Trump’s Southern Border Wall

This Twitter thread from “@Stonekettle” was brought to my attention by reader Ann German. It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen about Trump’s insistence that the US requires a southern border wall. It’s better than anything I could write about the situation and covers just about everything in relation to the actual wall. For that reason, I’m going to produce the whole thread below. This is a pretty lazy way to do a post, but I think you’ll agree that this thread is worth it.

Although it’s on Twitter, I suspect that even if Trump sees it, it might be too long for his attention span. However, I live in hope.  But even then there’s the issue of him admitting he was wrong. That simply doesn’t happen. Every now and then it seems Trump may be about to see reason. The tweet about the steel slat wall was one such time. Then he faces questions from journalists and he’s back to insisting that a wall is the only solution.

(The flush left comments that are not part of tweets are mine.)


The Twitter Thread on the Wall






Trump and the West Bank Wall

Amongst Trump’s base of Evangelical Christians there is a deep religious fervour in relation to Israel. That’s not because of any admiration for Jews or aversion to anti-Semitism of course. It’s because of their belief in eschatology (End Times mythology). In particular, it’s the belief in the prophesized Battle of Armageddon before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (Armageddon is at the foot of Mt Megiddo in Israel.) Possibly because of his relationship with the Evangelicals, Trump has begun referring to the Israeli-Palestinian wall as an example of one that works. That’s why it features in the thread.

















Two days later there were these additions.












The Politics of Fear

Tweet #26 says in part:

Those who profit from fear need somebody to blame.

It’s the easiest form of power, the simplest way to manipulate the rudest of minds. THEM. THEY’RE getting in. THEY’RE taking your jobs, raping, murdering, stealing YOUR democracy.

This is an extremely significant part of the whole strategy. We know that the whole “Build a Wall” chant was little more than a campaign strategy to get the crowds going. Even Trump got a surprise at how well it worked, and that was the main reason he kept it going.

Psychologically, the need for control is a big part of what makes a conservative. That is why it’s so often possible to play on fear of the other to get conservative votes. Statistically, there is little chance of someone in the US suffering because of an attack by an extremist Muslim. By comparison, they actually have far more to fear from an extremist Christian. However, many conservatives simply refuse to believe the statistics that tell them that. My point is, that’s why Trump’s ploy of making those trying to get into the US via the southern border something to fear is working.

Border security is important. But policy should be informed by data, not emotion, especially when the emotion comes from someone who appears to be emotionally unstable.


Cartoon: Trump persuading a voter he will pay for a southern border wall using emotion.



Cartoon: Trump with a wall in his mouth "That's a wall I wouldn't mind paying for."


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130 Responses to “Trump’s Southern Border Wall”

  1. Gravel-Inspector says:

    But even then there’s the issue of him admitting he was wrong. That simply doesn’t happen.

    I was wondering when Trump will have his “Beatles Moment” – when in a fit of unscripted and unplanned running off at the mouth, he claims to be bigger – more bigly, even – than God. Or Jesus – interchangeable in this context.
    And then, he’ll be unable to retract it. Every time he is probed about it – and he will be probed like a redneck on a back road – he’ll not be able to back down in the slightest. As he is lambasted from every pulpit in the land, he can only attack his critics. As the pundits tell him that it is costing him votes, he still can’t back down.
    And the downward spiral begins. Unfortunately it will involve other people too. Who will get hurt.
    I wonder how many RPM he’ll get up to before he can see what the sun never does see.

    • I think this is starting to come via the noose tightening because of the Mueller investigation. He doesn’t seem to think that he has to obey the law, and at some point he’s going to tell everyone that in some way. Then it won’t be long before he paints himself into a corner with his statements. (I even have the cartoons of him doing just that ready!)

  2. Mike says:

    It’s a natural progression with Trump, the threat keeps growing, those little brown people must be kept out, and the ones that are here we need to keep under surveillance, just in case. To do that we need to be able to identify them, because there are lots of different brown people here, so lets mark them, with, oh I don’t know, lets sew a Badge on their clothes, and even better , lets enclose them in their own district and only let them out to work, and those too old or young to work ? Well, we’ll gas them. Once the threat is imagined, in the end, there is only one solution in the mind of the Fascist.

    • People wonder how someone like Hitler can come into power, but they don’t arrive full-blown announcing gas chambers. For a lot of people when it’s just one more step like that, it seems like a natural progression. If you watch documentaries about how Hitler came to power – there’s a good one that plays fairly regularly on the History Channel – there are a number of striking similarities to Trump. We like to think it won’t go as far as it did with Hitler, but most of us thought Trump could never get elected either.

      • Mike says:

        Exactly Helen, Tyrants like Hitler don’t arrive standing on a Tank, they come via the Ballot Box, which in their mind gives them permission for the later horrors to come. After being elected they then find an excuse for suspending Elections, maybe get the Volk riled up about the Wall that the elected representatives refuse to provide the money for. His mindset is clear with his unalloyed admiration of the Monsters of this World, MBS, Kim Jong Un, Putin et al, he would love to have their Power. All he needs is a false flag incident to allow him to suspend Elections until the threat is dealt with, and I have no doubt that his Fascist base would back him!

        • This is one of the reasons I have such a problem with groups like Antifa. As soon as a left-wing or liberal group becomes violent, far-right and conservative rulers, especially those who already have a penchant for autocracy like Trump, say: “See, we need a Police State/Militia in control/etc. I have to take control to keep everyone safe.” It’s an excuse because as we know, the violent groups on the far-right are both more numerous and more dangerous, but that means nothing.

          It’s just like the southern border. Those coming in that way are not the most dangerous or most numerous, but they provide a focus. Trump said from the White House Briefing Room just yesterday that there are more trying to get in via the southern border than ever before because of the great economy he’s created! Both those things are lies of course. There are less trying to come in via that route than almost ever before, and the economy has been trashed. Just about the only good thing is the low unemployment rate, and the US needs immigrants to fill the jobs that aren’t getting done because of that low rate.

          • Randall Schenck says:

            Very true. Trump is often the master of making something out of nothing. This has to include lots of lies and just plane nutty information and he presents no proof of any of it. He says it and that is the proof for the followers. The new House Speaker simply says a wall is disgusting and there will be no wall. So how long does this go on. Until Trump can manufacture another story to replace this one, do a few diversions and then save the day. The TSA employees at the airports are not getting paid next Friday and are already staying home. It will get much worse so Trump will have to work on a new story fast. I cannot understand how anyone can stand to work for this person.

          • The bastard wants to call it a strike instead of a shut down because in his mind all the federal workers would prefer to not get paid if it gets them a wall! This is all the federal workers he also said were mostly Democrats. 420,000 workers are required to work without pay including TSA, Coast Guard, and Border Security. And it’s not just a few TSA employees calling in sick – it’s literally hundreds. So much for supporting his wall. What a good time to smuggle something dangerous!

  3. Randall Schenck says:

    I believe it covers just about everything. Even that this wall is nothing more than a piece of meat for his base and everyone else could ignore it, like most things from Trump. Until now when he shuts down the government for his stupid nonsense. We should also make clear the wall is not actually needed to keep people from Mexico out. Mostly the people attempting to get through are from central American countries. The movement of people between Mexico and the U.S. over the past several years is neutral. Also, terrorist do not get here this way. They fly in, drive from Canada or are already here living next door to you.

    Very good posting. The only other thing I can think of is eminent domain. Much of the land they would need to build their wall is owned by private parties, not the government. So they would spend years in court taking this land away from people and paying lots of money for it.

  4. Stewart Jump says:

    If the US are going to build a wall shouldn’t it be on the northern border to keep out the Canadian’s. After all with their socialist Healthcare letting too many in will lead to communism.

  5. Lee Knuth says:

    Those tweets really showed the fallacy of building the wall. Trump uses fear to cntrol his base but with the tariffs and government shutdown economics may just turn some,of that base. Thanks for a great post.

    • Randall Schenck says:

      Particularly some of those in his base who are now getting no paycheck. There are many despite Trump somehow thinking they are all democrats. If you are an air control person at an airport or working for TSA you must work without pay. How that relates to some fictional wall in a desert in Arizona requires some imagination.

  6. Yakaru says:

    If the Democrats really allowed it to be built, and it turns out exactly as noted above, Trump would then blame them for letting him do it in the first place.

    And let’s not forget that he advised the foreign minister of Spain to build a wall across the Sahara. He has absolutely no idea whatsoever about anything except for the current contents of his own brain.

  7. Mark R. says:

    Thanks for this compilation, very astute and I don’t see how anyone could counter his argument.

    I’ve read the main reason this stupid wall idea came about was Bannon et al. were trying to find a simple mechanism to keep Trump on message. When it came to immigration, they thought the wall idea was simple enough that Trump would be able to use it to keep his immigration message alive. Of course, his simplistic and bigoted crowds loved it, esp. loved (at one point anyway) that Mexico was going to pay for it and the rest is sad history.

    The only fight I got in over the Holidays w/ my Trumpite parents (dad much more than mom) was over the wall; when Trump closed the government over it, my parents and I were in the car and I was in the back seat reading the post on WEIT about the wall closure. I exclaimed: “what is it with Trump and his stupid wall?” That’s all it took; my father went from chatting with mom to full blown fire and fury. “What do you mean it’s stupid! You just hate Trump…anything he does you think is stupid!” I said, “well, yeah, who wouldn’t?”…I was going to add something about how I’m sure he had nothing but love and admiration for Obama, but before I could get a word in edge-wise, he was spouting the propaganda about “invasions” and “caravans” and “of course a wall will work (and he cited the west bank wall as working so why not this one). It was really sad. He’s a smart person who only watches Fox; he’s also deluded by religion, so there’s a double whammy. It’s very frightening how Fox has twisted the minds of so many people…especially seniors.

    • nicky says:

      Did you notice that the ‘Caravan’ has somehow evaporated from the news? It will arrive again by September-October 2020. If Mr Trump survives until then, that is.

  8. Randall Schenck says:

    It looks like the republicans are going to screw themselves into the ground on this one with Trump. The Democrats gave them a way out today if they would pass some of these bills allowing all of the govt. to go back to work accept homeland security but apparently they won’t even do that. I feel sorry for all these people who are not getting paid and over such a stupid, childish thing. It’s really getting sickening, hope you haven’t eaten lately.

  9. nicky says:

    What an outstanding series of tweets! It is roughly what I’ve -well, I guess most of us have- been thinking, but unable to express so precisely, clearly and succinctly. I particularly think that 17/, 18/ and 30/ need to be understood.
    However, even if he would have a long enough attention span to read it (since it does not mention ‘Trump’ every second sentence or so, quite unlikely), and get the message, I fear Mr Trump has ‘invested’ too much political capital in his -shown here to be silly- wall. If he backs down, he will fear it might be the end of his presidency (yes, he’s probably been hearing Senator Graham).

    • Watching CNN yesterday, someone was reporting that Trump had said he couldn’t take the Democrats deal because it would make him look stupid! So, yes, it looks like you (and the rest of us here who said the same) are right.

  10. Mike says:

    History has an awful habit of repeating itself, so in 2019, the most powerful position in the World is held by an egomaniacal malignant narcissist, who has control of the most powerful military machine ever seen. One only hopes that if push comes to shove he is removed from power by whatever means.

    • I sincerely believe that if Trump gave the order for a preemptive nuclear strike, his generals would refuse to carry it out. They would never admit this publicly beforehand, but I bet some of them discussed it and I suspect that had a lot to do with the Mattis/Kelly agreement in relation to Trump.

  11. Randall Schenck says:

    16 plus days and nothing. Now he thinks by calling it an emergency he can steal the money for his wall. All that will do is get him into court. Frankly this one performance would be enough for impeachment.

    • Yep. Imagine how Republicans would have reacted if Obama had done this! And they’re either ignoring this stunt, or even supporting it. Talk about a petulant child stamping his feet and holding his breath! It’s pathetic.

      One of the reasons this happens is because no one stands up to him, or tells him no. The few who tried but were always overridden anyway and are now gone. He’s never had to properly justify a decision so he’s never learned to reason deeply. His thought processes are thus too shallow for such a consequential role as POTUS. You need to feel like even if you don’t agree with a president’s decision s/he has thought about it.

  12. Mike says:

    Someone should put him on the naughty step, or preferably, in a Gaol Cell.

  13. Randall Schenck says:

    While Trump and his people ramp up the lies and bad information on the truth of the southern boarder saga, NBC news today said the actual number of people stopped at the southern boarder in the first half of 2018 who where even on the lists of dangerous people was 6. This is the mass of bad guys coming across the southern boarder. Trump’s people had tried to say the number was close to 4000. They cannot produce one terrorist that was discovered at the southern boarder.

    • I see Trump’s going to visit the southern border. What a great use of taxpayer money! (sarcasm) I’m sure he’ll get a good feel for what it’s really like down there. (more sarcasm) It’ll enable him to make one of those genius gut decisions of his …

      • Randall Schenck says:

        Yes, and he is even going on TV tomorrow to sell his propaganda to everyone. Problem is, the news media has already told the public his emigration sell is garbage. I think he has been cut off before he gets out of the gate.

        • Thank goodness more and more people are seeing through his lies. There’s still a remarkable number who take what he says as gospel though unfortunately. And even when they know he’s lying, it’s okay as long as he gets conservatives on the courts. That’s going to do more long-term damage to your country than anything else imo. Locking people up for a long time, treating them badly in prison, and other such measures have the opposite effect in most cases to what most believe. The crime Bill that’s just been passed is an excellent start in reforming the justice system, but Trump isn’t talking about it because his conservative supporters don’t like it.

  14. Randall Schenck says:

    Today is the big southern boarder visit. I suspect he will call out the national guard to protect his trip to such a dangerous area. I would suggest crossing the boarder at Brownsville, Tx as the shops are very plentiful there. If you do not make it back, who cares.

    • Randall Schenck says:

      I guess my mistake, not going to the boarder today. Maybe later who cares But as of 3 pm central time they just finished another meeting between Trump and Pelosi and Schumer. A meeting to end all meeting and it did. Trump got up and walked out. Looks like this thing, whatever it is, will go on. It is really just sick now and everyone should be disgusted and embarrassed except Trump. He is too stupid and full of himself to be embarrassed about anything. Just remember, only Trump can manufacture crap from nothing. He is responsible for all of this nonsense and everyone knows this. The polls even say so.

      • I think I heard the visit was Thursday, and it’s Thursday in NZ, so I got mixed up and thought it was today as well.

        As this goes one he’s getting more information and the more he knows, the more he realizes he was wrong. Now he feels foolish and doesn’t know how to extricate himself while saving face. He’s got to create these situations to divert attention from the real issue.

        Like yesterday. The big news should have been Manafort and the his Russian collusion. Instead, Trump gave everyone another shiny object to talk about and Manafort became the secondary story.

      • Linda Calhoun says:

        And, as usual, he’s getting massive help from the media. They are characterizing this dispute as “both sides digging in”, while ignoring a few inconvenient facts.

        The shutdown happened last year, when Republicans still had control of Congress.

        Trump had a Republican Congress for two years, and THEY would not give him funding for his wall.

        Senator Tester this week asked the DHS Secretary for a progress report on exactly what is being done with the money that was already appropriated. In other words, have you started “the wall” yet? The answer was deemed unspecific and incomplete.

        Trump has raised his demands each time they’ve met, rather than showing any willingness to actually negotiate.

        And yet, now it’s “both sides”?


        • Randall Schenck says:

          It is kind of hard to say both sides when one side said he would do it. Even his remark to Pelosi in the meeting yesterday proves it. He said – If I agree to open the govt. will you give me the wall. Answer was no, and he walked out. Trump even tweeted this right after it happened. So anyone who thinks the democrats are responsible for this is not paying attention. Fact is, even Trump does not want the wall, he just wants the issue, the drama. Mueller is closing in.

    • They could do a re-make of that old song – “All the folks round Brownsville say [he’s] crazy.”

  15. Among others, the Border Protection Officers union has just sued the government over the shutdown. So much for them agreeing with what Trump is doing (according to Trump) and him wanting to rename the shutdown a “strike” because of that.

  16. Randall Schenck says:

    It’s looking more and more as if Trump’s finale on this wall thing is going to be an emergency declaration. He really has no where else to go unless he allows his main puppet in congress to actually vote in the Senate. If it’s emergency then the courts will work on that one.

    Meanwhile we know that in about one month, Cohen will testify in congress in open session. So make sure your TV is plugged in and working or you are streaming to your favorite device for this one. For us older folks this will seem like a rerun of Watergate only better.

    • Linda Calhoun says:

      If he declares a state of emergency he can shut down the media.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        You would need to explain that one. As best I know, declaring the emergency has nothing to do with the media. He can never do anything to shut down or mess with the media. That kind of stomps on that first amendment.

        • Linda Calhoun says:

          My understanding of the emergency powers act is that it gives the President broad powers to suspend communications, transportation, and other functions of the nation in order to address the emergency. The intent of the law when it was written was that the emergency would be temporary. 9/11 was a good example of a real emergency. Airports were closed for a few days, but were back in operation after that.

          The issue is also that, in this case, invoking the emergency powers act is going to be more like a coup than an “emergency”. Like everything else he does, Trump has not though through where this is going. But, his sycophants are all behind him. I read a little while ago that Mitt Romney, when questioned, ran away from reporters to a safe space. So, all of HIS criticism is turning out to be hot air (big surprise there).


          • Randall Schenck says:

            Thanks for that. I have to wonder why congress is always doing things in our past history that weakens themselves and throws everything over to the executive. Maybe they should have stayed with the King.

            Watching MSNBC today it looks like this shut down is really getting critical now. And the Air Traffic Controllers have filed suit against the Trump administration on this issue. I heard a pretty good lawyer last night say, this shut down itself is good reason to impeach this president.

          • I was saying the same to Jerry the other day because we have a constant debate about me defending our constitutional monarchy and whether or not that’s hypocritical. I had to admit I was engaging in whataboutery though, so our conversation went down a different path. However, there’s no doubt that the US president has far more power than the British monarch these days, and a lot more than any of the prime ministers that are part of the British Commonwealth too. None of them, for example, are also Commander-in-Chief of the military, and all can be charged with a crime while still in office.

    • I was 10 when Nixon resigned, so I don’t really remember the machinations. However, his resignation was played over the sound system in our classroom so I remember that part. My best friend was from the US (her father was working in NZ on contract) and the resignation made her cry and she didn’t want to talk about it. I never worked out why because it’s not the reaction a NZer would ever have unless they were personally close to the PM. All my teacher could offer was, “they view things differently there,” which wasn’t helpful. It did make me start to take an interest in US politics though,

      • Randall Schenck says:

        That is interest to hear…she cried. I have to guess they were republicans but who knows. I can tell you it was not my reaction but must also say I know much more about it now than I did then. The American public is very attracted to crooks, corruption and liars at the highest level of government. We have put many in since Nixon that have had these traits. Right now we probably have the worst of all.

        Tonight on the old TV we see a report from the NY Times that is finally putting it together. Information is that the FBI has been doing an investigation specifically on Donald Trump as an agent for Russia. I am not surprise really, I think it would be wrong if they were not doing this. This started right after he fired Comey and was decided on at the highest levels of the justice department. So just think about this for a few days to go along with the shut down and see where we are.

        • I’ve been watching it on CNN since the story broke in the NYT. Very interesting!!!

          As I’ve got older I’ve felt able to understand what the tears were about via amateur psychology. I would not be surprised if my friend’s family were Republicans. They lived in a wealthy part of town (unlike me). She was very close to her weird mother and tended to mirror her emotions. Her father was a very distant figure. There was probably also an attempt to get more attention than the younger brother by thinking like them. Once there was a boy in the family it seems for the parents everything tended to focus on him. He was a spoiled little shit but the two girls were really nice people.

        • Mike says:

          So it seems the FBI have woken up to the fact that Trump is acting as though he’s Putin’s Spokesman, some of the statements he has been making of late could have come straight from the Kremlin, as they have no relation to US Politics, but match Kremlin thinking, also we had the withdrawal of the Troops from Syria, for which Putin praised him.!I’m convinced that the Steele Dossier is fact, and that Putin has him by the cojones and is gently squeezing. Consider his one an one with Putin, why did he agree to that? He or his advisors must have known it would have been recorded by the Russians, I believe he had no choice, his master called and he answered.

          • nicky says:

            Well, I think the whole investigation (now led by Mueller) is about the links and probable conspiracy of Trump with ‘the Russians’. The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming, but circumstantial evidence does not stand in court. And yes, I’m equally convinced the Steele report is mostly, and probably entirely, true. After all, Mr Steele is a highly qualified professional with an unblemished reputation.
            It took me quite a while to come to the conclusion (as I posted earlier on Heather’s site) that Mr Trump is a Russian shill/agent, a ‘Russian Candidate’, but that was a few months ago.
            Nothing has come up to change that opinion, on the contrary.
            It is just so enormous, so unbelievable (if it were the plot of a thriller it would be considered too far fetched), that it is not easy to accept.

          • This is a really good article about Christopher and it’s what convinced me that we can have confidence in his integrity. It’s really long, but you can listen to it read as well as read it. The audio takes about an hour iirc, so reading it would obviously be much quicker but it would still take a while. Well worth the time though imo.

          • That one on one with Putin is the biggest bit of smoke = fire for me, although there’s a lot more than just that if course. Imo, Putin definitely has something on him and I’ll keep believing that unless it’s proven otherwise. A lot of the Steele dossier has been proven, Detractors seem to think that the fact that in the end it was the Clinton campaign who paid for it makes a difference. Steele has an extremely high and non-partisan reputation and it doesn’t matter who paid him – he would come up with the same results.

            He’s heading for a fall, and as soon as enough of his base realize it that GOP politicians can still get elected when they go against him, most will do that. There are cult (base) members in the house and senate, but most aren’t are only going along to get along imo.

          • nicky says:

            Thank you for that great article about Mr Steele and his investigattions.
            It should be compulsory literature for anyone posting about the Trump-Russia conspiracy, as mentioned: “We threw out a line and Moby Dick came back”.
            There appears less and less doubt that Mr Trump is indeed a Russian agent, but also that that is just the tip of the iceberg.

          • It should be compulsory reading or listening at Fox News BEFORE they opine about the Steele dossier. ( Not that everyone at Fox is bad – there are a small number of good journalists, but they’re far outweighed by the Tucker Carlsons of the bunch unfortunately.)

  17. Randall Schenck says:

    I would also say it seems odd that Professor Coyne and many others seem to have problems with the British Monarchy. The actual influence from the king or queen on the government of Britain or Canada or New Zealand is tiny far as I know. People in the U.S. should be far more concerned with all the problems in their very outdated constitution and the fake government that is operating in Washington DC. The Senate needs to be done away with for sure – we see up close and personal how ridiculous this branch of govt. is and there is nothing democratic about any of it. The damage being done today with the govt. shut down can be laid at the feet of this branch. As Trump is a puppet of Russia, the Senate is nothing but a puppet of Trump. It is killing this country.

    I also think it is perfectly justified to impeach Trump because of the shut down alone. No need to wait on Mueller.

    • Jerry’s opinion of the monarchy doesn’t have any impact on our friendship – our debates are friendly. He’s just against the monarchy on principle and knowing that I am too he can’t understand why I defend its part in our government, which is minuscule and never used and wouldn’t be used because it would mean NZ would immediately rebel and become a republic. But there are reasons the fact that it’s there makes our system of government better than anywhere else imo. This is an article that agrees with me and explains it pretty well:

      I agree that it’s justified to impeach Trump on what he’s already done. However, to do it at this stage wouldn’t get enough Republican support and therefore Trump would still be president and he and his cult would take it as vindication. It would also make it harder once the evidence of the Mueller investigation comes out to do it again. That’s why I think the Dems need to wait until the evidence is so overwhelming that the Republicans can’t do anything but vote for impeachment. They have to be sure the move will get rid of him or it will be a political disaster and they will lose support. Too many USians don’t know what’s really going on and they will just see that the Dems lost and the GOP won.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        I agree totally with your system of government and the article. Notice I earlier said the Senate here must go. Unicameral is not only better, it is much cheaper. Only one state here has a unicameral and that is Nebraska. Very odd only 1 out of 50. One of the things our founders, specifically James Madison did, was to convince himself and others that this form of republic would work in such a large country. It had never been shown to work prior and many were rightfully skeptical about it. Too many regions and too many differences. And back then there were only thirteen states and less than 4 million people. But anyway, having made so many mistakes due to compromise and being so out of date, people actually think this is a good system in the U.S. Not only do they know nothing they never go out and look at better systems. Our system of govt. is really in terrible shape, not to mention taken over by money. The bad news is, I hear nothing from the democrats that makes me believe they want to fix what is broken. They want more of this and more of that but you do not hear anything about fixing it.

        I agree it is too early to do the impeachment thing as well. I only wanted to say, his actions on this government shut down are justification alone without getting in to all the rest. They will have to layout total proof to the brain dead republicans before they will get it and vote to impeach. There are many people still working for this guy in Washington so they do not seem to believe he is mentally dysfunctional (crazy). But that also shows what kind of people are still hanging around.

        • The fact that the US system of government has survived for so long is actually pretty amazing. I think it’s probably because people are taught from a young age that they have the best system in the world and thus believe it and are personally invested in maintaining it. Those in power don’t want it to go because they would largely lose out. It would take a very special kind of person to agree to get rid of gerrymandering when that’s the only way they’re holding onto their seat, for example. I understand that Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing some work on that in California though now that he’s out of office. Also Dem candidate who lost in the recent Georgia election. They’ve got a tough road ahead though.

          It’s like healthcare. USians are constantly told they’ve got the best system and so feel no need to look elsewhere. All the rest of us have issues with our systems too (even though they’re mostly better), and those are focused on by those making money out of the current US system to persuade people not do to anything about change, The US is actually in a great position because they can look at where the rest of us went wrong and design health and electoral (and education and tax and etc.) systems that really are better than anyone else.

          • Randall Schenck says:

            While gerrymandering is something to fix certainly, it is not the major problem. This past election shows this to a degree. Even with all the gerrymandering in certain states, the republicans lost big in the house. Some states do not have gerrymandering and never will. The state set up a fair system so it would not happen. Iowa has this. But still, it is full blown republican because all rural states are republican. So all your rural states have two republican Senators. That is the big problem. In total population the Senate provides a way to rule with a minority of the people. It is worse than anything the King tried to do. Best thing to do is simply eliminate the Senate. But you still must remove the money. Only one way to do this and that is public financing. All of these things require amendments to the constitution. But the call must be, do it or die.

          • Like many countries, we have spending limits and political parties are allocated free advertising time at the beginning at end of the election season to make their case. If politicians go over the spending limit they can and do lose their seat. Another common one we have is that political advertising is only allowed for three months before an election (some are even less), and none is allowed on election day so parties can’t hassle people as they vote. Here, the big parties offer people rides to the polling booths in the afternoons if they suspect them of being a voter for their party and they haven’t voted yet, but they can’t say what party they work for. I don’t know if that happens in other countries too.

            Iowa has a good system. If they’re going to keep the Senate, I think all states should hand out electoral college votes according to the proportion of votes won. I think it’s really unfair that 50% + 1 means you get all the votes for your state. And the system also means that a vote in a small state is worth much more than one in a more populous state. (Yes, I know, preaching to the converted! I tend to rant when it comes to the US electoral system because to me it seems so unfair.)

  18. nicky says:

    Trumpty Dumpty sat on a Wall,
    Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall;
    All the GOP shut-downs and all Putin’s men
    Couldn’t put Trumpty together again.

    Well, I guess a bit of ‘wishful rhyming’.

      • nicky says:

        To be honest, I think this whole ‘border wall circus’ is a deflection.
        Illegal immigration through the Southern border has been decreasing for years, drugs and terrorist come in through ‘ports of entry’ (if not home grown), there is, as far as I know, not a single member of MS13 that came in through an illegal border crossing, they are a homegrown immigrant gang, the greatest drugs crisis -the opioid crisis- is caused by a US pharmaceutical company, etc., etc.
        Southern border security is a minor problem for the US (still a problem though, but minor) that has been well contained over the years, but completely blown out of proportion now, to deflect from the net that is tightening around a Russian operative in a position of high power.

        • Randall Schenck says:

          I think you are exactly correct. Trump does not give two shits for the wall. If he did, they would have done something during the past two years when they had the house. But he waits until he has no way to get it. It is all mostly to go after Pelosi, make sure her start is disrupted. The Demos are going to start immediately going after information and people they could not get to when the republicans were in charge. Now they go after all of it. Last night on 60 Minutes it was confirmed the Trump Administration refused every request from the demos to provide documents, people and everything during the past two years of investigation. They gave them zero.

          The White House has hired dozens of new lawyers, just to fight all the requests they will be getting. The courts will be very busy.

        • I agree it’s a deflection too. There are MS13 members coming in illegally though – mostly ones who’ve been deported and are going back, and sometimes for the umpteenth time.

  19. Randall Schenck says:

    I wonder if your next posting might be a contest to determine which country is in the worst or most dysfunctional shape. I say as long as we have Putin’s man in charge the U.S. ranks first. However Britain is attempting a close second and headed toward economic third class followed by France which I cannot figure out at all. What a mess.

    • The post that’s closest to being finished is one about how well Trump is regarded internationally. It’s been in draft for months. I started it last year when he tried to get Putin back in the G7, but pain stopped it getting finished. However, there’s a lot of data and always a lot of evidence that despite the opinion of he and his cult, he has the lowest international standing of any US president since data began being collected by international polling agencies.

      Since the last surveys, it’s probably dropped even further too because of what he’s done in Syria.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        That will be a good one. Reports out today fall right in line with this stating he has been attempting to withdraw the U.S. from NATO. This should be a surprise to no one and is Putin’s fondest wish. This guy is working almost exclusively for Russia and all of his actions support this. Many very well informed insiders from the FBI and CIA have said so publicly. Waiting for Mueller’s report may be a lost cause.

        • I hadn’t heard that one yet! Wow! Pulling the US from NATO is just about as bad as it gets! Putin wouldn’t be able to believe his luck! Trump is delivering even better than he could have imagined. There must be some pretty good Kompromat out there.

          • Randall Schenck says:

            This is real stuff, coming from the NYTs and covered extensively tonight on MSNBC. Keeping in mind the NATO meeting is toward the end of February (next month) and now that Mattis is gone there is no adult in the room and most of the other NATO members are really wondering what will happen. I think or at least predict the Congress would raise all kinds of hell to prevent this, they have to. They really need to go ahead and start impeachment now.

            Also today I watched the hearings in the Senate for this new Attorney General. Really a joke is all I can say. It looks like the Trump party will vote him in but he has no business being there at all.

        • nicky says:

          If Mr Trump gets the US out of NATO, it is the end of the US as a superpower, and the end of Europe, leaving it vulnerable to Russian expansion. NATO, warts and all, has been a bulwark of stability for more than half a century. I hope he cannot do that. I guess that the House and Senate will be able to prevent this, but I’m not versed well enough in US law to be sure.
          I thought it was not a good idea to impeach Mr Trump now (well he’s an usurper anyway), but when one hears this it can’t be too soon. How much of truth is there in these rumours?

          • Randall Schenck says:

            I believe the truth of this is pretty good. The NYTs does not practice in rumor and guesses. They have several sources inside the administration and some who are no longer there. The have his actions at the last NATO meeting. Look at Mattis resignation letter. He intended to stay until the February NATO meeting. Trump decided to eliminate that. This also fits well with the overall findings that this guy is an agent for Putin. Anyone who has been following these politics for the past two or three years needs to explain to me why he is not an agent for Russia.

            I think but do not know on this because it has never happened before but the Congress can probably stop him from actually pulling out of NATO. It took congress to get in 70 some years ago so it probably takes them to get out. My days in the service way back when I was in was part of NATO the entire time. If you were a U.S. military member in Europe, NATO was your job, your life. Everything they do is on behalf of NATO.

          • I certainly hope Congress will stop this. It shouldn’t be possible for Trump to do this on his own, but a president appears to have a lot of power I would never have thought he did ’til Trump started doing autocratic stuff.

          • Today BuzzFeed is reporting they have two sources that say Cohen was directed to lie to Congress by Trump. That he was told to say the Russia deal negotiations ended much sooner than they did. So far none of the other major outlets are confirming this, but if it’s true, that is impeachment territory. This is the biggest thing yet, but it would mean there was a leak from the Mueller investigation and that’s not likely. So BuzzFeed’s sources may be wrong or at least unable to go public.

  20. Mike says:

    If the maniac attempts to pull the US out of NATO, then we are on a slippery slope to eventual War, Russia will get more and more belligerent as Putin attempts to expand its Territories back to pre 1989 Levels. Don’t forget Russia is a Mafia State, you have Putin like a spider at the center of his Web, and the Oligarchs raping the State Resources while at the same time kicking up Putin’s Cut to him. The Russian GDP isn’t enough to sustain his Military ambitions, and like Hitler before him, the only way to sustain his country is by stealing the natural resources of other Countries, and eventually, War ensues. It’s the only logical outcome, and it would drag the US into it whether they like it or not because someone somewhere in that Scenario will launch a Nuclear Weapon.

    • nicky says:

      Yes, that is not really far-fetched. The most far-fetched thing is Mr Trump succeeding in pulling the US out of NATO. I do not think -well it doesn’t bear thinking- he will succeed, House and Senate will prevent that (I hope).
      There are certainly populists in Europe that think that being ruled by Russians is the better option compared to be ruled by fundamentalist Islam. (I would think so too, but I do not see Western Europe being ‘ruled’ by fundamentalist Islam anytime soon).
      Whichever way, none of us should not feel safe with Mr Trump having his finger on the ‘Red Button’.
      I hope the Mueller report comes out soon, and will be devastating enough to get the Senate to condemn him when impeached. Our best hope.

      • nicky says:

        edit edit : ‘None should feel safe’. Not ‘not’.

      • I think those who imagine that fundamentalist Islam is going to take over Europe are being ridiculous. It’s something I could rant about why I think that, so I’ll just stop here, and maybe flesh out the reasons another time.

        • nicky says:

          For all clarity, I’m not one of those populists. I stressed that I didn’t see fundamentalist Islam taking over any time soon, only that there are populists that contend that. And that if the choice were between an Islamic Theocracy and Russian Authoritarianism (which I don’t see as eminent either) I’d rather choose the latter.

    • I agree. If the US pulls out of NATO there will be war in Europe and initially at least, Russia will win. If no one resorts to nukes it will go on for ages and spread to being World War III. The US will eventually be pulled back in, and that will lead to an end of the war after millions of dead (and the Bible bit about the living envying the dead will come true too).

      Then a whole lot of Trump Cult USians will declare that they saved the world by ending the war and expect to be treated as heroes, completely forgetting that it was their fault it began in the first place.

  21. Randall Schenck says:

    To continue with the late night release of additional information on the corrupt world of Trump, this one is only the first of many of these same findings to come. Trump’s fixer/lawyer testifying before congress lied about the Trump Tower deal and he did this at the direction of Trump. This is from a Buzz Feed news. I believe this qualifies as conspiracy or as some like to say collusion but most certainly obstruction. Good night…

    • Mike says:

      I read about that as well, and if true, its the smoking gun, he’s done.!

      • nicky says:

        There have been dozens of ‘smoking guns’ , but as far as the Senate goes, the term “Teflon President” appears to be invented for Mr Trump.

    • Okay, you beat me by hours – I hadn’t read this yet. Sorry Randall!

      • Randall Schenck says:

        Sorry to have to say that Buzz Feed may not have totally got it right. Still not clear but Mueller did make a statement about the accuracy of their report. Why it took them 22 hours to come out and say something I don’t know. Maybe they are concerned about the media on it. If I had some criticism of Mueller is would be the total secrecy. But if someone comes to you with their report ahead of time and you say nothing, complaining hours later after it is out is lame. Right now the Journalist are doing all the heavy lifting on this. It is time for the new Democratic congress to start investigating and to hell with waiting any longer on Mueller. The people need to know.

        • I saw that. It just said inaccurate though, which leaves the possibility that some is right and some is wrong. And, as Chris Cuomo pointed out, the fact that they’ve never done this before may mean that the other stories the journalists have come up with are accurate.

          Personally, although the wait is frustrating, I think it’s good that Mueller is keeping quiet until the whole investigation is done. It will give him more credibility as not being biased in the end I think. If there was a whole lot of anti-Trump stuff coming out all the time it would give some credence to the Trump story that it’s a witch hunt. Imo, it’s harder to say that when it’s clear the investigation is being conducted with such integrity. BuzzFeed as done Mueller a favour by making a mistake here too because it gave him a chance to show his lack of bias.

          I the end I think the evidence against Trump will be overwhelming.

          Don Jr criticized Jake Tapper for covering the story – Tapper shot back that he didn’t think Jr was in any position to criticize the media given the lies he told re the Russia meeting! Very cool.

          Kelly Anne’s husband did another classic tweet too about a president who lies as much as he does being in no position to criticize the media when they get one thing wrong and own up to up.

          • Randall Schenck says:

            I do not disagree with those who seem to want to wait. However, as I learn more about Watergate, which I lived through, they did both at the same time. The special prosecutor and the congress worked at the same time. This allows us to bring the people along for the ride. The way it is now, people are in the dark and get only what journalist can get out. This becomes damaging after a considerable amount of time. Everyone is speculating in the dark. Also, there is no certainty that we will ever see the whole report.

            The Mueller report, whatever it is, goes to the executive control as he passes it to the Attorney General. In the Clinton mess, it did not work this way at all. The guy doing the endless investigation (Star) was an independent investigator and his report went directly to congress. I think what we have right now could end up very bad with much of it still in the dark. This is not good for anyone.

          • I agree that the US public should be getting info but I think it’s Congress that is the problem because until this month there was a Republican-controlled committee doing all it could to subvert the process and protect Trump. Devin Nunes and his farcical behaviour was just the beginning. Now that the Dems are in charge in Congress there should be some movement there and we will see some of the stuff we should have been seeing from the beginning. I understand they plan to subpoena Trump’s tax returns, which will be very interesting indeed!

  22. Norm Walsh says:

    Thanks to you Heather and Randall for your explanations re Constitutional Monarchy. I’m not sure that many Canadians know that it’s called that. Certainly has no affect on day to day workings. Certainly working better than the existing Trump fiasco. Not sure why Jerry is on about this.

    • It’s more a bit of banter between friends than anything else. We have some good debates about it on Skype and I sometimes feel like I’l one of his students and he’s trying to get me to sharpen my argument, especially when I say things like, “you have to be born to it to understand why we’re okay with it.” And on principle, Jerry’s right. The idea of someone getting a job because of being born to a particular person is pretty offensive. Of course, it’s not that simple anymore and also he has a US view of the monarchy. I don’t accuse Jerry of this because he knows his stuff, but also George III had a lot less power than many modern day USians seem to realize.

      • Norm Walsh says:

        Interesting, I did scan your bit from VOX. The province of British Columbia (similar population as NZ) and Proportional Representation was firmly rejected. So it’s more first past the post for us.

        • I’ve been Skyping with Jerry for the last hour and the subject of The Queen of New Zealand came up again. I was able to use some of the stuff that Randall said that I’d forgotten, but that’s changing the subject apparently! 😀 That usually means I’m winning the argument, so thanks Randall! 😀

          • Randall Schenck says:

            Please, do not thank me. It is only the reading of many history books and gathering the knowledge that I can from those who did the work. One of the mysteries of our early history is the great feelings we have from certain individuals. Hardly anyone is higher in thought than Thomas Jefferson, but the more we learn the less we think this is right. As we drill down and look at the person more closely, it was not all roses. His politics and culture created the first opposition party that Washington detested and marched us straight down the road to civil war after he was gone. His way of life was bankrupt and he died broke, just as other Virginia planters like him – Madison and Monroe. Even his remaining daughter and several grandchildren became wards of the state. He does have a monument in Washington DC and his face is up there on Mt. Rushmore but that shows you our strange look at our own history.

          • Quite honestly, I find that a lot with a portion of US society. The attitude of exceptionalism and the US being the greatest country that is or ever was is seems to go a bit OTT there with many. Patriotism is one thing – I love my country too and am very proud of all the good things about it. But we have plenty of faults too, including in our history. A country needs to acknowledge those things in order to grow and improve.

            I think there are too many people who are invested in things not changing in the US – they would lose power if the electoral system was made fairer and so they have to make people believe the US has the best system and it would be a betrayal of the country to say otherwise or try to change it. I see that a fair bit too – criticizing the country is seen as unpatriotic, especially when that criticism relates to systems that have been established for a long time.

            Another one is the health system. Many USians are convinced that they have the best system and changing it would just be wrong. They believe stuff like it would be more expensive to have universal healthcare, and you hear even informed people say that.

            A lot of it is fear of Government Control. That seems to be a big thing for you guys. For a lot of us, we feel safer with the government in control of certain things as we feel that our information is better protected. However, because of our system of government, any government that abused our trust would lose power, and it wouldn’t necessarily take until the next election to lose power either. A bad enough abuse would see the government having to call fresh elections.

  23. Randall Schenck says:

    I suspect the reason you see lots of Americans having a hard time with the Monarchy or George III is the lousy way we were taught American History. It was very simplistic and said very little. I guess you could call it stupid. We were told, King is bad, no king good. Taxation without representation. Nothing was in detail or given any real thought. For anyone to say, the colonies were just as at fault as the King – that would be grounds for throwing you out. It was always, one side all bad, the other all good. It is the same simple way we treat politics today. Very shallow and really teaches nothing.

    Ask some one who has this thinking, If the American patriots were so good and right, why did only about a third of them become patriots. About one third remained loyalist to Britain and another third simply sat it out.

    The British were attempting to collect some money to repay for the French and Indian war that had happened earlier. They were not just taxing for the hell of it. They did not always go about it in the right way but there were reasons for it. Much of the problem was caused by poor communications which were terrible back then. No cell phones and no email. Imagine that.

    • Good point. It was actually the British parliament who set the tax rates too. The king had nothing to do with it. He relied on parliament to give him an annual amount of money called his “vote”. When George IV became king, they sometimes tried to withhold it because they didn’t approve of the way he spent his vote. However, he usually ended up getting his gambling debts paid because the House of Lords would overrule the House of Commons. It’s a reason NZ uniquely among the colonies had no House of Lords or equivalent – so the will of the people as represented by the parliament (representatives who won elections) couldn’t be overridden by people who were there just because they were clergy or whatever.

  24. Mike says:

    AS much as she may want to, Mrs Windsor must be commended for in public at least keeping her thoughts out of the public domain, unlike her eldest Son who thinks he has the right to influence Ministers by writing to them. That little foible will have to be curtailed, why the thoughts of someone whose exalted position is only a result of the bed in which he was born, should hold any more sway than someone on the street, is a sore point with Republicans like myself.

    • I’ve always thought too much was made of that letter. Imo it was made into a bigger deal than it really was. There was no pressure on the minister concerned to do what Charlie wanted, and he doesn’t appear to think people should do what he wants as a matter of course. Everyone has the right to contact a minister on matters that concern them in a democracy, even Charlie. As far as I can work out, there was no pressure put on.

      There are plenty of people who use money and other things to try and pressure government, and in some of those cases the pressure works. I don’t think anyone worries whether they’re in Charlie’s good books or not. He gives his opinion pretty freely, and a lot of those opinions I certainly don’t agree with, but he’s always said he wouldn’t do that as king.

      It wasn’t a good look, but I think the biggest villain might be the person who made the letter public and created the non-scandal. Everyone also has a right to privacy, though there are limits to that too when you’re a public figure.

      • Mike says:

        Your right Heather, anybody has the right to write to a Minister, but Charlie because of his position could be seen to be attempting to put undue pressure on said Minister, when and if he becomes King, the effect would be greater, I hope he does continue, it might bring the abolishing of the Monarchy much closer. lol

        • I agree it’s not a good look that he wrote to the minister, and for that reason it would be better not to. At the same time, I think he should be able to give his opinion.

          I just think about how hard it would be for me to shut up when I had something to say, which is why I probably have more sympathy for Charlie than I should. The whole reason I began this website is because of wanting to give my opinion on stuff. It’s really frustrating at the moment that posts aren’t making it into the site because I’m struggling to finish them and also lately I don’t feel like they’re well written enough for public view.

  25. Randall Schenck says:

    I believe Heather’s take on the U.S. is very good and the days of so-called exceptionalism ended with WWII and Korea. Even most of our early attempts at War were very questionable. The declared war of 1812 accomplish nothing and the next one with Mexico was just a land stealing project. The Spanish American war was caused by a false idea when a ship blew up.

    Admitting flaws does not work in American whether it is health care or money destroying politics. We have the worst president ever elected in our history and still we cannot see how broken it is. I do not hear the democrats who seem all want to run for president right now saying anything about the things that need to be fixed. Oh, they want to help the poor, the middle class, the immigration system and education and blah, blah. I hear nothing about permanent removal of money from our elections and politics. Nothing about changes needed to our constitution. If you cannot see your own flaws you cannot fix them.

    • I watched SOTU yesterday on CNN and they had interviews with Kirsten Gillibrand and Tulsi Gabbard who’ve both just put their hat in the ring.

      Gillibrand in particular struck me as spotlight-hungry and the sort of politician who will say anything to get elected. I didn’t like her one little bit

      I was more impressed with Gabbard, but wonder about her attitudes. She was brought up extremely conservative Christian and used to make anti-LGBT speeches. She says she’s changed, and maybe she has, but I want to see more evidence.

      As you say about all those who’ve put their hats in the ring so far though, both were VERY short on specifics and didn’t commit to a policy on anything.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        I suspect the latest entry Kamala Harris is better than either of these two but it looks like we will have a few dozen to choose from. Why anyone would want to run for president for two years is just nuts. We will be pretty much sick of all of them in a year. Trump has done nothing but campaign for the past two years because that is all he knows. He has no idea how to actually be president, my cat could do a better job of it. Some of these people will go spend the next 6 or 8 months in Iowa talking to less than 3 million white people so they can do well in a caucus state that frankly, no one cares about. So how could any of these people separate themselves from the large group. Talk about something different, something original – not likely.

        • I agree completely, and I’ve always like Kamala Harris too (though I don’t know enough about her yet to say whether I’d vote for her given the chance).

          • Randall Schenck says:

            Here is my question for the progressive left. Those liberal democrats who say they are for the common people, want to run for office or vote for all the progressive ideas and make change. We have had a shut down to our government now for a month and what are they doing. Do I see people in the streets demonstrating, marching in Washington, anything? Far as I can see it is a joke. Over 800,000 not getting paid, including the coast guard, the FBI, TSA and many more essential jobs and duties. This U.S. government is so broken, no one even cares. The Trumps of the world have won.

          • The government workers know that the rest of the US public doesn’t really care about them. Government employees are seen as overpaid minor functionaries who don’t deserve their sympathy. I notice that those trying to drum up support for government workers are really careful who they use as the face of the workers, and they always start by making the case for why this person should get sympathy even though they work for the government.

          • Randall Schenck says:

            I’m not sure what brings you to that conclusion about govt. workers but it is wrong. Unless you are talking about Trump or any of his cult who are not working for the govt. it is certainly not any democratic ideal. Yes, everyone who works for the FBI is a govt. worker. Everyone working at the airport checking the people and bags or directing air traffic (controllers) are govt. workers. No one in their right mind things these people are useless. Maybe they think differently about govt. workers in NZ?

            Right now this moron is claiming an emergency at the boarder while refusing to pay boarder patrol (govt. workers). Workers at the FDC who inspect our food are govt. workers. The Coast Guard, working without pay are govt. workers. In fact everyone in the military is a govt. worker. If you teach school in k thru 12 in the country you are working for the govt.

          • I should have been more specific. I don’t think everyone hates them, but there’s an attitude that comes across when you watch right wing stuff. Whenever you get specific, like mentioning the Coast Guard, Air Traffic controllers, FBI, Border Security, Homeland Security etc., they always say they like them. They also like a lot of the work they do like food inspection. But then later they’ll still make sweeping negative comments about government workers. It’s the anti-government attitude on the right, coupled with Trump’s lack of empathy for them. Remember, this shutdown came about because of Limbaugh and Coulter mocking him when he accepted the Bill that the Dems and GOP had come up with, telling him he should go for a shutdown. He knows the way to please his base is to continue the shutdown and that 35% of USians have the attitude I’m talking about. They get extremely nasty on social media (with the help of Russian troll farms), and govt workers get vicious attacks if they complain. I think it may be enough to stop any protests.

            I’m getting a bit mixed up here because I’ve done a post on the shutdown (which keeps needing to be updated with the latest stuff) and I forget what I’ve written on the site and what I’ve written there that hasn’t got to the site yet, so that’s why that last comment was so inaccurate. Sorry.

          • Randall Schenck says:

            I gottcha. You were speaking of the right wing goons and republicans in general. It was not clear to me, that’s why I asked.

            Anyway, I have always wonder why any of them, ignorant as they are, would buy into that thinking. After all, many of them also work for the govt. I wonder, do they think their job is worthless? I’m pretty sure that Trump cares nothing for anyone who works for a living. Only stupid people do that right. Only stupid people pay taxes.

          • My fault. I wasn’t clear. We already know that a large proportion of Republicans vote against their own interests. Most groups have certain things that are group-think, and dissing government workers is a GOP one. It’s like most abortions are had by conservative Christians (because of their ignorance re contraception and other sexual issues), but they’re the most committed to the anti-choice movement. In their minds, their own abortion is different, just like it’s different when they work for the government.

            It’s always been that way. Most of those fighting for the South in the Civil War were also fighting against their own interests and for the interests of the top 1% who had big plantations and owned slaves. Nothing has changed.

            Other groups have different things they’re committed to no matter what. Another example you know about as well as I do is those who are for LGBT and women’s equality, and refuse to call out those Muslim groups, like Palestinian leadership, who eschew those things.

            As Fareed Zakaria said recently, understanding economics used to be one of the most important tools for a leader. However, we’re coming to recognize that understanding things like sociology, history etc are just as important because most people don’t act logically, even when they have the facts.

  26. nicky says:

    One should note that Mr Trump’s shut-down affects security much more negatively in the long term than a wall would/could do positively (even if his wall would have a positive effect) .

    Immigration officers are not paid, and courts hearing asylum seekers have no more funding and cases are stalled. FBI investigations into terrorism, street gangs and drugs and human trafficking are lacking funding and come to a stand-still. Informants cannot be paid anymore. And how is airport security affected?
    And that is just the beginning…

    I wonder how much Mr McConnell’s refusal to consider compromise proposals are meant to undermine Mr Trump, while ostensibly supporting him. I’m sure Mr McConnell doesn’t like (to put it mildly) Mr Trump, but he’s kind of bound to him too, maybe one of the very reasons of his dislike. Or am I imagining things?

    • I don’t know about McConnell. I think he’ll support whoever gives him the most power. At the moment that’s Trump. Imo he doesn’t care about whether Trump is the worst president ever as long as he wins and the GOP is in charge.

      Ironically, an international conference on border security where the US was all set to school the rest of the world on how good they are at it has had to be cancelled because of – border security. (They don’t have the funds to run the conference.)

  27. Randall Schenck says:

    Whatever you are imagining McConnell is a vile and disgusting person and has been so for a long time. Before Trump arrived he showed his bigoted ways toward Obama and did so in plan view. Today he is nothing but a puppet of Trump, just as the guy in the house of representatives was. He could easily go down as the worst leader of the Senate in history because he essentially turned the Senate over to nothing but a sub agent of the white house. Totally against everything the constitution said the Senate was to be. Most of the rules within the Senate were created by this guy for his own party and benefit.

  28. Randall Schenck says:

    It is probably correct that most republicans demean government workers/anyone who works for the govt. This is another blind obedience to their primary dogma (govt. is bad). If govt. is bad anyone working for govt. is also bad. None of it makes sense but that fits in just fine. I heard that idiot commerce secretary saying on the news, he did not understand why any of these workers not getting paid were in food lines. They all should have been down at the bank or credit union getting loans. I wonder, what were they suppose to use for collateral? How about my three starving kids and wife.

    • I just saw a headline come up (haven’t looked at the story) that Trump thinks/says grocery stores will cooperate in giving govt workers free food during shutdown!

      • Randall Schenck says:

        That would be very unlikely I think. Grocery stores generally run on very thin margins, not a lot of net profit. So giving away a lot of free groceries would not be good if they want to stay in business. Earlier he had said something like – the creditors will work with them. Where does he get that stuff? Trump gets most of his money now from Russia, millions and millions which Putin gets from the rape of his country. He charges the secret service (the govt.) thousands of dollars to rent golf carts at his golf clubs so they can drive around protecting him.

        The average middle class workers live paycheck to paycheck. They have very little savings if anything comes up and no rich daddy they can go to for money. Government workers are nearly the only ones who might some day have a pension, most in the private industry do not have pensions any more. Many middle class are one health emergency away from bankruptcy as well. Oh, for those not getting paid, you can quickly loose your insurance unless you have the extra money to keep paying while you are not getting paid.

        As I said over at Jerry Coyne’s site today – I agree generally with the Pinker reports. But the direction and condition of the middle class in this country is not part of that continued progression to the good. That financial reality is probably why he is getting so much misplaced grief with his books.

        • Billions have been pulled out of poverty in the last 20 years, but the poor and middle class in wealthy countries have seen no movement. That’s especially tough when we see the rich getting richer, and a lot of that is via corruption and tax policies that mean we don’t get a look in.

          About fifteen years ago our government set up a retirement savings programme that anyone could pay into. There are good tax reasons for doing so, although the last government significantly reduced the value of the tax incentive post the GFC. Employers also meet employee contributions one for one. It’s not part of any one company so although it’s not government guaranteed, we don’t have the situation of employers robbing from the pension scheme etc. The schemes are from high quality private providers and people can choose which one they want to join, and swap schemes too. There are still super poor people who just can’t afford to contribute. Then there are people like me who manage to contribute a small amount, but I get nothing from an employer because I can’t work. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.

          We also have universal superannuation that isn’t means tested which is fixed at a %age of the average wage (I can’t remember the %age – maybe 67%?) Again, it’s not great, but at least everyone gets something. And no one has to worry about the cost of healthcare or medication, which helps.

  29. Randall Schenck says:

    Looks like a good day overall in U.S. The shut down will soon be history and Roger Stone was indited.

    • Good to see Roger Stone get his comeuppance. I think it was USAToday that said this increases the odds of indictments for Don Jr and Kushner.

      Not sure if it’s happened yet or about to happen, but I hear Trump is going to make/made an announcement on the Shutdown too tonight.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        Yes, I saw him try to say they made a deal. Sure, here’s the deal stupid, open the government. Claims it’s only good for three weeks but he just folded like a cheap lawn chair.

        What Stone should do is sing but he claims he won’t talk. Probably thinks Trump will pardon him. I think he either talks or goes away for a long time. Not that long, the guy is old.

        • I saw he did the Nixon pose when he came out of court. I don’t get that. Given that Nixon was guilty, to me that’s tantamount to saying, “I’m guilty. Come and get me!”

          I think you’re right about him. He should talk and probably thinks Trump will pardon him. I think Trump’s lawyers won’t let him pardon anyone in relation to this case, and besides, he may be out of office before he gets the chance.

      • nicky says:

        If you try to intimidate a witness by threatening to kill his dog,
        and if you have a portrait of Nixon tattooed on your back,
        You just might be successful if you plead diminished capacity.

        Talking about diminished capacity, where does mr Stone keep his frontal lobes?

  30. Randall Schenck says:

    I know very little of Roger Stone and probably don’t want to know much. I think he is in trouble now as is almost everyone who had anything to do with Trump. Stone was really nothing but a stupid kid when Nixon was around doing the Watergate thing. He just never grew up and if anything, is even worse than he was as a kid. How could you be more deranged than to continue to think to this day that Nixon was a great guy and think the same about Trump. He was also in business with Manafort. The guy is a train wreck.

    • CNN’s chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin calls Stone, Manafort, and Trump “The Three Amigos” because they have been friends and doing business together for forty years. They know each other really well – they’re not just acquaintances as it often seems in the media. They go way back. Toobin also said he was with Stone (and others) in Florida last weekend and Stone was saying that he thought Mueller had lost interest in him and he wouldn’t be arrested.

  31. Randall Schenck says:

    Just another thought. With the Stone process underway some of the finer writing seems to believe we are not far from the center and conspiracy is nearby. The Stone to Wikileaks to Trump connection is over the next hill. Trump Jr. is among those likely headed for lying to congress but that is another show.

    • nicky says:

      Yes, I think the noose is tightening.
      I also think Mr Trump lost ‘bigly’ with his longest partial shut down, and then caving in with nothing to show for. He appears weak now, even to many of his supporters. I mean, he got squeezed by a woman (God forbid!). [It is the perfect foreplay for a bipartisan impeachment when Mr Mueller will release his report. And Mr Stone will definitely be part of that].
      I think Ms Pelosi’s grip on Mr Trump is at as great as that of Mr Putin now, at least were domestic affairs are concerned.
      She could eg. relaunch the early 2018 proposal: money for the wall, linked to the road to citizenship for the DACA ‘dreamers’ (personally I couldn’t care less about a wall, but I do care about the ‘dreamers’). Offer him 11.4 billion, twice the amount he shut the government down for, but half of what was on offer earlier. Win-win, everybody can claim victory. (However, I think Ms Pelosi is a far greater strategist than I am, so we’ll see.)

      One thing the Trump cultists and Russian trolls are right about: Mr Trump resides rent-free in my attic. 🙂

  32. Randall Schenck says:

    Yes, there is nothing weaker than the guy who is in love with himself. The latest I see on the wall saga is they have a group in congress working on a deal. Just started today and they have about 10 days to work out something. Trump already butted in and said — If you are not talking wall, then no good. So much for congress and the compromise eh. I think their deal will stick only with boarder security and not get into DACA or any of that. They will give him something after it gets through both houses for him to sign. However, it will not include any wall money. If they get enough republicans to go for the compromise, Trump will not matter.

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