Coming events

Just a reminder that the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally meets again tonight (and every Tuesday,) 8PM, at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. I can’t make it tonight, but I’ll pop open a PBR at home in a show of solidarity.

Also, The Olympian will be holding a live chat with WA Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, tomorrow at noon. If you have a question for Frank, you can submit it here.


  1. 1

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Have fun lads–
    I’m afraid you retards need a frontal labotomy
    more than a bottle in front of me!

    Oh and remember this from the Good Book–
    Whenever two or more are gathered together…

  2. 2

    Curtis spews:

    Mr. Cynical,

    You are very rude. You call people retards? Why, because they don’t agree with you? Didn’t your parents teach you manners? Would they be proud of your name calling?

    I’m embarassed for you.

  3. 3

    Mrs. Cynical spews:

    Curtis at 2

    Thank you. You think you’re embarrassed? Imagine the humiliation brought down on the rest of our family!

  4. 4

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    My parents taught me to fight for what I believe in and not worry about “mentally challenged” assholes like you!

  5. 5

    prr (masquerading as Goldy) spews:

    Mt Cynical, The more you write, the more I am impressed with you.

    Your parents have done well.

    I will have to re-think about all the far left rambling I have done to date.

  6. 6

    Curtis spews:

    Mr. Cynical,

    Fighting for what you believe in makes a lot of sense and should make your parents proud.

    Calling people names not only diminishes your credibility, it brings into question your motives.

    Perhaps a short civics lesson (in the true sense of the word) is in order.

  7. 7

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Why thank you Goldy–
    Although I suspect you started Drinking Liberally about lunch time and will very soon retract your compliment as you start to sober up.

    I feel compelled to return a compliment with a compliment….
    Let’s seeeeeeeeeeeeee:
    Goldy is not quite as stupid as his chronic LEFTIST ramblings make him appear to be.
    You know Goldy…I do believe I’ve noticed a teeny-tiny improvement in your sense of humor lately…minute, almost imperceptible but I believe I detect a small quiver in the RIGHT corner of your mouth!

  8. 8

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Civics…the civility movement is a LEFTIST plot to deflect attention away from the real debate and focus on precisely how you say things. People who get trapped into that thinking are rendered mentally challenged or retarded….you are a stunning example of a wasted human mind.

  9. 10

    kap0w spews:

    I understand Cynical… if progressives tried to take over (u)SP, the righties would be mad as hell! You have some real issues with this place being a productive place for progressives to get together, catch up on news (when they don’t have enough time to collect and analyze it all themselves) and then talk about it. Back in the day, the righties used to come to talk too, but in this political climate, there isn’t that much to make them happy. I understand why, in that case, you’d rather make youself feel good by taking it apart. Oh well – Goldy will probably ban you eventually if you constitute 50% of the posts but never bring anything worth while to the conversation.

  10. 11

    Goldy spews:

    Cynical @7,

    Once again, it shows you how easily duped you are… especially when somebody is telling you something you want to hear. That was prr complimenting you, stealing my screen name… which if he does again, he will join JCH in pre-approval purgatory.

  11. 12

    chardonnay spews:

    once goldy posts something worthwhile to talk about we ‘right’ thinking people will stop making fun of you. LOL
    posting here is pure entertainment for us as we realize there is no reasoning with the mentally retarded (democrats). Here are 3 reasons why
    #1: left wants to take away property rights
    #2: left wants to take all our money
    #3: left wants to rigs elections
    what’s to talk about when you see nothing wrong with those 3 issues?

  12. 13

    chardonnay spews:

    because he did this: Comment by prr (masquerading as Goldy)?? I think he was up front in his humor.

  13. 14

    the radish spews:

    If cynical is so darn superior to us “retards,” perhaps he’d be able to get a post or two up that makes logical and grammatical sense; not to mention taking his spelling skills up a notch.

    I don’t support banning people who are making constructive comments, but cynical’s trolling doesn’t even approach civil, much less constructive. There’s nothing to be gained from his remarks; he just makes it that much harder (and more annoying) for those of us looking for meaningful comments.

  14. 15

    dj spews:

    Hey Cynical

    When are you gonna put up the BIAW blog (with open thread)? I want to offer some constructive criticism over there. Will it be soon? Please include a preview feature!

  15. 16

    JCH spews:

    All Democrats who show up wearing white neck braces [like Teddy Kennedy [D-Mary Jo]] will look like “victims” and get free drinks. In addition, like Hillary, stiffing the waitress is SOP.

  16. 17

    GS spews:

    Well I’d love ta join ya’ll but I’ll be home suckin on a tax free pitcher of GOOD OLE Home brewed beer with a few of my conservative friends! You all drink plenty tonight and remember the alcohol tax you pay is greatly appreciated by Queen Taxusallbillions Gregoire! You aught to all try and get a grant from Queen Taxusallbillions Gregoire to study the effects of alcohol on liberals! Oh and have a few fine cigars for us all too! (I noticed she added a bucket of new taxes on them this session also) And don’t get caught with a DUI and especially not talking on your cell phones heaven forbid!

    We’ll leave the light on for ya!

  17. 18

    Curtis spews:

    Mr. Cynical,

    You say civics is a leftist plot? Didn’t George W. Bush run on character? What does that say about his presidency?

  18. 19

    Erik spews:

    I understand Cynical… if progressives tried to take over (u)SP, the righties would be mad as hell!

    No they wouldn’t the lefties would be banned from posting as some have reported.

  19. 20

    Erik spews:

    Fighting for what you believe in makes a lot of sense and should make your parents proud.
    Calling people names not only diminishes your credibility, it brings into question your motives.

    If you examine “Cynical”(s) posts, you will see that he disagrees with very little of what Goldy says or any other poster for than matter.

    From what I can tell, he could easily be more liberal than Goldy.

    His posts consist almost entirely of insults against other posters in all CAPS apparently in an attempt to dissuade them from posting or at least trying to stop any discussion one way or another of the topic posted.

    He usually tried to get in the first comment on a post as he did in this post with both an exclamation mark and all caps.

    I would not be at all surprised if he employed by BIAW or an other far right group to disrupt the discussions here. As SP have had their postings taper off and HA has had increased attention online and in the print media, Cyns rantings have gotten wilder.

    Cyn has successfully changed the topic from:

    Also, The Olympian will be holding a live chat with WA Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, tomorrow at noon. If you have a question for Frank, you can submit it

  20. 22

    dj spews:

    Erik @ 19

    On the bright side, if we egg on these trolls, we are bound to be costing some neocon group money :-)

    Back on topic: Goldy: PBR???? Really????????

  21. 23

    Erik spews:

    On the bright side, if we egg on these trolls, we are bound to be costing some neocon group money

    Maybe. As long as Goldy allows him to all CAPS at will and spam the comment thread, the best one can do is to look to the original post and comment or rant one way or another. Although the volume of his posts in the last couple of weeks has made this a challenge.

    If you look at the the last few posts, Cyn has been able to make the first comment in a majority of the times which makes me believe he is approaching spamming/commenting on HA as a job, systematically deficating in each new plot of sand Goldy spreads out.

    How do you like that Goldy? You have your own right wing “watcher” assigned to you. The neocons have made you a priority.

  22. 24

    Donnageddon spews:

    I donated $5.99 to Goldy, and he thanked me for the beer money. Unless he got a twelve pack, it can’t be PRB.

  23. 26

    dj spews:

    Mr. Cynical @ 8

    “Civics…the civility movement is a LEFTIST plot to deflect attention away from the real debate and focus on precisely how you say things.”

    Hmmm. . . didn’t you lecture me about civility just a few days ago?!?!?! Oh, yeah, here it is:

    You ARE a closet LEFTIST, aren’t you?

  24. 27

    Alan spews:

    Reply to chards @ 12

    #1. right wants all the property
    #2. right wants all the money
    #3. right rigs elections (see, e.g., Fla 2000 & Ohio 2004)

    who said there’s anything to talk about? nobody wants to talk to you.

  25. 28

    SeahawksFan spews:

    Wow! This is a really cool blog.
    I’ve been looking for a nice progressive blog such as this one.
    The links are really awesome.
    It seems as if some of your clientele are a little wacked, but I guess that goes with the territory.

    Thanks Goldy!

  26. 29

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Do you really truly believe I am part of some vast right wing conspiracy?
    Do you really believe this blog is oh so important that anyone would actually pay anyone even a nickel to screw around with this.
    NO ONE has ever told me to post much less what to post and certainly no one pays me for this nonsense.

    I am bemused by the LEFTIST mentality. It is intriguing. I imagine you folks being from some far away galaxy.
    You folks have proven to me repeatedly that the LEFTIST mentality is oh so serious, oh so self-righteous….you have just done it again tonight.

    You put so much into people posting anonomously primarily opinions. It’s an outlet. For the LEFTISTS it’s almost like life or death. For me, it’s kind of funny. I do know one of the other posters here personally…that’s all.
    I’m just an average guy who started with nothing, raised my family, worked long, hard hours, saved & invested pretty wisely. I work for myself. No one pays me for this…nor would I ever accept a cent to do so.

    Stefan Sharkansky is an amazing individual. Goldy is too…just not in the technical analytical arena like Stefan.

    Lighten up boys & girls. It’s a beautiful day!

  27. 30

    jpgee spews:

    Mr. Cynical, I congratulate you for your accomplishments. And also for posting several consecutive posts without ‘crude’ comments towards other posters. (oops, that was probably a big mistake, much like Lossi’s Election Challenge)

  28. 33

    chardonnay spews:

    alan/cybil/don @ 27
    i see you have your angry eyes in. LOL, you respond to my every post, so does dj and danW. I could care less if you lefty’s want to talk to me, I usually bypass all your comments anyway and go straight to the good ones posted by my fellow R’s. They are all funny and level headed. You cybil are always so angry. little man disease, LOL

  29. 34

    DamnageD spews:

    to Cynical @ 6

    Funny, I do believe you’ve told folks here the same thing! That’s okay, I must be a retard too…

  30. 37

    jpgee spews:

    Mr. Cynical, you sound so much like my cousin in Seattle. He went to the UW, graduated in business. Worked his way up in Boeing, then Standard Oil, up to vice president of some part of SO. Staunch Democrat all his life, until he was caught doctoring the books for a Dem’s campaign…seems he was helping himself… he hates the Dem’s and everything they stand for…why???? because he was caught red handed……Hello Cous!!!!!!

  31. 38

    DamnageD spews:

    no shit chard! That was the point…Cyn has said thing to others as was told to him. Otherwise known as an oxymoron, moron!

  32. 39

    zip spews:

    What say we wingnuts get Goldy some beers tonight as payback for hosting us? He deserves it. Especially for tolerating the shrill retorts from the “Progressive” crowd day after day.

    Goldy, it’s only wingnut Dominionist beer flowing your way tonight. Payback for skipping out on your lefty fest at the tavern.

  33. 40

    Alan spews:

    SeahawksFan @ 28

    There are several GOP trolls here who shill for Rossi and other lost causes. Here’s a users guide:

    JCH — claims to be a retired investment industry type now living in Hawaii. All of his posts are screened by Goldy before posting due to past abuses of this web site.

    Mr. Cynical — claims to be a CPA although I don’t see how he has any time to do any work as he spends all his time posting on HorsesAss. Probably works for BIAW, as he shills for Rossi. Suffers from various hangups and sexual disorders. Mrs. Cynical is constantly apologizing for him.

    prr and VCRW (a.k.a. VCR-Wingo) — six of one or half a dozen of the other here. If you want to know what today’s GOP talking points are, reading their posts will save you time on research. Neither of them has ever had an original thought. Both seem to have anger management problems. Possibly they’re twins.

    zip and zapporo — another twinned pair, reliably right wing but at a slightly faster processing speed; they are to prr and VCRW as a Pentium 1 is to an Apple II.

    Chardonnay (also known as white whine or cheap whine) — claims to be a single mom, hates men, intellectually shallow, never posts anything constructive, thinks she’s clever but actually is excruciatingly booooorrrrrinnnnnngggggg.

    I probably left some out, but this should get you started.

  34. 41

    zip spews:

    SeahawksFan @ 28

    Alan aka Don aka Dubyasux aka Cybil – Former guvmint somebody, now retired nobody living on juicy state pension. Known (but not loved) for annoying retorts to stale 12-hour old posts, repetitively and predictably. Lefty mold broke after Don was ejected. Woman-hater. Often drunk as a skunk.

    I probably left his more annoying mannerisms out, but this should tell you all you need to know.

  35. 42

    Goldy spews:

    Chard @13,

    Just to be clear, prr was not up front. I edited his comment to show the real author. He originally posted it just as “Goldy.”

    That is a no-no folks. It’s happened a couple times before, and I’ve warned you all. No spoofing me… no spoofing anybody. I expect that one tiny piece of civility from you all, on both sides of the divide.

  36. 44

    Goldy spews:

    Zip @39,

    Thanks for the beer money donation. Much appreciated. I think I’m going to spend it on a six pack of Trader Joe’s Bohemian Ale. (Beer tip.. Trader Joe’s labeled beer is mostly decent stuff, brewed by Gordon Biersh. Though I do miss the Grants specials they had last year.)

    And regarding PBR…

    It is not my usual beer, but I always keep a few cans in the fridge, and as it turns out, that’s all I had chilled this evening. A couple of summers ago I bought a 12-pack for making beer-can chicken, and I found PBR’s beer-seltzer-like qualities to be quite refreshing, particularly on a hot day.

    Alan @40,

    To be fair to the trolls… um… well, Zip did just make a beer money donation.

    Actually, beer money aside, I think that Zip falls into a higher class of troll than the others… in addition to the usual rhetoric, he does frequently contribute to real debate. I think you’ve got VCRW, prr and JCH down pat. Cynical… well… every once in a while he throws me for a loop and and contributes something useful here. And, um, Chardonnay… keeping her around serves a purpose.

  37. 45

    zip spews:

    Goldy, I’ll try to be surlier and jerk my knees more so you will no longer single me out.

    You earned the brews. Just don’t guzzle too fast or you may fall into a beer-bloated stupor and run out of “Progressive” talking points to preach to the choir.

  38. 47

    Alan spews:

    SeahawksFan @ 28 re zip @ 41

    I’ll gladly trade my “juicy state pension” for zip’s salary, whatever it is, sight unseen — an offer he always fails to take me up on. It’s true that sometimes posts are 12 hours old before I reply to them. Unlike the right-wing insomniacs here, I don’t have a troubled conscience and sleep several hours a day, usually until about noon (a well-earned prerogative of retirees). I admit to having been a government (“guvmint”) hack in my salt mining days, which thankfully are now past.

    zip obliquely referred to my alleged “annoying mannerisms.” We have no secrets here; I admit that I was a wicked kid who burned ants alive with a magnifying case on sunny days. That was back when I was a Goldwater Republican. Eventually, an angel appeared to me in a dream and told me that God would forgive all the evil things I did if I became a Democrat. So I did, because I don’t want to go to Hell and get stuck in a room full of Republicans. Now I’m reborn, with a fresh new innocence, and I’m the real deal: A compassionate liberal who hugs trees and loves furry critters.

    Welcome aboard.

  39. 49

    Erik spews:

    Actually, beer money aside, I think that Zip falls into a higher class of troll than the others…

    Zip would have long ago been purged from SP. However, I have to admit he has addressed the substance of a post.

    NO ONE has ever told me to post much less what to post and certainly no one pays me for this nonsense.

    Cyn appears to try to act normal for a single post. I thought there was possibility he would explain himself. Unfortunately, he failed again to address the substance of Goldy’s post and simply could not restrain himself from using all CAPS and exclamation marks again.

    Mr. Cynical – claims to be a CPA although I don’t see how he has any time to do any work as he spends all his time posting on HorsesAss

    Not likely, he works very hard to post the first off comment when a new issue is put up by Goldy usually within a few minutes. He is successful most of the time. After thirty or so comments he is usually able to divert the issue of the topic off completely.

    Unless he’s a CPA with no work, I don’t see how he is able to do this so consistently 18 hours a day as Goldy does not let people know beforehand when he will post.

    The ranting by Cyn really got started when Goldy started laying out the BIAW issues. I would not be surprised if his name is used by a number of people who monitor HA to try to keep issues from being commented on and discussed much.

    I think Cyns been pretty successful. His only rule seems to be to never ever discuss the substance of a post.

    The benefit of the right wingers for the “Cyn” is to keep the comments in a form where 1) very few will want to participate, 2) media sources will believe the comments are simply infighting, and 3) the substance of the post will be discussed as little as possible.

    On the plus side, the hyper vigilance of the “Cynical” character, however it is run, is a badge of honor for Goldy, it shows that he has appeared on the right wing radar screen of a significant threat to allocate considerable resources to thwarting the discussions. I guess kind of like EFF to the WEA but on a smaller scale or when Al Franken got sued by FOX.

    Congrats… I guess

  40. 50

    Alan spews:

    Goldy @ 42

    Otherwise, anything goes. Right, Goldy? No holds barred, we wallow in pig shit, telling it like it is: The righty trolls Stefan “Shark” Sharkansky sends here to harass liberals are brain-dead zombies programmed to regurgiate the GOP sound-bite-of-the-day. They’re also either sexually deprived (Chardonnay) or sexually deviant (Mr. Cynical, a notorious goat fancier). Some have shit for brains, others have a perfect vacuum between their ears; all are scientifically uninteresting, as they represent evolutionary dead ends. They may, however, be useful as lab specimens for the purpose of demonstrating the mental effects of breathing too much air pollution over extended periods.

  41. 51

    Alan spews:

    Goldy @ 44

    Really? I’m not surprised. Really, I’m not. In my experience, I’ve always found Republicans generous with the money they stole from us. I guess this means they either have to buy friends, or their conscience is bothering them. Hey Goldy, I’ll buy you a beer next time we meet at Montlake Tavern, whatever my name is then, if I ever show up there again. I have to be circumspect about my public appearances these days so my staff won’t be overwhelmed by my fans.

    Is there a donation button somewhere on this web site? I didn’t see one, but then, I only read the pictures!

  42. 52

    Alan spews:

    Goldy @ 44

    I’m confused. What purpose does Chardonnay serve? Come on now, Goldy, don’t hold back on us — you aren’t employing her as a domestic, are you?

  43. 54

    chardonnay spews:

    Hey Guys, the new personnell reports are out you better go check them out. One problem, the Govs Office is not out. Hmmmm, is 1st Man Mike on the payroll or not? He has his own office, is it all volunteer? You know how to request that info? public disclosure right?
    Lets examine the new payroll reports with last years and see who went to work in the Govs office because they did a good job on crissy’s campaign while working in the AGO.

  44. 55

    chardonnay spews:

    cybil/don/alan @ 40
    I knew it, you do like me. and hun, I don’t hate men, I just prefer conservative men. Are all the opposing opinions getting to you Don? Perhaps you need to join a liberal therapy group. It’s big in West LA. You are not alone.

  45. 56

    Stop their CATerwauling, spay/neuter ALL Pet Libs spews:

    Liberal Charity: What’s ours is ours and what’s YOURS is ours!

    Father O’Shea, the parish priest in the village, was giving a sermon about charity. He said, “The trouble with the world today is that some people have too much and others have too little. We must give of ourselves and our worldly goods to help the less fortunate.”

    He said to Harrigan, a Liberal Democrat Precinct Captain and party activist, “If you had ten thousand dollars, wouldn’t you give half of it to the poor?”

    He said, “I would that, Father.”

    The priest said, “If you had two greyhounds, wouldn’t you give one of them to your neighbour next door?”

    Harrigan said, “No.”

    The priest said, “No?” “And why not?”

    He said, “I have two greyhounds.”

  46. 57

    Alan spews:

    chards @ 55

    No, I don’t like you. Your affection for me is unrequited. You’re too old, fat, ugly, and stupid for my taste.

  47. 58

    chardonnay spews:

    taste? I keep telling you but you won’t listen. No woman wants an old retired angry pessimistic lefty. Yeehaw fun with don night, NOT!
    cybil, look up, the sky is falling. LOL

  48. 59

    Mrs. Alan spews:

    poor white trash @ 58

    Helloooooooooooo … speak for yourself! I want him, and you can’t have him! Try throwing darts at a phone book, dear.

  49. 60

    chardonnay is a burnt out dartboard spews:

    lol @ Mrs. Alan @ 59 Be very careful if you are even to close to the ‘man eater’ when she/it starts throwing darts. If she is as ‘accurate’ with her darts as she is with her posts, she will inevitably have new ‘piercings’ in her ‘privates’

  50. 61

    zip spews:

    Alan @ 47

    Sorry pal no trade. Talk to me about a trade when I am retired with no pension other than the “after tax” remnants of many decades of hard work.

    By the way, I’m not a friggin troll you guys. Or a neo con. Or a Dominionist.

  51. 62

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Anyone who doesn’t have Karl Marx posters in their living room and yard is a “neo con” to these LEFTIST PINHEADS!

  52. 63

    Stop the whistling spews:

    Here’s one for Mr. Chopp to consider, from the Seattle Times–
    “Tax increases will raise the cost of cigarettes by 60 cents a pack, liquor by $1.33 a liter and gasoline by 9.5 cents a gallon over the next four years. In addition, lawmakers reinstated an estate tax on the wealthy.”

    Question 1–Isn’t it supposed to go to a vote of the people if AGGREGATE (from all sources, put together, for the folks in Seattle) taxes are to go above 1% of the value of any personal or real property annually? This is in the constitution of the state. And now we have three violations in one day? What should be the punishment for this violation?

    Question 2–Shouldn’t ANY who either voted for it or signed it be held responsible and punished according to law in a county that will give a FAIR trial?

  53. 64

    zip spews:

    Stop the dreaming

    You are living in a time warp. The democrats who run this state have had no trouble eliminating all voter-passed tax limiting laws. And they classified all the tax measures as “emergencies” for good measure.

  54. 65

    dj spews:

    Stop the whistling @ 63

    “This is in the constitution of the state. And now we have three violations in one day? What should be the punishment for this violation?”

    You moron. We don’t throw lawmakers in the clink if they write or vote for bad legislation. If they pass something unconstitutional, the courts eventually throw it out.

    Whistling, be careful when you take your little vacations to uSP! You come back. . . ahem. . . intellectually challanged. I am sure it is just a temporary condition. . . .

  55. 66

    marks spews:


    Sorry, I keep running out of time. The NYT is middle-of-the-road. Did you know the former Pope was Jewish? Somebody said that in these threads back a-ways…

    In all fairness, since I have started taking a look at news and opinion in a critical and thinking manner (not simply thinking critically), I must say it deserves its self-given creed. Tough to go back to the Dallas Morning SnoozeNews after reading the NYT…

    Went through Brooks’ column earlier thinking he stole some lines from me, but after reflection realized he was just commenting on things as he saw them. I see little to disagree with in it. Russia has a major societal problem, but it is something seen in the EU (and the US perhaps to a lesser degree, but immigration may be masking our current trends) and just as perfidious. I can’t promise my wife that I will always be married to her, since she could decide to walk out at some point, but marriages fall apart here as easily as over there. I don’t know that we are at the same percentage as their marriage collapse.

    China will have many social issues when the current generation comes of age, and most of those will not be good issues. If their leadership continues its oligarchic control of that society, and simply clings to its power, I would not expect much of a problem. Unfortunately, as you noted before, China does want to influence the world, and can only do so with the US out of the way.

    How easy would it be for them to push us out of the way (and I don’t mean militarily) at this moment? Not as easy as it will be in another year, or two, or several even. But the fact that they can right now without it being as hard as it was ten years ago is worrisome, to say the least.

    I never have enough time…

  56. 68

    RDC spews:

    The Pope is Jewish…the little hat is a dead giveaway (if giveaway isn’t one word, it should be). Thomas Friedman in todays NYT touches on education and globalization. Also, a subscription to the NYT isn’t expensive and the little blue bag it comes in is very useful if you own a dog.

    David Brooks’ column was the shallowest analysis I’ve read since Tierney’s take on the Chilean retirement system a few days earlier. The first question to ask is, how many totalitarian regimes have undergone a radical transformation? Of those, how many are experiencing the “problems” Russia is experiencing? Are there other factors besides the end of Soviet rule that might account for what is happening in Russia? Why does Brooks think that China is, first, a totalitarian regime, and, second, will experience the same “problems” that Russia now has? How does Brooks reconcile his premise that Russia is better off without its former system in place with his comments that the Russian people are far worse off?
    First, if Russia was under totalitarian rule (which I won’t dispute), wasn’t the same thing true of the other “states” which made up the Soviet Union, such as the Ukraine? And what of Eastern Europe? If these were under totalitarian rule, how many are having the same “problems” Russia is having? The answer is, that if Brooks is right, they should all be in exactly the same boat. Of course they are not, and the reason they are not, is that Brooks is once again can’t see the light through the darkened lenses of his worldview.
    What is a totalitarian regime anyway? I would define it as a regime that controls nearly all of the important aspects of life for most of the population, severely circumscribing freedom of association, of expression, and of action in all spheres of public and private live. How many regimes have there been in history which succeeded in doing this for an extended period? The Soviet Union (or was it just Russia within the Soviet system?) and who? The only other candidate I can come up with is North Korea, about which we know very little. Brooks cites Iraq under Saddam, which I could quarrel with but will cede for the sake of argument (I recall an interview with an educated Iraqi in which he said that under Saddam you could pretty much live your life as you wished as long as you didn’t criticize the regime…this sounds more authoritarian than totalitarian, but still, I’ve ceded the point). I can’t come up with any other candidates. So, IMO, Brooks has come up with the conclusion that wherever totalitarianism exists, and then is overturned, society will turn into hell-on-earth, based on what has happened in one part of the only totalitarian regime in history which has been dramatically altered (even if Iraq qualifies, it is too soon to know what will happen there).
    What Brooks overlooks entirely, particularly as regards China, is the existence of other factors influencing how people behave. In China, there is a 2000 year old Confucian tradition still very much in play. Also, the civil war which brought Mao and the Communist Party to power ended thiry years later than the Russian revolution, meaning that even if the regime were totalitarian (which it isn’t) it will have had thiry years less time to work its destruction of “family values”. Brooks uses the phrase “Mother Russia” in his column. Fair enough; the Russians use the phrase often, or used to, but although it is not used, there is among the Chinese a very strong sense of “Mother China” that is a powerful binding force, a kind of patriotism that has none of the dark, nihilistic nature that sometimes underlies Russian society (check out the literature and the arts of the two countries). I could, and probably will at another time, go on and on about why China is not the Soviet Union, but enough for now.

    Where is that edit feature? Now, from Brooks to Marks. What do you see in the EU that causes you to compare it negatively to the USA? For cultural crassness, I think we are number 1 or close to it. Your implied common denominator is marriage breakups (and your wife will have very good casue for walking out if your political views take a turn to the right). You do realize, don’t you, that the real estate industry would vehemently disagree with you. Marriage breakups account for a healthy portion of home sales. All this aside, my question is a serious one…why do you think the EU has societal problems more severe than our own (if that is what you meant)?

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    RDC spews:

    Of course they are not, and the reason they are not is that Brooks can’t see the light through the darkened lenses of his worldview…sorry for the non-sequiter. Of course this isn’t the reason “they are not”. The reason they are not has nothing to do with Brooks, and has a great deal to do with history, culture, and happenstance.

  58. 70

    marks spews:

    I know a guy who has a highly intelligent, albiet crass, mantra that he lives by: “Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups.” I do not know who to attribute it to ultimately, but it is something that a demolitions expert should know. I can think of one engineer I work with who needs to learn this as well, but that is another story.

    Hubert Van Es writes in the NYT today:

    Thus one of the best-known images of the Vietnam War shows something other than what almost everyone thinks it does. His editors assumed. The case can be made that a lot of high-level people in various agencies made too many wrong assumptions in that war. And in others, I guess…

    David Brooks does not make an assumption, but you assume he does on world population replacement statistics. Brooks makes his mistake by omitting Ukraine and others from his equation. In my link, I am using 1999 figures, so changes for better or worse may have happened since then. Same for world population totals. Brooks may be incorrect in his analysis, but not on those grounds.

    Speaking of changes for better or worse, the divorce statistics for 1996 are interesting. France has a particularly interesting, but ultimately meaningless fact:
    “Percentage of cases in which the wife invokes it: 95%”
    Meaningless, because there is no information on other countries bearing the same statistic, thus no comparison can be made. French law may also limit divorce seekers to women for any reason while men must prove cause. How does one prove frigidity, for instance? Naturally, my brother (who was in Paris for a few years) would say it is because French males are too arrogant to know when their mate is fed up with their merde.

    While the realtors would vehemently disagree, I think divorce lawyers would spontaneously combust if we actually tried to limit divorce (never gonna happen)…
    My wife leave me? That would be a strange thing to happen. I’m not French. I would help her pack, of course, but that would be it. With the kids grown, all we would really argue over is the dog. The dog is mine, of course…

    I defer to you on China, with the assumtion that you are correct…

  59. 71

    RDC spews:

    I didn’t check population growth figues because Brooks was making his case not only on population decline. On that basis alone, per your links, Portugal would be going under as well, and Liberia and Somalia would be paradises aburgeoning Population decline in periods of uncertainty is likely common in human history. I haven’t checked recently, but my recollection is that the birth rate in this country dropped during the depression. Another factor one should consider is the effect that emigration may have had on the decline in population in those coutries formerly part of the Soviet Union (a kind of pent-up demand). I haven’t checked this out either, but I didn’t write a column asserting Brooks’ two main points, which were (as I recall) that Russia is falling apart because it had been under a totalitarian regime and that the same thing was going to happen to China for the same reason. I stand by my contention that Brooks was here (as he is often) shallow in his analysis. Pity that he writes well; being articulate enables him (and others) to get by with very shaky reasoning.

    I read the Vietnam piece. In that case the false assumption didn’t negate the truth of the picture. I remember with sadness the POWs who were released afterwards holding signs saying “God Bless America and President Nixon”, and wondering how many of the 20,000 or so Americans killed there needlessly after Nixon assumed the presidency, would have concurred with those sentiments. Sometimes I feel as if I’m living in the land of the brainwashed.

    A technical question. Are we costing Goldy money; i.e., does his bill for his website go every time someone writes a comment?

    A final point. You are assuming that your dog would choose to go with you; maybe he has other ideas.

  60. 72

    marks spews:

    I simply went with your argument on Ukraine and the other former satellites as the main point of contention. I think China is much different, and thus Brooks cannot bridge the divide in the same manner. What China ends up with in ten years is as murky as my marital status in the same time-frame. The difference is, I am more likely to believe an analysis of China in that time frame than a prediction on my marriage.

    On the costs associated with posting, I understand that allocation of Bandwidth (BW) is the fundamental factor. Goldy would set up the site through his server able to contain or pass a certain BW. He does not need to allow so much, and certainly could decide to pull the plug on comments. The amount of BW required does cost, but you would need to ask him for details.

    Actually, I think my dog would have a difficult time making the decision. She assumes we both live for her, and she is right…

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    RDC spews:

    To invalidate my argument on the “states” of the Soviet Union other than Russia, and on the Eastern European satellites, you have to accept the notion that a decline in population necessarily means those places are “collapsing” a la Russia (even here this is not consistent since Poland and a couple of the ….stans showed population growth, per your link (CIA data, BTW). My argument is that if having existed under totalitarian rule is the reason for the “collapse” of Russia, we should see the same thing in every other country. Brooks’ argument is simplistic, and when he tries to apply it elsewhere than Russia, it holds only to the extent that those places are precisely like Russia. In other words, his argument doesn’t hold. For one thing, the model is too small. It’s a big leap to assume that what happened in one single sample country will happen in another with an entirely different culture and history.

    Having studied the beasts for years, I can tell you that your dog has assumed nothing. She has manipulated you into being her servants.

    Out of time…more later.

  62. 74

    marks spews:

    Touché! It is a huge danger to exclude empirical data in order to achieve the result you want to obtain. My engineer @70 should have learned this on our last project, but I have caught him fudging numbers twice on this new one. In a way, I would love to just hand the project over to him and let him screw the pooch, but we need to take care of our customer. I will continue to look over his data and give groin-kicks when necessary, though giving such will have to wait until Wednesday, earliest.

    She has manipulated you into being her servants. I would not have allowed it if I did not intend it to be that way.

    I will be out of town through Tuesday, visiting the grandchild (oh, and my son and his wife of course). I will look to the archive and see where you went if this thread gets swallowed up.

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    marks spews:

    BTW – I had the same problem you had on the comments exceeding the screen size window. You might try setting your display options to a lower value: Go to START, SETTINGS, CONTROL PANEL, DISPLAY. Click on the SETTINGS box at the top right and set SCREEN RESOLUTION to 800 by 600 pixels (remember your original setting). You may not be able to do it, or the screen will look too freaky. Another option is to write your responses in Notepad or Word and cut & paste into the comment box. Cheers!

  64. 76

    RDC spews:

    If you have an opportunity, on page A22 of Saturday’s NYT is a review of Thomas Friedman’s new book on globalization. The reviewer is no slouch; his name is Joseph Stiglitz and he won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001.

    Tierney’s column today is incredibly disingenuous. The guy is turning out to be worse than Safire. Way worse. I’m sure I’ll have many chances to elaborate in the future.

    I checked with Goldy re bandwidth costs. He said not to worry.
    I have also tried changing the display, but when I do so, the print on my monitor is too small to read easily. I’ve never been very good at cut and paste. Maybe not being able to edit is good for me, if, a BIG if, it keeps the mouth in sync with the brain.

    I’ll leave a note here if it looks as if this thread will go under before Tuesday.