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Topics - Wayward Son

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1
General Comments / Trump's Strokes
« on: September 01, 2020, 06:52:44 PM »
Normally I wouldn't mention this, being basically a rumor right now:

Quote
It never ends! Now they are trying to say that your favorite President, me, went to Walter Reed Medical Center, having suffered a series of mini-strokes. Never happened to THIS candidate - FAKE NEWS!

The problem is, a friend of mine mentioned that he checked the main stream media outlets, and all their stories about Trump having mini-strokes have bylines after his tweet.  ???

There are reports that Michael Schmidt's new book will talk about Mike Pence being on stand-by to temporarily take over the Presidency when Trump checked into Walter Reed last November, but none of the reports mentioned the reason.  Not even a possible stroke.

So who said it was a stroke?  Why did Trump feel the need to so vehemently deny it?  If it was a stroke, do we, the voters, have a right to know?

I suppose we'll find out more in the coming weeks, but right now, it seems to me that the President doth protest too much. :)

2
General Comments / Who Pledges Their Lives and Fortune to Trump
« on: August 24, 2020, 11:46:48 AM »
At a recent rally in Oshkosh, WI, Trump warned his followers:

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We have to win the election. We can’t play games. Go out and vote. Do those beautiful absentee ballots, or just make sure your vote gets counted. Make sure because the only way we're going to lose this election is if the election is rigged. ... Remember that. It’s the only way we’re going to lose this election, so we have to be very careful.

"The only way we're going to lose this election is if the election is rigged."  Trump is right now behind in the polls.  If those polls are correct (and there are a lot of people who are trying their best to make them as accurate as they can), then he will legitimately lose come November.  But if he's convinced himself that he can't lose without the election being rigged, he will call upon his supporters to rise up and defend him and the country (in that order ;) ).

So, I'm curious.  Who's with him?  Who here will rise up and risk their liberty, lives and livelihood to defend Donald Trump's presidency if he is declared the loser in the election?  Who will stand by him in his hour of need?  Because he's already told you that the only way he can lose is if the election is rigged.  And then you are his only hope.

So who's with him?

3
General Comments / Is Our Partisanship a Threat to Our Democracy?
« on: August 05, 2020, 06:32:01 PM »
FiveThirtyEight has a frightening essay on how fragile our democracy is.

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She, and other experts, consider our current time period one in which authoritarianism poses a serious risk — but not because of what is happening with the DHS in Portland. Instead, it’s more likely that recent events are a symptom of something bigger, a risk that has steadily grown in the last several decades. Instead, they point to the political polarization evident in public opinion on Portland as indicative of the danger we’re in.

When it comes to Portland, specifically, the partisan divide is definitely real. In a survey fielded by Data for Progress on July 28, respondents were split about Trump’s decision to send DHS to Oregon, with 42 percent calling the deployment of federal police “essential” and 45 percent calling it an “overstep.” And that split was highly partisan. Broken down by party affiliation, nearly three-quarters of Republicans favored the decision while a similar proportion of Democrats opposed it...

That, by itself, isn’t much of a shock. We are, for better or for worse, used to all sorts of issues dividing public opinion. The terrifying thing is the way it links partisan politics and authoritarianism. According to a recent report by the Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group, support for democracy is in no way universal. In fact, their findings show that 1 in 3 Americans have, at some point in the last three years, supported some kind of authoritarian view, and only about 20 percent said it was very important to live in a democracy.

And separate polling, commissioned by Mazumder before Portland, from YouGov Blue, an arm of YouGov that primarily serves Democratic and progressive clients, underscores this as well. Although it found that Republicans were less supportive overall of democracy — 1 out of 4 Republicans said that democracy is a “very bad” or “fairly bad” way to govern the country compared to just four percent of Democrats. There was also more support for a strong leader, defined in the survey as someone “who does not have to bother with Congress and elections” among Republicans. But it wasn’t just Republicans driving these anti-democratic views. A significant percentage of Democrats said they preferred to have “experts, not the government” make decisions on what they think is best for the country...

Since 1994, Pew Research Center has asked Americans about the amount of partisan animosity they held. In that time, the percentage of people who rate the opposing party as “very unfavorable” has climbed from about 20 percent to more than 50 percent. In fact, as of 2016, more than 40 percent of both Republicans and Democrats said they saw the other side as a threat to the nation.

That poses a real threat to our democracy, too. “If we view that if one party gets into power they’ll be a threat to my way of life or the nation as a whole, we’ll do whatever we can to keep them out or keep ourselves in,” said Jennifer McCoy, a professor of political science at Georgia State University. That, she added, is when people start to tolerate the violation of democratic norms. “The goal is to stay in power or get in power and it overrides the value of respecting democratic principles,” she said...

Looking at situations in American history and around the world, McCoy, Mettler and other experts have found that extreme polarization is one major red flag that shows a democracy is in trouble. That’s because people will condone all kinds of violence in the name of protecting themselves, said Christian Davenport, professor of political science at the University of Michigan. Violations of norms — even the law — become justifiable depending on who is doing the rule-breaking and who is being targeted.

Through that lens, it makes perfect sense why Americans are politically divided on Portland: It’s actually a divide over whether you see the protesters as a threat. And that should make us all very uncomfortable — no matter which side of the aisle we’re on. Because evidence points to the fact that many Americans, regardless of their party affiliation, are willing to condone violence and repression against their political opponents.

Back in March, McCoy and other researchers surveyed nearly 3,000 Americans about their support for various anti-democratic policies under different scenarios where one party, or the other, was in power. The results from this survey have not yet been published, but their preliminary analysis finds significantly higher support for such policies as prosecuting journalists, banning protests and disqualifying political opponents from elections in situations when a respondent’s preferred party was in power — and hoping to stay there. The effect was larger among Republicans hoping to consolidate Republican power. But it existed for Democrats, as well. For instance, while 23.6 percent of Democrats and 22.7 percent of Republicans said the president should do what the people want, even if it goes against existing laws, when their party was out of power, those numbers jumped to 29.6 percent and 35.1 percent, respectively, when the rule of law became inconvenient to keeping the other side at bay.

Are we approaching a point where we will throw away our rights by denying them of our political opponents?  :o

4
General Comments / Trump Response to Covid-19
« on: March 11, 2020, 02:17:49 PM »
I think this deserves it's own thread, apart from what we know about the virus and the proper responses to it.  One on how well Trump and his Administration are reacting to it.

So far, so bad.

I was reading his article on Trump ignoring his own CDC's advice on how to not spread the virus.

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At the Pentagon, top military brass have been begun “social distancing” to avoid spreading disease. At the Capitol, legislators have been encouraged to forgo hand shakes and flash the “Star Trek” Vulcan greeting instead.

But at the White House, President Donald Trump is flouting his own government’s advice on how to stay safe. He continues to shake hands with supporters and visitors, hold large events and minimize the threat posed by a coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 115,000 people and killed over 4,000 worldwide...

“I think it’s beholden upon our leaders to follow the public health recommendations that the CDC, the government, public health are recommending and to emulate those practices,” said Dr. Jason Farley, a nurse epidemiologist and professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. He said that it sends “mixed messaging to the public” when recommendations aren’t heeded.

When it comes to Trump, he added, “There’s nothing special about being the president of the United States that protects you from a virus like this unless you’re following the practices recommended for every 70-year-old.”

Trump has repeatedly played down the risk, both to the public and himself, even as he claims that his administration is “taking this unbelievably seriously.”

“It will go away. Just stay calm,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “Everybody has to be vigilant and has to be careful. But be calm. It’s really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen.”

When it comes to Trump’s continued glad-handing, Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that’s unlikely to change despite going against the administration’s “broad recommendation” for other Americans.

“In our line of work, you shake hands when someone wants to shake your hand,” he said. “And I expect the president will continue to do that. I’ll continue to do it...”

Trump, at 73, is considered at higher risk, although his press secretary said Monday he “remains in excellent health...”

Overall, the CDC has suggested that workplaces encourage employees to stop shaking hands, use videoconferences for meetings when possible and hold meetings in well-ventilated spaces if meetings are necessary.

That hasn’t happened at the White House, where Trump, a self-professed “germophobe,” sat shoulder-to-shoulder Tuesday with aides and health insurance executives, traveled to Capitol Hill for a Senate lunch and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a well-attended ceremony, where he also shook hands with those in the front row.

On Monday, Trump was spotted shaking hands with supporters on a tarmac in Florida. And on Thursday, he’s set to travel to the West Coast, where he’ll attend fundraisers and the annual gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas.

All that, despite the fact that Trump has already had personal contact with several individuals known to have been exposed to the virus. They include Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who traveled aboard Air Force One with the president on Monday and found out midflight that he was among a handful of GOP lawmakers who were exposed to a person who tested positive for the virus after last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference...

Lawrence Gostin, a public heath expert and professor at Georgetown University, said he believed it would be appropriate to implement enhanced screening at the White House to keep the president and Cabinet safe.

“This is no different than being protected by a bullet from the Secret Service,” he said. “Not only should they be following general health advice we give to the public, they should be following much more rigorously ... because we can’t be in a political crisis at the same time we’re in a public health crisis...”

On Capitol Hill, Democratic lawmakers were barred from helping themselves to a breakfast buffet or touching serving utensils, and told to avoid kissing, hugging and shaking hands.

But not Trump — a pattern that Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, said appeared motivated by Trump’s desire to protect the economy in an election year.

“Right or wrong, the president’s decided he wants to minimize the economic impact of this pandemic. ... He’s trying to do everything he can to protect the economy by saying, ‘It will be over,’ ‘It’s not that bad,’ ‘Feel free to go places,’” Blendon said. While much uncertainly remains, “if it turns out to be more serious, the president’s contributing to people not protecting themselves.”

“The president should be keeping us safe. He shouldn’t be amplifying the risk,” added Gostin of Georgetown University.

“The message should be: Let’s have social distancing, let’s avoid the usual cultural symbols of shaking hands, let’s separate from one another and avoid either contracting or transmitting a very dangerous infection,” Gostin said. “And it’s baffling to me that the president, who should be the model of good behavior, is modeling exactly the opposite.”

In so many ways, it would be much easier for Trump to follow the CDC guidelines than the rest of us.  You gotta wonder why he is ignoring them. :(

5
General Comments / Unlock 'Em Up! Unlock 'Em Up!
« on: February 19, 2020, 06:36:40 PM »
Trump's commuting of almost a dozen white collar criminals got me thinking about when we last talked about Blagojevich.  It was a while back.

Going back to the issue of Trump being the most likely candidate willing to expose government corruption, especially much of what Obama is hiding, this is an example:

http://cnsnews.com/commentary/tom-fitton/what-does-fbi-have-obama-gang

" By Tom Fitton | April 13, 2016

Barack Obama at a news conference last month with Rahm Emanuel. They and another Obama staffer, Valerie Jarrett, have been interviewed in connection with the investigation of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

For several years we have been seeking records of then President-elect Barack Obama’s interview with two FBI agents and two assistant U.S. attorneys regarding former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was sentenced to fourteen years in federal prison for attempting to sell Obama’s vacated Senate seat...

... The FBI contends the release of these records “could reasonably be expected” to interfere with law enforcement proceedings...

... Writing in The Washington Examiner, Rudy Takala noted, “There are no enforcement proceedings related to the case known to be pending, leading critics to charge that the agency's denial is politically motivated...

... Well, yes.  This lawsuit highlights the personal corruption issues of Barack Obama.  He and his closest aides were interviewed by the FBI in a criminal investigation, and his administration doesn’t want Americans to have the details. The Chicago way shouldn’t TRUMP the American people’s right to know.

It won’t if we have anything to do with it."

---------------------------------------------------

I put the TRUMP in all caps. What did Obama know and when did he know it? What is "the most transparent administration in history" hiding? If Bernie or Hillary get elected will we ever find out? Not a chance. What about Kasich or some other Pollyanna? Not likely. Cruz might tell us but he won't gloat as much as he should about it. Trump will gleefully expose the massive corruption of Obama without hesitation and publicly scoff and ridicule the naivete of most Obama supporters while revealing the true colors of those who know Obama is corrupt and just don't care or know exactly how corrupt he is and delight in the fact that he has gotten away with so much. Until now.

We were so young and naive then.  Believing that Trump would expose corruption in the Obama Administrations (at least some of us did :) ), instead of exploiting their perceived corruption to practice even more, greater corruption.

Has he ever made a move to "Lock her (Hillary) up?"  Has he revealed any new evidence of corruption from the Democrats?

Has he reduced the number of drone attacks on foreign soils?  No, he increased them.  Has he "drained the swamp?"  No, he's appointed more people who either turned on him and accused him of mismanagement or corruption, or have been convicted of corruption themselves than the previous Administration.

Yeah, he's shown how corrupt Washington is by showing how corrupt they could be.  ;D 

Apparently he feels that these poor, white collar criminals had sentences that were too harsh.  You got to wonder why he is so concerned with the sentences of white collar criminals? ;)

6
General Comments / Live It Off the Wall
« on: February 14, 2020, 11:38:46 AM »
The Trump Administration has announced the diversion of another $3.8 billion from the military to build his wall.

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The Trump administration plans to sap money intended to build fighter jets, ships, vehicles and National Guard equipment in order to fund barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Pentagon told Congress on Thursday, a move that has agitated Democrats and even drawn condemnation from a top House Republican.

The surprise reprogramming of another $3.8 billion, transmitted to Congress and provided to POLITICO, means the Pentagon will have forked over nearly $10 billion since last year to help pay for President Donald Trump's border wall.

But this shift in funding marks a new phase for the administration, which until now had used money set for military construction and counterdrug operations, not combat equipment. The fiscal 2020 money will be moved into drug interdiction accounts that the Pentagon tapped last year to fund border barrier projects...

The money will be drawn from a host of procurement accounts, many of which are popular on Capitol Hill. The move includes a cut of two Marine Corps F-35B fighter jets at a cost of $223 million; $100 million from the Army National Guard's Humvee modernization program; $650 million cut from the Navy's amphibious assault ship replacement; and $261 million from the Expeditionary Fast Transport ship. The reprogramming also trimmed two Air Force C-130J transport aircraft for a cut of $196 million and $180 million from the service's light attack aircraft program.

The Pentagon also sapped an extra $1.3 billion from National Guard and Reserve equipment accounts, for which Congress has typically sought to allocate increased funding.

One could argue that these pieces of equipment weren't really needed and are just boondoggles to bring money to Congressmen's states (although some would assert that the military actually needs that equipment, and is less-prepared without it).  OTOH, one could also argue that spending it on a wall that can be climbed over, dug under, cut through or blown over by the wind is as much a boondoggle, if not more.

But however you slice it, Trump is taking fighting equipment away from our military to fund his pet project.

One wonders what gives him the right to reallocate funds from Congress as he sees fit.  Doesn't the Constitution give Congress the power of the purse?  At this rate, Congress might as well just write him a check and tell him to spend it as he will.  It doesn't matter how Congress intended the funds to be spent.  :(


7
Seriously.

Quote
Trump is fighting the subpoena on the grounds that as president, he has absolute immunity from criminal indictment or investigation. His attorney said that would block Trump from being arrested and charged even if he followed through on his campaign trail claim: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?”

Attorney William Consovoy argued that New York authorities would have to wait until the president was out of office to arrest and charge him for that crime. The DA's office argued the claim was a fabrication.

“Once a president is removed from office, any local authority” could prosecute him, Consovoy told a panel of three judges from the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. “This is not a permanent immunity.”

Judge Denny Chin pressed him on how the crime would be handled while Trump remained in office. “Nothing could be done, that’s your position?” he said.

“That is correct,” Consovoy replied.

It just shows how bad things have gotten that a lawyer could seriously present such an argument in court.  ::)

8
According to the Washington Post, the Trump Administration has found more classified information being sent to Hillary Clinton's private e-mail account.  How did they find these new, classified documents?  They reclassified them.

Quote
The Trump administration is investigating the email records of dozens of current and former senior State Department officials who sent messages to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email, reviving a politically toxic matter that overshadowed the 2016 election, current and former officials said.

As many as 130 officials have been contacted in recent weeks by State Department investigators — a list that includes senior officials who reported directly to Clinton as well as others in lower-level jobs whose emails were at some point relayed to her inbox, said current and former State Department officials. Those targeted were notified that emails they sent years ago have been retroactively classified and now constitute potential security violations, according to letters reviewed by The Washington Post.

In virtually all of the cases, potentially sensitive information, now recategorized as “classified,” was sent to Clinton’s unsecure inbox.
(Emphasis mine.)

How convenient.  If you don't have enough criminal acts to warrant an arrest, create some more ex post facto.  After all, a number of the classified documents were classified after they were sent in the original investigation.  So let's make a list bigger, to make her even more guilty! :)

Quote
Those targeted began receiving letters in August, saying, “You have been identified as possibly bearing some culpability” in supposedly newly uncovered “security incidents,” according to a copy of one letter obtained by The Washington Post.

In many cases, the incidents appear to center on the sending of information attributed to foreign officials, including summaries of phone conversations with foreign diplomats — a routine occurrence among State Department employees.

There is no indication in any of the materials reviewed by The Post that the emails under scrutiny contained sensitive information about classified U.S. initiatives or programs. In one case, a former official was asked to explain dozens of messages dating back to 2009 that contained messages that foreign officials wanted relayed rapidly to Washington at a time when U.S. Foreign Service officers were equipped with BlackBerrys and other devices that were not capable of sending classified transmissions. The messages came in through “regular email” and then were forwarded through official — though unclassified — State Department channels.

In other instances officials were relaying email summaries of time-sensitive conversations with foreign leaders conducted over unclassified cellphones.

Those communications are now being “upclassified” or “reclassified,” according to several officials involved in the investigation, meaning that they have been retroactively assessed to contain material so sensitive that they should have been sent only on State Department classified systems.

Many of those who have been targeted by the probe and found “not culpable,” described it as an effort to harass diplomats for the routine conduct of their job.

9
General Comments / Trump Fights Air Pollution in California
« on: September 25, 2019, 03:43:57 PM »
How does the Trump Administration prove it wants clear air for all citizens.

First, it tries to revoke California's abiltiy to determine their tailpipe emissions standards and to relax those standards (even though many of the the major auto companies have no problem with those rules).

Then a few days later, it threatens to pull back Federal funds to fight air pollution because “California has the worst air quality in the United States,” and "many of the state’s plans to fight air pollution “are inactive and appear to have fundamental issues” that would keep the feds from approving them."

Quote
The EPA is giving California until Oct. 10 to cooperate. If the state does not, the agency said it will begin disapproving its air quality plans. After that point, the agency can block approvals for industrial operations that want to expand within 18 months, and withhold highway funding within 24 months.

So the White House's plan to fight "the worst air quality in the United States" is to either lower emissions standards in the state's cars and/or prevent their air quality plans from being implemented.  Yep, that's a recipe that will sure help a lot!  ::)

10
General Comments / Is it Still DUI if the Horse is Sober?
« on: September 19, 2019, 11:45:01 AM »
Apparently it is.

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wo Amish men drinking alcoholic beverages while operating a horse and buggy carrying a 12-pack of Michelob Ultra and outfitted with a giant stereo system.

It's not something you see every day. But the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department in Ohio say that's exactly what they witnessed during a routine patrol in the county's Amish community.
Deputy Eric Hermsdorfer came across the men while on patrol the early morning of September 15. When he attempted to stop and question them about drinking and driving, they leaped out of the buggy and disappeared into the woods by the side of the road, according to a police report.
Meanwhile, the horse pulling the buggy also took off, but Hermsdorfer caught up to it. The men, though, were gone.
Yeah, definitely not a routine stop.
Hermsdorfer turned the horse over to a local farmer until the two men came forward. The sheriff's department has attempted to call different people to pick up the horse, but no one has answered the phone, according to the report.
The two men could be charged with failure to comply with the deputy's commands, Chief Deputy Joe Dragovich told CNN affiliate WJW.
Dragovich also said drinking and driving laws still apply to the buggy, even if it's pulled by a horse and not licensed.

I would think that the horse would have enough sense not to do anything dangerous, mitigating most of the deleterious effects of the alcohol.

Is this another case of government overreach? :)

11
Well, not exactly shuts down.  It will still take reports of violations and the filings of candidates detailing their contributions and expenditures.  But it will no longer be able to act upon that information.  It will no longer be able to enact new laws or enforce election laws.

This is because Matthew Petersen is resigning.  Once he's gone, there will be only three members on the six member committee, not enough for a quorum.  So no new rules, and no actions to punish those who break the rules.

Fortunately, Trump has already nominated a replacement: Texas lawyer Trey Trainor.  Unfortunately, he was nominated back in 2017, and the Senate has not gotten around to confirming his nomination yet.

So with further Russian (and doubtlessly others) interference with our elections looming on the horizon (or right next to us, depending on what they are doing), one more guardian of our democracy has been hamstrung by Trump and the Senate.  Great work, boys!  Let's hear it for free-for-all elections! ::)

12
General Comments / Trump May be Willing to Cut SS and Medicare
« on: August 26, 2019, 11:04:00 AM »
Or so reports Yahoo news, based on a report by the New York Times.

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Republicans on Capitol Hill say Donald Trump may be willing to cut Social Security and Medicare if he wins in 2020, reportedly describing the potential move as a “second-term project”.

Several senators told the New York Times in a report published this week they spoke to the president about reducing the costs of the federal health care and retirement programs — a move that would likely stir controversy in a presidential election season.

Republicans have said cutting both programs is crucial to reducing the nation’s deficit, which has ballooned under Mr Trump thanks, in part, to the GOP tax bill passed in 2017.

Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, described the process of cutting the costs of social security and medicare to the New York Times as “best done during divided government”.

“We’ve brought it up with President Trump,” he added, “who has talked about out it being a second-term project.”

Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, also told the newspaper that reducing the costs of the federal programs would require “presidential leadership” and “courage by the Congress to make some hard votes”.

“We can’t keep kicking the can down the road,” he said, adding: “I hope in a second term, [Mr Trump] is interested. With his leadership, I think we could start dealing with that crisis. And it is a crisis.”

When you create a $1.5 trillion tax cut, somebody has to pay for it.  And who better than widows and the poor? ;)

13
General Comments / Trump's Greenland
« on: August 21, 2019, 01:51:33 PM »
As we snickered about Trump wanting to buy Greenland from Denmark in the Freedom Gas! thread.  We recognized that it was a silly idea, or as my favorite response said, "The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous."

Apparently Donald Trump didn't think it was ridiculous.  He cancelled a planned trip to Denmark because of it.

Quote
Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time...

The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!

IOW, if we're not going to talk about selling Greenland to the U.S., we have nothing to talk about.  :o

It's one thing to float a silly idea, just to see if there is any interest in it.  We can laugh about it, but there's little harm done.

It's quite another to snub another country, an ally no less, because they won't consider a wild idea which they are under no obligation to even consider.

I imagine this would be the equivalent of someone being invited over for dinner, who then later says, "Oh, great, we can talk about you selling your pet dog to me while I'm over there."  When the family tells him their dog is not for sale, he responses, "Well, if you have no interest in selling your dog, I guess I'll postpone the dinner for another time."  ::)

IMHO, this is the most momentously stupid reason to postpone a diplomatic trip that I have ever heard.

Would anyone care to argue that this wasn't one of the most stupid moves in recent history?  That this was the most petty excuse for cancelling an official trip in our memories?  That there is no logical, reasonable defense of this unforced diplomatic faux pas, and that the man who did it is a complete incompetent?

If so, please state your reasons.  I would love to hear them!

14
General Comments / Our Racist President
« on: July 15, 2019, 03:59:34 PM »
For anyone who gave Trump the benefit of the doubt about being racist, let them go.  As you've probably heard, his tweets on Sunday removed all doubt:

Quote
So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!

The most likely Congresswomen he was talking about are Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.  All  of them are American citizens.  Three of them were born in America.  Two of them were born to American parents.  One of them has American ancestors that have been in this country longer than Trump has.

You can almost hear him suggesting that if blacks don't like this country, they should go back to Africa.  ::)

Is there any wonder anymore why white supremacists support him?

Is there anyone who doesn't realize that, if you support Trump, you are supporting someone who believes not every citizen is an American?

I'm curious if anyone on this board still supports this President.  Is it because you agree that some Congresswomen should "go back" to where "they came?"  Is it because you will forgive a bit of racism if you can get other policies enacted?  Is it because you love the current economy so much that disenfranchising citizens is a small price to pay?

Trump is a lying, bullying, racist POS.  I hope that everyone on this board finally recognizes this and will act appropriately from now on.

15
General Comments / Questions about Climate Change
« on: July 09, 2019, 11:25:17 AM »
Since we've had numerous discussions about climate change/AGW on this board, I thought some of us might be interested in taking the discussion to a broader audience.

FiveThirtyEight is soliciting questions about climate change that it readers would like answered.  The questions must be about climate change and reasonably specific: "In other words, you can ask us to explain a specific metric used to measure changing climate, don’t ask us to prove to you that climate change is real. (Because it is.)"

There's no guarantee that the questions will be answered, of course, but it is a chance to get some of the best "gotcha" questions to a national audience, or a good explanation of why something is or isn't so.

16
General Comments / Freedom Gas!
« on: May 30, 2019, 04:34:31 PM »
Yes, you may still think of it as methane or "natural gas" that heats your water.  But when it is liquefied and exported to Europe, it becomes something more.  Something special.  Something that embodies the ideals and values of our great nation.  A symbol of America to the world.

Yes, it becomes...Freedom Gas!   :)

Because, after all, a fossil fuel that makes money for the oil conglomerates while adding CO2 to our atmosphere and increases global warming/climate change is a perfect symbol for this Administration.  ::)

17
General Comments / Is Money Laundering a High Crime or Misdemeanor?
« on: November 30, 2018, 06:36:23 PM »
We know that money laundering is a Federal crime.  But is it serious enough to rise to the level of impeachment?  Even for the highest office in the land?

Just thought this might be a topic to settle before any practical examples are discovered. ;)

19
General Comments / Jeff Sessions Resigns
« on: November 07, 2018, 03:43:01 PM »
So it begins...

Sessions has resigned.  Rosenstein has been told he no longer oversees the Mueller investigation.  Acting AG General Matthew Whitaker is taking over.  Any bets on how long it will be before the Mueller investigation is stopped and buried?

I guess Trump feels confident enough that the optics of this won't matter. 

Or desperate enough... ;)

20
General Comments / 2018 Midterm Elections
« on: November 05, 2018, 01:27:33 PM »
From the indications right now, it looks like it will be a pretty good night for the Democrats.

The House will very likely flip to the Democrats.  FiveThirtyEight gives a 7 in 8 chance that the Democrats will win control.  Unless there is a Red Wave, any uncertainties should break both ways, averaging out the effects.

They should do well in the Senate, too.  Although there is only a slightly less chance that the Republicans will lose control (1 in 6), Democrats are almost guaranteed to win a majority of the seats up for grabs.  They will likely lose North Dakota, but have chance to pick up Nevada or Arizona.  They would have to win 80 percent of the seats in order to win the Senate, which will only happen if there is a very strong Blue Wave.

Governors and State Legislators races are expected to break better for Democrats, too.  Currently, about 48 percent of the population live in states where Republicans control both the Legislative Branch and Governor's mansions, while only 21 percent live in such Democratic states.  The forecast is, after the election, change in governorships will decrease the Republican states to about 32 percent of the population, and Democratic states to increase to 26 percent.  They may also pick up some Legislations where they miss the governorship, keeping the government dividied.  This may have significant impact in preventing gerrymandering once the 2020 census comes out.

Democrats won't be dancing in the streets unless the polls are way off, but neither will Republicans.  But all in all, regardless of how Trump will call it, it looks like it will be better for Democrats than Republicans.

21
General Comments / Trump Properties and Shell Companies
« on: September 14, 2018, 02:53:11 PM »
And I'm not talking about Shell Oil. :)

According to U.S.A. Today:

Quote
Since President Trump won the Republican nomination, the majority of his companies’ real estate sales are to secretive shell companies that obscure the buyers’ identities, a USA TODAY investigation has found.

Over the last 12 months, about 70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners’ names. That compares with about 4% of buyers in the two years before.

Why the sudden change?  Why only after he was nominated?

And it's the perfect way to bribe the President.

Quote
“If what’s going on is somebody is buying something from The Trump Organization to buy favor, there’s no way you’d ever figure out who that person is or what favor they’re trying to buy,” said Jack Blum, a Washington attorney specializing in offshore tax evasion and financial crime and former staff lawyer for two U.S. Senate committees.

That may not be the reason for the sudden upsurge, but it is suspicious.

22
General Comments / Hurrican Florence
« on: September 13, 2018, 10:37:53 AM »
Our thoughts and prayers to those in Hurricane Florence's path, especially to our generous host.  Hope you and yours are not unduly affected.

23
General Comments / The President Tweets on Memorial Day
« on: May 29, 2018, 10:53:42 AM »
The President made a nice tweet yesterday:

Quote
We can never truly repay the debt we owe our fallen heroes. But we can remember them, honor their sacrifice, and affirm in our own lives those enduring ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity for which generations of Americans have given that last full measure of devotion.

A bit trite, but classy.  Appeals to the ideals of our great nation.

Unfortunately, that was President Obama.  This is what President Trump tweeted:

Quote
Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!

I'm sure you all had a festive Memorial Day, remembering those whose lives were cut short to allow the opportunity for the economy to get better, unemployment to go down, and the military to be rebuilt.  Fun times!  And we all know who gets the credit for those things, right? ;)

This is what the Republicans gave us for a President.  ::)

24
General Comments / Trump Attempted to Fire Mueller
« on: January 27, 2018, 01:44:24 PM »
President Trump has called himself a “stable genius.”

He has pretty much proven that he has no idea what that means.

Apparently he actually has tried, at least once, to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller.

It doesn’t take a super-genius to realize that planning to shoot the sheriff while he is investigating you doesn’t make you look innocent. :)  But apparently such deep thinking is too much for Trump.

Election.com has a nice list of some of the blowback he can expect:
Quote
•   The botched firing helps Mueller: Robert Mueller is certainly examining a possible obstruction of justice charge against Donald Trump but that requires proving a "corrupt intent." There is no smoking gun, as far as we know, but as the pieces fall into place, the case gets stronger. Trump told former FBI Director James Comey to lay off Flynn, then he fired Comey, then he tried to fire Mueller. It all adds up. The fact that McGahn threatened to resign probably means McGahn thought Trump wanted to obstruct justice and he didn't want to play a role in it.
 
•   No reporter will believe anything from the White House any more: Last August, when asked if he was considering firing Mueller, Trump said he hadn't thought about it. That was a flat-out lie. Also in August, Kellyanne Conway told ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "The president is not discussing firing Bob Mueller." Another lie. Trump's lawyer John Dowd answered a question in August about Trump firing Mueller and said: "This has never been on the table." False. In December, another Trump lawyer, Ty Cobb, said: "As the White House has consistently said for months, there is no consideration of firing the special counsel." Clearly not true. The credibility of everyone close to Trump is now basically zero.

•   Congress might think about protecting Mueller: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and multiple Democrats sponsored a bill last year to protect Mueller, basically by stripping the Justice Dept. of the authority to fire Mueller and giving it to the courts, and then only for just cause. The bill went nowhere, but the sponsors might revive it now that it is clearly needed. However, the first reaction of the Republican leadership in Congress was to shrug the whole thing off…

•   Six Words That Could Sink Trump … When Donald Trump faces Robert Mueller in a few weeks, Mueller could really put Trump in the hot seat by having an FBI agent present ask Trump a simple six-word question: "Did you try to fire Mueller?" If Trump says "yes," he is on the hook for obstruction of justice. If he says "no," the charge could be lying to an FBI agent. If he says he doesn't remember, the talk about the 25th Amendment will be the news of the day. There is no easy way out for Trump if he gets asked this.

There is one other thing that isn’t on the list: Republicans will have to explain why they nominated such a “stable genius.”  Out of the 17 contenders for the nomination, he was the best they could come up with.  A man with less sense than the people who voted for him. ::)

President Trump really could tarnish the reputation of the Republican Party for years to come.

25
General Comments / Trump New Speak
« on: December 18, 2017, 11:42:34 AM »
As you doubtlessly know, the Trump Administration has told the CDC to stop using the words “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

P.Z. Myers has a few questions about it.

Quote
Why? This is strangely like telling someone “Don’t think of an elephant” — don’t think of a vulnerable transgender fetus with your evidence-based brain, people! So what are the scientists at the CDC supposed to think when, for instance, they see statistics on Zika-induced developmental abnormalities? As Tara Smith points out, scientists were also given alternatives: instead of talking about science, they should say “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes”. So we’re supposed to consider what people wish were true? All right, I wish I had the body of a 30 year old and a million dollars.

Damn. Doesn’t seem to be having an effect.

But I also want to know why those specific seven words. Why not “homosexual”, “abortion”, “euthanasia”, “pollution”, “climate change”, “infertility”, and “tampons”, which conservatives would also find enraging? What specific input triggered the need to dictate censorship of these words?

Who? This edict came from somewhere, from someone who thinks they have the power to police the language...

What’s next? If they think they can purge a useful, non-ideological word like “vulnerable”, there’s nothing to stop them from getting rid of all of the substance coming out of work from scientific organizations and replacing it with nothing but bureaucratic glurge, which, it wouldn’t surprise me, might be their real goal.

It will be fun to see the CDC simply gets around this silly ban with phrases and euphemisms.  Did the person who created this rule really believe he could censor thoughts and facts by banning words?  Or was he just trying not to hurt the sensibilities of Republican congressmen?

Inquiring minds want to know! :)



26
General Comments / The Russian Connection
« on: February 15, 2017, 02:19:52 PM »
Looks like Trump campaign officials had "frequent contact" with senior Russian intelligence officials in the months before the election.

Fortunately, since we apparently do keep close tabs on domestic communications with known Russian intelligence people, we probably have transcripts of the conversations, so we will eventually know what was discussed. :)

My question is, if it is shown that members of the Trump campaign cooperated or colluded with Russian intelligence to swing the election in any way, shape or form, would anyone have any objection to calling for Trump and Pence to immediately resign and a new election to be held?

27
General Comments / Trump Threatens Chicago with Martial Law
« on: January 25, 2017, 03:33:37 PM »
I picked up this latest tweet from the President Stonekettle Station:

Quote
If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible "carnage" going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!

Of course, Sean Spicer said "What he wants to do is provide the resources of the federal government . . . There is no one thing . . . [aid,] if requested, up through the governor, through the proper channels.”

How stupid does he think Trump is?  ::)

He thinks Trump meant, "If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible "carnage" going on, I will send them the aid they requested!"  ;D  Gimme a break.

We know what Trump meant.  The National Guard.  Tanks in the streets.  And for how long?  Until criminals stop shooting each other?  How long do you think that will take?

Or until he figures out that the only way to stop the shooting is to disarm the criminals.  And how will he know which gun owner is a criminal? ;)

Congratulations, Conservatives and Republicans.  You hated Obama because he wanted to take away our guns.  You hated Hillary because she was going to take away our guns. 

Now you got Trump, who is threatening to take away our guns.  ::)

28
General Comments / Obamacare Repeal and Replacement
« on: January 19, 2017, 03:50:14 PM »
It's about time we started a thread on this one.

Congress is biting at the bit to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  PEOTUS (POTUS tomorrow) Trump declares that Obamacare and its replacement will be passes at the same time.  Which annoys Congress, because they haven't been able to agree on a replacement yet (having had only 6 years or so to work on it).

Meanwhile, 20 to 30 million people who rely on Obamacare wonder if they'll have insurance next year, or even next month.  Fortunately, Trump has promised that they'll lose nothing that they love, and the replacement will be fantastic.  Not that anyone believes him... :)

So, anyone got any opinions on the subject. :D

Personally, I think Congress will go with the "Let the States Figure it Out" program.  I forget which Congressman talked about it.  Basically, they would tell the States to cover people, and probably give them a check to help cover it.  When the programs fail, they can then blame the States for not making it work. A masterfully weaselly way of avoiding blame, even if millions of people may end up uninsured. :)

But, the possibilities are still wide open.  I hear Ryan has a plan that is basically Obamacare, but with the name crossed out in crayon... ;)

29
I came across this this analysis of the Supreme Court case of Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, where they will decide if businesses can say that they will charge a surcharge for a credit card purchase, or if they can only say that they will give a cash discount. :)

Quote
In many of these states, though, retailers are allowed to give discounts for customers who pay cash. In New York, for example, listing a sticker price of $32 for a haircut and offering a $2 discount for consumers who pay with cash is legal, but charging $30 for the cut and imposing a $2 surcharge on credit card transactions is not.

But does that law violate businesses’ free speech rights? Today, the plaintiffs in a Supreme Court case called Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman will argue that it does. At the heart of the struggle is whether — and how — merchants should be able to tell consumers about the swipe fees. Should stores be able to advertise a lower price and then add a surcharge at the cash register for buyers who want to use plastic, as the case’s plaintiffs are pushing for? Or should they have to build the swipe fee into the price?

Banning surcharges is necessary, according to the state, because it protects consumers against unfair practices by businesses, which might hide extra fees inside what they claim to be a credit card surcharge and pocket the difference. But the merchants claim that being forced to engage in these linguistic gymnastics is a violation of their First Amendment free speech rights. Although the state is claiming that the law simply regulates prices, the businesses are arguing that the statute is prohibiting them from communicating with their customers. They say that the difference between a surcharge and a discount is semantic and that the only thing that really separates the two is a label.

Somehow, the idea that it will take the Supreme Court to decide that saying you're charging $2 more for credit card purchase is illegal, while saying you're charging $2 less for cash is not, is a bit ludicrous. 

And filing this suit on free speech grounds--excuse me?  ???  Our ability to criticize the government and speak the truth means that Joe's Bar has the inalienable right to say that it costs you $2 to use a credit card?  ::)

What has this country come to?  :o

30
General Comments / Air Force One Kerfuffle
« on: December 09, 2016, 01:39:55 PM »
As you've probably heard, Trump tweeted about Air Force One:

Quote
Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!

On the face of it, it sounds reasonable.  Over $4 billion is a lot for a single airplane.  One would think they buy one for a lot less.

But, as usual, the devil is in the details, which Trump overlooks before opening his, eh, twitter account. :)

Per PolitiFact, there are quite a few he missed.

For one, the program is for two Air Force One aircraft, not one.  That way, while one is grounded for maintenance, the other will be on call.

Each basic aircraft only costs around $380 million dollars.  The bulk of the costs are for upgrades.  Little things that passenger aircraft don't need:

Quote
The plane must be able to refuel while flying, and the president and his staff need to have communications capabilities equivalent to what is in the Oval Office -- secure video conferences, classified computer access, and nuclear-strike controls. It also needs robust defensive systems such as missile evasion.

The new planes will be "both the fastest and longest commercial airliner in the world," according to military.com. They will be able to fly 7,730 nautical miles -- nearly 1,000 more than the current planes -- and will produce 16 tons less of carbon dioxide on a typical flight, according to the company.

I'm sure we could get some cut-rate electronics from another country, like China, but somehow I don't think Trump would do that.

And this $3.87 billion price tag (not more than $4 billion) is over a 12 year timespan.  Because it will take time to assemble these custom aircrafts.  And because the price tag includes research, development, testing and evaluation of the aircrafts and their components, along with maintenance, fuel and the cost of pilots.

The Defense Department will spend about $8.132 trillion on other projects during that time. :)

But the best part is, Trump will not cancel the program.  Because the current Air Force One jets are 26 years old, and they have an expected life of about 30 years.  The President will need new AFOs by 2020, perhaps sooner.

So I don't see Trump feeling comfortable flying around in outdated aircraft with two-decade-old defensive technology while someone is likely to be wanting to shoot him down.  Somehow I think he values his posterior a bit more than that. :)

Unfortunately, this is only a first of a long series, where Trump shoots his mouth off before knowing or considering all the facts.  Let us hope they will stay as inconsequential as this.

31
General Comments / Hillary Election Fraud Discovered
« on: October 07, 2016, 10:27:08 AM »
Well, it's started.

According to the Christian Times, thousands of fraudulent ballots, filled out for Hillary Clinton, were discovered in the swing state of Ohio.

I'm sure we're going to hear a number of these stories in the weeks to come.

The question is, how can we fight this fraud?  How can we insure the legitimacy of our elections when many people, including one of the leading candidates, is expecting fraud and dirty tricks to influence the final count?

It's worrisome.  And I have no good answer.

32
General Comments / University of Chicago "Free Speech" Declaration
« on: August 30, 2016, 06:04:43 PM »
Dean John Ellison of the University of Chicago sent out a "welcome letter" to incoming students emphasizing the university's "commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression."  (The full text is in the link below.)  But then he delineates those freedoms:

Quote
Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called “trigger warnings,” we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove too controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual “safe spaces” where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

P.Z. Myers beautifully rips this apart.

Quote
Let’s start with safe spaces. Does Dean Ellison have a private office? Does it have a door on it? Does he sometimes meet with other deans in closed meetings? Then he creates safe spaces, and works in one. He is simply unaware of it, and takes the privilege for granted.

When the College Republicans meet on campus, is it OK with Dean Ellison of the LGBTQ club marches in and disrupts the proceedings with chants and signs (also, vice versa…but I suspect he’s more sympathetic to conservative organizations)? Or would it be reasonable to call campus security to eject the people who are interfering with the free expression of ideas by the organization? When you set aside a space for a specific purpose, you are creating a safe space to get the job done.

When I teach, I am an enforcer for certain rules of decorum — I create a safe space for learning. That doesn’t mean discussion is put on rails and not allowed to deviate from my plan. I might not allow a conversation about football when the topic is evolution, but if someone raises a hand and makes a creationist objection, which is wrong but on topic, I don’t allow the class to shout down the person (I have been in this situation, where the students are more discouraging of ideas than I am, and I have to crack down and insist that the class address the question respectfully). A safe space is a place where we focus on an issue, and we don’t allow distractions. I guarantee you that every class at the U of C is a safe space for a certain perspective, because that is the nature of teaching. Or does Dean Ellison think every classroom should be the equivalent of the comment section on a youtube video, where the loudest *censored* are allowed to dominate?

What about trigger warnings? Ellison doesn’t understand those, either. A trigger warning is not an announcement that we won’t discuss bad, complex, divisive things. Quite the opposite: a trigger warning is an announcement that we are definitely going to talk about bad, complex, divisive things. A syllabus is a string of trigger warnings — we just tend not to think of it that way because we take for granted that the subjects are innocuous to us and are required to understand the purpose of the course.

But I once innocently listed human birth defects as a topic on a syllabus, and a distressed woman met with me to say she was worried she’d lose it in class — she’d given birth to an anencephalic baby a few years before, and she was terrified about that subject. She wanted to talk with me not because she didn’t want to hear about birth defects — on the contrary, she really wanted to learn about it, but she was conscious of her own emotional reaction — and wanted some clearer idea of what I was going to say and show. I told her that in fact I was going to focus primarily on neural tube defects, and that yes, I had some photos of the phenomenon, but the focus was primarily on mechanisms. It was enough that she knew what to expect so she could prepare for it, and she just asked that I let her know before I showed the photos.

I always do that. Before I show students a photo of a deformed fetus, I tell the students that I’m going to show them a photo of a deformed fetus. That’s basic empathy and respect, the very things Dean Ellison says students should expect, while insisting that they’re forbidden if they’re labeled “trigger warnings”. I’m not interested in suddenly springing a shockingly graphic image on the class to make students vomit in the aisles and weep — that’s not a strategy for good learning.

That’s a trigger warning. And I learned that lesson almost 30 years ago, when we didn’t call them trigger warnings, although it was exactly the same thing. Does Dean Ellison think we should talk about controversial topics, but we should always surprise the students with them?

Let’s talk about cancelling controversial speakers. I actually sort of agree with Ellison on this one — once a speaker is invited, there’s an obligation and commitment to carry through on it. But what’s not being talked about is the process that leads to those speakers being invited. Who’s selecting them? Who’s paying for them? What’s the purpose behind bringing that particular person to campus? There are a lot of strings being pulled behind the scenes that the students don’t see until there is an announcement in the school paper or on a poster that hey, U of C is bringing a war criminal to campus! Or an anti-war activist! Then what?

Does Dean Ellison suggest that students are not allowed to be appalled at the privileges given to speakers they object to, and that they are not allowed to loudly protest? Because that would be a violation of free speech.

Let’s imagine that the U of C invites Henry Kissinger to give a lecture. Will they create a “safe space” for him, and not allow protesters to disrupt the event? To avoid the appearance of giving a “trigger warning”, will they refuse to announce the date, time, and place of the lecture, and even that War Criminal Kissinger will be on campus? Just all of a sudden, Henry Kissinger will show up in a random class and surprise everyone by telling them about the realpolitik of murdering civilians en masse. That’s basically what they’re going to have to do to enforce the ridiculous policies in that astonishingly stupid paragraph.

But they’re not going to. That’s because that paragraph is not about policing behaviors that every responsible university does naturally, that is an implicit part of teaching and learning. It’s because he is sending a different message.

We all create safe spaces and give trigger warnings and expect that our institutions of higher learning will feature worthy speakers. It’s just that if you are part of a privileged, dominant majority, you don’t have to say it: you can trust that your values will be well represented, sheltered, and unchallenged. It’s only if you are a member of a minority that you find it necessary to be explicit and openly demand a place for your ideas; these phrases about “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” only evolved because people found that institutions were unthinkingly assuming that the majority (and the money) rules, and it took hard work to hammer out room to talk about alternative views or oppression or privilege.

The problem is that now those phrases are used as red flags to tell that privileged majority that, hey, look, here’s a minority group that’s trying to carve out a place in our university — quick, shout ’em down. Silence them. Make up rules to break them apart, to allow us to openly disrespect their concerns, to allow us to shove horrible people in their faces while not allowing them to complain. This is not about encouraging “freedom of expression”, it’s about creating tools to club down anyone who opposes the accepted status quo.

Trigger warnings, safe spaces, and opposing controversial speakers are ensconced in academia, but because they are given a different labels (because they are being used for new, rather than traditional, subjects), they are considered to be outside the norm.  And Dean Ellison thinks he can stop them to "protect free speech."  ::)

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