Mind the gap in Iowa

As a stepping-stone to the GOP nomination the Iowa Caucus is a consistently overrated event. This season may be different. In 2016 the caucus takes on unusual importance as our first gauge of the durability of Trump’s campaign.

One metric more than any other is worth watching on Monday: the gap between Trump’s polling average and his Iowa results.

Historically, the polling leader in Iowa under-performs significantly in the caucus itself, unless he is a religious conservative. The favorite candidate of religious conservatives in Iowa out-performs his polling average by almost a quarter, stretching back a generation.

Being a caucus rather than a primary, and being scheduled in the depth of a Northern winter, Iowa results hinge heavily on a combination of commitment and preparation. Religious conservatives are the only Republican constituency with consistently high levels of grassroots participation, discipline, and organization. And they are the core of the GOP in Iowa.

With those factors in mind Cruz should out-perform his poll numbers in Iowa by a significant margin, probably a larger margin than we’ve seen in recent years. Thanks to years of outreach, including an intensive campaign to organize homeschool parents, Cruz has well-trained and vetted precinct captains in every corner of the state. Just about every major Religious Right figure in Iowa has endorsed him.

Trump’s grassroots organization is a train wreck, led mostly by a few paid staff and a small network of 9/11 truthers, white supremacists and other political oddballs. He polls well among evangelicals, but he hasn’t done much to channel that support into an organization. Voters most enthusiastic about Trump are people who can’t be counted on to tie their own shoes, much less show up at a particular location in the snow by 7pm Central. The most active and prepared fundamentalist voters in Iowa are, for the most part, committed to Cruz.

There is talk, mostly from Trump’s campaign, that his campaign will attract a throng of new voters and Democrats. It isn’t clear where those new voters are supposed to come from. Iowa’s population is stagnant. Participation in previous caucus has been at a high-water mark. Aging, rural, Democratic racists have been presented a lot of opportunities to switch parties in recent years. There aren’t many left at the end of the Obama Administration. And a tight race on the Democratic side should prevent them from crossing over just to troll.

This gap in organization and basic capability is the last firewall insulating the GOP from a Trump win. If Trump’s supporters, in numbers consistent with his polling, can actually show up to Iowa caucus sites on time and then write his name legibly on a piece of paper, then there’s probably nothing stopping him from racking up enough delegates to earn the nomination.

My expectation is that Cruz will win Iowa, finishing 3-5 points ahead. That guess assumes that Trump’s bizarre Megan Kelly tantrum weakens him slightly going into the caucus. Trump will win New Hampshire. The two will finish one and two in South Carolina, then they will split all but a handful of the March 1-8 contests. With a close race between them, punctuated by a few wins by Rubio or another candidate, the stage will be set for neither Trump nor Cruz to amass a clear delegate majority. Cruz, by virtue of far superior organization and far more capable delegates, would win a close fight, either at the convention, or in a deal leading up the event.

On the other hand, if Cruz loses Iowa it will demonstrate that the rabble can overwhelm the structural advantages of a well-organized candidate. If that happens we will probably spend the next few months watching Republicans decide how committed they really are to this whole business of participating in a political party.

So, this year’s Iowa caucus probably carries a lot more predictive value than usual. Mind the gap.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Election 2016
296 comments on “Mind the gap in Iowa
  1. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Welp, Lifer called it, right down to the percentage margin, and while the conservative media bubble is cheering Trump’s loss, that’s cold comfort when faced with the fact that over 60% of the vote went to anti-establishment candidates like Cruz, Trump and Carson.

    And what about the Democratic race, huh? Whoever wins, it’s always a pleasure to see a race this tight and competitive. 🙂

  2. Bobo Amerigo says:

    @Creigh,

    ‘Child in Africa’, you posted. Could you share a little more?

  3. MassDem says:

    Other cases involving the mishandling of classified information.
    John Deutch’s seems to be the closest to Hillary’s. He was DCI for Bill Clinton, and a former MIT professor. Being smart doesn’t always equal having common sense.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/federal-cases-handling-classified-information-36612799

    • 1mime says:

      Agree, but I think Fly’s point about the rules not being clear and consistent is another side of the issue. Given the schedule Hillary Clinton kept while SOS, I don’t know how communication could have followed normal protocol. Not excusing sloppiness, but acknowledging what the DOJ link stated, that if you were to examine the emails of just about “any” federal employee who travels a great deal as part of the job, they probably all broke the law. The thing that did bother me were the repeated references to how antiquated and slow the SD email systems were. The nature of the events this department manages should require cutting edge technological assistance…..same as Defense and others.

  4. vikinghou says:

    Not surprisingly, the NYT just endorsed Hillary for the Democratic nomination. Accompanying the endorsement is an interesting piece arguing the Kasich is the only plausible choice for the GOP nomination.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/opinion/sunday/a-chance-to-reset-the-republican-race.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-top-region&region=opinion-c-col-top-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-top-region

    I tend to agree with them, but I think Kasich’s chances are slim to none.

    • texan5142 says:

      Slim just left town and none is right behind him.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s cute, Tex! BTW, read recently that Minnesota has been named as most desirable state to live in….(pardon the poor grammar). Looks like you picked a good spot! (Can’t imagine the winters, tho…)

      • texan5142 says:

        Minnesota is a great place to live and the winters serve as a catalyst for the spring time daydreams of warm weather and gardening. The first time I visited MN I knew right away it was where I wanted to live. To each his own…the woman said as she kissed the cow.

      • MassDem says:

        Isn’t Minnesota that place where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average?

      • 1mime says:

        MassDem, are you pandering to TEX?

      • texan5142 says:

        The average is a little bit lower now that I live in Minnesota, or higher…who know’s.

      • 1mime says:

        Definitely higher, Tex, no question (-:

      • MassDem says:

        It’s the sign-off for Lake Wobegon! The little town that time forgot, and the decades cannot improve.

      • Tuttabella says:

        High is right . . . 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I’m not a fan of a Prairie Home Companion. I listen to NPR all the time, but whenever PHC comes on I turn off the radio. However, I do love that little sign off at the end.

        I do miss listening to Garrison Keillor on the Writer’s Almanac. Whatever became of that?

      • Creigh says:

        As a child in Africa, I mostly learned to read from a series of readers called “Streets and Roads.” Some of you of a certain age might remember them – classic Americana. The first time I visited MN I recognized it immediately: Streets and Roads!

        Also, reading “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder (great illustrations by Garth Williams) in the middle of tropical Africa is a cultural experience you’ll never forget.

      • rulezero says:

        It may be the bee’s knees, but I don’t think I can live in a place where water freezes before it hits the ground. I don’t understand how everyone doesn’t go crazy from cabin fever up there.

    • 1mime says:

      Kasich has “sounded” the most reasonable but he is cleverly masking his extreme right views on womens’ rights.

      The big money seems to be pulling for Rubio as the dark horse GOP candidate. He’s got some big money behind him. I have maintained that Rubio lacks the gravitas the position of President requires. He has demonstrated a great deal of difficulty in sticking with his positions – even very important ones. Still, who knows? The GOP establishment clearly doesn’t want either Trump or Cruz and they clearly want to win the PResidency and will go with whoever they think is their best bet for achieving a win.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      What I found interesting recently was a Politico article that featured a past exchange between Trump and Tucker Carlson. Yes I know… everyone please suppress any involuntary gag reflexes and indulge me. These opening lines kinda hooked me in and made me think about a number of things going on in this country.

      “About 15 years ago, I said something nasty on CNN about Donald Trump’s hair. I can’t now remember the context, assuming there was one. In any case, Trump saw it and left a message the next day.

      “It’s true you have better hair than I do,” Trump said matter-of-factly. “But I get more pu**y than you do.” Click”

      Ladies in gentlemen, I give you the current heartthrob of the evangelical wing of the Republican party.

      This tremendously gross verbal encounter made me wonder what would have happened in a strange alternate universe if Barack Obama casually talked like that, would that version of Barack Obama been elected president?

      This exchange also made me think about another comment that I remember Trump said in a televised interview in which he said something to the effect of “My marriage(s) would have a lot of problems because I wouldn’t stop dating.”

      Just how does the current president and his completely consistent traditional family unit not earn him more plaudits from the traditionalists, who have turned him into a figurehead of liberal deviancy, black militancy(?!) and social anarchy?

      How has Trump become a darling of evangelicals who would normally condemn his behavior from anyone else as the acts of a degenerate adulterer?

      What does it say about a party where both politicians and the base seem to have more sympathy for Nevada-based cowpoke Mormon militants in Oregon than the unearned fate of poor Tamir Rice of Cleveland? Just how many Randy Weaver-styled domestic terrorists do so-called conservatives want to turn into heroes?

      Not only do I not like this current state of the party and its policies, I don’t understand it anymore and I don’t like the nature of discussions it has apparently spawned in people I actually like… irrational nativism is not an attractive trait in a political movement.

      Example 1:

      An older woman I know casually from my frequent bus rides was recently bemoaning the possibility of the spread of Zika virus from illegals and that their brain damaged unborn children would have a detrimental effect on U.S. finances/resources via social services.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time before she got off the bus to explain that even though the virus isn’t known to be spread casually from person to person an infected individual (like an American tourist) can spread the disease if they come from say South (or Central) America and come back to North America and are then bitten by a mosquito here. The mosquito would become a carrier of the disease who can then infect more humans in the United States.

      This has probably already happened in states with year round warm weather like Florida, Texas or California.

      The only reason the disease has been kept at bay is the colder weather that has gripped a significant portion of the United States. Viruses like this can’t be indefinitely kept at bay through tougher illegal immigration control. I imagine pathogens and pandemics obey artificial human boundaries like the U.S./Mexican border as much as Monarch butterflies.

      So while I can appreciate the woman’s concern about a disease that potentially threatens some of the most vulnerable members of our society… I do not accept that showing mercy to people like a 15 year old Salvadorian refugee fleeing gang violence in her country (while taking contraceptives in the expectation of being raped during her exodus across the Mexican border) is the type of person who will make matters worse.

      Perhaps taxpayer money from an engorged industrial-military complex should be redirected in creating an effective vaccine/medical response to biological threats like Zika virus. Doesn’t that sound like a better course of action?

      In regards to the moribund GOP, it is the virus of “know nothing”-ism that concerns me more. Conservatives like Cruz, Trump, Carson, Beck, Jindal, Norquist and the odious Franklin Graham are exacerbating a storm of fear, anger, bigotry and ignorance in voters that results in them making bad decisions that ultimately damages their self interests.

      They have rendered the definition of what it means to be an authentic conservative truly meaningless.

      The likes of Gingrich, John McCain and Rich Lowry have been called everything from RINO’s to “cuckservatives”.

      Sometimes I wish I could ask these gatekeepers of pure conservatism one question… What the hell does that make me?!

      Am I a godless, anti-american liberal?
      Or perhaps a slave to socialism/communism?
      Maybe I’m nothing more than a secular-humanist pinhead?
      A mechanized Obama bot?
      Stalin’s personal b*tch?

      Conservative purity tests are at this point either unreasonable or shift on a near daily basis.

      I find it fascinating that columnist Kathleen Parker who was once rendered a renegade/heretic for her criticism of Sarah Palin’s failings (such as her breathtaking ignorance), but today the views of Kathleen the Exile are not only uncontroversial but are accepted by most of the Republican establishment.

      Sometimes I think Trump represents a possible future of America… a one party state. This one party state would exist not necessarily because of tyranny by a Democratic dominated federal government, but rather the result of the GOP being regarded by the majority of voters as a political party irresponsibly run by a bunch of intolerant, fanatical lunatics who have chosen to divorce themselves from reality.

      • 1mime says:

        Bravo, Sir Magpie. Very well thought out and equally well written. In today’s WaPo, E.J. Dionne has a piece which parallels your thoughts on what is happening in Republican Party
        circles. Let me know if you agree. Here’s some of the salient points:

        “The spectacle of what is happening in this year’s nominating contest already alarms many Republicans, but it will probably take a third consecutive presidential election defeat to force a real reckoning. Political movements, after all, tend not to change course until they have no alternative…….a conservatism focused so obsessively on lower taxes for the wealthy and deregulation of the economy has little to say to the Americans with modest incomes who form Trump’s base. National Review, the founding magazine of Goldwater conservatism, acknowledged this month in its widely debated “Against Trump” editorial that if conservatives “cannot advance a compelling working-class agenda, the legitimate anxieties and discontent of blue-collar voters will be exploited by demagogues.” That’s true. But if conservatives continue to put relief for the “makers” and “job creators” at the heart of their governing program — as all their presidential candidates are doing this year — such voters will continue to wonder how seriously the right’s politicians are taking their struggles, their fears and their aspirations.

        The country and not just the Republican Party would be better off if this very strange election year marked the beginning of a large-scale reassessment by conservatives of the trajectory their movement has been on since Goldwater transformed it in 1964. It is common for conservatives to say that liberals need to free themselves from the 1960s. This is now imperative for the American right.”

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/republican-self-destruction-is-fun-to-watch-but-bad-for-us-all/2016/01/29/c420a9c6-be64-11e5-bcda-62a36b394160_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-e%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

        This message can also be found in Lifer’s “Politics of Crazy” and in many of his posts. He’s concerned as someone who believes deeply in the value of the conservative movement. I’m concerned as someone who is more liberal but values a strong, functional two-party political system.

  5. unarmedandunafraid says:

    Interesting article from David Brooks if you haven’t seen it. He talks about how British leaders have reflected ours over the years. Until recently.

    He says, “In Britain David Cameron is going down another path. This month he gave a speech called “Life Chances.” Not to give away the ending or anything, but I’d give a lung to have a Republican politician give a speech like that in this country.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/opinion/what-republicans-should-say.html

    Here’s a link to the speech. (Change the commas to dots)
    https://www,gov,uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-speech-on-life-chances

    If we could just do a few things in this country, like subsidized childcare, preventative healthcare, and low cost higher education? Maybe a modern policy for contraception.

    • 1mime says:

      Yes. I don’t think we should have to choose between economics and social change. However, it is good for the people of England that someone realizes that the austerity program they embarked upon has been devastating. THAT lesson hasn’t hit the States yet.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      David Cameron’s a good man. It would be nothing short of revolutionary if we had Republican politicians who talked like him. Instead we’re stuck with the Orange Wonder and That Canadian Guy. -___-

      • Griffin says:

        “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach.”

        -David Cameron

        The problem is that Cameron is a conservative in the British sense, which some liberals mistake for being more moderate. In many ways that’s true but it also comes with a package of aristocratic elitism and paternalism, hence his banning of internets pornz and expansion of allowing spying on his own citizens. And then there’s his rapid centralization of the education system and his almost radical empowerment of teachers over students, ala The Education Act of 2011.

        That’s what I can’t stand about David Brooks or David Cameron. They can speak calmly so people think they’re reasonable but their actual policy positions can be utter nonsense, especially since both cave to the wingnuts (until very recently), which people give them a pass for because “they’re the reasonable ones”.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        ^I’m not turning into a sudden endorser of conservatism or anything like that, but at least it looks like Cameron is trying to put those eternal words of FDR into practice: “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

        At least it looks like he CAN turn around. He’s a reasonable guy that, while he sticks to his principles, at least has the common sense and political spine to say that, yes, government IS necessary to a prosperous and secure society; that’s in combination with the powers of markets of course, but I can strike an agreement with someone who thinks like that. It’s virtually impossible to do that with so-called “conservatives” who thinks that government is an intrinsic evil and can do no right.

        With respect to its relation to liberalism, that is what conservatism is about. It is an absolute and necessary anchor to keep its excesses in check. It’s a big reason why politics, for its slow and never-ending march, kept chugging along reasonably well until just a comparatively short time ago.

    • 1mime says:

      Unarmed, doing a little “free” reading this afternoon and came across this Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll which has been conducted annually since 2009 examining how Americans are experiencing the changing economy and documents how American attitudes have changed since the Great Recession. Here’s a few samples:

      “One group was conspicuously more likely to say that children from all races can succeed: Republicans. Sixty-five percent of them said so, compared to about half of political independents and only about two-fifths of Democrats. Robert Fleming, a 33-year-old former intelligence worker in Cicero, New York, was one of those Republicans. “If you want to work hard, don’t give up, don’t take no for an answer, you’ll get somewhere,” he said. “The world is not a social experiment. You make your own opportunities. If you don’t make any, it’s not because of anybody else’s fault. It’s your fault.”

      It’s your fault. Work harder. Familiar refrains? Then, there’s the class issue:

      “Karen Smith, an education professor in Farmington, Maine, is among those who believe the evidence is now indisputable that opportunities aren’t equal across racial and class lines. “Students that are in the lower echelon do not even come close to reaping the benefits and the opportunities that are available to the ones who are in the upper-income brackets,” she said. “There’s a huge gap and a divide. That’s not even my opinion. I’m basing that on fact, on data, on evidence.”

      Is it any wonder that this election is presenting a very different voter profile? Let us hope that both parties are listening.

      The survey concludes: “All of which suggests that the national worries over economic opportunity and demographic change have combined, creating a mixture even more combustible—for the nation’s society, economy, and politics—than either alone.”

      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/01/heartland-monitor-america-economy/433938/

      The really good news are our Millennials. They are going to save America! Positive, great priorities, egalitarian, generous, inclusive, less materialistic, better educated, happier people. In spite of ourselves, we have a generation that will make us proud again.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Yes Mime – Ironic, that we may be able to strengthen the safety net now that we realize the American Conservative Base* is not only shrinking but their demise is accelerating. I’m trying to get the word out about this demise.

        I go from optimistic to “Oh crap” every couple of days. But usually I feel good about the future for my grandkids.

        *Republican or Conservative didn’t seem to fit. Couldn’t find a term to describe them so I made it up.

  6. 1mime says:

    Lest I be accused of favoratism, here’s the latest on the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails:

    http://news.yahoo.com/apnewsbreak-govt-finds-top-secret-clinton-emails-194823520.html

    The timing is exquisite from a primary vantage.

    • flypusher says:

      What really matters is whether any of the e-mail was “born classified”:

      http://www.vox.com/2016/1/29/10873106/hillary-clinton-email-top-secret

      If not, there’s really nothing new here. I don’t like that Hillary used her own server, and I don’t like the way she has handled this. But I’d like Ted Cruz making SCOTUS picks or the Donald with the nuclear football even less.

      So do we have a law that all people in gov’t have to use gov’t servers yet? Because if this really is that big a deal, we need some clear rules.

      • 1mime says:

        I wasn’t taking a position Fly, just reporting. I realize most of my posts support my liberal views and fair is fair. I did find the “timing” of the release (day before Iowa primary) strange, but I guess there never will be a good time. And, you are correct, it’s a matter (legally) of whether the “now” Top Secret classification was in place when she originally received/sent the emails. That will be sorted out.

        What I have noted many times are the references to how slow and unreliable State Dept email standard transmission lines are. That can be fixed ($$) and must be fixed for a department whose responsibility includes minute to minute happenings that impact security. I have been told by my retired IRS friends that the computer system that Treasury has to operate with is similarly deficient. Why would our government departments not have state of the art equipment to perform their jobs? The focus has been on “cutting bloated staffing levels” while apparently not offsetting cuts with the electronic means to execute tasks.

        Senseless. I will wait patiently to see how the Hillary issue resolves. She chose convenience and personal privacy and when you’re in a high level position, you simply have to exercise better judgement – even “if” she is correct that she didn’t “knowingly” send or receive any email that was top secret.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I just don’t think the moderate or undeicded voter really cares about this.

        I doubt this is enough to turn an otherwise Hillary supporter against her. People don’t really care about emails and servers.

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, you may be right. This is an interesting piece by a former DOJ official who speaks out honestly about the problems all government officials face regarding email. That doesn’t justify being casual or careless but it does lend more credence to Hillary’s position that she “didn’t knowingly send or receive any classified email”.

        http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/08/the-real-clinton-email-scandal-our-ridiculous-classification-rules-121507

    • tuttabellamia says:

      The timing is exquisite here as well. The Iowa caucuses should be full of surprises. I’m glad to see Hispanics taking an active role in this super-White state and adding to the suspense.

      • 1mime says:

        The more voters, the merrier, Tutta! Democracy at work. It’s about time that minorities exercise the power of the ballot. The only way poor and under-represented people will ever make politicians listen is if they vote.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Btw, Mime, I just now got your punny reply to my complaint that there was no “room” for me in your conversation circle. You replied that you.did have an extra “room” for me in your house. Very clever.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutta, don’t take those comments so seriously. I would love it if every one of you lived on our street….next door, down the block, whatever. I meant no harm or preferential treatment. I simply really identified with the particular comments made by MassDem and BoBo on the particular subject being discussed.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        No offense taken, Miss Mime.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Much as I’d like to believe it, caucuses are notorious for their low voter turnout. Not to say that that couldn’t change, but I’ll have to see it to believe it.

      • 1mime says:

        At least a serious effort is being made by one of their own. You have to start somewhere, Ryan. When minorities discover that their votes can help them gain attention from elected officials, they will be able to use this power to be heard on issues that concern them – directly, not through the mouthpiece of either party who is mostly interested in numbers.

  7. goplifer says:

    As an update:

    Cruz was lousy in the debate last night. Given what amounts to an open mike to make his case he made an ass of himself. He might really lose Iowa and if he does then Trump probably walks away with this thing. We’ll see.

    • MassDem says:

      Whom did you like? I thought some candidates did pretty well.

    • 1mime says:

      “Cruz made an ass of himself.” There are some here who feel this is who he really is. Good that he finally came clean. Hope other people saw the true person as well, Lifer.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Wouldn’t have been surprised if Cruz managed to come away with Iowa before last night, but not now. He screwed up right at the last moment when he could least afford to. Somewhere in the back of Air Force TRUMP, The Donald was watching all that and twirling his evil mustache.

    • 1mime says:

      Did you see any winners?

      • Griffin says:

        Trump.

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, but, of those on stage….who did you think did best?

      • Griffin says:

        I guess Jeb! did better than he usually does, partly because Trump wasn’t there to backhand him. But that doesn’t mean anything because he has no chance to win. Everyone else just either did the same shtick they always do (Chris Christie screamed 9/11!, Rubio screamed OBAMA and Guantanamo) or actively hurt themselves (like Cruz did).

        We’ll see if Rubio’s spineless pandering to the fundamentalist vote will give him much of a boost, but I think he came across as fake even to those folks. Then again they have a track record of being somewhat gullible.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Trump obviously carried the night, but I thought Jeb! and Kasich stood out the most, though it certainly wasn’t enough to make any real difference.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Trump made a good decision last night, however Iowa ends up.

      The technique used where they play video of a candidate saying something that they’d prefer not be seen was devastatingly effective against Rubio and Cruz and probably would have been even more so against Trump.

      He really dodged the bullet there.

      • 1mime says:

        Trump made a calculated gamble and he may prove all we naysayers wrong. I thought it was a mistake but then this whole process has been such a zoo that what would normally fall within the “idiots wouldn’t do that” is sailing on with hardly a blip.

    • 1mime says:

      Lifer, you haven’t revealed your “hold” card. Is Rubio your pick for the dark horse?

  8. flypusher says:

    A familiar theme from another source:

    http://theweek.com/articles/601906/donald-trump-fall-americas-institutions

    I think it’s a good reminder than freedom can have a down side.

    • flypusher says:

      The GOP’s Catch-22:

      http://www.vox.com/2016/1/28/10866462/fox-news-debate-trump-fear

      Even as they try to destroy Trump, they feed him. Best. Troll. Ever.

      • 1mime says:

        That is such B.S. First, a “moderator” should not take positions, they should ask questions – not “open-ended” questions, specific questions. Not rambling statements of their opinions, but questions to elicit answers from the candidates. I fault the moderators for doing exactly this even if their mission was to “get back” at Trump. (Which, btw, should have been beneath them….Ignore the guy but don’t use him as they did.)

        Second, for all the fear and mongering expressed by the candidates over ISIS and Muslims (and Syrian refugees), this Republican led Congress has never responded to President Obama’s request for a declaration of war on Syria. Yet they continuously pillory him for what he is “not” doing in this regard. Ostensibly, it is due to their need to “understand what his war plans are”. Well, why don’t they ask him?

        Third, as far as “gutting” our military – as I recall, the Republican majority added millions to the defense budget – millions more than the Pentagon asked for!!!! and they didn’t offset the addition to the deficit. AND, America’s defense budget exceeds that of all the industrialized nations in the world – Combined! It’s posturing and pandering.

        As for Rubio’s profession of his faith – he sure took a circuitous route to get there…Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, now Catholic???!!!! I admire his resolve but have great doubt about his sincerity. Rubio does not have the core strength to be President of the U.S. He is still trying to figure out who he is and what he believes in. He will never get my vote either.

        Finally, President Obama is not hurting police. He is careful in every statement he makes about polilce to acknowledge how hard their jobs are. What he does point out – thank you someone for having the courage and honesty to say it – is that our justice system is broken. This includes law enforcement. It means there are things that need to be changed. Real injustices and weaknesses in the system that have been ignored and perpetrated for years. Children in solitary confinement; Black and Hispanic people being stopped for being brown; outright lying and imprisonment in huge numbers. This.has.to.change. BRAVO that someone is finally saying these things out loud in the public arena.

        I did not add to FOX’s viewership numbers because I knew exactly how this was going to come down. Thanks all who did watch for the “lowlights”. With all their weaknesses – and they certainly have them – Democrats at least care about the people of America – you know – the ones the Republicans won’t talk about unless they’re criticizing them for being takers instead of creators. And, they damn sure don’t want them thinking that there is anything more out there for them. They better stay in their places if they know what’s good for them.

        Yeah, I’m pissed at all the pretension and shallowness.

      • 1mime says:

        You know what’s really funny, Fly? The GOP Debate “deciders” withdrew from their contract with NBC because they felt the moderators were “too” pointed in their questioning.

        Just “How” do they reconcile this FOX performance by their moderators? Oh, maybe it’s just a matter of “who” the moderators work for, not really “what” they asked or said???? Does this irony strike anyone else?

      • Crogged says:

        I did my time back in 2012 and watched most of the Republican debates. The other worldliness is disconcerting, but I’m sure the same would have happened if there had been multiple televised Democratic presidential debates in 1988.

        Exactly how would have a Democratic candidate expressed to a broad audience of how ‘terrible’ the Eighties had been?

        I think if you always survey old(er) audiences the nostalgia overwhelms the reality, oh for the good ol’ days of 2007 and worrying about the possibility of a collapse of the worlds financial network. Even though my S&P fund is worth twice as much now as then, it’s gone down nearly as much as my fuel bill and dammitt, what the heck do all those brown people in the world want with their guns and stuff! And now just anyone can get health insurance, what about my freedom to suffer like Job?

    • 1mime says:

      Great post, Fly. My biggest takeaway was this: “The last of these are the institutions of civil society: churches, businesses, unions, non-profits, lobbying and activist groups, political parties, journalistic outlets, and so on. (NOTE which ones are in the ascendency – churches, businesses, lobbying and activist groups, journalistic outlets/FOX – and which are in decline – unions, non-profits (except those “pretend” PACs)…)

      Though we may not often think of them this way, these institutions serve a vital, perhaps essential and irreplaceable function of sorting, vetting, and ranking people, with varying levels of formality, as they climb diverse ladders of achievement toward leadership roles. Those who rise to the top of the biggest and most influential organizations become the nation’s elite, its ruling class. Every political community larger than a tiny village has an elite, the people who rule, either in their own interest, or as representatives of the interests of various classes, or (in the best case) for the sake of the common good of the community as a whole. (NOTE: The problem arises when the political elite elects to rule for a narrow slice of society, NOT the common good….)

      The institutions of our civil society are the gatekeepers to this elite. When they do their work well, allowing a wide range of people from different classes, races, and genders to compete fairly for the chance to pass through these gates, they give us a class of leaders on the most reasonable possible basis. We know of no better way to organize a democratic political community several hundred million people strong.” (NOTE: As Lifer has pointed out in numerous posts, our institutions are crumbling. While some need to disappear, others which are fundamental to a civil, just, inclusive society are also struggling….)

      The FOX is in charge of the hen house. And, his appetite will soon destroy all the worker hens and their chicks. Then who will business sell their corn to? Who will deliver it? Lastly, who will eat it???

  9. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Framing a topic can limit how we discuss problems and define solutions.

    NYTimes has 3 articles about reparations today.

    Here’s a Times sidebar for one of the essays:

    America has hurt blacks grievously; their progress remains dismally slow. But working-class whites are in free fall.

    (Quick! Which is worse, free fall or grievious hurt?!?!?!)

    That tiny word — but — makes it seem a given that we can only address one of these two serious problems.

    If ‘but’ were changed to ‘and’ i think we would find ourselves thinking differently about both the problem and potential solutions.

    (Essayists and journalists often do this to contrast what seems like competing ideas. I think divide-and-conquer politicians use ‘but’ fairly successfully to gin up anger and resentment.)

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/01/28/racial-reparations-and-the-limits-of-economic-policy/class-is-now-a-stronger-predictor-of-well-being-than-race

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I would say that “but” implies that what follows is more important than the first statement. The second statement has a certain finality.

      • flypusher says:

        Agreed.

        “Here’s a true statement: America’s historical mistreatment of blacks was uniquely evil and continues to depress the fortunes of African-Americans. Here’s another true statement: Class has become a stronger predictor of wellbeing than race.”

        Sure class may be the biggest SINGLE category that has an effect, but people belong to multiple categories. The poor Black guy is going to have it worse than the equally poor White guy. More decent jobs help them both, but there are still matters like the Black guy having to have “the talk” with his son about encounters with the police. Also the matter of the Black guy being passed over on job/ loan application if his name looks “too Black” (Jamal vs James).

        It really is a shame that we can’t do a real lesson in race reversal, say for a month. If it were possible for every White person to do a “Black like me” type experiment, it would be interesting to see if that affected any attitudes.

      • 1mime says:

        You are so right, Fly. I have three caregivers who help me with my husband. One is Hispanic and two are Black. All female. All strong women. We have had some wonderful exchanges about life that I wish more White people experienced. (Not under the same circumstances…)
        The tragedy is that in America, today, we need to be talking about jobs, and having clean water, and justice equality – not what we’re hearing on the debate stage and certainly not what we’re hearing from Congress. When is America going to wake up and realize that while we obsess about balancing the federal budget, people are going without food and housing. When we talk about tax reform, people are worried about having enough money to eat. When we talk about giving more tax breaks to industry and businesses, little people are worried about food, shelter, and educating their children.

        You want a good “word” to chew on America? It’s “when” are we as a nation going to begin valuing our people more than we value the economy.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Fly, a good way for a White to be a minority for a while would be to change your name temporarily to something minority sounding. Minorities could do the reverse as well but note that they proudly keep their “minority sounding” names. They prefer to be Jamal and not James. Or Carlos instead of Charles. Good for them.

        Keep in mind that using a Black or Hispanic name might actually open doors for you in some cases, with institutions trying to promote diversity.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I remember an article from about 25 years ago about a White lawyer with a Black sounding name, and she fornally changed her name to something more White sounding, because was having difficulties even getting a job interview.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      On the subject of word choice … I think the BLM movement might be better named Black Lives Matter, TOO.

      It puts the focus on Black lives, which is the point, and the TOO implies “all lives,” for the ALM crowd.

      I’m sure the All Lives Matter crowd would still find fault, though.

      • flypusher says:

        I’ve seen that constructive criticism in a number of places. It’s a better definition of the issue.

        Also don’t build your cause on false narratives (hands up don’t shoot).

      • MassDem says:

        I respectfully disagree. Yes, you can find examples of white lives that haven’t mattered to society at large, the neglect of Appalachia being a prime example. But structural racism against white people does not exist in this country in the same way that it exists for black people.

        If someone from Appalachia does well for themselves, and moves to another part of the country, then who’s going to care what their origins were? Their integration into the community will be seamless. But if you are Henry Louis Gates, an esteemed Harvard professor, you can still be arrested for breaking and entering your own home in the very liberal Republic of Cambridge just for being a black man.

        The point of “Black Lives Matter” is not that we need some kind of kumbaya moment that makes white people feel better about themselves because they finally acknowledge the humanity of black people. BLM exists because by our sins of commission and omission as a society, black lives have not mattered.

      • 1mime says:

        Agree, MassDem. And these sins of commission and omission are still going on. How about the Black female attorney who was walking in her neighborhood and was stopped by police and required to prove she lived there?

        It is important that the issue of BLM be focused. After all, who else is going to carry their torch? Anyone see anybody else standing up for minorities in a substantive way?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mass Dem, my point is not that BLM should bend over backwards to protect the sensibilities of Whites, or to appease them, but to beat them at their own game, to find a phrase that might be less likely to lend itself to distortion and double meanings. But as i also said, people who want to find fault with BLM will find a way no matter what.

      • MassDem says:

        But doesn’t “Black Lives Matter” already accomplish that? Why would someone think that saying “Black Lives Matter” automatically implies “White Lives Don’t Matter”, as if “mattering” was a zero sum game?

        I suspect that the problem isn’t really with the slogan. Some people just don’t want to hear the message. As you already pointed out Tutta, coming up with a more acceptable name probably won’t change that.

      • 1mime says:

        MassDem, Reading through lots of back stories in The Atlantic today (love that journal), and came across this one which was posted earlier but has a very good explanation about the BLM movement and how it came into being and what it is trying to achieve. It also had a lot to say about our millennials as well as candidate Rubio. Very interesting journalism.

        http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/why-america-is-moving-left/419112/

    • 1mime says:

      OK, BoBo, you get to live on one side of me and MassDem on the other. The discussions we would have!

      “And” is inclusive; “but” is divisive. That simple choice of words says it all.

    • 1mime says:

      I guess it all depends upon where the journey starts as to whether “slow progress” beats out a freefall…..Some would argue that at least those “falling” at least got a chance to reach for the American Dream…That they couldn’t hold on to it is tragic, but to have to claw your way up over centuries, struggle for an equal opportunity and still have it elude your grasp – that takes someone with more chutzpah than me to determine.

  10. MassDem says:

    If you have 25 minutes, the video below is well worth your time–Chris Hedges talking to two African-American activists from Detroit. Yeah, I know that one of the individuals is a self-described Communist, but please set that aside and listen to what he has to say. Their conversation brings up some interesting questions.

    Let’s suppose everyone in the US had a basic income and access to basic health care. Where do we go from there?

    How do we rebuild destroyed infrastructure and institutions in places like Detroit?

    How do we provide work for people in blighted communities? I may be wrong about this, but I believe that the importance of work is more than having the means to acquire security and material goods. Human beings, for the most part, have a fundamental need to contribute in a meaningful way to the welfare of their families, and to their communities. If you have ever been out of work, or known someone who was out of work, you will know the loss of self-worth that comes with being in that situation.

    I realize that these are complex problems, and that there will not be a one-size-fits-all solution. But dealing with these problems is long overdue. It probably isn’t exaggeration to say that uncertainty about the future and a loss of hope are driving more than our ugly politics–they’re driving the epidemics of depression and drug abuse also.

    • Crogged says:

      Mass
      How will people find work and meaning? I don’t know. One point of view of people some have is a guaranteed minimum income destroys ‘incentive’ and all people will do is sit on the sofa, eat Cheetos and watch television. If you think about it, our culture must actually respect such activity, since that’s the level of sustenance we provide to our unemployed (I don’t know if one can spend his food coupon on Cheetos) via our social services. It was tempting to think of another 20 years of Oprah and Cheetos, but for some reason I moved on.

      This is why we have such confiscatory laws of descent and distribution which prevent rich people from passing their entirety of their estates to the children and our copyright and IP laws have such short 25 and 30 year terms.

      Next, how to choose your parents.

    • 1mime says:

      MassDem, I wish you lived next door! YES! You have stated the problem so succinctly and with such compassion and understanding. This is what I was trying to say to Lifer in response to his comment about how middle cities across America are and will continue to die. WHAT can we do as a nation of good people to help others who need to work for all the reasons you described. People need to have a purpose in life beyond material goods.

      The issue of income disparity is not simply a matter of income; it also involves being a part of life – contributing and sharing and having a personal sense of self-worth. That sense cannot be given to someone, it has to be acquired. When el-Erian spoke the other night on Charlie Rose, he spoke to the heart of the problem. “Inclusive growth”, he stated, not just economic growth. I believe that America needs to look at the problems being faced in society and develop strategies to address what can be fixed – now, and also develop a long-range plan to provide alternatives. This means a basic income, it also means not threatening and worrying people that their benefits will be cut, it means jobs re-training and better education. I heard in the Flint town hall that they have no supermarket in town. To purchase fruits and vegetables, people have to go to a neighboring town. This is something so basic and necessary and expected that most of us can’t fathom the difficulty of having to drive or bus out of our communities to simply shop for food.

      These dying cities are symptoms of a much deeper problem in America. For all the positive changes Lifer talks about, we are leaving behind a huge segment of our population. Certainly people need to accept the fact that to survive in a different economic and social reality skills and education are required. But that is easier said than done for many, many people and those who are in the position to make broad structural changes don’t seem to even understand the need, nor the problems faced by them.

      Wow, this is a great topic. What type of country do we want in America for our people. All our people. Thanks for your eloquent statement, MassDem.

      • moslerfan says:

        el-Erian made some good points in this interesting interview. The Fed is doing some things it would rather not do because Congress can’t get its fiscal act together. We need more dollars in the hands of poor people, who will spend it. We can’t keep depending on finance as an engine of growth. Corporations won’t invest until they see a path to profits. We can’t fix our economics until we fix our politics.

        To me, this adds this up to concentration of wealth is strangling our economy, and rich and powerful people upon whom wealth is concentrating and who are controlling Government are standing in the way of fixing things.

      • 1mime says:

        Mosler, I know the “dollar” is a particular interest of yours. On CNBC, one of the analysts cited the “strong” dollar as more pivotal to global economic weakness than any other factors. Agree or disagree?

      • Crogged says:

        The grocer didn’t care where I got my dollar for the Cheetos and he didn’t discount it.

      • Crogged says:

        See here.

        http://rooseveltinstitute.org/ted-cruz-right-about-federal-reserve-and-great-recession/

        Somehow Ted Cruz says a lot of things completely internally contradictory, but what a debate genius he is, there’s no drool!

      • 1mime says:

        What a waste of intelligence.

        If we are going on a “what if we had…..” trip, let’s do go there. What If: we had passed a larger stimulus within which there was a well structured jobs program – say – addressing our crumbling infrastructure???? That would have put more people to work, generating more revenue, reduced unemployment, repaired things that are going to HAVE to be repaired, helped slow global recession……and on and on…

        Every financial expert I respect has stated that as dis-tasteful as it was, the stimulus was critical to avoid an even worse economic catastrophe. As to what the fed should be doing now? I can’t say, but

        What if – indeed.

      • moslerfan says:

        Mime, agree. Traders are bidding up the dollar vs other currencies because they expect economic weakness will be greater elsewhere. Currency speculation is a factor in how far things move, but the expectations get things started.

      • 1mime says:

        Going forward, what do you think should be Fed policy?

      • moslerfan says:

        Much of this has to do with foreign trade. Our neighbors to the north and south (CA and MX) are both oil producers who get paid in loonies and pesos respectively. With the price of oil down, buyers will need fewer loonies or pesos, thus driving down demand for those currencies

      • moslerfan says:

        “Going forward, what do you think Fed policy should be”. As el-Erian noted, the Fed is only one piece of the puzzle, and quantitative easing was largely their response to inaction by Congress. As he also noted, this had more effect on asset prices (high end real estate, stock markets, certain other financial instruments) than it did on, say, employment. If Congress would do its job, the job of the Fed would be to backstop the banking system, ensuring a supply of credit that is not market dependent (market dependent credit tends to dry up in a downturn, making the downturn worse).

        Further, I’d like to see the Fed institute some rules like requiring loans to be based on ability to repay, not on existing asset value, and requiring banks to hold loans on their own balance sheet instead of reselling them. If people want to indulge themselves in “financial engineering” they should do it outside the formal and protected banking system. Derivatives make it much harder for bank examiners to evaluate risk, and serve no public purpose. The fact that these activities make a profit for banks is no reason for the public to subsidize them.

      • 1mime says:

        El-Erian kept mentioning “politics”, which parallels your take. I agree about discounting/re-selling loans…mortgage companies/banks have done this forever. (used to work in the real estate arena and saw it happen as a matter of routine occurrence…..Get ’em approved then move that bad or weak asset off your books…) .I think the 08 recession has stopped most of that in the real estate mortgage market but as you noted, it is still happening in corporate financing. At the very least, banks are now required to be more fully capitalized but they shouldn’t achieve this status by virtue of moving risky investments off their books….Barney Frank’s efforts (and others) to pass a more comprehensive piece of financial legislation has been so weakened by Congress as to be ineffective. Those calling for a return to some version of Glass-Stegall have legitimacy, IMHO.

        As Elizabeth Warren stated in the NYT piece I linked earlier, when the profits from making risky investments (with other peoples’ money) is so much greater than the penalties they are assessed, the practice will continue.

        Greed. The cornerstone of capitalism.

    • 1mime says:

      Here’s an interesting op-ed from Elizabeth Warren in the NYT about how to “fix” America’s institutions. While it doesn’t focus on the devastation of cities as “Days of Revolt” does so credibly, it does lay bare the double standards through which the same people benefit – time after time – with the “tacit” approval of a rigged process.

      Warren suggests: “Enforcement isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about whether government works and who it works for.” ….. She decries the lack of strong leadership at the top of agencies who could enforce existing rules and create a more level playing field. These leadership positions are filled with appointees – tendered by the President and approved by the Senate……Or, not. (One of the realities of being President, as Ms. Warren may one day have an opportunity to experience, is the current political process and majority make it very difficult for a President to secure approval for his/her preferred appointees.)

      “The lesson is clear: Personnel is policy….Legislative agendas matter, but voters should also ask which presidential candidates they trust with the extraordinary power to choose who will fight on the front lines to enforce the laws. The next president can rebuild faith in our institutions by honoring the simple notion that nobody is above the law, but it will happen only if voters demand it.”

      The procedural tactic where one member of Congress can place a “hold” on a nominee – anonymously – has to go. It appears that politics trumps government functioning. IOW, fill all heads with temporary appointees rather than allow someone to succeed or fail in their appointed jobs.

      Another thought that can be extrapolated from Ms. Sanders piece is to look closely at “who” is advising the current Presidential candidates. If it’s more of the same (a la Jeb & W), you know what kind of people will fill these top level appointments if they are elected President.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/opinion/elizabeth-warren-one-way-to-rebuild-our-institutions.html?emc=edit_ty_20160129&nl=opinion&nlid=41048410

      • MassDem says:

        I read the op-ed and the report linked within it. In a word, infuriating. Our beloved Senator Warren is one smart cookie, and she has a bright political future, of that I have no doubt.

  11. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Dunno if anyone else suffered any of the GOP debate tonight, but my favorite moment, hands down, was when the subject of that TIME issue with Rubio as the Republican Savior was brought up, and Rubio immediately pivoted to Jesus Christ as the “only true savior”

    LMFAO. Yeah, we got it, Senator. Four days before Iowa and you want everyone to know that you’re a good Christian. Christ (no pun intended), Rubio is such a pathetic panderer that it would make me feel sorry for him if it weren’t so hilarious.

    Also, and though this will come as little to no surprise to anyone at this point, Trump was still, by FAR, the most searched candidate across every single freakin’ state in the country, even though he wasn’t even at the debate. How’s that boycott backfire working out, eh?

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/267463-trump-dominates-google-during-debate

    • Griffin says:

      When the footage of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio was shown of them contradicting themselves and then they meekly tried to weasal out of it I figured the only person who won that debate was Donald Trump. His top two opponents had just torn each other down and even worse had displayed weakness, which the GOP base can sense from a mile away.

    • MassDem says:

      Watching it this morning on YouTube.

      Fox News is doing an excellent job. I would like to see these three moderators host a Democratic debate.

      Cruz can’t help being an obnoxious jerk. His stance on carpet bombing in the Mideast alone should be enough to disqualify him.

      Rubio is indulging in platitudes and hyperbole. Annoying as hell.

      Christie is desperate, and it shows.

      From what I’ve seen so far, I want to kidnap John Kasich and force him to become a blue dog Democrat. Could you imagine the power of a Warren-Kasich ticket? Right now I’m worried that Trump or Cruz will pick him as VP to make themselves palatable in the general election (and guarantee Ohio’s electoral votes). A reverse Palin effect, if you will.

      Bush is making a lot of sense. I’m glad his poll numbers are low. Bush I was underrated as President, but Bush II was so awful that I don’t want to take a chance on Bush III.

      Paul is at least consistent, and has nothing to lose, so he has been making some good points. I like what he said about the NSA data collection.

      Poor Carson is out of his depth.

      Trump is not missed. I think missing out on this debate will hurt him, as it shows that there is a higher caliber of discussion when he’s not there.

      • 1mime says:

        There are many things to admire about Kasich, but his ultra narrow views on women’s rights for choice disqualify him from ever gaining my vote. You have to be balanced in all areas of human rights to deserve to be President of ALL the United States.

      • MassDem says:

        There’s nothing wrong with Kasich that a Democratic majority in Congress couldn’t cure. That might actually be a more productive combo than what we have now.

        His views on reproductive rights are very, very unpalatable as you rightly point out, but I think he is the closest we will see to a reasonable, moderate Republican in this election cycle.

        I also wouldn’t vote for him at the top of the ticket for either party, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him in some kind of national role, Congress, Cabinet etc.

      • 1mime says:

        He needs to stick to an economic role. I don’t know that he could subjugate his narrow personal views and as we all have noted, the power of the purse is now being used to deny women basic access to rights from equal pay for equal work to contraception and health care and paid maternity leave. There is a whole gamut of things that women are denied that are fundamental rights.

    • 1mime says:

      The Week posits that America could do a whole lot worse than to continue the initiatives Pres. Obama has begun, including:

      “Ours is a historical era in which continuity and change are one and the same. Obama ended the wars of the George W. Bush administration, normalized relations with Cuba, and prevented the ascent of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. In the last week alone, his administration declined to renew licenses to coal mining operations on federal lands, declared a ban solitary confinement of minors in federal penitentiaries, and ordered police departments around the country to give back military surplus equipment being misused by law enforcement. And on Tuesday, news came of the White House preparing to issue an executive order that would require any firm doing business with the federal government — virtually all giant corporations — to disclose its campaign contributions.

      We need more of the same.”

      WHO on the right would have the temperament or the considered judgement to have pursued these initiatives? No, they would solely focus on making our economy stronger. Guess what, it’s a bigger job than that. The economy is not everything. Everything is “how” we make America work for its people again – not just one class of people.

  12. Rob Ambrose says:

    If you’ve just eaten, don’t read this link, about the new anti gay law the GOP is trying to pass in OK.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2016/01/28/oklahoma_anti_gay_bills_on_conversion_therapy_and_blood_testing_are_crazy.html

    From legally protecting gay conversion therapy AS WELL AS forcing minors to go through it I’d their parents choose, to explicitly protecting “aversion therapy” as a legitimate gay conversion technique. They then weirdly go into horrendous detail about what aversion therapy means, including electroshock therapy, forced pornography viewing, and “vomit inducing” therapies. They also include a bill which will prevent HIV people from getting married.

    These people are disgusting sacks of human excrement.

    • 1mime says:

      I hope this gets lots of public attention. I looked up the bill’s author, OK Legislative Rep. Sally Kern. There is a little bit of good news – she’s term-limited and 2016 is her last year. Of course, she’ll probably run for a different position but at least she’ll be removed from chairing the OK Committee of Children, Youth, and Family Services. Geez, these people gravitate to places where they can really do some damage. Despicable.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Slate’s miserable record of journalistic objectivity aside, I am unable to argue with a single word you wrote, RobA.

      • 1mime says:

        Hello Fifty, long time no post (-: You baking up your King Cake about now?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Yeah – been busy! Nola BBQ shrimp tonight, though – Mr. B’s style!

        And thanks for asking, mime. Good to hear from you!

      • 1mime says:

        Wow, Fifty! BBQ Shrimp in Canada? Are you able to find the the jumbo shrimp with the heads on? That’s the way I fix mine when I can get them. Add some crusty white French bread and dip away!

      • fiftyohm says:

        Oh no, mime! It’s winter. We’re in Houston until May! And the shrimp are indeed jumbo head-on from Rose’s in Kemah. And of course there’ll be crusty French bread! (You’re a gourmet, gal!)

      • 1mime says:

        Not living within easy access of Kemah, I rarely am able to find jumbo fresh shrimp with heads, and one has to be cautious about freshness due to the fat that is contained in the head….which, of course, as you know, adds so much flavor to the dipping juices. My, my, you are making me hungry for this dish!

      • fiftyohm says:

        Yeah, I know. We live downtown, but make the pilgrimage down every so often. And yes, heads are essential. Once in a great while, you can fine them at Fiesta, though they are never as big – “jumbo” label notwithstanding. BTW, it’s looking to be an epic crawfish season!

        Chris – of you’re reading this buddy, eat your heart out!

      • texan5142 says:

        Rose’s is always on my list of places I go when visiting my brother in Pearland.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Tex, I guess I’ve been trading there for 30 years or more. Still can’t get used to the new, giant store they built after the hurricane. Same folks, though. Watched the kids grow up. Pretty cool.

        BTW, the Texas Gulf coast seafood industry is a fantastic example of how we all benefit from our cultural diversity. Vietnamese immigrants like Rose saw an opportunity, and they kicked ass. How great is that, I ask you?

      • texan5142 says:

        Have been trading there also for around 30 years. The new store was a shock to me the first time. When I drove to Texas always brought a large ice chest and brought back at least 10 to 20 pounds of shrimp with me. Who knows we could have been standing elbow to elbow at one time or another.

      • fiftyohm says:

        So YOU were the gorilla with the ice chest! Well, I’ll be damned… 😉

    • That’s honestly despicable. Thanks for the link.

  13. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Huckabee and Santorum are now on board with Trump’s counter-debate event tonight. Way to give the Orange Wonder more credibility than he needed already, guys. -____-

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/mike-huckabee-joins-trump-iowa-218339

  14. Eljay says:

    Trump’s unfavorable numbers are historic:
    Worse than Carter in 1980
    and
    Higher than Nixon when he resigned in disgrace.

    He’s a celebrity, and not a particularly popular one.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Look into the state-by-state numbers and it’s easy to understand why some Republicans are getting ready to light the proverbial match to set their receding hairlines on fire. Take Wisconsin as a prime example, where The Donald’s unfavorable numbers, iirc, are somewhere in the area of flippin’ 65%.

      Imagine running in a presidential year with a nominee like THAT at the top of the ticket. No doubt it would have a whole bunch of them scrambling to try and distance themselves as much as they could, but that only goes so far. So the question is, could Trump deliver the Wisconsin legislature back to the Democrats? That’s a question I’m sure many Wisconsin Republicans hope doesn’t get the chance to be answered.

      And just look at the national numbers. Talk about a disaster just waiting to happen: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/trump_favorableunfavorable-5493.html

      Don’t get me wrong, Trump’s unfavorables don’t necessarily translate into Hillary Clinton’s strength, but between a combination of Republicans who just wouldn’t vote at all and those like Lifer who would hold their nose and vote for Clinton as a matter of the national interest, it’s tough to say just how much of a Democratic wave we could see in November.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        It is worth noting the Hillary’s favorability ratings are not all the keen. She would be one of the least favorable candidates we’ve had in a while, and she is so well known that it is not like she is going to get 20% of people to change their minds.

        The excerpt below is from Gallup a month or so ago. Gallup can be wrong a lot, but they’ve been tracking Hillary’s favorability for a couple of decades, so we may quibble with the specific percentages, but I think we can certainly trust the trends.

        WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dogged by continued scrutiny of her email practices as secretary of state, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s favorability with the American public has sunk to one of its lowest levels in Gallup’s 23-year trend. Currently, 41% of U.S. adults say they have a favorable opinion of the Democratic front-runner, while 51% hold an unfavorable view.

      • 1mime says:

        I wish Joe Biden had run.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        You and him both Mime.

        Bad timing with his sons death, as well as his decision having to be made in the immediate afterglow of Hillarys Benghazi performance, which made her look (at the time) unbeatable.

  15. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Iowa is not make-or-break for Trump, but everything he can do to lower expectations now would help him. Trump doing horribly in Iowa would be the first sign that there is not there there, but not a fatal blow. Trump losing Iowa and New Hampshire might be the fatal blow.

    Cruz underperforming in Iowa is a bigger blow. If he can’t win Iowa, he can’t win anywhere. If Rubio sneaks up and comes in a close second to Cruz in Iowa, I think Rubio ultimately is the nominee.

    Trump needs to lower expectations and then get a “surprising” second place finish to Cruz in Iowa while saying, “See, we didn’t even really try here, and the establishment was stacked up against me, and still people came out for me”. Then Trump can go on to win New Hampshire, to prolong his time in the race (I still don’t think he becomes the nominee).

    Evidently, the GOP elite have tried to hit Cruz hard in Iowa, but I don’t know that they are being successful. The biggest threat to Cruz is underperforming expectations in Iowa, so I won’t be surprised to hear a lot of talk this week about how Cruz is an overwhelming favorite to win Iowa, so that even when he wins, he may not win by as much as was expected.

    I have poo-poo’d Lifer’s notion that Cruz could be the candidate, but he certainly now does have a path there. I still think it will ultimately be Rubio, but if Cruz wins Iowa and exceeds expectations, and then does moderately well in New Hampshire, he starts to look like the candidate going into the southern primaries where he should continue to do well.

  16. MassDem says:

    I REALLY want to see a debate between Trump and Clinton now. Please, please please let it be so.

    • 1mime says:

      I think Trump just cooked his chances and we will be looking at a Cruz nominee. God help us if he wins. (Ryan – I know you think he can’t, but stranger things have happened in politics.)

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I’m not saying it’s divinely ordained providence that Cruz will lose if he becomes the nominee, but if someone’s going to make the argument, then explain to me how he wins sufficient numbers of minorities (particularly given his stance on immigration), wins over female voters and cracks Lifer’s Blue Wall. I do not see that happening.

      • 1mime says:

        He’s aiming for the electoral college and planning to sweep the south while picking up a few purple states. Several authorities (Nate Silver for one) have looked at the blue wall theory and demonstrated how it can be toppled.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        We all know how the Blue Wall CAN be toppled. That’s no great mystery. If Republicans screwed their heads on straight, started seriously targeting the issue of comprehensive immigration reform and talking about how race still skews outcomes in America and what to do about it (i.e a federal minimum income), they would shatter the Blue Wall in an instant.

        What you just said about Cruz is PRECISELY the reason why Republicans will not and cannot break past it. If your entire strategy is predicated on sweeping the racist South (and I use that term broadly, mind you, but hear me out), then tell me how, precisely, you do that and then take that message to a more moderate and tolerant American public.

        Honestly and truly, tell me what Cruz’s message is that sweeps the South and then turns right around and wins a presidential election. ‘Cause if there is one, I would sure as hell like to hear what it is, but I won’t hold my breath.

      • 1mime says:

        Religion in the form of evangelicals and fundamentalists is the basis for Cruz’ Southern strategy, from AZ-FL up to SC.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        That. Is. Not. A. Message. You are dodging my question.

        And while we’re on the topic of evangelicals, if you believe the polls, let’s keep in mind just how easily Trump managed to drive a wedge between them and Cruz in Iowa in just the past week-ish. That kind of turnaround doesn’t happen if they were locked into Cruz right from the start. His support there was tenuous, and if that can happen in Iowa, it can happen elsewhere.

      • 1mime says:

        Sorry, Ryan. Didn’t mean to be evasive, just don’t have much time to elaborate. Cruz is depending upon his base which is primarily religious. They don’t respond to reason as much as they do their emotions which Cruz is feeding. He is reaching out as someone who is unafraid of confronting the establishment AND will rule on the basis of Christian morality.

        If this isn’t sufficient response, I don’t want to dig into it more. I find him so reprehensible that it’s not even worth it to document my position about him. Obviously, I hope he is unsuccessful, but who knows in today’s political and irrationally motivated environment what will happen.

  17. tuttabellamia says:

    I predict the silent majority in Iowa will sidestep the 2 loudmouths and choose the soft-spoken, religious Dr. Ben Carson. It will probably be his last gasp, and then after Iowa the primary season will begin in earnest.

    • vikinghou says:

      That would indeed be an upset. Frankly, his talents within the GOP milieu might be better directed toward becoming Surgeon General should a Republican win the election.

    • 1mime says:

      And I predict your prediction will be wrong.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Ya wanna bet? 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Yep, I do. You’re on.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Ok, if Dr. Carson does NOT win Iowa, I will write a review of Sherry Turkle’s book — Reclaiming Conversation, I think it’s called.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        And I will post it on this blog.

      • MassDem says:

        “Reclaiming Conversation” sounds pretty good, but how about reading “The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man’s Obsession Led to the Solution of Ancient Egypt’s Greatest Mystery” by Bob Brier and Jean-Pierre Houdin? Rated 3.8 on Goodreads, it is the last word on pyramid construction.

        Or are you trying to motivate yourself to read the latest selection of your book club? If so, please proceed…we’ve all been there.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Actually, I finished reading Reclaiming Conversation a couple of months ago, and Mime asked me to write a review, and I just haven’t gotten around to it.

      • MassDem says:

        Repurposing your homework, gotcha.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      I will personally dunk my head into a bucket of ice-cold, freezing water if that happens. Ain’t. No. Way.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Come on. I am only talking about the Iowa Caucuses, not the Republican nomination.

        I could very well see Carson pulling a Huckabee or a Santorum and then fading away completely.

        I also promise to eat more fresh fruit.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I’m talking about Iowa too. My head in a bucket of freezing cold water if Carson takes Iowa.

  18. Glandu says:

    Seen from the other side of the pond, one remark, and one question.

    Remark : the weight of a political organization in bending the vote result cannot be understated. One example from 2012 here : http://brucefwebster.com/2012/11/10/weighing-in-on-project-orca/ . I’ve got countless ones in France too(but they are all the same : have on organization focused on the right goal helps a lot, focusing on the wrong goal can be a train wreck, as the socialists campaign in 2002).

    Donald Trump, who did not set up a correct organization, can, in my eyes, just hope his supporters set up an efficient organization for him.

    Question : why the hell does not your country vote at once in the primaries? I understand the idea behind results by states, but why a different schedule? To make sure candidates spend even more money on adertising? It seems very anti-democratic to me.

    • MassDem says:

      Primaries are at the discretion of political parties. It gets confusing because the two major parties don’t have to schedule their primaries for the same day in any given state, although most of the time they do.

      I think the reason for staggering the primaries was to give candidates with less resources a fighting chance, as the 50 states are a big area to cover. Note that here in the US, most financing of campaigns is private, not public.

      Also, tiny little states like New Hampshire, whose population is less than half that of Metro Boston, get a boost in influence by voting earlier than large states. Otherwise, low population states would be ignored as candidates focused on high population states like California, Texas, Florida, New York etc.

      About 14 states are taking part in Super Tuesday on March 1, although in some states, only one party votes.

      The downside to this system is the loss of influence in late-voting states, and that the primaries seem to go on forever, especially if you live next door to Iowa or New Hampshire. Gaaahhhh….

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Glandu, it IS very anti-democratic. So is our electoral college.

      I recently heard a radio commenter say that while most Americans really dislike the primary system as it is, it is likely to stay this way because of the massive amount of public and political effort it would take to change it.

      On the other end of the of election discussions is internet voting. Many people are all for that.

      Is there internet voting in Europe?

      • MassDem says:

        Internet voting would be a huge boost to our democracy, especially considering that we don’t get Election Day off. But how would super-patriots then get to harass people at the polls? I don’t want them coming to my house…

      • Doug says:

        “But how would super-patriots then get to harass people at the polls?”
        Popups.

      • MassDem says:

        Good one–revenue opportunity for cash-strapped cities and towns.

      • 1mime says:

        No, it wouldn’t take a lot of effort. Just ditch it all in favor of a popular vote.

      • kebesays says:

        Internet voting is dangerous. Look up Diebold voting machines to see why.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        kebe, I understand they’re are potential security issues with internet voting, as with electronic voting is polling places, I think it is inevitable.

        Social structures are a’changing and, witness the Arab spring, we don’t exactly how they’ll morph.

    • goplifer says:

      Take a step back and imagine a real European political and economic union. Imagine that its President had real authority and its parliament made laws that could, in both legal and practical terms, limit the power of the individual member states. That’s pretty much what the US is.

      When you think of the US in those terms, our ‘anti-democratic’ impulses make a lot more sense. Belgians are not particularly interested in having their sovereignty limited by policies set by a democratic majority consisting of German and French voters. Our primary system evolved over generations to grant smaller states some leverage in the process which would evaporate overnight in a more ‘democratic’ process.

      And of course, spreading the process out this way, both in terms of time and geography, creates advantages for parties and candidates who have developed something more than a compelling television ad campaign. You need an organization. And to build an organization you need a degree of seriousness, persistence, and sustained popularity. The very process of building and sustaining that kind of organization creates its own check on extremist policies.
      We sometimes call it social capital.

      Social capital is weakening here as everywhere, but fortunately there is still enough of it left (maybe?) to prevent fly-by-night gadfly candidates like Trump from running off with a major party’s nomination. We’ll see.

  19. Griffin says:

    Why would Trump not show up to the most recent debate if not getting his face out there is pretty much the one thing that can hurt him? He’d be better off giving ridiculous answers to any questions that are asked of him, which is what he’s done so far. Even though he claims to care about Megyn Kelly being there I feel like there must be some sort of strategy or genuine fear behind it. Maybe he thinks he’s so far ahead that there’s no reason to risk faltering at the next debate and possibly losing more support than if he’d just stayed home.

    That or he’s just crazy.

    • 1mime says:

      I think it’s a big mistake as well, Griffin. He is going to leave the floor wide open for his most serious opponent – Cruz – to dominate. Bravado can bite you in the ass.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      You’re underestimating Trump. Think about what’s happened over at Fox News just in the past forty-eight hours since The Donald officially backed out. He’s all anyone is talking about and he just got off an interview with O’Reilly (a move which Roger Ailes didn’t endorse, btw) in which he was, for all intents and purposes, begged to get back in.

      What kind of message does that send? It says that Trump holds all the cards and that Ailes can either bend to his will or suffer a ratings drop, hence why Donald has said that now he’ll only talk to the head honcho, Rupert Murdoch, a move which further diminishes Ailes’ standing and makes him seem as if he isn’t worth Trump’s time or consideration anymore. That O’Reilly went over his head and brought Trump on the air only further enforces that message.

      And, of course, that Trump’s counter-event to the debate is one dedicated to veterans couldn’t be transparent, but it also couldn’t be much more effective. It’s essentially a twofer; a move that insulates him from Fox News’ efforts to openly cajole him back onto the debate stage and, if the other Republican candidates knock him while he’s not there, he’ll turn right around and rake them over the coals for not being concerned about our veterans.

      Fox News has forfeited themselves to fighting on Trump’s turf and that is a recipe for defeat and humiliation. Donald Trump is a troll, and while the first rule of engaging with a troll is that you, if at all possible, don’t; if it’s unavoidable, then you never, EVER do it on their terms. You will lose, and Fox News will has already lost by playing right into Trump’s hands.

      Granted, all that’s no guarantee that this will be enough to rally Trump’s supporters into giving him Iowa on Monday, but there’s not much else he could do. This has been The Donald’s game plan all along; he’s a master of media manipulation and it’s served him well. We’ll just have to wait it out and see if it’s enough to get him over the finish line.

      • flypusher says:

        “You’re underestimating Trump. Think about what’s happened over at Fox News just in the past forty-eight hours since The Donald officially backed out. He’s all anyone is talking about and he just got off an interview with O’Reilly (a move which Roger Ailes didn’t endorse, btw) in which he was, for all intents and purposes, begged to get back in.”

        Or thinking that being President is his highest priority. It may not be. All this attention is like crack.

      • flypusher says:

        Looks like Cruz and Fiorina are calling on the veteran event thing:

        http://www.vox.com/2016/1/28/10858520/cruz-trump-debate-veterans

    • goplifer says:

      I think it’s a serious miscalculation by Trump. Cruz is scary and weird, but he’s not stupid. This is a softball lobbed right at him and the debate moderators are going to give him free rein. A candidate who builds his reputation on pushing people around runs a risk of being seen as a bully. A bully loses his minions when he gets punched in the nose and breaks down crying.

      Running away from a woman is not going to play well. Follow it up with a loss in Iowa and he might pop like a balloon.

      • vikinghou says:

        What I want and I think everyone should want in our next president is someone who can take the heat. Trump has shown he can’t. Compare his reaction to Megan Kelly’s questions to the way Hillary comported herself for 11 hours in front of a group that was openly out to destroy her. Do you think the Donald could handle that pressure?

      • flypusher says:

        Very true. You’re under the spotlight in a pressure cooker, and you can’t bug out just because you don’t like someone.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I see where you’re coming from, and maybe Cruz will use this opportunity to go for Trump’s jugular so he can come out and claim Iowa, but I’m not entirely convinced Fox News is going to go out of its way to give him that kind of platform. If the entire debate more or less revolves around a man who isn’t even there, then who’s really the one in control? Particularly after that O’Reilly debacle in which Trump was essentially to get back onto the debate stage?

        Ultimately, this comes down to a matter of appearance; who’s grabbing who by the you-know-what in the you-know-where here. And honestly, I’m on the fence here about who that is.

    • Crogged says:

      Trump can’t win in Iowa-the answer is in the blog. Why debate, have the world talk about it, get another bump in the polls, then ‘lose’ the Iowa caucuses? You have to be really freaking committed to participate in the Republican Iowa caucus in February, drive somewhere in what may be frightful weather and then participate in conversation with someone constantly thumbing through their Bible for clues regarding health insurance.

  20. unarmedandunafraid says:

    Just watched Michael Moore on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show. He talked about the situation in his home town of Flint. It was wrenching.

    • 1mime says:

      Yeah, I saw it as well. He is resolute that Gov. Synder is culpable in this tragedy. I do hope that the Attorney General will step in and perform an independent investigation. Can you believe that not one lead pipe has been removed in two years! I loved the comment of the Black pastor who invited Synder to Flint to come shower in their water. Me, I want him to drink the water. (I’m not as nice as the pastor (-: )

    • MassDem says:

      Watched “Bowling for Columbine” yesterday, and despite the occasional irritating elements (ridiculous leaps of logic, theatrics, ambush interviews), it was overall very good. I mention it because there was a longish segment near the end focused around Flint. Footage of the town showed images of brutal poverty, and this was in 2002, before the Great Recession. Flint was included because there had been an incident where a 6 year old boy brought a gun to school and shot a little girl, a classmate. What was fascinating, and prescient, was the discussion of how the little boy had obtained the gun. His mother (a single mom) was required to work through a welfare-to-work program, and although she had 3 jobs, she didn’t make enough to pay rent, so she was facing eviction. She had placed the son with a relative until she could get resettled, and that’s were he got access to the gun.

      The film really brought home the lousy choices available to those who are poor, an issue which is only become part of our national conversation relatively recently. Our national shame.

      • MassDem says:

        Omg, the grammar. I typed that before I was fully awake–I don’t drink until after 5 pm (not am).

        What you describe is happening in New England too. In MA, Springfield, Holyoke & Lawrence have similar problems. Lowell is doing better because of UMass Lowell, the state engineering school. I grew up outside of Hartford CT which has been gutted for years, starting when they lost the insurance industry. Couple that with our raging heroin epidemic and it’s a bleak outlook for these places.

      • 1mime says:

        You are so correct, MassDem. I have never been poor but I have tried to be aware of what poor people endure. It is evident that many don’t care enough to bother. When you’re involved in public education,as I was, this awareness is part of understanding why kids struggle. What Michael Moore said is so true. Republicans have adopted a formula for implementation when they win positions: reward the wealthy, cut programs for the poor. As the Black pastor noted to Rachel Maddow last night, Snyder put emergency managers in all of the major Black cities in MI, whether they were bankrupt or not (Flint wasn’t, even though it was dirt poor.) Then, Snyder tries to walk away from his responsibility for the men he appointed and the decisions they made. It is criminal that not one lead pipe has been changed out. That private donors have had to step in to provide some drinking water (1 bottle per person per day…..) and the state has not stepped in and installed permanent whole home filters OR changed the damn pipes, makes me furious. Moore is correct: AG Loretta Lynch needs to appoint a federal inspector to get to the bottom of who knew what when and determine if Snyder should be criminally charged. At the very least, he should be charged with malfeasance and removed from office.

        Fundamentally, our country needs to make huge changes in how we value our people. I listened to an interview of Mohamed el-Erian on Charlie Rose a couple of nights ago. He spoke about some of the basic problems that America needs to address. (He is not only a very smart financial analyst but is very perceptive about human needs.) Once more, he talked about the seriousness of the income divide, or, “wealth divide”, in our country and how critical it is for America’s economic and social development that we develop a plan to address this. Yet, every Republican presidential candidate running is still focusing on more tax cuts for the wealthy. It makes me sad to see such ignorance and social disengagement from people who seek the highest office in our land. Compare their rhetoric with the focus of the Democratic candidates who at least are proposing improvements for the working man and woman. This shouldn’t be an “either or” situation. When such a huge segment of society is struggling to keep a roof over their heads, it is obvious even to a neophyte like me that this class of people have no capacity to become contributors to our social and economic order. There simply is no balance, and economist after economist have spoken to this.

        Sorry for the diatribe, but these things matter to me. It makes me mad that poor people are treated this way.

      • MassDem says:

        Everything that you said ^

        Do you know what happened to Darnell Early, the Flint Emergency Manager? He is now in charge of Detroit Public schools. The teachers at DPS are currently holding a sick-out to protest conditions there, which have been likened to those in a Third World country.

        http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2016/01/11/dps-schools-closed-sickouts/78618800/

      • Creigh says:

        Good to see someone as respected as el-Erian saying this kind of thing. Inequality is undermining our democracy and strangling our economy. The 1% have believed that they can manipulate economics and politics to their advantage, but cracks in their plans are becoming evident (Trump, Cruz, and Sanders).

    • goplifer says:

      We’re likely to see a lot more situations like Flint in coming years. My job involves a lot of unsexy travel to places across the Midwest. It’s a tour of the apocalypse.

      Basically, cities that already have roughly a million people, plus at least one major, first-class university, are doing well and growing. Combining those advantages with a state capital (Columbus, Twin Cities, Madison) is a big bonus. Otherwise they are doomed.

      Exceptions are smaller cities like South Bend that have a large, major university. Although it should be noted that those towns usually have no economic activity remaining that’s unconnected to the university. The countryside is draining out. Cities failing to make the cut like Dayton, Toledo, Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and so on are experiencing a miserable stagnation. Some of them are still attracting cheap, third-world industry, but mostly there’s nothing left but a few stragglers and a lot of medical business. Why would you stay in Indianapolis or Milwaukee when you could just move to Chicago or Columbus?

      Those smaller cities in the Flint-class, places like Evansville, Duluth, Rockford, Peoria, Akron, Kalamazoo are crumbling. There is no reason for anyone to live there other than nostalgia. People hang on to whatever job they have like it was a life raft. Any job change, including a promotion, means moving away. Those places possess expensive aging infrastructure they can no longer support. It’s just rotting away beneath them.

      This is not just a Midwest phenomenon. You see it in Texas and across the South as well. Oil has insulated Texas to a certain extent, plus the massive immigration from Mexico. Visit Texarkana, Wichita Falls, or Lufkin for a demonstration.

      Remember, we are moving into an economic model that absolutely punishes the middle in every sense. Middle-sized cities may end up suffering more acutely than the middle class that once filled them. A middle class family can move to an apartment. A mid-size water, sewer, or school system can’t move to a better city or trade down. It just sits there and decays. Get ready for a lot more Flint.

      • flypusher says:

        My old hometown in Central TX growing, but of course there’s the long influence of both San Antonio and Austin to drive the regional economy.

        I wonder if the proposed TX bullet train might save some of these cities. If you can go from Houston to Dallas in 90 minutes, commuting from one of these towns becomes an option for people who might prefer small town life over the big city.

      • MassDem says:

        My comment above was meant to reply to Lifer’s post–I’m on a roll today. Maybe I should start drinking.

      • 1mime says:

        Don’t worry, MassDem, soon there will be a compelling reason to drink…..

      • 1mime says:

        Get ready for a lot more Flint.

        So, where’s the GOP plan for this “known” problem, Lifer? MI is sitting on $1.6B and what is their responsibility and their plan to address these destitute areas? You think people stay in these areas for nostalgia. Has it occurred to you that they either: can’t afford to move (average home value PRE-LEAD is $10,000!!!) or they lack the survival skills and training to make the move. If this is part of a major shift in our economic model, what steps are being developed to address this huge swath of poverty? Do we just let these people starve to death? Or, poison them?

        I know one thing for sure: giving more tax breaks to the wealthy does zero to address these problems. Snyder’s handling of the Flint situation has been abysmal if not criminal. As you noted, this city is a microcosm of many more just like it all over America. What does that say about how America values its people? Plans for the future?

        America may be moving to a new economic order but it isn’t doing one damn thing to help those who will be left behind. That makes me mad and sad. People matter. All people.

      • johngalt says:

        The bullet train is likely to further harm those small cities, Fly, because it won’t stop in them. The idea behind the high speed rail doesn’t involve stopping in Waxahatchie and Centerville and Huntsville. It’ll blow right through them.

      • Crogged says:

        You do something not by propping up “Flint” or “blacksmiths” or “sewer systems” or ‘unions” or insert your Vonnegut granfallon here: but by helping individual people. Capitalism and modern society require people and it ‘destroys’ institutions which outlive their purpose.

        Invest in people and they will make new institutions. Bullet trains are made for people, nobody has a baby because the bullet train station is coming soon.

        Guaranteed minimum income. A floor of medical care that keeps disease in check and people reasonably healthy. Access to a decent education despite where you live or who your parents are.

      • 1mime says:

        Crogged, as usual, you get it.

      • goplifer says:

        You know what would breathe new life into these dead zones? A basic income.

        Without a basic income just about the only thing you can do is 1) try to address the affordability issues in bigger cities and 2) come up with innovative ways to shrink a city’s fixed infrastructure at a reasonable cost.

        With a basic income, Peoria or Paducah could become very attractive as a place to build a modest life at reasonable cost. Combined with some form of universal health insurance, those places would attract enough infrastructure live a reasonable first-world lifestyle and low cost.

        Otherwise we’re looking at a future in which the main rural industries, farming and mining, are largely automated while the countryside becomes a miserable, sprawling, slightly frightening slum. Funny thing about that it’s the pattern that’s prevailed for most of the history of civilization. The cities were relatively wealthy. The countryside was barely contained anarchy from which resources were more or less violently extracted.

      • 1mime says:

        If there were ever a real commitment to address poverty for those who want to work, it would include re-training. Crogged is correct about helping people one at a time. When structural or unsafe situations exist, however, the state has a responsibility to correct the problem. It’s been two years now and the governor wants another study? Sounds like a bureaucratic response to me….meanwhile, people are still being exposed to lead and other pathogens in the water.

        The guaranteed basic income concept must be coupled with job skills training. People have to have a way to earn a living and one that is more sufficient than any basic income can provide. There is nothing to keep authorities from developing re-training now except lack of desire.

      • Crogged says:

        And if they wanted to leave and go to McAllen to build Trump’s wall that would ‘protect’ us, they could much more easily.

      • WX Wall says:

        While I do agree with a basic income and universal health care, I don’t think this will help small towns. As you’ve pointed out numerous times, the new economy requires cities, with their vast human capital. Our economy isn’t built on a thousand acre farm, or even a hundred acre factory. It’s built on a 1/2 acre of office space filled with computers and people. While everyone thought the internet would allow you to work for a company in London from a ranch in Montana, the truth is, the internet makes physical closeness even more important, such that you can’t even work in Chicago from the suburbs any more.

        Unless wage destruction proceeds to the point where Peoria can compete with Shenzen, China for manufacturing (or we get a better trade policy in place that tolerates more expensive goods in exchange for domestic manufacturing jobs), the best option may simply be to provide an easier exit from these towns into cities like Chicago or at least Urbana / Champaign…

        While I don’t discount the value of a lifetime of social ties that might keep someone in a dying town, the expense of providing the type of world-class education, healthcare, and other infrastructure that’s now required may no longer be economical within a distributed collection of small towns vs an aggregated city. It’s one thing to provide a decent high school in Peoria that turns people out for the local Caterpillar factory. It’s another to provide a local University that turns out world-class engineers that can compete for jobs against ones coming out of India’s IIT. Better to give them an easy exit to U. Illinois in Urbana, or even Purdue in Indiana.

      • Crogged says:

        If, as a business owner, you believe intellectual capacity must be in the building where you pay for utilities, you are correct.

        I read something interesting about a little blind spot most of us have about ‘change’.

        If you went back to 1950-you could function. There would be a fridge, maybe a TV, a phone and a radio. Cars and planes. Doctors with medicines.

        If in 1950 you went back the same amount of time-not so much.

      • flypusher says:

        “The idea behind the high speed rail doesn’t involve stopping in Waxahatchie and Centerville and Huntsville.”

        If you’re going to have just the one, straight shot route, absolutely. But I’m wondering if you can make it so that you could have both the straight shot AND options with several stops on the way. The last time I was in Chicago I stuck around for a few days after the conference for some vacation. Since that meant everything switched to my dime I moved from the hotel on the Magnificent Mile to a more affordable one in Skokie and rode the L-train in. I noticed that line had those multiple options for how many stops on the way. Somebody better versed in transportation can tell me whether doing something like that with a high speed rail is feasible, but if it is, the it could be one thing that helps those smaller towns. Easy access is important.

      • goplifer says:

        Nothing within range of imagination will make Peoria economically competitive with Shanghai, Chicago or even Madison. What a basic income would do is create a whole new category of places to live and ways to live there. Peoria would be a pretty attractive place to live on a basic income, if you could get access to medical care.

        These towns could offer cheap housing and otherwise inexpensive lifestyle, with a small urban core around which you wouldn’t need a car. It would be quiet, and you’d still have to leave to move up economically, but you could live a modest lifestyle pretty comfortably.

        That would offer a reasonable sort of ‘retirement’ for these otherwise dying towns.

      • 1mime says:

        Take a look at this article from The Atlantic on worker pay/productivity. There are any number of themes running through the article that have been posted here by many of you (you are all so on top of things). To us, these problems are obvious. Why then, aren’t they front and center on the list of those who are elected to deal with them?

        http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/why-the-gap-between-worker-pay-and-productivity-is-so-problematic/385931/

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, read the Atlantic post on the gap between worker pay and productivity. I think you’ll find lots of affirmation and some distinct differences in perspective about what is happening and what can be done to address the problems people are facing in these stagnating towns and cities.

  21. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Part of me just wants to say that, well, it’s f****** Donald Trump and if there’s one thing he’s done consistently so far, it’s outperform expectations. If that extends to getting people to actually turn out and caucus for him, it’s all over but the crying and the Republican Party as we know it is screwed.

    That said, Trump HAS to know he’s gotta win the evangelical vote if he wants to take Iowa, hence why he’s doubled down on the state in the past few days, and to a certain extent he’s succeeded. Whether that will be enough to actually overtake Cruz, who’s to say? Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen.

    One thing of interest. If The Donald succeeds and manages to lay claim to Iowa, New Hampshire AND South Carolina, he’ll have done something no other candidate in modern political history has achieved and (with the exception of incumbent presidents of course), quite literally, swept the table across the early primary states. It will have taken a candidate like Trump to make that kind of political upheaval possible. Just something to keep in mind…

  22. Kebe says:

    Saw the mention of “homeschool parents”, and I need to remind folks not all homeschoolers are religious nutjobs. Of course, it’s possible Iowa’s homeschoolers are more religious, but please be careful tying homeschooling and religious nuttery together. Google “secular homeschooling” for more. Thank you. 🙂

    • 1mime says:

      Kebe, I agree that not all home schoolers are religious nut jobs, but, so far, that’s mostly what I’ve been exposed to. I do think there are legitimate situations for homeschooling one’s children. It is most successful when the parents are well organized and disciplined in their approach. It can be an enriching experience for all but I think that the social benefits of a structured group setting offers much to the over all learning process, assuming the school setting is good quality. If the child benefits more from a home school experience, go for it!

      • johngalt says:

        Agreed, Mime. My experience is that homeschool parents are trying to shield their children from some perceived wickedness (in any number of forms) in public schools. I’m sure there are exceptions; I’ve never met any.

      • kebesays says:

        You have now, johngalt.

        If your screen name is not ironic, I’d highly recommend you look up the works of John Taylor Gatto. He proposes the best libertarian arguments for homeschooling or even unschooling.

      • johngalt says:

        My screen name is not ironic, but I am not a libertarian. I chose it for a different reason many years ago.

        My wife and I are both Ph.D. level academic scientists and professors. Our kids are in an excellent public school in our neighborhood where they are thriving under the guidance of trained education professionals. Gaito identifies some problems with schooling, none of which requires great insight to identify. His solution of homeschooling is practical for a tiny subset of our population and a good idea for an infinitesimal fraction of children. Unschooling is an idea so stupid as to not be worth further comment.

        I stand by my claim that most homeschoolers do it out of a protective instinct. It seems you are doing it for a different reason and I’d be interested to hear why.

      • kebesays says:

        Your first claim, johngalt, mentioned “shielding from some perceived wickedness”, which I found a bit disingenuous . I take less issue with your revised claim (“protective instinct”). My wife was a public school teacher before we had children, and the whole teach-to-the-test mentality, combined with one child’s health issues, set us on that path. If you read elsewhere, both children are now in public school, but I think they’re MUCH better off (especially the one) because we homeschooled them throughout the elementary years.

        I agree it’s not for everyone, but I do think the fraction who would benefit is higher than what you think.

      • 1mime says:

        Kebe, your experience with using homeschooling is the perfectly logical and appropriate one. What JG is referring to are the vast number of people who home-school not for the sound reasons you had but to avoid mixing their children in with kids who came from “immoral” or otherwise undesirable home environments. Believe me when I tell you I have come into contact with “this” mindset when I served on our school board.

      • johngalt says:

        You don’t live in Texas, Kebe. As Lifer points out below, there are a lot of people who are homeschooling because the public schools are immoral pits of depravity and evolutionists from which they must protect their quiverful at all costs. This, plus a friend whose estranged wife is homeschooling their kindergarten-age daughter because of a pathological inability to cut the umbilical cord, does color my views of homeschooling. There are, as you and Lifer indicate, perfectly valid reasons for doing it. Those are the decided minority down here.

    • MassDem says:

      Hi Kebe,

      Nice to meet you. Not sure what state you are from. Here in MA, homeschoolers are required to have local superintendent sign off on their ed plans, to make sure that they meet state standards (they do not have to duplicate the local curriculum). Homeschoolers, like private school students, are not required to take MCAS (state standardized tests). Public schools are required to allow homeschoolers to participate in school clubs and sports, and some do.

      I’ve known a couple of families who chose to homeschool–in one case, the student had severe dyslexia and the school was not meeting his needs to the satisfaction of his parents, and in the other case, the student had emotional problems and was not flourishing in the local school. I’m a big advocate of traditional public schools, but an even bigger advocate of families finding the best educational venue for their children’s needs, and that includes charter schools, private schools and homeschooling as well as traditional schools.

      • Kebe says:

        I’m in MA, and because of its local-superintendent policy, it’s a leader in homeschool rights, modulo what town you’re in. It HIGHLY varies. We told our children when/if they wanted to go to public school they could. They exercised that right last year, and they’re in their first year of public school now.

        Secular homeschoolers *I* know treat it like DIY private school. Not much different from the family who send their kid to Catholic School, e.g. Children play in the neighborhood, do activities, etc. etc.

      • MassDem says:

        Nice to meet another member of Red Sox Nation!

        I’m from the most hated town on the South Shore, and I don’t mean Duxbury.
        (Hint: Globe editor Brian McGrory really doesn’t like us)

      • Crogged says:

        It’s entirely possible to have a public school system which meets the needs of 99 percent of the population of students, if the society believes that equality of opportunity is a value and not a curse.

    • goplifer says:

      We actually have a lot of homeschool parents in our neighborhood who are driven by kids’ health issues or mental health issues. I know a lot of people who did it for one or two years while a kid recovered from cancer or their worked on some kind of learning disability. They were funded by the local school district.

      Now, back home in Texas I know some serious, somewhat scary nutjobs who are homeschooling because that’s what Jesus told them to do. Different story altogether. Those are the folks drawn to Cruz.

    • objv says:

      Kebe, Although both my kids went to public schools (private school while living overseas), I honestly see no problem with capable parents homeschooling their kids for religious reasons. They are not necessarily nutjobs.

      Most of the parents I knew who homeschooled usually had multiple reasons including the quality of the school systems where they lived. Others had kids that needed more of a challenge and were bored. Some of the mothers with a teaching background saw homeschooling as a way to deliver a superior education.

      Two of my friends homeschooled because their sons had Asperger’s. Since Asperger’s was not understood at the time, the boys were treated as discipline problems. Later both boys were transitioned back into public school but had an aide with them at all times.

      A couple of parents I knew had kids that were being bullied at school. The parents withdrew their kids for safety and mental health reasons.

      One mom I knew had a daughter that was gifted athletically and had daily practice that conflicted with school times.

      While I certainly met some insufferable parents who thought they were more virtuous than other parents for homeschooling and one mother who definitely didn’t have the patience to homeschool, most of the kids I met seemed to be thriving.

  23. Crogged says:

    Skip the debate, not because of the blonde lady but because you know the cranky racists in Iowa aren’t organized well enough to deliver what the polls suggest could happen. Get some free publicity and stay in the mind of your rivals, while lowering expectations prior to a primary in a state where actual organization doesn’t matter. Not that any of this was ‘planned’ or thought out. I think we are seeing peak Granger movement with the supposed “Evangelicals” in American political history.

    • 1mime says:

      I’m gonna watch another movie. Enjoyed The Martian instead of watching the last Republican debate. Heck, I didn’t even watch the Democratic Debate. I do plan to watch Rachel Maddow’s town hall tonight in Flint, MI. From what I hear, it will be packed.

      • vikinghou says:

        Kudos to Rachel for relentlessly covering the Michigan emergency manager law, which allows the governor to usurp the power of elected officials (e.g., the mayor and city council of Flint) and replace them with an appointee. Democracy in action—NOT. It was only a matter of time before disaster would strike. She deserves a Pulitzer Prize.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s an interesting action plan being proposed by Michael Moore. THAT Michael Moore. Before you pass on reading it, he says something very important with which I totally agree: Gov. Snyder is asking for Flint to be declared a natural disaster area so that federal taxpayer money will be sent in care of….the governor….who else?….to deal with the problem people in his state government created. Not a natural disaster, a man-made disaster. I think MI taxpayers to need to pick up the tab. MI is sitting on 1.2B in combined state surplus and rainy day fund…and, guess what, a little of that “rain” savings needs to be spent on a bonifide MI man-made disaster. Not my money nor yours. Maybe if the citizens of MI have to pay for this despicable disaster, they will be more inclined to elect a different team of players the next time around, Better yet, why not call for the resignation and investigation of anyone who was involved in fraudulent misrepresentation of the facts in this matter. It’s one thing to make an honest mistake; it is quite another to actively cover up a poisonous situation. Two years this has been going on.

        http://www.michaelmoore.com/DontSendBottledWater

  24. 1mime says:

    The NYT pointed out the obvious in the latest reporting on the investigation of PP for selling fetal parts. It.didn’t.happen. Instead, in investigating PP, the grand jury found that the two people who attempted to entrap them DID break the law and handed down indictments against them. What is not included in the NYT piece is the fact that the TX Rangers ran a parallel investigation of PP at the state’s request, and it concurred with the decision of the Grand Jury. Sometimes justice is served, however fleetingly. This makes 12 states (all Red) who have investigated PP for criminal wrongdoing and have found nothing to charge them with. But they’re not gonna quit until they find “something”! The governor of TX and other state officials continue to press on in trying to find “something” to justify eliminating PP from being a Medicaid provider of services….none of which are spent on abortions, but, what does that matter when you’re on a witch hunt.

    So, this is how Republicans govern.

    • MassDem says:

      Thank you Texas grand jurors for helping restore my faith in humankind.

      • 1mime says:

        MassDem, I neglected to post the article. Here it is. And, a brave D.A. She is catching a lot of heat for upholding the TX Rangers and the Harris County Grand Jury decisions. Isn’t this supposed to be how justice should be served?

        http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/opinion/vindication-for-planned-parenthood.html?emc=edit_ty_20160127&nl=opinion&nlid=41048410

      • John Adkins says:

        Wow…..so no problem with the cutting apart of helpless babies…..you guys would have made great Nazi’s

      • johngalt says:

        Stuff it, John. That sort of hysteria won’t fly around here.

      • MassDem says:

        John Adkins, if you would like to make reasoned opposing arguments using evidence, then you would be most welcome here. If, however, you would like to indulge in ad hominem attacks and knee-jerk reactions, well there are a lot of comments sections for that, and I invite you to explore them. Here are some lightly moderated options:

        Left-leaning: Alternet, ThinkProgress, Salon, Wonkette*
        Right-Leaning: RedState, Breitbart, Fox News, Drudge Report, The Blaze

        *Wonkette is a great place to fight with libs if that’s your thing, but they will hit you with “The Banhammer of Loving Correction” if you cross the line.

        Hope this helps.

    • vikinghou says:

      Add the Flint, MI water disaster as another example of GOP governance.

      • 1mime says:

        You are so right, Viking. I hope the feds get in on this investigation. I share the cynicism of the residents of Flint who don’t believe that the independent investigator who has been named to look into this can be “fair and impartial”. He’s on record as donating to many of the state officials who were involved in making decisions that led to the problem.

      • John Adkins says:

        That may work with your low information friends but those of us in the know are well aware that the dem party had a stranglehold on the Michigan and Detroit for decades…..and as is usual it takes a repub to come in and clean up the mess.

      • vikinghou says:

        If the Flint situation is your definition of “cleaning up the mess,” I’d hate to know what you think screwing up is.

  25. objv says:

    Tutt, I’d only vote for Trump because Hillary should be in jail. Bernie is nice in a deranged way, but he is incapable of learning how to add and subtract. He would ruin the economy.

    Trump’s current wife is a brunette. Interestingly, two of the three Mrs. and former Mrs. Trumps are immigrants as well as his mother who immigrated from Scotland.

    • objv says:

      This should go below Tutt’s reply near the bottom. Oops.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Well, I hope Marco Rubio comes out ahead. Did you know that “rubio” means “blond” in Spanish?

      • objv says:

        I’m rooting for Rubio, too. I know Cruz means cross. (I lived near Puerto la Cruz in Venezuela.) Cruz is my favorite although most Republicans seem to think he is a heavy cross to bear. Unfortunately, he would probably lose the general election. I hope Rubio gets the nomination.

      • 1mime says:

        When I vote for the criminal, i’ll think about you, Ob.

      • objv says:

        Thank you, mime! I’m glad that you agree that she is a criminal even though you are going to vote for her. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Of course, Ob, I always vote for criminals – even the Republican ones.

    • MassDem says:

      “I’d only vote for Trump because Hillary should be in jail”

      Trying to convict the Cintons of something–anything–has become quite the cottage industry for the right-wing. So far, they haven’t struck gold, but they are persistent if nothing else. Will they succeed this time? Who knows. Meanwhile, I’m not losing sleep over it.

      http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/08/20/hillary_clinton_email_scandal_explained.html

    • johngalt says:

      So, in other words, you would only vote for Trump if he is the GOP nominee. Is there literally nobody with an R next to his or her name so unpalatable that you wouldn’t vote for them?

      • objv says:

        Tough call, JG. The problem is that I can’t find anyone more unpalatable than Hillary.

      • johngalt says:

        You don’t like Sanders, either, which pretty much covers the Democratic field.

      • objv says:

        JG: I feel the Burn. But, come on, even the quite liberal Warren Buffett said Bernie would kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. We can’t have that. PETA would be upset.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        So in other words you’re putting your distaste for Hillary before the country as a whole. Gotcha.

      • objv says:

        Not at all, Ryan. Hillary is either completely incompetent when it comes to technology or criminal. Do you really want a President like that?

      • Creigh says:

        objv, I’m not finding a quote from Warren Buffett on Sanders killing the golden goose. Hopefully there would be some analysis attached, not just an assertion.

        I’m becoming more and more convinced it’s the other way around – put overly simplistically but basically accurately – that having 1% of the people hoarding all the money is choking growth in the economy. Obviously, there are a number of factors contributing to no growth in the bottom 90%, but a big reason why we’re not addressing those problems is that it is in the interest of Very Serious People who control politics and the economy not to.

        One of the things we’re seeing this election cycle is that you can’t fool all of the people all the time.

      • objv says:

        Creigh, I don’t remember on which network I saw the Buffett interview.

        Buffett is a big Clinton supporter. There’s no getting over that. The closest thing to the interview I found was this:

        “The Oracle of Omaha added, “He has a different idea about what produces the golden eggs. I’m in favor of how he recommends distributing them, but I want to see a lot of golden eggs out there. I’m not so sure what he would do to the goose.”

        And on Trump: “He is certainly a serious candidate.”

        http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2015/09/09/warren-buffett-says-hillary-absolutely-still-has-his-vote.html

      • Creigh says:

        Thanks, ob. I knew that Buffet was a strong Hillary supporter, but the only comments I’d seen on Bernie was that he had praised his campaign style.

      • 1mime says:

        Warren Buffet is widely respected as a deep, pragmatic thinker. That he supports Hillary Clinton ought to send a message to those on the Democratic fence. His opinion, however valued in global and domestic circles, will never resonate with Republicans, however.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      objv – If Hillary doesn’t go to jail, just saying IF, how will that make you feel? I mean, I’m not sure if you remember Bill’s presidency or not, but there is a lot of stuff that was said about the Clinton’s then but seemingly never resolved. Do you ever look at these accusations and wonder why nothing ever comes of them? It seems that there are two possibilities. One is that the people prosecuting these wrongdoings are totally inept, stupid, and incapable of bringing criminals to justice. Take Benghazi. Please. If Hillary did make some egregious mistake in the handling of that night, why can’t all of the Republican committee investigations bring it to light? Again two possibilities. Pick the one you like, no crime or incompetent prosecutors?

      In that same vein, if you think someone is lying to you today, are you wary of what they say tomorrow?

      • objv says:

        unarmed: Bill Cosby has had plenty of accusations thrown against him and he still hasn’t been convicted of anything.

        Bill Clinton has been accused of various unwanted sexual advances including rape since his college days. Are all those women not to be believed?

        Bill did get caught lying about Monica. Remember the blue dress? Thank goodness for DNA tests.

        What has Hillary done all along? Attack the victims. Yeah, she’s a great role model for women’s rights …

      • 1mime says:

        Ob, the big difference between the two “Bills” is that one had to dope the women in order to “rape” them while the other one sweet-talked his female objective into voluntary participation. Now, I am not excusing “el presidente” Bill for his shenanigans – especially in the oval office; but there is a big difference between doping and convincing. Bill Cosby is gonna get his. Over 50 women and counting. Terrible example, Ob. Surely, surely, you are not excusing Cosby.

      • objv says:

        Mime, true, Bill Clinton didn’t use dope, but he did use his position of power as leverage. In many cases, his sexual advances were not desired or reciprocated. Do you believe multiple women who claim harassment and even rape or do you believe a sexual predator?

        Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Even in his older years, Bill can’t seem to stay away from trouble.

        http://www.rawstory.com/2015/01/bill-clinton-used-billionaire-jeffrey-epsteins-lolita-express-for-african-charity-tour/

      • 1mime says:

        Influence in no way is the same as doping someone.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        objv – I wasn’t defending either Clinton, at least not in a specific way. My question is about the claims of wrongdoing thrown around since he was elected. For me, If he raped someone, then work on that as a real crime. But there were issues that made their way around the vast conservative conspiracy, yet were never resolved or were shown to be, um. baloney. Seriously, you know that there have been many investigations of Hillary’s email, right? And nothing has come of it. More baloney. The same with Bengazhi. Baloney.

        My question is, do you and other Conservatives work for a credible way of governing or continue as always. It seems we would be a better country if some of us would be more critical of our sources of information. Seriously, If I hear someone make a charge of wrong doing and he has a R after his name, I really don’t want to research the facts any more. Sometimes I just make an assumption. Not a way to run a party. And here we are.

        Again, seems to be two possible explanations for all the charges that were NOT proven.

        And you did say she was going to jail, not that she defended her husband.

        Maybe you heard some RWNJ say that line and are just pokin’ at the Liberals with it. If I misunderstood, and you were joking, sorry.

  26. flypusher says:

    All I can say is that I’m soooooo glad that it’s finally put up or shut up time!!!

    • MassDem says:

      I too am so sick of reading, thinking and talking about the GOP race. Lucky us, all of the political ads meant for NH having been running on the Boston stations all month.

      South Park had it right– it all comes down to the choice between a giant douche or a turd sandwich.

  27. 1mime says:

    What is happening within Republican circles is ironic. They are finally having to reap what they have sown. Ignoring the wage earner and the poor is finally catching up with them. The evangelical voter and the blue collar white voter who looked so harmless when they were being courted (principally for their ballots) are now fielding presidential and congressional candidates who are embarrassing them. I mean, “we want your votes, not your people in leadership!!!” Meanwhile, the establishment sector of the GOP is focused like a laser on balancing the budget – not by recommending inclusive growth within the economy or through comprehensive policy changes or structural reform, but through that never fail attack on entitlement reform – those unpopular institutions of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Forget any effort to reduce income disparity. Instead a widening federal deficit is going to be solved by taking more from those who have less. Every one of the GOP candidates running for president are proposing tax changes that will enhance the wealth of the already wealthy.

    What’s not to like about this party? I sure hope the GOP goes after the entitlement trinity before the election. After all, this is a real problem, right? All those “other” problems – nah, they’ll work themselves out. The poor are really good at doing more with less. They just need to work harder.

    • Creigh says:

      “that never fail attack on entitlement reform.” At this point it’s perfectly clear that slashing entitlements is the point, not balancing the budget. I hear Republican consultants calling from time to time for the party to do something for the rest of us, but it’s going to be a hard change for those who believe in cutting taxes on the rich and tough love for everyone else.

      • flypusher says:

        Socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for everyone else.

      • johngalt says:

        What’s the problem with the attack entitlements strategy? The core GOP base is old white people, precisely the people who most benefit from them. There’s a reason social security is called the “third rail” of American politics.

      • 1mime says:

        You misunderstood me, JG. I hope they DO attack entitlements prior to the election. It would possibly wake up a few people who may not fall within the protected tier.

        Don’t get me wrong – entitlement reform should be on the table ALONG WITH EVERYTHING ELSE. Let’s get back to zero-based budgeting….strip out those tax loopholes and other benefits that are enjoyed by the wealthy.

        Let’s have an honest debate about what America wants and what it can afford. Lay it all out there and let the people vote. I can promise you that the bottom 75% will not vote for carried interest, or more tax cuts for the 25%. What they will shout is that healthcare is needed by all Americans; and people need jobs and job retraining, and more fairness in our justice system. And parents want a fair shot at a decent education for their kids in public schools, because their kids can’t go to private schools.

        So, yeah, let’s have that debate. I’m all ears.

    • John Adkins says:

      The dem circus is like being on the titanic as compared to the repub side….you have 3 old white people running in the party of “diversity”..yeah right.

      One who is so far to the left that he actually thinks he is living in Russia….lol …and the ole Hildabeast Hillary has one leg in jail…only Obama’s decision not to indict her can save her butt.

      • 1mime says:

        Game on. Let’s talk about how the Republicans are saving the country. Just “who” are they saving? Tell me how, as I must be missing the news. While we’re at it, take a look at this hard fact: the economy has performed better under Democratic governance than it has under Republican governance. Don’t take my word. Look it up. Forbes has done excellent analysis on this issue. Guess the Democrats are just “luckier” than the Republicans, right? Of course, we know that some folks have really, really benefited from Republican governance. You have heard of the income divide, right? That is not fiction. That is real. Where is the GOP plan for inclusive growth? Structural policy change? Tax reform that also helps those in the bottom 75%. The jobs plan. Infrastructure M & O. EVERY Republican presidential candidate has a tax plan that, ta da, gives the wealthy even more tax breaks while asserting that the poor simply have to do more with less. Gotta cut that entitlement reform so we can balance the budget. Really? What else does the GOP plan to do with their budget prowess? When Republicans wanted to increase defense budget allocations, they didn’t mind exceeding the budget. And, we won’t even go into how much the tax cuts under W have cost our economy along with two wars that were “off the books”.! Republican governance is working just fine for them – not so much for anyone else.

        Cutting babies in half. You may not have heard yet, but the twelve Republican dominated states have investigated Planned Parenthood for criminal actions and ALL….read that, ALL, have not found one thing to charge them with. Have you read the reports? NO? Start there. That grand jury that was convened in Texas to investigate PP of criminal wrong-doing (all that cutting babies up and stuff)? They actually ended up indicting the two scam artists who illegally misrepresented themselves in an attempt to entrap PP. As rare as it is, justice has been rendered and you can add Texas to the most recent list of “red” states which have exonerated PP. Funny thing about justice – when it works, it is so sweet.

        And, yes, Dems did control MI for decades and they do share responsibility for many of the state’s problems. What they don’t share is responsibility for the Flint travesty. That one belongs to the good Republican Governor Snyder. He owns it and he needs to fix it with MI’s tax money. Don’t even think about getting natural federal disaster funds to bail you out, Governor. This problem was man-made and you need to fix it with your rainy day fund. To date, not ONE lead pipe has been replaced. NOT ONE, and this has been going on for two years.

        Republicans when they are actually work with Democrats can offer a great deal to the process. The problem is, they stopped making any effort about 7 years ago. You want diversity? The GOP has diversity….every religious extremist out there is under your tent. I’ll take the real diversity offered through the Democratic Party any day.

        I haven’t seen your around this blog but if you continue to follow it you will find that people are informed and substantive in their comments. It’s a good model to follow.

      • johngalt says:

        I wouldn’t expect an answer Mime, and if you get one, I wouldn’t expect it to be anything more than far right ravings.

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, I know. I loved your short, sweet “don’t say stupid stuff” response. I’m “wordy” and have an innate (or perverse) need to set things straight….at least from my point of view. That doesn’t make me right, but at least I have thought things through and try to make rational judgements. I confess that I have too little patience with those who rant but don’t think.

      • texan5142 says:

        Do not feed the troll

  28. 1mime says:

    If the choice of the GOP nomination comes down to either Cruz or Trump, we all lose.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Even if you vote Democrat?

      • 1mime says:

        Yes. For the final GOP nominee choices to be between a blowhard like Trump, or a rigid, narcisistic fundamentalist like Cruz, is sad for our country. And, even though I will vote Democrat for President, I don’t always. However, the choices have to be more moderate and less extreme for me to deviate. There is no guarantee that one of these poor Republican candidates might not win the presidency. I’m tempted to say that America needs to see how one of these two men would govern, but the price is too high.

    • The thing I keep wondering is, where next for the Republicans after the defeat in 2016? What’s left for them to do in the quest to be even more fanatical? Short of running Amon Bundy as a presidential candidate, I can’t see where they could go.

      • flypusher says:

        This particular question has been posed multiple times in this blog to people who have made the claim that the GOP lost the White House in 2008 and 2012 because the candidates weren’t conservative enough: Replace Romney/ McCain with anyone else who was running (or if we’re being generous, any conservative of your choice)- which blue states do they flip? We have yet to get an answer. Now if Trump gets the non, there’s wiggle room, because one could reasonable argue that he’s not that conservative. But if Cruz gets it and loses? I’m not sure the human brain is capable of the degree of mental gymnastics needed to keep making that excuse, but I could be wrong. The denial is strong in these people.

  29. tuttabellamia says:

    Lifer wrote “That guess assumes that Trump’s bizarre Megan Kelly tantrum weakens him slightly going into the caucus.”
    ***********************
    I agree. If I were his rivals, I would capitalize on this and accuse him of being afraid of a pretty blonde lady.

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