignation at this grossly unfit man holding this position.

      I was very clear with y’all last year, both before and after the election: It is extremely dangerous to the continuation of our republic to accept having Donald Trump as president as normal.

      It is NOT normal. We are reminded every day how abnormal it is. And every instance on this blog of what you call “paranoia” is supported, more than supported, by fresh evidence of this man’s unfitness.

      And as an American, I will NOT “get used to it.” I have a duty not to, and so do all of you who are capable of seeing reality.

      And if you’re having trouble continuing to see how abnormal the situation is, how much our standards are being defined downward, you might want to regularly visit this blog by another person who sees the truth. She blogs each week about all the fresh instances of Things That Are Not Normal.

      Each week, right up top, she reminds us:

      Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

      So she does. Good for her…

  10. Doug Ross

    “U.S., Russia reach deal on Syria cease-fire”

    What a lunatic President we have… acting all diplomatic. Sad!

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, they formally approved an agreement that had already been reached.

      This was in the same meeting in which Trump brought up Russian hacking, and seemed satisfied with Putin’s assurance that no, we didn’t do that. You know, the one in which Trump was so “honored” to meet his hero, that strong man who really knows how to run a country.

      While reading a Nicholas Kristof column this morning, I came to a realization about ONE reason Trump admires Putin so much:

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Wait — maybe that’s unfair. I’m taking Putin’s word for it that Trump was satisfied by his denials.

        Maybe the president refuted that on his Twitter feed…


      2. bud

        Everyone is being a bit too dismissive of the cease fire agreement, although I suspect it won’t last any longer than the zillion other cease fires. Still, any stoppage of the killing, even if only for a short time, is something to celebrate.

        1. Mark Stewart

          Really? So you want Assad to remain in power and for all those people to have died in vain?

          I don’t understand what we are trying to accomplish with this. With anything we have done in Syria since the drawing of the red line (ignored).

          There is only one path forward – and that is to diplomatically, and forcefully – shove Putin and Assad out of Syria. This isn’t that.

          1. bud

            Do I want Assad to remain in power? I’m actually ambivalent about that. What I really want is peace so the people of Syria, at least what’s left of them, can rebuild their shattered lives. Assad is probably no worse than any other strongman who comes to power. One thing that’s certain is that our military involvement will not make things any better. For proof look no further than Iraq. For starters let’s work with Putin and Assad to get rid of ISIS first. Fighting both Assad AND ISIS makes no sense.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              If you want to make the case for peace, you really need to stick to “I want peace.”

              You tarnish your point by saying you’re “ambivalent” about Assad staying in power, and you say, “Assad is probably no worse than any other strongman who comes to power,” which makes sense only when we remember that “strongman” usually translates to “pretty bad guy.”

              And we won’t even get into the silly argument that the “One thing that’s certain is that our military involvement will not make things any better.”

              Nothing of the kind is certain.

              In fact, nothing at all is certain. It’s a big mess. Every action and (I have to remind my more isolationist friends) every inaction is fraught with peril.

              There are no easy answers here…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, things are going great. Thank God for Trump, right? He’s so awesome…

      As for “another good outcome,” what was the first one?

        1. Mark Stewart

          Doug, Pretty sure they already were – now we are just layering on political pap as governmental discrimination. I thought you would be reviled, personally, at such a situation.

          But I guess your fear the someone is getting “somethin’ fo nuttin” supersedes your belief in freedom.

          1. Doug Ross

            Freedom is for Americans or people here legally. Illegal immigrants have not earned nor deserve the same freedoms. Let as many in legally as you want. I don’t care. But don’t give a single dime of tax dollars to those who chose to break the law or are here because of parents who did it. Sorry, not sorry.

      1. Doug Ross

        Would you agree that removing government employees who are not doing their jobs, particularly when it relates to the treatment of veterans, is a good thing or not?

        There is a 0.0% chance this would have happened with Hillary.

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