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The Grievance Lobby

How the culture of victimhood translates to Texas politics.

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AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

I’d like to begin the new year by offering a comment on the ongoing national debate over America’s emerging “culture of victimhood.” The phrase was offered midway through the year by a pair of sociologists, Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning, who argued that the ferocious debate over “microaggressions” that are supposedly sweeping American college campuses reflects an emerging order in which victims enjoy a privileged status—and in which victimhood itself is being incentivized. Their argument has elicited some pushback, mostly from the left. For a snapshot of where things stand, I’d recommend last weekend’s op-ed from Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, warning about the consequences of the culture of victimhood; and a piece by New York’s Jesse Singal, who argues that Brooks et al are wildly overreacting to a phenomenon mostly seen in “ultralow-stakes blog posts.”

I understand where Singal is coming from. It’s unduly alarmist to judge any movement by its most vocal supporters on the Internet. Further, it would be fair to consider whether some critiques of the “culture of victimhood” are ideologically motivated. In any political or cultural movement you can find people who are being luridly hysterical, hyperbolic, invidious, or inane. Focusing on those examples, to the exclusion of the people making a measured argument about the issue at hand, is intellectually dishonest.

With all of that said, I’m inclined to agree with Brooks that the trend at hand is real and worth taking seriously. I hadn’t heard about the “culture of victimhood” until September, when social psychologist Jonathan Haidt highlighted the paper in which the sociologists laid out their theory. Prior to that I had heard references to “microaggressions”—and “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings,” and the like—but I hadn’t taken them particularly seriously. Still, I intuitively understood what the sociologists were describing; as I wrote then, their theory struck me as “ominously plausible.” The “culture of victimhood,” as Campbell and Manning explained it, was suspiciously similar to the trend that I had been writing about ad nauseam for more than a year, and had summarized, in August, as “the politics of grievance.”

Since then, I’ve come to see the two phenomena as flip sides of the same coin. At first glance, the parallels might not be obvious—especially to conservatives, who tend to be derisive of “microaggressions” and other symbols of the culture of victimhood. But there are interesting structural similarities between college campuses and Texas Republican primaries. Campbell and Manning write that the culture of victimhood is not solely the result of people being oppressed or victimized (or perceiving themselves as such). Rather, it arises when people feel victimized and when concurrent social conditions “promote case-building attempts to attract third parties”—that is, when people have the tools to air their concerns in public, and when there is some practical purpose to doing so.

That’s why, in their account, college campuses have become America’s epicenter of microaggressions. Students have access to public platforms—microaggression websites—where students may report their experiences without directly confronting their antagonists. University communities are culturally predisposed to take concerns about social justice seriously; they are also governed by policies that set relatively stringent standards of civility, compared to the world at large, and led by authorities who are predisposed to sympathize with the victims. Social conditions would similarly explain why Texas Republican primaries are so receptive to conservatives with arcane grievances. Conservatives can air their concerns in safe spaces, such as Twitter, the comments section of Breitbart (or even this blog), or Dan Patrick’s Facebook page. They are part of a community that collectively believes that conservatives are being systematically oppressed, marginalized, or disappointed by a perfidious Republican establishment. Further, the conservative community is governed by promises, scorecards and pledges, and led by officials and advocates who are predisposed to take up their cause.

Haidt’s own work helps explain why it would make sense for feelings of victimhood to manifest, on the right, as the type of complaints that I summarized as grievances. In his book, The Righteous Mind, he argues that the fundamental division between Democrats and Republicans is about moral worldviews, rather than policy preferences. Specifically, he argues, the left prioritizes caring; the right, by contrast, emphasizes values including personal responsibility and rule of law. This disjunct would explain why conservatives are so unsympathetic to concerns about microaggressions and calls for safe spaces, and why, in contrast to far left college students, they would frame their own feelings as matters of manly, principled grievances.

And that brings me to a potentially disturbing distinction between “the culture of victimhood” and “the politics of grievance.” I wouldn’t want to exaggerate the different implications of those phrases. There’s obviously a lot of overlap between the concepts—in August, writing about the latter, I opined that Trump was “casting himself as the victim”—and since I’m a journalist who was trying to summarize a trend in politics, it makes sense that I would describe it in terms of politics rather than culture. All the same, I think it’s worth noting that people who claim victim status are typically making appeals to moral sentiment. They aren’t necessarily entitled, even in theory, to formal redress. Their purpose, in some cases, may simply be to seek sympathy or support; as one Yale student put it, notoriously, “I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain.”

People with grievances, by contrast, are typically making more abstract claims about rules, principles, and rights. Consciously or not, they often end up asserting that their preferences have an irreducible legitimacy. It stands to reason that they are more likely to pursue their causes in the political arena. And in practice, a lot of them do so. The politics of grievance had a profound impact on the 84th Legislature. There was the seemingly interminable open carry debate, in which activists saw themselves as fighting “tyrants to the Constitution.” There was the Tea Party backlash to Greg Abbott’s proposal to expand the state’s extant, fully voluntary pre-K program: “This interference by the State tramples upon our parental rights.” There was that time Jimmy Don Aycock pulled down his school finance bill, which would have affected more than five million children in Texas public schools, because Cecil Bell was insistent that his bill, a bit of empty theater related to gay marriage, deserved a hearing: “I recognize that we don’t live in a theocracy. So what we’re talking about here is the sovereign rights of the states.” Even the property tax measure I was so disgusted by was cast as a matter of principle by many of the red-blooded conservatives who voted for it–“relief” for the hardworking taxpayers. (For the record, if any of you are reading: The state of Texas didn’t force you to take out a mortgage. Congratulations on your government handout.) All of that was before Donald Trump even announced his campaign for president, in June. He remains the frontrunner, in national polls, and as I wrote this summer, his campaign is all about grievances.

So I understand where Singal and others are coming from. The nation doesn’t seem to be suffering any spillover violence from these Tumblr fights against microaggressions. The hypersensitivity of today’s college students might be self-correcting. But looking over last year in Texas politics, I’d warn that concerns about the culture of victimhood, and its various manifestations, aren’t necessarily academic. It’s not clear to me whether grievances, once legitimated, ever really go away–or whether people with grievances can ever be mollified, even after they’ve successfully demanded that the state’s political leaders prioritize their problems, and give them a pillow. As of January 1st, open carry is legal in Texas. Some gun-rights supporters have weighed in on Dan Patrick’s Facebook page, to thank him for fighting for their cause, as he clearly did, at the expense of his own stated priorities. But others have put the lieutenant governor on notice: We The People grudgingly accept the efforts he has made thus far as a tribute they rightfully deserve. But as far as they are concerned, the Second Amendment guarantees the right to constitutional carry, which is essentially unlicensed open carry. He’d better come back, in 2017, ready to redeem himself.

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  • Rules of Blazon

    As a Republican journalist, you should realize the mistake you make every time you act as though there are enough reasonable Republicans you can reach to rescue your party from itself. All you’re doing is fueling the fire of the crazies.

    • Erica Grieder

      Dude. Seriously. A Hobby. You need one.

      • Rules of Blazon

        It takes almost no time to shine the spotlight on you and your agenda, so while I appreciate your concern, it’s misplaced.

        You would be better served by either embracing your partisanship, or abandoning it. Maybe then you wouldn’t get so bent out of shape by comments that point out the obvious. Culture of victimhood indeed!

        • Erica Grieder

          As usual, you flatter yourself, I’m not bent out of shape; I’m pointing out that these recurring comments are tedious, repetitive, slightly creepy, and totally fatuous. There are Democrats in Texas working hard to build their party infrastructure, advocate different approaches, and ultimately effect change. I have a lot of respect for those Democrats. But as for Democrats who spend their time soapboxing witlessly on the internet? Y’all don’t even want change. If Republicans weren’t in charge you’d have nothing to complain about.

          • Rules of Blazon

            Go ahead and ignore what I write if you don’t like it. I don’t care. I ignore a lot of what you write and only ever call you out on what looks to be shilling for Republicans, which (as you know) you shouldn’t do. That’s fair–and I think it has some value.

            What isn’t fair is making baseless assumptions about what I want and what I do as a Democrat when I’m not calling foul on right-wing blogging posing as something else. But of course, as a Republican, a double standard is a key part of your normal operating procedure, and you have no use for whatever the reality is or isn’t.

          • John Johnson

            Are you OK? What have you, as a Dem, missed out on the last 7 years? What are you so angry about? The plight of your party here in Texas? The total lack of leadership? You stand over there in your flip flops, skivvies and stained wife beater, and point at and criticize a guy with a crooked tie. What is it that really has you angry?

          • Rules of Blazon

            Calling people “angry” in an attempt to marginalize their comments doesn’t work.

          • John Johnson

            So you’re not angry? I’ve posted here long enough that regulars know when I’m angry, joking, sarcastic, apathetic and/or rude, occasionally apologetic or civil. With you, since you’ve come aboard, it’s all both barrels to face, all the time. Bring something to the table instead of a sharp stick.

          • Rules of Blazon

            Heh. As a Democrat, I am beyond done showing up with a knife (or a sharp stick) to the gunfight that is Texas politics, and I’m glad that much is getting through.

          • Indiana Pearl

            JJ, you’re chronically dyspeptic. Knock it off.

          • John Johnson

            Au contraire, bon amie. I enjoy life immensely. My days are filled with laughter, and I look forward to watching my grandkids grow up.

          • Unwound

            Says the guy who got wound up enough on the internet he tried to get me to meet him for a fight in real life

          • John Johnson

            Hey, I’m not robotic. Sometimes switches get thrown. Fortunately, not too often, and nowhere like they used to when I was younger. Then again, I don’t cross paths with as many aholes as I used to…which brings me to the question…where you been. 🙂

          • Unwound

            California, and work. As in, real life.

          • John Johnson

            Stay in the loop.

          • Unwound

            I’m busy.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You are an angry man who comes here to vent rather than to learn or educate. That’s fine, but you’ll get no respect if you don’t educate yourself.

          • John Johnson

            Hey, I come here to state opinions. Many, decades old; others formed by what I have recently read, seen and heard, and how it is assimilated. I am “pointed”, hardheaded, and believe I’m right…as all of us regulars do…but I have a smile on my face. No running wars for me. Not any longer.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You’re very closety about your sources.

          • Jed

            “hoody,” even.

          • Jed

            i like “witless”

          • pwt7925

            Why isn’t it fair? You make baseless assumptions all the time.

          • Rules of Blazon

            I generally don’t post any assumptions about people’s private lives or activities based only on what they write about politics. I frequently draw reasonable inferences about why people write certain things, and I often (but not always) explain the basis for them.

          • WUSRPH

            Some of us spent our years on the line…..Now we do less…but that comes with age.

          • Erica Grieder

            Oh to be clear @WUSPRH I put you in the former category. No one ends up with your grasp of the Texas budget process unless they’re a true patriot who’s put in his time 🙂

          • wessexmom

            I’m calling FOUL on you, Ms. Grieder for playing the victim here, which is ironic, considering the topic. By categorizing a legitimate critical comment as “creepy” you minimize what truly IS “creepy”– all the misogynistic crap and scary threats thrown at female journalists all day every day. (I would imagine you’ve had your share.) The comments made by RULES OF BLAZON were not personal in nature, yet your response was!
            You may not like it, but RULES OF BLAZON has every right to call you out for the ideological bias inherent in your opinions (and your WILD predictions) as well as for your seeming naivete. You always seem surprised when Republicans under perform or behave badly. And we roll our eyes–again. Instead of attacking your critics for criticizing you, you might want to defend the merits of your arguments, point by point, and your conclusions with solid facts and logic. Political punditry is not for the thin of skin, you know.

          • Erica Grieder

            Here. Let me cut and paste the comment that you’re reacting to. That will make it easier to read and thereby, I hope, improve your chances of having something worthwhile to say about it:

            “As usual, you flatter yourself, I’m not bent out of shape; I’m pointing out that these recurring comments are tedious, repetitive, slightly creepy, and totally fatuous. ”

            Notice that I referred to “recurring comments”, plural, not the specific comment Rules of Blazon left this time (which was, in my view, neither interesting nor well-informed–but let’s leave that aside for now). “Creepy” would be an appropriate descriptor because these comments are 1) again, recurring; 2) typically offered within minutes of any post appearing, as if Rules of Blazon is never in the middle of any normal activity or occupation that would prevent him from what strikes me as potentially obsessive behavior; 3) the result of his failure to elicit my attention in the first two ways he tried (via Twitter, where I blocked him, and via email, which I did not respond to). I characterized them as “slightly creepy”, though, in view of the inherent pathos of Rules of Blazon’s situation (a guy on the internet clamoring to make an impression on me, despite my obvious disinterest).

            There. I hope that was helpful. And thanks for your concern, but there’s no need to worry about me–no commenter on BurkaBlog has successfully hurt my feelings. 🙂

          • Rules of Blazon

            Well, Happy Festivus to you, too. Now for some reality:

            I think you’re mistaken about me ever emailing you. I don’t know your email address, don’t recall ever trying to communicate with you privately, and don’t ever plan to. You’re only of interest to me in your public capacity. I will assume the email reference was an honest mistake on your part.

            On to twitter. I had forgotten what triggered you blocking me, and had to dredge it up. (Your fit of pique today had me wondering if I’d gone too far or said something out of line, for which I was prepared to take responsibility). Here’s what it was:

            http://imgur.com/rHNXIQK

            Interestingly, five months after the fact, there are still no Texas Republicans calling on Ken Paxton to resign, which is what I pointed out then–publicly, via twitter–in response to which you made fun of the observation, insulted me, and blocked me.

            That seems to be what you do when someone brings up an aspect of a political topic you don’t like.

            So, what’s left? Oh, right. Sometimes I end up as the first commenter. Most of the time I don’t. And I say a lot of the same things because you use the same tactics over and over again to push your Republican agenda. So what.

            Like I said before, I think you should just ignore what I write if you don’t like it. If you choose to reply to it, that’s fine too, but getting all personal about it belies your claim that it’s nothing but witless soapboxing to you.

          • Erica Grieder

            The previous comment was not in response to you. This one is (congratulations). I blocked you because–while the First Amendment protects your right to soapbox about a subject I wrote about at length long before–it doesn’t give you a right to receive responses, or attention, from me. I deleted your email. And although it would be unreasonable for me to expect you to make any worthwhile contributions to the community here, if you don’t at least make an effort to denounce me for something novel, I’m going to have you banned because this is not a public park and I find you tedious.

          • Rules of Blazon

            I can’t control what you say or do, and I don’t care to. Whether you respond to me or not, or block me again, does not matter to me. Your choice will speak for itself, no matter how you rationalize it.

            And I don’t know if you’ll find this denouncement novel, but it’s now quite clear to me you are not at honest person (and that really does surprise me somewhat). You couldn’t have deleted an email that does not exist, as I didn’t send you one. I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you made an honest mistake in referring to this nonexistent email, and what do you do? You double down on what was plainly a lie from the get go.

            For all your comments about obsessiveness, self-flattery, and slight creepiness, methinks you protest too much.

            This is the saddest, weirdest dialogue I’ve had in a very long time, and I am done with it for today. Ugh.

        • gordo

          This comment is an object example of why Democrats are not gaining market share in Texas. They may, in fact, be losing market share, as evinced by the dismal showing they have in party primaries. People may be unsatisfied with the current emphasis on cultural and social issues by elected officials like Abbott, Patrick, and Paxton, but then they consider the Democratic policy alternatives. Blech.

          • Rules of Blazon

            The comment has nothing to do with “policy alternatives.” It’s an example of a Democrat standing up to a Republican. Get used to seeing this.

          • Except what she wrote applies equally to both republicans and democrats It’s not a matter of standing up to a republican because you are a democrat but you can lie to yourself if it makes you feel better. She’s more to the middle than many and gets slammed from the far right equally if not more so than what you’re attempting.

          • Rules of Blazon

            She occasionally gets slammed by chumps on the right who mistake her criticism of Trump with a left-wing agenda, and that serves her purpose very well. If and when they realize she’s on their side, they’re good. The Troll adores her–and that tells you all you need to know.

            See my reply to your other comment regarding the rest of what you have here.

          • wessexmom

            Ms. Grieder may indeed be more to the middle than most (which isn’t saying much these days, especially in this state) but in her editorials she always seems to overestimate how many others are of a similar mind, similar meaning sane and reasonable! Then she seems startled when the very candidates she first idealized and then endorsed or those candidates whose VERY BAD qualities she glossed right over, get elected and bad things start to happen! Surprise surprise. Good intentions don’t always lead to good outcomes, especially when faulty logic is involved.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Texas is not the center of the universe. The other states have electoral votes as well.

        • Denying that there is a culture of victimhood is just as wrong as denying a culture of poverty. This isn’t partisan politics this is behavioral science as studied and reported on by psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists. We could easily call this a culture of extremism. Regardless, of what you call it, it is a phenomena happening on college campuses and can be tied to helicopter and lawnmower parenting styles of the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s.

          • Rules of Blazon

            I don’t deny at all that there is a culture of victimhood that practically defines Republican behavior. It’s disgusting and inexcusable. It has no parallel in the Democratic Party, where we–in contrast to the Republicans–believe in fairness, justice, and accountability.

            Ask your local Republican whether they stand with Ken Paxton, and watch what happens. Heck, ask Erica whether the Third District Court of Appeals is part of the vast left-wing conspiracy out to get poor, picked-on, perpetually-victimized Rick Perry, because it upheld one of the felony indictments he appealed. By the way, Rick’s not ashamed to admit he’s a Christian, and he wants you to know that.

            The “phenomenon” on college campuses you refer to is a completely different thing, and it doesn’t manifest itself in politics.

          • dave in texas

            Your continuing insistence that there is “no parallel in the Democratic Party” to the various pathologies of the Republican Party is getting really tiresome. Can the political problems we face, especially here in Texas, be largely placed at the feet of the Republican Party? No question. GOP intransigence has largely prevented the federal government from doing its work for the last eight years, and here in Texas, Republicans have refused to carry out the most basic functions as laid out in the Texas constitution, notably funding public education, not to mention the appalling manner they have treated the most vulnerable Texans.
            But the notion that there’s no culture of victimhood on the left as well as the right is simply ludicrous. The enormous sense of entitlement and victimhood on college campuses is most definitely not “a completely different thing.” Just because you happen to agree with its aims (as do I, for the most part) doesn’t mean it’s not part of the same phenomenon.
            Again, the world is not nearly as Manichean as you seem to think it is.

          • Rules of Blazon

            How would you know what I think of the “aims” of the referenced college campus behavior? All I said about it is that it’s completely different from the Republicans’ signature political tactic.

          • dave in texas

            How would you know what I think of the “aims” of the referenced college campus behavior?

            Fair point. But the notion that that behavior is somehow not a part of a culture of victimhood is still ridiculous.

          • Jed

            false equivalence. complaining about violations of the fourteenth amendment, for example, the sort of thing that college students are likely to protest, is not a culture of victimhood, it is a culture of constitutionalism. this is a far cry from complaining that the government won’t let you graze your cattle on land held in the public trust for another purpose, or that forcing you to respect other’s rights is a violation of your religious freedom, to choose two recent examples from the non-college crowd.

          • dave in texas

            Oh, fer cryin’ out loud. I wasn’t talking about some unnamed 14th Amendment protest. I was mainly thinking about the growing insistence that nothing ever be said, or even implied, in a classroom or at any campus function, that might bring offense to a single student for any reason. Or the notion that five minutes of trigger warnings are needed before the discussion of even a remotely controversial topic in a place where free speech and discussing controversial topics are supposed to reign supreme.

            BTW, “false equivalence” isn’t the answer to everything you disagree with.

          • Jed

            neither is oh fer cryin out loud, which i get from you a lot.

          • dave in texas

            Heh. I do use ‘oh, fer cryin’ out loud’ a lot, but I promise I don’t reserve it for you.

          • wessexmom

            HEAR YE HEAR YE, I’m cryin’ out loud to say that not all the “victims” on college campuses and elsewhere are of the liberal variety! An article last year in the HOUSTON CHRONICLE discussed how physical science profs at UT have to deal “sensitively” with Christian Evangelical students who are offended by the basic course material! Furthermore, the JADE HELM crazies represent the ULTIMATE culture of victimhood (not to mention paranoid psychosis). Ditto for the open carry extremists.

          • dave in texas

            I didn’t in any way mean to imply that there weren’t any conservative entitlement and victimhood issues on college campuses. A couple of comments back, I specifically said that most of those complaints can be lodged against the right. I’ve simply been saying that Blazon’s contention that it’s exclusively a GOP phenomenon is wrong.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I would point out that “college campuses” are not homogeneous. Liberal arts departments are concerned with such issues – science and math departments, business schools, law schools, medical and dental schools, other professional schools – not much.

          • wessexmom

            To repeat: An article last year in the HOUSTON CHRONICLE discussed how physical
            science profs at UT have to deal “sensitively” with Christian
            Evangelical students who are offended by the basic course material!
            Ditto for those members of the Texas State Education Committee who seem offended by the notion of having facts appear in school textbooks!

          • Indiana Pearl

            Used to do research in a state university biology department. My friends who taught freshmen would always have creationists approach them each semester after the section on evolution with bibles in hand. The department policy was to politely, but firmly, teach evolution, not intelligent design.

  • “Specifically, he argues, the left prioritizes caring; the right, by contrast, emphasizes values including personal responsibility and rule of law. ”

    So the ant and the grass hopper is all wrong and we should just share?
    What ever happened to “that among these are the Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?

    • Erica Grieder

      This comment just reminds me again how excellent Haidt’s book, The Righteous Mind is. I would really recommend everyone read it, as would some other commenters who have mentioned it before. In addition to exploring the left v right moral worldviews he goes over a lot of interesting research that points to varying moral worldviews between countries/regions and between socioeconomic groups. All of these values, though, he argues are derived from six fundamental concepts that everyone relates to intuitively, but interprets & emphasizes differently.

      • Yes I like Haidt’s intent, instead of government writing heavy handed regulations forcing compliance and move instead to promoting ethics. But I’m afraid the left loves control too much to promote ethical behavior.

        and of course his take on diversity.

        “Nowadays there are NO conservatives or libertarians in most academic departments in the humanities and social sciences. The academy has been so focused on attaining diversity by race and gender (which are valuable) that it has created a hostile climate for people who think differently. The American Academy has become a politically orthodox and quasi-religious institution. When everyone shares the same politics and prejudices, the disconfirmation process breaks down. Political orthodoxy is particularly dangerous for the social sciences, which grapple with so many controversial topics (such as race, racism, gender, poverty, immigration, politics, and climate science). America needs innovative and trustworthy research on all these topics, but can a social science that lacks viewpoint diversity produce reliable findings?”

        The left’s take over of Academia and the media has shut down any hope for civil discourse. They use diversity to divide and victimhood as a weapon.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Did you read Haidt’s book? Betcha not.

          For someone who raves about personal responsibility, yet has a business funded by taxpayers, who doesn’t pay for a subscription to TM, I call PHONY!

          • Actually she and I have discussed Haidt before. I usually don’t discuss issues with you because you’re afflicted.
            First I’ve had a subscription to TM for over 20 years.
            Second, tax payer funded business? I’m a biddness man and I take everyone’s money, goofy.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Then you lied months ago? Insulted me for paying for a subscription? Can’t keep track of your lies?

            Snout in the government trough???

          • Indiana Pearl

            As I said, your snout is in the government trough. Phony.

        • Erica Grieder

          ha, I actually haven’t made it to Iowa yet. Later this month. I need more time to assemble supplies and steeling myself for the frontier. If no one hears from me, please send a St Bernard dog with a barrel of whiskey…

          I think it’s healthiest when a political system has a rough balance of power between parties (with a few cranks and weirdos mixed in for good measure). Under those conditions it seems like the better argument has the best chance of tipping the scales one way or the other, the winning side has to listen to counterarguments from the other side along the way (no harm in hearing ’em), and both sides have to keep in shape because the other side is capable of pouncing on their weaknesses.

          Also, this would be up your alley too–it’s a review of Alice Dreger’s new book,and it relates to the issues raised in your comment above: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/12/when-liberals-attack-social-science.html

          • WUSRPH

            It just proves that Ideologues of the right, left, or center are ideologues who are often incapable of accepting anything but what the “Know” to THE TRUTH. A lot like the Troll in that way.

          • said the ideologue, what a hoot.

          • wessexmom

            How would you define an Ideologue of the Center? Also, you can’t equate left wing nuts with right wing nuts because they do not have equal power. Yes, there are extremists on both sides but those on the right control the Republican party, while those on the left are not in charge.

          • wessexmom

            And please tell us, Ms. Grieder, exactly WHO in the GOP agrees with the Philosophy of Tolerance espoused in your 2nd graph? NO ONE, that’s who! (You have just proven my point, by the way.)
            Remember when Karl Rove plotted about how to get around the “reality-based media”? Well, today’s hardcore GOP base (the ones threatening Dan Patrick on his FB page) couldn’t care less about reason OR reality. Have fun in Iowa.

          • Erica Grieder

            The opinions expressed in the second graph aren’t characteristic of either (or any) political party–political parties are designed to maximize their institutional interests. But there are individual Rs and Ds (and others) who interact with each other as individuals, rather than caricatures of their respective partisan labels. See this year’s Best list for some examples.

          • dave in texas

            I was in Iowa for the 2004 caucuses (cauci?), and yeah, you need to assemble supplies. Pack lots of layers. Silk long underwear is great as a first layer; it does a fabulous job of trapping body heat. Also, too, extra socks, especially if you don’t have boots to keep your feet out of the inevitable slush.
            You make a great point about balance of power. The balance in Texas today is between the right and the far right. To my thinking, the last productive session of the Lege was in 2007, when the House was roughly equal between the two parties and the Senate wasn’t as far right as it’s become.

        • BCinBCS

          JBB writes: “But I’m afraid the left loves control too much to promote ethical behavior.”

          What an astute observation. Since all that is needed are ethics, I propose that we let ethics rule and eliminate all laws and close all of the jails. What possibly could go wrong?

      • Indiana Pearl

        Ms. G, I encourage discussions about genetic predispositions to lean left or right. Much of it is immutably embedded in our DNA.

        • Erica Grieder

          is there a go-to source you’d recommend?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Sure. Some starters:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/opinion/thomas-edsall-how-much-do-our-genes-influence-our-political-beliefs.html?_r=0

            http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/09/study-on-twins-suggests-our-political-beliefs-may-be-hard-wired/

            http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/12/genetics-twins-politics-religion

            Lots of footnotes. Follow the Yellow Brick Road. It’s all about inherited personality traits. And remember that liberals marry liberals and conservatives marry conservatives, so their offspring become more entrenched in their parents’ mindset.

          • “liberals marry liberals and conservatives marry conservatives, so their offspring become more entrenched in their parents’ mindset.”
            I’ve been told opposites attract.
            Jeez……

          • Indiana Pearl

            And some poor women marry the Village Idiot . . .

          • Indiana Pearl

            No, they seldom do.

          • Jed

            this area of study is a showcase for what social science can’t do well.

            which makes it perfectly ironic fodder for journalism masquerading as sociology.

            watch out, david brooks.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Yeah. Social scientists “don’t get no respect” from laboratorians. Mr. P. and I used to snipe at each other about this through the years. We are still married . . .

            Have you followed any of the “nature v. nurture” debates through the years?

          • Jed

            that’s what i am talking about.

            i just don’t think social science is sufficiently equipped (now? ever?) to successfully resolve those sorts of debates.

            and i’m a social scientist.

            i *definitely* don’t buy that social science has convincingly established the claim you are advancing: that all this genetic. here there be dragons: moral-genetic engineering and pre-crime enforcement, minority report-style.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Geneticists like twin studies.

            There are, no doubt, genes that control these traits, but they are complex, involving many alleles. Someday we’ll have the technology to ID them. The moral issues then arise: do we “fix” them?

          • Jed

            twin studies are highly problematic. they more or less beg the question.

            the moral question is here now. my concern is that the answer to that question is sufficiently complicated that we should refrain from (with all due respect) breathlessly offering up questionable social scientific claims that would seem to push us prematurely in one (very troubling) direction.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Geneticists like twin studies.

          • Jed

            geneticists think everything is genetic. go figure.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I disagree that they are highly problematic when comparing identical twins raised in different environments. It’s just that there aren’t very many cases. Same DNA . . .

          • Jed

            “It’s just that there aren’t very many cases.”

            large-N methods, small-N problem. that’s one reason they are problematic.

        • WUSRPH

          You realize how much this idea strikes at the whole concept of the FREE WILL and the power of the Individual? .”Predestination by God” was bad enough; “Predestination by some chemicals and enzymes in our genes” is too much.

          • Indiana Pearl

            There’s your Catholic heritage barking at you (me too). Free will is not absolute.

          • WUSRPH

            When you start fooling with the idea that man can CHOOSE I begin to become more sympathetic to a friend who believes in evolution EXCEPT she believes in a special “creation” of man. I recognize it is not a simple as that….That we may have tendencies and leanings both from biology and our environment, but If it ever comes to a choice between those things and Free Will I am going to do down fighting with the words “I CHOOSE” on my lips.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Well, my friend, your DNA often drives your choice. You don’t get to choose to choose. I don’t find that threatening, but many religious believers do.

          • Nature vs Nurture, free will vs predestination, are both misunderstood concepts and often framed as opposing ideas rather than complementary ideas each needing the other to be fully realized.

        • wessexmom

          By genetic predispositions, do you mean intelligence?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Not neccessarily. The papers I’ve read through the years address personality traits rather than IQ. Liberals as a group are more empathetic, open to new ideas, open to change, but more prone to anxiety. Conservatives are more authortiarian, rigid, inflexible, but happier (however the researchers define that).

            The thesis is that many of these traits are heritable and are passed on to our offspring.

            A lot of the research began in the ’70s with the nature v. nurture discussions of personality. In recent years scientists have focused more on the political polarization in America and its causes.

      • I’ve added that book to my amazon cart.

        • Erica Grieder

          It’s so good! Let me know what you think after you have a chance to read it. And, I think, @disqus_x83ybNLazv:disqus – you’ve read it, right? We can have an ad hoc book club in the comments.

          • I’m currently reading Being Mortal by Dr Atul Gawande which addresses the medical side of end of life issues but does address the psychological and cultural too, so when I finish it I will start The Righteous Mind.

            Politics is a lot like anthropology – they’re umbrellas that many different disciplines fall under.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Got it from the library on my iPad and it was whisked away when the due date arrived. I’ll buy it if we have a discussion about it. Had gotten to the stats chapter.

          • gordo

            Works for me. The whole subject of moral development and ethical behavior is of more interest to me as I age. Maybe Catholic school and Sister Mary Weightlifter never let you go, despite all attempts to put that stuff behind me. Ordered another copy of Haidt’s book from Amazon, since I first read it almost four years ago and gave it away.

    • It’s not a simplistic either/or proposition, you diminish the importance by framing it in such a manner. Life is not black and white, good or evil, etc. if it were Jesus would never have ministered to the tax collectors, prostitutes, and poor.

      • Actually life is simple except when some use victim hood or obfuscation to futher an agenda.

        If you want to expand your knowledge here’s a book for you.

        ““These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):
        1. Share everything.
        2. Play fair.
        3. Don’t hit people.
        4. Put thngs back where you found them.
        5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
        6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
        7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
        8. Wash your hands before you eat.
        9. Flush.
        10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
        11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
        12. Take a nap every afternoon.
        13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
        14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
        15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
        16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first workd you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.”
        ― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”

        • There is a difference between saying life is simple and dealing with issues that are complex – granted that may be more than you can comprehend but perhaps if you practiced the above you’d actually be a kinder and happier person.

        • Indiana Pearl

          “Share everything” seems to have escaped you.

  • Culture of Victimhood is not a new concept, the phrasing of it may be new – but Sociology and Psychology 101classes were discussing this idea 30 years ago. What is new, is how acceptable it has become to portray oneself as a victim. To portray oneself as a victim used to be seen as weakness, as being helpless, as injured, an irredeemable flaw; now it is seen as something to be “proud of” to almost boast about it as if it were fashionable or trendy, and of course it has bled over into the political arena because we like the underdog and root for him to win so it’s the logical evolution – portray oneself as the victim (underdog) to garner sympathy and support.

    Social media is the catalyst that has allowed this idea to become accepted and useful. Public whining and begging from gofundmes to political campaigns. I think Wursph posted this on another reply to another article but it fits here –

    Republicans put their property above all other things…
    Democrats consider people to be of more value than property.

    Teddy Roosevelt tried to put the two into proper balance explaining that:
    “My position as regards the monied interests can be put in a few words. In every civilized society property rights must be carefully safeguarded; ordinarily and in the great majority of cases, human rights and
property rights are fundamentally and in the long run, identical; but when it clearly appears that there is a real conflict between them, human rights must
have the upper hand; for property belongs to man and not man to property.”

    • John Johnson

      Well stated.

      • WUSRPH

        Like my TR quote.

        • John Johnson

          Yep.

    • Erica Grieder

      Yes, you’re right–there are some historical details in the paper itself–Campbell and Manning say that sociologists have been writing about ‘microaggressions’ since the 1970s, and they sketch out some basics about ‘cultures of honor’ and ‘cultures of dignity’ too. So for anyone who’s interested in more on the theory I’d definitely recommend a look–I don’t know if this is all old hat to sociologists or if it’s an esoteric/controversial argument etc. The ‘culture of victimhood’ part just made a lot of sense to me. (It was a relief, in a small way, because prior to that I was wondering if the Lege had gone nuts or if it was just me)

      • When in doubt – always place blame of going nuts on the lege. There is a long and storied history of shenanigans by our erstwhile lawmakers.

        I’d have to research it, but I’m pretty sure this has been an ongoing debate in sociology, anthropology and psychology circles for several decades. Cultural behavior and group behavior are fascinating to me and where I am directing my education focus now that I can go back to school, since my chicks have flown from the nest.

  • roadgeek

    I see by the papers that Donald Trump has released his first campaign ad. WaPo hated it, which means it’s probably pretty good. I look forward to seeing it tonight at home.

    • vietvet3

      “Pants on Fire”

  • WUSRPH

    Excellent analysis. I wait to see more comments on the grievance politics. A good description of the people to whom this appears to be most common can be found in the Atlantic piece I posted on the earlier thread.

    See below:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/01/the-great-republican-revolt/419118/

    In which the author describes the discontented as being:

    “The angriest and most pessimistic people in America are the people we used to call Middle Americans. Middle-class and middle-aged; not rich and not poor; people who are irked when asked to press 1 for English, and who wonder how white male became an accusation rather than a description.

    You can measure their pessimism in polls that ask about their expectations for their lives—and for those of their children. On both counts, whites without a college degree express the bleakest view. You can see the effects of their despair in the new statistics describing horrifying rates of suicide and substance-abuse fatality among this same group, in middle age.”

    A disturbing picture of a major group of Americans who no longer believe in the “American Dream” and whose anger may result in permanent damage to our political system.

    • John Johnson

      Please define “permanent damage to our political system”.

      • Erica Grieder

        President Trump? :-/

        • WUSRPH

          Even more of a synopsis than my answer…but along the same lines.

          • John Johnson

            What an imagination you have. Are you afraid of change? Seems like you or Pearl just asked this same question of me a few days ago.

          • WUSRPH

            See my answer above.

          • Except what he is advocating isn’t change its simply changing or ignoring laws to fit their agenda.

        • John Johnson

          Come on…do you really think that will ever happen? People, like me, like some of the pokes beinging taken at subsidies, sold votes, secret contributions, and the like…but there can’t be that many goofy people who will actually vote for that carny barker.

          • WUSRPH

            So you get one who sounds more serious…..but who is just as much of a believer in himself above all…..say someone whose Daddy has told him all his life that he was chosen by God. Such people are not likely to let little evil, sinful others stand in their way.

          • John Johnson

            Oh, I like people who believe in themselves…and the constitution. Are you “afraid of change”? Stupid question, right? You have been tossing it in my direction for how many years now?

          • WUSRPH

            No….I am not afraid of change…Change can be good…what I am afraid of is the same thing that led our Founders to carefully structure a government with protected rights and a balance of power that required that major changes take time and effort. In short, I, like them, fear “the momentary passions of the mob” and where that can lead us. As Franklin said:

            “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

            or as the Judge said to the “good German” in Judgment at Nuremberg who tried to argue that “we never thought it would go that far”….”It went that far…the first time you….”

            I am not willing to allow that “first time” if I can stop it.

            Don’t forget: Just because a man can recite the words of the Constitution does not mean that he understands them or will respect them. He may well believe that God’s ordination outweighs any little old scrap of paper.

          • John Johnson

            Please stop it. Obama has trampled all over the Constitution. One of the most liberal law professors in the country, Jonathan Turley, has screamed the loudest about it. You give O a pass, and fearfully speculate on what Cruz might do? You wear me out when you pull this stuff.

          • WUSRPH

            The last time I checked, Prof. Turley was not a member of the SCOTUS, much less the total court. His opinion may be respected, but it is just his opinion. I, personally, have some doubts about how far the President went with his immigration reforms by Executive Order…..But the SCOTUS will decide that one. So far, however, he seems to be doing fairly well with the Court…..if not with Justices JJ and Turley.

          • Indeed. Cruz is really just a religious version of Trump. And neither will be able to win the White House if they were to somehow get the Republican nomination. Both will drive the moderates to either a 3rd party or to the democratic nominee.

          • You simply cannot admit the founding fathers wrote a timeless document that restricts the left’s agenda. The only way democrats can further their agenda is to ignore the constitution. That isn’t change that is simply what it is ignoring the rule of law.
            The left doesn’t want law and order they want dictatorial control.

          • WUSRPH

            If history serves me right…we had a few big leftist Dictators in the last century…but in sheer numbers the Right far outnumbered the left. Funny, I never knew that James Madison and Chief Justice Marshall were part of some leftist conspiracy when they wrote or interpreted the Constitution….Come to think of it, neither did they. I am much more inclined to accept what they said than any of your babblings.

          • Now convince your Prez to do so.

          • WUSRPH

            Sorry, you may not like him. In fact you clearly hate him…but until noon if a day in January of 2017, he is not just “my president. He is OUR PRESIDENT. The only one we got. Just like George W. back to the first George, himself. The fact that the voters of this country have twice chosen him kind of escapes your attention.

          • Unwound

            And would probably elect him for a third term if given the chance….

          • Dan on the River

            Thanks to our predecessors who ratified the 22nd amendment. Now if we could only apply term limits to senators, representatives and the supreme court.

          • Stop it….you’re trying on the victim hoody. It has nothing to do with Americans disliking him personally even though he appears to have contempt for Americans. We simply don’t agree with his policies and ignoring the Constitution.
            You dems always and I mean always have to be the victim.
            Go reread the article.

          • Indiana Pearl

            “Hoody”? Playing the race card again . . .

          • Yes you are

          • Indiana Pearl

            The document is not “timeless” so much as it is suitably vague as to permit the courts to interpret it.

          • But with an average nationwide voter turn out of 10% it wouldn’t take many of those goofy people heading to the polls to make him the nominee.

          • John Johnson

            Then we deserve what we get.

          • Erica Grieder

            No, I don’t; but I think it could happen, and that it’s not going to happen, thanks to Cruz. Going forward I share a lot of WURSPH’s concerns. I think this trend is disturbing for a lot of reasons, but perhaps the most serious–I think I got at this a bit in this Trump post back in August–is that people with grievances are making claims that can’t be falsified. So imagine Trump is the nominee, and loses to Clinton. Most of us would interpret that as “Well, if you nominate a total moron for president, your party’s gonna lose. Sorry you had to learn the hard way.” But some of these Trump supporters will believe that he lost because the system was rigged against him. It’s a dirisible claim–Trump has been a beneficiary of the system, economically, politically, since he was born. Even in this campaign he’s benefiting from something he did nothing to earn: several election cycles after the rise of the Tea Party movement, a lot of conservative voters have been groomed to believe that the Establishment is out to thwart the honorable outsider, Donald Trump. But in the scenario described above, they wouldn’t reject any arguments that Trump lost because Trump is a loser. There’s this jujitsu of grievance; they would instead react along the lines of: “See? Your criticism of Trump is proof that the media/elite/establishment/RINOs/etc were out to get him all long.”

          • Ding ding ding!!! winner winner chicken dinner!

          • I think what you may be missing is some voters will vote for Trump because he challenges the left’s assertions.. When Romney debated Obama in the second debate he refused to stand up and it cost him the election.
            There are a lot of voters who are simply tired of being steam rolled by dems and their social programs that simply don’t work.
            The voters simply want someone to stand up to the left’s agenda not pass and fund it as Ryan did.

          • WUSRPH

            Ryan had a little problem….One that you and Cruz have never had and never will—the RESPONSIBILITY to keep the government and society functioning. When you carry that burden you make the best deal you can recognizing that the it will not please those who accept no responsibility for anything they do.

          • No it was total capitulation. Voters are tired of it, especially when the voters sent them to DC to stop it.
            You’re entitled to an opinion but not you’re own set of facts.

          • BCinBCS

            JBB wrote: “… especially when the voters sent them to DC to stop it.”

            You don’t seem to understand that – barring trampling on a minorities constitutional rights – you don’t get your way when you don’t have the majority. If you don’t like the way things are being run then elect a majority. (And doesn’t the fact that you have been unable to do so tell you anything?)

          • Actually you don’t get it, republicans are the majority in the US House and Senate. 2014 was a watershed election year, the most republicans in a century. Its called a mandate.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Not when more than 1.5 million more Democrats voted than Republicans. That’s called a corrupt system run by the GOP. It’s no wonder Americans feel victimized.

          • In 2014? What are you talking about?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Put down that Twinkie and do your homework.

          • 2014 wasn’t a presidential election year. Who doesn’t know that?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Only Baggers are tired of it. Most of us want compromise.

          • Exactly, Ryan understands that for the government to be able to work one must compromise to achieve anything.

          • John Johnson

            More of the same from Congress; more of the same from you. There’s that smell again?

          • WUSRPH

            The man was on the job for less than 30 days….give him some margin…If you do not like what you see at the end of next year, you may have some grounds to criticize. Until then, you don’t.

          • John Johnson

            He gave into what the Pentagon, Wall Street, Big Banks, Big Oil and every special interest group with big money wanted. Antitrust laws might as well not even be on the books. The Dem’s got everything they wanted. The vocal majority got ignored. We elect people to do our bidding; we get a Cornyn.

          • WUSRPH

            As I said to the Troll, above:

            The man was in office for less than 30 days. He had the responsibility to insure that the society and governmental continue to function…..He accepted his responsibility. If you don’t like things more at the end of 2016 you may have a right to criticize but not until he has had a chance. You seem oblivious to the impact of a government shutdown and default. But then It is easy to just criticize….It is hard to do the job…You love to quote TR along those lines…you might consider what that quote really means.
            We can only be thankful to Ryan that he, not you or TC or the Troll had that responsibility. If you had, we would probably be enjoying the beginning of another Great Recession….which you, of course, would blame on Obama.

          • John Johnson

            You make it sound as if Ryan had been living under a rock before he moved into the job. He was well aware of everything that has been going on. Many want all spending cut…not just Dem funded favorites. No one pays any attention to Coburn’s old list of wasteful practices, or the special interest loopholes that both parties support – some openly; others covertly.

          • WUSRPH

            I keep getting the feeling that you have a problem understanding what “representative government” means or the concept of the right to petition Congress for the regress of grievances…..You seem to think that only applies to you and yours. Sorry, but all those other people and the groups they compose also have rights.
            I presume if you had your way your would limit those powers to those you presumed worthy.

          • John Johnson

            hahaha. For an intellectual, you are extremely dense at times. The guy I voted for is not who I thought he was. I will not vote for him again. Furthermore, special interests with big money and employing maybe a million people, get a favorable vote that adversely affects 100 million. How does that happen? You and I both know the answer.

          • Once again Ryan surrendered. What part of that did you miss? Harry Reid doing a victory lap?

          • WUSRPH

            The man was in office for less than 30 days. He had the responsibility to insure that the society and governmental continue to function…..He accepted his responsibility. If you don’t like things more at the end of 2016 you may have a right to criticize but not until he has had a chance. You seem oblivious to the impact of a government shutdown and default. But then It is easy to just criticize….It is hard to do the job….We can only be thankful to Ryan that he, not you or TC, had that responsibility.

          • John Johnson

            Then maybe “they” would go form their own party, or as Jerry Patterson has suggested, we would go form our own. The divide is so great within the party, I don’t see the problems being reconciled.

          • Read Nate Silva new book The Signal and the Noise. He discusses how fear is the new greed. He lays out Baye’s theorem about being less wrong etc.
            More information means more problems and of course more fears.
            Fear is coming to a town near you.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Silver, not Silva.

          • vietvet3

            If you don’t get the buffoon, you get the snake, TC. If you don’t get him, you may get the guy who doesn’t know the diff between Hamas and hummus. If you……………

          • Jed

            30% (give or take) of U.S. republicans is a magic number. that is the number who believe things like jade helm, that is the number who think bush was a good president, that is the number who think obama is a foreigner, and on and on. those are the trump supporters.

            these are the same people over and over. this means: (1) we know trump can’t get elected president, without having to give any credence whatsoever to cruz. it’s just math. 30% of republicans aren’t enough to elect a president. and (2) there is no reason to be surprised or worry when 30% of republicans believe or support anything. they are who we think they are, to quote a mediocre ex-football coach.

          • John Johnson

            Welcome aboard, Hillary.

      • WUSRPH

        A very brief synopsis of a more detailed response:
        –a political system cannot function if a large portion of the electorate do not believe in it. We are close to that now.
        —people who believe the system does not represent them and is unable to do so may be attracted to the likes of The Donald who promise “solutions” . Those solutions may include extra-constitutional or unconstitutional steps including the “Strong man” who will make “necessary changes” with intended and unintended (to most) consequences that strike at the heart of representative democracy.
        –should they fail to achieve their goals they may refuse to accept the outcome of the election, leading to all kinds of possible evils and, at the minimum, to an even more paralyzed system than the one produced by the GOP’s refusal to work with Obama. This could lead to all kinds of breakdowns in the system, producing even more chaos out of which might come an American “little Bohemian Corporal”.

      • WUSRPH

        I used that word again and the system removed my post So here it is again without the offending word and with a convoluted phrase replacing it.:

        A very brief synopsis of a more detailed response:

        –a political system cannot function if a large portion of
        the electorate do not believe in it. We are close to that now.

        —the same goes with “The American Dream”…most
        of the younger members of the party headed by the Bohemian Corporal in Germany as well as the Chinese Communists in Malaya ,for example, were frustrated by the failure of the system to live up to what they expected and rejected it as a result.

        —people who believe the system does not represent them and is unable to do so may be attracted to the likes of The Donald who promise “solutions” . Those solutions may include extra-constitutional or unconstitutional steps including the “Strong man” who will make “necessary changes” with intended and unintended (to most) consequences that strike at the heart of representative democracy.

        –should they fail to achieve their goals they may refuse to
        accept the outcome of the election, leading to all kinds of possible evils and, at the minimum, to an even more paralyzed system than the one produced by the GOP’s refusal to work with Obama. This could lead to all kinds of breakdowns in the system, producing even more chaos out of which might come an American “little Bohemian Corporal”.

        • Isn’t that how Obama got elected..on change?

        • John Johnson

          Lots of people want change…and it does not have to be the death knell you keep spitting out. Wonder how many WUSRPH’s there were screaming “we’re doomed” back when Teddy was elected?

          • WUSRPH

            Actually, if you knew your history you would know that it was the traditional GOP who were most frightened of TR. Democrats supported most of what he was doing….

          • Yes I know Teddy was a progressive. We have them in both parties.

          • John Johnson

            Why do you insist on being the perpetual pedant? We have discussed TR’s poking his finger in the GOP establishment’s eye how many times now? That has no bearing on the question I asked? Did I ask how many Repub’s? How many Dem’s? No, I asked how many WUSRPH’s.

          • WUSRPH

            None that I know of…They would have been in favor of most of what he was doing on domestic issues. They might have had a problem except his somewhat uncontrolled foreign policy ideas and his tendencies towards Imperialism, however.

          • John Johnson

            Your memory’s going. I’m not going to keep repeating my oft stated positions to refresh it. I don’t do that to you. I’ve read it enough to know where you stand on almost any given issue.

          • WUSRPH

            Let’s see if we can add a little specificity to your ideas:
            1) do you favor amending the US Constitution to limit spending on political issues and to overturn the SCOTUS ruling in Citizens United?

            2) What specific steps, if any, do you propose to limit the power of “Big Banks” and “investments firms”?
            3) What specific steps, if any, do you propose to limit the power of “Big Oil”, to regulate production and control prices?
            4) What specific steps d, if any, you propose to lower electrical, utility and insurance rates for Texas consumers?
            5) What specific federal programs, if any, do you propose abolishing? What ones would you substantially reduce?
            6) what would you do, if anything, to insure health care for all Americans in lieu of the ACA?
            7) What steps, if any, would you take to reduce spending on defense?
            8) What steps, if any, would you take the increase the incomes of Middle Americans? Lower their tax burdens? And/or address the growing problem of both Income and Wealth Inequality in America?
            9) What laws, etc., if any, would you pass or enforce to control or limit the trend toward more and more consolidated business in the U.S.?
            Now, name me 10, 5 or 2 Republican candidates for President or members of the U.S. Congress or Texas Legislature or statewide GOP officeholders in Texas WHO WOULD VOTE FOR ANY OF YOUR PROPOSALS.
            NB Because I ask a question does not mean that I approve of the idea. I only want to know what you think.

          • John Johnson

            1. yes
            2. Glass-Stegall / get people without skin in the game out of hedging.
            3. The idiots regulate themselves by thinking the windfall will last forever. They overextend, declare bankruptcy and wait for the next run. Put a small export duty on crude and LNG to fund highways and bridge infrastructure.
            4. How do you put the toothpaste back in the tube?
            5. Don’t have an answer without more study
            6. Who knows? Single payer? What we have is not working. We pay more for healthcare than any country in the world. I get genuine value for the dollar at Mayo Clinic, where I am today. That cannot be said of many others in the country.
            7. Close a whole lot of overseas bases. Bring lots of troops home. Drop defense corps like a hot potato if they chronically kept shoving defense overruns in our faces without just cause. Make it illegal for retiring officers, Pentagon and Def. Dept personnel who worked with defense contractors to go to work for them after retirement. Shave unneeded programs.
            8. Tax code overhaul with corporate loopholes closed. All of the above.
            9. Just enforce the ones we have and start disallowing competition reducing buyouts and mergers.
            10. Where do you want to start?
            * none I know of because all are in tight with some special interest group.

            As far as your asking me to name specifics…that’s like asking me why I don’t start calling plays for the Cowboys since I hate their offensive production. Am I a football coach? Do I have to be to complain? I live in Arlington; I have skin in the game. Can’t open my mouth huh? You have some real strange retired political operative ways about you. I’m not impressed.

          • WUSRPH

            As you are learning…It is easy to advocate “reforms” if you can limit it to generalities. After all, everybody is in favor of “ethics reform”…It is just that your idea of reform might not be theirs. There are also those little problems of the First Amendment (right to petition govt. for redress of grievances) that stand in the way of lobby reform that goes much beyond reporting requirements–and MQS and friends are trying to get even that declared a violation of the First Amendment.

            The same for every one of the other issues. It is easy to advocate but hard to come up with a method to accomplish it. That is what I did (or tried) to do for a living for more than 35 years so I think I have a little insight into the problems. It is also what makes me impatient with those who advocate but cannot put up when called to be specific.

          • John Johnson

            Hahaha…you grow impatient with me? You worked for politicians as an operative, who by definition encourage them to make generalized appealing promises to get votes, and then declare here that they do it knowing full well that they cannot deliver. Throw in the fact that the hoodwinked people pay these guys salaries, insurance and retirement benefits, and I’m not thinking very highly of you or the political process you hold so dear and defend so righteously. All of you hide behind “laws” you know full well can be changed if there was truly the will to reform. It limits or takes away from business as usual so we get the status quo with excuses why. Tell me a voter who does not support limiting an SEC investigator or retiring general from going to work for the companies they are charged with policing? Smitherman’s attempted to secure the top job at ERCOT was cut short by a public outcry after in was made public. Excuses you offer up can be overcome; the body politic does not want change. I know it; you know it. After hearing generalized promises and remedies offered up by virtually everyone while campaigning that never come to fruition, you are telling me that I, as a complainer, need to shut up until I can offer up specific remedies for the roadblocks, even though virtually all the things I am griping about were “generalized” promises I heard made during recent presidential campaigns? And you lose patience? Really? You tell us, the employer, to go do the job of the guy we “hired”, and the ones like you who they hire, to find solutions? Do your work for you? How can you be so puffed up proud of how you made your living? Don’t expect a pat on the back from me.

          • WUSRPH

            Didn’t read this one last night.

            So what is your solution? You admit that “none” of the GOP presidential candidates, congressman and legislators would vote for your desired reforms?

            If that is so, what do you do now? Put your hopes in some sort of a third or GOP replacement party?

            Actually consider voting for a Democrat since several of them have shown they would vote your way? (Assume you say Bernie’s comments yesterday and what he would do to the big banks, etc. in his first 30 days?)

            Or just continue to complain and attack people who may have spent years trying to do some of the things you desire?

            P.S. Hope things go well at the Mayo.

    • Indiana Pearl

      The more things change, the more they stay the same. The paranoid style in American politics:

      http://harpers.org/archive/1964/11/the-paranoid-style-in-american-politics/4/

      • Jed

        yes. i think machiavelli and cicero may have said something about this stuff, too.

        but if we pretend it’s a recent trend, we can tout our role in identifying it and wring our hands anew. maybe if we play our cards right, we’ll generate a few more republican votes along the way.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Very few Americans know or care about Machivelli and Cicero – sad to say.

          • Jed

            it’s not necessary that many americans know this stuff. but it would be nice if political biologists, pop sociologists, and the journalists who love them did.

        • WUSRPH

          Not sure what you mean.. It is certainly not a recent trend, especially on the far right and left. But the size of the phenomena is what makes it a concern today.

  • John Johnson

    You mean like TP extremists screaming in righteous indignation about not being able to carry an AR-15 into a Denny’s? Or the local TP activist here in Arlington who got people madder than killer bees over stop light cameras a few years back. All of the hundreds…maybe thousands…who made the issue pertinent prior to the last city council and mayoral elections. “It’s illegal!”, they squealed. “It’s unconstitutional!”, they cried. It cost them $75 for running a red light; there was a video to prove it; and they didn’t like the odds of it happening again to them. This goofy issue produced more public outcry than any I could remember in decades. Goofy priorities. They don’t question why their kinfolk in Oklahoma pay less for a KWh of electricity than we do in Texas, or why a friend in Missouri is not paying an extra $35 “fee” on their cellphone contract that we do, but will chirp long and loud because cameras are going to catch them if they break the law. Your piece is right on the mark.

    • or like this?

      “Jarret then said that selling as few as “two firearms” could require somebody to obtain a federal firearms license. However, later in the call, Attorney General Lynch revised that number down further. “It can be as few as one or two depending upon the circumstances under which the person sells the gun,” Lynch said.

      The federal firearms license application process takes several months to complete and costs a significant amount of money, according to the ATF website.”

      http://freebeacon.com/issues/obama-executive-order-may-require-those-selling-even-a-single-firearm-become-licensed-dealers/

      It is about control and ratcheting up the fear factor until the public allows regulations. rRgulations mean compliance and compliance is control.

      • Jed

        so rule of law is … what?

      • John Johnson

        There is a happy medium. Things like the “could require” need clarification. Keeping a loon from buying a weapon, or a felon, or any resident immigrant with a driver’s license should be implemented and enforced however long it takes.

  • Why don’t we just admit the truth, without the victim hoody there would not be a democrat party.

    The dems need victims to survive even if they are made up, ie Rachael Dozeal.

    • Indiana Pearl

      “Dozeal”?

      • You’re idol….

        • Indiana Pearl

          “Your” . . .

        • Indiana Pearl

          If you stop, I’ll stop, but you can’t.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Says the Bully of Ft. Bend . . .

  • Indiana Pearl
    • John Johnson

      When I read or hear the word “fear” these days, it is coming from a liberal, standing in line with a bunch of other lemmings, listening to the “Sirens sweetly singing”, watching our world standing, middle America, and race relations go south, and yelling “If X is elected, the Constitution will get trampled upon and we will be led to ruin by a Hitleresque Pied Piper.” Lunacy. Pure lunacy. If, however there are enough fools to vote Trump into office, they may be right.

      • Indiana Pearl

        It’s YOUR boys out on the campaign trail scaring the bejeebuz out of the weak-minded. We’ll see how that works out.

        If Hillary wins, are you going to go berserkers?

        • Just like we did after Obama’s election. What I did notice was the TPers were peaceful and the left burned and looted in Baltimore and Ferguson.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You must have missed the numerous TPers attacking congressional reps at town hall meetings around the country – and spitting on John Lewis.

          • Spitting on John Lewis? You live in a fantasy world.

            I remember when Pelosi made the claim and Breitbart offered a reward for the video.
            It never surfaced. It was just another lie, an attempt by dems to ratchet up some fear.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Breitbart? Come back when you grow up.

          • Yep the Breitbart, the guy who outed Clinton Lewinsky.
            Doncha just hate him?

          • Indiana Pearl

            He be dead.

            And it was Linda Tripp who outed Clinton/Lewinsky.

          • What media outlet did Tripp work for?

          • Indiana Pearl

            The Defense Department.

          • They are a media outlet?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Here’s the real deal as I remember it: Michael Isikoff, Ken Starr (in exchange for immunity), Janet Reno. As usual with you, you’re mistaken:

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_Tripp

          • You get your facts from wikipedia?

          • WUSRPH

            At least she doesn’t make them up of distort them.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Footnotes, Booksie.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You get your facts from asteroids in outer space.

          • I’ll “refresh” your memory….
            “At the last minute, at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, NEWSWEEK magazine killed a story that was destined to shake official Washington to its foundation: A White House intern carried on a sexual affair with the President of the United States!”

            broken by Brietbart an editor a Drudge.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Gimme a break. Drudge? Give us a link.

            I hate to tell you this, but Michael Isikoff did extensive reporting on the matter. Where were you?

          • Michael Isikoff was told to shut up and he did. Newsweek killed the story.

            “Former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker said Sunday he chose not to run the story that former President Bill Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/11/06/former-newsweek-editor-why-he-didnt-run-lewinsky-story-we-didnt-feel#sthash.0maXyXal.dpuf

          • Indiana Pearl

            I read several articles in Newsweek about it. You really are nuts. Isikoff was also making the rounds on the talk shows. You will believe anything.

        • John Johnson

          She’s a liar and has broken numerous laws that would have me in a federal pen. How should I treat her?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Maybe she, Cheney, and GWB can be cellmates.

          • John Johnson

            Why do you do that? Are we talking about Hillary or Cheney/Bush?

          • John Johnson

            Why are we bring Bush/Cheney into the discussion? They running for Prez? Here’s a pretty good piece on the issue.
            http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/mar/12/hillary-clintons-email-did-she-follow-all-rules/

          • Indiana Pearl

            Changing the subject again . . . and you accuse ME of getting of topic. Next you’re going to say I’m drunk. That’s Booksie’s Last Stand when he can’t spell or find a nasty word to insult me with. He has a coterie now of sniveling puppies who do the same.

            Losers!

          • John Johnson

            You must be drunk or somehow impaired if you think I have changed topics on you. The link was on the issue of Hillary breaking the law. The link addresses just that.

          • Indiana Pearl

            We were discussing Hillary’s “crimes.” Bush/Cheney’s crimes were raised. You waffled by saying they weren’t running for pres.

          • John Johnson

            Duh! You brought Bush/Cheney into a Hillary discussion. You do this all the time. Bush and Cheney are not my pals and the are ancient history. Clinton is in our face every day and still part of the equation. It grows old and I won’t participate with you any longer. I have neither the time nor inclination. You wear me out.

          • WUSRPH

            Name on specific federal law or state law that Mrs. Clinton has violated Be specific as to the instance.

          • John Johnson
          • WUSRPH

            The link is to a story about her questionable, but apparently legal, use of a private e-mail system. Bad practice? Certainly….A crime?….more than unlikely as the FBI has said.

          • Indiana Pearl

            She made mincemeat out of Trey Gowdy over eleven hours. Case closed. But you deny reality . . .

            I’m not wildly enthusiastic about her, but every GOP candidate is a clone, except Trump, and he’s a fascist.

      • You are correct pure looney tunes…..

      • WUSRPH

        These voices don’t sound that liberal to me…Of course, they are more concerned about how either Trump of Cruz will cause the GOP to lose than they are with what the two believe and how that would affect America.

        http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/donald-trump-ted-cruz-gop-fear-217345#.46ysji5:GzCH

        • John Johnson

          Oh, yeah…you are right about you liberals not being the only ones. The Old School Repub’s who have lived off of special interests for decades don’t want radical change either, but it has nothing to do with your next maniacal dictator coming to power and dumping on our Constitution.

          • WUSRPH

            You asked me to describe the damage to our political system that could result from the feelings of discontent, anger and fear that are spreading on the political right. I did. You keep talking about the need for “radical change” and ranting about congressman not voting the way their constituents want and the need to drive the money changers out of the temple of government. All that is fine, but what about a few specifics? Just how are you going to accomplish these noble goals? What changes in the Constitution to overcome the power of money or the ability of what you see as “special interests” are you proposing? What are you going to do to fight the “Bigs”?

          • John Johnson

            Do you get a charge out of covering the same old ground over and over again? Asking the same policy questions of the same person over and over again?
            How many times have we discussed Glass-Stegall? How about hedging laws? How about “Too Big to Fail”? How about anti-trust laws that are ignored? immigration laws? Dark money? Ethics reform? Wasteful spending? Equitable trade agreements? A reformed tax code? Doing away with entitlements? Making these often promised changes and keeping them will result in our being ruled by a dictator bent on killing off millions? That is what you have been projecting. It is ignorant of you.

          • He is a one trick pony eventually you will learn.

          • WUSRPH

            You offer few, if any, specifics other than Glass-Stegal, as usual. Below I have asked some specific questions to try to make you look beyond the gross generalities of “wasteful spending”, “ethics reform” and get specific.
            More importantly, I asked—and expect you to answer:
            Name me 10, 5, 2 of the GOP candidates for president or members of the US Congress or Texas Legislature that would vote for your “ethics reform”, reinstatement of Glass-Stegal, etc. ?

          • WUSRPH

            I need to respond to one specific item in this post:

            “Making these proposed changes and keeping them will result in our being ruled by a dictator bent on killing millions”…

            I support major changes in America, including some you do. I spent my “career” working for some of those. I have never suggested, nor do I think, that making major changes in America will lead to the rise of a dictator.

            My fear is, in fact, the exact opposite–i,.e..–that it is the failure of the system to make changes (many of which would be the wrong thing to do) that will give rise to the conditions I cited when you asked me to specify “permanent damage to the system” They include possibility of a “strong man” who will solve our problems with just a little bending, breaking and suppression of the personal liberties of those who disagree.

          • Indiana Pearl

            He thinks Obama is a dictator.

          • John Johnson

            You are all over the place on this. You mention pre-WWII German dictator and Chinese dictators as examples of where we might be heading…and you do it more than once.

          • WUSRPH

            Re-read what I said just above. My concern is based on a fear of what might happen should the people who back the likes of Cruz and Trump NOT be successful. I see them as more than likely unwilling to accept the outcome and I fear what might arise out of the kind of crisis that would result.

          • Indiana Pearl

            More ad hominem . . .

          • WUSRPH

            Sorry, but that is exactly what they feared he would do., If you listen to and see the posts the Troll has made attacking TR, you would see that he thinks he did just that.

          • John Johnson

            Boy, you and your main cohort can run off in into an entirely different direction quicker than anyone I’ve ever encountered. It is a means of throwing in a “yeah, but” when backed into a corner. You are good at it. Great, in fact.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Ad hominum retorts are your stock in trade. Give us some facts, not opinions please.

          • John Johnson

            See ya, Pearl. Best of luck to you.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Bingo!

          The Sorcerer’s Apprentice comes to mind.

  • The left has always accused others of doing what they are doing. Doesn’t work anymore.
    People like Trump are standing up to them and outing their hypocrisy. Hillary running on the repub’s war on women with Bill at her side?
    Absurd, sure but it doesn’t take much to fool or scare a low information voter.

  • Straight out of the liberal’s bible.

    ““Love and faith are not common companions. More commonly power and fear consort with faith….Power is not to be crossed; one must respect and obey. Power means strength, whereas love is a human frailty the people mistrust. It is a sad fact of life that power and fear are the fountainheads of faith.” ― Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals”

    • Indiana Pearl

      Amen, Brother Saul!

    • WUSRPH

      P.S. Don’t forget to throw in Mao and the mouth of a gun barrel while you are at it. Or you could try a little Hitler.

      • You missed the fear part?….Its what dems or all about.

        • WUSRPH

          I don’t see Dems going around claiming the sky is falling and that America is corrupt and helpless. That appears to be Donald and Ted’s line.

          • John Johnson

            No. With you the next Hitler is somewhere on the ballot.

          • WUSRPH

            I do think that a couple of candidates do exhibit some totalitarian tendencies that could threaten the constitutional order under which we live. But neither could be a real dictator under the current conditions..
            In addition, like you, I cannot believe that one of the two can be nominated (even by the GOP) and I believe the second, if nominated, would loose.
            Conditions are now not right for the rise of the kind of
            “strong man” that might arise should the horrible circumstances I have outlined as the worst consequences of the disillusionment with representative govt. But that does not mean we can afford to ignore the situation.

          • John Johnson

            You have no business going that far with your fear mongering. None. Your initial posts were very bold and clear. You are now crawfishing.

          • WUSRPH

            I clearly said on several occasions that I did no think Trump was a fascist….I thought he was a megalomaniac instead who was using fascist appeals to win support. I do think he would wind up challenging the entire system of govt. if he were elected…but I have been fairly clear (I hope) in my belief/hope that he could not get the nomination. I have several times pointed out that his 31% or whatever it is today is only that percentage of 25% of the electorate, far from enough to win. I do not think I have ever said we are going to have a dictator…I have consistently said I fear the development of conditions that could give rise to one.

          • John Johnson

            You chastise others as being “fearful” of change, yet plant seeds of doom if Trump is elected. Trump is currently supported by only 30% of Republicans. He is a long way from the White House, and we are a long way from having the level of discontent that would produce a Hitler.

          • WUSRPH

            First, I am the one who has been using the 39% of 25% argument to show that he does not have that much real strength (see it in the above post for example).

            As to how close we are. I hope you are right…but from what I have seen from the right anarchists, TPers in the last few years and how they and others reacted to Obama…I am not sure that a large portion of them will refuse to accept their defeat (if it happens) in November. That can be the beginning of a very dangerous period….I certainly hope I am wrong.

            It is not “change” I fear….but the way that someone like Trump would try to achieve “change” and/or some of the “changes” he would try to implement—-“Deportation Force”, et al.

          • John Johnson

            If I “hate” anyone, it’s Obama. I think he has done tremendous harm to our country in almost every aspect. If Hillary is elected, while being totally disappointed, I would expect her to out perform Obama. I would expect things to actually settle down somewhat and improve. Then, we rational conservatives can discuss forming our own party or taking back the name stolen from us by a group wanting to use Reagan as their poster boy, but who would be crucifying him were he alive today for being too moderate.

          • When VP Joe Biden told blacks, “they are gonna put yawl back in chains.” What did you think he was doing?

  • Do dems prey on women with fear mongering?

    “One of the more startling statistics in the report, which analyzed prescription claims data from 2.5 million insured Americans from 2001 to 2010, is that one in four women is dispensed medication for a mental health condition, compared to just 15 percent of men.
    Antidepressant use especially is high among women, up 29 percent since 2001, the report showed, and anti-anxiety meds are used by women at almost twice the rate seen among men. In 2010, 11 percent of middle-aged women were on an anti-anxiety medication, while only 5.7 percent of men that age were.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/women-and-prescription-drug-use_n_1098023.html

    What is even worse are the side effects when anti anxiety meds are mixed with alcohol.

    I believe dems know this and use fear to drive their agenda.

    • Indiana Pearl

      Sheer madness . . . Your need thorazine.

      • You righting prescriptions now?

        • WUSRPH

          She’s not “writing” them either.

          • hahaha……you two simplistic bozos fall for it every time. But them dems that gullible.

        • Indiana Pearl

          No, I’m not “writing” prescriptions for anything. I’m not a doctor.

    • BCinBCS

      And how, JBB do those statistics equate to Dems preying on women?
      I would conclude from your quote that the take-away is that there are a lot of men who are not getting the mental health care that they need. (But, then, my mind doesn’t work anything like yours.)

  • What did you think Rahm meant when he said “never let a good crisis go to waste?” Fear mongering at its best.

    • Indiana Pearl

      Broken record . . .

    • WUSRPH

      You mean like how the GWB gang used the 9-11 attack to justify an attack on SH and Iraq when there was no link between him and the attackers? And/or to pass the so-called “Patriot Act” with all kinds of new threats to the personal liberty and privacy of Americans? Is that want you mean?

      He clearly meant that, in politics as in life, there are some times when an opportunity arises to take actions that might not otherwise be possible and that one should recognize those times and not let them pass by. Simple….

      • no

        • WUSRPH

          So, GWB and company didn’t use 911 to justify the Iraq War and to pass the Patriot’s Act? Funny, how it seemed that way.

  • WUSRPH

    Can we leave the subject of Bill Clinton’s personal behavior behind for a while. Clearly, when it comes to how he treats individual women, Clinton is a PIG of the worst sort….who cannot keep his zipper up. He, unfortunately, is not the only one among both Republican and Democratic officeholders. (To the Troll: Don’t make me post that list of GOP sexual offenders again by denying their more than ample contributions to the filed of male piggishness.)

    As I said the other day, all that is true but there is something about the man that makes his private behavior seem not to be as important to the voters as some would like it to be. Despite all his misbehaving, he clearly could have been reelected had he been able to run again in 2000. How is beyond me, but it is true.

    Part of the answer may be that, despite his personal failings, Bill Clinton’s Administration and Bill Clinton as president did quite a lot to improve the position of women in this country, both with legislation like the Violence Against Women Act (which many GOP opposed) and his appointments and programs. This suggests an ability by voters—including women voters–to be able to, as they say, “compartmentalize” their views of him as a little boy who never grew up when it comes to his sexual behavior apart from his accomplishments as a officeholder.

    Europeans have often commented about our tendency to equate personal behavior to public life as they, unlike many Americans, can separate the public service of their public officials from their private lives. I don’t know whether that is good or bad…..That is a subject we might discuss some other day….but it appears that, at least in the case of Bill Clinton, most Americans have done just that. So let’s drop the back and forth about Clinton’s actions and those of others, and move on to other topics. Okay?

  • Seymour Butts

    Good points author, I agree with Breitbart being a safe space for conservatives. It is just like a right wing Yale debate floor.

    It is fun to point out people that they are whining like a bunch of girls, especially when they fashion themselves as the toughest independent people in America.

    The ‘War on Christmas’ is probably my favorite grievance to chide.

    I guess we all just need to gather under the festivus pole for a massive ‘airing of grievances’.

  • David

    I don’t really understand why ya’ll are trying to make this a partisan issue. There are plenty of examples of folks from across the political spectrum who cynically and manipulatively cast themselves or proponents of their favorite cause as victims. It’s not a new phenomena. But here is the heart of the problem that Erica identifies in her piece, and I use this as an example merely to discuss the heart of the issue.

    I was raised in a conservative evangelical home and am familiar with the fact that Christians have been persecuted at various times in various places throughout history – historical facts with which anyone raised in that tradition is familiar. Contemporary Christians in America who claim that they are the victims of persecution know better. It is a false claim used to advance a politically-motivated agenda with respect to some specific issue (and you can take your pick about what issue because it is used indiscriminately at this point).

    This is not going to change and it is nothing new. Hitler used the tactic in his rise to power (i.e., Germany was unfairly victimized by the rest of Europe after World War I). There will always be people who will dissemble or stretch the truth to manipulate political outcomes. The job of the media is to think critically and expose false political rhetoric. The media today is instead devoted to advancing the political views of one side or the other. There is no middle ground. Each side shouts at the other for the benefit of their own. It is not healthy. It reflects a fundamental lack of an ethical foundation in our notion of what the media should be doing in the realm of reporting on politics and government stemming from the fact that there is a general smearing of politics and government by one of the two major political parties to advance its own short-term interest in building and retaining power. They are foolishly advancing the notion that government is inherently corrupt and ineffective despite the fact that government and its enforcement of our laws allows its primary constituency (the economically affluent in our country) to flourish economically even to the detriment of the majority.

    • John Johnson

      Good points. WUSRPH will tell you that it is not the media’s job to educate and inform the public.

      • WUSRPH

        I don’t think I made it that black and white. What I have said is that the regular reporters job is to try to report what is happening—including who said what about what—and what other sources say in response as fairly as possible. It is not their function to make ethical or moral judgments and to crusade for causes. That function belongs to the columnist and editorial writer’s (“analyst” in electronic media) whose job it is to judge the truth of what is being said and to advocate action.

        This was the approach most true, responsible journalists took for at least the second half of the 20th Century and which most still attempt to do.. However, it is not the way some outlets, particular in the electronic medias, operate.

        In the beginning of this country media (the small papers and pamphleteers) were totally biased. That gradually changed beginning in the late 19th Century as they began to go for “mass audiences” who could be offended if the news was too slanted. Today we seem to be reverting to the way it was during the days when the media was the paid mouthpiece for some business or political interest. This is to the detriment of the country as a whole.

  • WUSRPH

    Did you see where the Rt. Rev. Atty. Gen. Paxton has been asked whether it is okay for sheriff’s cars to be marked with the Christian cross? He already said they could say “In God we trust” because that is the national motto and does not single out a particular religion. That, however, should be harder to do with the Cross since it is such an identifiable symbol of one religion. Paxton has said that he does not believe in the “Separation of Church and State”, which presumably means he goes with the argument that all the First Amendment says is that the government may not favor one religion over others. But even that argument would be had to use when it is the dominant symbol of the Christian Religion and its various sects. If you buy that argument (which I do not) the most you could probably get away with is pasting on one of those “Co-exist” bumper stickers since they feature the symbols of most of the major religions. But even that would be questionable. None-the-less, I am willing to bet that the Right Rev. will rule that it is okay for an individual deputy to put a Cross on his government owned car as long as the government does not provide it or put it on the vehicle. That would fit with the blabbering opinion he issued about what county clerks could do with requests for single-sex marriage licenses.

    • Indiana Pearl

      Americans support freedom of religion as long as it’s the Christian religion. Muslims, Jews, and Hindus? Not so much . . .

  • Tom Cassidy

    This seems like the premise to a really good book. Trump’s America: How the Politics of Grievance Have Weakened Politics on Both Sides of the Aisle. there’s a lot to be said, unfortunately. Happy New Year, Erica, let’s hope this one’s better than the last.

  • Al Capone style politics? It is called the “Chicago Way.”
    Saul Alinsky was taken under the wing of Al Capone as he terrorized business people in Chicago. Teaching Alinisky the ins and outs of his “business”, Alinsky then developed the gansta’s way into the “Chicago Way” with his book Rules for Radicals which he dedicated to Lucifer.
    “Love and faith are not common companions. More commonly power and fear consort with faith….Power is not to be crossed; one must respect and obey. Power means strength, whereas love is a human frailty the people mistrust. It is a sad fact of life that power and fear are the fountainheads of faith.” ― Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals”

    Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are disciples of Alinsky with close ties to the Alinsky institute. “Power and Fear are the fountainheads of their faith.”

    So what are the paranoid dems afraid of? Your guns.
    Come and take it dems.
    http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2016/01/03/texas-governor-obama-executive-gun-control-come-take/

    • Indiana Pearl

      Are you an anti-Semite?

      • and I hate termites too.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Are Jews on your fecal roster?

          • Have you seen my rooster?

          • Indiana Pearl

            I hear it’s stuck in your roster. I’ll bet that’s painful.

            I’ll take Alinsky. You can keep John Wayne.

          • WUSRPH

            The Troll likes to think of what he remembers, incorrectly, was the last scene in that picture from which he takes his blog name …with the character JBB living dead on the dirty floor of a saloon having died standing up for his principles and the bad guys lying dead nearby ….but he forgets that the last scene is really the one in which “the boy” looks down at the gun in his hand and, rejecting all that the JBB character lived for, throws the gun down and walks away in disgust.

          • The scene has two messages one for the Strong and one for the weak. I see which one you were drawn too.
            Look its tough being a man and some of us aren’t good at it. Thats ok I’m man enough for both of us.

          • WUSRPH

            A REAL MAN does not have to keep telling the world–and himself—that he is one….He lets his behavior and actions speak for themselves. You, on the other hand, seem to have to scream it out for all to hear.

          • and I don’t however you seem to think I do.
            Try being civil, less arrogant, and stop whining.

          • WUSRPH

            You protest WAY, WAY too much…..You have this fixation with proclaiming your masculinity and comparing it to others…..That suggests……

          • no you protest bloviate lecture way to much.
            I thought you had quit here?

          • WUSRPH

            You remind me of the monkey playing the stock market by throwing a dart at the market results page in the newspaper….but in your case once or twice a year when you stumble across a dictionary you stick your finger in and whatever word it hits you use in your next post.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You a horrific weakling and coward.

          • hahaha

          • Indiana Pearl

            Only half wits form their life philosophy on a John Wayne film.

          • I’ll take John Wayne you keep Lucifer

          • Indiana Pearl

            You can keep Hokey Pokey. There ain’t no Lucifer . . .

          • Thats why Alinsky dedicated his book to him.

  • Indiana Pearl

    Are you a liberal who is “fair” and “caring” or are you a conservative who prefers “loyalty” and “purity”? Take the test . . .

    Academics including Haidt weigh in:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/opinion/campaign-stops/purity-disgust-and-donald-trump.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region

  • John Johnson

    Is there such a thing as a “conservative” sociologist? Can surveys be skewed? Do liberal sociologists sometimes use manipulated data to write books and opinion pieces? Should learned people continue to post links to these peoples’ writings as pure statements of fact? Do conservative leaning “experts” also often present us questionable “facts”? Who you going to believe?

    • WUSRPH

      I have not seen a clearer example of what I mean when I refer to the “disillusionment” in the our society than your post When a serious person cries out “Who are you going to believe” and questions virtually everything…we are in trouble.

      If it were someone else but you, I would be afraid that such a person would fall prey to the nihilism that threatens to undermine all we hold dear. Because it is you, that will not happen in this case, but there are many, many others who also raise such questions who may not be as resistant to the fanatic with the clear solution.

      As to your specific questions—Yes, all of those things can happen and do…but it is much rarer than you fear.

      How do you tell the false from the valid interpretation? My personal guidelines, which I try to use for any subject from science to philosophy to politics to history, etc.) are:

      First, you look at the concept of peer review. If numerous investigators are finding the same thing or something very similar, there is reason to believe there may be some validity in what they report. One of he basic principles of scientific research is that the results be duplicable or replicated before something is accepted as likely to be valid. (Such is the case with Climate Change where 97% of the “experts” agree.) (This is where reading and exploring differing viewpoints in any subject comes in.)

      Second, you look at the source , if any, for the research. If it is sponsored by a group that will get a direct benefit from the results, you should pay extra attention to the duplicability of the results. Just because the party has an interest does not mean that the research is tainted, but it is a factor to consider. (This is where you measure bias.)

      Third, you consider the qualifications of the “experts”….Needless-to-say, there is more reason to accept something produced by persons fully grounded in the field than someone from outside. This is not always the case, but most often it is a one of the factors to be considered.

      Fourth, you consider the breadth of the study. A study limited to a small handful of subjects would not be accepted as ‘the truth” until it has been replicated or verified by other similar studies.

      Fifth, you understand that science never says something is absolutely true. What it says is that to this point in time, the best available evidence this is what we know about this situation. It is supposed to be always open to new studies and new findings. (This applies to virtually every subject.)

      And, sixth, where it is impossible to do all of these steps or they fail to convince, there may be the time when FAITH enters the equation, however, this should not be the first step, but the last after you have explored all the factors and still can not resolve the question. This can be faith in a dogma or, most even in the person making the statement. (This is particularly true in questions of religion.)

      I try to follow these basic rules in any subject I explore from science to philosophy to history to politics. On occasion I may be led astray, but most of the time I believe it leads me to the valid results I seek.

      P.S. I realize you were not looking for a lecture on the scientific method–or at least my version of it–but I felt that laying it out might serve some useful purpose.

      • P.S. I realize you were not looking for a lecture on the scientific method–or at least my version of it-but I’m going to lecture you anyway.

        • WUSRPH

          I have this problem–I tend to believe that all humans—including you—can be educated and can change their beliefs if the evidence is strong enough. I know that it is a ridiculous concept. You prove that several times per day….but it is a hangover from the old concept that man was at least potentially a rational creature. I guess that is why so many people were attracted to the Star Trek character Mr. Spock….but maybe one day I will give up my attempts. After all, as you also prove daily, a man may have an education but still not be educated.

          • Indiana Pearl

            He cannot be educated, but you are a person who has hope in a higher power.

          • There’s nothing I desire to learn from you.

          • Indiana Pearl

            The feeling is mutual. Get yourself to the gym. Your obesity is toxic.

          • WUSRPH

            Talk about a closed and concreted mind.

          • WUSRPH

            No necessarily in a higher power. I am less than certain about that…..but I do keep hoping that someday, perhaps there is a chance, no matter how slight it may be, that man will learn to rely on his reason more than his prejudices and emotions. The Troll, however, is making that harder to believe every day.

          • Don’t you have to be smarter than the person you’re trying to educate? I know pedants always think they are the smartest person in the room.
            Try accepting this. Someone may have a different perspective, listen and you might learn something. You don’t have to agree with them but at least don’t tell they are wrong before you’ve heard them out.
            I get it this may be a novel concept for democrats, who tend to outshout to win an argument.

          • WUSRPH

            I am fully aware that there are many people in this world smarter than I am….I run into them all the time. you, however, are not one of them.

            I find it less than humorous that you—who have not accepted any thought by anyother person for years–suggest others need to learn how to listen.

          • A dogmatic belief isn’t knowledge. You’re gonna hafta to have an open mind to teach me how to love democrat policies. You’ve never met a government agency you haven’t bowed down to.

          • WUSRPH

            In fact, I helped kill one or two.

          • Indiana Pearl
          • Except you’re not liberals you’re socialist.

            What did Ms Clinton say when axed if she was a socialist?

            “It seems to be the question Democratic Party figureheads don’t want to answer: What’s the difference between a Democrat and a socialist?”

            http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/01/06/clinton-struggles-to-explain-difference-between-socialist-democrat.html

            Yawl can come on outta da closet the chickens have come home to roost.

            Who wants to go see the movie 13 hrs with me on Jan 15th, I will be in Austin. We can all watch our brave troops die while the Obama admin abandoned them.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You wouldn’t know the difference between a liberal and a socialist if one of them bit you on the. . . . ankle.

          • WUSRPH

            You could ask a similar question of a Republican: What is the difference between some Republicans and a Fascist? In both cases, it tries to identify all Democrats as being Socialists and all GOpers as being Fascists when, in fact, only a few of either party or either.

            There are definitely some Democrats with socialist tendencies but more “democratic socialist” than pure ones, (Personally, I tend to think they are still hung up on the old idea of the ultimate perfectibility of man, which I stopped believing in years ago.)

            Just as their are some (too many) Republicans who appear to react favorably to fascist appeals….But in neither case are they anywhere near even a plurality much less anything like a majority. And, it will stay that way unless your wing of the GOP is able to successfully purge any GOPer who tends to disagree with you—as you are actively trying to do….Of course, if you are successful, I fear you will find you have wound up with a party in which fascists make up a much larger portion than they do now. One of those “unintended consequences” that sneak up on us all the time.)

          • Indiana Pearl

            foxnews ain’t news. It’s GOP propaganda.

      • Indiana Pearl

        Trust, but verify. Faith – religious faith – has no value when constructing a scientific hypothesis.

        • WUSRPH

          But it may provide an answer when science either cannot or has not yet provided a answer.

          • Indiana Pearl

            It may provide comfort and inspiration when the hypothesis is flawed, but it will not change the erroneous result. One has to go back to the drawing board.

            Most scientists are atheists.

          • WUSRPH

            Not many of the ones I know….They may not be creationists or fundamentalists but I know several, highly respected in their fields, who still believe in a spiritual force and/or a God, including the Christian God. To them, science may tell us the “how”, but religion gives us the “why”. Me, I don’t know.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Sorry, Mr. W. Pew says no.

            http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

            It’s okay to believe. It’s just that scientists and others who analyze for a living approach reality in a different way.

          • WUSRPH

            If you take another look at the link you posted you will see that Mr. Pew says 53% of the scientists they polled believe in a God or a spiritual force. That is substantially less than the general public, but it does not support your claim that “most scientists are atheists”.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Only 33% believe in “God.” Another 18% believe in a “higher power.”

          • WUSRPH

            Call it God or “a higher power” it is still some essence outside of our terms of existence and apparently superior to us…..at least to those who believe in it.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You know, if there is a god, the Christian god, the Jewish god, the Muslim god are all one being.

          • WUSRPH

            They are all man’s primitive and limited attempts to describe the indescribable and indiscernible.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Absolutely!

  • WUSRPH

    https://newrepublic.com/article/127098/gay-marriages-triumph-protect-abortion-rights?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=TNR%20Daily%20Newsletter

    Excellent piece on how the 14th Amendment may decide the Texas abortion rights case now before the SCOTUS. Argues, as some of us have, that a state may not effectively deny a constitutional right by making it impossible to use it.

  • WUSRPH
    • I’l admit it, we have a justice system corrupted by democrats.

      • Indiana Pearl

        Says the president of The Low IQ Club . . .

      • dave in texas

        You keep spouting this idiotic BS about a “Democrat-corrupted” justice system despite the following indisputable facts:

        The majority (5 of 9) of United States Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republicans.

        Every single judge on the Texas Supreme Court and on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is a Republican.

        There are approximately 800 elected judges in Texas, and roughly 600 of them are Republicans.

        There are 175 Republican county attorneys in Texas and 74 Democrats.

        Now, how do you reconcile your idiotic BS with these facts?

        • Rules of Blazon

          I think there’s one sitting Justice on the Court of Criminal Appeals who became disillusioned with the Republican Party and announced a switch to the Democratic Party. While he was elected as a Republican, I believe he has filed for re-election in 2016 as a Democrat. His name escapes me at the moment.

          • dave in texas

            You’re absolutely right, I had forgotten about Lawrence Meyers. And no, I didn’t remember his name, I had to look it up.

            Dang, that means the percentage of Republicans dropped .0001 percent. That’ll probably make Johnny Burns Books insist that he was right all along.

          • WUSRPH

            The numbers/realty/truth mean nothing to an ideologue like the Troll. He probably believes since the Penal Code was first adopted under Democrats it is eternally tainted despite the fact that it has been rewritten several times since then. After all, anything touched by a Democrat is evil.

          • statistics are like bikinis they show a lot but not everything.
            I am not in favor of stamping out democrats, I think we should keep one around to remind us why they haven’t won a statewide election in over 20 years.
            Democrats corrupt everything they touch.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I don’t want to see a photo of you in a Speedo.

          • so why did you bring it up? I suspect its never far from your thoughts….

  • Jerry Patterson

    Both the adherents of the culture of victimhood, and the politics of grievance, can also be described as “professional offendees”. They’re always offended by something. I was not all that enthusiastic about open carry even though I would’ve voted for it because there’s simply no reason to oppose it based on the experience in the 40 plus other states where it’s been allowed for many decades. While I will seldom if ever open carry, I’m now an enthusiastic supporter because of the whining opponents claiming they somehow have a right to never see a handgun. What a bunch of crap. These are the same kind of people that demanded/were offered counseling at a university back East because they were exposed to a Confederate battle flag. If these self entitled wimps are going to be running our country in the future I’m glad I’m 70 yrs old and likely won’t be around when they’re in charge. JP

    • WUSRPH

      The problem is that such people exist in all the political parties (GOP, Dem., LIb., Green and etc.) and among independent as well…but those on the left are likely to be less dangerous to the system. As they challenge the incidentals and not the future of the system itself.

      • Jerry Patterson

        They do exist in all parties but I disagree that those on the left are less dangerous to the system. If the mindset described herein becomes dominate among those chosen to lead, our country is toast. This stuff is everywhere. DOD just told the Marine Corps they had to adopt “gender neutral” and “welcoming” terms at boot camp. The idea that one has a right to never be offended is backwards-we have a constitutional right to be offended and we should gratefully embrace the 1st amendment that protects that. Based on the sometimes acid tongued back and forth on this blog, I think all y’all agree with me. JP

        • John Johnson

          Amen. Political correctness is to free speech as a ban on fishing poles would be to a fisherman, or a 50 pound pack to a pole vaulter.

          • WUSRPH

            Read the New Republic article. It might give you a reason/justification of supporting Cruz. (above)

          • John Johnson

            I read it. It’s called getting things off high center.

          • Indiana Pearl

            The First Amendment isn’t absolute.

        • Indiana Pearl

          The war on political correctness is a meme that has bubbled up from the right side of the aisle in the last couple of years. It’s become a form of hysteria.

          Why?

          • Jerry Patterson

            OK, how ’bout we can the term “political correctness” and replace it with “irrational indignation” or “perennially offended”?

          • Indiana Pearl

            That swings both ways, as I’m sure you will agree.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Who gets to write the definition? The right is perenially offended as well as the left.

          • Jerry Patterson

            I think we could agree on a definition. The problem is we couldn’t agree on who fits the definition

          • Indiana Pearl

            You and I might agree. The talking heads never will. Perhaps time for a different paradigm?

          • Jerry Patterson

            Or a 3rd party

          • Jed

            there are plenty of third parties (that, plus math, are what makes all the calling for a third party so pathetic). maybe one of them is meeting right now!

            i would think a candidate for a statewide office (NOT for a third party, notably) would understand that enough to stop the pandering. you can either keep asking for a third party (that already exists), or you can run for statewide office as a republican. pick one or the other, please.

        • WUSRPH

          Actually what is wrong with helping new recruits feeling a little less threatened on their first day? The training is going to be rigorous enough. They don’t necessarily need a tough Drill Sgt.. (Drill Instructor, whatever they are called these days) screaming in their face the first minute they are on the base. That will happen soon enough.

          • Jerry Patterson

            Gunnery Sgt R Lee Ermey would object. Thats good enuff for me

    • Rules of Blazon

      Which is sillier: opposing open carry because you think you have a right never to see a handgun, or becoming an open carry supporter just to spite any such people?

      I know you’re being facetious, but come on now. The so-called culture of victimhood is not the basis for anyone’s opposition to open carry or to the display of the Confederate battle flag on government buildings, as you know.

      • Jerry Patterson

        It’s not about spite- and I’m not being facetious. It is about soundly rejecting the idea that one has a right not to have certain inanimate objects in their view. If one doesn’t like to see a gun, look the other way. If that person looks away and is still bothered they have a problem, particularly since they should know unseen guns are all around. In this case, it’s more “grievance culture” than “victimhood”. The Confederate flag incident wasn’t on a government building, it was on a truck. There are reasons to oppose open carry (security of the firearm, possibly that carrying could present an inviting target for a criminal etc) but “I don’t like to see guns” isn’t one of them. JP

        • WUSRPH

          I figure you will love this one. It seems the Texas Democratic Party is selling “no open carry” signs to be posted in businesses that do not favor the practice. Ten bucks for the sign.

          http://store.txdemocrats.org/no-open-carry-poster/

          • Rules of Blazon

            I need to mass-produce those things and give them away for free.

        • Rules of Blazon

          Oh, I get it now. The people who oppose smoking in public buildings believe they have a right not to see cigarettes! Their opposition isn’t based on the adverse health effects of secondhand smoke–that would be crazy!

          You’re darn right “I don’t like to see guns” isn’t a reason to oppose open carry–and nobody opposes it for that reason.

          I don’t have a clue what truck incident you’re referring to. I’ve only ever heard of people earnestly opposing the display of the Confederate battle flag on government buildings, and I think they have good reasons for that.

          • Jerry Patterson

            It’s not seeing the cigarette, its the smoke, you can’t get away from it and its bad for your health. A handgun in the open is no more or no less bad for your health than a handgun concealed. You oppose open and concealed handgun carry. That makes you honest and consistent, unlike some of the open carry whiners. JP

          • WUSRPH

            I think we would have a lot less problem with “political correctness” or whatever you call it, if we all tried to be a little more civil toward each other. I fail in that myself, but I hope I do not descend to the level of calling every member of a religion or a political party morally corrupt as least one of our posters does regularly.

            Waving a confederate battle flag–a known symbol of racial hatred made such by the KKK and others—in public is not “civility” nor is it “honoring our ancestors”. It, and similar acts including burning the flag, etc. are deliberate attempts to incite and insult others. You can honor your ancestors or make a point in a much less deliberately offense way.

            If you can not do that at least try to remember that It is also possible to call an ass an ass without using that word or, in some cases, the person being so labeled understanding it. That is when making an insult becomes an art form, rather than an affront. Try that instead.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Think of it like Jews think about the swastika. All same same to many Americans . . .

          • Jerry Patterson

            I have an idea that will help in that effort. TM should have a reception with lots of free whiskey for all their Burka Blog posters. We all show up and see how offensive we are when face to face. Those who are really hung up on anonymity can wear masks with just a nametag with their pseudonym. And if it make y’all more comfortable, I’ll follow Johnny Cash’s advice and I won’t “take my gun to town”. If TM won’t do it, WURSPH you pick the time and place and I’ll be there.

          • WUSRPH

            Good idea, but I don’t drink much. Plus would I have to be civil to the Troll who is never civil to the rest of us? I get a little tired of being called a liar, thief, crook and evil all the time.

          • stop being a liar thief and a crook…..

          • Rules of Blazon

            Did someone say “free whiskey”?

          • JP’s coming out party, maybe dems can raise funds.

          • Jerry Patterson

            JBB, I’ve been “out” my entire adult life. I’m like GEICO, it’s what I do – at least I think it’s what I do. JP

          • Jed

            people who complain about political correctness like to argue about free speech, invoking “thought police,” forgetting that no such device would be necessary if they weren’t thinking and giving voice to such patently offensive things in the first place.

            the fact that you have a constitutionally protected right to say something threatening or offensive to someone is not a reason for doing so. the fact that many people can’t keep themselves from doing so anyway is not an indictment of everyone else’s sensibilities. the backlash against political correctness is basically about people who are so pathologically hateful that they don’t understand that everyone else isn’t.

          • Jed

            you can’t get away from bullets, either.

            panderer.

          • Jerry Patterson

            Jed, Panderer? You’ve called me out and shamed me. You’ve exposed me as secretly sympathetic to Obama’s desire to implement Australia like gun laws in the U.S. I’m just pandering when I say otherwise. JP

          • Jed

            well, if your retort to my charge of pandering is that you believe everything you say, then by all means.

            i’m not sure that puts you in a better light, however.

          • Jerry Patterson

            Most folks my age gave up pandering long ago and don’t really give a s— what people think about them. If I were pandering, the posters on this blog ain’t exactly the right audience
            to pander to.

          • Jed

            you’ve convinced me. you really do believe the crazy s*** you wrote. congrats.

        • Indiana Pearl

          It’s not the sight of a gun that bothers me. It’s the mental stabilty of the carrier.

          Let the market work.

          • Jerry Patterson

            Sounds like a good plan. JP

          • Indiana Pearl

            But would have been more “democratic” if there had been a referendum.

          • WUSRPH

            Sorry, Pearl, but you keep wanting to make a “representational democracy” into something else.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Lots of states have referenda.

          • WUSRPH

            We don’t. The Texas GOP used to favor the idea of Initiative and Referendum (I&R) until it realized that we might wind up with some of the kinds of initiatives or referendums (in which the voters get to propose a law or approve one the legislature has adopted, respectively) on subjects they did not favor. Others look at the mess that I&R has made of California and say, No thanks.

            http://www.economist.com/node/18586520?zid=311&ah=308cac674cccf554ce65cf926868bbc2

          • Indiana Pearl

            I’d like the Middle Way, as the Buddha called it.

          • Jerry Patterson

            I&R was in the Texas GOP platform when R’s were in the minority in the lege. Now that the GOP is the majority, I&R is specifically opposed in the platform. Any hypocrisy here?

          • WUSRPH

            Of course….When you were on the “outs “you wanted to make the “ins” listen to you and to have some stick over them….but that loses its attractiveness when you are the “in”.

          • Jed

            california, such a mess.

          • Indiana Pearl

            So what are elections if not “democracy”? Or do you believe we should have a manager who posts our vote?

          • WUSRPH

            In representational democracy the voter has two powers: to say yes or no about the candidate. That vote is based both on what the candidate says and what he does. I think the relationship was best described by Edmund Burke when he told a group of his constituents:

            “Certainly, Gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents.
            Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinions high respect;their business unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his /pleasure, his satisfactions, to theirs/, — and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own.

            But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgement, his
            enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure, — no, nor
            from the law and the Constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your Representative owes you, not his
            industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinions.”
            If the voter does not like what that opinion may be, he can react at the ballot box which is where his role in the process is exercised.

          • John Johnson

            My jaded view? In most districts the only time elected reps are totally absorbed and paying attention to what the people in their areas desire is prior to an election so they can use it in their campaign spiel; as soon as they are back in Austin or D.C., this is all forgotten. Any gripe or question submitted by fax, letter, phone call or through an arduous email procedure, will get you a canned mail response which says basically nothing. They only have time for large donors, and not just the ones from their districts. Special interests with power and money dictate how your rep votes. You are an afterthought.

          • WUSRPH

            Yes, it is jaded, but then you have not worked in a professional political office where the mail, etc. is carefully analyzed and reviewed when it comes in. BB, for example, got a DAILY report on the mail received that day and the mail answered that day. He often set down the guidelines for answers, etc. I once worked in an office where we checked the voter status of the writer against a record of who had voted in which elections back for several years before. In that case, a steady voter might well get a much more thorough answer than a non-voter, but they all got an answer.

            What you overlook is the very small staffs that Texas legislators (particularly House members) have. In fact, in most the available staff means that at the most one or two people can be assigned mail, etc. on a nearly full-time basis. This means that with the volume of mail, etc, that flows in a form response is often the only thing that is possible if you are going to respond at all. That does not mean, however, that your opinion is not recorded and taken into account. It is. A really pro-office will, for example, give the member a summary of the mail, etc. on a major issue before he votes. And we were doing this back in the pre or early computer days. It is much easier today.

            But, as Burke said, just because you wrote a legislator, does not mean that he will vote your way especially when you have only part of the available information.

          • Jed

            “In representational democracy the voter has two powers: to say yes or no about the candidate … If the voter does not like what that opinion may be, he can react at the ballot box which is where his role in the process is exercised.”

            or, she has all those other ways to participate politically (like assembly and speech and others protected in the bill of rights). or, she can become a bureaucrat and exercise the power of elected office without being elected. or, she can get rich and spend money to get her political preferences implemented without having to do any of that stuff.

            but god forbid we have referenda. that might have bad outcomes.

          • WUSRPH

            The participation in the process you describe is part and parcel of using the power of the ballot. Using your money is part of that participation too for, as the SCOTUS tells us, it is a form of “political speech”…In the end, it all comes down to casting your vote as a “Yes” or “No” (by voting for someone else) and, if you can, getting others to follow your example.

            (P.S. Yes or No, of course, also applies to issue elections. For most it would also be the case in referendums as only a small number would be actually involved in deciding what issues to be put before the voters.)

          • Do you really want majority rule where the rights of an individual or the minority are ignored or removed altogether?

        • donuthin2

          It is not the inanimate object that bothers me and certainly doesn’t scare me but I prefer not to be in the company of those so obsessed so I will just stay away when it is obvious.

  • WUSRPH

    An interesting article from the New Republic of why a Ted Cruz nomination would be good for both the GOP and the Democratic Party, assuming of course that he loses the General Election.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/127121/ted-cruz-exactly-political-system-needs?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=TNR%20Daily%20Newsletter

    • Rules of Blazon

      Now THAT was a great article!

    • Indiana Pearl

      “Strap on the full armor of God,” says Ted.

      • WUSRPH

        Admittedly, Ted and that Judge in Alabama and others have a problem with a multi-religious society. They probably even have a problem with their being different sects of the Christian Religion…..Daddy, after all, is a Dominionist. They cannot seem to understand that, while God may be supreme in an individuals’ life and actions, the Founders deliberately chose to keep him out of government. As such, God’s law may be supreme over the individual, but, when it comes to the government, we are secularists. They aren’t. Which could cause real problems. The guy in Alabama can be and will be basically ignored. But it might be harder if you had a president of the US who actively sought to promote his religion over all and appointed similar believing people.

        Too bad they appear not to understand what the late NY Gov. Mario Cuomo tried to explain in his (in)famous speech on God and morality in government some years ago.

        http://archives.nd.edu/research/texts/cuomo.htm

        • Indiana Pearl

          Amen!

        • Jed

          the guy in alabama won’t be ignored in alabama!

          • WUSRPH

            From what I read the large majority of county clerks in Alabama have been issuing same-sex licenses even though he had ordered them not to do so some time ago. He is just restating his old invalid order. I suspect they will continue to ignore him. He’s trying to get himself in contempt of a federal court so he can be the new “martyr” now that folks have forgotten that lady from….Just where was she from?

      • What that means biblically is “don’t be a low information voter.” I can see where some would find that humorous.

        • Indiana Pearl

          America is a secular democratic republic with a Christian majority. That doesn’t make it a Christian democratic republic.

        • Indiana Pearl

          “Biblically” is not what the founders envisioned no matter how hard you squince your little beady eyes together.

  • WUSRPH

    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21685450-desert-kingdom-striving-dominate-its-region-and-modernise-its-economy-same

    Another interesting story….This one is from The Economist. It reports on the “opening up” of the Saudi Arabian economy. They are doing it for monetary reasons, but it could have other impacts on the openness of their society. (Of course, people said that the opening of the Red Chinese economy would result in political democratization there….Has not happened to any extent yet…but then maybe it takes longer than 20 years…or, alternatively, you can have an more open economy and a authoritarian state at the same time.)

    Posting these things to help insure exposure to a broad range of views of possible interest. We would not want our minds and views being frozen and unable to consider new thoughts, would we?

    • Indiana Pearl

      China’s stock market is choking. Oil prices are one reason. What’s Texas doing to stave off Le Deluge?

      • WUSRPH

        The State Govt. is probably doing little or nothing….It tends, especially these days, to frown on Cassandras or even considering that their are potential problems on the horizon.

        The major threat is that the problems in China will produce a world-wide recession. Texas was spared having a little recession of its own over the past year because of the drop in oil prices while the rest of the nation moved ahead (as happened in the 80s). We escaped that because, as Erica has pointed out, our economy has a much broader base now than it had then. But that will not protect us from a world-wide recession….In fact, we might suffer more than other states because of the combination of what has happened in the energy industry and a economy-wide decline.

        • Indiana Pearl

          I would like to see the pols thinking about WATER instead of open carry.

          • WUSRPH

            The tendency in politics—as in life in general–is to pay attention to the immediate problem or issue. The Legislature dealt with water in 2013 with the $2 billion revolving fund it had the voters approve. That program is still being implemented….so there appears to many that “we have dealt with that problem” and there is no immediate need to do more.

            You and I recognize that there is a lot more to be done, but it is not likely to happen until the next crisis. (Altho there appears to be a battle shaping up for the next legislative session over the authorization of additional reservoirs which could provide an opportunity to do some more lawmaking on the subject.)

          • Indiana Pearl

            This does not make me feel secure . . .

          • Not true democrats govern by polls, republicans tackle issues. I’ve never met a dem who wasn’t against a republican agenda. I have met republicans who’ve supported democrat’s agenda, ie JP.

          • Jerry Patterson

            You should be gratified to know they have spent far more time on water than OC. Didn’t say they fixed the problem, just spent more time. They have made progress though. It’s also interesting that the water divide is not partisan.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Good to know! I’m doing my part to conserve, but I read that rich folks in Westlake are drilling wells to drain the aquifer to keep their lawns green. This makes me very cross as I have a yard full of river rock.

            “Some animals are more equal than others.”

          • WUSRPH

            Abbott had one at his pre-gubernatorial mansion home. Got to have a pretty yard. The divide is more geographic than by party—-you can’t steal MY water. But the battle over “inter-basin transfers” is sure to heat up again when they start talking about authorizing more reservoirs as they will next session. That is the result of our trying to have more growth everywhere rather than adopting a realistic policy of putting the growth where the water already is, rather than moving it to somewhere that wants to grow but which Mother Nature says should not.

          • Jed

            “The divide is more geographic than by party—-you can’t steal MY water. ”

            show me a suburban democrat who drills their own well to avoid PUD water limits and pricing. this is a rich people thing.

          • WUSRPH

            I was referring to “inter-basin transfers” in which water is piped, etc. from one river basin/geographic area of the state to another. Much of the DFW area wants to get is water from East Texas…..which has a “surplus”….

        • Texas. Texas took over the top spot in 2015. Texas scored well across the board on a variety of employment conditions, contributing to a healthy economy. In 2013, the state’s gross domestic product expanded 3.7 percent – higher than the 1.8 percent growth rate for the rest of the U.S., according to The Texas Economy run by the state Comptroller’s office. Although average wages in Texas was only slightly above the national average, workers in Texas get good value from those wages. The cost of living in the state is below average, and there is no state income tax. On top of those economic considerations, only one state (Louisiana) had fewer incidents of workplace illness, injuries and fatalities. Put it all together, and Texas ranks as this year’s best state for making a living.
          http://www.money-rates.com/research-center/best-states-to-make-a-living/the-best-states-for-making-a-living-2015.html

          Who are you gonna believe the pedant or me.

          • WUSRPH

            I’d rather believe the Federal Reserve of Dallas and the QR over you any time. They at least have some degree of competence in what they are doing.

        • Jed

          “We escaped that because, as Erica has pointed out, our economy has a much broader base now than it had then. But that will not protect us from a world-wide recession”

          might want to check the article here at TM on the houston real estate market before officially proclaiming texas immune to oil recession.

          • WUSRPH

            I think I said we well could suffer from another recession when I said:

            “But that will not protect us from a world-wide recession….In fact, we might suffer more than other states because of the combination of what has happened in the energy industry and a economy-wide decline.”

            Hegar has cut his estimate by $3 billion but is still claiming what is called a “surplus”. That can, of course, change if the economy turns sour. That would make the loss of the at least $9.2 billion in future reviews the legislature gave away last session even more meaningful. It could be a very, very tight budget…especially if the Texas Supreme Court upholds any major part of the Dietz decision. (I suspect we will not know that until after March 1st).

  • donuthin2

    I was just reading some of the campaign information for candidates for Senator to replace Senator Frazier and for Representative to hopefully replace Molly White. All of them must be talking to the same adviser who has told them

    to focus on building a fence on the border, oppose anything that would add requirements to gun purchases, and oppose any form of abortion but say nothing about roads, schools, water, health care, prisons or mental health facilities. Pretty discouraging. Not sure they are saying what they believe or just what they are told to say.

    • WUSRPH

      It is probably a combination of both. They probably believe what they are saying, but are also reflecting what polls and focus groups are telling them the voters want to hear. After all, they are all running in a primary where a very small particularly demagogic group will decide the outcome.

      My experience with hundreds of candidates is that very, very few “tell them what they want to hear” if they do not at lest lean in that direction themselves. If they can, they will speak out, but, if that may keep them from winning, they will keep silent on the topic. Only a few will directly lie—and they don’t deserve to win in the first place.

  • Jerry Patterson

    Yep. WURSPH and JBB are putting together a party for all of us. JP

    • John Johnson

      Yeeehaaa! Can’t wait to see how the platform reads.

      • as I said I will be in Austin on the 15th and I’m going to see 13 hours. Who wants to come?
        Will there be a podium so the pedant can lecture us?
        JP are you inviting Lt Guv Patrick or should I?

        • Indiana Pearl

          Are you going to watch “Birth of a Nation” as an add-on?

          • John Johnson

            Maybe you can join him, grab a mic and explain how the largest oil importer in the world is having their economy wrecked by lower oil prices.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I thought we weren’t talking anymore . . .

          • John Johnson

            I can’t let goofy statements get posted without anyone questioning or commenting. Getting into a back and forth with you, and me sticking around after you get off topic and start running in all sorts of directions isn’t going to happen again.

          • Indiana Pearl
          • John Johnson

            Let’s see, you must not have understood my question. How is it happening? I asked “how”. The article is blaming cheap oil; my question is “how can this be?” The hedgers and speculators are hurting, but the drivers and nations manufacturers can’t be…so please explain it to me.

          • Indiana Pearl

            The market crash is bad for business. China is going through a great economic upheaval. You knew that, right?

          • John Johnson

            I am questioning your stating the low price of oil as a prime reason for China’s weakening economy. For years they are shown hot economic growth, propped up by an inflated stock market and currency manipulation. This is genesis of their current problems. They are the largest importer of oil. A drop in price does what for both Chinese consumers and manufacturing?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Mr. Wu makes teeshirts. They are made from petrochemical fibers, milled with machines driven by petrochemicals, and delivered by vehicles powered by petrochemicals. Mr. Wu thinks he is a smooth operator and has made a slick deal.

            Mr. Wu bids on petrochemical futures at, say, 1000 yuan/ barrels in the spring.

            By fall the price of oil has fallen to 500 yuan/barrel.

            In the fall Mr. Hong approaches Mr. Wu to renew their annual contract. Mr. Hong cannot afford to pay Mr. Wu the price asked for his product, but finds another supplier who offers a similar product at an affordable price.

            What does Mr. Wu do next?

          • John Johnson

            The price of oil did not plummet overnight, and the low price of oil has been listed as aiding the economies in all major net importing countries in most every piece I have read…at least for the short term. Your analogy just doesn’t hold water in my estimation. As stated, their government’s manipulating currency and inflating stocks has caught up with them. The net effect of lower oil has been a positive in every net importing country. That’s my take based on everything I’ve read.

          • Indiana Pearl

            And I didn’t say “prime.”

          • John Johnson

            If you did not think it a major factor, why did you list it and not mention either of the true culprits?

          • nah thats a remake about democrats who needs to see that?

        • Indiana Pearl

          Will Ted Cruz be there?

          • Ted’s too busy winning in Iowa. Is there any true Hillary got lost wandering around in Iowa?

          • Indiana Pearl

            If Ted shows up, take a photo.

          • Indiana Pearl

            She will win. You will always be a loser.

    • I suggested we call it JP’s coming out party.

  • Agenda for Wassup’s party.

    “Ted Cruz has convinced me of three things in his short career:

    1. He’s a slippery, unlikable, untrustworthy jackanapes that I can never support.

    2. He’s going to adopt and forcefully advocate for policy ideas I believe in.

    3. He is running the smartest campaign in the Republican presidential race. (Damn it.)

    He has a path too.”

    http://theweek.com/articles/597758/ted-cruz-running-glorious-campaign–still-hate

  • I read the democrats talk about fear and victimization and chuckle….nobody does it like a democrat.

    • Indiana Pearl

      Your boys. The Brokeback Mountain crew. Drinking up all the donation money:

      http://usuncut.com/news/oregon-standoff-member-caught-drinking-donation-money/

      • Your fantasies are revealing….

        • Indiana Pearl

          I’m not an ammosexual. That’s your shtick.

          • wow you are kinky…never heard of it. Is this what they mean when they say going out with a bang?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Ask the fellows in OR. They are your fellow ammosexuals.

          • Never met em have you been fantasizing about them too? You should get out more exercise, get a job do something other than fantasizing about sweaty conservatives….

    • Indiana Pearl

      You remember that Goldwater lost in a landslide?

    • WUSRPH

      Anyone remember an political ad about a murder from Massachusetts?

      Or, how, about those from the Goldwater campaign about burning cities and riots on every block?

      The little girl ad was a good one. So one was the one with the beating heartbeat and laughter ending in terror about Spiro T. (remember him) being one heart beat away from the presidency. (For those who do not remember he was one of those super honest GOPers the Troll loves so much. He only had to resign the VP because of bribes and kickbacks he had taken while a governor.)

      But, really good ones tend to be more subtle…like the one with the little old lady on her front porch talking about the government taking her home away from her that helped beat State. Sen. Grant Jones awhile back. It frightened every little old lady in the district AND their children who were terrified that they might have to pick up the tab for her care rather than getting the government to pay it for them.

      • You mean the lefties running ads saying Goldwater and Reagan would nuke the world didn’t scare you?

        • WUSRPH

          I was more worried about what some of you GOPers have said about the First Amendment and destroying social security, than by any of those ads.

          If you remember—when your mind clears if ever—it was Barry who brought up the idea of using nukes on North Vietnam and “bombing them back into the Stone Age”. When a man suggests it, he is free game to be reminded of that in commercials. (There is some real reason to doubt that Goldwater really meant it…He, like you and Trump, had a tendency to run off at the mouth without thinking thru what he was saying. But there is no doubt he said it.)

          As for Ronnie, I never worried that he’d do it because, unless the Reds were attacking, too many people close to him knew about his “problem” to let him get anywhere near the “football” by himself. At the least, they would have had Nancy take him off to bed.

  • Indiana Pearl
  • “Academia so far to the left they don’t even see it……

    “Consider this recent account of a graduate admissions committee meeting. An applicant to a linguistics Ph.D. program is a matriculating senior at a small historically black college unknown to some committee members. “Left-wing black nationalists,” one committee member said of the college, while another said, to much laughter, that the college was “the academic arm of Black Lives Matter.”
    The committee then spent more time discussing details of the applicant’s GRE scores and background — high GRE scores, high-poverty urban school district — than it did with some other candidates. The chair of the committee said, “I would like to beat that college out of her,” and asked, to laughter from committee members, “You don’t think she’s a nutcase?””

    http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-01-07/academics-are-so-lefty-they-don-t-even-see-it

    Pedants control Academia in America, and thats a good place for them.
    Can we keep them outta college football?

    • Indiana Pearl

      How do define “pedant”? Is that someone whose IQ is higher than double digits?

      • How some dictionaries define a pedant

        “a person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning.”
        or
        “a person who annoys other people by correcting small errors and giving too much attention to minor details”
        or
        “one who is unimaginative or who unduly emphasizes minutiae in the presentation or use of knowledge”
        or my fav
        “A pedant is a person who is excessively concerned with formalism, accuracy and precision or one who makes an ostentatious and arrogant show of learning.”

        I’m glad I could learn you something…..

        • Indiana Pearl

          You didn’t answer the question.

          • WUSRPH

            He must have stuck his finger into a dictionary twice yesterday. Hope he keeps it up. He might get luck and find the word for “conservative” and find out that he ain’t one.

          • uh oh…”aint”

          • WUSRPH

            You “aren’t” or “is not” one either. My mistake, unlike yours, was deliberate.

          • I know…what a hoot.

          • Indiana Pearl

            He stuck his finger into an electric socket.

  • Dems love to say Prez Obama has issued less executive orders than Prez Bush……
    ” President Obama has issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum more often than any other president in history — using it to take unilateral action even as he has signed fewer executive orders.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/12/16/obama-presidential-memoranda-executive-orders/20191805/

    When you deliberately mislead is that deception or a lie? But there’s a problem when you practice to deceive and the truth comes out…..

    • WUSRPH

      And George W. Issued more “signing statements” declaring what parts of laws passed by Congress he would accept than all the other presidents of the US, combined. So?

      • Jed

        including one where he signed a congressional torture ban with the statement that he reserved the right to torture.

        http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/01/04/bush_could_bypass_new_torture_ban/?page=full

        • Thankfully he had the balls to do this….

          • WUSRPH

            There you go with your hang up on “balls” and REAL MEN. John McCain, who opposed Bush on that, had bigger balls than George W. could imagine…and suffered grievous torture for the sake of his country…But then Bush found a way to avoid “combat” while doing part-time service protecting Houston from Cuban bombers when he wasn’t off in Alabama working in a US Senate campaign while supposedly on active duty.

          • remind us where did you serve? and no I don’t want to know the size of your balls or see a picture of them.

          • WUSRPH

            But then I never claimed to be a great hero or had a need to brag about my “balls”. You need to spend les time looking at yourself in the mirror and more time trying to figure out the difference between a “man” and an “overgrown child”.

          • Actually I have no manhoody issues, now you…..

          • WUSRPH

            I certainly agree I don’t have any problems in that area (“no you”). You clearly meant “now you” but you get so excited by the thought of spreading your bile that your fingers run far, far ahead of your mind. (PS I now expect you to correct the entry like it never happened as you usually do.)

          • wha…?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Or the GOP . . .

          • Indiana Pearl

            He does that all the time.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You have no manhood.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Tell us what YOU did in the war, Daddy?

          • Indiana Pearl

            He had no cojones. And no brains.

      • When congress writes bad laws which they haven’t read ie obamacare the president owes it to voter to issue a signing statement. Prez Bush did, Prez Obama not so much.

        • WUSRPH

          The Constitution says that the Congress makes the laws, the President implements them or if the does not like them, vetoes them, and the Supreme Court rules on their constitutionality. It says nothing about a president picking and choosing what laws or parts of laws he will implement. But, of course, you being such a “rule of law” man obviously know that. I guess, however, that only applies to Democratic Presidents. GOPers are clearly allowed a different standard.

          • yes

          • WUSRPH

            Nice to know that the constitution only applies to Democrats….That should mean that Gov. Abbott does not have to keep pushing for a convention to rewrite it (see above). He can just pick and choose and ignore the parts he does not like…just like GWB.

          • Actually it applies to everyone its just ignored by dems.

  • Democrats corrupt the judicial system….

    “The impulse to ferret corruption from politics corrupts the criminal justice system when it causes overzealous prosecutors and judges to improvise novel interpretations of the law of bribery. Consider Robert F. McDonnell’s case.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/virginias-former-governor-faces-prison-over-politics/2016/01/06/2af3ff74-b3e6-11e5-9388-466021d971de_story.html?postshare=4511452190242460&tid=ss_fb-bottom

    Just another example of prosecutorial misconduct.

  • Indiana Pearl
  • WUSRPH

    Well, It must have finally happened. Abbott fell out of his chair and cracked his head. Now he is proposing that the states call a constitutional convention to rewrite the U.S. Constitution.

    http://www.texastribune.org/

    He wants to legalize nullification and revert to virtually the Articles of Confederation concept of the union…..

    I sure feel strange when I am on the same side as the Eagle Forum and the John Birch Society in opposing this more than dangerous proposal.

    • John Johnson

      I am convinced, after watching Abbott work his way through Texas politics the last couple of decades or so, that he is the epitome of a “panderer”. I have no respect for the guy. Happiness would be Abbott retiring and moving to Mexico with Dan Patrick under one arm and Paxton under the other.

      • Beerman

        The best comment/idea that I have seen on this blog in 2016. I agree with your thoughts.

        • John Johnson

          I’m trying to wean myself from commenting on everything I read here. Been doing it for a long time now. I have no desire to get back into childish running battles anymore like I have the past. I apologize to all of you who suffered through all that. I realize now what a turnoff it is to everyone else…especially those tuning in for the first time.

          • Beerman

            JJ, I still monitor this site; however, it has become a silly venue for a small handful of folks preaching their ideological banter completely ignoring basic facts. And, you are correct, the recent direction of the blog does turn off many interesting posters.

      • This we can agree on.

    • Indiana Pearl

      Whacked.

  • WUSRPH

    Happy Birthday Elvis. Wherever you are.

  • WUSRPH

    What is that the gun nuts keep saying about the need to keep guns away from real nuts?

    http://www.statesman.com/news/news/guns-now-allowed-in-texas-state-run-psychiatric-ho/npztT/

    The new gun laws have PUT GUNS INTO THE STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS.

    Another one of those “unintended consequences” we hear about? State Rep. Rinaldi, a TPartier’s TeaPartier, says that it is okay and that it is the hospital’s responsibility to keep the patients safe. But what about keeping the staff safe from a patient who gets hold of a gun?

    • Indiana Pearl

      “You can’t make this stuff up.”

      —- Dave Barry

      • WUSRPH

        Here is something to think about: There are apparently literally hundreds if not many thousands of businesses in Texas that are posing “no open carry here” sign. This includes all the movie theaters in Austin and many restaurants and all the HEB grocery stores, etc. If this movement is as widespread as it appears it will be, the gun nuts may find they may have a what they consider “a right” to wear their guns but there won’t be many places the can do so (other than the 10 state psychiatric hospitals). The question is how are they going to react. I can see a bunch of them forcing their way into places like HEB to “prove their right”. I can also see the strongest advocates of what they falsely term “constitutional carry” who accept no restrictions on carrying arguing that their “right” to carry is superior to the right of a store owner to ban them. They might even take this fight to the Legislature setting up a nice fight between “gun rights” and “property rights”. They would lose, of course, but it will be interesting how far they will go.

  • WUSRPH

    Good night all. Have a good weekend.
    PS. Clemson 32, Alabama 24

  • Democrats know they can to the low information voters because they want them too…..

    “While the city’s Mayor, Jim Kenney initially said the shooting had “nothing to do with being a Muslim or the Islamic faith,” the “Muslim-garbed” attacker himself said otherwise.
    According to 6abc, “Officials say the suspect in custody for the shooting that seriously injured a Philadelphia police officer has confessed to the crime, saying he did it ‘in the name of Islam.’”
    Oh, well so much for political correctness.
    In a news conference Friday afternoon, Commissioner Richard Ross also said the gun used in the shooting was a police firearm that was stolen from a home.
    And so much for President Obama’s stricter gun controls…”

    http://www.allenbwest.com/2016/01/breaking-cop-ambushed-shot-in-vehicle-suspect-admits-he-did-it-in-name-of/

    Democrat say if we just had more control….

  • ““This makes it impossible for the bureau not to recommend charges,” diGenova said of the FBI. “This makes it impossible not to go forward, and it certainly ties the hand of the attorney general.””

    http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/smoking-gun-email-suggests-hillary-committed-a-crime/

    This where the Obama appointed Atty General steps in and explains “prosecutor discretion”. When did we become a dictatorship?

  • John Johnson

    Listening to GOP candidates at Kemp Forum this morning. Huckaby is more savvy and knowledgeable than most, if not all of them. His views on overcoming poverty and his new tax structure are right on the mark.

    • He would be a viable candidate except for 3 reasons
      1. he’s a devout Christian
      2. he worked for Fox News
      3. his record on taxes as Guv of Ark.

      • John Johnson

        Two of them are not bad, and the third should not be a deal killer, but is. Tom Landry had a crappy offense in place until he evaluated and made innovative changes.

        • WUSRPH

          He has a real problem with the First Amendment–separation—and sees God’s laws as being above man’s. They may sound good in practice, but the problem is determining just which God and which law….

          • Indiana Pearl

            He also got fat again . . .

          • Sizeism or size discrimination is discrimination based on a person’s size. Sizeist attitudes can also take the form of expressions of physical disgust when confronted with people of differing sizes and can even manifest into specific phobias such as cacomorphobia (the fear of fat people),

            Sizeism sounds like the product of a sick mind.

          • Indiana Pearl
    • Indiana Pearl
      • John Johnson

        No sure I get your drift. Are you helping me make my point?

        • Indiana Pearl

          China’s economy is in turmoil.

          • John Johnson

            You – major cause of China’s economic downturn low price of oil. Me – no it’s not.

            Just say, “You’re right; it’s not.”

          • Indiana Pearl

            “Major cause” is your interpretation, not my words.

            The world is complicated. You want simple answers, a “savior.” We must save ourselves. There are no saviors.

          • John Johnson

            Hey, I believe oil was the only one you mentioned. That, in my interpretation, makes it major to you. Furthermore, I wasn’t looking for answers; you were.

          • Indiana Pearl

            This is unproductive. Adios!

          • John Johnson

            Agree. You post goofy stuff, I feel certain you are looking for someone to get you pointed in the right direction. I’m not looking for “thank you’s”. 🙂

          • Indiana Pearl

            Talk to your pal Booksie about “goofy””stuff. He’s as crazy as a ____ house rabbit, as we say in Indiana.

          • Indiana Pearl
          • John Johnson

            Hahaha. You still don’t get it. The low cost of oil didn’t cause their downturn; the lowering of prices has been a result of it.

            Here’s another opinion:
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-chinas-economy/2016/01/07/08a8d5e6-b4c4-11e5-a842-0feb51d1d124_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_headlines

          • Indiana Pearl

            Didn’t say it did. That’s your interpretation of what I said. Supply and demand . . . and a radical restructuring of the Chinese economy. Texas is an energy exporter. Looks like oil prices will be low for a long time. Hahaha!

            http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/business/energy-environment/oil-prices.html

          • Indiana Pearl

            Amazing! My spouse of 50 years can’t read my mind, but you can.

            I’m done with this.

          • John Johnson

            I can’t read your mind; just your written words.

            “China’s stock market is choking. Oil prices are one reason. What’s Texas doing to stave off …”

          • Indiana Pearl

            We be done on this topic.

          • WUSRPH

            He does have the problem of looking for the “ultimate answer”…..when we live in a world so inter-related that explaining and understanding how the economy works is as difficult as untying the Gordian Knot unless you use Alexander’s method.

          • China’s economy is slowing to 6% growth. I wish we had that problem.

          • John Johnson

            Just a market correction? Well, see. Have heard critics complain about their market and currency manipulation. Don’t we suffer from the same?

          • WUSRPH

            We manipulate the SUPPLY or AMOUNT of currency, not its value. That floats based on economic trends. China used to artificially support the VLAUE of theirs, but loosened up on that recently. The fact that it is going down in comparison to other currencies is one of their problems as it produces a “capital flight” of money into other currencies.

  • WUSRPH

    Dear Gov. Abbott:

    Before you go off on your crusade to replace the Constitution with the Articles of Confederation you might want to consider the views of the “Father of the Constitution”:

    “Nothing can be more clear than ….the authority & laws of the U. S. must be the same in all; or that this cannot continue to be the case, if there be a right in each to annul or suspend within itself the operation of the laws & authority of the whole. There cannot be different laws in different states on subjects within the compact without subverting its fundamental principles, and rendering it as abortive in practice as it would be incongruous in theory.”
    James Madison

    • Democrats perfer the more seditious method of legislating from the bench to change the constitution.

      • WUSRPH

        Funny, I did not know that Chief Justice John Marshall, who did more to define the federal governments powers than almost anyone, was a Democrat. In fact, he and Tommy Jefferson were bitter enemies. But why should we let history stand in the way of a good slam.

        • Your progressive bud Chief Justice Warren was whom I was referencing. Why are you thinking Chief Justice Marshall was a liberal democrat?

          “Marshall knew that a federal government without the power to tax, to support a military and to regulate finance was a recipe for anarchy. For 34 years, in decision after decision, McCulloch v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden, he built up the legal power of the Supreme Court and, with it, the power of the federal government.

          Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/chief-justice-marshall-takes-the-law-in-hand-63116870/#tE78QF3poiuBLTwA.99

          I see why you admire him so much you big government guys stick together.

          • WUSRPH

            You mean REPUBLICAN Chief Justice Warren who was nominated by GOP President Eisenhower. Are you still having a little problem with Brown v. Board of Education, perhaps?

          • Republican Chief Justice Warren ran his first race as a republican because there was already a progressive in the race. Warren was a member of the Calif progressive party.
            It isn’t hard to learn facts, but it does help to have an open mind. Now some pedants say they don’t need no learning as they already know it all.

          • WUSRPH

            I agree. If would be nice if you limited yourself to the facts and had an open mind…but some things are just not possible in this life.

          • hahaha…spoken like a truly arrogant pedant

          • WUSRPH

            I have much better things to do with my time than exchange with you….Off to read another book….You might try it sometime. You can find them in a building called a Library. I know they have one in Ft. Bend County somewhere.

          • Do you know where a Ft Bend Lieberry is?

          • WUSRPH

            I assume at your home address which is….

          • Jed

            he was a republican candidate for president, for pete’s sake.

  • Another democrat victim….

    “Saying she didn’t plan to disrupt the event, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and a yellow Star of David was escorted out of a Donald Trump campaign rally on Friday when she disrupted the event.”

    http://clashdaily.com/2016/01/muslim-woman-wearing-holocaust-star-removed-from-trump-rally-guess-who-was-in-on-it/

    Sounds like a Kerry flip flop, “I do not plan to disrupt the event as I am disrupting it.”
    No one can play a victim like a democrat….

    • BCinBCS

      JBB, you are assuming information that is not in evidence. Nowhere in the article (from a VERY biased news source) does it give her political affiliation. It is nearly impossible for a closed mind to learn.

      • Hey genius what do you think she is?

        • WUSRPH

          Assumptions not based on evidence are worthless…But then if you had to have evidence before you talked, you’d be a mute.

          • Why do you assume she isn’t a dem?

          • WUSRPH

            I don’t ASSUME she is anything….I do not know. I await evidence….You make it up as you go along.

          • Actually you do assume you’re just too arrogant to admit it.

          • BCinBCS

            And why do you assume that she is…other than your amazing ability to ignore facts and assign all things bad to Democrats?

    • Indiana Pearl
  • Indiana Pearl

    Ted is backed into a corner. He must have known it was coming. Was he too arrogant to prepare? He seems to be floundering.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/ted-cruz-mother-canadian-voter-list

    • WUSRPH

      The oath to become a US Citizen requires that you “absolutely and entirely renounce” any other citizenship. We DO NOT recognize “dual citizenship”. You either are a US Citizen or you are not.

      “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen…”

      There is no such statement in the Canadian oath.

      “I swear (or affirm) That I will be faithful And bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second Queen of Canada Her Heirs and Successors and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada And fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”

      But, if she had taken the Canadian oath, she should have forfeited her US citizenship. At the minimum, this raises questions about Ted’s status which need to be resolved.

      • Indiana Pearl

        Reports have appeared indicating his mother’s name was a Canadian voters’ roll. Was she a Canadian citizen at one time? Sloppy staff work on Cruz’s part . . .

        • WUSRPH

          Saw that….Her name is on the list…but they have yet to produce any record of her having taken the Canadian citizenship oath. If one exists, it would certainly muddy the waters for Cruz.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Cruz seems unprepared for this.

            Enjoying schadenfreude.

          • WUSRPH

            Which is funny because Talking Poiints Memo says they showed him the list back in 2013. He knew they had it so he apparently leaked it to Breitbart.com so they could soften the blow with the electorate by pushing his explanation and denials. I wonder if they are any more potentially embarrassing papers stuffed in a file somewhere just waiting for a political opposition researcher to find them (assuming that has not already happened.)

    • Jed

      i don’t see any reason to expect this to change anyone’s position, right? no cruz supporter will be swayed, even (and especially) if they also happened to be obama birthers.

      right?

      • WUSRPH

        You are right that a believer will not be affected, but it could hurt him with some of those “leaning” his way especially since Rubio clearly was born here. (That assumes that Rubio can somehow find a way to escape the eternal damnation he earned with those folks with his Cardinal Sin of having supported immigration reform. He may have to engage in the political equivalent of a flagellants’ march to make up for that one.)

      • Indiana Pearl

        I suspect some primary voters might be swayed – go for Huck as the Christian candidate instead. Who knows how the mind of a GOP voter works?

        • Jed

          ted cruz.

    • seriously TPM? wow thats mainstream….

      • WUSRPH

        It came out first in your favorite source Breitbart.com but, again, you don’t want to let facts get in your way.

        • The site she posted? I’m amazed how dense you can be.

          • WUSRPH

            The story was still posted by Brietbart FIRST. TPM had the information back in 2013 but choose not to run it until after your favorite rightist source had published it.

          • Posted first and answered, I’m aware of the facts. I’m commenting about her referencing the goofy TPM site.

          • WUSRPH

            Don’t worry I am fairly confident you will see it a lot of other places in the near future. What Cruz has to fear is that their more where that document came from. Drip, drip, drip till the rock wears away.

          • same as Obama? oh wait the media didn’t report about Obama

          • Indiana Pearl

            Obama was born in Hawaii, USA. Cruz was born in a foreign country.

          • To a US Citizen, we have non citizens babies born here everyday and dems think they are citizens of the US. Oh wait that was legislated from the bench too.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Your boy is in deep doo doo.

            And every child born ON AMERICAN SOIL is an American citizen from the moment of birth.

          • nah….but grandma is…..

          • Indiana Pearl

            No birthday party for Booksie . . . Again!

          • awww you’re in the gin again….snicker

          • Indiana Pearl

            Backed into an intellectual corner again and short of IQ points.

            Booksie’s Theme Song:

            “Life is hard,
            Very hard,
            When you’re dumb.”

            — Austin Lounge Lizards

          • Actually you didn’t back me in a corner so I’ll explain the obvious. You get tiresome.
            I’m concerned about you, are you a shut in with no life except here? If so that explains a lot and I will leave you alone.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Don’t worry about a little gin. I’m in great health.

            You are committing slow suicide with food: Type II diabetes, renal failure, COPD, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, arthritis will plague you if they don’t already.

          • WUSRPH

            Actually, it was declared in the 14th Amendment.

          • Indiana Pearl

            He is not very smart. Perhaps he can lift heavy things . . .

          • nope

          • WUSRPH

            You can read can’t you?
            Good Night all…I have a few better things to do…Got me some new books for Xmas and have to read them before they publish even more. We had to buy four new bookcases to hold what we have… Right now I’m reading one called The Iron Curtain. It is a history of the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe covering the period of 1945-56. Funny how they were so fast at killing off destroying all the Democratic Socialist parties….seemed they knew the difference between one of those and a Soviet Bolshevik.

          • WUSRPH

            A little historical background for you…altho I know you will ignore it since you ignore anything that you do not agree with in advance:

            “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.. . .”

            The, proposed amendment as it passed the House contained no such provision, and it was decided in the Senate to include language like that finally adopted. Cong. Globe, 39th Cong., 1st Sess. 2560, 2768-69, 2869 (1866).

            The sponsor of the language said: ”This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is . . . a citizen of the United States.” Id. at 2890.

            The legislative history is discussedat some length in Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253, 282 -86 (1967) (Justice Harlan dissenting).

            But just because he was the sponsor and said what he intended does not seem to bother you.

            Of course, you are next going to try to say that the kids you find so objectionable were not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States. But we’ve been thru that before…..

          • WUSRPH

            Sure thought I saw a few thousand stories about the birther’s claims…but then I have a better memory than you.

          • nah

          • Indiana Pearl

            For someone who routinely cites execrable sources, that’s a hoot!

            This is all over the internet, as you will see if you do a search.

            “Just because you don’t believe in natural selection doesn’t mean it isn’t working all the time.”

            — Darwin Awards

          • I understand liberals think they’re entitled to post from goofy sites….

          • Indiana Pearl

            You’re the poster boy for goofy sites. You claim Breitbart or Drudge first reported the Lewinsky scandal.

            Do a search. “Doo Doo” is Cruz’s middle name at the moment. He wasn’t prepared. He should have been.

          • Drudge is the number 1 blog, heard of it?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Number One? In your dreams . . . only nut cases read Drudge.

  • Indiana Pearl
    • WUSRPH

      I heard a good description of the GOP’s current mess on TV the other night. The author of the new book on George HW Bush (the good one) described the current state of the party as being “ideologically incoherent”,

      We will know that the GOP has split for good when a bunch of traditional Republicans and some independents (and maybe a Democrat or two) get together at a small college in Ripon, Wisconsin, to establish its successor party like a bunch of Whigs, abolitionists and a Northern Democrat or two did in 1854.

      • I liked it when Bernie sued the DNC…oh wait thats democrats.
        Plus dems don’t really have a primary.

        • WUSRPH

          We will find whether that is true in New Hampshire.

  • Are you being too sensitive?

    “CNN officials have refused to take action against their employee, stating that there was no evidence of hate speech or racism in Zakaria’s writings because he only targeted whites and not minorities. “Some people are just being too sensitive,” a CNN representative said in defense of Zakaria, adding that “someone’s hurt feelings should not inhibit our right to free speech.”

    hehehe…..

    • Indiana Pearl

      You get your wittle feelings hurt when I tell you you’re fat.

      • You get angry when people find out you’re a drunk….

        • Indiana Pearl

          I’ll outlive you.

          • I don’t doubt you’ll outlive everyone with your pickled brain….

          • Indiana Pearl

            One drink a day keeps the doctor away.

            Lose 100 lbs. You might live for another five years.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Who’s gonna push your wheelchair when you’re a diabetic amputee?

            Who’s gonna pay for it? The taxpayers . . .

          • I wonder at the source of your hatred, were you the ugly child?

  • The DNC told dems there is no need for you to vote we have picked Hillary for you….

    “Nearly 20 percent of likely Democratic voters say they’d cross sides and vote for Trump, while a small number, or 14 percent, of Republicans claim they’d vote for Clinton. When those groups were further broken down, a far higher percentage of the crossover Democrats contend they are “100 percent sure” of switching than the Republicans.”

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-01-08/new-poll-shows-donald-trump-is-a-real-threat-to-hillary-clinton

    So the crazies supporting Trump are dems?

  • Wha?……Hollywood skewers tax payer funded NPR and its liberal fans.

    NPR, PP and the rest of the left leaning groups shouldn’t get taxpayer’s money to push their agenda.

  • WUSRPH

    Trump has nice words for both Putin and Kim. Three birds of a …..?

  • An American says this about democrats…
    “Violent crime is increasing in America thanks to Democrat politicians placing political correctness (thou shall not offend the black man) above maintaining law and order in our country’s cities. Yes, the Ferguson effect has come home to roost. Thanks to the unarmed black-teen myth, police officers aren’t doing their job, for fear of being indicted.”

    http://townhall.com/columnists/crystalwright/2015/06/02/democrats-excuses-for-black-crime-leads-to-rise-in-violence-n2007057/page/full

    ““I would argue the Democratic party is killing black lives from the womb to the streets.”

    Crystal Wright, author of “Con Job: How Democrats Gave Us Crime…” says Democrats have betrayed black voters.”

  • I am so looking forward to going to see 13 hrs with my good friend WASSUP this week.

    • Indiana Pearl

      A homoerotic *tour de force* — take a raincoat and a folded up newspaper.

  • WUSRPH

    Maybe this explains why our governor wants us all to talk about the need for a constitutional convention? It will help keep our minds off stuff he is supposed to be doing.
    El Paso Times – January 10, 2016
    Texas falls to 43 in national education ranking
    Texas fell to the bottom fifth of U.S. states in an annual report on education quality. Texas is now ranked 43rd in the nation, falling from 39th last year in the annual “Quality Counts” report from national education publication Education Week. Texas earned a grade of C- this year, while the nation overall earned a C. Massachusetts ranked first in the country, earning a B+. Nevada ranked last, earning a D. No state earned an A or an F.

  • WUSRPH

    While we are talking about education, if we are, this article from the New Republic may be of interest. It does two things:

    Frist, explores the long, long history of people (particularly businessmen) complaining about the status of American public education (it goes back to the very early 1800s) and

    Second, talks abut some of the things that may be wrong in our schools today.

  • “One intelligence source told Fox News that FBI agents would be “screaming” if a prosecution is not pursued because “many previous public corruption cases have been made and successfully prosecuted with much less evidence than what is emerging in this investigation.” ”

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/01/11/fbis-clinton-probe-expands-to-public-corruption-track.html?intcmp=hpbt3

    Atty Gen Loretta Lynch will not prosecute grandma…..

  • Houston Dunston

    Erica,

    I don’t follow your point here regarding taking out a mortgage. How does this relate to using state money to provide local tax relief?

    …. Even the property tax measure I was so disgusted by was cast as a matter of principle by many of the red-blooded conservatives who voted for it–“relief” for the hardworking taxpayers. (For the record, if any of you are reading: The state of Texas didn’t force you to take out a mortgage. Congratulations on your government handout.)….

    • Jed

      why do you red-blooded conservatives keep voting for republicans if they don’t pass conservative policy?

      you want real relief, eliminate the property tax altogether, and the sales tax while you’re at it, and replace them with an income tax. then “hardworking taxpayers” will pay lower taxes.

      the only people who saved any real money with this “relief” were rich people.