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May 25, 2018


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Clapper’s name has appeared in the right wing mainstream media the past several days as a target of denigration with little mention of his conclusion regarding Russia and the 2016 election. Republicans are happy with the stock market, tax cuts and deregulation. The Trump base is as enthusiastic about him as Democrats are motivated to make him a one term president. The economic expansion is nearing its cyclical peak but if it extends close enough to the 2020 election Trump gets his second term and the right owns the judiciary for another generation.

You base your column on the comment of a person who lied under oath to congress about gathering data from American citizens??

If Clapper says the sun is shinning, you'll have to forgive me, but I'll go outside and check for myself.

Did the Russians impact the election. Of course they did. Mueller will get to the bottom of everything. He is my only hope to start the rebuild of this burning down house (USA).

Remember, the house is still burning down, by necessity. The two corrupt parties are in shambles. They need to be completely destroyed. Since a Phoenix-like third party cannot arise due to the barriers put in place by the two corrupt parties, the two parties in place must lose all it's current leadership and staffing in order for a new breed of politicians to take their place. The new breed will need to come from the generations behind us. The dem leadership is what, on average 80 to 100 years old? Please, just die off. Republicans, same.

It appears to me that the new wave of politicians making their way through the system are better persons than the scum we have elected the past four decades. I can only hope.

The burn is only half done. Don't get ahead of yourselves. You dems and repubs are holding on to a reality that will be ashes by the time 2020 comes along.

Good riddance.

Ruben, there's an overriding problem here and it isn't the political parties. I say this as someone who regards the Republican Party as utterly beneath contempt. Rather, the problem is a nation of sheep that is so easily bamboozled by distractions that it cannot perform the most basic duties of citizenship. When you voted against Hillary Clinton, you gave a textbook example of this dysfunction. Millions more didn't vote, or voted for third party loons because they confuse cynicism with wisdom. Our democracy is in critical condition and the pathogen's name is Donald Trump. That said, a healthy democracy would not willingly introduce this toxicity into our nation's bloodstream. We - not "them" - are responsible. If our democracy is committing suicide, it's because this is what the sheep want. Good and hard.

One more thing: James Clapper is a hero for telling us a momentous larger truth. He might have lied to Congress once about mass data collection, which to purists is unforgivable but it cut into a gray area that involved the nation's security. Since you're essentially trafficking in right-wing talking points here, I'll assume you don't really care about the issue per se. That said, I would rather intel err on the side of a concrete good, that is, tracing communications to rogue regimes and actors. I don't dispute the validity of the debate itself but I do condemn maligning a decent and honorable man on behalf of those cynics willing to excuse flagrant treason in their own midst.

Uruguay looks good:
My loyalties will not be bound by national borders, or confined in time by one nation's history, or limited in the spiritual dimension by one language and culture. I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to the singing stars, to the very end of space and time.
Edward Abbey

Clapper like Powell is trying to resurrect his Patriotism. They both did a bad irrevocable thing. I do agree with Clapper on most his recent assessments.
But my emotions want me to agree with Ruben. The current GOP and DEM can burn in hell.
I missed something here?
"Since you're essentially trafficking in right-wing talking points here"
Muammar Gaddafi was mutilated in the streets to the sadistic cackles of Hillary Clinton and Libya is a humanitarian disaster with an open slave trade after western interventionism created a failed state.
And Remember Aleppo?
Yep Hillary would not have given us Gorsuch but possibly a war quicker than Genghis Kahn Donald and Attila the Hun, Bolton.

This is good Soleri said, “Our democracy is in critical condition and the pathogen's name is Donald Trump. That said, a healthy democracy would not willingly introduce this toxicity into our nation's bloodstream. We - not "them" - are responsible. If our democracy is committing suicide, it's because this is what the sheep want. Good and hard.”
However the sheep are too ignorant to know what they need.

Cal, political parties are not programs. They're human beings who, for better or worse, magnetize around certain ideas, emotions, and rough allegiances. The names of the parties don't matter, nor does the their number as long as there are at least two. One-party states are known as dictatorships. This is the path Donald Trump would take America. This is why we're here, assessing our nation's chances of surviving his misrule.

In 2016, there was one qualified candidate who was vetted, experienced, and deeply serious. She lost to a carnival barker who belongs in supermarket tabloids and maybe prison but not the Oval Office. If you didn't vote for Hillary, you voted for him. Your love of the desert won't save you from responsibility.

This nation is deeply misogynistic and fearful. I understand that this is a human problem more than a political one but it doesn't relieve us of the necessity to do our best. If you reason away your agency here, you are no longer making sense.

We must vote as if other people matter, including future generations. If we vote against someone because she's deemed vaguely untrustworthy or because we insist on some elusive moral perfection we ourselves don't possess, then we are paving a road to our national hell and justifying it with "reasons". There is, however, no escape from the need for responsibility. This is it.

When I was a student in Germany, I would wonder how that nation of philosophers could have surrendered to someone as dangerous and ugly as Adolf Hitler. Now, I know. Americans are obviously not as good, exceptional, or rational as we think we are. We wanted someone "to shake things up" and we self-congratulated over our collective madness. 42% of Americans still approve of this pathological liar and lifelong con artist. If you're not worried, you're not paying attention.

Oh im worried and paying close attention. I have few regrets when it comes to responsibility. Likely i was born responsible. Sometimes a terrible gift.
Keep coming here.
Hasta manana.

At some level, Trump may indeed make America great again. I see more energy and more motivation to oust this scoundrel-if he's still around to oust when the crimes are daylighted-than I've seen around any election. A great awakening has come about due to the election of this dangerous buffoon, people who never paid attention to politics are deeply engaged.

We may also see our constitutional mechanisms do what they are designed to do, and our democratic institutions reinvigorated in the process. The major fly in this ointment is the Democrats themselves, they need to figure out who they are and find a credible messenger. If they run another vapid, visionless Hillary campaign that consists of nothing but "I'm not him," they deserve to lose again.

Clapper stated, under oath, No data collection on Americans.

If we would have found say a dozen records collected "inadvertently", we could keep Clapper on the scale of "decent and honorable".

Since the number was actually 150,000,000 records and now surpassing 500,000,000 records annually, that now puts him and his cohorts as the most traitorous threats to our freedom in the history of our democracy.

All a matter of scale. Strange times we are in to have you using Clapper as a left wing talking point.

Doggie, How about this?

Ruben, I'm not a left-winger the way you're a right-winger. I don't tribalize around ideological correctness, which is why I find the current left-wing purity movement so alarming. I get the importance of institutions and buffers. The left is now beginning to reflect the same authoritarian tendencies that have long afflicted the right. This is why Berniemania was so alarming to me. Democracies require patience, compromise, civility, and respect. What we're seeing now on the left and right is a breakdown of crucial democratic norms. While Trump is the most grotesque offender here, he will not be the last. Democracy is clearly on the line.

I know I'm preaching here but the ignorance of - and contempt for - crucial institutions of self-government is deadly. That's why I responded to your comment above. Burning it all down out of anger is grotesquely unpatriotic. This barroom blowhard style of thinking might liven up conversations but it doesn't serve the extremely difficult task of maintaining democracy. There was only one qualified candidate in 2016 and you voted against her. You're not helping your country. You're merely flattering your "rebel spirit".

I want people to grow up. Democracy isn't easy. You think this level of cynicism and extremism can go on indefinitely? We're living on borrowed time as a nation. Think very seriously about your contributions to the erosion of democratic values. America is still worth defending.

If you can claim to NOT be a left winger, then I have every right to claim (correctly) that I am not a right winger.

As of this moment, the "guardrails" in our system are working. Be thankful for that. I am.

"Guardrails are working?"
I have trouble agreeing with that.
insanity rules the day.
In any other administration i think Trump would have been tarred and feathered and rode out of town on a rail (heavy not lite).
Jr would have been comitted to a corner for being stupid. And Jared like his dad would be on his way to prison.
Manafort convicted of Treason.

Ruben, I'm thankful there is a deep state, which is the only thing standing between us and a demagogue's wholesale trampling of our democratic institutions. This crisis, however occurred for a reason, and there is a woeful lack of self-awareness going on here. In a binary presidential election, which they usually all are, you make a considered judgment. If you think a lifelong public servant is worse than a completely unqualified and despicable con artist, something is very wrong. I know the 30-year long history of turning Hillary Clinton into a she-devil worked wonders for Team R, but it has also damaged our nation, the public's ability to reason, and America's resilience as a democracy. This is not easily forgiven. Worse, you're still here demanding we trash remaining guardrails like the Democratic Party, which is pretty much the only political institution standing between us and tyranny. I want to scream.

People who are smart enough to comment on blogs should also be wise enough to know when enough is enough. America is in a profound crisis brought about by the very forces of populist hysteria that elevated Donald Trump. I'm not sure how much more of this glib trash talk posing as truth-telling we can endure.

Intelligence is not a requirement to post on a blog. I am a perfect example.

 Krysten Sinema ($115,472) and David Scott ($70,750) — and both voted for the bill.

Democrats Who Voted to Roll Back Banking Regulations Took Lots of Money From Banks


Now, we have finally come to the logical conclusion of the #Resistance: reports of wealthy Democratic donors—who apparently have learned nothing from the capitulation of supposed Trump antagonists like Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck—openly scheming with Never Trump conservatives, whose main problems with Trump include the idea that he’s not enough of a hawk. And this melding of the minds is allegedly all happening in a quest to Save the Republic—not only from Trump and the far right, but the far left, too! (You know, the Maoist wing of the Democratic Party.)


"When he left, America voted in an ignorant, xenophobic, racist egomaniac who has spent his entire time in office doing everything in his power to tear down Obama’s legacy. And this country is sitting by and letting him do it."


Jim Carrey Blasts ‘Castrato’ Adam Schiff And Democrats In New Artwork
The actor gives Dems an ass-kicking for not fighting hard enough against Donald Trump.


I do see a similarity between the Germans of the early 1930's and the trump (small letters for a small man) supporters. They question nothing, have an animus against the left and liberals, and, like trump, want democracy, freedom, and rights for themselves--and want to limit those abilities for their political opponents. The trump supporters, professing to be Christians, probably love and worship trump more than God and Jesus Christ. They certainly--and self-servingly--conveniently "forget" applying Jesus Christ's teaching to trump's, and their, behaviors. As in 1933, they give trump, as the Germans gave hitler, a blank check and complete freedom of action to do anything he wants without reproach or opprobrium. This enabling (as in hitler's enabling act) only emboldens and encourages trump to "up the ante" in trump's campaign to undermine as much democracy as he can. This is why trump is a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER to democracy in America. I really don't think many of those who fought for and sacrificed their lives to defend democracy would want trump's policies to be any definition of "democracy."

Cal, how about it? Nothing that hasn't been done before or since, but to hold the view that that is "normal" government activity I believe is misguided.

I worked for the federal government for 40+ years, at many levels, including Washington, as well as a congressional staffer. Those who believe there is some vast conspiracy greatly overestimate the government.

The so-called "deep state" is nothing more that career professionals in the agencies and Cabinet level staffs that are generally true believers in the agency mission, and like an immune system, respond when there are attacks on that mission. For that I am thankful, especially with the current state of affairs.

That we have to trust scum like Clapper and rely on the Democrats who have broken ranks to enable every lunacy and appointment does not give me hope about the future either.

Bravo Dranka! And yet, Ruben views the Democratic Party in the same light as the Republican Party. Ruben the Reactionary, a credit to all the native born Anglos of Arizona and New Mexico. They were raised in an environment which is so far right they don’t know a leftist from liberal. The land of Goldwater today, tomorrow, forever.

Bradley, you should thank your lucky stars you escaped the Land of the Right-wing Airhead.

Since you were NOT educated in AZ, then you don't know our history.

AZ and NM have been closer to Dem/left leaning during most of their history.

Only the recent influx of Midwest folks turned the state right wing. AND that only occurred because these newcomers all vote and the Hispanic population of AZ and NM don't vote.

The threat to American democracy comes from the right, not the left: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/trump-effect-new-study-connects-white-american-intolerance-support-authoritarianism-ncna877886

Ruben, these Midwesterners were--at least in Chicago's case--largely racist and were part of the "white flight" that kept on going.

Educated NOT in Arizona, I do believe the Democratic Party "gives and gives back" somewhat more than the Republican Party--and to more people because the Democratic Party, while being ardent capitalists, have some compassion and are not as control-oriented as the Republicans. That being said, the Democratic Party could--and should--give more. There are aspects of Bernie that appeal to my 1960's idealism. But if the alternative is trump and his authoritarian-oriented, money-worshipping, "my freedom before yours," "ugly americans" because of Socialism's unlikely "electability," I have to choose the lesser of two evils--and that is the Democrats.

I share your analysis and pessimism. We shall see.

This post is beneath you, Jon. Shame, shame.

Democrats won't give up their culture-war gains or aspirations. Most of these are noble. But they are a deal-killer for half of the electorate.

The culture war divides this nation in a fundamental way. It started with Richard Nixon, gained traction under Ronald Reagan, went into overdrive with George W Bush, and finally exploded into a virtual civil war under Donald Trump. Democrats didn't do this. Republicans did.

I despise political correctness/identity politics. But given that half of America has been lured into conflating white identity with the American flag, the rise of its inverse was probably inevitable. One political party cynically started and then profited from the culture war. It is despicable, tawdry, unpatriotic, and vile. It created a reaction that makes many of us uncomfortable but let's not forget who the real bullies are.

Roseanne Barr's overdue downfall should probably remind us that racism is still the dominant emotional energy on the right. It preceded Trump and will succeed him because most Republicans if not explicitly racist are inexplicably comfortable with those who are. There is no Republican majority without it. I'm sorry that the left has finally evolved a toxic reaction but it is a very pale imitation of the original sin.

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