Brooklyn Reader
SWASHBUCKLING HERO 2012
On a hill, overlooking New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.
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Feb 1 Brooklyn Reader commented on Confidential to the Democrats.
@13 You are correct, in that the VP, when sitting as President of the Senate, gets a tiebreaker vote. So, let's see... 50 votes, plus one, equals... Um, how many? Anyway, that number assumes everyone's present, and some might not be. 51 is only the largest minimum number needed. If a couple Senators are absent, someone could get confirmed 49-48, etc. And I wonder if the 60 number is really 60, or actually 3/5 of those present. Anyone seen the fine print?

@16 Re morons: Certainly some combination of lax educational standards and national infatuation with shallow entertainment has contributed to this. I don't think people are naturally this stupid. Or, as they say in IT: GIGO.

@18 As long as this doesn't blow back to blame this shitshow on us. And you KNOW the GOP will try to sell that.

@24 He doesn't play well with others. It's only a matter of time before internal upheavals heat things up around him.

@40 Fine, but by itself it does nothing. Absent proof of treason or egregious corruption, it's impossible. Trump's drumbeat corroding trust in the press probably will inoculate him to even this.

@54 We just have to make sure that most of the blame lands at the GOP doorstep.
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Feb 1 Brooklyn Reader commented on Confidential to the Democrats.
@2 No, he only needs 51 votes for an actual confirmation. The 60 vote number is for what is known as "cloture." That's how you end a filibuster. Technically, cloture is a vote to end debate and to have the vote on the proposal at hand. Cloture also closes off any further proposed amendments to a piece of legislation. So, you're right, insofar as they need 60 votes to confirm a Supreme Court nominee, but that's for the penultimate step, cloture, which would then be followed by the actual confirmation vote. Unless they pull the "nuclear option" and do away with the 60 vote requirement for cloture.
Jan 20 Brooklyn Reader commented on We Watched the Trump Inauguration Speech So You Didn't Have To.
Trump taking over the Executive Branch of our government is a grievous turn of events. This has the cold-sweat feel of the beginning of a fascist regime, with martial law, curfews, and the iron boot of oppression. There's really nothing to stop him if he can sustain effective control of the FBI, evict reporters and even the Secret Service from the White House, maintain his own private security force, and keep the Pentagon happy.

So, by all means, let's make fun of him, but for Christ's sake (and ours), this is some fucking serious shit.
Jan 19 Brooklyn Reader commented on Obamacare: Evil. Less Evil. But Still Evil..
You know what's REALLY evil? We not only know how to provide decent healthcare to everyone in a given population, WE'RE ALREADY DOING IT. We have two (compared to for-profit insurance) highly efficient single-payer systems: Medicare and Medicaid. They treat the elderly and the poor, two groups with even higher needs than the general population, at a fraction of the cost of private insurance. And, we have our own "National Health System," the V.A. Health System with dozens (hundreds?) of mostly-empty hospitals and directly-employed staff doctors and nurses who provide everything from primary care to highly-specialized surgery. Right now, it serves only veterans, but who's to say it couldn't be built out into a general system, at huge savings to Medicare/Medicaid? (And, yes, there are stories that some veterans in some places are not being properly served now, but that's a failure of funding, not structure. And, if some portion or all of the general population were to be served by a much bigger version of it, the vets would have allies in their complaints. It would get better.)

But, Republicans don't want it to get better. If they screw the insurers out of an industry, or trim pharma profits, much of their campaign cash would dry up.
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Jan 12 Brooklyn Reader commented on BuzzFeed Is Bad For Journalism?.
The Wall Street Journal hasn't been the same since Murdoch bought it. Just another Fox/News Corp propaganda tool.
Jan 12 Brooklyn Reader commented on Today, in More Things Donald Trump is Wrong About.
@26 Good point. Chances are those were just theatrical props, not the real deal, and not signed by anyone. Just copies of old agreements, or even just blank paper.
Jan 12 Brooklyn Reader commented on Today, in More Things Donald Trump is Wrong About.
@16 Well, a matter of degree, I suppose. Still, would you give that crazy old aunt a Congress to manipulate, a podium on which to hold forth to the press, or an army to command? So, why did we give it to Trump?

I'm kind of serious here. Is there something in the voices (tone, spectrum, rhythm, etc.) of charismatic sociopaths that helps sway their followers?
Jan 12 Brooklyn Reader commented on Today, in More Things Donald Trump is Wrong About.
@7 Now that you mention it, his pronouncements do overlap with those of the mentally ill babblers and screamers you run into here and there on the streets and subways of New York.

My question remains, though. What is it about his voice that convinced so many to vote for that lunatic? What is it about any madman's voice that lets them accrue followers? Manson's name popped up in the news this week, and leave us not forget Jim Jones, or the great fascists of the 20th century. Certainly it was not merely their words, but something in their voices as well.
Jan 11 Brooklyn Reader commented on Today, in More Things Donald Trump is Wrong About.
I listened to it on radio. It was a pile of bollocks, but there's an interesting quality to Herr Drumpf's voice. If you're not actually listening to the words, the tone is very reassuring and assertive. There must be a segment of the populace that's mesmerized by it. There's already a field of study called psycholinguistics, but it's for something else. What could we call a field of study of the psychological reaction to vocalization? There are clearly doctorate theses available studying Trump and Palin for sure. It could be a highly technical field, too, with voice spectrum analyses, cadence, and time graphs.
Jan 4 Brooklyn Reader commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: Trump Supporters Want Invite To Their Gay Wedding.
@10 I think they're going to be fucked soon enough. I mean, they've already been fucked by voting in an all-GOP junta that has their worst interests at heart, but they're going to realize it sooner than later.

The American voter is remarkably unsophisticated, to the point of utter ignorance. This is not new. H.L. Mencken was riffing on it nearly a century ago, and as cynical and condemnatory as he got about it, one wonders if it was even enough so.

Politics is how democracy works. We eschew it at our peril. The American working class has been chased away from leftist ideology by a mix of distraction, insults, character assassination, bogeymen, our long Cold War, and yes, willful ignorance. Other countries' Conservative parties are further left than our left wing. Until we rehabilitate the image of Leftism, we're never going to have a balanced dialog, let alone balance of power, in this RWNJ paradise.