161 Comments

Thank you, Charlie. This was a great year end review. And thank you and everybody at the Bulwark, including the readers, for showing me that a Northeast liberal like me and a Mideast conservative like you have so much in common. In this age of tribalism, I’m proud to count the people at the Bulwark as part of my tribe.

A couple of thoughts:

On fusion - a tremendous accomplishment, but this puts us nowhere near the finish line. I doubt most of us reading this will live to see commercial fusion power plants. However, we’ve made tremendous progress in many areas of clean energy production over the past few years. While it’s not enough to keep pace with government subsidies for oil here in the US, expanded use of coal in China and India and deforestation in Brazil, it does give us a glimmer of hope.

On Dobbs - I’ve always been pro choice. I’ve never put a lot of thought into it, it seemed a personal issue where the government had no place and a women’s issue where I had no place. I understood that people were pro-life for religious reasons and never paid much mind to those that said men in the pro-life movement wanted to control women.

The reaction on the right to Dobbs opened my eyes. First was the case of the 10 year old rape victim who had to be taken to another state to terminate her pregnancy. Aside from the cruelty toward the child, the efforts to prosecute the doctors involved, and Right wing medias’ attempts to discredit the story clearly showed an effort to portray the rape victim as the criminal.

Multiple stories of Doctors being afraid to properly treat etopic pregnancies and those afraid to properly clean out a uterus after a miscarriage out of fear of prosecution are things that never would have crossed my mind before this decision. The fervor with which Republicans at the state level are pushing punitive measures against not only women but young girls gives meaning to the term “forced birth”. I no longer consider this a women’s issue.. It’a human rights issue that we all must work to protect.

On TFG - Of course he belongs in jail. But I fear one or two MAGA morons will cause a hung jury and that wish will go unfulfilled. Under my reduced expectations, all I want to see in ‘23 is a perp walk. I’m sure he already has a special overcoat with extra long sleeves to hide the handcuffs but he’ll be slightly hunched (more than usual) and we can always hope for a good stiff wind to add to the humiliation.

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Will gladly give due credit when they start doing things good for our country. What I see coming, though, is nothing but emails, emails, emails and Benghazi. Benghazi Benghazi - only it will be HunterGhazi, impeaching Biden with made up BS, going after Dr Fauci and removing good Dem congresspersons from committees, like Schiff, Raskin, etc. If you want to search and hunt for a few minor good some of them may do, go for it. Not me.

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With respect to the anti-vaccine stance of DeSantis and the current Republican party, I say please let them continue their natural experiment. In Arizona, the margin of victory in several of the close state-wide races is small enough that one of the contributing factors is likely the higher number of deaths of MAGA voters due to COVID.

100 years ago, people who made stupid choices frequently experienced the consequences of those choices, good and hard. Maybe we're seeing a repeat of that?

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It starts with covid and eventually maga brings polio back to life.

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My motto.

"Evolution works best when we let stupidity be fatal."

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We probably can't stop them, but there are consequences outside of the fully stupid. There are kids. There are those who can't take a particular vaccine for some reason. There are those for whom the vaccine doesn't work (99.5% effective means 1.65M people who will be unprotected even if they get the vaccine in question.

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The recent anti-Roe decision marks the success of a decades long attack on the old Warren Court, mostly because the Warren Court was the one court to finally deal with the mistreatment of African Americans that was the nations shame, and continued in spite of rights that should have been granted after the Civil War.

There is an astonishing degree of arrogance in the Federalist Society judges, as if the only way to judge is in the cramped manner of strict constructionists (or whatever new nonsense is developed to allow judges to reach decisions that they already know they want to reach).

Our founders really did believe that there were rights not enumerated. Hamilton did, so did Madison. And it was also clear that at least some of the founders believed that the constitution would evolve - as English law had. Jefferson was against the evolution of the law, yet when he needed the power to purchase the Louisiana territory, he did it, even if he was on record that he did not have the power.

Sam Alito scoffed at a right to privacy, as if he could not imagine how we would know that our founders believed in such a right, yet the protections against unlawful search and seizure or against testifying against oneself - even the notion “don’t tread on me” are all at heart expressions of the right to be left alone - privacy.

By the way, the right to self defense would also be a non-enumerated right. The problem with extrapolating about a personal right to own guns from an amendment clearly about militias is that militias were the owners of guns, musket balls and gunpowder - though a few men did own their own weapons but the typical high school aged militia man did not own his own gun. So the amendment was about the right to gather for the common defense.

And the current agreement by the court to review the Trump ere rule about immigration -clearly a COVID rule - suggests that the conservatives are full of shit. They are intervening in a matter where the legislature has failed. And if you believe that judges have to be flexible - then their intervention is reasonable, but if looking at the text - at what power a president has under the law, there seems no basis at all in intervening.

In an court that honors stare decisis, the court’s actions make sense. But if the conservatives are true to their bullshit - then they should not have taken the case at all.

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There was tremendous progress in nuclear fusion, but not where you thought. Here is an announcement from The Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS), which is the European Commission's primary source of results from the projects funded by the EU's framework programmes for research and innovation. This is a report from 16 major laboratories at universities and corporations in Europe. The U.S. Army, Navy and NASA are also working this. Even the DoE is participating, albeit with only $10 million. See:

https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/951974/reporting

QUOTE:

Indications of nuclear events, typically weak neutron emissions and strong anomalous exothermic reactions have been detected during experiments based on Ni/C, Ni/Cu, Ni/Al, and other catalyzing elements both under hydrogen or deuterium atmosphere. Several potentially active materials have been designed and are being tested in different laboratories of our consortium. During a significant number of successful experiments, strong AHEs have been measured, thus demonstrating the effectiveness of the applied reaction activating procedures.

Detected AHEs produced commercially promising COPs even if the most powerful exothermic reactions still last for relatively short periods. The power density achieved, however, is extremely promising. Bigger reactors will be tested next year. The cooperation between WP3 (Gas loading experiments) and WP4 partners (Materials preparation) has proven to be synergic and fruitful.

The gas-loading experiments have been combined with the accelerator experiments in which some chosen pure metallic targets and different alloys have been investigated to understand the enhancement process of nuclear reactions by means of the electron screening effect.  . . .

The progress made so far is very impressive, although further experiments are still needed. During the first year, we have already developed new materials and activation processes which showed extremely promising results in terms of strong AHEs. It is very likely that at the end of the project we will be able to have a demonstration unit capable of producing large amounts of energy with a high Coefficient Of Performance.

[T]he total absence of climate affecting emissions from the HME generators could give a real, effective contribution to the containment of ongoing climate changes.

This is cold fusion, the Fleischmann Pons Effect. It is decades ahead of the plasma fusion experiments reported recently. Japan's largest boiler manufacturer hopes to have a commercial prototype cold fusion reactor in a few years.

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Do the nuts who urinate on established law they claim was "wrongly decided" think their weakly argued rulings will be respected and upheld tomorrow. Really? They are essentially setting up toss out what you don't like as a new norm.

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"The former president dined with Nazis, called for the termination of the Constitution so he could be restored to power, asked Putin for favors, and issued NFT trading cards of himself."

Or, just another day ending in the letter 'y'...

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I know. What do his followers see in him?

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Money? Convince enough people, and they'll send it to you. Though Trump seems to get more deranged every day. And there's an article today that his "card" lost 80% of its supposed value over the past week. Apparently a problem with plagiarism and licensing, etc. :-)

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Yeah, I read an article where they showed that many of the images were stolen with his head photoshopped on.

Sit down for this, 'cause it could be a bit shocking, but: Donald Trump was never actually a cowboy; or an astronaut; or John Rambo.

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There is no floor to Trump's degradation of America.

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That was my first thought when I saw those ludicrous "cards" - Trump was touting them as being of his life and career. I wonder if someone could sue him for false advertising. Are his cultists that insane? I know - rhetorical question. But those money-laundering theorists might be correct given how fast they sold out and how many actually went to a small group of "buyers".

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Almost seems too small to be worth it. I read an article that said there were several people with 100 and one person with 1,000, but even the 1,000 is only 99K face value. I've watch Ozark, so I know that real money launderers would scoff at such low amounts. ;)

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In the 1998 film Armageddon, the entire plot of the film centered around the absurd notion that applying surface force to an asteroid would have no effect on sparing the earth annihilation.

Nope, in true American movie fashion, no resolution would suffice other than to literally blow the threat to pieces.

Even back then, it didn't require mastery of the laws of astrophysics to see how backward this was - expeditiously diverting the path of an asteroid in the vastness of space so that it simply passes us by, versus embarking on a time-consuming operation resulting in chunks of a Texas-sized asteroid hurtling with even greater velocity in random directions when it would be far closer to earth. Of course, people who, at the time, *were* masters of the laws of astrophysics pointed this out, and this year finally demonstrated that early course correction is a viable – and the obviously correct –solution.

There is a lesson here for the importance of the January 6th committee. It's not a perfect analogy – eventually, I believe, we do need to go for the kill shot, so to speak, and convict Donald Trump. But that's a forward looking effort - to deter the next ambitious, authoritarian crook or self-obsessed celebrity who thinks they know how to "solve America"; to send the message that the U.S. presidency is not a playground for man-children.

But relying solely on that would have been folly. The slow-turning wheels of our justice system, allowing Trump to proceed with his existing trajectory and momentum, hurtling toward another run for the presidency, only to drop the hammer at the last moment would have ensured maximum possible damage to our republic.

We needed something sooner. We needed to nudge him off course.

Thank you, Jan 6th committee.

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If you don't want Bruce Willis to be President, just say so!

j/k, well said and a good point.

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If Bruno were president, we would have been robbed of years of action hero awesomeness!

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I hope I'm wrong, but how long before the usual gang of anti-science ignoramuses tell us that nuclear fusion is just a Soros-inspired plot by the pedophile cabal running the world to track us, read our minds, examine our poop, etc. via our energy use... or something...? Happy New Year!!!

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As soon as oil company and oil nation profits start to be remotely threatened.

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Yes, Elon is terrible. But, Elon provided consequential Starlink terminals for Ukraine at an essential time. Let's recognize Elon's endless buffet of terrible does includes a good dish. Elon subsequently managed to muck that up by claiming he would stop funding Starlink. As far as I know Elon continues to support / fund Starlink. I commend Elon for supporting Ukraine.

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He threatened to pull the funding about six weeks ago.

Then the military asked for funds to create their own network and he got very quiet very quickly.

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He is often at his best when he is quiet.

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He has done some amazing things. Do you think he may be having a midlife crises or possibly low blood sugar?

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Unbounded ambition, weak impulse control, brilliance, and shamelessness enable Elon to do amazingly good and amazingly bad things. Elon is capable of being so much better than he is.

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founding

You’re back! Thank you for this great year in review!

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Biggest stories of 2022, not 2002. Though I wish the Bulwark was around back in 2002 to warn us.

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Charlie, thanks again for your regular lessons in vocabulary. "Self-defenestration." Who would have thought there is an actual word for causing oneself to fall out of a window? But there it was in the dictionary. Happy New Year!

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Don't forget "retromingent" (pisses backward).

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founding

I am so glad you are back with us Charlie Sykes even though the separation was brief. Your writing - no matter the awful reality of the truth - gives me a bit of peace and comfort. Your wisdom is a beacon for all.

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I have nothing of substance to add to Charlie's excellent summation of the year nearly past, and I appreciate the overall optimistic tone. There are good things going on, things we can build on. So let's do that.

What will 2023 bring? It feels like the calm before the storm of 2024, when we see if our diligence and our progress have been either substantive or illusory. It could become the year that MAGA regroups and puts fear and loathing back on our immediate horizon. Or it could be a time when we find our inspiration from others who live outside of the firestorm. Yesterday, minding my own business at an Uncle Mike's Bake Shoppe in Green Bay, Wisconsin, I was approached by a stranger who stuck a gift card into my hand and said, "I just used this, and there still is some value left on it. I'd rather share it with you -- use it for whatever you like." It was a small gesture in the bigger picture of things, but at the same time a welcome and needed reminder that random acts of kindness are not dead, and that the world and society that we live in each day is not necessarily the one we hear about in the 24-hour news cycle bombardment.

Whatever the Trumps and Lakes choose to do on the macro level in 2023, I'm resolving to be more like the woman at Uncle Mike's and lead by that example more than by the anger and frustration that MAGA makes me feel. Also at our micro level, there are good things going on, things we can build on. So let's do that too. Each one, reach one, and make every day a net gain. Wishing all of your here a good end to 2022, and an even better 2023 -- safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous. And, please, share them all as you can.

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founding

Charlie:

Thanks for the great year end review.

I hope you enjoyed your well-deserved time off. I am so glad that you got the chance to spend time with your grandchildren.

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