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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 15,701

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Dear South Korea: You're right.

>Redacted< is, indeed, kind of nuts. Umm... at best. Most of us here would probably say "full-on batshit," or similar less-diplomatic descriptions.

And of course, the wackjob just across the border from you is pretty full-on bugfuck, too.

"Between a rock and a hard place" doesn't even scratch the surface. You must be having some sleepless nights, for sure.

Here's the thing, though: There are a whole lot of us here who remember just exactly why we have this special relationship with y'all. Some of us are old enough to have been to Pork Chop Hill, Choisin Reservoir, Inchon... and some of us have family members who were there.

We get it. We're a team, no matter what. When we signed the Armistice Agreement, we knew what that implied, in the way of obligations all around. We don't forget, we're not bailing on you.

So, yeah, the overgrown maladjusted babies are both, both of our problems.

I can't promise a quick or easy solution. As you've discovered for yourselves in the past few decades, democracy has its challenges and one of them is that it is, by nature, a gameable system. And gamers gonna game it. We have our own messes to clean up here, which is part of how >Redacted< ended up where he is. But for that, I'll refer you to more eloquent political analysts than me.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know... we're not all crazy, >Redacted< doesn't speak for all of us. We are keenly aware of the situation you're in, the existential threat that persists based on our shared history.

We're not going to throw up our hands and let >Redacted< play his round of Russian Roulette with you guys in the middle. We want peace. We want de-escalation. We want saner heads to prevail.

We want a long-term resolution that doesn't leave y'all in the crosshairs between two crazy-ass manboys with nukes.

We're in for that solution and we won't give up. So please, stick with us.

We'll stick with you.


Am I the Only One Who Thinks It's Ominously Significant...

...that the NorKs seem to have taken unprecedented quantum leaps in their nuclear weapons program, all of which have happened since it became clear that >Redacted< couldn't deliver on whatever deal(s) he had with PootyPoot?

And that, apparently, a lot of the tech assistance that's enabled these quantum leaps has come to them via pro-Russian Ukrainian tech sources?

Is anyone else connecting those dots?

Does the word "proxy" make sense to anyone else?

Or should I just go buy a roll of heavy-duty tinfoil and start a millinery business?


Two words for those who're flinging shade at Houston municipal officials: Hurricane Rita

"OMG, did the Houston officials know how bad this was gonna be?"

"Why didn't they evacuate?!?"

"Why haven't they been trying to evacuate since, like, Thursday, even???!?!?"

"Houston ALWAYS floods! They shoulda known! Why didn't they get everybody out?"

ummmm, yeah.

They shoulda told everyone to drive to that Motel 6, twenty-five miles north of town. You know, the one with six million rooms and an unlimited supply of food and water. Right?

For anyone who doesn't remember it, here's a Wikipedia article on Hurricane Rita. Notable takeaway: Of the 120 deaths associated with Rita, more than 100 were directly related to the evacuation. People died in their cars of heatstroke. Heart attacks. A deadly bus fire. They had to use up a lot of valuable resources evacuating people from the evacuation.

There are between six and seven million people in the area affected by catastrophic flooding.

Have you ever been in a traffic jam trying to get home after a concert or sporting event at an arena that holds 30,000 people?

Multiply that by a couple of hundred times, then multiply it again because these aren't concertgoers with purses or backpacks, these are people with families, pets, carloads and trailers full of stuff.

I am old enough to remember when Civil Defense tried to hold evacuation drills- they managed to evacuate just the Portland, OR city center (population of the whole Portland metro area at the time was probably about 350,000) after weeks of preparation and publicity and at enormous cost. Evacuating major metro areas is even more complicated now.

The Houston city government is working with state and federal forces, private relief organizations, military assistance, news media, and help from other major metro areas (NY just sent a few hundred trained disaster responders... how they're gonna get IN, I don't know, but I'm sure they'll do excellent work when they do.)

If you want to blame anyone, blame the climate change deniers in Congress who have steadfastly refused to fund NOAA, NWS, FEMA, and other agencies to model catastrophic weather events and create preparation and response plans and resources on a scale we've never even imagined we would need before.

Oh, and the dickhead who pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accord... what's his name again...?


Pardoning Arpaio Short-Circuits the Mueller Investigation

It's very simple:

Mueller can prosecute people who refuse to testify for contempt. He can prosecute people who tell lies under oath for perjury. He can bring criminal charges related to their collusion or their status as an accessory, he can use those charges as leverage to negotiate testimony.

}Redacted{ just told everyone who might be pulled in to testify or give evidence, every accessory and co-conspirator, "Keep stumm. I'll pardon you."

Will he get away with it?

If the GOP has anything to say about it, he will.


He's right, though- we shouldn't lose our "history"...

So I'm thinking about starting a GoFundMe for the "Museum of Racist Traitor Losers."

We can put all the statues and plaques and flags and other shit commemorating the episode of a small elite of southern oligarchs convincing a whole lot of other southerners to commit treason in the name of racism, and then getting their asses whupped at the cost of more than 600,000 lives.

It IS important to remember history, after all.


So, GOP: Whaddaya Gonna DO About It?

Tip of Massive Iceberg of Coverage of GOP Fainting and Pearl-Clutching

All y'all are burning up the Intertoobs, hand to brow, choking in righteous horror about the tremendous failure of moral leadership, the betrayal of American principles, the terrible, awful, SO-NOT-REPUBLICAN, SO-NOT-WHO-WE-ARE, SO-NOT-WHAT-THE-GOP-STANDS-FOR burble that dribbled out of the ex officio head of YOUR Party's pie hole.

We're all so moved by the sploogefest of heartfelt indignation.

Really, we are.

So now...



Yeah, that's what I thought.


So Where do I Buy My Alt-Left Tee-shirt?

Because DAYUM, I want the WHOLE WORLD to know that even though the Electoral College-appointed Chief Executive of the United States of America is a Nazi sympathizer who thinks treason and rebellion are 'culture' worth honoring...


Please, world, do NOT take his malignant ravings as representative of anything more than a horrificly-deranged and small minority of mentally incompetent, delusional assholes.

The rest of us will do whatever we have to, to keep them from screwing up the world.

We will.

Please help.


I'm glad I'm not an ACLU attorney.

The ACLU are the ones who defend the rights of disgusting vile people to say cowardly, revolting things.

They're pretty busy right now.

There's a great deal of discussion going on, and more to be had, about the degree of protection the First Amendment offers to the white supremacist demonstrators scuttling out of the woodwork in America, and about how conscientious officers of the Court- including law enforcement- can provide that protection and balance it against protection of the greater community from the effects of the hate they are monging and the violence they are inciting.

These are not simple issues in Constitutional law, and they are not simple for the officers of the Court charged with upholding the Constitution.

Among the people who will be having very difficult choices to make are public officials whose jobs include ensuring that all citizens have access to public spaces to assemble and express themselves, and officials of entities that are not necessarily public, but covered by various Federal rules related to ensuring Constitutionally-protected freedoms. A lot of higher education institutions have to walk that line.

There's a whole minefield's worth of questions to be asked about what officers of the Court can and can't do, Constitutionally, to restrict particular aspects of any given demonstration. They're having to consider not just the repulsiveness of the specific views being expressed, and the various displays associated with those views, but how any rule or requirement they might impose would affect others expressing other views. Including counter-demonstrators and those who might in some future time protest vigorously against government actions like the Muslim Ban, the construction of a border wall, the ongoing DAPL protests, and so on.

It looks simple to me: Assholes wearing flak vests and carrying shield and guns and gas masks, etc., are signaling that they want violence. They want to perpetrate it against others or incite it against themselves for their own purposes. Therefore, ban that shit, and say "only allow unarmed and unarmored people to attend protests."

Except that cops have been known to gas peaceful protesters of all kinds. I might want a gas mask myself, for certain expressions of free speech. If I were counter-protesting armed dickheads, I might consider wearing a flak jacket, too.

Any rule that can be used against people whose views I oppose can be used against people whose views I agree with.

And depending on who's administering the rules (remembering that right now we have a Confederate House Elf as Chief Officer of the Court) that can be a powerful problem.

If I were an ACLU attorney, I'd be thinking about all of that.

It is not, by a long chalk, the first time this sort of dilemma has arisen. But it may well be the first time it has arisen when we are walking a knife edge between having wannabe tyrants pushing the boundaries and wannabe tyrants enforcing those boundaries.

So today, I'm sending another donation to the ACLU.

They're going to need all the help they can get.


Dear American Junta

Dear Generals-

I guess there's a cosmic reason you're there, after all. You have ONE JOB.

Just one: Keep the Nuclear Cheeto from getting us all killed.

I think y'all know that, Sirs.

So just a suggestion, a way to make it easier for you. Simple, really:

Replace the actual nuclear launch control (the "football" ) with a similar size-and-shape satchel full of beepy stuff and blinky lights that don't actually do anything, and one of those red buttons you can buy at Staples.

If/when the Nuclear Cheeto pushes that button, nod solemnly, and tell him how Presidential he is, and then escort him to the nearest super-hardened secure bunker, IMMEDIATELY.

Lock him in.

Lose the key.

For about three years, should do.

ONE JOB, gentlemen.

We're all counting on you.


Dear GOP Senator: Do the Political Math

Dear GOP Senators,

Tomorrow, your leadership promises, you will once again have to go on record making a helluva tough choice. Do you:

a) Vote for the latest version of Not Obamacare; or

b) Vote against it (or abstain, which would be the same thing, effectively)?

Let's set aside the policy details and fiscal numbers, for a moment. Whether you believe the CBO analyses or not, whether you're looking at the big ideological picture or not, when you go home tomorrow night, the thing that's going to haunt your last moments of wakefulness and possibly give you nightmares will really be "what is this going to do to me politically?"

In the short term, the arguments on the side of "voting for it" look pretty compelling. After all, you wouldn't have run as a Republican if that didn't imply a certain commitment to working with your Party's legislative leaders on the Party's agenda. You may be willing to assert some independence on occasion, when the stakes aren't quite so intense and public, but Party leadership has made it abundantly clear that this is NOT that time. The free passes have already been handed out. The ghost of Saint Ronnie expects everyone with an "R" after their name to do his duty.

And consider the loose cannon at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, who's well-known for holding grudges and unleashing hordes of flying monkeys on Social Media against those who offend him. Not to mention the hardline superPACs funded by his supporters and others who've espoused a Sacred Mission to mix it up against opponents of Not Obamacare in the next election cycle.

There's also the little matter of your own public promise, implicit or explicit, to lift the heavy yoke of an imperfect and costly system from the shoulders of those burdened by mandates and premium increases and less-than-optimum options. Who wants to make a public liar out of themselves in this fraught political environment?

I'm getting depressed just reading these powerful arguments, because frankly (well, on a site called "Democratic Underground" it's hardly a stretch to intuit, right?) I'd prefer you looked at the other side of the equation for a minute.

So, first- I've lost track, on the game program, but this is either the third or the fourth go-round for y'all with respect to some version of Not Obamacare, in a period of weeks. After seven years of swearing to drive a stake through the loathly creature's shrivelled and ashy heart, and replace it with something that will be a genuine improvement, those optics don't impress. Everyone- including your own constituents, and plenty of Not Obamacare supporters- knows this is a hot mess of a bill, being jammed through just because Reasons, and not very good Reasons. So... irresponsible, at best.

Second... the PROCESS. OMG, could y'all have gone about it in a more obviously sleazy, underhanded, opaque, slip-one-over-on-the-rubes fashion? Apparently all of these fragrant offerings have been cobbled together in back rooms by a small number of Senators and staff, each with a particular part of Not Obamacare they want to consign to oblivion forever, but without a whole lot of reality-based experience in health care policy and economics, and What Happens When Lots of People Need Health Care but Have No Money. And then having put in all their favorite bits, and added a few clauses that essentially say "and everything else that has anything to do with Obamacare is hereby consigned to outer darkness", they called it "a bill."

And now they want you to vote on it. Without discussion. Without hearings. Without a chance to even make it look as though you're acting with mature and responsible deliberation on behalf of the people of your great state. Get on the bus, wherever it's going, you're all going there together.

And that brings me to the final bit of political math: Where it's going.

Here's where you need to pay attention, Senator. Because while you may be invited to Yet Another Rose Garden Victory Lap, those photo ops are soon over, and those "triumphs" of Legislative Will can go sour awfully fast. Suppose you "win" this one? You and the whole GOP? What does that get you?

It should be fairly clear by this time that one thing it will get you is a turn in the barrel, holding a sackful of turds, as the many people in your great state who lose their insurance coverage or see deductibles and/or premiums take off like a rocket, or see their insurance plans exclude coverage for anything that can be labelled a pre-existing condition, get REALLY PISSED OFF.


It will get you more than a little blowback, since you own the papers on this stumbling nag that brings down the whole field, when your great state's governor has to try and cope with the opioid epidemic, lost Medicaid funds, rural hospitals closing, and a whole nightmare of other consequences.

The GOP will own the results of tomorrow's vote. They (and you) can own a short period of embarassment as y'all admit you maybe jumped the gun on trying to keep a promise, and now going forward you'll have to take the time and deal with the sausage machine to try to do it correctly.

Or they (and you) can own a long, long period of being The Party That Screwed People Out of Their Health Care because they wanted to have a Rose Garden Victory Party with an increasingly unpopular administration.

There it is, Senator.

Your choice.

Choose wisely, and may God help us all.

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