Trump, circling the wagons, forces out McMaster, and brings in John “The Mustache of Doom” Bolton, a man who has called for the bombing of North Korea and suggested that Obama was behind the Russian hacking of our election… The end is near.

Six days ago, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders assured us that Donald Trump had no intention of firing national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Today, however, Trump did exactly that, announcing that the decorated 3-star general had been replaced by the elaborately-mustachioed, draft-dodging, conspiracy theory-espousing war monger John Bolton, a man who, in recent years, has both called for the imprisonment of Hillary Clinton and referred to President Obama as our “biggest threat to national security”. This, I think it’s safe to say, is not something that we… especially of those of us who don’t want to perish in war… should be thrilled about. [Bolton not only championed the disastrous Iraq War, but, in recent years, has called for bombing both Iran and North Korea.]

From Trump’s perspective, though, it makes perfect sense. Not only is Bolton on good terms with Putin, whom he’s credited with bringing “a new era of freedom” to Russia, but he’s said publicly that he disagrees with our intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in our 2016 election in order to both help Trump, and hurt Clinton. “The safest conclusion based on currently available public information is that Russia did not intend to advantage or disadvantage any particular candidate,” Bolton is quoted as having said just last month, in spite of the copious evidence to the contrary. But that’s not the worst of it. Bolton has also speculated in the past that the Russian election hacks were “false flag” operations run out of the Obama White House, although he’s since been forced to walk that back a bit.

Oh, and I don’t think we’ve discussed it here yet, but this wasn’t the only significant staff change at the White House this week. Trump also brought on attorney Joe diGenova, who’s also known to spout conspiracy theories about deep state plots orchestrated against our beloved President by the likes of Clinton, Obama and former FBI Director James Comey… Here’s Congressman Adam Schiff of California with more.

Heaven help us, indeed.

For what it’s worth, none of this surprises me. We all knew, as the Mueller investigation entered its final stages, Trump would circle the wagons in an attempt to save himself, or at least put off the inevitable. And both the far right and the Russians have been trying to get McMaster out of the White House since he first got the job. One just wonders what else might be in store, now that the likes of McMaster and Hicks have left, leaving our increasingly isolated “stable genius” of a president in the company of fellow conspiracy theorists. The question is, can we survive this next chapter, especially if Trump decides, with Bolton’s help, to take us to war.

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69 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    He will fire Mueller.

  2. Demetrius
    Posted March 23, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse …

    NYT:Yes, John Bolton Really Is That Dangerous

    http://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/opinion/john-bolton-trump-national-security-adviser.html

    Trump’s latest appointment makes it pretty clear that before too long, we’ll be at war in the Middle East, the Korean Penninsula, or perhaps both.

  3. Elf
    Posted March 23, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Bolton is National Security Advisor. As such, he doesn’t hold sway over the Joint Chiefs, or control any military forces. He could encourage Trump to launch a nuclear strike, which he can do as president, but Bolton can’t get us into war on his own. He can advocate for war, and he can encourage the president to call for war, but he can’t decide to start bombing North Korea, for instance. This, as I see it, is the only hope we have.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted March 23, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Important read: https://newrepublic.com/article/147640/scarier-neoconserative-john-bolton-radical-nationalist

  5. Dan R.
    Posted March 23, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t your dad have that same mustache?

  6. Iron lung
    Posted March 23, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Please stop writing “for what its worth.”

  7. Lynne
    Posted March 23, 2018 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    This terrifies me. Our only hope is to really turn out in the midterms.

  8. Jean Henry
    Posted March 23, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    IL– Self-deprecating terms of speech are de rigueur for this site. I think it’s a midwestern thing. If Mark were to change his style of writing in such dramatic fashion, poor FF would become confused again.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted March 23, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    CNN: Former Cambridge Analytica staff say a super PAC run by John Bolton, President Trump’s new national security adviser, used the compromised Facebook data cnn.it/2ue6ofD

  10. Kim
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    He is surrounding himself with people who will not stand up to him but instead encourage his authoritarian impulses. This is terrifying.

  11. M
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    McMaster is likely the person who leaked news that Trump disregarded the “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” warning in the briefing given to him before calling Putin. Could this be why he was fired just afterward?

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    He was in the chopping block for months. I don’t think analyzing Trump’s impulsivity is very productive. It’s too variable. Maybe the Putin thing triggered the planned action, maybe it was timed to a news cycle. But it was not a surprise.

  13. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Sitting around speculating about the gossip behind why people are fired in the trump administration is to fall bait to the reality show nightmare he’s created to cover up for his incompetency.

  14. Demetrius
    Posted March 24, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    You’re right, IL2.

    Living in America during the Trump Administration is like being an unwilling contestant on a bunch of bad reality TV shows rolled into one:

    The Apprentice
    The Bachelor
    The Biggest Loser
    Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
    Botched
    Big Brother
    Survivor
    Fear Factor …

    Let’s just hope a new season of “Flip This (White) House” is coming up soon.

  15. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    off topic, Mazel Tov, Mark Maynard…. I drove by Maynard Muffler …that is your new business? or a different Maynard owns it?
    We even had some work done there, back before the name change.

  16. teacherpatti
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Suddenly all of the time spent reading about nuclear winter and watching Threads in the 1980s seems like time well spent!

    Seriously, I cannot believe we have to worry about this shit again. And even more seriously don’t go googling and watching Threads…forget I even mentioned it. It makes The Day After look like a friendly game of Steve Guttenberg’s face peeling off.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know that anyone here meets the criteria of sycophant or that MM qualifies as having enough power to be worthy of obsequiosity, but I really like the synonyms.
    syc·o·phant
    ˈsikəˌfant,ˈsikəfənt/Submit
    noun
    a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage.
    synonyms: yes-man, bootlicker, brown-noser, toady, lickspittle, flatterer, flunky, lackey, spaniel, doormat, stooge, cringer, suck, suck-up

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    oops. wrong thread again. sigh.

  19. stupid hick
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Close enough, Jean. I thought “sycophant” was the term you Mark Maynard people chose long ago to refer to yourselves collectively. I used the term to signal I respect your self determination, but also because it’s a natural sneer word.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    No, Stupid Hick. It was a term used to refer to me by another commenter. I thought it was funny. We simply appropriated it. That person and I have since become friends. You should try it sometime. (I still prefer ‘toady’)

  21. stupid hick
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Sometimes I think about whether it’s fair I use a pseudonym while you post using your real name. But those are the paths we chose independently, for our own reasons. I suppose you deserve some compensation for the assymetry though, so at risk of diminishing the persona I project, I will confess we’ve been acquainted for 30 years and I only pretend not to like you on this blog.

  22. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Ha! 30 years! Well then you probably have been familiar with my cranky rants and holding forth tendencies from my diner waitress days. FWIW (that’s for IL…) I don’t always like myself on this blog either.
    At what diner did I make your acquaintance?
    Or, better yet, introduce yourself some time.

    PS I don’t understand social media well enough to use a pseudonym. I know almost everyone I engage IRL. It’s just my community.

  23. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Using your real name in 2018 online is risky if one seeks work.

  24. Lynne
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    It is also risky if you are a woman. Even as recently as yesterday I had a stranger send me a message with a death threat and my address because I said that I didn’t think it was bad to swear around children and that I thought parents who ask strangers not to swear in public are overly entitled. I half expect my house to get SWATTED any day now. I am seriously thinking of changing my Facebook name to a pseudonym. It is also why I dropped my last name on this blog even though I have never had problems. It is a huge risk to be open with names these days if you are going to say anything controversial.

  25. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    We live in a surveillance state now. It is risky to do anything in public anymore.

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    I have a hard time accepting that reality. I’d rather just go silent. What’s the point of having a point of view if it can’t be articulated without shame or fear?

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Lynne– I’m truly sorry that happened to you. That sounds horrific. Nothing like that has happened to me. The worst I get is on these pages. Not much.

  28. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    I used to simply say that I wouldn’t want to work for a place which excluded a person based on what they did online.

    Now, I realize that’s just about every employer in the United States. Human resource departments now scour potential employees’ online behavior before an interview even occurs. If you simply post about cats and football, you probably have nothing to worry about.

    If you post about any kind of politics or anything interesting (not to say that politics is interesting) you are excluded. Having an opinion is now a deal killer.

  29. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Clearly, it will also get one threatened.

  30. stupid hick
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    IRL, I know pretty much everyone who has posted here using their real name. I can’t remember exactly where or when I met Jean, and I didn’t react when she mentioned Drake’s or Martin Friedman in other posts, but beware that I might sometimes also write misleading things to preserve my anonymity.

  31. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I think that worst thing that social media has done is to sow the seeds of distrust among everyone.

    Really, I’ve never seen the country worse. Even one’s closest friends can’t be trusted anymore.

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I trust my friends. Life is too hard without trust. So far it’s worked out pretty well for me. But I have good friends. They have my back and visa versa.

  33. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I am not sure who to trust anymore as the concept of trust is now not all that meaningful. Everyone can hurt one if a person feels so inclined at zero risk to themselves. It is an unfortunate side effect of social media.

  34. Lynne
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Jean, it was from a woman in Santa Rosa who I am sure did not intend to follow through. It would be unusual for someone to even take the low effort risk of SWATTING much less the significantly higher risk of traveling thousands of miles to off someone because they said they think it is ok to say ‘fuck’ in public even when children are nearby. But I did block her. And also have been considering changing my real name online. Actually I was more worried that she might start googling and find my employer. Because you know I googled HER and the results were that she has a history of that. I am sure my employer would just ignore it but why put them in such a position? I say LOTS of things that customers of my employer would find seriously offensive.

    That is the main reason why I stopped using my full name here. It isn’t difficult to figure out who I am or where I live. I really just don’t want what I say here to be searchable by my full name because people do google. It was more out of consideration for my current employer than a fear about safety.

    It sucks in a way. I used to be very offended when people wouldnt use their real names. I felt if you believed something that you should back it with your real name. Now, after watching people face repercussions and employers too to the point where they HAVE to fire people or face consequences themselves, I have changed my tune.

  35. Lynne
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    IL2 it is worth noting that even though people CAN hurt others with little risk to themselves, it is important to recognize that they almost never do. Heck, I will admit that after her rant where she told me she was going to kill me, I was pretty angry and I got the notion to send this lady who threatened me a postcard that said “you are a shitty mother” because I think, based on things she said, that was a subject of sensitivity for her. but then I was like, “whoa Lynne, do you really want to escalate this? Or maybe it is better to let her work out her parenting insecurities on her own without pulling a dick move by adding to them?”

    I think I can trust the vast majority of people not to cross certain lines. People may say horrible things on the internet and they may threaten violence (the latest has been white dudes threatening civil war if more of their privilege is taken away) but it is highly unlikely they will carry them out.

  36. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    “though people CAN hurt others with little risk to themselves, it is important to recognize that they almost never do.”

    I think (know) they do. And they do it often. In general, people are quite evil or at least can be.

  37. Proton
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    teacherpatti: “Seriously, I cannot believe we have to worry about this shit again”

    What, did you think that it all just “went away”?

  38. Proton
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Teacherpatti: “don’t go googling and watching Threads…forget I even mentioned it”

    I agree. Threads was not a good representation of the reality of nuclear war. Like most Hollywood-ized portrayals, it focuses on immediate blast effects: instantaneous incineration, firestorms, bodies being thrown at brick walls at 100 mph, etc. Those things would happen to only a small and very lucky percentage of the population — those near ground-zero in an all-out nuclear war. Bruce Beach put it well in a title, which you can look up if you wish: “You WILL Survive Doomsday”. He explains that the great majority will survive the first day. You will survive doomsDAY, he says, but probably not doomsweek, doomsmonth and doomsyear. Why? Because of radiation poisoning. The mass deaths would occur in the days, weeks and months after D-day, and they would be horrible beyond description. As Beach mentions, the literature on nuclear war (much of it going back to the 60s and 50s) speaks of what is called “hard death” due to radiation poisoning. It is like being tortured to death slowly over days or weeks as you literally vomit and shit your guts out, with of course no medical care or even access to the most fundamental palliatives (morphine). That will be the fate of hundreds of millions of people in an all-out nuclear war.

    The possibility of such a horrific event is being increased substantially by the incessant russophobic rantings across more or less the entirety of the mass media, including this blog. The NYT, for example, (see adjacent thread), says we should “confront Moscow” with greater vigor!

    Best practical preparation for nuclear war? I would say forget the food, water and all that crap. Just get a handgun (simple old-fashioned revolver would be fine, no risk of jamming) and one round of ammo. Or a few rounds if you want to provide for beloved spouse, children, pets. Hell, why not a few MORE rounds to leave behind for the neighbors? It would be the kindest, most neighborly thing you ever did. Spare them days or weeks of unspeakable agony.

    …………………………………………….

    https://www.thenation.com/article/unproven-allegations-against-trump-and-putin-are-risking-nuclear-war/
    Unproven Allegations Against Trump and Putin Are Risking Nuclear War
    “Russiagate” and the Skirpal affair have escalated dangers inherent in the new Cold War beyond those of the preceding one.
    By Stephen F. Cohen

  39. Proton
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    At the thenation.com link, interview with Cohen, part 2, at 17:45: “all the Americans of influence and their publications who promote daily these anti-Trump, russophobic allegations have become, knowingly or not, literally nuclear warmongers”.

    Literally nuclear warmongers, and they might succeed. They might just push us into a nuclear conflagration.

    Mark, I pray that you get that revolver and a small box of ammo. You DO NOT want your family to be without that option, in the event. I’m serious. I do not want your family to die a horrible death, and that is the only way it could be prevented in such a scenario. The likelihood of such a scenario, while still modest in absolute terms, increases by the week.

  40. Demetrius
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Criticizing Trump = Promoting Nuclear Holocaust.

    Good to know …

  41. wobblie
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    “Criticizing Trump = Promoting Nuclear Holocaust. ” More idiotic responses.

  42. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Even more ridiculous than talking snakes and zombie kings.

  43. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    “Just get a handgun (simple old-fashioned revolver would be fine, no risk of jamming) and one round of ammo.”

    As a guy who has a close and intimate relationship with suicide, I would say that this is really quite awful advice. Perhaps the poster is simply being hyperbolic or facetious, which would actually make the advice even worse.

  44. Proton
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Iron lung: obviously not all THAT “close and intimate”, right? I mean, here you are. As for the method in question: I don’t know what you are talking about, except maybe the possibility of fucking it up (which happens), but that can be averted with slight care. As you know, this is the method most favored and effective (perhaps favored because it IS effective). In any case, perhaps you, as a person with close and intimate relation to suicide, can suggest a more-sure, more-convenient technique. Don’t hold back. Lay it on us.

  45. Jean Henry
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to strongly suggest here, Proton, that you are playing with Fire. Glib talk of suicide as a solution is quite dangerous. Around the many people in the world who suffer suicidal ideation and their friends and family, it’s straight up cruel.

    If the end is truly nigh, suicide will not be an issue. But, seriously, fuck you for using suicidality to make a vapid political point seem weighty. The human race has always faced mortal peril. That’s pretty much the living condition for all living creatures, but deep, angst-filled consciousness of it is our special gift. Spinning end of the world narratives is one way to manage those fears and anxiety. These are prophecies destined to become true eventually. There’s really nothing surprising about it st all. Many people in the world face much greater risk to their families and homes daily than we ever dare to imagine, and yet most of them go on. They still marry, fuck, have kids, make homes and music. They often do more of those things than people with great relative comfort.
    Suicide is it’s own deal. It’s not a function of current circumstance, so much as State of mind. It’s often oblivious to circumstance. Suicidality is a haunting. Joking about it is fucked up. You’re an asshole.

  46. Proton
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius: “Criticizing Trump = Promoting Nuclear Holocaust. ”

    No. The russophobic, Putin-demonizing narrative that has been woven-in with SOME criticism of Trump advances an old and now-recrudescent hysteria impelling us toward nuclear war.

    Can you understand the previous sentence? If not, please advise as to which part you do not understand.

    As for me: I agree with virtually every single criticism of Trump that you can list, apart from the ones partaking of russophobia and Putin-demonization. I could probably list a number that you have not even thought of.

    Another way to say it: I don’t buy criticism of Trump FROM THE RIGHT, and that is the angle of criticism now being taken by “liberal” Democrats — now functioning in alignment with the neocons, the CIA, the military-industrial-security complex, and other despicable fascist elements who are worried that Trump might not advance their war agenda with sufficient vigor. It has gotten so bad that warmongering crazies like John Bolton are coming under fire from Democrats for being too soft on Russia! I am not making this up! I know it is hard to believe; I often rub my own eyes in disbelief these days. But there it is. The Democratic Party — or at least the dominant HRC/corporate wing of it (i.e. most of it) — is becoming an overtly fascist formation, if it is not already one. The Republicans, of course, have always been Nazis, but now the Democrats are giving them a run for their money. Amazing. But there it is.

    https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/dems-kept-cheerleading-bush-era-neocons-now-theres-one-in-the-white-house-84a8e32a1e25
    “As so many of us have been dreading, PNAC’s favorite bloodthirsty child killer John Bolton has been added to the Trump administration. And as many half-jokingly predicted, Democrats seized on this opportunity to accuse Bolton of being a Kremlin agent. That’s right, John Bolton, the guy who has been trying to start a war with Russia since long before the name Vladimir Putin meant anything to the average Democrat, is being accused of colluding with Russia. Count on Democrats to oppose the most virulent neocon in Washington by accusing him of not being hawkish enough.”

  47. Proton
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Jean Henry:
    “Glib talk of suicide as a solution is quite dangerous.”

    I spoke of a response, a rational and humane response, perhaps the ONLY rational and humane response, (can you suggest an alternative that is rational and humane?), to a particular catastrophic and impossible situation. Explain how that is “dangerous”.

    “many people in the world suffer suicidal ideation … it’s straight up cruel.”

    I was not talking about suicide under ordinary circumstances, as you know. You are, apparently deliberately (?), conflating the two things: 1) suicidality as a serious and remediable problem (e.g. of depressed people) in times and places of fair stability and comfort, and 2) suicide as a response, a rational and humane response, to a PARTICULAR CATASTROPHIC AND IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION, a situation that is a serious threat at this time. Why would you do this? Why would you wish to conflate two things so obviously distinct and non-comparable? Is it because you are uncomfortable with the subject? If so, that is understandable. I’m uncomfortable with it, too. But my discomfort does not move me to become a liar, or to deliberately misrepresent another’s view.

  48. Jean Henry
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think adding guns to family homes is a reasonable response to the current threat we face. I think you asking for alternatives on social media is a dangerous mode of inquiry for many people. And yes, cruel. There is no way to prepare for nuclear holocaust. Attempting to do so is stupid.

  49. Jean Henry
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m not uncomfortable with the idea of nuclear destruction or death in general. I understand what I can not control. I don’t waste time or energy pretending I can manage fate. I am uncomfortable with human suffering generally, and those who use fear mongering to influence the political perspectives of others, which is simply a way to exacerbate suffering in order to manipulate. It’s an asshole move. Also ineffective.

  50. wobblie
    Posted April 1, 2018 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Nuclear destruction is simply a matter of “fate”. So much for human action. Your absolutely the flip side of the EOS coin. Both of you are quit willing to sit back and let the evil actions of others dictate humanities “fate”. I prefer to be pro-active. Fight back against Trump and the war mongering Democrats. You pretend to be oh so knowledgeable, but purposefully stick your head into the sand when confronted with realities that do not agree with your political ideologies.
    Not so ineffective, we ended the Indo China wars, we stopped the construction of more nuclear power plants, we stopped US intervention in Central America, we made it possible for the people of the Soviet Union to not think we were all war mongering fascist.
    We can still alter our “fate”. Inaction and acceptance of the ruling ideologies is all that is preventing our creation of a new future.

  51. Jean Henry
    Posted April 1, 2018 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Wobblie– I was not speaking to public protest against nuclear armament, nuclear energy or war in general (have at it), but to the suggestion of arming oneself as a way to prepare for nuclear holocaust.

    “Why would you do this? Why would you wish to conflate two things so obviously distinct and non-comparable?”

  52. wobblie
    Posted April 1, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    There is a way out, as the Chinese say, “The West is only a small fraction of the world and is nowhere near the global representative it once thought it was” and “the silenced minorities within the international community need to realize this and prove just how deep their understanding is of such a realization by proving it to the world through action.” We should join our brothers and sisters throughout the world and demonstrate through action that we are opposed to our ruling elites rush to war.
    As a start be skeptical of the claims by our Government and media–they have proven to be the lowest of liars when it comes to matters of war and peace. If they do not have our support or at least acquiescence some will rethink their position.

  53. Jean Henry
    Posted April 1, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I do think that your assumption that the only thing preventing the US from progress is a lack of vision (and the two dominant parties) is highly suspect. There’s plenty of evidence that fear mongering only motivates about 10% of the population on either end of the political spectrum while alienating and de-motivating most of the rest. Your interest in Climate (in)action should offer plenty of examples. Unfortunately, the status quo is protected and preserved instinctively via resistance to change by most people under most circumstances. I don’t think I’m one of those people, but I am pragmatic about implementing change progressively. I see pressure for change and resistance to it as a useful tension to produce better results most of the time.

  54. Jean Henry
    Posted April 1, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Apparently, Russian State news is reporting that the White House has assured the Kremlin that 60 expelled diplomats can be replaced by 60 new ones. ‘The doors are open.”

    Some here will find that reassuring; others less so.

  55. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 1, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    All of the survivors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima (two places I’ve been…multiple times) should have just bought cheap handguns and gotten it overwith quickly.

    Great advice.

  56. Lynne
    Posted April 1, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Well aren’t you all a bunch of happy Easter bunnies!?

  57. Proton
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    JH: “There is no way to prepare for nuclear holocaust.”

    I agree. Hence my suggestion. I even said explicitly that “preps” such as food and water are a waste of time. My suggestion was not a “preparation for nuclear holocaust”. It was a simple matter of having on hand the means — perhaps the ONLY means, under such impossible conditions — to prevent terrible suffering. Are you opposed to that?

    I keep in my home a bottle of opioids, which I use sparingly on rare occasion to treat what would otherwise be terrible suffering (low back episodes). Are you opposed to that?

    IOW: are you opposed to simple, rational and humane personal technologies for prevention and treatment of terrible suffering? If so, why?

    “I’m not uncomfortable with the idea of nuclear destruction or death in general.”

    Neither am I.

    “I don’t waste time or energy pretending I can manage fate.”

    Neither do I.

    “I am uncomfortable with human suffering generally”

    So am I. Hence my suggestion.

  58. Proton
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    JH: “I don’t think adding guns to family homes is a reasonable response to the current threat we face.”

    It was not intended to be a response to the threat we face. Responses to the threat we face would be things like political action, organizing, demonstrating, talking the neighbors, and so forth. If the threat we face turns into the actuality of nuclear war, then suddenly everything is different. Organizing, demonstrating and so forth suddenly have no value.

    My suggestion had to do with the simple matter of having on hand the means — perhaps the ONLY means, under such impossible conditions — to prevent terrible suffering. Are you opposed to that?

  59. Proton
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    wobblie: “Nuclear destruction is simply a matter of “fate”. So much for human action. Your absolutely the flip side of the EOS coin. Both of you are quit willing to sit back and let the evil actions of others dictate humanities “fate”. I prefer to be pro-active. Fight back against Trump and the war mongering Democrats. You pretend to be oh so knowledgeable, but purposefully stick your head into the sand when confronted with realities that do not agree with your political ideologies.”

    Yes, OF COURSE fight back against Trump and the war mongering Democrats! No one could possibly disagree with tha… er, um, except war mongering Democrats.

  60. Proton
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Iron Lung 2: if you get upwards of 600 rads, you’re dead, no matter what. Even down to 300 rads, most will be dead within a month, and those not dead will wish they were. Even down to 150, it is awfully grim. Play it however you please, but I know what I would want for self and family.

  61. Proton
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    I wrote:

    JH: “I’m not uncomfortable with the idea of nuclear destruction or death in general.”
    Me: Neither am I.

    … oops. Wrong. Failed edit. Sorry. Corrected:

    I am very uncomfortable with the idea of nuclear destruction, but I am not uncomfortable with the prospect of personal death. Dying at an individual level is not that big of a deal. The destruction of most of what we call civilization, most of the planet, and most living beings, and the subjection of many of those beings to weeks of gruesome torture *en route* to death, is a big deal. Very big deal.

  62. Jean Henry
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Proton— you clearly have a strange and very active fantasy life. Most of us don’t feel a need to weave out these scenarios in such detail. Just FYI.
    And again, if your intent is to awaken people to threat and so the need for action, this kind of commentary has the opposite effect on most people. It’s self-gratifying tonyou in some way that you may want to examine more closely.

  63. Lynne
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I will also note, Proton, that guns are not the only way to kill oneself although it is a method particularly prone to being used by people who have a temporary impulse to kill themselves. Sometimes suicidal ideation is like that. It is very fleeting. I know that when the impulse strikes me, one thing that helps is to listen to interviews of people who jumped off the Golden Gate and then lived. Almost all of them say that they felt regret about the decision almost immediately after they jumped and before they hit the water. Suicidal people change their minds that quickly sometimes.

    So while I appreciate that one way to deal with the threat of nuclear war is to have a plan B of a bullet in the head, having a gun in the house does significantly raise the odds that a person will commit suicide. Other methods which take a bit longer will still be available to most people if the worst happens but don’t present the same kind of risk in normal every day life. Sharp kitchen knives can be very effective for instance but because it takes longer, the act is just enough less impulsive and final that someone can change their minds. I have met more than one person who did after cutting themselves. I also have met more than one person who tried to commit suicide with a gun and failed. The results are not pretty.

  64. Proton
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    JH: “Most of us don’t feel a need to weave out these scenarios in detail.”

    Good. Neither do I, which is why I included no detail, just a couple sentences, MENTIONING reality as tersely as possible. Fleshing this stuff out in detail would be morbid and unnecessary.

    Your furious, violent reaction (“FUCK YOU!” “YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!”) to a couple of sentences was revealing of something you may want to examine more closely. Why does your emotional brain freak out at the mere mention of serious, actual risks? And doubly so: not the naked mention of risks in a lurid spirit, but rather the mention of them in immediate connection to a simple, cheap, humane and effective means of sparing self and loved ones from terrible suffering? The fact that you are so distressed at the brief mention of unpleasant reality is something you might want to explore.

  65. Proton
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    We sometimes become distressed when reminded that we are active participants in a regime that could (really could!) blow up half the world and cause hundreds of millions of gruesome deaths. We would rather not be reminded of this. We would rather remain in infantile, Pollyanna-like denial, with NOT A SINGLE WORD ever spoken about this unpleasant reality — like the quiet “family rule” to NEVER speak of the father’s chronic sexual abuse of the daughter, as though it were not happening. Or something of like nature.

    Or like teacherpatti, above, who raised the issue, and followed immediately with words to the effect of: “don’t look this up on google; forget that I said it! Don’t say any more about this!” (“I DON’T WANT TO BE REMINDED! STFU!”)

    Or like Jean, who can’t tolerate TWO SENTENCES about nuclear war. (“I DON’T WANT TO BE REMINDED! STFU, YOU ASSHOLE!”)

    If we can’t tolerate rare (say, once a year?) two-sentence reminders of unpleasant realities, then something is seriously wrong; we’re in denial about something. And denial, while perfectly understandable (reality HURTS!), is incompatible with adult mental health.

    In this case, that which is denied (the reality of nuclear war as a distinct and growing possibility) leads to other, and still-more-painful realities; to wit, that not only is such war a possibility, but that we are contributing to that possibility.

    Supporters of the Democratic and Republican parties may be more to blame than others, but still we are ALL to blame. We are all (in this country, at least) living in the belly of fascist jingoist Babylon; we all partake of its fruits; we are all guilty. We are all contributing, to a small but non-zero extent, to the possibility of horrific events such as what I briefly mentioned. And we have to face the possibility of dying by the sword, just as we are living by it.

    This is a most unpleasant realization. I hate it.

  66. Proton
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, you make good points. Thank you.

    “[guns are] a method particularly prone to being used by people who have a temporary impulse to kill themselves… having a gun in the house does significantly raise the odds that a person will commit suicide.”

    Great point. You’re right. That is a risk. Perhaps other means would be somewhat less risky. Perhaps a sufficient quantity of fentanyl or similar? I don’t know. I am open to suggestions. In the case of guns: they should of course be kept locked up by a non-depressed person with no history of suicidal ideation. I suppose the same could be said of powerful drugs and other potential means.

    However, the point remains that effective exit options should be available in the event that catastrophe makes life truly impossible (unbearable suffering). There is no humane and ethical alternative, and denial won’t do.

  67. Lynne
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Re “Supporters of the Democratic and Republican parties may be more to blame than others, but still we are ALL to blame. We are all (in this country, at least) living in the belly of fascist jingoist Babylon; we all partake of its fruits; we are all guilty. We are all contributing, to a small but non-zero extent, to the possibility of horrific events such as what I briefly mentioned. And we have to face the possibility of dying by the sword, just as we are living by it.”

    Yes. The only way to absolve oneself is to leave the country and renounce your citizenship. I am not willing to give up the privileges of being an American though especially the privilege of living close to my family and being able to visit them whenever I want. But I agree. And I like to think that working hard from the inside has its value too.

    I am hopeful though. As horrible as things are, if we can get through this, wide spread nuclear disarmament is not something likely to be far fetched in the future.

  68. Proton
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    “if we can get through this” = if the (now-inevitable and in-progress) fall of the Evil U.S./U.K./Israel/etc. Empire — “fascist jingoist Babylon” — can be managed without catastrophe. Things are not looking good. But we’ll keep our pinkies crossed, won’t we?

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/04/02/the-warm-war-russiamania-at-the-boiling-point/
    APRIL 2, 2018
    The Warm War: Russiamania at the Boiling Point
    by JIM KAVANAGH
    SNIP
    Let’s be clear about who is the world’s bully. As is evident to any half-conscious person, Russia is not going to attack the United States or Europe. Russia doesn’t have scores of military bases, combat ships and aircraft up on America’s borders. It doesn’t have almost a thousand military bases around the world. Russia does not have the military forces to rampage around the world as America does, and it doesn’t want or need to. That’s not because of Russia’s or Vladimir Putin’s pacifism, but because Russia, as presently situated in the political economy of the world, has nothing to gain from it.
    Nor does Russia need some huge troll-farm offensive to “destabilize” and sow division in Western Europe and the United States. Inequality, austerity, waves of immigrants from regime-change wars, and trigger-happy cops are doing a fine job of that. Russia isn’t responsible for American problems with Black Lives Matter or with the Taliban.
    All of this is fantasy politics.
    It’s the United States, with its fraying empire, that has a problem requiring military aggression. What other tools does the U.S. have left to put the upstarts, Russia first, back in their places?

  69. Lynne
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I like to think that we could wise up as a citizenry and demand that we start spending our military money differently. What if we took 50% of it and spent it on humanitarian things like making sure everyone in the entire world has food in their bellies, clean water, a roof over their heads, basic health care, and education? How much more secure would we be then? Just a thought.

    I don’t think the Russian troll farms are fantasy. I think they are a good example of the type of warfare we will see in the future. The usa has been engaging in this type of thing for decades too. Yes, what Russia is exploiting are our own weaknesses. Our racism. Our sexism. Our inability to think critically while also having a very free place to speak our minds. I don’t think Russia is responsible for American problems but the evidence sure seems to be there that they are willing and able to exploit them for their own gain.

    Still yes, one of my big worries with such a large military is that some dum dum in the white house will not see all the other tools the US still has to put upstarts back in their place. What tools you ask? I say that we have a lot of diplomatic power because although we are in a decline, we still are pretty powerful economically and that carries weight.

    I also am a big believer in soft power. People around the world seem to love American culture. We can use that and can affect change by making it easier to export our culture. I was thinking about this recently while reading an article about how the Thai government subsidizes Thai restaurants in the USA. They do this because they want to increase American awareness of Thai culture for the purposes of making us want to do business and travel as tourists to their country. It has worked. And dang, can you be mad at them for it. The way to an American’s heart is through their stomach.

    All I know is that if someone convinces Putin of this, I am going to love eating at Russian restaurants. I LOVE Russian food. It is my favorite part of their culture.

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