My Trump Quandary

I’m not writing about Trump and his party pals as much as one suspects I might here, and honestly, here’s the reason for it: Everything is happening so damn fast these days. Hard as it may be to believe, if I’m going to write something more than a snarky tweet, I want to be able to actually think about the thing and frame it in my head, and every time I try to do that, by the time I’ve figured out what I want to say, that dense, angry Tribble-scalped bastard has done something else, and I have to rethink. I literally can’t keep up, especially because I’m trying to do other things, too, like write books.

It’s frustrating, because I have a lot I’d like to say. It’s just that by the time I would say it, it’s already three news cycles back, and all I’m left with is me howling SEE I TOLD YOU THIS SHIT WOULD HAPPEN, and really, now, how often can I say that before it gets boring.

So: Sorry, folks. I’m trying my best. But Trump watching isn’t actually my full-time gig. And it’s really hard to keep up.

87 thoughts on “My Trump Quandary

  1. I think Trump is self destructing at a rate never before approached- there have been mutterings of impeachment ever since he took office, which are now intensifying with revelations in the Comey affair, and even his own party is admitting in the media that they are not happy with him. I really don’t see him lasting a full term of office, but then I never seriously thought he would get elected in the first place, so who can say?

  2. Trump himself can’t seem to keep up, nor can those whose job it actually is to keep up with him. You write. We love you for that as much or more than the commentary.

  3. I’m having a problem keeping up, and I’m retired and spend altogether too much time on the web. It’s not you, it’s them…

  4. If this was a suspense novel, Trump would be bumped off while he was in one of his foreign stops next week, though probably not the Vatican. Then Steve Bannon would seize power, using the network of sympathizers he’s been organizing since the election. And James Comey would have 24 hours to save the Republic.

    But it’s real life — I know, that’s hard to believe — so something even weirder will happen.

    I loved his comment today, that no politician has ever been treated so unfairly. I can see tomorrow’s editorial cartoons already, with the shades of Lincoln and Kennedy coming to say, “You think you got it bad?”

  5. Yeah, there’s a pretty long list of politicians after them, too.
    I’d rather have novels than Trump ponderings, please.

  6. @Farley – It’s like one long, fast-moving train that just keeps crashing and crashing and crashing.

    Congratulations to you​, Scalzi, if you can keep your mind off of it for long enough stretches to get some writing done. I find it awfully distracting.

    I am hopeful that you’ll get to bake a great big schadenfreude pie when this is over.

  7. Please don’t fret about any “failure” to share your thoughts about Trump. “Tribble-scalped bastard” was worth the wait.

  8. Ehh, not that different from what I’d expect to hear about H. Clinton had she gotten elected, except she’d be keeping her head down and not kinda throwing chlorine triflouride* on the flames.
    .
    * “Gasoline on the fire” doesn’t suffice.
    .
    http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2008/02/26/sand_wont_save_you_this_time “It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water”
    Note to self: look up ‘hypergolic’ and do not be a test engineer that is near that shtuff!

  9. I likened it more to a train hitting a clown car at a level crossing.

    There’s still a train wreck, but there’s red floppy shoes and weird balloon animals strewn all over the place too.

  10. It is exhausting trying to keep up with the daily (or twice or thrice daily) upheavals. Feel free to stick to your day job. I’m trying to withdraw from my MSNBC addiction. It isn’t working.

  11. For what it’s worth, here’s my endorsement of staying essentially (“tribble scalped bastard”) – free on this blog… There’s many excellent rapid response sites out there, useful for setting one’s hair on fire.

    Although your thoughtful commentary would be welcome as always, hopefully engendering non-stop hysterical responses. Thx.

  12. You think you’re having trouble keeping up? I subscribe to Sparky’s List, the This Modern World mailing list from Dan Perkins (aka Tom Tomorrow). With each week’s cartoon he usually writes a little bit about making it. He almost always has to change a panel or two between finishing and publishing. I’m afraid he’s going to have a nervous breakdown by the time Trump gets impeached.

  13. @Matthew Hughes– I kinda want to write that book now, though. Dramatic scenes with Comey making daring narrow escapes as he tries to get to NYC where he can team up with Nate Silver to expose everything would be so much fun. (Alas, action descriptions are *not* my strong point as a writer.)

  14. I know the feeling, just a bit – I work nights, so my sleeping time being 11-7 means I wake up and have to say “oh god, what did I miss the last eight hours” and miserably catch up while I eat.

    Also, I’m in agreement with the rest re: “Tribble-scalped bastard”.

  15. Trump watching is more or less my full time gig, and I wish to hell it wasn’t (political/policy blogger on Patreon, having retired from things like digital divide/journalist safety work, and founding the *other* Tor).

    Being a liberal in national security was really unpopular until 2013 (Snowden) but this year everyone wants a piece of me, lol, because there are so few of us who are liberal and retired and able to speak freely.

    But really, the stress and fatigue levels are awful, not just with the Trump administration, but with the liberal squawkbox. I spend as much time asking people please to not tar brush everyone in the Midwest, perhaps you’ll be happy to know, and telling people to never use the term “fly-over state” in my streams because it’s demeaning. I was born in Dayton as the daughter of a rural Universalist minister, although I spent a lot of my time growing up in Vermont, and live near my son in Boston.

    Independents and liberals have no idea how we got here, heh. They need a history mirror and some compassion, and a lot of kumbaya, and perhaps to take time to read the Des Moines Register from the whole of the campaign. I have friends who live there. it’s a good paper and they despised Trump and watched their state slide into voting for him with a sense of huge impending despair. Not racists, not people trying to ruin the country. A state that might vote blue in the midterms — if we stopped insulting them. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_in_Iowa,_2016#General_election Trump 51%, Clinton 42% — “red state.”)

    And now, I’m watching our coastal Dems throw away the mid-terms because they won’t bridge those same prejudices. Treating the red states like red shirts, instead of potential officer material, lol…

    John, there’s a SF book in here somewhere, or fantasy, or something. I tell people I thought as a kid I might spend my life writing F&SF, but I ended up being a RL cyberpunk/cypherpunk, and too busy to write until retirement.

    SF has always been about the current anxieties in society hasn’t it?

    Now I feel like I’m too busy trying to explain to people how everything they abstract from the media is so lazily wrong (on the media’s part), and trying to interpret the reality inside the beltway (and globally), that I doubt I’ll ever write any fiction at all, lol…My son claims I’d be more effective writing fiction — people don’t want to listen to polemics, civics education, or long form explainers, and that’s how we got here. 1984 is more effective than any textbook, he claims. Well, that’s sad, because people read it, and they are horrified, but so very few _do_ anything, do they?

    You are better off for your mental health not trying to keep up.

  16. I sympathize. In addition to everything you said, as a writer you must be terribly bothered by that whole willing suspension of disbelief thing. Imagine trying to pitch this story.

  17. I am considering a hypothesis that Trump serves mostly like the Totisystem Toy in James H. Schmitz’s The Witches of Karres, deployed by our protagonist as a decoy because it carries out a great deal of confusing but largely meaningless noisy activity, distracting people:

    “There’s a kind of gadget in there that could do the trick,” he said to Goth. “Called the Totisystem Toy, I think.”

    He found a Totisystem Toy and demonstrated it for her. It had been designed to provide visual instruction in all forms of power systems known to Nikkeldepain, but something seemed to have gone wrong with the lot. When the toy was set in action, the systems all started to operate simultaneously. The result was a bewildering, constantly changing visual hash.

    “Might not fool anybody who’s got much sense for long,” he admitted. “But all it has to do is let us know whether there’s someone on board we have to watch. . . . Could have the ship bugged, too, come to think of it!”

    Not that he doesn’t do real harm, but one notes that, for example, his Executive Orders typically decree something either outside the powers of the Executive Branch (many examples), or grossly illegal and immediately blocked by the courts (e.g., Muslim ban), or detailed in vague wording that has zero effect (e.g., the sanctuary law thing). Boiled down to practical consequence, he’s done rather little, beyond the Totisystem-like bewildering visual hash.

    I would like to modestly suggest that focus on the state houses and Congress should be a higher priority, especially in preparation for the 2018 midterms and 2020 general election (and subsequent utterly crucial redistricting). If the latter point is unclear, look up Project REDMAP.

  18. I know how you feel. Got up this morning to find out about special prosecutor (yay!) and that Congressional Republicans apparently knew Trump was dirty before the election (WTF) and that Flynn told the transition team (headed by one M. Pence) he was being investigated well before inauguration (!?!&!). Every day seems to show that the rot goes deeper and wider.

  19. A cynical friend of mine thinks the GOP are sitting on removing Trump until fall when they’ve had a chance to push through the rest of their agenda. Then they’ll remove him on the grounds that he’s mentally unstable so that once he’s removed for being crazy they can pretend that it was just crazy Trump responsible for all the bad they’ve done, Pence will take over and act like a moderate republican, and their base will forget that they gutted their healthcare, school lunches, public education, and all the other social programs and vote for them back in at the midterms.

    The revelation that they suspected his Russian ties though may scrap that plan.

  20. There are several political/news sites I check daily, TPM chief among them, but since the election I’ve had to brace myself and take a deep breath before clicking on their links.

    My theory is that God took a sabbatical and left a crappy writer of crappy political thrillers in charge.

  21. That top tweet you have right now about surely nothing happened while I was asleep… that was what I was thinking as I went to this page. Sigh. (You and @wandsci are my news filters these days.).

  22. Don’t feel bad about it John. Trying to keep up with the shenanigans and bullshittery amongst t he Trump clump is more than I can handle. I have kinda had to hone it down to once, maybe twice a week highlight reels.

    It’s a good thing we don’t live in the old days of newsreels before the movie. Those news reels would be along the lines of Gone with the Wind before the Buck Rogers of Flash Gordon serial, with the main event being the original version of The Maltese Falcon.

    Long drawn out drama, followed by what the fuck world am I living in, followed by depression that you picked tonight to take your main squeeze to the picture show instead of finding a seedy speakeasy and getting blind drunk and pretending that the moron in the news reel had to be some kind of shitty actor and it was actually a comedy movie.

  23. does any else believe that it would be worse with Pence in charge? Professional politician, knows how to pull the levers of government, radical in belief and would then have the power to enforce and produce results. This scares me significantly more than the inept rants and power grabs that Trump represents. JMHO.

  24. I understand that it’s hard “keeping up” with Trump given all the stories coming out. Like the Comey memo, the Comey “Loyalty Oath”, the “firing of Comey to stop the Russia-Trump collusion investigation, the firing of Comey causing the Attorney General Rothenstein to resign, the FBI being denied resources to investigate Trump. Of course, most of these have even been proven false beyond any doubt or rely on “anonymous associates”.

    By the Numbers,

    1) Comey Memo: reported as heard from “unnamed sources”, so cannot be relied on. Further, even if it is absolutely true, there is nothing wrong with even a President saying “I hope you can let this go”. Comey’s position wasn’t threatened either explicitly or implicitly. Remember, this was January when Trump was saying he had “full faith” in Comey.

    2) Comey Loyalty Oath: Again, the Media heard the story from “Anonymous associates” of Comey who WHERE NOT IN THE ROOM. No word from Comey yet. Probably false. Hey, prove it’s true.

    3) The “firing of Comey to stop the Russia-Trump collusion investigation”: Comey was specifically asked before Congress if he was still investigating Trump, he said “NO”. There are a handful of Trump associates whose ties to Russia are being investigated. No big deal. Congresspeople are upset and it’s incumbent on the FBI to do an investigation to see if there’s anything there, or if it’s all just rumor. Remember, Hillary was investigated for over a year because calls from Congresspeople. She was eventually found to have done everything accused of; but was excused because she didn’t have “criminal intent”. Sometimes when there is smoke there is no fire.

    4) The firing of Comey causing the Attorney General Rothenstein to threaten to resign: Absolutely, without a doubt FALSE. The falsity of this story (again by “anonymous sources”) confirmed by…. wait for it…. Rothenstein himself.

    5) The FBI being denied resources to investigate Trump: Denied by the DOJ and the FBI themselves.

    The problem here is not Trump; the problem here is the hyper-partisan media, looking for any story to bring down Trump relying on “unnamed sources” and “anonymous associates” to push the story. Only to be handed their hat when people go on the record, as named sources, to deny the story. But, of course, modern life is busy, and a lie can get around the world before the truth even gets its pants on. And people remember the one headline and forget about the follow-up.

  25. Best leave Trump in place. Otherwise Pence becomes President and he is far more likely to work with his party to enact into law all the legislation that, for now, is not finding enough support to pass. Do think about that all.

  26. I applaud your determination to think before posting, even if it means I have to wait to hear your take on things. It’s a bit ironic, isn’t it? If 45 ever thought before speaking/tweeting, you might not have as much to sort out.

  27. Trump might do all sorts of damage, up to and including starting a nuclear war, out of sheer stupidity. Any damage Pence does will be intentional.

    Which would be worse is anybody’s guess.

  28. John Remark:

    You are absolutely not the only one with this thought. Pence would not be an improvement.

    In fact, I have to go five hops down the order of succession before I get to someone who doesn’t make me immediately go HELL NO at the prospect of their running the country. >:|

  29. Well, you could try the Nixon/Agnew approach. Get the goods on Pence (and there are goods, though probably not financial as in Agnew’s case), force him to resign, pick a new VP (a la Ford), and then go for the Big Guy. Possible, though unlikely.

  30. I think its reasonable to assume that someone who has been as successful as Trump may not be as incompetent as often portrayed. If you read his books you walk away with the understanding that he is a tactical thinker, ready to play the long game to reach his goals and manages risk rather than averts it (a left over from the casino days?). That being said Trump surly sees the elitist left, elitist right and press as his core advisories using historical amounts of misinformation in an attempt to do irreparable harm to his reputation as their primary weapon. So how could he handle an adversary using the art of verisimilitude? Jujitsu.

  31. Shava Nerad, I am really not impressed by the “be nice to people or they’ll vote Trump” argument. Nor do I think it’s an issue of coastal residents being disrespectful of the Midwest. I seem to remember quite a few Trump supporters boasting of their contempt for people who lived on the east and west coasts, and not in the politest language either. They were so gleefully nasty about what was going to happen when Trump MAGA’d after he won,

    Well, he won. Tired of all the winning yet?

    I think it’s more disrespectful to talk of Midwesterners as if they were idiot toddlers who had to be coaxed with cookies and toys into seeing their own self-interest clearly. They have not be ignored by politicians before Trump. They were the most coddled demographic in decades: first as Reagan Democrats who were distracted by fake “issues” like abortion, gun rights, faux-patriotism, flag lapel pins, flag burning, pledge of allegiance, etc. etc. etc. And while they were carrying their guns and flags, their economic well-being was cut out from under them because they didn’t want to hear about how the changing economy meant they had to retrain, stay in school longer, be more entrepreneurial in their plans for the future. And now they’re paying for it.

    And you know what? It’s not disrespectful to tell them that they need to get a lot more realistic about their personal prospects and America’s.

  32. Someone pointed out that Trump tries to do things that are outside his jurisdiction. Maybe this is a wake up call for citizens to lead by example and, for instance, re-read the constitution and read up on jurisdictions.

    On a lighter note, I can imagine a Canadian back in the fall who was hoping against hope for Trump’s election, just for the ongoing entertainment value… only to find it’s not always so funny. But still, to an outsider, it’s somewhat funny.

  33. ^ the bloke above shares the same name, but is not me.

    Trump is a moron, not a successful business man, he lost money on a strip club next to a casino, and his casinos went bust when others were succeeding. Then he turned into a licensor of his name as no reputable bank would lend to him after the multiple bankruptcies, which is where the dodgy overseas money comes in on the few developments he did do himself. He doesn’t need help doing irreparable harm to his reputation, he can do it all by himself (with the aid of Twitter)

    Plus he hasn’t even read his own books.

    Having said that, he’s clearly in some sort of cognitive decline – he used to be more coherent than he is now.

  34. I fully understand the importance of topical relevance, but maybe looking back for some perspective can still be useful. Like you said, it happens SO FAST, maybe we need somebody to point out “look, the shit he did last week is STILL BAD TOO.”

  35. @Chris Smith “I think its reasonable to assume that someone who has been as successful as Trump may not be as incompetent as often portrayed. If you read his books you walk away with the understanding that he is a tactical thinker, ready to play the long game to reach his goals and manages risk rather than averts it (a left over from the casino days?).”

    Thanks for a really good laugh. First, he didn’t write his books. It’s not even clear that he knows how to read, much less write a coherent sentence. Even his ghost writers have nothing good to say about him.

    Yes, he is every bit as incompetent as he is portrayed. Anyone paying any attention knew that well before he declared for office. He failed in the Casino business! How can anyone lose money in the casino business? It’s a license to print money. He ran a scam University and I’m not even sure he realized it was a scam. He had an IPO one time and managed to run that into the ground. The fact that you inherit a lot of money does not make you successful, it just makes it easy to look successful. If he had taken his inheritance and put it into an index fund, he would probably be much richer today than he is.

    He is exceptionally good at only one thing: being a con artist. He’s conned so many investors out of funds, students out of money, small businesses out of business, and so on all his life. He’s good at it. Here’s the ultimate confidence artist and he managed to con millions of people into voting for him and many of them are still falling for the con.

  36. I hear ya, John. When it comes to Trump you know whatever is current is going to be topped next week. It’s brutally amazing really. Reminds me of the old saying, ‘beware what you wish for.’ GOP got their wish. Result: a political party that has become its own worst enemy.

  37. Not too sure about a President Pence, since Pence is implicated in the Flynn scandal.

    As the head of Trump’s Transition Team, Pence knew Flynn was on Turkey’s payroll but OK’d him as National Security Advisor anyway.

    Ryan is implicated in the Russia matter, so a Ryan Administration isn’t a slam dunk either.

    Some wits have suggested we may be looking at a President Orrin Hatch.

  38. WRT Pence vs. Trump.
    Pence was on his way to failing reelection as governor of Indiana when Trump tapped him. He’s a bog-standard right wing Christian dominionist.
    The only difference between the two of them is Pence won’t start a nuclear war just to show how big his red button is.
    Both of them will sign whatever rightwing fantasy fulfillment Ryan and McConnell send up from the Hill.
    If Pence gets dragged down for collusion, Ryan isn’t much better. Worse, actually, because he has everyone conned into thinking he’s the ‘serious’ policy wonk, when all he wants is his long-held dream of gutting Medicare and Social Security.
    We need to un-elect all of them in 2018. And retake some states from GOP control.

  39. I’m fine with President Ryan – he’d have no coattails politically, Trump (assuming he’s not in jail) would be tweeting furiously 24/7 about Ryan’s betrayal and he’d have to give up his congressional seat. Nothing I’ve seen of him indicates he even understands the role of President and no one trusts him. His policy-wonk schtick is getting really old even with his media admirers and his ability to lie in a folksy manner won’t get him far.

  40. Rick Moen: Thanks for reminding me that it’s time to reread The Witches of Karres again! As for news analysis sources, I would recommend Kevin Drum’s Mother Jones blog in addition to others already mentioned.

  41. @SeanCrawford
    As a Canadian, no, I did not find anything amusing about candidate Trump and abysmally less about a President Trump.

    Quite frankly, the majority of Canadians are watching the news (news will suffice because I don’t have the words to describe the situation properly) feeling like we are watching a sibling descend into madness, and we can do nothing but pray for you and ourselves.

    Should any American citizen feel the need to move to Canada for respite or sanctuary, even temporarily, we are here for you. It may be all that we can do, beyond moral support.

    At least here, the distance does cause a “news dilution effect” that can give you choice & time to think.

  42. Gerald, I think you’re forgetting the alarming number of people up here above ‘the line of madness’ that actually like trump. It’s scary.

    Personally I’m looking forward to the next US election – Reddington/Cooper 2017!

  43. @Tanya Jane Park
    “Watching Trump self-destruct day by day is better than watching British soap operas!”

    Is “British Soap Opera” the name for watching the UK self destruct over Brexit and the emergency general election it caused?

  44. I was going through a bunch of open browser tabs on my phone and found and editorial from the NYT about the so-called “armada” heading to North Korea (the ones that were actually heading south to participate in joint exercises with the Australian Navy). Its seems so quaint and long ago, when Trump decided to saber-rattle and sounded like Wrong-Way Corrigan,

    The date on that editorial – April 20th.

  45. I thought it was quiet and assumed you were busy writing another piece for the LA times.
    Yes, the constant diarrhoea like flow of tweets from President tribble hair are hard to keep track of, but they give a counterpoint for those of us in the UK to take our minds off the depressing election and Brexit.

  46. I enjoy your writing so much that I’d still logon to read how you would write “SEE I TOLD YOU THIS SHIT WOULD HAPPEN” .

  47. I’ve seen variants of this:

    Editor: “Okay, this is accurate as of now. If nothing happens in the next half hour, it’s good to go.”
    Editor: “Oh, goddamn it.”
    Editor: “NOW it’s current. Nothing happens and we can have this published.”
    Editor: “Goddamn it.”
    Editor: “Good? It’s good now? No more need for corrections, right?”
    Editor: “Oh, FFS!”

    Not even the people whose job it is to keep up are managing to do that. It’s an avalanche of scandal and stupidity.

    As for Pence being a worse President, who’s to say that isn’t what we have already? Trump is supremely easy to manipulate if he wants a person’s approval. Flatter him a bit, and he’ll sign just about anything, and without reading it at all.

  48. I tweeted the other day WRT Trump that I’d like to get through one day without having to exclaim “Are you fucking kidding me???”

  49. I’ve been thinking that we’re living in the crappy remake of a mid-80s ITV sitcom starring Rowan Atkinson called “Das Vadanya Comrade Prime Minister”.

  50. On Twitter, even the pro journos I follow are saying the same thing. They can’t even file the breaking news of the moment before yet another plot twist takes the spotlight. The past few days have been like a tsunami.

    Random thoughts from reading the comments:

    I’m not at all convinced the real reason the “fly-overs” continue to vote against their own self interest is because “coastal elites” insult them. Maybe some, but certainly not as a whole bloc. Give them more credit than that. They’re tribal. They vote R because they’ve always voted R, and OMG,
    her emails. (disclaimer – I’m in AZ, a fly-over state.)

    It’s amusing to observe the deployment of media bashing for what Trump has brought upon himself. Especially after the media’s despicable treatment of HRC in 2016, giving an assist that had a part in electing the tiny fingered vulgarian.

    I now have whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday bookmarked.

    And yeah, we ALL knew this would happen (maybe not this soon) but it is so much fun to come here and get Scalzi’s brilliant take on it all and come away with the likes of ‘Tribble-scalped bastard’ for the daily chuckle.

  51. “Doc Stat says” – Behold the alternate universe American “Conservatives” inhabit. This is what Roger Ailes (and Murdoch, and hate radio) have wrought – roughly half the electorate inhabits a fantasy universe. And in that universe, this stuff is all made up, Trump is doing fine, and remember it’s really Obama and Hillary who are crooks, etc, etc.

    Shava – The Obama era (throughout which the midwest shifted R-ward) was not characterized by horrible coastal liberals being SO MEAN to Heartlanders. It just wasn’t. There is always crap thrown (both ways, I might add), but there was no uptick in that. The states that shifted R were those with the highest % of white non-college grads, who think (not incorrectly) that the world is leaving them behind and are really pissed off about it. Not because liberals are meanies. Because of demographic, economic and cultural trends. And there is no easy answer to that, like “be nicer.”

    This does not mean Dems shouldn’t try to get some of those voters back. They should, and that effort should absolutely include trying to find and promote candidates from the region (e.g. Jason Kander in MO, who did better than expected though he lost). That’s fine – affinity politics works, to a point. But “be nice and all will be well” is fantasy.

  52. Here’s an article with a money quote that I think reflects the attitude of a lot of Trump voters (it’s a tweet with the quote high-lighted):

    For those who don’t like to click, the quote is:

    ““I tuned it out,” said 44-year-old Michele Velardi, a mother of three sons, during a break from her job at a Staten Island hair salon. “I didn’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to feel that he’s not doing what he said, so I just choose to not listen.”

  53. I’ve always lived in the Midwest, now living in the one city that’s kind of blue in the only state that joined the Confederacy after they LOST the Civil War.
    In 2012, Kentucky had a Democratic governor and the dems still controlled the state House. They implemented the ACA so well that KYnect’s website far outperformed healthcare.gov (not hard, I know, but still) and 500,000 Kentuckians got health care for the first time. 400,000 on the Medicaid expansion, mostly in eastern Kentucky, coal mining country, still one of the poorest, sickest parts of the USA.
    When surveyed at the State Fair, most people gushed about how much better than Obamacare KYnext was.
    Fast forward to 2015, when the dem Gov is term-limited and a Tea-Party millionaire runs explicitly on the platform of destroying KYnect and rolling back everything Obamacare, especially that evil Medicaid.
    He wins.
    In 2016 Twitler wins Kentucky by 35 points (More than Romney, but not by much) and the Ky. House flips to GOP. Dismantling of Obamacare accelerates.
    When asked why they voted for this, the general response from those folks staring at loss of health benefits generally tracked to: “Hey I thought it was just political talk and they’d never do it!” Then a seque into how death is now imminent for mamaw and papaw if they lose their healthcare.
    You can’t make this stuff up and I have no answer.
    Friends of mine who are intelligent and articulate still spout Trump crap and post anti-Sharia law stuff on FB. I simply don’t talk about it with them.
    Speaking of Sharia law, did anyone see this tweet:

    I was stunned. I didn’t realize Sharia law was practiced in Israel.
    (Is there an easier way to post a link or picture?)

  54. John Remark: what I’ve said all along is that we already HAVE Pence running things. Take away Trump, and Pence no longer has a smokescreen to work behind, plus we have less chance of Trump either nuking someone or getting someone mad enough to nuke us. Plus Pence has never been the center of a cult of personality. It’s worth risking a Pencidency to get Trump out. I am certainly hoping that they’ll all go down together anyway, but even if they don’t, we can’t hold back for fear of Pence.

  55. Dear Doc Stat,

    A point-by-point argument is unnecessary. A single sentence from the preamble will suffice:

    “Of course, most of these have even been proven false beyond any doubt or rely on “anonymous associates”.”

    The first clause is on the very face of it, entirely wrong. Because, unless you are an insider with first-hand access to the documentation, you don’t KNOW anything. What we are getting is charges and counter charges being flung back and forth, and which way one believes the preponderance of evidence goes depends on one’s predilections. But none of us KNOW. If you imagine you do, you are deluding yourself.

    Or engaging in active disinformation. Doesn’t much matter. It is palpably and obviously wrong.

    The second clause demonstrates that you don’t know the way the news business works, especially not in the Washington political arena (or, possibly active disinformation again. And again, don’t care).

    Anonymous sources are stock in trade in DC. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE uses anonymous sources to get information out, from the White House on down.They are not inherently more or less reliable than named sources. The fact that a source is named does not make it innately more trustworthy. Or less so. Because, guess what, an unsurprisingly large number of the folks in Washington have an ax to grind or an agenda of some kind or another. Every news organization accepts both named and unnamed sources, taking them in merely as data and then looking for corroborating sources or additional evidence. Yes, they have to use their judgment, and, guess what, they are rather good at figuring out who has what kind of an ax to grind. They’ve been doing this for a long time and they REALLY hate to be played. When you have the likes of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN all reporting something, it is likely they have made some effort to look into its legitimacy. It MIGHT still turn out to be wrong or unfounded, but it’s not spun out of thin air… As your assertions are.

    Your claim that everyone who doesn’t pretty much agree with you is just part of the “hyper- partisan media” is flat-out patent nonsense. It has exactly as much legitimacy as claiming that such sources are all “fake news.”

    In short, I am calling bul***it on you. Either you are extraordinarily uninformed, pointedly fanatical, or actively engaging in disinformation.

    Don’t much care, doesn’t much matter. Nobody here is drinking your particular brand of Kool-Aid.

    – Pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    ======================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 
    ======================================

  56. @Doc Stat

    “3) The “firing of Comey to stop the Russia-Trump collusion investigation”: Comey was specifically asked before Congress if he was still investigating Trump, he said “NO”. There are a handful of Trump associates whose ties to Russia are being investigated. No big deal. ”
    I’m genuinely and deeply curious. In your view, what was the reason why Trump fired Comey? “Because he was inappropriately harsh on Clinton” never seemed particularly plausible, and it seems clear from Trump and Rothenstein’s statements that the decision to fire Comey predates Rothenstein’s memo anyway – so why do you think he did this? (This is independent of the question of whether the investigation is a big deal or not. I could easily believe there wasn’t significant coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, but equally easily believe in Trump or others being irritated by the handling of the investigation nonetheless.)

  57. Now why did you have to go and insult a Tribble like that John?
    They look a whole lot better than the mop atop the orange one’s head.

  58. I completely understand. I’m trying to write a parody of the guy for a Power Girl/DC Bombshells fanfic I’m writing, and I finally had to make the parody be flat-out running false-flag operations to make him more cartoonishly evil than Trump, since everything else I thought of Trump himself actually did.

  59. John Remark: It’s not just you. There’s a reason that some of us refer to him as “Vice-President Scudder”. And it’s really scary to contemplate that Ryan would probably be a less damaging option.

    Techgrrl1972: Not to mention all the ones who seriously don’t understand that “the ACA”, “KYnect”, and “Obamacare” are all the same thing. That’s what I’m hearing a lot of in TX — “I get my insurance through the ACA, so I’m okay. But Obamacare needs to be nuked.”

  60. Sorry, but unless we’re hip deep in WWIII because of something he did (or didn’t do), I don’t pay attention to him.

    My speed is local/state and right now, our guv’nor in CT is asking for $700M in concessions from the public sector unions to save his ass or he’ll lay off 4K+ workers. Making sure I have a viable job is far more important than reading a diatribe from someone who gets his panties in a bunch whenever the President opens his mouth.

    Remember, Clinton did stuff just as bad yet got a free pass from the media and she ran a crappy campaign.

  61. Shava: “Not racists, not people trying to ruin the country.”

    Oh for fucks sake. Are people still jerking off to the “poor, misunderstood Trump voters” myth? Are we still indulging Trump voters with the bullshit story that they voted for any reason other than bigotry? No, they aren’t misunderstood. Yes, they are racist.

    https://www.thenation.com/article/economic-anxiety-didnt-make-people-vote-trump-racism-did/

    The biggest right wing porno film right now is “Rural Resentment”. It starts off with some poor, white guy in rural America watching Fox News with a “heritage-only” confederate flag over the TV, getting mad at urban areas because he thinks he’s not getting his fair share, he is convinced urban areas are getting more than they deserve, and then… bow-chicka-bow-wow… the doorbell rings and it’s Trump saying “Pizza Delivery!” And the guy say “But I don’t have money”. And Trump looks at him demurely, “just slide it in”, pointing to the ballot box.

    And then you show up, griping at Dems, saying we put this knucklehead in the “friend zone”. Couldn’t we just let him get a little action? Come on, dems, just the tip?

  62. Yes, it is impossible to keep up but by writing this you gave people a place to vent :)

    Thing is- I don’t find anything that has come out shocking or surprising. (Horrifying, sure, But not surprising.) Pretty much everything that’s happening is EXACTLY what any thinking person should have expected before the election.

    The only things that are surprising are 1) when the evidence starts to emerge (how dumb are these people?) and 2) the complete corruption of the Republican party. I’ve thought for years that it was a party dominated by the corrupt but I didn’t believe that every single one of them would stand idly by and watch, let alone actively collude in, the destruction of our system of government.

  63. Remember, Clinton did stuff just as bad yet got a free pass from the media a

    This is demonstrably untrue in any objective sense.

    Run a content analysis on what the press covered in each campaign. Her emails just flat out dominated coverage and the coverage centered on her faults and gaffes, and very little on her policy.

    The one thing you cannot say about her coverage is that she got a free pass.

  64. If Tribble-Head tweeted to his army of hypnotized imbeciles that he wanted everyone to put on T-Shirts that read “We love Vladimir Putin”, I wonder how many of them would do it? A lot, I bet.

  65. People – If you insist on generalities about the Midwest, please throw in “except Illinois” now and then.

  66. @Just Lurking – that’s only because Chicago outnumbers the rest of the state population-wise. Outside Chicagoland it’s a similar sort of sentiment. Same thing in Washington; the Seattle metro area is very different from the area east of the Cascades. I grew up in Chicagoland and now I leave in Seattle and I need to remind myself now and again that a large portion of the state is red; they just don’t have the population density.

  67. I’m trying to imagine how anyone could believe there is any kind of “hyper-partisan media” that is against Trump. CNN fell all over itself to support him every time he managed to act vaguely professional, and MSNBC is considering cancelling its second-most popular show because its right-wing billionaire owner doesn’t like that Lawrence O’Donnell is mean to Trump.

    Meanwhile, Trump himself keeps confirmed every accusation people make against him. Is the media not supposed to report when Trump tweets and admits in interviews that he fired Comey because of “the Russia thing”?

  68. For a while there I felt that this was some kind of thought-out “Whack-a-mole” strategy. Each day a new outrage, to where no one thing ever sticks, and the opposition can’t focus. But I think that may have come to an end this week.

  69. “Remember, Clinton did stuff just as bad yet got a free pass from the media”

    LOL, nope. EMAILGAHZI, remember?

    Hillary Clinton is the most-investigated American citizen since Lee Harvey Oswald. The entire Republican Party has been desperately searching for something, ANYTHING, they can use to legally prosecute her for over two decades, and they have found exactly bupkis. Either she’s actually as clean as a politician CAN be, or she’s a criminal mastermind of a scale that makes Professor James Moriarty looks like a crackhead trying to hold up a gun store with a water pistol by comparison.
    (With thanks to Axiomatic)

  70. @Techgrrl1972, in Israel, under an arrangement inherited from Sultan Mehmet II’s Ottoman ‘Millet’ system (where ‘millet’ = confessional community in Turkish), matters of ‘personal status’ (registrations of births, registrations of deaths, marriages, divorces, alimony, maintenance, guardianship, legitimation and adoption of minors, property rights restrictions of the legally incompetent, succession, wills and legacies, and administration of the properties of missing persons) are delegated to religio-ethnic communities’ councils. This was adopted four days after independence by the Provisional State Council, as the Law and Administration Ordinance No. 1, as what was supposed to be a temporary ‘while we deal with the more pressing matter of six invading armies trying to kill us’ measure, and never touched since, because of course doing so became a political live-wire.

    There are seven Muslim-community courts of the first instance, each one consisting of a single qadi (judge), and one court of appeal with a bench of two or three qadis. It would be rather better Arabic to call them courts of fiqh = jurisprudence (more or less), not of sharia = justice (more or less), I do believe. IIRC, it’s primarily the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, for historical reasons.

    An individual’s religious belonging determines which religious court has jurisdiction over her/his personal status and family law matters. Civil marriage remains unrecognised. If you want that, fly to Cyprus and have your wedding and honeymoon there, as many Israelis do.

    If I’d been born in Israel (as would have happened if Mom hadn’t said ‘Hell no’ when Dad asked her to join him on Kibbutz Degania Alef in ’47-’48), I’d have fall into an intriguing legal void: Mom was an ex-Congregationalist atheist, Dad an ex-Lutheran agnostic. My identity card would have said ‘Citizenship: Israeli. Ethnicity (le’om): ???’ Ethnicity “None of the above” has never been permitted as an option. IIRC, the ‘millets’ recognised for the le’om designation are: Orthodox Judaism, Druze, Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Latin, Maronite, and Anglican. They probably would have stuffed me into the C. of E. for bureaucracy purposes. Only those seven (last I heard) categories are legally recognised. (Fortunately, Cyprus and access to civil marriages and divorces is a short airplane ride away.)

    Fortunately, as a foreigner kibbutz volunteer from California, rather than a native, I was spared this mishegoss.

  71. Rick Moen — thanks for that absolutely fascinating insight into Sharia law in Israel. Like anyone who read ‘Exodus’, I knew about the Cyprus thing. Where do Roman Catholics fit in?
    I thought the tweet was a good counterpoint to the usual FB “Share if you believe Sharia law should be BANNED from the US!” sort of thing.
    Reading the tweet thread, it is clear that Sharia system does not in any way impinge on Israeli criminal or civil law.

    Glad your mom prevailed.

  72. @Techgrrl1972: Roman Catholic is what was referred to here as ‘Latin’, e.g., Latin rite worship. (Protestants other than Anglicans aren’t in it. Sorry, guys.[1]) This of course all reflects what religio-ethnic communities the Ottoman administration recognised prior to their defeat in 1918. (The British under the League of Nations mandate kept the Ottoman arrangement intact, just as the Israelis did after them.)

    [1] It’s possible some other denominations have been added to the recognised list, but I didn’t hear about it, anyway.

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