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founding

The discussions here about defunding police are emblematic of the sad fact that today's information culture makes the possibility of government by the people, of the people, and for the people probably no longer possible.

The very fact of the discussion is proof that the discussion is fruitless. Today if you have to explain anything, you ipso facto lose any chance of explaining anything.

The only way to "explain" anything these days is to fire a high-velocity emotion pellet past the brain into the id.

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founding

“'The Soviet Union back before Russia when it broke up contained all of Ukraine including Crimea. The country itself is not really a country'

"Peter Navarro, Former Trump WH Advisor, December 2021"

The Soviet Union also contained all of Russia, so then it must not really be a country either.

The UK used to contain all of Ireland. Ethiopian contained all of Eritrea. And on and on. Countries?

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Love Tom Nichols (and subscribe to TD as well as here), but Greene and Carlson do gain $ and status/position within their markets by their Trumpy branding. Agreed that Russia per se has nothing much to do with it. I agree with those downthread who say (maybe not in those words) that it resembles the (still around to some degree) pre-Woke left's fondness for Castro, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Chavez, etc.

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Hi Charlie

Love the Bulwark. I'm a Liberal Canadian, but grew up in a border city so have immersed myself in U.S. politics most of my life. I have a suggestion for the website. Love it when you open your podcasts with suggestions of what you are watching on Netflix, etc.. Have watched several series like Broadchurch and Shetland due to your suggestions and loved them. Made the mistake of not writing down other titles you recommended. Would love a section on the website of what you are watching to escape from the news and what everyone is reading - non-fiction and fiction. Have a great weekend.

Cathy, Burlington, Ontario

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The greatest irony may be that the working class MAGA base of the party is actually the best recruiting tool for moving Black and Hispanic male voters into the GOP.

It turns out that working class Black and Hispanic men identify more closely with working class whites for a variety of reasons. As opposed to their elites that presume to speak for the Black and Hispanic communities.

First, they don't experience the much vaunted racism and white supremacy that their white peers are supposed to carry. They live and work among them. As a result they experience their white peers differently than they are portrayed in the media. Go visit a working class trailer park and you will see a lot of race mixing going on than might be expected. Interracial ride sharing to work. Interracial dating, child rearing and marriage.

Second, working class Blacks and Hispanics seek the same life style advantages of their white peers. Hard work defines their relationship to employment NOT racial discrimination. They are just as concerned about undocumented workers competing for their jobs as their white peers.

Third as noted Black and Hispanic men are socially conservative to start with. Their religious identity informs their attitudes toward LGBTQ rights and abortion which are alien to their consciousness. The role of women is also seen differently.

Fourth, the role of government looms large. Venezuelan, Central Americans and Cubans have had enough of authoritarianism--- and are not eager to embrace even a benign and paternalistic "big government" which is what the "socialism" thing boils down to.

When it comes down to Democrats they need to stop their patronizing condescension and start hosting fun block parties and fiestas. The overly serious Democrats have missed the fun that Trump has brought to the political landscape. Sure it is vulgar... but Trump Flag parades and boat parades and rallies are fun. Democrats need to dump the dour, neo-puritanical, hypercritical attitude and start meeting the working class where they live.

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Hey Charlie, this is a couple days out of date, but after listening to your Wednesday podcast with David Priess, just thought I would weigh in on something of interest to me:

David mentioned that he was probably going to annoy mathematicians by saying that students should be taking prob/stat instead of calculus. I have an MS in Mathematics and I agree 100%.

Look, I love calculus. So much that as a teenager in high school, I read ahead in the textbook in bed at night. It's beautiful, and I'd heartily recommend it for anyone interested in math (even if you're not quite to my level of nerdiness).

That said, for the other 98% of the population, probability and statistics is *far* more useful and important, especially in this day where we are realizing the importance of maintaining an informed citizenry who knows how to interpret what they read in the news and online.

In fact, I have been annoyed to see the idea of replacing calculus with prob/stat being cast as an example of "wokeness" infecting high school curricula. The implication here that this is another example of "dumbing down" a subject to placate those who believe it to be an example of structural racism because of the underperformance of some minority groups. Prob/stat can be every bit as challenging as calculus.

And to David: this shouldn't annoy mathematicians, because prob/stat is math too! Even most PhDs would be hard pressed to disagree about the relative importance of prob/stat.

Oh, and one other thing: I have *Electronic Stratego* in my basement. :-)

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founding

This morning as I read down the list of MAGA voices in Charlie's letter, I once again experienced my usual one-word gut reaction to these people...maggots. Then I had a thought, based on the overall reaction polls show among Republicans regarding Ukraine. It's probably incorrect, and is quite unlike me in that it actually contains a tiny sliver of hope regarding all things Republican. Nevertheless, for the briefest of moments at least, I contemplated the fact that perhaps we are looking at these MAGA maggots, sickening and deplorable though they are, in the wrong light.

Democracy in this country has been gravely wounded. I'm not knowledgeable enough about the subject to point to an exact time or place as to when the laceration occurred, but I do know that it happened before MAGA was even a thing, and its rent flesh has been septic and festering ever since.

Enter the maggots...

For those unfamiliar, maggot wound therapy is a real thing. Feel free to look it up, if you wish. It originated in antiquity as a way to treat wounds that refused to heal on their own and therefore became progressively more septic and life threatening, and is still practiced today in certain instances, the main difference being that today the "medical maggots" are sanitized and their use much more controlled and precise. In the right circumstances, and when other modern treatments fail, they can be quite effective at cleaning out necrotizing tissue, halting the spread of the infection and exposing clean healthy flesh, which then has a much better chance of healing.

So, my brain working in the weird way that it often does in making associations, for a moment the thought crossed my mind that perhaps the MAGA folks are the equivalent of the maggots needed to clean American democracy's deep and festering wounds, their seemingly deplorable gnawing at its flesh accomplishing what other remedies have heretofore failed to do...expose clean, healthy flesh to the healing process.

Of course, one of the essential tricks to the success of this therapy is to know when the little beasts' work is done, and to remove them before their insatiable appetite for filth devours too much of the clean and healthy tissue surrounding the injury. Perhaps the sound of democracy facing a real-world clear and present existential threat in Ukraine is the sound of the timer going off in a few people's heads that now is that time, even if they don't consciously recognize it as such. Maybe, just maybe the sight of dead parents and children in the streets of a democratic country, not unlike our own in its love of true and genuine freedom, is, sadly, exactly what was needed to ring the bell on when enough is enough.

Yeah, it's a stretch to even contemplate this. I'd say that, in fact, it's one hell of a long shot. But, having laid down a few bucks on longshots back when I used to watch the ponies run on sunny afternoons in more care-free times, a longshot sometimes does sneak its nose under the wire first. And in a time when holding onto hope itself often seems like a longshot, I guess there are worse ways to spend the energy of a few brain cells.

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Two things are quite interesting here. The first being that when asking 'who speaks for the GOP' there are two answers: money, and crazy. By which I mean that the people who are 'sane' tend to be the monied ones; insulated from the day to day rat race of politics they can take positions they think are comfortable without rocking the boat. The crazy ones are the ones who feel they need the energy of the voters; they speak to the subset that might be small in number but which give in time and money.

But I personally think that what they say isn't important, it's what they do that matters. If you want to know what they think, look at how they vote, not at what they say about it. The votes with Ukraine are no different than the GOP members who talked about not taking away people's healthcare and then voting to do so. That we lack media that will simply call lies what they are is part of what they can do this.

As for the matter of black voters, you're correct that no one should take voters for granted. But you also cherry pick around the real problems that are being presented. It's true that black voters skew more conservative, but this is because they're older. Voters that don't vote for the Democrats also aren't voting for the GOP. Why? Because the GOP is a full white nationalist party that actively makes harassing black people part of its agenda. The issue is not one of swing voters but not voters.

The real issue among Hispanics is not one that can be counted as racial the way black votes are; by which I mean that black voters vote Democratic because the GOP is hostile to them in a way that they aren't for a lot of Hispanics. What does that mean? Well, there's a clear divide between how first and second born Hispanics vote compared to third and further generation Hispanics vote. Essentially, the latter vote the same as their white counterparts; in many cases they pass as white and act as such, as in the cases of people like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. They're also more likely to be hostile to immigrants, despite their own heritage. Essentially, by the third generation, they're no different than anyone who came over here before that point from any other place.

And the reason this is noteworthy is because Democrats have gotten very used to assuming that generations don't change things. Twenty years ago, the Hispanic vote was basically a lock, because democrats were the ones who supported their integration with the US. But now? They have little to no attachment to their old countries, no different than Irish people not having attachments to Ireland. They're Americans and they vote not based on the memories and struggles of an immigrant but as a born and bred American. That doesn't mean, by the way, that the GOP can take them for granted either.

Indeed, I would suspect that if the democrats have voters to be concerned about, it's young black people and white women. For the GOP, it's Hispanics.

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Heads up, the "no" votes on that Ukrainian assistance package were actually no votes on the omnibus, of which Ukrainian assistance was less than 1%. Ben Sasse is hardly pro-Putin or MAGA.

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ORYX

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Sooner or later, the drumbeat of Biden-bashing and Biden-opposition by the GOP is going to hurt Ukraine, as it and the deteriorating economic conditions (mostly due to the pandemic and the war) divert the majority of Republicans back toward domestic grievance politics and away from support of Ukraine. Fox News, of course, will do all it can to facilitate that.

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It really does feel like the past decade of Western political history should be characterized by the rise of pro-Russian politicians, a lot of whom ran under the banner of right-wing populism. It's pretty clear that Trump was boosted by the Russians and encouraged to build a pro-Russia wing so that the American government might accept a Russian invasion and occupation as legitimate.

But with Trump out of office and the invasion proving to be a human rights catastrophe, the Russian disinformation playbook is buckling before our eyes. Where we go from here depends on the war's outcome, but it really feels like Putin bet big and lost everything. May that stay true.

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In many ways the progressive Deomcrats are as bad as the Dumpers but in different ways. They don't seem to have a grip on what the folks that elected them really want. At the moment I live in a district with a good solid old school Democrat but she is retireing and the district has been altered. I am an old life long liberal that believes is strong public saftey and well funded police departments. I have yet to hear what defunding police departments will accomplish? All this was caused by a deranged cop who murdered a man in plain sight. Then there is all the nonsense over clean energy, which I belive in, but it can't be accomplished in an instant. The progressives have forced the President into a position that probably will harm him in the future.

No party should take any voter for granted.

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founding

I fear this is far too much chasing wishes and not enough seeking after wisdom.

Putin maybe, maybe, is losing momentum at the moment because he isolated himself and went to war without the best people in charge and without adequate preparation and planning. Let us remember, Stalin did all that, plus not only arrested and imprisoned his top command structure— actually murdered them. And made almost every other wrong strategic and tactical decision he could— and nevertheless died from natural causes, unchallenged, as supreme autocrat of the greatest territorial and hegemonic scope any Russian Tsar ever had.

He achieved this because he never shrank from being the most relentlessly ruthless human bring on earth.

The dominant narrative is overlooking history and grasping at hopeful straws, as if Putin has now fatally cast himself as MacBeth and must inevitably perish when the crop of evil he has sown comes to fruition (and marches on his personal Dunsinane)…

Macbeth is a fantasy. If Shakespeare had written it according to the actual reality of the world, Macbeth would die in bed and it would be the head of MacDuff we see at the end.

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I know it predated the invasion, but Cancun Ted having a Twitter orgasm over the masculinity of the Russian military deserves inclusion in the pro-Putin GOP archives. https://twitter.com/tedcruz/status/1395394254969753601?s=20&t=89V0FBuBDNvW4hSaKRfd9Q

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Most Americans consider themselves Middle class. What people consider themselves is not what they really are. Most Black Americans favor robust social safety nets and unions, neither of which are conservative

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