The post-truth politics of the GOP: there are no neutral arbiters of facts (it’s all just opinion)

I have explained the “Foxification” of the news for years.

The concept of “fair and balanced” reporting requires that when someone says the Earth is round and revolves around the sun (a demonstrably provable fact), a counter argument that the world is flat and the sun revolves around the Earth must be presented, and both positions be treated equally and “fairly,” even though one is factual and one is utter nonsense.

We report, you decide” simply means that facts no longer matter, everything is mere opinion, and whatever you believe — despite all factual evidence to the contrary –is equally valid. “Don’t bother me with the facts, I know what I believe!

This is the very foundation of the post-truth politics “fake news” propaganda of  FOX News and the conservative media entertainment complex.

This explains what the editors of the Washington Post complain about today. The GOP’s mind-blowing hypocrisy on the CBO:

As House Republicans began work on their Obamacare replacement plan last week, they avoided addressing the likelihood that it would significantly increase the ranks of the uninsured and dodged questions about its fiscal responsibility by plowing ahead before Congress’s staff experts at the CBO had a chance to estimate the proposal’s effects. In the absence of sober-minded analysis, Republicans offered tricky rhetoric about expanding choice and freeing the market.

But they can avoid facing up to the negative consequences of their plan for only so long: The CBO will soon issue a report on their proposal, probably this week. So Republicans preemptively attacked the country’s designated budget scorekeepers. “If you’re looking to the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer inveighed. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) sneered at the office’s “unelected bureaucrats.” Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) declared that “CBO has scored everything wrong forever, so they’re a minor concern.”

These attacks are beyond galling.

The CBO is run by an economist Republicans hand-selected after Tom Price — then the Budget Committee chairman, now Mr. Trump’s health and human services secretary — called for replacing the well-respected previous director. Their choice, Keith Hall, has overseen the move toward “dynamic scoring,” which makes Republican tax cuts seem less costly. But not toward rank reality-denial, which is what it would take to swallow some of the claims Republicans have made about repealing and replacing Obamacare.

The GOP hypocrisy is mind-blowing. Over the past two decades, CBO is perhaps best known for analyses that put a stamp of budgetary responsibility on Obamacare, but also papers that enabled Republicans to cut taxes during the George W. Bush years and, later, to slam President Obama on the long-term debt picture. Time after time, Republicans had nothing but praise for the office’s “nonpartisan” work. They were quick to cite the CBO when it concluded that some people would willingly work less under Obamacare.

Republicans’ latest volleys would hardly be the first partisan attacks the CBO has sustained. But, in the midst of Mr. Trump’s wide assault on institutions that arbitrate factual disputes and provide unbiased information, their condemnation is not just odious, but dangerous, too.

The Post‘s Greg Sargent explains the larger context of this last point. Republicans are trying to destroy the very idea of neutral judgment:

We need to talk about the Congressional Budget Office. But before you click away from what you assume will be a dreadfully boring discussion of arcane legislative procedures, let me assure you that there’s something larger going on in this argument, one that gets to the heart of where the Trump administration and Republicans are taking our entire political system. So stick with me.

In their weirdly accelerated effort to pass a repeal and replacement for the Affordable Care Act, Republicans bypassed normal procedures by not waiting for the CBO to “score” their bill before passing it through its first committee vote, which happened after 4 a.m. Thursday. There isn’t any mystery about why they’re in such a rush: They’re scared that the CBO score will say that their bill will lead to massive numbers of Americans losing their health coverage, increases in premiums and out-of-pocket costs, an earlier date at which the Medicare trust fund will be depleted and who knows what else. Once the score is issued, it will probably become a weapon Democrats can use against the bill.

The CBO is a nonpartisan office of professional analysts whose job it is to provide Congress with information and research on budgetary matters. They’re not always right when they’re called on to make predictions of the future, because many of the questions they deal with are inherently complex and uncertain. So it’s perfectly legitimate to take issue with any particular report they produce, to say, “Their analysis is problematic for the following reasons.”

But that’s not what Republicans are doing right now. Before the CBO even releases its score (which is expected to happen next week), they’ve launched a preemptive strike on the agency. “If you’re looking at the CBO for accuracy, you’re looking in the wrong place,” said Sean Spicer. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise called the CBO “unelected bureaucrats in Washington.”

If you have sound economic logic in place then that’s more important” than what the CBO says, said Rep. Dave Brat. [in other words, ideological beliefs trump facts, i.e., Foxification.] “CBO has scored everything wrong forever so they’re a minor concern.” In case you’re wondering, “sound economic logic” is code for free-market orthodoxy.

We should note that the CBO’s original assessment of the ACA was indeed off in some ways — but not just in ways that were too optimistic. It overestimated the number of people who would sign up for coverage on the ACA’s exchanges, in part because at the time it wasn’t clear how successful Republican efforts to sabotage the law would eventually be. But it underestimated the positive impact the law would have on the budget deficit.

So while the CBO is hardly perfect, there’s no reason to think that its score of the GOP health-care bill will be incorrectly pessimistic. The reason Republicans are launching this attack is that they’re sure the score will paint a bleak picture of their bill, and they want to inoculate themselves against it. Griping about a CBO score that puts your proposed legislation in a bad light is a long-standing and bipartisan tradition. But Republicans give the game away when they start complaining before the score is even released.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the director of the CBO, Keith Hall, is a Republican economist and former George W. Bush administration official who was chosen for his position by the Republican Congress in 2015. So it isn’t as though the agency is a bunch of leftist hacks who are out to undermine the GOP.

What’s the larger context here? This is straight out of President Trump’s playbook, one that tries to convince everyone that there’s no such thing as a neutral authority on anything [i.e., Foxification.]. If the CBO might say your bill will have problematic effects, then the answer is not to rebut its particular critique, but to attack the institution itself as fundamentally illegitimate. If the news media report things that don’t reflect well on you, then they’re “the enemy of the American People.” If polls show you with a low approval rating, then “any negative polls are fake news.” If a court issues a ruling you don’t like, then it’s a “so-called judge” who has no right to constrain you.

To Trump and increasingly to his Republican allies, there are only two kinds of people in the world: the ones who agree with them (who are the best people, fantastic, believe me) and the ones who don’t (who are losers and haters). There is no in-between and no such thing as neutrality.

You might recall that in his 2010 State of the Union speech, Barack Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, saying it would “open the floodgates for special interests” to influence elections. He didn’t attack the justices personally or question the legitimacy of the court. Nevertheless, Republicans were terribly offended that Obama would offer such a criticism with members of the court in attendance.

It’s a different time now. When the CBO score of the Republican health-care bill finally arrives, Republicans will turn up the volume on their attack, barely bothering to deal with the score’s specifics but just saying that the CBO is a bunch of dishonest Washington bureaucrats who can’t be trusted. The message will be reinforced on Fox News, conservative talk radio and right-wing websites. The GOP’s base will adopt that position as its own.

Republicans might not persuade most people to go along with them. But they’ll probably have some measure of success in their larger project of undermining the basic idea that there is such a thing as nonpartisan information we as a country can use when we decide what direction we want to move in.

Donald Trump wants to convince Americans that the news media and other sources of factual evidence cannot be believed, that only he — the world’s greatest liar — is telling them the truth, and that they should only believe him. He has said as much. This is a hallmark of authoritarian autocratic leaders

Unfortunately, a large number of Americans live in the Epistemic closure and the ‘conservative misinformation feedback loop’ media bubble and will willingly follow “dear leader” Donald Trump into this dark night of authoritarianism.

It is up to you to resist.

UPDATE: The Time’s Paul Krugman takes up this topic on Monday. Facts Are Enemies of the People (excerpts):

America is now governed by a president and party that fundamentally don’t accept the idea that there are objective facts. Instead, they want everyone to accept that reality is whatever they say it is.

* * *

Republicans rammed Trumpcare through key committees, literally in the dead of night, without waiting for the C.B.O. score — and they have been pre-emptively denouncing the budget office, which is likely to find that the bill would cause millions to lose health coverage.

* * *

But this isn’t really about whose analyses of health policy are most likely to get it right. It’s about Trump and company attacking the legitimacy of anyone who might question their assertions.

The C.B.O., in other words, is in the same position as the news media, which Mr. Trump has declared “enemies of the people” — not, whatever he may say, because they get things wrong, but because they dare to challenge him on anything.

“Enemy of the people” is, of course, a phrase historically associated with Stalin and other tyrants. This is no accident. Mr. Trump isn’t a dictator — not yet, anyway — but he clearly has totalitarian instincts.

* * *

And much, perhaps most, of his party is happy to go along, accepting even the most bizarre conspiracy theories. For example, a huge majority of Republicans believe Mr. Trump’s basically insane charges about being wiretapped by President Obama.

So don’t make the mistake of dismissing the assault on the Congressional Budget Office as some kind of technical dispute. It’s part of a much bigger struggle, in which what’s really at stake is whether ignorance is strength, whether the man in the White House is the sole arbiter of truth.

58 Responses to The post-truth politics of the GOP: there are no neutral arbiters of facts (it’s all just opinion)

  1. Frances Perkins

    Fair and balance to right wing media is, ” our panel will discuss whether Obama destroyed our country with fire or brimstone. After that discussion go can decide, for yourself, how Obama destroyed the country.”

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Perfect.

      • My goodness, what a delightful little echo chamber! Frances to AzBM to you to Frances…all smugly congratulating each other on what clever boys you are. It must be so warm and comfy reassuring each other about how “correct” you must be. After all, you just heard it from each other…

        • For Sure Not Tom

          What do you care, you claim you don’t have time to watch Fox News.

          Desperation is not attractive, and it’s not our fault your party is falling apart.

          • “What do you care[?]”

            I’m not certain where you got the idea I do care. It was just funny to see all of you gathering around and telling each other how great you are. It was worth some commentary. :o)

            “…you claim you don’t have time to watch Fox News.”

            I don’t have the time and I don’t watch it. Too many things to do and not enough hours to do them.

            “Desperation is not attractive, and it’s not our fault your party is falling apart.”

            You keep saying “desperation” and I keep wondering where you get that from. Certainly not from me. Perhaps you are “projecting” (as you used to like to say so frequently). As to the GOP “falling apart”: First, it isn’t; and second, you are projecting the democrat party when you say it is.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            When the GOP spokesperson for the GOP POTUS says you have “alternative facts”, that sums up how desperate your party is.

            When you yourself spend your limited time saying “you libs will never give Trump a chance” or “you snowflakes in your little cocoons” or whatever recent insults you’ve been posting, instead of pointing out something, anything, good coming out of this White House, that’s most desperate.

            When you yourself know better yet still feel the need defend the corrupt real estate developer and noted pussy grabbing pervert Donald J. Trump, that’s desperate.

          • I see…you decide what constitute “desperate” and then everything fits neatly into your little pigeonhole. I suppose it doesn’t matter if you are wrong, does it? Oh well, we all march to the beat of own drummer…

  2. before the november election I was forced to watch fox to find out what wikileaks was releasing because nbc news said they would no longer report what was in wikileaks only that the russians were behind the hacking of the e-mails. now I can go back to msdnc and cnn.

  3. For Sure Not Tom

    Donald Trump used to love the CBO!

    The stimulus “is a net negative effect on the growth of GDP over 10 years” —as admitted by @BarackObama‘s own CBO http://t.co/otaKcGOV

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2011
    The CBO has confirmed that @BarackObama‘s stimulus “crowds out” private investment while not creating any jobs. http://t.co/nMSky9jb

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2011
    The CBO has predicted that unemployment will rise to 8.8% this next year. http://t.co/AsMhkOre This is @BarackObama‘s economic recovery.

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2012
    Disaster! The @BarackObama tax hikes set for 2013 are going “to throw us back into a recession” according to the CBO http://t.co/DnIZD13r

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2012
    Scary—the CBO esimated that US publicly held debt amounts to over 70%. China is buying our country up.

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2012
    Terrible CBO forecast for 2013—1.4% GDP growth and 7.5%+ unemployment (really 17%+) http://t.co/B9Q7UowK You get what you vote for!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2013
    As I predicted, Obama already caught lying on Ocare enrollment # by CBO who’s sticking w/ “6 million enrollments” http://t.co/LoVuJhXWEB

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2014
    Waste! The CBO now estimates that @BarackObama‘s stimulus cost $831B and a ridicuous $4.1M per job created http://t.co/acb1EiXg

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2012
    CBO estimates over 2.3M jobs will be lost due to ObamaCare http://t.co/CHG5fhA2Q5 Elections have consequences.

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2014
    Congrats to Pres.Obama and Dems. CBO has TRIPLED its estimate of working hours lost due to ObamaCare http://t.co/CHG5fhA2Q5 Job Killer

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2014
    CBO now estimates that over 2.5M will lose jobs directly because of ObamaCare. REPEAL now before it is too late.

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2014
    Congrats to Obama & Democrats. CBO has just announced that ObamaCare missed its uninsured target by half & program costs extra $700B+.

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2014

    Ah, conservatives, so worried about “character” but not actually understanding what “character” means.

  4. John Huppenthal

    CBO is not independent, it is not neutral – it is completely corrupt. Not directly itself, but because all of its analysis is based on a research bibliography which is completely corrupt.

    The researchers who feed into public policy overtly commit every kind of research fraud under the sun. A failure to properly control for all variables which impact the variable being analyzed, a failure to cite literature which comes to adverse conclusions to their own, long daisy chains of citation to prevent truth from breaking through, ignoring effects directly arising from the variable being considered.

    The CBO just blesses this “consensus” by accepting the outcomes of this sewer as gospel.

    This corruption permeates tax rate change, climate change, minimum wage policy and the effects of illegal immigration on crime.

    I would imagine that it also affects health care analysis given the grotesque errors in the CBO forecast of the impacts of Obamacare.

    Their is a larger philosophical war going on here. Democrats actively bless the “post truth” era, a positivist philosophy. Something is so because lots of people say its so, because it supports a collectivist tilt in policy. Western Civilization has been based on a Greek philosophical tradition of seeking the truth. Now, democrats are completely positivists except when they can use our traditions as a weapon. We get up in the morning and we say “it may be the law, but is it good?” Positivists get up in the morning and say “it is the law and we must obey.” Islam is completely positivist and you can see the impact of that philosophy in the divergence of the two civilizations.

    90% of all law schools in America are now positivist.

    The future has heavy bleak elements.

    • Frances Perkins

      The only thing you can do John, is leave for a workers paradise. I suggest Russia or North Korea for you.

      • John Huppenthal

        Hmm… North Korea? Isn’t that the worker’s paradises that you all yearn for and work towards everyday on this blog? GDP per capita, $600. Try living on $50 per month. Almost as bad as your other shrine – Cuba.

  5. Frances Perkins

    The right has replaced “cogito ut intelligum” with “credo ergo sum”.

    • I think both St. Augustine and Descarte would roll over in their graves if they knew you were so misusing their summations…

  6. James Baldwin and the Meaning of Whiteness
    Posted on Feb 19, 2017
    By Chris Hedges

    “America was founded on the genocidal slaughter of indigenous people and the holocaust of slavery. It was also founded on an imagined moral superiority and purity. The fact that dominance of others came, and still comes, from unrestrained acts of violence is washed out of the national narrative. The steadfast failure to face the truth, Baldwin warned, perpetuates a kind of collective psychosis. Unable to face the truth, white Americans stunt and destroy their capacity for self-reflection and self-criticism. They construct a world of dangerous, self-serving fantasy. Those who imbibe the myth of whiteness externalize evil—their own evil—onto their victims. Racism, Baldwin understood, is driven by moral bankruptcy, narcissism, an inner loneliness and latent guilt. Donald Trump and most of those around him exhibit all of these characteristics.”

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/james_baldwin_and_the_meaning_of_whiteness_20170219

    • More from Hedges’ article:

      “White supremacy is not defined, he (Baldwin) wrote, by intelligence or virtue. The white race continues to dominate other races because it has always controlled the most efficient killing mechanisms on the planet. It used, and uses, its industrial weapons to carry out mass murder, genocide, subjugation and exploitation, whether on slave plantations, on the Trail of Tears, at Wounded Knee, in the Philippines and Vietnam, in cities such as Baltimore and Ferguson or in our endless wars across the Middle East.

      The true credo of the white race is we have everything, and if you try to take any of it from us we will kill you. This is the essential meaning of whiteness. As the white race turns on itself in an age of diminishing resources it is in the vital interest of the white underclass to understand what its elites and its empire are actually about. These lies, Baldwin warned, will ultimately have fatal consequences for America.”

    • I dunno, y’all. Is it beneficial to know who we really are and how we got here or is it time to just man the fire hoses?

      I’m torn, to be honest.

      • Liza, you seem to almost have a need to feel guilty about being who you are. It is unfortunate that you do because much of what you read in that article is historically inaccurate. White people did not conquer the world because of our superior weapons. Many times, particularly in the later years, whites faced adversaries that were equipped with the same – or sometimes better – weapons, and yet whites still prevailed. There was something else that allowed whites to prevail that your author ignored in his zeal to condemn whites. And remember, condemning whites IS the purpose of that article.

        Yes, America had it’s period where slavery prevailed in half our states. We also fought a very bloody Civil War to stop it. Yes, Civil Rights were denied blacks for a long time, but we have made remarkable strides in overcoming those prejudices and continue working on them to this day.

        And what your author also ignores is it was western civilization (i.e. – “whites”) who decided slavery was wrong and set about eliminating it wherever it was possible Again, we continue to do that to this day. While serving in Southern Sudan, my teams and I liberated more than 1,000 slaves from their owners during our operations as part of a U.N. force. Also, it was western civilization that introduced – sometimes through the use of force – the level of civilization the world enjoys today. I could give you a dozen good example but it would make this message way too long. But 150 years ago, mass murder, mass slavery and genocide were commonplace. Today, primaril as a result of western civilization, such things are not just appalling, they are forbidden – under the threat of the use of force from western civilization.

        Don’t be so quick to feel guilty, Liza. You have be much to be proud in your ancestory. You just have to look and use objectivity rather than allowing the negativity of authors with a negative agenda to drive your emotions.

        Chin up, Liza! Be positive!

      • For Sure Not Tom

        Wanting to understand how we got to where we are is not white-guilt, or whatever nonsense some folks are saying.

        Unless we understand how we got to where we are, we cannot fix the problems we have, and eventually we’ll make the same fatal mistakes other countries have made.

        The criminal justice system is rigged against minorities and the poor and that makes it very expensive both in cost and the cost to society and families, which hurts the economy. The USA is on the Human Rights Watch naughty list because of our criminal justice system.

        The war on drugs is racist and politically motivated and not only expensive, but a drug problem is a medical problem, something far less expensive to treat. Locking up drug users is abuse, and the drug dealers are capitalists, capitalism is like a weed sometimes.

        Irrational hatred of Muslims is going to cost us trillions, and may well break America’s bank account with catastrophic results, the very thing Bin Laden wanted.

        The right likes to give Reagan credit for ending the Cold War, Gorbachev helped a wee bit, so did some unions in Poland.

        And so did the Soviet’s war in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union spent so much money on war and bombs that they couldn’t survive. People give say “yeah, Reagan ran up the debt, but it caused the Soviets to spend themselves out of existence”.

        Knowing this, why would we do the same thing to ourselves? We spend more on our military than Russia, China, and a dozen other of our “enemies” combined, and Trump/Bannon wants to spend more?

        It’s insanity.

        Now, we see Steve Bannon using Trump to stir up hatred with the Muslim world against us, and to stir up Nationalist anger against Muslims here, giving Al Qaeda and ISIS exactly what they want. They want an apocalyptical war and that works just fine for Bannon, and Putin for that matter.

        Steve Bannon is a student of history. We have to learn from history, too, no matter how much conservatives want to deny evils, past and present, or people like Bannon/Gorka/Miller will bring down my country.

        America as a country and as an ideal is in a fragile state right now, and I like it here. I like what we stand for and I want us to live up to our ideals, not give in to Nationalism and hatred.

        We can learn from history and man the firehoses at the same time. 🙂

        • “We spend more on our military than Russia, China, and a dozen other of our “enemies” combined…”

          This is the only thing to which I will respond, Tom: That is not true about how much we spend compared to “Russia, China and a dozen other of our enemies combined”.

          The rest of your message is largely personal intrepretations based on emotions to which I can only reply, “Nuh-unh!” ;o)

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Sorry, we spend more than the next ten biggest defense budget countries.

            http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/military-spending-cuts/u-s-military-spending-dwarfs-rest-world-n37461

            We spend too much, far more than our “enemies”, and that 682 billion doesn’t include Homeland Security, etc., the actual defense budget is well over a trillion.

            The way you budget for defense is to sit down with your generals and intelligence folks and plan to defend against possible problems.

            You don’t just do the GOP-Trump rally thing and say “let’s spend even more” unless you have a reason.

            And that reason better not be the Welfare for Defense Contractors Act.

            It’s not fiscally responsible nor does it make us safer.

            As for the rest of my post, you’re doing that Steve thing where you often reply to someone’s factual post by saying “I’m not seeing that”.

            There’s lots of stuff you don’t see.

          • “As for the rest of my post, you’re doing that Steve thing where you often reply to someone’s factual post by saying “I’m not seeing that”.

            No, Tom, I’m not. I honestly don’t know how to respond when people give their opinion on something. You didn’t give me much to refute with facts since most of your message was emotional based opinions to things that are happening. If I could have thought of a factual basis for responding, I would have. You weren’t screamingly emotional, but you weren’t factual, either.

            As to my admitting sometimes that I am not seeing something that someone says is happening, what else would you have me do? If I haven’t seen it, read about it or experienced it, what am I supposed to say? Do you want me to make something up? Should I google the subject and pretend I am informed? I prefer to be honest rather than pretend something is that isn’t. I would think that you prefer honesty, as well. If I fake it, how can you take anything I say seriously? Not that you necessarily do anyway, but I prefer that be because you are flawed rather than I am dishonest. ;o)

            “There’s lots of stuff you don’t see.”

            That is one of the reasons I post on this blog, Tom. I learn a lot here. Some of it is enlightening and I learn new things; some of it just reinforces what I have always thought. Either way, it is a learning experience.

            “The way you budget for defense is to sit down with your generals and intelligence folks and plan to defend against possible problems.”

            No, that isn’t how you do it, Tom. That is far too simpistic and that is the type of thinking that gets excessive number of soldiers killed in the beginning if combat breaks out.

            When planning, you sit down and determine what it takes to be successful in combat. You also determine the levels and types of combat you are likely to encounter and the appropriate response to each level. You also plan for defensive actions and offensive actions. These plans are then presented to the Joint Chiefs for review and prioritization. The Joint Chiefs then present their budgets to the President who does what he wants to do and then he presents his budget to the Congress for funding. It is entirely possible that the military-industrial complex would be funded, especially if there is cutting edge technology involved. That is the real world for how military budgets are prepared. You may not like it that way, but if we are to field a modern force capable of winning on the battlefield, or defnding us adequately, that is how it has to work. we don’t have the luxury of maintaining a “Defense Force” like Japan and Australia and it is ridiculous to pretend we do.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Thanks Steve, the Blog for Arizona’s very own “Thanksgiving Day Drunk Uncle”…

            You replies are getting longer and more elaborate and the Desperation is palpable.

            Desperation does kinda’ stink, though. Admit it.

            You have elected a dirty crooked real estate developer turned reality TV gameshow host as your Leader, the Leader of your party and the Leader of your Philosophy as “Conservatives”, and the scam that is the GOTeaP is being burned in sunlight.

            Burnt! Ya’ burnt!

            You protest way too much.

            BTW, you seem to agree with my assessment of how defense budgets are done, you just don’t like admitting a “leftist” is “right”. Or, you just don’t understand English. You’re just using different words, DA.

            To quote the leader of your party, who is an honest and in no way insane pervert from Manhattan… “Sad”.

            I look forward to your increasingly wordy and increasingly Desperate “repufudiations” of history and facts.

            Peace bro. As bad as the next four years are going to be for average American’s, it’s going to be worse for you. You elected an actual Con Man to POTUS on purpose.

            But what do I know, I didn’t graduate from the prestigious Trump University!

          • “You replies are getting longer and more elaborate…

            I didn’t realize my messages were getting more elaborate. In fact, I was going for simpler, which is why they are longer. I was using small, easily understood words which contributes to the length.

            “Desperation does kinda’ stink, though. Admit it.”

            Well, since I don’t feel particularly desperate – or even a little anxious – I can’t really admit to it. If I was, I would let you know.

            “You have elected a dirty crooked real estate developer turned reality TV gameshow host as your Leader…”

            Perhaps; but the good thing is he isn’t Hillary, so I can live with it.

            “You protest way too much.”

            Au contraire! I do not protest enough! The leftist agenda has so-o-o many things to protest that it would take all my time to adequately protest (and even then it wouldn’t be enough) the things that need to be spoken out against. No, I have to pick and choose the things I wish to protest against carefully so I am not overwhelmed.

            “I look forward to your increasingly wordy and increasingly Desperate “repufudiations” of history and facts.”

            Thank you! I look forward to posting them!

            “BTW, you seem to agree with my assessment of how defense budgets are done, you just don’t like admitting a “leftist” is “right”.”

            No, I didn’t agree with your assessment of defense budgets are done. Your assessment was too simplified and completely ignored reality. And I have, on numerous occasions, admitted (and even given kudos) to leftists who were correct and made a good point. I give credit where credit is due…

            “You elected an actual Con Man to POTUS on purpose.”

            Perhaps; but given that all politicians are con men/women in one form or another, so what? And, as I always say: He is not Hillary and that is a good thing.

            “Thanks Steve, the Blog for Arizona’s very own “Thanksgiving Day Drunk Uncle”…

            Sorry, Tom, but I don’t drink.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            See what I mean?

            A long response, and you want elaborate? You even used some French!

          • “A long response, and you want elaborate? You even used some French!”

            Well, Tom, I think it requires a long response to explain it to you thoroughly. Besides, it’s fun! I also have been known to use latin, german, turkish, russian, japanese and arabic…I think it adds a little pizzaz to things.

          • “When planning, you sit down and determine what it takes to be successful in combat. You also determine the levels and types of combat you are likely to encounter and the appropriate response to each level. You also plan for defensive actions and offensive actions. These plans are then presented to the Joint Chiefs for review and prioritization. The Joint Chiefs then present their budgets to the President who does what he wants to do and then he presents his budget to the Congress for funding. It is entirely possible that the military-industrial complex would be funded, especially if there is cutting edge technology involved. That is the real world for how military budgets are prepared. You may not like it that way, but if we are to field a modern force capable of winning on the battlefield, or defnding us adequately, that is how it has to work. we don’t have the luxury of maintaining a “Defense Force” like Japan and Australia and it is ridiculous to pretend we do.”

            Help me out here; I’m not sure how what you just said isn’t a more elaborately elucidated version of ‘sit down with your generals and the intelligence community to reach a level of funding commensurate to respond to various threats that might occur’.

            Now on a tangent, looking at it from the outside, I am not sure why we need yet more military spending when we spend more than the next nine countries combined, many of which are allied with the US already. Unless there was some desire by the people in charge to goad some country into war, for whatever reason.

          • You are correct, Edward. It is a more detailed explanation of the process than what you wrote, but what you wrote describes the process in it’s most rudimentary form. “Not Tom’s” response was lacking because he focused only on defense which is only half the equation.

            How much to spend is always a matter of debate. I would bet that I would always be willing to spend more than you would consider appropriate, but that doesn’t mean you are necessarily wrong. It simply means we see the role of the military from different perspectives.

            Since World War Two, we have entered into so many treaties with so many countries that we can’t compare our military expenditures fairly with other countries. Maybe that is the wrong thing to have done, but it was done and we are stuck with these commitments. You can’t make a fair comparison of other countries military expenditures because most of them depend on us and thus have the luxury of not having to spend so much on their military forces.

            As long as we want to project force around the world through our carrier fleets, long range bombers, nuclear forces, and army divisions, all the while doing so with an all volunteer force, we will have to spend the money to make it happen.

        • John Huppenthal

          You can say that Islam is the “religion of peace” all you want but that is not the historical record of 1,600 years. Like the murderous Vikings, Mohammed designed Isalm as a religion of war.

          Muhammad and his teachings are religious leadership unlike any other we are familiar – Jesus Christ, Buddha, The Gurus of the Sikhs, the goals of human life for the Hindus, and the non-violence of Jainism.
          Consider the precepts of Buddhist ethics:
          1.To refrain from taking life (non-violence towards sentient life forms),
          2.To refrain from taking that which is not given (not committing theft);
          3.To refrain from sensual (including sexual) misconduct;
          4.To refrain from lying (speaking truth always);
          These are common elements of the world’s great religions with which we are familiar. When we encounter patterns throughout our life, we assume these patterns apply to Islam. They don’t.

          Islam and its leader:
          When thieves stole several camels, Mohammed gouged out their eyes, cut off their hands and left them in the desert to die of dehydration. Not exactly turning the other cheek.
          (Source: The Generalship of Mohammed, a detailed scholarly work).
          After one conquest, he took one of his wives, a 12 year old girl and held court while his soldiers beheaded 1200 helpless captives. He had a similar philosophy towards rape, institutionalizing it towards conquered populations.

          He also institutionalized and canonized deceit as a method for taking down more powerful cultures. Whereas the great religions idolize truth and life, Islam idolizes deception and death.
          Every time any Islamic leader speaks on the news or in any other venue, you have to immediately put on a filter and ask “is this a strategic deceit?” There can never be the assumption of truth, a version of the truth or even a partial truth accorded.
          ISIL, ISIS, DASH aren’t extremists, they are directly carrying out the literal word of God.

          In the context of 600 AD this was normal. Caesar had the hands of 2000 captives cut off and we celebrate him in innumerable ways and seldom, if ever, condemn him for behavior considered abhorrent by today’s standards.

          However, only Mohammed had this behavior converted into a religion through the three texts of Islam. Religions evolve very little if at all. The Hadiths, Koran and Sunnah have been frozen since about 900 AD. The Koran and Hadiths fed back into Islamic culture in a completely different way than Christianity fed back into European culture.
          Saint Thomas Aquinas acted to unify Christianity with Platonism. As a result, we get up every morning and say “this is the law, but is it good?” After a fierce debate, we often change.

          Muslims say “this is the law, I must obey.” As a result, Islamic culture froze in time. Islam is a positivist culture. You can see the result. Islamic civilization is backwards in every way. The average gdp per capita of Islamic countries is a fraction of Christian countries.
          In order to join the Union, the Mormon faith had to renounce plural marriages. When the priest scandal was uncovered in Boston, we didn’t excuse it. Strict controls and adherence to acceptable norms were demanded of the Catholic church.

          Thirty percent of all Muslims (Gallup) support violent jihad. Is this acceptable? That 825,000 Muslims in the United States intend to carry out the religious instructions of Mohammed and put the sword to us?
          Democrats and liberals not only accept this but, in order to gain the power and votes that come from Islamic immigrants, have done everything in their power to accelerate the immigration of Muslims and not only cover up these very legitimate issues but to create cultural rules that even to discuss them is prohibited and offensive.

          However, if you are gay, if you are a woman who likes to express herself and enjoys her freedom, if you are different in any way, you ought to do some study on these issues. Sharia Law is headed your way and it aint pretty.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Thirty percent of all Muslims support violent Jihad?

            So you’re saying if I was in a room with Doctor Oz, Kareem Abdul Jabar, and Mohamed A. El-Erian, the CEO of PIMCO, one of them is going to kill me?

            I bet it’s Doctor Oz? Amirite? It is, huh!

            I promise you there is no Sharia Law Monster under your bed, Johnny, turn off Alex Jones and go back to sleep.

          • “So you’re saying if I was in a room with Doctor Oz, Kareem Abdul Jabar, and Mohamed A. El-Erian, the CEO of PIMCO, one of them is going to kill me?

            That’s a nice cherry picked group of muslims you offered up. All three are american born, educated in western schools to parents that were not especialy strict in the ways of Islam. It is a pretty safe bet that none of them would hurt you.

            But how do you know which of the Muslims would hurt you? One of my teams in Afghanistan was training a group of Police Officers…all of whom had been carefully vetted and hand selected for the positions. There was one sergeant that was especially eager to learn and could always be relied upon to volunteer for any of the hazardous missions that the patrols went on. He stood out from the group because of his zeal and patriotism. Then one day he comes into work with a suicide vest on and kills 16 of his friends and wounds another 23. We had no idea what happened to him or why he suddenly did this. After action reports could not find a single clue as to what happened that would have caused him to turn on us. He was a deep cell insurgent and we missed him during the vetting process. A process we had a lot of control over.

            How are we going to decide who comes in when we have little control over the process and really have no idea who these people are that are coming in? Do you have any ideas what to do? I am seriously asking you if you have any ideas. It isn’t fun being involved in a terrorist incident. Having been shot by a Pallestinian in Israel and having had a fair number of fire fights with insurgents, it isn’t something you want to experience. So what would you do to weed out the bad apples from the majority of good people?

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Please refresh your screen and see my other post about Christians. Then tell me again about the scary Muslims.

            Your fear of Muslims is irrational, and it’s being cultivated to keep you in fear and manageable.

            There is already extreme vetting. It takes up to two years to come here as a refugee.

            And the numbers show that the home grown lone wolf folks are radicalized AFTER they come to the USA.

            Your story about the Afghan police officer is an apples/oranges thing, we were the INVADERS in HIS COUNTRY.

            Not shouting with the caps, just using them for effect, I haven’t bothered to learn how to use italics the way you have.

            You seem surprised that someone would be unhappy about having America troops in his country. 95% of Afghans have never heard of 9/11 to this day.

            How would you feel about another country invading the US? What if Canada knew someone wanted in Canada was hiding in Tempe, and they sent a drone to drop a bomb on him?

            And there was collateral damage? Maybe people you know?

            How do you think other people perceive the USA? We have military operations going on in 140 countries in any given year. We kill people in other countries every day, do you think that endears us to them?

            I am not trying to say that what happened with the Afghan policeman isn’t horrifying, I’m just trying to get a little perspective.

            How do I know which Muslims would hurt me? How do they know which American soldier occupying their land would hurt them?

            How do blacks know which guy with the Confederate Battle Flag sticker on his car isn’t the next Dylan Roof?

            Or how do I know you won’t kill me?

            https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070305195808AAi9K1z

            How do I know you’re not the next Jim David Adkisson:

            “During the interview Adkisson stated that he had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country.”

            How do I know you’re not the next Timothy Dale Johnson?

            Or this guy – “Byron Williams of Oakland started a shootout with police on Interstate 580 and told them after he was subdued that he wanted to attack the ACLU and a progressive group called Tides Foundation. His mother said he was angry at the “left-wing agenda.”

            And let’s get this out there, I’m not saying America does bad things, I’m saying our politicians do bad things in our name. I’m not saying all conservatives are deranged killers, but some of them are.

            I’ll leave you with this warning, in any given year, in America, toddlers with guns kill more people than terrorists. About 50 Americans are viciously gunned down in cold blood by ruthless two and three year olds.

            I work with Muslims, they’re nice. I also know a handful of TeaBaggers who have a years supply of rice and beans in their basement and enough military style weapons to take out a small town, and they look at me funny sometimes.

            I’d rather hang with the Muslim guys than those dudes anyway. Watch the video I’m posting.

          • For Sure Not Tom

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Wow, you sure do paint a bleak picture of Islam! Christians are wayyyyyy nicer.

            Hey, Falcon9, quick question, how many foreskins did Saul ask David to bring him in exchange for marrying his daughter?

            Was it 100 or 200? How many dangly-man-parts did David have to hack off and carry around in a sack? I forget.

            And what does the bible say about rape? The rapist must marry his victim with no divorce ever? Or was it death to the rape victim if she does not cry out?

            Oh, yeah, it’s both!

            And what ever happened to Jephthah’s daughter? She never comes around anymore….

            And what is the biblical law punishment for ignoring priests, being a witch, being homosexual, being a fortuneteller, hitting your dad, cursing your parents, adultery, fornication, nonbelievers, women how are not virgins on their wedding night, blasphemy, working on the Sabbath….

            Oh, yeah, it’s death. Sometimes with instructions like “stoning”.

            (Note to self – stop working weekends).

            And here’s the Christian version of Jihad for you:

            Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB

            Yep, kill ALL the followers of other religions.

            And who do you kill in a town with just one nonbeliever? Everyone in town!

            Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT

            So if you are gay, if you are a woman who likes to express herself and enjoys her freedom, if you are different in any way, you ought to do some study on these issues. Biblical Law is headed your way and it aint pretty.

          • I am always impressed with your knowledge of the Bible, Tom. I don’t know if there is a website you can go to that will give you details like you share with us, but you seem familiar enough with them that I think you actually studied the Bible at one point. In any event, I am impressed.

            When I was working on my PhD in Middle Eastern History (courtesy of the U.S. Army) I had to dissect and report on the Quran because of the impact it has had – and continues to have – on Middle Eastern history and culture. Like the Old Testament it is as much a guide for life as a religious document. But one thing the Quran emphasizes more than the Bible is waging war. Virtually every juz, maqra and sura of the Quran contains references to waging wars of conquest to spread the religion. Islam calls itself the religion of submission and it defines that submission as submission to the sword or submission to Allah. Today, or course, that is taken more figuratively by the majority of Muslims, but there is a hardcore group that takes it quite literally.

            ” Biblical Law is headed your way and it aint pretty.”

            Where is Biblical Law headed our way? Today, Tom, where does Hinduism, Sikism, Shintoism, Taoism, Christianity, Bhudism, Animism, Judaism, or even Satanism, et. al., pose a threat to the lives of nonbelievers? But Islam does pose such a threat to a good portion of the rest of the world. I do agree that it is a minority of Muslims, but it is a significantly sized minority that impacts the world in a significant way.

            Or do you disagree? Do you see Islam as posing a threat to the rest of the world? If so, how do you propose the rest of the world deal with it? If not, how do you account for what is going on with Islam in the world today? Is it just bad press? What?

            I feverishly await your response!!!!

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Islam is only a threat to the world in the sense that people like President Bannon seem hellbent on starting wars, using your fear of Muslims as a pretense.

            I could give you dozens of examples of God ordering war in the Bible, usually with a lot of rape in included. See how many times the Sky Daddy tells his followers to kill all the men in town, take the goods and virgins with you wiht you on the way out.

            What do you call kidnapping a girl and taking her home?

            You’ll find that most people who do not believe in the bible actually know more about the book than the average Christian. And there are a lot of passages in the Bible that I could share with an alleged Christian and tell them it was from the Quran, and they’d believe me.

            There are plenty of hardcore Christians here in the US, and once in awhile one of them goes into a church to kill blacks or liberals. In fact in 2009 the DoJ issued a report saying that right wing extremism in the US was a greater danger than terrorists.

            The report was withdrawn after conservatives whined really, really loud, about being persecuted. Poor babies.

            And we have military operations going on in 140 countries, countries we’re not at war with, and we regularly drop bombs on them.

            The kill ration between the US and Muslims is 30 to 1.

            So you tell me who’s the bigger threat to the world, and tell me why that small percentage of Muslims may want a little payback.

            I’m not saying it’s right, but I am saying our politicians have done some really bad things over the years, and not everyone likes us. And wearing blinders while our politicians do some really bad things makes us less safe.

            This may be a little rushed sounding, sorry, but you get the gist, I’m in a hurry today.

            You do need to learn about context, though, my comment about Biblical law coming was a crack at Falcon9, who’s words I copied from his post, substituting Biblical Law for Sharia Law.

          • Thanks for the non-response, Tom. You allowed me to win a little bet I made with myself. I was pretty certain that you would come back with the response you did. One where “we are so much worse than anyone else”, and “Christians and the Bible are so much worse than anyone or anything else”, and “we deserve whatever happens because we are so bad”. After all, self loathing, personal guilt and a need for martyrdom are hallmarks of the left. You could not possibly muster up anything positive to say about this Country, it’s history or it’s people. I feel bad for you, Tom. But when you say:

            “Islam is only a threat to the world in the sense that people like President Bannon seem hellbent on starting wars, using your fear of Muslims as a pretense.”

            I can’t help but wonder if you realize how fixated you are on Bannon. It’s not healthy, Tom, particularly since it blinds you to the real threat of Islamic Fundamentalism. Trump hasn’t even been in office 100 days and you act as if he has already started wars all over, opened concentration camps, established a dictatorship, and appointed Bannon as the Reich Chancellor in charge of the exterminations. Nothing untoward has happened, Tom. And nothing is in the pipeline that is especially odd. So far, Trumps Presidency has been rather mundane and predictable. Even the so called “crises” were anticipated and not particularly interesting.

            If Bannon is doing something nefarious, he’s not doing a very good job of it.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            A personal attack and some unlicensed psychotherapy? I had hoped that we’d moved on from that kind of thing.

            Sometimes your presence helps us poor lib’s by forcing us to sharpen our thoughts and clarify our positions.

            Sometimes your trolling has purpose. you’re useful!

            And then there’s times like these. Insinuating that I do not love my country?

            You know what you can do.

          • Although, in hindsight, I can why you thought it, I really didn’t mean it as an insult. I appear to have offended you and I am sorry that I did because that wasn’t what I intended to do. I have a lot of respect for you, Tom, and I mean that seriously. I think you are smart, funny, literate and well rounded in what you know. It’s just that I don’t think I have ever read something positive you have written about this Country, Tom, and that discouraged me.

            This is a great country that is still the envy of the world. But it seems so many leftists seem to hate it for the strangest reasons. They seem unable to see the good because they spend so much time trying to find the bad.

            Anyway, I am sorry that I offended you. I make mistakes just like everyone does.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            The problem for you is that all the things I think are great about America are all the same things your party is trying to undo.

          • Steve:

            I don’t think that many on the left hate this country. I think there are a lot of us, on the other hand, that strongly disapprove of the actions that our government has done, and in many cases, continues to do; some might go so far as to hate our *government* based on its actions, but I think that’s not the same as hate for the country.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Not speaking for anyone else, when I say “America has done some bad things” I’m speaking of the actions of our politicians, left and right.

            “America” is just shorthand for Dick Cheney, Bush, Clinton, and even Obama.

            Dissent is not disloyalty. And show me anyone who likes politicians as a group.

            If criticizing “America” is un-patriotic, then there has never been a less patriotic bunch than conservatives for the last 8 years.

            Accusing someone of hating America is what people do when they’re losing the debate.

          • Thanks for your explanation. I understand what you are saying, Edward, but here are some of the problems with that:

            It is leftists that transformed our universities into the moral and intellectual wastelands that most are today.

            It is leftists that created the little brainwashed monsters we know as left-wing students who have no idea about free speech, much less tolerance.

            It is leftist that taught generations of young Americans that America is essentially a despicable society that is racist and xenophobic to its core.

            It is leftists that convinced students that their Universities were being overrun by a “culture of rape.”

            It is leftists that taught generations of Americans that everyone on the right is sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, racist and bigoted.

            It is leftists that taught students to be anti-intellectual and teaching students to substitute feelings for reason.

            It is leftists that took down the portrait of Shakespeare hanging in the English department of the University of Pennsylvania because Shakespeare is a white male, thus teaching college students that art is not measured by excellence or by the pursuit of truth but by race, gender and class.

            It is leftists that transformed the Founding Fathers of the United States from great men who created the freest and most affluent society in human history into rich racist white males who created a racist, colonialist, imperialist, women-hating, foreigner-hating, non-white-hating society.

            I could go on, but what would be the point? I will never convince Not Tom or Liza, or AzBM because they are so entrenched in it that they can’t see it. I like you, Edward, and you often express concepts and ideas that are spot on, but to be a successful politician, you are going to be forced to move further and further to the left in order to be elected, whether you want to be or not. That will be a shame when it happens, but it will happen. That seems to be the way our political system works today.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            I’m a recovering Libertarian, Steve. You on the other hand, seem addicted to the Kool Aide.

            The Founding Fathers both created a great country and were racist and misogynist.

            Both things are true. It was a different time.

            They certainly weren’t “colonialist”. That’s actually kinda’ funny. I think once you get to foaming at the mouth about “leftists” you type ahead of your thoughts.

            And based on your past posts, you are sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, racist and bigoted.

            Sorry, I mean you’re anti-multi-culturalism. Not racist. My bad!

            You may not represent everyone on the right, though, to be fair. But you do match up with all the conservatives I know.

            When asked to Put Up or Shut Up about your “facts”, you always refuse to give your sources, but your constant use of the word “leftist” betrays you.

            Oh, yeah, and sometimes you are a wee bit less than honest. Wanting to whitewash (punny!) the Founding Fathers is a sign of conservative mendacity, for example.

          • Still stinging from when I unintentionally insulted you, h-m-m? Very thin skin, Tom…

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Or, maybe you just plagiarized from Dennis Prager, noted bigot, and what you posted was a long list of things blown out of proportion, and it set off my BS alarm.

            For example, the narrative that college students are all a bunch of crying little snowflakes is based on a handful of examples, which the lying right wing media then turns claims is the norm.

            None of the hundreds of college students or graduates I’ve know over the last twenty years is anything like the bleak closed minded bunch your copy/pasted rant describes.

            Try this:

            https: // w ww. washingtonpost dot com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/11/13/yale-professor-my-students-arent-snowflakes-and-they-dont-melt/?utm_term=.3d8e7e82176b

            You’ve been brainwashed by years of exposure to right wing media. Not into being a conservative, but into believing all manner of crazy stuff.

            Modern conservatives is built on exaggerations and outright lies and their base can no longer tell real from unreal.

            You are included in the outright lie category, BTW. You continually claim you don’t have time for right wing media, your life is so fulfilling blah blah blah, but then you keep getting caught plagiarizing from ….. ta da! Right wing media.

            No wonder a reality TV game show host is the leader of your party.

          • “…but then you keep getting caught plagiarizing from ….. ta da! Right wing media.”

            Two times out of more than 800 posts here, Tom, and you found both times. Why make it sound like it is a regular occurrence? Like I said, I hated doing it but it was the only way I could think of to get two very good ideas past the gate keepers for this blog. It obviously didn’t work because you do research on my messages and found it out.

            As I said before, I am sort of flattered you pay that much attention to messages, but upon reflection I am not sure that it is such a good thing. I am just some guy that posts on a blog, so why all the interest? You have a life, so why are you taking the time to do such analysis on my messages here? It’s a little strange, don’t you think?

          • ” The Founding Fathers both created a great country and were racist and misogynist. Both things are true. It was a different time.

            I once offered that to you as an explanation, Tom, and you ripped me up seven ways from Sunday. You would have nothing of it. Now you offer it as an exceuse why leftist are perfectly justified in speaking out that way. That doesn’t fly, Tom, because that isn’t what you really think. In all your postings, you have never said anything good about the Founding Fathers. And that is the way it is with leftists; they never will admit any good was done by this Country. They only seek out and acknowledge any bad (real or imagined) done (whether intentional or unintentional) that might have been. You and your leftists see the United States as a dark and evil place brimming over with sin and malfeasance.

            ” And based on your past posts, you are sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, racist and bigoted.”

            Yes, I know. You have told me so many times in your past messages. It is always good for a laugh because I know I am supposed to be stricken silent in shame for even being thought of in those terms, but I always consider the source. It is part of the “Leftist Liturgy” that ALL right-wingers are those things and more, if you can think of more despicable things to call us. After all this time it no longer makes any difference, but if it satisfies something inside you to say it, then BIG TIME kudos to you! ;o)

            ” When asked to Put Up or Shut Up about your “facts”, you always refuse to give your sources…

            Two reasons, Tom: (1) AzBM does allow messages to be posted with citations or refences from the right (which I understand given this is a liberal blog), and, (2) What would be the point? Am I going to change your mind? Am I going to convince you of anything? Hardly. You are just not worth the effort.

            ” Wanting to whitewash (punny!) the Founding Fathers is a sign of conservative mendacity, for example.

            I don’t try and whitewash them, at all. I was the one who originally tried to point out to you that they were men of their time. They were brilliant men who gave a great basis for a Country but they had feet of clay. You rejected that reasoning at the time. But those men were the reason we can snipe at each other with such freedom today. Leftists, with their “speech codes”, have already demonstrated that we wouldn’t have that freedom were they in charge today.

          • “You really should start giving credit the people who to the actual work for you.”

            I wish I could, Tom. You have the freedom here to cite all the left-wing sources and references you want. I don’t have that reciprocal freedom here; I wish I did. Again, I understand why they won’t allow conservative sources to be posted on a liberal blog but it makes it difficult to give thorough responses some times.

            I am grateful to you to care enough about what I post to check me out. You were able to uncover the only two times I have had to slip something really good in. I feel flattered you care enough to check me out in depth…really, I am. I am not certain WHY you care that much, but you obviously do. Thank you!

          • For Sure Not Tom

            You really should start giving credit the people who to the actual work for you.

            ww w . nationalreview dot com/article/445734/leftists-hateful-rhetoric-aimed-conservatives-decades

            You’re the Monica Crowley of the BforAZ.

          • Steve:

            You’re not fully wrong. There are certainly people with whom I strongly disagree on the left. I strongly disagree with those who, for instance, seek to defy and denigrate the police in the name of ‘taking back power’ from them, as though we live in some dictatorship where oppression rains down from on high. Yes, there are a lot of systemic injustices, and it’s good to want to do something about them, but I agree that many on the left are going about it the wrong way. Regardless of my own beliefs on any issue, I believe that as a matter of political gains are concerned, that power still remains in the hands of voters (even if we don’t wield it effectively in every case), and that power has to be taken back by winning the hearts and minds of those with whom we disagree. It is the only solution that I can think of.

            The left has become too insulated in an echo chamber. I feel that part of the reason why the left continues to lose is that they have given up on so much of the country, who only hears the GOP vision for the country; it’s a failing on the left’s part to engage in dialogue with these voters.

            But I think that you caricature the left too much with extreme examples. I’ll just say that the right also has its share of nuts which I could pull from as well; Benghazi, Birtherism, and ‘Obama is a secret Muslim infiltrator’ are not uncommon sentiments on the right It’s been over eight years since Obama took office. Still waiting for him to carry out Sharia Law and take all the guns like so many on the right were saying that he would. I don’t think that’s necessarily indicative of you personally, Steve, but if you continue to paint the left with broad, general strokes, don’t be surprised if others do the same to you.

          • “Steve, but if you continue to paint the left with broad, general strokes, don’t be surprised if others do the same to you.”

            Edward, you are correct. I need to more careful about that. It is already happening to me and I try to avoid that. Such extremist language gets in the way of communication. In the future, I will carefully choose to whom I address such language. Thank you for the admonition!

          • John Huppenthal

            Tom,

            Your error is in your definition of Christianity as the written word of the bible. Christianity is more a religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus than it is based on the bible. As such, it’s Platonic and Aristotlian philosophical roots have driven continuous improvement in culture.

            St Thomas Aquinas fused Christ’s teachings with Aristotle’s search for the truth and set Western Civilization on the path it is today – that led to the creation of the United States.

            Islam is likewise a religion based on the teachings and person of Mohammed. Unlike cultures based on Christianity, it embraced positivism and froze up 1600 years ago.

            Instead of doing your intellectually sloppy comparison of people many hundred years ago with people today, which inherently fails to recognize that the enormous freedoms we enjoy today in the US today are a direct outcome of Christianity – compare an apple to an apple.

            Islam is very dangerous – it is not evolving. They were killing gays and stoning women in Islamic countries today.

            Islam is not particularly dangerous to us now. That comes when it hits about 10% of the host. Then, it will become very and immediately dangerous. That’s the tipping point. They found two people with their throats slit in Paris today where Islam is at 11% of the population.

            People live in continuous fear in France.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            The utter lack of self awareness in the religious “right” is astonishing.

            The US is killing Muslims 30 to 1.

            Who is the barbarian based on kill ration, Falcon9?

            Who would Jesus waterboard? Who would Jesus torture? Who would Jesus bomb for their oil?

            And a question for you specifically, Falcon9, if the Second Coming was today, would Jesus require everyone to put English only on their restaurant menus?

            Or would he require we all learn Aramaic?

            Who would Jesus deport, John? Would he deport just the undocumented moms, or would he deport the children with them?

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the Jimmy Carter kind of Christian, the one who’s actually read the Bible and tries to live the words of Jesus, spends all their time helping the poor.

            It’s you right wing hypocrites that turn people off to religion, like the millions of Evangelical “Christians” who have embraced your adulterous lying cheating POTUS.

            The only thing the “Conservative” version of Christianity is better at than Islam is organized killing on a massive scale.

            Amen.

          • John Huppenthal

            Tom,

            Your questions and assertions just illustrate why the search for truth is so important, that search can and used to illuminate the path forward in the west.

            Who would Jesus deport? Obviously, anyone vaguely familiar with his teachings knows he would deport no one. The totally pure position that we should strive for. That is why we should look for every bit of good that illegal immigrants bring to us and every bit of evidence that we can absorb them without damage to our culture or risk to our families.

            In 2015, Maricopa county had the lowest violent crime rate in 44 years (Arizona Republic front page story) showing that we can have very high levels of illegal immigrants without high crime rates. Good, pure, Christian.

            One of the most welcoming counties in America to illegal immigrants had a violent crime rate which was also welcoming – below the national average.

            However, 10 years earlier murder rates were 100% higher, car theft was 300% higher. The poor and middle class bore the brunt of most of that crime. Not good, not pure, not Christian.

            Your snarky remark about menus also raises the question about what is the good? English-only is very good for immigrants. Knowledge of English is an absolute correlate for economic success in our society and is far more supported by illegal immigrants than it is by liberal democrats. Illegal immigrants want to get ahead in society – liberal democrats don’t want them to get ahead, they want highly dependent populations which are the source of their power.

            I don’t buy your kill ratios at all. Christians are being slaughtered in the middle east by the hundreds of thousands only because they are Christians. I will check the numbers.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            John, you’re being conditioned to fear Muslims. Based on the numbers it is not rational.

            Bin Laden wanted to bankrupt the US. ISIS wants to drag us into an apocalyptic war in the middle east.

            We are playing into their hands.

            And since fear is an excellent way to control a population, you’re being used by people here in the US.

            Some for ratings, some for votes, and some to sell weapons for profit.

            We should probably stop polluting AZ’s fine blog, but as long as you’re checking numbers, check on the number of people in the US killed by toddlers with guns vs. the number of American’s killed by terrorists in any given year.

            Most years it’s the three year olds who are more dangerous.

            I’ll try to avoid religion in the future. I’ve had Christian friends who have literally given up everything to care for others as Jesus instructed, I just don’t think Christianity is any better than the person doing the following.

    • In a place of need, an unhealthy contradiction

      They are poor, sick and voted for Trump. What will happen to them without Obamacare?

      By Jessica Contrera
      Photos by Bonnie Jo Mount
      March 11, 2017

      “Heartburn is just the latest problem for Clyde, a patient Keisha sees every three months. Like so many in this corner of Appalachia, he used to have a highly paid job at a coal mine. Company insurance covered all of his medical needs. Then he lost the job and ended up here, holding a cane and suffering not only from heartburn but diabetes, arthritis, diverticulitis, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

      Because of the ACA, Clyde’s visit is covered by Medicaid. Before the law, most West Virginians without children or disabilities could not qualify for Medicaid, no matter how poor they were. The ACA — better known here as Obamacare — expanded the program to cover more people, such as Clyde, who can depend on Keisha to fix his heartburn without having to worry about the cost.

      As for the other problems in his life, he has put his hopes in Trump, who came to West Virginia saying he would bring back coal and put miners back to work. When Trump mentioned repealing Obamacare, Clyde wasn’t sure what that might mean for his Medicaid. But if he had a job that provided health insurance, he reasoned, he wouldn’t need Medicaid anyway, so he voted for Trump, along with 74 percent of McDowell County.”

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/west-virginia-tug-river-obamacare/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_tugriver826pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

  7. “The concept of “fair and balanced” reporting requires that when someone says the Earth is round and revolves around the sun (a demonstrably provable fact), a counter argument that the world is flat and the sun revolves around the Earth must be presented, and both positions be treated equally and “fairly,” even though one is factual and one is utter nonsense.”

    (The sound of raucous laughter) That is so funny, AzBM!! You start out postulating that the GOP has no facts on their side, only opinion, by passing off an opinion as if it were a fact. The irony fairly drips through the screen like warm maple syrup.

    “When the CBO score of the Republican health-care bill finally arrives, Republicans will turn up the volume on their attack, barely bothering to deal with the score’s specifics but just saying that the CBO is a bunch of dishonest Washington bureaucrats who can’t be trusted.”

    Since this is the very essence of your message, it will be interesting to see if that is what happens. We both know the figures will be high – you can’t get healthcare coverage on the cheap – but it will be interesting to see if the prediction is correct. Of course if it isn’t correct you will ignore having offered the prediction and it will fade away into obscurity. But if it is correct, you can utter those most satisfying of words: “I told you so!” ;o)