We’ve been talking a lot lately about things in water that we don’t want, but what about the stuff we’re adding to our water deliberately? Is it as good as we think? The folks at Compound Interest have a fascinating infographic on Flourine. Because of formatting, I’ve included only a small part of the graphic here. I urge you to take a sidetrip and see the whole thing.
When it turned out that their policies weren’t enough, Republicans made a bargain with racism to get the votes they needed to stay competitive. And when racism no longer made up the difference, they made a bargain with misogyny to get an edge. And when racism and misogyny together would no longer guarantee a victory, they added xenophobia and religious bigotry. They tacked on bullying, and mockery of science, and the politics of personal destruction.
Then someone forgot that there were supposed to be policies. And here we are. If you go long enough thinking that the ends justify the means, someone is bound to prove you wrong.
As you might expect, a lot of this week’s discussion is Republican on Republican throw downs. They’re worth watching, and not just for the satisfaction of seeing so many hens come to roost that they peck apart the coop. We need to watch, and learn, so we don’t repeat the same mistakes.
Leonard Pitts can still barely believe it himself.
What first seemed a joke, then an unsettling possibility and then a troubling likelihood, became a grim certainty last week as Donald Trump, real estate developer turned reality show ringmaster turned would-be president, won an emphatic victory in Indiana’s Republican primary. His last remaining rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, both dropped out within 24 hours, leaving Trump the de facto nominee of what used to be called, with some pride, the Party of Lincoln.
In response, a remarkable constellation of Republican officials and enablers have pronounced themselves unalterably opposed to the duly selected leader of their party. …
One is tempted to draw an analogy to rats deserting the Titanic, but that would unfairly malign the rats. After all, they didn’t drive the ship into that iceberg. The Republicans, though, are very much the architects of their present misfortune.
And I swear I wrote the opening paragraphs to this thing before I read Leonard. So there.
When you spend decades stoking people’s insecurities, resentment and outrage, when you devote thousands of radio and television hours to scapegoating the marginalized and demonizing the vulnerable, when you campaign on coded appeals to xenophobia, racism and misogyny, when you make facts optional and lies routine, when you prioritize expedience above integrity and embrace ignorance as somehow more authentically American, you may not credibly profess surprise when you produce a candidate who embodies all those traits.
I couldn’t say it better. Though I did give it a try.
Now, let’s go inside and not talk anymore about… Nope, can’t kid you. There’s a lot of Trump in here.
Patricia Healey and Jonathan Martin on the great unraveling.
By seizing the Republican presidential nomination for Donald J. Trump on Tuesday night, he and his millions of supporters completed what had seemed unimaginable: a hostile takeover of one of America’s two major political parties.
Just as stunning was how quickly the host tried to reject them. The party’s two living former presidents spurned Mr. Trump, a number of sitting governors and senators expressed opposition or ambivalence toward him, and he drew a forceful rebuke from the single most powerful and popular rival left on the Republican landscape: the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan.
The poor assumption that Healey and Martin make here is that the leadership is the party. That’s never true. But it’s never been less true than now.
But for leading Republicans, the dismay is deeper and darker. They fear their party is on the cusp of an epochal split — a historic cleaving between the familiar form of conservatism forged in the 1960s and popularized in the 1980s and a rekindled, atavistic nationalism, with roots as old as the republic, that has not flared up so intensely since the original America First movement before Pearl Harbor.
There are two phrases that Trump has repeated in recent speeches that should really be making people antsy. Above and beyond the idea of Trump simply being an uninformed mass of ego who thinks he’s fit to take on the role of president because he already thinks the rest of us are working for him. Those two phrases are “America first” and “American needs strength.” Those red flags—with perhaps a black and white emblem—ought to be waving clearly enough for everyone to see.
Ross Douthat is still trying to disown Trump.
For conservatives to support Trump himself, to assist in his election as president of the United States, would be a terrible mistake.
It would be a particularly stark mistake for conservatives who feel that the basic Reaganite vision that’s dominated their party for decades — a fusion of social conservatism, free-market economics, and a hawkish internationalism — still gets things mostly right.
Only… see back to my intro. First, that social conservatism? It’s indelibly mixed with both attitudes of ownership over women’s bodies and the assumed authority to patrol the bathrooms of America for misplaced genitalia. In fact, it’s hard to determine what constitutes “social conservatism” these days beyond belittling women and people who are differently gendered. It’s certainly not an alternate term for “good manners.” The free-market economics? They don’t work. It was voodoo then, it’s voodoo now, and it always will be voodoo. Every attempt to implement the level of deregulation Republicans want—energy markets, savings and loans, investment banks—has led to disaster. Every reduction of the top tax rate has exacerbated income disparity without ever, in any instance, leading to an increase in jobs. And the hawkish internationalism? Holy… fudge. When’s the last time “hawkish internationalism” did any good for anyone, anywhere?
But above all it is Trump’s authoritarianism that makes him unfit for the presidency — his stated admiration for Putin and the Chinese Politburo, his promise to use the power of the presidency against private enterprises, the casual threats he and his surrogates toss off against party donors, military officers, the press, the speaker of the House, and more.
On this, I think we’re all in agreement.
Sandra Aamodt touches on a story that’s gotten a lot of play this week, so it probably deserves a mention.
… the latest example of research showing that in the long run dieting is rarely effective, doesn’t reliably improve health and does more harm than good. There is a better way to eat.
The root of the problem is not willpower but neuroscience. Metabolic suppression is one of several powerful tools that the brain uses to keep the body within a certain weight range, called the set point. The range, which varies from person to person, is determined by genes and life experience. When dieters’ weight drops below it, they not only burn fewer calories but also produce more hunger-inducing hormones and find eating more rewarding.
The brain’s weight-regulation system considers your set point to be the correct weight for you, whether or not your doctor agrees.
John Kraushaar wonders whether it’s safer to be fer Trump or again’ ‘em.
The Republican Party is now at war with itself: elected officials focused on short-term survival against those with longer-term interests; intellectuals against lobbyists; the Republican National Committee against the party’s Senate campaign committee; and governors looking to get in Mr. Trump’s good graces for future appointments against governors in states where he is politically toxic.
If Mr. Trump fails to unite the party — if he runs in the general election as he did in the primaries, as a man without a party — will it matter?
Judging by history, the answer is a resounding yes. Not since 1964 — when Barry M. Goldwater lost the electoral vote 486-52 — has a Republican nominee run without the support of the heart of his political party.
Thing is, Trump seems to have the support of the heart of his party. He’s just lacking the head.
Dana Milbank says words you cannot say in the Washington Post. Sort of.
Here’s a serious question for Republican officeholders: WTF?
Now that Trump has a lock on the presidential nomination, many top Republicans — too many — are moving to embrace this vulgar man for the sake of party unity. It is a real [expletive] show.
Milbank offers up a selection of ripe Trumpisms.
On U.S. companies relocating overseas: “You can tell them to go f--- themselves.”...
On the Islamic State? “I would bomb the sh-- out of ISIS.”
Earlier, on dealing with China: “Listen, you motherf---ers, we’re going to tax you 25 percent.”
Milbank’s argument is that Republicans who fall in line are not just putting party over country, but party over decency. But seriously, you’d have to go back a long way for that to change.
Kathleen Parker wept, and it wasn’t for a lack of worlds to conquer.
Whether it’s a start or a finish remains to be revealed, but it would seem that we’re witnessing the beginning of the end. To wit: A Republican friend, who has abandoned her behind-the-scenes work of getting conservatives elected, called me recently to express her condolences. “I feel sorry for you,” she said, “because you (given your job) can’t ignore the collapse of Western civilization.”
I want to point out right here that what we’re seeing at this point is the collapse of the Republican Party, which is a long (long) way from synonymous with Western civilization. If it starts to look like there’s a possibility of Trump winning, then I’m right there with you. Donald 1, Civilization 0.
Among those with either the gumption or nothing to lose by expressing no-support for Trump are both George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush. Neither will endorse the Republican nominee. Laura Bush, a consistent voice of sanity, recently hinted at a “Women in the World” conference that she’d rather see Hillary Clinton as president than Trump.
I don’t think I’ve ever thought this, much less said it: go Laura.
Dan Barry confronts of a problem of terminology that we’ve run into on this site.
Idiot. Imbecile. Cretin. Feebleminded. Moron. Retarded.
Offensive now but once quite acceptable, these terms figured in the research for a lengthy article I wrote in 2014 about 32 men … with intellectual disability, which meant they had significant limitations in reasoning, learning and problem solving, as well as in adaptive behavior. But even though “intellectual disability” has been the preferred term for more than a decade, it gave my editors and me pause.
This linguistic preference is part of society’s long struggle to find the proper terminology for people with intellectual disability, and reflects the discomfort the subject creates among many in the so-called non-disabled world. It speaks to a continuing sense of otherness; to perceptions of what is normal, and not.
I won’t say we all slip, but I know that I do. I use these archaic terms for intellectual disability when what I mean is that someone is profoundly-wrong. Often both profoundly-wrong and stubborn in ignoring evidence that invalidates their position—something my grandmother would have called “wrong-headed.” In particular “idiotic” becomes shorthand for someone continuing to press forward an argument that’s lacking in just about any validity.
It’s interesting that some of these words have become unacceptable to most people, while others have slipped into common parlance. And this is the internet. It appears to be impossible to make a Youtube comment without using at least one, if not all, of the words in this list.
Like terms for mental illness, these terms make us uncomfortable. Which is probably good. So maybe we need to coin some new terms “for you are so wrong that I really think you’re… so very wrong, and also mistaken” and let these rest.
The New York Times is concerned about labels of another sort.
The Obama administration has worked over several years to steer the country away from policies that deny tens of millions of people with criminal records jobs, housing, education, consumer credit, professional licenses and the other tools they need to forge viable, productive lives.
Lately, the administration has also recognized that the vocabulary of incarceration — the permanently stigmatizing way we speak about people who have served time — presents a significant barrier to reintegration. ...
Attorney General Loretta Lynch, for example, gave a speech in Mobile, Ala., two weeks ago on re-entry programs in which she avoided objectifying nouns — like “felons” or “ex-convict” or “ex-offender” — that define people by the worst moment of their lives.
Let me give you another label: Registered Sex Offender. It’s a horrible phrase, and you can’t say it without thinking of terrible crimes. All you have to do is say “that man is a registered sex offender,” and immediately it gives you a deep distrust, even a feeling of sickness. As it happens, I know two men who carry the RSO label. Neither of them committed an act of violence. Neither of them touched, photographed, or threatened another human being. In the state where they live, they will be on the registry for the rest of their lives, which means never being able to visit the school their children attend, or walk a dog in the park, or even attend church. They’re excluded from society in profound ways, right down to not being allowed to stay in a shelter if they’re homeless and not being eligible for public assistance. And naturally, in every single thing they do, they’re required to remind people of this label every time they apply for a job, or look for an apartment, or get stopped for a traffic ticket. And yet… sex offender. I’m willing to bet that label alone is enough to define them, even for a good number of the people here.
That’s all. I’m still sitting up on Saturday nights, thinking that I’ve missed putting up the next piece of On Whetsday. But it’s done. All out there.
I miss the discussion.