Weekend Links

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Such awful news out of Paris. I never understand what these attacks are meant to demonstrate or accomplish. The world is always worse off. Apparently ISIS is claiming responsibility and some preliminary evidence points in its direction. So France will have a target, and a lot of allies, and we’ll see what happens. Nothing good will come of this, I fear. Violence will beget violence, ad infinitum, though I hope I’m wrong. I’m not saying France shouldn’t retaliate; I’m just saying that nothing but bad solutions seem to present themselves every time something like this happens.

For now, the best one can hope for is that the survivors and the families and friends of the murdered heal. We Americans understand the grief.

Some links for the weekend:

  • Amazingly, the guy I called out earlier this week for saying there’s basically no difference between Hillary Clinton and Republican candidates has doubled down on the claim. Read Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money for an entertaining version of why this is stupid and dangerous. The author in question, H.A. Goodman, is either a master troll or an idiot who somehow gets paid real money to write dumb stuff on the internet. I suspect it’s the latter, but boy will my face be red if it’s the former.
  • Why does Goodman’s argument get me so worked up? Well, I WAS the idiot I’m accusing Goodman of being. If you read my post linked above, you’ll see how I talked myself into voting for Ralph Nader in 2000 and why that was, um, a poor decision. Here’s the short of it: the structure of the American political system itself explains why we have only two major parties; those parties happen to be called the Democratic Party and the Republican Party; the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have very different agendas; candidates running for a given party’s nomination have to adopt most of that party’s agenda in order to gain its support; therefore, the Democratic candidate for president will differ greatly from the Republican candidate for president; if you vote for a candidate from a non-major party or sit out an election, you threaten to hand the election to the major party candidate you least prefer; therefore, you should figure out which major party you prefer and vote for its candidates.
  • Speaking of trolls, I recommend this piece about master troll Ken M. His trolling is brilliant and mostly harmless. He won’t talk you into thinking there’s no difference between America’s two main political parties, but he may leave you wondering whether or not there are real people who feed Snausages to their grandsons.
  • I have a continuing series of posts explaining why the Republican Party cannot be trusted to govern herehere, here and here. Tierney Sneed at Talking Points Memo brings us up to speed on the Republican Party’s latest demonstration of incompetence and bad faith. This one involves Senate Republicans disagreeing with each other over how to get an Obamacare repeal bill on President Obama’s desk that they know he would veto anyway and they know they wouldn’t have the votes in the Senate or the House to override such a veto. I know this is going to sound harsh, but what kind of a party spends five-plus years trying to overturn a law that helps people not die preventable deaths and ensures they don’t go bankrupt if they get a serious diagnosis?
  • Going to make this tomorrow night. We’ll see how it turns out.

Enjoy the weekend!

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