The Futility of Sanctions

Forgive me, but I was going to write my thoughts on the state of the American economy. It was to be a follow-up to last week’s post on the Russian economy; or more specifically, on the Russian psyche and why they won’t buckle under Western pressure.

Yesterday however, the Congress passed, and the president signed, a new law creating even more sanctions. This is beyond foolish. Clearly President Trump didn’t want to sign this bill but he lacked the votes in the Congress to sustain his veto. Therefore he made a virtue out of necessity and indicated that whole swaths of the bill were clearly unconstitutional. The implication is that he was going to challenge this in the Supreme Court.

Now, this goes against my inclinations as I don’t believe it’s the province of the Supreme Court to act as a referee between the two democratically elected branches of the government but that’s a story for another day. In the meantime, the Court has arrogated toitself this power and since the president has no other recourse presently, he might as well take advantage of this opportunity.

Now back to the sanctions. They will prove to be hugely unpopular in due time. Rex Tillerson, the secretary of State clearly sees how this ties his hands diplomatically. Worse, as a businessman with enormous experience in Russia, he sees how this puts American business at a huge disadvantage. Businessmen who can’t do business very often do desperate things and fall into all sorts of regulatory traps; it’s not too hard to envision one or more being caught breaking some obscure law in order to get around these obstacles.

What’s even more ironic about this action is that the Europeans urged our Congress to not impose any more sanctions and to even consider lessening the ones that have already been imposed. They’ve even gone so far as to say that they won’t abide by this new set. This makes me think that they are already avoiding the present ones. If so, then it’s to our economic detriment.

There are many reasons but the fact remains that the present set of sanctions have not worked and in fact, made the Russians more resilient in ways that were not obvious to us when they were first imposed. The so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) consortium has been working overtime to get around the present dollar-based reserve currency system that presently props up the world economy.

Instead, what the Neocon/Neoliberals are unwittingly declaring a trade war with one of the West’s biggest trading partners. This was something the Establishment wing of the Republican Pary and the Neoliberal faction of the Democrats inveighed against constantly during the campaign against. We were told that trade wars were never good. Fair enough; point taken. But now they themselves have declared one and tied the hands of the Commander-in-Chief. Does anyone not see the irony in this?

The argument against Trump’s protectionist policies were valid; if nothing else, we can always lose a trade war. Then why start one with the world’s largest nuclear power? It’s not that Moscow is without its own assets.

Consider: President Trump assured the Poles that Russia was not the only game in town when it came to the importation of liquified natural gas. This is true as far as it goes. But Russia has less fixed costs, namely land-based pipelines with multiple points of entry. One can go through the Ukraine directly to Poland and another can go through Turkey, from there to be picked up by Greece and transported via Bulgaria to Hungary. Each of these countries would get a cut.

Regardless of which route is used, the cost to the Poles and the Germans would be less than American LNG all things being equal. Then again, each of the named countries would get their cut as Russian LNG made its transit to Western Europe. Which way do you think the Europeans will look: to Washington or to Moscow?

So what will happen? Several scenarios spring to mind.

1) trade wars could result in shooting wars, either through the principles or their proxies.

2) the sactions will peter out in time. This will be dependent upon how much pressure American businessmen will bring to bear on Congressmen to look the other way as they go about their business.

3) more American businessmen will set up more dummy corporations in countries that don’t have sanctions against Russia or are passively undermining them.

Regardless, the futility of this set of sanctions will become apparent in due time. The question at that point will be what new provocation(s) will the War Party in Congress employ in order to further “punish” Russia for their illusory involvement in our elections?

Desperate men can be dangerous men. Regardless, just because one is desperate doesn’t mean one is stupid. Surely there are cooler heads who know that our European allies don’t have their hearts in the present sanction regime. That’s clear enough; no doubt they’ll do everything in their power to take advantage of our own self-imposed trade restraints going forth from the present set of sanctions.

Having said that, if things go south and the war-drums of DC are pounded, What makes our leaders think that the Europeans would have itchy trigger fingers as well? Certainly not because of “democracy”. As things stand now, many of our allies have nationalist fifth columns within them that openly look towards Moscow for relief from the present migrant invasion. Just how reliable of allies do the warmongers think say, Poland, or Hungary will be when their marching orders are received?

Case in point: during the manufactured Bosnian crisis of the 90s, NATO troops had to pass through Greece. Ordinary Greek citizens sabotaged street signs which diverted many companies from reaching their destination in time. This action may have allowed the Russian contingent to pull a Patton and arrive at their destination before NATO, thereby shutting off the West from further encroachments.

Military alliances are replete with anecdotes such as this. Already the former Soviet Bloc (now) NATO allies are not completely on board with the Neoliberal agenda, especially when Neoliberalism means abortion on demand and homosexual “pride” parade which features floats of men openly fellating each other in front of God and everybody.

My guess is that not only will Russia refuse to buckle but will become even more emboldened in the eastern Ukraine. And the EU will look the other way. Time will tell.

Comments

  1. P. Antonio Arganda says:

    If the “deep thinkers” in Foggy Bottom think that they are weakening Putin, they are in for a rude shock. The ones who have been weakened in Russia are the Navalnys , the Khodorkovskys and their like. Once Putin turns over power , I expect that it will be to someone who makes Putin look soft by comparison. The only thing they are doing is digging the US’ own grave.

    • MexicanChekistAlert says:

      Soft? Soft like this you mean?

      I challenge the ignoramuses of Monomakhos to confront what everyone (who matters) already knows about Putin. Never mind the stuff only a few in the free world’s IC know.

      So what are you suggesting, padre? That you yourself oppose Alexei Navalny and M. Khodorkovsky? That you prefer Putin to them? Or maybe you prefer someone even worse than Putin? Curious about what you think the “deep thinkers” should do to genuinely weaken Putin, assuming you even want that. Or do you suggest the West just roll over and appease him? That sounds familiar.

      • P. Antonio Arganda says:

        You completely miss the point. It is not about what Russia should do but rather about what the US is doing and where it will lead. Russia is not the lame post soviet regime of Yeltsin any more. US miscalculation will lead to further weakining US influence.

        • Bonhoeffer says:

          Did I miss the point? Or is it that you want to dodge the question and hope that goes unnoticed. I’m leaning to the latter now.

          Note that I asked you this: “Curious about what you think the “deep thinkers” should do to genuinely weaken Putin, assuming you even want that. Or do you suggest the West just roll over and appease him? That sounds familiar.”

          What should the US do? You brought this up. Should they strengthen Putin, as Trump is doing, in what seems to more and more of us like every conceivable way in his power? This could potentially be seen as a rational policy position (in the right hands, though not these guys’), because as you note darker and harder, insanely nihilistic elements await in the shadows there, that’s for sure. And no one who’s informed would deny that.

          Or, if not, and containment remains the best strategy — consider answering and not dodging the question.

          First, what’s wrong, in your view, with carefully targeted American (and EU) sanctions as counter-incentives vs. egregious and destabilizing violations of international law (Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, — Byelorussia next, probably, and soon)? What’s wrong with the Magnitsky Act, which seems to hit Putin right where he and his cronies live?

          Second, what should the US and EU do instead to discourage any more of their neo-Anschlusserei? And why do you think it is that most of Russia’s neighbors have clamored for admission into NATO?

          I will decline to take your bait on the difference between Okhrana and Cheka. I’m more interested in ascertaining whether you know it, or if you are in fact as confused and double-minded as you sound. I can’t discern yet if your serial ambiguities are due more to confusion than something more questionable.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Mike, why should we care about Putin’s “Aunschlusserie” at all? Don’t we have enough problems here of our own?

            Right now there are millions of native Europeans who wish Putin could send in his armies and overthrow the EU –just like Czar Alexander I did to Napoleon.

      • P. Antonio Arganda says:

        Can’t tell the difference between the Okhrana and the Cheka? Go back to school,.

  2. Butthurt.

    If the Russians didn’t meddle; they’d be prosecuting the meddlers and apologizing.

    Instead; denial.

    Hard to see your man love crushes fighting or even the appearance.

    Butthurt is the first word that came to mind when I read the essay. Why don’t you write some commentary that I can applaud you for?

  3. Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:

    So……no more sanctions of Iran?

  4. lexcaritas says:

    George, if the President believes the sanctions bill to be unconstitutional he had a duty to veto it and explain why and also why it is bad policy. I cant’ agree that the Supreme Court is always the one arrogating power to itself to resolve disputes between the Legislative and Executive Branches. Too often those branches shirk their duty and enable–even ask–the Court to do so.

    It looks to me like the Donald’s presidency is doomed. Mueller is on the loose as a full employment program for former Clinton and Obama staffers and Democrat operatives with an unbounded scope and unlimited budget. It will in time bring the administration down because enough Republicans won’t stand with it. The whole idea of an independent prosecutor is detrimental to the balance of power and the meaning of elections. If the President is at fault, impeachment is the remedy–not fishing and independent prosecution.

    Another duty the administration had–assuming the claims made during the campaign had any basis in fact–was to prosecute Mrs. Clinton and go after the Clinton Foundation. instead it’s been crickets making it seem that it was all made up–like the Republicans claim for seven years to have an alternative to The “Affordable Care” Act–which was about insurance not care and makes both insurance and care anything but affordable. But as we’ve seen they, in fact, had no plan–as the Democrats and media told us. I thought they were lying, but it appears it was the Republicans after all.

    Now, to the extent that they have any valid plans they can’t get them through–because of the “filibuster” rule-=which even our own “conservative” Senator Lankford doesn’t want done away with–but it certainly should be–unless it’s a real, ongoing, non-stop floor debate.

    The other thing that should have happened and hasn’t: every appointee of the former administration should have been required to tender his resignation and if the positions can’t be filled without Senate approval they should remain vacant. It will save money and stop further mischief.

    May the Lord help us turn and repent–without which we are doomed in shorter order than many of us imagine.

    lexcaritas

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Lex, in the ordinary run of things, I would agree with you completely. Mueller must be fired and/or exposed as the shill that he is and his whole operation shut down; on that we are agreed.

      Having said that, here is why I don’t agree with you (or at least can see another way out for The Trumpster). This is a little complicated and past results don’t guarantee future events but here goes:

      From Nov 8-Apr 6, those of us in the New Right were giddy with excitement. Ecstatic really. Then Trump unleashed 58 Tomahawks on Syria. I for one, was dejected. Millions of us who voted for him felt a deep sense of betrayal, in that we felt that the Neocons had somehow hijacked his Administration. For five solid weeks the Corporate Media gushed with effusive praise; if nothing else, Trump had exorcised the demon of Putinism as far as they were concerned.

      Then what? Lot of other things happened which brought the Right back to Trump and Trump to the Right, etc, thereby pissing off the Deep State, etc, etc, etc.

      Then Trump met with Putin at G20 in Hamburg, had a tete-a-tete with him, and a cease-fire has broken out in Syria, all on Russia’s terms.

      So what happened in the interim (before Trump met with Putin)? Here’s what I think:

      The Tomahawks revealed the overwhelming unpopularity for Neoconservitism that McMaster didn’t think existed. It exposed fault lines in the American body politic that did not exist after 9/11 and exacerbated them. In other words, it became a one-off; even the Neocons couldn’t revive the old Bushian spirit of ‘Muricanism that we so enthusiastically expressed back in 2002 as we marched off to Make Iraq Democratic Again.

      Since then, McMaster’s position as NSC has eroded again significantly. So has Neoconservatism.

      So why do I feel so hopeful? Because events are blowing Trump’s nationalistic way. Not just in America but all over the world. Did you see where Netanyahu came out against George Soros? Bibi backed Viktor Orban, the rightist president of Hungary in his crusade against Soros’ globalist plans for that country. Brexit is being slow-walked but it is being walked. Even Macron is making nationalist noises. Trump is not the author of this Zeitgeist but he was clever enough to catch on to it when he contemplated his run for the presidency several years ago. And since then he’s only doubled down on it.

      So what’s my point? The Tomahawks were a tactical retreat for Trump. So too I believe the Russia sanctions bill. Its inherent weaknesses will become apparent in due time and before you know it, the Senate will stop crowing about it. I’d give it a year before it becomes a dead letter.

      Anyway, that’s my hope. As for the Europeans, I guarantee you that they will be drawn even closer to the Russians because of this Neocon nonsense. I’d like to say you read it here first but David Goldman (aka Spengler) beat me to the punch by about 48 hours.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Lex, if I may add, I’m not a lawyer (so any of you who are lawyers please feel free to correct me), but the fact that Mueller is adding new lawyers every day tells me one of two things: 1) he’s discovering a lot of wrongdoing and needs the additional help or 2) he’s finding nothing and he hopes that by casting a wider net something will turn up.

        I’m going with #2 and I’ll tell you why. I juts found out that several of the lawyers on Mueller’s panel are taking out malpractice insurance because they’re liable for being sued by Manafort or Trump, Jr (or whoever else) if and when the cases against them fail.

        That’s one reason. Another is that in the last Special Counsel case, against the W Administration, Patrick Fitzgerald (the SC) knew from the start who it was that leaked Valerie Plame’s name. It was Establishment stalwart Richard Armitage and he wanted to come forward and confess in order to stop the witch hunt. (BTW, Plame was a known CIA desk-jockey so no crime was committed but that’s a story for another day.)

        Anyway, Fitzgerald told him to not say a word because he wanted to see if he could bag somebody higher in the Administration, preferably Dick Cheney or even Bush. Instead, the highest he got was Scooter Libby, C’heney’s Chief-of-Staff. The comparison between Fitzgerald and Mueller is that Fitzgerald pretty much had the case sown up from the first couple of days in that he knew who “leaked” Plame’s name and thus he didn’t waste any time hiring more and more lawyers.

        Anyway, Mueller will find something. As the old saw goes, “it’s easy to indict a ham sandwich”. And with a grand jury impaneled in DC, it’s a foregone conclusion that some picayune law will have been found which some Trump operative will have broken. Whether it will rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” is a whole other ball of wax.

        Again, this is my layman’s view of the big picture. I’d like to hear opposing view points, especially from any lawyers out there.

        • If it is easy to indict a hammy; just imagine how easy it will be to indict money launderers.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            Isn’t it curious that all of a sudden America is beating the war drums against North Korea? And that both China and Russia voted along with the rest of the Security Council in support of sanctions against North Korea?

            Remember last week when I wrote that Trump and Putin had come to an agreement at the G20 in Hamburg? Russia gets a free hand in Syria while the US handles the Korean peninsula.

            Looks like that 2 1/2 hour meeting between Putin and Trump was pretty substantive. I would go so far as to say that Trump told Putin he couldn’t do anything about the sanctions against Russia but that given enough time, they’d be a dead letter.

            • George says:Isn’t it curious all of sudden America is beating the war drums against North Korea? Two words come to mind George: CHA CHING! War machine must operate 24/7 George, or the Pigs of War won’t get fed. If there’s not a new mad man every decade for us to point our missiles at, we always rehash Putin, Iran, or North Korea. War Pigs must have their Bogey man! End of The Cold War left a void.

              Now in darkness world stops turning
              Ashes where bodies burning
              No more War Pigs have the power,
              Hand of God has struck the hour
              Day of Judgement, God is calling
              On their knees the war pigs crawling,
              Begging mercies for their sins
              Satan laughing, spreads his wings
              Oh Lord, yea!-“Lyrics/Band:War Pigs-Black Sabbath

              Sorry to bring such a dark band on to your blog, but that song will ring true some day, if we don’t force our governments to get into a new line of business. One day someone will flinch, and pull the trigger, and there will be no going back. No matter how bad we think things are now, nothing will compare with a world of ash!

              Page two: The bile you feel for the do-gooder Liberals by the way is warranted. In regards to our education system,the latest:Some Oregon nut job school board, found it offensive that their black students had to endure the reality that their schools contain the word Lynch. Example Lynch Wood, Lynch Brook, Lynch View. Apparently they don’t believe their teachers can teach the difference between one being hung, and the family name Lynch, which donated hundreds of acres to the school district, long ago. Not that the children even cared, but hey it sure made those liberals feel warm and fuzzy inside, knowing yet again they fought racism. Days we will yearn for if the bombs start dropping!

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Re North Korea, this reminds me of Ike’s tenure as president. He was not a globalist or a crusader in search of foreign adventures and he certainly screwed over the central bankers with the Suez debacle but he had to give them something in return, which I believe was the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran. He also didn’t come to the aid of France in Vietnam.

                I guess what I’m saying is that it’s a mixed bag.

              • Bonhoeffer says:

                Those of us who bore the fierce heat of the day get a big kick out of all you phony born-again peaceniks & your bogus-virtue signaling, the dog whistles to the alt-right boys and the destroyers. It’s nauseating to watch you roll on your backs and expose your underbellies for a rub. I realize you can’t see this, but what a major league barf you induce. Trust me on that.

                You’re “peaceniks” with respect to the abroad, now (& how astute!), although we can’t help but observe how you raven (publicly!) to shed blood here at home. An old story and you’re fooling no one who’s sane. Seen it all before. Haters hate, it’s what they do. When and where they can.

                We sneer at your hypocrisy because we know how nearly every one of y’all were hung-ho about each bout of US adventurism abroad, when opposition to arrogant madness actually mattered: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Central America, Iran, Afghanistan & Iraq. To name a few.

                And now … what a surprise! Look at you, on the dark and clueless side yet again, all in for Trump! Who coulda guessed?

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  I’ll let Dino speak for himself but you’re being unfair to the Paleo-right going all the way back to the America Firsters. (and the newer Alt.right) They always were against foreign intervention. It was the Neocons who hijacked the right. Foolishly, I bought into their propaganda when it came to Iraq because they presented Iraq as a clear and present danger. (Although I was against intervention in Serbia.)

                  • Generalize much Bonhoeffer? Just put us all in one bag? That’s the problem today, common sense no longer common. It’s all in one way or the other, left or right. Trump the racist without a clue or Clinton the crook without a message. No let’s simply make a choice for our candidate and hope for the best whomever the winner might be. Just drooling for Trump to fail so you can say I told you so. Such a patriot you are.

                    With the exception of the Iraq wars, the others were before my time. The second Iraqi adventure I was always against and take no pleasure in being right when my nation was wrong. Now a little older I understand why most wars are fought. Short of WW2 all other conflicts were scandalous at worse short sighted at best. May I suggest quit with the condensending comments, in your attempts to make a point. Just plain rude.

                    • Bonhoeffer says:

                      So, if I understand you, you would claim some high ground of common sense, you, the guy who’s “drooled” many times in the past few months on this blog over the prospect of state violence against American who publicly oppose your Trump and his disastrous decisions? As you clearly don’t seem to have much use for lawful protests, maybe citizenship in Russia would be more your speed. Something to consider.

                      Most of the significant, organized protests happen on weekends. In case you honestly haven’t noticed this, I’m happy to illumine you. Your continuously repeated caricatures about the social position and general demographics of Trump’s opposition are too stupid for comment. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

                      Trump has already failed, miserably, alarmingly. He isn’t up to the job in any way and never will be. The debacle that he and his Administration are, and which they threaten to the whole world and the future of the US, only gets worse and worse. That you and many here willfully persist in remaining so woefully misinformed about and perhaps even incapable of grasping these dire facts merely underlines our point about the judgment of Trump voters. To still support these guys at this point is simply not an adult position. To do it as a “Christian” is a sign of the times.

                      If you read more carefully what I actually wrote, you might be able to see that I didn’t claim both of you had been all in on the stupid wars. That honor would go to George — or almost all of them, anyway. Re: the issue of your submissive complicity in the racket behind much bloodshed abroad, I don’t know, nor did I claim I did. You’re being defensive, though I realize I can bring that out in certain people sometimes. I was suggesting that others here were — I had in mind other priests, specifically. They know who they are. But over the years many of the regulars have shown their hand on this, too. (I’ll concede that I ought to have written something closer to “many of you”, rather than “nearly everyone of you”. And I thank you for this stimulus to even greater accuracy on my part.)

                      What I did say with respect to the two of you was that you had both unambiguously shown yourselves eager for some rumbling & bloodshed here, now, if not abroad anymore (as in our host’s case). That is to say, eager for our blood, we the protesters and principled opposition to this man and his madness. And behold, your wish is being granted, though only indirectly by the state. Enjoy the really ugly consequences of that.

                      Your apparent idea of patriotism, i.e., that it is some loathsome bootlicking of a wannabe jumped-up autocrat and supine consent to his (or Putin’s) will, well — we disagree with that very strongly. Get used to that. This is America and it’s not how we roll here. As you’re about to see.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Mike, in what ways has Trump “failed already,” “alarmingly, disastrously”?

                      1. Unemployment is at a 9 year low.

                      2. Disastrous trade deals are being renegotiated.

                      3. Manufacturing plants are returning to the Rust Belt.

                      4. A cease-fire has taken hold in Syria.

                      5. Trump brilliantly steered North Korea’s belligerence away from the US, Japan, and South Korea and directed it towards Guam, only to have Kim blink on Guam. Amazing, if you think about it.

                      6. The stock market is at an all-time high.

                      7. The Federal Judiciary is being stocked with brilliant conservative judges.

                      8. Planned Parenthood is actually being defunded.

                      9. Consumer and business confidence is at an all-time high.

                      10. Illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle.

                      11. Funding for the first part of the Border Wall is already passed.

                      12. Dozens of Executive Orders have passed and all challenges to those dealing with immigration bans have been eviscerated by the Supreme Court.

                      13. Shia LeBoeuf, Chelsea Handler, Kathy Griffin, et al are having massive, ugly and very public nervous breakdowns. Sappy, insipid “public service announcements” by bewildered liberals are being made thus providing us with a permanent record of their derangement. Those alone are worth the price of a Trump victory.

                      14. The Neocons continue to be shut out of the Administration (with the exception of H R McMaster but word on the street is that he’s losing it).

                      15. No needless provocations and/or military actions against Russia. That alone is the best thing of all.

                      And these are just off the top of my head. So tell me, how do you define “success”?

                      Failures:

                      1. Obamacare not repealed or replaced (although I do think it’s going to die a miserable death regardless).

                      2. Tens of thousands of celebrities have not yet left for Canada.

                      What do I hope for the future? A beautiful Wall, about 30 feet high and twenty feet wide. I’d like to see trebouchets on our side situated every one hundred yards. In them would be liberals who would be bound and then at a set signal, would be hurled over the Wall to Mexico. Hopefully, they would clear it. If not, oh well.

                      OK, I’m sorry for that last one. My evil twin Skippy put that one in.

                      Seriously though, in the grand sweep of history, perhaps the one thing Trump will be remembered for is the solidification of the American identity of which the border is a huge part. No more of this “Aztlan” or La Raza business.

                      If you all will allow me a serious digression: I dare say that the very term “Hispanic” will cleave into two distinct demographics: Iberian and mestizo. I’m still thinking about this one so give me some time to develop it. The contours of this cleavage which I see on the horizon are basically this: the Iberian part (about 35% of the Hispanic whole) will self-identify as Anglo (or white) and will vote Republican since GOP voting will increasingly become a proxy for white identity, in much the same way that the Democrat Party is a proxy for black and Jewish identity. The mestizo majority will further subdivide into national origin (Guatemalan, Salvadorean, Mexican, etc.) Within this group, intermarriage among the lighter skinned ones with the Anglo majority will accelerate, thereby further diluting the Latino grievance industry.

                      Now I realize that the cuckservatives have the long knives out for Trump and are looking for any excuse to remove him one way or the other, but Trumpism itself, or what would rather call Americanist Identity isn’t going anywhere. The minority grievance groups that propelled Obama to power are not going to coalesce in any meaningful way in the near future. One reason is because Trump won and short-circuited the entire demographic displacement process that would have gone on under Hillary.

                      I’ll write more about the Leftist Grievance Coalition at a future time, right now the Liturgy for the Dormition awaits!

                      Ciao!

                    • Mischaracterize much Bonhoeffer? Perhaps in the absence of Mike Meyers,(thought he was gone for good?) you did not notice my strong disagreements with Misha on issues such as treatment of women, and violence against Muslims. But, in your presence of Mike Myers you should have noticed that George and I disagree on many topics. Confederate statues to name one, and, allowing peaceful protests, not riots, peaceful protest would be two. Russia is a mixed bag for me as well.

                      After reading George’s list above, I can understand how a left leaning liberal would see Trump’s long list of accomplishments, in a short period of time to be a failure. Not on the President’s part, but in the fact that all the protests, riots, federal employee traitors, nearly all state, and federal representatives, and last but not least our friends in the oh so unbiased, and noble news media(profits have never been so good), have not stopped said accomplishments. I can understand your frustration.

                      Now let’s talk about your too stupid to comment, comment. Every time I witness riots, and most peaceful protests, regardless from the left or right, I witness a lot of stupid. If you want to associate yourself with that, well go right ahead. If fact one of the reasons I told George to go easy on the leftist protesters, is that everyday average working voters, view this stupidity, will want nothing to do with the likes of their party affiliations, and thus more votes lost, in future elections, for your friends.

                      Now let’s talk about eager for blood. It will be the only way to stop Trump in the next 3.25 years. Murmurs not from isolated wackos, like those rednecks who wanted to lynch Obama, but murmurs from media, and those in the Deep State, ex and current employees. Never have I see such a unabashed display in the history of the media, and our Government. Go back to being Myers, that would be gone…

                    • Nate Trost says:

                      Ooh, a list. I find it hard to resist a list. These list of items fall into a shorter number of subcategories.

                      Continuing Trends That Haven’t Reversed Under Trump (Yet…)

                      1. Unemployment is at a 9 year low.
                      6. The stock market is at an all-time high.
                      9. Consumer and business confidence is at an all-time high.
                      10. Illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle.

                      The problem with crowing about these, is that if you look at the trend line for the past several years, it isn’t that these suddenly got better under Trump, it is that so far, they are continuing as they have under Trump. So far. So really, the best you can say is “Trump hasn’t screwed the markets up yet”, and that’s got to be a nerve wracking place to be in if you follow his twitter feed. It’s also entertaining how the exact same metrics (unemployment, illegal immigration) which were denounced as fake on January 19 are magically valid on January 20.

                      That Is Not How It Works

                      2. Disastrous trade deals are being renegotiated.

                      The US has either abandoned its seat at the table for certain deals, or is starting a process (NAFTA) which will take years and is uncertain to end up with a better result. There is an inverse correlation between thinking Trump is doing something positive on this front and actually knowing anything about international trade deals.

                      Citation Needed

                      3. Manufacturing plants are returning to the Rust Belt.

                      This needs more specifics, because, you know, things like the Carrier ‘deal’ turned out to be total trash several months later. America continues to make more stuff with less people, and new manufacturing plants sometimes replace old ones that employed more people. It is 2017:
                      https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MANEMP
                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/rise-of-the-machines/2017/08/05/631e20ba-76df-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html

                      Pure Fantasy

                      4. A cease-fire has taken hold in Syria.
                      5. Trump brilliantly steered North Korea’s belligerence away from the US, Japan, and South Korea and directed it towards Guam, only to have Kim blink on Guam. Amazing, if you think about it.
                      15. No needless provocations and/or military actions against Russia. That alone is the best thing of all.

                      Ceasefire, hahaha, no. The US and Russia supposedly have an understanding about a certain area in Syria involving certain groups. Not only is this unlikely to hold any better than previous cease fires, it is not all encompassing and the Trump Administration is not going to help matters if they ‘decertify’ Iran’s nuclear deal compliance status as Trump has threatened to do in the near future. And that’s just one of the landmines!

                      North Korea? I don’t even know where to start. It’s cute that you think North Korea actually launching on Guam wouldn’t count as an attack on the US. Or that they would do so at this juncture. Or that South Korea or Japan would be safe if things went kinetic. Or that this situation is anywhere near resolved or safe, due to Trump constantly creating new red lines and bombast and moving towards a situation in the future where he has to either step down lose face or enact action.

                      And military action against Russia? Seriously, the only way you believe in this delusion is if you imbibe from web sites that derive takes and policy from Russian propaganda instead of the actual IR/foreign policy establishment.

                      Difference of Opinion

                      7. The Federal Judiciary is being stocked with brilliant conservative judges.

                      One man’s ‘brilliant conservative judge’ is another mans ‘guy who anonymously wrote crackpot blogs and is now headed for the federal bench’.

                      Appropriations Does Not Work That Way

                      8. Planned Parenthood is actually being defunded.
                      11. Funding for the first part of the Border Wall is already passed.

                      It is premature to claim that either of these things has happened. In both cases they have been attached to some legislation passed by the House. Revisit this when the actual appropriation bills are signed by Trump after passing Congress.

                      That Is Not What Happened

                      12. Dozens of Executive Orders have passed and all challenges to those dealing with immigration bans have been eviscerated by the Supreme Court.

                      We’ve been over this before, I don’t know what universe a partial lifting of the stay against the travel ban pending the Supreme Court hearing the case counts as ‘eviscerated’. The Court even had to go back and tell the Trump Administration they applied the Court’s partial lift too liberally.

                      Not All Hawks Are Neocons and the Danger of Trump’s Vanity

                      14. The Neocons continue to be shut out of the Administration (with the exception of H R McMaster but word on the street is that he’s losing it).

                      As I’ve said before, you need to be less worried about ‘Neocons’ and more worried about about much adulation and praise and ‘looking Presidential’ Trump receives when he orders the US military to do stuff. And not all hawks are neocons, some could care less about spreading democracy or neoliberalism or any such things. They just want to bomb Iran.

                      As for non-list stuff, well…

                      George Michalopulos wrote
                      If you all will allow me a serious digression: I dare say that the very term “Hispanic” will cleave into two distinct demographics: Iberian and mestizo. I’m still thinking about this one so give me some time to develop it.

                      Every time you opine on these matters, you sound like you’re reheating hot takes from a bunch of white nationalists spinning grand racial theories over copious amounts of booze.

                      George Michalopulos wrote
                      GOP voting will increasingly become a proxy for white identity

                      The people who viewed ‘white identity’ as a thing jumped to the GOP a long, long time ago.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Nate, while I will concede that my point re Gorsuch and conservative judges is an opinion (i.e. conservative judges are better than liberal ones) all my other points based as they are on reality, stand.

                      As of right now most economic indicators are up. As of right now, a cease-fire is holding in Syria. As of right now, we aren’t provoking Russia. As of right now, manufacturers are returning to the Rust Belt. As of right now, tax receipts are up. As of right now, business/consumer confidence is up. Likewise the rise in GDP, etc.

                • Bonhoeffer, mischaracterize much? And forgive me if this posts twice, my previous comment disappeared. Anyway, I can appreciate your understanding of failure, by the long list of accomplishments of Trump, on Georges’s list, in such a short period of time. Ouch indeed!

                  In regards to violence, and perhaps in your absence as Meyers,(which told us he was gone) you missed my fervent opposition to Misha’s views on women, and violent final solutions for Muslims. In your presence as Myers you might have missed I disagree with George quite often. I don’t care for Confederate Statues, with the exception of memorials to foot soldiers. Not a fan of Putin, and, no problems with protests, and other topics as well.

                  Now granted George also has no love for Trump protesters, neither do I. Neither do I have a problem with protesters, not riots, peaceful protests. They have the right to protest,as do I. I see Trump protests and riots as plus, not a detriment to conservatives, and Trump. Why? Well most middle, and upper middle class voters do not identify with those they see in the streets, protesting, and rioting and so more and more will turn away from the politicians the protesters identify with. So keep at it.

                  So you want to talk about stupidity. I have seen a lot of stupidity on both the left and right, especially this past weekend, but most of the stupid has come from the left, with there ugly protests, and violent riots, since the election. If you want to identify with that, it is your right.

                  Finally let’s talk bloodshed. Bloodshed will be the only way y’all get rid of Trump in the next 3.25 years. Sure we heard of anonymous redneck losers seeking to lynch Obama, but never have we seen such unabashed murmurs for the blood of a President in modern history. From the oh so unbiased media, to current, and ex federal employees, to Hollywood’s elite and not so elite, the spell has been cast. Be honest with yourself, if Trump is killed, you wouldn’t be shocked at all. Yet we are the violent ones. Votes put Trump in office, your mobs seek to remove him, by any means necessary. You don’t deserve the pseudonym of the honorable Bonhoeffer, please go back to Myers, as in gone as promised.

                  • Thomas Paine says:

                    Gone for good? Said I was gone for Christmas. I get that discerning the difference between very different stuff isn’t something y’all are real good at, but you’re not rid of me so easily. Still mad at me cuz I wouldn’t play with you last time, looks like. That was because you’re half nuts, seldom coherent or interesting, and your posts are stuffed with silly cliches and empty lies. Sorry about that, bud.

                    You keep talking about rioting and violence “on the left” but I don’t know what you’re on about. If you’re referring to the Black Bloc anarchists, everyone despises them. They like to make trouble for the hell of it. I condemn that criminal crap just as almost everyone does. And speaking of lumping together, to claim a few isolated incidents, like the terrible shooting in DC, for example, has anything to do with the tens of millions in the American Resistance to Trump is stupid malice. We know better than anyone how absolutely insane any violence is under the circumstance, and how counter-productive for our goal — much less something as horrible as that was. Try again?

                    You need to wake up. Your Trump is toast: either via resignation, invocation of the 25th Amendment, being the target of a series of criminal indictments that gets him hounded out of DC on a rail, or a long-drawn out impeachment (God forbid) beginning next year, he’s outta here. The American immune system functions by rule of law, and the host rejects him. That’s all we need, the process catalyzed by our sane and informed citizenry. Evidently many of y’all simply don’t qualify. Sad! you had to prove it in public, but that was your choice, too.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      You know, we’ve been assured for two years now that Trump wouldn’t get past Iowa. Or Super Tuesday. Or secure the nomination. Or win the election.

                    • Well at least you dropped the name Bonhoeffer, much respect in your respect to the man. Now, do we not witness a Anti-Trump protest and/or riot nearly every week, since the election? These protesting cry babies, you associate with, are the alternative to Trump. Most sane Americans say no thanks to that alternative. Better to put up with an insensitive anti-pc Trump, who gives no tissue to the cry babies, than put up with the true insane racist we see marching every week. 1984 indeed. The racists screaming racism. MSM on full alert, money to be made, ratings keep getting better and better. You don’t really believe your friends on CNN really care about you or the truth do you? If our country relied upon your protester friends, to govern us, there would be long lines for bread, and longer lines for a doctors visit comrade.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      Lex, with regard to the Affordable Care Act, what the Republicans had to replace it is irrelevant, because it’s too late. It’s no longer possible to get rid of “the house Obama built” without hurting a lot of people.

      From a Republican standpoint, it is much easier to build something new where you picked the layout, the flooring, the paint, the fixtures, etc., as opposed to inheriting something that is ready to collapse and “fix it.” That’s what we’re dealing with here and if the “house” falls down, millions of people will go down with it, which would be reprehensible.

      It was a “house” that didn’t have the materials it needed to be built in the first place. It’s not entirely Obama’s fault. A lot of things that were supposed to happen, didn’t. Medicaid was not expanded, not everybody signed up for it because the premiums were too high and the Risk Corridors, designed to protect the insurers from going under, failed because the payers didn’t put enough into the risk pool to cover their collective losses. Now the payers are pulling out. When they pull out, the whole “house” will collapse because the payers are the “supporting beams.”

      You can’t “fix” a house that is this badly constructed and the government doesn’t want to spend the billions it would take to shore it up. Republications don’t want the tax payers to foot the bill, either (a “bailout), for which I am grateful.

      They need to identify why healthcare costs are so high (we actually already know) and address that. It would be infinitely less expensive than fixing or buying a new “house” at this point, but it would mean pushing healthier alternatives instead of drugging people up.

      70% of us are overweight and obesity is what leads to hypertension, diabetes and a host of other issues that puts a huge burden on healthcare because they land you in the hospital. Over the course of a year, two out of every 1,000 people will rack up $100,000 or more in medical bills and the highest costs are associated with hospital stays. The average 3 day stay is $30,000. If we could drop the obesity rate by 50%, hospital stays would drop exponentially.

      This is the Sheppard Plan: Instead of pushing pills, we should make healthy food more available, easier to fix and less expensive. Patients should be given the option to try healthier alternatives and payers should pay the same amount toward this healthier path, if selected.

      Too many people do not have the access or the means to pay for good food and THAT is why healthcare costs are so high. If you’re overweight, your medical insurance should pay for high quality food to be shipped to you through Blue Apron, Home Chef, etc. which would be a whole lot less expensive than to put you on medication. They should also pay for cooking classes, personal trainers and whole plant supplements. At the same time, the government should insist fast food chains bring up the quality of their food and penalize them if they don’t. Healthy alternatives should be priced lower (not higher) at fast food chains because they cost less.

      In the interim, the government bought that damn “house” and they should allocate the money to keep it up until we figure out how to live in a less expensive place!

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Gail, wonderful response! My only quibble is with your description of the AFA being impervious to abolition.

        If you will: you are right in the main that once a govt program is enacted it’s well-nigh impossible to overrule it. Usual reasons, etc. However Obmacare was ripe for the picking it’s just that Judas McCain wanted to screw Trump over. Anyway, he unwittingly did the GOP a favor as AFA is fixing to collapse right in time for the mid-terms in 2018. Regardless, it’s going to collapse one way or the other.

        I like the Sheppard Plan! May I suggest that the states with the greatest obesity problem institute the following regime: 1) no state taxes on nutritious foodstuffs, 2) no food-stamps for non-nutritious foodstuffs (i.e. Twinkies, Doritos, etc.), and 3) the convention of Standing Committees in the Congress (a la the Great Tobacco Hearings in the 80s) for Agribusiness, including investigating GMOs?

        Last year, I attended a continuing education seminar on obesity. It had maps of the several States based on decade with obesity rates for each state. As of the 2010s, all states had obesity rates of at least 30%. Even Third-World countries had startling obesity rates. Believe it or not, the richest country on earth (USA) had the second-highest obesity rate. You’ll never believe which country had the highest. Mexico. I kid you not. The third-highest obesity rate was Syria (!) and rounding out tenth was Turkey.

        Clearly something GMO-related is going on and it’s not good.

      • Anonymouse says:

        I reject the idea that repealing Obamacare will hurt anyone. It is simply returning to the state of things from 1776 to 2009. Taking away gibsmedats is not harmful.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Obamacare is a giant, sophisticated Ponzi scheme.

          Repealing it would at worse be exchanging one hurt-the oppression and dislocation of Obamacareless for a different type of dislocation. There is too much money and technology invested in so-called healthcare for it not to be spread around somehow. All those huge gleaming hospitals, clinics and offices have to have people to support them. Places to harvest organs and place people further into debt have to be fed.

          Just another fruit of iconoclastic modernity in which the human body is simply a biomechanical machine that has to have mechanics constantly fiddling and maintaining it.

          Take insurance (private or governmental) out of the equation and costs would plummet. Availability would suffer for awhile to be sure but no more in the long run than the rationing sure to occur under a federally controlled system. Already occuring BTW

          A system that is wholly and completely unConstitutional in every respect.

          One of the fastest growing payment methods for medical care are the cost-sharing plans. They satisfy the ACA mandate but are not insurance. Largely Christian based they rely on voluntary sharing of costs for specific health care needs as well as a required payment each month that is determined by health insurance fundamentals. Depending on the plan applicants can he rejected for smoking, drinking, or cohabitating with members of the opposite sex. The newer versions are modifying those impediments but obesity is one that they all have.

          They have been around for decades and have a good history of payment. Since Obamacareless they have been exploding.

          • George Michalopulos says:

            True that. BTW, in Wichita there’s a new concept called Atlas Medical Care or something which is completely affordable. It seems to take your philosophy of taking insurance out of the equation. Have you heard about that?

            • Gail Sheppard says:

              George, the problem with models like the Atlas Medical Plan is that they’re expensive and you have to keep your medical insurance, too.

              What does a primary care physician (internist) do if you have a suspicious lesion? He sends you to a dermatologist. Atlas doesn’t cover specialists. What does he do if you fall and hurt your back? He sends you in for diagnostic tests. Atlas doesn’t cover diagnostic tests. Same with basic lab work.

              The only thing a primary care doctor does is preventative care and order prescriptions. As you know, you can get a vaccine for $10 at a pharmacy and a telemed site, like Teledoc (NCQA accredited), can do primary care over the phone for $49.00. Within 20 minutes you can have a primary care physician or nurse practitioner on the phone. They’ll call in the prescriptions you need. You don’t have to take off work to go see them either! I wish they had had them when my kids were growing up. They’re great for rashes, conjunctivitis, tonsillitis and stuff like that because they use a form of Skype.

              When my daughter got pink eye during a holiday weekend (this was before telemed), I actually got her medication from a veterinarian friend of mine. They use the same medication on animals. She called in the prescription for Harley. I went to pick it up and the tech said, “So how’s Harley doing?” I felt a little guilty and said, “Oh, he’s fine.” The tech said, “So how old is he now? Around 35?!” I had forgotten Harley hadn’t been with us for awhile! The tech just winked and smiled.

              https://www.teladoc.com/

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Gail, thanks for the info. I’ve only heard about Atlas tangentially. I’m sure that it has it’s defects.

                On another note, what’s your take on making insurance premiums cheaper by allowing companies to cross state lines?

                • Gail Sheppard says:

                  I am absolutely in favor of allowing insurers to cross state lines, but they’re going to start dropping like flies. Payers don’t want to participate anymore.

                • Michael Bauman says:

                  George, I am surprised at you. You are sounding like a neo-con. Allowing insurance to cross state lines would do nothing but give the feds all the excuse they need to regulate insurance and healthcare even further. It would not make insurance cheaper. Repeat after me: It would not make insurance cheaper. As it is now the health insurance companies could if the wanted and we’re allowed to price actuarially down to the zip code.

                  It is a bad, bad, bad idea. In all likelyhood it would create an even bigger void in rural counties. Federalism works best.

                  They might even avoid undesirable states even more, like Kansas.

                  Here is my idea that might work: allow groups to be formed through associations like all Orthodox Churches. Get rid of the ACA altogether and use the currently available partially self-funded models created under ERISA way back when which are underwritten. Add a high risk pool on the pre-ACA Kansas model, provide refundable tax credits to create affordability.

                  If the association were big enough and stable enough they might even go fully self insured like big corps do now.

                  The problem with costs is that expectations of insureds, government regulations, price gouging by providers and their networks and idiot insurance companies make it impossible to control prices in any reasonable manner. What I do like is the increased availability of price comparison services on the internet.

                  Here in Wichita there are insurance plans that dovetail with Atlas and other primary care services (here Atlas does do labs but not specialists).

                  I have been in the health insurance business for 20 years. I can tell you factually any time the government gets involved two things happen: costs go up and coverage gets worse. The ACA implosion was entirely perdictable and was predicted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

                  More if this anon.

                  • Gail Sheppard says:

                    Micahel,

                    George was specifically talking about Obama Care and no, a payer cannot go into any state they want. In AZ there is only one plan from which to choose: Ambetter through Healthnet.

                    Why would you assume that opening up the market would lead to more federal control?

                    I haven’t seen any evidence of price gouging going on in Marketplace (Obama Care), Medicare or Medicaid. (Fraud, yes.)
                    If anything, providers are refusing to accept these plans because they are paid so little. I worked for a Fortune 500 company in this specific market and they make literally pennies on the dollar. 85% went toward caring for their members and 10% went toward administrative costs. They are now losing their shirts because they believed the Risk Corridors would help them offset their losses. It didn’t happen. The money is just not there.

                    What is breaking the bank is that too many of us are sick and people can’t afford the premiums. Healthy people, who have traditionally offset the costs of the sick, are not signing up.

                    We already have the plans that you described but they’re not comprehensive enough. I don’t think Atlas offers lab benefits. Wholesale lab and medication costs are passed on to their members. (Significantly better rates, but they are not a covered benefit.) It’s strictly primary care physician coverage and you are locked into a network.

                    If you’re one of the 70% in this country who are overweight/obese and have hypertension and diabetes, you’re going to need coverage for all sorts of specialists, as well as hospital coverage. Some of those high deductible plans are per episode of care. If you have multiple things go wrong during a given year, you pay it over and over again.

                    You really need to know what you’re doing when you sign up for coverage and too many people don’t.

                • Michael Bauman says:

                  More group carriers are going to a pricing payment model That will get rid of PPO networks altogether. They were designed initally designed to help control costs and they did until providers often in collusion with the networks found “unbundling”. The practice of pricing out each jot and tittle of a procedure instead of the procedure as a whole leading to $50 boxes of tissues; doubling the stated cost of a treatment knowing it will be reduced by at least half.

                  The $7000 sleep study I had done a few years ago was only worth $450 according to Medicare.

                  Both figures have no basis in reality.

                  All of the pricing models are wrong.

                  The whole system needs to implode so we can start over.

                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    Back in pharmacy school I did an internship at a hospital. Back then (1981) I was told that a single Tylenol tablet sold for over one dollar. Gasp!

                    • Gail Sheppard says:

                      You guys are talking about the “charge-on-order” days. Now, it’s all about managed care and no matter what provider you go to, s/he will have a negotiated rate with the payer IF they accept your plan.

                      There are also protocols of care. A doctor can’t just order what s/he thinks you need anymore. If you have *this,* you get *that.* The only exception is if your provider takes the time to document why you should be the exception and only if the payer agrees. They often don’t and the patient is stuck with the bill.

                      If you pay cash, they’ll negotiate a rate with YOU if you ask, but people don’t know to ask.

        • Gail Sheppard says:

          Anonymous,

          Repealing Obama Care would hurt the millions of Americans who had no choice but to sign up for this mess in the first place and are now sick. What are you going to do with all these sick people? There has to be some kind of bridge. You don’t just blow something up and naively think things will right themselves. If we turned back the clock to 2009, millions of people would be uninsurable because they now have pre-existing conditions. They would quickly exhaust their resources and drop below the poverty line which will put the costs right back in the tax player’s lap. Cost shifting is not solving the problem.

          Trump would like nothing better than to repeal Obama Care, but he knows it can’t easily be done or he would have done it by now. Nothing they’ve come up with is workable.

          Both parties agree that the healthcare system prior to 2009 was unsustainable so we can’t go backward. Moving forward, we have to reduce costs and the only way to do that is to reduce hospital visits. To reduce hospital visits, we have to keep people healthier. To keep people healthier, we have reward healthy behaviors. To reward healthy behaviors, we have to offer incentives that will encourage people to change the way they eat. We have to give them access to higher-quality food, which may mean shipping it to families who don’t have access to it and passing legislation that would make good food less expensive. How hard would it be to allow stores to offer only organic food when it comes to those items that are heavily sprayed with pesticides like apples. Other foods, like avocados, don’t need to be organic. This would force the farmers to rethink their approach to farming. It’s the sprayed items that should be more expensive to discourage people from buying them. We also need to get people away from meat as the chief source of protein. Complex carbohydrates are usually a lot more filling and do the same job.

          In addition, we should enact legislation with heavy penalties for peddling crappy food with nitrates, preservatives, pesticides, GMO, etc., raise taxes on sugary, artificially sweetened items and give tax credits to those who maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a major contributing factor to the conditions that land you in the hospital.

          We have to change the way we’re doing things because what we did in the past isn’t working and hasn’t been working for a very long time. This requires a complete paradigm shift. We can’t just do different versions of the same thing (playing around with healthcare costs) and expect a different result. That’s the definition of insanity.

          Interestly, I don’t think Congress would have a problem with any of these this. Farmers may make a fuss, but this approach could be phased in and we could help fund the costs of the transition.

          I think they should completely ban smoking in all public places. If you smoke, you should be able to demonstrate that you have comprehensive medical insurance, just like you have to prove you have insurance to drive. – It should be illegal to smoke within X number of feet of children.

          Homework should be eliminated and children should be encouraged to play outdoors. Volunteers could monitor public parks and school grounds. Structured sports are fine, but kids need unstructured play and it should be added to the curriculum. – No electronic devices should be allowed in the school room or in after school activities sponsored by the school or community centers. If they bring them, they should be confiscated until the end of the day. We have to wean our kids off these devices because it leads to a sedentary lifestyle which then leads to physical problems down the road. Sadly too many of our kids are fat, too, and they get heart disease and diabetes just like the rest of us do. I don’t think we should have any weird food in their cafeterias because they won’t eat it, but kids will eat fresh fruit, nuts and normal stuff that has no additives, not sprayed or fed hormones. Even macaroni and cheese can be made in a healthy way. You can put turkey chili over some non-gluten chips and top it with lettuce or serve franks (without the crap) and beans or just baked chicken (even served cold) and they’ll be perfectly happy. They don’t need soda (especially not diet soda) or juice. Water and milk will suffice.

          Write Trump and tell him he should hire me. By the end of his term, we could start turning this around.

  5. Dr. Stankovich,

    Apparently the “Maybe Monastics Should Stay Off Social Media” thread is closed to additional comments. I’d like to pick up on your comment to There is Hope, if you don’t mind.

    I have to agree that there are some here who only “imagine” what you have supposedly said about SSA.

    What follows is not intended as criticism. These are honest questions.

    You wrote to There is Hope:

    I thank God our Saviour, who alone who has delivered you from, as you say, “this misery.”

    And you then added:

    But what do I say to men whom I have encountered – in fact the vast majority of homosexual men I have encountered – who indicate to me they have, in fact, had loving, warm, nurturing, and supportive relationships with their fathers? What am I to do with a cumulative body of research evidence that clearly indicates that this stereotypy of an absent, or emotionally distant, or emotionally abusive, or emotionally intimidating male parent, or the lack of “positive male gender modeling” as a necessary developmental accomplishment of “attachment” and a necessary developmental “task” for male “character” have no causal relationship whatsoever to the development of male homosexuality?

    Let me say first of all that I do not question this addition/evidence. You know far more about the existing research than I do. I would even go so far as to say that it seems to me you have dedicated your life to trying to understand these things for the sake of your patients. You have also stated many times that the so-called “treatments” to reorient a person’s sexuality are quackery from a scientific/medical/clinical perspective. Again, I accept your word and expertise.

    My question is this: Where does this leave us? It would seem that science has no answers in terms of causality. It also seems that science has no answers in terms of cure. It may be that someday science will find the cause (or causes) and may, perhaps, someday find a cure (or cures); but scientific knowledge of this kind is not even far out on the horizon. As far as I know, it is not something scientists have even begun to understand. As you have said, the prevalence is somewhat predicable in that it is apparently stable over time, but (again, as far as I know) this is all they know.

    At the end of your comment to There is Hope you wrote:

    What you propose is an astonishingly dangerous precedent: assuming the gift bestowed upon you by God as the “norm”…

    And so, my other question is this: Given that science (as far as I can tell) has no ability to provide answers, why should There is Hope’s experience – his gift from God, his deliverance from bondage to sin – not be considered the norm for those of us who have faith in our God? Is there any other option? Or could there be any better option than to look to the Great Physician even if science does someday, perhaps, begin to understand this malady of human nature? In this sense and for this malady I have to wonder if the best answer to the question you posed…

    …would anyone support stopping a family member’s cancer chemotherapy for water from Lourdes?

    …isn’t a resounding YES, albeit perhaps from a more reliable font. Or to put it simple terms, why would we seek from science that which only God has the power to heal? You are correct that his is…

    …an outcome that, in reality, is simply not representative of reality as most people will experience it…

    …but isn’t it also possible that this is true primarily because most people are unwilling to turn to the Great Physician or are simply ignorant of His mercy and healing power?

    Having asked these questions, I am curious about some things There is Hope wrote:

    I knew that God did not “make me this way”

    How did you know?

    And…

    Therapy and counseling were/are essential.

    What sort of therapy and counseling? I hope he reads this comment and is willing to elaborate a bit.

    And finally, I think you, Dr. Stankovich, were rather unfair to There is Hope when you wrote…

    …speaking as if you accomplished this change by a muster of personal will, and not by gift.

    Nothing he wrote indicated that he had somehow accomplished deliverance on his own.

    • Hi Brian

      Sorry to jump in –

      There are a lot of voices out there that state that reperative therapy is very flawed in theory and maybe harmful to some

      In my opinion, I have found the best answer to this subject for now is in the works of Dr. Warren Throckmorten. He was formerly reperative therapy, but abandoned it for a new model he helped develop. I would direct persons looking for an alternative to reparative therapy towards his more recent work

    • M. Stankovich says:

      Brian,

      I, seriously, hate to begin with this “state the obvious” thought, but, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed [ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως], you shall say to this mountain, move immediately to another place; and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” (Matt. 17:20) It is with minimal humility that I admit in the nearly 30-odd years of my clinical practice, such as they are, my “success rate,” in as much as our merciful God has chosen to reveal to me, is abysmal. Now, I could argue, like a friend of mine who was the Chief of Cardiac Interventional Surgery at a public hospital in Westchester County, NY (the Northern suburbs of NYC) argued to me when the State of New York began publishing “survival rates” of certified cardiac surgery units in the state and “survival rates” by individual surgeons, “Our patients are sicker patients than go to NYU Langone or Columbia Presbyterian. They’ve had no preventative care and are far sicker as a group coming in the door. We are at an obvious disadvantage because we take on the sicker patients to begin with.” But, honestly, this is not about the object of one’s faith – the mountain – but rather the character and the quality of one’s faith. So, I consider these points:

      1) I completely agree that affirmative scientific answers regarding the origin of human behaviour – any human behavior – is basically nonexistent, and in the end, serves no useful purpose clinically. This is not to say, however, that we are unable to “resolve” and conclude what we have determined to be untrue and, in fact, false and misleading information as to the nature of sexual orientation, gender, and homosexuality. In my mind, the reduction and elimination of stigmatization alone is worth the effort. In as much as I am able, I refuse to withstand ignorance, conjecture, fraud, and outright contrivance when the outcome is agendized harm and needless and pointless scorn, bias, and hatred. I say and propose nothing I cannot substantiate with legitimate data from legitimate sources.

      2) I return to the words of Met. Anthony (Khrapvitsky), the First Hierarch of ROCOR, who in his short book of instruction for priests, Confession, discusses the strict application (ἀκρίβεια) of an assigned penance in the process of being “reconciled & united” again to the Church – reminiscent of the words of St. Chrysostom I have presented here previously, in the terms of a “skilled surgeon” – summed up in the phrase, “Remember, we are far removed from the time of grace.” [And I would note that I was purposely attempting to be ironic by quoting St. John Climacus in that same thread – “This present generation is wretchedly corrupt. It is full of pride and hypocrisy. It works as hard as the Fathers of old, but it has none of their graces.And yet there has been no era so much in need of spiritual gifts as today.” – if only because we have heard speak of this generation as the most wretched and obviously predictive of the last times, or so I’ve heard from Netflix…].

      3) Still further, I am always moved and learn from the story of the woman caught in adultery, but in this context, in forgiving her, the Lord says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.” (Jn. 8:11) The Greek text says literally, “ἀπὸ [from] τοῦ νῦν [now] μηκέτι [no more] ἁμάρτανε [sin],” from this moment forward, sin no more. We are not told the age of this woman, nor can we speculate the epidemiology of adultery in Jerusalem at the time; even the icon of this event depicts a “not too young, not too old” female. Can we imagine the Lord calling upon a “not too young, not too old” female to reasonably never sin again ever (And do we not say at the Burial Service, in specifically invoking the mercy of our God, that “There is no man who lives that does not sin, for only You are without sin, and Your Righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your Word is the Truth”?), or was He referring to adultery?

      4) My last consideration is, perhaps, the most disturbing in that it distresses me the most; I personally experience, first hand, the daily struggle, the battle, and the frequent failure of living, breathing human beings under my care. When I read the lack of gratitude, exuberance, enthusiasm, light, and the fundamental life-transforming joy that is the witness of the deliverance of our God from these despicable manifestations of our fallen humanity that are simply not humanly possible, I am discouraged. When I hear judgment and criticism, or disparagement – “If I had listened to this one or that one…” – forgetting “God is my King of old, Working salvation in the midst of the earth.” (Ps. 73:12) and “[for] he said to Moses (cf. Ex. 33.19), I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Rom. 9:15)

      In the end, combining these thoughts, the reality as I see it is measured in probability and practicality. I believe it would be absolutely unjustifiable morally, and in fact objectionable, cruel, and unfounded, lacking any reliable or factual evidence-base whatsoever, to suggest it is a reasonable goal to “re-orient” someone who is homosexual as heterosexual; to set as a reasonable “measurement” of obtainable “virtue,” a heterosexual orientation and lifestyle with the expectation of Christian Marriage and children. This is the fraudulent goal set not by the Church and the True Physician – who, in fact, simply calls all of us without distinction to the narrow path of σωφροσύνη, of the transcendence of purity, chastity, and oneness of mind – but rather by homophobic white men who hate homosexuals. It is a prescription for outright failure and needless and continuing suffering. Am I denying the possibility that our God, whom St. Paul assures us, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) cannot transform and deliver anyone at anytime based simply upon “faith as a grain of mustard seed [πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως]?” Of course I am not! And again, Blessed is our God Who in His infinite mercy delivers any of us by whatever means or mechanism he chooses to employ! But the reality as I see it is measured in probability and practicality. Let our mission first be to deliver a man to the narrow path.

      • Nothing better than when my two favorite posters, hash things out. Like most men we believe we can fix all, when in reality there is only one who can. M. Stankovich, and I ask this sincerely, what in your opinion, is step two, after we direct a soul to the narrow path, if any? If I had to guess, it would be to love our Christian brother, without judgment, in his struggle.

        • Brian, and M. Stankovich. Let me add. The best comment my Spiritual Father(memory eternal) ever told me was that I could never disappoint him, and most importantly God during confession. That sincere and genuine comment has never left me, and always kept me coming back to the narrow path, no matter how bad or how many times I have missed the mark. I hope some day I will find another Spiritual Father, to fill his shoes. It’s been a struggle.

    • Anonymouse says:

      I like what the Catholics say about this. Homosex is “inherently disordered. ” leave it at that.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Correct but being modern humans we have to reject the concept of any human feeling as disordered. Once any feeling or thought or desire is looked on as disordered then God follows. The nose of the camel and all that.

        Of course being actually disordered, they have to defend their disorder by claiming that we are disordered.

        Read Romans lately?

  6. Francis Frost says:

    Dear George:

    One again, you are absolutely wrong. The EU has itself this past week imposed new sanctions on Russia for violation of the existing sanctions. The German company, Siemens, legally sold gas turbines to Russia. The Russian government diverted those turbines to create an independent electricity generator in occupied Crimea. As a result, this week the EU, at the insistence of the German government. these new sanctions target OAO Technopromexport. AO Interautomatika, Russia’s vice minister for Energy, Andrei Cherezov, and Sergei Topor-Gilka, head of Technopromexport.

    For more information, see the article “ EU Sanctions Target Russians Over Transfer in today’s Wall Street Journal.

    Honestly you are on a roll, phile mou. Always wrong on the facts; always on the wrong side of history, and always on the side of the purveyors of absolute evil.

    In a previous post you complained that the “Harvard Boys” looted Russia’s wealth. No, Yorgo, it was the Komsomoltsi, who orchestrated and finessed the sale of Soviet state assets. It was these same Komsomoltsi who ended up as billionaire oligarchs. Putin did not eliminated the oligarch’s kleptocracy, he merely took over as the mafiosi’s “capo di capi”, claiming his cut of the loot. Putin, whose stated salary is about $60,000 USD, has amassed an estimated $4 Bilion USD fortune, nearly all of it tucked into offshore accounts in Panama, Caribbean islands and Cyprus. Russia has the potential to be an incredibly prosperous nation; but the Russian people have been systematically robbed by these ‘zakoniye vori’, the ‘legal thieves’ who use the law and the power of the state to amass their personal fortunes. Even Patriach Kirill got in on the act, amassing a personal fortune of $4 Billion USD by selling duty free cigarettes and alcohol – just what the Russian people need to promote health and spirituality.

    In a prior article you compared the supposed deaths of Clinton associates to the people slaughtered by Putin. Never mind the repulsive immorality of comparing “kill count” list of victims. The supposed Clinton victims, have never been even acknowledged as suffering a suspicious death – except by the purveyors of “alternate facts” in the right wing nutcase blogosphere.

    Putin on the other hand has publicly acknowledged his part in the massacre of hundreds of thousands of his own Russian citizens. Remember Putin’s own words: “we will hunt them down and slaughter them in their outhouses”? In 1999, over 400 Russian citizens perished in a series of apartment bombings, that were orchestrated by the FSB. We know this because the 4th bombing was thwarted when alert residents in Ryazan caught the bombers, who turned out to be FSB agents. After a week of pained silence, the Russian government called it a ‘training exercise’. Yeah, right. The explosives in each of the bombings was traced to the Russian military. Read “Blowing up Russia”. For exposing this plot, Aleksandr Litvinenko was poisoned with Polonium, that was definitively traced to Russian nuclear facilities. The British government has indicted FSB agents, and Putin associates Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi for Litvinenko’s murder. Thes apartment bombing were blamed by the Russian government media on ‘terrorists’ and were used as the pretext for the re-conquest of Chechnya.

    In the re-conquest of Chechnya, Putin’s military carpet bombed the Chechen capital, Grozny, to dust. Some 50,000 civilians, 20% of whom were ethnic Russians, were buried alive in the basements of their own homes. The re-conquest of Chechnya killed over 100,000 persons; 99% of them innocent civilians. In the Syrian war, the Russian military again used carpet bombing to kill the handful of jihadists left behind in east Aleppo. Before the Russian bombing, the population of east Aleppo was 125,000. After the carpet bombing, only 56,000 were left to be evacuated. Do the math. In the invasion of Ukraine, over 10,000 have perished, and 1.5 million have been turned into homeless refugees. Half of the refugees have fled east into Russia, half have fled west into free Ukraine; but all of them are left destitute. In the 3 invasions of Georgia, nearly 50,000 Orthodox Christians have been murdered, and 300,000 have been driven into exile from their ancestral homes. The Russians and their North Caucasian allies specifically targeted Orthodox clergy, Orthodox holy places and civilian populations. They even attacked nature itself, bombing the UNESCO designated unique forest preserve outside Borjomi and Bakuriani.

    Since Putin’s accession to power, over 300 Russian journalists have been murdered execution style, Natalia Estemirova and Anna Politkovskaya, among them. Early in Putins regime, over 200 Russian bank examiners were also liquidated for following the trail of Putin’s loot too closely.

    No, your hero, Putin, is no choir boy. He is a mass murderer and a thief, who thinks he can fool the Just Judge the same way he fools ignorant propagandists. Even so, God is still God. God is still just and the Day of Judgement draws nearer with every breath we take.

    It matters not if Putin succeeds in his evils deeds or even if he is punished in this world. It would be far better for Putin if he did suffer for his sins in this life, so that he might still repent Those who are not reproached in this life must suffer the full force of God’s righteous chastisement in the next.

    A blessed feast and a blessed fast to all

    • George Michalopulos says:

      I’ll take Goldman’s analysis thank you very much. The reality is that sane people in the EU realize that any trade war between Russia and the US can get “hot”. Unfortunately for them, they are the ones who are in the cross-hairs, not us.

      And a blessed Feast and Fast to you and everyone else as well.

    • Bonhoeffer says:

      Honestly you are on a roll, phile mou. Always wrong on the facts; always on the wrong side of history, and always on the side of the purveyors of absolute evil.

      Amazing, isn’t it? Never ceases to amaze me. Worse are the priests who enable him, though, and even laud him. That’s really creepy.

  7. Anonymouse says:

    This was a disappointment to me.

    Clearly President Trump didn’t want to sign this bill but he lacked the votes in the Congress to sustain his veto.

    Now, he doesn’t lose some kind of “points” if Congress overrides a veto. Does it matter if they do? He should have let them own it, just as they own Obamacare. I sincerely hope that he didn’t do this with an idea that it would shake off all the “muh Russia” talk, because it’s not going to work and it’s never going to work.

    He screwed up with Syria initially too, but he seems to be on the right track again. Hopefully he’ll correct himself on this one too. (Although this is a law, not an executive order, so it’s not as easy.)

    Still, the wall is the deal-breaker for me. His success or failure, in my mind, hinges largely on that issue.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Me too, up to a point. Right now, he’s gotten about 85% of what he promised, mostly by executive order. Illegal immigration is down significantly even without a wall. To my mind, the glass is 3/4 full and that’s an astounding thing all things considered.

      The Wall is important however. Eventually, events will force it’s completion one way or the other. Why do I say this? Because events in the rest of the West are forcing the Neoliberal consensus to change to Trumpist/nationalism. As the teenagers like to say “reality bites”.

  8. Mark E. Fisus says:

    Have you considered moving to Russia?

  9. The only reason I read this banal website is because I enjoy watching Dr. Stanknovich prove that you are all vapid nitwits. Do you still support Trump, George? He’s the laziest, most deceitful, disengaged, unfit President in US history. Why, he watches five hours of television a day, has spent a great deal of time on his golf courses, and hasn’t learned one thing since he’s been the President of the United States. George, is it true that he’s dyslexic? Never read a biography in his entire adult life. Imagine that!

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Well, if all that’s true, then I suppose The Gipper can rest easy. Heck, I’m old enough to remember when the Camelot mythographers peddled that same nonsense of Ike back in the 70s.

      What is it with you liberals? Ike: lazy, inveterate golfer, unintellectual, etc, therefore Bad President. Really?

      Might I suggest a little introspection about your entire world view of what constitutes a successful presidency? That it may be a little off? Because according to your lights, then Ike and Reagan certainly wouldn’t qualify.

      • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says:

        George, I’m sure, did not lie (try to deceive anyone), but he sure did spout a big falsehood: “Heck, I’m old enough to remember when the Camelot mythographers peddled that same nonsense of Ike back in the 70s.” I am older than you. No one at all accused Ike of obsessively playing golf at every opportunity. No one at all claimed that General Eisenhower never read a book or that he was lazy and deceitful or that he was a draft-dodger, divorced skirt-chaser, or ever LAUDED HIMSELF, or maligned the free press. George, you referred to Camelot mythographers peddling nonsense of Ike! Please provide an example of any commentator devoted to the concept of a Kennedy Camelot EVER saying of Ike that he had any qualities which are displayed by Trump today! Surely you can come up with substantive reasons to praise Mr Trump without dismissing criticism of him as “same old” which it is not!
        Under the glass atop my old office desk in room 5D466 of the Pentagon, I kept a newspaper clipping of one of Ike’s most extravagant praises of The ACLU. There is no resemblance at all of Mr Trump to any previous president. Think only of his recent puerile and apocalyptic threats against North Korea. No President ever threatened Germany or Japan that way, nor the Soviet Union or Communist China at the height of the Cold War. Trump’s an extremely foolish and immature person. Please don’t compare him to Ike or any other president of our great country! Weren’t you even a LITTLE embarrassed when he said that only Abraham Lincoln was more presidential than he is?

        • Anonymouse says:

          Enjoy your nukes when LA is hit.

        • Gail Sheppard says:

          Here are some examples, Your Grace:

          ” During his two terms in office, Eisenhower played nearly 800 rounds. . . Ike’s obsession with golf provided easy fodder for critics who accused him of spending more time rolling a little white ball down a fairway than attending to the affairs of state.” http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/how-eisenhower-created-ike-spike

          Like Ike, Trump reads. Here’s a list of 10 books he recommends. https://www.usnews.com/news/slideshows/10-books-donald-trump-loves

          Why talk about threats to Germany or Japan? Let’s talk about North Korea. Given their current capability, had North Korea threatened this country on Obama’s, Bush’s or Clinton’s watch, the same sabers would be rattling. All 4 of them believe North Korea is very bad and very dangerous. Are they all “foolish and immature?” http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/11/from-trump-to-clinton-how-us-presidents-have-dealt-with-north-korea.html

          When someone trips and falls on their own, it’s on them. When they trip and fall because someone stuck out their leg, it’s a different paradigm. Sometimes I think this whole damn country has their leg out! Wanting someone to fail is the very definition of mean-spiritedness, not to mention stupid. Why would anyone delight in trashing Trump? It’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face. He goes down, we go down. Is that not clear?

          Good luck putting the genie back in the bottle. It’s not going to happen.

    • Michael Bauman says:

      Cyprian, I can name any number if Presidents who were far more unqualified than Mr. Trump.
      Most of the Presidents between Jackson and the Civil War, Warren G. Harding, LBJ, Carter, Clinton, George W. . If I really cracked the books I could probably find more.

      Stop the subjective BS. I could easily say that not one candidate for the office in my lifetime was really qualified. If I really want to turn the screws on my criteria I could disqualify everyone since G eorge Washington.

      Neither the media nor the opposing party is qualified to judge either.

      If you really want to go the nominalist route, no one is qualified to say if he is qualified.

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        LOL

      • Anonymouse says:

        The American people determine who is qualified. That’s how voting works. Some just really hate that they lost.

        • Bonhoeffer says:

          Thank you for this incisive observation, mouse.
          More accurately, though, in 2016, what got determined was that 13.3M GOP primary voters preferred Trump to the other 16 in their field. That is, these 13.3M actively did that, and not “the American people,” as such. To go further, if you mean to suggest this, and presume that they therefore “determined,” QED, that Trump was the most “qualified” is an even less accurate assertion and begs many questions. But never mind all that, since this is hardly the sort of place for such a discussion.

          Still, you should be aware that hundreds of millions here and all over God’s good Earth are reflecting on the meaning of this fact very earnestly indeed.

          But enjoy your “win” while it lasts! Gloat now if you must, but soon enough y’all will really hate that you “won.” That you were complicit in that “win.” Trust me on that one.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      Siren, I mean, Cyprian, that lazy disengaged, unfit president (deceitful, naw) beat your candidate, WHILE he was playing golf and later reversed every single thing you took for granted while your pussy footed girls flooded the streets with their charm (guess that’s what they’re calling it these days). And all your king’s horses and all your king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again. Now, you’re sniffing around for some crime. What a waste of time.

      It is YOU who were disengaged and unfit or you wouldn’t be in this mess. Go read “Staying Ahead of the Curve.” It will take on a whole new meaning for you now.

      • What’s the matter Gail? Don’t you like me? I actually voted for President Trump over Hillary Clinton. Neither she nor her lecherous husband were ever my candidates. By the way, these are my voting records. 1976- Gerald Ford; 1980- Ronald Reagan. 1984- Ronald Reagan. 1988- Michael Dukakis. – 1992- George H.W. Bush. 1996- Bob Dole; 2000- George W. Bush; 2004- John Kerry; 2008- John McCain; 2012- Mitt Romney; 2016- Donald Trump.
        I get tired of the same old neoconservative flapdoodle that ole George keeps peddling. Has George ever met a war that he didn’t love? Gail, you and Dr. Stankovich are two of the only posters I respect- and then you act real mean to me.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Cyprian, Gail can answer for herself but I must take you to task for your characterization of my “neoconservative” views. Clearly you haven’t been reading my blog these past 3-4 years. If I were a war-monger I’d have supported any of the other 16 candidates for the GOP nomination. I did not. And if I were a warmonger I’d have voted for Hilary hands down. I’m not a pacifist but consider myself a heavily armed dove.

          The only reason I haven’t registered my complete disgust with the GOP and left already is because of Trump. If he goes and starts a Jacksonian-type party, I’m there. Like the first America-firster (that would be Geo Washington) I would if I could wave a magic wand and remove our presence from most of the rest of the world.

          So please, please get your taxonomy right.

          • I find it very interesting that President Trump has failed to condemn the white supremacy/ alt.right movement, don’t you George? President Trump said he could be “more presidential” than anyone except Abraham Lincoln. I guess he never heard of President Kennedy. Look at what America has descended into under Trump. How do you say one term president, if he’s lucky?

            • George Michalopulos says:

              He should. But then The Bamster should have condemned Black Lives Matter and Antifa. They’ve been responsible for more mayhem and violence than anybody on the right.

            • Gail Sheppard says:

              I think he did, Cyprian. The alt.right movement was one of the “both sides.”

              • Thank you, Gail, for holding my feet to the fire. By the way, I’m still licking my wounds from the way you smacked me around the last time.

        • Gail Sheppard says:

          Cyprian, I’m not mean, but I do snap from time to time. It’s part of my charm. 😉

          With regard to George, I kind of like the fact that he takes on these “wars.” It gives us something to talk about!

  10. Gail Sheppard says:

    Cryin, I mean, Cyprian, that lazy disengaged, unfit president (deceitful, naw) beat your candidate, WHILE he was playing golf and later reversed every single thing you took for granted while your pussy footed girls flooded the streets with their charm (guess that’s what they’re calling it these days). All your king’s horses and all your king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again and now, you’re sniffing around for a crime. What a waste of time.

    It is YOU who were disengaged and unfit or you wouldn’t be in this mess. Trump may not have time to read, but you’ve got all the time in the world. Read, “Staying Ahead of the Curve.”

    As for this list, I think you should be able to read Stankovich without moving your lips (or fingertips). It’s called reading silently. Bitching and moaning is not required.

    • Bonhoeffer says:

      (deceitful, naw)

      Naw? Naw = Not? If you’re suggesting Trump’s not deceitful, well, you can’t be serious. Cyprian’s ‘most deceitful’ tag is an objectively demonstrated fact, proved by so many organizations and journalists by now that this just isn’t up for debate any longer. Compare some of his public utterances with some of Hillary Clinton’s, for one example, according to Politifact. Oh, and here’s VP Mike Pence’s page there. Ouch.

      When it comes to utterly brazen liars, Trump’s in a class all his own, up there on top of the All-Star fraud-pile that features Michelle Bachmann, Ted Cruz, the Newt, Sarah Palin, and Rick Santorum. And lookie here: most, if not all, of these truly sorry clowns just so happen to be George’s faves, too! Who woulda ever guessed that!! Charlatans all, without political peers in fraud, and in this country that’s really saying something.

      What did you mean by this:

      … later reversed every single thing you took for granted while your pussy footed girls flooded the streets with their charm (guess that’s what they’re calling it these days).

      All of that went right over my head. Are you referring to Trump’s EOs reversing President Obama’s EOs? Do you happen to know anything about those? I do. We could talk about them if you like. I’m very curious which of these reversals you actually favor, and why. But maybe you’re talking about something else. “Pussy-footed girls and their charms” = ? I doubt I’m the only one stumped by much of your post.

      Anyway, as y’all are about to realize, unforgettably, your boy Trump is going down in the first or second round, and he won’t be getting up again, neither. He’s taking a whole bunch of those stupid enough to have a thing to do with him down, too. It’s going to be epic.

      And trust me on this: Mueller and his über-crack team of prosecutors/investigators, almost every one of whom has put on hold top-of-the-drawer, multi-million-dollar law practices to get in on this one, ain’t just “sniffing around” and they’re definitely not “wasting time.” It’s endlessly amusing to hear y’all Trumpistas whistle like that past this very very creepy graveyard. LOL
      Boy, are you in for some YUGE shocks!

      So stay tuned! Show’s about to start …

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        Oh, and about those corrupt and stupid Republicans who continuously failed to abort this travesty at any stage of its metastasis (a travesty rooted in decades of wing-nut media lies), Bill Kristol of all people had a great line today:

        “In dealing with Trump, Congressional Republicans were given the choice between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor and they now have war.”

        Few fates have been so richly deserved as the one about to collide with the GOP en masse. Buckle up!

        • Anonymouse says:

          “Trump will never succeed, says increasingly nervous man for the seventieth time this year”

      • Gail Sheppard says:

        Bonhoeffer, talk to me when it happens (“Trump is going down”) because you’re just whistling in the wind until it does. When this man made the primaries, I knew nothing could touch him. Ask George. He’ll tell you I told him that. So far I’ve been right and I bet you were one of the people who thought there was no way in hell he’d get this far. Am I right? Come on, Bonhoeffer, you’ve got to give me that. You never saw it coming, did you? 😉

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Hear! Hear! I can attest to that. Both Gail and Peter Papoutsis (and my brother-in-law Patrick) told me months before the election that Trump would win. Peter even got a nice bottle of Irish whiskey from the esteemed Bishop on that bet.

  11. Michael Bauman says:

    Gail, full managed care has not yet hit Kansas outside KC. Even in Wichita there have not been enough people to allow for full managed care. All attempts thus far have died. PPOs are a hybrid.

    The dominant carrier Blue Cross has reached the point where they are requiring it on the individual ACA policies.

    Despite the dominance of the Blues, we due have a competitor who came in last year as Aetna and UHC was leaving.

    Price wise they are a bit more expensive and for a family of four the cost would be equivalent to a payment for a small house here: $1200-$1500 a month of more if the parents are older. A couple in their sixties would cost $2000 or more.

    Managed care will become more dominant here to. No question. But it will not be network based.
    Carriers will set the prices they are willing to pay with some negotiation based on area but it will ultimately be “take it from us or you will have to bankrupt your patient.” Out of pocket for the patient will increase but somewhat more slowly initially.

    That too will fail for the combination of factors I cited before. Add in the fact that it is firmly an ideological litmus test larger than Medicare and fully socialized medicine is the end point because anything else is a failure.

    But, it is a total failure now

  12. Bonhoeffer says:

    Mike, in what ways has Trump “failed already,” “alarmingly, disastrously”?

    I knew Nate would be all over that list of yours in no time. He did a good job puncturing most of your noise. My immediate reaction to it was the same as his probably was: divide, and then conquer the derp. If I find time I may have a thing or two to say myself.

    The deeper political, moral and ethical failures of this demagogue and his Administration’s sinister operatives are obvious to anyone who’s sane and informed. I’m not bandying words with you about it on this vile blog. You demonstrate little aptitude for an adult conversation on these topics.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      Bonhoeffer,

      So wish I knew who you were.

      God often chooses very flawed people to accomplish His objectives. When I first read of Moses arguing with God in front of the burning bush, I wondered, “Why, God? Why choose him?” To be honest, if it were a movie, I would have cast Woody Allen as Moses. Imagine, arguing with God in front of a burning bush of all things!

      The same thing occurred to me with Gideon. “Why God? Why choose him?” He had no army. I wondered the same thing about Deborah. “Why God? Why choose a woman?” And the same thing with Peter at Pentecost; “Really, Father? Him?”

      My point is that Trump is very flawed, but so is everyone else that God has chosen for a specific purpose. TRUMP WOULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN THIS FAR WITHOUT DIVINE INTERVENTION. Do you really doubt that? I wouldn’t have voted for him. I remember asking George, “OMG, George, does this mean we’re going to have to vote for Trump?”

      I have never lost a moment’s sleep after coming to the realization that Trump was where he was supposed to be because he couldn’t have gotten there any other way. It’s pretty straightforward.

      • George Michalopulos says:

        Gail, you’re more right than you know. Especially about Moses. A lifelong stutterer who never overcame his handicap. He married a black woman and was ostracized by his brother and sister for doing so. Plus, according to the rabbinic sages, he stopped having relations with his wife after his encounter with the burning bush. And he was never allowed to go to the Promised Land. And after all he did for the Lord.

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        TRUMP WOULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN THIS FAR WITHOUT DIVINE INTERVENTION. Do you really doubt that? I wouldn’t have voted for him. I remember asking George, “OMG, George, does this mean we’re going to have to vote for Trump?”

        I have never lost a moment’s sleep after coming to the realization that Trump was where he was supposed to be because he couldn’t have gotten there any other way. It’s pretty straightforward.

        This reads like a parody to me. Were Stalin, Mao, and Hitler put in power by divine intervention, too?

        We pray that God’s will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. This implies that it isn’t, maybe often. Maybe more than that.

        Think about the difference between what God positively wills and what He merely suffers in respect of human freedom. And consider whether some things He suffers humans to perpetrate may be a sign of the times. Sometimes, we know, He permits a strong delusion, to condemn those who persist in loving lies. Those who refuse to honor what is righteous, true and good, and repent of their baseness. Maybe these willful sinners are led by demons into falling at the feet of idols, for which they then pay the price.

        Sounds like you’re giving credit to George for selling you on Trump. True?

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Quick history lesson: Stalin and Mao weren’t put in by popular election. Trump was. Hitler was but not by a majority. As his was the largest party in the Reichstag, Pres Hindenburg asked him to form a coalition govt.

          Vox populi, vox Dei.

          • Bonhoeffer says:

            History lessons from Michalopulos. You’re a hoot.

            Vox populi, vox Dei? Where’s that found in the Scriptures or the Fathers? Missed this.
            According to your theology of government, looks like practically all political authority on Earth until the late 18th century was illegitimate.
            Fifth-rate sophistry, George. Try again?

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Nah, I’ll stick with it.

              • Bonhoeffer says:

                lol
                Well, I agree that’s prudent of you, George. Hollow sophistry is certainly more your speed.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  Thank you Bonnie, and cowering behind a martyr’s name is more your speed.

                  • Bonhoeffer says:

                    You know I can’t post under my name here. You know my e-mail address and my name. So when are you going to fix your site’s glitch?

                    We smell the fake, George. But the putrid is real enough.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Yes you can, Mike. I even told you that I’d let you publish an editorial under your name on this site. Don’t play games with me.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  I despise sophistry Mike. You know it as does everybody else who reads this blog. I’ve always strived to speak directly and to the point. I’m not clever enough to play mind games or remember what I said to who. “Let your yea be yea and your nay be nay, of anything else cometh evil.”

                  • Bonhoeffer says:

                    Yes you can, Mike. I even told you that I’d let you publish an editorial under your name on this site. Don’t play games with me.

                    I’ll pass on your offer to publish an editorial. I meant to write you about that to thank you, but forgot.

                    Again: I can’t post using my main email address and my name in the com box on your site. I assume it has something to do with cookies and how they operate. You didn’t get an email from me about that? You can’t see all the posts I’ve sent using my main email and my name that don’t get posted?

                    I give you the benefit of the doubt that my email or all of those posts fell through your cracks unseen. Anyway, now you know.

                    Sounds like you need to have a chat with your server admin. about cookies that deny service.

                  • Bonhoeffer says:

                    wow

                  • Being able to publish on your blog is a pretty cool offer. If I were him, I’d take you up on it

                    I’d take you up on it too, if offered – but also still under pseudonym

                    Billy Jack + Billy Sunday = Billy Jack Sunday

                    Most people don’t catch that

        • Bonhoeffer says:
        • Gail Sheppard says:

          Bonhoeffer, I did see your reply. I didn’t realize you were looking for a response.

          No, I do not think Stalin, Mao or Hitler were put in place by divine intervention, as there were clear and decisive steps that led to their rise and they were extremely capable of getting there on their own steam. Trump, like the others in the Bible that I mentioned, were “dark horses” who could not have gotten to where they were/are through their own steam.

          When we pray that God’s will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, it is with the expectation that our prayers will be answered. And when we pray in earnest and in accordance with God’s will, we see results. So you’re mistaken. God’s intervention is very evident; however, maybe not so much to those who don’t know Him.

          I would agree that God permits delusion. The righteous seem to have a greater capacity to resist it. They also are able to see God’s hand at work. I don’t doubt that wilful sinners are enticed by demons. “Led by demons” is too strong a phrase and suggests they cannot resist their influence. With God’s help, they can but choose not to.

          George didn’t sell me on Trump. I was the one who told George that I believed God’s hand was on him because he couldn’t have gotten to the primaries any other way. I’ve never been “sold on Trump.” I just believe he is where he needs to be at this point in time.

          With regard to demons and those who are influenced by them, I rely on God to insulate and protect me which He has done my entire life. My own mother acknowledged she was evil. A year or so before she died, she said, “I would like to go up there (looking toward the ceiling) but I know I’m going down there (looking toward the floor).” I reminded her that her life wasn’t over and it was not too late, but only God knows where she is now. I was an only child with no father or family when I was growing up. I only had my mother. She wouldn’t step foot in a Church and mocked the Bible. Yet God protected me. I was baptized and went to church with neighbors who saw to it that I was confirmed and later married in the church. They also arranged for the baptism of my children and blessed my conversion to the Orthodox Church. They are now at the end of their lives and I am blessed to be in a place where I can see them often, as they make the ultimate transition from this life to the next. The husband passed earlier this month so I’m spending more time with his wife these days. – I’ve had evil all around me, Bonhoeffer, but I have been VERY protected. If that were not the case, I could not have survived it.

  13. Michael Bauman says:

    All politics is insane. We long ago lost the capacity to govern ourselves and we just rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. If Trump gets us to the iceburg faster, full speed ahead. I am sick of the delusions and stupid pesudo-arguments. No adult would even pretend it makes the least bit of difference.

    • Bonhoeffer says:

      Outbursts of crisp nihilism like this are illustrative, Michael. Think about what you just wrote. Isn’t this mainly mere cowardice and projection? I hope far better for you than that.

      • Michael Bauman says:

        Mr. Not-Bonhoffer,
        I have no way of judging if I am a good man or not. I will leave that for you to decide. I am a sinner and that probably means I am coward too or I would not be so mired in my sins.

        However all the women I know count me as a good man especially my wife. Oh, and my bishop too. They are probably wrong but it soothes my ego.

        I don’t know much but I know that all ideological politics today is firmly under the nihilist doctrine of love of power and a false eschatology of worldly perfection. Why argue about caca?

        The only way to overcome that is the Cross. Otherwise we are falling into the temptation Jesus rejected by quoting Psalm 90/91.

        Those who seek power and control are corrupted by it and end up killing their neighbors rather than loving them often to “make their lives better”.

        The more dedicated to improving the lot of mankind political movements are, the more people are killed.

        There is no salvation in nihilism only destruction. For what? If I am a coward for rejecting that. I am a coward. No question.

        There are local personal ways for acting in less destructive ways. I like the Tenth Amendment Center personally. I support it financially as I can.

        Constitutional Republics stand as about the only bulwark left to the madness around us. They are weak as we are weak. They depend on cowards like me who prefer to not seek power for power’s sake and reject those who do.

        The Democrats and all their fellow travelers reject such a form of government. 99% of the Republicans too it seems. Tryanny of the masses is their preferred mode as long as they control the masses and the masses think the correct thoughts.

        It is for that reason that this coward observes the vast majority of personal attacks rather than addressing substance on this blog come from folks who seem to prefer the side our host does not.

        I live in Peck, Ks and attend St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Wichita, Ks. You can find me there if you chose.

  14. Bonhoeffer says:

    I forgot to link to Nate’s excellent start at demolishing George’s pro-Trump talking points on mostly faux-successes.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Nate’s assertions are not proof. You know better than that (being a lawyer and all).

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        Not a lawyer. Told you and Webster before. Why would I lie about that? I’m innocent of law school. For about the tenth time.

        Your comments seldom make much sense. Didn’t claim his critique of your list was “proof.” Incontrovertible proof would require time and effort that your noise is rarely worth. You remain a case study in rhetorical fallacies, in the dubious service of Putinist deza and your own vanity.

  15. Bonhoeffer says:

    You know, we’ve been assured for two years now that Trump wouldn’t get past Iowa. Or Super Tuesday. Or secure the nomination…

    Not by me you weren’t.

    Or win the election.

    This is prematurely to beg the question. Stay tuned…

    • Bonhoeffer says:

      Oh, forgot to mention something: Bannon gets the boot any day now. Probably this week.

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        Gorka next. His wife, too.
        Heard from the FBI yet, George?

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Bannon submitted his resignation on Aug 7. He was a spent force two months ago. Gorka not so much. His British accent is a killer which discombobulates leftist correspondents. I like him.

          No, I haven’t heard from the FBI. But I wonder if all of your buddies on the left who’ve advocated for violence and even assassination have? If they ever do show up at my door should I tell them about all the people who write on this blog who advocate for the violent overthrow of the government?

          You know, a humility is called for every now and then. Case in point: several years ago, during the Great Jonah Wars, some of my friends were privately worried. One had gotten a hold of a certain Jonah antagonist. A major one; he ran a powerful website. I was told “George, are you sure about what you’re saying about this guy? [This guy] is super-confident. He’s got all his ducks lined up. Crossed the Ts and dotted the Is.” (I paraphrase).

          My friend couldn’t have stressed enough how powerful and well-connected this guy was and how he totally had the upper hand. I was nonchalant. I couldn’t care less how well-placed this guy was. All I had was the truth.

          Well, this gentleman not only ran a major Orthodox website but served as a lay leader in the upper echelons of the OCA. He’s not doing any of that anymore.

          Moral of the story? Was Jonah taken down? Yup. But so were his key antagonists. And the OCA hasn’t recovered. (Just as I predicted).

          Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

          • “Dr.” Gorka is a total fraud and gullible people like George Michalopulos here think his British accent signifies authority. He doesn’t speak a word of Arabic and got his “doctorate” in Middle East something-or-other from some third-rate university in Hungary that nobody has heard of (would you take seriously a guy with a “PhD” in Russian history who doesn’t speak Russian?), he’s only a few steps removed from goose-stepping Admiral Horthy, and couldn’t even get a security clearance in his homeland.

            • George Michalopulos says:

              His British accent is used for good effect against the know-nothing infobabes on CNN.

              You know, you’d be surprised how much our British and European cousins take so many of our commenariat as utter fools. Six years ago, when I was in the UK, I’d watch their news programs. One that particularly stuck out at me was how contemptuous they were of our best and brightest. One in particular stood out; an American PhD (a woman for what that’s worth) was eviscerated because she knew nothing about the British and Soviet role in defeating Hitler. Apparently she got all her history from Saving Private Ryan.

              I’m afraid the ignorance runs deep since we had no military on parade in Moscow back in May of 2015 when the Russian Federation pulled out all the stops in the celebration of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.

              So yes, I’m going to take all the Antifa/prog/left umbrage against “Nazism” with several grains of salt.

          • CNN yesterday put out a hit job, “news story” on Gorka. Incredible how quick they act. Still on their website if interested. Same day Bannon out, they aim for new meat. This hit job reminds of the honorable and noble Ted Koppel hit job on Pat Buchanan, right after Pat’s New Hampshire victory. ABC would never lie, right? Why they are as American as Apple pie. Shame, shame, shame. Back then most Americans believed the MSM lies, and the hit job stuck. Now we know better.

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Of course they’d never lie Dino! They and the NYT were telling the truth about WMD in Iraq. Weren’t they?

            • Bonhoeffer says:

              It amazes me that some of you can breathe without help.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                OK Mike, calling me a “bozo” was bad enough. I’m the host and I can take it but now you went ugly on another commentator who simply had the misfortune of disagreeing with you in an intelligent manner.

                At this point, I don’t care about your argumentation (some of which is good). When things get dicey for you you always resort to vituperation.

                You’re off.

          • Bonhoeffer says:

            If they ever do show up at my door should I tell them about all the people who write on this blog who advocate for the violent overthrow of the government?

            George, you just stepped in it again.

          • Bonhoeffer says:

            He was a spent force two months ago.

            So I guess you won’t be spending hours a week devouring his seditious filth on Breitbart then. Right.

            His British accent is a killer which discombobulates leftist correspondents. I like him.

            Sounds like George’s in the grip of another man crush. First, shirtless Vova on horseback, cuddling tiger cubs and bombing pediatric hospitals in Syria melts him like butter, and now Ben with his sexy British accent and grandpa’s medal from that outfit linked to wartime Nazis in Hungary.

            All I had was the truth.

            The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power, sign, and false wonder, and with every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them. For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie, in order that judgment will come upon all who have disbelieved the truth and delighted in wickedness.…

            Best of luck in den Männerbund, George. You’ll definitely need it.

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Only if you believe facts and unwelcome reportage of the loony left is “seditious”.

            • George Michalopulos says:

              A cease-fire in Syria, Mike. That’s a bad thing I guess?

              • Bonhoeffer says:

                Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

          • Bonhoeffer says:

            The Gorkas’ controversial past does not end with the father and son.

            In the 1980s, Sebastian Gorka’s mother, Susan Gorka, worked as a translator for David Irving, the discredited British historian who caused outrage by suggesting the Holocaust did not happen, or was at least greatly exaggerated.

            A British judge ruled in 2000 that Irving was a “Holocaust denier … anti-Semitic and racist, and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism.” And in 2006, he was sentenced to three years in prison in Austria on charges of denying the Holocaust.

            Irving wrote an email to NBC News describing his warm working relationship with Susan Gorka.

            “His mother was very helpful, checked translations in the 1980s and tapes of interviews,” Irving said. “My impression of both Gorkas [Susan and Paul] was at all times good.”

            NBC News attempted to ask Sebastian Gorka about his mother’s involvement with Irving but he declined to answer detailed questions.

            op. cit.

            • Bonhoeffer says:

              Irving is George’s idea of a martyr.

              • George Michalopulos says:

                Not at all. But I’m curious, do you believe he should be in prison? Why or why not? (Easy question: if you say “yes” then you don’t believe in free speech. C’mon Mike, don’t blow it!)

                • Bonhoeffer says:

                  Mixed thoughts and feelings, to be honest. Thirteen months isn’t so bad, and Austrian prisons are quite humane and civilized, after all. Unlike Nazi death camps.

                  He was released 11 years ago. You didn’t even know that, did you?

                  • George Michalopulos says:

                    So you don’t believe in freedom of speech. Good to know.

                    • Bonhoeffer says:

                      I do, in nearly all cases. Though I would draw a red line at the publication of a systematic misrepresentation of Nazi genocide and assorted campaigns of mass murder and human vivisection. Mea maxima culpa.

                      Was Mr. Irving prevented from speaking freely? I didn’t know that; I thought his books were still in print and unburned. Again, unlike the fate of many books in Nazi Germany. And many people.

                      But consequences sometimes follow from the exercise of rights. Be less whiny.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Sorry, not gonna let you off the hook so easily. There are fourteen (!) countries in Europe in which simply raising questions about the Holocaust is a criminal offense punishable by years in prison. Irving is (was?) imprisoned because he wrote a book. One cannot be a free speech absolutist and sweep under the rug laws which prohibit the free exercise thereof.

          • Bonhoeffer says:

            Perhaps even more worrisome, Gorka’s thesis proposed a dramatic restructuring of the national-security apparatus to create a police state. He suggests a radical reform of “internal barriers between the police force, the army and various intelligence services.” This could also be seen as the start of a Gestapo-like, all-powerful national system of repression. “That’s about as Nazi Germany- or Soviet Union-like a proposal as I’ve ever heard,” says Patrick Eddington of the conservative Cato Institute. “The net effect would be to suspend the Bill of Rights, if his proposal ever saw the light of day.”

            During the decade and a half Gorka spent in Hungary, he was enmeshed in a web of ultraright, anti-Semitic and even Nazi-like parties, politicians and media outlets. For most of the 2000s, the Gorkas ran a think tank in Budapest called the Institute for Transitional Democracy and International Security (ITDIS). For funding, Gorka received at least $27,650 in U.S. federal grants, according to government records. “We worked for ourselves,” Katharine Gorka tells Rolling Stone.

            In the mid-2000s, Hungary’s left-leaning government found itself besieged by right-wing street protests. Many of the protesters were affiliated with ultranationalist leader Viktor Orbán, who’s been called a “neo-fascist dictator” by Sen. John McCain, and who leads Hungary today. Gorka served as adviser to Orbán, and later wrote for an overtly anti-Semitic newspaper, Magyar Demokrata. By all accounts, Gorka’s own writing and statements at the time included no anti-Semitic comments, and neither The Forward nor other reporters who’ve investigated his background in Hungary have turned up any evidence that Gorka himself participated in anything that could be called anti-Jewish. “What you can say for sure is that he was allied with people who have very extremist views,” says Péter Krekó of the Political Capital Institute in Hungary. “He was an opportunist, and he cooperated with figures who were very marginal.”

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Gosh! It’s in Rolling Stone! I better believe every word of it. NOT.

              • Bonhoeffer says:

                I’m happy to post scholarly and highbrow sources, but I thought it best to meet you half-way, commending something nearer your reading comprehension level.

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  See Mike, this is one of the reasons you were banned. Right out of the gate you called me “Bozo”.

                  One more chance, Dude.

                  • Bonhoeffer says:

                    non paenitebit eum

                    Please accept my sincere commendation for the accuracy with which you represented a case, below.

                    See Mike, this is one of the reasons you were banned.
                    Emphasis added. Ed.

                    I’m certain it was indeed one of the reasons, as you say. And I shall accept and comply with your reprimand. Though I think many of us suspect one or two others that probably weighed more heavily in your decision.

              • Bonhoeffer says:

                George, pretty sure your approved sources haven’t weighed in on S. Gorka. Summits of responsible journalism like Alex Jones @ Infowars, Breitbart, Rush, or The Journalist Formerly Known as S***Lord Mike Cernovich, I mean. But I’ll look around and see what I can find for you. Hang on …

          • Bonhoeffer says:

            Ahead of Charlottesville, Trump Cut Funds for Group Fighting White Supremacy
            A few weeks before Heather Heyer was murdered and many others were injured after a coalition of hate groups gathered violently in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Trump administration—under guidance from trusted aides such as Katharine Gorka—revoked a $400,000 federal grant from a U.S. nonprofit dedicated to rehabilitating former white supremacists and other extremists.

            Just before President Donald Trump took office in January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Life After Hate would receive funding from the $10 million appropriated by Congress for the department’s Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program (CVE).

            […]
            “In this age of self-radicalization and terrorist-inspired acts of violence, domestic-based efforts to counter violent extremism have become a homeland security imperative,” Barack Obama’s DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said when the first round of grants was announced.

            However, when Trump took office a week later, his new DHS Secretary ordered a full review of CVE, and when the revised list of grantees was released in late June, it made no mention of Life After Hate or any other groups focused specifically on countering white supremacy extremism.

          • Bonhoeffer says:

            Sebastian Gorka, the West Wing’s Phony Foreign-Policy Guru
            Gorka’s a former Breitbart editor with Islamophobic views and ties to neo-Nazi extremists – and he has the ear of the president

            The Breitbart News headline, back in November 2014, rang like a five-alarm fire bell: MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD OVERRUNS NATIONAL CATHEDRAL IN DC. Its author, Breitbart’s national-security editor, was Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka, who currently occupies a top White House post as “deputy assistant” to President Donald Trump. And like just about anything Gorka has said or written, the Breitbart headline was wrong in every way***. It wasn’t the Muslim Brotherhood at all, and no one overran anything. Despite his characteristic hyperventilation, the event in question was a dignified, interfaith prayer service organized jointly by the leaders of Washington National Cathedral and five mainstream Muslim organizations seeking to unite “voices of moderation.”

            RELATED: How Rex Tillerson Turned the State Department Into a Ghost Ship
            Trump’s secretary of state has made choices resulting in rows of empty offices and plummeting morale

            But critics charge that Gorka’s hyperbole and his hands-off relationship with the truth have lately sent his stock skyrocketing with the president. Renowned for his disdain for the media and his blithe readiness to defend Trump to the last tweet, Gorka – who apparently tools around Washington in a Mustang with a license plate that reads ART [OF] WAR – has become a nearly ubiquitous presence on television and radio as a spokesman for the White House.
            […]
            It’s not easy to find out exactly what Gorka does in the White House for his $155,000 salary. In terms of policy, according to The New York Times, Trump’s recent pro-Saudi Arabia tilt was “driven by two advisers, Stephen K. Bannon and Sebastian Gorka.” But a former top White House official tells Rolling Stone, “His only job appears to be to go on talk radio or Fox News to defend the indefensible.” That he does constantly, spinning the administration’s confused, roller-coaster ride of a foreign policy; slamming “the fake-news industrial complex,” on CNN; supporting a Supreme Court decision as “a slap in the face” to critics of Trump’s Muslim travel ban, on talk radio; and, on MSNBC, explaining Donald Trump Jr.’s secret meeting with a team of Russians peddling dirt as “a massive nothingburger.”

            Early this year, his wife and partner, Katharine Cornell Gorka, took up a post at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where she is now an adviser to the department’s policy office. Almost as soon as they entered the Trump administration, the Gorkas absorbed withering incoming fire from national-security experts and in a series of exposés in LobeLog.com and The Forward, a progressive Jewish periodical. By late April, White House sources told The New York Times and The Washington Post that Gorka was on the way out. Yet so far – likely thanks to support from Bannon – both Gorkas have defiantly stayed in place. According to one insider, Gorka’s dubious qualifications may have saved him. “The White House tried to find him a job at another agency,” says the source. But no luck: “Nobody wanted him.”

            ***No wonder our host is so fond!

      • Just shows how stupid this president is to surround himself with other incompetent people and who persuade him to do stupid things. Kelly is cleaning house. Maybe the moderate voice of Ivanka can help this doomed presidency.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Like his “doomed candidacy”?

          • About Trump’s “successful” candidacy: some facts.

            He won the electoral college because of a total of 77,744 votes cast in WI, MI, & PA. Apparently*. That is to say, by an average of 0.57% of the votes cast (apparently*) in those three states (almost exactly one-tenth of all votes cast in the US*). Assuming these votes are true and valid,* had these voters not shown up at the polls, HRC would have won the Electoral College by 18 votes — 278 to 260. That’s your “landslide” — Trump won* the EC by 0.0568% of all 137 million votes cast in 2016.

            22.7K in WI (0.77%)
            10.7K in MI (0.23%)
            44.3K in PA (0.72%)

            HRC won the popular vote by a plurality of 48.18% of all votes cast, 2,868,699 or 2.09% more than Trump (46.09%). Excluding all the other third party and write-in votes, HRC defeated Trump with a majority of this subset, 51.13% to 48.9%, 2.23%. Trump’s “winning margin,” by percent, was third from the bottom of all elections in American history (after 1] J.Q. Adams and 2] R. B. Hayes). His “winning margin” by votes (~ -2.9 M) was by far the worst in American history.

            His presidency, however, is doomed. This doom is overdetermined and will fly at him from multiple sides simultaneously. That process has already begun. His only real allies at this point are voters still too vain, proud & stubborn (perhaps ill-informed and/or stupid) to admit one of the biggest mistakes of their lives. The whole world mocks and hoots at y’all, together with an ever larger majority of the US population. Almost 2/3 of 2400 residents of WI, MI and PA asked said they are embarrassed by Trump (NBC/Marist poll, released this week).

            *Stay tuned!

            • George Michalopulos says:

              Mike, he won. In my world that’s what constitutes a “successful” candidacy.

            • Gail Sheppard says:

              Nemesis, it doesn’t matter. Both parties were playing by the same rules and there is now a guy in office. Should of, could of, would of, doesn’t matter.

              The polls said Trump would never make the primaries, let alone win the election. How do you explain that? Why would you believe NBC, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS et al. when they got it so wrong?

              • As you’re about to learn, Gail, the Trump gang’s cheating in this election is going to matter, a lot. Like I said, stay tuned.

                The polls said Trump would never make the primaries, let alone win the election. How do you explain that?

                ???
                My explanation is simple: your claim is entirely false. Here’s 3 pages of polls for you. I remember most polls from as far back as late February predicted he’d win the nomination, though the ones listed here date only to the first week of April.
                Minimal contact with your typical Fox- and Limbaugh-addled Republicans and their many delusions, in Catholic and Orthodox churches here in SCa, was all I needed to make this an easy call for me, too. (What’s up with “Christians” and their eager lapping up of wingnut media’s Big Lies? Ominous… And Putin laughs as you make things so much easier for him.)

                Seldom have much idea what some of you people are on about. It’s like you live in a parallel universe of alternative facts. Here in Reality World, I’m afraid you find that there’s seldom much basis for your opinions and odd assertions. Look for yourself at the the results for nationwide polls released Monday, Nov. 7. Polling error over the past few decades just prior to presidential elections has averaged 3% for nationwide polls, and this year’s aggregate was actually better than that (when you look at the numbers recall that Clinton won by 2%. Y’all tend to forget about her 3 million popular vote win.)
                Where predictions went awry was in the EC, due to the suspect outcomes in WI, MI, PA mainly, and also in FL, states where Trump apparently won by 0.77, 0.23, 0.72 and 1.2%, respectively. But as I said, that plot is thickening. Stay tuned!

                • George Michalopulos says:

                  You’re extremely naive Mike. The LA Times/Dornsrife daily tracking poll had Trump ahead in every demographic subset except for African-Americans.

                  I know, I was watching it regularly from Sept to Nov. More specifically, I was watching Bill Still on YouTube explain it.

                  As for cheating, I’d say HRC “over votes” in California and Illinois would raise interesting questions about mega illegal voting. Personally, I’d say that over one million illegal aliens voted for Hillary.

                  • Nate Trost says:

                    You literally cannot hide millions of illegal votes. You can’t hide hundreds of thousands of illegal votes. On a state much less a local level tens of thousands to thousands becomes impossible. This is basic statistics. Any significant level of fraud can be detected by an absolutely minute amount of random sampling of the total vote set.

                    If the conditions George Michalopulos believes exist actually existed, it would be trivially easy to prove. Except, of course, they don’t.

                    Why are you so innumerate Mr. Michalopulos? Your fantasy beliefs are rooted in utter ignorance of voting procedure a frankly embarrassing lack of mathematical proficiency. You are entitled to your opinion, but I feel obliged to point out that it is an indefensibly stupid one.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      Thank you for walking into my Russia trap Nate. Or are you going to concede that the Russians didn’t “hack” the election? Either they did or they didn’t. Because really, doesn’t “hacking” involve jiggering with voting machines? Of course it does. In fact, that’s the only way that an election can be “hacked”.

                      I will say this though: in Oklahoma we have paper ballots; those can be recounted in case of a contested election (like Florida 2000). In Wisconsin and other states, it’s all electronic. Wouldn’t it be possible for a real hacker to jimmy the results of an electronic ballot? I would think so.

                    • Nate Trost says:

                      You do not have a “Russia trap”. Russia’s campaign to influence the 2016 election involved, but was not limited to hacking. Hacking can influence an election, even if voting totals themselves are not ‘hacked’. The hacking of political entities, voter registration databases, and political intelligence sources is not benign if the ‘product’ is used to further a desired result. That the effect on an outcome can be difficult to quantify does not change the severity of the offense.

                      And, bless your heart, you conflate two different election integrity issues: ineligible people on the voter rolls in large numbers and the votes of eligible people being altered are different categories of problem. Again, the former is trivial to uncover. In essence, it’s so easy to disprove, that claiming these ineligible voters exist is a huge bluff. But it’s safe to say, George Michalopulos is never going to call that bluff on the GOP: he prefers to believe millions of ineligible people vote. It’s far more palatable than an uncomfortable truth.

                      Electronic voting integrity is a huge concern, but not the only one. Creative targeted corruption of voter registration data is a significant secondary concern. On one hand, American voting systems aren’t a monoculture, but on the other hand as DefCon 2017 showed, a lot of the systems out there are bad.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      What you describe (other than jiggering vote totals one way or the other) is normal behavior as far as major world powers go. By your definition, no country has “hacked” more elections (or staged more coups) than the United States.

                      Chile, Israel, Ukraine, Italy, Iran, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Greece –the list is endless.

                      Mind you, as an ardent Cold Warrior, I had no problem with the overthrow of Allende in Chile but I’m at least being forthright about the illegality of meddling on other people’s elections. You are not.

                  • One million at least, George! Can you say sanctuary voting stations. Well at least in the urban areas. I will say this about our Latino bothers and sisters. They in large part are good family oriented people, in many ways similar to our own Greek culture. I believe they will in a generation or two come over to the centrist/right side of things once they achieve the American Dream, if it’s not killed by the left entirely. I remember most first and second generations of Greeks were largely Democrat, that has now changed more and more.

                    • George Michalopulos says:

                      All things being equal, Dino, you’d be right. However the glitch in your trajectory is the derailment of the American Dream. It’s astounding to me how your dad and my dad –immigrants both–could afford to shelter, clothe and feed a nuclear family. That’s pretty much impossible anymore. Hence today’s hardworking mestizo immigrants are tomorrow’s permanent underclass.

                      90% of the people I work with are Millennials and when I tell them stories about the Dark Ages (i.e. my childhood in the 60s/70s), the long, carefree summer days riding my bike all day long or fishing in the river in the summertime and during school coming home to a waiting mother, who was married to the father of her children, they look at me like I’m some freak.

                    • George,
                      No doubt the days of our youth gone forever. My hope is controlled borders stops the flow and the offspring of those already here will continue to do better than the last generation. Most want to work, and keep their family tight knit for the most part. Hopefully the leftist won’t destroy their spirit like they did with our black citizens. Even for the poorest among us amazing achievements will occur if families stay intact, and support one another.

                      If your coworkers generation truly understood what the American middle class was like forty fifty years ago a revolt would occur. There are no words for what our past leaders and the greed that promoted them have done to this once great nation and it’s people. They have stretched us so thin, it seems we just jump from one never ending hurdle to the next. At least we have the hope of Christ’s mercy upon us.

                  • incredible

                    The last LA/USC was off by 5.1+%. Its result was, objectively, one of the furthest off of the major polls, as you can see for yourself here. Only one poll was worse: Monmouth. But this is probably fake news, am I right?

                    The RCP average this year missed Clinton’s 2.1% victory by only 1.1%, a significantly better than usual job. Moronic myths notwithstanding.

                    Your ignorantly favored poll, wrong by a grim 5.1%, was ~2% worse than the average historical margin of error and as we see sported an error 4% worse than the 2016 RCP average. Simple math George. For your customers’ sake, I hope you perform vastly better than this at work.

                    And, in flat contradiction to your entirely erroneous assertion about demographics, Trump was consistently behind in many of the subsets analyzed by the LAT/USC, as he was in all the other polls, too.

                    So, aside from your rather odd ‘fessing up to having taken seriously some sad internet crank, which I certainly have no doubt is true, nothing else you asserted above is factual.
                    Yet again, you either have no idea what you’re idiotically babbling about — nor could you care less that you don’t, evidently — or you’re consciously lying. One or the other.

                    Had a head MRI or EEG lately? I worry about you George.

                • Gail Sheppard says:

                  I would agree, Nemesis, we live in different universes.

                  When I said they didn’t think Trump would win the primaries, let alone the election, I was talking about when he announced his candidacy.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Playing with fire Mike. If you get you’re way you won’t like the outcome.

      • Bonhoeffer says:

        “Nice Western liberal democracy you got there. Too bad if something should happen to it.” Your threats are noted, deza hellmouth.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          The trouble Bonnie is that it’s progs like you who don’t actually believe in “western liberal democracy”. You see, I actually do. Really, I do. That’s why I talk about the Constitution and natural law all the time. And why I’ve lamented its slow death ever since Reconstruction.

          If you actually did, you’d be cheering Trump because he actually wants to devolve more power back to the States. It’s actually happening right now in several areas, including the Dept of Education under Betsy DeVos. He’s also lifted several of the Obamacare mandates liberating several of the States from their onerous implementation. Among other things.

  16. Bonhoeffer says:

    Dino: “After reading George’s list above, I can understand how a left leaning liberal would see Trump’s long list of accomplishments, in a short period of time to be a failure.”

    I pity you, Dino.

    Anyway, here’s some wisdom that I fear will be wasted on most of you, but I offer it anyway. A fine overview of Trump’s “success” so far.

    By Naomi Klein, from No Is Not Enough, which was published in June by Haymarket Books. Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine, among other books.

    The colonization of network television by reality TV at the turn of the millennium happened at a speed that few could have predicted. In very short order, North Americans went from deriving entertainment from scripted shows with the same characters and dramas week after week, season after season, to watching seemingly unscripted shows on which the drama came from people’s willingness to eject one another from whatever simulation of reality happened to be on display. Tens of millions were glued to their TVs as participants were voted off the island on Survivor, removed from the mansion on The Bachelor — and, eventually, fired by Donald Trump on The Apprentice.

    The timing made sense. The first season of Survivor — so wildly successful that it spawned an army of imitators — was in 2000. That was two decades after Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher kicked the “free-market revolution,” with its veneration of greed, individualism, and competition as the governing principles of society, into high gear. It became possible to peddle as mass entertainment the spectacle of people turning on one another for a pot of gold.

    The whole genre — the alliances, the backstabbing, the one person left standing — was always a kind of capitalist burlesque. Before The Apprentice, however, there was at least the pretext that it was about something else: how to live in the wilderness, how to catch a husband, how to be a housemate. With Donald Trump’s arrival, the veneer was gone. The Apprentice was explicitly about the race to survive in the cutthroat jungle of late capitalism.

    The first episode began with a shot of a homeless person sleeping on the street. Soon the camera cut to Trump in his limo, living the dream. The message was unmistakable: You can be the homeless guy, or you can be Trump. That was the sadistic drama of the show: Play your cards right and be the one lucky winner, or suffer the abject humiliation of being berated and then fired by the boss. It was quite a cultural feat. After decades of mass layoffs, declining living standards, and the normalization of extremely precarious employment, Trump and Mark Burnett, the producer, delivered the coup de grâce: They turned the act of firing people into mass entertainment.

    Every week, to an audience of millions, The Apprentice delivered the central sales pitch of free-market theory, telling viewers that by unleashing their most selfish and ruthless side, they were actually being heroic, creating jobs and fueling growth. Don’t be nice, be a killer. That’s how you help the economy and, more importantly, yourself.

    In later seasons, the underlying cruelty of the show grew even more perverse. The winning team lived in a luxurious mansion. They drank champagne in inflatable pool loungers, zipped off in limos to meet celebrities. The losing team was deported to tents in the back yard, nicknamed Trump Trailer Park.

    The tent-dwellers, whom Trump gleefully deemed the have-nots, didn’t have electricity, ate off paper plates, and slept to the sounds of howling dogs. They could peek through a gap in the hedge to see what decadent wonders the haves were enjoying. Trump and Burnett, in other words, deliberately created a microcosm of the very real and ever-widening inequalities outside the show, the same injustices that have enraged many Trump voters — but they played those inequalities for kicks. On one show, Trump told the tent team that “life’s a bitch,” so they’d better do everything possible to step over the losers and become a winner like him.

    In this particular piece of televised class warfare, which aired in 2007, the pretense sold to a previous generation — that capitalism was going to create the best of all possible worlds — was completely absent. No: This was a system that generated a few big winners and hordes of losers, so you’d better make damn sure you’re on the winning team.

    It’s worth remembering that Trump’s breakthrough to national celebrity came not from a real estate sale but from a book about making real estate sales. The Art of the Deal, marketed as holding the secrets to fabulous wealth, was published in 1987, at the peak of the Reagan era. It was followed up over the years with crasser variations on the same theme: Think Big and Kick Ass, Trump 101, and How to Get Rich.

    Trump first started selling the notion that he held the key to joining the One Percent at the precise moment when many of the ladders that provided social mobility — such as free, high-quality public education — were being kicked away, and just as the social safety net was being shredded. All this meant that the drive to magically strike it rich, to win big, to make it to that safe economic stratum, became increasingly frantic.

    Trump, who was born wealthy, expertly profited off that desperation across many platforms, most infamously through Trump University. And then there were the casinos, a large chunk of Trump’s domestic real estate portfolio. The dream at the center of the casino economy is not so different from the dream for sale at Trump University or in How to Get Rich: You may be on the verge of personal bankruptcy today, but if you (literally) play your cards right, you could be living large by morning.

    Trump built his brand by selling the promise that “you, too, could be Donald Trump” — at a time when life was becoming more precarious if you weren’t in the richest One Percent. He then turned around and used that very same pitch — that he would make America a country of winners again — on voters, exploiting their deep economic anxieties with the reality-simulation skills that he had picked up on TV. After decades of hawking how-to-get-rich manuals, Trump understood exactly how little substance needed to be behind the promise if the desperation was great enough.

    Well before Trump’s rise, elections had already crossed over into ratings-driven infotainment. What Trump did was exponentially increase the entertainment factor, and therefore the ratings. As a veteran of the form, he understood that if elections had become a form of reality TV, then the best contestant (not the same thing as the best candidate) would win. Maybe they wouldn’t win the final vote, but they would at least win wall-to-wall coverage, which from a branding perspective is still winning. As Trump said when he was contemplating a presidential run in 2000 (he decided against it): “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”

    Since the election, we’ve heard a few mea culpas from media executives acknowledging that they abetted Trump’s victory by giving him such an outsized portion of their coverage. Yet the biggest gift to Trump was not just airtime but the entire infotainment model of election coverage, which plays up interpersonal dramas between the candidates while largely abandoning the traditional journalistic task of explaining how different candidates’ positions on issues such as health care and regulatory reform will play out in voters’ lives.

    Trump didn’t create the problem — he exploited it. And because he understood the conventions of fake reality better than anyone, he took the game to a new level. He didn’t just bring the conventions of reality TV to electoral politics — he mashed them up with another blockbuster entertainment genre also based on cartoonishly fake performances of reality: professional wrestling.

    It’s hard to overstate Trump’s fascination with wrestling. He has performed as himself (the ultrarich boss) in World Wrestling Entertainment appearances at least eight times, enough to earn him a place in the W.W.E. Hall of Fame. In a Battle of the Billionaires, he pretended to pound wrestling kingpin Vince McMahon, and then celebrated his victory by publicly shaving McMahon’s head in front of the cheering throng. He also dropped thousands of dollars in cash into the audience of screaming fans. Now he has appointed the former CEO of W.W.E., Linda McMahon (Vince’s wife), to his Cabinet as the head of the Small Business Administration (a detail that has largely been lost amid the daily scandals).

    Like The Apprentice, Trump’s side career in pro wrestling exposed and endeared him to a massive audience — in stadiums, on TV, and online. Pro wrestling might be invisible as a cultural force to most liberal voters, but W.W.E. generated $729 million in revenue last year. And Trump did more than pick up votes from this experience — he also picked up tips.

    As Matt Taibbi pointed out in Rolling Stone, Trump’s entire campaign had a distinctly W.W.E. quality. He carefully nurtured feuds with other candidates, and handed out insulting nicknames (Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted). He played ringmaster at his own rallies, complete with over-the-top insult-chants (“Killary,” “Lock her up!”), and directed the crowd’s rage at the designated villains: journalists and demonstrators. Outsiders would emerge from these events shaken, not sure what had just happened. What had happened was a cross between a pro-wrestling match and a white-supremacist rally.

    Reality television and professional wrestling are relatively new forms of mass entertainment, and they establish a relationship with reality that is at once fake and genuine. With W.W.E., every fight is fixed and rehearsed. But that doesn’t lessen the enjoyment. The fact that everyone is in on the joke, that the cheers and boos are part of the show, increases the fun. The artifice is not a drawback — it’s the point.

    So Trump sees himself less as a president than as the executive producer of his country, with an eye always on the ratings. Responding to the suggestion that he fire his press secretary, he reportedly said, “I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.”

    It’s with the same brash showmanship that Trump is now navigating — or failing to navigate — the promises that he would impose a “Buy American, hire American” policy, and thereby bring back the bygone days of booming factories and blue-collar jobs that paid middle-class wages. (Never mind that his own empire is built on exploiting outsourced labor.)

    This posture is as authentic as the violence he enacted when he appeared to take on a W.W.E. wrestler in the ring, or when he was choosing among contestants on The Celebrity Apprentice. Trump knows as well as anyone that the idea of American corporations returning to 1970s-style manufacturing is a cruel joke. He knows this because, as his own business practices attest, a great many U.S. companies are no longer manufacturers at all but hollow shells, buying their own products from a web of cheap contractors. He may be able to bring back a few factories, or claim that he did, but the numbers will be minuscule compared with the need.

    Trump’s plan, which is already under way, is to approach the unemployment and underemployment crisis in the same way he approaches everything — as a spectacle. He will claim credit for a relatively small number of jobs — most of which would have been created anyway — and then market the hell out of those supposed success stories. It won’t matter one bit whether the numbers support his claims. He’ll edit reality to fit his narrative, as he learned to do on The Apprentice, and just as he did on his very first day as president, insisting contrary to all objective evidence that his inauguration crowds had been historic.

    So far it seems to be working, at least with his base. Some liberals have seized on this apparent tolerance for “alternative facts” to dismiss his working-class voters as “suckers.” But it’s worth remembering that a large portion of Barack Obama’s base was quite happy to embrace the carefully crafted symbols his administration created — the White House lit up like a rainbow to celebrate gay marriage; the shift to a civil, erudite tone; the spectacle of an incredibly appealing First Family free of major scandals for eight years. These were all good things, but too often these same supporters looked the other way when it came to the drone warfare that killed countless civilians; the deportation of roughly 2.5 million people; broken promises to close Guantánamo or dismantle George W. Bush’s mass-surveillance architecture. Obama positioned himself as a climate hero, but at one point bragged that his administration had “added enough new oil and gas pipelines to encircle the earth and then some.”

    Of course, Trump’s successful attempt to sell his white working-class voters on the dream of a manufacturing comeback will eventually come crashing to earth. But what is most worrying is what Trump will do then. In all likelihood, he will double down on the only other tools he has left: bashing and blaming immigrants, riling up fears about black crime, launching fiercer attacks on reproductive rights and on the press. And then, of course, there’s always war.

    Blood-sport reality TV is, after all, a science-fiction cliché. Think of The Hunger Games, with its reality-TV spectacle in which all but one of the players die. Or The Running Man, another film about a televised event where the stakes are life or death. Wilbur Ross, Trump’s commerce secretary, reportedly described the April bombing of Syria as Mar-a-Lago’s “after-dinner entertainment.”

    Trump has only just started playing his version of the Mar-a-Lago Hunger Games, with the full arsenal of U.S. military power — and he is getting plenty of encouragement to keep upping the ante. When he launched Tomahawk missiles against Syria, the MSNBC host Brian Williams declared the images “beautiful.” One week later, Trump went for more spectacle, dropping the U.S. military’s largest non-nuclear weapon on a cave complex in Afghanistan, an act of violence so indiscriminate and disproportionate that analysts struggled to find any rationale that could resemble a coherent military strategy. There was no strategy — the megatonnage was the message.

    Given that Trump ordered the use of a weapon that had never been deployed in combat before, and given that he did this just twelve weeks into his presidency and with no obvious provocation, there is little reason to hope he will be able to resist putting on the show of shows — the apocalyptic violence of a full-blown war, made for TV, with guaranteed blockbuster ratings. Well before Trump, we had wars that were fought as televised entertainment. The 1990 Gulf War was dubbed the first video-game war, complete with its own logo and theme music on CNN. And that was nothing compared with the show put on during the 2003 Iraq invasion, based on a military strategy called Shock and Awe. The attacks were designed as a spectacle for cable news consumers, but also for Iraqis, to maximize their sense of helplessness, to “teach them a lesson.”

    That fearsome technology is now in the hands of the first reality-TV star president.

    © 2017 Harper’s Magazine Foundation. September 2017 cover illustration by Tavis Coburn

  17. “One cannot be a free speech absolutist and sweep under the rug laws which prohibit the free exercise thereof.”

    The law was made for man, not man for the law. We can’t subjugate the good of humanity to uphold abstract principles.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      Well, then get ready for the day when all the “hurtful” speech comes from the left and leftists are thrown into prison.

      Sorry, SCOTUS ruled that burning the American flag is “protected speech”. That act hurts probably 98% of the people. Can’t have it both ways.

      • But when has leftist speech ever been anywhere close to as hurtful as whitewashing genocide and the other Nazi horrors? Comparing the hurtfulness of flag burning to whitewashing Nazi crimes seems totally psycho. Think about what you’re doing. You’re making a false equivalence between someone lying about very concrete historical realities that most people think of as one of history’s most horrible atrocities and burning flags, as equally hurtful? Flag burning vs. the Holocaust? Really? That seems morally insane. Are you a Christian?

        Do you know any qualified historians who say the Nazi genocide and the rest of it didn’t happen pretty much as we’ve learned? If this really happened pretty much as taught, why do you want to make excuses for a fraud trying to undermine knowledge of real history? That’s what evil totalitarians do, replace truth with lies.

        Another thing is what standing do you have to lecture the country that spawned Hitler about how they should deal with someone who tried to whitewash his monstrous crimes? Maybe you should mind your own business.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          Actually it doesn’t Mike. I actually know soldiers and Marines in my extended family who risked their lives and/or saw other warriors fight to save or raise the flag (a la Iwo Jima). You have absolutely NO idea how
          hurtful it is to these men to see the American flag desecrated. None.

          • Great point George, MSM, and progressive leftist have selective short memories. Those of us who respect free speech, always bite our lip, and accept our freedoms no matter how ugly. The Progressive left has no respect for our freedoms or The Constitution, if it doesn’t jive with their ideology.

  18. Then it really was a miracle!

    E@op#bp.n aka bieajk*pa-ien. dje q=ap)h99 smq-29IG!9.