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Member since: Wed Feb 23, 2005, 03:32 PM
Number of posts: 6,495

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A brilliant post on Trump from Marcus Tullius Cicero.

From two thousand years ago.

Why trouble to list minor crimes -- forged legacies, business deals, fraudulent sales? For here you have someone who actually aspired to be the absolute monarch of Rome, indeed master of the whole world -- and that purpose he achieved! No one but a lunatic could describe such an ambition as honorable. For its approval is tantamount to applauding the annihilation of law and freedom and glorifying in the loathsome and dreadful act of their suppression.

Consider the paradox of the person who admits the wickedness of tyrannizing a country which was once free, and ought to be free still, but who nevertheless sees advantage in himself becoming its tyrant it he can. In the attempt to rescue him from that delusion there must be no limit to our reproaches and appeals. Who, in God's name, could possibly derive advantage from murdering his country? Of all murders that is the most hideous and repulsive: even when its perpetrator is hailed, by the citizens he has trodden underfoot, as 'Father of his Country'.

...True enough, if we follow the standards of public opinion, no greater advantage can be imagined than to be an absolute ruler. But when we apply the standard of truth instead, the man who has achieved this position by wrongful means proves to have acted in variance with his own interests. Agonies of anxiety, terrors day and night, a life on incessant plots and dangers, cannot possibly bring any advantage. 'To the throne many are hostile, many disloyal, few friendly', wrote Accius. But the monarchy to which he was referring had been legitimately handed down from Tantalus and Pelops. Whereas our own autocrat was hated on a far, far wider scale. For he had actually used the armies of Rome to crush the people of Rome; he had converted our nation....into servitude to his own person.

Think of the corruptions and sores which must scar that man's conscience and his heart! How can anyone derive benefit from his own life, if unheard-of popularity and glory can be won by its destruction? Power on this scale looks extremely advantageous. But the loads of shame and sin weighing it down deny this is so, and afford a further proof that nothing which is not right can be of advantage.

I'm reading 'Cicero - Selected Works', and while it is full of incredible insight, this passage leaped off the page and smacked me in the head.

All of this has happened before. But unlike Cicero, who was surrounded on all sides by an entire nation of MAGAnazis and spoke bravely and in public view against an enormous tide, there are now more of us than there are of them. He was executed and his body parts hung in public view by Mark Antony for resisting dictatorship; we shall survive to win in the end, and the tide will turn, and though the Throwbacks will struggle on for many generations their time is closing fast to be swept from history as the Less Thans they truly are.

They will not prevail.

BTS Halloween Dance Practice.

My daughter loves this band, buys every album, knows the story.

I like the songwriting. Excellent lyrics in translation. I keep a couple of their songs on my iPod. 'Lie', in particular, and their version of 'Come Back Home'. Great stuff.

Korean culture is fascinating. Vibrant. Dressing up as an asparagus, a bunny, or a bumblebee for halloween is perfectly acceptable for men. And I find that very cool.

Midnight encounter with an ancient Russian Jewish space scientist Trump supporter.

Yeah, tell me about it.

Walking the dog Saturday night, I stopped to let him pass by. He asked about my dog, and we ended up in a mildly interesting conversation while we walked together. Family, Soviet history, German history, rocketry, microbiology -- his accent was incredibly thick and he struggled with words, but it was still reasonably fascinating.

Twenty years he's been in the United States. Divorced, left his kids and extended family behind to come to Davis of all places. Does SEO optimization and writes tech journal stuff. In 1965 he was building space launch vehicles, now he's got to be in his mid eighties at least and working from his home.

He said he was a Bill Clinton supporter but turned on him during the 'bombing of Belgrade'. Then he said he now thinks Donald Trump is the Best President Ever.

I ask him about Radovan Karadzic. Never heard of him. Doesn't want to discusss mass rapes or mass murders of villagers. All lies told by the New York Times and Washington Post, well known purveyors of Soviet-style propaganda, he said. He would know, he assured me. He did not believe the Soviet propaganda even at the peak of the commissar's power.

I want to know his sources. He resists. Not Fox, he insists. Not Hannity. Factual sources that prove Donald Trump is the Best and Barack Obama is the Worst.

What are they? Ah, let's change the subject suddenly. Everytime I ask for this fountain of fact he is drinking from, he dodges.

The Left is violent. The Left is the Darling of the NeoNazis. The Tax cuts have restored the nation to economic perfection! Liberals hate Jews and want them exterminated, there is proof. The Antifa are murdering everyone -- they are the fascists! Cohen and Manafort prove there is no collusion!

Yeeesh, I'm stuck in Crazytown with this old nutcake. I stayed civil and began the process of withdrawing, at one point just shaking his hand and saying goodnight and walking away. I did speak my piece before I left; I told him it was disconcerting that any intelligent person could find their way into such a poisonous and false reality, and that I hope he would read the Mueller report and at least consider that he has made a Terrible Mistake.

Mueller hires only rabid Democrats! Oy with this stuff.

Where are you getting all this? Right before I left, when I'd had enough, I zeroed in. Where would I go to read all of this crap?

"Russian online media."


Got it.

And I walked off down the street. Got home at one thirty after miles of walking. Dog got the best of it.

I wonder who the oldest and youngest members of Democratic Underground are.

Got to be someone over eighty in this crew. I wonder if there's anyone under twenty?

I stumbled across a local Fox channel's attempt to go after Rashida on YouTube, and the comments --

The internet equivalent of screaming and hair-pulling. Honestly, I avoid that crap but wound up there after watching a great CNN clip. The Fox clip was packaged for pure outrage, very selectively edited (they got nothin'), but the comments were where I realized how insane this is making The Base.

Their bubble is being pierced, shredded, torn to pieces. To believe in their cause now requires the equivalent of huddling in a corner of a closet. The fear, the utter rage, the open threats of violence, the absolutist religious horror --

I was of two minds about it. It's at least faintly possible that sooner or later there might be violence -- Cohen might be right about that. But it was also good to see some sunlight shining on that vampire pit. They need cleansing. They need to see what they've done.

Can't imagine what it must feel like to have a creeping realization that I might have betrayed my beloved nation to the Devil. That kind of guilt --

And that's what I saw in those comments. Realization of guilt, and the incoherent guttural scream of the Modern American Traitor.


Sorry. Ahem.

Fuck yes. I mean.


Okay, let's do this again.


(throat clearing.)

Sorry. Jesus Christ, can't a guy be happy for humanity?


Soooooooo -- Puppet. Puppet indeed. Pure puppet.

Whatever Russia wants, we should do the opposite. Just as a general guideline.

Trump announces for 2020.

Wayyyyyyy too coherent. But still relevant.

Explained: The Russian effort to help Donald Trump.

Mark Sumner on Kos

In 2013, Donald Trump went to Russia. He may, or may not, have had an experience in a Moscow hotel room while he was there. But even if that didn’t happen, something else surely did.

Trump: I was with the top level people, both oligarchs and generals and top-of-the-government people. I can't go further than that, but I will tell you I met the top people.

Whatever happened, it seems to be around this same point that Russia decided to see if it could make Donald Trump the next president of the United States. That effort centered around turning the same tools it had used to attack the nascent democratic governments of former Soviet states into a systematic campaign that spread disinformation, stole real information, and pried open America along fault lines of race and culture. Russia’s commitment to Trump meant devoting the full-time attention of hundreds of intelligence operatives, over a period of years. It included social media accounts that were carefully nursed along for over two years, until they weren’t just part of the landscape on both left and right, but were actually in positions of influence, and even leadership, in both communities. The effort that Russia launched following Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow spanned continents and included social media, traditional media, false news sites, cyber espionage, clandestine meetings, and boots-on-the-ground organizing.

But that wasn’t the start of the story.

Americans have two stories they tell one another. For Democrats, a president should be Josiah Bartlett—thoughtful, decisive, and intensely moral—willing to make personal chances and throw away all political calculus when it comes to doing the right thing. For Republicans, a president is James Marshall, confident and cool as he takes on terrorists with his own fists and saves his family, and not incidentally the world, by never backing down.

But Russia doesn’t believe in either of those stories. For Russia, the United States is a country dominated by three features, racism, violence and greed. In supporting Trump, Russia acted on those beliefs.

A great analysis, worth a full read.

Tariff Man's newest comic book adventure.

Emphasis on 'comic'.
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