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DirkGently

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 04:59 PM
Number of posts: 12,151

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What is the craziest thing a Republican candidate will say / do at tonight's debate?

While we all thrash around debating the subtleties of which of our Democratic candidates has the better grasp of foreign policy, economic reform or civil rights, the still-vast Republican field is apparently competing to see who can say something crazy enough to be noticed in this crowd.

Which of our angry, loopy, blustering Republican opponents will say or do the most off-the-wall thing tonight?

It is a fantasy. One apparently immune to logic or reality.


The web of irrational thinking woven around the idea that carrying guns around makes people safer has no parallel in terms of outright delusion aside from religious fanaticism.

A small segment of the population is transfixed by the idea that weapons give them super powers to stop crime, protect others, and (this one is particularly screwy) intimidate the government so that it doesn't get out of hand.

None of that has ever been true. They stack fallacies on top of fallacies, to the point where now when someone goes on one of our increasingly common shooting rampages, they literally sneer at the victims because they think the government is staging massacres to make guns "look bad."

And it's nothing more than a marketing scheme to get the gullible to spend their money on a fantasy of personal empowerment with a likelihood of "paying off" on the level of a lottery ticket. Meanwhile crime still occurs, we're less safe than countries with more restrictive laws, and of course the government continues to do whatever it wants.

I guess it's good to see statistics puncturing one of the go-to talking points, that "concealed permit holders never commit crimes." Never quite understood how going to a class magically ensured no one ever misused a weapon.

Of course the cost of disproving just that one myth is measured in dead Americans, as usual.

++++ Everything old is new again. In a bad, bad way.

American Psycho struck me differently the second time. I had thought “Patrick Bateman” was just an over-the-top caricature of the soulless, "greed is good" ethic of the 1980 / 90’s. Striking, but not particularly insightful.

This time, though, I realized just what this piece is saying — Bateman’s character is actually the sanest person on the screen, because he’s the only one that reacts to the empty ambition and vapid greed around him with a homicidal inner scream. He’s the only one bothered enough by the inane babble around him to actually go crazy. Christian Bale’s portrayal of the inexorable unraveling of a man trying to “fit in” with an empty, Machiavellian ethic is both horrifying and masterful.

And tying it to the rise of the blue dog, Third Way, “pragmatic” Dems we have today is dead-on. Every time someone tries to raise any kind of principle, or philosophy or just an intelligent approach to problem solving or the collective good in general — the only things that might actually validate having a political party or a movement in the first place — we get the blank, uncomprehending stares of the doll-eyed Wall Street bimbos that drove Patrick Bateman to psychopathic rage..

We are awash in a sea of quasi-Republican, money first / principles-never operators who can’t see past the end of a checkbook, or the approval of insiders. It’s sad to see some of the up-and-comers buying into this hollow thinking, going to meetings to collect selfies with big dog funders like grinning collie dogs, willing to give up anything for a rub on the belly. Ask them “why” about anything, and they blink slowly and squirm away. “Because that’s where the money is” is the underlying answer, every time.

We can’t win that way, and we don’t deserve to. We can do better, and we must.

Thanks for posting this.

Wow. Ben Carson really IS psychologically disturbed.

Someone suggested on these pages recently that Carson is a "psychopath," clearly under the cultural, as opposed to clinical understanding of that term. Someone else took issue with using the term that way as being too cavalier.

I don't think it was. The more this man talks about himself and things he has done outside of his apparently brilliant career as a pediatric neurosurgeon, the more unbalanced he appears.

He also seems TOO relaxed in public. Almost doped up. His voice never rises above a sleepy monotone. Taken in combination with his truly disconnected-from-reality views of everything from evolution to gun violence to healthcare, and these really disturbing stories he is telling about himself, I think the man is ill.

Donald Trump would make a horrific President. He doesn't know a treaty from a trout, and doesn't seem to have a single idea in his head that isn't just a way to gain attention from the worst possible people.

But Ben Carson increasingly sounds like a dangerously deranged man.

It's almost got me thinking someone needs to carry Jeb or Rubio or one of the other corporate robots a few rounds to make sure neither Trump nor Carson gets the nomination. I joked yesterday that it would be fun for Carson to get the nomination, so he should stop worrying about the "secularists" being out to get him.

Now it doesn't seem so funny.

What do healthy people get out of sick leave?

Fairness doesn't require that everybody receive every conceivable benefit anyone else might need, or directly gain from everything we do as a society.

We all benefit when people's needs are met. We suffer as a society when people resent or resist efforts to provide necessary help on the basis they, personally, don't think they need that kind of help at the moment.

One of the worst examples we've seen of that thinking lately is when men rage that women's health needs cost more and thus that's "unfair" that everyone contribute equally to the costs of health care. Followed to its conclusion, it's basically a complaint that women exist, and a suggestion that maybe we shouldn't encourage that?

That's not how civilization (or fairness) works. We don't each receive an identical, direct benefit from everything we do to to make things work. You may not have kids in school, but you want the kids around you educated so you can live in a better world. You may live in a fireproof house, but you still want someone to help the neighbors if their place bursts into flames. The young don't need much healthcare, but expect it to be there when they're older.

Conservatives screw up their rationale in this way all the time. They don't use public transportation, so no one should have it. They're not afraid of crime because they live behind gates, so why fund the police? Their kids go to private school, so public schools can rot.

We have to take a longer, broader of view of the kind of world we need to live in. Asking "But what do I get?" about everything misses the point.

You get to live in a civilization where we see to our needs as a whole, and cooperate to that end.

Trump continues to be an interesting double-edged proposition.

Along with my unusual disclaimer that we are unfortunately dumb enough as a country to elect this person, which is a thing we MUST NOT DO, look again at how Trump is using his position to blow holes in Republican dogma in ways no one has been able to.

This 9/11 fight is a perfect example. Republicans have been comfortable for years going on about how W. "kept us safe," when of course he did no such thing. Whether he was to blame for ignoring the Bin Laden memo or not,

1) the worst terrorist attack in American history certainly happened on his watch, and

2) Bush's response was to use 9/11 to gin up a disastrous war, the results of which we are still fighting today, and to begin a regime of intrusive government surveillance that is likewise still the source of huge problems.

And he managed to lose thousands of American lives, a trillion dollars, and the world's respect in the process.

And yet Republicans have for years carried on as though Bush was some kind of great savior of the nation -- one of them said the other day that no terrorist attacks happened during his Presidency -- in complete confidence they would never be contradicted.

The idea being, apparently, that 9/11 was so horrific, that "pulling together" includes pretending the President who happened to be in office somehow handled it well, which Bush absolutely, in no way at all, ever did.

Now they've gone several steps further, and launched an endless witch hunt over Benghazi, based on the logic that several Americans died in an attack -- a serious thing to be sure, but not anything we've ever recognized as a reason to blame Presidents or Secretaries of State.

This is a huge "Emperor has no clothes" area Republicans have cruised on for years, and now Jeb wants to keep it going, but DONALD TRUMP is stuffing it down his throat. Just like acknowledged Planned Parenthood isn't primary an abortion clinic, and that "free trade" isn't always a great idea.

Even the terrible things Trump says are not in keeping with the main Republican agenda. His ludicrous immigration comments are exactly what Republicans told themselves they had to get away from to stop alienating voters. But they can't really contradict him, because the conservative base they have created won't allow it.

Trump is the gift that keeps giving to Democrats, so long as -- and we really can't stress this enough -- he never makes it to the White House.


Bernie Sanders won the debate. Hillary Clinton avoided losing it.

Sanders won the debate. We know this, because all of the other candidates tailored their responses to his positions, which have never changed. They raced to agree, or to carefully relate in slightly different ways. The entire discussion orbited around Bernie Sanders and the unprecedented wave of support he has generated.

Hillary Clinton spent the debate leaping to her left, trying to rationalize and excuse positions she has taken that fly in the face of current public opinion.

- She ignored a fistful of references to her continued support for the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Poor O'Malley tried repeatedly to get her to bite. At one point, asked if she wanted to respond, she actually just said, "No."

- She voiced a softened version of her “shadow banking (and not Wall Street financial firms and giant banks) caused the mortgage crisis” schtick that is complete nonsense.

- She tried a “I’m a reformer; you’re a revolutionary” thesis to try to play on the idea that Sanders is too radical for Americans.

But the fact is that Sanders is not too radical for Americans. He is an FDR-style Democrat who embodies the principles that made the party work best. He spent the debate simply articulating views he has fought and argued for for 50 years.

Clinton spent it trying to convince us she’s just like Sanders, but more “practical.”

I understand what the establishment press and pundits were reacting to. They worried that Clinton would keep to her center-center / center-right positions and be booed off the national stage. Instead, to her credit, she sprinted left like a frisking greyhound and arrived, panting, right where Sanders has always been.

To her supporters, this was a victory. To Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, it was the best of all possible worlds, because Clinton managed to sound like a more "sensible" Bernie Sanders, instead of herself.

To the public, Clinton weather-vaned admirably in the prevailing winds of opinion, just as she has done with Iraq and gay marriage and the Keystone Pipeline and the TPP. But people would be fools to think she has magically leviated all the way over to the “progressive” side as she tried (a bit lamely) to claim.

None of this means Sanders will win the election. Hillary is smart and solid and smooth and well-funded, and she doesn’t frighten Wall Street or corporate America one whit, and yet she is not a blustering loon yarking about giant border walls guarded by Tyrannosauruses or zombie fetuses having their brains harvested,like the entire Republican field. If she’s the nominee, she can win.

But so can Sanders. No one is buying the red-scare theory or whatever that concocted Black Lives matter controversy was supposed to be, and not only does the man have the right ideas for the right time, but we know they are his ideas, and that he means them.

Like Hillary on the debate stage, America is sprinting toward Bernie Sanders.
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