Politics

Honesty — Fairness — Prosperity — Progress

"'Donald Trump likes to claim he built this economy,' Obama said. 'But I just want to remind you that America created 1.5 million more jobs in the last three years of the Obama-Biden administration than in the first three years of the Trump administration. That’s a fact; look it up. And that was before Trump could blame the pandemic. He, in fact, inherited the longest streak of job growth in American history, but just like everything else he inherited, he screwed it up.'

...Obama’s numbers on both claims check out. More than 8 million jobs were created from 2014 to 2016, vs. more than 6.5 million from 2017 to 2019."

— Aaron Blake in The Washington Post


Admiral McRaven, who commanded the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, writes, in a letter to Trump:

"A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.

Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation."


"Looking at the subset of protests in which demonstrators did not engage in any violence, vandalism, or looting, law enforcement officers were about 3.5 times more likely to use force against leftwing protests than rightwing protests, with about 1.8% of peaceful leftwing protests and only half a percent of peaceful rightwing protests met with teargas, rubber bullets or other force from law enforcement."

— Lois Beckett in The Guardian


In The Washington Post, Dana Milbank outlines the Republican incompetence that exacerbated the Coronavirus disaster:

"Trump depleted the government of scientific expertise and did little to heed warnings to prepare for a pandemic. He blocked Congress from conducting meaningful oversight. He repeatedly proposed cutting public health and medical research. The constant turnover and reliance on 'acting' officials eroded competence. His reckless stimulus legislation during an economic boom... left few fiscal and monetary tools to stop the ongoing economic panic. His constant stream of falsehoods misled the nation about the threat of the virus and contributed to a delayed, haphazard response. His administration badly misjudged the impact of the virus and was claiming until just a couple of weeks ago that it would require no additional government spending."


"...the truth is that those who reluctantly cast their vote for Trump were far outnumbered by those who did so with a kind of gleeful rage. They may cite the Supreme Court or low taxes, but it’s Trumpism that they love, a politics unconstrained not only by rules or laws but by basic human civility.

When Trump tosses around childish insults and acts as though any American who doesn’t support him is his enemy, they don’t say, 'I don’t like that; it’s the other stuff I like.' Trump’s vulgarity and hatefulness is exactly what they like. It’s a feature, not a bug. Seeing a political leader who enacts their darkest impulses on a daily basis thrills and intoxicates them."

— Paul Waldman in The Washington Post


In the Washington Post, Michael Gerson summarizes the career of conservative favorite Alex Jones at InfoWars:

"At various points, Jones has promoted the belief that 9/11 was an 'inside job,' that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of a pizzeria, that NASA had built a child slave colony on Mars in order to harvest blood and bone marrow, that the Oklahoma City bombing, the Boston Marathon bombing and the Sandy Hook school shooting were government 'false flag' operations, that some shooting survivors were 'crisis actors,' that 'globalists' are intent on committing genocide and that Democrats are on the verge of launching a second civil war."

There are some ridiculous and unlikable people on the left, but I've never seen anyone like that.


"Now this world is so arranged as to be able to maintain itself with great difficulty; but if it were a little worse, it could no longer maintain itself. Consequently a worse world, since it could not continue to exist, is absolutely impossible: thus this world itself is the worst of all possible worlds."

The World as Will and Representation, Arthur Schopenhauer


"Mark Twain described his mother as a genuinely good person, whose soft heart pitied even Satan, but who had no doubt about the legitimacy of slavery, because in years of living in antebellum Missouri she had never heard any sermon opposing slavery, but only countless sermons preaching that slavery was God's will. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion."

— From a talk by Steven Weinberg, Nobel laureate in Physics


There is this idea that animals don't experience pain or unhappiness the way humans do. Well, evolution made us feel those things because they maximize our reproductive fitness. And guess what? Animals face the same evolutionary pressures.

They have similar nervous systems. They respond to injury and deprivation in the same ways. What makes you think their suffering is less real than yours?


In the The Washington Post:

"U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February [2020], months during which he continued to play down the threat...

The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day...

For weeks, the PDB... traced the virus’s spread around the globe, made clear that China was suppressing information about the contagion’s transmissibility and lethal toll...

But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience for even the oral summary he takes two or three times per week..."


From Ian Mortimer's Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England:

"According to the Charter of the Forest... poachers should not have their hands cut off, as in the days of King John, but loss of limb is still meted out on their animals. Thus a poacher who escapes with a fine will still see his dog lose a paw."

Another revolting proof of the cruelty innate to our species.


Despite years of Republican alarmism, and despite Trump's repeated lies about "millions of people who voted illegally", state voting officials reported only 73 'credible' allegations of voter fraud in 2016, many of those still unconfirmed.

137.7 million people voted. Is there any lie Republicans won't tell?


Republican congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama argues that sea levels are rising not because of climate change, but because rocks are falling into the earth's oceans.

According to the congressman, "Now you have got less space in those oceans because the bottom is moving up".


"You have no idea how the situation of the movement and H has literally changed overnight... We've suddenly become 'acceptable' in polite society. People who would previously have given H a wide berth now suddenly have to talk with him."

— Rudolph Hess, quoted in Volker Ullrich's Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939, writing about the Nazi's first large electoral success. 'H' is Adolf Hitler.


"Minutes into a public health district’s virtual meeting to vote on a local mask mandate in Idaho on Tuesday evening, Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo tearfully excused herself after getting a phone call that anti-mask protesters had surrounded her home.

'My 12-year-old son is home by himself right now, and there are protesters banging outside the door,' she told the Central District Health’s Board of Health, which serves four counties in the state’s most populous region. 'I’m going to go home and make sure he’s okay.'"

That's the world Republicans want to live in.


"We witnessed a historic confession of hypocrisy and deceit on Saturday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went to the floor after voting to acquit Donald Trump in the former president's Senate impeachment trial. McConnell said, 'Former President Trump's actions [that] preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.' He added, 'Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.'

But McConnell said he couldn't vote to convict because the trial had come too late, after Trump was out office — even though it was McConnell himself who had kept the Senate out for the remainder of Trump's term."

— Jennifer Rubin, in The Washington Post


Liberals hate conservatives because conservatives promote ignorance, dishonesty, and violence.

Conservatives promote ignorance, dishonesty, and violence because they hate liberals.


"How can anyone view the trashing of our founding tradition as evidence of patriotism? Because some have adopted a very different political philosophy than the Founders held. This approach to government promises the recovery of a mythical past. It feeds a sense of White victimhood. It emphasizes emotion over reason. It denigrates experts and expertise. It slanders outsiders and blames them for social and economic ills. It warns of global plots by Jews and shadowy elites. It accepts the lies of a leader as a deeper form of political truth. It revels in anger and dehumanization. It praises law and order while reserving the right to disobey the law and overturn the political order through violence.

...The 45th president and a significant portion of his supporters have embraced American fascism."

— Michael Gerson in The Washington Post


More from Ian Mortimer's Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England:

"...blind horses are usually worth only about half their usual price. In case you are wondering why there are so many blind horses, it is because they have been stolen, and blinding a horse is one way to prevent it from finding its way back home or recognizing its true master."

If you think we treat animals substantially better today, you need to do some fucking research.


"Dr Leah Brown, 46, 'received every vaccine known to man' when she was on active duty in the military for 12 years. Now the Arizona-based orthopaedic surgeon is frustrated by the unvaccinated population that is making the pandemic feel like a battleground. 'Medicine is based on science and experts. I don't know when expert opinion or expert knowledge took a backseat to politics,' Brown said.

The consequences of the Covid surge are severe for Brown's patients. She is forced to tell them that they can't have their shoulder replaced or a spine operation because there are no ICU beds or nurses to do the surgery. She worries that people will continue to get sicker and stressed without timely care."

— Sadia Rafiquddin in The Guardian


"Republicans do not give each other earnest lectures on how better to persuade Democrats to see their point of view. They do not counsel patience and understanding, telling each other not to condescend or treat liberals’ perspective dismissively. They are the minority party, yet they have no interest in winning more adherents. They want only to deride and degrade those who don’t agree with them, then find ways to suppress their votes."

— Paul Waldman in The Washington Post


"During the Obama years, the Republican threshold for outrage was at ground level; now it’s so high that it’s lost in space. Back then, House Republicans created a special committee and spent more than two years investigating the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. Now, Republicans resist any House attempts to investigate Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus — or his handling of nearly $3 trillion in stimulus. All the House Republicans voted last week against creating a subcommittee to track federal coronavirus spending."

— Max Boot, in The Washington Post


It shouldn't be necessary to say this, but the Confederacy was led by traitors who made war on their own country because they wanted to practice slavery. They accomplished nothing else, they are famous for nothing else. These racists committed the greatest act of treason in U.S. history, yet Republicans think they should be celebrated. That tells you everything there is to know about the hypocrisy of modern conservatism, and its sickening indifference to racism.


"Three teachers in Cobb county Georgia have been killed by Covid. Nearly 8% of the county has tested positive. At a recent school board meeting, several board members were asked to wear masks in honor of one teacher who died on Christmas Day. They refused."

That is what conservatives have become: selfish, ignorant children who put pointless displays of tribalism above the lives of fellow citizens. They're not patriots, they're not even real Christians. They're just bad people.


"Let's not bullshit about this. Racism is a wonderfully effective political tool for Republicans, yet explicit racism is frowned upon in polite society now, so there is a constant flow of new issues to stand in for racism in political discourse. Lee Atwater, who invented Nixon's 'southern strategy', explained this all decades ago, and it is still true. George Wallace could be outright racist, but subsequent generations of politicians have had to cloak it in 'welfare reform' or being 'tough on crime' or, now, opposition to 'wokeness' and 'critical race theory' — things which mean, by the way, 'caring about racism'."

— Hamilton Nolan in The Guardian


Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund describes Trumps's January 6 Capitol assault:

"'As soon as they hit the fence line, the fight was on,' Sund said. 'Violent confrontations from the start. They came with riot helmets, gas masks, shields, pepper spray, fireworks, climbing gear — climbing gear! — explosives, metal pipes, baseball bats. I have never seen anything like it in 30 years of events in Washington.'

...'They were extremely dangerous and they were extremely prepared. I have a hard time calling this a demonstration,' he said."


I've been thinking about the climate crisis. While I can't predict the future, I have worked with many people on many projects. I've seen what motivates them, how they organize themselves, how they set priorities and make decisions. And I can tell you this: humanity is fucked.


"In the aftermath of [George] Floyd’s death, a dozen elected leaders of the GOP wrote or retweeted racist memes and conspiracy theories. Comal County Republican Party Chair Sue Gafford Piner propagated the idea that philanthropist George Soros is funding a race war. Bexar County GOP Chair Cynthia Brehm suggested that Floyd’s death was staged to hurt President Trump’s reelection chances. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller wrote that the civil rights protesters are 'domestic terrorists who were organized and paid for by George Soros.'

This is not the rejection of 'political correctness'; it is the success of white supremacy in the Texas Republican Party. The GOP, in many places, has become an institution where leaders are elevated and groomed for cruelty and bigotry."

— Michael Gerson , in The Washington Post


Think about the millions of hours that Americans waste on football. Now imagine a world where the same Americans spend even half that time studying history or economics, or reading a reputable newspaper, or doing any of the things it takes to be an effective voter.

Don't wave that flag if you're too lazy to do the fucking work.