Regarding the young woman from South Carolina, to her defense she did not graduate from Wharton although she can toss an idiotic word salad as crazy as one who did.

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Late to the party Paul Ryan will be ok no matter what happens in 2024 and that sucks. It would be awesome if he had to face real consequences. MSM regarding Biden almost falling is part of the problem and definitely not part of the solution to the point they aren’t what they were.

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If Haley did drop out and endorse Trump, would that endorsement make her worse than Trump?

Are the enablers who should know better worse than the whacko they're enabling?

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No, Paul Ryan is not getting it. Not while he's still on the Board of Directors for Fox "News".

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It was impossible not to see Haley’s brain frying out/reducing in matter as she tried to keep it together, giving every non-answer she could think of, except the obvious. Completely gutless. She did everything except stammer in that true never to return from shit show moment.

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Screw Nikki Haley and whatever she did or didn't say about slavery and the Civil War. It's a sideshow. Come this November she will be, barring some external event, nothing more than a footnote in the history of the 2024 election.

What does matter is that the Dems need to stop playing defense on immigration. That, along with his age, are Biden’s two biggest vulnerabilities. He can't do anything about his age but he can do and needs to do something about the border. It's a vulnerability not only for him but also for Dems up and down the ballot.

It's a problem that can't be ignored and also can't be fixed by executive action. The Dems should put together a program to address it and go on offense against the Republicans in Congress over the issue.

It won't be easy but what they have been doing isn't working.

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thank you for your sanity. Maybe I can sleep tonight

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A few comments….

1) From time to time in this and other Bulwark pieces, the obvious fact of asymmetry in almost all things political in the U.S. today is pointed out and lamented. Here’s just another one.

What if Trump had been asked the question that Haley was asked? It turns out he was.

In 2017, Trump was interviewed while visiting the grave of Andrew Jackson and commented on Jackson’s legacy and the causes of the Civil War. Here is his answer: “I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the civil war. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the civil war. ‘There’s no reason for this.’ People don’t realize, you know, the civil war – if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there a civil war? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

Besides the historical absurdity that somehow Jackson could have prevented the Civil War (or even foreseen it coming) and the even more absurd idea that “no one knows” what caused the Civil War (or, apparently, even bothers to ask the question), nowhere in his 84-word answer was the word “slavery”. And all the people are (justifiably) piling on Haley and not Trump. Why? For the Trumplicants, the reason is that it’s a cult and no one is allowed to criticize the cult leader. Full stop. And for we anti-Trumpers, surely one of the reasons is that “we all know” that Trump doesn’t have a clue about the history of the United States (among lots of other things that he doesn’t have a clue about) and can’t be expected to come up with an intelligent answer. It’s the curse of low expectations. The other big reason, I think, is that we all only have a limited reservoir of outrage that we can call upon. And with Trump we have to save that outrage for truly outrageous things. Compared with instigating a coup, not knowing what the cause of the Civil War was seems not that important.

2) One of the facts of political life nowadays that took me a long time to grasp (and I’m not sure how many people have grasped it yet) is that, to a large portion of the electorate, it literally doesn’t matter in the slightest what Trump says. He can say “green” one day and “blue” the next and his supporters don’t bat an eye. Or he can say truly bizarre and historically incorrect things like the one highlighted above, and it’s Monday. Or, as CS has pointed out, he can criticize the service to this country of a former POW and his polls numbers don’t tank. I assume it’s worse for members of the press who have spent their professional lives dissecting the words of politicians to try to divine their hidden meaning. Now, not only is there no hidden meaning; there’s often no coherent meaning at all. That’s what a word salad is after all.

At least now, everyone has stopped asking the question if this “thing” is the “thing” that will separate Trump from his base. For we know now that there is no such “thing”.

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Reasonable logic, saving outrage for truly outrageous things. But Trump throughout his presidency simply overwhelmed the media and public with outrage after outrage, exhausting all of us. Why not return the same treatment, and hold his feet to the fire on every single idiotic and despotic utterance, countering his barrage of outrage with a spirited and consistent defense?

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There’s a phrase for what Trump does – flood the zone with shit!

I have often thought about how to counter Trump’s rantings. And one way is to clearly vigorously fight back with point-by-point rebuttals with the same level of vitriol that Trump employs. The problems with this approach (especially for MSM types) is threefold: (1) you would spend almost all day doing that, and (2) it could appear to the casual observer that you are “picking on” Trump, thereby either creating a sympathetic backlash or allowing the possibly persuadables to “tune you out”.

But the third aspect of this is the worst. I just don’t think that most of the anti-Trump crowd would be very good at it (and when I say “good”, I really mean “nasty” and “juvenile”). A sober, logical rebuttal of Trump (the kind you read in The Bulwark, for example) just doesn’t carry the same emotional gut punch that Trump’s rantings do. They sound squishy, by comparison.

It’s simply very hard to counter someone who is often disconnected from reality and has exactly zero sense of shame.

My go-to example here is Trump’s treatment of Clinton during their second debate when he stalked her around the stage. My wife wanted Clinton to turn around and say “back off Buster”. While that would have been very emotionally satisfying, it wouldn’t have worked. Trump would have immediately feigned offense and played the victim card. Clinton would have ended up the loser. The truth is that you just can’t get in the gutter with Trump. It’s like the old joke about wrestling with a pig – you get dirty and the pig likes it.

Perhaps I should rethink my position on this given the fact that it has become clear over the past several years that there are large portions of Trump supporters that are unreachable. They are a lost cause. There’s no reason to worry about how they will react to something. So the messaging has to be focused on the persuadables. And perhaps a logical, specific rebuttal would be effective with those folks. All I know is that an emotional appeal won’t work. Trump has the emotional vote all locked up.

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"Perhaps I should rethink my position on this given the fact that it has become clear over the past several years that there are large portions of Trump supporters that are unreachable. They are a lost cause. There’s no reason to worry about how they will react to something. So the messaging has to be focused on the persuadables. And perhaps a logical, specific rebuttal would be effective with those folks. "

It sucks. But the uninformed populace would be the ones which enable an electoral vote win possibility. If the courts do their sworn duty, we won't have to chance that.

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Try watching some of the 'man on the street' interviews on youtube with Trump supporters at their own gatherings as well as outside his rallies. It would be amusing were it not so dispiriting and depressing to see such blatant, rampant ignorance and outright stupidity. The vast majority literally have no grasp or knowledge about their own country, its history, political or economic system.

How can it be that the wealthiest nation in human history has literally 10s of millions of citizens who lack the most basic education, most of whom are functionally illiterate and are unable to articulate even a modicum of a cogent sentence? They speak gobbledygook and can't even regurgitate what they hear on Fox News.

I know this little missive is largely rhetorical, but it's a damning indictment of the education system in America, as well as its economic and class systems, and speaks volumes about why the country is in the situation it is today.

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"Discuss among yourselves whether some of that contempt/fear might actually reflect the reality of the GOP electorate circa 2024."


*Some* of the contempt/fear? C'mon man, it's obvious, at least to me, that any non-MAGA Republican (a truly endangered species) elected official is living in fear of what the Tangerine Troglodyte as his band of merry pranksters (sorry Mr Kesey) will do if they don't kowtow to the yuge orange turd floating in the Kool-Aid punchbowl, and they are already experiencing contempt from many of their constituents for not voting in lockstep with the New GOP. At best, they can expect to have their jobs taken away when they are primaried by a MAGAdroid, and given the penchant of MAGA candidates to pander to their base, which usually makes up a vast majority of primary voters, the currently seated politician can expect to lose. (And most likely as will the MAGA candidate in the general election, since I believe a majority of the voting public is getting fed up with asshat politicians who think that their position entails trying to usher in a tyranny of the minority, making our country into a "Christian" theocracy, owning the Libs, performing in political theater and trying to cover the Amber Australopithecus' ass rather than legislate for the good of all Americans.) At worst, violence and death threats are the stock in trade for the MAGA cultist knuckle draggers.

I'd be scared shirtless if I were a non-MAGA Republican, and, imo, justifiably so.


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Re Miss Teen SC, maybe Christie should show up at a Haley event and hand her an 8th grade US history book. A map too wouldn't hurt.

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Ryan may be getting it, but only a tiny bit. He thinks the party is salvageable.

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Re: Resignation of Claudine Gay

Claudine Gay shat the bed in the Congressional hearing, that's for sure. But Harvard was still backing her after that appearance.

So what happened next? The pro-Israeli fanatics engaged in the equivalent of academic doxing, scrutinizing every single sentence in every single paper/book she has published in her academic career. She was so confident in her academic bona fides that she actually welcomed the independent review.

The result? Accusations of plagiarism which are just absurd. For the VAST MAJORITY of allegedly plagiarized content, we're talking ONE SENTENCE that isn't even exact, but follows a similar framing structure.

Here are two examples indicative of the absurdity of the allegations:

1) She was accused of lifting a sentence authored by Professor Canon of the University of Wisconsin (again not a verbatim copy of the sentence). Canon himself has publicly stated that the conduct doesn't even come close to plagiarism. Ms. Gay was merely reciting the definition of a widely used technical academic term, so it's obvious there would be some overlap in the exact phrases used to define the technical term.

To illustrate the point, let's take the mathematical concept of Pi. What is Pi? It's the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. It's the most straightforward way to define Pi. Can I say it in other ways if I were forced to? Sure. Would it really be surprising for many mathematicians who have never met each other or read each other's work to coincidentally use exact same verbatim definition of PI in their papers? The same sentence structure with minor modifications? Of course, it would be weird if there were NOT minor variations.

What happened here is an ACTUAL example of cancel culture, but as always it's getting perpetrated by right-wing operatives. It was only after extremist American pro-Israelis took offence to Ms. Gay's official response to the Gaza terrorist attack that they started scrutinizing every sentence of her academic work.

You're probably thinking that Ms. Gay's response (along with much of the Harvard upper administration) on October 9, 2023 was just crazy and unprofessional. It was not:


"A Statement from Harvard University Leadership

October, 9, 2023

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

We write to you today heartbroken by the death and destruction unleashed by the attack by Hamas that targeted citizens in Israel this weekend, and by the war in Israel and Gaza now under way.

The violence hits all too close to home for many at Harvard. Some members of our community have lost family members and friends; some have been unable to reach loved ones. And, even for people at Harvard who have not been affected directly by the fighting, there are feelings of fear, sadness, anger, and more that create a heavy burden. We have heard from many students, faculty, and staff about the emotional toll that these events are taking.

Across Harvard, we will continue providing as much support to our students and colleagues as possible. Our Schools either have shared or will soon share messages regarding available resources.

We have also heard an interest from many in understanding more clearly what has been happening in Israel and Gaza. Even as we attend immediately to the needs of our community members, we can take steps as an academic community to deepen our knowledge of the unfolding events and their broader implications for the region and the world. We expect there will be many such opportunities in the coming days and weeks.

We have no illusion that Harvard alone can readily bridge the widely different views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we are hopeful that, as a community devoted to learning, we can take steps that will draw on our common humanity and shared values in order to modulate rather than amplify the deep-seated divisions and animosities so distressingly evident in the wider world. Especially at such a time, we want to emphasize our commitment to fostering an environment of dialogue and empathy, appealing to one another’s thoughtfulness and goodwill in a time of unimaginable loss and sorrow.

As many colleagues, classmates, and friends deal with pain and deep concern about the events in Israel and Gaza, we must all remember that we are one Harvard community, drawn together by a shared passion for learning, discovery, and the pursuit of truth in all its complexity, and held together by a commitment to mutual respect and support. At this moment of challenge, let us embody the care and compassion the world needs now.


Claudine Gay

President, Harvard University"

. . . . .

That statement apparently pissed off Israeli apologist too much, so Ms. Gray sent out a follow-up statement the very next day:

"A Statement from President Claudine Gay

October 10, 2023

As the events of recent days continue to reverberate, let there be no doubt that I condemn the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. Such inhumanity is abhorrent, whatever one’s individual views of the origins of longstanding conflicts in the region.

Let me also state, on this matter as on others, that while our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership.

We will all be well served in such a difficult moment by rhetoric that aims to illuminate and not inflame. And I appeal to all of us in this community of learning to keep this in mind as our conversations continue.

Claudine Gay

President, Harvard University"

. . . . .

Funny how the first black President of Harvard got immediately thrown under the bus by Harvard leadership (let's not be naïve about her sudden resignation, she was pushed out).

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She was a lightweight. How did she ever get the gig? If you are going by Harvard alumni, even if it was predestined to be someone non-white and non-male, you could do much better.

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Haley surely fouled up in answering the question about the Civil War, but she did admit her failure and say later that she knows the war was fought over the question of slavery, as it was. Meanwhile the enemy of the republic she is working to stop from becoming president next year just keeps giving people more evidence of how dangerous, incompetent, and probably unhinged he is. There are three ways to stop him. He can be convicted of one or more of his crimes (which might not do it even if it happened). Someone can beat him in the primaries and keep him from being the nominee, or a Democrat (probably Biden) can beat him in the general election. Haley being able to stop him in the primaries is a long shot, but neither the court cases nor Biden in the general election is anything like a sure thing. One might think that people really worried about Trump’s real threat to the country might cut those trying to stop him in the primaries some slack, assuming of course that their objective is to stop Trump rather that just shill for the Dems.

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She did so because it was untenable for her to context her little charade, not because of any epiphany of integrity. Let's not accord credit where it isn't due.

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Well, it is all about destroying our democracy or voting for Biden. It is all about getting women by their P.. or Biden. It is all about demonizing gays and trans. It is all about fascism and theocracy against freedom, true freedom. We will see what people prefer. I do think that democracy will win. We have the strength of diversity and the strength of women. We women would never want to be slaves again to religious fanatics who based on the Bible thought that we were cattle and our main function in life was to reproduce and be subservient to men.

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Every time I read one of those insane ranting tweets of Trump's I can't help but think of the character Greg Stillson from King's "The Dead Zone" and if we are dealing with a laughing tiger.

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Our country used to value qualification and excellence; now it values bombast and expedience.

This is what we get for twenty-two years of calling every sad loser who embraces military authoritarianism a "hero" or a "patriot;" they start to believe it.

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