Down With Godwin -Kate Paulk

Down With Godwin -Kate Paulk

If I could eliminate one thing about the Internet, it would be Godwin’s law. Why? It’s made it next to impossible to make actual comparisons about what is probably the best documented instance of the rise of a populist dictator. The instant the magic words come out, any semblance of rational discussion gets defenestrated and the next thing you know people are shouting past each other and the whole thing dies.

Consider: a nation whose people were known for hard work, for pride in their achievements, who – not without justification – saw themselves as having been betrayed by wealthy elites. Their savings were wiped out by what appeared to them to be a combination of malice on the part of the same wealthy elites who claimed they were shameful warmongers and financial mismanagement. Despite what they were being told, they could see themselves losing ground and becoming less well-off than their parents and grandparents had been.

Simply put, these people were immensely vulnerable to a charismatic populist willing to tell them that they had every right to feel betrayed; that they had been betrayed; and that he was going to change all this and make them a great people and a great nation again.

Sound familiar? It should: there are two populist demagogues spinning their separate flavors of this particular scenario through the USA right now. One of them has deployed rioters against the other, although it’s not impossible that the whole thing was staged the way the early NSDAP supporters would pretend to be opponents of the party to set off violence that made the NSDAP look like the victim. It made for good copy, and gave their leader some really good material for those crowd-pleasing speeches he became famous for… before he became a synonym for evil.

It’s worth remembering the man was an idealist. He had a vision of a once-great nation becoming great again, and he wanted – at least as far as all the documents available suggest – to bring that dream to life. He was also more than a little narcissistic and barking mad as well, something that leads to nightmarish alt-history scenarios in which he’s not so utterly insane the British don’t stop trying to kill him because his grandiose plans do more damage to his side of the war than theirs.

None of this means that any of the current crop of wannabe US Presidents are going to be like that. It’s a warning sign. Middle and working class Americans do feel betrayed by both national leaders and the big multinational corporations (particularly the ones outsourcing their jobs despite this actually being more costly in the long run because said outsourcing causes a drop in quality which in turn drives customers away; customers who are unable to make their opinions known because the customer service has also been outsourced and just try to get through those phone menus and speak to someone who understands what you’re saying and whom you can understand – of course by then the decision-makers have claimed their golden parachute and are long gone).

They know they’re being lied to. They know the only place the economy is ‘booming’ is the artificial hothouses where the government of the day is directing funds to its favored supporters. They know their life is worse than their parents in many ways. They know their kids have it harder, despite the plethora of gadgets (bread and circuses?) to distract them. They’re sick of being told they’re the source of all evil in the world, even places where they’ve never been and evils that existed long before they were born.

Is it any wonder they’re angry? Is it any wonder they’re rushing to support someone who’s telling them they’ve been lied to and cheated? Is it any wonder they’re not seeing past this to where the vision they’re being sold could take them?

If I were fifteen or so years younger and less cynical, I probably wouldn’t see it either. But now…

The angry dragon awakens. The populist demagogue who betrays it will pay dearly – and he will betray it because he (both options) are making promises which are impossible to fulfill.

 

My role in all this is to do my best to keep the ideals of the Constitution going through the mess so that what emerges on the other side is a freer, more just USA. I believe it will: I can’t define why, but since the financial crash of 2008 I’ve had an unshakeable sense that we will win, that the USA – and perhaps more importantly, the principles endorsed by its founders – will prevail no matter how dark the future appears. I don’t understand it, and if I try to examine it, it slips from my grasp and my mind turns away. But it’s there. It’s solid. There are times when it’s the only light I can see.

 

But in the end, we win. The darkness is dispelled. We do not fall to dictatorship or the bleak emptiness of Communism. That is enough.

587 responses to “Down With Godwin -Kate Paulk

  1. I’m with you, Kate. But I think there’s an important concept/action/idea that needs to be added. The major problem we have today is that the federal government (both major parties, the media, the plethora of unaccountable bureaucracies, etc.) is far beyond its constitutional limits and has absolutely no intention of either reining itself in or being reined in. Deciding who should control this stunningly illegal leviathan is essentially just wallpapering over the rotten wood. We need to force the devolution of the federal government back into constitutionality.

    The only way I can see to do this (outside of armed conflict) is by an Article V convention for the proposal of amendments. This portion of the Constitution provides a way for the states to propose and ratify amendments to the Constitution entirely outside the control of the federal government. In my opinion this is the only way we may possibly return to constitutional government without bloodshed while keeping the country intact. I’m not sure it would succeed at that, but I am convinced that nothing else will.

    If anyone’s interested, take a look at the Convention of States website:

    http://www.conventionofstates.com/

    • I’m not sure that’s even enough. Sure we have and Article V, now what? Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments outlines a good pathway of what needs to be done but even uf everything passes, how are we gonna enforce it without going back to 2nd Admendment and violence?

      • That’s addressed at the Convention of States website, in their FAQ. But even if that’s not convincing, shouldn’t we try the provided, peaceful means of reining in feral government before going the route of violence?

    • YellowShapedBox

      There aren’t half as many strict constitutionalists as people who’d use this as an opportunity to insert positive rights as amendments. But if it failed as I’m imagining, it WOULD provoke secessions, and secession (though, yes, usually bloody) has a much better track record than revolution for producing decent nation-states. So, tentatively all right with this. (But sticking to the Harry Tuttle philosophy in the meantime.)

      • Your worry is of course no reason not to try this method. And don’t forget, nothing proposed by such a convention would automatically become part of the Constitution. Any proposed amendments would still need to be ratified by at least 38 states.

        • The biggest problem to a Constitutional Convention isn’t Godwin’s Law but Murphy’s Law, or its corollary the Law of Unintended Consequences.
          The existing constitution was supposed to protect your life and liberty. How is that working out? Someone intelligently pointed out to me that term limits to Congress would actually empower lobbyists as the only ‘experienced’ people in town. Not what I would have intended.
          Likewise, a ‘balanced budget’ sounds good, until something comes along you can’t afford. Aren’t we still paying for the Spanish American War with some tax on our phone bill?

          • I still don’t hear any reason not to try it.

          • We paid the tax until about 2000 but the Spanish American War was paid off relatively quickly (before WWI started).

            • Check on myself:

              1. The tax was collected until 2006 and remains active but uncollected (the reason being “changed telephone billing” making it irrelevant).

              2. It was initially repelled in 1902 after the Philippine-American War. It has been reinstated and repealed several times since.

              3. War bonds were sold but at least half the authorized amount were limited to a one year duration. In fact, the bond authorizations and taxes for the war created a federal surplus until our entry into the First World War indicating the war was paid off fairly quickly

      • I’m sorry, but the difference between secession and revolution is semantics. See Civil War.

        • The Other Sean

          Not always. It was in the case of the US Civil War, but that is not always the case.

          • When hasn’t it been?

            See Madison’s letter to Daniel Webster.
            http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch3s14.html

            • The Other Sean

              1. secession of the Irish Free State from the Commonwealth.
              2. split of Czechoslovakia
              3. secession of Finland from Russia following the Russian Revolution
              4. Rhodesia via Unilateral Declaration of Independence (though little recognized)

              • 1) Established by a treaty after a revolutionary war (Irish War of Independence).
                2) Again, mutual agreement, not secession, it’s not like there was a central government that existed after the breakup of Czechoslovakia from which the Czech Republic and Slovakia seceded. To call a mutual agreement to disband a nation ‘secession’ would seem to redefine secession.
                3) Not peaceful — The Finns have had to defend their independence from Russia/USSR multiple times
                4) If it wasn’t recognized was it real?

                • The Other Sean

                  Did I claim any of them were peaceful? I just said they were examples of a difference between secession and civil war. With respect to point #1, I was referring to the 1948 declaration of Ireland as a republic, unilaterally declaring itself to no longer be a dominion.

                  • Ireland/Eire (it wasn’t the Irish Free State at the time) leaving the Commonwealth was not secession as the word is normally used. The Commonwealth was not a government, it was a loose association of nations that had at one time been been ruled by London.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            The American Revolution which was more of a “Kicking The Crown Out Of America” not a “Let’s Overthrow The King”.

            While the American Civil War was “We’re Leaving Just Try And Stop Us”, the English Civil War was “The King Is A Jerk So Parliament Should Rule Not Him”.

            The French Revolution was also a “The King Is A Jerk So No More Kings”.

            So I see the difference between “Revolution” (changing the Power-That-Be) and “Secession” (we’re leaving).

            Now the term “rebellion” can cover both “revolution” and “secession”. 😉

        • Secession is one part of a country removing itself from the rest of the country, not trying to take over the whole country. Revolution on the other hand is an attempt to overthrow the government of a country, not just remove yourself from it. Technically the American Revolution is misnamed, it was a Secession, not a revolution.

    • Just possibly a President cruz would be sufficient. Certainly of the remaing options he’s the “least bad”

      https://reason.com/archives/2016/03/16/cruzs-constitutionalism-trumps-trumps-tr

      • YellowShapedBox

        Shoot, I think, of all the options, only Walker and Rand were ever in the same ballpark of not-bad-ness, and Rand’s stance on Israel kept me from ever considering him. Cruz is the first person since Reagan who stands the first snowball’s of stabilizing the national debt (not that Reagan actually did – keep being involved citizens, folks.) That makes him actually somewhat good as a nominee, which is a first within my voting lifetime.

        And the sequestration deeply impressed me as an expose of the federal government’s waste and the petty tactics they’ll use to retain power. I know it hardly struck anyone else that way, but I stand by it.

        • Sequestration showed how much they are willing to do to keep power. The administration intentionally found the most public impacting cuts instead of the most useless activities. Travel and conference budgets were untouched but anything that could make life miserable for the subjects of the crown was done.

          Because that is what we are, subjects. Read the Declaration of Independence’s bill of particulars and count how many aren’t being done by the current Federal Government, often at an level that would make old King George blush.

          • Reality Observer

            Thank you for an easy job early in the morning, HerbN… Didn’t even have to take the fingers off the keyboard.

          • > sequestration

            They call it “sequestration.” I call it “malfeasance in office.”

          • We still have bunny inspectors. Are they more valuable than park rangers?

            • The Other Sean

              Doubtful. Americans don’t eat much bunny. Park rangers are often good for search and rescue and fire management activities.

              • Rabbits raised for meat do not come under the jurisdiction of the bunny inspectors, only those raised as pets or for things like magic shows.

                No, I’m not kidding; I went looking this up when I realized Dr Pournelle (on his own blog, years ago) was serious about the existence of these jobholders.

                • The Other Sean

                  I don’t know whether I should laugh, or cry, or do both.

                • That isn’t true. You must have a Federal license to raise rabbits for sale, even if it’s just a kid raising bunnies in the back yard. There grown federal civil servants enforcing that regulation.

                  You refer to the more elite civil servants who, among their valuable services to the general government, attend night club shows to see if any magician performing tricks with bunnies have acceptable caging facilities backstage so the the bunnies are not mistreated. Not state; Federal. Surely you know that power was granted somewhere in the Constitution. I’ve never been able to find it.

                  • I thank you for the correction; the sites I’d previously referenced and which I’d tried checking before I posted seem to be down, and fresh Google searching turns up your site and links to it, and discussions of the particular story mentioned above—none with the details I’d misremembered.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Necessary but not sufficient. Never sufficient.

        Our means of governing ourselves depends on very many people. If it ever comes down to one person alone, it has failed beyond repair.

        The current mess is a result of many people making poor choices over many years. Real improvement will take the time and effort of many people.

        Cruz is a better choice, and he would make better choices. However, if we otherwise choose poorly it will be pissing in the wind.

        • Yes we need to change the state of the culture for the better in myriad of areas, ethics, economics, law, to name but a few, while fighting a rear guard in politics.

    • When you consider that the Constitutional Convention was only called to propose ‘fixes’ to the Articles of Confederation, but ended up tossing the Articles completely, the idea that an Article V convention could be restricted to a single (or even a small set) of proposals seems rather naive.

      That Amendments to the Constitution requires 3/4 of the states (legislatures or conventions) to ratify them means nothing if the document that comes out of a Convention specifies some other method of ratification.

      • Scot, none of that is quite true. This article debunks the “runaway 1787 convention” myth:

        https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/conventionofstates/pages/145/attachments/original/1410015954/Can-We-Trust-the-Constitution-2.01.pdf?1410015954

        And the convention most definitely could not change the method of ratification of amendments, as that is carefully specified in the present constitution. The only way to do so would be by a constitutional amendment, which would have to be approved by 38 states, after which the other amendments would have to be considered. The possibility of that happening is so miniscule as to be ignorable.

        • The article you linked is quite clear that the intent (as noted by the Annapolis convention) of the convention was to ‘fix’ the already existing governmental system; i.e., “to render the constitution of the Federal Government adequate for the exigencies of the Union.” Both the ‘Federal Government’ and the ‘Union’ were in existence, and the existing constitution was the Articles.

          You’re definitely not cynical enough. 😉

          • I can only think that you didn’t read the article through. And it was widely held that the Articles were not “fixable,” and that “to render the constitution of the Federal Government adequate for the exigencies of the Union” required their replacement. I know you’re trying to maintain the “runaway convention” meme, but it’s just not so.

            • One or the other of us is trying to maintain a meme. 😉 (Maybe both.)

            • Your problem is you are forgetting how the whole Washington establishment thinks the current constitution is not “adequate for the exigencies of the Union.” That is their excuse for ignoring it.

              The fact is that the precedent of the last convention exists.

              • I’m forgetting nothing. What do you propose, not trying to rein it (the feral government) in and just letting it continue on its way? Or jumping straight to armed insurrection? The fact is, this has never been tried, so you don’t know that it won’t work. And I don’t know that it will. But isn’t a constitutional, legal, peaceful attempt worth making?

          • Have you read the Articles? Everything done in Philadelphia was done in accordance with the Articles. Yes, the convention was called to propose amendments. It did not. It proposed a new confederation of the states.

            A separate treaty or federation among two or more states is explicitly allowed under the Articles in Article VI., paragraph 2:

            No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.

            Which was in fact done with the new Constitution which was transmitted to the Continental Congress to vote on before sending to the states.

            The choice of the number of states needed to successfully form this new confederation was less then the unanimous approval required to amend the Articles but it was not an amendment to the Articles. It was a new treaty. The number nine as a supermajority required for action in the Articles appears in Article IX as the number required to go to war, Article X as the number of states in agreement to act as a group when Congress is in recess, and in Article XI the number required to admit any new colony other than Canada to the Articles (Canada having been given the option to do so at will).

            What I find interesting is the fear of a runaway convention based on the very convention that wrote the Constitution. The framers added this method for a reason and it is clear from reading what we have the reason was to allow the states to reign in a Federal government that was usurping all power. That is quite clearly the case we have today with the Feds routinely ordering the states about how to spend and what laws to have.

            • This is interesting. I had read the Articles, but had not though of the treaty or confederation provision as having significance, interesting line of thought.

        • Even The Federalist Papers admits that they didn’t follow the directions given. They argue that it was impossible and therefore they had to obey the important parts, but they admit they didn’t obey it all.

          • Which Federalist Paper or Papers are you referring to?

          • They admit they didn’t follow the directions given: provide amendments to the Articles.

            That does not change two facts:

            1. The nature and method of the ratification of the Constitution followed the procedures of the Articles.

            2. The Constitution was not enacted via dictat from Philadelphia. Nine states had to agree to the changes, a number carefully choosen from the Articles, for them to take effect.

            A runaway Article V convention could at best send to the states a brand new Constitution that had to be ratified (and I would argue they’d have to choose 38 states to have any legitimacy in their submission…that choice of 9 in 1787 was not an accident) to take effect.

            If you are that afraid of submitting to a procedure the Founders who were a “runaway” convention devised I’d argue you’ve truly given up on Constitutional government. It is there and has a lot more safeguards than Congress and our current Executive but no one demands we cancel this year’s elections because of those risks even though whoever wins, barring a Cruz revival, will be as least as phone and pen happy as Obama.

    • Bjorn Hasseler

      I’ll be frank. I don’t trust the capital-L Libertarians not to try to restructure into a weak isolationist nation that can’t defend itself, and I certainly don’t trust whoever Massachusetts, New York, and California would send.

      • 38 states must ratify any proposal for it to take effect. Just keep repeating that to yourself…

        • Bjorn Hasseler

          I perceive quite a bit of condescension in your replies. Maybe that’s me; maybe that’s you.

          I *don’t* *trust* Libertarians to abide by the 38-state ratification requirement any more than I trust Progressives to abide by it. I expect both groups to attempt to pick up their -marbles- states and go home.

          I also don’t buy that civil war is inevitable.

          • Okay, so how do they enact changes by picking up their marbles and going home?

            I’m confused. Two-thirds get a convention. The convention votes out amendments by whatever method they choose. The states then vote on the amendments individually with 38 within the allotted time (if any) required to pass the amendments.

            If they pickup up their marbles and go home they have no control on the amendments, that I get. If they refuse to ratify how does that do anything but preserve the status quo? If they say, “unless this is ratified we don’t remain in the Union” how is that not Civil War?

            What am I missing about them picking up their marbles that allows them to get their changes without the 38 states required?

            • Bjorn Hasseler

              HerbN, I believe the “burn-it-downers” would default to the civil war option when they didn’t get their way.

          • It’s not condescension, it’s just a flat fact. Trust has nothing to do with it. If 38 states don’t ratify a proposed amendment coming out of such a convention, that proposal doesn’t become part of the Constitution. Disbelieve it all you want, it’s still a fact.

            As to the inevitability of civil war, you’ll notice that I said that except for the amending convention it was the only likely way I could see for the US to be returned to constitutionally-limited government, not that a civil war was inevitable. Quite a large difference there.

          • Without 3/4 of the states, amendments are no more important than toilet paper and less useful. The “Equal Rights Amendment” had a 10 year deadline for passage. It reached 35 and died in 1982

            • I would say the biggest danger in an Article V convention would be amendments without time limits for ratification.

              At least one 200 years old got finished and while I agree with it I’d rather not risk that with a convention.

              • You know, I’m also pushing for final ratification of the first article of amendment from the 12 that gave us the Bill of Rights, that would cap the number of citizens represented by each Congressman at 50,000. Having no time limit can be a good thing…

                • Read the Amendment carefully as you have it backwards:

                  After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

                  “Nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons” sets a lower bound, not an upper bound, on the persons per Congressional district.

                  The current Congress would be unaffected by ratification.

                  • Darn it, you’re right. Too bad!

                    • Free-range Oyster

                      Wait, someone presented with contrary evidence on the Internet changing his mind? Is that even allowed?
                      This is part of why I love this place. 🙂

                • Though the stinking bustards figured out a way around the strictures of the 27th Amendment (proposed in 1789, ratified in 1992) almost before the ink was dry on the last ratifier’s signature. Instead of voting themselves an increase in compensation each term, which would allow disgruntled constituents a chance to boot them out of office before the raise kicked in as (I suspect) was intended by the drafters of the amendment, they’ve voted themselves an automatic raise via a COLA. Now, unless they vote to *refuse* their COLA, their pay gets raised without the least trace of a paper trail.

                  • of course whats funny is their COLA doesn’t use the same math as, say, VA disability…

                    • What? You expect our betters to abide by the inflation statistics that they use on all of us that mean that even if the food costs have tripled inflation is 0.

            • Bjorn Hasseler

              Yes, I know. I am expressing my opinion that a convention dominated by the two fringes would not propose individual amendments but a complete rewrite, and would not respect the ratification requirements but attempt to secede. Because both fringes can easily count on at least 13 states.

              • I think this possibility is so remote as to be unbelievable.

              • So, would that be two separate states or do you thing the Libertarians and Progressives would come up with a joint constitution.

                Also, why would they need the Article V constitution to secede? Why not organize for that purpose and do so a la 1860?

                • Bjorn Hasseler

                  Herb, I think each fringe would try to go its separate way after it didn’t get what it wanted. I don’t believe either side would actually let the other go.

                  Nobody *needs* an Article V convention to commit treason. I happen to think that in the current political climate it’s a probability that that’s what an Article V convention would lead to.

                  • Perhaps, but I see at least as much danger in the Free State Project (which has set its move date). Libertarians are already moving that direction it would seem.

                    I also don’t see Progressives as having the will to secede based on their prior behavior re promises to move to Canada/Europe and their willingness to embrace the “Jesusland” map as humor but not political program.

                    So I guess I partially agree but see no more danger from the Libertarians that other activism they currently engage in. I just don’t see the Progs doing it…they are too wedded to a big state to shrink it even to get to grow it.

                    • The Progressives aren’t going to secede, same as they are unwilling to let anyone else secede. It is against their core principles, they don’t want to be left alone to do what they want, because what they want to do is control everyone else.

          • “I *don’t* *trust* Libertarians to abide by the 38-state ratification requirement any more than I trust Progressives to abide by it. I expect both groups to attempt to pick up their -marbles- states and go home.

            I also don’t buy that civil war is inevitable.”

            You cannot actually include in your society any group which you cannot trust to abide by the fundamental social contract, no matter what they SAY.

            And if one side is simply unwilling, for whatever motive, to allow the other side to withdraw from the contract and “go home”, you WILL have a civil war for all your wishing. In fact, we did, and for exactly that reason.

            Bjorn, I’m sorry, but given what you say in your first two sentences, your last sentence is horseshit of the purest ray serene.

            • Bjorn Hasseler

              I’m sorry that you’re so deep in cynicism that you can’t see a non-violent outcome.

              • And I’m sorry that you’re so utterly ignorant of history and human nature that you won’t recognize hope is not a plan.

                • Bjorn Hasseler

                  I’ve already publicly agreed with Sarah’s plah: Long march back through the institutions. We *know* it will work because it was done to us. I am ignorant neither of history nor of human nature. In fact, I recognize the desire to throw in the towel and burn it all down as yet one more manifestation of the fallenness of our human nature.

              • Reality is not cynicism.

    • The problem with proposing amendments, whether through a Convention or other means, to fix the current lawless government is that it relies on a mechanism we already know does not work.
      The current Constitution already very plainly describes what the government is allowed to do (Article 1 Section 8) and what it is not allowed to do (everything else). By way of saying it a second time, amendments 1 through 8 make the “not allowed” bit explicit for a few topics. Then amendment 9 says it a third time. And amendment 10 says it a fourth time.
      None of this has worked.
      As Jefferson put it in a letter in 1825: “And what is our resource for the preservation of the Constitution? Reason and argument? You might as well reason and argue with the marble columns encircling them.”
      We know the current government, and all those of the past century or more for that matter, has no interest in paying any attention to the Constitution. So yes, we could certainly adopt a Constitutional amendment that says, in effect “The government shall obey the Constitution”. But it has already been told that at least four times; why would telling it a fifth time be any more effective? How will Constitutional amendments turn an unconstitutional government into a constitutional government? (Well, there’s one way, of course; you might call it the Hamilton amendment — “Congress shall have all power”. That is, for all practical purposes, the “constitution” under which we operate today. But I assume you weren’t looking to have those words actually be added to the text.)
      As “Standing Wolf” wrote on Joe Huffman’s blog: “The Constitution is a restraining order against the federal government. I’m not going to say a word about the effectiveness of restraining orders against criminals.”

      • The biggest problem, as I see it, is the extensive executive branch bureaucracy created by a lazy legislature. Only the legislature is empowered by the constitution to enact laws. They have freely given this power to unelected bureaucrats. Every bureaucracy falls under Pournelles’s Iron Law. They keep growing like cancer. The EPA essentially worked itself out of a job by the end of the 70s.
        Now they want to bankrupt the coal industry for it’s part in greening the Earth by increasing the essential life sustaining gas CO2 from 0.03% of the atmosphere up to the horrendously huge 0.04%. Congress never reserved for itself any need to say yea or nay to any new regulations.

      • This is not true. The mechanism we are proposing has never been used. If you’re saying, the government will ignore any restrictions put on it, you might as well just start shooting now. Me, I think trying the method given to us within the Constitution to restrain a feral government is worth trying.

        • Agreed, the Article V convention option has never been used. So what? The issue isn’t what mechanism is used for creating amendments. My point is that attempting to restrain the federal government with additional amendments has long ago been proven to be a waste of time, given that all three branches have for well over a century ignored the articles and amendments already in place.
          What might work is an amendment that says every government official is personally criminally liable for violating the Constitution, and upon conviction will lose his job and pension and eligibility for any other government office, and furthermore that any citizen has standing to bring such a case. That would put some teeth in the existing laws on that subject, such as 18 U.S. Code § 241. (Credit to L. Neil Smith for proposing this.) I also like my “Equal Protection Amendment” which says that no government official can own, or be protected by, any weapons denied the general public at his residence or office location.
          But the real answer is more likely to come from electing representatives who actually care about the Constitution, people who will impeach for perjury and remove from office all those who violate it.
          How to get there from here is the big question.

    • Sorry, i do not and cannot trust an Article V convention to work. In the end, the result is not likely what you expect- either nothing will get done at all, making it out to be a farce and people will completely oppose its use, or something will get passed that you do not want. Just look at how many states are solidly blue- just enough to ensure that no matter how much you mumble ’38 states to ratify’, it just won’t happen. The last time someone (possibly you, possibly not) was talking about how great an article V convention would be, I went through and listed fifteen or sixteen states that were solidly blue enough that nothing would ever pass. Do I need to do so again?

      • And you still have not come up with a reason not to try it. The alternatives are to let the current situation continue until if fails catastrophically, or to precipitate a civil war of one sort or another. You can complain all you want that something that’s never been tried can’t work, but that’s decidedly not the same thing as evidence. Sorry, you don’t convince.

        • because the time, money, and energy involved can be better put into practical solutions instead of magical thinking.

          • OK, name one of your “practical solutions.” I haven’t heard anything but negativism from you.

            • Are you trying to copy the Global Warming nuts?

              He doesn’t have to give you a reason that you’re willing to accept. You are trying to get his support for your idea– and you’re doing a wonderful job of dissuading when your idea of a good reason is “my idea is the only one that’s any good, so you MUST do support it!”

              • I asked him to suggest anything that might work, in his opinion, since he mentioned “practical solutions.” I’ve heard crickets since. Please try to keep up. I’m not trying to get his support, since that’s clearly impossible. I’m trying to get him to propose any alternative, which he hasn’t.

                • You ignored the practical solution suggested and are still insisting that this is the ONLY workable solution. So I will repeat Drak’s suggestion: We need to be organizing to educate our children to be people who understand the constitution, will stand up for themselves, and will not put up with any crap from Washington. It’s the slow way. The HARD way, because we also have to teach them, how to think for themselves and KEEP teaching them when so much of the world wants them not to.

                  • There’s nothing wrong with that solution. It’s been available to us for the lifetime of the republic. It hasn’t worked for the past 100 years. But it’s certainly worth trying again. What it doesn’t do is obviate the need for an Article V convention. Why do you think I’m insisting such a convention is the only workable solution? I am saying that it’s the only solution that can possibly rein in the federal government in our lifetimes without violence. Your “teach the children” method may or may not work, but it will certainly take decades to have any effect at all.

                    • Why do you assume the convention would go your way?

                    • My biggest fear of an article V convention is that the progressive left totally warps any amendments proposed.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      And there are enough states to pass “this sound good” amendments that can be twisted by the Progressives to increase their power.

                    • As for the ‘it hasn’t worked’. It is currently working. If you’re too impatient to deal with the slow way, I must question what wisdom and foresight you will bring to a convention. Too short sighted and you’ll get short stopped and at best waste time and convince people that the convention was an idiotic idea that doesn’t and can’t work. As you see there’s quite a bit of that, and poorly done you’ll reinforce it which will screw over any future attempt at it. Worst case you rush in and approve something that looks good on the surface and everyone’s angry enough to get it through before thinking about it and it explodes in all our faces. Franky without the slow way, the convention is nothing more than a circus complete with clowns but without substance. If you don’t teach the PEOPLE government by them flops nomatter the rules.

                    • I don’t assume such a convention would automatically go my way. But I do say that it’s the only possibility for such amendments to be passed. If they aren’t, and if the left forces changes through that they prefer (which I don’t think is likely, but let’s assume), those amendments would still need 38 states to ratify them. And if 38 states did ratify them, then that would be reflecting the clear will of the majority of states to dismantle the US of A as we know it, and we should accept that and then secede as peacefully as possible.

                      As for “teach the children” currently working, great! It will still take decades to come to fruition and I don’t think we can wait that long. And your thought that no one now is competent to consider how to return our feral government to its constitutional limits is frankly, a bit insulting.

                    • For the insult: So’s you’re condescending assumption that the only reason we’re not on your side is ‘we don’t understand’. You totally ignore anything that could go wrong with your proposal. To be blunt, I don’t think there are ENOUGH people who are responsible enough to reign in the current government for a convention of states to be anything other than an unmitigated disaster that would prevent it from ever being useful again. Therefore, we need to increase the number of people who ARE responsible before we do something so foolhardy because we were impatient.

                      For the rest of it… See the 1840-60s.

                    • Guys, this has long since stopped being productive.
                      Yes, DR is obsessed with a constitutional convention. I have my doubts about it, but I’ve seen worse things to obsess over in this day and age. It doesn’t warrant a full-on pile-on.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Amen!

                    • sorry

                    • Bjorn Hasseler

                      I regard secession for any reason whatsoever as treason. It’s also an auto-lose situation, a self-defeater – you ipso facto cannot return to a small government United States that way.

                      All the burn-it-down, sweet-meteor-of-death reminds me of a discussion in one of David Weber’s books, I think it was _Honor of the Queen_, about how smash-everything solutions don’t work because the people good at smashing things aren’t generally too good at constructing something in their place.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Also, the “Smash Everything Folks” likely won’t be “in control” afterwards and the people trying to rebuild can reasonable get support by blaming the “Smash Everything Folks”.

                      Of course, those trying to rebuild may have a very different idea of “what the new society should be like” than the Smashers have.

                      And people who are suffering thanks to the Smashing are not going to listen kindly to the Smashers’ ideas about “how the new society should look”.

                    • Geez, try reading what I write rather than what you’d like me to have said. If you refuse to try to change things for the better via an Article V convention, no problem. Just don’t pretend I’m condescending toward you when I point out just why I think that’s a foolish position.

                    • @Bjorn Hasseler: As it happens, I agree with you–secession would amount to the end of the US of A. That’s why I’m proposing trying to rein in the government via constitutional means, before secession happens.

                    • You don’t think that we can successfully vote people into office that would reverse, however so slowly, the direction the nation has been going; yet you think that the same voters (and presumably the same officials) working through and in the ratification process after an Article V convention will implement sufficiently radical change that our direction will be reversed more quickly.

                      Why?

                    • Sorry, hadn’t seen your comment. I’ll be good.

                    • @Scot: We’ve been trying to vote people into office to reverse the direction the nation has been going for at least the last 50 years. It hasn’t worked; the direction not only hasn’t reversed, it hasn’t even slowed. While it’s certainly worthwhile to continue to try, I think the evidence is that this method isn’t working.

                      And an Article V convention wouldn’t be created or controlled by the same officials. It would be entirely a creation of the state legislatures, which arguably would have better possibilities of draining a feral federal government of power and devolving it to the states and localities. At the very least, it hasn’t been tried before.

                • So, yes, you are trying to copy the Global Warming nuts.

                  If you so lack confidence in what you’re arguing for that you cannot actually answer a long string of arguments against it, and have to switch to personal attacks, then I’m definitely not going to have confidence in what you’re arguing for.

                  That’s a sign that you’re so ignorant of what you’re supporting that you can’t even recognize the downsides of it, much less argue for why they are less than the downsides of another action or no action at all.

                  I’m trying to get him to propose any alternative, which he hasn’t.

                  No, you WERE trying to get him to support you.

                  When he pointed out that you hadn’t managed to do that, you shifted the goal posts as if he already HAS to support you.

                  He doesn’t.

                  And you managed to do more harm to your cause than he did.

                  • And you’re evidently another who reads what you wish I’d said rather than what I did. You’re putting positions into my mouth and then excoriating me for having those imagined positions. Read up on what a straw man argument is. As for causing harm to my cause, I really doubt it. If I had done the things you pretend, perhaps. But I didn’t.

                    • Sorry, but I think most of us (I can speak for myself irrevocably) agree with Foxfier, whether it was your intention or not, you have “caused harm to your cause”.

                      You can claim not to have done the things she says you have, and possibly didn’t do them consciously, but to the rest of us, what we see is you doing exactly what she sees.
                      Like her example, the Global Warming, ahem, Climate Change nuts, you can swear up and down on a stack of bibles that what you claim is an irrevocable fact, but that doesn’t make it so. I heard a Global Warming nut just yesterday speak the truth on the radio, he said, “in America we can’t even agree on the facts, a large portion of the country won’t even accept Climate Change as a fact” Those of us who don’t believe in Climate Change, certainly aren’t going to try and fix it. The Global Warming nuts can cry that the sky is falling all they want, but we aren’t going to waste our time and money building pillars, that would be in our way to boot, to prop up something that is in no danger of falling down. Now that I’ve pushed that metaphor past all bounds, I’ll state that we simply don’t see your “facts” as being facts, and basing your argument on them simply invalidates your argument, no matter how many times you repeat it.

            • Just because Draven can’t figure out and explain to you how to so solve the problem of potentially runaway nuclear reactions himself, doesn”t invalidate his claim that your proposal to create a new coolant system from unicorn farts is fatally flawed.

              • It doesn’t prove, or even provide evidence, to support his claim either. I state that his claim is just unwarranted fear based on misunderstanding. If you don’t want to even attempt to fix the problem, why then, you’re part of the problem, aren’t you?

                • I’ve already provided enough evidence to ‘support my claim’ that your proposed Article V convention isn’t going to be able to do anything. You cant get 38 votes out of a pool of 32 potential votes.It isn’t up to me to provide alternatives, i am simply pointing out that your effort is going to *at least* end in failure and *at most* end with something passed that you do not want.

                • That’s like saying that someone who claims that looking for a gas leak with a match is a bad idea, should be ignored because they don’t propose a better way to find the gas leak*. Just because they don’t have an answer, doesn’t make your answer right. Possibly it is better to live with the gas leak until daylight rather than try to find it with a match, but regardless, using a match is likely to result in an explosion.

                  *And yes, this IS the way I look for propane leaks, but that is different looking for a gasoline leak. 🙂

            • “OK, name one of your ‘practical solutions.’ I haven’t heard anything but negativism from you.” – drloss

              Here’s one of your practical solutions named and unanswered by you:

              “What might work is an amendment that says every government official is personally criminally liable for violating the Constitution, and upon conviction will lose his job and pension and eligibility for any other government office, and furthermore that any citizen has standing to bring such a case. That would put some teeth in the existing laws on that subject, such as 18 U.S. Code § 241. (Credit to L. Neil Smith for proposing this.) I also like my “Equal Protection Amendment” which says that no government official can own, or be protected by, any weapons denied the general public at his residence or office location.” – Paul Koning

              Wash, rinse, repeat:

              “And you still have not come up with a reason not to try it.” – drloss

              How about this one, from Koning again?

              “The problem with proposing amendments, whether through a Convention or other means, to fix the current lawless government is that it relies on a mechanism we already know does not work.
              The current Constitution already very plainly describes what the government is allowed to do (Article 1 Section 8) and what it is not allowed to do (everything else). By way of saying it a second time, amendments 1 through 8 make the ‘not allowed’ bit explicit for a few topics. Then amendment 9 says it a third time. And amendment 10 says it a fourth time.
              None of this has worked.”
              – Paul Koning

              Your Article V convention is a classic example of doing the same thing again, expecting different results. New amendments will be ignored and/or bypassed by the people responsible for the current problem just as the first ten have been. Your proposal has no teeth to it, and is doomed to failure.

              But it is a really nifty feel good measure that allows you to virtue signal and look like you’re doing something, while accomplishing the sum total of f*ck all.

              You keep singling out certain responders for not responding to your questions, and for not providing counters, while ignoring the commenters who have responded and who are providing alternatives.

              You’re a weasel.

        • The link actually says nothing about how it will magically get 38 votes out of 32 states that are not solid blue on a national level.

          • And you’re making unwarranted assumptions that you evidently don’t even notice. You’re assuming that every possible amendment must be a red vs. blue, us vs. them, right vs. left argument. Facts not in evidence.

            • Can you name 3 that would actually affect matters that *wouldn’t* become such a bone of contention?

            • I love the concept of an Article V convention. It is just that anything that isn’t trivial will never pass easily. Of course just having an amendment hanging out there awaiting passage can drive political discourse. I’m mostly in favor of one because it might actually make people look at important issues. If political discussion can move past “I’m good you’re evil” it would be a unalloyed good.

            • Then your proposed amendments will solve absolutely nothing. No, seriously. If you think your magic pallative Article V convention amendments aren’t going to be opposed by the blue machine politics states, then you really need to study how they work.

              • So you disparage even an attempt as automatically doomed to failure, eh? Man, why do you even try to influence the world around you, if you think nothing can work? And if you do think there’s something that might work, why won’t you propose it here as I’ve asked you to do?

                • There are already a number of proposals for amendments to be taken up by an Article V convention. Levin’s among others.

                  You’ve been asked, and failed to respond, which of these proposed amendments could pass the required number of blue states and be ratified?

                  Is the Article V convention a talisman for you, or do you actually have specific proposals that you strongly believe such a convention would (not could — would) vote out to the states, and that the necessary number of states would ratify? If you have amendments you believe would be ultimately ratified, what are they?

                  • So you’re asking me to guess what would happen if we tried this route. Why do you ask, since those criticizing the idea from the start would reject anything I said anyway? To be honest, I have no idea which amendments, in what form, would make it through such a convention, and which of those would gain ratification. And neither does anyone else. But refusing to make the attempt because the results aren’t guaranteed to be what you desire seems awfully much like the refusal to police the borders because we can’t stop 100% of the attempted illegal crossings. If you don’t try you automatically lose.

                    • So ‘we don’t have any ideas, but trust us, you’ll like it better’? There’s a political movement today based on the same ignorance about the potential results. Ignorance is rarely a good basis for supporting something.

                      You have given no reason to support the idea, other than a vague ‘it’s never been done before, so it must be better’; and you’ve failed to actually respond to a number of reasons why people aren’t sanguine about the idea.

                    • @Scot: In actuality, I provided links to some fairly comprehensive responses to their reasons for opposing such a convention. I didn’t copy-n-paste those responses due to their length and comprehensiveness. I strongly suspect that if I had no one would have read them.

  2. The good news is that there’s no hyperinflation. True the fact that interest rates are effectively negative for savers while costs of goods are rising means that savings are being eroded, albeit not as drasticlaly as with hyperinflation

  3. Jordan S. Bassior

    “Godwin’s Law” is a good example of a mechanism helping the Strauss-Howe Cycles work. According to the Strauss-Howe cyclical generational theory, it takes about 80-88 years to make the same mistakes as were made before, and the reason why is that’s how long it takes for most of the people who remember them clearly the last time to die or become so feeble that they are no longer in leadership positions.

    We are now 80-88 years past the Great Depression and the original rise of the Nazis.

    Fundamentally, Godwin’s Law makes no sense — it amounts to an arbitrary rule forbidding the mention of the Nazi historical example. The reason for it, of course, is that the lessons of the 1930’s – 1940’s are inconvenient ones to those who are convinced that the mistakes of that era will work, this time, if “done right.” The evolution and application of Godwin’s Law is thus a good example of the sort of wishful thinking that makes possible the forgetting required for the Strauss-Howe Cycles.

    It is notable that it first appears in the 1990’s, which is just 50-60 years past the Great Depression and World War II — long enough for most of the Greatest Generation to have retired from active debate. Now, of course, they’re mostly DEAD — anyone 20 in 1939 would now be in his nineties.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      The creator of “Godwin’s Law” just made a comment that talk of Hitler would come out in most any conversation.

      IIRC He didn’t intend it to be “You Said Hitler, You Lose”.

      Mind it, it has become that but IMO the problem isn’t “Godwin’s Law” but the people (long before Godwin’s Law was created) who use “Hitler”, “Fascist”, etc as a “Slur”.

      And yes, it is a “Slur” because most of the people using it are IMO using it to mean “You’re Not One Of Us, therefore you’re Evil”.

      Sadly, Trump may be a Fascist but thanks to the overuse of the term, few non-Liberals believe it. 😥

      Of course, I hope Trump isn’t a Fascist, but part of me wishes “Those Who Cry Fascist/Nazi/Hitler Will Learn What Living Under Fascist Rule Is Really Like”.

      • “,,,part of me wishes “Those Who Cry Fascist/Nazi/Hitler Will Learn What Living Under Fascist Rule Is Really Like.”

        Yep – me too.

      • Trump is a shady real estate dealer with anger management problems. We’ve had one before; his name was Andrew Jackson.

        I doubt like hell that TruMP has the makings of Jackson II, but find the comparison interesting…

        Godwin’s Obsevation was morphed into Godwin’s Law for the same reason that Multiculturalism was morphed from a rule of thumb for Anthropologists and Historians into the idiocy we have today:

        The Progressive Left absolutely cannot afford to have people making serious comparisons between the fantasies the Left sells and real life. They cannot afford any examination of the resemblence of their imagined Benevolent State and the real superstates that have risen and fallen in the last century. They must denounce all “judgementalism” lest people get in the habit of making actual judgements.

        • One crucial difference: Jackson also beat the Red Sticks in Alabama, then the British in New Orleans. He also established that he was willing to put his own neck on the line.

          Trump has done precisely none of these things.

          • If Obama is playing the American Tiberius Gracchus, the rampant populism of either Trump or Sanders would allow them to play the role of his brother Gaius.

        • Mr. Trump’s not the second coming of Andrew Jackson or Hitler, he’s the modern Boss Twede.

          It helps to appreciate what we’re up against.

          Trump is even less of a true believer than Obama. But Ms Clinton is not only absolutely corrupt, she’s that way because she’s one of what Dr. Sowell called “the annointed” (Vision of the Annointed. Highly recommended) Her cupidity knows no bounds because it is ultimately for the greater good of Everyone in service to the perfected society.

          Pres. Obama has been our Lula, and he’s done a lot of damage. But I’m going to have a very hard time forgiving my fellow consevatives who let – or even connive – in letting my country get Dilma’d because of a make-believe bogeyman.

          • YellowShapedBox

            After all this time, I STILL can’t quite pin down where Obama’s coming from, but if it isn’t heavily driven by some foolish ideal, I’ll eat my foot. He’s not a guy who sticks his finger into the wind. He’s a guy who captains you into a storm despite heavy outcry, and then, in the inevitable aftermath, blames the storm on the “near-mutiny” of the crew. That can mean nothing BUT a true believer.

            Trump, on the other hand, is motivated solely by his own aggrandizement, which he appears to define as the number of people he bullies into submission minus the number of people who do the same to him (probably attempted through a petty slight most people would have the sense to ignore). So keep your eyes peeled for a toupee on a pole in the town square.

          • Boss Tweed or Huey Long.

          • No, Obama is a true believer; he’s also an Affirmative Action baby who’s been coasted up as a front. Bill Clinton wasn’t a true believer; he was just your standard corrupt Southern politician…. Boss Hogg on a diet.

            Hillary IS a true believer…. and utterly vindictive and ruthless.

            Trump is much closer to Bill than either Hillary or Obama…

      • Yep. The problem isn’t Godwin’s Law at all.

        It’s The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

  4. > Godwin’s Law

    It just adds two more entries to the list of keywords where someone can justifiably snap their mind shut and go “la-la-la I can’t hear you.”

    You know, like the poo that gets flung at the Puppies – racist, homophobe, sexist, yadda yadda. The words are just noises to the flingers, who use them with no relation to what they actually mean.

  5. I think the reason we’re not going to slide into communism or dictatorship is because despite an aggressive push from closet totalitarians of all stripes to suppress or repackage them, the self evident truths of the Declaration and the Constitution are out there in the wild and form the substrate of our culture. Nazi Germany, and even more-so Soviet Russia were planted in failed monarchies, where it was just “meet the new boss” with a patina of mad social science. “You’re not the boss of me.” is woven into our psyche. The poison seeds might take root but they don’t flourish. So like the luminaries of this site often say: Be not afraid. This too shall pass.

    • I think you’ve hit on something important. Even though the government schools are trying very hard to expunge it from the American psyche, the whole “I’m not bothering anyone, it’s none of your business, leave me alone!” mindset of most Americans (at least outside of the big cities) is at the core of what it means to be one of us. And that’s something that gets inculcated in our children at a very early age, and which we need to be diligent in fostering and encouraging.

    • I agree that “You’re not the boss of me” is a deep strain of the American character — and I say that as a Canadian who has actually gotten tired of our national pastime of mocking you guys — but an equally deep strain of the American character seems to me to be, “We gotta do something, ’cause something’s gotta be done about this.” Which makes people very vulnerable to someone who seems to know what has to be done and can plausibly explain why you should let him or her do it, especially when the last people in a position to “do something” either did nothing or made things worse.

      A remark sometimes attributed to Huey Long is, “When fascism comes to America, it will come in the guise of anti-fascism.” (Tellingly, my research revealed that Long’s original quote was more likely, “When fascism comes to America, it will come carrying a cross and wrapped in the American flag,” but I can see why that meme mutated.) The danger of preaching against the dangers of the mob mentality is that it can paradoxically become its own mob mentality. I do not think classical totalitarian fascism could ever really take root or flourish in the States — and for that matter, I am not sure any totalitarianism can endure nearly as long as its idealistic visionaries hope it might; the Third Reich lasted twelve years, the Soviet Union only eighty and Communist China is slowly but steadily morphing away from it after less than seventy — but a momentary social flashover in that direction might do a great deal of damage.

      • Don’t worry about Canadian anti-Americanism; it mostly just amuses us. 😉 Your “We gotta do something, ’cause something’s gotta be done about this” thought about Americans is perceptive. It’s (IMHO) one of our strengths and one of the things that the left is working hard to corrupt. To most of us (I hope), it means “We have to roll up our sleeves and do something about this, and not wait for someone ‘in charge’ to do it.” The left is trying to make that into “we means ‘the government that represents us in all things,’ not individuals working together voluntarily.” That’s one of the memes they’re working diligently to force upon impressionable minds in schools and through the media.

        • “To most of us (I hope), it means “We have to roll up our sleeves and do something about this, and not wait for someone ‘in charge’ to do it.”

          I think that’s the first and most instinctive form of the response, but one of the things I think the left has capitalized upon is not changes in “we” but changes in “this”.

          The big problem is that the things the Left really wants to fix — and most of their rank and file, I honestly still think, in a genuinely sincerely, idealistic, altruistic way — are things I simply do not think are “fixable”, on a permanent widescale basis, in this fallen mortal world: unfairness, suffering, and inequality, as they understand those things, in both the economic and cultural spheres. The strength and weakness of the American “can-do” spirit is that it is inherently skeptical about anything claimed to be “the limits of reality,” which is productive when those claims are false but destructive when they happen to be true.

          • They’re trying to corrupt charity as well. The idea we can work to make things better. And frankly we DID manage to minimize unfairness, suffering, and inequality. The corruption is coming where ‘minimize isn’t good enough, if it’s not perfect then we are worse than all the genuinely terrible places out there.’

          • This lefty wants to fix roads, bridges, and other public infrastructure, including removing lead from municipal water supplies. And I want to pay for it as we go by raising taxes progressively to cover costs.

            This will have the effect of decreasing unfairness, suffering, and inequality because the practical things that need fixing from the first paragraph are worst in the areas where the things that need fixing from this paragraph are the worst.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Based on your earlier comments here and elsewhere, I don’t believe that’s ALL you want. 😦

            • Please explain why these items have not been a priority in spending, especially in progressive states (see California’s roads) despite there being specific taxes to provide for at least one of them, roads.

              Also, please explain the needed progressivity and why favored lefty nations (mostly the rest of the OECD) get by with a less progressive tax regime (http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/growingunequalincomedistributionandpovertyinoecdcountries.htm).

              Also, please explain your tax level to be considered rich. If it is above your income please explain why.

              • To be fair, progressive-mandate administrations are hardly alone in promising to allocate spending in one way when campaigning and then allocating it another way once elected. And the transition points of a (mathematically) progressive tax rate will always feel arbitrary to someone, wherever they’re set, especially to anybody whose income fluctuates around any given bracket transition point.

                This is why I genuinely believe the issues are based on sincere differences in priorities more often than not. Which is more “important”, after all: reliable health care or reliable infrastructure? Good roads lose a lot of their value if you have no ambulances to get to the sick or injured; good and numerous ambulances lose a lot of their value if the roads are too crappy for them to drive on. But the simple fact of finite resources and inevitable opportunity costs sometimes demands decisions over which people can bitterly disagree in the best faith possible, and the bitterer that disagreement gets the harder it is to maintain the good faith that’s supposed to control it.

                • It may be different in Canada, but down here the issue is that all these things are within the purview of local and state governments, but not that of the federal government. If those are true priorities, then those who hold them need to convince their states and localities to address them. The feds should not have anything to do with it. And therein lies the major, unbridgeable gap between the left and the right–the left’s insistence that all power must accrue to the federal government.

                • Good roads may use a little of their value if there are no ambulances, but not ‘a lot.’ YMMV (Obviously mine does)

                  • Fair point, but I trust in turn you see mine: that it’s possible for reasonable people to disagree in good faith over what is most “important” at any one time.

                    The critical fulcrum is what someone does when he thinks a particular topic of disagreement is more important even than upholding the rules put in place to resolve such disagreements — that any one stake is too important to risk losing by the rules rather than cheating to win, or even abandoning the “game” altogether.

              • I am a computer programmer working and living in Manhattan. My wife is also a programmer and a partner in her business. We would likely be subject to the highest level of any reasonably progressive tax, maybe not quite the highest level of a very progressive tax.

                I want progressivity for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks. If it winds up not working out, we can do away with it – we’ve done that before. What other countries do or don’t doesn’t matter because of American exceptionalism.

                Repairs are not a priority anywhere because nobody wants to spend money to fix someone else’s problem – it’s not *your* end of the lifeboat that’s sinking. That’s why we need top-down federal government decision making and allocation of resources. When you take away people’s money in taxes and then parcel out the money for repairs, people forget that it’s their own money and feel good that the government is spending money on them.

                • Nothing stops you from paying more now. Don’t wait for the government to insist, send them as much of your money as you like! And don’t give us that “it has to be the feds to do this” crap. Nope, not buying it. You want your stuff fixed, pay for it yourself. I don’t need to pay for you.

                  • “You want your stuff fixed, pay for it yourself. I don’t need to pay for you.”

                    That attitude is the reason why things don’t get fixed. When my stuff is a rusting bridge across a river or pipes leaching lead into the municipal water supply, paying for it myself is not an option.

                    But I am not interested in buying more fighter jets or fighting Islamic terrorism in other countries, so if you want that, please, you pay for those yourself.

                    • Yes, it most certainly is an option. Your municipality, your problem. As for national defense, nope, that’s specifically authorized for the federal government in the Constitution. The military yes; your bridges and local water system, no.

                    • That attitude is the reason why things don’t get fixed. When my stuff is a rusting bridge across a river or pipes leaching lead into the municipal water supply, paying for it myself is not an option.

                      So, get the rest of NY and those who work in the city to pay for it.

                      Why is lead in your water supply and poor transport across the Hudson the problem of someone in San Francisco who have their own issues?

                      But I am not interested in buying more fighter jets or fighting Islamic terrorism in other countries, so if you want that, please, you pay for those yourself.

                      I’d be happy to do so and I’m sure you’d be happy to freeload. Then again, if I said, “open season on Manhattan, we won’t defend it” would that put you in more or less risk than if you said, “open season on Atlanta, we won’t defend it” or “open season on College Station, Texas, we won’t defend it”.

                    • An interesting attitude, to be sure, coming from someone who lives near the only truly mass casualty (1000+) Islamic terrorist event in US history.

                    • @drloss: I’d be quite willing to quit defending Manhattan if he is willing to quit taxing other states for his bridges and water pipes.

                      I mean, look at the median income in NYC, they certainly can afford to fix their own stuff if we weren’t forcing them to pay for national defense. It isn’t like NYC is in any danger.

                    • @HerbN: I hear you, but since this is a constitutional power of the federal government, I insist he pay his share whether he likes it or not. If he doesn’t want to pay for what’s required by the Constitution, he (and whatever territory he can convince to follow him) is welcome to remove itself from constitutional protection.

                    • Sorry *achoo**false diachotomy**achoo* I can’t hear you over my allergic reaction to your logical fallacy.*achoo**strawman argument**achoo*

                    • No. Your attitude is why things don’t get fixed. You sit on your bum whinging until you can get someone else to do it for you.

                      I can perceive the appeal, but “fair” isn’t in it.

                    • Sure it is. Raise your city’s taxes enough to fix your city’s pipes. The reason you want the feds to do it is that you want to pay less by sending thieves with badges to steal the difference. Steal it yourself if you dare.

                • Actually, a progressive tax fails the Willie Sutton rule.

                  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/09in05tr.xls (note, most recent data provided by IRS only goes out to 2009).

                  Take a look at the IRS reports on income distribution based on tax returns. Yes, the top 1% and 10% of returns do have a high percentage of the income, 16.9% and 43% respectively. However, remember you are not paying the top marginal rate on all that income. The majority of that income is taxed at a lower rate.

                  In fact, in 2009, the floor for AGI for the top 1% was $343,927 while the floor for the top rate was $372,951 for all but married filing separately where it was half that. The floor for the 10% was $112,124 which was subject only to the 4th highest of six tax brackets at 28%. The IRS spreadsheet also gives us the fifth percentile which floored at $154,643 also in the 28% marginal bracket.

                  Thus, the highly progressive part of the income tax structure, which I’ll define as any rates above those in Reagan’s tax reform (which capped at 28%) were not applied to all of the top 5%.

                  The problem is unless you create a progressive tax where the rate is not marginal but entire income (if you’re under 100K you pay 10% and above you pay 20% of AGI, say) the bulk of the taxable income is still in the middle rates (you could probably use the sheet to do an estimate of income taxes from the 2nd through 4th which cover the marginal rates on the 5th through 50th percentiles) which is where the money is. The top marginal rates would need to drop to starting at the 50% percentile to have a significant income effet.

                  This is before we get into the issue that people like you and me with largely pay based incomes are targeted (although I think not by intent) by the tax system. Because our incomes are primarily pay based instead of investment based we have less control on realization and thus more at the mercy of the tax code. No, raising capital gains rates won’t really address that as the tax is not paid until realized and thus can await political changes much more than you or I.

                  A flatter tax arguably would shift the burden up more over time although there would be a sticker shock to institute it at once.

                  That’s why we need top-down federal government decision making and allocation of resources.

                  Why am I more likely to want to support repairs from Washington than from my own city. The City of Sandy Springs, Georgia offers a direct counter to your argument.

                  Prior to incorporation Sandy Springs was just the North end of Fulton county which is dominated by Atlanta. Atlanta got the lion’s share (still does) of county money for roads and other public works. Non-Atlanta Fulton country generally fights tax increases as they know it will go to Atlanta not to their end of the lifeboat as you put it.

                  Sandy Springs, once incorporated and operating on its own taxes spent the money locally. Now, with smaller tax increases than Atlanta has seen, Sandy Springs has improved roads, parks (it actually has parks for that matter), and police and fire response. People were more willing to pay taxes to fix their roads.

                  I would argue this is a better model of human behavior than yours. Just as home owners are generally better about maintenance than renters people are generally more willing to spend time and money locally than elsewhere. The prime example is public schools.

                  Based on the school experience and various state equalization plans (study Vermont’s equalization law from circa 2000 for a seriously egregious example) centralizing efforts are much less about making sure something local is done and much more about making someone not local pay for it. This is often viewed mostly in “rich vs. poor” terms but a more generic “us vs. them” is just as likely.

                  • I was on the leaving end of school when Atlanta tried to pass a sales tax to fix the transportation cluster that is the center of the city. However looking at the information as to what would be done, it would have done nothing to fix the locations where everything backs up and simply make more busses to go around empty.

                    • Yep…the guys at 640 AM even got one of the architects on record admitting the plan would do nothing for anyone’s commute time but would create more public transit.

                • “When you take away people’s money in taxes and then parcel out the money for repairs, people forget that it’s their own money and feel good that the government is spending money on them.”

                  This is true, to some extent; more likely, though, this is only true for the bureaucrats who get to spend the money. They forget it comes from the people, and they create huge bureaucratic, wasteful fiefdoms for their benefit, and defend them to the death.

                  “That’s why we need top-down federal government decision making and allocation of resources.”

                  Uh, no. Every bit of evidence I’ve seen indicates that this makes the problem worse. Much worse. Rather than having local bureaucrats you can go talk to at a Town Hall meeting, with pitchforks and torches, if necessary, your Federal guy is twice removed from accountability, and thus twice as blind to the conditions on the ground. I say “twice”, but it’s more of an exponential increase in blindness. Some bureaucrat answering to some guy in Washington, DC, 3,000 miles away, isn’t going to care one whit about what the locals think!

            • Fine. Get your local or state government to do it, then. But this is not within the authority of the federal government.

              • Progressives everything done at the federal level because they only have to fight once instead of 50 times. Also, it lets them fight in a friendly environment, DC, instead of flyover country.

              • In all fairness post roads are an Article I power of Congress. That would at least cover the Interstate Highway System. Oddly, it would not cover the US Highway system (Rt. 1, Rt. 66, etc in the shield) which are strictly a creation of the states working in consort without any Federal intervention or supervision. I amazed that worked (sarc off).

                • Oddly enough, I would consider the maintenance of post roads to cover (arguably) maintenance of the internet as well as physical roads. And the interstates are also covered under providing for the common defense, as that’s what they were created for (ostensively, for the movement of the military from one part of the country to another).

                  • Point on the military aspect. Post roads could arguably cover, at this time, airports although I think railroads no longer have any mail contracts.

                    • The Other Sean

                      A few mail contracts come and go, usually in conjunction with some form of Amtrak passenger service. It keeps looking like a marginally-better option than trucks for certain routes under certain circumstances, so they award a contract, and then circumstances change and the contract gets canceled. I don’t think there are any active at the moment.

            • Well Mr Lefty, a good start on the road and bridge will be to quit using the fuel tax money for mass transit. That will free up a lot of cash for maintaining the interstate highways. Local roads and bridges should be financed locally. Flint’s lead water pipe replacement can be financed by Flint. Taxpayers outside of Flint should not be made to pay for the stupid decisions of corrupt local politicians.

              It is estimated that the “corruption tax” siphons away about 20% or so of Illinois tax money, especially highway money. Guess who runs Illinois? Your friendly lefty party the dhimmicraps with the local republicans as junior, very junior partners. Before ONE MORE cent goes to government at ANY level, lets fix the problems of the corruption, which means making it smaller, MUCH smaller.

              Your progressive utopia will not result in a more equitable society, it will mean smaller numbers of increasingly richer elites, as those use their wealth to effect a regulatory capture of more and more government bureaucratic machinery.

              • … a good start on the road and bridge will be to quit using the fuel tax money for mass transit. That will free up a lot of cash for maintaining the interstate highways.

                This. There shouldn’t be any reason that Ohio and Kentucky should be expected to shoulder the lion’s share of replacing the I-71/I-75 bridge, which is currently operating at something like 30% over originally-estimated capacity, and for several years past its expected service life.

            • I agree that if we are going to have state provided roads, municipal water, that we should tax and pay as we go. The problem is that the money was taxed and is already spent.

              • Then do something about it. Remove the legislators who enabled it, and put people in place who will fix it.

            • It’s NOT the federal government’s job to run local water supplies. Every water supply has different qualities, and a one size fits all federal government water supply won’t cut it. And Flint’s problems are of their own making. And I really don’t feel that my money needs to be spent to solve it. As is, I’m my own water and sewer company. Every five years or so the pump needs replacement. The pressure switch fails at unpredictable intervals. It’s softened with KCl, not NaCl because there’s no detectable iron, and KCl, in IMHO, a better softening agent for my family. But- it isn’t for everyone. And I filter it to 5 microns at point of entry into the house, far finer then most people consider necessary. But, again IMHO, makes laundry cleaner. And it’s not chlorinated. Not needed.

              Now, if the feds controlled my supply… A union plumber would come in and replace my pump every 2 years as a precautionary measure against premature failure. And charge me union wage rates, minimum of 4 hours. And it would take 2 people. Maybe 3, since there’s wiring involved, an electrician would be needed. KCl? Too expensive, I don’t need it. Why even bother with softening? It’s not needed! (There have been movements to ban water softeners because they waste water.) Chlorination would be required- precautionary principle. And would require routine maintenance by someone licensed to handle the chemicals. And 5 micron filtering? I’d either get unfiltered water- or they’d decide I needed sub-micron filtering to protect against giardia- in case the chlorination failed…

              Or they would simply outlaw home wells and require everyone be hooked up to a central supply so their water could be ensured safe. The cost of that would make Obamacare look affordable.

              • As someone with a calcium laden well, taking away the softener would mean all water using machinery would have to be replaced every three months (based off of how long a coffee maker works for before clogging). I did say calcium laden. City water out here always needs softening, too.
                But what the heck is with your pump? We’ve replaced only once in three decades. Of course in three decades the septic has only been pumped twice, two. The original owner was a character and went for very over-engineered.

                • Deep well submersible pump in a 15′ dug well. Scale builds up on the impeller and volute. Then, one day, clearances go to less the zero, and the impeller stops going roundy roundy. I honestly don’t know if spending 3X as much on a Gould pump would net me 3X the lifespan given the failure mode. It’s a hard green scale. Does not flake off easy. Hardness is 37 GPG.

                  • 15 feet?? Have you tested the water for ag chemical runoff? A lot of lazy cheap folks around here who live near rivers or marshes have driven sandpoints down from 8 to 20 feet and use those for house water. This near surface water is full of pesticide and fertilizer residues that require a RO unit to clean up.

                    Quite a few used the PR from finding tritium in their water to blackmail Exelon into building and then giving to them a massive water treatment facility because of claims that the Braidwood nuclear plant contaminated their water with tritium. These levels of tritium could not even have been detected 20 years ago, and in any case, were orders of magnitude below dangerous. As one Exelon lawyer vainly put it, their water was already unfit to drink long before Braidwood ever went into operation.

                • I know that the “experts” claim that adding enzymes to your septic tank doesn’t work, but from personal experience I would have to say that they do. My parents ran both their house and my grandparents on one septic system (rated for only one house, and no it wasn’t permitted) for forty years. They added enzymes faithfully every month, and we had to dig up the septic tank a few years ago, because tree roots crushed the pipe right where it entered the tank. There was virtually no solids in the tank, and the drain fields still work fine. In fact everybody I know who uses enzymes monthly has Never had to have their septic tank pumped. Even though conventional wisdom from the “experts” says you will need to have it pumped at least once a decade.
                  Of course those “experts” all work in the septic/sewage industry; and if you don’t need to have your tank pumped or your system worked on, they don’t have a job. So recommending products that cause them to be unemployed would be a conflict of interest.

                  Oh and your part of Idaho is the reason that it is a state code that all houses must have a water softener. Of course our local plumbing inspector has common sense (will wonders never cease?) and ignores that particular requirement, because the water in this half of the state has no need to be softened.

        • Some years ago I was following a thread between some Englishment who were discussing a tedious political problem. I suggested that they ask the US to stop by and take care of it for them while we were returning from Desert Storm. (“some years” was probably 1991-ish, and yes, I was trolling…)

          The reaction was “You Americans! You think all problems can be fixed!” Not only did my cheap troll fail, the thread shot off into an entirely different direction. Basically, that they *liked* their problems, and had accepted them as part of their social and national identity, and Americans were WRONG to think that there was a solution to every problem.

          There IS a solution to every problem. But you have to be willing to pay the price.

          • See, the ones that believe problems can be fixed rather than merely tolerated left Britain and came here. 🙂

          • Americans like problems solved, thus are they disposed of and dispensed with and life can get on to other things of more interest. Europeans want problems ‘managed’ so they can be in charge of them for the ages.

            Sure, some problems cannot be truly fully solved. The answer for those is to rig the system to minimize or trivialize them and make them insignificant. Thus the solution to ‘buying the government’ is to have a government that is small and buying it while possible and even easy, is ultimately pointless. “I own a senator.” “So what? I own a dog.”

        • Someone noted, years ago, that much of the problem legislation in this country was caused as a result of the following syllogism:

          1. Something must be done about this.
          2. is something.
          3. Therefore, must be done.

          • Ah, lovely how things get misinterpreted as invalid tags and removed. One day, I’ll remember that prior to hitting “post.” Let’s redo the syllogism using parentheses instead:

            1. Something must be done about this.
            2. (My proposed action) is something.
            3. Therefore, (my proposed action) must be done.

        • I think we started the slide with Johnson’s decision to have both ‘guns and butter’ during the Vietnam war, by deficit spending.
          I think there is still a slim majority of Americans that actually want a politician to suggest that we are really messed up and it is really going to take a lot to fix it, it is going to hurt, and we are all going to have to accept responsibility for our own livelihood and our own actions.
          Hint: Handing out ‘electronic Food Stamps’ because the old printed kind were ‘demeaning’ is a failure to remember that 80-90 years ago the people standing in line at the soup kitchen would have loved paper food stamps.

          • 80-90 years ago, being “on the dole” was something to be embarrassed about, and something you worked very hard to get off. I know this for a fact, because my father and grandmother had to accept the dole for a period (she was a widow, he was the youngest of 8 children, by 10 years, and it was the depression).

            • Compared to now.

              When my wife’s Social Security “statement” combined with her medical conditions had me seriously suggesting she apply for disability.

              1. The disability payment is higher than any forecast retirement payments.

              2. Despite any payments for disability being taxable at my marginal rate the amount is still above the discounted value of the retirement payments.

              3. We have paid in plenty and I don’t expect to see it at 70 (and she is five years younger than me).

              4. Why not get a “refund” of my annual payments over a three year span…every one else is getting something why shouldn’t we.

              #4 is the scary one…even five years ago I would have been opposed on moral grounds and now I wonder if saying “no” is an immoral form of self-harm.

            • And if you were “on the dole” you couldn’t continue to vote yourself benefits. See pauper’s oath.

          • My wife was working at Trader Joe’s the night EBT went down a couple of years ago which lead me to realize:

            1. How many people on EBT do most or all their grocery shopping there (which annoyed me as even with her employee discount we didn’t because of cost).

            2. That the night they go down and don’t come back up is the night the government collapses for all intents and purposes.

            If I was a terrorist looking to cripple the US long term I wouldn’t blow up bridges or powerplants but critical data centers needed for the EBT system to work after making sure all the data was backed up on IRS and Hillary approved quality hard drives.

          • Anonymous Coward

            I would argue that Johnson’s unitary budget in 69 (consolidating the federal budget with the Social Security trust fund) was the start of the downhill slide. Being able to spend SS receipts to buy votes and then count the Treasury ‘IOUs’ as assets is what has allowed the growth of entitlements and the bureaucracy.

            • That has always been my opinion as to where we broke the system. We’re double counting the money and because of that I cannot count on my 401k to be around in 35 years

      • our national pastime of mocking you guys

        Given the definition of Canada is “British colonies in North America which didn’t revolt” Canada is arguably the ultimate anti-American culture. In that context mocking us as a national passtime makes complete sense.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          To be fair, I don’t see Canada as an “anti-American” culture as we do share (especially the Western Provinces) similar values.

          I see Canada as the result of the British “learning the lesson that Americans taught them”. 😉

        • Did you hear how Canada came up with their name? They wanted it to be simple and decided to pull three letters out of a hat. This is the transcript of the Letter Pulling Session
          “Cee, eh. En, eh. Dee, eh.”

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            I am deeply offended by your anti-Canadian bigotry and politely ask you to please stop. Thanks/merci.

            • So I guess you don’t want to hear the other story of how it was originally called “Cana”, but when asked what their country’s name was, irritated Canadians would answer, “It’s Cana, Duh!”, and that it is believed that in another 30-50 years, it will be known as “Canadada”?

              Running away now.

            • I heard the joke from a Ukrainian-Canadian in Northern Alberta who was deeply offended that their bilingual signs had to be English/French instead of English/Ukrainian.

              • I have a new box of Remington ammunition that’s marked bilingually. It took a few moments of “That’s odd…” before I realized it was English/French. I’m used to English/Spanish, or even English/Spanish/French, but not English/French.

                A while back I had to deal with the “customer terminal” at a pharmacy, where I had to use the little plastic pen to check a bunch of boxes. The first boxes were for language. The choices were English and Esperanto. This being the first time I’d ever seen Esperanto “in the world” I mentioned it to the clerk, who just gave me a blank stare, going even blanker when I tried to explain to her what Esperato is. I think she was getting ready to call the mental health SWAT team.

                Just another day in TRX-land…

            • Canadians, eh? Josh them a little and they beg for mercy. (Runs.)

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Yeah, it bugs me too that so many of my fellow Canadians seem to think that our national identity is being snotty and condescending towards our southern neighbors. Kinda puts the lie to the stereotype of the polite, tolerant Canuck, doesn’t it?

        • Well, we hear all the Canadian kvetching and we think, “Aww, how cute, they think they’re insulting us!” I doubt very much if anyone here takes it seriously, if they think about it at all. If you want to respond to anti-American Canucks, just tell them, “You know, the Yanks don’t care what you think. You don’t matter to them at all.”

          • The greatest irony is that so many of us think so highly of your President of the last eight years that we just elected our own equivalent as Prime Minister. 😦

            Though truthfully, that’s less the cause than simple owner fatigue. Basic human capacity to get bored with anything and want a change, no matter how adequate the current situation, is something that should never be left out of political analysis.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Which is why “Canadian Bacon” was a comedy.

            Americans are not really worried about Canada. 😈

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Bacon

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Like!!!!

              • ROFLMPO

                You should not put me in PantsCon 3 at work you know.

              • I am forced to remind you that are the end of the second world war, the RCN was the third largest navy in the world after the USN and the RN.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  And what happened to it? I never heard about anybody sinking it? 😈

                • The US Army claims that during WWII they had more ships than the Navy.

                  • If I remember the “screw with folks’ heads” stats right, the Army has more boats than the Navy, the Navy has more planes than the Air Force, and the Air Force has more funding than anyone. 😉

                  • Bill Maudlin had a cartoon where the soldier is explaining to the sailors things on shipboard. (Of course, that was because they like using the same forces for amphibious assaults every time.)

                • I have an RCN flag. And a little beret flash/cap insignia thingie. And an RCN lapel pin. Which is on my RN lanyard. And a Canadian flag patch. Somewhere I also have an RAN patch.

            • You should be. Where do you think half your voters got the idea that nationally socialized medicine was practical, effective, and desireable? 😉

              To be fair, I and my family have gotten a good deal of benefit out of our system. But our system only works to the extent it does/did for a number of reasons: 1) it’s organized by province rather than being subject to a single unworkable top-down one-size-fits-all scheme; 2) our population is basically a tenth of the States’, and nearly a third of it is concentrated in the three big cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver; 3) our systems were set in place during the ’50s and ’60s when not only was our population even smaller, but the culture surrounding both medicine and health insurance was a lot less litigious, the proportion of the 65+ demographic who always take the lion’s share of such expenses was smaller even than that, and the technology of care and drug development was less advanced and therefore less expensive; and 4) we have no problem with people buying private insurance to cover what isn’t provincially covered, though even that doesn’t stop emergency medical visits down south by those who can afford it or can’t afford the wait time.

              This, perhaps, may be another weakness of relentless American positivity: Arguments that state “Just because it works here to some extent doesn’t mean it’ll work as well, or at all, there, because of conditions X, Y and Z” are all too often taken as “You’ve admitted it can work, and if it can work then we can make it work!” Which, again, can be productive when it’s correct, but counterproductive when not.

            • See the map, they’re hoverin’ right over us
              Tell you the truth, it makes me kinda nervous

              Always hear the same kind of story
              Break their nose and they’ll just say “sorry”
              Tell me what kind of freaks are that polite?
              It’s gotta mean they’re all up to somethin’
              So quick, before they see it comin’
              Time for a pre-emptive strike!

              (as usual, better than the original song)

          • Or like one Russian immigrant noted, “Canada – it’s like America’s Austria!”

            • Or Australia’s New Zealand.

              • My mother was born in Canada, Montreal when it was still Anglophone. I always saw the differences between the two countries. I never saw what the fuss was. Unless it was just envy.

          • And then tell the Canadians if they really want to hear some real good cursing at Yanks, go to the American South.

          • But I DO like the (apparently made-up) story of the US Navy ship and the Canadian lighthouse.

        • I figured it was kind of like the Navy and the Marines giving each other crud.

          Or the Marines and Army. Navy/Coast Guard, at least.

          Y’all are the Coast Guard…..

          (Pulls protective shielding over her chair after that slo-mo cluster grenade.)

          • “I figured it was kind of like the Navy and the Marines giving each other crud.”

            Better than something ELSE we could give each other. Female Sailors DO like Marines a great deal, after all.

            • I prefer my specific sailor. ❤

              • Speaking of your and your specific Sailor, you guys are in the Hampton roads area, yeah? Any insights you can give me on where I should be looking for housing?

                • Nah, we’re in the Seattle Blob. I was never even stationed there, although hubbs was when he was young and single.

                  See if your sponsor knows anybody who’s sub-letting.

                  Husband looked over and said that it’s a great place to live, but check if your commute would send you through the tunnel– there are a LOT of areas that are single point of entry and insane. Like, “skip the last day of liberty so you don’t miss ship’s movement” type bad.

                  He says most of the areas have catches like that.

                  Information is a decade-plus old, but he liked Virginia Beach because of the backroads. My brother bought a condo out there, only location I remember for it was it was near “Unicorn Drive”– if you can find someone you can trust, you can live quite nicely splitting the rent.

      • Yeah, but the insidious beauty of “you’re not the boss of me” is that even the “for your own good” types subscribe to it. It’s always about using someone else’s money to “fix” things, and/or telling someone else what to do. Most aspirational social meddlers of various stripes imagine themselves as the commissars, not the kulaks.

        Eventually the undeniable hypocrisy either (rarely) drags them to wisdom, short circuits ’em with cognitive dissonance, or demonstrates quite emphatically to everyone else that they should never be listened to in the first place.

    • We used to say “This is a free country.” Now we’re more likely to say “I’m entitled…”

  6. My take on it is different.
    We lost WWII.
    Oh yes, the Allies won the military war. Germany was destroyed and a few of the higher up leaders were hung.
    Today all the symbols of the Nazis are reviled. They destroyed the ancient swastika as a symbol of anything else. Even Nixon found out that the shape of Nazi helmets still provokes horror in the public when he tried to use that shape.
    But we lost the ideological war.
    Not with the greater mass of people. Most still see the US as different despite decades of college telling them their system is evil. But our LEADERS embraced the sum of their philosophy of basic dishonesty, hidden mass control and might makes right. They love the power and control. Starting with Operation Paperclip they held their nose and excused every Nazi and slaver who could bring them the German technologies of rockets and jet engines and other weapons.
    Today we have Patriot acts and executive emergency orders, spying on our citizens, and security theater that would make the Nazis blush.
    Their IDEAS won.

    • We lost WWII an, seemingly, the Cold War?
      Egad, will we win in Vietnam yet?

      More and more I am wondering if perhaps I am really only 5 years old, it’s really 1972, and everything since that I have experienced is all due to LSD I was slipped by nutcase.

    • Did you ever meet any of the Paperclip people? I did. One worked for me, another was a consultant, and we all learned to respect Werner. They were Germans, but I never met a Nazi; certainly no one whjo did not deny believing in Nazi ideals. I was Willi Ley’s successor as science editor of Galaxy; he left Germany early; but he was friends with a number of the Paperclip people who stayed. About half the Verein fur Raumshiffart stayed in Germany during the 30’s; many of the others came here and formed the American Rocket Society, and the Society for the Advancement of Space Travel. They welcomed the old VfR who came with Paperclip.
      We learned a lot from them. Shouldn’t we have?

      • The Other Sean

        I think we mostly made the right call on Operation Paperclip – and better to have them in our hands than in those of the Soviets.

      • Wife and I were talking to a vet at the VA t’other day and he was talking about a deployment to Germany where an elderly German told him, “I drove a panzer in Belgium!”

        The vet stood up and said, “Mister, I want to shake your hand!”

        The startled German asked, “Why?!”

        “Because you’re the first honest sonovasbitch I’ve met in Germany. Everyone else I’ve met says they only fought the Russians!” And he bought the old guy a beer.

    • YellowShapedBox

      Insofar as this is true (which is not very far – there is not a single chance that the Nazis would be ashamed of enacting any of the overreaches you mentioned), it’s because FDR caught the same social engineering disease that Mussolini did (Hitler came later). It was really going around in the early twentieth century.

      • We got very lucky that we had Oppenheimer and Eisenhower. Oppenheimer, because getting the bomb first meant that we were in a position where we didn’t need to go full-socialist-war-economy to win a World War (or, rather, to guarantee that anyone going against us would lose). Eisenhower (and, to an extent, Truman), because they had the moral strength to realize that walking back from the brink and letting the economy go was the right thing to do.

        I always find amusing lefties that selectively quote Eisenhower’s exit speech warning of the danger of the military-industrial complex without having actually understood what he was talking about. (Go read the speech, if you haven’t: http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html). The problems Eisenhower recognized are still relevant even today:
        The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

        Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific/technological elite.

        We’ve built a military-industrial complex for the war on poverty and on drugs and on many other ills without even considering the risks involved and whether the wars that can even be won. All the problems he’s warned about are there, visible.

      • What is seldom remembered these days is that Mussolini was looked at very favorably by the the “progressives” of the day, until he made common cause with Hitler.

        • You sure that’s when their support stopped? What I’ve read implies support continued until ‎Operation Barbarossa.

          • It easily could be. They got quieter about it after Italy’s problems in Ethiopia in 1935 pushed Italy and Germany together.

          • Well, that’s the point they stopped supporting Hitler, so it comes to the same thing, in the end.

      • Konrad von Buettner was a German flight surgeon who became the head of German Aviation Medicine. He had of course an MD but also a PhD in meteorology, and became at the University of Washingto the only man I ever knew anywhere who was both a Professor of Medicine and a Professor of Meteorology at the same time (at UW). I hired him as a consultant in my flight suit tests when I ran the Human Factors lab at Boeing a rather long time ago.

        In answer to “are you now or have you ever been a ,member of an organization dedicated to the overthrow of the Constitution of the United States by force or violence?”, he used to answer, “Ja. Die Luftwaffe.”

  7. It’s worth noting that the Austrian of who Kate writes was a vegan animal lover who may have been more than bi-curious (summer camp with some of those SA boys like Roehm might not have been as innocent as all that), lived with but never married his girlfriend, and failed miserably at art school.

    Even in the wartime army, he never rose above Corporal. He always blamed others (“the joos!” or “the generals” or some other group) for his failings. And he chose to first kill his neighbors, then his own countrymen, and then commit suicide rather than work with people who disagreed with him.

    I’m not sure I see that in any of our candidates; but Hillary seems a bit lacking in self-awareness…

    • On the other hand, after being rejected for military service, he applied for and obtained an exemption to get into the army. He was a dispatch rider, one of the more hazardous occupations in the German Army. Surviving to make corporal was a big deal. He was wounded in combat several times, and was decorated multiple times for bravery under fire, including the Iron Cross for saving the life of another soldier.

      Not everyone is all one thing.

      • Goering was a decorated fighter pilot and apparently a d@mned good squadron leader in WWI. *shrug* And then . . .
        His powder puff blue uniform in the RAF museum at Hendon gave me the giggles.

        • Yeah, serious drug addiction coupled with vast political power will do that to you…

          • Yeah I spoke with one of the docs that tended to him after his capture. He had a TRUNK of synthetic morphine tablets. He would put a handful in his pocket and eat them like breath mints.

        • The Other Sean

          That’d be a better anti-drug ad than many, I think.

        • You could say that…. since the squadron Goering took over was Richthofen’s after the Red Baron was killed, and he did at least as good a job at actually leading it.

  8. And last out of the box, came Hope.

    • Hope was all used up in 2008. I don’t think there is anything left.

      • There’s always “change.”

        • You have some? They took my last dime.

          • I’ve got a few pennies. And about 20 Euros, which amounts to *checks exchange rate* a bit more than four pennies, but not much.

            • Post 1982 or pre-1982. I’m trying to collect both to create my sorta Aluminum 380 allow (3% zinc and 3-4% copper plus 7.5% silicon and the balance aluminum…a few traces in the real thing I probably won’t bother to try and duplicate).

              • Recycled beer cans and pennies? Both alloys are pretty consistent, and you wouldn’t have to worry about scrap with strontium in it.

                • That is pretty much the plan…beer and soda cans are pretty close to pure aluminum and the pennies will provide the copper and zinc (hence the mix between pre-82 and post-82 in roughly equal amounts) plus a silicon source.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      (turns Pandora’s box over, bangs on it) C’mon, there’s gotta be something left in here!

  9. Can’t disagree with anything Kate said, but there is the counter argument that historically speaking if old Adolph had died in the first war WWII was still inevitable. Wasn’t just der Feurer after all, it was a cabal of sick phuques all jumping on the bandwagon and using the legitimate grievances of the Volk as cover for their own personal twisted desires.
    See, Trump fits your description quite nicely, but so does HC and with more criminal intent. As for the rest of the pack, meh. Cruz is perhaps the best of the lot, and he’s no prize. What we desperately need is a conservative libertarian small government constitutionalist… Oh, and they need to be appealing enough to win both the party and general election. In other words, a six legged unicorn with rainbow wings.

    • As I said, changing the captain of a sinking ship doesn’t really solve anything. We need to restructure the government fundamentally, which is why I’m pushing for an Article V convention.

      • An Article V convention will only give us good amendments if it doesn’t get taken over by leftists. We have a majority of Republican state legislatures, but not the supermajority needed for passage.

        • So it could easily be a nullity. That is a risk I’d accept. I just don’t buy the runaway bit as even in 1787, the supposed example of one, it took 9 of the 13 for it to take effect and 11 had agreed by 1788 to hold elections (NC and RI were the hold outs) which tells me it was wasn’t that much of a runaway but what most people agreed was needed.

          If we get to Article V I suspect at least the 2/3’s of states calling for it will have somewhat similar ideas on what needs to happen as the delegates in Philadelphia did and will probably not produce much that won’t have the 3/4s support (which could mean they produce nothing).

          • Exactly. At worst it would leave things substantially the same (38 states to ratify, as I seem to have to repeat constantly). And if the alternatives are continuation as we’re going or a civil war of one sort or another, why not try the provided, constitutional, peaceable method of change first?

            • *sighs*
              California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and Hawaii. Even if you remove some that may be marginal, its still enough solid blue that an article V convention is a waste of time and money. This also excludes several states that may flip, including New Mexico, Iowa, and New Hampshire.

              • Washington could probably be saved if the voter fraud was worked on; probably Oregon, too.

              • So you’re saying, “woe is us, nothing can be done, nothing will work, nothing is even worth trying.” Sorry, but your negativism just isn’t a reason not to try.

                • useless futile gestures play out to win more often in fiction than real life.

                • Just because Draven thinks your idea is bad, doesn’t mean he thinks ALL ideas are bad.

                  And even if Draven happened to also be a hopeless depressive, it wouldn’t make you idea right or his opinion about it’s probable success wrong.

                  What DO they teach them in these schools?

                  • Fine, then let him propose an idea he doesn’t think is bad. He hasn’t, so far. And while you’re right about his condition, it also doesn’t make my idea wrong or his opinion about it’s probable success right. You do know that your statement didn’t really say anything substantive at all, right?

                    • That you keep parroting your faith-based commitment to an Article V convention doesn’t make it a real option either.

                      All you’re doing is sticking your fingers in your ears and going ‘I’m right, y’all are wrong’ nyah, nyah.

                    • Are you not reading what I write? I’m saying it hasn’t ever been tried, and therefore no one can know if it will work or not, but it is certainly worth doing as there doesn’t seem to be any peaceful alternative. And you somehow transmogrify that into “I’m right, y’all are wrong.” Try harder.

              • If you somehow cancelled the Twin Cities from Minnesota voting, it would be similar to California minus LA-SF/SJ-Sacramento, as in mostly conservative. (The biggest blue counties in the upper left quadrant don’t have big populations, IIRC.)

                Oh well. Might as well just load another carp or three on the catapult.

                • It would be awesome if any region of a minimal area or population could vote to secede from an existing state and become another US state. We would quickly devolve into rural states and urban city-states.

                  That would have interesting Electoral College implications.

                  • The Senate would overtake the House in size.

                    • Then we’ll just pass another amendment on maximum population of congressional districts. They can meet in a basketball arena. Or better yet, telecommute from their district.

            • Well, not exactly the same. It removes the idea that it’s a potential solution short of violence. “We tried your Article V and it failed. Are you ready to join something real?”

              • In a lot of ways, that also explains a lot of Trump’s support… and why there better NOT be a hint of a brokered convention. “We tried following your electoral process…. the GOPe denying the candidate with the most delegates, states, votes, the nomination was the result. We don’t want to hear about trying the ballot box before the cartridge box ever again.”

    • The trouble with a representative democracy is that it means anyone in a position of power is there because they wanted really badly to have that power, which (as Douglas Adams observed) should in itself be taken as one of the biggest reasons not to trust them with it.

      • And selecting from the ones who most adamantly refuse the office only works until the power-hungry realize that being hypocritical about their lust for it is their only route to it.

        • That’s why I continue to propose my political draft lottery system.

          It might not be *good* government, but it’d be a *representative* government…

          • It wouldn’t be worse than what we have now. It’s akin to Buckley’s observation:

            “I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.”

            • The Other Sean

              I must remember that one the next time I encounter Harvard faculty. 🙂

              • Given there is no greater joy to be had in Boston than watching a pit rat put the intellectual (or other) beatdown on a snotty Harvard undergrad I suspect it could be quite pleasurable.

                • I was always proud of being a student at a tiny uni and putting MIT in their place 3 times.

            • It would probably mean ever more power in the hands of bureaucrats. A form of regulatory capture, since they would be dependent on the information they are given.

              • So eliminate the bureaucracy at the same time. As long as we’re radically reforming the governmental structure, make it so the legislators can only have personal assistants, and only 2-4 of those, and any personal assistants of one legislator are forever barred from being personal assistants to any other legislator after his term is over.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Sigh.

                  I’m seeing too many “quick solutions” in this thread.

                  The desire for a “quick solution” is IMO what is driving the Trump and Bernie Sanders campaigns. IE Trump/Bernie is the “Man On The White Horse” that will fix the Nation’s problems. IMO that’s what got Obama into the White House.

                  While there is a growing attitude that “Something Is Wrong In Washington DC”, I’m not sure that everybody holding that attitude is holding the same view of what the Something is.

                  Part of the problem is that while most of us here realize that a big part of that “Something” is that the Federal Government has gone beyond its Constitution mandate and boundaries, too many people believe that the “Something” is “Wrong People In Power”.

                  A major part of the solution has to be Educating enough people so that they realize that the Federal Government has gone beyond its Constitution mandate and boundaries.

                  Otherwise, we could “magically correct” all of the other problems we see only to see a popular push to “put things back the way they were”.

                  The Progressives aren’t unbeatable but we have to do a better job of correcting the “mis-education” that Progressives have gotten too many to believe in.

                  As Sarah says, we will win but IMO our winning won’t be easy.

                  • Exactly why I’m pushing for an Article V convention. As I say, changing the captain on a sinking ship doesn’t have much of an effect. You want to repair the ship.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Without correcting the “mis-education”, IMO that wouldn’t work.

                      IMO that’s a “quick solution”. 😦

                    • Then suggest a solution that would. This is what we have to work with.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I told you that we need to correct the Mis-Education.

                      That’s the only Long Term Solution that matters.

                      IMO you are attempt to fix a “Software Problem” (or User Problem) with a “Hardware Problem”.

                      We Have To Convince The Majority Of The Country Of What The Real Problem Is!

                      Otherwise, we’re only talking about failed fixes or short term fixes.

                  • Oh, and the original proposal was a tongue-in-cheek one which Mary evidently took too seriously. I figured a tongue-in-cheek response was appropriate.

                  • ^^This. So much this.

                  • Amen. We didn’t get here overnight, after all.

                    And politics is downstream of culture. As it stands the U.S. doesn’t have enough citizens (vs. serfs) to be properly self-governing yet anyway.

                    But it is getting better: all the social revolutions, the sucess of indie media…

                    In some ways the whole shebang reminds me of a serious depressive finally improving enough – albeit slowly – via meds and counselling. But it is sliw, and he is still a mess, but now he’s got enough energy to jump off a bridge.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Nod, this mess didn’t happen over-night and the fix can’t be done over-night.

                • YellowShapedBox

                  Good idea, but I don’t think the executive bureaucracy would be covered by that, and they’re a MUCH bigger problem.

          • I am all for a lottery for choosing for one house of the legislature.

            • I’m in strong favor of creating a third house, a House of Repeals, that is dedicated to repealing law, and removing otherwise unaccountable bureaucrats, and even make it easy to do–just a simple majority. And treat the repeal as a veto that must be overcome by two-thirds votes in the other houses, but must include the President’s signature as well.

              I think such a house would be particularly amenable to choice by lottery.

      • Monarchy and Aristocracy train their leaders to be leaders (obviously it doesn’t take with some); many of them spend a good part of their lives learning how to rule.

        With Democracy many of the leaders spend their lives learning how to get leadership positions. Then they can learn how to rule.

    • Wait. I thought rainbows were unicorn poop. Unicorn use their wings? EEEWWW!!!

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I argue that the root cause was the existence of the Soviet Union.

      Their foreign intelligence organizations were institutionally incapable of not stirring shit in everyone’s back yard. The Germans could expect to be the targets of the next holodomor, and the revolutionary power politics the soviets encouraged tends to select for evil madmen.

      The Germans needed to act to protect themselves, and it would’ve been very difficult for someone sane and moral to have come out on top in the cesspool that had been made of German politics.

      We are arguably still much more fortunate. Even the Mexicans are not that much of a genocidal risk to us.

  10. It isn’t Godwin’s law that is the problem.

    It has been the left’s willingness to declare any Republican a Nazi which reached a fever pitch with BusHitler.

    With 30+ years of that in play it is very easy to response, “Of course Trump is Hitler because he’s leading the GOP field. Ben Carson would be Hitler if he was leading the GOP field. We get it, you hate Republicans,” and go on our merry way.

    • Further proof of a thesis I’ve argued sometimes at John Wright’s blog: In real life, the “Boy who Cried Wolf” scenario — a real alarm going unanswered because there have been too many false alarms — is more likely to happen due to watchmen taking their jobs too seriously than to treating them too lightly. Rather like a too-active immune system becoming, itself, the thing that makes you sick, or a too strict hygiene regimen robbing you of the ability to handle anything but sterile environments.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        is more likely to happen due to watchmen taking their jobs too seriously

        I’m not sure that I want to give the Liberals that much credit. 😦

        I’m afraid that I see it as the very human attitude of “I’m right and anybody who disagrees with me isn’t just wrong but is evil”.

        None of the Liberals seem to really know what a fascist state is/was. 😦

        Oh, a little silliness that I read.

        Some woman was reviewing a film version of “Animal Farm”.

        After acknowledging that the book was a satirical look at Stalin’s Soviet Union, she call Orwell’s book an anti-fascist book. 😈

        • I’m afraid that I see it as the very human attitude of “I’m right and anybody who disagrees with me isn’t just wrong but is evil”.

          You’re not wrong, that’s part of it; all I’m saying is that that’s only part of it, and for most people I genuinely believe it’s not, in fact, the larger part. I genuinely believe most evil is done by people thinking — or at least telling themselves — they’re trying to do good.

          (I have, perhaps, as I’ve gotten older, conceded that there is sometimes more self-deception in this thought than most would like to admit — but I have also concluded that it is pretty much universal and that I do as much of it as anyone, so it’s hard for me to point fingers over it.)

          • There’s also not just a little “I’m the adult in this discussion and my childish opponents needn’t be seriously listened or responded to” attitude there. And that’s from both sides, although I’d like to think that from my side (individualist rather than statist) we do seriously listen to our opponents before adjudging their positions to be childish.

            • Sometimes the “Adult in the Room” is your crazy old Uncle Phil.

            • From some, perhaps the majority, I can see “I’m going to help you, I know what you need.” But at the very top, you’ve got power hungry would-be despots. And too damn few of them are showing the internal brakes that will enable them to stop themselves short of that line.

              • If it was, “I want to help you, what do you need?” maybe. But the whole idea that they know what everyone else needs even when everyone else is saying stop it, we don’t need that, is what got us into this mess in the first place.

              • Yes. You can argue all you want about the theory that the levers of power should be controlled by experts. It is the selfishly power hungry who will fight doggedly to be appointed as expert and usually succeed.

        • > Owell

          People tend to find what they expect to see…

    • I remember when I was in middle school I was Googling “Aliceville Alabama WWII POW camp,” or something like that, and one of the first websites I found was claiming that it was one of the places where American Muslims were going to be interned when Bush pulled an FDR.

      I’ve never been able to take Democratic rhetoric on the matter seriously since.

      • My younger son’s best friend — a large, gay black man — has been firmly convinced that every Republican presidential nominee, back to Bob Dole, once elected planned to throw gays into concentration camps. Apparently that’s a Thing.

        • Does he not realize that W (a Republican) was elected president and had a Republican congress during at least a portion of his administration, and yet no gays were thrown into concentration camps then? I should think that would constitute a disproof of the concept. Not that thinking logically (or thinking at all, really) is something we expect of the left.

          • Nope. Didn’t make a dent in his fears at all. It is apparently a fixed reference point in his philosophical universe, like my elderly friend’s conviction that ‘The Democrats look out for the little guy,’ or my father’s belief that, had Herbert Hoover won a second term, he would have starved to death.

            • Well, those are tenets of his religion, then. Whether he admits it or not, whether he pretends to profess some actual non-leftist religion, his leftism has assumed the character of a religion for him.

            • My BIL was shocked when Rostenkowski was charged with corruption. “He can’t be a corrupt politician. He’s a Democrat!”

            • “…father’s belief that, had Herbert Hoover won a second term, he would have starved to death.”

              He mightn’t have been farr wrong. Mr. Hoover was a good command-and-control economy socialist. They’ve been wizard at creating starving populations since Countess wossname told her subjects to go eat brioche.

        • Surprised he didn’t say, “And bring back slavery” as that has been one I’ve heard as well.

        • My ex-friend and I parted over this. She was convinced GWB was planning to do this and nothing could convince her otherwise. She’d read it at DU. AND SHE WOULD NOT SHUT UP ABOUT IT.

      • Oh, I *love* fisking those memes. The best one was the one that actually had the GPS coordinates of where BusHitler was going to intern all the libtards.

        The coordinates resolved to all sorts of interesting things – a factory that made fence posts, an airport, several pastures, some woodlots…

        I had a lot of fun with that one. Though, seriously, the difference between an airport lounge and a concentration camp might not be *that* large…

        • Which is the bad one, again?

          I love, or at least do not mind, flying.
          I hate (what commercial) airports (have become).

          • Anonymous Coward

            I’m guessing the one with CNN is worse.

            • I still don’t know how forced CNN viewing in airport waiting areas isn’t consider a crime against humanity.

              • Oh, THANK HEAVENS I’m not alone in this.

                • How did they get/keep that monopoly, anyway?

                  • I have no idea, but I’m shocked that human rights organizations haven’t pronounced on this. It’s the same at Embassy Suites, and it drives me nuts over breakfast. “Find the seat with no screen”

                    • THIS!

                    • If there is one, it will be right under a loudspeaker.

                      Why so many restaurants have to be both dark and LOUD is a mystery to me.

                    • No, really, it is payola…they buy the right to be broadcast in terminals for less than the margainal increase in ad revenues the captive eyeballs supply. Terminal TV is just another concession at most airports and CNN has cornered the market.

                      If memory serves Houston Hobby and Dallas Love have Fox.

                      Atlanta, sadly, would probably give it to CNN even if they underbid given they are the home team.

                  • They have (had?) a reputation as the generic news station, and not many people will complain.

                    If you don’t like it, then find someone and complain. Don’t even have to be nasty about it, just do it– they’ll probably change it to the Weather station or something.

              • The Other Sean

                Thankfully, most restaurants in the area have gone another route. Its either Fox News or MSNBC. If its not ESPN, of course.

                • My gym is ESPN, MSNBC, and CNN.

                  I generally spend my time at the pool for more than one reason.

                  • This is why I dropped my Y membership. And I REALLY need it.

                  • As best I can tell (I have to take my glasses off when I do heavy work-outs), my gym has HGTV, ABC, CNN, FoxNews, and one of the ESPNs. I’m usually looking at the timer on the hot trotter and wondering how time can pass soooooo slowly when you are trudging uphill at 3.4 mph. (The weight room and circuit training areas don’t have TV)

              • CNN isn’t *nearly* as bad as the “medical channel” some doctors and hospitals have their giant LOUD TVs tuned to in their waiting rooms.

              • I’m okay with the idea of hiring the handicapped… but where does CNN find so *many* young women with Tourette’s?

                Their presenters drive me nuts. One sentence, two sentences, look to the right, *twitch*…

  11. I know that Sarah considers Trump to be the antichrist (more or less) but I would still vote for him over Hillary.
    Consider the Obama presidency. Elected on hope and change. First two years with both House and Senate. Six years of Harry Reid blocking any bills from reaching the President’s desk he would feel compelled to veto. Opposed by a weak and arguably ineffectual Republican coalition. Supported in lock step progressives. Idolized and protected by a complicit media.
    And so far most of the damage he’s managed to inflict on the country is the abysmal ACA, though one could reasonably claim what he’s done to America’s reputation with friends and enemies alike is far worse.
    So, let’s say Trump pulls off a miracle and wins the Presidency in spite of the Clinton machine, progressive disruptions, Democratic cheating, and blatant media bias. President Trump would then face more of the same from the media, active obstruction from the Democratic minority in Congress, and I strongly suspect a total lack of support from his own Republican party.
    As for executive orders, if you think SCOTUS blocked Obama on those just wait until you see what they would do to Trump.
    Hillary, on the other hand, has demonstrated the attitude that she’s above the law, loves the Australian “solution” to gun violence while surrounded by heavily armed Secret Service agents, has expressed her loathing for our military, demonstrated her incompetence in foreign affairs during her term as SecState, and apparently sees public office as a cash cow to milk as often as possible. To use a phrase loved by the liberal progressives, if Hillary is elected I predict “blood in the streets.”

    • I’ve read it suggested recently that the Trump candidacy started out as a joke, like Dave Barry and many others doing joke Presidential runs (Dave? You running this year? I’d vote for Barry over Trump or Hillary.) And either he got carried away or will figure a way to back out. Hillary is sick and old and monstrously stupid, not unintelligent but horribly, willfully stupid. That basement and back alley e-mail system… Either she’ll drop dead or have a stroke trying to get to a speech or she’ll learn how unwise it is to scream at her Secret Service guards and tell them to keep away from her.

      • Larry Flynt used to throw his hat in at every election.

        Considering the current candidates, he doesn’t look nearly as bad as he used to.

      • Read an article today that Schwarzenegger’s Governor run started as a joke.

        • Dave Barry for president! Common sense and a sense of humor!

          • But Dave’s one of those guys who would run screaming from any attempt to draft him for the office. Too much sense.

            • God help us, I can imagine some circumstances in which a few Secret Service agents find Dave Barry hiding behind the curtains in the ruins, like Claudius, and say “didn’t he run for president? Weren’t able to find the Secretary of Veterans Affairs? Homelahd Security? Well, I guess it’s you, sir. No arguing, your country needs you. Just get into that Bradley over there and we’ll organize a convoy to take you to the White House.”

        • Jesse Ventura’s run for Governor of Minnesota started as a joke, and look where he ended up. God bless my fellow Minnesotans, the joke was on the political establishment of the State.

      • OK, this may not be the start of backing out, but… Trump just announced he’s skipping the next debate.

        • Debate is now cancelled.

          • Doubt very much that his run’s a joke or that he’ll back out. Trump is a man who has been considering a Presidential run for a couple of decades, at least: I went to the library when it became apparent he was actually in the race and checked out his books, and there it was, in writing. Like it or not, being President has been on his agenda for quite a while. (I like to see what these characters have to say for themselves, especially what they said before running for office.)

      • I have fond memories of Pat Paulsen’s campaigns.

    • Amen/

    • Trump is seriously worse than the anti-Christ. he’s a pretender. All you’re saying is predicated on the other side identifying him as Republican. They won’t. Prepare for a “unity presidency.” And he’s already said he’s “giving us” single payer.
      Honestly, if I could bring myself to I’d vote Hillary. I can’t. But in this case she MIGHT be the least of two evils. By a hair, but the least of two evils.
      I’m not holding it against anyone how they vote. There are no good choices. BUT as for me (and not all of my house — though there is not a Trump voter in the lot) I’m going Unicorn Cavalry.

      • And he’s already said he’s “giving us” single payer.

        The GOP would bring us single payer anyway but just fixing Obamacare until the Dems got a chance to upgrade. All Trump will do is cut out the waiting period where the GOP pretends to want to get the Feds out of healthcare. I don’t like single payer but I kind of like the honesty of just doing it without the theater.

        Honestly, if I could bring myself to I’d vote Hillary. I can’t. But in this case she MIGHT be the least of two evils. By a hair, but the least of two evils.

        I know we have to agree to disagree about who is worse Trump or Hillary but I’ll say this, if I wasn’t already pledged to vote GOP nominee one last time (and good and hard if it is Trump) I’d be tempted to vote Hillary based on the past six years of GOP performance plus the W administration.

        It is clear the power brokers in the GOP are a “socialism tomorrow” party. I’ve known that a long time but supported them on the “if we hold it off we still have time to turn around” but with their “repeal and embrace” attitude towards Obamacare that time is gone.

        So, if we’re going to have socialism let’s have it and get it over with. Looking back a better option over voting Cruz on SuperTuesday would have been voting Sanders in the Dem primary.

        I’m not holding it against anyone how they vote.

        I’m going with that party loyalty I’ve been beaten about needing to have for over two decades since “read my lips” turned out to be BS.

        They wanted party loyalty and they’ll get it from me even as they plan their “conservative alternative” which they never thought was worthing doing before.

        We’re going to hell no matter what at this rate (and I mean, violence in the streets hell as we’re seeing the dry runs already) so time to get the revenge shots in.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I’m not worried about Trump that much.

        I’m more worried about who comes after him.

        Sarah may be correct that Trump’s rhetoric is “pretend” but I’m worried about a True Believer who uses that rhetoric. 😦

        • Then you need to help us reduce the power of the office so no one can hurt us much when holding it. Article V convention. 😉

        • http://thefederalist.com/2016/03/16/trumps-support-suggests-the-french-revolution-is-finally-hitting-america/

          Trump’s promises to “Make America Great Again” and his clear criticism of the “establishment” have a very real appeal with many frustrated Americans who feel as if they have run out of means to redress grievances. These folks most certainly feel as if their best interests are not being represented, and they resent a perceived exclusion from political power. Trump supporters have very real gripes about the current direction of the country and the Republican Party’s shameful inability to stop the forward charge of the Obama agenda.

          If we could just get W. on record as saying, “After me, the deluge” then we could map Obama to Louis XV and Trump to the king who lost his head.

          Articles like this make me wonder about my culpability in buying into the GOP’s “we really mean it this time” about smaller government for so long. When you have a real socialist party and a pretend small government party you set up that no where to take your grievances dynamic.

          • Admittedly, when it comes to “loud, abrasive, bullying behavior,” Mr. Hellmuth is something of an expert. However, in this case, I think he’s wrong. Rubio went after Trump on his level, and Rubio’s campaign collapsed. I think Jonah Goldberg was right when he said that only Trump could be Trump–when anyone else acts like that, everyone recognizes it for the crude nastiness that it is.

        • Look at what Thomas Sowell has had to write about the Sri Lanka situation back in the day.

        • *nod @ Paul* I’m more worried about who comes after 4-8 years of a Hillary – or whatever Democrat if Hillary gets indicted or drops dead on the campaign trail – Presidency than I am of a Trump or any other Republican Presidency. An attempt at a brokered convention by the RNC could bring about the “who’s worse down the line” scenario also.

          Trump’s pretty mild, actually. I can think of some possibilities for down the line that would not be.

      • I agree with you Sarah, while Trump MIGHT do less damage in the short term, I believe he would do MORE damage in the long term. Due to him being identified as a Republican and (this boggles the mind) a Conservative.

        What really frustrates me is all the Trump supporters or “neutral” reporters/analysts who cover nothing but Trump; who will constantly point out all the evils of Hillary’s record as a reason (rightly) to not elect her president, and then totally ignore and/or excuse Trump’s record.

    • Well on the positive side, if Trump wins at least America will finally have a smokin’ hot First Lady! One that will also know how to dress and interact appropriately with dignitaries at State functions. 😀

    • Kinky Friedman for Governor (or President)!

      • I can neither confirm nor deny thinking really hard about voting Friedman given I lived in College Station at the time.

      • You know, I’d vote for Kinky over Trump or any of the Dems, in a heartbeat. There would definitely be better music at the White House soirees, if nothing else…

        • I hear Trump’s an Andrew Lloyd Weber fan. Since A.L.W.’s solos play beautifully on the ‘cello, (Julian Lloyd Weber, Andrew’s brother, is a ‘cellist and I suspect he wrote them so deliberately), and they’re very, very popular . . . if we were voting for a music-picker in chief, I might just have to vote for Trump. (Music of the Night . . . Don’t cry for me Argentina . . . Memory . . .)

      • Yay, Kinky – and why the H@ll not!!

  12. If voters are angry enough to reject the establishment candidates in favor of outsiders, but the establishment candidate wins and continues to rule the same way, will voters settle down or get even angrier? If this election is bad, what comes next?

    • Given I think the left is ready to try violence in the streets during this one I’d rather not think about it too much until I have to.

      Better to spend time stocking up on supplies for regular disruptions of normal life.

      • That takes forethought, a woefully rare thing. Snowstorm in the forecast and many have to stock up. Now, I understand the milk (fairly short shelf-life and fast-use with kids around) and bread (same). Maybe eggs, though not to the same degree. But canned goods? Shelf-stable boxes of stuff? In Minnesota? It’s called Winter. It happens every year. You weren’t mostly ready for 2 or 3 days of downtime in October? And ox is slow.

        • I’m in Georgia and try to be ready for 30 days on boxed and cans mostly expecting it to happen mid-July with total power outage so the freezer has to be cooked and eaten in the first 48 (or maybe smoked…hadn’t considered being ready for that one).

          That means the grill’s LP tank full and the spare full, at least 20 gallons of water plus a hand powered filter system, basic scrounger deterrent materials (ie, ammo…won’t be enough to stop a mob but location plus careful leaving of prior successes should scare off a small band of 2-5), and so on.

          People think I’m crazy but really I’m just ready to take care of me and a couple of neighbors after a huge storm knocks things out.

          Once I’m a homeowner we’ll ramp up a bit including supplies to arm at least a fireteam and maybe a squad (as gentlemen of means have done through most of history) and keep them in the field (which means food and such).

          • I was amused at a story that claimed that pre-Hurricane stores in FL tended to sell out of beer and Pop-Tarts – and people said they understood the beer, but not the Pop-Tarts. I do not know if the story was true, but I can see the Pop-Tarts: They are shelf-stable. They don’t *need* to be heated, or cooled. Kids will eat them. The boxes might be cardboard, but the inner packets are foil – water/weather resistant. “Poor man’s MRE” in a way. Ideal food? Not hardly. Something to survive on and keep some peace for a day or two? Yeah.

          • Remember, meat that you can’t keep frozen can be canned or turned into jerky. Canning is unfashionable at the moment, but it provides long-term storage for all sorts of ordinarily-perishable foodstuffs.

            • Hmmm…hand’t thought about canning but I guess it could be done via propane stove in a pinch.

              And pickling is always an option.

              Given if that happens I won’t go to work or waste time on the Internet so there’d be plenty of time for it. I seem to remember an SCA book with period recipes for pickled meat.

              Also, salting could be an option as well.

            • I’ve been thinking about canning, or at least laying in supplies for same — I’ve got multiple pressure cookers scattered around, so theoretically I could can meat and vegetables. But my reading suggests that you aren’t supposed to reuse the seals? If I were to stock up on canning supplies I’d want things I could reuse.

              • Modern lids some with some kind of plastic bonded to them as a seal. Old-school lids used wax, I think. That would probably do to re-use a modern seal.

              • No you technically aren’t supposed to reuse seals, but both my mother and my grandmother do, and have not had a problem. As long as you don’t open jars like I do (grab the edge of the lid with your fingers and place the heel of your palm in the center of the lid, then pry up) and bend the lids, they do seem to be reusable.

            • Canned bacon tastes pretty good after 60 days on patrol. Especially between two slices of fresh bread with peanut butter.

          • Water’s the interesting thing- it can go quick!
            I’d up the supply to at least 30- the cheap gallon ‘milk jugs’ from Walmart are the way to go.
            For washing and ect, you can stick a large plastic container under your gutter downspouts to catch rainwater. A 55 gallon drum is best, but a plastic storage tote will work in a pinch.
            And don’t forget to make that water work- your bathwater is also your laundry washing water, and the rinse water from your first load should be the washing water for your second. Twin tubs are best for this, but hard to come by.

            • When my mom got her new house get got the railbarrel built into the gutters on a platform to give it some small pressure. Once we build/buy that is on my prioritity list even if we use it a lot for watering the plants.

          • I basically have to rebuild my stockpile every time I PCS. And I can’t keep a *real* one, just a few weeks’ worth of canned and boxed food. Which, actually, I will be assembling for my underway period later this year.

        • Keep in mind that just they buy it before the snowstorm doesn’t mean that they need it. If I have to stand in that line *anyway* for one or two things (milk, or a staple I’m out of/nearly out of) I’m likely to include everything else I want — and if I’m housebound, I want to cook, so ‘everything else I want’ means three big meals in the crockpot / dutch oven plus lots of other stuff. (Next snowstorm is time to bake!)

        • I’m making Eldest learn to write essays this school year. His current topic is Natural Disasters likely in our area and the probably consequences thereof. Might as well teach him on topics fascinating to him, right?

        • And those who took no forethought are also the ones who love “anti price gouging” laws so that merchants who had forethought can’t charge what the goods are worth.

          • As the old saying goes, if you’re charging less than what your competitors are charging, it’s “undercutting”; if it’s more, it’s “price gouging”, and if it’s the same, it’s “collusion”…

            So, no matter what you set the price to be, you can’t win!

        • Having lived the first 65 years of our lives in central California, I figure my wife is beginning to adjust to Minnesota.

          She got up this morning to get ready for work, looked out the bedroom window and remarked; “well, it *is* just March”. And was off to the races.

          This from a Central Valley girl absolutely certain that she’d never survive a Minnesota winter (even the mild one we’ve got now), who now figures if it isn’t sloppy mud outside, all is good. As long as we aren’t stuck in place for more than a couple weeks, we’re fine. Worst case, we can power the well with the generator.

    • Piling another brick on the safety valve stops the whistling.
      It does not stop the ka-boom.

      • True, but my shift is almost over. The next shift can fix it. Oh, and remember that duct tape will fix leaky joints.

    • “If voters are angry enough to reject the establishment candidates in favor of outsiders, but the establishment candidate wins and continues to rule the same way, will voters settle down or get even angrier?” – Joe Doakes

      Voters get even angrier. Burn it Down gets stronger. Voters smash.

      *grin* Don’t make the proles too angry. You won’t like them when they’re too angry.

      • As someone on the verge of “burn it down” (depends on if I’m having a bad day) while I get the Trump support even I am surprised it has arrived already…I figured it was roughly a decade out.

        I can’t imagine what 2020 will be like if it is stiffled by parlimentary games that are “within the rules”. The within the rules will be true and irrelevant.

  13. I’m just going to drop this into the mix here. Courtesy of Five Feet of Fury blogger Kathy Shaidle. Consider the possibility that Trump is not Adolph Hitler, but rather another famous son of Austria… Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    That actually fits better, IMHO. Trump is a New York limousine liberal who’s been marinated in the practicalities of Big Business. So he knows 99% of the SJW list of stuff to do is catastrophic stupidity, but he -wishes- it would work.

    Maybe, this is a vanity run. Maybe, when he finally gets there in the White House he’ll spend a lot of time golfing and making Special Deals for his buddies on Wall Street. Possibly keep a couple of campaign promises re- immigration, just so he doesn’t look bad.

    I’m not saying it would be that way for sure, just that a whole lot of Business As Usual is more likely than the establishment of a new SS. (Bush already did that, that’s what Homeland Security is. They just suck at it, is all. And they didn’t get Hugo Boss to do the uniforms, so they look like a bunch of sad-sacks.)

    As a Canadian looking south, I have to say you could do worse. Look at us, we got Prime Minister Shiny Pony.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Prime Minister McDreamy will probably be just another arrogant mediocrity, like most of our PMs. Trump will either be a buffoon or a thug, or both.

      • I sincerely hope you’re right about the Shiny Pony, Christopher.

        But look at what Trudeau The Elder managed. We’re still paying for that, every day.

    • You misunderstand Arnold.

      I first met him at an agency party (we had the same agent); he was then the strongest man in the world and that and Conan was all we knew about him. He was very pleasant, and by chance the next day he met my wife in Nieman Marcus — it was a pre-Christmas party, and she was shopping for a present for me, we just having made a big sale (may have been Hammer, it was that long ago). He spent half an hour helping her look.

      I know other such stories, all true.

      He ran for governor as a lark, and when he was elected he got a pretty damn good team together to draft some fundamental propositions and constitutional amendments. They were pretty damned good.

      The campaign for governor didn’t get very bitter — most thought he was a joke and the pro’s didn’t bother spending any money smearing him.

      But the long knives came out over those propositions. Nurses in uniform at rallies screaming curses at him although most of the health professionals I know thought his reforms were needed and good; but wow did the unions hate them. It was the same all over: organized labor in particular called him the Austrian Hitler. He hated it. It really hurt him — he has a thinner skin than you mighjt imagine. It got uncomfortable at home, too, what with his wife being a Kennedy clanswoman.

      So when his propositions failed, he said the hell with it. They want crony government ans gemutlicheit they can have it. Never took the job seriously again.
      I’m not excusing him; he took the job, and he didn’t resign when he lost interest in it. He spent the rest of his office years making nice with everybody. Sure he became a joke and knew it, but it was better than nurses in uniform screaming NAZI at him

      • Well, damn. That didn’t find its way to the Australian media (no big surprise there). I’m sorry he wasn’t ready for the kind of abuse the powerful unions and their ilk will unleash on anyone threatening their turf: it sounds like he could have done a lot of good if he’d been prepared for that and able to push though it.

        Poor guy.

      • Am I the only one that assumes that most of those nurses hadn’t touched a patient in years, if at all.

      • It always looked like he had a glass jaw politically.

        Wrong game for him.

      • Mr. Pournelle, thanks for the first hand information. I’ve never been able to meet any of these people myself, so my impressions get made by through the damaged lens of the media whether I like it or not.

        You bring up a very good point too. Can one man be strong enough to stand off the full force of the public sector labor unions by himself? Probably not. He’d need the backing of the whole public, wouldn’t he? You can’t elect a guy and then get back to watching TV, you have to support him.

      • I saw some of those vids. It wasn’t just the nurses, but the prison guard and teacher’s union reps. And they were screaming at the state congresscritters “I got you elected. I paid for it. And I can take you out.”

        Literally, I’m not paraphrasing. My husband doesn’t get why I was so keen on Walker (Jindal, yes) because he’s squishy on a few things. But Walker stood up to the PEUsvand won.

        Sigh. We coulda had a contender. But the GOPe had to shove Jeb! down our throats.

  14. Maybe, when he finally gets there in the White House he’ll spend a lot of time golfing and making Special Deals for his buddies on Wall Street. Possibly keep a couple of campaign promises re- immigration, just so he doesn’t look bad.

    So an Obama third term?

    Then again, based on all the complaints the GOP regulars have raised about him I still don’t understand why he isn’t their prefered nominee as every single one of them applies to at least one nominee since Reagan and usually more than one.

    I’m still convinced the reason the GOP leadership and apparatcik don’t want Trump isn’t his policies or even personality but the fact he is doing so well without kissing their asses and greasing their palms first. If he’d run for Senate and hired Rove et al to spend money for him they’ll all embrace me.

    Cynical? No, why do you ask?

    • Fscking WordPress, that should be a reply to thephantom182 above.

      • WP Delenda Est and all that.

      • I agree with you about the Republican elite, mostly they’re angry at Trump because he didn’t kiss their collective ring, and because he keeps talking about stuff they don’t want talked about.

        I’ve been through the US Immigration washer-and-wringer, Americans really don’t have a clue how utterly abusive and broken that system is. Trump is 100% right on about immigration. Now, does he -believe- what he says? That is a different question, not to be lightly discarded.

        But as bad as Trump could be, I don’t think he will be as outright toxic as Obama. Trump may be an NY Liberal, but he doesn’t appear to actively -hate- the USA and he’s not half the narcissist Barry is. Big B holds his head like Mussolini did, another Godwin reference.

        • Hey, some of us have been complaining as loudly as we can about immigration to anyone who will listen for quite a while!

    • I think you misunderstand Mr. Trump. Note that Newt Gingrich, the most astute politician I ever met, hasn’t exactly endorsed him, but he sure hangs out with him a lot.

      There is no way Trump would hire Carl Rove or run for Senate. He’s got a better job than Senator already, and has fun to boot. I expect he took this on for a lark and it gets serious. We will see what happens next.

      (Note that with Newt comes Sheldon Adelson…)

      • Dr. Pournelle, I don’t expect Trump to hire Karl Rove or run for Senate to make nice with the GOP talking heads and leadership.

        I think their major complaint with him is he didn’t do that. It’s like a variant of the 1916 Presidental GOP candidate snubbing the California leadership discussed in Take Back Your Government.

        BTW, thank you for getting that back in print 20 years ago. I got a box and handed them out when I was most active doing organization. Not sure if it helped then but it is institutional knowledge I’ll be glad is out there when the GOP civil war comes to a head the party is either rebuilt or replaced. When all is said and done getting 20 odd copies of that out may be my most successful legacy working in politics.

    • Why do you think they hate Cruz so much?

      • He’s supposed to be bought and paid for, and much of the time in the Senate he played the game, but every so often (I can’t find a common thread) Mr. Cruz stands on priciple and won’t be moved.

        Must be really frustrating.

    • I think you’re right, but only about the GOP Establishment. They hate Trump because Trump isn’t greasing the right palms.

      For voters like myself, however, I despise Trump because I see him constantly bullying, constantly flip-flopping, defaulting to Liberal positions when questioning gets tough, and a demonstrated lack of principled foundation. I could see that he’s no Reagan, and at best, he’s a Trojan horse for Democrat values…

  15. Some of the problems with corporate America today:
    1) They are focused on short term (read: next quarter’s) profit and not thinking long term. This is tantamount to eating your seed corn. Having worked for a corporation that forced people to burn PTO (whether they could take it or not) before the end of the quarter (which was about 20 days away when the decision was made) just to make the balance sheet liabilities look better (and help make the CEO’s bonus) I can attest to how stupid these decisions are and the damage they cause within the company. The same goes for cutting your R&D staff or sacrificing quality in order to get time to market. It may work in the short term but it kills in the long term.
    2) Activist investors who cause distortionary rewards to CEO’s and upper management to drive up the stock price in the short term so they can claim unrealistic returns for their investors.
    3) Investors with unrealistic expectations. If something can’t be sustained it won’t be sustained.
    4) Crony capitalism that allows corporations to lobby for regulations that create barriers to entry thus reducing competition and squashing innovation.

    There is a reason people feel betrayed but most people don’t know the actual causes or possible solutions besides “Bar imports! Don’t let our jobs go over seas!”

  16. Re: Constitutional convention – I’m, afraid that I, too, in the words of Patrick Henry, “Smell a Rat.” If the government is operating outside the bounds of the Constitution already, how does adding to that document make the situation any better?

    If anything, I think we should take some things out of the Constitution. I’d start with the 16th and 17th Amendments. It’s been done before with the 21st Amendment’s repeal of the 18th, which was passed in the same fit of Progressive mania that gripped the nation in the early part of the 20th century that produced the first two I mentioned.

    • And how do you propose to do that other than by an Article V convention? I can guarantee you that you won’t get those amendments repealed via Congress.

  17. Pingback: Trump is a Magnificent Bastard

  18. I am entirely with you. Godwin’s Slur is not a law and does no one any good. It is like Anansi mockimg Tiger’s roar until people laugh at Tiger…but Tigers still kill, even if the fear of them were to go.

  19. The thing is, Wiemar Germany wasn’t a normal democracy undergoing a financial crisis, and Hitler was not the man on the white horse there to save them.
    -Wiemar Germany was a very unstable and new government built on the unstable, new bones of the bones of the Kaiserreich- only 50 years old by 1921, and dead for 3 years. The only institution with any continuity was the Army- a fact that will be important later.
    -Germany had lost WWI- a war that killed off the old governments, a large part of the population, and left the people literally starving. The fact that they pretty much just fell apart in late 1918, and thus were never properly invaded led to the “Stabbed in the Back” myth, and much bitterness at the Versailles Treaty.
    -Germany itself, and Prussia especially, had a philosophic attachment to the ideas of the Strong Leader, of State over the individual, and that peculiar ‘crybully; thing we see in SJW’s today.
    -Wiemar Germany had picked a Strong Leader as president- old Field Marshall Von Hindenburg.
    -Finally, the Nazi party never received a majority of the vote. However, due to the then current instability (4 elections in one year), the establishment thought it better to make a deal with Hitler to form a government under Hindenburg over the risk of the Communist getting more power.

    America is nothing like Wiemar Germany in 1932.

    • Well, based on pictures I’d say Wiemar’s crossdressers were more attractive (although survivor bias in the pictures maybe?).

    • Let’s face it though, the 1919 Versailles treaty was the gangrenous, syphilitic male sexual organ belonging to a broken down victim of a Tijuana donkey show that we’re still paying for today, vis-a-vis Syria, Iraq, and environs.

  20. After seeing a friend meet success with it, I’ve started correcting people who try to use Godwin to shut down conversations.

    Oxford actually has the correct definition:
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/godwin's-law
    Godwin’s law
    NOUN
    humorous
    The theory that as an online discussion progresses, it becomes inevitable that someone or something will eventually be compared to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis, regardless of the original topic:

    And then, in person, I go into great detail about how this is most likely because any discussion that isn’t about things that folks feel very strongly about in different directions is unlikely to last very long, and World War II involved just about every subject people are passionate about and that they disagree about. So of course anything that goes for a long time is likely to involve a one of the sides in a world-wide conflict.

    The important part is to figure out if the comparison is accurate or not, rather than to flip out and try to silence anyone who mentions it; the Nazis all were air-breathing mammals, that’s not relevant. The Nazis were following a theory they claimed was scientific that would promote the general health and welfare of those they didn’t kill off for their own good; that’s quite relevant to what makes them the Nazis.

    *****

    Unsurprisingly, doesn’t usually happen more than once. Probably helps that I can quite accurately and enthusiastically decry the third parties that have created the incorrect “say Nazi and lose” interpretation.

    • Nice technique!

      I look at the rise of the Nazis as one of the best-documented rise to dictatorship events we’ve got to study. So yeah, if there are parallels to draw in the way events are going now, that’s likely to be the go-to example. Not because I’m thinking “OMG TrumpisHitler” or “OMG BernieIsLenin” or anything like that, but because the discontent is there, and just needs the right spark to set it off and start the fire.

      What happens after that could go in any number of ways, most of them not terribly attractive.

      • There is a beneficial institutional inertia & continuity within a government which prevents the rise of a radical, statist dictatorship. Basically, people tend to stick with “the Devil they know”, even if it’s corrupt, inefficient, bloated, ect. It’s a tough old wall to change or tear down.
        To tear it down, you really need something like a proper, drawn out total war… and you need to lose. This will often be the medium that ends the established institutions and causes the downfall of the old government.
        But even this does not directly lead to the rise of a dictatorship. More often you get a weak, ineffectual government with no institutional continuity, and no public trust. This is the point where the dictators come into power- by overthrowing this weak, ineffectual government in favor of something that resembles the traditional political culture turned up to 11.

      • Lately I’ve been fond of saying that after decades of arrogant bipartisan elites mocking and sticking it to the middle and working classes (aggravated by decades of Democrat class-war nonsense) that it’s now a choice of either voting for Donald Trump or voting for “Hemp Ropes and Streetlights.”

        And I’ve seen nothing to change my mind. Especially after watching the lefty brownshirts (yeah, Godwin, I know) shut down Trump’s Chicago rally last weekend (as leftists always do), and the so-called “conservatives” piling on with the “Blame Trump” nonsense. It’s like they’re *trying* to give Trump the nomination. Or trying to get him killed when a “lone wolf” does what lone wolves do.

        Jeez.

        I’m no fan of Trump – his excursion into 9/11 “Bush Lied!” trutherism during the SC debates killed whatever regard I had for the man – but if he’s the nominee I’d have to vote for him over HIllary or Bernie. It’s entirely likely that Trump would be a disaster as President, but it’s guaranteed that Uncle Bernie Chavez or the crooked crazy catlady WILL be. You might as well elect Melissa Click president as either of the (official) Democrat candidates . . .

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Trump speaks on instinct and often unwisely. There are reports that one can find statements that could be understood as incitement.

          Maybe the folks saying this are not simply as the sovietologists of old carefully parsing every available statement of the target. Maybe they are partisan hacks.

          EsotericCD on twitter was a Rubio supporter who went to see the Chicago event. His interpretation of events on the ground was that Trump had incited his followers to escalate rather than de-escalate. EsotericCD took it as reason to strategically vote for Cruz.

        • Yes, but what of 2020/2024 and beyond?

          Crazy catlady or Geriatric Commiescum’s disasters could well shatter the progtard party (which is looking one too unified at the moment), but Trump’s would lock them into power for decades.

  21. Good lord y’all are talkative! I’ve read all the comments so far, but there’s no way I can reply to everyone, so feel free to go on chatting and enjoying the mad galloping thread drift.

  22. “If I could eliminate one thing about the Internet, it would be Godwin’s law. Why? It’s made it next to impossible to make actual comparisons about what is probably the best documented instance of the rise of a populist dictator. The instant the magic words come out, any semblance of rational discussion gets defenestrated and the next thing you know people are shouting past each other and the whole thing dies.” – Kate Paulk

    So what you’re saying is that with Godwin’s Law, you have to paint your image, make you analysis, and draw your conclusions with arguments on the meat of the subject without recourse to the allusion to make your point? And that’s made harder because you can’t refer to the historical allusion and bash to fit and file to hide?

    *shrug* Sounds like a good reason to keep Godwin’s Law in place to me.

    • Now you’re being silly. It’s the people who can’t handle counterexamples and use Godwin’s Law as a club who are the problem.

    • So what you’re saying is that with Godwin’s Law, you have to paint your image, make you analysis, and draw your conclusions with arguments on the meat of the subject without recourse to the allusion to make your point?

      No, the minute you point out something that “sounds too much” like the Nazis, they start screaming it’s invoked.

      Not that you’re wrong, much less WHY you’re wrong.

      • My big problem with Godwin is, it won’t let med Reich some people over the coals the way they deserve.

      • Ah. Got you. (Sorry for the late LATE reply I’ve been busy lately.)

        *shrug* There’s nothing you can really do about that on a widespread basis.

        On an individual venue basis, which is about all that can really be controlled, you can always run it on “Ironbear’s Law”, if it’s your forum or comment area. (Ironbear’s Law: I’m the moderator/admin here, so: my forum, my laws.)

        At Rotica, Rosity, and RFI, we always ran on declaring “This is a Godwin Free Zone” on any topic we didn’t want to have Godwinned by people who just wanted to use Godwin’s Law as a bludgeon. First attempt: mild rebuke. Second attempt: warning. Third attempt – the “I tell you three times” effect – then you’re outta my thread. Last attempt: you’re out of my forum, period.

        Worked wonderfully, except that at Rosity, the site owner’s wife was a proto-SJW and she didn’t like me figuratively eating the members. It hurt their fweewings.

        Individual forum, if it’s mine, is all I can control. I can’t regulate the internet, and I wouldn’t want to – that sounds entirely too much like real work.

        And *shrug again* I still don’t care for the idea of appealing Godwin’s Obseravtion: I can almost always figure out a way to make and present my case on something without invoking the Nazis, even if “Nazi” or “Hitler!” is the best direct analogy.

        YMMV and all that, however.

        • And *shrug again* I still don’t care for the idea of appealing Godwin’s Obseravtion: I can almost always figure out a way to make and present my case on something without invoking the Nazis, even if “Nazi” or “Hitler!” is the best direct analogy.

          Eeeh. *waggles hand side to side* There are some ideas that have “never been tried” where the Nazis are the only example we’ve got of what it looks like in practice, large and long enough to have results where they can’t just say “oh, well, we’d do it right. Those guys were just screwing around.”

          The pre-WWII Germans were very scientific, very rational, very systematic about applying the theories.

          Pseudo-Godwin means that instead of having to answer the arguments made, or be stuck going “…but this is different,” they can get huffy about “You’re accusing me of being like Hitler! Godwin’s law, I win!”

          • @Foxfier

            *blink* I think I’ve been awake too long. I fell off of either the first or the second curve there.

            No worries. I *think* I caught your general drift.

            • GO REST!

              You’re fun, and the words won’t disappear if left to wait a few days. That’s the joy of text conversations.

              Between the time and the (ahem) joy of the time change, I’m even more “speak in shorthand and smudge it” than usual.

              • *snicker* I did after that. Well… a couple of hours after, anyway. 🙂

                Oh, come on, Fox. Don’t tell me you’ve never been up putzing around with writing, photoshop, browsing, and commenting and then suddenly realized that somehow, without knowing it, your eyes are blurry and your brain is all fog because you’ve been at it for twenty plus hours?

                *grin* Or am I the only one here who does that? (Don’t answer – you’d all be lying anyway.)

                • I very well know the feeling of putting the kids to bed, sitting down to do a little quick farming with my husband… and then suddenly it’s almost midnight.

                  Back when we were dating, I’d sometimes fall asleep gaming.

                  • Yeah, I get lost in whatever I’m doing. At least I don’t forget to eat when I’m wrapped up in something any more, the way I did when I was younger.

                  • Is that what you kids call it, nowadays?

                    • No joking, we had a chief who was SURE our gaming sessions were canoodling.

                      I still smile at the thought of him sneaking down a stairwell in his stocking feet to try to catch us in the act.

                      Just couldn’t believe anybody would actually play D&D type games rather than have orgies…

                    • Well, orgies may be fun, but they don’t let you level up your fighter so that he can properly use his Rod of Lordly Might…

                    • I play Paladins.

                      We’re lawful good and violent about it.

                      Also clerics– turn evil is awesome.

                      As is smite.

                    • Heh. We had a paladin whose horse was probably the most effective damage dealer of the party at low levels.

                      Dudley Doright jokes abounded.

                  • Farming – Plowing furrows, laying seed, all that kind of thing?

    • Nope. They have severe target fixation and a serious case of Beltway Blindness.

    • Perhaps this can cause a Firestorm. On the other hand, the *only* way I can see this happening, is for the Electorate in enough States to demand their State Representatives to do this.

      As much as I don’t want to see Trump becoming President, it’s hard to see how this will happen, if a majority of each such State voted for Trump for President.

      I *can* see this happening, though, in States where neither Trump nor Hillary could get more than a small percent of the vote; if this were to happen, though, I’m not sure if this would cause a Firestorm…but then again, if this were to happen, chances are, it’s because Gary Johnson (L) all of the sudden became a viable candidate…and it would be hard to see why the State Legislature would step in to deny him the members of the Electoral College that would have been assigned to him…

      What I find bizarre is all these proposals–brokered conventions, changing the Electoral College–as “Hey, if we could just do this, we can control things!” when such things can very easily get out of control. (Indeed, a very good question to ask is “Who is this ‘we’ you’re talking about, and why do you think you are a part of this ‘we’?”)

      • Even more basic than that it is the open “hey if we could just do this we can control things” when a big part of the issue creating Trump and Sanders is the sense that those very people keep rigging the game.

        When confronted with an extremist step one is don’t provide obvious proof of his theory.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Nod.

          Everybody “knows” that the Chicago Machine “creates” the proper “popular vote” in Illinois but basically lives with it.

          If the Chicago Machine openly forced the Illinois Legislature to over-ride the popular vote, there would be H*ll To Pay.

          Of course, the Chicago Machine may be “evil” but its not stupid/idiotic. 😈

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Yep, if a Law can be used against “your” opponent, the Law could be used against “you”. 😥

    • From the same people claiming the electorial college stole the election from Gore, but of course like everything else when they use it, it is different.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      They are either lying in order to promote Trump, are too crazy to see through conservative eyes when they need to, or are stupidly optimistic about how much they can abuse this thing of ours without ruining it for them. Typical.

      Hillary is going to win the Democratic nomination. The only variables on the Democratic side are her health, Bill’s, and how much voters wind up disenchanted over the failure of Sanders’ campaign.

      A conservative might see no difference between Trump, Sanders, and Clinton larger than the measurement error. How many of these and whether they might break more one way or the other are hard to say now. Genuinely pro Trump types tend to think Trump can or will beat Hillary. Polling seems to indicate otherwise, but polls have been rubbish this cycle. I suspect the voters Trump has pulled from the Democrats are not interchangeable with more traditional conservatives, which he may alienate, as campaign volunteers.

      Entrails say that Trump is far from being as certain as is claimed. It can be argued that Cruz is more viable in the general than Trump.

      If candidate Trump makes the otherwise losing Hillary competitive, there is incentive for a Democrat to lie on his behalf in the primary. If Trump is more acceptable to the Democrat than Cruz, there is incentive for a Democrat to lie on his behalf. If it can be used to drive fundraising and turn out the vote, there is incentive for a Democrat to lie.

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