Nazi wannabes initiate violence against anti-racist protestors in Charlottesville, VA -- and President Trump condemns the behavior of "many sides." As Roy Edroso instructed us many years ago, when someone says some variation of "both sides do it," it's usually because their side just got caught doing it. I wish we could just ignore Nazi wannabes, but better we treat them like the whiny, diaper-loaded brats they are. Yes, even though they're armed -- if they're really going to shoot us because we hurt their fee-fees, they'll have to bring that to the Pearly Gates.
Democrats run ads in red states decrying "Washington bureaucrats" and "cuts to Medicare" -- without saying that the "bureaucrats" haven't actually met yet to cut anything, and the cuts almost certainly wouldn't be "deep" and wouldn't come for several years. Also, the Affordable Care Act itself would create this board of "bureaucrats," and only if Medicare costs started to rise too quickly -- meaning that Republicans could easily launch attack ads against Messrs. Donnelly and Tester, at least, for voting for the ACA and therefore for the board of "unelected Washington bureaucrats"! With so many factual descriptions of Republican evil available, you have to wonder why Democrats keep running ads that can be so easily neutralized and/or turned on them. I sure hope it's not because they're trying to lose, though you always have to consider that possibility.
A New York Times report finds EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt going to extraordinarily lengths to disguise his doings -- from making his underlings travel a labyrinthine path to get to see him to making phone calls from other folks' offices. Plus, you know, he has armed guards! You and I might take precautions to keep criminals and identity thieves from attacking us, but what does a servant of the American people like Scott Pruitt have to fear? Particularly when he's supposed to, you know, be accountable to the people? (And of course the EPA spokeshack accuses the Times of "collud(ing) with union officials"!)
Have you heard of Steve Bannon's little Damascus moment in the "war on terror," when, as a Naval officer in the late 1970s, he visited a Pakistani port? Well, Peter Maass at The Intercept did a little digging, and found that Mr. Bannon couldn't have visited that port at that time. He was almost certainly in no position to describe 1980 Iran as being as desolate as the moon from miles away, either. So many life-changing moments just aren't as dramatic as literature tells us -- my own transition from cowardly centrist to proud liberal took at least a year. Still, Mr. Bannon's false narrative would be a worse lie than the ones we generally tell ourselves, and not just because it would cause more harm to others.
Finally, a Harvard economist says "Liberals are Terrible at Arguing with Conservatives." Having accepted his conclusion (that arguments require "both facts and values") for close to 15 years now, maybe I'm not as impressed as I should be, but I don't think he actually describes arguing with conservatives -- I think he describes arguing with reactionaries, which one should never do. You're really better off leaving the changing of reactionary minds to God, and working instead on the vast number of folks who aren't yet reactionaries. (As for his assertion that liberals care more about consequences and conservatives care more about processes, I'm inclined to think good processes tend to create good consequences, though not necessarily in each and every case.)