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Gov Kasich says state of race bodes ill for the party as a whole -- GOP nominee Balderson refuses to say if he'll back Jim Jordan for speaker.

Dems lead in early vote, but the turnout in a special is really uncertain, so hard to make anything of it. Honestly, I think reminding ourselves that Beto's campaign is a hard row to hoe but also one that can be done is the best mindset we collectively have going into That almost never reaches the level of the Senate, and I am so, so excited to see what someone from that kind of political background would bring to the Senate Democratic caucus.

We have to believe this can be done in order to do it. We have to believe we can throw our shoulders against the weal and make this happen to do it. If we don't have faith in ourselves--if we remind ourselves repeatedly just how rough it is for Democrats to win in Texas--we erode the enthusiasm and commitment we need to make this election happen. We will need powerful margins of victory to account for the new GOP strategy of restricting the right and access to votes--purged voter rolls, for one--and we have to remember that this is not ever going to be an easy sail to victory.

But there are so, so many reasons to take heart and throw our skin into the game: I see Beto shirts all around me, but I'm in Austin. But one of the things that does have me so, so excited about him as a candidate is that he is a smart dude who knows how to counter Cruz' smear tactics--and I haven't once seen him fall prey to the kind of short-sighted political maneuvers that sometimes sink Dems who are either too easygoing on Republicans or else not smart enough to know how to reach out to people who aren't just like themselves and resonate.

This election will not be easy, but I think it is winnable. And that in and of itself has Ted Cruz terrified. It has Republicans on the ropes. It brings the fight to a GOP stronghold in a way that the federal party straight up does not do , by and large. And it's being driven by Texans who are enthusiastic about this candidate because he gives every impression of caring about his potential constituents and doing his damndest to connect with as many of them as he can.

That's authenticity we don't really get to see very often. I was recently thinking about a paper I read a few years ago: Propaganda as Signaling , by Haifeng Huang.

He found that exposure to contemporary Chinese propaganda doesn't persuade Chinese college students that the government's position is correct; it isn't necessarily intended to do that. Instead, propaganda demonstrates that the government is in control - and that helps to suppress dissent.

In other words, it's a demonstration of power, rather than an attempt to convince. Do you dare to? Or, it may be a postmodern attempt at undermining the foundations of a consensus view of reality, Vladislav Surkov -style. I think there's some truth to both outlooks, but I think it's also worth considering that his ability to constantly declare that up is down and black is white and Hillary colluded, not him, and that collusion is not a crime is Everything Trump says and everything Trump does is totally unacceptable and is achieved through raw exercise of power over the GOP, and hence the US government and ultimately the US population.

So far he's steamrollered his way through all opposition without facing any consequences. It's clear to me that he will try to steamroller over the results of the Mueller investigation, and over the discontent of the majority in the midterms.

I agree with escape from the potato planet - there's an inflexion point coming in the next few months, for better or worse. Thankfully there are grounds for optimism, but it's really important for everybody that it's a turn in the right direction.

That's a great comment, sciatrix, and I couldn't agree more. In my mind, I always think, "realistic, not fatalistic. It's so hard to know when hope is worth it because it hurts so much if you let yourself be vulnerable and lose. I actually think that's one of the things that so often undermines progressive turnout: I mean, there's a happy medium: But at the same time, I think a lot of good races never get off the ground because you don't get a critical mass of enthusiastic people going "yeah we can do this" early enough to make something really go.

Mind you, now is not the time to try to spark enthusiasm for new runs. The ones that win will be the ones who have been agitating and building momentum since the dying months of But it's certainly the time to guard ourselves against allowing creeping doubt to undermine our actions and our choices. And I think that while you do want to be realistic--you want to keep yourself in a mindset of focusing on our victories more than on our defeats--you also want to be wary of letting realism slide into pessimism and depressed apathy, too.

I'm careful about that because, well, this is Texas: I think it's also worth considering that his ability to constantly declare that up is down and black is white and Hillary colluded, not him, and that collusion is not a crime is That's how I read it too. People don't want to call their boss a liar, so psychopathic bosses reinforce their status by openly lying to people. And Trump's followers eat it up!

They know he's lying, and they love the way it forces people to accept his reality. What scares me is that he's laying the groundwork to lie about being indicted or impeached, or that he plans to disrupt those processes and then lie about what happened. Fake news, made up by a bitter man who incidentally had just been fired? And he pardoned himself to protect the US Presidency just in case, so move on, nothing to see here.

Melania disagreeing with Donald, what strikes me is that play-acting that type of dynamic allows Trump to have his cake and eat it, too. In other words, it allows him to throw the rawest of red meat to his base, and then when Melania, Ivanka, etc mildly disagree with 0.

This Slate article says much the same thing: These statements can be read two ways. The first aligns with the liberal fantasy of Melania as a captive resistance fighter. Not sure any of them other than Giuliani, who is literally senile are incompetent. I know every state has different standards and enforcement, but my understanding is that a client has a right to the type of representation he or she wants, even if it objectively hurts his legal position. IIRC there was a recent Supreme Court case where lawyers got in trouble for interfering with the wishes of clients on death row, because they chose a path that preserved pride while almost guaranteeing they would be executed.

So if Trump, with every advantage in the world, wants a lawyer who says incriminating things in public because it fits his personal form of delusion and denial, I'm pretty sure he has a right to that. Melania is very reticent in public, and there's considerable evidence that she doesn't like her husband. I'm not sure if the comparison to Ivanka holds up. The parallels are not coincidental.

They have rented buses that brought in fighters in tactical gear from all over the country, and those same buses no doubt drove them all down to Berkeley for the next round.

The good news is, even with heavy efforts to bring in fighters about , I'd say , they were handily outnumbered by Antifa, and aside from a seemingly unprovoked police charge against the leftist side, there was no major violence between right and left. Unless you count police as right, which is probably fair. Better yet, the relatively new mayor appointed as the new police chief an African American woman reformer police officer from Oakland named Outlaw, no less and she already sided with the police review commission against the police union in an earlier dispute.

Sunday she c alled for an official review of the police's use of force in what is universally seen as a one-sided way against anti-fascists. Does he literally think wildland fires are fought out of hydrants, and California fire crews are standing there baffled: Does he literally think Not as such.

Below is more info on this issue that, unlike my comment in the last thread, is free of the taint of Maher-misogyny sorry for not putting a trigger warning on that. There are 2 approaches gaining steam: Oct 16, The Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force [would have even more states' support than the 28 out of 34 it needs -- the original article says "27," but one more has joined since it was published], but in the last two years, opponents of a convention have convinced legislators in four states—Delaware, New Mexico, Maryland, and Nevada—to rescind their earlier support.

An activist with Eagle Forum, the group founded by the late Phyllis Schlafly, helped win Republican support. The John Birch Society has also long opposed convention proposals. Right-wing efforts to convene an Article V Convention depend on conservative domination of state legislatures. That makes the future of the Constitution itself one of the most important, if underappreciated, stakes in state-level organizing. Balanced Budget Amendment advocates will make a major push in to reach the state threshold.

The Convention of States has more ground to cover, but it also has an aggressive battle plan grounded in grassroots pressure. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that going to go nowhere when so many states are controlled by Rs? Virginia So if you live in one of those states, you could add this to your list of issues to bring up with your legislators.

We should never stop taking these sorts of threats seriously but just calling the convention isn't enough. They would need enough support to ratify any amendments and that's a more difficult task which would require a coalition of states all across the political spectrum. That is unlikely for anything crazy. Hell, it's unlikely for anything sane. Yes, I know Robert Reich said something about a Constitutional Convention throwing out the requirement for 38 states to ratify any proposed amendment but I have no idea what he's on about 'cause that's clearly dumbass talk.

Might as well say that 5 states will get together and proclaim they can amend the constitution by themselves, it's just as supportable. So you think the below concerns are overblown, then?

There is also the possibility that Congress could choose ratification by means of state conventions. This is a constitutionally approved alternative to ratification by state legislatures, which has so far been used only once—for the amendment that repealed the prohibition of alcohol.

In that case many states determined the make-up of their convention by a popular vote which in effect became a referendum on the amendment. As a balanced-budget amendment might, in some states, be more popular with the public than with legislators, it might be more easily ratified by this unusual route.

There is also a long game to be played. The states do not have to ratify the amendment all at once, or in a rush. The 27th amendment, which prevents members of Congress from raising their salaries, was proposed in ; it did not get its 38th ratification until And then there is, as there always seems to be, a nuclear option. Delegates could simply declare a new, lower threshold for ratification.

Uniquely in matters concerning Article V conventions, there is actually some precedent for this. The Articles of Confederation, signed in and ratified by all 13 original states in , required the unanimous consent of all states for any changes. The constitutional convention of ignored this, deciding that ratification by nine of them would be sufficient for their document to replace the articles.

Unless Article V is amended first, a convention would have no constitutional power to change the ratification rules itself. But delegates still might try. Common Cause, which has led opposition to convention proposals. Concern about this possibility has animated opposition from across the political spectrum. The question of whether a convention could be restricted to dealing with amendments only on certain topics is hotly contested. Some, like Article V proponent Robert Natelson, argue that the threat of a runaway convention is a myth, and portray it as a conspiracy theory promoted by supporters of the status quo.

But the point is this: No one—not Congress, not the Supreme Court and certainly not the president—has any authority to rein in a runaway constitutional convention. That brings us to the second concern, whether a convention could simply declare the part of the constitution which deals with ratifying amendments null and void. There's no mechanism for them to do it. It's about as concerning as Trump declaring himself President-for-Life. But somebody declaring the Constitution defunct and a new one to exist in its place could happen even in the absence of a convention.

Basically you're asking how concerned I am that there will be a civil war. Which is to say: I will say that I do have some concern for the medium to long term that a Convention allows amendments without going through Congress at all since we're already heading for a crisis where small unpopulated states wield disproportionate power and if it ever came to pass that a small minority of the population was able to amend the Constitution because the big majority of the population was concentrated in only a few states the country would fracture.

But that's off in the distance somewhere and there's, like, five existential crises to worry about before then. But I guess that's too French for them. Constitution that could allow the U. Einstein and Morgenstern were concerned that their friend's unpredictable behavior might jeopardize his application. Fortunately, the judge turned out to be Phillip Forman, who knew Einstein and had administered the oath at Einstein's own citizenship hearing.

Well, perhaps that's it, folks. A Convention is impossible. The country would just as soon elect, say, a Donald Trump as to shoot itself in the foot like that. Given who's taken control of the federal government and a ton of state legislatures and governorships, this is exactly who would rewrite the Constitution if it were possible. I'm in the "know nothing about this kind of thing" camp, but this is why, as imperfect as our current Constitution is, the idea of getting a new one scares the shit out of me.

A convention could happen. But seeing it through to its bitter end, and imposing unpopular conservative mandates, is much more difficult than getting a simple majority in the Electoral College. The bad guys could still win, but it's rather defeatist to imagine that not only could they do so, but that they will do so easily. I can't imagine California or New York accepting some batshit insane mandate imposed by the likes of Kansas. For that matter, depending on the mandate, there's a ton of people in Kansas who wouldn't go along with it either.

The congressional seat has been vacant since January, when nine-term congressman Patrick Tiberi resigned. A month ago, a Monmouth University poll had Troy Balderson, a year-old Republican state senator, leading his opponent by ten points.

It hints at a troubling trend for Republicans that has been lapping at their feet in other primaries and special elections this year: In the Trump era, Democrats seem more motivated than Republicans to vote. We fucking better be. Apropos of our earlier discussion: Two Michigan House elections are outright toss-ups, and a couple of others could be in play if Democrats build a big enough blue wave.

The party must also replace one of its members, John Conyers, who was forced to step down over sexual misconduct allegations. But now, not only is he unpopular — 44 percent approval, 52 percent disapproval, per Morning Consult — but Republican Gov.

Rick Snyder, who is term-limited out, has been tainted by the Flint water crisis, and Lt. Brian Calley, who is running for his seat, might be too. The environment is favorable enough here for the Democrats that election forecasters think they could take the state House, despite a sizable deficit in seats. Here are the Michigan primary elections on August 7 you need to know about.

It's probably been mentioned repeatedly in previous threads but she observed, among other things, that Obama and earlier Presidents would have a stenographer present during every "one-on-one" interview with a journalist and the Press Office would release the transcript. This was partly so that what was said during the interview couldn't be misrepresented; but she speculates that Trump may have stopped doing this so that he has the opportunity to misrepresent what was said.

So on some level, Trump and his circle may come out with these never-ending streams of nonsense via twitter and SHS and anonymous leaks because Trump is senile, or because he feels the net closing in and is increasingly nervous. Or, it may be a postmodern attempt at undermining the foundations of a consensus view of reality, Vladislav Surkov-style.

This makes sense, and my mind wanders in the direction of whether Trump or any of his idiot advisers know enough about anything to make this deliberate. But that doesn't matter. The goal seems to be to try to bend reality to enhance their power and this makes a lot of sense to me, and it's something that an intuitive authoritarian politician may arrive at on their own. I dunno but as I wrote, it feels like beyond chaos.

The midterm elections are critical and I am so grateful for all of you who are working to put in politicians who will resist. For mainstream Republicans, a profound political dilemma of the Trump era is whether to support the growing number of candidates who make racially divisive remarks and back causes that are championed by white nationalists posted by octothorpe at 5: A little bit of good news: Judge's ruling invalidates FEC regulation allowing anonymous donations to 'dark money' groups posted by gwint at 6: Look at a map for 13 reasonable states.

Yes, the Constitution was ratified with 9 states, but it did so with the cooperation of the Confederation Congress, which willingly agreed to implement the new Constitution once it got 9 states.

All federal employees are sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Yes, I know Robert Reich said something about a Constitutional Convention throwing out the requirement for 38 states to ratify any proposed amendment but I have no idea what he's on about 'cause that's clearly dumbass talk People worry about that because that is what really happened in People looked at the fundamental law creating and defining the United States and said "Ah, fuck it, what if we just ignored that?

That said, I doubt that this is something to seriously worry about. The people at the Convention could get away with this because they were in large part the people who had led the US through and to independence, who were widely and profoundly respected, and who represented a real and no-kidding brain trust of the brightest political minds in the country.

They also could get away with it because the Articles of Confederation were AFAICT lacking polling data from profoundly unpopular and causing severe and utterly intractable problems that sprang directly from their underlying nature. Writers must really be phoning it in. People keep shooting it up. Hmm, where's the "racially insensitive" now? An update on the London bookshop attack: Not that this in any way lessens the seriousness of their assault on Bookmarks, but the video makes it abundantly clear, and then some, that the lackwits involved are hardly the hardened brownshirt cadres of their fantasies and our fears.

The fact remains that an act of terrorism has taken place, but hardly one capable of instilling shock and awe in its victims; the workers on staff seem to have fended their attackers off with little more than an eyeroll and the kind of long-suffering patience one is no doubt forced to cultivate in the course of long thankless shifts at the till of a socialist bookshop.

I don't know just how to feel about this. Prince William County began questioning arrestees about their immigration status, then turning them over to federal agents. As if this was something that just happened like a rainy day. It was the result of a law that Stewart campaigned for and passed under the slogan of "what part of illegal don't you understand?

The board also directed county government to cut off services to any undocumented resident, everything from elderly services to issuing business licenses.

It wasn't something that just happened, it was a result of a law passed by Prince Willam Board of Supervisors championed by it's Chairman, Corey Stewart. The law was a failure in achieving its stated goals of reducing crime and government spending, but it did succeed it hassling a lot of people with the wrong skin color. For mainstream Republicans, a profound political dilemma rudepundit: Is it a "dilemma"? Because if you're a Republican and you don't automatically think, "Fuck those Nazis," you've legitimized the Nazis.

I am not really getting as to how Trump confessed on Twitter this weekend and there's not a flurry of activity. Arrest Don Jr, at least? With very rare exceptions, "moderate" Republicans and centrists of all flavors and parties will always choose fascism over social democracy if given the choice. Administration officials said the sanctions that have been waived for the past two and a half years will be snapped back officially on Tuesday morning at one minute past midnight.

From that moment on, Iran will be prohibited from using U. Trade in metals, and sales of Iranian-made cars will be banned. Permits allowing the import of Iranian carpets and food, like pistachios, will be revoked. So will licenses that have allowed Tehran to buy U. There was no immediate reaction from Iran, but some Iranian officials have said the U.

Things are much easier to break than to build. None of this is true now, Lol this is exactly true now though And becoming truer posted by schadenfrau at 7: I think - or at least the sense I got - was that Trump's confession was yet another " modified limited hangout " effort, where they have been notified that something is coming, and this is the attempt to get out in front of the story a bit, and shade it to their advantage.

But this is frankly a confession of a criminal act, "totally legal" notwithstanding, so what's being shaded to advantage here? The two obvious things: So if I was in the prediction business and we all quit the prediction business in November I'd predict that some big indictments are about to drop. Mueller has been working from the outside in - here are the Russian efforts to manipulate social media, here are the Russian hacking efforts - and the next logical step would be to indict the US co-conspirators.

I will offer a cake to the cake gods if we can get Ivanka swept up too, but that is probably far too much to hope for. I feel like a sucker for even asking this, but is there any kernel of truth to Trump's weird claims that Hillary and now, Adam Schiff?

Did this bizarre conspiracy theory arise from any actual real event or is it just Trump's Mirror? The "it went nowhere" defense is not a defense.

The crime of conspiracy is complete with an agreement to commit a crime [pdf], and any sometimes requires any overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. The crime is the agreement. Just a random thought that's been in my head Arizona's legislature has been republican controlled for Tax cuts piled on tax cuts. Slicing and dicing the safety net. Racist laws SB, anyone?

Pre-emption bills preventing cities from enacting liberal leaning policies. Giving guns more rights than people. On and on and on. This feels like the first time in forever that we can ever think of the possibility of both houses and the governor's office going Democratic. I don't think it's likely; we're not gerrymandered since we've got an independent redistricting commission, we just have a metric farkton of old people.

But if it does Tear it all down. Kill off as many of the voter suppression laws as possible for a starting point. They'd have two years to tear down 20 years of GOP rule, but I think they can get most of it done if they have the guts. Schiff was prank-called by comedians claiming to be Ukrainian politicians with dirt on Trump apologies for the Daily Mail link; that's the least offensive site I could find a story on with a quick googling.

Schiff has maintained that he knew it was bogus, played along, and immediately called the FBI. Should media quit covering Trump rallies? Absolutely not - Amanda Marcotte, Salon Take, for instance, the video that Jim Acosta of CNN posted of the crowd at a rally in Tampa, surrounding the media section and screaming invective at the journalists there.

That video is horrifying and, more importantly, provides a valuable snapshot of how out of control the Trump base has become. As Trump's scandals pile up, they are reacting by turning into monsters whose politics are solely those of destruction. These people are showing the world who they truly are and it's not a good look, to say the least. Clearly, many progressives don't see it that way, because Acosta's video seems to have precipitated the recent flood of calls to quit covering Trump rallies.

The fear appears be that because Trump supporters and Trump himself have gloried in the video of the harassment , retweeting it and praising it online, then its value is greater as pro-Trump propaganda than as journalism exposing the true nature of Trump rallies.

That concern is overrated. No doubt it's disconcerting to many liberals to realize that imagery that repulses them might read as exciting to someone else, but that doesn't justify the panic attack and desire to shut it all down.

Just because jackasses see other jackasses and feel proud to be a jackass doesn't mean that everyone else who sees this will agree. Agreed on both counts, but I'd be willing to bet that it did go somewhere.

That there was an explicit statement at that meeting from the Russian side about what material was going to be released and when "If it is what you say I love it especially later in the summer" , and a quid pro quo was put on the table. They sold out our country for electoral and financial gain. When the DNC engaged the services of Christopher Steele it basically involved him reaching out to a lot of unsavory people in Russia to get details of Donny's treason.

But there's a gulf of difference between paying for the citizen of a NATO ally to assist and accepting the help of a foreign adversary in a quid pro quo. They have lied every time about every single thing about this; that it happened at all, who was there, what it was about, who knew, etc, etc.

Why would we possibly believe them that nothing came from it. The problem, Salon contributor, is not 'liberals are afraid to know things'. The problem is that we no longer trust the media to present this in context. This footage is not going to be run as 'we infiltrated a Trump rally and look how insane this is' because the media in America have been cowed over decades of conservative attacks to treat any conservative activity, no matter how divorced from reality it is, as being reasonable.

So instead, stop covering it. But there's a gulf of difference between paying for the citizen of a NATO ally Not just a citizen, a former British MI-6 agent who was well respected by our intelligence agencies and who had worked with them before. A man who did extra investigation without pay because he was so concerned about the threat to America. A man who went beyond reporting back to his employer and went directly to the FBI to let them know what he knew because he was so concerned with what he found.

A foreign agent breaking the law doesn't go and report his work to the FBI. Also- Fusion GPS has done work for some pretty unsavory people, including Prevezon , an oligarch-owned company. It's also just Trump doing his usual "I know you are, but what am I?

He's generally a person I disagree with on absolutely everything, however, he was very clear in an interview this morning that he had spent his entire early career trying to convince people that the Republican party wasn't racist and he was wrong.

He also said "chicken shit" on morning TV which was apparently on a 7 second delay and has made national headlines instead of the part where he said that the party is racist. In short, not close the to same thing as the Trump campaign's actions, though perhaps not a hundred and ten percent above-board, in the sense of not immediately referring everything to the FBI?

What leftist would devote a big chunk of their life to developing a conspiracy theory with the goal of killing leftists? Maybe, but I think it taps into something more effective. There's certainly the irony that the Trump machine embraces global trade when it suits them but mostly makes their successes by banging the protectionism drum.

But if it's inevitable - and it seems more and more so by the day - that it's going to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Trump campaign conspired with foreign governments, well, then it's in their interest to blur the line between what it means to hire foreigners to work on a campaign and to accept the assistance of foreign governments.

And really, if it goes no further than that then it's not an unreasonable "what's the diff? It's not till you agree to look at the world the way it really works and the way people really make deals with each other that you have to simply acknowledge that of course it's different when you pay people up front for their work. But the political machinery has been demanding for decades now that we all pretend that people and organizations give other people money with no expectation of getting things in return.

It's not a big divergence for the Trump folks to ask their followers to add in foreign governments to that ridiculous fiction. Rick Wilson I think is kind of in the same place a lot of us NeverTrump folk have been in, where we judged the Republican party anecdotally by the sorts of people we hung out with and did work with and respected, those who volunteered their services and thought really hard about stuff, rather than statistically by how many of which types of people were in the party - forgetting that the people we would hang out with and do work with is a very limited part of the party.

He's been barely ahead in some Dem Surge models, but not in base models. Tomorrow will be interesting. Still, it looks to be very close, which itself is a very bad sign for the GOP. Yes, humans find real world human interactions more viscerally real than statistics or abstractions. Any strategy or mental model that does not account for the human part of humanity is not going to be successful or useful.

That could be an IRA-style operation to sow discord they've poxed every house they can , but I think it's even likelier a non-Russian troll who hit jackpot. There's not much apparent competence -- constant slip-ups, like printing its own passkey or whatever that's called, trying to pass off obviously faked photos as real, etc.

Q might be a literal year-old, a la Deez Nutz. Meanwhile, just because the Q stuff is obviously raising the danger level doesn't mean that's an intent of its originator. Even now, some lefty folks think that covering Trump rallies could help the good guys by way of, well, heightening the contradictions.

The Qanon stuff heightens a lot of contradictions, especially by focusing on behavior that is one of Trump's own horrible qualities the sexualization of children and by making Mueller a good guy, which in particular would never occur to any genuine rally-the-troops Trumper I can imagine. The overall gist of "everything is under control" could be intended unsuccessfully to tamp down on the True Believers putting up resistance.

On the flipside, I think that's an intention of the actually-right-wing Louise Mensch, whose narrative is basically identical to Q Secret indictments everywhere! Crimes the media won't tell you about! As an introvert, this was hard as hell for me to do I was afraid people could hear the sound of my heart nearly thumping out of my chest , but also, so so easy given how important this election is.

Judging from the Google Doc we use as a script, there were 82 other people making calls along with me. And guess what, you can do it too! There's an active QAnon thread over here. Yes, but very little has actually changed within the GOP vis-a-vis what they actually want.

Pretty much everything they're asking for has been on their wish list for years or even decades before Trump ever came along. The murderous economic policies, racist voter suppression, super-restrictive immigration policies, sublimation of 1A rights of leftists and marginalized groups in favor of the 2A?

All of that was proudly embraced by even those who consider themselves centrists. The only real difference between the pre-Trump GOP and the current incarnation is what parts are being said out loud. Nevertrumpers and "moderates" can try and sidestep their complicity in where we are now and what horrible stuff they still want, but I'm sure as hell not gonna let them off the hook.

I can easily see a year-old channer who fancies themselves an anarchist or leftist doing this for teh lulz.

Conspiracy-theorizing about the conspiracy theory seems like perhaps not a great use of time, but I wouldn't be surprised.

The only differences between the Trump administration and alt-NeverTrump Cruz administration are threatening to pull out of NATO, and the trade war stuff, and the tone around "both sides-ing" things like Charlottesville.

Cruz or any other Republican administration wouldve nominated Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Cruz or any other Republican administration would be sabotaging Obamacare after trying to repeal it. Cruz or any other Republican administration would've passed the exact same tax scam package giveaway to the rich.

Cruz or any other Republican administration would be gutting the EPA and using the Congressional Review Act to rollback every regulation passed by Obama agencies in the last 8 years. Cruz or any other Republican administration would've pulled out of the Iran and Paris deals. Cruz or any other Republican administration would've unleashed the same ICE crackdowns and redefinition of religious liberty to mean Christians can opt out of laws at will. There's not some small part of the Republican party that was ever any different than now.

You're looking at your party, the exact same as it's ever been. This is what Republican control looks like under any Republican. We have tons of proof of this on the state level. This is your party, NeverTrump is not now and never was a thing. NeverTrump is not now and never was a thing. Except, it seems, everyone will get fooled again. She has a habit of losing elections by wide margins, but the NYS AG seems like a perfect fit for her.

Yes Rs would be terrible no matter what, but destroying the post-WWII western liberal order, moving to overt fascism, attacking the free press, etc. But - and I say this after fully granting the legitimacy of the argument - I do think there was some value in keeping the quiet parts quiet and at least retaining the consensus that those parts were unacceptable to say out loud in polite society. Yes, the actions would have been much the same, and resulted in broadly similar and horrifying outcomes for immigrants, minorities, women, etc.

But if we had the social consensus that at least saying it out loud was unacceptable, that would have been of some value.

Again, this is lamenting the absence of a sliver of a silver lining to the massive fucking swampy cloud over our heads. I hope our current reality doesn't end as apocalyptic and mythic as Chesterton's though. There's a lot of stated allegiance to ideals within the Republican party that seem to have neatly melted into the aether the moment the thought of giving up power raised its head.

There's a lot of patriotic guff that seems to have vanished the moment Russian collusion appeared. And of course if you aren't yourself racist, it's easy to assume that I continue to weigh the reality of NeverTrump by the actions of the people who pick up that identity, and by and large I have found them wanting--and the more power any given person has within the party, the more skeptical I feel about the courage of their convictions. But if there are more NeverTrump people yelling "no," by all means, I support them--I support anyone taking concrete action to prevent the normalization of fascists walking in our national halls of power.

I echo the consensus that taking the lofty, proud surface-level ideals of the GOP and making GOP representatives publicly lie on their bellies to better vomit those ideals into the latrine among the other refuse in the ditch is a pretty horrifying thing. And it's a horrifying thing because even those GOP supporters who generally have good hearts and think the best of people--and they do exist--seem to be tottering behind their bellwethers in terrifying droves to throw the best things about the nation into the ditch behind.

Normalizing this is horrifying, and not enough of the men of power within the party seem willing to truly put their money where their mealy mouths are wringing. Jeff Denham R-CA last week. When leaders are happy to scream out the quiet parts, the leopards will eventually come for your face - yes, even if you're out putting up campaign signs for the leopards. Meanwhile, in Alexandria, the Manafort trial prepares to start up again in half an hour.

I was eager to see what else was out there. The positive aspects of online dating are clear: But what if online dating makes it too easy to meet someone new? What if it raises the bar for a good relationship too high? What if the prospect of finding an ever-more-compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of relationship instability, in which we keep chasing the elusive rabbit around the dating track?

Of course, no one knows exactly how many partnerships are undermined by the allure of the Internet dating pool. But most of the online-dating-company executives I interviewed while writing my new book, Love in the Time of Algorithms, agreed with what research appears to suggest: You know what to do with women, how to treat them and talk to them.

Add to that the effect of online dating. Another online-dating exec hypothesized an inverse correlation between commitment and the efficiency of technology. The goal has always been to make it faster. The same thing will happen with meeting. You network for a job. You find a flatmate. People always said that the need for stability would keep commitment alive. But today, more people have had failed relationships, recovered, moved on, and found happiness. They realize that that happiness, in many ways, depends on having had the failures.

As we become more secure and confident in our ability to find someone else, usually someone better, monogamy and the old thinking about commitment will be challenged very harshly. Indeed, the profit models of many online-dating sites are at cross-purposes with clients who are trying to develop long-term commitments. A permanently paired-off dater, after all, means a lost revenue stream.

Explaining the mentality of a typical dating-site executive, Justin Parfitt, a dating entrepreneur based in San Francisco, puts the matter bluntly: Our pickiness will probably increase.

Alex Mehr, a co-founder of the dating site Zoosk, is the only executive I interviewed who disagrees with the prevailing view. It only changes the process of discovery. Surely personality will play a role in the way anyone behaves in the realm of online dating, particularly when it comes to commitment and promiscuity. Gender, too, may play a role. At the same time, however, the reality that having too many options makes us less content with whatever option we choose is a well-documented phenomenon.

Psychologists who study relationships say that three ingredients generally determine the strength of commitment: Two of the three—satisfaction and quality of alternatives—could be directly affected by the larger mating pool that the Internet offers.

As a result, they are more likely to make careless decisions than they would be if they had fewer options, and this potentially leads to less compatible matches. No studies in the romantic sphere have looked at precisely how the range of choices affects overall satisfaction.

But research elsewhere has found that people are less satisfied when choosing from a larger group: Online dating is, at its core, a litany of alternatives. And evidence shows that the perception that one has appealing alternatives to a current romantic partner is a strong predictor of low commitment to that partner. Second, people who are in marriages that are either bad or average might be at increased risk of divorce, because of increased access to new partners.

On the other, evidence is pretty solid that having a stable romantic partner means all kinds of health and wellness benefits. Gilbert Feibleman, a divorce attorney and member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, argues that the phenomenon extends beyond dating sites to the Internet more generally.

Since Rachel left him, Jacob has met lots of women online. Some like going to basketball games and concerts with him. He slept with three of them on the first or second date. His relationships with the other two are headed toward physical intimacy. He likes the pharmacist most. The problem is that she wants to take things slow on the physical side.

One night the paralegal confides in him: And he thinks, Oh my God. While out with one woman, he has to silence text messages coming in from others.

People seeking commitment—particularly women—have developed strategies to detect deception and guard against it. Theoretically, her withholding sends a message: Theoretically, his willingness to wait sends a message back: But the pace of technology is upending these rules and assumptions. Relationships that begin online, Jacob finds, move quickly. He chalks this up to a few things. First, familiarity is established during the messaging process, which also often involves a phone call.

By the time two people meet face-to-face, they already have a level of intimacy. Occasionally, he has an acquaintance in common with a woman he meets online, but by and large she comes from a different social pool. Social scientists say that all sexual strategies carry costs, whether risk to reputation promiscuity or foreclosed alternatives commitment.

As online dating becomes increasingly pervasive, the old costs of a short-term mating strategy will give way to new ones. Their wives get tired of befriending his latest girlfriend only to see her go when he moves on to someone else. Also, Jacob has noticed that, over time, he feels less excitement before each new date. They spend the evening together, and never speak again.

That feels like a useful process. When does it end? At what point does this learning curve become an excuse for not putting in the effort to make a relationship last? Nous ne le savons que trop: Celui de notre temps, pour commencer. Pareil pour les meubles: Sur cent cinquante profils, on en garde facilement une quinzaine. On maudit son manque de discernement.

Pas de chance, il ne nous en faut pas beaucoup pour affoler nos neurones. Je les ai tous lus plusieurs fois. Il a atteint une limite. Pour certains types de produits, ce sera le sur-mesure.

AT his confirmation hearing today, John O. The senators should also hold Mr. The paper denies Congress and the federal courts a role in authorizing the killings — or even reviewing them afterward. In doing so, it cites the authorization of force that Congress granted to President George W. The administration should fully release the classified memorandum that was the basis for the unclassified, leaked white paper.

When Hellfire missiles were first used in drone strikes to kill outside a combat zone — in Yemen, in — six men died, including an American. A United Nations special rapporteur declared the action unlawful, but C. Today, the United States is involved in a true armed conflict only in Afghanistan.

None of these countries have attacked America, so no right of self-defense can be invoked under the United Nations Charter, as the white paper asserts. The Bush administration memos that attempted to justify torture, indefinite detention and illegal wiretapping have been widely rejected.

How, then, can Mr. Brennan and other advisers to Mr. Obama a former lecturer on constitutional law condone this spurious effort to justify targeted killings? Obama, drafted the targeted-killings document. The white paper cites a speech by Harold H. Targeted killings are, of course, different from torture: But the launching of Hellfire missiles and the dropping of pound bombs, even in remote rural areas, can hardly be kept secret.

Putting aside whether the targeted killings are even effective, the law must take precedence. Outside of armed conflict zones, the killing of innocent bystanders cannot be tolerated. The Justice Department has concocted an elastic definition of necessity — attempting to justify force in the absence of an immediate lethal threat — without citing any treaty or decision by an international court.

Brennan on all of these issues — not just the attacks but the legal pretexts for them. They should also demand the full, public release of all the legal analyses behind targeted killings.

The rule of law is the basis of our democracy and the foundation of international relations. Facts like operational details may properly be kept confidential, but not the law itself.

To Kill an American. Obama and his lawyers believed he has that power under the Constitution and federal law. We also knew that he utterly rejects the idea that Congress or the courts have any right to review such a decision in advance, or even after the fact. It had the air of a legal justification written after the fact for a policy decision that had already been made, and it brought back unwelcome memories of memos written for President George W.

Bush to justify illegal wiretapping, indefinite detention, kidnapping, abuse and torture. The document, obtained and made public by NBC News, was written by the Justice Department and coyly describes another, classified document which has been described in The Times that actually provided the legal justification for ordering the killing of American citizens. That document still has not been provided to Congress, despite repeated demands from lawmakers. In private, administration officials say Mr.

Awlaki was a commander of an Al Qaeda affiliate and actively involved in planning attacks on the United States. Publicly, it has refused even to acknowledge that Mr. Awlaki killed or back up its claim that he was an active terrorist. The White House has vigorously fought holding any court hearing over the killing of Mr. Awlaki or his year-old son, who was killed in a subsequent attack. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to have the operational memo on those killings released, arguing that an American citizen has constitutional rights that a judge must make sure are being respected.

According to the white paper, the Constitution and the Congressional authorization for the use of force after the attacks of Sept.

Some officials also draw a parallel to police officers who use violence to protect the innocent. When a police officer so much as discharges his weapon, it triggers a great deal of review, based on rules that are known to everyone.

The memo could and should have been released months ago. The administration could and should have provided a select number of lawmakers with the specifics on the killing of Mr. Awlaki and his son.

The president could and should have acknowledged that decision and explained it. Going forward, he should submit decisions like this one to review by Congress and the courts. If necessary, Congress could create a special court to handle this sort of sensitive discussion, like the one it created to review wiretapping. This dispute goes to the fundamental nature of our democracy, to the relationship among the branches of government and to their responsibility to the public.

He was killed in a C. Members of Congress have long demanded access to the legal memorandum. The decision to release the legal memo to the Intelligence Committees came under pressure, two days after a bipartisan group of 11 senators joined a growing chorus asking for more information about the legal justification for targeted killings, especially of Americans.

The announcement also came on the eve of the confirmation hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon for John O. Obama of hypocrisy for keeping the legal opinions on targeted killing secret, noting that in he had ordered the public release of the classified memos governing C. Administration officials replied that the so-called enhanced interrogations had been stopped, while drone strikes continue.

Until Wednesday, the administration had refused to even officially acknowledge the existence of the documents, which have been reported about in the press. The paper said the United States could target a citizen if he was a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda involved in plots against the country and if his capture was not feasible. Administration officials said Mr. Obama had decided to take the action, which they described as extraordinary, out of a desire to involve Congress in the development of the legal framework for targeting specific people to be killed in the war against Al Qaeda.

Aides noted that Mr. It was not clear whether the release involved more than one memo. The public should be permitted to see at least a redacted version of the relevant material, Mr. The Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to closely question Mr. Brennan about his role in the drone program during his hearing. Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who sits on the committee, said in a phone interview that he had been working in his office on questions for Mr.

Wyden has repeatedly called on the administration to release its legal memorandums laying out what the executive branch believes it has the power to do in national security matters, including the targeted killing of a citizen. Earlier on Wednesday, at a Democratic retreat in Annapolis, Md. Wyden said that committee members would have immediate access to the material, and that there would be a process for other senators to read it eventually.

The Congressional Intelligence Committees were created in the late s to exercise oversight after a series of scandals at the spy agencies. The law requires that the committees be kept informed of intelligence activities. But most administrations withhold at least some legal opinions, treating them as confidential legal advice to the president and agency officials.

The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed lawsuits to force the release of the classified legal opinions on targeted killing, including the one now going to the Intelligence Committees. A judge rejected the claims, and the decision is on appeal. Obama, who has used them to target Qaeda leadership. But there have been persistent questions about how targets are chosen, especially when it comes to American citizens who the government says have taken up arms against their country as part of Al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations.

The unclassified white paper had been provided to members of Congress but had not been released publicly. Obama took it seriously. Asked about the timing of those deliberations, he said he did not have any information to provide. Bush would have been impeached by now over Obama drone policy. Bush by now over it via RCP:. The Obama administration has been heavily targeting whistleblowers — true — and information activists.

What can we do to hold the government accountable for this harsh crackdown? I think if this was a Republican president, the outcry about drones would be far greater. That outcry would have started with the national media, and not just about the drone attacks themselves. Well, no — not if they are arrayed against the country on the battlefield.

You kill him, preferably before he kills you. And if some of the Japanese troops at Guadalcanal had held U. Off it, he should legally be like any other U.

Yet, despite claiming that the Awlaki killing was justified because he was an operational leader of al-Qaeda, and thus in some sense an enemy on the battlefield, the white paper still assumes that due process applies to U. On the surface, this sounds plausible and even generous: Why not consider the possibility that a U. In fact, though, applying due process analysis to Awlaki produces a legal disaster. The problem is, once you consider due process, you have to give it some meaning — and the meaning you choose will cast a long shadow over what the term means everywhere else.

It is a travesty of the very notion of due process. And to borrow a phrase from Justice Robert Jackson, it will now lie about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any administration that needs it. By instead making due process into a rubber stamp, the administration is ignoring precedent and subverting the idea of the rule of law. When is some law worse than none? When that law is so watered down that it loses the meaning it has had for years.

This is what comes from treating terrorism as crime rather than war. Bush was wise enough to understand the difference, and the legal implications that arise for all Americans when the two are confused. Entretien Son film sur la traque de Ben Laben sort ce mercredi 23 janvier. Elle parle, en somme, un peu comme elle filme.

Vous aimez donc vraiment cet univers? Nous avons choisi cette perspective pour raconter cette traque. Ceux de Sam Peckinpah, notamment. Il y a chez lui, comme chez Kubrick, un grand sens du graphisme. The goal, to make a modern, rigorous film about counter-terrorism, centered on one of the most important and classified missions in American history, was exciting and worthy enough, or so it seemed.

But there were too many obstacles, too many secrets, and politicians standing in the way of an easy path. Somehow, though, thanks to the great persistence of my filmmaking team and an enormous dose of luck, we got the movie made and found studio partners with the courage to release it.

As a lifelong pacifist, I support all protests against the use of torture, and, quite simply, inhumane treatment of any kind. But I do wonder if some of the sentiments alternately expressed about the film might be more appropriately directed at those who instituted and ordered these U. Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement.

If it was, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our time. This is an important principle to stand up for, and it bears repeating. Clearly, none of those films would have been possible if directors from other eras had shied away from depicting the harsh realities of combat.

On a practical and political level, it does seem illogical to me to make a case against torture by ignoring or denying the role it played in U.

Experts disagree sharply on the facts and particulars of the intelligence hunt, and doubtlessly that debate will continue. As for what I personally believe, which has been the subject of inquiries, accusations and speculation, I think Osama bin Laden was found due to ingenious detective work.

Torture was, however, as we all know, employed in the early years of the hunt. Captiver, Kathryn Bigelow a toujours su le faire. Ici, elle aligne les faits, les dates, les noms, les gestes. One scene features a bloodied, disoriented and humiliated man strapped to a wall with his pants around his ankles. And all of this takes place in the first 45 minutes or so of Zero Dark Thirty, the new movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Bruni is probably right, since defenders of torture have been known to latch onto any evidence they suspect will vindicate them as American heroes. Bigelow instead presents a graphic depiction of what declassified CIA documents indicate the torture program really was. The CIA has actively blocked disclosure into that program, going so far as to destroy video recordings of it. The first detainee we meet, in , is a bruised and mentally unstable man forced to stay awake by having his arms strapped to thick ropes suspended from the walls of his undisclosed torture chamber.

Or, in the bureaucratic language of former Justice Department official Steven Bradbury: The film goes on like this for about 45 brutal minutes. Helpless detainees are shown with rheumy eyes, desperate for the torture to stop, while their captors promise them nourishment and keep their promises by forcing Ensure down their throats through a funnel. Amar al-Baluchi, mocked for defecating on himself, is stripped and forced to wear a dog collar while Dan rides him, to alert the detainee to his helplessness.

There is little interrogation presented in Zero Dark Thirty. There is a shouted question, followed by brutality. The closest the movie comes to presenting a case for the utility of torture is by presenting the name of a key bin Laden courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, as resulting from an interrogation not shown on screen. But — spoiler alert — the CIA ultimately comes to learn that it misunderstood the context of who that courier was and what he actually looked like.

All that happens over five years after the torture program initiated. Nor does Bigelow let the CIA off the hook for the torture. Dan, the chief torturer of the movie, is shown as not only a sadist but a careerist.

Other CIA bureaucrats are shown sneering at the idea of canceling the torture program — more fearful of congressional accountability than of losing bin Laden. Maya is more of a cipher: Zero Dark Thirty does not present torture as a silver bullet that led to bin Laden; it presents torture as the ignorant alternative to that silver bullet.

Were a documentarian making the film, there would surely be less torture in the movie: What endures on the screen are scenes that can make a viewer ashamed to be American, in the context of a movie whose ending scene makes viewers very, very proud to be American. Three senators want to use their influence to shape a Hollywood narrative. They can slam it all they want. They can give it zero stars on their websites. They can write harsh reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

They can urge friends to go see Silver Linings Playbook instead. Where they have shamefully — and pathetically — overstepped their bounds is in using their positions to badger the CIA over its cooperation with the filmmakers. In December, the trio wrote the acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell, two heavy-breathing letters about the movie, demanding in one of them to learn everything the agency told Bigelow and her team. The casual viewer of Zero Dark Thirty will find it hard to see what Langley could have possibly revealed that is worth investigating.

It is, at the end of the day, another Hollywood movie, even if an exceptionally good one. That the events leading to bin Laden were easily compressed into a straight-line narrative, punctuated by conveniently cinematic dialogue? The writer of the screenplay, Mark Boal, compares the letters to the investigations of the s. That is overwrought, but if any other Hollywood production were under bipartisan attack, charges of McCarthyism would be flying thick and fast. If Bigelow were targeted by high elected officials for anything other than making a movie supposedly sympathetic to torture, the Academy would be honoring her as a martyr to the First Amendment.

Bigelow upset the senators and other purveyors of polite opinion by trampling on Washington pieties about interrogation. Boal told Time magazine: As his comment suggests, the movie is hardly an advertisement for harsh interrogation.

It depicts the CIA program as more frankly violent and uncontrolled than it was, confusing it with the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Even if in reality the CIA program was more antiseptic and bureaucratic than depicted, the movie leaves no doubt that breaking a man is a brutal business. They want to believe that we could have waged a shadowy war against terrorist operatives in the deadly urgent circumstances immediately after September 11 without ever making difficult moral choices.

For whatever reason, they are fine with flying trained killers to a compound in Pakistan in the dead of night to shoot the place up and bring bin Laden back in a sack. In this case — in perhaps a first — it is Hollywood that has the greater appreciation for complexity and moral realism.

He can be reached via e-mail: Zero Dark Thirty, the film about the hunt for and killing of Osama bin Laden, got a fresh infusion of buzz over the weekend when outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta confirmed again that enhanced-interrogation techniques aided the effort to find bin Laden. I think we could have gotten bin Laden without that. In other words, the movie exaggerates the role played by enhanced-interrogation techniques — torture to some — but they did have a role in the hunt for bin Laden.

But why stop there? Like most films about real events, Zero Dark Thirty exaggerates all sorts of things. The movie also exaggerates how the detainees were treated. To watch the film, torture was used every time a detainee — pretty much any detainee — gave a false or partial answer to a question. The interrogators could beat, humiliate, and waterboard prisoners on an impulse.

As former George W. Bush aide Marc Thiessen notes, of the more than , prisoners in the War on Terror, only about were ever held by the CIA, and of those, only about a third were subjected to any enhanced-interrogation methods. A total of three detainees were waterboarded — and then only under medical supervision and with written authorization from superiors. Though the film exaggerates some things to the dismay of critics on the right and in the intelligence community , it ignores other issues.

For instance, critics on the left fairly complain that the stark cost in Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani innocent lives is never referenced.

All these complaints are fair game as far as movie criticism goes. Director Kathryn Bigelow had every right to make whatever movie she wanted. And critics have every right to respond however they want. For instance, many on both the left and right tend to see the protagonist as a heroic character. But her single-minded focus on justice — or revenge, depending on your perspective — should more properly be seen as a cautionary tale.

The film is newsworthy because of how lawmakers have responded to it. The senators have been badgering the CIA to explain how Bigelow could be so wrong. This is something of a mantra from opponents of waterboarding. Whether waterboarding is torture is probably the most emotionally fraught semantic argument of our lifetimes. Opponents sincerely believe it is torture. Many in the intelligence community, starting with Panetta, who ran the CIA when we found bin Laden, will tell you that the interrogation program yielded crucial information.

But he has also said that it yielded valuable information we might or might not have gotten some other way. She was a real-life heroine of the CIA hunt for Osama bin Laden, a headstrong young operative whose work tracking the al-Qaeda leader serves as the dramatic core of a Hollywood film set to premiere next week. Her CIA career has followed a more problematic script, however, since bin Laden was killed.

The operative, who remains undercover, was passed over for a promotion that many in the CIA thought would be impossible to withhold from someone who played such a key role in one of the most successful operations in agency history.

She has sparred with CIA colleagues over credit for the bin Laden mission. Her defenders say the operative has been treated unfairly, and even her critics acknowledge that her contributions to the bin Laden hunt were crucial.

But the developments have cast a cloud over a career that is about to be bathed in the sort of cinematic glow ordinarily reserved for fictional Hollywood spies. At one point in the film, after a female colleague is killed in an attack on a CIA compound in Afghanistan, Maya describes her purpose in near-messianic terms: The woman is not allowed to talk to journalists, and the CIA declined to answer questions about her, except to stress that the bin Laden mission involved an extensive team.

The internal frictions are an unseemly aspect of the ongoing fallout from a mission that is otherwise regarded as one of the signal successes in CIA history.

The movie has been a source of controversy since it was revealed that the filmmakers — including director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal — were given extensive access to officials at the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA. Can Christianity claim to be universal and unique? In the Genesis story of the fall, Eve exhibits no spontaneous desire for the fruit of the forbidden tree; it is only when the serpent flaunts its desirability that her desire for it is aroused.

Desire, as distinguished from animal appetite, is always aroused by the desire of another; we desire what another desires.

Two children in a room full of toys always want the same toy, and the more each expresses a desire for it, the more the other desires it and the more heated the rivalry between the two becomes. Were we not still under the spell of the modern myth of self-sufficient individuality, this simple and universal scene would be enough to cure us of the notion of spontaneous, autonomous desire, a notion, by the way, for which there is no biblical corroboration.

This little example also brings home the fact that the imitative nature of desire leads to conflict, to animosity. If one acquisitive gesture awakens another acquisitive desire, and if the mimetic nature of the rivalry set in motion by these competing desires forces the rivalry it provokes to escalate in intensity, then the conflict itself will have two social ramifications. Secondly, as the conflictual vortex grows wider and more vertiginous, the rivals will grow more obsessed negatively with each other than positively with the original object of their mutual and conflicting desires.

So the contagious nature of desire insures that the enmity it spawns will quickly draw a wider and wider social circle into an ever more furious and violent maelstrom. All society-wide strife can be related back to the mimesis of desire and the contagious nature of the conflict it incites. Space permits only the foregoing summation of it, the point of which, for our purposes here, is that the very existence of human culture requires that the constant threat of violent conflict arising from the mimetic nature of desire be somehow counterbalanced.

To put the issue in Hobbesian terms, how do we humans bring the war of all-against-all to which the mimetic nature of desire leads to a peaceful conclusion? How do we get from the crisis born of mimetic desire to the resolution which provides the nascent social consensus upon which human culture as we know itfallen human culturedepends?

To be brief, another form of mimetic contagion emerges spontaneously in the midst of the crisis set in motion by the contagion of mimetic rivalry. The more frenzied a social melt down is, the more susceptible its participants become to mimetic suggestion. The highly contagious nature of the situation makes it inevitable that sooner or later one of these accusatory gestures will attract imitators.

In contrast to the mimetic effect of the acquisitive gesture, the accusatory gesture, when imitated, bonds all those who join in the gesture, lending a moral certitude to the accusation which is directly proportional to the degree of social unanimity the accusation mimetically generates.

Again, space does not allow for an exposition of these themes. The point is simply that desire is mimetic, that it gives rise to violence, and that turning that violence toward one expendable victim is what made fallen human culture possible. To suggest that what Girard calls the surrogate victim mechanism is what made human culture possible may seem inconceivable to those unfamiliar with his work and the anthropological data for which it accounts, but it is no more inconceivable than is the related Christian claim that the human race has been freed from sin and death by a victim murdered at the insistence of a bloodthirsty mob.

Indeed, the latter claim finds its most powerful contemporary corroboration in the recognition of the anthropological centrality of the former one. It is not surprising that it was with exotic non-Western societies that nineteenth century anthropologists were most fascinated. Moreover, the very thing that made it possible to appreciate this significance made Christians deeply reluctant to do so. For when the biblical texts are read against the anthropological background, something at once astounding and shocking becomes clear, namely, the structural similarity between myth and gospel.

Christian reluctance about recognizing this similarity is perfectly understandable. We have maintained that Christianity is utterly unique, but we have never before had to account for that uniqueness in the face of anthropological evidence that seems to contradict it. Stories of dying and rising gods are found in countless places; the mythological world is filled with them. Not only that, but all human drama, all dramatic narrative, is structured by the pattern that myth and gospel have in common: The fact is that the human drama is as inherently paschal as the soul is naturally Christian.

The animus against Christianity that subtly and not so subtly haunted the modern project predisposed early researchers to see the similarities between myth and gospel as reason enough for dismissing Christian claims of uniqueness and universality. Since they failed to recognize the fundamental structure of the drama that myth and gospel have in common, they were unable to recognize the anthropological significance of the universality of this structure.

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