Home / General / An Solemn Plea For Civil Discourse From Jonah Goldberg

An Solemn Plea For Civil Discourse From Jonah Goldberg

Comments
/
/
/
83 Views

Jonah is very upset that Democrats are engaging in the most uncivil act in American political discourse, expressing your visceral loathing for women on a daily basis accurately describing the effects of Republican policy proposals:

Two weeks later, many of the very same people are describing Republicans as murderers for proposing changes to Medicaid. “Forget death panels,” Hillary Clinton tweeted. “If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party.” Senator Elizabeth Warren said the tax cuts in the bill amount to “blood money.” Those comments were restrained compared with those of some activists, like left-wing filmmaker Josh Fox, who proclaimed on Twitter, “Mitch McConnell is a terrorist. [Donald Trump] is a terrorist. This bill terrorizes people and sentences poor people to death.”
I think the flawed Republican health-care plan is very much open to criticism, from the Left and the Right, but this rhetoric is repugnant and dangerously stupid.

Did Goldberg have any issue with “death panels” rhetoric when it was used against Obama? I think you know the answer! Anyway:

Would people die? Despite a host of very specific numbers from people like Senator Bernie Sanders, no one really knows. The data is at best mixed about whether Medicaid improves mortality rates or even health overall (though it’s clear that some people, such as pregnant women, do benefit).

Ah, yes, the classic goalposts move. “We cannot know exactly how many people would die if insurance is taken away from 22 million people, so who knows, maybe it won’t affect mortality at all!” It is massively implausible that a mass stripping of insurance wouldn’t result in a lot of people dying, and this is also what the evidence shows. And Goldberg doesn’t really dispute this:

Still, it might be true that some people would die earlier than they would have if we kept the status quo. This is not the damning concession it may appear to be. Politicians like to defend some law on the grounds that “if it saves just one life, it’s worth it.” But by that logic we should make the speed limit 5 mph. That would surely save lives. Are you a murderer if you oppose such a move?

Except, of course, nobody is arguing that any saving of life is worth any cost, just that it’s a variable that must be taken into account. You can’t ignore the increased mortality that would result from TrumpCare — you need to justify it.

Needless to say, there’s a reason for this ham-handed shell game. Here’s a handy summary of the costs and benefits of TrumpCare:

Costs: substantial amounts of preventable death, substantially more preventable suffering, substantially more preventable financial ruin. Oh, and even people who keep their insurance will mostly pay a lot more to receive less.

Benefits: Extremely wealthy people will get a nice tax cut.

To argue that the costs are outweighed by the benefits, you actually have to do, you know, the cost-benefit analysis. For obvious reasons, apologists for TrumpCare don’t want to do that — they just want to argue that considering the costs is Beyond the Pale of Civil Discourse. That dog ain’t even going to get out of the front yard.

This plea for Civil Discourse was brought to you by Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism: from Adolf Roosevelt to Hitlery Clinton.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • LeeEsq

    I can’t figure out why a picture of a woman from the late 19th century in a very 19th century looking dress is being used to illustrate these posts.

    • Joe Paulson

      Emily Post (going by the pic link). She was big on civility.

      • njorl

        I was wondering why he had included a photo of Archduchess Sophie of Hohenburg who was assassinated 103 years ago yesterday.

        Emily Post makes much more sense.

        • Adam King

          I’m surprised that Emily Post would assassinate an Archduchess. Doesn’t seem very gracious to me.

          • Helmut Monotreme

            It may surprise you to learn that it was very gracious indeed, she said please and thank you, used the proper form address, “your soon-to-be-the-late excellency” and even used the salad fork as is taught in the best schools.

            • Adam King

              So glamorous! *sigh*

            • erquirk

              And she had a super tip on how to get those pesky blood stains out of lace. Very civil indeed!

          • Saki’s great story “The Easter Egg” covers this territory perfectly.

      • and she invented the blog – hence “blog Post”

        • Bobby Tolberto aka TDA

          And was the originater of Post Toasties.

          • John Griffone

            Little known fact: the phrase “going postal” had nothing to do with the post office. It originated from Emily Post’s legendary fits of rage whenever someone wore white after labor day.

        • Breadbaker

          She considered it polite to receive stolen goods from friends to whom one had been personally introduced in the proper manner. Hence, “fence post.”

  • CP

    Ladies and gentlemen, a plea for civility and tolerance from the man whose claim to fame is writing a book called “Liberal Fascism.”

    • NationalGalleryofClipArt

      & whose mother stashed a dress laden with semen.

  • JustinVC

    “Still, it might be true that some people would die earlier than they would have if we kept the status quo.”

    Well, if people aren’t IMMORTAL, what’s the big deal?

    • Lost Left Coaster

      We’re all going to die someday. And yet you insist on postponing this day at the expense of rich people getting a tax cut! Who’s being selfish here, honestly?

    • Abigail Nussbaum

      That, indeed, seems to be the talking point Republicans are pivoting to: “well, we’re all going to die some day!

    • Davis

      it “might” be true that “some” people Classic Goldberg. Weasel words to avoid actually saying anything.

  • Interestingly, Ramesh Ponnuru, who once called us The Party of Death, disagreed with Goldberg and said liberals were getting a bad rap on this a couple of days ago.

    • sharculese

      Ponnuru persists under the delusion that a sane Republican Party is happening any time soon. I don’t know how much longer he’s going to be able to keep that up.

      • I think he’s just so anti-abortion that he doesn’t care what the party does on any other issue. So he will continue to lob criticisms, which are sometimes reasonable ones, but he will never bolt.

        • sharculese

          That is sort of the sticking point. Were it not for that, I could see him going the Josh Barro route of “as a Principled Conservative, these people are fucking nuts,” but he’s too committed to seeing women as birthing vessels.

    • efgoldman

      Ramesh Ponnuru, who once called us The Party of Death, disagreed with Goldberg

      Which doesn’t matter, is totally irrelevant, and influences nobody except a couple dozen people who, unaccountably, still find the FNYT credble

    • D. C. Sessions

      Obviously he’s a deep-cover mole in the Party.

    • hypersphericalcow

      The rhetorical gymnastics of right-wing “intellectuals”, like him and Avik Roy, around this bill are somehow impressive.

  • sharculese

    No, Jonah, you don’t know because you’re lazy, bad at math, and have never had a job your mommy didn’t buy for you.

    Thats not the same as competent people not knowing.

    • tsam100

      There’s also the entire history of the US, wherein lots and lots of people DID die from an inability to afford medical treatment. But I guess history began at the ACA implementation.

      • D. C. Sessions

        Actually, it began all over in the late 90s, just after it ended.

      • Breadbaker

        And any medical cost issues that were happening as of 2010 suddenly became irrelevant and could only be tied to the ACA, as in “my premiums would never have gone up if it weren’t for the ACA [notwithstanding they were rising faster before the ACA].”

  • DN Nation

    As I like to say over at Edroso’s place, J-Dawg is nearing 50 years old and still hems and haws and “to be sure”s like a college freshman past deadline.

    Thing good. But maybe thing bad? Some people say thing bad, but perhaps thing good. To be fair, thing bad. But people saying thing bad also bad. Simpsons quote.

    edit: I do applaud the NRO from taking a break from ignoring the healthcare issue entirely because they can’t polish this turd to really put the big editorial guns on the beat.

    • Denverite

      To be Scrupulously Fair, that’s a bad tick in my writing as well.

      • N__B

        In Jonah’s case, that tick has an annular rash around it.

        • He should be treated with diluted penicillyn.

          • tsam100

            Dilute with Drano and ketchup.

    • Jon_H11

      This is why I was shocked to learn McArble was 44. English/Poli-Sci/Phil 101 papers should stop being written around the age of 19.

      • nick056

        That’s what I love about conservative pundits. We get older, they stay the same age.

        • And even if we’re not really getting older, at least we’re not embarrassing ourselves by staying the same age in public, so no one can tell.

        • hypersphericalcow

          The question, “Is Wooderson a creep or a role model?” is probably a decent litmus test at this point.

        • NationalGalleryofClipArt

          Altright Altright Altright.

    • Llywelyn Jones

      The Tucker Carlson types haven’t progressed beyond the College Republicans phase of their lives.

    • When I was younger, I thought there was a way young people wrote and a way older people wrote, and they changed as they aged.

      Now I think the old people back then were most likely writing the same way they did when they were 25.

      • PorlockJunior

        As one who has not been 25 in several decades, I approve this message.

  • AlexSaltzberg


    Costs: substantial amounts of preventable death, substantially more preventable suffering, substantially more preventable financial ruin. Oh, and even people who keep their insurance will mostly pay a lot more to receive less.

    Benefits: Extremely wealthy people will get a nice tax cut.

    See, this is why you don’t link tax cuts to other things. Just do the tax cuts separately, then complain about the deficit later on and demand service cuts to balance the budget. That way you get awesome job-creating bill and sad bipartisan budget bill.

    • D. C. Sessions

      That works quite well when you have time and a surplus to spend. McConnell isn’t all that sure about time and knows damned well that the Party has been banging the “deficits!!!!” drum ever since the Kenyan Usurper came to Washington and crashed the economy.

      As for downsides, the Senate isn’t facing any that can’t be blamed on the Whiter than White House, which with any luck will be turned over to President Pence once the Sins of 17 have been placed upon 45 and he departs into the wilderness.

  • Clicked through to read some replies to Trump’s tweets. Looks like someone should take Chuck Todd out to the woodshed, again.

  • Denverite

    To argue that the costs are outweighed by the benefits, you actually have to do, you know, the cost-benefit analysis. For obvious reasons, apologists for TrumpCare don’t want to do that — they just want to argue that considering the costs is Beyond the Pale of Civil Discourse. That dog ain’t even going to get out of the front yard.

    Apropos of this, I’ll just note that using a lowish statistical value of life ($9.1M, which is what the EPA uses, which is low among the agencies), and rounding the estimated lives loss down to 200,000, you get a total “cost” in terms of lives lost of $1,820,000,000,000, or about $1.8T. This of course dwarfs the size of the tax cut plus deficit reduction ($700B plus $321B, so a little more than $1T).

    In other words, not only does the BCRA/AHCA kill a bunch of people in exchange for tax cuts, it gets a horrible bang for the buck on that score, too. It’s killing almost $2T worth of people for $1T in cuts.

    • Joe Paulson

      All people aren’t created equal here though.

      • Rob in CT

        Right. Denverite failed to adjust for “takers” being worthless.

    • Helmut Monotreme

      If we apply my “Republicans are pro-other-people-dying” hypothesis, we find that your argument actually illustrates the benefits of passing this legislation. I have seen no evidence that Republicans are not breathtakingly cynical, to the point of depraved indifference to the suffering and death of people outside their own narrow group. If other people die, that means they and theirs have that many fewer people to compete against for jobs, for attention, for real estate, for resources etc. They probably view those deaths as a positive good.

      • D. C. Sessions

        “Depraved indifference” is incompatible with the demonstrated delight that many take in the suffering and death of others.

    • rudolf schnaubelt

      Isn’t that the tax cut multiplier effect?
      Just kidding.

    • dmsilev

      It’s killing almost $2T worth of people for $1T in cuts.

      Remember, a lot of the people that will be killed will be non-white, so you need to scale by 3/5s. In value-adjusted terms, it’s only $1.2T. A bargain, really.

      • D. C. Sessions

        How much credit do you assign for getting rid of losers?

        Also, that inflated EPA figure is part of the reason that the EPA needs to be eliminated. Killing one of your workers is capped at $5000, which is a lot more reasonable as a cost of doing business.

        • reattmore

          Plenty of rich people spend more than that to hunt charismatic megafauna and get a single trophy

          • D. C. Sessions

            Good point. So you think there’s a viable business model in providing rich people with an opportunity to hunt “losers?”

            • reattmore

              I suspect that it’s the Republican plan to balance the budget.

            • Lost Left Coaster

              Oh lord help us, there probably is.

        • hypersphericalcow

          Getting rid of losers is one thing. But getting rid of haters? Their families will be lucky if they only have to pay for the bullet.

      • Uncle_Ebeneezer

        No they are showing how reasonable they are by only accepting a MERE $1Trillion. See, they are sacrificing too!!

        • Hogan

          All we want to do is eat your brains
          We’re not unreasonable
          I mean, no one’s gonna eat your eyes
          All we want to do is eat your brains
          We’re at an impasse here
          Maybe we can compromise
          If you open up the door, we’ll all come inside and eat your brains

    • Cheap Wino

      It all depends on whether there is a plus or a minus in front of each 9,100,000. Reasonable people can disagree. . .

  • MikeEss

    That academic tug job, Liberal Fascism, should be hung around Jonah Goldberg’s neck like an albatross for the rest of his miserable life.

    I used to feel just slightly sorry for him because his harpy mother is Lucianne Goldberg, a woman who learned how to be a succubus from Lilith herself, back when Lilith was a young lass. But as the years go by, I’m less and less inclined to cut him any slack. Let him get the full measure of what karma has in store for him…

    • sharculese

      Why would you feel sorry for him for who his mother is? If Lucianne Goldberg weren’t his mother he’d be stocking shelves at Walmart. Being her son is the best thing that ever happened to him.

      • MikeEss

        …you’re right, I guess I can’t argue about that…

        Jonah Goldberg: Total waste of oxygen with a horrifying harpy for a mother…

      • DN Nation

        Remember: Goldberg’s big media job before Lucianne broke big was helping produce documentaries on gargoyles.

        • sharculese

          The architectural feature or the Disney show?

          • DN Nation

            The former, but who knows, had his career stalled he might’ve done the latter too.

            • D. C. Sessions

              Lucky for Disney that never happened.

        • Hogan
  • I'm open to thoughtful critiques of this Death Star from the left, but "millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced" is not it.

    • CP

      Still, it might be true that some people died earlier than they would have if we hadn’t used the Death Star.

      • Helmut Monotreme

        is there any way to know? I mean really? All those people might have been one single slip in the bathroom away from an untimely and painful death. It’s possible every single one of them was in the middle of that very scenario when the Grand Moff Tarkin ended their suffering.

        • MikeEss

          Grand Moff Tarkin was really the true hero of Star Wars! I’ve watched that movie dozens of times and I never recognized that fundamental fact before you brought it up… :)

          • CP

            Grand Moff Tarkin was really the true hero of Star Wars! I’ve watched that movie dozens of times and I never recognized that fundamental fact before you brought it up… :)

            Maybe we can hire Nick Spencer to write a couple of Star Wars movies that better take this into account!

            We can have a cliffhanger of Luke Skywalker going “Hail Palpatine!” and a backstory in which he was really an Imperial agent all along, complete with thought-provoking commentary on the Economically Anxious supporters of the Empire. Meanwhile, in the side stories, Leia battles Space Social Justice Warriors spouting silly claptrap about how Alderaan was bad. And Disney can tell any fans who complain that it’s not fair to judge the product until you’ve paid to see all their films in theater and bought the DVDs.

        • Lost Left Coaster

          This argument from epistemological impossibility that the right likes to use is just a dirty, nasty trick. I mean, they’re so damn certain about so many things, but suddenly, when they’re called upon to defend something so vile that there really is no defense, nothing can truly me known. And they have the audacity to criticism the postmodern turn!

          • D. C. Sessions

            Given their take on medicine, climate physics, environmental toxins, economics, …

            I’m coming to agree that they truly are the Party of Postmodernism.

          • auberge

            I’ve thought for a while now that they have embraced nihilism in practice, if not in name. Natural result of being so ideological and devoted to disprovable theories. Not being able to process logic, accommodate real-world circumstances, or adjust for contrary facts eventually must result in fact- and value-free positions.

    • econoclast

      The sarcasm font has gone too far.

  • Rob in CT

    Waaaah, stop being SO MEAN you guys! [/strong, manly conservatives]

  • Lurking Canadian

    Isn’t this virtually identical to the arguments Megs was using last week to justify buildings burning down last week? We can’t make them 100% safe so why bother? Do you stupid libs expect everybody to live in a cave ?

    • AngryWarthogBreath

      You say “virtually”…

  • What is the source of that image?

    • Hogan

      It looks like a frontispiece, but I can’t find a book to match it to.

      • N__B

        Miss Post would, I believe, disapprove of your terminal preposition.

        • PorlockJunior

          Winston Churchill, however, would not; and who’s the better (more powerful) Tory around here, anyway?

        • Hogan

          I see your Miss Post and raise you H. W. Fowler.

          • PorlockJunior

            Fowler? Well, maybe; but it was Fowler who derided the “so-called split infinitive” as a red herring. He sounds like rather a weak reed to lean on, unless one is looking for reasonable analysis of English.

            • Hogan

              The “split infinitive” entry from DMEU 1 is one of my favorite pieces of 20th-century English prose.

              Those who neither know nor care are the vast majority, & are a happy folk, to be envied by most of the minority classes . . .

          • N__B

            H. W. is Fowler than Miss Post, no doubt.

  • Comments can’t be blank.

    • N__B

      Comments can’t be blank.

      Not bad, but it’s no “My hovercraft is full of eels.”

  • McAllen

    I think what’s going on with these kinds of civility pleas is the pleader is separating politics from real life. It’s self-evident that political decisions can cause the deaths of tens of thousands, even if you don’t think this particular one will, so the only way talking about deaths as a potential consequence can be “repugnant” is if you think of politics as a reality show or a sports league.

    • epidemiologist

      I think what’s going on is that on some level, the accusation landed. If conservatives had any way to even appear to defend this legislation on the merits, they would do so. Falling back on “you’re mean!” = “plenty of people will see your point!”

      I absolutely love these tone policing whines, I think they might make my day. IMO the best response is to not bother responding, just keep up calling them would-be murderers. It’s the truth and it’s fun!

  • Van Buren

    So, we on the left can criticize it, but we just can’t point out what its effects will be. The Jonah Rules.

    • McAllen

      Leftists: This bill will kill people!
      Jonah: Repugnant.
      Leftists: This bill will cause preventable illnesses.
      Jonah: Still repugnant.
      Leftists: This bill will cause people to go bankrupt?
      Jonah: Nope.
      Leftists: …This bill will make rich people slightly less rich?
      Jonah: There you go!

  • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion

    I’m wondering (naively) if perhaps we’re seeing peak wingnut? The GOP congressional delegation literally is dangerously close to passing a bill that will kill tens of thousands and financially devastate perhaps millions (a point that is not talked up enough). It is historically unpopular. Is it possible some Republicans are reaching the point where they can’t go further into crazyland? Maybe it would take a big electoral repudiation by their base to really knock it in.

    • their base isn’t going anywhere. the GOP base is the same brain trust that voted for Trump. and he still has an 85% approval rate among Republicans .

      • Aaron Morrow

        Without more details, I can’t tell whether less people are identifying as Republicans and more are identifying as Independents. (While that might explain why approval from Independents has increased, I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion.) It would be nice to know if the GOP base is shrinking.

    • Xenos66

      Peak wingnut is like the speed of light. you can always approach closer by expending more energy but you will not quite get there.

    • Rob in CT

      There is no peak wingnut. Peak wingnut is a lie. I have learned this the hard way.

      • Captain Splendid

        Yeah, I really want to go visit my 18 year old self, agog at the fuckery of the Lewisnsky scandal, and tell myself “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Peak wingnut has been predicted many times before, particularly during the latter years of the George W. Bush era. I think we have learned that they simply do not go away and never will.

      • ohsopolite

        Peak wingnut has been predicted many times before, particularly during the latter years of the George W. Bush era.

        And just look where we are now…

    • epidemiologist

      There won’t be a peak wingnut from people organically recognizing the evil, unfortunately. Peak wingnut is what happens right before decent people, working hard to punch them down, start to make a dent.

  • Mike Toreno

    “I think the flawed Republican health-care plan is very much open to criticism, from the Left and the Right, but this rhetoric is repugnant and dangerously stupid.”

    No it isn’t.

    “Would people die? Despite a host of very specific numbers from people like Senator Bernie Sanders, no one really knows.”

    Yeah they do.

    “The data is at best mixed about whether Medicaid improves mortality rates or even health overall”

    No it isn’t.

    The claim that the data is unclear is a lie. He’s pretending that there is an actual question of fact, and he’s doing this to privilege his own point of view by claiming the right to limit the language used to criticize his viewpoint.

    He’s trying to camouflage his argument as a defensible argument, put forward by someone with integrity. If his claim that there were uncertainty were true, it would be unfair to characterize the bill as a death bill. But there isn’t uncertainty of the sort that he claims; he is generalizing his own ignorance and using it as a shield against criticism. He is ignorant, but others are not, and they are entitled to put forth their superior factual knowledge.

    It is unfair to use irrelevant personal characteristics of the speaker against any argument; so if the fact that Goldberg is a stupid, fat, lazy slob were irrelevant, bringing it up would be unfair. But it isn’t. One of the Republican arguments is that people with healthy lifestyles should not subsidize health insurance for those who live unhealthy lifestyles. This isn’t true, but it’s what they claim. But I think there IS an argument that people who live unhealthy lifestyles, and personally vote to take insurance away from others, or collect money making dishonest arguments in favor of taking away insurance from others, should NOT be subsidized because that shows them as hypocrites. Thus, Billy Long is a huge, huge fat slob who belongs to a party that advocates “morality-based health insurance” and his self-indulgent lifestyle burdens the people of Missouri. He voted for this bill. Goldberg is another huge fat slob. He was also an Iraq War chickenhawk, and he is shaping up to be a health insurance chickenhawk.

    Billy Long should pledge that if anyone in Missouri dies as a result of this bill, he will not file any claim for any obesity-related disease he presently has, or develops. So should Goldberg.

    Legislators and paid shills who cite the Exchange problems in Iowa as a reason for taking away health insurance, should underwrite a bond to pay the health care costs of the high-claim policyholder in Iowa whose health care costs are difficult for the Exchanges in Iowa to deal with, given the small size of the state. The Exchange problems in Iowa would be solved by putting a lifetime cap on this person’s benefits and allowing them to die. I don’t want to live in a country that allows it to happen, and I am happy to shoulder my share of that burden. If these people who cite Iowa want to concentrate that burden rather than distribute it, let them concentrated on themselves; let them take on unlimited personal liability to pay for that person’s care.

    Republican arguments seem to consist solely of ex Cathedra claims, and complaints that people who disagree with them are being uncivil. My opinion is, I’m happy to be shown to be wrong about something – I gain by it, because I learn something new. People can use whatever language they want in their disagreement with me. But don’t tell me or anybody else what they can or can’t say.

    People on our side should use “No it isn’t” or “That’s a lie” a lot more than they do. And they should kick away conservative attempts to get them to address some supposed wrongdoing that conservatives want to bring up. One time I kicked away some idiot in a Slate forum who wanted to bring up Bill Clinton’s sex life in response to criticism of Trump’s various assaults. I responded to the: Clinton did x, y, z, with “Yeah, that’s a lie.” I got “You’re running away from the problem, you’re not supporting your claim,” so I did, in detail, because I KNOW these things. And I got silence in return, which I think is something that has NEVER before been achieved in the whole history of arguments with conservatives. Another commenter later observed “That seems to have done the trick.”

    Let’s say what we want, and say what WE want to, and decline to accept conservatives’ invitations to stop talking about what we want to talk about, in favor of what they want to talk about.

    • CP

      Republican arguments seem to consist solely of ex Cathedra claims, and complaints that people who disagree with them are being uncivil.

      This.

    • randykhan

      Liberal use of “You’re wrong” always has struck me as a good idea. Explain all you want after that, but start there or with a similar simple declarative sentence.

    • ohsopolite

      If I thought Jonah had even a shred of self-awareness, I’d be surprised at his cavalier use of “dangerously stupid”, but of course he doesn’t, so I’m not. Upside for Jonah: He’s got the perfect title for his autobiography now.

    • epidemiologist

      “Let’s say what we want, and say what WE want to, and decline to accept conservatives’ invitations to stop talking about what we want to talk about, in favor of what they want to talk about.”

      I need this on a pillow.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    “Sure, raising the speed limit to 100 mph might lead to more deaths, but I don’t see you proposing we lower the limit to 5 mph, so who’s the murderer now?”

  • Ryan Denniston

    A shame the new NRA video came out the same day. No doubt he will add an editorial note to his story any minute now.

  • tsam100

    You’re supposed to be NICE about letting people die of treatable illnesses and injuries, libtards. Besides, you don’t have a crystal ball, so how do you know people will die? YOU DON’T.

  • kilks401

    Just wait until Jonah Goldberg discovers Vision Zero and the fact that people do want to bring down the speed limit. not to 5 mph of course, but 20.

    • DAS

      I live on a service road for a major highway. I guess because it is a superhighway service road, they did not decrease the speed limit where I live to 25 MPH, but it remains 30 MPH in spite of Vision Zero. Across the service road from where I live is a playground. To enter the playground, children cross this service road at an intersection without a stop sign nor a marked cross walk. And, as I indicated, the speed limit is 30 MPH.

      We have been agitating for our speed limit to be lowered to 25 MPH. The DOT says they have to do a study first (which will happen next month, supposedly). We have been agitating for a stop sign or at least a cross walk. Or at least a regular police presence to hand out speeding tickets for all the drivers who got 40+ MPH by the playground and/or fail to yield to pedestrians in the cross walk. We get bupkis.

      • Lost Left Coaster

        This shit drives me absolutely crazy. The primary organizing principle of urban and suburban space remains that cars should be able to get through as quickly as possible at the expense of the safety and comfort of the people who actually live there.

        But we have also learned that drivers tend to go the speed that the infrastructure affords. So really, to slow a street down, you need more than a lowered speed limit — it needs to be narrowed, or have traffic circles added, or even (gasp!) speed bumps.

        • D. C. Sessions

          Potholes are pretty good too. Never mind speed bumps, how about a genuine obstacle course?

        • DAS

          We have speed bumps. It’s just that they are far enough away from the intersection in question that drivers have already speed back up.

        • Hogan

          I’ve just learned that in the UK speed bumps are called “sleeping policemen.” A colorful people,.the UKians.

          • PorlockJunior

            In the large parking lot from which I have once or twice exited Heathrow, these things are called humped zebras, to my recollection — being sensibly painted with conspicuous warning stripes.

            (But that’s what you have to do when you have a memory like mine: paint warning stripes on it.)

    • Justin Runia

      LOL, it won’t be long; they’ve started some substantive traffic calming redesigns throughout LA, and the moneyed beach communities to the south are losing their minds.

  • Karen24

    Goldberg is not the only one who is guilty of this kind Werner von Braun logic.*

    *Per Tom Lehrer: “The rockets go up; where they come down, is not my department says Werner von Braun.”

    • Denverite

      Oh dear. I do love me some argument-by-word-game. “We’re not killing people WE’RE LETTING THEM DIE THAT’S TOTALLY DIFFERENT SEE DIFFERENT WORDS AND EVERYTHING SUCK IT LIBTARD!!!!!”

      • Cheap Wino

        It’s like blaming the bee for killing somebody allergic to bee stings after you stole their epipen and sold it to a rich kid.

    • PorlockJunior

      I think the quote gains something in its original wording, considering the contemporary theme of atrocities committed by blindered bureaucrats. (I would mention Eichmann here, but I don’t want to get in to THAT old debate.)

      “Vunce ze rockets are up, who cares vere zey come down? Zat’s not my depahtment, says Werner von Braun.”

  • Charles Wolf

    Now !… this !!! …Why lord;

    … and just as I had completely and mercifully forgotten about Jonah, The Doughy Pant-Load.
    Arghh.
    Of course I won’t read the article.
    I’d rather listen to Bubblegum noise.

  • SatanicPanic

    If there is anything good that came from the Trump presidency it will be that we can safely ignore calls for civility from anyone from the Party of Trump.

    • DAS

      Who is this “we” you’re talking about? I know plenty of Democrats who would never, ever vote for a GOoP who still think we should be more civil in our political discourse and not say all those mean things about Republicans because they happen to disagree with us about some small, trivial matters. Of course, these are people who think the NY Times is incorrigibly liberal.

    • we can also safely ignore the decades of moralizing and finger-wagging from social conservatives !

      voting for a thrice-married pussy-grabber who muses about his daughter’s bangability is the equivalent of tearing up your self-issued Morality Police certificate.

      • SatanicPanic

        Yup. Anyone who wants to lecture can explain their Trump vote first.

        • D. C. Sessions

          Oh, I didn’t vote for Trump. I voted for Stein, and helped others see that she was the only enlightened choice.

  • Owlbear1

    Shorter Doughy Pantload, “Libs, Stop stealing my Hyperbole!”

  • Bill Hicks

    Just as who can say, “really,” whether salting the US population with over three hundred million firearms “really” leads to more violent deaths by firearms.

  • Hate to be that guy, (given that the right is just in con/grift mode at all times) but I’d say a lowering of the speed limit would be great from a saving lives view (and less gas too). Of course I would want a healthy public transport system too, so there you go.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      Speed limit could use being lowered in a lot of places. Speed is deadly. And a large portion of drivers today are barely paying attention to what they’re doing anyway.

      • Agreed. That doesn’t even get into sustainable modes of transport (which self driving cars won’t touch)

  • Anna in PDX

    This post juxtaposed with the NRA video mentioned below is telling.

  • DrDick

    More of Doughy Pantload’s signature insane and tortured justifications of Republican abominations. He is an ulcerating abscess on the body politic.

  • Mooser42001

    I can’t figure it out. A kid doesn’t get adequate health care or education. He watches his parents struggle to pay for his grandparent’s care. And what exactly is going to motivate him to serve the US in the military? Or in any other way?

    • D. C. Sessions

      Access to really cool weapons?

  • BM, President of Fuckery

    Goldberg can eat shit and die. You lost your call for civil discourse after writing about “Liberals Fascism”.

  • Abigail Nussbaum

    I think you’re underplaying the degree to which the timing makes this an absolutely terrible idea. And this is made worse by the fact that SE is not an apolitical story. Yes, Marvel is trying to de-Nazify Hydra (which I would describe as subtly but significantly different from “trying to put less Nazis in your comics”), but at the same time they’re clearly trying to get cachet from this story’s political associations, including asides about the supposed allure of fascism. So it’s not just a typical-comics-nonsense, “good guy is now bad” story. It’s a blatantly political one whose implications have been poorly thought through and whose timing is frankly disastrous.

    Abraham Riesman had an article in Vulture this week arguing that part of Marvel’s problem is that they’re failing to acknowledge the influx of movie fans who associate Cap with Chris Evans’s performance and are upset that he’s now been made into a villain. It’s more than a little self-serving – Riesman is the guy who wrote that “Cap would be more interesting as a jerk” essay a few years back that basically argued for something like HydraCap (it got thoroughly and deservedly eviscerated in these parts by Attewell, in an essay I still link to quite frequently). So arguing that it’s only Evans’s appeal that has made fans so invested in Cap as a good guy is a way of retroactively validating his own (apparent) disinterest in the character. But I think at its core the idea has some merit. Longtime comics fans are used to “this good guy is now evil”. Fans who are invested in a particular iteration of a character, such as Evans’s Cap, are less tolerant of those kinds of shenanigans (to be clear, I’m not saying that movie fans don’t know how comics work or don’t realize that Cap will be made good again – obviously they do), and it’s very likely that Marvel underestimated their impact and the loudness of their response.

  • CP

    Actually, I think “trying to de-Nazify Hydra” is overstating things. They’re pretty clearly happy using Hydra as Schrodinger’s Nazis, both Nazi and not depending on what’s convenient at the moment. I mean, yeah, it’s not exactly the Nazis, but it’s also something that’s rooted in World War Two and its support for the Nazis (I don’t mean Hydra in general, I mean *this specific comic series,* which includes flashbacks to the 1930s, had Hydra as a member or at least a silent partner of the Axis, and the whole gimmick of World War Two being a Cosmic Cube act of rewriting history by Hydra’s enemies).

    Furthermore, one of the justifications I’ve read for the story arc (though to be fair, I can’t remember which actually came from Marvel and which came from fanboys) was that the whole thing was supposed to be in part a social commentary on movements like Hydra and their appeal, which was supposed to be especially timely given the rise of Trump and anti-immigration movements. There’s just one problem – based on what I’ve read, they’re doing a pretty terrible job of understanding it and understanding what powers such movements both today and in the 1930s.

    To be honest, I was kind of glad to find out that things were less dire than I’d thought. Marvel is actually trying to put less outright Nazis into their comics. I’m kind of okay with that?

    Frankly, I’m not. Captain America is a character who was literally created to punch Nazis. That remained a huge part of his persona and his storylines even after he was resurrected post-WW2. In an age when the alt-right is making such movements more prominent than they have been in decades, I am more than fine with simple and direct anti-Nazi messages in my pop fiction.

    • Justin Runia

      I try not to read too much into this–the whole story was seeded a year prior in a throw-away cliffhanger on Rick Remender’s run, a bit before Nazi punching became a relevant question again.

      • CP

        Well, Nazi-punching specifically, yeah. But movements like Trump, and their similarity to the extreme-right-wings of eighty years ago, that had been under discussion for a while longer.

  • Abigail Nussbaum

    I’d say the problem with de-Nazifying Hydra is not that it can’t be done – there are plenty of real-world examples of organizations that started out with roots in various forms of fascism and racism and transitioned over the years to a more “acceptable”, corporate kind of evil. The problem is that the very desire to do so already speaks volumes. At the very least it makes you look like a callous asshole trying to cash in by making Nazis OK for “ironic” enjoyment (as you say, I think the most obvious reason for Marvel’s shift with Hydra is the desire to make them a “fun” villain like the Empire). At worst it raises genuine questions about your values.

    • CP

      The problem is that the very desire to do so already speaks volumes.

      Well. [ducks] Not necessarily… there actually is a potential for interesting stories here, in the sense that “de-Nazification” is exactly what a lot of far right movements, especially in Western Europe, have been doing for a decade or two now. (In the sense of ridding themselves of the baggage that comes from being associated with the Nazis, while keeping the same actual substance underneath). There’s probably good stories to be told in which Hydra shelves the terrorism and plotting and tries to mainstream itself and present a new, respectable face to the world. And Cap and SHIELD have to readjust to the new threat.

      [Lemony Snicket voice] I am sorry to inform you that this is not the story you will be reading.

    • Murc

      I’d say the problem with de-Nazifying Hydra is not that it can’t be done
      – there are plenty of real-world examples of organizations that started
      out with roots in various forms of fascism and racism and transitioned
      over the years to a more “acceptable”, corporate kind of evil.

      Well, I mean, Marvel CAN do anything. They control all the facts inside their fictional universe and can make anything within its context real just by editorial diktat.

      The really question is how you might do it over a short or short-ish timeline and in a way that won’t make readers just go “nope.”

      At the very least it makes you look like a callous asshole trying to
      cash in by making Nazis OK for “ironic” enjoyment (as you say, I think
      the most obvious reason for Marvel’s shift with Hydra is the desire to
      make them a “fun” villain like the Empire).

      I’m… not following here. Wouldn’t the desire to de-Nazify Hydra be based explicitly on the fact that you know that Nazis are definitely not OK for ironic enjoyment, and so if you have a thing that you wish for people to be able to ironically enjoy, you have to make them not Nazis anymore.

      If they were trying to make Nazis okay for ironic enjoyment, wouldn’t they just not bother with trying to de-Nazify Hydra, like, at all? It sure would save them a ton of time and effort if they didn’t have to do that.

      • Abigail Nussbaum

        I guess I misstated that. Marvel wants Hydra to be OK for ironic enjoyment, hence the de-Nazification of them because, as you say, it’s not OK to enjoy Nazis, ironically or otherwise. What I’m saying is that just the attempt to achieve de-Nazification calls attention to itself and makes Marvel look bad, because they’re whitewashing Nazis for purely commercial purposes (and, as I say, that’s the nice take on their actions).

        As you say, Marvel can do anything they want to their characters. But especially when they do things as extreme as de-Nazifying a long-standing Nazi-associated villain, or making a long-standing anti-fascist character a Nazi, readers are going to ask why. And the answers they come up with are unlikely to be complimentary to Marvel.

        • Murc

          What I’m saying is that just the attempt to achieve de-Nazification
          calls attention to itself and makes Marvel look bad, because they’re
          whitewashing Nazis for purely commercial purposes (and, as I say, that’s
          the nice take on their actions).

          Oh! I see what you mean.

          Gonna be honest; to me “whitewashing Nazis” means something different in a fictional context. Like, in real life taking a dude who was a Nazi and trying to paint him in a positive light is usually not cool, because you’re trying to sort of paper over the fact that he was a fuckin’ Nazi.

          I feel different about it in a context where you actually have full control over reality and can actually make them not a Nazi. Nazis aren’t, you know, a repressed or under-represented group where erasing them from fiction is a bad idea no matter what. I guess I’m sort of okay with companies that deal in commercial fiction saying “you know what, there’s Nazi all over this, and that makes this unsuitable for the stories we want to tell with it. Thankfully we can actually get rid of that.”

          This is, of course, going to be MASSIVELY context dependent, because, you know… Nazis. But in and of itself I suppose I’m okay with it as an idea. I wouldn’t try and de-Nazify the Red Skull; he sort of needs to be a Nazi in order to actually work as an antagonist and I think the message that Captain America, created by Jewish people both in his fictional context and in real life, having his first and greatest foe be explicitly a racist fascist and explicitly a Nazi is important.

          But I guess I’m neutral on the Hydra thing. Not the Hydra thing in this specific context, which is kind of a shitshow, but as a basic concept.

          • Abigail Nussbaum

            Like I said, the problem with this sort of thing is less the thing itself, and more what it says about you that you wanted to do it in the first place.

  • Llywelyn Jones

    Leave to an epitome of reasoned, honest discourse like Goldberg to trot out the most extreme arguments as exemplars of a typical argument. (Notably, however, “death panels” appeared all over typical conservative media.)

  • Adam King
  • davdoodles

    Lecturing others about ‘civility’, in defense of dismantling one of the cornerstones of actual civilization

    In part two of Goldberg’s ‘column’, he will admonish ‘TheLeft” for not extending their pinkies when taking tea, in defense of a plan to save a couple of bucks by dumping untreated human waste into the municipal water supply.
    .

  • Brad Nailer

    I think Trump has moved the ball somewhat in the “civility” argument with his Mika/Morning Joe tweet this morning. “Moved” meaning “lost 22 yards on the sack.”

    The Republicans are circling the wagons. Here’s Chao, a woman who actually allowed herself to become married to Mitch McConnell. I seriously want to be a historian in the 22nd century.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/elaine-chao-trump/532320/

    (What happened to my avatar? It was here this morning.)

    • Hogan

      “He’s not in politics, and so he’s not used to the usual restraints that people in public service have,” she said.

      Are you kidding? He’s not used to the usual restraints that kids in preschool have.

  • NationalGalleryofClipArt

    Does anyone remember the time George W. Bush returned on an emergency basis from vacation to sign into law a bill saving just one life?

    Pepperidge Farms remembers…

It is main inner container footer text