POSSIBLY WIRED FOR LACK OF SOUND: Who in the world wants to talk to Them?


Part 5—Also, Trump eats cheeseburgers:
Should the editors of the New York Times have published those fifteen letters?

Not necessarily, no. We refer to the fifteen letters from Trump supporters the editors published last Thursday morning. You can read those letters here.

In hard copy, the fifteen letters filled the entire editorial page. Why would the editors publish such dreck? In Thursday's hard-copy Times, they explained their motive thusly:
The Times editorial board has been sharply critical of the Trump presidency, on grounds of policy and personal conduct. Not all readers have been persuaded. In the spirit of open debate, and in hopes of helping readers who agree with us better understand the views of those who don’t, we wanted to let Mr. Trump’s supporters make their best case for him as the first year of his presidency approaches its close. Tomorrow we'll present some letters from readers who voted for Mr. Trump but are now disillusioned, and from those reacting to these letters and our decision to provide Trump voters this platform.
The editors had published the letters "in the spirit of open debate." Also, the editors hoped the fifteen letters would help the newspaper's brighter readers "better understand the views of" people who still support Trump.

That was the project the Times undertook. How did the project work out? Perhaps not especially well!

The next day, the editors published seven rebuttal letters from our own liberal tribe. In truth, we've seen brighter forums. The fifteen letters from Trump supporters had claimed a wide array of policy accomplishments for Trump. The next day, the second letter of rebuttal zeroed in on something different.

It turned to the cheeseburger problem:
To the Editor:

How depressing. These Trump supporters have had a year to assess a man who has spent his presidency—when he isn’t reclining in bed watching cable TV while wolfing down cheeseburgers and tweeting mean nicknames—lying, bullying and obstructing to cover up possible crimes against our democracy. Despite this, they’ve yet to wise up.

B— J—
Many of the fifteen letters had criticized Trump for his tweeting. None had mentioned his love of cheeseburgers. But because of an editorial judgment, that's where this letter from our tribe went.

Should the editors of the Times have chosen to publish that letter?

Should the editors have published that letter? It seems to us that an explanation was due. It may well be that the New York Times got many rebuttal letters like that. That said, the editors probably should have explained how they selected these seven letters, the bulk of which portrayed our tribe in a less than flattering light.

In truth, the fiery fellow from Kalamazoo had nothing specific to offer, public discussion-wise. Beyond that, the seven letters of rebuttal were, on the whole, marked by an insulting tone.

For ourselves, we'd have to say the letters were also marked by a fairly obvious dumbness. The letter about the cheeseburgers was the second rebuttal the editors published. The third letter started like this:
To the Editor:

Perhaps The Times should devote an entire editorial page to flat earthers.
For dialogue and understanding, of course. That is how ridiculous it is to waste vital newspaper space, in these perilous times, to people who aid and abet a president, and his congressional lackeys, who are destroying all that is noble and just about America.

Trump supporters are not open to dialogue. They feel aggrieved. They refuse to see the litany of lies, ongoing corruption and totalitarian predispositions of the person they voted for and continue to laud.


L— R—
This letter was built on an insult. Wonderfully, the writer complained that Trump supporters aren't "open to dialogue." Right before that, he himself had aggressively scalded the Times for trying to establish a forum!

The Portland letter seemed to say that it was pointless to talk to Trump supporters. The fifth rebuttal, from liberal hub Austin, stated the point more directly:
To the Editor:

Why do you keep asking questions of Trump voters? Who cares what they think?
The Trump administration has been a complete failure and the world knows it, yet you insist on talking to people who, no matter what, think that President Trump is the messiah!

Start talking to people who have their heads in reality, who understand the problems of the world, who understand the harm an inept administration can do.

This writer was offended by the Times' insistence on speaking to people like these. "Who cares what [subhumans] think?" the fiery progressive asked.

The seventh letter put a capper on this general theme, though perhaps a bit whimsically. Please don't publish Trump voters agaun, this thoughtful writer begged:
To the Editor:

Dear New York Times,

Please don’t ever do that again.

Dear New York Times, this woman said. Please don't ever ask us to listen to Those People again!

As we read these letters, we thought of the late Gene Brabender. Way back when, the big righthander became the poster boy for the eternal, prehuman desire to undertake no public discussions—to avoid the annoyance of ever hearing the views of The Others at all.

"Where I come from, we just talk for a little while," the big right-hander memorably said in a widely-praised book. "After that we start to hit."

We just talk for a little while. After that, we start to brawl! So it went in most of the letters from our own liberal tribe in Day 2 of the Times forum.

Essence of Brabender was on display in the letters the Times chose to publish. This raised a basic question:

Why did the editors publish those letters? We think they should have explained. That said, anyone who reads comment threads at liberal sites knows that those letters' dismissive attitude is widespread within our liberal tribe. Nor should anyone be surprised to see Times editors failing badly in their purported attempt to create a meaningful forum.

Should the editors have published those seven letters? Absent some sort of explanation, we'd say the answer is no. On the whole, the letters brought plenty of heat to the forum, with no attempt at providing light in any particular area.

They came from the realm of personal insult. Consider the first rebuttal the Times chose to publish, the longest of the seven by far.

This first letter of rebuttal came from "a former newspaper editor." Did the letters from our tribe feature the spirit of insult and name-calling? This is the way this lengthiest letter began:
To the Editor:

As one who does think of President Trump’s supporters as among the “deplorables”—people who are racist and xenophobic,
people who fear the world, people who blame others for all their challenges and woes, people who hate the very idea of government as a force for good—I was fascinated to read the letters from Trump voters.
That was the way this first letter began. This opening struck us as strange.

In fairness, this former newspaper editor didn't compare the Trump supporters to a bunch of flat earthers. That said, he went straight to the famous insult which helped define the Trump-Clinton campaign and, perhaps, helped engineer Clinton's defeat.

As the former editor started his musings, he said he does think of Trump supporters as "deplorables"—as racists and xenophobes. This was the very first comment the Times chose to publish. This probably isn't the greatest way to structure a meaningful forum.

The former editor said he does think of Those People as racists! He went on to suggest that the fifteen letter writers are "more educated" than most Trump voters—and he authored a classic bit of time-honored TribalThink.

The former newspaper editor thanked the Times for giving him "a better understanding now of what these writers see happening under Mr. Trump." He then went on to tell us "what it is they’re really so happy about."

What are They really happy about? Without attempting to argue any particular case, the former editor went on to characterize The Others' views in the most unflattering way possible.

He didn't try to argue his case. Speaking with the voice of authority, he simply proceeded to say what's really happening out there. This is the way we less-than-humans have always behaved at such junctures, for the past ten trillion years.

Who could possibly care what They think? That was the essence of the seven rebuttals the editors published. None of the writers of these letters actually tried to argue a point. Instead, the letters wallowed in insult and asked the world's oldest question:

Who cares what The Other Tribe thinks? Why should we speak to Them?

The answer to that question is fairly obvious. Given the way our system operates, people who care about election outcomes should care what their neighbors think.

That said, the wiring of our flailing species was put in place long ago. No elections existed then. Our prehuman wiring evolved when we were huddled in small, frightened tribes, and it's still within a tribe that we self-impressed liberals dwell.

The editors tried to create a forum. Just as it ever was, just as it tends to be at the Times, the editors, on their way to the Hamptons, displayed little skill at this work.

Also, Donald J. Trump eats cheeseburgers! What kind of dope supports him?


  1. These are obviously not "rebuttal" letters, Somerby's characterization. They are cries of outrage and protest letters.

    Not only does Trump like cheeseburgers, the ones prepared by the White House chef are not to his taste so he sends messengers out to get burgers from the local fast food places. High maintenance. It would be nice if he devoted the same attention to detail to his actual work.

    Over at Axios, a headline reads "Hillary Clinton chose not to fire former campaign adviser accused of sexual harassment" When you read the article it states that the guy was docked pay and told to attend counseling, then he went to work for a Super PAC supporting Clinton. How is that not being fired from the campaign? The PACs and the campaign are not permitted to coordinate their efforts. He didn't continue with the campaign. Why is that not being fired?

    Obviously the goal is to make Hillary look like a hypocrite, but I don't see that in the stated facts of this incident. She did intervene, but perhaps placed too much faith in counseling.

    Why is Hillary still being attacked this way? She isn't running for anything any more. Or is this supposed to make all women seem hypocritical because someone as admired as Clinton is supposedly a hypocrite?

    I don't care whether Trump supporters like him. I care that our press is still trying to assassinate female candidates because sexism is apparently alive and well in the press. Trump is a lost cause and so are his brain-damaged followers.

    Here is the useful analysis. Take those 15 letters supporting Trump and count the lies expressed in them. That will tell you what those letters are worth. It will tell you why our electoral process is in trouble. It will tell you where we need to put our efforts. Maybe boycotting Limbaugh and Hannity again. I am going to start with Axios because those guys should know better.

    1. Burns Strider was Clinton's spiritual advisor and Director of her Faith and Values Outreach operation for the senator's 2008 campaign for president. He lost his position because the 2008 Clinton for President campaign was disbanded all together by the late summer of that year.

      In 2016 Strider was given a prominent position in David Brock's despicable Correct the Record operation. After listening for months to Clinton cultists claiming Bernie Sanders was promising ponies it's laugh out loud funny to hear one of them try and sell the notion Clinton would not have green lighted Strider for his role at Correct the Record because PACs and campaigns/candidates "are not permitted to coordinate their efforts."

      As an intrepid Resister 12:19 PM, you'll embarrass yourself less if you get back to your movement's work of rehabilitating George W. Bush and welcoming Bill Kristol into your fold.

    2. Stay classy, CMike.

    3. He/she/it can't.

    4. Let's see, CMike.

      Just yesterday the Republican National Committee finance chair, Steve Wynn, was exposed as a serial sexual predator. The deranged NY Times didn't see fit to splash the news all over their front page. I understand they are still debating how to twist this into being Secretary Clinton's fault. They're very creative, so I am sure it is only a matter of time.

      We also have the fact that president pussygrabber had to pay off a porn star through a fictitious LLC set up a month before the election.

      But yeah, go ahead and take a cheap shot at the woman. That's what gets your juices flowin' baby. Cause we all know what a strident staunch feminist you are.

    5. I'll look at the bright side mm, you're finally taking a break from your neo-McCarthyite red baiting.

      My guess, though, this is because you're one of the few out of your legion of War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength ditto heads who is finding yourself thrown off your game by your most recent marching orders from Resistance headquarters:

      [QUOTE] The CNN poll conducted by SSRS found 61 percent of Americans polled view Bush favorably and just 33 percent view him unfavorably....

      Most of his boost comes from Democrats and independents. A majority of Democrats — 54 percent — now view Bush favorably, while 11 percent did in early 2009, the poll found.

      I'll just wait a couple of years until they tell you you've always been at war with #MeToo.

    6. Why is anyone talking about Bush?

    7. "Why is anyone talking about Bush?"

      In the words of all Conservatives/ Republicans, "Who?"

    8. JEB! must find that encouraging, eh CMike?

      neo-McCarthyite red baiting.

      Who the fuck are the reds? Putin and his gang of oligarchs? bwahaha!!!!

    9. Oh, so all of your use of the title "Comrade" and such in defense of Corporate (/Capitalist) Democrats are just failed witticisms, mm? Yeah, go with that.

    10. Why, have you read this one?

      The 'mm' bot is not operated by the DNC. None of them are.

  2. "In the spirit of open debate"

    When they say something like this, you just know that truckload of bullshit is coming.


    "Please don't ever ask us to listen to Those People again!"

    Bob, dear, you need to understand:
    - millions of people had their heads explode Wednesday morning, 11/09/2016,
    - they turned into zombies, brainless walking dead,
    - the moans and groans you hear (including here, on the highly reputable pages of your excellent blog) are the sounds they make. There's no point analyzing these sounds. It can be entertaining, but it really doesn't mean anything.

    1. Yes, mark that as the date we lost our democracy and entered the totalitarian Trump regime. These are early days, but that's where this is going.

    2. First close the border to immigrants and discourage tourism. Then require "real IDs" and similar documents from the entire populace, including those in domestic travel. Then clamp down on exit by US citizens, first those naturalized, then native born. Then ask to see papers on the streets, from everyone, because no telling who may be "illegal." Baby steps. Thank God daddy Trump is protecting us from those scary brown people, even if it means losing our ability to visit Paris or Cancun. A small price to pay.

    3. Ha-ha, very nice. Thanks for proving my point, 1:24 PM.

    4. Ha-ha, first depersonalize people by calling them Zombies (or Jews), then you can do all sorts of horrible things to them.

      Used to be you could go to Mexico on a driver's license. Now it takes a passport. Next year, they are demanding a "real ID" which means a trip back to Big Brother to get the right piece of paper. A democratic government wouldn't treat a Zombie that poorly. How many of us will just not bother and spend our vacation in Vegas instead? But Real ID for your Vegas trip is just around the corner. Watch out, all you Zombies. Our government wants to treat us all like criminals instead of citizens. Because Trump cannot tell the difference.

    5. What are you talking about, fella? Standardizing driver licenses - which, incidentally, has nothing whatsoever to do with Trump - is your favorite evil government conspiracy, is that it?

    6. That reminded me of something I read the other day.

      Travel to the U.S. has been declining since Donald Trump took office, leading to a cost of $4.6 billion in spending and 40,000 jobs, according to NBC News.

      A report by the National Travel and Tourism Office found that last year saw 4 percent less travel into the U.S., translating into 3.3 percent less spending, NBC reported. As a result, Spain has overtaken the U.S. as the second-most visited country in the world after France.

      This “Trump Slump” in part stems from the president’s anti-immigration language. More intense security and a weaker dollar likely also played a role.

      One likely key factor in this decline is the year’s chaotic travel bans.


    7. Lol. Also his tweets, in combination with Putin's facebook posts, caused hurricanes and freezing weather all over. How many more must die?!!

    8. Fewer international students are enrolling in us colleges, something that has nothing to do with hurricanes.

    9. According to Slate:

      "[L]ast year saw 4 percent less travel into the U.S.... a weaker dollar likely... played a role."


      I'm hoping you can set me straight. Why would a weaker dollar discourage travel by tourists to the United States?

    10. A weaker dollar should draw more foreigners, because their currency buys more.
      It would also help reduce our trade deficit for the same reason.

    11. Right, so it should encourage not discourage tourism, so how can that be the explanation.

    12. CMike, yes you're right. It doesn't make sense. So good of you to go nitpicking. Of course you realize that wasn't the real gist of the article which mainly attributed the drop to the "trump slump".

      I figured as long as the trump cult members were attributing all positive economic indicators to the orange abomination, we should be fair and look at the negatives as well.

      By the way, those Carrier jobs still went to Mexico and those Carrier are supremely pissed at being lied to. Too late suckers.

      This Forbes article seems to say the opposite of what was stated in the Slate article:

      “Our latest detailed findings confirm what our data has been predicting since the first travel ban. There has been a 'Trump Slump,' and the strong dollar has compounded it,” said ForwardKeys co-founder and CEO, Olivier Jager, in an email. “This must be worrying for the US economy – travel is a huge earner for the United States, and relative to the rest of the world, its tourism exports are losing ground.”

    13. Forbes cites this quote:

      There has been a 'Trump [inbound to the United States travel] Slump,' and the strong dollar has compounded it,” said ForwardKeys co-founder and CEO, Olivier Jager, in an email.

      Huh? During 2017 the U.S. Dollar fell against the Euro, the British Pound, the Japanese Yen, the Canadian Dollar, the Australian Dollar, and the Mexican Peso.

      For a quick look, set the graph here to the 5Y[ear] parameter LINK.

      To compare the USD to other specific currencies keep entering a selected currency and then setting the graph to the 1Y[ear] parameter LINK.

  3. AnonymousJanuary 26, 2018 at 12:19 PM has done something like what Julie Tebo did in her Trump "rebuttal" letter. Anon says s/he could rebut the pro-Trump letters. In fact, s/he says they're full of lies. But, Anon doesn't identify any of the alleged lies or does s/he prove that the alleged lies are indeed lies.

    1. Here are some of the lies:

      1. Trump has defeated ISIS.
      2. The economy is "up" (whatever that means).
      3. Trump pushed through tax reform.
      4. International agreements disrupted by Trump were "bad." (whatever that means)
      5. Trump has prioritized Americans over immigrants -- targeting immigrants does nothing to help Americans.
      6. Agencies "reined in" were "out of control."
      7. Regulations were "wasteful."
      8. Policies are stimulating the private sector.
      9. De Vos cares more about educating children than [attacking] teacher's unions.
      10. Obama emboldened foreign adversaries and middle east militants.
      11. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capitol.
      12. The NY Times is biased against Trump because it reports negative stories about him.
      13. Maybe he is too truthful.
      14. Volatility and chaos is a good thing for our country.
      15. Unemployment is at a record low for African Americans.
      16. It is better to be feared than loved.
      17. Police are being slaughtered because of protests against police violence.
      18. Welcoming immigrants is detrimental to our nation.
      19. Trump is opposed to needless foreign wars.
      20. Most people think the tax bill will "lift all boats."
      21. Hillary Clinton was not worthy of being president.
      22. Obamacare is mortally wounded.
      23. The Democratic party is obstructionist but Trump's combative attitude is good (refreshing).
      24. Trump is authentic.

      There are factual analyses to address nearly all of these statements taken from the letters in the NY Times (many appear multiple times). Begin with the fact check websites. Kevin Drum has been documenting economic trends, which have been continuing from Obama, with a slight downward trend. Only the stock market is up and that doesn't particularly track the health of the corporations traded. Jobs created are substantially down. There are numerous analyses of the impact of the new tax law, showing that the average person is not going to do well, especially over the longer term. Obamacare is not dead. I omitted comments about the welfare state because Trump has done nothing whatsoever to affect that. He has done a lot of sabre rattling. I don't see any benefits, but the letter writers clearly like the noise it makes.

      These are all the lies told to Trump supporters by Fox & Friends and their similar media. Most are demonstrably false. Some are absolute howlers, such as that Hillary was unqualified or that Trump is authentic.

      But why should I do the work of tracking down the factual rebuttals to any of these lies when they appear daily all over the media? There is some burden on the individual to education himself or herself in order to vote intelligently. These people didn't do their homework.

    2. With respect to #11, there was legislation passed during Bush's administration to move our embassy to Jerusalem. It was a symbolic gesture because it contains a clause permitting the action to be deferred, and that clause has been activated repeatedly through several presidential terms and is now being used by Trump, despite his rhetoric, which has done nothing but inflame tensions and prevent the Palestinians from being willing to negotiate a peace settlement. So, how exactly has Trump support Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? In the same manner as his predecessors, but in a way that sabotages peace negotiations while using harsh language that pleases his at-home supporters and some Israeli hard-liners.

      But you have to wade out into the weeds to understand why this is a ruse. So maybe these Trump supporters are being played because of their own laziness and lack of persistence in tracking down facts. They are using the equivalent of political golf carts in their thinking.

    3. "But why should I do the work of tracking down the factual rebuttals"

      With the attitude you exhibit, you can't do any factual rebuttals. All you can do is respond to their talking points with another set of bullshit talking points, cooked up for you by zillions of anti-Trump operatives (some of whom you mentioned: "fact check" websites, Kevin Drum)

    4. Those people in turn cite their sources. No point in reinventing the wheel. Unlike you, I don't get paid for my comments.

    5. Ah, I see: the standard lib-zombie retreat. Didn't take long.

    6. OK, today Kevin Drum talks about the GDP growth for 2017. He cites the Bureau of Economic Analysis for the numbers, which should be the same no matter who is discussing them.

      Overall growth for the year was 2.3%, 2.6% in the last quarter, which Drum calls respectable. It is consistent with figures during Obama's two terms (except for 2009, the year of the financial crisis). It is not an improvement, nor does it indicate an exploding economy, a boom, or any of the other flamboyant terms used in the 15 letters in the NY Times.

      These are facts. They do not support the story Trump has been telling about wonderful achievement, nor do they support the claims of Trump's supporters, their reasons for still supporting him.

      You can go read this yourself: https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/01/chart-of-the-day-gdp-grew-2-6-in-the-final-quarter-of-2017/

    7. Here is another one from Kevin Drum, sourced to the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

      "GDP per capita has gone up 1.5 percent per year since 2009, accelerating to 2 percent over the past year. That’s not bad. America is getting richer, and over the past year has gotten richer at a faster pace.

      But it’s a different story for nonsupervisory workers, who make up 70 percent of the labor force. Their earnings have gone up 0.7 percent per year since 2009, accelerating decelerating to 0.6 percent in the past year. This includes the broad working and middle classes, but doesn’t include the college-educated upper middle classes and the rich.

      From a macro point of view, wages are finally picking up some steam. That suggests some labor tightness and it’s something for the Fed to consider when they set interest rates. But for all the ordinary working stiffs, 2017 has been a pretty meh kind of year. All those extra riches are going someplace else."

      This directly contradicts the idea that wages have gone up under Trump. They have gone up for some people but not for working class and especially not for people who most need an increase.

      This means that those enthusiastic Trump supporters who claim that workers are benefitting under him are largely incorrect.


      These are facts too. Trump supporters need to be aware of them and reason from them, not from the blather fed to them by propagandists.

    8. Trump supporters need to be aware of them and reason from them, not from the blather fed to them by propagandists.

      you know what else I didn't see in those letters from trump voters? Not one of them seemed to be troubled by the fact that he is without a doubt the biggest lying sack of shit to ever sit on the world stage. The consummate bullshit artist and flimflam man. Trump knows his marks well, I'll give him that.

    9. So from "From a macro point of view, wages are finally picking up some steam" follows that "This directly contradicts the idea that wages have gone up under Trump."

      Nice. Could your "fact checkers" spin any harder? And what about this: "Walmart, the largest U.S. private employer with more than 1 million workers, said Thursday it plans to raise starting wages from $9 to $11 an hour and hand out employee bonuses ranging from $200 to $1,000". How does this fit into your talking points?

    10. So, GDP growth has improved, and unemployment is at an almost 17-year low. I saw analysts calling it "full employment" or "near full employment": anyone who wants to work can find a job.

      Not not too shabby for the first year, I'd say. If it was a regime you support, most likely you'd be babbling about "wonderful achievements" right now.

    11. Except these accomplishments are no different than the state Obama left the economy in. Trump didn't do this. To his credit, he hasn't wrecked it either, but there is nothing he can point to that improved the economy over this past year.

      To have an achievement, you have to do something.

    12. Mao, you forgot to mention the Walmart layoffs:


    13. Walmart, after announcing its bonuses and wage increase, shut 63 Sam's Club stores. So, those employees saw their wages set to $0. Plus, 1000 management jobs were cut at Walmart corporate.

      Many retailers have been increasing hourly wages for the past couple of years. In some cases, the increases were mandated because a number of states increased their state minimum wage. Walmart did this in 2015 and 2016, raising hourly worker pay to $9 and $10 an hour, respectively.

      After Walmart’s announcement, the total amount of bonuses nationwide now amount to 0.13 percent of the value of the tax cuts to corporate America over 10 years.
      And the bonuses are one-time, the tax savings to the corporations permanent.

    14. So, if we're at full employment (thanks Obama), how do employers add new jobs, particularly in skilled professions? Where will the workers come from?

    15. The reason Walmart went from $10 to $11 was that Target had already done it the previous year. It had fuck all to do with the tax cut for billionaires.

    16. In a full employment environment layoffs don't matter much. It could even be beneficial to those who get severance and manage to find the new job immediately.

      "the total amount of bonuses nationwide now amount to 0.13 percent of the value of the tax cuts to corporate America over 10 years"

      Right, this is exactly how your "facts" are constructed. What about the total value of all tax cuts over 1000 years?

      The point of the corporate tax cuts is to make the US more competitive globally, in the global economy. That's the game. It'll help incentivise multinationals to invest in the US. Is this really so complicated?

    17. Aha, the non globalist "Mao" speaks out for multinational investment, proving once again that he/she/it is either a total zombie, a paid Kremlin bot, or both. Also incapable of doing basic maths with the stupid comparison against 1000 years, so Russian math standards must be slipping.

    18. "how do employers add new jobs, particularly in skilled professions? Where will the workers come from?"

      People get trained. I remember back in 1998-99 a lot of people became programmers. A friend of mine was a travel agent, took a java class, and got a $100K/yr job, just like that.

    19. People get trained.

      No fucking way. Those coal miners are going to keep going down those mines for generations and generations. Trump promised.

    20. And a truly free market would allow companies to hire people with the skills they need when they need them. Many companies need highly specific skills, which may or may not exist in the domestic work force, especially if it's at full employment.

    21. "Aha, the non globalist "Mao" speaks out for multinational investment"

      Investment inside the US, dear zombie. As opposed to globalists (mostly Democrats) doing everything to ship American jobs abroad.

    22. A country at full employment welcomes immigration.

    23. "Many companies need highly specific skills, which may or may not exist in the domestic work force, especially if it's at full employment."

      This could be a problem in a country of 10 million people. In a country of 300+ million it shouldn't be too bad.

      Besides, it's an incentive for automation. For example, manual agricultural jobs exploiting cheap immigrant labor, strawberries and shit like that, they need to be automated.

    24. "A country at full employment welcomes immigration"

      It may very well welcome immigration, it's just that it has to be orderly, well-organized procedure, reflecting interests of the domestic population.

      Look at the Australian immigration procedure, for example. It's a point system. You get points for your age, you education, your skills. If your total score is above the limit - you're in. All there's to it.

    25. And automation causes job loss. And Repub don't like to fund job training programs,.,evil government, you know. And maybe you should ask, I don't know, people who run businesses how simple (not) it is to find the workers they need in this environment. Why do you think many major tech firms oppose the Republican immigration plan?

    26. Look at the Australian immigration procedure...

      Make America Australia again!!!!

    27. How long do you think someone who cannot bring his family is going to stay in a job. We’ll have people coming in, getting trained, and taking their expertise back to their shithole countries where their families still live.

      We have a long history of immigration building our nation’s infrastructure and industries, We know what works from experience. But Trump thinks he knows better and wants to upend it all because he doesn’t like Mexicans. This is not a way to run a country.

    28. "I don't know, people who run businesses how simple (not) it is to find the workers they need in this environment."

      I'm sure you can find workers. What you may not be able to find is cheap workers.

      So, that's the dilemma: immigration to fill the needs of the domestic economy -- or immigration to suppress domestic wages (same goes for overseas outsourcing).

      Dialectics, not binary yes/no. Economy is a delicate mechanism.

      In the recent decades, I believe, it definitely got slanted towards wage suppression and no clear strategy, so maybe it's time for a correction.

    29. Facts are pesky things. A study of the influx of Marielitos into Miami showed a temporary depression of wages that went away after a few months. This argument that immigrants lower wages doesn’t seem to be true.

    30. Why is Amnesty Don capitulating to the liberals?

    31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    32. You typing something here doesn't make it a fact. Even "a study" doesn't make it a fact. And finally, whatever happens in Miami is not necessary indicative of the US of A as a whole.

      Now, these are facts.

    33. https://www.npr.org/2017/08/04/541321716/fact-check-have-low-skilled-immigrants-taken-american-jobs

    34. Thanks for the link, anon.

      It sounds like even the bullshit-spouting liberal hacks whose answer to the very straightforward question:

      "have immigrants taken jobs from and lowered wages for American blue-collar workers?"

      is utterly irrelevant:

      "...Others say the overall effect on the economy is tiny, and an influx of immigrant workers vitalizes the economy overall."

      can't deny it.

    35. Tiny means negligible, too small to influence policy. Note the word “vitalize”. The biggest benefit of immigrant workers is that they pay into social security, offsetting payments to aging boomers. The strongest economies have the youngest workforces. Ours stays young through immigration.

    36. Hello? The question (their fake "fact check") is immigration lowering wages for the blue-collar workers.

      Not "overall economy", social security, or "youngest workforces".

      The fact that NPR (and you) feel compelled to obfuscate and change the subject suggests, quite simply, that reality contradicts your dogma.

    37. "The question is immigration lowering wages for the blue-collar workers."

      And the answer is "No, employers are doing that."
      I wonder if there is a connection between that and the huge tax break Trump and the Republican Congress just gave them.

    38. "And the answer is "No, employers are doing that." "

      Good one! Thank you, my very, very special friend.

      Obviously! More immigrants and fewer employers - yeah, that's the ticket.

    39. There are no tickets.
      It's just another lie the GOP and Trump told you.

  4. Somerby says: "None of the writers of these letters actually tried to argue a point."

    Here is how you argue a point with a Trump supporter: (1) say "your view is straight from Fox News [Hannity, Breitbart, Limbaugh]. It is demonstrably false, made up, fantasy, not true." (2) provide a link to info refuting the stated view, which the Trump supporter will never follow, much less read, (3) say, "When you know more about this issue, let's talk again."

    There will be no further discussion because Trump supporters are absolutely convinced that they are hearing the truth from Alex Jones, Fox & Friends and their conservative friends who discuss that stuff. They believe your sources are fake news, made up, propaganda. Doesn't matter if you try to discuss what a credible source is. When you try to dispute any specific fact, they use the broken record technique of repeating their view over and over in a louder and louder voice. At some point they break off, call you a dirty liberal (poor beknighted fool), etc., and switch to discussing sports.

    This is a total waste of time. What I don't understand is why Somerby, and others like him, don't accept the truth of what liberals are saying when they claim that you cannot talk to Trump supporters.

    Once I tried to debate a delusion with a schizophrenic person. They slide away from confronting facts, their reasoning is circular, they are not grounded in any reality. It is the same thing when you try to discuss anything substantive with a Trump supporter. That leads me to suspect that perhaps some frontal lobe deficit may be operating in those who support Trump despite seeming to be normal in other respects. The deplorables support him for obvious reasons, but what is going on with the seemingly normal people? I think they don't have the capacity to think about him in a critical manner. There are tests for that kind of thing and it would be interesting to see whether my idea about them has any support.

    1. Feeling's mutual: talking to a lib is complete waste of time since they're trapped in their insane delusions, unable to face facts or reality. Which is why 99% of the time all they do is name call instead actually present an argument.

    2. Good, now that you understand that, go away.

  5. Lack of self awareness from 12:46. Bob criticizes the "rebuttal" letters for
    1. Insulting Trump supporters
    2. Making no effort to actually rebut specific points made by Trump supporters
    3. Claiming that Trump supporters are unwilling to engage in dialogue

    Sure enough, 12:46 says

    1. "some frontal lobe deficit may be operating in those who support Trump....I think they don't have the capacity to think about him in a critical manner."

    2. 12:46 makes no reference to any of the policy points raised by Trump supporters

    3. "There will be no further discussion because Trump supporters are absolutely convinced that they are hearing the truth...When you try to dispute any specific fact, they use the broken record technique of repeating their view over and over in a louder and louder voice. At some point they break off, call you a dirty liberal (poor beknighted fool), etc., and switch to discussing sports."

    1. Right, David, I have no respect for Trump voters other than the concern I feel about what they have done to damage our country. Their views are not valid opinions. You don't argue with someone who cannot engage in meaningful discussion. These people cannot do that.

      For each person represented by a letter in that Times piece, there are concerned friends and relatives who tried to talk them out of their foolishness. If those folks couldn't make a dent, why does Somerby or you David, or anyone else, think these people have minds that can be changed by facts?

      I was not making any attempt to rebut anything said by those letter writers. I was defending those who chose to point out that they are hopeless souls who cannot be delivered from the hell they are creating for us all. I blame them, and you of course.

    2. See @1:06 above.

    3. I read those letters the NY Times published. You know what I didn't see mentioned?

      Not a single apology to Secretary Clinton. Fuck em', I have no interest in anything they have to say until I see honest regret for their despicable conduct during the campaign.

    4. DinC, you know what else was missing from those letters by trump voters?

      Not a single one was trouble by the fact that the man has not raised a finger to protect the integrity of our elections from foreign criminal activity, what former VP Dick Cheney called an act of war. Just like you, DinC, they appear not to give a flying fuck, just like our idiot president.

      In fact, the CIC has gone out of his way to disparage the intelligence agencies working to inform the American public. I wonder why that is? Can you even imagine if a President Hillary Clinton attacked our intelligence agencies and the FBI in such a transparent cover-your-ass manner? You would be leading the lynch carrying the rope. But that's just because you're a fucking hypocrite.

      MAGA, right?

  6. Somerby -- do you think it is normal to send out for cheeseburgers when you have a world class chef on call 24/7? Or does that sound like some kind of power trip?

  7. I am more than happy to have a discussion with anyone. However they need to have some basic knowledge of facts. Trump supporters do not.

  8. Do I care what Trump votes think? Sure. Except, if they think wrong things, my only concern at that point is to change their minds.

    My brother's wife is a Trump supporter. She believes Democrats are "baby killers" because of their pro-choice stance. I tried to have a discussion with her about the benefits, as I saw them, of Obamacare. She became irate and ended the discussion. Same with gay marriage, to which she is vehemently opposed.

    My mother had a friend. When my mother informed the friend that she had voted for Obama, the friend yelled, called Obama the devil, and they haven't spoken since.

    These are just anecdotes, but I think they reflect the current state of affairs. The incivility has grown rampant with the advent of right-wing radio and cable.

    Also, my sister-in-law is quite religious. How do you discuss something with someone who believes God sanctions their beliefs and therefore yours are anti-God?

    1. There is such a thing as liberal religion. There are some denominations that are not pro-life but permit choice. You can argue against such views from a religious perspective.

    2. I'm not religious, so I can only resort to reason, and compassion.

    3. There are atheists who oppose abortion on humanist grounds. There are also atheists who defend killing healthy born infants on ethical grounds.

    4. Actually, as an agnostic liberal, I sympathize with the pro-life position. It actually could make sense as a liberal value, you know, pro life. My point in mentioning my sister in law is that she is quite unwilling to have even the beginnings of a discussion about voting for Democrats because of their supposed stance on abortion.

  9. Today Trump said in Davos:

    "“I will say this with great conviction, that had the opposing party won, in my opinion, because they would have added tremendous regulation, I believe the markets would’ve been down anywhere from 25 to 50 percent.”

    In comparison, the Black Monday crash in 1987 lost 22% of its value (Dow Jones), the 1929 crash on Black Friday lost about 25%, and the 2008 crash lost 18%. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_market_crash#Crash_of_2008–2009)

    These were major financial catastrophes, yet none of them approached 50% (although they did have other consequences).

    Yet here is Trump blithely suggesting that Clinton's regulatory policies (which were not that extreme) would result in a financial collapse greater than any seen in our economy.

    Does Trump think we are idiots? Can his supporters really believe what he says about anything when he says stupid stuff like this? How can we expect other nations to respect us when our leader is so obviously ignorant?

    1. Does Trump think we are idiots?

      Only his marks. He knows them well.

  10. Trump supporters have no interest in discussions with Democrat voters especially now that they are defined by identity politics.

    We went through that phase of ignorance and grew out of it around age 20. Besides we can get enough of the same low information, high emotion level of enlightenment listening to our pre-school kids throw tantrums.

    1. Ask your pre-schoolers if the understand that demand drives economic growth. If they do, Congratulations, you are raising liberals.

  11. We care that Trump eats (gobs and gobs) of cheeseburgers. That's massively unhealthy. What would Trump voters do if a massive coronary should strike? See, we do care about Trump voters after all.

  12. Do people really need to read the NYT to find out what pro-Trump and anti-Trump people think? Generally, interacting with family, neighbors, co-workers and friends might offer such opportunities for insight. Turning off cable news and eschewing agenda-driven websites and newspapers might be helpful in cleansing the palate.

    Examples of defending the NYT on this blog are rare. In fact, it is quite the opposite—most of us are critical, even if our reasons vary. Why would anybody say that 22 letters by partisans (one only six words long) represent anything meaningful when they were gleaned out of who knows how many by editors we largely have little respect for. It is through their filter that these are visible. It is better not to give them this power.

    Bob says this:

    “The editors tried to create a forum. Just as it ever was, just as it tends to be at the Times, the editors, on their way to the Hamptons, displayed little skill at this work.”

    Good point. Although other motivations exist for the editors to botch this (selling subscriptions, quelling an onslaught of criticism, a feeble attempt to restore the paper’s reputation), lack of skill is prominently displayed here. These letters are very little more than a semi-random compilation of talking points.

    Consider this: Maybe deep-down they intentionally chose to print inane letters so, when juxtaposed, their own claptrap wouldn’t look so bad.

  13. Chairman Mao is so dumb he probably thinks Mexicans are going to pay for a border wall. Guess he got his money worth out of his diploma from Trump University.

  14. I enjoyed the Gene Brabender reference. A Seattle Pilot, he posted a respectable 14-13 record for them 1n 1969. Also pitched as a rookie for the 1966 World Champion Baltimore Orioles.



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