“He Knew What He Signed Up For”

Yes, Il Trumpe actually said that to a grieving war widow. First, it just shows that Trump isn’t just a narcissist, but that he, due to his wealth and privilege, has not had to hide his narcissism for a very long time (and he also created an environment which encouraged his narcissism). Like many of Trump’s utterances, this is designed largely for his consumption, to validate his own sense of well-being: he says this, so it’s not his fault.

Second, we need to stop fighting all of our wars. We’ve reached the point where traditional college seniors have no recollection of what it’s like for the U.S. not to be in multiple combat theaters (or even one). Our constant state of war is incredibly harmful in so many ways, and those of us (including me) who remember when we weren’t at constant deployment need need to do more to remind people of this.

Posted in Military, Resistance Rebellion And Death | Leave a comment

How Much Ruin In A Nation: Bush Was As Awful As Il Trumpe, Just No One Cared

There has been a spate of ‘how awful everything is under the reign of Il Trumpe‘ articles. And things are pretty crappy. But things were really awful under Bush 43 too. Katrina was horrible, not just in terms of the death toll, but also in the overt racism evinced by so many Americans–story after story of desperate black Louisianans being told to move along, often at gun point. There was no dog whistling. And Little Lord Pontchartrain did nothing, even to speak out.

Also there was that Iraq War you might have heard of which led to this:

While I agree Trump is doing this, normalizing the abnormal started well before Trump even considered running. If Trump would be Caesar, then the open advocacy of torture by most Republicans was Sulla (though #NotAllRepublicans and, shamefully, there was the tacit acquiescence of some Democrats).

For once you have decided that the mutilation and violation of other people is openly acceptable state policy, you have hit rock bottom. You can not fall any further. While I’m not naive about what the U.S. has done (especially in ‘outsourcing’ torture), it was never publicly acclaimed as a right and just action. Time was, in popular culture, torturers were viewed as evil, not as heroes ‘doing what needs to be done.’

…There is an entire cohort of conservatives (and, yes, some Democrats as well) who have no business being anywhere near public life due to their support for torture (and we should include on that list, Very Serious Pundits who excused such behavior). Likewise, we need to remember that many people openly embraced–and still do embrace–torture.

In a sense, it’s remarkable that it took the Republican Party this long to nominate someone like Trump: the moral rot had set in long before 2015.

The problem isn’t just Trump, it’s that we’ve had a quarter century decline, if not collapse, in many U.S. institutions and much of our political leadership. As Corey Robin (and others) has noted repeatedly, Trump isn’t getting much done, but at this point, he really doesn’t have to–we’re really far gone.

As Adam Smith wrote, there is a great deal of ruin in a nation, but just how much more ruin does the U.S. have left in it? That’s the danger of Il Trumpe.

Posted in Conservatives, Little Lord Pontchartrain, Resistance Rebellion And Death, Torture | 4 Comments

Links 10/17/17

Links for you. Science:

In a Cave Once Filled With Bats, Nothing But Eerie Silence
A century-old vaccine vial sheds light on one of medicine’s enduring mysteries
Soot-Covered Bird Corpses Cough Up Environmental Secrets
Scientific Publishing – A Conversation
The Best Explanation For The Growing STD Crisis? Politics


Bernie Sanders Isn’t A Democrat… Thank God (as I’ve mentioned before, on economics, he’s just what used to be called a liberal Democrat)
Is Washington bungling the Census? (it’s not “bungling”, it’s intentional Republican sabotage)
Evangelical conservatives are proving their harshest critics right
Former GOP Candidate Arrested For Mailing Pipe Bomb, Bullet To Political Enemies
I own a gun. Here’s why I’m not getting a concealed-carry license.
Scoring glitch means thousands of Tennessee students got wrong TNReady score
Boston’s housing future? Compact living spaces, no parking
NFL Owners and ESPN Bosses Are Showing Which Side They Are On
Gutting the census would sabotage democracy
Here’s Where Your Tax Dollars for ‘Defense’ Are Really Going
A battle we’ve already waged
The Fraternal Order of Police Must Go
Trump’s pick for DHS chief was at center of Katrina disaster
Truth and Lies in the Trump Era
Hackers have turned Politifact’s website into a trap for your PC
A Hero Turned Villain: Aung San Suu Kyi and the Annihilation of Myanmar’s Rohingya
Va. gubernatorial candidates have little to say about transportation
Rightbloggers Cheer as Trump Explodes Obamacare

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Big Buggy

Observed at the H Street Festival, D.C.:

Big buggy

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Puerto Rico And Power

And I’m not referring to electricity. Paul Krugman writes a very good column about Trump’s neglect of our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico:

The situation in Iowa remains horrifying. More than a third of the population has been without clean water for three weeks, and waterborne diseases appear to be spreading. Only a sixth of the population has electricity. The health care system is a shambles, and sheer hunger may be a problem in some remote areas.

Fortunately, the federal government is going all out to aid its citizens in distress. The president is making disaster relief a top priority, while praising the often heroic efforts of Iowa residents to help themselves. And generous aid, he promises, will continue as long as it’s needed.

O.K., I lied. The dire situation I just described is in Puerto Rico, not Iowa (which happens to have just about the same number of U.S. citizens). And my upbeat portrayal of the federal response — which is how things might have played out if this nightmare were, in fact, in Iowa — is the opposite of the truth. What we’re actually witnessing, in effect, is the betrayal and abandonment of three and a half million of our own people.

And Krugman is right that part of this betrayal stems from Il Trumpe’s bigotry–many New Yorkers of a certain age blamed all sorts of problems on ‘Puerto Ricans’ (which was the catch-all term for anyone who spoke Spanish).

But Krugman neglects one key difference between Iowa and Puerto Rico–political power:

If Puerto Rico had two voting senators–who could do something like threaten to shut down the entire Senate until their state receives assistance–they would already be receiving help. Right now, Republicans are desperate to pass a destroy-healthcare bill, so they would just shovel money at them to make them go away.

This ends today’s lesson in the consequences of the absence of democracy.

Bigotry aside (though it shouldn’t be shunted aside), Puerto Rico would be getting a ton of assistance if it had two senators who could crater any legislation in the Senate (there are a variety of procedural moves a single senator can make–not just the filibuster–to bring Senate activity to a grinding halt. Two can be even more difficult).

This is nothing new: from 1998 to 2007, Congress prevented D.C.–which, like Puerto Rico, also has no meaningful Congressional representation–from implementing a needle exchange program, which resulted in over 1,000 preventable HIV cases–back when HIV often was a death sentence. If D.C. had two senators, that wouldn’t have happened either.

Political power can accomplish a lot, even in the face of bigotry. But bigotry in the absence of political power is lethal.

Posted in HIV, Resistance Rebellion And Death, Statehood | Leave a comment

Links 10/16/17

Links for you. Science:

The scientists persuading terrorists to spill their secrets
Patchy promiscuity: machine learning applied to predict the host specificity of Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli
Fraud Scandals Sap China’s Dream of Becoming a Science Superpower
New gene variants reveal the evolution of human skin color
Wolf Puppies Are Adorable. Then Comes the Call of the Wild.


Clintonian Democrats Are Peddling Myths to Cling to Power: Centrists are falsely equating Trump with Nixon, and Sanders with McGovern, because they’re scared of what a leftist party means for them
Weinstein takedown leaves Trump sex assault accusers frustrated at lack of justice for themselves
What Facebook Did to American Democracy: And why it was so hard to see it coming
‘Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law’
Dollar General Hits a Gold Mine in Rural America
Mass hysteria may explain ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba, say top neurologists
Republican Congressman Brought Holocaust Denier To Capitol Meeting
Donald Trump’s Fake Renoir: The Untold Story
The Puzzle Of Reparations In An Extremely Unequal Society
An intern at the Trump campaign data firm, Cambridge Analytica, appears to have left sensitive voter targeting tools online for nearly a year (left online or ‘left online, wink, wink’?)
It’s Not Legal to Get an Abortion Online, But Maybe It Should Be
Building a movement
Becoming a Steelworker Liberated Her. Then Her Job Moved to Mexico. (and why weren’t Democrats getting her to vote?)
The Revenge of the Ruling Class, with Corey Robin
Capitol Hell: Inside Rep. Tim Murphy’s Toxic Congressional Office
Architect Offers Explanation For Pittsburgh’s Basement Toilets (And It’s Not What You Think)
Rohingya Recount Atrocities: ‘They Threw My Baby Into a Fire’

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One Way Sunflower

Observed at the corner of 10th and O Streets NW, Shaw, D.C.:

Street sunflower

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