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The American Power Elite’s Fierce Resistance to Donald Trump Continues

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Betsy DeVos, everybody:

As I may have mentioned, my father was a teacher and an administrator in the public high schools for over 35 years. He explained the essential difference between proficiency and growth to me 40 years ago. That a prospective Secretary of Education hadn’t the faintest idea what Franken was talking about should have been enough to make the committee adjourn itself in helpless laughter.

[…]

The whole hearing was beyond bizarre. I believe that the hearing into the nomination of Mike Pompeo to run the CIA was less covert than this one was. It started at five in the evening. Committee chairman Lamar Alexander locked the committee into a one round of questioning in which the members each had five minutes. This meant that most of the Republicans gave little five-minute addresses on the greatness of Betsy DeVos, Civil Rights icon and Concerned Mom. Meanwhile, the Democrats each spent some of their time pleading for another round of questioning. The strategy of putting DeVos’ nomination on a rocket sled so as to avoid exposing too much of her abysmal lack of qualifications was so obvious as to be insulting.

As a colleague observes, one thing the Cabinet of Deplorables indicates is Donald Trump’s utter, and entirely justified, contempt for Senate Republicans. He can’t be bothered to do even the most perfunctory quality control or effort to prepare his nominees. And why should he, since the Senate is happy to rush even the most cartoonishly unqualified nominees through. Trump could nominate a barrel of cow shit with a Confederate Flag stuck into it to a cabinet post and get 52 yea votes. Why spend any more time than you have to? It’s called checks and balances.

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  • Nobdy

    If you can write a big enough check it will provide a balance to whatever deficits you have and you get to govern.

    That’s what the founders meant, right?

    Betsy DeVos wrote a lot of really really yooge checks. She gave bigly. So she gets to be really really unqualified, which she is, and it all balances out. Checks and balances.

    • Warren Terra

      Greater qualification hath no woman than this: that a woman lay down some serious moolah for her “friends”. These are her “friends”, if they do whatsoever she commands them. Henceforth she call them not servants; for the servant knoweth not what their lord doeth: but she has called them “friends”; for much money that she has had of her Father-In-Law she has made contributions unto them.

      (John 15:13-15, King James Version, slightly updated)

      • MAJeff

        Ah, the Dutch-American Calvinist version.

        Best thing my parents ever did was live that shithole of a religious tradition.

        • Nick never Nick

          Kind of guessing you mean ‘leave’ up there . . .

          I worked with a woman who was rather devoutly such — she was from Iowa, wept once at the sound of crude language coming from the mouth of a child.

          • My grandfather, also from Grand Rapids, was raised Dutch Calvinist but converted to Catholicism when he married, finding it less burdensome.

            • MAJeff

              My sister, an ordained Methodist, says this about the Reformed tradition (ours are from Iowa.)

              “They’re Dutch Southern Baptists. All of the rules, but none of the emotion.”

              • Mile Strider

                What about good music? And do they make you eat Scrapple?

                • Origami Isopod

                  “Make you”? Scrapple is tasty. That’s the problem.

                • (((Malaclypse)))

                  Scrapple is tasty.

                  This is the wrongest sentence ever written on this blog, and I’m old enough to remember Donalde’s comments.

                • wjts

                  I had it once, as a kid, and didn’t like it. But I have since heard it compared to white pudding, which I like, so perhaps a retaste is in order.

                • Origami Isopod

                  I never said I was possessed of refined culinary tastes.

                • MAJeff

                  No. No good music. They stole it from Luther/Bach and the Germans.

                  That’s actually the one German in my family tree: a fucking 17th Century court trumpet player from Prussia. Only non-Dutch that far back.

                  Not “Scrapple” but something that I can’t figure out how to spell, but is a fried liver with onions and Karo syrup.

                  OK, I found it…it *is* scrapple. And even the Dutch spelling doesn’t do justice to the Iowa mispronunciation:
                  Balkenbrij
                  http://modernfarmer.com/2014/11/5-dutch-american-fried-foods-eat-right-now/

                  I’ve had it once. It is VILE.

                • rhino

                  Never eaten scrapple, but just did a quick scan of some recipes. I can’t see any reason it wouldn’t be damned tasty if the cook was competent. It’s really just a finely textured meatloaf.

          • MAJeff

            She may be from the same area as the crazy-ass Reformed relatives I have rejected.

        • Nepos

          Damn Calvinists have a LOT to answer for. Self-righteous assholes, all of them. And that damn Puritan sickness still infects America. The idea that poverty is a punishment for sin, and therefore poor people deserve to be poor, is a terrible perversion of Christianity, yet is so strong in America that some people would prefer to have children starve than to help the “unrighteous”.

          And Calvinism itself is such a bleak religion. I gave a “double predestination” Calvinist an opportunity to try to convert me; ultimately, while I saw the logic behind his argument, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to worship such a deity.

          Oof, sorry for the rant, but man, I despise Calvinism.

          • GFW

            I actually think the priests of Sithrak are a parody of Calvinists.

            • Ahuitzotl

              other way around, I think

            • Nepos

              Nah, the priests of Sithrak are far more self-aware–they know (and publicly proclaim) that Sithrak is evil.

              Calvinists believe their God is good. How, I don’t know, but they do.

              • Nah, the priests of Sithrak are far more self-aware–they know (and publicly proclaim) that Sithrak is evil.

                But hasn’t Sithrak her/him/it/themself disclaimed the whole thing?

                • leftwingfox

                  Yes, but his followers are now following the rewritten Sithrak slashfic version of the holy book.

              • so-in-so

                I suspect Calvinism arose to make Christianity appeal to the middle class and well-off. Like the modern Prosperity Gospel churches, but maybe less fun.

                • Nepos

                  Yeah, that’s my interpretation–it’s designed to make the haves feel superior to the have-nots.

          • It isn’t merely a perversion of Christianity; it is literally an exact inversion of Jesus’ actual teachings. Jesus threw the moneylenders out of the temple, instructed his followers to give all their possessions to the poor, and proclaimed, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Preaching that poor people are to blame for their poverty is the exact opposite of all of this.

            • LeeEsq

              No Jew should see Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the Temple as a good thing. They were fulfilling an important part of the Passover festival. The Torah specifically states that Jews had to pay the Temple tax in a specific denomination, a shekel. The shekel did not exist as an actual coin during the Second Temple period though. What the money changers did was turn the various denominations brought by Jews into what amounts to a commemorative coin to pay the Temple tax during the Passover festival. It might seem round about but they were there so that Passover could be observed as the Torah said it should be.

              Jesus and the early Christians had an entirely erroneous attitude towards poverty. They saw it as something good and noble. They romanticized it. The Pharisees and their heirs, the Rabbis, had the proper attitude, that poverty was a terrible thing that you should not wish upon any one. Its sort of a spiritual version of FDR’s statement about the necessitous man not being a free man. To the Pharisees and Rabbis, a person worrying about their daily necessities like food, shelter, and clothing could not focus on deeper and more spiritual things.

              • That’s as may be, but my point is that in the context of their own religion, they are completely failing to live up to its teachings.

          • efgoldman

            And that damn Puritan sickness still infects America.

            Odd thing is, it’s pretty much gone out of New England, but in the South and flyover states…..

          • Origami Isopod

            And that damn Puritan sickness still infects America.

            The Puritans get a bad rap. They were absolutely not progressive by our standards, no, but for their time they were, and that has a lot to do with why New England remains relatively liberal. Their culture was not entirely anti-sexual pleasure, as demonstrated by the practice of bundling. The witch trials were abhorrent, of course, but that’s a dynamic that can happen in pretty much any community.

            In any case, Puritanism really shouldn’t be used as a synonym for Calvinism in general. /pedant

            • humanoid.panda

              Most importantly, American abolitionism was pretty much an outgrowth of puritanism (Southerners spent a lot of time denouncing Yankee “fanaticism.”)

            • Linnaeus

              One of the most liberal Protestant churches in America, the United Church of Christ, has its origins in Puritan and Calvinist traditions.

              • wjts

                Unitarian Universalism also has some of that in its family tree, as I recall.

                • rea

                  Roger Williams was a Baptist.

                • Manny Kant

                  The Unitarian half definitely came out of the Congregational Church in New England. Universalism had a more mongrel ancestry. Not sure what Roger Williams has to do with it.

              • Manny Kant

                The Presbyterian Church (USA) is also a pretty liberal church in the (Scottish) Calvinist tradition.

                Virtually every major protestant tradition has liberal strands and conservative/reactionary ones. It’s a bit silly to condemn the whole tradition and leave it to the fundamentalist assholes.

            • StellaB

              They were actually pretty baudy and had large families. They wanted to purify the Church of England of its Catholic influence, not practice any form of sexual prudery outside of what was normal for the period.

              They permitted divorce and both women and men could sue for divorce although most divorces were requested by women. Women could inherit, buy, and own property.

              Another concept that we got from the Puritans was universal public education for both free and slave children. Boys received more education than girls, but girls still learned the basics of reading and writing which was unusual for the time. By law, communities had to tax their residents to establish schools.

              I did ancestry.com. My only vaguely interesting ancestor in 12-14 generations was hung for witchcraft at Salem although the state of MA has since exonerated her.

              • Manny Kant

                They also banned the theater as immoral.

            • Nepos

              Fair enough. I admit my feelings towards the puritans are heavily influenced by reading Hawthorne and Lovecraft, both of whom despised the Puritans.

          • Manny Kant

            Modern liberal protestantism and Unitarianism also arose out of the Calvinist tradition. These things are complicated.

        • Origami Isopod

          I’m guessing you’ve seen this article already? The Dominionist activism wasn’t much of a surprise, but I was none too familiar with the mundane aspects of Dutch-American Calvinism. Holland, Michigan sounds like one big HOA with bonus blue laws.

          • witlesschum

            Holland isn’t as bad as I gather it once was. The suburbs, exurbs and etc north of Holland and west of Grand Rapids are all of that and more.

      • I really have to admit that I don’t see the point of this whole exercise. Trump will nominate his people, the Republicans will line up as ordered, the Democrats will get to throw in some tough questions, and they will get approved anyway, no matter how heinous. Really, other than the kabuki theater aspect of it, what’s the point?

        I would rather that the Dems just boycott the whole process. Just don’t show up at all and let the Republicans do what they’re going to do. These Cabinet choices are seriously beneath the Democrats’ time to even interview. Participating just legitimizes the kabuki.

        • Morse Code for J

          It also creates a record, which may be useful during future election cycles or an archaeological exploration of America just before it fell.

          • humanoid.panda

            The real value of this stuff is that it creates all sorts of viral moments that help activists to start organize. I have many teacher friends, and every single one of them is livid, and is talking how to organize to make DeVos’ life harder.

    • efgoldman

      Betsy DeVos wrote a lot of really really yooge checks.

      I’m old enough to remember the innocent times when JFK was running for president, and the conventional wisdom was he wouldn’t be corrupt, because he was already rich and didn’t need the money.

      • Hogan

        You will hear everlastingly, in all discussions about newspapers, companies, aristocracies, or party politics, this argument that the rich man cannot be bribed. The fact is, of course, that the rich man is bribed; he has been bribed already. That is why he is a rich man.

        • so-in-so

          The question, as always, is does he STAY bribed…

  • Sly

    Fuck. I’m gonna miss Arne Duncan, aren’t I?

    Fuck.

    • Nobdy

      We all already kinda sorta miss W. even if some of us aren’t ready to admit it.

      The stupid billboards came true. The billboards came true!!

      • Nick never Nick

        In a few weeks, we’ll be thinking back to those halcyon days of yesteryear when Palin might become VP.

        • postmodulator

          Well, it appears McCain would have survived his two terms, and Palin would have already quit the VP job.

          • Platypus Prime

            Being a POTUS is much more stressful than being a senator, so we can’t really tell if McCain would’ve made it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      • MPAVictoria

        “We all already kinda sorta miss W.”

        You know people say this but W killed a million people and counting with his insane/illegal/reckless/evil invasion of Iraq. Trump may very well surpass this record but hasn’t yet.

        • ZakMcKrackenAndTheAlienMindbenders

          Yes, this.

          Plus the torture camps. Plus his unconscionable handling of Katrina. Plus blocking stem cell research. Plus the smirking, snickering deregulation. Plus…I mean Jesus Christ. I will never, ever develop a good-natured, “aw shucks I kinda miss the old boy” attitude toward GWB.

          The most important fact to keep in mind about GWB, in my mind, is this: he WAS stupid but, at the same time, he DID understand all the terrible things he did and he did them with a gleeful and giddy self-righteousness.

          • so-in-so

            And tried to cover them up. I expect this lot to do much the same, and brag about them. See, Trump and sexual assault.

            No, we don’t really miss W YET, but I expect we will come to do so.

          • Gone2Ground

            Yes.

            I will admit that when he first came into office, my actual thought was, “Well, he seems like a good old boy from Texas – how much trouble can we get into? I didn’t vote for him, but it’ll be OK.”

            After we found out how much trouble, well, no quarter for either him or the entire Bush Administration of criminals, vagrants, proud ignoramuses, and brigands. No. Quarter.

            • Bugboy

              I knew we were screwed the moment the press started blathering about how voters would prefer to have a beer with Shrub rather than Gore. I remember thinking “so this is what it’s come to?”. That moment was a portent of what we are living now, how naive I was!

              • Breadbaker

                Trump, like Bush, doesn’t drink.

            • clandee

              Molly Ivins warned us all. She wrote a book called “Shrub” because he never grew up enough to be a Bush.

        • AdamPShort

          Exactly. It’s gauche to consider a recent president the worst ever but Bush really was. I don’t doubt The Donald could surpass him, but he’s got a lot of work to do, especially when you consider that as horrible as the consequences of Bush’s insane war were, they could easily have been far worse.

          • Nepos

            Sadly, Bush II probably wasn’t “the worst ever”, simply because we’ve had some amazingly bad presidents (Buchanan arguably betrayed the Union itself.) But Shrub is definitely a contender. Loomis has a couple of posts rating the worst presidents.

            • Manny Kant

              Pierce, Buchanan, and Johnson are all clearly at the bottom. That may change in the next few years…

      • randy khan

        I think I’m going to be rather too busy missing Obama to even think about GWB.

        As others have said, there’s not too much to miss about him. Compared to Trump, his best characteristic was that he occasionally treated the business of governing as worthy of his attention, but even then nearly all of what he did (Medicare Part D as the glaring exception) was bad for the country. I fear that Trump will be worse, but it’s still kind of an anthrax/Ebola comparison.

        • In Dubya’s defence, he also genuinely spoke out against the anti-Islamic and [email protected]/Hispanic bigotry in his party, for all the good. For instance, after 9/11, he was very clear that it wasn’t all Muslims who were to blame for the attacks, just extremists who were perverting their own religion’s teachings. Good luck getting one of today’s Republicans to make an argument like that.

          • In case someone is confused, that first sentence is supposed to end with “for all the good that did”, but I accidentally a couple of words.

            • N__B

              Brevity the wit.

              • Hogan

                . . .

                • (((Malaclypse)))

                  .

                • synykyl

        • Hogan

          Both Medicare Part D and NCLB, which is pretty much his entire domestic legacy, are cases of Democrats saying, “Well, we have a pretty good pie to bake here, but if we don’t put a bunch of shit in it the Preznit won’t eat it.”

  • Timurid

    And every last one of these primitive screwheads will be rubber stamped. Because all our elites care about is watching the world burn…

    • Nobdy

      Their take away from the movie Elysium was “if only Jodie Foster was a litthe better at her job and had killed all the rebels before they reached the rich person utopia satellite…”

      Of course they are putting rank incompetent in charge of security too so even that is not consistent.

  • Alex.S

    The non-Senate approved appointments might be worse.

    President-elect Donald Trump’s newest White House adviser runs a real-estate company that’s being sued by black patrons who accuse it of racial discrimination and hiring white men to physically attack and eject them.

    On Wednesday, Trump tapped Reed Cordish as assistant to the president for intergovernmental and technology initiatives. Cordish is an executive of the Cordish Companies, his family’s Baltimore-based real-estate business, and the president of Entertainment Concepts Investors, a subsidiary that owns and manages bars, restaurants, and clubs throughout the U.S.

    Seems like reasonable qualifications for the job! When I think “Intergovernmental and Technology Initiatives”, I think bar, restaurant, and club management. Especially when they use innovative techniques to make sure, the, you know, right people are at the club.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/17/new-trump-adviser-being-sued-for-hiring-whites-to-attack-blacks.html

    • Little Chak

      Oh, come on — everyone knows that if you’ve had experience signing the front of the paychecks, you are qualified to run anything.

      The Scotland Sunday Herald nailed it with their description of the Trump inauguration.

    • Uneekness

      I sense a lot of “heckuva job (plutocrat)” in our future…

      • Alex.S

        Nah, Trump will throw everyone under the bus the second there’s a serious issue.

        • Mellano

          Yep, it’ll be “he’s the greatest, I mean the greatest!” and “I’m so happy I put her in, she did an amazing job,” until he’s facing a political price. Same as with a mom and pop contractor.

  • Nick never Nick

    I’d like to know — can anyone raise an example from history in which a government, or a country, essentially succumbed to nihilism? When the ruling powers basically gave up on the idea that government required expertise, and that expertise should be put in service of government?

    Has there ever been a people before who elected a government that vowed, by both word and deed, not to do anything for them, and to work to destroy those remaining institutions that did provide services?

    Maybe some exhausted 19th century Mitteleuropean polity? A colonial administration in wartime? Texas? Just asking for a friend.

    • DamnYankees

      The Cultural Revolution and the Khmer Rouge sort of had this attitude. Not as the result of nihilism, but it was a hatred of expertise.

      • Nick never Nick

        I kind of disagree — the hatred of expertise was there, yes, but the Khmer Rouge and the Cultural Revolutionists were feverishly energetic, they were building large things. Trump’s government is more like a doctor who, given a scalpel, starts cutting up his fingers, partly out of conviction that that’s what it’s for.

        • SatanicPanic

          What was the Cultural Revolution building? IIRC it was all about smashing stuff.

          • Nick never Nick

            A new Culture, a modern China, the world of tomorrow . . . Yeah, it was smashing stuff, but they were smashing it because it was going to be replaced by something better. I don’t believe that Trump’s appointees believe that.

            • so-in-so

              His voters do though…

              The question is if they will remain his loyal shock troops.

              • West of the Cascades

                Since the Trump/Ryan policies are mostly designed to help kill the olds and the poors (and incidentally the blahs), I suspect a fair number of them will be pushing up the daisies before they even get a chance to question their loyalties.

            • SatanicPanic

              Did Mao really believe that though? I thought he organized the Cultural Revolution to maintain his hold on power. That’s pretty close to Trump’s MAGA plan

              • Nick never Nick

                You might be right about this — that’s an interesting comparison.

    • Warren Terra

      Isn’t that the story of the late Roman empire? Except for the election part?

      • Shantanu Saha

        Caligula did try to install his horse to the Roman Senate, but of course the horse was more qualified to lead than most of Trump’s people.

        • In fact, either end of the horse, taken alone, was more qualified to lead than most of Trump’s people. (I realize that I have narrowly skirted providing a straight line for some wag to top with “leading from behind”, but frankly, my dears, I don’t give a fuck.)

      • Nick never Nick

        I’d like a modern example, Classical times are too different. Surely, in all the elections held since the late 18th century, there’s an example of some country that basically elected a bunch of people who have no use for government, people, expertise, at all. Maybe a Latin American state controlled by disinterested cattle barons?

        • Hogan

          The way the Royal Army and Navy selected and promoted officers for much of their history probably qualifies. Not an entire country, though.

          • DamnYankees

            But didn’t the people in charge at the time actually think that by doing this they were getting the most competent people? I’m not saying they were right, I just don’t think they self-consciously were aware that this system didn’t promote expertise and competence.

            • MPAVictoria

              This was really more of a Royal Army thing. The Navy was managed by extremely competent professionals.

              • Dilan Esper

                Not according to HMS Pinafore.

                • witlesschum

                  Which is infernal nonsense, to be clear.

                • Donalbain

                  Is that the one about duty?

              • janitor_of_lunacy

                This was really more of a Royal Army thing. The Navy was managed by extremely competent professionals.

                Well, extremely competent at shiphandling, installing discipline, and following orders. Which was great until the Great War happened, and they found out that most of them had no initiative, and overly relied on signals. Fortunately, the Germans weren’t particularly good in that department either.

              • wjts

                The Royal Navy, at least, didn’t sell commissions.

          • delazeur

            Royal Army

            British Army.

            • Hogan

              As you wish.

            • so-in-so

              The British Home Army. The colonial force was rather more competent.

              • altofront

                George: You know, that’s the thing I don’t really understand about you, Cap. You’re a professional soldier, and yet, sometimes you sound as though you bally well haven’t enjoyed soldiering at all.

                Edmund: Well, you see, George, I did like it, back in the old days when the prerequisite of a British campaign was that the enemy should under no circumstances carry guns — even spears made us think twice.

          • There is no Royal Army, if you mean the British one. It’s just the Army. Something about deep suspicion of standing armies as a potential instrument of royal overreach; see the annual Mutiny Acts up to the 19th century. You can’t carry out a coup with a standing navy, quite spart from the professional skills required to run it.

            The oldest regiment in the British Army is IIRC the Coldstream Guards, who go back to Cromwell’s Republican New Model Army via the turncoat General Monk.

            • sigaba

              The modern British Army was also constituted under Cromwell so the “royal” aspects of state institutions at the time were a little downplayed.

              (I dunno what the Navy called itself under the Commonwealth and Protectorate.)

          • It’s the “Royal Navy,” but emphatically not the “Royal Army.” There are historical reasons for this, beginning with Cromwell, O.

            • Donalbain

              I think the historical reasons go back further, to when a king never really had an army but would bodge one together from the men under the command of his rich mates. On the other hand, the Navy (and then the Air Force) were specifically put together under the orders of a specific king/queen/government there of

      • Rob in CT

        Earlier than the late empire, I’d argue, but it took a while for the rot to really set in.

        ETA: and actually… it wasn’t that they turned against qualifications/expertise. A lot of Emperors rose through the ranks and used Equestrians to run shit, instead of Senators.

        What happened was they all considered countering their rivals within the Empire to be vastly more important than any outside threat. And kept right on thinking that, right to the end…

        • mds

          Yeah, it was actually the late Republic that was hostile to qualifications / expertise. Better your fellow landowning elitist with a demonstrated record of disastrous incompetence than a qualified guy who didn’t have the right background. And no matter how disastrous the incompetence of the former, he would never under any circumstances be held to account. A competent fellow landowning elitist with too much initiative would of course be hounded relentlessly and dragged down, because otherwise he might become too powerful.

          Julius Caesar had some penchant for professionalism and meritocracy, but it tooke Augustus for professional expertise to become a desirable aspect of government. (This is not to endorse dictatorship per se, but then again the Republic was not a representative democracy in any meaningful sense.)

    • ΧΤΠΔ

      Francisco Macías Nguema made Pol Pot look like an amateur (and for my money joins Suharto & Niyazov in unjustly overlooked Trump comparisons).

      • MPAVictoria

        Yikes!

      • sonamib

        From Wikipedia :

        That summer, Macías Nguema executed several members of his own family, leading several members of his inner circle to fear that he was no longer acting rationally.

        No longer acting rationally? Are you fucking kidding me? Why did it take you 11 fucking years to arrive at that conclusion?

        I’m always baffled by how members of the inner circles of dictators always go along with their paranoid murderous rampages. At the very least, don’t they realize that they might eventually be next?

        • West of the Cascades

          See, e.g., Steve Bannon.

        • wjts

          The “no longer acting rationally” line makes an interesting juxtaposition with, “In 1978 [a year earlier], he changed the national motto to ‘There is no other God than Macías Nguema'”.

          • Breadbaker

            Interestingly, there is an anachronism in Rowling’s script for Fantastic Beasts where one of the wizards comes from “Equatorial Guinea”, which wasn’t a place in 1928 or whenever it is set (it was Spanish Guinea or Fernando Po). But why pick a place that has become the world’s worst kleptocracy anyway? It’s not like she was constrained from choosing any place on earth.

            • Origami Isopod

              Rowling’s grasp of societies outside of England leaves much to be desired at times.

      • Nepos

        Oof. Though to be fair, the Europeans have a lot to answer for regarding the way post-independence Africa turned out (cf. Congo, Rwanda, Angola, Uganda, etc. etc.) Not exactly a good comparison to Trump, who is definitely not part of a colonized (brutalized) culture.

        • sonamib

          Yes. The Spanish colonial administration punched Nguema’s father to death because he was trying to negociate for higher wages for his people. Nguema’s mother committed suicide shortly after that. Nguema wasn’t even 10. I’m sure that helped him grow up in a normal, well-adjusted manner.

          • Breadbaker

            But of course that doesn’t justify killing his fellow blacks or stealing all the country’s wealth for his family. His victims weren’t Spanish colonials.

            • Origami Isopod

              You can observe that colonialism tends to fuck up its victims without giving said victims carte blanche to murder, rape, or steal. This is what sonamib was doing.

              • Nepos

                Exactly. Abuse victims sometimes become abusers themselves, creating a cycle of violence. The fact that an abuser was a victim does not, of course, excuse their actions, but it should lead us to a certain measure of sympathy and compassion towards them.

                Did Nguema need to be stopped? Of course. Did he need to be executed? Arguably yes–certainly he needed to be removed from society. Does this mean we can’t feel that his fate was tragic? Not at all.

                • leftwingfox

                  The fact that an abuser was a victim does not, of course, excuse their actions, but it should lead us to a certain measure of sympathy and compassion towards them.

                  Or rather work towards eliminating the conditions which result in such people. I’m not going to feel sympathetic to a serial killer because they were abused horrifically as a child, but I’ll certainly work to ensure abuse is prosecuted and survivors helped so we don’t produce MORE serial killers that way.

        • It’s always worth pointing out in circumstances like this that King Leopold killed something on the order of five million people in the Belgian Congo. To be fair, we’re hardly innocent of this kind of indiscriminate slaughter either, what with the Trail of Tears and smallpox blankets and so on.

          • humanoid.panda

            Yeah. The plainest way to put this is that W was in the general vicinity of 20th century civic culture (and that culture included affinity for dumb wars- Vietnam, etc), while Trump is beyond it.

      • ArchTeryx

        It was this charming gentleman, crossed with Idi Amin, that actually got used in the book Inferno by Mike Resnick in the creation of his genocidal maniac “President for Life” Gama Labu.

        You want a primer for how a country can go from a jewel of civilization to a complete charnel house? Read that book.

      • sigaba

        Background music for this comment.

        On Christmas Eve of 1975 he ordered about 150 of his opponents killed. Soldiers executed them by shooting at the football stadium in Malabo, while amplifiers were playing Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days”.

        Wes Anderson is siting over in the corner thinking, damn it, that was how I was going to eliminate MY enemies.

        • ΧΤΠΔ

          To be honest, Hopkins’ version perfectly straddles the line between whimisical and foreboding; I’m surprised the Beatnuts and/or Alchemist haven’t swiped it yet. After all, it’s not as if they were killed to “Yakety Sax.”

          Speaking of: In the “scoring the elimination of my enemies” category, here are my instruments of choice:

          • Bowed strings are used to score stabbing actions.
          • Brass accompanies large conflagrations – i.e., at least human-sized – especially in the context of bombs (cf. Bukvich).
          • String pizzicato, primarily w/r/t bass and especially the jazz bass, accompany beating with blunt instruments (such as truncheons, maces and clubs), or one’s bare hands if the wielder is especially large.
          • Woodwinds accompany either very small conflagrations or indicative of gassing actions.
          • Drum percussion corresponds to hand-to-hand brutality, especially if at a fast pace.
          • Xylophonic instruments will generally correspond to water-based methods of disposal.
          • Pianos do not readily respond to physical action, but are good for setting a mood.

          • sigaba

            You might profitably look into some Scriabin.

            • ΧΤΠΔ

              Thanks for the tip; Penderecki, Shostakovich, Scott Walker & Luciano Berio are personal favorites. I also get a lot of “alternative classical” from pelodelperro’s YouTube channel.

          • Origami Isopod

            I know you’re probably tired of me saying this, but you really need your own blog.

    • wjts

      L’Ancien Régime?

      (No, not really.)

    • NewishLawyer

      Is that they have given up on the idea of expertise or that various beliefs for the right-wing are basically matters of theology now? All that matters is getting the theological/ideological accomplished.

      That being said, I suspect that if Pence or any other Republican politician was the incoming President, they would be smart enough to look for people who were nominally qualified for the positions. We would also have Romney as the Secretary of State nominee. This is even if they have the same beliefs as DeVos.

      Trump knows no one or very few people. So all he has to go on is names he has heard here and there. He doesn’t seem to value punditry as a side-hobby of being really rich like say Zuckerberg. I probably disagree with Zuckerberg a lot but I can see Zuckerberg and Mosk finding experts on various issues and enjoying to pick their brains. This would be appalling to Trump who thinks you use your money to attract women and live like a wastrel.

      My issue with the GOP is more that they are dishonest with their beliefs. I can’t remember where I read it but recently I saw that one GOP pundit/intellectual said the GOP should just say “We don’t think it is the responsibility of the government to provide healthcare for anyone.” And you know what, I wish they would take his advice because then we can have a serious and honest and open debate about the role and limits of civil government instead of the cowardly promises of repeal and replace with something better.

      • Yes, they are dishonest.

        Bush I and II said “compassionate conservatism,” “1000 points of light,” but they didn’t think government should do that. They wanted to make citizens go out and take on the tasks of government themselves, and push people, like with Katrina, or who’d hit bottom in one way or another, into situations where they had only church groups to rely on. Will their new rhetoric be different? Will they be honest about the fact that they don’t believe government has a role in ensuring the people’s welfare? We’ll see.

      • Gone2Ground

        “My issue with the GOP is more that they are dishonest with their beliefs. I can’t remember where I read it but recently I saw that one GOP pundit/intellectual said the GOP should just say “We don’t think it is the responsibility of the government to provide healthcare for anyone.” And you know what, I wish they would take his advice because then we can have a serious and honest and open debate about the role and limits of civil government instead of the cowardly promises of repeal and replace with something better.”

        This.
        The problem with so many (especially) Trump voters is that they are criminally low-information. They simply do not understand how radical the GOP is today – how infested with truly extreme religious ideology the party is, how many of them actually believe Ayn Rand’s terrible novels are policy blueprints, and how deeply they are committed to bullshit economic theories despite actual real-world evidence to the contrary. The public just doesn’t get this. Moreover, these ideologues so rarely have to defend this insanity because they don’t get called out on it. Ever.

        The press (as with so much) doesn’t help because they simply repeat the mantra of both sides so that half of America thinks we are jointly ruled by Communists like Bernie Sanders and Good Old Reagan Republicans on the other side.

        • DamnYankees

          The problem with so many (especially) Trump voters is that they are criminally low-information. They simply do not understand how radical the GOP is today

          This is not just a problem with Trump voters. It’s a problem with non-voters, and as you mention, it’s a problem with the media.

          I don’t think the media’s “both sides do it” issue is that they know the GOP is extreme and still don’t care. I don’t think they know. They don’t believe it.

          • Gone2Ground

            Agree with your first point. WRT the media, I think many of them know the GOP is extreme, but they’re so afraid of being called a dirty liberal that they choose not to challenge it.

            Of course, hardly any Democrats spend even one minute pointing this stuff out, either, and that’s a major failure of the institution. One of my chief disappointments with the OA was this: they should have had some very loud backbenchers pointing out how dramatically the GOP was screwing over even the basic norms of Congress and ultimately, the American People. I mean, in 2008 we had the worst economic meltdown since 1929 and the only answer of half our political establishment was to block any and all ideas to fix it? That should have been major, major news, 24/7. Instead, the Tea Party took over because they were the loudest assholes in the room. Nice job, Democrats.

            • DamnYankees

              I think many of them know the GOP is extreme, but they’re so afraid of being called a dirty liberal that they choose not to challenge it.

              Who are you thinking of when you claim this? Not saying you’re wrong, but I genuinely don’t know. When I think of people who I feel like should “get it” but don’t, I don’t think they are lying to me. I think they geuinely dont get it.

              • Gone2Ground

                Pretty much any major mainstream media: NPR, for example, which is one reason I can’t stand to listen to them any longer. They are experts at normalizing the GOP’s shit, and considering how well educated most of them are, they really should know better.

                I would also say anything on cable news.

                I know, it’s the bottom of the barrel here, but that’s where so many people get their information.

                Who do you think of who should “get it” but doesn’t appear to?

                • DamnYankees

                  The one that most comes to mind is Chuck Todd. I admit I barely watch any news though, so I don’t have strong opinions on individuals here.

            • Origami Isopod

              I think many of them know the GOP is extreme, but they’re so afraid of being called a dirty liberal that they choose not to challenge it.

              I don’t think they’re afraid of anything. Their corporate masters are by and large rethugs. The Village is blithely detached from ordinary reality and sees politics as an extension of its social scene. There are fewer and fewer ordinary reporters anymore and more and more kids from affluent families who got “communications” degrees and have no particular interest in being anything but stenographers.

              • This Blog

                Kills fascists

            • sigaba

              One of my chief disappointments with the OA was this: they should have had some very loud backbenchers pointing out how dramatically the GOP was screwing over even the basic norms of Congress and ultimately, the American People.

              It’s a good idea but the press only covers that sort of thing as “process.” It isn’t really moral or dramatic enough to break through.

              Do Americans actually care about the basic norms of civil society or congress? Or do they think it’s all kabuki bullshit and just the losers complaining that they were outmaneuvered? Press always covered it like the latter and like it was up to Congress to straighten out Congress’s procedure and it wasn’t relevant to citizens.

      • Uneekness

        To be fair, an op-ed by a potential GOP cabinet pick titled “Why That Gov’t Service You Are So Accustomed To Just Working and Being There For You I Really Hate and I Am Prepared To Dismantle It While Simultaneously Blaming Democrats For The Problems That Will Occur When It Is No Longer Functional, Thus Having My Cake and Eating It Too.” is a bit unwieldy.

        • One thing you can say for it, though, is that it doesn’t bury the lede!

          • Breadbaker

            More accurate headline, “Since His Youth, Attila Has Always Been Faithful to the Rape and Pillage Part of His Religion as a Hun.”

      • Dilan Esper

        One reason you won’t see that honesty is the GOP doesn’t actually agree on first principles. They do a great job pretending they do, but not really.

        Lots of Republicans do believe in a welfare state. A smaller one, a privatized one, one that targets Republican constituencies.

        It’s a lot like the Catholic Church. Conservatives put a lot of effort into papering over the fact that a lot of members disagree with them by just defining dissenters as “not Catholic”.

        If conservatives really agreed on this stuff they would pass it when they got power. The dishonesty arises out of the fact that plenty of Republicans will bail if the position is drown government in the bathtub.

    • Let’s see, what could we call it? Decadence? Has there ever been a culture that (so it is argued) succumbed to “decadence”? Hm . . .

      • Chetsky

        Uh, not that I know, but .. pre-revolution france? ISTR tax-farming and “apres moi, le deluge”? But maybe I’m remembering random phrases ….

    • joel hanes

      an example from history in which a government, or a country, essentially succumbed to nihilism?

      Caligula.

      Many of Trump’s Cabinet nominees are essentially Incitatus.

      But Caligula wasn’t chosen by the people …
      well, there’s this :

      the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us … And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods

      • Origami Isopod

        “Decadence” didn’t destroy Rome; that’s (both early and modern) Christian propaganda. They overextended themselves as an imperial power. Also, though I don’t have a link handy, prominent citizens refusing to pay taxes also played a role.

        • so-in-so

          So then, a pretty good model of what is coming…

  • efgoldman

    She is a bazillionaire.
    Therefore, by definition, she is the mostest virtuosest, smartesest, mostest astutest, can leap tall buildings in a single bound….

  • DamnYankees

    As awful as Trump is (and make no mistake, he’s a disaster), imagine how different everyone would be feeling is Democrats had 51 Senators instead of 48.

    EVERYTHING would feel so different.

    • N__B

      We’d all be really pissed at Joe Manchin for siding with the Rs on every topic?

      Make it 53 or 54 Ds and I’d feel different.

  • ΧΤΠΔ

    Thoughts: Which cabinet members’ implosions will most damage the GOP?

    Also, I’ve heard noises from Manchin indicating a willingness to defect on the Sessions confirmation. I understand perfectly that Manchin has the makings of a dead incumbent walking, and in that context being an unreliable Dem vote is to a large extent forgivable. What I want to know is:

    1) Why is he choosing fucking Sessions as the particular nominee to make nick/play kiss-ass with, and
    2) What the fuck is the risk in voting against — not even saying anything, just voting against — Sessions that made Manchin’s actions politically necessary? ‘Cause the only thing I can think of is that Manchin thinks the voters of WV are all (or at least mostly, which is all that counts) terrible, terrible people.

    • DamnYankees

      Thoughts: Which cabinet members’ implosions will most damage the GOP?

      During the hearing stage? Or actual governance? The answer in terms of governance is honestly probably whoever is in charge of FEMA or the energy or interior department, something like that, because a failure there is sort of non-political.

      Like, if Devos or Puzder or whoever destroys the EPA, or the Education Department, it can always be spun as something you did on purpose. It can be made into a claim about policy.

      Having a natural disaster happen with no response, or a nuclear plant meltdown, can’t really be spun as anything but a disaster.

      • ΧΤΠΔ

        So basically, either Seattle falling into the ocean, or the Wabash Valley/New Madrid system eating the Midwest. (As for Yellowstone, the immediate GOP line would be that Trump cured global warming).*

        *Thank you, Frisky Dingo.

    • efgoldman

      ‘Cause the only thing I can think of is that Manchin thinks the voters of WV are all terrible, terrible people.

      Not “all”, but they did go 69% for Orangemandyas,

      • ΧΤΠΔ

        John Cole, Bill Withers & JR in WV being obligatory exceptions.

      • Breadbaker

        He was also introducing Perry at his hearing.

    • Alex.S

      Cause the only thing I can think of is that Manchin thinks the voters of WV are all terrible, terrible people.

      In the 2012 Democratic primary in West Virginia, 41% of the people who participated voted for Keith Judd, who at that time was serving a 17 year prison sentence.

    • daves09

      Because his rethug opponent will yell *he’s the man who voted against the man who’s keeping the n*****s in their place.* the south has indeed risen again and no federal gov’t. to stop them.

      • postmodulator

        Some cheap irony to be had in remembering the only reason that we even have a “West” Virginia in the first place.

    • NewishLawyer

      Sessions probably speaks deeply to the convictions of West Virginia and this goes beyond Racism.

      1. As I understand it, a lot of Appalachian communities hate the idea of drug reform because they have a lot of issues with how opiate addiction has destroyed their communities. They don’t necessarily see drugs as being about hippies or people of color punching but more about how “Joe from down the street used to be an able bodied worker and now he is just collecting SSDI and blowing it on Oxy.” They are also suspicious and distrustful of having a lot of local money come from SSDI.

      2. Anti-pornography beliefs also probably appeal to their religiousity.

    • David Hunt

      I understand perfectly that Manchin has the makings of a dead incumbent walking, and in that context being an unreliable Dem vote is to a large extent forgivable

      Where does this reasoning come from? If you’re really certain to be voted out, then there’s no need to pander to horrible people. If it’s a close thing…I understand the temptation to try to appear more “moderate” although I don’t agree with it. It’s been well demonstrated that given a choice between a fake Republican and a real one, the voter will pick the real one pretty much every time.

      • humanoid.panda

        It’s been well demonstrated that given a choice between a fake Republican and a real one, the voter will pick the real one pretty much every time

        This is really a BS talking point. In West Virginia, for example, Manchin and the incoming governor, Justice, are conservadems and have terrible beliefs about any number of things. Still, they won election in a state that shifting to the right at light speed, and where are the magical liberals that are winning red state and seats be being real DemocratS?

        • DamnYankees

          Liberals like Russ Feingold can’t even win in WI, but we’re supposed to think if he ran in Arkansas he’d do better than Pryor. It’s absurd.

          • Phil Perspective

            Liberals like Russ Feingold can’t even win in WI, but we’re supposed to think if he ran in Arkansas he’d do better than Pryor. It’s absurd.

            Has anyone asked Feingold why he lost? Do we know why he lost? Did he raise enough money this time? Did Scott Walker’s vote suppression efforts effect the vote that much? Also, too, Arkansas voters voted for a minimum wage increase recently. So there is that.

            • mds

              Did Scott Walker’s vote suppression efforts effect the vote that much?

              R Johnson: 1,479,471 (50.2%)
              Feingold: 1,380,335 (46.8%)
              Anderson: 87,531 ( 3.0%)
              Write-ins: 8
              Total: 2,947,345

              Trump: 1,405,284 (47.2%)
              Clinton: 1,382,536 (46.5%)
              G. Johnson: 106,674 (3.6%)
              Stein: 31,072 (1.0%)
              Castle: 12,162
              McMullin: 11,855
              Misc Registered
              Write-ins: 3,803
              Unregistered
              Write-ins: 22,764
              Total: 2,976,150

              So of the fewer total people voting for Senator, fewer of them voted for Feingold than for Clinton, while more of them voted for Johnson than for Trump. The lower total for the Senate race would be a really neat voter suppression tactic.

              Also, too, Arkansas voters voted for a minimum wage increase recently.

              While also voting for a gubernatorial candidate who openly opposed it during the campaign. Even though the outgoing Democratic governor was popular. (Term limits, like the filibuster, really seem to screw over Democrats more than Republicans.) And I should say, the outgoing conservative Democratic governor was popular.

              OTOH, Mark Pryor deserved the boot for opposing the proposed federal minimum wage in order to suck up to Wal-Mart, since Wal-Mart will gladly take an actual Republican instead.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      Why is he choosing fucking Sessions as the particular nominee to make nick/play kiss-ass with

      Because Sessions is a fellow senator? I mean, seriously, Sessions will almost certainly get the most Democratic votes of any of Trump’s nominees except perhaps Elaine Chao.

      • ΧΤΠΔ

        Because the Democrats would almost certainly vote for the reanimated corpse of Theodore Bilbo, so long as he were a senator.

        Eat shit and die, you fucking white-nationalism apologist.

        • Just_Dropping_By

          What the fuck is your problem? You asked why Manchin would “make nice/play kiss-ass with” Sessions and I gave you a straight answer — Sessions is a sitting senator, ergo Democratic senators (of whom Manchin is one) are more likely to vote for him than they are for most of Trump’s other nominees. I didn’t say Sessions would be good (I think he will be terrible) or by what margin he would be confirmed, just that I predict he’ll get more Democratic votes for confirmation than most of Trump’s other nominees.

          • ΧΤΠΔ

            Jeff Sessions is Steve King with a Southern accent, who is himself Theodore Bilbo with one-thousandth the IQ points. And unlike Chao or (especially) Mattis, he has a high chance of being confirmed for a position from which he will do tremendous damage – under his watch, the DOJ’s goal will be to turn 2016 America into 1890s Alabama. And not only is this completely ideologically repulsive to anyone with basic human decency, it is also actively detrimental to the voting rights of Democratic constituencies…which you might know that we need to actually be able to run things. The only way endorsing Sessions could be politically or morally defensible would be if the political risks of publicly stating antiracist (or at least not actively racist) positions would seriously jeopardize his chances of re-election, which from the above input seems to be the case. (And I will absolutely be affected by a Sessions confirmation, so STFU).

            Also, the idea that simply being a senator justifies publicly endorsing any fellow senator up for a confirmation hearing, independent of positions or temperament, is transparently stupid, so I repeat: Eat shit and die.

            • witlesschum

              Senators, man.

            • GeoX

              Your rage makes no sense. Explaining why something is as it is isn’t remotely the same as justifying it, and your flying off the handle like this is just inexplicable. I hope you’re really drunk right now or something.

              • ΧΤΠΔ

                OK, so calling his comment white-nationalism apologetics may be over the top, and it can explain the overall lack of overt hostility from the Democratic Party.

                That said, he then goes on to suggest that this means the Party will be perfectly willing to throw its own coalition under the bus because reasons, so withering contempt at its rank stupidity is entirely justified.

                • Sessions is a white nationalist. Thus, apologetics for him would be white nationalism apologetics. I don’t really see any particular excess in calling it such.

    • jeer9

      ‘Cause the only thing I can think of is that Manchin thinks the voters of WV are all (or at least mostly, which is all that counts) terrible, terrible people.

      I can’t believe that. He raised a wonderful daughter who rose to the heights of the pharmaceutical business world by creating a model which balances the needs of a citizen suffering from a life-threatening allergy and the needs of a CEO whose profit margins might be considered suspect. She is a marvel and no doubt a testament to the keen judgment of her illustrious, accomplished father.

    • cleter

      Manchin and Sessions are friends. I think that’s mostly his rationale.

  • Wait… She got her money from Amway?!? Shouldn’t that disqualify her from any public office?

    • rm

      Yes, and that’s why she’s nominated. We are in the Upside Down.

    • JKTH

      In this Administration that’d qualify her to run the CFPB.

    • medrawt

      She got MORE money from marrying into Amway, but her father was a wealthy businessman.

      • dogboy

        Betsy hails from a dynasty of her own. In 1965, her father, Edgar Prince, founded a small manufacturing company that came to be worth more than $1 billion on the strength of Prince’s automotive innovations, which include the pull-down sun visor with a built-in light-up vanity mirror.

    • Jay B

      It’s even worse than that — her brother runs whatever they are calling Blackwater these days. And he’s got Trump’s ear.

    • rea

      She didn’t get all her money from Amway–that’s her husband. Her family’s money come from auto parts, real estate, and particularly since her brother took over, mercenaries (the company formerly known as Blackwater).

  • rm

    If she were only a bazillionaire campaign contributor, that would be enough.
    If she were a contributor and also the heir to a multilevel marketing fortune, that would be enough.
    If she were a contributor and a scammer and also the sibling of the Blackwater mercenary guy, that would be enough.
    But to have all this and be a major leader of the effort to destroy public education and erase the church-state boundary — now that is BIGLY enough.

    • El Guapo

      Worst version of Dayenu I’ve ever heard…

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Next year in Jerusalem, if this keeps up.

        • Breadbaker

          You’re assuming that there will be a Jerusalem next year. If we move the embassy there, that is absolutely not guaranteed.

  • (((Malaclypse)))

    How long until he nominates his horse?

    • efgoldman

      How long until he nominates his horse?

      ‘e wouldn’t ‘ave an ‘orse. They’re unclean.

    • Warren Terra

      What was that about his whores?

    • wjts

      That’s actually a myth. He was just stringing Rafalca along to fuck with Romney.

      • (((Malaclypse)))

        Nicely played.

  • celticdragonchick

    Of course, since I am both a trans woman and a teacher, this crazy refugee from a Martha’s Vineyard drinking party loathes me twice as much!

    Good times, people.

    • Okay, so that’s the MV that’s a wine shop in Grand Rapids, not the island, rumored to be a liberal elite bastion, where the Obamas have been vacationing.

      Whew!

      • Hogan

        Maybe she misspelled Mackinac Island.

      • celticdragonchick

        LOL, of course she is really more of a Gross Pointe Park type, but she dresses and has that bland WASP Martha’s Vineyard look, if you will. It hides the craziness lurking underneath.

        • witlesschum

          Naw, Betsy DeVos hails from the west Michigan Republicans who traditionally think their Detroit burbs country club brethren are a pack of godless liberals. This helps the Michigan Dems and we need all the help we can get.

  • nemdam

    Is the consensus that all nominees will get confirmed? I think Tillerson has a shot at being rejected. McCain and Graham have indicated they might go against him. Then you just need one more.

    • Jay B

      DeVos is a complete joke. She’s bought off 10 out of the 12 Republicans on the committee, but she embarrassed the entire party last night and she hasn’t finished her paperwork either. Plus she was caught in an outright lie about her involvement with her mom’s organization. I can see her withdraw. Price might be brought up on charges too, so his appointment might be at risk.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Price might be brought up on charges too

        Oh man that would be sweeeeet.

        • Origami Isopod

          I’m trying not to get any of my hopes up these days.

    • El Guapo

      I think it depends on whether it’s an establishment pick or a Trump pick. I can see them going against DeVos (which screams Trump) but I don’t see them blocking Tillerson who has a lot of establishment weight behind him (Gates, Condi, etc).

      • celticdragonchick

        DeVos was going to be the choice for any GOPer who was elected. Her whole schtick is grifting for all their pals who run for-profit schools that teach Jesus road a dinosaur to Jerusalem.

        • farin

          Someone who agreed with Devos on every substantive issue, probably. But not someone as comically unqualified and, apparently, just dumb as Devos herself.

      • efgoldman

        I don’t see them blocking Tillerson who has a lot of establishment weight behind him

        FWIW (probably nothing) Grandpa Walnuts was on CBS tonight saying he had doubts/disagreements with Tillerson’s attitude toward Russia.
        I expect he’ll come around, but if he votes against, he might bring a couple more Republiklowns with him, and nuke the nomination.
        I expect in the end, he’ll do what he usually does: express doubts and concerns, and then vote yes.

    • mds

      McCain and Graham have indicated they might go against him. Then you just need one more.

      Any indication that Rubio(?!?) might vote against him in committee and in the floor vote? Or is he likely to go along once the committee cameras are turned off?

  • DamnYankees

    I’m not sure if this is the right thread to ask this, but it seems as good as any.

    What do people actually think, in 4 years from now, we will say is the worst thing that happened under this administration? In a completely serious way, what do people imagine the realistic worst result will be?

    I’m genuinely curious about this. Like, is someone say “all non-whites will be deported”, I don’t think that’s realistic and wouldn’t happen. But if someone says “the ACA is repealed in full”, that’s actually not a terrible worst case scenario, given our options.

    I can think of 3 legitimate worst case scenarios that I think are actually somewhat plausible:

    1) Trump launches a nuclear weapon which kills millions (both in the blast and the retaliation).

    2) Trump actually betrays our security to a foreign government, our of incompetence or corruption.

    3) Something like “all non-citizens have to be re-evaluated”. This is personal to me, and something I genuinely worry about.

    • Crusty

      All of the above, plus I am concerned that he will clumsily bomb muslim countries and use inflammatory rhetoric in connection therewith, thus creating yet a new subset of young muslim men who believe that the U.S. is at war with Islam, the U.S. may have murdered your family, it is therefore worthwhile to commit indiscriminate acts of violence against the U.S. and its citizens.

    • Rob in CT

      He might really wreck NATO and provide aid & comfort to those trying to take apart the EU.

      Those things might not have immediate negative consequences, but I think they would both be bad things, long term.

      He looks to be serious about getting into it with the Chinese over trade. I don’t know how that might shake out, honestly, but I’m sure there’s significant downside risk.

      That’s my FP downside (no, I don’t think we’re going to start a nuclear war).

      Domestically, authoritarian boot-stomping of some kind, but I don’t have a specific prediction.

      • DamnYankees

        He might really wreck NATO and provide aid & comfort to those trying to take apart the EU.

        If the rubber really hits the road on this issue, I genuinely wonder how many in the GOP will just accept it. There are some people in the GOP, especially the Senate, who seem to actually care about this issue, and foreign policy in general, more than anything. Will they sit back and do nothing?

        This is basically the question – does anyone in the GOP actually believe in anything. At all. I don’t know the answer.

        • Rob in CT

          I will believe in GOP resistance to Trump when I see it.

          • Lost Left Coaster

            Yes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

            I have talked to people, too, who claim to have seen a UFO, but I will not believe that they exist until I see one myself. Just too implausible. Much like the GOP resistance to Trump.

      • Dilan Esper

        I highly doubt NATO is nearly as essential as people think.

        SEATO totally failed and yet Southeast Asia isn’t a war zone.

        The reason there are no wars in Europe anymore is probably because the economics of continued conflict have changed. The result of NATO being undermined is likely limited to two things, both good: it will make it harder for the US to project power everywhere, and it will force Russia’s neighbors to stop engaging in brinksmanship and get along with Russia.

        • humanoid.panda

          The result of NATO being undermined is likely limited to two things, both good: it will make it harder for the US to project power everywhere, and it will force Russia’s neighbors to stop engaging in brinksmanship and get along with Russia

          Brinkmanship? Seriously, what the hell are you talking about, and could you name a single Russian neighbor who is engaged in it?

          I mean, yeah, Estonia should totally stop aggravate Russia by doing stuff like, I dunno, existing and such, because it’s legion of 6,000 soldiers lacking any armor or airforce is such a dire threat to Russian security.

          • humanoid.panda

            And Ukraine is such a fucking agressor for putting its face in the path of Russian fists.

            And don’t get me started about the military machine that is Germany, with its mortally obese army.

          • wjts

            Estonia is right next to Russia and therefore the latter’s rightful property. Not recognizing that is the worst sort of imperialism.

            • tsam

              HA! I want to give this comment some kind of award for perfectly capturing the pro-Putin troll response.

          • Just_Dropping_By

            Brinkmanship . . . could you name a single Russian neighbor who is engaged in it

            Georgia in 2008? I thought the consensus was that Georgia was much more aggressive in its actions against Ossetia because it believed that the US/NATO would support it and thereby deter Russia from becoming more involved in the conflict.

            • humanoid.panda

              Yeah, Georgia comes closest. But it is
              1. An exception to the general rule.
              2. Not a member of NATO.
              3. Penalized Saakashvili, sent him to exile, and replaced him with an elite that’s very careful not to annoy Russia too much.

          • sonamib

            To be fair, Russian minorities in the Baltic states aren’t always treated very well. Of course, it doesn’t help that Russia uses said minorities to try to intervene in those countries internal affairs, but things are complicated.

        • wjts
          • sonamib

            That was hilarious, thanks.

            “Japan Forms Alliance with White Supremacists in Well-Thought-Out Scheme”

        • prognostication

          Where, one assumes, “get along with Russia” means “tolerate Russian interference with their governance and/or Russian encroachment into their territory.”

        • ap77

          This must be trolling or sarcasm. Right? Guys?

          • Origami Isopod

            Neither. It’s Dilan.

        • wjts

          SEATO totally failed and yet Southeast Asia isn’t a war zone.

          Post-SEATO Southeast Asia has been an Edenic garden of international comity and gumdrops.

          • Breadbaker

            And pre-SEATO Southeast Asia launched exactly two fewer world wars in the 20th Century than pre-NATO Europe.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      Something like “all non-citizens have to be re-evaluated”. This is personal to me, and something I genuinely worry about.

      That would require a massive increase in funding for immigration/naturalization enforcement, which Paul Ryan has already pretty much said, “LOL, yeah, no,” about on multiple occasions since the election with regard to trying to deport undocumented immigrants, so I highly doubt he’s going to be more amenable to finding the money to go after people who are lawfully here.

      • DamnYankees

        You don’t need a ton of funding to strip people of rights and tell them to get out.

        • dogboy

          See, this is the part that scares me. Executive Producer Trump doesn’t hate ISIS out of any particular ideological beef, it’s that ISIS has been a market leader in the whole highly produced reality TV off-with-their-heads category.

          In his mind, a 9pm eastern time slot and a catchy tagline (“Am I not merciful?” is probably too many words; “You’re Dead!” seems about right) will be his solution to his need for attention and his theory that killing people live on the TV will cause the rest of the non-christians/non-natives to self-deport.

          • N__B

            a catchy tagline

            “You’re fired” as he lights the cannon’s fuse.

        • postmodulator

          You don’t need a ton of funding to strip people of rights and tell them to get out.

          You need substantial funding to enforce the “get out” part, and people will die in the enforcement.

          • DamnYankees

            The horrible damage from passing a law like that – even an unenforceable one – is terrifying to contemplate. Even without enforcement you’d have millions of people voluntarily fleeing the country. Including the spouses and parents of countless Americans.

            • humanoid.panda

              The last bit is why I am skeptical about law of this kind being past: there are millions, if not tens of millions, of middle class and upper middle class Americans who have family, friends, colleagues who are recent immigrants. It’s kinda like the gay rights issue: you can’t struggle against the consensus of middle class Americans for long.

              • DamnYankees

                On the one hand, I agree.

                On the other hand, we have past experience with this (Germany in the 30s did this, not to go Godwin on you). In addition, if you think about the scenario where we get into a war – or trade war – with China, I think it would be remarkably easy to get the US to ban immigrants. Or at least Chinese immigrants (which is what I personally worry about).

                I do wonder what CA would do if this happened. CA has a massive, massive population of green card holders. This seems like the type of thing which actually could cause CA to resist, or even secede.

                • humanoid.panda

                  On the other hand, we have past experience with this (Germany in the 30s did this, not to go Godwin on you). In addition, if you think about the scenario where we get into a war – or trade war – with China, I think it would be remarkably easy to get the US to ban immigrants. Or at least Chinese immigrants (which is what I personally worry about).

                  The big difference between Germany then and the US now, is that antisemitism was much, much powerful than, then hostility towards immigrants now. This is especially true among elites: German elites were astoundingly antisemitic, but hostility towards “legal” (i.e well-educated, and middle class) is nearly extint among American elites.

                  And your hypothetical kinda highlights my point: if your “safe to isolate this group” example involves a possible secession by largest and most economically important state, it is a problematic example.

                  ETA: if we get into a shooting (unlike trade) war with China, things are different. But I have a strong sense that if Trump fouls up the bed so much that we are on a brink with China, the economic crisis will be so severe he will lack the poltical capital, and elite support, to go to war.

    • humanoid.panda

      My worst case scenario is basically series of terror attacks leading to some form of Muslim internment camp, domestically. Globally, surpisingly enough, its war with Russia. Assuming arguendo that Trump is not a Russian agent, at some point he will realize his friend Vladimir is making fun of him, and then all bets are off.

      • JKTH

        My worst case scenario is basically series of terror attacks leading to some form of Muslim internment camp, domestically.

        I see something like this but it wouldn’t take a series. Just one.

        • humanoid.panda

          Given that his nominee for the DHS position is a relatively sane person, my guess is more than one..

    • Uneekness

      Appoints to the judiciary more than a hundred Alito clones, thus smothering liberal lawmaking even when it does break out here and there in the next twenty years. One of the big factors that allowed for total industrial/corporate domination of the country against a backdrop of rising unrest throughout the late 1800s to the election of FDR was the judiciary quashing every liberal progressive law at every level.

      This would’ve occurred no matter which GOPer won the presidency this year so long as the Senate stated with Team Red, but it will be the thing we lament the most, especially after those judicial appointments are gumming up the works for the next 30 years.

      As for what Trump personally will do, I’m thinking a shooting war with China or Iran. Iran seems most likely, as there appear to be elements in the gov’t and armed forces there that have been trying to goad Obama into something, they will find a much easier mark in Trump, especially with Flynn whispering in his ear that only a war with Mooslems with ensure the purity of our bodily fluids.

    • BigHank53

      It’s tough to predict what Trump’s biggest failure will be, because it’ll be accidental. He’ll start a trade dispute that leads to a couple Chinese factories “forgetting” how to make blood sugar test strips, and we get a spike in diabetic comas. India and Pakistan both wind up thinking the US has their backs in Kashmir, and they proceed to nuke each other. Flynn backs us out of the Iran treaty, and then convinces Trump to bomb their enrichment facilities without declaring war first. Trump sends a thousand armored bulldozers to Israel and tells Bibi to plow those ungrateful Palestinians into the Mediterranean. Hyperbolic tweets drive the stock market so crazy real economic growth drops below 1% and a significant chunk of the S&P 500 start looking at moving their headquarters out of North America–why bring your profits home when you can go live with your profits?

      • Uneekness

        Can totally see the bomb-the-Iranian-facilities option happening. Trump is pretty infatuated with ‘sneak attacks’, and seems to think it is the military tactic to end all military tactics.

        • seems to think it is the military tactic to end all military tactics.

          And so it might be!

          Although I was just reading about Namibian termites, and I gather that they can be said to have “military tactics”, so “all” might be going too far.

      • Gone2Ground

        I think I need a drink after reading that.

    • Jameson Quinn

      Bad things with China. I think (hope) that nukes is taking it a bit far, but I wouldn’t discount the possibility of a serious trade war, plus various “regrettable incidents” which kill hundreds and/or seriously disrupt the lives of tens of thousands.

      Some other country thinks it has the green light to invade a neighbor, leading to an actual war. It doesn’t have to be Russia, there are plenty of other options.

      US misses a bond payment due to some combination of intransigence and incompetence and burn-it-downism. The resulting financial apocalypse would be several times worse than 2008.

      The US deliberately sabotages climate negotiations and Trump’s DOS-attack-on-truth techniques manage to successfully prevent a coherent response. The world loses years of chances.

      None of this is quite as bad as a nuke, but it could very plausibly be worse than Bush’s 8 years in just 4.

      • humanoid.panda

        US misses a bond payment due to some combination of intransigence and incompetence and burn-it-downism. The resulting financial apocalypse would be several times worse than 2008.

        The one thing that makes Trump slightly less dangerous in that regard than, say, Ted Cruz, is that if there is one thing that he actually does undestand it is how important is credit to keeping scams alive…

        • Breadbaker

          Not his track record. He figures that his credit will always be good because it’s him. These are Trumpdollars, not US dollars.

      • Some other country thinks it has the green light to invade a neighbor, leading to an actual war.

        Maybe he could call April Glaspie back from retirement!

        I see, by the way, that G. H. W. and Barbara Bush have both been taken sick and are in hospital. Do you think they’re trying to upstage Friday’s events?

        • mozzerb

          Or have a good excuse to avoid attending them?

      • ColBatGuano

        Yes, the combination of Trump using them as a scapegoat for U.S. economic problems and the Chinese expansion into the South China Sea strike me a pretty volatile mix.

    • McAllen

      Widespread white supremacist violence that Trump ignores or tacitly endorses.

      • This is definitely what I’m second most personally worried about – that, or some form of revival of internment camps. I’m most worried, of course, about nuclear war.

    • Gone2Ground

      Number 1 with North Korea is the scariest one to me, mostly because NK is not only led by a young despot almost as weird and egomaniacal as Trump, but because the entire NK/China/SK nexus is difficult, complicated, and fraught with enough weaponry (all pointed at SK) to start WWIII. I believe it’s taken real diplomatic skill to avoid major confrontations with NK and I have zero confidence this will continue under the knuckleheads Trump will install at State. Add in NK’s probably desperation as their shit really starts to fall apart, and it’s even scarier to me than the Middle East.

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      The Third Great Depression, worse than the first one – 30+% unemployment, 10% deflation, plus ISIS sets off a suitcase nuke in New York, China has conquered the entire Pacific (including Hawaii), and Russia has conquered all of the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries, and is working on Scandinavia.

      Plus internment camps here in the US, full of Muslims, “communists” (aka Democrats), “illegal aliens” (aka vast numbers of Hispanics including citizens), etc.

    • wengler

      4) Do you remember when the Chinese didn’t have military bases in Mexico?

    • rhino

      I think nuclear war is incredibly unlikely, because there is simply no profit in it. This administration is going to be about shifting public money to republican supporters, cutting taxes on the rich, and eliminating government services in order to funnel even more money to the wallets of republican supporters.

      They aren’t going to mass deport illegals, IMO, because those republicans and supporters love having slave labour available. I suppose there might be some widely publicized minor crackdowns to satiate the base, but the reality will be business as usual just with added harassment and violence against anyone with brown skin.

      As for the russian problem, I just don’t know. Can Trump be blackmailed? Can someone with no shame, and who will never believe he has done something wrong (for him) actually be blackmailed at all?

  • tsam
    • Rob in CT

      You know, I was thinking. There were probably a fair # of dumbass voters in January 2009 going “oh, man, I sure regret my vote. I thought he was going to bring us all together but it turns out he’s… *gasp* a liberal!”

      • humanoid.panda

        What is really annoying to me is that Vox thinks that the public has anything valuable to learn from giving morons like this a megaphone, just because they are REAL AMERICANS.

        • humanoid.panda

          Reading it again though, it seems that the particular reason she voted for Trump is not some vague “he will make America great again” BS, but anger at a specific issue: falling into the family glitch trap. Which still makes her vote beyond idiotic (and I seriously wonder how she did before the ACA), but at least she has a legitimate complaint.

          ETA: working off that, I am reversing my opinion about giving her the stage. In th end, the Dems do have to peel of a thin layer of people who voted for Trump, and confused people like her are the best candidates, so knowing what and how they think is valuable.

          • Dilan Esper

            Yeah she actually strikes me as a real swing voter. Someone who is generally conservative but also reachable.

        • Gabriel Ratchet

          I stopped reading once I reached this little nugget of insight:

          Last year was a particularly tough choice. I hated both candidates, wishing every day that Washington had offered up different options. I would have voted for Marco Rubio or Bernie Sanders any day over those two.

          That I should take seriously someone could find any sort of genuine equivalence between them is not something I’m prepared to do without some serious self-inflicted brain damage.

          • mds

            Hell, the fact that she apparently can’t tell the difference between Rubio and Sanders is highly suggestive, too.

      • JKTH

        Oh I’m sure. If you swing back and forth from Republican to Democrat and vice versa despite the fact that the candidates have pretty similar stances on issues each election cycle, you’re probably voting for them for stupid reasons.

        • Dilan Esper

          I think this is mean. I read her piece as “I have some big problems with both parties, so I have to hold my nose and make a call every four years”. That doesn’t strike me as stupid.

          • DamnYankees

            It’s stupid if you changed your mind between Nov. 8 and now, when nothing new has happened that wasn’t 100% obvious on election day.

            • bizarroMike

              What struck me was that she was following the election closely through the “media” and had a pretty bullshit idea of what was going on. I do think she was poorly served, unable to find good facts, and basically spun into making a bad choice.

              • tsam

                “I’m a political junkie. I figured out Trump was full of shit on 60 Minutes after the election.”

                JUST WHAT IN THE WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS IS GOING ON HERE?

                • Bufflars

                  She even claimed to follow mostly CSPAN, so not even a Fox News junkie.

                • tsam

                  She even claimed to follow mostly CSPAN, so not even a Fox News junkie.

                  I look exactly like George Clooney, play guitar like David Gilmour and can dunk.

                • bizarroMike

                  Motivated reasoning. She needed something fixed and so she didn’t look too closely at the details she didn’t like. White people are very good at ignoring racism in America. Trumps lies were pathetic, and his bullshit obvious, but the sad fact is that they still worked. Hell, how many folks got taken in by Trump U?

                  Morally, I think she’s culpable for her choice. Strategically, I think she’s reachable as a D voter, but it will take a party organization that can compete with obvious bullshitting.

          • tsam

            That doesn’t strike me as stupid.

            When you have to “hold your nose” and pick between someone who is capable of the job and a lying, scummy, racist, sexist demagogue who made it VERY clear he couldn’t handle the job and you pick the latter, how in the FUCK are you anything other than breathtakingly stupid?

            We aren’t doing ANYBODY any favors by cutting Trump voters a single millimeter of slack. Including the Trump voters. They need to know they fucked up.

          • humanoid.panda

            I think this is mean. I read her piece as “I have some big problems with both parties, so I have to hold my nose and make a call every four years”. That doesn’t strike me as stupid.

            The problem with this is that to say that to say that I have big problems with both parties when those 2 parties are the Dems and the modern GOP, you need to be one of two things:
            – to care deeply about one issue, to the extent you sometime let it outweigh everything else (say, abortion).
            – deeply, profoundly stupid.

            And that lady doesn’t seem to care too deeply about any particular issue.

          • veleda_k

            Anyone who has serious trouble choosing between Democrats and Republicans is definitely stupid.

            • Dilan Esper

              She’s against abortion. That’s a major issue. But she’s still willing to cross over. Again, doesn’t look stupid to me.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                Look harder.

              • veleda_k

                That says way more about you than it does about her.

              • tsam

                But she’s still willing to cross over.

                Let’s look at what she SAYS and compare it to what she did.

                “I’m willing to vote for a Democrat”

                Yet she voted for a racist, sexist, incompetent idiot, and was disappointed that he backed off of locking Hillary up–OH, is this why you’re defending her?

                • efgoldman

                  Yet she voted for a racist, sexist, incompetent idiot, and was disappointed that he backed off of locking Hillary up

                  CBS reported tonite from Kannapolis, North Carolina, where the big fabric mill closed. They interviewed three Citron Shithead voters, including a middle-aged African American man, all basically saying they wanted to see of he could bring the jobs back (he can’t).
                  Amazing how butthurt they are about the plant moving out; considering that the textile factories in the South opened because the original mills in the North unionized.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Yeah, if I’m an unemployed textile worker, I’m not particularly interested in this historical irony.

                • veleda_k

                  Yeah, that’s what I figured. She hates Hillary Clinton, so Dilan defends her.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  If she had just said that she voted for Trump because she trusted a nonpartisan straight-shooter like James Comey when he said that Clinton was a crook Dilan would write her in in 2000.

          • altofront

            That doesn’t strike me as stupid.

            Please. A few days after the election she heard Trump say he probably wouldn’t prosecute Clinton for her email sins after all, and the scales fell from her eyes: “The ease and quickness with which he reversed his position shook me to my core. I realized in that moment that I had voted for a demagogue.” Calling her “stupid” is too generous.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              Also, somehow it was him saying he wouldn’t prosecute his opponent that led her to realize that he was a demagogue. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          • Bufflars

            Eh, she became disillusioned with Trump because he back-tracked on the idea of prosecuting Clinton.

          • (((Malaclypse)))

            That doesn’t strike me as stupid.

            This is my shocked face.

            • Origami Isopod

              I bet she thinks Estonia is provoking Russia, too.

              • Hogan

                Have you seen the way Estonia is dressed?

                • Origami Isopod

                  I thought of making that joke last night myself, but I couldn’t pull it off.

          • ColBatGuano

            Mean is all those people deserve.

            • farin

              Disenfranchisement is what they deserve, but failing that mean will have to do.

    • NewishLawyer

      I saw this in the morning. Why do these always read like the old True Confessions magazines that teenagers used to like in the 1950s?

    • Hogan

      I hated both candidates, wishing every day that Washington had offered up different options.

      And you call yourself a political junkie. Trump was a candidate because of fuckwits like you who bothered to show up for a primary/caucus, not because of “Washington.”

      And that’s one of the less annoying moments in the article.

      • humanoid.panda

        My favorite bit is her wishing she could vote for Rubio or Sanders. Which is an important lesson for everyone on this board: we evaluate politicians on the basis of their ideology. This is not at all how the swing voter thinks.

        • Rob in CT

          Right.

          It’s all about “authenticity” or some shit (though, in that case… Rubio? Seriously?).

          • JKTH

            Let us dispel with the notion that Rubio is inauthentic.

            • humanoid.panda

              Rubio’s asset I think was the vague notion that he is “fresh” and optimistic rather than authenticity. I also think that had he made it to the general, the media adulation of him would have given him a landslide.

              • BigHank53

                Rubio would have been in for a tongue bath from the media, but the debates would have looked more like that guy at the Peruvian chicken place with the big cleaver: whole chicken to parts in less than a single breath.

                • tsam

                  Isn’t that kinda what the Clinton/Trump debate looked like? I guess Trump’s better at obfuscation and evasion than Rubio, but he betrayed his inner stupidity and confusion.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Yeah. Trump was the only candidate to lose all 3 debates decisively in recent decades. Rubio might be dumb, but he’s coachable enough to avoid that.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            to me this is an example of how poisoned both the R and D brands are with swing voters. Sanders and Rubio both make sense as pols who on first glance don’t seem like the rest of their parties- this was something that worked to Obama’s advantage in late 2007 and ’08. So “new” or “different” I think works as well as “authentic”

            • so-in-so

              Is this just “he seems nice”, “he’s good looking”, or “he’s someone you could have a beer with”, “she’s a soccer Mom just like me” in another form?

              I suspect that idiocy will always be a prime motivator of low-information “swing” voters.

              • tsam

                Patty Murray has had a long career selling herself as a soccer mom/senator. This is Washington, though. Liberals do fairly well in statewide elections.

              • sigaba

                “He speaks his mind…”

                • Origami Isopod

                  “… he says what we’re all thinking!”

    • tsam

      I did repost this on my Facebook, with what will lose me some friends (I hope):

      The regret comes from being personally affected, instead of affecting all of “those people” you were hoping Trump would attack. If there was ever even a second of agonizing over Clinton vs. Trump, you’re a volatile mixture of stupid and evil. Trump told you exactly who he was from the first day of his campaign, and that’s what you voted for– A racist, sexist, lying demagogue who is unfit for the office. Please spare us your phony surprise after finding out that Trump is exactly who he said he was.

      ETA: That was as much a shot at Sanders dead-enders, 3rd party voters and abstainers as much as at Trump voters.

      • humanoid.panda

        The problem with this is that there are in fact Trump voters who genuniely seem unaware of who he was, or just presumed his bigotry was an act. Now that’s willful ignorance and a moral failure of the highest degree, but these kinds of people can be peeled of him, and that’s what matters now.

        • tsam

          That doesn’t exonerate them.

          The problem is that if someone says racist things and you’re OK with that, you’re a racist too. Maybe even worse than a vocal racist.

          I don’t believe that anyone made it all the way through this entire primary and general election season without figuring out that Trump is an irredeemable piece of of fucking shit.

          Perhaps they can be “peeled off” of him, but now we’re back to deciding what’s worth actively seeking to bring racists into the Democratic coalition. They’ll have a voice–one that actively works against all the hard-fought progress the party has made.

          • so-in-so

            I suspect the people we have to look for are the ones who stayed home. Those people who got discouraged by weeks of the media yammering about Clinton’s foundation and emails (and very quietly taking about Trump) could maybe be brought on board. The ones who voted for Trump? I hope they get burned worst of all.

            • ap77

              Agreed. To quote the famous Chappelle skit, here are my thoughts on Trump voters: “I hate you. I hate you. I don’t even know you, and I hate your guts. I hope all the bad things in life happen to you and nobody else but you.”

            • tsam

              Yes, and figure out how to get the disenfranchised back on the voter rolls. That might take some extraordinary action, which I’m willing to take.

            • Those people and, much as I despise them, third-party voters are definitely more worth trying to bring back into our coalition than people who were at least tacitly ok enough with Trump’s racism and misogyny to vote for him.

          • humanoid.panda

            Perhaps they can be “peeled off” of him, but now we’re back to deciding what’s worth actively seeking to bring racists into the Democratic coalition. They’ll have a voice–one that actively works against all the hard-fought progress the party has made.

            Here is the problem with this: I didn’t believe this possible before the election happened, but right now, the evidence of the existence of a significant chunk of Obama-Obama-Trump voters is strong. And I don’t think that the Democratic party of 2012 is a party that was seeking racist votes.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              But I think we have to assume the GOP will continue to run white supremacists.

              • humanoid.panda

                Again, I find it hard to believe that affinity for white supremacy is a good explanation for someone voting for Barrack HUSSEIN Obama, twice, and the Donald Trump.

                • Abbey Bartlet

                  Again, you are wrong.

                • There was a news outlet that ran a quote from a voter in 2008 who said, verbatim, “We’re voting for the [N-word].” Voting for Obama is not an affirmative defence against racism.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Affirmative was possibly quite strong, but I think saying something like: Democrats have demonstrated they can get votes from voters that are racist, or apathetic to racism, without catering to their racism, and running a living embodiment of anti-racism for president. There is no reason to presume they can’t do it again – as long as they don’t try to “ditch identity politics” to do so.

                • Perhaps it’s possible to recapture these people’s votes without pandering to their racism, but I’d rather focus on trying to bring people who aren’t white supremacists or sympathetic to white supremacists back into our coalition, particularly since Combover Caligula has brought overt racism into politics in a way that it wasn’t in 2008 and 2012. There’s no guaranteeing that these people would even have voted for Obama in 2008/2012 if Cheeto Benito had been the Republicans’ nominee.

                • humanoid.panda

                  And I think the relevant election is 2012: Obama was not a new figure anymore, the economy was bad, Romney played footsie with racism, and yet, a whole bunch of people who ended up voting Trump in 2016 voted for Obama, and Democratic senators.

                • “Playing footsie with” racism isn’t the same as making it the central plank of your platform. It’s not even on the same planet. Romney wasn’t appealing to white supremacists because he kept his appeals to dog-whistles. Tangerine Torquemada came right out and said the stuff that previous Republicans mostly just implied. That’s a crucial difference.

            • tsam

              Ok, but what is it going to take to get these people? Because if they are willing to vote for Donald Trump, who is as bad as it gets, what’s next? I don’t understand how this can even happen, and I get that it’s probably because people believed his rhetoric about bringing back jobs. I guess that’s where you go–“everyone chill the fuck out, I got this” and promise them the moon.

              • humanoid.panda

                It’s quite possible that nothing besides a charismatic candidate, and Trump failing to deliver is required to bring them back. Which is my point: morally, the distinction between “racist” and “moron who closes their eyes to racism” is insignificant. Politically, its the distinction between a gettable and non-gettable voter.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                Like I said elsewhere:
                Total votes: 136,628,459.
                PA/MI/WI difference: 77,774.
                That’s <.06% of the vote.

                Nader went from getting 2.74% of the vote to getting 0.38% of the vote after 4 years of Bush.

            • mds

              but right now, the evidence of the existence of a significant chunk of Obama-Obama-Trump voters is strong.

              I’ll reiterate yet again that I think there’s evidence that the pool of non-voters changed more than anything else. Evangelicals turned out in larger numbers for Trump than for Romney and McCain, for example. And I guarantee that it wasn’t because a bunch of them were voting for Obama instead.

              Obama voter –> Non-voter
              Non-voter –> Trump voter

              Note that this fits well with the repeatedly-demonstrated GOP strategy of suppressing turnout for their opponents.

              ETA: This is not to say that Obama -> Trump doesn’t exist at all, just that it was probably smaller than the change in the non-voting pool.

              • Rob in CT

                Yes, I think this was probably more powerful than Obama -> Trump.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        ETA: That was as much a shot at Sanders dead-enders, 3rd party voters and abstainers as much as at Trump voters.

        I view anyone who did anything but vote for Clinton as equally complicit. GOP voters, third partiers, stay-at-homes*, they’re all guilty.

        *Obviously this does not apply to people who wished to vote but were unable to.

        • humanoid.panda

          Morally speaking? Sure. But as a matter of politics, we need members of all these groups to win the next set of elections.

          • Abbey Bartlet

            We do not. We need members of one of them. Or a few members of each of them.

            Total votes: 136,628,459.
            PA/MI/WI difference: 77,774.

            That’s <.06% of the vote. That's a teensy tiny number. There are long lists of things that are bigger than that. That's a particularly cold day. It's a few people with the flu. It's nothing. We do not need to coddle people who didn't work to stop this.

            • humanoid.panda

              What I meant was along the lines of “few members of each group.”

              Also, keep in mind: while it’s true that the actual margin of victory for Trump was tiny, the swing between 2012 and 2016 in a whole bunch of places was very significant (Minnesota went from +10 to +2 Dem, for instance). And we need to swing back to win the Senate again, and make some headway in the House and win a bunch of governorships.

              Just imagine the world as it is, with HRC having eked out a victory with tiny margins in WI, PA, MI. The world is vastly better place, but we are still faced with a Senate minority, the prospect of another midterm catastrophe, and the knowledge that Donald Trump over-performed Mitt Romney, rather dramatically. This is far from a nice place to be at.

              • Nick056

                NH and Maine were too close for comfort. In all Hillary lost five states Obama won in 2012, including states Dems won every cycle since 1992 and 1988, without picking up any new state, and while netting a 2.1 NPV victory compared to Obama’s 3.9 NPV in 2012.

                I hate that we have to “win” states, instead of just winning votes. But while this election is not the “landslide” Trump claims, it is the biggest EC win for Reps in a long time — since 1988. Plus, of course, unified Republican government and a favorable Senate calendar in 2018, and dominance at the state level. The Dems are in a precarious place. It’s tempting to say that if we could re-run the election without Comey and/or Russia, we win; but that really does not explain the depth of the losses. For my money, this chart ought to be in front of everyone responsible for rebuilding the party. And this reporting needs to be read and understood:

                Even if Trump’s supporters have not themselves fallen on hard times, they often live in places where economic opportunity is scarce. Rothwell first uncovered this apparently paradoxical pattern in a previous draft of the working paper. He and Diego-Rosell shared a revision containing the additional findings on mortgages and taxes with The Washington Post this week.

                […] Even if globalization is not the reason, other evidence shows that Trump is successful in places afflicted by some kind of social and economic malaise. This pattern is particularly clear in medical data. Trump is more popular where residents are less healthy.

                The new findings from Rothwell and Diego-Rosell confirm this point.

                Respondents who live in communities with greater mortality view Trump more favorably, Rothwell and Diego-Rosell found. That is also true of respondents who live in neighborhoods with elevated rates of diabetes and disability.

                Those who live in places where more babies are born below normal weight, which can be related to ill parental health, are more favorably disposed to Trump.

                • Rob in CT

                  MN too.

                  The trend was bad in a lot of states that we need for an EC victory. Where trends were good, they mostly don’t help us (CA, NY, though places like AZ & GA might).

                  We do have to peel off some of these (in my view) kind of crappy voters. As much as I loathe what they did, haranguing them isn’t going to help with that. It’s frustrating! I totally understand the desire to rub their noses in it. But we need to win and to win we need some them to come back.

                  And when I say win I don’t just mean squeaking out a close Presidential election, I mean winning such that we can govern – minimum POTUS + Senate majority. The House… Christ. That’s a taller order, but if we want to accomplish big things, we need that too. And we’re not getting that without appealing to fools & knaves.

                • so-in-so

                  I don’t think a focus on inequality would be problematic in any way, and would appeal to a lot of people who either stayed home or even voted Trump (they are stupid, but I CAN sorta see someone thinking that Clinton was too status-quo and at least Trump, though a rich guy himself, would shake things up enough to give people a chance).

                  Republican lite is going to be lose I think; they have the real thing if that’s what someone wants. More emphasis on “we are going to work against the bankers and rich guys who are screwing you over” might appeal. Having it be true, as opposed to Trump’s blatant lying, might help. “Socialism” by name is still a loser, because too many people are conditioned to think that means “taking my hard-earned money and giving it to lazy blah people”.

          • sigaba

            Morally speaking? Sure. But as a matter of politics, we need members of all these groups to win the next set of elections.

            This is true.

            It is also true that a lot of people who voted for Hitler later voted for Konrad Adenauer. And at no time did Adenauer ever have to say, “Now, Hitler had some good ideas and we’re going to build on that,” or, “we have to figure out how to reach Hitler voters.”

            Extreme example, but. Democrats will need Trump voters but finding middle-ground with Trump positions will only be compromising with people’s fears and anxieties, that’s what they voted for.

    • bizarroMike

      That did exactly what you claimed! Now I’m mad, and I’m going to sue you for making true statements on the internet. That is illegal now that Trump is president, and you know it.

      • tsam

        Sorry M8! Don’t sue me!

    • Scott Lemieux

      But sitting on my couch, sipping coffee as I watched the interview, I saw with my own eyes who Trump really was as a person. He backtracked on one of his signature campaign promises: pursuing an investigation into the Clinton email scandal.

      I mean, enough enough people voted Trump over EMAILS! to put Trump in the White House, but it;s amazing to hear someone admit it. “Wait, are you saying that a scandal about email server management was actually trumped-up bullshit? I feel so used!”

    • Chetsky

      This article (and interview) brings up a question. But first, lemme say:

      It’s unkind to say this, but I sure hope she gets it good and hard. I hope she looks back on her vote for Trump as the worst decision she ever made. God, I’m so angry at her.

      OK. Now …. she claims that the ACA made her worse-off, money-wise. That is, amongst three scenarios:

      (a) pre-ACA: she pays medical bills, without insurance

      (b) post-ACA, she pays copays, out-of-pockets, plus insurance (893/mo)

      (c) [hypothetical] post-ACA, she pays penalty, and medical bills w/o insurance

      I find it difficult to believe that scenario #b was worst of these three. But maybe it was? I’m sure not up on all this stuff. But here in CA, I’m on a Silver PPO, ffs, and it’s a whole heckuva lot cheaper than 893/mo. And if she’s on some Gold plan, she oughta be paying diddly-squat on top, right? I guess, I’m having trouble believing her story, that she was adversely affected by the ACA, -unless- she’s a richie, and this is all just “cover” for “you raised my taxes”.

      • tsam

        I don’t think she thought that lie through very well. The fact that her epiphany came after finding out Trump wasn’t going to put Hillary in jail is a huge tell.

        • humanoid.panda

          One possible charitable solution to the conundrum (I did some volunteer work as navigator, so I encountered people like this): she wasn’t treating her condition before the ACA, and when she heard of the ACA, she was expecting free, or very, very cheap medicine, and was angry when she realized that she still can barely afford treatment.

          • tsam

            Well, it was people just like her who shit their pants at the mere mention of a national health system, despite the same being successful all over the world. The ACA was a stopgap measure to improve the situation, not a permanent fix, though it probably could have worked for quite a while as it was.

            Honestly, I’m getting rather tired of people being so goddamned uninformed and scared shitless of things the Fox crowd tells them to be afraid of. It doesn’t take very much effort to be better informed than this, and if you want to continue to live in a free society, it’s your fucking responsibility to know stuff. We can blame the media all we want, but that situation isn’t going to get any better. In the end, it’s the fault of the voters that they can’t tell the difference between a truly evil asshole full of empty slogans, talking like a 3rd grader and inciting violence, and a person who’s spent her adult life in public service which is on the record as being good.

            • econoclast

              It makes a weird sort of sense. What both parties stand for is completely clear, so if you pay attention and are not a moron, you would always vote for the same party (based on some combination of values and self interest). That means the only voters who are left to swing are going to be people who aren’t paying attention or are very stupid.

              • tsam

                If people were paying attention and knew some stuff, there wouldn’t be nearly as many Republican voters.

                • Rob in CT

                  Depends on what you mean by know some stuff. There are “high info” Republican voters – it’s just that they “know” things that are false, misleading, and so on. They’re hi-disinformation voters.

                • To paraphrase Ronald Reagan (which I find to be a nice bit of irony in this context), it’s not that they don’t know things; it’s that they know so much that isn’t so.

        • Chetsky

          uhh-huh. So … [and again, frankly, as a patriot, I don’t give who shits about this woman or her troubles — she voted for a fascist and a Russian agent, she should move to Russia] if this is correct, then I have a serious beef with the writer of the piece. Did they actually -verify- her numbers?

          I think it’s quite material, b/c other than that, her piece is …. 100% unadulterated bullshit. The money issue is the *only* place she can point, for something that actually hurt her.

          [And yeah, she's the first American who ever got adversely affected by a government action in the history of our country.]

          • Chetsky

            OK, I dug a *little*.

            2016 penalty: $2k (per healthcare.gov)
            2016 silver premium in Detroit (midwest): $190/mo

            Hell, I paid 2/3 of what she paid, for a Silver PPO, in pricey California.

            She’s off her meds.

      • econoclast

        There is a lesson here for the Democrats — don’t let your social programs be designed by economists full of gee-whiz ideas about the alignment of incentives and nudging. The ACA is an improvement over the alternative, but people are too stupid to ever understand it.

    • rhino

      I read this article, and all I wanted to do was grab this asshole by the throat and shake them to death.

      The perfect example of what is wrong with democracy, right there. We place the selection of our government into the hands of people who don’t bother to think or research before they pull the lever.

      Sure, sure, all the other systems are worse. That’s cold comfort, looking at Trump, and all the other Alt Right supported hate-cons in ascendance across the globe, all because of assholes like the guy in this article.

      • Chetsky

        Heh. I suspect she knew what she was getting — “kick the ni-clang!s”. But when she realized that the guy was so …. mercurial, she had second thoughts. And blamed it on the ACA.

        B/c shit, for $900/mo, she must have a Palladium-plated plan. FFS.

        She just doesn’t wanna admit to her racism.

        • tsam

          Yeah, it’s pretty obvious that the story about health care was either wildly incomplete or totally fabricated.

          The epiphany after hearing that Trump wouldn’t (illegally) lock Hillary up was really all she needed to say.

  • Alex.S

    So… which of Trump’s nominees or advisers would be expected in a “generic Republican who vetted them” administration?

    There’s Elaine Chao. And… umm. Reince Priebus? Is he still there?

    • DamnYankees

      James Mattis and Rick Perry are also somewhat ‘expected’ choices for a Republican.

      • humanoid.panda

        Mattis is probably better than expected for a Republican (he is very skeptical on the Likud, for instance). Perry would be a mundane nomination for, say, HUD, but even republicans tended to nominate people with technical expertise to the Energy job. (I am still convinced Trump thinks its about the oil. )

        • DamnYankees

          As far as I can tell, Spencer Abraham (Bush’s first term SoE) had no better qualifications for the job than Perry.

          • humanoid.panda

            You’re right. I was thinking of his successor, who actually did have a PhD in chemical engineering.

          • rea

            The likes of Spencer Abraham sure isn’t going to be put in charge of the country’s nukes in a Trump Administration, being of Arab descent.

      • Alex.S

        Largest issue with Mattis is the waiver that was needed. Which would be a bigger deal normally. I’d hope

        Rick Perry wanted to get rid of his department. Even if he checks all the other boxes, I’d have difficulty imagining a normal Presidency would want to deal with the ridicule or controversy.

        • humanoid.panda

          Yeah. During the election, I was very dubious of the “Trump scandals are distracting us from other Trump scandals” theory, but I was proven absolutely wrong. Stuff that would derail nominations in any other administration can barely get any air time now, because so much noise is generated around him.

    • humanoid.panda

      Zinke at Interior. One could argue that Mattis at DOD is probably an improvement over a median republican. Minuchin at Treasury is a filthy POS, but not much different than most people who served in the job in recent decades.

      • Crusty

        I think there’s a difference between filthy p’sos who have pretensions towards doing good and those who don’t even care about the appearance.

        • so-in-so

          The administration of a man who openly claimed he could shoot someone on 5th avenue and still be elected, and to a degree proved the point, will not care about competence or avoiding the appearance of scandal. I expect open looting and directing the flying monkeys to attack critics before it is over.

          • Crusty

            Which is what I think might distinguish them from Rubin or Summers.

  • humanoid.panda

    Bernstein didn’t have a good year in punditry, but I think he is making a really good point here: Trump’s laziness and lack of experience in actually running a complex organization might put a limit on how much damage he can do. So far, he filled less than 5% of his Senate confirmation level officials, which means it will take him months to take full charge of the upper level of the executive branch. And time is of the essence, because when you start with a 40%-45% approval rating, your political capital is limited.

    • Crusty

      Well, the problem is when Bannon or Preibus or somebody says Donald, you focus on making America great again from Mar-A-Lago, we’ll take care of this administrative busy work for you.

      • humanoid.panda

        Right, but Bernstein’s point is that if you don’t appoint the people who will implement what Bannon and Priebus envision, then their ability to control the executive branch is diminished. And so far, for whatever reason, Trump and/or Bannon/Priebus are not doing that.

      • nemdam

        Exactly. Preibus and Bannon and Kushner will just tell Trump who to staff in these positions and he will just do it. If Trump fights them, they will say “Just sign off on this and you can get back to Twitter and CNN” and he will sign.

        • humanoid.panda

          But that’s Bernstein point: for some reason or other, they aren’t doing that.

          • sigaba

            Yeah, do Bannon and Preibus have a way of getting Trump to back off in a way that still preserves his Royal Prerogative and ego?

            We joke, “Just do this and you can go back on Twitter,” but really what would Bannon tell him? Trump is unquestionably dull and incurious, but he certainly can tell when he’s being patronized and he can absolutely tell when someone’s trying to edge him out of a deal.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      And time is of the essence, because when you start with a 40%-45% approval rating, your political capital is limited.

      What do we mean by political capital? It’s clear that the Republicans in Congress will give him whatever he wants no matter what.

      • lunaticllama

        For one thing, this slow dribble of nominees will allow much more scrutiny than if they had 100 people lined up to be confirmed in the next 2 weeks.

        • Origami Isopod

          But, if DeVos’s hearing is any indication, each will be rushed through.

    • farin

      But if the goal is to do as much damage as possible, you can break all the handles off the executive branch pretty quickly.

  • Bloix

    As Sen. Warren pointed out, the Dept of Ed is the trillion dollar Bank of Student Loans with some other stuff tacked on. Lotta room for some serious grift there and DeVos is up to the job. It’s like HUD – $40 billion annually in grants and loans, and just the right guy to steal it.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      Except that Carson isn’t the right guy to steal money from HUD because he almost certainly has no clue how most of the programs work in the first place and will be heavily dependent on his staff to handle things. You generally need to understand how an institution works to effectively grift it.

      • humanoid.panda

        You could argue that Carson is the worst possible candidate from a grifting point of view, because he is likely enough to be dumb enough to be caught.

        • Just_Dropping_By

          Indeed, particularly given that I’m not aware of Carson having pulled off any sophisticated scams in the past. (Yes, his presidential run was sort of a scam, but it didn’t actually depend on exploiting some kind of hypertechnical loophole or carefully disguising accounting entries or something. It just depended on him being insincere and some part of the public being gullible enough to send him money. That technique doesn’t really work with a cabinet department, I don’t think.)

          • I actually saw a convincing argument during the primaries that Carson himself wasn’t actually trying to scam the public, but that the people running his campaign were responsible for the scam, and that it may have been at least partially at his expense. I don’t care for Carson, but I find that sadly plausible regardless. Unfortunately, I don’t have it bookmarked, so I can’t link it, but maybe someone else here saw it.

            • humanoid.panda

              Then again, he, a doctor, made a lot money peddling scam pills.

              • That’s true, too. It’s also possible that he was trying to run a scam while also being scammed at the same time. At this point I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.

                • Bitter Scribe

                  Maybe he was dumb enough to believe that the crap actually worked.

                • That also wouldn’t surprise me. To be honest, I’m not sure there are many things that would surprise me about Carson if they turned out to be true.

                • This Blog

                  Kills fascists

            • Just_Dropping_By

              Yes, I saw similar arguments too based on his campaign finance reports. The problem is that even after those news stories started appearing, he didn’t do anything to shake up his campaign staff, AFAIA, so either he was really in some sort of next-level denial or he was at least tacitly OK with it (probably because it boosted his book sales).

              • The book sales are the most plausible interpretation, yes. “It is difficult to get a man to understand a thing when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” -Upton Sinclair

            • Tristan

              I’m paraphrasing someone, but one of the many unnerving things about the Trump circle of appointees, advisors, and hangers-on is how many of them you can look at and, even while acknowledging that they’re grifters and exploiters and for lack of a better word evil, still find yourself hoping they someday get the help they clearly need.

              • Bitter Scribe

                Meh. If they would just leave the rest of us alone, they could stew in their neuroses, delusions of grandeur, and general stupidity for the rest of their lives for all I care.

              • Origami Isopod

                Maybe you can. These people are going to make a great many Americans unable to get the help they need. Trump’s cling-ons can fucking drink themselves to death for all I care.

                • Tristan

                  That’s why I chose ‘unnerving’ to describe it, after a lot of deliberation over other words. It’s not sympathy I’m trying to convey.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Fair enough.

      • Moondog von Superman

        Except that Carson isn’t the right guy to steal money from HUD because he almost certainly has no clue how most of the programs work in the first place and will be heavily dependent on his staff to handle things. You generally need to understand how an institution works to effectively grift it.

        The states will perform the grift. Carson’s job will just be getting rid of staff who try to exercise federal control.

  • Bitter Scribe

    Her family got its money through Amway, right? Isn’t that the world’s biggest legal pyramid scheme? Seems somehow appropriate.

    And let’s not forget that Joe Lieberman was there to tell everyone how wonderful she is. Why the fuck doesn’t that useless turd just turn Republican and get it over with?

    • It’s a multilevel marketing company, which is basically a pyramid scheme, yes. John Oliver is mandatory viewing here.

      • This Blog

        Kills fascists

      • Bitter Scribe

        Just watched it. Thanks for letting me know. Wow. Those people are even scummier than I thought.

        I haven’t watched any Last Week Tonight segments in a while. Think I’ll binge-watch now, to take my mind off the impending disaster.

    • witlesschum

      Her husband’s family is the pyramid scheme. Her dad ran a very successful auto supplier and her brother is whatever Blackwater calls itself today. The west Michigan fundie establishment may be trying to follow the model of the pre WWI crowned heads of Europe.

  • nasser

    Trump should forget about Betsey DeVos and nominate Dom Tullipso for Sec. of Education! Or at least Sec. of Somethingcation.

  • Mike in DC

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that of the 5 out of 20 people pictured there who aren’t white guys, 3 of them are manifestly unqualified or underqualified for the positions they’re nominated to. One of the others is the wife of the Senate Majority Leader.

  • WHOCB

    Forty-eight hours and we get our goats back! I’ve been stocking up on butter and condoms for weeks!

  • WHOCB

    I hope the goats get here soon, I’m lonely.

  • WHOCB

    Goats, goats, goats. I like to get freaky with goats!

    • Dr. Acula

      Mickey Kaus will be jealous.

  • Troll cleanup in aisle six.

    • N__B

      And the form of the cleanup is the best laugh of the day.

      • econoclast

        I initially didn’t realize it was a troll cleanup, and thought it was just a joke I wasn’t getting.

  • I’m not sure if the recent infestation is the work of the real deal or of a parody troll, but in either case somebody should pour bleach on it.

    • Hogan

      Hear hear.

    • N__B

      pour bleach on it.

      It seems white enough already.

    • Origami Isopod

      I emailed the front pagers when it started up.

      According to Loomis, it’s usually just Jennie nowadays.

      • Tristan

        Which continues to be amazing.

        • witlesschum

          It really is.

        • Origami Isopod

          Indeed.

    • so-in-so

      Problem is, the troll hasn’t been convinced to drink the bleach yet.

  • Pingback: This Whole Administration Is Really Too on the Nose - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money()

  • e.a.foster

    DeVos, as the head of education, ya that sounds about right for a Trump administration. Saw a bit of the “questioning” on the Canadian news last night. Couldn’t stop laughing. Was as good as watch Stephen Corbet, then I realized I was watching actually news and not a comedy routine. Oh, well the destruction of the education system is always important when you want to eliminate critical thinkers and ensure a whole generation of people will not learn to “question their betters”.

  • rhino

    So, a bunch of white guys, three tokens, and uncle Tom.

    Wow.

    • The actual literary Uncle Tom was nothing like the popular perception of him, FYI. Stowe intended him to be a noble, long-suffering slave, and he stands up for his beliefs throughout the book and refuses to allow himself to be exploited. He is ultimately martyred because he refuses to betray the whereabouts of two women who had escaped from slavery (I’d post a spoiler warning, but really, the book is 165 years old). And yes, the messianic symbolism is a bit on-the-nose. The term “Uncle Tom” as popularly used appears to have sprung out of derivative works.

      • rhino

        That’s a good point, I should read it again, it’s been a good many years since I did.

        Still, the name has become shorthand for a specific kind of loathsome collaborator, and that is the sense in which I used it here. Honestly I view Carson as something of a tragic figure: An obviously brilliant man in a very specific field who has, through hubris and bad advice, become something of both a scourge and laughingstock. Frankly, I feel as sorry for him as anything.

        • Yeah, it’s a useful term. It’s just a shame that it misrepresents an important literary character, but I’m not really sure what can be done about that.

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