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May 03, 2018


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I doubt that many on the right are this far into the weeds, but some right-wingers favor the maintenance of purposefully ineffectual federal programs. That allows them to argue that federal law has pre-empted state regulation, even if federal law is not enforced. There certainly have been strands of this in some pre-emotion cases, where it was argued that the existence of a (lax) federal permit was a bar to state enforcement or a citizen suit. That doesn't explain leaving HUD and DOE alone, but there is benefit to the regulated community in having uniform federal law govern, so long as it's not unduly onerous.

There's the filibuster, Democrats endless obstructionist behavior and still too many Republican seats in areas that might flip Democrat if the Republic Party moved quickly to Make America Great Again. Slow strangulation through huge deficits while looting the federal government on the way down is the path of least resistance to the promised land of MAGA.

It’s not that complicated. The GOP donor class wanted tax cuts (they got those in December), cheap labor (no new immigration laws), and business as usual (no outward disruptions to federal agencies). Everything else is window dressing for the Fox News crowd. In its heart, the GOP knows that enacting its agenda in full would cause massive social distortions, and that’s bad for business.

The mystery meat in right-wing messaging is the promise to run America like a business. And not just any successful business like Apple or Amazon but The Trump Organization. So, you get a lot of flash and glitter generously applied to a kind of pyramid scheme where real-estate hustles, tax avoidance, and strategic bankruptcies inform the real business model. In the ideology of success, bluster and bravado are the both the branding and, ultimately, the product itself.

It's no accident that the grifters in the Trump White House embody the very swamp they supposedly came to drain. Even the ideal of "good government" becomes just another advertising ploy designed to con the rubes out of their pensions and health care. But looting this government means the cash cow continues to exist. Once you abolish a department, the access to assets is foreclosed to politically connected apparatchiks.

We can see in Russia how the system is intended to work. Oligarchs gain power over a sector through kickbacks and other favors. The right-wing grifting machine dovetails with the bureaucracy and a kakistocracy is created. This is what we fail to see when blinded by Trump's dizzying distractions. See Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Betsy DeVos, Rick Perry, and Mick Mulvaney for examples.

David Brooks had a very interesting column this morning in the Times. He had both a warning and confession in the last paragraph:

In Venezuela we saw how a politician used demagogic sectarian rhetoric to establish an authoritarian regime and then destroy a people. I’m sure many of my left-wing friends believe that that sort of tribal us/them mentality won’t hijack and corrupt their own movement. But as someone who lived through the last 30 years of conservatism, I’m here to tell you, it can. Politicians these days have decided they don’t need the thinkers anymore.

Republicans hate government and hence are really, really bad at governance.


My name is Scott, like you I am from Phoenix..one of the few I know lol. I was born at St. Joe's (yes I still call it that, along with Squaw Peak, John C. Lincoln, Good Sam, Dreamy Draw, etc..) I tried sending you this message via e-mail but the link did not work in my browser. I am on a public computer in a library so that may explain a few things.

This message has little to do with your post I will admit but I wanted to send you this for several reasons.

I understand your cynicism when talking about Phoenix and the valley in general. You wouldn't have such sharp opinions if you didn't care. I understand that. I have watched this town grow up, while I was growing up. Phoenix went from being half dirt roads to 90% concrete during my lifetime.

When you love something you want it to be better and the frustration in not seeing it be what you know it can be is..I don't have the word for that. Phoenix could be a lot better, but it could also be a lot worse too. Phoenix is still 'growing up' and will be for some time.

I guess what I am asking is to give Phoenix some credit for what it has and is doing right. Just some. Phoenix is trying, I know that isn't a lot but it's something.

I will spare you the gory details but I am homeless at the moment and I am seeing my hometown from the worst viewpoint possible. But I can still see its beauty. Phoenix is a beautiful city. And it's trying to be more than it is. And there's something to be said for that.

Scott, You will find no shortage of writers who are relentless Phoenix boosters. I'm not that. And if a city plays in the big leagues, it can tolerate one columnist who casts a critical eyes. I pray that your personal situation improves.

BTW, I was the most passionate and effective supporter in the press of the improvements in Phoenix. But the "Why Do You Hate Phoenix" boosters never give me credit for that. It gets old.

“Why Do You Hate Phoenix”

A badge of honor, wear it proudly.

Soleri, since I refuse to read David Brooks, I'm just guessing. But were his other two points that he is a gifted thinker and ugly conservatism is the fault of liberals?

I'm thinking that if the Republicans were to actually get rid of "big government," the states would then have to shoulder THAT load. Can you imagine what the "state" taxes would look like? What kind of political fallout would those "low tax" Republican face?

As far as Trump doing such a thing as shrinking government, he has no interest in that because he's using big government to line and fatten his pockets. The myriad of places within that big government suit his greed just fine since uncovering just where he's profiting would take some major sleuthing.

"Our present "leaders"—the people of wealth and power—do not know what it means to take a place seriously: to think it worthy, for its own sake, of love and study and careful work. They cannot take any place seriously because they must be ready at any moment, by the terms of power and wealth in the modern world, to destroy any place."
Wendell Berry, Out of your car Off of your horse.

it can't outlaw abortion

The GOP is setting up the shot to kill Roe.

Iowa passed and signed an unconstitutional six-week abortion limit, deliberately intending it to get challenged and appealed up to SCOTUS.

Anthony Kennedy may not last beyond this summer, by choice; RBG could go at an time.

If Trump gets to appoint one more justice, Roe will go. If he gets to appoint two, so will Griswold, and with it Obergefeller.

Liberals should burn effigies of Mitch McConnell yearly for the next century.


It all depends on your timeline.

Political parties operate on a two year election cycle.

The Taliban and the American evangelicals operate on a timeline of ETERNITY.

That's why in the end, the Taliban will prevail with the scalp of another superpower under their belt. The American Taliban will turn the clock back in this country. They're off to a good start. If Pence replaces his puppet, it will the inquisition all over again.

Hell, maybe putting me on "the rack" will help my back.

Got that right Ruben!
Mike Pence is intent on bringing his persecuted Christians out of exile, AGAIN!


A good read

Religion will be the death of us all. But maybe that is the big plan.

Ruben skip the rack just chew more of them jelly beans.


LXer Linux News a free news site?


For sure we cant trust politicians.

But can we trust the news?



speaking of trust, check out the
"Stains Of McCain" by Stephen Lemons posted on the Phoenix Arizona pages in this blog.


Chris Thomas, David Brooks is a good writer and worth reading for that reason. Another reason is that he's protecting his sinking island of reasonable conservatism with strenuous flailing. He doesn't read his comments at the Times, which is a pity. since some of the pithiest and most lethal schadenfreude anywhere is on display there.

Brooks knows he's putting lipstick on a pig but it's more or less his career now. That's why his confession Friday was so telling. It's not just Trump and his ambush of democracy. No, no, no. It's been happening on his side for 30 years!

His warning is worth heeding, too. The left that thinks it's one unicorn away from power might want to consider the implicit authoritarianism it quaffs like a better pinot noir. The right's project is crashing before our eyes. It's both a death cult and a threat to democracy itself now. The left is not immunue to this temptation. All you have to do is tribalize around your own sanctimony and the promised land will appear.

Brooks exercises his false equivalence deftly if unfairly. The Democrats are not there yet but I wouldn't be surprised to see his prophecy come true. The progs will not settle for a mild leftist in 2020. They want the Full Bern and Trump is inadvertently setting us up for yet another catastrophe.

US Democracys death has been in progress since we elected a lifeguard wearing cowboy boots. Putins home boy Donald is the big gold nail in the coffin. "Progressives" and Pelosi Democrats are swinging in wind in the noose they built.
Short of a violent uprising i suggest getting on board with Eldon Musk and
ee cummings. "I hear there is a hell of a universe next door. "

Speaking of great poets. For me reading Soleri is like reading ee cummings and William Buckley at the same time.
Great poetic rhythm requiring a dictionary.

Thanks, Cal. The word you had to look up - I assume - is schadenfreude, one of the best German portmanteau words. It's becoming common now in English. Other words like it include zeitgeist, weltschmerz (one of the most poetic) and wanderlust. Am I a show-off for using that word? I guess. German, btw, is a declining language. In some places it's more common to hear English, e.g., art galleries. American entertainment is partly responsible for degrading German. TV shows got Germans saying gekillt for killed and gemordert for murdered. It's like everything else in our shrinking world where growth/overpopulation is now destroying what it unique, charming, and authentic.

No problema. Keep Scribbling

Speaking of schadenfreude,I was recently in Ca. and Oregon and noticed a difference between the two in terms of overpopulation.Is it my prejudices that make me think there is a big difference between the two states in terms of crowds and the rush Californians seem to be in compared to the laid back Oregonnians?.Between bad roads in Ca. and so many people there I was glad to be back in Az.(near Flagstaff)I heard on the news that Ca. had overtaken England in the GDP category.Somehow I don't think that is worth it.

Mike, Oregon outside of Portland is largely rural, so yes, it's laid back. Most of California is rural as well and for good reasons: too hot and dry, wet and forested, or mountainous and rugged. If you're on the coast, you're living in a paradise ruined by too many human beings driving too many cars. Every really nice place in America is under similar pressure. I have a neighbor in Portland who wants to move - too many homeless, sky-high rents, and worsening traffic congestion. She talks about finding an "undiscovered" paradise. But if it's really nice, it's already been discovered. Flagstaff can't take too many more California immigrants without slipping into that dubious category of spoiled paradise. Growing up in Phoenix, I thought it was a paradise. We paved it over and the rest is history.

Cities, their promises and failures, are a major focus on this blog, which is why I camp out here. Their main drawback, in my opinion, is that people who live in them still want to drive. Portland struggles with this problem better than most but it's a virtually unsolvable problem. We have met the enemy and he's driving.

What at least 40 percent of the US voters dont get and what at least 60 percent are in denial about.

"The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man. Thomas Malthus

“In contrast [to trees and fish], oil, metals, and coal are not renewable; they don't reproduce, sprout, or have sex to produce baby oil droplets or coal nuggets.”
― Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed


I just did some quick cal-culating and there's you and me concerned about over populating and there's 7,620,960,998 folks who could give a rat's ass about the subject.

My breaking point is when all the salmon in the world get "ate up", then I'm going to get really pissed.

Sustainable wild Alaskan salmon. Sold in Phoenix in the winter and in Albuquerque in the summer by a commercial fisherman named Kenny. www.fishhugger.com
Ruben, he can give you the lowdown on when the salmon will be no more.

Since Smith Identified water as the orgin of Blue Death we have had to depend on war. So the Donald is working on that.
Of course there's a chance of a murderous super bug.
So which will come first? My being out of Wild Anchovies or Wild Salmon?
I know this would decrease the size of heaven for some but im for one kid per family and a two (2) percent tax for the preservation of other species and Roadless Wilderness.

Ah, boys - there is NO Escape. As we're learning this week, folks who thought they had Nirvana on the Big Island, are being runover by lava eruptions. And, so it goes.

Dude, Eldon wants you.

Thats Elon.
Eldon is an old high school friend and iowa farmer.

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