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Trump keeps talking — and our discourse keeps sinking lower and lower

REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Donald Trump managed to continue distracting attention from any potential matter of substance by remarking Friday on CNN about Fox News personality Megyn Kelly — who annoyed him with her questions about his various boorish statements about women — that Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her whatever…”

A smattering of post-debate updates:

I wouldn’t attach much importance to the first instant polling after the debate (and I intend to pay less attention to polling for a while), but since my immediate post-debate piece raised the possibility that Thursday night’s “debate” might be the beginning of the end of the Great Trump Scare, I should note that the first post-debate poll, released over the weekend by NBC, shows Donald Trump still 10 points ahead of his nearest competitor among Republican presidential aspirants.

I recommend paying little attention to this poll, but for the record, the order of those following Trump was scrambled substantially, with Ted Cruz jumping into second place, followed by Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio.

Trump managed to continue distracting attention from any potential matter of substance by remarking Friday on CNN about Fox News personality Megyn Kelly — who annoyed him with her questions about his various boorish statements about women — that Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her whatever…”

Some unnamed crazy people, who will go to any lengths to bring disrespect upon Trump, suspected that the reference to Kelly’s “whatever” was meant as a suggestion that she was menstruating during the debate. Outraged by the suggestion, Trump went on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning and told moderator Chuck Todd that he would not apologize to Kelly because “there’s nothing to apologize for… She asked unfair questions… I apologize when I’m wrong but I haven’t been wrong.”

“Only a deviant,” Trump said, would think he was referring to blood coming out of her female parts. He explained that he was thinking of various places on Kelly’s head out of which blood might have been coming as she was asking him these unfair questions — her nose, for example, or her ears — but rather than listing all the possibilities, he kept it short by referring to them all as “her whatever.”

NBC did Trump the kindness while this exchange was playing out of showing footage of Kelly’s face during the exchange in question. To me, it appeared that she had on exactly the wide-eyed smiley face that she usually wears.

As he did during the debate itself, when Kelly asked him about various rude remarks he has made to women, Trump portrayed his statements as acts of rebellion against the kind of political correctness that is ruining America.

It’s hard to know how our discourse sinks any lower than this, but I have a sneaking fear that we may find out.

I absolutely agree that there is a shortage of straight talk from those running for office. But more talk of women’s looks or the parts of their bodies from which they bleed is not a step in the right direction.

Check the facts

Lots of excellent fact-checking sites fact-checked the candidates’ statements from the debate itself. My personal favorite was this one by the Washington Post fact-checker, Glenn Kessler. My conclusion after reading it is that we should pay little attention to claims the candidates make about the beneficial effect of their tenure until it has been vetted by the fact-checkers. And most of the time our feeling about the candidate making the original claim, after reading the analysis of the claim, is that we would not buy a used car from this candidate.

I know it’s incredibly naïve to imagine such a thing, but a candidate honestly portraying his or her record is the kind straight talk of which we do need much, much more.

Comments (96)

  1. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/10/2015 - 09:19 am.


    Maybe YOUR discourse keeps sinking… but those of us who are ignoring this schmuck are doing just fine thank you very much. 🙂

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 08/10/2015 - 09:52 am.

    With the polling Trump has, it’s guaranteed that he’s going to be in the mix until the convention.

    This is definitely proving to be a problem for the establishment Republicans and the people behind the scenes.

    It’s a powerful wave of anti-establishment feeling from a party that has repeatedly given cooked hamburger to the red-meat crowd, election after election.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/10/2015 - 09:55 am.

    Used cars

    It’s hard not to agree with Eric about the mendaciousness of various Republican candidates – and I have no plans at present to buy a used car – but I fear this lack of truth-telling seems especially egregious because we’ve not yet heard much from Ms. Clinton and/or Mr. Sanders, and there has so far been no debate, faux or otherwise, between/among Democratic candidates. The Republican candidates richly deserve plenty of criticism for varying degrees of fudging the truth, but I won’t be surprised if the Democratic candidate(s) tend in the same direction.

    While I hope for an improvement in the quality of our political discourse at some point, I confess I don’t see any signs that that improvement is likely to occur any time soon.

  4. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 08/10/2015 - 10:34 am.

    In furthering Fox’s attempt to fix the nomination, how about a debate between the top five after the first debate: Trump (23), Cruz (13), Carson (11), Fiorina (8), Rubio (8) ?

    That way we could get to some substance, right?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/10/2015 - 12:11 pm.


      Joke, right? In a sensible political environment, four of those five would provoke hails of derisive laughter at the thought they would run for, let alone be elected, President.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 08/10/2015 - 04:55 pm.

        My impression is that Fox (and their conservative masters) were fully aware of the impression that the last Republican primary season had on potential swing voters and were looking to forestall that through two mechanisms–the grow-up and the children’s table and a distinct targeting of the undesirables at the grown-up table. Hence, the Kasich vs. Perry decision at the margin and the questioning targeting Trump. However, polls before and after the debate didn’t cooperate.

        The “serious” candidates fell further behind. The less establishment ones rose.

        The best laid plans…

        Cant feed 24 months of “crazy” and then make an instant change to “substantive policy”.

        How low did any presidential candidate start out in the initial debate? Bush must be checking history.

    • Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 08/10/2015 - 02:12 pm.

      Credit where it’s due

      I rarely praise Fox News, but they set eligibility rules early and stuck to them, then forced the candidates to directly answer some questions that were anything but “softballs.” Good for them.

      In this instance, Fox News did right by their viewers — and the audience was huge.

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/10/2015 - 11:01 am.


    What Trump is showing us is how completely dysfunctional the Republican party has become. The truth is NONE of these candidates makes sense, and the fact that this party can’t figure out what to do with Trump is simply the triumph of stupidity. You can’t attack evidence, and reason, and intellectuals for decades without devolving into stupid. So here they are, they got a guy who gets press, but is otherwise a disaster, and they can’t figure out what to do… they want the press but not the disaster. It’s like Homer mistaking his own finger for a hot dog: “Hmmmmm hot dog- OW!…. mmmmmm hot dog- OW mmmmm hot dog…”

  6. Submitted by jason myron on 08/10/2015 - 11:25 am.

    What’s truly repugnant

    is a guy like Erik Erickson who made a big deal of disinviting Trump from his Redstate convention because of his comments about Kelly’s moderation. Erickson himself has many misogynist quotes that place him alongside Trump and his neanderthal views on women.. They are clearly rattled that Trump’s appeal to the extremists (the same faction that the GOP was forced to welcome in order to maintain relevance) has become a liability and will lead to major losses in 2016.

  7. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 08/10/2015 - 11:30 am.

    My take on who the Republicans are…

    It has been my feeling for a long time that a large minority of Republican voters are racists/xenophobics. They love the confederate flag and Cliven Bundy.

    Probably a larger group is the uneducated/barely educated. That group would account for the vast number of people who refuse to believe scientists on things like evolution or climate change or any other subject that contradicts their belief system. They are probably the majority of people who are polling as Trump supporters.

    A smaller group would be the selfish who have earned a decent life through hard work and fortune and refuse to share anything they aren’t forced to share.

    Then there is the group who is conservative by principle and inclination. While I disagree with this group, I respect them and pity them for having to share their party with all the rest.

    And as Donald says, if you take offense at this, it is your problem and you are misrepresenting me and I am offended. How dare you, you big, fat, ugly slob!

  8. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/10/2015 - 12:06 pm.

    The GOP Circus Continues

    A couple of days ago Reince Priebus, the RNC Chairman, said, “The whole world is looking at us.” Reince is right, but it is for all the wrong reasons. It isn’t because of the stellar slate of candidates or that they are talking about immigration, veterans’ issues, wage inequality, race relations, or any of America’s real problems that need real solutions. They are letting Donald Trump run wild all over the party without any idea of what to do. I can’t imagine what their response would be if challenged by world leaders. Sorry, I do know what their only response would be in that situation, war. The GOP freely uses the term “feckless” when describing others. If they look in a mirror, they will find the term “FECKLESS” applies to them. Seventeen candidates, a RNC chairman, and no leadership pretty much defines the Republican Party. The candidates aren’t talking about their solutions, it’s all stale talking points and trash talking the opposition. Criticism without solutions is meaningless. There are numerous failed examples of Republican leadership when the Republican fiscal philosophy has been applied. Sam Brownback’s disaster in Kansas, Tim Pawlenty’s disaster in Minnesota, Scott Walker’s disaster in Wisconsin, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s disaster when he ran California, George W. Bush’s American disaster, and many more. The GOP fiscal philosophy just doesn’t work for everyone, but it does work as planned for those at the top.

    Immigration needs to be explained in a weighted chart that shows demographically crimes and murders/1,000 people. I don’t believe you will find the Mexicans, as the Republicans purport, are the problem. It does, however, make for good divisive language that the Republicans seek out. General rule with the Republicans is that if you listen to them and believe the exact opposite, you will be right more than you are wrong.

    I get some warmer feelings about Republican John Kasich when he talks. My guess is he won’t survive the Republican Party electorate because he isn’t “CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH”. If he were to win, he would still have to work with the rest of the Republican zealots.

  9. Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/10/2015 - 01:52 pm.


    I saw someone refer to this as the ‘entertainment’ phase of the campaign. That seems about right; the guy is a reality show star after all.

    Thinking back to 2012, this phase lasted quite a while; we saw quite a few bombastic firebrand cycle through the front-runner’s spot until they finally settled on WMR. The names are different this year, but the process will be the same.

    • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 08/10/2015 - 03:01 pm.

      Yes! That’s Entertainment!

      I admit to watching Fox for the first time in my life just to see this debate. One thing that struck me before the debate started was how out and out partisan the whole process was, how the so called journalists who worked for the network were obviously partisan. It is my feeling that the attack questions posed by the “moderators” were dictated from above, that this was a ploy by the owner of the network to assume control of the selection process.

      The only thing that would have made this more entertaining is if Roger Ailes and the Koch brothers had sat in judgement and at the end pronounced, “You’re fired” or allow the candidates they liked to pass on to the second debate. That would have been classy, Fox-style.

  10. Submitted by Mike Setzer on 08/10/2015 - 03:02 pm.

    So stop already

    He’s brilliant at manipulating the media. There are interesting, not completely predictable people in the Republican field that voters might want to know about. But you guys can’t write about anything but the irrelevant. Stop rewarding Trump’s bad behavior. Tell us about Kasich, or Carson, or Fiorina! Enough about irrelevancies. This must be the 10th time I’ve read about this particular bit of adolescent smack-talking, but I can’t find the first story about some candidates. Before that it was McCain’s heroism and before that it was…oh never mind. The media has become a bunch of Trump operatives.

    • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 08/10/2015 - 09:44 pm.

      I for one can’t stop focusing on Trump because it is fun

      I’d never vote for any of them anyway so I’m just here for the spectacle. Kasich? He has no chance with the “base”. Carson? Really? He’s nuts! Fiorina? How can someone who took down HP lecture the world on jobs and the economy. She sell her soul for a vote and probably already did to get all the good kiddie table reviews. I’m pulling for Trump,sort of, because I think there are enough sane people in America, liberal and conservative, that he would stand no chance of winning against any Democrat. If he were running for King, maybe. No one wants a guy like that out in the world causing wars and chaos.

      The only guy of the 18 or whatever I find interesting, and thus a threat to the Dems, is Rubio. He’s sane and calm and acts logical. I think if Walker hangs around long enough he’ll be exposed for the radical mess he made of Wisconsin and the shallowness of his foreign policy thought.

      You can’t blame anyone else but the Republican voters for Trump.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/11/2015 - 09:58 am.

      That Ol’ Media*

      There is much in what you say. The coverage decision becomes circular: Trump gets so much attention, because he is leading in the polls, so we’ll give him more attention, and he will continue to lead in the polls.. Trying to break that cycle raises two new problems.

      The first is that the bad behavior and adolescent smack-talking is what the public enjoys seeing and hearing about. A number of years ago, I saw a mayoral debate in St. Paul during which two candidates got so heated in their responses that they stood up and got in each others’ faces. The audience was delighted. They laughed and applauded as if it were the best show they had seen in years. The public may talk a good game about wanting more substance, but the Jerry Springer Show will always outdo C-Span in the ratings.

      The second is that expecting a focus on “serious” candidates and issues makes the media the gatekeeper for our discourse. Are journalists going to tell us to forget about hair and listen to what George Pataki has to say? Who gets to decide what’s relevant?

      I, for one, would be no end of grateful if I never heard another repetition of “You’re fired!” in this election cycle. Sadly, it’s just not going to happen.

      *”Those” Ol’ Media? It occurs to me that the word “media” is plural.

  11. Submitted by Tim Smith on 08/10/2015 - 04:08 pm.

    One guys discourse is another’s…..

    I will remember your discourse comments the next time I see an ABM commercial, or the tried and true (nasty, disgusting and disrespectful) “Republican war on women” (or insert another liberal target vote instead of women). I am sure our veterans who we rely on for our freedom love to hear war used in that context.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/11/2015 - 10:08 am.


      When Fox and various other conservative outlets start their annual tirades about a “War on Christmas,” are you going to object, on behalf of our veterans?

  12. Submitted by Kent Fralish on 08/10/2015 - 08:48 pm.


    Like it or not, the last time there was any honest conversation about government before the Donald, be it republican or democrat was George Washington.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/11/2015 - 08:23 am.

      Joking right?

      You’re not claiming that Trump has started any kind of honest conversation about government? The guy has said absolutely NOTHING of substance about government whatsoever. And the only conversation he’s provoked is about him.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/11/2015 - 10:15 am.

    Nothing to see here period… move along

    The GOP has spent decades turning itself into a magnet for damaged and toxic personalities,Trump is just the logical conclusion to that. While some of the republican contenders are slightly less toxic than others NONE of these people really has a clue. The fact that none of these candidates can figure out how to deal with Trump just tells us how incredibly weak the field really is. Trump has said absolutely NOTHING of substance, and his beyond showing up for photo ops he’s not even running a campaign, he has no ground game whatsoever.

    Look, in the aftermath of the Trump’s performance in the “partially” televised debate, Redstate’s Erick Erickson said:

    ” “We will not gain the White House,” said Mr. Erickson about the inflammatory messages he had received, “if we’re screaming at people, calling them whores and queer and the N-word.”

    Note, he DID NOT say republicans can’t gain the White House with racist, intolerant, ignorant, or sexist candidates… only that racism, intolerance, ignorance, and sexism can’t be their “message”. THIS is the primary toxin that permeates the republican party. They’ve been talking in code to each other so long duplicity has become their first nature. It never occurs to them to look for an intelligent knowledgeable candidate that’s not a bigot or an wannabe dictator, they only look for candidates that can sell themselves as intelligent and knowledgeable. The fact that they can no longer find such a candidate tells us just how far they’ve sunk.Trump is by and large just saying stuff out loud. There’s even a Facebook meme with a republican elephant telling Trump to stop telling everyone what “they’re” thinking… and it’s true.

  14. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 08/11/2015 - 11:49 am.

    What would you expect from a beauty contest ?

    It’s all about “performance” – as in, Carly Fiorina gave a good performance, therefore she’s a little bit more qualified to be President than the day before. Fox News was positively aroused.

    Carly Fiorina has no known qualifications to be President, unless being Queen of the Job Killers while getting a magnificent golden parachute after damaging your company with your poor executive leadership are qualifications for high office.

    This whole roster of candidates, and the party as a whole, is seeking any way they can to give a falsely pleasing appearance, and the whole Republican establishment seems to have subscribed to the beauty contest model.

    It’s not just Trump dragging down the political process, if it was ever on a higher plane.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/11/2015 - 12:12 pm.

      Well yeah but…

      The fact that they can’t even find a way to give a falsely pleasing appearance speaks volumes, I mean, they can’t even find someone who “looks” appealing anymore.

      I’ve been saying this for years, the republican party is coming apart at the seams, they may have an occasional electoral surge now and then but they’ve completely lost the ability to govern in any responsible way. And as long at they keep attracting candidates like this, and supporting them, they’re not going to dig out of this hole.

  15. Submitted by John Appelen on 08/11/2015 - 10:47 pm.


    Bernie is about as far afield as Trump, though much less entertaining. And Democrats would praise their party because it is made up of a diverse group of people.

    Yet here some Liberal commenters choose to try to stereotype the Republican party and it’s members in very negative ways because a more than normally egotistical narcissistic “politician” threw his hat in the GOP ring.

    It would have been interesting if he would have went after the Democrat endorsement. Maybe he will in 2020… He does love the attention.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/12/2015 - 08:21 am.

      Missing the point…. and that’s your (GOP) problem

      The problem isn’t Trump’s narcissism, which is no greater than that of Bachmann, or Perry, or Palin’s, The problem is that this narcissist is your parties most popular candidate. From toe tapping in MPLS airport bathrooms to corruption in New Jersey the GOP has become a rolling parade of depravity claiming to be the nations moral center. Instead of getting your house in order every time GOP sinks lower into the hole they try to point to someone else, It’s like saying: “Well I might be a serial killer but I’m not the only one.” Even IF Sander’s, Obama, Franken, etc. were equivalent (which they’re not) that doesn’t move the needle on a functioning moral compass.

      Intellectual honesty is another problem. We’re not talking about Trump because we’re “liberals”, stereotyping, we talking about Trump because that’s the topic of the article. Why would anyone come to an article about Trump and expect to see comments about Bernie Sanders? Give us an article about Bernie Sanders (really, please, Eric- GIVE US AN ARTICLE ABOUT BERNIE SANDERS) and we’ll talk about Bernie Sanders.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/12/2015 - 09:24 am.

        A Stretch

        I think you are going well beyond talking about Trump and into stereotyping Republicans in general.

        “The truth is NONE of these candidates makes sense, and the fact that this party can’t figure out what to do with Trump is simply the triumph of stupidity. You can’t attack evidence, and reason, and intellectuals for decades without devolving into stupid. ”

        And as always, one sees what they look for. There are politicians from both parties that have run a foul of the law in the last 10 years. I think it a politician thing, not necessarily a party thing. Only certain types of people pursue that carreer path.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/12/2015 - 11:23 am.

          Because Both Sides Do It!

          What does the fact that politicians “from both parties” have run afoul of the law have to do with Donald Trump being the current front-runner for the Republican nomination? As far as I know, he is not being accused of “running afoul” of the law. If he is, I don’t see anyone saying that is a uniquely Republican thing. There is no law against bombast, egotism, or generalized obnoxious behavior.

          Similarly, stupidity and anti-intellectualism are not criminal offenses. Deflection may likewise be practiced without fear of criminal sanctions.

          “I think it a politician thing, not necessarily a party thing. Only certain types of people pursue that carreer [sic] path.” Talk about stereotyping.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/12/2015 - 11:59 am.

            Self Selection

            I don’t think it is stereotyping to note that certain personality types are more likely to run for public office, become a police officer, become a Priest, etc.

            Now if I believed and stated/ inferred that all politicians were ??? Or all Republicans are ??? Or all Democrats are ??? Then I would be stereotyping. Like some of the comments above.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/12/2015 - 12:19 pm.

          The REAL stretch…

          Is the non-sequitur, the quote you provide makes no claims about lawless republicans yet you pretend to respond to it by pointing out that democrats can break laws as well.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/12/2015 - 02:50 pm.


            I was trying to be less judgemental than this comment. To me law breaking is more clear than acting “depraved”.

            “the GOP has become a rolling parade of depravity”

            • Submitted by jason myron on 08/12/2015 - 04:01 pm.

              I guess the truth hurts

              because that’s an accurate description of what their party has become. Mean spirited, paranoid, insular and completely terrified of cultural change.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/12/2015 - 08:47 pm.

                Truth in this case is certainly a matter of perspective. There are probably some people in the GOP party that match your description, however I believe the vast majority truly believe in the power and freedom of citizens.

                Just as there are people in the Democratic party who have little faith in the power and freedom of citizens. They believe that citizens must relinquish ever more of their control, money and freedom to the government, to let the government determine which each citizen deserves in return.

                And my usual data to back up my position.

                The government used to collect and redistribute much less of our GDP. Then we decided that people could not be trusted to save for retirement and the government started forcefully collecting ~15,5% of our pay checks. We could no longer save or invest that money where we wished.

                We also delegated the collection of and distribution of welfare revenues to the government, which reduced our freedom to choose the charities we would support or not support, and how much we would give.

                And now the Left would love to have single payer healthcare, which of course would be a further erosion of our individual freedoms to choose.

                It is an interesting change that the Left is encouraging.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 08/12/2015 - 01:07 pm.

      The difference is that the democratic party

      would reject Trump outright from day one. The fact that his misogynist, xenophobic isolationist views have been embraced by so many “conservatives” should give you pause for serious reflection. As for 2020, Clinton will just be starting her second term by then

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/12/2015 - 02:09 pm.


        I doubt Trump would even make the cut for democrat’s debates. I think he knows that, and that’s why he’s running as a republican.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/12/2015 - 12:38 pm.

    Both sides indeed

    Not to belabor the point, but the comments here frequently mirror actual republican responses. And of course here we have more examples of “personal responsibility”. From Rush Limbaugh to Mitt Romney we have a chorus of voices proclaiming that pregnant women, sick people, parents, the unemployed, etc. are all trying to dodge their personal responsibilities. Yet whenever these guys or their comrade’s get caught in a moral bind their first and usually only response is to point to someone else.

    The most basic tenet of moral integrity is to simply have the ability to recognize one’s own moral transgressions and failings. The act of pointing to someone else’s behavior is little more than denying ones own behavior, as if my poor conduct could be canceled out by someone else’s. This kind of reasoning violates basic basic principles of ethics yet these are the same people who claim to be the only ones with durable “values”.

    Here’s the thing: If Trump were to get the republican nomination, too many republicans would actually vote for him… THAT’S the problem. Guys like Trump know this, THAT’S why the GOP has become such a magnet for damaged personalities. The GOP is in a death spiral and unless conservatives start taking responsibility for their votes it’s not going to stop till it crashes.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/12/2015 - 03:04 pm.

      Star Power

      It would be interesting to see how many votes Samuel L Jackson could get if he chose to run for President on the DFL ticket.

      And don’t forget Jessie the Bodies win in MN.

      My point being that you think regular GOP citizens support Trump’s views, and therefore you are stereotyping and insulting the typical GOP voter. I think many GOP citizens are just caught up in his charisma and this will fade as the election nears and they need to get more serious.

      Personally I think there are an equal number of smart capable and responsible people who reside on either side of the moderates. Just because I disagree with the other side does not mean I need to hurl insults and stereotypes. But different strokes for different folks.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/12/2015 - 03:55 pm.

        Trump’s Views

        Donald Trump may express his views in an extremely boorish manner, but those views aren’t too far away from mainstream Republican opinions.

        Is his opinion on immigration outside the GOP pale? How about his views on foreign policy? Tax policy? Education? Gun control? Abortion?

        Whatever stands he may have expressed on these issues in the past, Trump now fits right within the Republican Party. If he had better manners, you would not find it “stereotyping and insulting” to say that the typical GOP voter supported his views.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 08/12/2015 - 03:59 pm.

        Samuel L Jackson?

        I’ve seem some serious attempts at deflection on these boards, but this one might take the cake. As for Trump, the guy is leading every GOP challenger by double digits. If his base isn’t the “typical GOP citizen,” then exactly who is it? And spare us the faux umbrage, John. You have no trouble hurling stereotypes and invectives at those poor people with their “poor choices” and “non-existent work ethic” that you’re convinced are stealing bread off of your table.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/12/2015 - 05:10 pm.

          I Suspect

          Those are not insults or stereotypes, but honest descriptions and what would you rather hear–how about some thoroughly condescending adjectives that will be framed as “politically correct?” Besides, think of the many, many times liberals have said mean things about conservatives.

          Does that about cover the standard reply?

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/12/2015 - 09:01 pm.


          I said that ~10% of welfare recipients were making bad choices or fraudulent and should be removed from the program. (remember ~$100 billion / year)

          And I have been known to say that women who have additional children while collecting welfare should be required to abort the fetus in the first trimester or give the baby up for adoption. Since with rights come responsibilities and consequences, and a woman who conceives another child when she can not afford the ones she has is definitely being irresponsible.

          I don’t think I have ever stereotyped poor people. I am very aware that there are many factors involved. Some are out of the individuals control, others are not. Personally I think Liberals stereotype them more, by demanding that they all need and deserve assistance equally.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/13/2015 - 02:55 pm.

            So by the same logic

            rich people who make poor choices should surrender their government benefits (tax breaks).
            Note that the middle class pays a higher percentage of its income in taxes than do the rich.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/13/2015 - 04:32 pm.


              Usually rich people who make poor choices don’t stay rich very long. Look at all the stars, lottery winners, people with inheritance, etc who lost it all. On the upside, welfare and tax credits will be there for them.

              • Submitted by Bill Willy on 08/13/2015 - 05:35 pm.

                Speaking of the welfare and tax credit upside

                What did you think of the $750 BILLION in TARP funds shoveled to the Financial Services Industry when THEY needed a hand at the very end of George’s spectacular presidency?

                How would you grade the Acceptance of Personal Responsibility on the parts of all involved in the run up to, the crescendo, and aftermath of that mess? Did the rich folks involved lose it all (like those the stars, lottery winners, people with inheritance, etc), pay for their mistakes, lose their jobs, health insurance, homes, life savings; or did they find welfare and tax credits were there for them too in the form of TARP and multi-million dollar bonuses and golden parachutes (floating down all over Manhattan and Connecticut) when we all “moved on” toward the greener pastures of the struggle for personal freedom and Obama blaming?

              • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 08/13/2015 - 05:47 pm.

                You mean like the big banks?

                They need have no fear of loss – they have been rewarded for their poor choices.

                Your list of stars, lottery winners, etc. is quite irrelevant to the subject matter at hand.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/13/2015 - 07:22 pm.

                  At All Income Levels

                  Let’s just say that 5% of Americans are okay with lying cheating and stealing. Do you believe this is limited to only the wealthy? Or do you believe these folks exist at all income levels?

                  Also,please remembered that banks paid back all the loans plus a ton in fines. How much did the people who took on more debt than they could handle, and then walked away from the mortgages pay back to the banks or government?

                  • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/14/2015 - 12:30 pm.

                    Lying, Cheating, and Stealing

                    The question is not who is okay with it. I think the number of those who would admit to such a thing is lower than the 5% you hypothesize (although I suspect the real answer for a large majority would be “It depends.”). And you are correct that liars, cheaters, and thieves are in every income group. Again, not the issue.

                    The issue is, what are the consequences? The “people who took on more debt than they could handle, and then walked away from the mortgages” don’t have to repay their debt. On the other hand, their credit is ruined for many years. This, as I’m sure you know, can affect a person’s life in areas other than merely applying for credit, such as employment prospects or insurance underwriting (this may not phase you, as you’re a big fan of punishing people of the lower orders for bad decisions). The banks who got relief paid it back, plus “a ton” in fines (fines? Or interest?), but what happened to the bankers who made the decisions that put the economy into crisis? Only one of them went to jail. Did the others suffer much more than missing a bonus, or (in rare cases) being shown the door while carrying an immense wad of cash?

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/15/2015 - 08:05 am.

                      Rule of Law

                      “bankers who made the decisions that put the economy into crisis?”

                      We disagree regarding the cause of the crisis. I think bankers, investors, mortgage brokers, appraisers, government and mortgagees all played a role in creating a housing bubble that popped. Where as you want to single out one group of villains.

                      If they actually broke criminal law, then I agree that Obama and the Justice department should have pursued criminal charges. Not sure why they did not.

                      As for 5%, I just grabbed a number for discussion purposes.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/17/2015 - 09:12 am.

                      “If they actually broke criminal law . . .”

                      The people who borrowed more than they could afford did not break any criminal law, unless oyu consider them as having aided and abetted fraud when they did what countless mortgage salespeople told them it was alright to do.

                      The role played by mortgagees in creating the housing bubble is easy to overstate. Contrary to one of the cherished myths of cheerleaders for corporate America, no one was forcing banks to make subprime loans.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/18/2015 - 10:43 am.

                      And No One was forcing people to take mortgages or buy homes.

                      I vascillate slightly but I think the contributions for the mess are roughly as follows.
                      Mortgagees: 30%
                      Mortgage Bankers/Brokers: 40%
                      Government: 15%
                      Investment Community:15%

                      So if no one broke laws, then no one goes to jail. And apparently Obama’s Dept of Justice found no evidence of criminal law breaking amongst the folks abov, since they did not pursue indictments against individuals.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 08/13/2015 - 04:36 pm.

            John, your entire perception of the poor

            is a caricature. You’re more than welcome to hold that opinion, just own up to it.
            I’m struggling how you can equate empathy and being non judgmental to the plight of the poor with stereotyping them. I don’t judge them…I just know that they need help. It’s the GOP who wants to apply some sort of moral litmus test. And to those deemed worthy enough for their assistance, a healthy dose of humiliation and punitive nonsense is required along the way..

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/13/2015 - 09:58 pm.


              “I don’t judge them…I just know that they need help.”

              So in your world view “all poor people need” and deserve help / handouts, and “all wealthy people need” to pay more taxes to pay for that help and those handouts. No matter if the poor person is a crook and the rich person gives generously to charity.

              This is what I meant by excessive liberal stereotyping. (ie poor people worthy, rich people greedy and selfish) Whereas I believe there are good, bad, generous, greedy, etc people in all wealth classes. And to avoid stereotyping one needs to discuss this reality, not deny it.

              • Submitted by jason myron on 08/14/2015 - 04:08 pm.

                Ahhh “excessive liberal stereotyping.”

                As opposed to your automatic assumption that the poor person is the crook and the rich person gives generously to charity.
                Thanks for playing, John.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/14/2015 - 09:40 pm.


                  I am very comfortable with the idea of rich crooks, middle class crooks and poor crooks.
                  Also I am fine with rich good folks. middle class good folks and poor good folks.

                  I have no doubt that all 3 wealth levels contain different people with their own beliefs, behaviors, blessings, curses, etc. Do you agree?

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/13/2015 - 10:11 pm.


              I just posed this question elsewhere. Do you think people should pay a higher tax rate because they stayed married, went to school, had 2 kids, worked hard, became professionals, saved, invested, etc? All so that a couple that separated, dropped out, spent, had 2 kids, etc should pay less in taxes and get more in benefits/credits from the government.

              If yes, what is your rationale?

              We know without a doubt that single parent families are a primary factor in poor homes. So it seems a relevant topic.

              • Submitted by jason myron on 08/14/2015 - 11:43 am.

                Yes, I think it’s fair

                We have a societal moral obligation to help the less fortunate. That’s my “rationale.” Once again, you’re the one slinging stereotypes…just the way you phrase your question. Who’s the moral arbiter to determine who was lucky , virtuous or a slacker…you? This country flourished under higher tax rates and beyond tired of hearing people whine about the marginal rate increase that very few of us have had to “endure.”

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/14/2015 - 09:34 pm.

                  Less Fortunate

                  I agree that we individuals have an obligation to help the less fortunate through charitable giving. I do not think doing it through the government is effective. Per the example, it will blindly take from some and give to others. A quality you seem to support.

                  However a society that penalizes education, work, staying married, saving, investing, etc in order to pay people who choose not to take full advantage of our free K-12 system, choose to live in a single parent household, choose to have children they can not afford, etc is bound to have problems over the long run.

                  Just curious, since you are concerned about moral arbitration. Do you think the welfare office should just handout cash to all comers? How do you envision determining if someone is less fortunate or perpetrating fraud? Or, does it not matter? If someone does choose to not work, are they unfortunate or fraudulent?

                  Thank you for your answer.

                  • Submitted by jason myron on 08/15/2015 - 12:59 pm.


                    It’s a pointless question as there is no “welfare office” that hands out cash to all comers. It does however continue to affirm the belief of many here that you are woefully out of touch with any segment of society that exists outside of your bubble. There are already regulations regarding fraud, and I would suggest that you familiarize yourself with the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act” signed in 1996.

                    We’re done here…have a nice day.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/15/2015 - 03:28 pm.

                      Thank you

                      I am fine with the 1996 rules, I am just hoping the State workers are enforcing them.

                      I only proposed the scenario because you said you were against moral arbitration. Which is what our current system tries to do.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/15/2015 - 11:43 pm.

                      You Made me curious

                      I only raised the question because of the question you posted. “Who’s the moral arbiter to determine who was lucky , virtuous or a slacker…you? ” Apparently we already knew the answer.

      • Submitted by Jim Halonen on 08/12/2015 - 04:05 pm.

        Not really

        “I think many GOP citizens are just caught up in his charisma” – Couldn’t be more wrong. Of course GOP voters would prefer a picture-perfect candidate, but more importantly they are looking for anybody who can identify the nations woes and do something about them. Hint: the Obama-McConnell-Boehner leadership has been too similar to Obama-Reid-Pelosi era.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/12/2015 - 09:10 pm.


          I can not disagree, there are some interesting people in both parties. These are my 2 favorite videos. I wish she would do more of these…

          Maybe your reason applies to Sanders also. Clinton seems to much like the status quo also.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/13/2015 - 09:58 am.

          Yeah well keep looking…

          “Couldn’t be more wrong. Of course GOP voters would prefer a picture-perfect candidate, but more importantly they are looking for anybody who can identify the nations woes and do something about them.”

          The problem is that too many GOP voters have lost or never had the capacity to identify a candidate who’s capable of identifying the Nation’s woes, let alone doing anything about it. This is why the GOP is in a death spiral of irrelevance, they’re candidates are as irrelevant as their “core” issues. One thing the GOP has clearly settled; you just don’t get practical problem solving out of magical thinking… no matter how much you “believe”.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/13/2015 - 11:49 am.


            I think both sides have the woes pretty much identified. They just differ regarding the solution.

            One wants to give our citizens economic freedom to make choices and live with the consequences. (good or bad)

            One wants to lesson our individual economic freedom by transferring more of our economy to the government control where it will decide what each of us deserves back from the collective.

            I prefer the first, but it does not mean I feel a need to hurl insults at the group of people who supports the second. They just like government controlled security and low risk. Kind of like those who invest in money market funds instead of stock funds.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/13/2015 - 01:38 pm.


              “I think both sides have the woes pretty much identified. They just differ regarding the solution.

              No, republicans think saying: “happy Holidays” instead “Merry Christmas” is a big issue, along with “political correctness”, repealing “Obamacare”, Abortion, voter fraud, etc. etc. We do NOT all have the same list, and in fact republicans on even on the same page. The republican solution to ALL problems is magical thinking i.e. magic tax cuts, magic budget deficits, magic markets, magic walls, etc. etc.

              This notion of economic “freedom” is simply incoherent. To the extent that Libertarian’s have informed the republican agenda they’ve obliterated any rational economics. Ironically the biggest problem with Libertarian “ideology” is the fact that they have no coherent concept of “liberty” beyond: “You’re not the boss of me”. All these people who want to live with the consequences are the typically the first ones who want to know why the roads are crumbling, where the police are, who’s gonna put out that forest fire, and who’s gonna go fight the next war? The idea that the average Somali enjoys more freedom and liberty than the average American or European ,or the that the closer we get to the Somali model the more “free” we are is simply untenable. It’s Randian fantasy pretending to be economics.

          • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/14/2015 - 12:44 pm.

            The big Republican problem.

            The Republican voters want a “leader” and the Koch brothers want a “follower”. That can’t be the same person. I wonder who is going to win out. Thanks to the Citizen’s United decision, which is totally misnamed because it doesn’t unite anyone, big money will be the winner. The GOP circus continues.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/13/2015 - 02:48 pm.

        It was Jesse

        and he only had one body.

  17. Submitted by Bill Willy on 08/13/2015 - 05:06 pm.


    In this morning’s Glean, Adam Lambert pointed out Matt Taibbi’s August 12th Rolling Stone article about the GOP extravaganza. “So Wonderfully Cruel” was the way Adam put it, and Wow! was he right! Matt Taibbi hits it on the insightful head (again and again) and does so in a way guaranteed to provide more than a laugh or two (for anyone with a sense of humor).

    Don’t miss it! Here’s how it begins:

    “Inside the GOP Clown Car

    “On the campaign trail in Iowa, Donald Trump’s antics have forced the other candidates to get crazy or go home

    “The thing is, when you actually think about it, it’s not funny. Given what’s at stake, it’s more like the opposite, like the first sign of the collapse of the United States as a global superpower. Twenty years from now, when we’re all living like prehistory hominids and hunting rats with sticks, we’ll probably look back at this moment as the beginning of the end.

    “In the meantime, though, the event known around the world as hashtagGOPClownCar is improbable, colossal, spectacular and shocking; epic, monumental, heinous and disgusting. It’s like watching 17 platypuses try to mount the queen of England. You can’t tear your eyes away from it.

    “It will go down someday as the greatest reality show ever conceived. The concept is ingenious. Take a combustible mix of the most depraved and filterless half-wits, scam artists and asylum Napoleons America has to offer, give them all piles of money and tell them to run for president. Add Donald Trump. And to give the whole thing a perverse gravitas, make the presidency really at stake.

    “It’s Western civilization’s very own car wreck. Even if you don’t want to watch it, you will. It’s that awesome of a spectacle.

    “But what does it mean? Or to put it another way, since we know it can’t mean anything good: Is this enough of a disaster that we shouldn’t laugh?

    “I went to Iowa to see for myself.”

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/14/2015 - 12:01 pm.


    It’s funny when a party that pushes us towards extremes complains about… extremes.

    John says:

    “There is a lot of room between Somalia and Europe. Back in 1900 we may have been more like Somalia, since only 8% of the GDP went to government. Which meant private citizens controlled 92% of the GDP.

    Not to insult anyone but this brings us back to my point about incoherent economics and general cluelessness. Nobody does serious economics by calculating government share of GDP as if there’s some “ideal” ratio, there’s simply no rational basis for such calculations. Even the increasingly defunct free market champions of the Chicago School never organized their agenda around any kind of “ideal” GDP calculations.

    Basically these GDP observations simply betray the fact that many republican voters actually believe in inequality, they just don’t want to say it out loud. This gets us back to the republican agenda of erasing the 20th century. The weird thing about this 19th century romanticism is that it’s fantasy pretending to nostalgia pretending be history and economics. Our erstwhile champions of the Gilded Age forget that they advocate a return to the 19th century from an economic class that by and large didn’t exist in the 19th century. Such people always imagine themselves sitting around a Summit Ave. mansion sipping brandy with the like of Jame’s Hill but in reality, they’d most likely be living in fire trap tenements, working 13+ backbreaking hours a day for 6-7 days a week.

    Of course the other dirty little secret of those who would repeal the 20th century is that they don’t actually believe in democracy. The fact is you can’t repeal the 20th century without seriously dialing back the democracy that created it. The truth is whether they admit it or even recognize it or not, a huge number of republican voters thing they prefer oligarchy over democracy. This is why the dictator and totalitarian regimes most frequently emerge from the conservative/reactionary end of the spectrum. The fact that such impulses arise from those who call themselves “libertarians” is simply Orwellian irony.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/14/2015 - 11:20 am.


      Who here wants to repeal the 20th century? I just think we have moved far enough Left and to go further would be bad for America. (ie over a tipping point) As shown in the last graphic on my page, 33% seems nicely in the middle. It allows for personal freedom and government services / welfare.

      By the way, no offense taken from your comment.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/15/2015 - 08:07 am.


        YOU’RE the one saying we should go back to the 6% government GDP shares of the 19th century. How exactly do think we can do that without dismantling the New Deal and Medicare/Medicaid? Look at the other laundry list of republican/conservative complaints and they’re ALL 20th century liberal social and political progress, from civil rights to the EPA.

        This “tipping point” business make no sense, it’s simply 1950’s “red scare” anxiety warmed over. Tip into what? A more prosperous nation with an equitable economy, affordable universal health care, and a state of the art education and university system? Yeah, THAT would be a disaster!

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/15/2015 - 12:01 pm.

          Please provide a source where I have ever recommended a total government spend of 6% of the USA GDP. I have been pushing for 33% since the day I became aware of this ratio. And I thinking the GOP would maybe like to see ~28%… I have never heard of anyone desiring that we go to 6%.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/16/2015 - 10:09 pm.

            Actually John

            It doesn’t matter whether your advocating 6% or 33% because there’s no rational basis for this calculation as any kind of “ideal” goal in the first place. You’re just picking a number you “like”, it has no correlation with basic economic indicators or goals, and there’s no internal logic to it. If 33% is better than 6% then why is 50% worse than 6% or 33%? And don’t tell us it has something to do with economic freedom because if lower ratio’s meant more freedom you’d expect to find more freedom and economic mobility in the 19th century than we achieved in the mid 20th century. This is why no one does serious economics by pretending to have calculated some ideal ratio. These ratios are simply one of a number of factors that economists calculate, they don’t predict prosperity, they simply fluctuate over time in modern democracies.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/17/2015 - 08:00 am.

              Two Topics

              Personally I think you are combining 2 different topics:

              First topic: What percentage of our our economy should the politicians, bureaucrats and public employee unions control?
              Second Topic: Who should pay money in and who should receive service / money out?

              I think there is enough empirical evidence throughout history to show that 6% is too low and 50% is too high. The reality is that people typically use their earned money effectively and efficienctly to maximize benefits and minimize costs based on their personal criteria, whereas politicians, bureaucrats and public employee unions do not have that constraint or focus.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/17/2015 - 09:12 am.

                Well, we’re off topic here but quickly

                Again, I’m not trying to insult anyone but your “questions” are incoherent:

                “First topic: What percentage of our our economy should the politicians, bureaucrats and public employee unions control?”

                We live in a liberal democracy, this is a false distinction between the public an private sector of the economy. EVERYONE in this economy whether they work in the private or public sector, no matter what their job may be, works within the same economy. In a democracy the idea that the government “controls” some part of the economy and the “people” control some other part of the economy is simply nonsensical.

                “Second Topic: Who should pay money in and who should receive service / money out?”

                Again, in liberal democracies EVERYONE participates, EVERYONE benefits, and EVERYONE pays taxes. This question was answered over 200 years ago when the US Constitution was ratified.

                The biggest problem with libertarian/tea party/republican economics is that on a fundamental level it based on the false premise that we have two economies, public and private, that somehow compete with each other, or that the public sector somehow suck money out the private sector. Again, not to insult anyone but the fact is that nearly 100% of the money the government spends it spends in the “private” sector. Welfare recipients don’t spend their food stamps at government run grocery stores, the Pentagon doesn’t make contracts with government run weapon’s manufacturers, government employees’ don’t buy government cars, houses, and televisions. The only tax revenue one could say doesn’t get pumped back into the economy might be foreign aid, but even that usually benefits US companies working over seas.

                This is why your GDP “ratio” makes no sense, all a high ratio really tells you is that the government is pumping more money into the private sector. And we know historically and empirically is that the more money liberal democratic government pump into economies the more stable and equitable they tend to be.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/17/2015 - 01:07 pm.

                  A Simple Test

                  “In a democracy the idea that the government “controls” some part of the economy and the “people” control some other part of the economy is simply nonsensical.”

                  Please conduct a test for me. Call the government and ask them to send you some of the money they have collected from you in payroll taxes. You have decided that you would like to use some of it to help your child with college bills. Please explain to them your theory that Public / Private funding is the same.

                  At the same time I will contact Vanguard via the web and transfer some of my savings to my checkbook. I mean Fall school bills are here again.

                  As I have said before the government collects ~15.5% of our income, which means we do not get to use it as we wish. The government from that point on controls where it is invested, what it is used for and when/who will get what back. Over ~40 years, that is a LOT of money.

                  • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/17/2015 - 03:20 pm.

                    Do a test for me..

                    Call your car insurance company or bank and ask them to send you back some of the money you paid for your mortgage, or your business loan, or insurance because you’ve decided you’d like to use that money for something else. And by the way, every year millions of Americans get income tax refunds.

                    See, here’s the thing, being a citizen doesn’t make you a victim of economic oppression. We have a government, again, unless you want to go Somalia we have to pay for that government, and taxes are the most efficient and equitable way of paying for government that anyone has ever invented. This is basic basic basic civics 101. And again, taxes are part of our economic system, not a different economic system… again basic basic basic stuff.

                    Again, the problem is that libertarians and reactionaries don’t actually believe in democracy, they think living with a democratic government, according laws that passed by our elected officials, and paying for our government services via taxes that have emerged from our democratic process… makes them victims of oppression. They think fact that they can’t negotiate every line item on their tax bills with the government means the live in a nearly totalitarian state.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 08/17/2015 - 04:20 pm.

                      and about that tax rate that


                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/17/2015 - 04:21 pm.

                      Thank you for making my point. We individuals get to choose our home insurance, home mortgage, business loans and health insurance. And if we become dissatisfied with them, we can refinance, change companies or change policies. That freedom is what keeps businesses customer focused, honest, effective and efficient.

                      And yes we need to pay for our government, I have never heard anyone say otherwise. The question is what is a correctly functioning government. One that maintains, law, order, basic services, defense, etc… Or one that does all that plus a bunch of social engineering and wealth transfer activities …

                      It is an interesting topic.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/19/2015 - 12:28 pm.

                      Actually no…

                      ” We individuals get to choose our home insurance, home mortgage, business loans and health insurance”

                      If you have a mortgage, you are required to have home insurance, likewise if you have a car. Nowhere do you get ANYTHING free or have the option taking money back without returning the product. Call the grocery store and tell them to send you back the money spent on the burgers you just ate because you want to spend it on something else. The idea that government is free, or that we’re all victims of state oppression because pay taxes for the services receive, is simply incoherent. Likewise the fact that we cannot demand a refund or partial refund from our government at any time, simply because we want it, doesn’t put government in the realm of an entirely different economy. Such demands are equally laughable in the private sector. Call your university or college and tell them you want some of your tuition back because you’d rather spend the money on something else.

                      Sure, you can choose among different insurance companies, but you can’t choose among different governments, and you’re relationship with your government is as a citizen, NOT a consumer. Again, this is basic basic basic civics 101.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 08/17/2015 - 04:23 pm.

                      and about that tax rate

                      that John finds such a burden to his freedom…

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/17/2015 - 09:15 pm.

                      Closer to Home

                      Please remember that the 25% bracket hits much sooner. I often remind my part time self employed wife that she is paying ~ 47% on her income.(ie 25% (fed)+ 7%(MN) +15.5 (FICA)) What a deal…


    • Submitted by Jim Halonen on 08/14/2015 - 03:48 pm.

      A touch off

      “The truth is whether they admit it or even recognize it or not, a huge number of republican voters thing they prefer oligarchy over democracy.”

      You are 180 degrees out of phase here. Liberals like raising minimum wage, and big box stores are fine with that. Why? They can absorb the expense knowing their mom and pop competitors cannot. The small go out of business, and more customers for the big guys. The same goes for any other added taxes and regulations. A good Republican would have low taxes and regulations spawning many competitors in the marketplace, quite the opposite of oligarchy.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 08/14/2015 - 09:14 pm.


        Pray tell, what would prevent your wonderful little competitors from consolidating and forcing others from the market given your absence of regulation? This isn’t a rhetorical question, as its exactly the scenario that played out at the end of the 19th century. Let me guess, the magical marketplace, though while proving utterly absent THEN, would be suddenly present NOW? You know they wrote this stuff down, perhaps you think the guilded age was a vast liberal conspiracy? Perhaps you think the shiny new toys of our age have made us somehow wiser than our predecessors? More likely you simply fancy yourself one of Paul’s brandy sippers, utterly ignorant of the fate that likely awaits you in such a world. A pity.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 08/15/2015 - 08:13 am.

          Barriers to Entry

          Compared to the 1800’s, the barriers to entry in most of these types of businesses have fallen a way. And the availability of information has expanded nearly infinitely.

          Look at all the small businesses that sell via direct web, amazon, craigslist, ebay, etc. And all the customers who research and or buy on the web.

          I agree that one needs to learn from history, however one also need to adjust the analysis based on the changing times.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/15/2015 - 08:10 am.


        This is the part where the republican “economist” tells us we should repeal minimum wage laws because they’re creating poor people and crushing the little guy.

        Move along… nothing to see here.

  19. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 08/17/2015 - 03:24 pm.

    Back when I was in graduate school

    the library subscribed to the official government magazines of several countries, including the (then) Soviet Union, China, and North Korea.

    I couldn’t help noticing that the Soviets made an effort to sound reasonable, with photo spreads about their art treasures or their Nobel Prize winners or their folk dance troupes. The Chinese were in the throes of the Cultural Revolution, and while they had articles about the (then) recently discovered terra cotta warriors, new factories, and the rock formations at Guilin, there were always some grandiose proclamations about Chairman Mao and his “thoughts.”

    The North Koreans were on a different level entirely. Cover to cover, their magazine left the impression that they were completely wacko. Kim Il Sung, still alive at the time, apparently had a godlike ability to invent everything, discover everything, and heal the sick, as well as posing stiffly with foreign leaders who came to “pay tribute to his superb wisdom and ask his advice.”

    I got the impression that, while I had no use for the Soviet government, they were at least grounded in reality, knew that certain aspects of their society would not be appealing to the world at large, and cared about what the world thought of them. The Chinese cared, too, but the editors of the magazine had to pay lip service to Mao as a means of self-preservation. The North Koreans were so caught up in their own bubble that they didn’t even know or care how crazy they sounded to anyone who wasn’t in North Korea, isolated from other sources of information.

    When I heard Fox News/AM radio fans speaking of the current crop of Republican candiates with admiration, I can’t help thinking that they’re headed toward a North Korean-style mindset, in which they don’t even know how wigged out they sound to anyone who has sources of news other than Fox, AM radio, and the Washington Times.

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