Who is to blame for the current chaos in the Republican party?

I love it when Charles Pierce cuts loose.

For four decades now, ever since Ronald Reagan fed it the monkeybrains in the 1980, hitching his party to the snake-oil of supply-side economics and to the sad remnants of white supremacy, often as expressed through an extremist splinter of American Protestantism, the Republican Party has been afflicted with the prion disease that now has blossomed into utter public madness. That’s the story everyone was too blind, stupid, or afraid to tell. You know who in the media really created He, Trump? Anyone who laughed at Ronald Reagan’s casual relationship with the truth and with empirical reality. Anyone who blew off Iran-Contra. Anyone who draped C-Plus Augustus in a toga after 9/11. Anyone who cast Newt Gingrich as a serious man of ideas. Anyone who cast Paul Ryan as an economic savant, that’s who. Anyone who wrote admiring profiles of how shrewd Lee Atwater and Karl Rove were. Anyone who put Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck on the cover of national magazines based simply on their ratings. Anyone who put Matt Drudge on a public-affairs program. Anyone who watched the conservative movement, the only animating force the Republican party has, drive the party further and deeper into madness, they are the ones who share the blame. He, Trump merely has taken the bark off ideas that were treated as legitimate for far too long by far too many people, most of whom don’t really give a damn about the plight of the vanishing middle class except for its use as fuel for rage-based, self-destructive politics.

I could not believe it when that dopey clown Reagan got elected — that bozo should have been slapped down before he became governor of California. I was even more appalled when the dopier, clownier W got elected, and once again, I was wondering why the media just peddled it as a great way to sell advertising minutes on the news. And now…

Limbaugh and Beck and Drudge and Breitbart continue to be treated as oracles into the guts of the American psyche, and have become the American psyche.

I can’t even bear to watch the network pundits any more. When David Brooks is treated as if he’s the serious, sane one, we’re done.


  1. Ryan Cunningham says

    Time and time again, Breitbart has proven to be flagrantly dishonest. They deliberately destroy lives based on nothing but lies to achieve political goals. How journalists can treat that organization with anything but contempt is beyond me.

  2. wzrd1 says

    Who was Bob Welsh Jr and how is the majority of clownishness today derived from his ancient bullshit?
    Hint, he founded the John Birch Society, a bunch of lunatics in want of an asylum for the criminally insane.
    Now, they’re merely open about their fascism and insanity and the media loves the ratings jump given airing their antics.

  3. rietpluim says

    I could not believe it when that dopey clown Reagan got elected

    Then can you believe that some call him the best president of the last few decades?

  4. unclefrogy says

    it is entertaining to watch the republican establishment twisting around trying to be shocked over Trump. I suspect when trump wins the nomination many will twist and bend to support him and kiss his ass
    bullshit walks money talks
    who cares about truth, winning is where the money is!

    uncle frogy

  5. Scientismist says

    ..since Ronald Reagan fed it the monkeybrains in the 1980..

    Nope, much earlier — when Eisenhower failed to reign in “Tail-Gunner Joe” McCarthy, or even earlier, in ’52, when Ike picked one Richard Milhous Nixon as his Veep. That’s when it was clear that those who controlled the Republican party’s rudder were already locking it into a Rightward spiral into a whirlpool of bigotry and hate.

    As a kid, I didn’t get to watch the Army-McCarthy hearings (we didn’t have a TV in ’54), but I did read the newspaper, and by the time I was in high school I was aware of the fact that I was gay, and that the Republicans wanted to destroy anyone who was gay (unless they were as thoroughly closeted and self-hating as McCarthy’s counsel Roy Cohn turned out to be). For a while I tried to pretend to be a Republican (protective coloration). Fortunately, it wore off before I was old enough to vote.

    It’s been clear for over 60 years that Republicans have no sense of decency.

  6. wzrd1 says

    Actually, Scientismist, it started earlier than that. Before WWII, some members of the GOP loved fascism and what it was doing for Germany and Italy and they wanted to bring it here.
    Then, the war began and the air was stolen from their sails. They didn’t go away, they went underground.

  7. says

    wzrd1@#2: the John Birch Society, a bunch of lunatics in want of an asylum for the criminally insane.

    While it’s an attractive piece of invective to throw at someone, please remember that insanity is a terrible and debilitating condition — not a choice of it’s sufferers. Insane people, unlike John Birchers, don’t generally want to be insane. So, in a sense, your use of “insanity” is a disservice to the Birchers (by denying them agency) and to people with actual mental illness by implying they are so sick that Bircherism might seem attractive to them.

    In other words, you’re shitting on everyone, either unfairly or inaccurately.

  8. wzrd1 says

    Considering their views and writings, I do believe that they did have mental illness. Primarily paranoid delusions.
    Rather than get treatment, they tried to harm a nation by following their delusions.

    The mentally ill require treatment, not obedience.

  9. says

    wzrd1@#8:The mentally ill require treatment, not obedience.

    Your concern is magnificent. So maybe you can extend your deep caring to not raining verbal shit on them.

  10. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nixon and Reagan both said a lot about states rights. Code words for support of Jim Crow laws. It took almost 40 years for somebody (Drumpf) to actually say what was meant….
    Drumpf’s attitude toward protestors is the only way to make ‘merica “great” again, is to physically stifle dissent against his irrational idea of a pseudounified country, shown by lack of public protest….

  11. chigau (違う) says

    You are not in a position to diagnose mental illness in anyone, so don’t try it.

  12. Rich Woods says

    I could not believe it when that dopey clown Reagan got elected

    I may have posted this response before, but it always bears repeating.

    Oops. ‘Bears repeating’ sounds like some form of diarrhoea in the woods…

  13. MassMomentumEnergy says

    Actually, Scientismist, it started earlier than that. Before WWII, some members of the GOP loved fascism and what it was doing for Germany and Italy and they wanted to bring it here.

    .. via a military coup.


    In November 1934, famed double Medal of Honor winner Marine Gen. Smedley Butler gave secret testimony before the McCormack-Dickstein committee – a precursor to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In it, Butler told of a plot headed by a group of wealthy businessmen (The American Liberty League) to establish a fascist dictatorship in the United States, complete with concentration camps for “Jews and other undesirables.”

    Money was funneled thru the Sen. Prescott Bush-led Union Banking Corporation (yes, those Bushes) and the Prescott Bush-led Brown Brothers Harriman (yes, that Harriman) to the League (and to Hitler, but that’s another story). The plotters bragged about Bush’s Hitler connections and even claimed that Germany had promised Bush that it would provide materiel for the coup.

  14. wzrd1 says

    I think I have sugared diesel in my mental gas tank tonight.
    Trying to communicate and it ain’t making the trip or it’s turning into not what I’m intending.

    Hyperthyroid meets dyslexia, perhaps I should take a break before something gets created that chases me all around the arctic or vice versa.

    Excuse me while I clean the toe jam from my mouth.

  15. Menyambal says

    I say it really went bad when Reagan ended the Civil War. Somewhere in there, there was a reconciliation between the motivators of both sides in the War. The heirs of the Northern factory owners and war profiteers were still upper-crust Republicans, as they had been since the War. The heirs of the Southern slaveowners and politicians had been keeping their racial superiority and their nostalgia for the good old days in the Democratic Party.

    Reagan saw the two groups join together and vote for him. All the stuck-up exploiters were in one bunch at last, and they brought the hateful ignorant in with them. Reagan ended the Civil War by getting all the causes on one side.

  16. Terska says

    I remember being passed by a Volvo sedan from NJ with a Reagan bumper sticker in the 1970’s. I was shocked. How the hell can anyone want that dumb ass to be president.

  17. archangelospumoni says

    First. anybody quoting Breitbart is no better or smarter or more sane than anybody quoting World Net Daily.

    I’ll stick with Reagan’s handlers, who carefully and consistently nurtured this culture of preferred ignorance as Reagan wasn’t smart enough to realize when he was being played.

    My Saint Reagan fans get this confused and vacuous look on their faces when I factually remind them of David Stockman (Reagan’s budget director) and his phrase “Trojan Hose” to describe Saint Reagan’s tax plan. A total scam perpetuated on American public since BEFORE day #1. It never was anything other than bringing down the top rate. Ever.

    Then to pile on, I specifically and factually and sometimes gently remind them of the famous Social Security commission and how in Carter’s days the trust fund was in danger, so they raised some taxes, tweaked some benefits, etc., and made the fund solvent for 40+ years. Reagan’s budget people then saw this pile of money over in the trust fund and started counting it as regular ol’ revenue, making Reagan’s credit card bills looks LESS horrible. Even the right wing money guys declared that Reagan’s people were all graduates from Liars’ College on that one but we were more thrilled and infatuated and enamored and interested in Reagan reading off his 3X5 cards as a trained actor.

    Never ever forget that Reagan went out of his way to Philadelphia, Mississippi to deliver a dog whistle speech on States’ Rights. A truly nefarious, nasty, filthy, dirty, stinky, odious, ugly, racist, repugnant act. Not just continuing Nixon’s Southern Strategy, but its own Reagan filth.

    So I blame Reagan’s handlers AND I blame the rest of us for failing to specifically point out this stuff all along loudly enough. May God, Allah, Gaia, Smokey Bear, or _____ help us.

  18. says

    So, how do you suggest that all should have been worded?

    I might have written something like, “The John Birch Society, a creepy bunch of authoritarian fascists that lack the courage to be openly as nasty as they are behind closed doors…” Keep your fire on target and don’t splash damage noncombatants.

    Invective gets its effect in one of two ways:
    1) it’s invidious comparison – i.e.: “Marcus is a such a lemongrass!”
    2) it’s true – i.e.: “Marcus is a card carrying member of the ACLU!”
    Implied in the invidious comparison is that whatever the target is being compared to is … bad. In the example above, I’m being unfair to lemongrass, which is actually pretty nice in soup. The invidious comparison also is untrue, which makes following that strategic fork weak, because your target can attempt to brush it off as lies (which it is!) or ridiculous (which it is!) or causing splash damage (which it does!) If you take the other strategic fork and focus your invective on the axis of truth, then the target has only got the option of arguing either that it’s not true (i.e: you have them on the defensive) or that it’s true but “so what?” (you still have them on the defensive)

    My view is that attacks that focus on unpleasant but strictly true things about the target are the ones that are most likely to sting.

    See what chigau did at #12? By choosing the invidious comparison you left yourself open to being easily refuted.

  19. moarscienceplz says

    wzrd1 #6

    Before WWII, some members of the GOP loved fascism and what it was doing for Germany and Italy and they wanted to bring it here.

    Yes indeed, such as John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower’s Sec. of State, who in the ’30s was a major source of funding for the Third Reich because he arranged many large bank loans (with a commission for himself, of course) that Hitler then defaulted on, leaving Dulles rich and his clients much poorer. Despite this, he was so beloved by the GOP that on his death they forced JFK to vacate the FAA’s decision to name the new airport in Washington DC ‘Chantilly International Airport’ and call it instead ‘Dulles International Airport’.

  20. says

    Not to mention his brother Allan, who transformed the OSS/CIA from a military/intelligence operation to a “department of dirty tricks” that can only be described as anti-democratic exporters of terrorism. Operation Paperclip brought and rehabilitated charming people like Wehrner Von Braun and (under a separate title) the Japanese Unit 731. Allan Dulles didn’t apparently ever see a fascist he couldn’t make a lot of common ground with.

  21. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’ll beat everyone to the punch. It actually goes back to the late-16th through early 17th centuries when’s bunch of gold-hungry merchants setup a colony in Jamestown while a bunch of Puritan fanatics landed on Plymouth Rock.

  22. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Re Reagan:
    1980 was the first election I could vote in, and was horrified that the Californian-former-actor got elected as POTUS. Afew years later he came out with his “Star Wars” ‘strategy” to protect us from nuclear annihilation. Which lead to his acquiring the nickname: Raygun. ’84 brought out the campaign anti-slogan of (double entendre) “No Mo’Ron”. I too am guilty of attributing much of his POTUS career to the affliction he was later diagnosed with occurring after his presidency expired. I still find it inconceivable that he is still maintained as the “patron saint” of the GOP.
    but enough Raygun…

    no single person is responsible for the chaos in the current GOP ( ,IMO). Result is from the general anger and frustration at the apparent ineffectiveness of politicians, in general. So some one who exploits that anger and portrays himself as the opposite of politicians (PC, literally) will get the support of the frustrated people.

  23. peterh says


    I suggest some other metaphor might be in order; sugar will not dissolve in either diesel or gasoline. (Yeh, small point, but . . . )

  24. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Reagan was one of the 10 best presidents of my lifetime.

    I was born during the Kennedy administration.

  25. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 24:
    I think it fits his metaphor, as pouring sugar in someone’s gas tank is a sure way to incapacitate the engine.

  26. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    More seriously, the seeds of Reaganism were planted long ago in the US political scene, and not just in the Republican party. Back in the day (and probably grossly simplified), the gop was the party of the northern elite and the progressive good government types, while the Democratic Party was the party of the South and the Northern ethnics. Woodrow Wilson was a pretty good representative of the party then–idealistic and progressive in a lot of ways, but also a genteel racist. And even as late as 1938, Joseph Kennedy was arguing for making peace with the Nazis.

    It wasn’t really until after WWII that the parties began to shake themselves out along the ideological lines that we’re familiar with today. Southern whites began to break away from the Democrats around the end of WWII in 1948, when the Dems were beginning to take civil rights seriously, but it took Johnson’s leadership on voting rights and Nixon’s embrace of the Southern strategy (which had its roots in Goldwater) to really make the south a viable battleground for the Republicans.

    What Reagan brought to the party was a happy face able to trade jokes with Tip O’Neill, a comforting and facile jingois, and a lack of concern about the inevitable deficits that arose from his policies. All of that turned the face of conservatism from a dour frown telling everyone what not to do to a happy affirmation that hey, we’re the best and we deserve what we’ve got [ahem, as long as we’re straight white males].

  27. robro says

    The first Republican presidential candidate with a “Southern Strategy” was Barry Goldwater. He saw the opportunity to unhinge Democrat dominance in the South by playing on the fears of white people, a lesson he took from George Wallace. Subsequent crops of Republicans have a lot in common with Goldwater’s not-so-thinly veiled racism and general bigotry, say toward women*, and his aggressive posturing in the international sphere.

    * In Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney Lopez describes a Goldwater rally in Birmingham, Alabama. He rented a football stadium (of course, football the holy religion of the South), covered the ground with white flowers, and positioned a small army of young white women in ante-bellum gowns around it. His message was pretty clear: he would defend the purity of innocent Southern white women from the evil black men waiting to violate them.

  28. RobertL says

    Slithey tove @23 – Reagan was referred to as Ronnie Rayguns at Woodstock, by Country Joe McDonald. It’s preserved for posterity on the soundtrack and movie.

  29. EvoMonkey says

    For four decades now, ever since Ronald Reagan fed it the monkeybrains in the 1980, hitching his party to the snake-oil of supply-side economics and to the sad remnants of white supremacy, often as expressed through an extremist splinter of American Protestantism, the Republican Party has been afflicted with the prion disease that now has blossomed into utter public madness.

    This one of the best sentences that I have read recently. Truth, metaphor and “monkeybrain” prions – all packed in a tight sentence. I wish that I could write like Charles Pierce.

  30. says

    The only thing Trump has done is dare to say in public what the entirety of the US right wing has said in private and practiced for eighty years. That’s what upsets them more than anything.

  31. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    “Who” is to blame for the current chaos in the Republican party?

    I’m not really sure whether the Republican party is experiencing mitosis or meiosis. Let me tug at a few threads and see if I can pull anything out of that analogy. This won’t encompass the entire historical stratification that has led to the chaos in the present Republican party, not by a long shot. Just some observation and examples of what the chaos entails.

    We know that decades ago that Republicans, in an effort to bolster their voter base, reached out to the American Taliban. Otherwise known as the Christian Right. Also in more recent decades they’ve reached out to what we now call the Teaparty caucus.

    The Christian right and the Teaparty movement share some interests. I think I can best show this by the example of Ron Paul and his son Rand. They kind of hit on that common ground which explains their grass roots popularity with the right. They both wear their Christianity on their sleeves, more so the son Rand, which appeals to the Christian right. But they also preached Randian philosophy which appeals to game console playing, libertarian, they gonna take mah gunz! Dudebro types.

    If you’ve ever bothered to read on forums where both types comment and like to “tell it like it is” you see they have quite a bit in common. Typical misogyny, racism, xenophobia, bigotry across a spectrum from “I tell racist jokes but I’m not racist” to outright neonazi’s. But they all pretty much get along.

    There are also some contradictory ideologies embodied in Republican candidates like the Paul’s too. The Christian right are dedicated to their ideal of a “traditional” family structure (whatever that means). While in their beloved Randian philosophy, Rand considered the family unit as little more than parasites to her ideal Ubermensch. In that way Christian right fundamentalist are somewhat at odds with libertarian Dudebros. Of course both are on the same page concerning their opinions on some subjects like feminism. But a right wing MGTOW doesn’t see eye to eye with the bible thumpers on everything, there is still much room for dispute. That being said.

    One culprit in the chaos of the Republican party isn’t so much a “who” per se, as a “what”. Throughout history up until the latter part of the 20th century there has always been an effective disconnect between what conservatives/regressives actually think, believe and say and what is communicated widely to the public as the Republican leadership’s ideals.

    #28 robro struck on that with Dog Whistle Politics. Exactly! However what made that type of politics historically possible is a highly controlled, propagandized and focused political message. Possible because most forms of popular media were easily controlled and influenced. The highly controlled message predominately flowed in one direction, from some media source outward. However, more today than ever, communications are more widely available to the common person, what with this intertubes thing and all. It’s exactly because of that widely available platform that we’re all able to communicate more effectively at an individual level. Therefore we know precisely what many conservatives/regressives think and have to say. More importantly what they’re saying is mostly unfiltered. It’s no longer just the occasional ranting uncle you can’t stand at the family get together once a year.

    Trump, I think, is the latest culmination in that unfiltered phenomenon that has been building. That’s why he’s more popular with Republican base voters and not so much its leadership. Since it has become possible to actually see the intellectual pablum of your common every day conservative/regressive, as no amount of polling has ever been able to show us before, by reading what they actually say on the internet. We see that someone like Trump does in fact represent their ideals. More importantly conservatives/regressives can see that he does too. So that “chaos” is really just a disconnect between Republican base voters and its leadership.

    So like I said at the start. I’m not sure whether that chaos is creating a wound in the Republican party, possibly leading to mitosis. Or is it adding energy and additional ideology possibly leading to meiosis, a split. Or maybe something else altogether, who can tell.

    I dunno, reading this over after hitting preview. I could just be full of shit here, a few points I could have articulated better. Not a very good cell analogy. Imma hit post comment and plague you all with this anyway. I didn’t sit here at 4am and type that out for nothing.

  32. dianne says

    Reagan freaks me the fuck out because I can’t figure out what people see in him. Not “I disagree with their assessment of his abilities and charisma” but literally I have no idea why anyone would look at him and not want to run screaming. Or, more to the point, listen to him and take him seriously for one second. The man was ugly, he had no charisma at all, as far as I could tell, and he was just plain unable to think things through either well or quickly. Why would anyone think he’d be a good president? And no, he doesn’t look a single bit better compared to subsequent presidents, not even Bush the sequel. Trump might make him look good. Hard to say yet.

  33. Derek Vandivere says

    I forget where I read it, but I’ve read that Regan essentially created the modern Republican party by fusing the social conservative / evangelicals, the hawks, and the economic conservatives (who actually used to exist beyond ‘taxes are bad, mmmkay’, believe it or not). I think that three-legged stool has been weakening since W’s administration – in which the hawks and evangelicals basically wiped out the financial conservatives. Now we have Trump the demagogue acting as if he represents all three legs; maybe that’s one of the reasons he’s resonating so much. But the modern Republican party is pretty much dead.

    But demagoguery goes WAY back; you’ve got William Jennings Bryant and his cross of gold, Father Coughlin, the Know Nothings, back to at least the Romans. In no way is this anything new.

  34. Ambidexter says

    But demagoguery goes WAY back; you’ve got William Jennings Bryant

    Bryant was a Democrat. He was Woodrow Wilson’s first Secretary of State but resigned when Wilson wanted him to send a harsh note to Germany after the sinking of the Lusitania.

  35. Tethys says

    Marcus Ranum

    Operation Paperclip brought and rehabilitated charming people like Wehrner Von Braun

    Von Braun and most of the scientists involved had been trying to get out of Nazi Germany alive for years before paperclip happened. He is far from the only Von who had to plot to escape while officially Nazis. They weren’t really known for allowing people to express dissent. Scooping up all the best scientists and engineers in Germany before Soviet Russia, or fascist Argentina, or Spain, or Germany got them was a brilliant strategy that led directly to NASA and rocket science.

    It might have bent some of Woodrow Wilson’s rules, but since Germany couldn’t refrain from starting world wars that the USA ended up embroiled in, I think it was one of the smartest things the CIA has ever done. We got Heisenberg too. It doesn’t quite atone for the Manhattan project, but how much science would never have happened if the CIA had not made getting those brilliant people out of Europe a priority?

  36. unclefrogy says

    though strictly speaking it was the OSS and the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) that did it as the CIA did not formally exist at that time. I think we may have gotten there in the end any way what was really the major hindrance is still the biggest problem it is support in terms of the money and time that is not given or when given is not sustained that results in the slow progress observed the fits and starts.
    That effort to restrain the national debt and make government small is instigated by the ignorance party which is the base of the republican party
    uncle frogy

  37. johnmarley says

    @Matrim (#35)
    Did you actually read the Snopes article you linked?

    Yet, even though the sugar will not reach the engine in either syrup or solid state, it can clog the fuel filter or the fuel injectors, a circumstance which could stop a car. A little sugar in the tank could be dealt with by no more than having to change the fuel filter a few times, but a heavier sugaring would require the gas tank be removed from the car and dumped out. Tom and Ray Magliozzi (the hosts of radio’s Car Talk) say it’s not a big job for a good mechanic to drop the tank and clean it out; the process would likely cost the car’s owner somewhere between $100 and $200. Though $100 to $200 is an appreciable sum, it is a far cry from the wished-for outcome of forcing the victim to have to replace the engine or scrap the car.

    It still fits the metaphor.

  38. Tethys says

    The USA had already gained multiple Jewish German scientists like James Franck, who lost his position when the Nazi party first came to power in the 30’s. (also penniless Jewish refuges like Robert Oppenheimer’s father) Perhaps they would have won the race to atomic weaponry and reliable rocketry without the help of the engineers, and the scientists like Von Braun. There is no way of knowing, but I suspect that it is probably much better for the world that Soviet Russia didn’t figure it out first.

    The Alsos mission in 43 predated paperclip, and had a Russian 45 – 46 counterpart. Wiki lists only the top scientists, but it is rather an impressive group.

    Alsos teams were successful in locating and removing a substantial portion of the German research effort’s surviving records and equipment. They also took most of the senior German research personnel into custody, including Otto Hahn, Max von Laue, Werner Heisenberg and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker.

    Hertz happened to meet some Russians before any Americans, and ended up with another group of German scientists working at Sukhumi. I have no idea how charming any of these men were, but the quality of the various ‘technicians’ and scientists that came out of German Institutes pre Nazi era was a huge economic benefit to post-war USA. Max Plank must be so proud.

  39. consciousness razor says


    It doesn’t quite atone for the Manhattan project,

    uh, it doesn’t quite … but it almost does? Do you think you should rephrase that?

    but how much science would never have happened if the CIA had not made getting those brilliant people out of Europe a priority?

    Maybe all of it would have eventually happened. But we already had the basics of quantum mechanics figured out well before any of that, so what specifically did you have in mind anyway?

  40. Tethys says

    but it almost does? Do you think you should rephrase that?

    You wrote the objectionable part, why would I rephrase something I didn’t say? Saying NASA doesn’t atone for the Manhattan project does not imply that it almost atones for it. It merely acknowledges the tragic end result of war, Alsos, and the race to nuclear arms.

    Germany was the preeminent center of science education and research. Paperclip correctly recognized that all those professors and applied engineers were an extremely valuable intellectual resource and considered them to be reparations for the destruction of war. Post war USA then became the preeminent center of high tech machines and excellent science schools.

  41. archangelospumoni says

    Tom Lehrer:

    ” with good ol’ American know-how . . . good ol’ Americans like Werner von Braun.”

    “Don’t say that he’s hypocritical,
    Say rather that he’s—apolitical.
    ‘once the rockets are up, who cares where zey come down?
    Zat’s not my department,’ —- says Wernher von Braun.”

    Read more: Tom Lehrer – Wernher Von Braun Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  42. Derek Vandivere says

    @36 / Ambidexter: Well, yeah, he was a Democrat. But he was definitely a demagogue.

  43. rietpluim says

    @dianne #33 – Not that I care much about his looks, but for the rest: I grew up in the Reagan-Thatcher era and I feel exactly like you do.

  44. benedic says

    Why Surprised Dr Myers?
    In the 20’s of last century HL Mencken declared that the system was bound to produce an LCD, and he was right.

  45. wzrd1 says

    Feeling much better today, blood has been wavering. Might be getting my beta blocker dosage reduced soon.
    Just as well, the dosage now is enough to drop a horse.

    I’m reminded of something Von Braun said in relation to his second model V rocket, “The rocket worked perfectly except for landing on the wrong planet.”

    Should we hold someone responsible for the use or abuse of a technology that the developed?
    Do we blame someone for working on a project under pain of death?
    Because of his and other scientists, while we do have the threat of nuclear weapons, we also have nuclear power and nuclear medicine. Like any other tool, it can be used for the betterment of all or the detriment of others. That isn’t the fault of the developer, but of the user.

  46. Matrim says

    @39, johnmarley

    Yes I did, and I was specifically referring to the claim that slithy made that it “is a sure way to incapacitate the engine.” It won’t incapacitate an engine. At most it will require cleaning the tank, but more likely you’ll just need to change your filter a couple times. E.g. It’s not a big deal.

  47. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    re Matrim @49,

    I believe there’s a law that when you correct someone’s grammar on the internet you are bound to make a grammatical mistake. Which is probably a corrollary of a more general law: that when you pedantically correct someone on the internet, another pedant will come along to correct you.


    It won’t incapacitate an engine. At most it will require cleaning the tank, but more likely you’ll just need to change your filter a couple times. E.g. It’s not a big deal.

    E.g.: “exemplī grātiā”. Literally “for the sake of example;” more colloquially, “for example”.

    You probably want “i.e.”: “id est”. Literally “it is”; more colloquially, “that is”.

  48. unclefrogy says

    tangential to the state of the republican party I hear discussions by “expert political analysts” about where the Trump voters will go if the party manages to prevent Trump winning the nomination with some suggesting that some might vote for Hilliary (taking for granted that she is the Democratic candidate) I find the idea that some percent of Trump voters would vote for Hillary as a protest to strain credulity to the breaking point. The possibility that some percent of “mainstream republicans” might vote for a center-est democrat rather than vote for Trump to be far more likely.
    There is of course the fact that the coverage of the election is more of a horse race than a coverage of the issues is disheartening but to be expected here unfortunately.
    uncle frogy

  49. archangelospumoni says

    Dear Uncle Frogy

    It’s not tangential, but you are on the right track. Trying to inject some sense in here is futile and yes, the breaking point is long past. Try these if you dare with your Drumpfh friends:

    1. Drumpfh supporters somehow forget that great big walls won’t do anything about the 44% of folks who overstay their visas after arriving legally. In fact, the wall’s biggest supporters are the smugglers, tunnelers, and these guys called PILOTS.
    2. Drumpfh supporters bray the loudest about the black guy’s teleprompter but they forget that Reagan couldn’t pronounce his name with his 3X5 cards. And Drumpfh used the teleprompter for his speech to the AIPAC outfit recently.
    3. Drumpfh supporters ought to be the strongest pro-union guys out there but they seem to prefer making $20k a year less just to save the $100/month dues. (12 X $100 is a big task.)
    4. One of my state’s congressional clowns gave the rebuttal to the State of the Union speech year before last and included with great emphases this lady in her district whose medical was a hot mess. Somebody actually tracked down the lady after the SOTU speech and they actually asked her a few germane questions such as “Did you go onto the Obamacare web site?” Answer: “No–I ain’t gonna go on no dang web site.” The interviewer actually researched it a little and the lady had a decent plan available for next to nothing but “No–I ain’t gonna go on no dang web site.” A Drumpfh supporter now, of course.
    5. Ask your friendly Drumpfh supporter about Citizens United. Prepare for a blank stare.
    6. Ask your friendly neighborhood Drumpfh supporter about previous Supreme Court nominees in the last year of a Presidential administration. Blank stare–maybe worse than #5.
    7. Ask (by now UNfriendly) Drumpfh supporter about the # of filibusters in the entire history of the U.S., then MORE filibusters since the black guy got elected twice.
    8. Ask the Drumpfhs about the Koch brothers, who spent about $443M last time and are spending $880M this time. Blank stare and probable ire by now.

    So there is little sense to be made here. All part of the inevitable march to preferred ignorance.

    I’m tired.