Wednesday assorted links


For me number 2 completely captured the sociopathy that is cosmotariansim. We support comically unpopular political positions. Let's use interethnic friction to destroy trust and as and added benefit maybe reduce spending at the margins.

Some of us don't experience friction just by being around other ethnicities. Incredibly sociopathic, I know.

'interethnic friction'

6. I really don't see a problem with the "dark" future that Frum describes in the article referenced by Douthat. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that men describing themselves as "mainstream conservatives" are wringing their hands when their side is finally winning after decades of losing ground to the Left. No American citizen will be physically harmed or abused in the sense that one supposedly sees in historical "authoritarian regimes," but it should be clear that Americans want to put their own country first and believe in themselves again, and they won't tolerate elites who get in the way (who are usually concentrated in the media and academia). Trump is also not the endgame--he's a harbinger of what's to come, and one day Trump will seem mild. The Right isn't going away anytime soon, and perhaps we'll finally have that famed repeal of the French Revolution. It was worth the 228 year wait.

You're thinking just a bit too small, Nationalism, or the existence of Nations (as a direct growth of the state, which grew from feudalism, which grew from City-States) is transient by nature. Nations will pass as well in time. Regional identities will still exist, such as what we now see in the U.S. But the whole Us vs Them will fade, and for the better.

The Whigs are back!

You're confusing the State with the Nation.

Give up. Buckley himself said it was pointless.

America traditionally tried to blur the nation and the state, witness: the melting pot, a new race or men, etc.

Alas, that is currently out of fashion.

"the whole Us vs Them will fade, and for the better." <-- wow! How can you look at the bitterly tribal nature of politics and think that all of that will go away? Republicans and Democrats hate each other. Even if everyone were the same nation, religion, and ethnic group, people will continue to form tribal divisions and alliances and fight.

How can you be so sure? Warring Greek City States fought themselves more than anyone else, same with the Scotts, but now each of those regions are fairly unified with little to no real animosity. They don't consider themselves Spartan or Athenian but Greek. Can you not imagine a time where we are all Earthlings?

In the larger scheme the whole America First seems incredibly juvenile. That our empathy only extends as far as our borders for so many of our citizens is embarrassing.

But Greece and Scotland didn't have Fox News, Breitbart, Drudge, and other fake news full of lies and exhorting them to hate the Out Group all day long, 365 days out of every year-- both in their homes and at every bar, health club, beauty salon, hotel etc. We are totally immersed in that propaganda. There is no exit, at least so far.

I think you forgot MSNBC, Huffington Post, etc.

It doesn't seem juvenile at all. A country has an obligation to its citizens and not to non-citizens. Empathy extends everywhere, but not obligations. Many many people choose to donate to international charities and for good reason

My trip to the UK left me with the strong notion that Scotland has a strong military tradition, and was of course frequently used against England until Union. Then, England had to be careful to employ and celebrate that Scottish tradition, or else risk losing the Union. The relative peace and decline in military has hit Scottish dignity hard, and is yet another reason fragmentation may occur. Not that it is necessarily bad to have no need of soldiers, but it is horrible to have no identity.

I don't know much of the Greeks beyond they held on to a lot of their nationality despite 500 years of Ottoman rule. I do know that local infighting is partially how they were conquered in the first place.

The local level fighting still happens, but it is largely peaceful/democratic, and I think its decline can be attributed to a republican tradition.

"I, against my brothers. I and my brothers against my cousins. I and my brothers and my cousins against the world."

People generally don't up the size of the unit unless forced to by an external threat. So over time competitive pressure between groups pushes bands to coalesce into clans, clans into tribes, and tribes into increasingly large and complex forms of organization. Even now we don't just have the nation-state, we have intercontinental and transcontinental security blocs.

So I'm not optimistic that Us vs Them will go away until the aliens invade or perhaps one state becomes a tolerable global hegemon.

There's a huge difference between empathizing with others and giving full membership to everyone unconditionally. A university can be sympathetic with others but doesn't give degrees to anyone that wants them. They don't even grant admission to anyone. They reserve full rights of selection and discrimination for any reason and refuse to even publicize the reasons for denying others membership.


Never underestimate the power of denial.

Populism is a very vague term, but to the "elite" it means the unintelligent urges of the unsophisticated rabble. In the worldview of NYT readers and Ross Douthiat, the natural order is that the elite tells the lower orders what is correct and leads them in the paths of righteous politics.

They may call themselves the elite, but they aren't. They think their pedigrees and taste qualify them to lead, but they are just one other faction, one that broadly espouses left-wing values. Like the terms "progressive" and "Bolshevik", elite is just a marketing pitch designed to win the battle before a shot is fired.
Adam Smith described these people in 1759:
"The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it."

The left wingers believe that society is like a bus and they want to be the driver. They are opposed by those who want to retain their own freedoms and plot their own direction in life, what they can do with the money they have earned and who they choose to work for, associate with and believe in.

The Republican establishment is similar in their disdain for the rank and file, and attempted to maintain the status quo, in their party and in DC. The Republican voters gave them the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014, in the vain hope that they could stop Obama and the Democrats. The voters lost patience with the GOPe and turned Trump. Now the left is throwing a tantrum, and the GOPe, is still lukewarm to actively hostile to Trump. This is a battle which was inevitable, and we might as well have it out now.

Very idealized picture of the world there. "They (liberals) are opposed by those who want to retain their own freedoms and plot their own direction in life, what they can do with the money they have earned and who they choose to work for, associate with and believe in."

Unless they are gay or a minority or atheist or not part of the .01%-- like the crony capitalists who Trump picked for his cabinet and who are eager to gorge themselves at the public trough.

Trump's populism is as fake as the day is long. He is out for himself entirely. The White House phone comment line has been closed down. Some populist, LOL. He seems to be giving establishment Republicans 95% of what they want, and part of what they want is a Reverse Robin Hood policy of robbing from the poor and middle class and giving to the rich.

I guess he is throwing a bone to his base by blocking a lot of immigrants in a chaotic crazy poorly planned way. But it's only a small bone. He is still for slashing the taxes of the .01% and taking away Obama Care and other parts of the social safety net that the poor and the middle class need. And he'll probably be starting both military wars and trade wars, neither of which will give populists anything they want.

Trump has done more for low-skilled Americans than every President before him for the last 40 years. The exploitation of foreign poverty to crush working class Americans finally comes to end. The Cheap Labor Lobby can keep crying and moaning, but they will be forced to hire Americans once again.

Trump can't be Hitler and impose a fascist state because Reagan and two Bushes already did it.

President Trump's mass movement is both political and cultural. Ergo the hyperbole of fear and loathing from the lunatic left and, calmer but more dangerous, from both the establishment GOP and the establishment Democrats (really no difference between the two).

After eight years of Obama fundamentally wiping his ass with working-class Americans and corrupt, incompetent HRH Hillary (she thought the election was a formality before her coronation) calling us deplorable and irredeemable, we don't give a dam that they (all of the above) are offended by our president.

"Fundamentally" ... "wiping his ass", coarse but witty.

Also, I am just old enough to recall that you are spot on about Reagan and the Bushes. We were told time and again by the far left that they were Hitler redux.

And that Obama is a socialist muslim from Kenya and that the Clintons are responsible for dozens of murders. The guy most associated with the former is now president.

Trump is mostly an establishment Republican catering to crony capitalist welfare queens and screwing over the middle class and the poor.

And HRC was corrupt and incompetent only if you believe fake news. DJT is the one who is corrupt and incompetent , in the eyes of people who are not blinded by the lies of Fox, Drudge, Breitbart etc.

Maybe you can help. Give me evidence that Hillary ever accomplished anything, worthwhile or otherwise. I've been breathlessly waiting since early 2016.

This boggles the mind. How is it possible to screw/steal from the poor (by definition have no money)? I know, the thieves can steal their big-screen TV's.

By preventing the poor from having what they are intitled to have.

Zero sum thinking is a poor method to believe in ourselves again.

David Frum has lost his mind. Frum says the new generation of "storm troopers" won't march in military uniforms on the street, but instead will use Twitter from smartphones. Come on, everyone is using Twitter on smartphones. That is so crazy to say.

And his assertions of Russians hacking the election may be completely true but there has been no direct evidence shared with the public. That is basically an unfounded conspiracy theory.

Trump doesn't nominated a supreme court justice that is known for his view of restricted executive power. If Trump had some master scheme to turn the US into a fascist monarchy, that is the opposite of what he would do. The Democrats are in full resist and obstruct mode and Trump is supposed to fight them hard on that. Even many prominent NeverTrump conservatives think his moves are mostly right.

The GOP has been in in full resist and obstruct mode for decades now. Turnabout is fair enough.



Republicans could obstruct because they controlled the House during Obama's administration. Now GOP controls House, Senate, and White House. Democrats cant do anything, especially since they already did away with filibuster.

The traditional Left has been losing ground since the 1970s as well. Union membership has been steadily declining, Communism is dead and socialist economies in Europe were forced to open up considerably in the last few decades. Left wing parties are in steep decline almost everywhere, and are percieved as representing corporate interests and/or minority interests on behalf of "elites" not the common working man.

"Identity politics", where the "left" is supposedly winning, is not always in the service of the left. Fracturing nation states also works to the benefit of globalists who want corporations and powerful private individuals to operate with fewer constraints. Trumpism probably could co-opt large segments of the left, the way right wing populists in Europe have gained working class leftist votes, if Trumpism was more coherent and less all about Trump. As it is, Trump looks more and more like an incompetent clown who could easily set back the cause of populism in the US by decades.

David Frum as well every other neocon are nothing more than controlled opposition.

6. "the US has a special obligation to Iraq and Syria". So Tyler is pro-nationalism when it involves hair shirts, guilt wallowing and assuming the white man's burden, but opposed to it when it involves efforts to stop disadvantaging a nations own working class. Interesting.

Its quite conceivable to have obligations to multiple groups. We should " stop disadvantaging a nations own working class", but that's a straw man not relevant here.

" We should ” stop disadvantaging a nations own working class”, but that’s a straw man not relevant here."

That's not a straw man argument. Cheap foreign goods directly affect the manufacturing and service sectors which absolutely affect the working class. You can argue that the gain is worth the pain (most of the economic analysis shows a small, net gain) but it's wrong to attempt to classify the point as a straw man fallacy.

Yes, I agree with you. They've been disadvantaged enough, we should stop disadvantagin them. Lets offer additional training, universal healthcare, heck even a basic income sounds good. But I don't see how that's related to "the US has a special obligation to Iraq and Syria”, thus the straw man comment.

Additional training does nothing. There is no magical panacea that can turn blue-collar workers into white-collar workers. Otherwise, they wouldnt be blue-collar workers in the first place.

A small, net gain from cheap foreign goods? I really wish some people around here could take a time machine back 50 years and see how materially poor the people actually were. Now if you mean that all this 'stuff' hasn't improved our quality of life, then maybe you have something to argue about.

"A small, net gain from cheap foreign goods? "

I'm really specifically addressing the trade deals of the last 25 years. And the gains have been small from the studies I've read.

"Most estimates conclude that the deal had a modest but positive impact on U.S. GDP of less than 0.5 percent, or a total addition of up to $80 billion dollars to the U.S. economy upon full implementation, or several billion dollars of added growth per year."

If the US has a special obligation to Iraq and Syria because of US blundering actions then should not the first US move be to stop being in these countries and pull our troops out.

And in fact pull all US troops back to the US to stop any further blundering

" “the US has a special obligation to Iraq and Syria”"

No we don't.

We did nothing to Syria. A civil war broke out and continues. Not our fault or business.

We gave Iraq the chance to have a normal country and they choose to be tribal and murderous. Their choice, their problem.

The chance to have a normal country after smashing their state apparatus, banning Baathists from administrative offices and disbanding the military. If the same had happened here we would've broken into multiple countries.

"the United States has a particular moral obligation to help people in Iraq and Syria given our own blundering actions in the region."

Did we blunder in Syria? The Syrian civil war was not the fault of the US or the West. And Iraq would clearly have had war either way. Saddam Hussein was not a peaceful leader.

Saudi Arabia is very directly involved with the civil war in Syria and refuses to accept Syrian refugees.

FYI, this is discrimination based on nation.

6. I mostly agree, too, but this key bit seems to have been proven wrong by events already:

That makes it hard for populists to course correct, because they get stuck in a “the worse the better” loop, reassuring themselves that they’re making progress when actually they’re cratering.

But the Trump administration did some course-correcting on the immigration ban almost immediately -- as if they expected to do so from the outset (which is consistent with the 'Trump starts negotiations with an extreme opening offer' thesis).

They had to do some course correcting almost immediately. The EO was a stupid sound byte command, that made no sense and was impossible for immigration officials to carry out.

More importantly, to push forth on the original EO with all the force of the state is really a show of cruelty masked with a bit bureaucratic incompetence. It's hard to believe that they were not aware that pushing the EO with such vim and vigor would result in massive upheaval (albeit temporary) and unnecessary cruelty on a few. They did it anyway, just to prove they can and just to put it out there "not to f**k with us". The bigoted base loved it.

Exactly. It's only "incompetent" if it doesn't do frequent corrections. That's especially necessary when the changes are yuge. Getting there from here could be done slowly and carefully with comment periods, study groups, independent reports, stake-holder buy-in, etc. etc, ad nauseam - but 4 years wouldn't have been enough for that, probably not even 8. I didn't vote for him, I don't like much of his platform, and I certainly don't agree that America isn't now Great - which seems to have been foundational to his claims. OTOH, you can't make an omlet without breaking some eggs. This (visas) is exactly an area which allows us the luxury of corrective feedback - compared to, say, tossing out the Clean Air act, or closing the FDA or CDC.

6. To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.

Yes, it does, unless it is media in front of one's nose . We keep getting distracted by media spin, which surrounds us at all times.

#1: I'm so tired of hearing about Hitler. He is one of the least interesting figures in history. Militant fascism did not last long and was easily replaced by America's corporate fascism. Yet, everyone obsesses over Hitler.

>was easily replaced

Yeah, 55 million dead. No big deal, really.

So what do you have going on for Spring Break this year?

Meh. Cheap emotionalism does not work on me. World War I was far worse and you idiots are not calling everyone you don't like "kaiser."

The only thing Hitlersteria signals is stupidity.

WW1 worse? The fallout was worse, perhaps, and tragic in that there were no majorly bad actors and fairly rational ones... I don't know, I see WW1 as tragic, but not worse. WW2 seemed like it contained far more dehumanization. I'm curious why you say so.

If the death of tens of millions is cheap emotionalism to you, I'd hate to see the expensive kind.

Counterpoint: Hitler is not one of the least interesting figures in history.

Yeah, Hitler is boring. You know who's interesting? Chester A. Arthur! John Major! Pope Innocent III !

I do not think that Badness is particularly interesting, except as a guide to Goodness. (Our media would have us believe Heaven boring and Hell exciting, but try to recall how excited you were to talk to your racist, drunk, crooked, and unfaithful uncle, versus playing with your children)

Hitler is interesting, then, that he is a North Star of a guide of Badness in an age where relativism is ok. If I can't criticize Islam's treatment of slaves or women, how can you criticize Hitler?

The number of people who say you can't criticize the treatment of women and slaves in some Islamic places is really tiny and mostly powerless cranks. So feel free to do so.

You can criticize it, but you also have to be in favor of bringing in 1 million Nazi Party members each year, otherwise you are racist.

If you are in favor of building a wall and deporting illegal immigrants you may certainly be tarred as a racist. Which is ridiculous.

For that matter, how many people have called Trump a racist for a temporary ban on travel from 7 countries. The US is loosing the capacity for rational debate.

Is it greater or less than the number of people who said Obama wasn't born in the US, or was a socialist Muslim out to destroy America? You may be right about rational debate.

JWatts, I do not think we as a nation ever had the capacity for rational debate, but we have entered into a never-ending display of unfathomable rage. THAT is certainly unique.

It's not the building of the wall that is racist. It's the notion that Mexicans are pouring over the border when for the last eight years we've had a net out-migration of Mexicans.

Why is it racist to be incorrect about the level of net migration?

I'm no fan of Trump's immigration stance, but people need to think of additional words to describe things they don't like.

People in favor of building a wall are not racists, they are simply silly people who need ridiculous extravagant symbols to fill the emptiness of their own lives. I put Trump's wall in the same category as municipally subsidized football stadiums and hosting the Olympic games. Opportunities for graft at the taxpayers expense, but make people feel better about themselves for some reason.

msgkings: The number of people is small, yes, powerless no. Some of this, to be fair, is under the banner of hate speech vs. free speech, but that's a debate we skipped entirely. I don't like bypassing debates on free speech.

Hitler had neither charm nor an intellect. In this respect, he was much like Stalin though with a little more charisma as a public speaker. Of course both had political street fighting cunning. Moreover, Hitler's judgement was appalling, with two things standing out: the decision to run the military himself and (I guess following from this) the decision to fight on two major fronts.

An idiot who overreached, thankfully.

He did have a flair for vulgar art though.

Reports differ on Hitler's charm. Many women who met him in person claim that he was able to turn on the Viennese graciousness and good manners when needed, enough to impress non-Austrians at any rate. At least for short encounters. Quite a few people also found him rather boorish, especially in large doses.

Dude, if everything is fascism, then nothing is. Can you show some temperance in your vocab? Or is fascism merely a synonym for "bad thing I don't like".

Now that normalization has shattered, and This Is Not Normal prevails, I am much more relaxed.

But still, a "not normal" for the day:

That up there on the scoreboard is the new normal.

I am actually optimistic this morning. The text and subtext on this page is that the fever is broken.

Bad things can still happen, but a worse case scenario gets lower probability. An immune reaction has been established.

There is a scoreboard?

(Un)fortunately, anon, the people the public are increasingly calling Not Normal might not be the ones you think. Dressing up as vaginas and then complaining about being objectified, then talking about blowing up the White House- I don't suspect that most Americans look at that and think that's healthy and worthy of emulation. Hysteria rarely is admired.

That's like complaining that not everyone at Earth Day is sensible. Well, of course not.

I guess I'll see if any keynote speakers at the next Earth Day rally talk about political violence being dreamy, and update my priors accordingly.

"1. Highway to Hitler (pdf)."

So, we can expect Trump's infrastructure plan to be a rousing success then, eh?

"Turnpike to Trump"

Some DeploraBalls are held for charity, and some for fancy dress.

I tried to think of something that included Ivanka holding balls but failed. Anyone?

Considering that Hitler's efforts led to what German call 'Stunde Null,' one hopes that Trump is less successful than Hitler in having an entire nation's infrastructure effectively destroyed.

( 'Stunde Null (German: [ˈʃtʊndə ˈnʊl], "Hour Zero") is a term used by Germany referring to May 8, 1945 at midnight (in English the term is mostly used to refer to the end of World War Two[1]). This was a term that was used to mark both an ending of World War Two and the start of a ‘new’, non-Nazi Germany.[2] It was in part trying to separate the current Germany from the guilt of the former Nazi racial state.[2] The term itself is meant to imply “an absolute break with the past and a radical new beginning”,[1] or a “sweeping away of old traditions and customs”.[1] People at the time were living in an almost completely devastated Germany (roughly eighty percent of the infrastructure was in need of repair or reconstruction)....' )

Except the US has the strongest military on the planet, so your entire point is invalid.

Also, we need to consider FDR as Hitler, through this lens. Lots of infrastructure, lots of success at the ballot box, lots of executive power gained. And he even stuck American citizens in internment camps based on their race.

#6. Current leaders, institutions, and ideology really are out of touch with certain mainstream common sense. A correction is due. Some existing leaders and institutions should be replaced by new ones.

John McWhorter a black liberal university professor, who is sincerely devoted to the cause of helping black America, has stressed the current model of racial identity politics and civil rights rhetoric from the Democratic party has long been ridiculous to white conservatives, but the current form is ridiculous to even regular every day, non-political black people. He said this in his book, "Losing the Race", and I can dig up the quote with some effort.

Reading through the comments section of the New York Times or WaPo, I am convinced that on certain issues, particularly identity politics and immigration, the articles are often grossly out of touch with their normal readership. Normally, news institutions adjust their bias to suit their readership/viewership, but the dominant NYT and WaPo have resisted that compromise. The market should correct for that. If NYT and WaPo insist on an ideology that is considered fringe by the broad mainstream, their reputation and position should be adjusted accordingly.

The transgender movement has some reasonable points on the surface about making transgender people feel comfortable, but the reality of that movement is deliberately unreasonable. This kind of deliberately offensive movement is a sign that an ideological correction is due.

Or most controversial to this site, open border mass immigration is quite extreme and bizarre to regular people. Especially the idea that nations of Europe have absolutely zero right to preserve their cultural identities. Normal people never even thought that France, Germany, England, and Italy had some deep moral obligations to radically suppress their identities and undergo explosive demographic change and associated ethnic/cultural/linguistic change. And more strangely that this logic is very exclusively applied to just the nations of Europe, US, Canada, and Australia.

Lastly, David Frum is normally very articulate and intelligent. But his arguments are beyond the pale absurd. I've considered whether Trump may pose such a great danger that Frum has lost his mind, but no, I don't see supporting evidence for that. Frum has just gone hysterical.

I kinda thought the same thing re: Frum's article. To pick two clearly faulty assumptions:

1. that the bureaucracy will just roll over for the Trump administration in all sorts of ways rather than fighting back via things like selective leaks, foot-dragging, keeping important info from moving up the chain of command to political appointees, etc.

2. that the Trump administration would/could recruit an online army of Twitter trolls whose actions would make the real world difference he describes. Maybe this is a tad hypocritical, given that I post my comments more or less anonymously, but still...if having mean stuff said about you on Twitter and Facebook is going to have a chilling effect on your work as a journalist, perhaps you chose the wrong profession. If you're talking about doxing people, in the sense of harassing journalists in real life, I suppose that's a real worry, but it doesn't seem to actually be happening yet. My sense of it is that people on the right may hold journalists in contempt--think they lie, distort, spin, and carry water for left--but that doesn't translate into wanting to physically harm anyone. Maybe that could change, but I sorta doubt it. And even if it did, there's always The Economist's model of no bylined articles. They can't harass you if they don't know who you are.

"Current leaders, institutions, and ideology really are out of touch with certain mainstream common sense. A correction is due. Some existing leaders and institutions should be replaced by new ones."

In certain areas that may be true. In other areas common sense is only common bias.

I doubt Trump is going to be any kind of populist correction. He is out for more power, glory, and money for himself and doesn't care about the people. White House comment line has been shut down. He thinks he is king.

"White House comment line has been shut down. He thinks he is king."

That's a classic case of partisan ideology. The White House comment line was something set up by the Obama administration. Not a long standing legacy. It's about as significant as Obama moving the Churchill bust out of the Oval Office.

I don't even think its true. There were problems the first week.

Who cares if true. We won't be able to make comments that will be totally ignored!

"White House comment line has been shut down. He thinks he is king."

Ending a dial-in voice mail comment line is the least significant event of the year. There are dozens of similar avenues to leave comments that will probably never be read or listened to by a human.

>Current leaders, institutions, and ideology really are out of touch with certain mainstream common sense

I don't see much evidence of that. It is tribal. You seem to have a distorted picture of what the left ideology is and maybe what is mainstream. For example, no one who matters has proposed "open border mass immigration" for the US. There is no "radical suppression of identity" and no "explosive demographic changes". They do sound scary and out of the mainstream because they are hyperbolic fantasies.

I read both the WSJ and NYT. They are both mainstream and not actually much different.

"For example, no one who matters has proposed 'open border mass immigration' for the US."

You are really understimating this.

Obviously, Alex Tabarrok of this site and fellow GMU econ blogger Bryan Caplan are absolutely fanatical about open borders and fully explosive 1+ billion immigration levels to the US. This is a niche site, but that idea is gaining ground.

Hillary Clinton gave a speech, "My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders,". When this speach leaked, she tried to play this off that she was simply referring to trade. But realistically, she just knows the phrase "open borders" is too explosive to use with the mainstream US public. But she absolutely is familiar with the phrase, well versed on the subject, and thought that is what the Brazilian bank that she was speaking to wanted to hear.

Barack Obama has also said that immigration is always a win-win proposition and there is no downside. And has pushed for larger legal levels of immigration and fought deportation and advanced political rhetoric like "discrimination on documentation status", which implies that it's immoral to treat citizens or legal immigrants differently than illegal immigrants who force their way in. Once you accept that, then it's a simple logical corollary that any immigration restrictions or borders of any kind are immoral.

No where did Sergey Brin or Sundar Pichai suggest or hint that any form of immigration restrictions whatsoever were ok.

Also note in Sergey Brin's speech, "’s important to frame this debate as not being liberal versus Republican and so forth. It’s a debate about fundamental values and thoughtful policymaking..."

In other words, it is important to frame this debate so only one side is morally acceptable and the other side can be reasonably censored and suppressed.

Sergey Brin is not going to phrase his arguments in extreme form even if that is the honest approach. Even in this thread, people are openly advocating for an end to the concept of nation states and distinct nations. I actually agree with some of the arguments and I empathize with those that want to migrate to improve their lives. But the sheer magnitude of such a global change, the irreversibility of it, and the dishonesty and manipulation of the advocacy, convince me that the right approach is to, in the famous words of Buckley, "stand athwart history, yelling Stop!".

"I read both the WSJ and NYT. They are both mainstream and not actually much different."

They aren't different and that's my point. NYT has always been considered left. WSJ used to be right, but in reality is very similar to the NYT and would never have affiliated with anyone of the alt right or of the Breitbart mindset.

They both emphatically support increased immigration and emphatically oppose punishing illegal immigrants, discriminating against illegal immigrants, building a border wall, or imposing any kind of pause/limit/barrier on immigration. WSJ usually doesn't endorse presidents but they loudly endorsed Obama in 2008 and while the organization officially didn't endorse either in 2016, most of their editorial team endorsed Hillary in 2016.

one plus BILLION!

Hasn't Frum been legitimized since his big push for the Iraq war and his "axis of evil" nonsense? Why do some so-called experts keep being asked opinions when they've been disastrously wrong, without ever apologizing for being so wrong or doing a post-mortem on their silly analysis.

Punditry means never having to say you're sorry.

Fun fact, Frum supposedly wrote "axis of hatred" and Bush changed it to "evil".

So he is famous for writing 2/3 of a famous phrase. The least important part. A legend!

1. People are willing to give the State generally, and the Executive specifically, more power when it seems to be doing a good job at accomplishing desired ends. Not surprising. Just like people are willing to give and justify the Executive having more power when he is on their team.

The old lesson is: don't assume Angels govern men. Do not give the Executive power that you wouldn't be comfortable placing in the hands of your worst ideological enemy.

6: Trump breaking institutions is bad. This is a boring comment, but sick of nonstop altright 'anti elite' comments dominating the entire comment feed of MR.

Slavery is an institution. Absolute monarchism is an institution. A military junta is an institution. The Church is an institution. A school is an institution, and so is a republic. What institution is he breaking, and why is it bad? There wouldn't be such an anti elite mood if the elites had better ideas, or rather better explained ideas,

I thought it was pretty clear Natasha was referring to our current set of institutions, which do not include slavery, absolute monarchy, military juntas, etc. Trump can't break what we don't have.

What we do have is a set of liberal, democratic, free market institutions which have made us the greatest country in the world. Presumably the elite had something to do with building those.

Trump, Bannon, and their crew of alt right clowns seem inclined to burn it all down if they can make a few foreigners unhappy in the process. YMMV, but I don't like that tradeoff.

+1, they also of course want to make coastal liberals and minorities unhappy.

But once again I ask, what institution is he breaking? The democratic process? I would have grudgingly given that to you based on his If I Lose It Was Rigged comments, but then we have the progressives, not Trump, going Not My President and wanting to subvert the election.

The only institution I can think of that he may be breaking is that of the Media, and just as the Catholic Church needed reining in 20 years ago, I don't see it at all obvious that the Media doesn't deserve a rebuke.

Don't mumble platitudes and run away from them when questioned. That is how the elites have opened themselves up to such scorn.

He would clearly like to "prove" his 5 million illegal vote thing, and fake-proving that would dynamite the foundation of our democracy.

Trump seems intent on breaking at least the following institutions:

2) The EU
3) The civil service
4) The melting pot, broadly construed
5) Voting rights
6) Human rights more broadly, especially with regard to torture, libel and asylum

He's chipping away at the standards of ethics -- not releasing his tax returns, playing a shell game with his companies, charging high room rates to this campaign and the RNC etc.

Original D: Chipping away at the standards of ethics? Trololo? He's being accused of holding up to his campaign promises, something we haven't had happen in probably 20+ years. I'm not saying he's a paragon of excellence (he's a narcissistic, impulsive, short-fingered vulgarian), but for a politician he's actually doing what he said he would. The financial stuff is also true, and truer still of the Clintons and Bushes.

Borjigid: I'll have what you're smoking, please. I'll give you 2), the EU, not that it needs Trump's help to break. Recalibrating who's going to sacrifice blood and treasure for Eastern Europe is not breaking NATO, it's saving it. Trump is not playing identity politics, which is exactly how you destroy the melting pot - that's Hillary playing that game. 5 and 6: Do you have any evidence for any of the things you're saying? I'd give you Torture, but Mattis (his pick) is staunchly anti-torture.

I strongly get the impression from some people on this board, that if I were to point out that their house was on fire (and it was), I'd be accused of trying to burn down their house, when the exact opposite is true. NATO is on fire. EU is on fire. The South China Sea is on fire. Ethnic relations in America are on fire. I'm really not that huge a Trump supporter, only by comparison am I a supporter at all. I think the NDAP should be remained closed, I don't like Trump's environmental record. and I'd like more budget austerity, and I don't think we should have tariffs on Mexico, but sometimes, you don't get what you want.

Anti-elite sentiment is less common on MR than at many local bars or anywhere else you might encounter a lot of commoners.

A form of the anti-Trump sentiment - expressed as a hatred of big business and/or crony capitalism - is itself populist and anti-elite.

True. Yet Trump's supporters think that this crony capitalist billionaire is some kind of populist hero, LOL.

That's true. I despise most progressive elitists who impose their version of utopia as the benchmark. I still defer back to Hobbes though that stability is basically the first order condition of any functioning politic.

Yes, prolonged instability is probably fatal for a functioning state.

But if the elite hold seems strong enough, sometimes the only thing the non-elite can do to try to effect change is threaten to smash the machines, burn the bakeries, etc. They (mostly) don't want to. They (mostly) aren't so stupid that they think that the destruction will help them. But they need to credibly threaten the elites that "Hey, look, I am so angry and feel like I am getting shafted so badly, I will make us ALL worse off if we don't change things in my preferred direction. I bet you have more to lose."

That isn't irrational. And sometimes doing it isn't either, as proof that the threat is credible.

What's most notable is the Right isn't resorting to violence. They instead went through the legitimate Democratic process and are following the rules.

And you get comment such as: "6: Trump breaking institutions is bad."

Apparently following the normal rules and procedures is "breaking institutions".

Don't forget the Bundies, and the elected Republicans who overtly supported insurrection.

Gratuitous Edit: I don't despise them. I don't hate people in politics. I despise their model of the world, but respect them as people.

" stability is basically the first order condition of any functioning politic."

So ideally we'd be living under a Roman emperor today.

We're not anti-elite. We are out of power elites who wanted to find a way to stop current elites from abusing us. Now it looks like we can remove them and take their place. Yay!

"This is a boring comment, but sick of nonstop altright ‘anti elite’ comments dominating the entire comment feed of MR."

So, the feed at MR is too much outside of your bubble for comfort. That's pretty insular.

I never said anything about comfort. I've spent enough time reading neoreactionary and white nationalist blogs that I could never be accused of living in a bubble. I'm just sick of every fucking thing TC posts being bombarded with "Tyler so out of touch, finally sticking it to the elites," a set that clearly isn't representative of the set of people that actually read MR.


P.S. I'm an elitist. I embrace it. Most voters are idiots (in their capacity as voters). Thank goodness for checks and balances, federalism, and the bill of rights.

Maybe it'll end when the "Trump brings back fascism!" narrative dominating the news ends? Mainstream Republican commentators acquiesce to far too much lawlessness. The mere existence of sanctuary cities, Democrats peddling movie gun bans, the fact that 4 justices think the commerce clause justifies mandated insurance, these are all THOUSANDS of times worse than ANYTHING Trump has done.

I'm just a regular boring Republican voter who prefers boring Republican Presidents like Jeb. But this whiny-ness about Trump is absolutely ridiculous compared the utter freakin' nonsense that exists on the Left. Folks like Frum should stop undercutting the guy who is actively fighting that insanity, and in the most power to actually DO something about it. Trump winning the Presidency and appointing another Conservative to the court is already about 10,000 times more than Frum will contribute in his entire life.

The Trump crowd isn't simply anti-elite, they opposed a particular class of elites and their mindset and wanted a classic country vs court revolt, some creative destruction of the old guard, a clean house, and a new elite to be installed. So far, they are getting what they wanted.

6. I don't believe Cowen has linked to David Brooks's assessment of Mr. Trump in yesterday's column. It's a doozy.

1b was interesting. As Scott points out, many Jews were placed in horrible situations; I find it very easy to excuse Jewish leadership that unwittingly abetted the Holocaust.

What I find strange is how Poles don't get s a similar pass. WWII was devastating to Poland.

I also like Scott's upbeat conclusion along the lines of "It can't happen here." 1930s Weimar Germany was extremely fragile and volatile by comparison. Our system is robust.

I now invite the sandwich-board crowd from the left and right to tell me I'm wrong.

You're wrong. If Trump's first week in office didn't show you how robust our system is not, wait a few months. Time will tell.

Scott Alexander is an interesting blogger. He is also very skilled at denial of reality. His comment board is obviously a Right Wing Safe Space Echo Chamber Bubble. But he threatens to ban anyone who notes this obvious reality. Almost no Left of Center people are willing to comment there, due to various kinds of unfair treatment and abuse they receive.

So, while I still read his interesting post and value many aspects of them, I would never count on him being a person who can face reality rather than denying it. In fact, I expect the opposite of that from him-- rose colored glasses.

Jill, there are plenty of smart leftish types over there. The fact that you found little succor from them is... worth pondering.

Brian, most Left of Center people are doormats, and yes, there are a tiny number of doormat Left of Center people who still do comment there. And of course they didn't like my refusal to be a guilt ridden doormat.

But even those few Left of Center folks, and also most Right of Center folks there, admit that very few Left of Center people comment there, compared to the Left of Center readership. They have long discussions about how they can get Left of Center people to have the "confidence" to post. They don't need confidence to post there. It more likely takes masochism, or else numbness. Numerous Left of Center people who used to post and then stopped, have said this.

If you go to that board, and staunchly defend it here, then perhaps you are among the people who love to have a Right Wing Safe Space Echo Chamber Bubble, while denying that it is happening. It just seems normal to you, I am sure.

If this were a courtroom, I think my next line would be: "The defense (or prosecution, can't recall which I am here) rests."

It's funny to see that comment here of all places because every time MR links to SSC there are an influx of the most odious chan type right wing comments.



-1, incorrect


This is the basic problem with everything about "Trump is Hitler!" or "Trump is an Authoritarian!"

Not only do I think it is stupid on its own terms, but it also just doesn't matter.

Hitler wasn't just some super magical guy who you could transport anywhere in the world, at any time, and expect him to create a Reich, launch a World War, and conduct a genocide. Everything was context-specific. There was no republican tradition like that in the US. All of the institutions in the Weimar Republic that might have countered Hitler were far less robust.

If our system is well-constructed, we should be able to elect Hitler President and not have anything all that bad happen. We should muddle along well enough with each branch of government remaining intact, balancing the Executive, and still getting a few things done.

If the source of the fear is that our system isn't well-constructed, well, let's figure out where we are going wrong and make needed changes. Otherwise, won't we always be in danger, whoever is President? Don't rely on the goodness and goodwill of those holding power as a significant check on their behavior.

"If the source of the fear is that our system isn’t well-constructed"

Yes, it is, for most people, I think.

"well, let’s figure out where we are going wrong and make needed changes."

Yes, I agree. We should.

The biggest lesson of Trump for the left-leaning is that the greedy algorithm of "what seems the best for the country at the moment" is a terrible algorithm for governance and political institution building. Because even if you think your guy is good and will use the new and great power you gave him for good, you never know what's going to come in the future.

+1, The Harry Reid Nuclear Option

It is the danger of constantly telling themselves that demographic changes, or the terribleness of Bush, or the terribleness of Trump, assure them of decades of uninterrupted power. Once you start to believe that, it can sound like a great idea to expand Executive power: well, my guy is going to hold it, and we are good people, so what's the problem? They go blind to the reality that sometimes their guy won't hold it (and of course, that their guy may not actually be so great).

"It can't happen here" is one of those phrases like "those things only happen to other people." It actively increases the probability of the bad thing you fear happening, by encouraging you not to worry about preventing it.

It absolutely *can* happen here, whether "it" is a police state, a coup, a civil war, or some similar society-wide disaster. If you don't want those things to happen, then you need to think about how to prevent them, and so do lots of other people.

I understand your point about complacency, but I'm just a rando on the Internet. How far do you think my complacent comment above pushed the needle in the direction of increasing the likelihood of a fascist takeover?

Was that the problem with the Weimar Republic? That everyone breezily and mistakenly assumed the system was robust? I don't think so. It was the first tentative German step toward democratic government, barely a decade old, and despised across the political spectrum in 1933.

Fringe people on the left and right see parallels in the 21st century USA as careening toward 'failed state' status. These people are nuts right now. Bonkers.

So yeah, you've got a hold of a kernel of truth there, but, by your logic, the tiger repellent I spray on every day is the only reason I haven't been mauled yet.

"... the tiger repellent I spray on every day is the only reason I haven’t been mauled yet."

Homer Simpson nods in acceptance.

You have to understand that Brian is heavily invested in "there was never a problem."

So for him, if we squeek through after millions take to the streets in protest, that just proves there never was a problem.

And what outcome are you heavily invested in?

Is there a possible state of the world that you won't claim proves you right?

Since you ask, I have worried about this scenario for some time. It was "there is just one Trump." This was the anti-Adams analysis. No pivot. No hidden calculating mind. An incompetent.

Some are angry with me for being right. That's kind of funny, but this being the internet, what the hell.

I did not expect flash protests in the first weeks, but they are good as an antidote. I heard a bit on NPR from a woman who was a Trump voter, and happy with the Muslim ban, but here is the thing. She said "I know this is an unpopular position, but" to preface that.

That is huge. Trump fans, those that remain, know they have an unpopular position.

Speaking of past questions, I asked, back when people were still scolding me, what happens when Trump realizes he is no longer winning. Can you see that as a good question now?

Name one person who is angry with you for 'being right'

Alright, so no state of the world then, right?

And the idea that people thought supporting Trump was a popular position at any point, particularly expressing it to the media, is just crazy. One of the big narratives from the pro-Trump types throughout the campaign was that Trump support was understated because people feared the social reprecussions of expressing support.

Can't let it go, huh?

That was to msgkings. To TV, obviously if Trump had pivoted to a smooth executive I would be hung out to dry. If he would have triangulated his base, Congressional Tea Partiers, and Ryan, I would have been wrong.

I can name 100 better paths for Trump and the Republicans that did not happen because Trump is Trump.

Trump is, so far, self limiting.

Do you guys see some neat way out of the Obamacare box?

Or again is Trump trapped by Trump, demanding fast action when there is no clear course?

Can't answer the question, anon? Name one person who's angry with you for 'being right'. Take your time, I'll wait.

msgkings, don't you think your being a dick, again, refusing to talk about Trump again, is all the illustration I need?

Thank you for your lack of self-control.

OK so we agree that no one is angry with you for 'being right'. What I've been trying to get through to you is that many of us, including myself, actually agree with much of what you think about Trump. Where your narcissism gets in the way is in two ways: 1) You think that you and only you figured out these things about Trump, when in fact many of us felt that way about him without any help from you, and 2) Like many narcissists you seem to have trouble understanding the emotions of others, so you ascribe anger where none exists. No one is angry with you about anything, anon. Some of us agree with you, so no anger there. Others disagree with you, so no anger as they just think you are mistaken.

If you would just stop with the 'me me me' and have some interesting takes about Trump we could move past this and have a nice discussion.

I'm with you. Trump is a simple man, there's no hidden competence, he's doing pretty much what you'd expect him to do. Those of us who completely misread the election didn't do so because we misread Trump, it's because we misread the electorate. We didn't think it possible for a guy like that to win. But so he did. As you say there's no pivot, what you see is what you get. I don't like what I see but we have to live with it. The country will survive and guess what? Some of the stuff he's going to do will actually be good things.

@Anon which is funny, because the move enjoys majority (not just plurality) support. She just thinks it's unpopular because of the way the response to it has been reported.

Read again. TV asked about me. I said "since you ask" and answered.

Not allowed on the internets when markings is on guard?

You are one weird dude.

I'm referring, of course, to your "some are angry" comment. You know that, because you are intelligent. You are, however, a narcissist, which prevents you from just saying what you want to say without first crowing about your 'rightness' and also prevents you from admitting that you don't inspire strong emotions in us.

It's a free country, you can post whatever you want. It amuses me to try to get you to admit as much, but I won't mind if you never do.

Thank you for being on topic, Careless. I had not seen those polls, but looked now. What can I say. From my perspective not good. I hope is is because the bad/sad stories take time to spread.

The problem with a Muslim ban always was that we have not just friends but allies against ISIS who are Muslim. We could never have a Muslim ban withou a rift with the Muslim world.

If this policy proves to be popular, does "destroy ISIS" get discarded? Or do you bomb ISIS in Iraq even if Iraq, now estranged, takes it as an act of war?

Msgkings, it should be obvious to anyone who reads this blog that you like to talk about me more than I like to talk about me.

Two lines, and you just can't let go. Wierdo.

If you say so....

Oops, did it again! :-)

"squeek (sic) through". lol. You peeking out from under the covers after the recent tumult?

And "heavily invested"? Look, I call 'em the way I see 'em. At least I give you the respect of assuming you're just calling 'em the way you see 'em too, but you are implying ulterior motives on my part for interpreting the status quo as stable. Get a grip.

anon's world is certainly one of high drama- like Walter Mitty's.

Actually, upon reflection, I think the key words from msgkings were predictive.

I don’t like what I see but we have to live with it. The country will survive and guess what? Some of the stuff he’s going to do will actually be good things.

And despite his constant need to make this about me, it is "we are so screwed" that he doesn't like. So, ad hominem.

In terms of concrete analysis of the world, I certainly didn't expect a fracas with Australia.

If you are making honest analysis, maybe admit this is a sign that Things Are Not Normal, and that in genuine crisis we face higher risk than we have had in a century of Presidents.

And as Albatross says above, action is required.

In what world do Poles not get a pass? I know there is an odd subset of Poles who are convinced there are devious liberals and Jews running around the world who blame Poland for the Holocaust, but I have never met anyone holding those ideas. Maybe they live in Israel. Or maybe they are Czechs still angry about Poland grabbing Tesin in 1938. Pretty much anyone who knows anything about WWII knows the Poles were brutally occupied and treated as subhumans by Germans and Soviets alike. The fact that some documented cases of Polish anti-Semitism do get discussed does not justify the Polish martyr complex.

Perhaps I misinterpreted Scott's judgment of Poland in his discussion of resistance/collaboration with Nazis by other European countries:

"Other interesting profiles include Greece (hopelessly depressing), Slovakia (very Catholic, in favor of killing Jews but got in a bunch of fights with the Nazis about ethnic Jews who had been baptized into Catholicism), Hungary (ruled by an admiral despite being landlocked; otherwise hopelessly depressing), Belgium (deliberately left the trains unlocked so the Jews could escape!), Holland (kind of like France; the local Gentiles tried to help, but the assimilated Jews sold out the refugee Jews in the hope of placating the Nazis; the Nazis were not placated; three-quarters of Jews died), and Poland (I don’t even want to talk about how hopelessly depressing this one is)."

Somehow no Greeks came out of the woodwork to bemoan their "hopelessly depressing" but several different Poles jumped on that rather ambiguous statement. I think Peter puts his finger on a true phenomenon.

I didn't comment on the Scott article because there were 200+ comments, but his open question about "why did some nations see resistance to genocide and others eagerly helped it along?" esp. when there are not large cultural differences to account for... I recall reading that many more died in nations where the state systems *failed*-- when ppl look around and the rule of law is no longer enforced, they panic and start killing. Whether or not this is the case if you look at Belgium/Denmark vs. Poland/Romania I wouldn't know but it sounds about right.

Makes sense. Lawlessness and violence can be quite contagious.

It would be interesting for some European historian, who really knows, or can find, a lot of info on this subject, to research what, if anything, seemed to be different in the cultures and histories and cultural histories, of nations that resisted Hitler vs. those that passively acquiesced to Hitler.

Good point about Snyder's theory that where state institutions survived = Jews were much more likely to survive.

You also have to take into account the fact that Nazis treated Slavs (as opposed to Western Europeans) as one of the lowest forms of sub-humans, so the costs of resistance, or even the opportunity to resist, were of a totally different kind.

Having read a lot about the German occupations of Western v. Eastern Europe, the contrasts are shocking - in Western Europe there was a minimal amount of "due process", a shadow of some basic sense of decency (at least by Nazi standards), some reflection on the part of the perpetrators, lower levels of brutality, as already mentioned, some respect for local state institutions etc.. Eastern Europe, well that was just hell on earth (do note that even there, there were individual, even group acts of insubordination/decency among the Germans, and the German fetish for law and order sometimes led to "benevolent" outcomes [again, at least by Nazi standards - in this case the extremely low standards of Nazi-occupied Eastern European]).

It is important to remember that these things did not just come out of nowhere/the 1930s/Versailles - the belief that Eastern Europeans, and Poles in particular, were inferior has an old pedigree, going back to at least XVIII century Prussia.

As with antisemitism, the foundation was already there - Hitler was just the bold innovator who added the monstrous superstructure.

That's what makes the current rhetoric in both the US and the UK so disturbing - it may not be facism in and of itself, but Trump and the Brexiteers may be laying a very solid foundation for something much more loathsome than what they themselves represent.

#6...Trump is already addicted to Executives Orders. His plan is to govern by issuing executive orders about all facets of government and see what transpires. Soon, he will begin issuing Executive Orders to other countries.

"His plan is to govern by issuing executive orders about all facets of government and see what transpires"

That was essentially the Obama legacy.

I can't figure out why people think that Obama gave out a lot of executive orders when he gave out less than
any two term President since Grant.

I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with 'bartisanship'

"I can’t figure out why people think that Obama gave out a lot of executive orders when he gave out less than any two term President since Grant."

Because Obama wrote a very high number of Executive Memorandum and they are effectively the same.

"Obama issues 'executive orders by another name

By issuing his directives as "memoranda" rather than executive orders, Obama has downplayed the extent of his executive actions.
President Obama has issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum more often than any other president in history — using it to take unilateral action even as he has signed fewer executive orders.

When these two forms of directives are taken together, Obama is on track to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman battled the "Do Nothing Congress" almost seven decades ago, according to a USA TODAY review of presidential documents.

Ah, so seems like "he gave out less than any two term President since Grant" is one of those intentionally misleading statements perpetuated by partisan supporters until they are accepted as Truth. Much like "Obama deported more people than any previous President."

It was probably initially created as a talking point in response to "Has Obama taken a lot of executive action?"

JWatts, are you kidding me? It's the apples and oranges problem. Trump isn't just proclaiming National Bullshitter's Day or telling federal employees to wear clean underwear.

Obama had to issue executive orders because under his watch the Democratic Party basically collapsed. Obama had basically no power base the last 6 years of his Presidency and had to issue Executive Memoranda to look he was doing something. Trump has both the Senate and Congress, and will soon have the Supreme Court. A normal GOP President would bide his time and create a solid legislative agenda. Trump has decided to go off half-cocked, create conflicts with his own party and discredit half of his own program by the slip-shod way it is being implemented. What is the point? Just to fool voters into thinking a revolution is taking place?

".JWatts, are you kidding me?"

No, I'm pointing out the facts. And it's interesting how the narrative jumped from:

"Trump is already addicted to Executives Orders" -->"Obama ... gave out less than any two term President since Grant." --> "Obama had to issue executive orders "

Thanks for the explanation.

Might well be a talking point, but if so, I can't say that I knew about it. Before today, I'd never even heard of presidential memoranda.
All I did was to go to the wikipedia list of executive order counts by President and work my way backwards in time until I found a number smaller than the one cited for Obama. (Looks like I might have made a mistake in that scan, because I do now see some talking points involving Grover Cleveland.)

One thing I learned today is that executive memoranda don't have to be published which does confuse the picture. (Obama definitely published the most memoranda. Presumably, he also issued the most.)

Obama gave a modest quantity executive orders, and that point is made regularly. It wasn't the quantity of orders but the fact that they were particularly contentious and designed to purposefully circumvent congress.

Trump gave some EO to reverse previous Obama EOs. That's not contentious.

Trump issued one EO to dismantle parts of ACA (Obamacare). This isn't really contentious, since Congress will still do the full repeal and replace and set all the official details. The EO is just a temporary stop gap until then.

I made a prediction that time will deal with based upon watching Trump. I don't feel any particular need to defend President Obama, but a dubious comparison was made which is still obvious to me. I was for James Webb this last election. Had the GOP nominated someone I respect, like Orrin Hatch or Susan Collins, I would have gladly violated Republican. Instead, we've elected someone I have no respect for. And yet, for the good of country, I hope he does a good job. So far, so awful. But, in fairness, it's still early.I will gladly join a party Ronald Reagan could have been a member of. This GOP isn't it.

It's certainly true that whether or not they are contentious is actually what counts. (eg. Who cares about an executive memoranda that delegates authority.) Huh?

As of 1/30/09, Obama had issued 8 Executive Orders.

As of 1/30/17, Trump had issued 7 Executive Orders.

And the basis for your original comment is .... ?

Obama became President at the beginning of the worst financial crisis in 80 years. Are you kidding me?

How many of those Orders were related to that financial crisis?

Seriously, you provided a link that you can follow to actually look at the Orders, and their "Title/Description."

You're comparing apples and oranges.But it's a fair point that we should wait and see.

" Huh?"

Obama relied on a huge amount of Executive Memoranda.

That article compares Obama to Truman vs. the Do Nothing Congress. An apt comparison.

"That article compares Obama to Truman vs. the Do Nothing Congress. An apt comparison."

I think it's fair.

Just as long as we can both agree that the talking point: "Obama gave out less than any two term President since Grant." is partisan rhetoric and cherry picking rather than a legitimate point in Obama's favor.

FWIW, the USA Today article seems to be at least partially based upon a study available online at:

Voted republican...thank you spelling correct...

A sign things are going well...

"Thus Trump, not even two weeks into his presidency, has already faced unusual pushback from the intelligence community, the Justice Department, the State Department and other regions of the bureaucracy"

I'd be annoyed if he weren't pissing these people off.

Oh no, faceless, unelected bureaucrats hate Trump! Whatever will we do?

There are bureaucrats with NO FACES?!?! What the hell?

Probably continue living in a hillbilly paradise.

1. Germans are simultaneously very civilized and barbaric. I think that's why most people accept the excuses. I don't.

You could say the same about the English. At least Russians are just barbaric. Makes life easier.

#6: "... what we’ve watched unfold with refugee policy suggests that chaos and incompetence are much more likely to define this administration than any kind of ruthless strength."

This. There's no self-control in Trump's government. The guys get a bit too excited in front of cameras and microphones. Trump talked about a tax border for Mexico. A few minutes later Sean Spicer had to clarify it was just an "idea" not a policy proposal. Theresa May talked about a special relationship with the US and a few hours later the US embassy on the UK contradicted Ms. May on the application on the "Muslim ban" to people with UK passport. The US ambassador to the EU compared the EU to the USSR on TV, he's expecting the EU disintegration. Peter Navarro claimed yesterday Germany is pushing down the Euro value. Steve Bannon is the stereotypical drunk uncle with zero self-awareness.

As a government these guys should pick their fights very carefully. However, in a few weeks they'll be so busy with the fights they picked up that they won't have resources to do anything else. From offensive to defensive in a very short time.

#6 Seems like Trump's method here is fraud. You have a 'Muslim ban' that isn't a Muslim ban (it excludes Saudi Arabia!). It isn't a terrorism ban (hey Pakistan, you're not on the list!). It's a huge dick move (ohhh sorry guy with the green card, you have to be stuck at the airport, yea we handcuffed a 5 year old kid!) that gets at lot of attention and a lot of focus. In a few months Trump will announce an 'extreme vetting solution' which is basically the policies Obama had in place before and declare he 'fixed' the problem.

Look for this with 'unemployment. No doubt Trump will suddenly decide the official unemployment number isn't rigged after all and hurray he achieved 4.9% unemployment from the previous 40%.

And the dumdums will fall for it, and the smarter Trump supporters here will think that's just swell having a guy like that as prez.

Indeed, truly unique to Trump.

Hey guys, remember, Obama deported more people than any previous President.

Oh there's no question Trump is exactly the same kind of liar as previous presidents. Identical. He's really just the same kind of person as previous presidents.

He might be worse at it.

If people failed to criticize Obama's fraud on immigration enforcement (or, as I still see people do, continue to repeat it) but criticize Trump for fraudulent manipulation of his accomplishments on this (or another issue), I think it is fair to point out the hypocrisy.

I am not excusing it, by Presidents of either Party. But nothing is accomplished in terms of holding Presidents to a higher standard and enforcing honesty so long as people ignore or excuse behavior in their guy that they wail and gnash their teeth about in the other.

This post seems to suggest that the described behavior would make him sui generis in some way, when I think it puts him safely in the fraudulent company of many of his recent predecessors.

So we disagree. I think he's pretty sui generis.

It seems we do. I think his specialness is primarily in being worse at lying and fraud than most people who succeed in politics.

Like you say above that the dumdums will fall for Trump's fraudulent switcheroo on the issue, and the smart supporters will say they are happy to have a guy like that on their team.

How is that different than the results of what Obama did on immigration enforcement? Primarily, the difference is that Obama was more clever about it and got a lot of the smart people to repeat his fraud as fact on his behalf. So it likely had a lot of impact in manipulating people to feel like something was being done on immigration and to de-prioritize the issue, including even people who might have been more fervent in their desire to vote against him.

Clever fraudsters are more effective and more dangerous.

'It seems we do. I think his specialness is primarily in being worse at lying and fraud than most people who succeed in politics.'

No, Trump is a better liar than any liar that has ever lived. You obviously are not yet fully on board. He lies about his massive success, massive voter fraud, and look at where he is - President of the U.S.

Unlike those other losers, who obviously don't know how to lie as well as Trump, whose talents in this area dwarf those of normal politicians.

No disparaging (much less betrayal) of the proclaimer of our National Day of Patriotic Devotion will be tolerated. Remember, Trump is never worse than anyone at anything. Just ask him.

Hey Turkey Vulture,

But Bannon, Sailer and other anti-immigration voices keep telling me the Obama deportation numbers are completely fraudulent. Those were just Mexicans turned back at the border, whereas Trump is really going to go round people up from their jobs, schools and houses in places like Illinois and South Carolina, and bus them back to Juarez. Apparently both the right and the left see a very clear difference between Obama and Trump. Only Libertarians seem blind to what is crashingly obvious to everyone else.

The claim I've read is that the Obama administration changed the rules for what was counted as deportation in a way that increased the number of deportations recorded without necessarily changing the actions of ICE. I don't know of any link to good numbers on what (if any) net change there really was in deportations under Obama, using the older counting rules. Anyone know?

1 b)
Worth re-reading.
"I thank G-d for the annoying obstructionists, for the nitpickers, for the devil’s advocates, for the people who hear something that’s obviously true and strain to come up with an absurd thought experiment where it might not be, for the reflexive contrarians, for the people who always vote third party, for the people who urge you to sign petitions on because “then the President has to respond”, for the people who have two hundred guns in their basement “just in case”, for the people who say “well, actually…” all the time, for the mayors of sanctuary cities and the clerks who refuse to perform gay weddings, for the people who think being banned on Twitter is a violation of their human rights, and for the people who swear eternal hostility to other people on the same side who agree with them on 99% of everything. On the spectrum from “totally ungovernable” to “vulnerable to Nazism”, I think that we’ve erred in the right direction."

1a : The Same Exact Argument could be made for nationalized healthcare.

3. A cashless society would be more repressive than anything Trump can do yet the commentariat ignores it in favor of Trumpaphobia.

Trump's whole schtick is triggering outrage that sucks all the oxygen out of the room, so nobody can have a sensible discussion about anything. (This plays extremely well with the outrage-driven business model of a bunch of online media companies.) This is one more example.

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