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    • Interview Part 2: Politics Thru Climate Change
      This second excerpt from my interview is more interesting and longer. This is the second clip from my interview with Ian Welsh (Ian blogs at ianwelsh.net). For this segment, we went on a wild ride discussing the big picture mess that is US politics and society more broadly. I asked Ian what might happen if […]
  • Top Posts

What if…

What if the only thing Putin has on Trump is that he’s going to make him wealthy beyond his imagination and give him unlimited power over the world. He will have, he already has, the power of life and death. He can do whatever he wants. There is nothing that is beyond his reach- as long as he follows Vlad’s advice perfectly.

Putin will tell him how to handle the press, how to bribe the army, how to take care of elections so they always come up heads he wins. He will be the oligarch di tutti oligarchi. They will rule the world together. Putin will take Russia, Eastern Europe, and maybe parts of Western Europe. No one is going to keep him and his buddies from seeing the Eiffel Tower. And he has a score to settle with Germany. Sure, why not? He’s always wanted the Winged Victory as a piece of garden art.

And Trump can take all of North America from the Yukon Territory to the Panama Canal. Xi can take China, Korea and Japan. Everyone else will be crapping their pants. None of them have an army who can match the three superpowers. NATO will be toast. South America has never been very useful in a world war anyway. Africa? Please.

That’s the whole story. There’s nothing that embarrasses Trump anymore. So what if a bunch of Ukrainian girls peed on a bed. Or anything else that he might have done. What’s done in Moscow stays in Moscow. Is it treason to plot with Putin to take over America if Trump ends up running it as a kind of new Axis pact?

Yeah, probably.

Ezra Klein “gets” Mark Zuckerberg

Whoa! I am in awe. Ezra Klein scores the “get” of the year by interviewing Mark Zuckerberg ahead of his testimony to Congress about privacy, Cambridge Analytica and the future of Facebook.

For those of you new to his podcast, the Ezra Klein show has been consistently interesting, topical and in-depth. His interviews are more like conversations and his guests have studied the intersection of culture and policy. He hasn’t had a dud episode since he started. Put this podcast on your list of weekly must listens.

Go listen to this one with Ezra and Zuckerberg and meet me back here in the comments to tell me what you think.


On Laura Ingraham.

I’ve been through this shtick before where a troll cries that he’s being censored if I don’t let him run with scissors around my blog and let him take over the comments section.

This is because he doesn’t understand what true censorship is. If I had the only blog in the world, I would have an obligation to let him say whatever the hell he wants, insult as many people as he wants and bully whoever he found to be an easy target. The rest of us would condemn him but that’s free speech. He gets to act like an obnoxious dick, we get to tell him what an obnoxious dick he is.

But I do not have the only blog in the world. As it happens, I am only one of many thousands of blogs that WordPress hosts. It’s up to WordPress to give me a platform and I am grateful that it does. Nevertheless, WordPress is not the government. So even WordPress doesn’t have to tolerate me. I’m pretty mainstream. (Yeah, I am.) I don’t go out of my way to incite violence or defame people or anything.

My point is, any troll can get a blog. That’s what makes free speech so accessible. If WordPress won’t let you set up shop, there are plenty of other web hosting services that will. Or you can create your own service. Yeah, learn drupal, buy your own server, knock yourself out. There are many ways and means of getting your voice out.

None of us are obligated to read it.

And I think this is where Ingraham and other belligerent conservatives are making their logical errors.

We are not obligated to listen to them rant and bully. They are entitled to do that on any platform that will allow it and pay for them to do it. If advertisers do not want to be associated with bullies, they don’t have to pay for it. That isn’t stopping Ingraham or any other manipulative, mean, hostile or fundamentally undemocratic asshole in the forum of public discourse from finding a soapbox. If they REALLY REALLY must be heard because their opinions and cruelty and bad commentary is just that important to the fate of the nation, then they can do it for free.

Yep! Free!

When you do it for free, no one owns you. You can shoot off your mouth and say whatever stupid thing that comes to mind. Trump does it on Twitter all the time for free. Oh sure, he gets paid to be president and we think he’s doing a sh*tty job but his performance review is coming up in November and we can relieve him of the obligations of office, which are clearly over his head. But if twitter wants to give him a free platform to spout off his nonsense, no skin off my nose. They can even delete his account and he would have to find another place to post, like some out of the way dark and scary back alley subreddit. He and Laura can do that together. No doubt they will have a small, faithful following.

But their rights to free speech shall not be abridged if their advertisers decide that it’s not worth supporting, they don’t approve of personal attacks on survivors of a school shooting, and that paying Laura to have an audience on Fox News means they lose customers in the rational world.

Welcome to the free market, Laura!