Catching Up On the News, Alas

Hey! Hey, Scalzi! It’s me, your imaginary interlocutor!

Oh, you again. I thought I got rid of you.

Only while you were on tour, pal! Now I’m back and here to ask you more leading questions about politics so you can rant!

(sighs) Fine, but I’m keeping my answers short.

Sure you are.

Shut up. What’s the first question?

Trump: The first one hundred days. Your verdict?

I mean, it was an abject shit show of incompetence, and we should be glad for that, yes? Because he (and to be fair, the rest of the GOP) have managed to do nothing but set their own balls on fire and then run around screaming “My balls! They are on fire!”, people still have health insurance and most of our constitutional rights are still more or less intact. If any of these yutzes had any idea what they were doing, we’d be in a lot more trouble. You don’t want authoritarians in power, but if you must have them, and apparently we must, might as well make them fumbling doofuses.

With that said, it’s enervating to have a president who is so willfully ignorant and divorced from actual reality. Trump is the least popular president in history 100 days in, and has accomplished almost nothing — certainly not anything he campaigned on, other than terrorizing innocent brown people and/or Muslims — and yet he and everyone who works for him will maintain they’re just the greatest and the problem is the media, and not, say, the fact he’s an incurious lump of shit who is bitter that he can’t just wave his hands to make things happen, and maybe he’ll actually have to, you know, do work. I’m gonna have to look at his stupid mug for another 1300 days. And he’s embarrassing every damn day.

Also, let’s be clear, his incompetence doesn’t mean he’s not doing damage. He and his pals are merrily wiping out climate change data on government Web sites, attempting to ditch net neutrality and desperately trying to make coal happen again, and aside from that pissing on anything the Obamas did, because a big chunk of Trump’s base hates the Obamas, seeing as they were black Muslim socialists from Africa. It adds up.

Speaking of Trump’s supporters, none of his them seem to be unhappy with him, despite his overall low polling. They did that poll that showed less than 2% of them would change their vote, even now.

Well, but he really hasn’t been able to do anything substantial to them, so why would they be upset with him? None of his blustering nonsense has had any impact on their lives yet. And the only thing that he has been able to do — terrorize innocent brown people and/or Muslims — is just peachy with a fair slice of them. They think he’s still fighting the good fight. They’re not going to turn on him until the jobs don’t come back and they lose their health insurance again because he and the GOP have managed to bring back pre-existing conditions as an excuse to let people go bankrupt or die. And even then some of them won’t abandon him, because in the US we’ve managed to drag down the level of political discourse to “Yay go my sportsball team!” and also because no one likes being wrong.

Which is tragic and sad, because in 100 days Trump has become exactly the sort of person so many Trump supporters thought they were tossing out — or more accurately, has remained the person so many Trump supporters thought they were tossing out, but deluded themselves into thinking otherwise because her emails, man. Everyone who voted for Trump because they thought Clinton was a warmonger too close to Goldman Sachs, and griped that Obama golfed too much, should probably just go crawl into a hole for the duration.

Any thoughts on Trump’s cast of characters? 

Outside of the generals (now that Flynn’s gotten to boot), none of them appear any smarter than Trump, which is a genuine tragedy for everyone. The one atom-thick silver lining in this is that it seems the fascist wing of the White House — people like Bannon and Gorka — seem to be losing to the colorless Randians like Jared Kushner and Mnuchin, and think of where we are in this moment in history where bland Randians are the preferable option to be lurking about near the Oval Office.

Among the yahoos, I feel mildly sorry for Kushner, who is clearly in over his head, but is also the only one Trump seems to trust to do anything, which which is why the lad seems to be running a shadow state department out of an Oval Office broom closet. I’m disappointed in Ivanka Trump, who I had hoped might be the lone sensible Trump, but who at this point seems to be as much a grifter as any of the rest of them, and is willing to flat out lie about her dad’s positions on things (particularly women’s issues) with a straight face. At least that meeting in Europe she was at when she did that had the good sense to boo her for it.

So, basically: Grifters, losers and incompetents, just like the president, and while the outright fascists seem to be on their way out, they’re still hanging on, so don’t discount them until they’ve actually been scraped off the hull of the ship of state.

And the GOP?

Well, bless their hearts, is where I’m at with them at the moment. They want to give me a six figure tax cut and drive my neighbors into the poorhouse with medical bills, so I find it ironic we all vote like we do. That and the fact so many of them are providing material cover for the least competent, most obviously corrupt administration in the history of the presidency means that there are few of them right now I would trust with pocket change or to baby sit a small child.

(Note: My own rep Warren Davidson seems pretty decent, although there’s not a lot he and I see eye to eye on, particularly regarding health care. But he’s good with constituent service as far as I can tell and he seems open to other views. Hell, he follows me on Twitter. That can’t be an easy gig for him.)

But what about Obama! He’s getting paid $400,000 to speak on Wall Street!

You know, given Obama is now a private citizen, I care about this roughly as much as I cared about Bush or Bill Clinton or Reagan getting paid absurd amounts for speeches, which is to say, not a whole lot.

But Wall Street! His mortal enemy!

So we’re saying that Obama battled Wall Street furiously for eight years, and at the end of it, when he has no actual power nor ever will again, they still shower him with money? Just for some bullshit speech no one will remember or care about ten minutes after it’s done? I mean, shit. That’s Obama being motherfucking magnificent there, if you ask me.

But the Obamas are already making, like, $60 million from their memoirs!

And? Unlike some US presidents one could name who live in the White House as we speak, Obama is making his money after he is done with the presidency (as is his wife). I’m certainly not going to tell them how they can or can’t legally make money. I’m not going to tell them how much they can make, either. You want to, then call your representative and try to make a law restricting how much a past president can make in a year, and from whom. Good luck!

But also: He’s the past president. I’m sad he’s not the president any more — he was so manifestly better than the one we have now that it’s a little painful to remember just how good he was at it — but pretty much everything he does at this point is footnote, and immaterial as regards the yutz in the White House now. You focus on Obama if you want. I’m gonna live in the now.


Not here to make you happy, man.

Fine. Lightning round.


The New York Times hiring climate change denier Bret Stephens as a columnist.

Stupid of them but I’m not going to cancel my subscription over it. They have a lot of columnists saying manifestly stupid things. I ignore the manifestly stupid stuff. What’s left is worth my subscription.

Trump inviting Duterte to the White House.

Dumbasses gonna dumbass. I know a fair number of people who think Trump is being nice to Duterte all of a sudden because he’s got a current real estate concern in the Philippines, but I suspect the answer is simpler than that: A murderous cretin strongman is just plain Trump’s kind of guy.

Bill O’Reilly and Bill Shine getting dumped at Fox.

Nice to see that Fox News only takes a couple of decades to get rid of accused harassers and their enablers! As others have noted, Fox has spent substantially more on severance packages for the accused (and enablers) than it did in paying damages to the harassed. Hey, welcome to 2017!


By all indications not going to end well for the UK (and might end the UK as currently constituted). It does seem May and her pals in government are slightly delusional about the EU sort of just shrugging and going along with everything the UK wants. On the other hand, when all the EU banks and financial services companies abandon London for Frankfurt, real estate prices will finally come down! So, yay?

Gonna buy?

We’ll see. We’ll see.

Oh! And! The Russians!

Oy. I thought this was the lightning round.

85 Comments on “Catching Up On the News, Alas”

  1. Well, yep.
    You might have some fun watching Sam Bee’s Not the W H Correspondents’ Dinner, despite the one really sad part.

  2. So glad you had a great book tour! Sorry I couldn’t make it to anywhere, but that’s life. And, as this interview proves, my! How we have missed you! Welcome home!

  3. Shakespeare predicts Trump?
    “It is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.”
    Check. Sadly, as in MacBeth, there is likely to be a significant body count and tons of collateral damage.

  4. Mark 5/3 and 5/8 on your Calendar-Comey speaks to Congress behind closed doors and then Sally Yates FINALLY gets to testify openly! Keep your eye on AG Schneidrman as well.

  5. “Well, but he really hasn’t been able to do anything substantial to them, so why would they be upset with him? ”

    Even when he does (and there are examples of things he HAS cut that hurt real people) they’ll still follow him. Why? He does something Obama never did for them. He validates their bigotry. People will walk into a hail of bullets for someone who validates their bigotry.

    You doubt me? Look at the Civil War, which Trump has no clue about, but is showing us the lesson of. Thousands of poor white people died to defend slavery that actually caused them economic harm. They died for less than nothing, because they died to perpetuate a horror. We’re still by damn debating that the horror even caused the war, that it was an abomination in the country’s history, and that the legacy is being perpetuated still.

    If poor whites in the south would die to defend slavery, poor whites in America will die because of Trump, and take plenty of others with them as the reasonable cost of validating bigotry.

  6. I thought maybe Tiffany Trump, the California daughter who tries to stay far away from Daddy, might be the smart one. I am assuming there *is* a smart one.

  7. Oh, the NYT. That explains a previously incomprehensible political cartoon I saw earlier today.

    I went and skimmed the piece. It mostly seems to be arguing “Stop getting mad at people (me) for resisting policies based on the scientific consensus about climate change,” on the basis that “Policy and science are the exact same and should be spoken of in the exact same terms, therefore if you act too convinced anthropogenic climate change is real or get mad as us for resisting policy changes on the basis of the .001% chance it isn’t, you’re the real Science Denier here, because Statistics.” One of the least persuasive pieces of writing I’ve seen on the subject recently, since it tries so hard not to be what it is.

  8. As a Brit I’m sniggering a little at the outrage in some parts of the UK political establishment caused by the ‘well once you aren’t in the EU you won’t have any say about how we deal with Gibralter’ thing from the EU, while simultaneously feeling sorry for the Gibraltarians who voted solidly Remain. They face the possibility of a full customs check on their way to and from work each day. The Brexiters shock at this is of a piece with their assumption that the various parts of our former Empire are waiting on the starting blocks, ready to sign bilateral trade agreements at significant disadvantage to themselves as soon as the starting gun of final Brexit has gone off.
    What did they think Spain would do?
    Why would any of our former colonies want to be shafted by us again?
    The trouble with only taking in the Murdoch press bilge for too long is that it leaves you totally unprepared when real life hits you where it hurts.

  9. I like to hope that in the future we’ll teach our children the country had had 44 presidents at this point in history, then decided to take a bye administration.

  10. I don’t agree with you about Obama’s speaking fees. Neither party is willing to listen to a major lesson they should have learned from the Trump election. Sufficient people believe the Washington establishment has been purchased by Big Money. Maybe complaints about his speaking fees will get the parties listening, but it appears they are holding their hands over their ears and singing la, la, la in order to not hear the complaints. Public servants need *stricter* corruption standards than the people have, and that includes implicit bribes – Wall Street is telling all of the politicians that it will pay them later.

  11. @Jazzlet. I’m surprised the Gibraltarians are still so pro-UK. They’d be better off throwing in their lot with Spain, which is now growing faster than the UK and should still be trading in a few years. Hell, they already have our airports.

  12. Another question to consider in the future: As both a friend of Neil Gaiman and someone with various books in varying stages of adaptation for television, any thought about American Gods?

  13. It’s odd to see how low the GOP has gone in the last few election cycles. They literally, openly advocate to ruin the lives of middle and lower income Americans. Even if these people fell for his flim-flam act and voted for him it’s not good for our country if we go back to a time when there was a soup kitchen on every corner. I keep hoping these people will get woke, but I don’t have hope.

  14. howardbrazee: Trump voters were not reacting to the influence of wall st in Washington. I’m not sure how that’s not blatantly obvious. His voters dont care about wall street influence if he sells it, but dis if Obama or Clinton worked as private citizens with wall street?

    Obama isn’t in even in Washington anymore. You seem to think he is somehow beholden to you or me or as any one of us MORE than the average private citizen. He’s not. He is not. A. Public. Servant.

  15. J. Jasper: Actually Obama (whom I voted for twice, and would have done so again) is in Washington; he visits other cities, but the Obamas’ post-White House residence is in DC. And I hope that his involvement in anti-gerrymandering efforts bears fruit.

  16. Nothing says the Dems are in the pockets of Wall Street like Jamie Dimon not being in jail – the scumbag has to sign the SOX documentation every reporting period, which says controls work, then, whoops, the London Whale loses $6.2B. Good controls there. And that leaves out the looting pre-crash that was just ignored.

    And Trump has removed Wall Street influence by, er, appointing two GS alumni to his cabinet. And avoids corruption by the Republicans ignoring conflicts of interest which are orders of magnitude worse than anything the Clintons ever did – see the excellent article on the Aberzijan hotel scam, which is multiple criminal breaches of the FCPA all on it’s own

    Having said that, whatever the Obama’s get paid is irrelevant – capitalism in action.

    Fortunately the orange idiot and most of the Republicans are too dumb to get out of their own way, so haven’t yet managed to destroy all government institutions.

    It’s sad when NK’s leader is more connected to reality than the President* of the USA.

  17. Thank you for returning to the schadenfreude pie which is your political commentary. Your tour notes are always fun, and make me regret that I can’t attend more cons and signings, but the meat and potatoes for me has always been the political snark. We get more interesting commentary that way, even if there is the occasional mass demand for a kitteh chaser.

  18. Omitted the “accomplishment” of getting a 100% corporatist jurist to a stolen SCOTUS seat. All hail.

  19. “poll that showed less than 2% of them would change their vote”

    People supported W Bush, even reelected the shit, even after no active wmd program was ever found in Iraq, even after a trillion dollars and thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousand Iraqi lives had been squandered on that great american idiot.

    If history has taught us anything, it is that fools would rather go down with the ship than to admit they steered us straight into an iceberg.

    No, what history has shown will happen is this: trump voters will never admit their mistake. They will absolutely NEVER admit their contribution in destroying this planet, this world, this human race. They will at worst forcefully support Trump, and at best silently withdraw their support of Trump, until he is no longer president. At which point, having learned nothing, they will blame everyone else but themselves, their votes, their ideas, their politics. And they will vote for the next right wing piece of shit that comes along.

    It is not surprising that only 2 percent of trump voters were conscious enough to admit they dont support Trump anymore. What is surprising is that they didnt simply quietly scurry under their rock until the next right wing fascist comes along.

  20. Nicely snarkeled, John. Excellent, among other things.

    And may I suggest reading the May1 essay on Stonekettle Station?

  21. howardbrazee:

    You appear to have missed the point here. Barack Obama is no longer a public servant. He’s not the president any more. To the best of my knowledge (Australian here, I may be a tad under-informed about the way the USA handles these things) he didn’t immediately slot straight into a job as a head of a major government department, or a major non-profit or similar.

    He’s a private citizen these days. This is how he makes his money: he makes money by speaking (and writing) about what it was like to have one of the toughest jobs in the world, and do that job to at least an adequate standard.

    Hopefully someone is actually documenting these speeches Dr Obama is giving, so there’s a history of how to do the job at least vaguely adequately for someone to refer to when the Orange Gibbon in the White House is finally booted out (because if you don’t think the Trump White House team aren’t busy destroying all possible records of “best practices” which don’t conform to their Glorious Leader’s particular prejudices, you may need to come out into the sun for a bit).

    (All of which is completely irrelevant to the reason why people who voted for the Cheetoh Gibbon voted for said Cheetoh Gibbon – namely, that this guy not only validated their bigotry, he also made it socially acceptable to display said bigotry again. For that, they’ll keep on voting for him even as he destroys their health, their livelihoods, their safety and their futures, because they essentially live in hope for the day where it’s possible for them to use the n-word in public again).

  22. @Jazzlet I’m sure the former colonies will happily negotiate trade deals with the U.K. it’s just that most of those former colonies have spent the last 30 years negotiating deals with the rest of the world and the U.K. has relied on the filter of Europe for trade.

    The U.K. doesn’t really have the experienced staff and they are not currently anyone’s primary market….

    Basically I wouldn’t look for particularly favourable terms.

  23. I don’t think any rational person can be surprised by Trump’s performance, or lack thereof- anyone who believed his election promises is hopelessly optimistic at best. As a foreigner, you might think I don’t have a dog in this fight, but if Trump tanks the U.S economy, or starts a major war, it won,t end well for anyone on this planet.

  24. The saddest thing was in Trump’s speech to the National Governors Association
    “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated”. Well, in fact anyone
    who has read an American newspaper in the last twenty years knows that. Two
    presidents, Clinton and Obama, both very smart and very determined people,
    went fifteen rounds with the problem; Clinton lost, and Obama got a narrow
    victory on points. Trump really has been living in a cave in Manhattan.

    Reference Obama’s speechmaking, is the argument that ex=presidents shouldn’t
    make speeches, or that they shouldn’t earn money? Certainly Republicans
    should be right alongside people being paid the market rate – free enterprise,


  25. New topic, new message.

    There’s a fundamental misunderstanding in Europe (and in Britain) about Brexit:
    for reasons good or bad, Britain wants out, and is willing to pay any price to
    get out. Saying “This will not end well” is true, and entirely beside the
    bridge; the British government, at least, knows it won’t end well and doesn’t
    care. How much the British people believed the BS of the BREXIT referendum
    is an open question, but Britain is now leaving regardless. (And before
    mutterings about democracy start, around 37% of voters wanted out; enough
    to win the referendum, but nowhere near a full majority.)

    I think leaving is a dumb move, not only (or even mainly) economically, but
    economic arguments against it are irrelevant; the EU can save its breath.
    The UK isn’t thinking in economic terms.


  26. @znepj:

    I’m surprised the Gibraltarians are still so pro-UK. They’d be better off throwing in their lot with Spain

    Gibraltar does pretty well out of its anomalous tax-haven status, as well as hosting a Royal Navy base. If that went away, they’d be just another Spanish town. History is significant as well — taking the long view, Spain has not had especially stable or enlightened government for much of the last 300 years, and was a fascist dictatorship until the late 1970s.


    Also, the UK government appears shocked that former colonies want things in return.

    India: Sure, we’ll discuss preferential access to our market. How about more visas for skilled Indian workers to come to the UK?

    UK: Um, er, let us get back to you on that…

  27. gottacook: Yes yes I know the Obama family is actually in DC which would be like me pointing out that Goldman Sachs isnt actually ON Wall St so they’re not really a Wall St firm.

  28. @CW Rose:

    for reasons good or bad, Britain wants out, and is willing to pay any price to
    get out

    This is so oversimplified it is practically meaningless. What do you mean by “Britain”? Or “out”?

    As you say yourself, only 37% of eligible voters chose Leave, after a campaign which was vague at best about what that entailed.

    The UK could pursue a so-called “soft Brexit”, in which it remained a member of the European Single Market, similarly to Norway. That would involve retaining free movement of EU citizens, so Prime Minister May has ruled it out in favour of “hard Brexit” with controls on immigration.

    May calculates the popularity she gains from cheap immigrant-bashing, will make up for what she loses from the economic damage of hard Brexit. In the short term, she is probably correct. (Perhaps only in the short term, which explains why she has called an early election.)

    May also needs to placate a significant anti-European minority among her own members of Parliament. This group really do demand hard Brexit at any cost; and if they don’t get what they want, they are willing to take the rest of the Conservative Party down with them. So May is willing to risk the national economy for reasons of internal party management. This is exactly the same reason her predecessor David Cameron committed to the referendum in the first place.

    The attitude of EU leaders appears to be that if Britain wants to light itself on fire, that’s unfortunate, but there’s not much they can do to stop it and they have other concerns to deal with.

  29. Howard:”major lesson they should have learned from the Trump election. Sufficient people believe the Washington establishment has been purchased by Big Money. ”

    Oh please. If that were really true, then every single person who voted for trump would be calling for his head after seeing him build the richest administration ever assembled.

    Devos has zero education experiencd. But she’s got money and donated large sums to trump, which in his mind qualifies her to grab one of the levers of power, and can now run the education dept into the ground because that is her want.

    If trump voters were really upset by the government being purchased by Big Money, then they would have been furious when big oil got put in charge of the state department.

    No, trump voters by and large dont give two shits about the government being in the hands of big money, as long as they get what they want. And what they want is bigotry. They elected a president who is rampantly sexist and racist, and that president then named a white nationalist as chief strategist, and a KKK fanboy as attorney general, so they’re happy as biggotted pigs in shit. They couldnt care less about big money. When they voted for big cheeto draining the swamp, they voted to drain the swamp of Social Justice Warriors who legalized gay marriage, made a n****r president, were trying to get a highly qualified woman into the whitehouse, and were letting dirty ferrigners into the country.

    And that is why trump voters still support trump. Because trump is still a bigot. He hasnt accomplished a damn thing, but in his heart of hearts, he is man at his most tribal, and thats what he has in common with his voters.

  30. @Greg: All bigots voted for Trump. It’s not the case that all Trump voters are bigots — as Scalzi has eloquently pointed out, many of his neighbours are kind and pleasant people in their everyday lives, who were taken in by Trump’s grandiose promises. They were certainly okay with his bigotry, and that’s on them, but it may not be the main reason they voted for him.

    I think you’re overestimating the extent to which the median Trump voter pays attention to things like Cabinet appointments. Many of them don’t care who is Secretary of State. They care about their personal living standards. If Trump fails to make them better (or actively makes them worse, as may happen), that’s when a lot of his voters will start to abandon him.

  31. Just wanted to register agreement with Greg above. No one should be surprised at the lack of buyers’ remorse; they got what they wanted.

  32. CW Rose: “The UK isn’t thinking in economic terms.”

    I…don’t exactly disagree, but I believe a core part of the issue is that the Brexit vote wasn’t based on what people were *thinking* but what they were *feeling*. Looking at it from the coverage I could find on the web, the “leave” folks seemed pretty loose with facts but used their statements to make emotional appeals to voters.

    To me, it also seems like that was the hook for many Trump voters – feelings. Trump made them feel a connection with him – and made them feel better than they did before they connected with him. If you’ve felt lousy for a long time and find something that makes you feel better, it’s hard to give it up, no?

    I’ve seen something similar in my home state (Massachusetts). Remember when Ted Kennedy died? We got Scott Brown (R) instead of Martha Coakley (D) voted in as a replacement… because Coakley was highly qualified and had the emotional appeal of a cold dead fish; Scott Brown was much less qualified but was incredibly likeable, and connected with voters on an emotional level. I did *not* like Martha Coakley. I wasn’t happy – to look at it emotionally – about voting for her. Intellectually I knew she was the best candidate, and I did vote for her. But it took a real effort to do it. I think there are lots of people who vote with their emotions.

  33. Iain: “many of his neighbours are kind and pleasant people in their everyday lives”

    What you did was the standard diversionary tactic when someone is accused of doing something racist: “How DARE you say this person in their heart of hearts is a racist!!!” There is nothing eloquent in that.

    Trump is a bigot who appointed a white nationalist as chief strategist and a KKK fanboy as attorney general. Who cares if his voters are pleasant to the waitress at the local diner? Trump has appointed the richest administration in American history who is auctioning off the government and trying to drown it in a bathtub. Who cares if his voters adopted a stray cat from the shelter?

    I said ” fools would rather go down with the ship than to admit they steered us straight into an iceberg.” and you’re telling me the captain of the Titanic said “have a nice day” to everyone he met.

    I’m talking about people not being responsible for the effects of their vote, and you invoke a bog standard diversionary tactic that helps people avoid being responsible for their vote.

    Iain: “Many of them don’t care who is Secretary of State.”

    So what? So they can’t be held responsible for an Exxon CEO being put in charge of the State Department? Again, what are you doing other than trying to buffer people from being responsible for the effects of their actions? They don’t CARE, so they’re not responsible???

    I don’t care if trumpers are polite, or even if they had the very best of (uninformed) intentions voting for Trump. They get to be responsible for what Trump has and will do. And I am sick to death of all this nonsense about how some of them are nice to their dog, as if that has anything to do with the effect of their vote.

    The sooner people stop running interference on voters’ responsibilities for their votes, the better.

  34. It just wouldn’t be a political thread if Greg wasn’t schooling everyone on what they should think. Been a while. Just like old times again. Missed you, Scalzi!

  35. Since you brought up Brexit, I’m curious: have you been following the French election? The second round’s in less than a week and of the two remaining candidates one wants to impose more of a government on the European Union while the other wants to call a referendum about the possibility of leaving. Some analysts have said that if France leaves it’s basically a matter of time before the EU falls apart–France is one of its central players. What do you think about the way the nationalist, populist movement is spreading throughout Europe?

  36. Here’s what worries me. He tried twice for a “Muslim ban” then went sneaky and did a “device ban” coming from Muslim countries, which is working as a de facto Muslim ban. How is he going to do this to healthcare?

    Someone made the comment on twitter that Obama’s speaking fee was the same as Larry the Cable Guy’s.

    Anyway, I’m just depressed by the whole steaming pile of carp. The underlying factors are poverty, lack of jobs, lack of resources, lack of pride. And we need to somehow change the whole dynamic.

  37. On a positive note, Trump will not be our President forever. He is already chafing at the constitutional checks on his power as President. We will survive and move on to a better future world eventually. I cannot join in this dark pessimistic view many are taking just because he won the electoral college and a four your tour in the White House. This too shall pass.

  38. @Greg:

    Maybe you missed the part where I said that Trump voters were clearly okay with his bigotry, and that’s on them.

    I think we differ on what to do about it.

    It’s certainly an option to scream at Trump voters that they are hideous racist, sexist bigots who ought to be ashamed of themselves. I’m not sure what that will accomplish on a practical level. The Clinton campaign put a great deal of time and effort into informing voters that Trump himself is a horrible, sexist, racist bigot, but Trump won the Presidency anyway.

    Another option is to consider Trump voters as flawed human beings who are open to persuasion. It’s a radical idea, but it just might work.

  39. A quote from the piece written by the “climate change denier”: “None of this is to deny climate change or the possible severity of its consequences.” Did you even read it?

  40. Iain: “Another option is to consider Trump voters as flawed human beings who are open to persuasion. It’s a radical idea, but it just might work”

    For example, the South opposed desegregation because MLK didnt treat racists as flawed humans and didnt try to persuade them nicely enough.

    Look, you can interpret history however you want (and Magda can think however they want), as for me, I think the reason MLK forced change was because he highlighted how evil racism was. He didnt change the world because of his speeches but more because he got the press to take pictures of little old ladies getting attacked by police dogs and fire hoses and indifferent voters saw, were made aware, and were repulsed by what was happening.

    If you want to keep hand holding the poor oppressed bigots who have the advantaged position of being white, straight, and christian, thats your choice. I certainly wont tell you what to do (waves to magda).

  41. Boy, a hundred days in and you’re still blowing steam about Trump doing what he said he would do during the campaign (for right or wrong). Guess that tour wasn’t as much of a vacation as it should have been. Please, calm down and live longer.

    FWIW, he’s not getting a lot of cooperation from either side of the aisle, so anything he gets through Congress likely will be watered-down version of everything you hate about him (which may be bad in itself).

  42. “So we’re saying that Obama battled Wall Street furiously for eight years”

    Um, someone is saying this? In what deluded universe do they live?

  43. Iain Roberts: “If Trump fails to make them better (or actively makes them worse, as may happen), that’s when a lot of his voters will start to abandon him.”

    I suspect what is more likely is that there will be a reflexive cry of “it was Obama’s fault,” and there will be no loss of support.

  44. Aside from that one viral photo of the man wearing the “Make America Great Again” shirt and holding a sign that says “I’ve made a huge mistake”, I haven’t seen all that much buyer’s remorse, either. I’d like to think that that will change eventually, but by then, it might be too late to mean anything.

    I’d really like to see the Republican establishment grow a spine. I think Paul Ryan’s a lost cause, but there’s still a faint chance that Graham or McCain will draw a line in the sand and say, “Enough with this shit already”. McCain’s legacy is tainted enough as it is.

    God, I just wish politics weren’t so damn scary. I wrote op-eds for my school paper in high school and for a student magazine in college, but I wonder what it must be like for politics to be something that you think about only every so often rather than this constant, looming specter of the end of civilization. Trump thrives on having people talk about him, whether it’s positive or negative. And the truth is, I am getting bored with him. He’s not even evil in an interesting way. So there’s that.

  45. Cyranetta: “reflexive cry of “it was Obama’s fault,” and there will be no loss of support.”

    Exactly. Anyone old enough to remember W. Bush should remember his core supporters supported him until the end, and outside the base his supporters simply quietly withdrew support. Rare was the W supporter who said “I made a huge mistake”. After W was out, his supporters simply refused to acknowledge his existence and instead started reminiscing about the nonexistent good old days of Reagan.

    Same goes for those who supported invading Iraq. The common response even now is that it was a good idea, but who knew invading a major country would be so complicated ™? Or we were winning until Obama screwed it all up. There is still to this day a rather large chunk of people who insist that an active WMD program was found by our military, but kept secret, with zero distinction between the mothballed weapons that Hans Blix would have been done inspecting in a number of months and the secret but highly active WMD manufacturing that was the excuse to go to war but never actually existed.

    Anyone who thinks Trump supporters in general will admit their mistake if Trump just fails bad enough is ignoring history and is preaching alternative facts.

    The thing that liberals dont seem to get is that post-nixon conservatives are first and foremost tribal. If you have an R after your name, conservatives will support you even if you commit blatant war crimes. W and Cheney should be dragged before the Hague, but conservatives will circle the wagons around them for the rest of their lives. They supported Milo Y through all sorts of bigotry and nastiness, and only dropped him when he pushed their pedastry squick button.

    The core conservative supporters are not going to be persuaded of anything. When facts disprove them, they make new facts. When intel doesnt fit their view, the make new intel. Conservatives are LOYAL in their mind, or tribal to anyone looking in, and thats something a lot of liberals do not get. To conservatives, admitting you were wrong is indistinguishable from betraying your cause.

    The only hope I see is to seperate the middle ground voters, the undecided voters, and the folks who didnt bother to vote last time, show them how absolute evil Trump and his people are and maybe that will cause enough people to revulse from the cheeto in chief, and get his sorry ass out of office before he starts a nuclear war.

  46. Rod, the piece in its entirety does not argue for or against anthropogenic climate change at any point, so that quote is a bit disingenuous on the columnist’s part. The entire point of the piece is to very carefully tiptoe around the idea of whether climate change is actually happening while berating the scientific community for sounding “too confident” about it (the actual word he used was “overweening”), and arguing that demanding policy changes on the basis of that confidence deserves skepticism about “ideological intentions.” Vague as hell, so it’s hard to pin any particular opinion on climate change to the author since he carefully avoided giving one.

    But it is clear from the article that he thinks it’s reasonable for the general public to act like climate change isn’t happening because they dislike the way science reports talk about the issue, and think it’s too hard to make the policy changes addressing it would entail. So to say “none of this is to deny climate change” while saying “don’t act like you’re so sure climate change is happening or expect anyone to listen if you do” is disingenuous; it is not equivalent to saying “To be sure, climate change is happening and needs to be addressed, but here is another issue…”

    The surrounding text, for anyone curious:

    “Claiming total certainty about the science traduces the spirit of science and creates openings for doubt whenever a climate claim proves wrong. Demanding abrupt and expensive changes in public policy raises fair questions about ideological intentions. Censoriously asserting one’s moral superiority and treating skeptics as imbeciles and deplorables wins few converts.

    None of this is to deny climate change or the possible severity of its consequences. But ordinary citizens also have a right to be skeptical of an overweening scientism. They know — as all environmentalists should — that history is littered with the human wreckage of scientific errors married to political power.”

    My read: at best, it’s a facile appeal to the concept that one can never have a 100% degree of confidence, which nobody needed, accomplishes nothing, and didn’t deserve to be printed.

    At worst, he really doesn’t understand that failing to address the environmental changes that have already begun to unfold is what is going to “[litter history] with the human wreckage of scientific errors married to political power.”

  47. Glad you’re back, John! There are a few writers who I count on to bring a breath of fresh, rational air to any debate: you, Charlie Pierce and Jim Wright at Stonekettle Station.

  48. @Greg (and @Cyranetta): Some issues with reading comprehension here, I think. And possibly arithmetic as well.

    I said a lot of Trump supporters will reconsider if their living standards take a hit. Not all of them. (And blaming the previous guy works for a while, but by the end of a 4 year term people tend to hold the incumbent President responsible.)

    Yeah, there were some people who thought George W Bush was doing a heckuva job right up to the end, but not that many. His approval rating in late 2008 was 25%, compared with 57% when he was inaugurated. For those keeping score at home, 57 > 25.

    It’s not necessary to reach everyone and persuade them to vote for positive change, just enough people.

    As for your remarks about Martin Luther King: It’s important to denounce racism as a terrible stain on society. That doesn’t require denouncing every individual who ever voted for a racist candidate as a horrible, horrible person.

    To the best of my knowledge, King didn’t say that everyone who’d voted for, say, George Wallace was his enemy forever. After all, as a devout Christian he believed in the possibility of redemption, even for the most hateful.

  49. @Patrick You’re not alone in phrasing it this way, so this is more a general rant than one aimed at you in particular, but…

    What the GOP is doing (or not doing) is not due to cowardice, lack of a spine, or whatever. This is the crew who has drummed up investigations and even impeachment hearings on the smallest of pretexts. That they are not doing this now, when there is more than ample evidence of unethical behavior and legal wrongdoings, says that they are not cowards.

    They are complicit. Even folks like McCain, who, if you pay attention, you will see voting in lockstep with the very people he’s decrying for failing to do the right thing.

    The narrative that they are too timid to act allows them to dodge their full responsibility to put out this dumpster fire. They’re not running around frightened by the flames; they’re breaking out the marshmallows.

  50. @howardbrazee says:

    I don’t agree with you about Obama’s speaking fees. Neither party is willing to listen to a major lesson they should have learned from the Trump election. Sufficient people believe the Washington establishment has been purchased by Big Money.

    OK, and let’s bring some actual facts to the table —

    1) Barack Obama is not “the Washington establishment.” He’s term-limited out of the White House, and I know that because The Constitution of the United States says so.

    2) If Cantor Fitzgerald thinks they’ve brought some high-powered lobbyist as well as an after-lunch speaker, they’ve scammed themselves. Last time I looked, both houses of Congress and the White House are controlled by Republicans who treated (and still treat) Obama with utter contempt. Oh, and are also merrily unrolling every regulation the Obama Administration every introduced.

    3) Now let’s bring some basic economics to the table where after-dinner speakers are concerned: Supply and demand. There are five living ex-Presidents of the United States, and one (George H. Bush) is not in good health and has basically retired from public life. There’s scarcity value and cachet in getting one of them to speak at your event, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone they charge accordingly. Even Dubya, hardly the most charismatic and artuclate of public speakers, charges around $200,000 a pop. I, on the other hand, will go anywhere for a free lunch and a cup of coffee afterwards but it’s hard to sell out when nobody is buying.

    3) But hey, I guess you can’t win. I notice the Fox News/Breitbart noise machine is OUTRAGED that Obama is speaking at the Hunter Foundation dinner in Edinburgh later this month — and dividing his speaking fee between Scottish children’s charities and his own foundation. I guess it’s only accepable to go to $5,000 a plate dinners when they’re being thrown by Putin cronies, or held at one of Donald Trump’s private clubs on the taxpayer dime.

  51. I propose “The Policeman’s Lot Fallacy” as a term for the – increasingly-common, thus increasingly-needing-to-be-named – phenomenon of people jumping in to defend bigots/Randians/etc by saying that they’re really very pleasant people and good neighbors and we don’t know what’s in their hearts and their capacity for innocent enjoyment is as great as any honest man’s.

    Me, I think our hope is GOTV efforts, including efforts to ensure that everyone *can* vote. If you live in a state with bullshit voter ID laws, maybe go door-to-door making sure that people have appropriate IDs? Volunteer to drive people to polls, or to watch kids/buy groceries/etc if you know someone well enough. Check out VoteRides and other organizations and see what they’re up to.

    As far as convincing Trump voters and/or Bernie or Busters…eh. As I’ve said, if that’s how you want to spend your time, there are worse windmills to tilt at; me, I figure if a grown adult with access to all the information of the modern world still went with “but her EMAILS” and “but I just don’t feel inspired by her!” then there’s really nothing to be done with them.

    Relatedly, the whole “people vote with their emotions” thing means I am absolutely on the side of our future robot overlords, and the takeover cannot come fast enough.

  52. 100 days.

    Normalization (you too John, oh so badly, you too – $60 mil payoff isn’t a big deal? Remember Carter and his peanut farms?).

    The Civil War could have been settled by a deal. In fact, the Civil War was no bad thing…

    NYT: Climate Change is still something we need to discuss.

    Oil Industry: *waves hand* Forget about the Native American protests and pipelines, look over there, the bugbear of coaaaal.

    And so on and so forth.

    You’re all not really understanding it yet, are you now?

    2020. Quite the thing.

    (Strong Hint: You’re at the stage where the brown paper bag has worked and the obvious trolls are getting removed – this is known as Phase II. Phase IV is a little more rocky. Oh, and you’ve 100% proven to the world that, well, hey: Pax Americana is really built on genocide, or rather, the acceptance of a more global type catastrophe, so that’s a thing.).

  53. In other news, quasi-political word salad is still word salad, and the only reason to sit through performance art is because you’re twenty and you want to fuck the person responsible for it.*

    *Impressionable young people: fucking the person responsible for performance art is almost never worth it. The More You Know!

  54. In other news, quasi-political word salad is still word salad, and the only reason to sit through performance art is because you’re twenty and you want to fuck the person responsible for it.*

    *Impressionable young people: fucking the person responsible for performance art is almost never worth it. The More You Know!

    Bite on that apple dear, it only sends you to sleep again.

    I mean, really: full on vitriol and spite – quite the thing, isn’t it?

  55. I’d say for the last 100 days we have been fairly lucky to have Trump. His lack of competence in both a personal, and a staffing sense have prevented much of the harm that we could have seen.

    Imagine a Clinton Admin 100 days in. We’d have passed Wall Street deregulation, and been engaged in an ongoing shooting war in Syria. Lots of brinkmanship and Cold War rhetoric about Russia. I’m sure Tax reform would be looking very likely. Also, lots, and lots of aggressively ongoing investigations instead of a handful of low-energy ones.

    It’s important to note that Trump voters weren’t exactly motivated by the “Drain the Swamp” “Get rid of Wall St. Corruption” rhetoric. Instead they voted primarily based on tribalism, and a desire to blame the Other (brown people).

    However, there were lots, and lots, and lots of voters who stayed home because of the Clinton coziness to Wall St, and rejection of any ideology that didn’t elevate the donor and political class as a superior caste of Americans. The appearance of corruption added plus a love for secrecy and back-room dealing made Hillary Clinton a pretty tough pill to swallow.

    Barack Obama going around collecting his bribes that were banked with various rich and powerful influence peddlers until his term ended certainly casts a pall over the Democratic Party. I wish he would have waited at least until after the midterms. When people see the appearance of corruption in the system coming from both parties it’s hard to mobilized based on “My party is slightly less corrupt”

    The worst thing about the current state of US politics isn’t that we’ve elected a TV shock-Jock that is an international embarrassment, and would like to do long term substantial harm to our economic system. The worst thing is that we don’t have a strong political movement fighting for an end to corruption, and a return to good government.

  56. Oh, and would someone a bit less spiky than me inform Ms I Cooper just how lucky you are that this time-line is happening?

    Trump (R?!?) + Congress (R) + Senate (R) = well, it ain’t lookin pretty and they’re all on fire and shit seems to be messin with their brainzzz and it’s all on fire (YEP: IT’S ANNOYING BUT YOU ASKED FOR IT, SO WE DELIVERED).

    Clinton (D?) + Congress (R) + Senate (R) = welcome to the disaster zone because you’d all do the same old shit and same old games and whoops: Bangladesh just destabilized.

    It’s all about 2020 and getting your shit organized. With Clinton in, you’d still be clinging to your nonsense dreams – you’ve a 4 year window to mount an effective and ethical response to them, or otherwise… Well. Let’s just say the worst dystopias you can imagine don’t come close to being even real. Shit gets real nasty, real fucking fast.

    And no, this isn’t a word salad. If you want the analyst pages for people who pay significantly more than a subscription to the NYT, well, hey: trust me.

    They’re worse than us.

    *watches your World Burn Down*

  57. Iain: “His approval rating in late 2008 was 25%, compared with 57% when he was inaugurated. For those keeping score at home, 57 > 25. ”

    Great, after 8 years of fuckng over the country, when W was a lame duck and his ass was on its way out the door, folks withdrew support in a completely meaningless way. I did mention that once W was out of office, the folks who voted for him pretended he didnt exist, that it never happened. Which is just being irresponsible again.

    I want Trumps approval rating in the toilet by 2018 so it helps dems sweep in the senate which means they can stop any more nutjob scotus nominees from trump.

    “King didn’t say that everyone who’d voted for, say, George Wallace was his enemy forever.”

    And hey, guess what. I never said that either. But in your rush to defend every advantaged voter who voted for a fascist, you keep bending what I said into something I didnt.

    ” After all, as a devout Christian he believed in the possibility of redemption”

    And hey, guess what, so do I. But you know how you get redemption in my book? You have to admit what you did and say you are sorry. You have to admit you were wrong. You have to be RESPONSIBLE for your actions. Which trumpers, at 98% with no regrets, most decidedly are NOT.

    Look, its FINE that you are willing to preemptively forgive an entire population of people for the damage they wrought to an entire nation and more specifically to people they othered into nonexistence. I am not saying you cant forgive them because Im not going to tell you what to do (waves to Magda).

    I might point out that if you are in an advantaged position yourself, then your cries for forgiveness arent really earned. When the family of one of the victims of Dylann Roof said they forgave him, I took notice. When some KKK guy forgives him, its not really the same thing.

    And if you do forgive all trump voters, hey, good on you. But you dont get to stand there and argue that that is the best solution on any kind of objective or historically based grounds. I am perfectly willing to forgive anyone who admits they fucked up when they voted for W or supported the invasion of Iraq. But if you dont admit your mistake, why would I forgive you, or more importantly, why would I trust you?

    If your dog keeps taking a dump in my lawn, and every time I bring it up, your only response is that in his heart of hearts he is a good dog, why would I expect anything other than more of your dog shitting in my yard? If your response to being confronted about your dog is to preach the virtues of forgiveness, then you arent being responsible at that point, which means you intend to keep doing whatever you are doing.

    On what basis would I see forgiving an unapologetic trump voter as an objectively good thing if it seems clear he will vote for trump again in 4 years?

    At what point does your cry for forgiveness go from a practical strategy to just some scheme to avoid responsibility and avoid possible uncomfortable situations of confronting bigots?

    Oh and speaking of Dr King, here is something that seems entirely on topic that he said:

    “First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.””

    How much of your stand to preemptively forgive trumpers a stand for a forgiving spirit, and how much is a stand for the “moderate” position? How much is a stand for order over justice? How much of this is an attempt to create an absense of tension, of avoiding confrontation, versus creating justice?

    There is a raving lunatic in the white house right now. The man cant form a coherent sentence if his life depended on it. He gets his information from TV so much so that his own advisers have a habit of going on tv to lobby the president in certain directions because he wont listen to them in person. He has appointed the richest cabinet in all of american history, moving us tht much closer to oligarchy. Hi attacls on the press alarm even republicans who worked for Reagan and terrify people who know history.

    But we cant hold his voters accountable for this for some reason. It might make them uncomfortable to confront them with the effects of their actions. Its like the family that has a drunk uncle and no one will confront him on it because it will make thanksgiving awkward, and meanwhile, he is driving his kids around while drunk. Its called enabling.

    Im not saying they are my sworn enemy for all eternity. But until they actually get the negative effects their vote had, not just the positive effects they were hoping it would have, then they cannot be trusted and I am not enabling that behavior.

  58. Athena and Cthulhu (SJW TINGED), are you the same person? If so, can you distill the essence of your points down into a 3-4 sentence thesis statement? I’m having difficulty following them.

  59. @Sam

    I don’t believe they are the same person, but I’m pretty sure I can give you enough context to ignore Cthulhu, at the least.

    Cthulhu’s outlook is that the Beige Dictatorship is controlling your mind through propaganda. What’s the Beige Dictatorship? It’s a kind of colorless corporate aristocracy which has fully co-opted a directing portion of the governments of most otherwise-honest democracies through regulatory capture and ownership of the media. Their goal appears to be self-enrichment without looking like a kleptocracy.

    Following on from that framing, Athena and one or two other commenters seem to be of the opinion that Clinton is an agent of the Beige Dictatorship. It seems to begin and end with that, with a side of expecting her to run a particularly aggressive line from the Washington Playbook. (If you’re curious about the Washington Playbook, it’s a derogatory term Obama coined for the expectations of the foreign policy establishment.)

  60. @Athena: From the I’m Just Trying to Wake Up You Sheeple, MAAAAN, tone of your comments, I assume you are Cthulhu. In which case I reiterate my earlier sentiments.

    As for the “content” of your second post, all I can say is: citation needed. Also, ideally, some measure of coherence and logical thought, but I’d settle for a citation.

  61. Rod: “A quote from the piece written by the “climate change denier”: “None of this is to deny climate change or the possible severity of its consequences.” Did you even read it?”

    I just read it. It was pretty clearly written by someone with little or no scientific training, and with a political axe to grind. The article is an exercise in doubt-mongering, dressed up in a tie trying to look serious. If the topic had been evolution, this guy would be mangling some reference to the second law of thermodynamics.

    And the title of his doubt-mongering hit piece? “The climate of complete certainty”. His entire point boils down to the weird idea that if you are too certain, then you must be wrong. Like, if you are certain gravity works 99% of the time, that’s too certain, and you must be wrong. Not only must you be wrong, but EVERYTHING you think you know about gravity must be wrong and thrown out.

    Bret’s article boils down to Cheney’s 1% doctrine applied to science. If there is even a 1% chance that some scientific position I don’t like is wrong in any way, then I get to act as if then entire position is completely wrong.

    That shouldn’t be too surprising. Bret is a neocon, a propaganda printing cheerleader for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. So, having him invoke the 1% doctrine to “disprove” something he doesn’t understand and doesn’t like, shouldn’t be too surprising.

    Oh, and google this phrase: “WSJ’s Bret Stephens Rewrites History Of Iraq War”. The man is garbage, his grasp of science is garbage, and his concept of history is garbage.

  62. So who left the cake out in the rain? Was it the red, red robin? The one who came bob, bob, bobbin’ along? Watch him–he’s a shifty one.

    A sound you heard stands upon somebody else’s legs.

    Here’s a hint: Innsbruck. 19. Papaya. Zoom.

    A flailing monkey makes people shiver. That’s a word to the wise. Is it sufficient?


    A glittering gem sickens us. All that spinning. You’re too kind, sir.


  63. A few of the regular commenters I recognize, but we seem to have developed a whole plethora of new ones who want to tell us how mistaken we are about conditions in Washington. Welcome all, but be prepared to defend your notions with facts, and not alternative ones.

  64. @ tag8833
    Whooeee! The planet we’re on is over here. I’m sure you can reach it if you try.

  65. @Greg:

    Your comments are a good illustration of Scalzi’s complaint, that political discourse has degenerated to “Go my sportsteam!” Anyone who voted for Trump wore the jersey of the Other Team, therefore they are Bad.

    If everyone descends to this level, you no longer have a country; you have a contest over who has the biggest angry mob.

    you keep bending what I said into something I didnt

    Pot. Kettle. When did I say anything about “pre-emptive forgiveness”?

    For the third time: Trump voters voted for a bigot, and that’s on them. They are adults who made a mistake. I can’t put it any more clearly than that.

    As far as I’m concerned, forgiveness is irrelevant, because it won’t remove Trump from the White House. What can remove him is people voting.

    It’s certainly welcome if erstwhile Trump voters want to stand up and publicly say they were wrong. If instead they quietly decide Trump isn’t so great, and go vote for an anti-Trump candidate? I’m pretty satisfied with that outcome too. But it is unlikely to be achieved by ranting about what horrible people they are.

  66. I believe Cthulhu may have finally had a full on mental collapse and is posting under different names, one for each of the multiple personalities that have sprung up.

    Iain: “But it is unlikely to be achieved by ranting about what horrible people they are.”

    Unlikely based on what? Your theory seems to hinge on the idea that Nazis will stop being Nazis if you just ask pretty please. Where is the historical precedent for that?

    If you approach a trump voter in the wild, how do you appoach him?

    “Its ok. Dont be scared. You had concerns about hillarys emails, so you voted trump. Its all right. You arent to blame for anything bad that trump did. Who knew presidential politics could be so complicated? There there. Thats a good boy. Yes, yes, i know, it feels like white rural voters have been totally ignored by washington, so you needed to send washington a message. We dont have to talk about how that isnt actually true, and that the feds have spent billions to bail out rural areas and farmers. No, no, its ok, we wont talk about that anymore. If you felt like you were being ignored, then its ok to act on your feelings. Shhh. Shhh. Its better if we dont talk about whats happening in the real world because you have been living on a diet of alternate facts and fox news for years. Sure. Sure, there may be a possibimity that climate change isnt real. Maybe a .00001% chance, but lets not talk about specifics. You felt that way, so you voted based on how you really felt. Youre a decider, right? Yes you are. Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy? Thats right, you are. Yes you are. Now would you like to fetch this stick? You want the stick? Just go into that voting booth and vote not-trump and we will never have to talk about this ever again. Just like after you voted W Bush into office for 8 years, after he left, we never had to even imagine he existed ever again. No, no. I didnt mean to upset you about W. He isnt here. Its ok. Here, think of the good ol days that is the false history of Reagan. Doesnt that make you feel better? Sure it does. Now, be a good boy and vote not-trump”

    Your approach is to treat voters like spoiled children who cant be held responsible for the fact that they set the house on fire. And sure, maybe they dont play with matches for a whie because they are busy eating all the candy you bribed them with. But when the candy runs out, that lighter fluid still looks awfully interesting to them. 8 years of W Bush and they didnt learn their lesson, so now we have Trump.

    This is my approach: if you voted for W Bush, then you are responsible for everything W did. If you dont like that, then start voting for better people. If you voted for Trump, then you are responsible for the dumpster fire that is Trump. If you dont like the way that feels, then stop voting for fascists lime Trump. You dont get to vote for someone and then only be held responsible for the best case scenario in your mind. That isnt how this works.

  67. Iain,

    Being that I’m an outsider here and don’t know you or Greg in the slightest, feel free to completely ignore my observation that you are repeatedly doing to Greg’s comments pretty much exactly what he has pointed out you are doing. And he is not doing the same to your comments.

  68. Guys, the later comments in this thread are making me think seriously about instituting a coherency setting on the Mallet, i.e., if your comment is too impenetrably stylized to make sense of at first read, I’ll Mallet it and tell you to try again. Yes, Cthulhu and your various cognates, I’m looking at you.

  69. “Anyone who voted for Trump wore the jersey of the Other Team, therefore they are Bad.”

    Hey, have you noticed you are perfectly willing to hold me responsible for (what you think are) my actions, but you wont do the same for Trump voters? You are perfectly willing to strawman my position and make me bad and wrong. But you argue for the soft touch when dealing with trump voters.

    Its almost as if you dont actually practice with me what you are preaching I should do with Trumpers.

    Just an observation.

  70. If you want my theory, Coyote is a parody by someone else.

    If you want substance I agree with most of what Scalzi said, except the “furiously” modifier to battling Wall Street.

  71. @MSB
    I’m not entirely sure what your objection to my analysis was.

    Clinton performed poorly in the areas of the country that have seen the greatest consequences of the economic changes in recent years. AKA the areas of the country where they want change the most.

    We already had 8 years of a Clinton Administration:
    Many of the accomplishments of that administration came working with a republican congress, and included Wall Street Deregulation, Tax Reform, and some really energetic congressional investigations. It took a few more than 100 days to engage the US military in an Ongoing shooting war:
    But Hillary was proudly more interventionist than Bill, and had been pushing for a military intervention in the Syrian civil war for years.

    Are we arguing that the Trump administration didn’t really accomplish much?

    If you can be a bit more specific on how you feel that my take is incompatible with the “real world” I’d be glad to provide some more targeted evidence to back it up.

    From my point of view it is perfectly fine to disagree with someone, and to debate a point of view, but to dismiss someone out of hand as “Living on another planet” is a bit excessive, especially when they are either voicing easily verified data or non-data based opinions. It’s like Swearing, or comparing someone to Hitler. Not technically wrong, but if that is your 1st goto, it starts losing meaning pretty quickly. Save it for when it can really mean something.

  72. @George Herold:

    Heh. Don’t worry, I won’t encourage him for much longer.


    In the immortal words of the Dude: That’s just, like, your opinion, man.

    From my perspective, Greg’s lengthy and detailed descriptions of what I want to do are… less than accurate.


    Your theory seems to hinge on the idea that Nazis will stop being Nazis if you just ask pretty please.

    No. My theory hinges on the idea that most Trump voters are not Nazis.

    Furthermore, just because someone voted for Trump does not mean they agree with every last thing Trump does. That’s the way democracy works. If Jane Smith voted for Obama, it doesn’t mean she endorsed his policy on drone strikes in Yemen; it means she thought he was better than the alternatives.

    Deciding Trump was better than the alternatives was a major failure of judgement. People who voted for Trump are responsible for their actions, and they were wrong. Trump is a despicable human being and a disastrous choice of President. There is no need to be less than crystal clear about that.

    If my cousin Joe voted for Trump, then it’s one thing to say to him, “Joe, you fucked up”. It’s very different to say, “Joe, you’re a hateful Nazi bigot.” The first statement is not delicate or ambiguous, and it has the merit of being definitely true.

  73. I guess I did a pretty good job of imitating Cthulu’s faux-profundity. Poe’s law, and all that.

    CartoonCoyote is all me, and the only name I post under.

  74. Welcome back, John! I was wondering when the Mallet was going to come into play, I was chuckling to myself because Ray Charles could have seen it coming.

    You are, without a doubt, the King of Snark! I really missed your pithy political commentaries.

  75. George Herold said, “I could do with a lot less Greg.”

    Greg could do with a lot less GREG, defined as the generation of rage, entropy, and grievance.

  76. Iain: “My theory hinges on the idea that most Trump voters are not Nazis”

    But people who voted for trump are responsible for putting nazis in the white house, yes? Is there somehow no causation for you between their vote and the nazis currently in the white house? No responsibility?

    “If Jane Smith voted for Obama, it doesn’t mean she endorsed his policy on drone strikes in Yemen; it means she thought he was better than the alternatives.”

    I voted for Obama. I hated his drone war and his war on whistleblowers. I did what I could to oppose it through other representatives and supporting certain organizations. But I am still responsible for my vote helping Obama launch those wars.

    Again, it seems like there is a disconnect for you where a vote has no causation for the voter. That a voter is only responsible for the things they WANT to be responsible for, not everything.

    Like, if I want to get a good buzz going, I drink some beers. And then if I drive while drunk and kill someone with my car, I only have to be responsible for the part about getting a buzz? Not the car crash?

    Jane Smith is responsible for everything Obama did. She doesnt get to pick and chose what she takes credit for. How would she not be? Its like magical thinking applied to how responsibility works.

    “If my cousin Joe voted for Trump”

    Did he? Did you? Is that the problem here? Are you defending yourself or someone in your inner circle from being responsible for their vote because it makes you uncomfortable? It would explain why you keep insisting on a certain… moral flexibility would be the only way to describe it… when it comes to people being responsible for their actions. Its kinda like cafeteria christianity, picking and choosing what they like and ignoring the parts that make them uncomfortable.

    I dunno. I just dont know how causation works over there for you.

  77. @Greg: I don’t think anyone is trying to promote the strawman you’ve set up: “people who voted for Trump have no responsibility for their actions.” To quote directly from @Ian, “It’s on them.”

    What you seem to be arguing is ‘voting for Trump makes those voters irredeemably evil, always and forevermore.’ And that is what I, and presumably Ian, am disputing.

    Some of them very definitely are secret – or not so secret – volitional bigots. They are deliberately bigots, and not ashamed to be bigots. Those who can’t or won’t change their minds need to be slapped down and be kept from acting out their bigotry.

    There are some who are not conscious bigots, who are just going along with the attitudes they grew up with and absorbed from their surroundings. It may be possible to re-train people who are not being deliberate, conscious bigots. However, that won’t work if you use the same techniques you use to deal with the assholes.

    Finally, there are the people who voted Trump out of economic desperation. Yes, they signed up for the bigotry. Yes, they screwed up, big time. Yes, they bear the responsibility for putting Trumpie the Disaster into office. But they are also *real people*, not imaginary the way ‘all-Trump-voters-are-bigots’ people seem to think. And they have REAL PROBLEMS THAT DESERVE TO BE ADDRESSED.

    I have seen the rot personally. Visiting my sister, who left her high school teacher’s job in Bloomington/Normal because, in part, of the way a lot of her students were getting screwed up by their decaying neighborhoods, in a way she couldn’t fix. Visiting my mother, who lives in a railroad hub and has seen her town’s downtown area be shuttered. Going to my grandmother’s funeral in an Illinois farm town, and seeing how badly it’s run down since my visits as a child. Going to work with a consulting client in Wichita, and seeing how many downtown office buildings have lost tenants, even closing altogether.

    These voters screwed up when they thought Trumpie would help them. They screwed up *badly*. Does that mean we shouldn’t be trying to address those problems? I thought helping people stuck in terrible economic conditions was what we were supposed to be doing! And just maybe, if we can start fixing things so they aren’t quite so desperate, they’ll understand that signing up with bigots is a really bad idea, and won’t do it again.

  78. I’m sick of having to tolerate people/the press dragging on Obama for making money as a private citizen while simultaneously ignoring that Dolt 45 lines his and his family’s pockets with our money, making this presidency the biggest grift of our nation’s history.

    And way upthread someone told us all with absolute certainty what President Hillary would be doing right now, as if they or anyone could know that, if Comey/Putin/Hackers/Wickileaks hadn’t interfered. However, it’s with absolute certainty that what wouldn’t be happening is the terrorization of brown/black/Muslim people, the threat of nuclear war with NK, GorSUCK on the Supreme Court, Javanka running a shadow government, us having to pay for Melania to live in a golden tower, us having to pay for a demented liar to line his own pockets with golf trips every weekend, insane tweets showing the whole world what a joke we elected. Those all definitely wouldn’t be happening, and we’d all be much better off. But, you know, HER EMAILS…

  79. Our esteemed host – your comment avatar has never been more perfect than as the header for your musings on adding a “coherency” rule to the Mallet.

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