TUESDAY: Concerning that "decent respect...!"

TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2022

Gail and Bret meet Roe v. Wade:  It has been our view for quite some time that our nation's creaky political systems were breaking down—were ceasing to function in a minimal way, were essentially falling apart.

With that in mind, we first cited the classicist Norman O. Brown at least as far back as July 2009. Brown got very hot in the mid to late 1960s, especially among those of us on the left. 

During that street-fighting era, Brown published several inscrutable though widely-read books. At one point, he described the way societies die in a Phi Beta Kappa address:

BROWN (1966): I sometimes think I see that societies originate in the discovery of some secret, some mystery; and end in exhaustion when there is no longer any secret, when the mystery has been divulged, that is to say profaned...And so there comes a time—I believe we are in such a time—when civilization has to be renewed by the discovery of some new mysteries, by the undemocratic but sovereign power of the imagination, by the undemocratic power which makes poets the unacknowledged legislators of all mankind, the power which makes all things new.

We don’t have the slightest idea what Brown meant by that. But that statement began to rise in our brain as far back as 2009, as we saw our nation's population dividing into warring tribes, as we saw our various constitutional systems starting to fall apart.

Now we're engaged in a great civil war—a war in which our two warring tribes, Balkans style, can't even agree on the language with which to discuss the matter at issue. 

For the blue tribe to which we belong, this incipient civil war concerns "a woman's right to control her own body." For those who reside in the other (red) tribe, this incipient civil war concerns the killing of an "unborn child." 

The tribes huddle around those competing formulations, and rarely the twain shall meet. It's very hard to settle disputes in such circumstances.

This leads us to a question:

At this point, can our civilization, such as it has been, possibly "be renewed by the discovery of some new mysteries?" Can it be renewed "by the undemocratic but sovereign power of the imagination?" Is there some way we can find the power "to make all things new?"

Whatever that question actually means, the answer doesn't seem obvious. At present, two name-calling tribes stand in stark opposition. Under arrangements forged in the past thirty years, each possesses an array of powerful media companies which urge this tribal division on.

Each tribe is inclined to see things in its own way, and in no other way. Deeply destructive wars tend to flow from such circumstances. In the current circumstance, the following must be said:

In the current circumstance, an array of creaking institutions tend to favor the political interests of the red, "conservative" tribe. 

In the current circumstance, it's easier for the red tribe to win control of the Senate. It's easier for their presidential candidates to win the electoral college. 

Concentration of liberal voters in large urban areas tend to make it easier for the red tribe to control the House. Members of our own blue tribe might want to keep such facts in mind as we stumble into an uncertain future, but there's no reason to assume that we will.

What should the liberal world do in the face of these circumstances? In response to that question, we offer this advice

Do not assume that our tribe's political and journalistic leaders will exercise sound judgment. 

At times like these, we humans are inclined to follow our tribal leaders. That said, over here in the blue tribe, our tribal leaders have routinely exercised extremely limited judgment dating back at least to the early 1990s.

As such, you can't assume that your favorite journalists are exercising sound judgment. You can't assume that your political leaders are doing so either.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, how should our blue tribe respond? It seems to us that the latest conversation between Gail Collins and Bret Stephens helps us examine a host of related questions.

The conversation appears in today's New York Times. We'll start to peruse it tomorrow.

Stephens opines from the center right, Collins from the center left. In our view, Collins has been exercising limited judgment dating back to her role in the disastrous press coverage of Campaign 2000. 

That, of course, was the campaign which sent George W. Bush to the White House—and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Collins is a good, decent person, but it seems to us that she has been offering imperfect intellectual leadership dating back that far. In short:

At this deeply perilous time, we shouldn't be trusting our leaders.

When we read today's conversation, we thought of a phrase from one of the nation's best-known founding documents. As the founders, such as they were, declared independence from a European king, they stated the need to extend "decent respect to the opinions of [hu]mankind."

At times of angry tribal war, human groups rarely display a "decent respect" for the opinions of Others. It seems to us that our disadvantaged blue tribe might want to rethink that potent human impulse. 

Our time is limited again today. We'll start at this point tomorrow.

Should we learn to respect the opinions of Others? Especially under prevailing circumstances, we're suggesting the answer is yes.

Brown's books: Norman O. Brown got very hot in the 1960s. The two books to which we refer were Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History (1959), and Love's Body (1966).

By the time of his death in 2002, the New York Times regarded him as "an erudite and spectacularly playful philosopher." Whatever he meant by the statement we've quoted, he was quite hot in real time.


125 comments:

  1. You already convinced me to listen to "the Others" Hence the statement about bigotry and white supremacy being the only thing they care about.
    There is no way I'm taking your advice to respect them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, Bob. Quit while you're ahead.

    ReplyDelete
  3. And so Somerby hauls out the same inscrutable quote that he used before to rehash his same repetitive nonsense. What might happen if Somerby read a new book? What might happen if he thought about old quotes in new ways? Sadly, I think we'll never find out.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "At present, two name-calling tribes stand in stark opposition."

    Complaints about right-wing racism, lying and chicanery, are not "name-calling" because they are supported by evidence of wrong behavior toward others.

    Not to mention that liberals are people who espouse a political ideology, not members of any tribe.

    It is name-calling to call liberals tribal, in my opinion. And there are so many other things Somerby calls us: lazy, stupid, dumb, and a new one today -- disadvantaged. Somerby might do better to avoid using adjectives himself.

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  5. No one has heard of Norman Brown these days, except Somerby. He faded as quickly as he became a hippie fad. He has nothing to say to today's readers. He may have been a classicist, but his book is not a classic.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A great point by Bob. "Do not assume that our tribe's political and journalistic leaders will exercise sound judgment."

    The troll(s) that dominates the comment section here has mistaken criticism of that judgment as criticism of the party in general and advocacy of conservatives for such a long time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “I’ll support my party with conviction as long as my favored news outlets make the Republicans look more demonic.”

      Delete
    2. This is wishful thinking. Somerby not only criticizes journalists (who he conflates with liberalism when the press is not liberal) but also expresses opinions that are far from consistent with liberal views. In doing so, he supports conservatives. Taking Somerby at face value is a mistake that calls your own judgment (@11:55) into question.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the concern but I think we can successfully maintain our liberalism while digesting criticism of the MSM.

      Also please quote some of the expressed opinions that are far from consistenct with liberal views, I'd like to see your examples.

      Delete
    4. "please quote some of the expressed opinions that are far from consistent with liberal views, I'd like to see your examples."

      He doesn't think that everyone who is conservative is dripping with bigotry for one.

      He's stupidly thinks we should adopt some obscure Martin Luther King non-violent, empathetic nonsense when it comes to conservatives.

      Etc

      Delete
    5. "He doesn't think that everyone who is conservative is dripping with bigotry for one."

      Giving people the benefit of the doubt on an individual basis and not stereotyping an entire group: Is this far from consistent with a liberal view?

      Non-violence: Is this far from consistent with a liberal view?

      Having empathy: Is this far from consistent with a liberal view?

      Delete
    6. Somerby has gone on and on about how he does not like concerns of racism or sexism being expressed. If you read this blog regularly, you see it all the time, feel free to peruse the archives. He also regularly attacks Dem's electoral politics, parroting right wing talking points.

      12:19 is correct, your excessively literal reading of Somerby is either a misguided move or willful ignorance.

      Delete
    7. You've all been a lot of fun. So, to summarize:

      "Giving people the benefit of the doubt on an individual basis and not stereotyping an entire group: Is this far from consistent with a liberal view?

      Non-violence: Is this far from consistent with a liberal view?

      Having empathy: Is this far from consistent with a liberal view?"

      ----

      To be honest, what you write is so dumb, you must be a right wing troll.

      Delete
    8. Leftists pretend their focus is on institutional and systemic oppression. But Democratic leadership enables institutional and systemic oppression.

      Delete
    9. At what point do we just ignore "the Others", who insist the Democratic Party are Marxist, commies, who hate corporations?

      Delete
    10. You can safely ignore anyone who thinks the Democratic Party hates corporations.

      Don't look at their words, look at their actions. They love corporations, at the expense of taxpayers. Over and over and over again.

      You won't see that reported by the MSM.

      Delete
    11. @2:18 That must be why the oligarchs just love the Democratic Party. Remember how the NYT kept doing really fair and balanced reporting on Hillary Clinton? Lol. And you are commenting at a blog where the blogger would really rather progressives quit trying to be so … progressive. Look at his reaction to Medicare For All, or the times he’s approvingly quoted Kevin Drum attacking leftists for being too far left … on economic issues. Do you think that respecting the opinions of right wingers who hate unions, love tax cuts for the rich and hate government funded health care is going to usher in a new progressive utopia?

      Delete
    12. Oligarchs do love the Democratic Party and Clinton. Oligarchs gave her over a billion dollars for her 2016 campaign. You may pretend that isn't true and their focus is on institutional and systemic oppression but it isn't. That money buys them a continuation of their institutional and systemic oppression.

      Delete
    13. So yes, when you take the blinders off, yes, please, respect the opinions of right wingers who understand both parties only pretend their focus is on matters that concern their constituents. Then we can form a coalition with them and get some things done instead of all being a victim of divide and rule.

      Delete
    14. 2:18 if you can demonstrate your points I am happy to debunk them, but as yet you just offer unsubstantiated nonsense, kind of like a right wing troll would do.

      If we follow the logic, we should have respected the slavers and the Nazis, should have been sensitive to their delicate constitutions.

      Here, with this commenter, we see in action how Somerby is just manufacturing ignorance.

      Delete
    15. https://www.reddit.com/r/Political_Revolution/comments/8aapig/venn_diagram_for_the_mainstream_parties/

      Debunk away.

      Delete
    16. "So yes, when you take the blinders off, yes, please, respect the opinions of right wingers who understand both parties only pretend their focus is on matters that concern their constituents. Then we can form a coalition with them and get some things done instead of all being a victim of divide and rule."

      This sums it all up, perfectly stated.

      Delete
    17. Along with that visual aid. Thanks, 3:26.

      Delete
    18. https://www.diffen.com/difference/Democrat_vs_Republican

      You continue to fail to make any points with evidence, just a typical right wing troll with nothing to offer but bad faith.

      Delete
    19. https://today.yougov.com/ratings/politics/popularity/Democrats/all

      The most popular Dems in office are:

      Bernie Sanders
      Elizabeth Warren
      AOC
      Cory Booker

      Tlaib and Omar are not far down

      Delete
    20. https://progressives.house.gov/endorsed-bills

      Here are 100 or bills Dems support, none of which are supported by a single Republican.

      Delete
    21. https://www.vox.com/2019/11/29/20977735/how-many-bills-passed-house-democrats-trump

      Here are 400 bills the Dems passed in 2019, none of them got a single Republican vote.

      Delete
    22. Diffen.com, compare anything. LOL

      Decreased military spending? Government regulations are needed to protect consumers?

      What a joke!

      Delete
    23. Yeah. Talking points, for their braindead bots.

      We liked "certain undocumented immigrants. e.g. those with no criminal record", as if illegal border crossing is not a crime.

      Delete
    24. Awww. I was promised a debunking. I gave you 14 points. Please debunk them, one by one. You haven't debunked a single one.

      Delete
    25. "You can safely ignore anyone who thinks the Democratic Party hates corporations."

      Holy Fox News. Can we make this a law?

      Delete
    26. Agreed.
      Ignoring the entire Republican Party, and their mouthpieces in the media (AKA the media) has been the answer all along.

      Delete
    27. If we may. Your reddit link says: "deny climate change". We don't think there are many of those who deny 'climate change' per se.

      Climate change happens all the time.
      Reasonable people may disagree on the likely causes, intensity, severity of the consequences, and so on.
      While the dembots, of course, go straight for hysteria; anything less is 'denial'.

      And so it goes...

      Delete
    28. Ou et la debunking?

      Delete
    29. et means "and" in French, you mean ou est...

      Delete
    30. Oui, merci poir le corigee.

      Delete
    31. Ou est le debunking?

      Delete
    32. That dumb and inaccurate diagram was thoroughly debunked, it reminds of that recent idiotic and misleading meme Musk tweeted about the Left getting more extreme.

      You are the Black Knight of the right wing trolls.

      https://www.americanprogress.org/article/a-historical-perspective-on-defense-budgets/

      Clinton and Obama cut Defense spending, it ballooned under W Bush and Trump.

      https://fortune.com/2017/01/27/donald-trump-cfpb-consumer-protection-financial-bureau-elizabeth-warren/

      Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau saved Americans billions over the first few years it operated, then Trump gutted it.

      There is a stark difference between Dems and Republicans. An example SOMERBY often cites is that Gore would not have invaded Iraq. That's your boy Somerby saying that.

      Delete
    33. Pathetique. Triste.

      Delete
    34. That was the debunking? An article written by a left funded think tank in 2011. You have to laugh.

      Delete
    35. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2016/02/president-obamas-military-budget-is-still-one-of-the-biggest-ever.html

      Obama need all that money to continue his slaughters. And of course Hillary's Libya misadventures that led to a broken society that was selling slaves on the streets.

      Delete
    36. I love that their defense is .. Bob Somerby. You have to laugh.

      Delete
    37. Oh no, Trump "targeted" an agency that returned $11.8 billion over 6 years! That's .003 percent of this year's military budget that Democrats happily passed for their real constituents, the MIC. And propagandists fool you into being sad about that relatively non issue while not ever mentioning the almost 800 billion dollar military boondoggle.

      Delete
    38. "Trump gutted it." OH NO!!!!!! SCARY!!!

      Delete
    39. 7:31 - I'm sorry but that does not represent a stark difference. It represents what some powerful people want you to think is a stark difference.

      Delete
    40. Check it out Somerby?
      No one should listen to "the Others". Both, those who think there are stark differences between the Democratic and Republican parties AND those who think the parties are pretty much the same say so.
      Bipartisanship you can fetish over.

      Delete
    41. The bothsides moron denies all evidence that disproves his wrongheaded notions, and hilariously attempts this on a TDH post about Republicans banning abortion, with further plans to ban trans people, contraceptives, school books, gay marriage, interracial marriage - all rights Dems are fighting to maintain.

      Sorry to say but your own stupidity is ruining your "argument", and proving the other guy's point.

      Delete
    42. 8:11

      O
      o
      f

      You got your ass handed to you.

      I love how all your subsequent hogwash and misleading protestations are offered as separate comments, like somehow anyone would be fooled into thinking anyone else agrees with your flaccid false equivalency.

      Btw, you are wrong on defense spending: Bush ballooned defense spending (going from about $300 billion to $800 billion) adding the Iraq war on top of funding his buddies in the defense industry, Obama's first fy budget increased slightly from paying for Bush's war, then held steady a couple years, then went down until Trump became president -

      Bush's last year $815
      Obama's first year $851, then 855, 816, 746, 753, 767
      and then the next year, huh, 818, then 890, 904, 935
      oh wait, I see, it went back up with Trump.

      https://www.thebalance.com/u-s-military-budget-components-challenges-growth-3306320

      Btw Trump killed more people through his foreign policy than Obama, but less people than Bush, except that Trump is also directly responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands Americans by the way he dropped the ball in handling Covid.

      My advice, get a moral compass.

      Republicans will never cut defense, as proven time and again, so your argument is utter nonsense.

      It is beyond dumb to compare the defense budget to the CFPB keeping people from getting ripped off.

      The way you write, the weird exaggerations and empty gotchas, etc it is clear you are upset at losing an argument and also that you must be very young. I look forward to you maturing and perhaps making a bit of sense.


      Delete
    43. 11.8 billion over 6 years? The Democrats were happy to send much more than that to Ukraine over the last 6 weeks! Why? Because it benefits Americans? No. Because it benefits the Democrat's true constituents, the ones that buy their elections, military contractors.

      Delete
    44. Abortion was supported by Republicans, they were the majority deciding Roe. Abortion was even supported by the Southern Baptists and other conservative religious organizations.

      Republicans being concerned about "killing an unborn child" is relatively recent (since the late 70s), and not based on values or ideology, but on political expediency. It was not until abortion was weaponized towards racial oppression that suddenly right wingers were onboard with opposing it, it was when Bob Jones University's tax exempt status was threatened because they did not allow interracial dating.

      Furthermore, over 90% of abortions are done at the zygote/embryo stage - a non sentient, non viable clump of cells. Abortion is demonstrably not the "killing of an unborn child".

      We do not see Somerby attacking leftist journalism, like The American Prospect or the myriad of leftist New Media; he attacks neoliberal corporate media but not in a meaningful way, he nitpicks and his attacks are just used as weapons to bash those he disagrees with or is jealous of.

      Delete
    45. So you feel there's a "stark difference" between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to supporting the military industrial complex and endless war?

      According to the source you provided Obama's average military budget was $793 billion. Bush's average military budget was $622 billion - a 27% increase by the Democratic administration over the Republican administration.

      That doesn't seem like as big a difference between the two parties to me as it does to you.

      It seems to be like that reflects not a stark difference but no difference. Both sides continue our international death machine and wholesale transfer of our taxpayer money to military and defense corporations. And there is no end in sight and no pushback from party leaders of both sides.

      But it is quaint to see people still try to defend a meaningful difference between both sides. It's cute to see. Thanks for that.

      Delete
    46. It's interesting to see that Biden got us out of Afghanistan but now has got us back into an endless military adventure that is already costing us more per year than Afghanistan, our unnecessary participation in the Ukrainian Russian war. So at the end of the day his real constituents, the military-industrial complex, are still getting their reward for funding his election. While his pretend constituents, you and me, get to live with inflation, endless consumer debt and no meaningful increases in pay.

      Delete
    47. 8:40,
      Are you blaming Biden for not Nationalizing all businesses, so he could increase our pay?
      Sounds fair. LOL.

      Delete
    48. So interesting to see someone claim Republicans will never cut defense and present as evidence statistics that show a Democratic president increased defense by 25% over the Republican he replaced.

      Delete
    49. Well, global finance - liberal tribe's bosses - need global enforcement. The US of A is the enforcer. World policeman.

      ...and that's one police force that definitely needs defunding...

      Delete
    50. Think about the world's most valuable corporation, Apple. We spend as much as the entire value their company *every year* on funding wars abroad that don't have any effect on average Americans whatsoever. Both sides.

      We could spend all that money on teachers and feeding children and we could all live incredible lives together forever.

      Delete
    51. Ukraine has demonstrated that we cannot live in a stable country in an unstable world. Alliances with other nations keep us safe.

      Delete
    52. There's little chance to tear someone away from a set of beliefs they've maintained, rationalized, and protected over a long period of time. I won't even say which "side" I'm talking about.

      Delete
    53. 8:40 this comment perfectly demonstrates how dumb your notions are. Bush started with Clinton's very low defense spending and increased it dramatically, Obama started with Bush's very high spending and lowered it, so that is why the average is different. You are not understanding basic arithmetic! This is also why you have blinders on with respect to the CFPB, you are not able to understand scale, understand that "small" amount of money made a big difference to real people. Yes, the difference is stark.

      https://www.republicanviews.org/democratic-views-on-military-spending/

      https://news.gallup.com/poll/167648/americans-remain-divided-military-spending.aspx

      https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/welfare-reform-direct-cash-poor/407236/

      Yes, you've been schooled. Stay cool and try to learn.

      Delete
    54. "We could spend all that money on teachers and feeding children and we could all live incredible lives together forever."

      Meh. Liberal claptrap. Fuck the teachers.

      It's either producing weapons and shooting people from drones, or producing useful shit: food, clothing, cars, everyday items. Meaningful labor.

      Delete
    55. He didn't lower it though. He increased it by 25%. Right?

      Delete
    56. From Political Wire:

      "Politico: “About five dozen House Republicans voted down a nearly $40 billion aid package to help Ukraine in a late-night Monday vote. They cited a mix of process problems and a desire for the U.S. to remain focused on domestic issues.”

      It’s interesting that every House Democrat — including The Squad — supported the aid package."

      Arguments here about US involvement in defense of the Ukraine sound like Russian propaganda to me. Normal people support efforts to keep US safe and the world out of global war. So, why are these Republicans voting in support of Russian interests? It isn't as if they have suddenly become anti-war as a philosophical matter.

      When historians look back on this period of time, it will be discussed as the era of Russian influence in American government. And no, they are not talking about having infiltrated the Democratic Party, with the exception of Tulsi Gabbard and some subversion of Bernie to oppose Clinton via channeling money to his campaign. It is the Republicans who are bought and paid for by Russia. Going back to McCain, as Steve Schmidt (the Republican campaign manager for McCain) is now alleging.

      Delete
    57. That is a regional war. It doesn't affect us at all. Maybe that's why. And it looks like one of the reasons they gave was that the money could be spent domestically. But maybe they are paid by Russia as you claim. Seems kind of far-fetched but everything is possible. It doesn't really make sense though.

      Delete
    58. What does no More Mr Nice Guy blog say about it?

      Delete
    59. "That is a regional war"

      Meh. If it was a regional matter, there would've been no war. There would've been no reason for war.

      It's the US/NATO (aka global finance) attacking the Russian Federation, using Russians with Ukrainian passports (aka Ukrainians) as cannon fodder.

      And so it goes...

      Delete
    60. Apparently we have dumb notions, don't understand basic arithmetic, and we've been schooled.

      So, 9:32. Tell us what the average defense spending was per year under Bush vs. Obama.

      Hint:

      Obama: $700 billion a year
      Bush: $500 billion a year

      Delete
    61. 9:03,
      I didn't think so, but had to ask.
      Thanks for confirming it was placing blame on Biden for something he can't legally control , from someone who fancies themselves objective.

      Delete
    62. Steve Schmidt is saying that Russia was colluding in McCain's campaign in 2008 via Manafort's connection with the Russia's oligarch who was then the president of the Ukraine (Putin's puppet).

      https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/steve-schmidt-john-mccain/

      https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-9-2022?r=5js2m&utm_medium=ios&s=r

      Delete
    63. Try this from No More Mister Nice Blog:

      https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2022/05/no-bombs-good-more-bombs-better.html

      Delete
    64. 11:35 you do not understand basic math. Bush's average is brought down because he started with Clinton's low spending, Obama's average starts with Bush's high spending, Obama then did lower defense spending, but because of Bush's war in Iraq, he could only lower it so much.

      This is basic math, You are a total moron. Some are saying your own mother denies progeny.

      Polls show Dems want to lower defense spending and Republicans want to raise defense spending. Remember Trump said the cupboards were bare.

      Being heartless about the people of Ukraine is not doing much beyond making you look like an immoral piece of crap. Furthermore, Putin is one of the worst fascist dictators in modern times, so the spending is apt.

      If you think both parties are the same then you are anti workers:

      https://theintercept.com/2022/04/22/amazon-warehouse-union-biden-nlrb/

      Leftists/Progressives criticize the Clintons, Obama, Biden for legitimate reasons, not for nonsense reasons like you do.

      With all the problems in society, if all you can come up with is bothsides and false equivalency, you are a sad lost soul with a broken moral compass.

      Delete
    65. Obama: $700 billion a year
      Bush: $500 billion a year

      Article claim: Democrat Party's Stance on Military issues: Decreased spending

      Status: Debunked

      Reaction of poster of cite: Triggered

      Delete
    66. Should we move on to Trump and Biden next?

      Or perhaps we should pause and take a moment to see if we can agree on the definition of "Decreased spending". You first.

      Delete
    67. You are just embarrassing yourself.

      Those are averages.

      Bush's average includes low levels of spending he inherited from Clinton.

      Obama's average includes high levels of spending from Bush.

      You do not understand basic math.

      This is really basic math and it whooshes over your head. That's just really embarrassing. An elementary school student would not struggle with this like you are. Google local community colleges in your area and take a basic math class. Come back after, present a claim with evidence (which you have yet to do), and I will happily continue to debunk your nonsense.

      https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/military-spending-defense-budget#:~:text=U.S.%20military%20spending%2Fdefense%20budget%20for%202019%20was%20%24731.75B,a%201.08%25%20increase%20from%202016.

      Bush spending in billions: 378, 441, 493, 533, 558, 590, 657, 706

      Obama spending in billions: 738, 752, 725, 679, 648, 634, 640, 647

      See the trend, Bush took over a low level of spending, increased it dramatically, and started a war; Obama took over a high level of spending and a war, and decreased it - he could not decrease it dramatically because he was still funding Bush's war.

      So your smugness is without merit, you are wrong all the way around; Republicans want to increase defense spending and they do, Bush increased spending dramatically; Dems want to lower defense spending and they do as much as possible considering the mess Republicans leave, Obama decreased defense spending.

      Your nonsense has been repeatedly debunked, cling to your false claims, but you are wrong.

      I understand you are triggered, you admit to it (every right wing accusation is a confession), you got schooled, ok, ok, stay cool and learn.

      Delete
    68. This is a straw man argument. Obama's war budgets reached the highest they have ever been in American history and yes it's true after that apotheosis he did lower the budgets marginally to about the point where he inherited them and proud of that all we are of him.

      But that does not mean the Democratic party is not in bed with the military industrial complex. It does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that they have any sort of mechanism or even a desire with which to stop the criminal looting of our tax dollars which continues to happen no matter which of the only two parties anyone has a choice to vote for is sitting in the top spot.

      Your argument is that marginally diminishing the tragic figure expunges the Democrats from their responsibility for and agency in creating it.

      Delete
    69. Your Black Knight-ing, while somewhat amusing, is childish.

      Also you do not understand the straw man fallacy, all the while providing a fairly decent example of one.

      Bush was responsible for his runaway train of defense spending. Obama was responsible for not only stopping Bush's runaway train, but reversing it by about 10%, a significant feat considering the mess Bush left, which gave Obama few options.

      Polls show Dems want to lower defense spending, and that is demonstrably what they do. Polls also show that Republicans want to increase defense spending and they in fact accomplish that.

      Also understanding basic math continues to be a problem for you.

      Also you do not understand about trends.

      Seems like you do not know how to read a graph.

      Under Bush the line goes up steeply, under Obama the line goes down. Up means an increase in spending, down means a decrease. Up, down, sit with a bit, it may hit you eventually.

      You stepped into a quagmire when you went all in on your nonsense argument. Yes, you look a little foolish now, with your tail between your legs.

      The difference between D's and R's can be seen in every facet of life. From defense spending, to protecting rights, to unionizing, on and on. The worst D is light years better than the best R.

      It is not always clear what right wingers support because they have no real ideology, just an undying need for dominance. But recently National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Rick Scott offered an outline of what they support. Now, Rick Scott is a mega con man, but this was an open admission of how Republicans want to govern, and Dems are having a field day because it provides a stark difference from the values and policies that Dems support.

      Delete
    70. The graph is up with Biden. (Up means an increase in spending.) Biden (a Democrat) wants to have a the biggest military budget in human history. Since you "understand about trends" (lol) - tell me about that one! ;)

      Tell me about all the the noble Dems who "want" to lower defense spending (but can't seem to find a way to.)

      You're a fucking fool.

      Delete
    71. They cry, they suffer terribly when they increase military spending. But they have to. Because Republicans.

      Delete
    72. Obama: $700 billion a year average
      Bush: $500 billion a year average

      But we've been shown that Democrats reduce defense spending by our brilliant local explainer. So don't believe those numbers at all! It's basic math.

      Delete
    73. 1:06 I appreciate your effort to demonstrate a common notion about insanity.

      As has been pointed out, those averages do not counter the fact that Bush increased spending and Obama decreased spending, they merely represent that Bush took a low level of spending and ballooned it, while Obama took a high level of spending and decreased it, by about 10%.

      This is basic math.

      That graph does not include Biden's defense spending, apparently you do not understand about fiscal years either, but Biden did propose a modest increase to defense spending (which had been increased by Trump back to Bush levels). The Biden proposed increase was so modest it did not keep up with inflation! However, the response was that MOST Dems (there are a few right wing Dems like Manchin etc) denounced the increase, while ALL Republicans said it was too small. There are no leftist Republicans, not even centrist.

      Polls show that Dems want to decrease defense spending, and that is what Dems do; Republicans want increases to defense spending and that is what they do.

      Also you do not understand about constant dollars, but since you exhibit a mental disability, there is little point in explaining.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States#/media/File:U.S_-_China_-_Russia,_Military_Spending.svg

      Here is another graph, showing defense spending, it goes down with Clinton, sharply rises with Bush, down with Obama, then back up with Trump.

      So who is the "fucking fool"? You, obviously.

      Oof, triggered much? Why you mad, bro?

      Yes it is embarrassing to faceplant as hard as you have. Look at it as a learning experience.

      Bermie Sanders is the most popular Dem in the country, here is his take on defense spending:

      https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/07/16/defund-the-pentagon-the-liberal-case-364648

      There are a myriad of differences between Dems and Repubs, not just that Dems decrease defense spending while Repubs increase it. Most of these differences are fairly stark.

      Your bothsides false equivalency is not only misleading, it is misguided. All it does is provide an opportunity for Republicans to win even bigger. When morons like you get your head out of your asses and vote for Dems, positive things happen. They may not directly improve your personal life, (they probably do) but they do reduce the harm of right wingers, and they do help improve the lives of millions of people.

      Your way = society gets worse.

      Yeah, let's not do that. Idk maybe you're a nihilist. I hope you get help.

      Delete
    74. Obama: $700 billion a year average
      Bush: $500 billion a year average

      Write some more crazy stuff.

      Delete
    75. Bush spending in billions: 378, 441, 493, 533, 558, 590, 657, 706

      Obama spending in billions: 738, 752, 725, 679, 648, 634, 640, 647

      Bush increased spending, Obama decreased spending.

      Are you currently attending a faceplant convention? Perhaps you are a masochist?

      When reality strikes you as "crazy stuff", time to seek help.

      Delete
    76. "Polls show that Dems want to decrease defense spending, and that is what Dems do"

      But you just said Biden wanted to increase it and he's a Democrat. So it is shit coming out of your mouth.

      Delete
    77. "Obama decreased spending."

      After he increased it! Like Biden, the Democrat who is increasing it now. That's why you are a fucking fool.

      And it's still a straw man argument. It's not the point.

      Delete
    78. You do not understand about constant dollars.

      Biden's "increase" was less than the increase in inflation, so not a real increase.

      You do not understand basic concepts, so you come across as radically dumb.

      Obama did decrease defense spending. Bush left soaring increases in defense spending; presidents are not kings, they can not reverse a runaway train immediately, you do not understand how budgets, funding, Congress, etc. works.

      Polls show that Dems want to decrease defense spending and Dems do in fact decrease defense spending, the opposite of what Republicans want and do.

      This has all been clearly demonstrated, it is fairly bone simple and straight forward stuff.

      You lost an argument, it is not the end of the world. Get a grip.

      Delete
    79. Yeah. Mafia Joe's admin, with House and Senate controlled by the liberal tribe, has radically cut the military budget from $753 billion in 2022 to unprecedented $813 billion for 2023.

      It's a great liberal victory.

      Delete
    80. What was the argument about?

      Delete
    81. They seem to be arguing we should be happy the Democrats try to decrease the military budgets even though the two biggest military budgets in world history have happened under Democrats.

      They seem to be arguing that if it weren't for the Republicans, the Democrats would cut these budgets in half or more.

      Delete
    82. No argument at all. Affirmation of the greatness of the liberal tribe, firmly standing for everything good and against everything evil in the world.

      We're all true believers here.

      Delete
    83. If it were not for constant dollars and Republicans, the Democrats would eliminate the military-industrial complex all together.

      Polls show that they want to.

      Delete
    84. One of them apparently still thinks there's a meaningful difference between the two parties.

      Delete
    85. Demonstrably you are incorrect.

      Demonstrably you do not understand how the world works.

      You have no arms, no legs, yet you still want to fight your losing battle. No skin off my nose.

      Delete
    86. Lost an argument about what?

      Delete
    87. 6:23 True or false? You're full of excuses.

      Delete
  7. Bob wrote
    -- In the current circumstance, it's easier for the red tribe to win control of the Senate.
    -- It's easier for [Republican] presidential candidates to win the electoral college.
    -- Concentration of liberal voters in large urban areas tend to make it easier for the red tribe to control the House.


    The first two sentences are true IMO. This situation arguably gives conservatives an unfair advantage.

    OTOH the third sentence is so ridiculous that I wonder if it's a typo. Did Bob mean to say that the concentration of voters in large urban areas gives the BLUE tribe an advantage? After all, the large urban areas get lots and lots of House seats.

    BTW Bob doesn't mention that the Blue Tribe controls almost the entire educational system and most of the media. Without this support, Republicans would win huge majorities IMO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, not a typo. When you put all of the blue votes in a single urban district, yes, they win that district. But the concentration of blue votes in one area makes the remainder of the areas more red and easier for conservatives to win. When districts are created so that cities are included with suburban and rural areas, the impact of the blue votes is diluted but the district also becomes more difficult and less reliable for red candidates to win.

      The media and education are not "controlled" by Democrats or liberals. They strive to be non-partisan. Conservatives think that if these institutions are not controlled by them, then they must be liberal. That is ridiculous and untrue.

      It is, however, true that the more educated someone becomes, the less likely they are to believe conservative propaganda. That is because reality skews left. The left wing actively strives to be congruent with what is real, true, factual, consistent with science and social science, adherent to knowledge accumulated at great cost and labor by researchers. The left believes in progress and its call for change is based on advances in fields of learning with the goal of helping people live better lives. The conservatives resist change, favor religion and tradition, believe in stereotypes and nonsense and will not accept learning, even when it might save their lives, as during covid.

      It might be that Republicans could win huge majorities if they dragged everyone back into the middle ages (as SNL suggested), but I doubt that people will permit that at the cost of giving up the progress that has made our society more livable. I think Republicans are going to experience a huge backlash. And they will deserve it.

      Here is a concept Somerby doesn't seem to understand. People frequently answer questions on polls differently than they will vote. No one wants to say they favor abortion, but when it comes to doing away with it, they will vote to preserve choice. And that is going to swamp other conservative issues where they might have won votes.

      This is a fight they shouldn't have picked.

      Delete
    2. @12:15 I agree with your final sentence. Roe v Wade was a boon to Republicans.

      Delete
    3. The reaction of the Republican Party to Roe vs.Wade (i.e. the recruitment of bigots to be reliable Republican voters) was much more of a boon for the GOP.

      Delete
    4. Yup. You don't get the HUGE tax cuts for corporations without the reliable bigot vote the Republican Party has spent decades cozying up to.

      Delete
    5. David: I think that it's quite obvious why concentration of the blue voters in urban areas favors the red tribe. The blue tribe wins one congressional district 90% to 10%; the red tribe wins two districts 52% to 48%.

      Delete
    6. Abortion was supported by Republicans, they were the majority deciding Roe. Abortion was even supported by the Southern Baptists and other conservative religious organizations.

      Republicans being concerned about "killing an unborn child" is relatively recent (since the late 70s), and not based on values or ideology, but on political expediency. It was not until abortion was weaponized towards racial oppression that suddenly right wingers were onboard with opposing it, it was when Bob Jones University's tax exempt status was threatened because they did not allow interracial dating.

      Furthermore, over 90% of abortions are done at the zygote/embryo stage - a non sentient, non viable clump of cells. Abortion is demonstrably not the "killing of an unborn child".

      We do not see Somerby attacking leftist journalism, like The American Prospect or the myriad of leftist New Media; he attacks neoliberal corporate media but not in a meaningful way, he nitpicks and his attacks are just used as weapons to bash those he disagrees with or is jealous of.

      Delete
    7. So you feel there's a "stark difference" between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to supporting the military industrial complex and endless war?

      According to the source you provided Obama's average military budget was $793 billion. Bush's average military budget was $622 billion - a 27% increase by the Democratic administration over the Republican administration.

      That doesn't seem like as big a difference between the two parties to me as it does to you.

      It seems to be like that reflects not a stark difference but no difference. Both sides continue our international death machine and wholesale transfer of our taxpayer money to military and defense corporations. And there is no end in sight and no pushback from party leaders of both sides.

      But it is quaint to see people still try to defend a meaningful difference between both sides. It's cute to see. Thanks for that.

      Delete
    8. 8:20 your nonsense has been debunked, yet again. Grow up.

      Delete
    9. 8:20,
      You realize YOU are the one Bob is chastising for not listening to “the Others”, right?

      Delete
    10. 8:20,
      Why can’t you respect the opinions of those who think the Democratic Party are Marxist commies, who want to destroy Capitalism?

      Delete
  8. "For the blue tribe to which we belong, this incipient civil war concerns "a woman's right to control her own body." For those who reside in the other (red) tribe, this incipient civil war concerns the killing of an "unborn child."

    As has been pointed out in other places, choice used to be bipartisan, as was anti-abortion activism. It only became a red state obsession when the religious right convince Republicans that it would bring out conservative voters. Those who are serious about choice were then forced into the Democratic party, which has made choice (not abortion) a plank since the Republicans adopted the pro-lifers as their mascots.

    There remain Democrats who are anti-abortion but I'm not sure how many Republicans are pro-choice given the right-wing insistence on party discipline. Notably, many Hispanic Catholics and working class descendents of immigrants from Catholic countries in Europe are still anti-choice Democrats, notably Irish and Italian Americans. But these anti-choice elements in both parties are a minority in our country which supports choice 61-66% in various polls.

    Women are already registering to vote in higher numbers because of this issue. Somerby may be discounting the support for abortion rights, even on the right, among women of child-bearing age. There are practical realities that women live but men only talk about. And that may make a bigger difference during the midterms, when women will vote their self-interest regardless of right-wing fund-raising on this issue.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Each tribe is inclined to see things in its own way, and in no other way."

    This is incorrect. It implies that liberals are unaware of the viewpoints of the so-called other tribe. That is factually wrong for many of us, who do follow what the right is saying and are well-aware of what they believe. We are liberal because we do not accept or believe what those others do, not because we don't know examine their beliefs.

    It becomes a tautology to say that liberals are liberal because they believe liberal beliefs, when what makes someone liberal is not tribe membership but holding those very beliefs and not conservative beliefs.

    Examining and rejecting what conservatives think is not the same as rejecting them without examination. Liberals have reasons for why they believe what they do, beyond simple opposition to conservatives.

    Somerby himself gives liberals no respect when he implies that this is a matter of being divided into two groups, with no other basis for differences of opinion.

    I am not conservative because I consider their beliefs wrong and I dislike their methods.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I appreciate the shout-out to Lincoln's Second Inaugural.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lincoln was absolutely brutal to The South, showed no mercy, then as chattel slavery seemed to be solved, turned his concern to wage slavery.

      Lincoln was then assassinated and now wage slavery is how most of us live.

      Delete
  11. “Should we learn to respect the opinions of Others? Especially under prevailing circumstances, we're suggesting the answer is yes.”

    You mean like the belief that Biden stole the 2020 election? You mean like the belief that liberals are pedophiles and groomers? Or perhaps you mean the belief that climate change is a lie from the pit of hell? These are all beliefs espoused by a not inconsiderable number of Republicans.

    The right answer is for liberals to find a way of persuading voters that liberal views are the correct ones and the preferable ones, not capitulating to nonsensical Republican beliefs.

    And besides, where do conservatives generally get their beliefs? Somerby himself has said that they are victims, presumably victims of Fox News and other such right wing media/propaganda outlets.
    And Fox News spends 24 hours a day seven days a week demonizing liberals. So no matter how well-intentioned, factual and bipartisan a liberal might want to be, the message will never get through the right wing noise machine, a fact that Somerby never bothers to discuss or even mention.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Overturning Roe v. Wade has nothing to do with any tribes. It's just common sense, dear Bob. In our humble opinion.

    ...as for winning this or that, house or senate, that may very well be a moot point, dear Bob. Because the Big War you mislabeled as "Mr Trump's War" is being actively instigated by your tribe's bosses. In case you haven't noticed.

    So, tsk, no more Novembers, we're afraid...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In defense of Republican Congresspeople, Putin will cut them from his payroll if they push back on his war.

      Delete
    2. Mao,
      Relax. Some troll who goes by the name Mao Cheng Ji assured me that there are no tribes and there are only citizens.
      Take it up with that loser, but you might want to be strapped, because he's armed.

      Delete
  13. Abortion was supported by Republicans, they were the majority deciding Roe. Abortion was even supported by the Southern Baptists and other conservative religious organizations.

    Republicans being concerned about "killing an unborn child" is relatively recent (since the late 70s), and not based on values or ideology, but on political expediency. It was not until abortion was weaponized towards racial oppression that suddenly right wingers were onboard with opposing it, it was when Bob Jones University's tax exempt status was threatened because they did not allow interracial dating.

    Furthermore, over 90% of abortions are done at the zygote/embryo stage - a non sentient, non viable clump of cells. Abortion is demonstrably not the "killing of an unborn child".

    We do not see Somerby attacking leftist journalism, like The American Prospect or the myriad of leftist New Media; he attacks neoliberal corporate media but not in a meaningful way, he nitpicks and his attacks are just used as weapons to bash those he disagrees with or is jealous of.

    ReplyDelete
  14. When you start with an blurry construct you admit you don't
    understand, it's a long shot your going to come up with something more clear. Bob is no Rich Strike here.
    It is interesting that Bob points to the 90s as the time it all started to fall apart on both sides. He might want to go
    back and read his archives. Overwhelmingly, the
    downward slope in ethics favored the right, and it's
    only swimming with current tide that makes him
    forget it.
    It's important for Bob not to notice things like
    The Republican's having their convention at the
    White House, because then he would have to find
    something equally offensive on the left, and these
    things don't exist.
    The great values break down eventually
    hit the Howler, and Bob's common decency
    collapsed when he decided he would only critique
    leftish vendors.
    Anyway, it's fun for us oldsters to think back on
    the famous of our youth and marvel about ones
    now long forgotten. Probably bad place to start
    a post though.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "they stated the need to extend "decent respect to the opinions of [hu]mankind."

    I suppose now Somerby will expect us to debate the humanity of Republicans.

    (He has cleaned up their language, which omitted women, but I think the original wording should be retained so that folks will remember that not everything important is part of the constitution/declaration of independence. Women and their rights were left out.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes Bob. Intolerance of fascism is the nation's real problem.

    Mao,
    Bob's schooling you on how to troll.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "Trump kept asking national security officials if China had a secret hurricane gun and was shooting hurricanes at the US."

    From Politicus

    ReplyDelete
  18. There is a baby formula shortage but the Republicans want to "increase the supply of infants"?

    A fetus is a human life to them, but they want to have a larger supply for those who wish to adopt, which sounds a whole lot like baby-selling and child slavery. A fetus cannot be simultaneously a human being and a commodity whose "supply" is monitored.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "“If you wanted to kill a bunch of MAGA voters in the middle of the heartland, how better than to target them and their kids with this deadly fentanyl?… It does look intentional. It’s like Joe Biden wants to punish the people who didn’t vote for him and opening up the floodgates to the border is one way to do it.”

    — J.D. Vance (R), in an interview with Gateway Pundit."

    These are the people Somerby says we should respect.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "Senate GOP puts up roadblocks to bipartisan House bill for veterans’ burn pit care"

    These are the people we are supposed to respect?

    ReplyDelete
  21. "Norm Eisen has co-authored a new book about Trumpism, which boils the phenomenon to seven key traits:

    1. Disdain for ethics

    2. Assault on the rule of law

    3. Incessant lying and disinformation

    4. Shamelessness

    5. Pursuit of personal and political interest, not the public interest

    6. Exploitation and exacerbation of division

    7. Attack on democracy itself

    In an op-ed, he and his co-author Colby Galliher describe how these characteristics appear in the personalities and campaigns of such mini-Trumps and senatorial candidates Mehmet Oz and Herschel Walker."

    This is what we are supposed to respect, according to Somerby.

    That isn't possible for me. Somerby should be aiming his free time and repetitive chiding at the Republicans, the people who are engaging in this behavior. We liberals are not the problem in America today.

    ReplyDelete