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GTV6 • 8 months ago

Thank you, Steve. And I second your thoughts on Heather Cox.

fcfcfc • 8 months ago

"unlimited powers to make and change the rules of the simulation."
"Participants have a chance to progress from one level of society to another by acquiring wealth through trading with other participants."

What a pointless game. You have already defined the final outcome by the definitions of the game, in short its boundaries and tools.

Its like saying build this house anyway you want. Here are your hammers, nails, boards, blocks and cement.

I wonder how many parts will be screwed together.

PS: I find it distasteful (Being polite) the way you paint MAGA types as the only people that can be dangerous or kill, and all others are weak and helpless.
Having the biggest mouth and waving weapons is not a significant determinate of an outcome involving violence.

Geoff Willingham • 8 months ago

Given the game is used as a proxy for the *current* real-world, and impacts of (mis)use of power, setting it so that power is acquired through wealth, and you can change the rules as you want once in power, is a reasonable approximation imo.

As for the maga point - Steve didn't say they were the only people that can be dangerous or kill... he just pointed out that they tend to be the most prevalent in promoting an opposing message *and* generally most inclined to react aggressively in response...

Yes, you will get people of all stripes and alignments who behave similarly, but as far as I can tell, it will be at a far lower percentage of their 'tribe', compared to the maga idiots.

After all, it *tends* to be them that turn up to rallys with vests and rifles, etc, rather than placards. Of course, some of them may not actually be maga... they just like to shelter under their umbrella because its currently more socially acceptable than proclaiming their true alliegience :p

And whilst wearing vest and carrying weapons may not be a 'significant determinant' of a violent outcome (not sure I'd agree with that, btw), it very *definitely* sets a violent and threatening tone, and encourages everyone else to respond in kind.

Flight62 • 8 months ago

Great article. Another weird thing is the republicans who are upset with the lose of purchasing power are okay with the fact trump gave the rich a massive tax break, while they received nothing but messages of hate towards others with a different view. I have asked them why would they continue to support trump. They tell me you can’t punish the rich as they earned it, their companies keep the country going and provide employment. I have given up trying to make sense of it all.

fcfcfc • 8 months ago

Once you pass single digit millions, you don't earn it, you acquire it. Big difference.

super390 • 8 months ago

They started with an ideology, and degenerated into absolute fealty to a messiah figure who says he's the only man who can save the country. An old story.

Hitler's Fuhrer Principle stated that it was necessary for such an endangered country to turn to a unique man who had a mystical (as opposed to logical) instinct of how to save the *real* country; meaning not based on empirical data but the special character of those who actually make the dominant ethnicity truly productive and successful. In order to do this, the Fuhrer must be freed of Party platforms and dogma, able to veer Left or Right as his infallible instincts demand. Thus Hitler could nationalize some enterprises, and privatize others, promote euthanasia one day and disavow it the next, cut a deal with the Soviets one day and invade the next. Policymaking literally was reduced to waiting for Hitler to make some offhand remark to set off a frenzy of activitty. And the only way his underlings could talk each other into doing a million different things was to say "It reflects the will of the Fuhrer."

So our Republicans have recently gone from saying that rewarding all the rich is an infallible source of economic success, to saying that it is conditional based on an instinctual sense of which tycoons make America Great Again -- which can come from only one man.

Steve Hanley • 8 months ago

Good analysis.

Electricity Electricity • 8 months ago

Mark Milley's speach is excellent. It's too bad almost nobody read or saw it.

Meanwhile the head of MAGA Motors and X promotes his fellow Tweety bird's views to millions...

Steve Hanley • 8 months ago

"It's too bad almost nobody read or saw it."

That's why I thought it deserved to be republished. It occurs to me that if Biden falters as next election approaches, Milley might be an excellent choice to take his place. He is scheduled to speak near me next year and I plan to attend.

fcfcfc • 8 months ago

Its amazing isn't it. All the great speeches since the Declaration Of Independence. All the great writing and reading available from very intelligent people, gifted writers, gifted speakers, gifted doers.
And yet, here we are. I wonder what underlying factor has impotized all the greatness above...

History remembered:
"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Doesn't sound peaceful...

freedomev • 8 months ago

Another excellent article by Steve.
Unless the under 40 vote, we'll keep having these problems.
With Chump up whether he wins the primary or not, Repubs are screwed.
If he wins, they lose as supporters are only 25% of the electorate.
If he loses or quits, his voters mostly stay home.
As for Under God, that was added in the 50s, not in the beginning.

Steve Hanley • 8 months ago

"Under God" was added during the Eisenhower administration as a sop to the Knights of Columbus. The Founders were deists -- they believed in a Supreme Being but did not ascribe to any particular religion.

Robert Persig, author of Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, once said, "When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kind of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt."

But Charles Schultz may have said it best: "The best theology is probably no theology; just love one another."

freedomev • 8 months ago

I've always been amazed at the things people will believe, do, to belong to the group, especially in religions and personality cults like MAGA/fascist/Nazis types. Luckily people like Milley stood in the breach.
Archie Bunker said, 'Faith is when you believe in things no one in their right mind would!' I don't mind them believing such strange things, just not trying to rule others, me, by them who don't.

super390 • 8 months ago

I'm a cynic about such things, having been born and raised on US military bases overseas and only slowly learning how much Americans differ from their principles. Unlike tankies who automatically scream that Americans are thus uniquely evil, I tend to look to the universality of human evil.

I've finally come to think that these absurd beliefs are a product of the inability of human brains evolved around tiny hunter-gatherer bands to function in large societies. We did not evolve to trust strangers. The only ways in large societies to work with and around strangers are conformity, or tolerance. But on the macro scale we rely on both; lumps of those in competing belief systems, having to negotiate differences in values and meanings with each other. With the paranoia looming in the shadows that Those People are cheating you.

When things go bad, that paranoia supercharges a mania for conformity. I recall a study of religious extremists that concluded that members fear being suckers if they sacrifice for the group's victory while their comrades don't, so they must constantly reinforce each others' certainty with displays of loyalty. You can see how this can escalate into cultism and violence.

ByronBradley • 8 months ago

The old cynical view of the universality of evil persists because our brains tend to remember hurt and proceed with wariness. While history is a parade of conflicts, there was prevailing peace at the same time, but it went unmentioned and forgotten.

Tragically, the tactic of unrelenting ridicule and hyped up fear works, especially amplified by trolls, bots, and a dramatic media beholden to the rich. They're playing our ordinary frustrations into votes for a messianic leader.

If democracy is an innocent reflection of the people, they're dredging up the worst in us and inflicting it in a divided, dangerous way. The wiser ways and higher angels of our national character are being tested. Time for decent folk to dare to stand up responsibly.

ctromley • 8 months ago

Thanks Steve, wise words as usual. One thing stuck out rather starkly for me:

We in uniform are unique among the world’s armies. We are unique among the world’s militaries. We don’t take an oath to a country. We don't take an oath to a tribe. We don’t take an oath to a religion. We don’t take an oath to a king or a queen or to a tyrant or a dictator. And we don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator. We don’t take an oath to an individual. We take an oath to the Constitution, and we take an oath to the idea that is America, and we’re willing to die to protect it.

Of course there is no question who Milley is talking about here. Throughout Trump's term as a dumpster fire masquerading as a president, I got the distinct impression that the US military would be the country's backstop against any Little Vlad Lunacy the Orange One might attempt. The quote above tells me I was right.

But that depends on the character of the military men and women who might have to interface with Trump in any nutso action he might attempt. Trump famously demands loyalty to him and him alone - exactly what Milley so eloquently explains IS NOT where the military's allegiance belongs.

Further, the Joint Chiefs ARE NOT in the chain of command. They are merely advisers. Chain of command goes from the president to the Secretary of Defense - a cabinet position appointed by the president.

If Trump installs a SecDef who is as loyal to the president as Trump demands, global - and US - geopolitical security will become a very different scenario.

Keep in mind that during Dumpster Fire 1.0, Trump learned that some who served him were really there as a firewall to keep his lunacy in check. If he gets a Dumpster Fire 2.0 he will put those lessons to use and turn those firewalls into facilitators.

super390 • 8 months ago

There are always factions within the officer corps. The Air Force has been infiltrated by Evangelicals for decades. Colorado Springs is home of the USAF Academy and also a sort of Vatican for far-right churches, and there have been many complaints about Christian bias shown by Academy personnel.

I am quite confident that the people behind this wanted some of their minions to have the means to seize control of the nuclear arsenal when the time came. 20 years ago, I said that instead, one day the USAF would bomb Democratic cities to subjugate them.

This is why we shouldn't be too confident that the military would put down a far-right secession/revolution. All the firepower - as long as you don't mind butchering civilians - is in the Air Force and it could go against the other services in a coup.

ctromley • 8 months ago

Been to Springs, seen the megachurches, the Academy and some USAF facilities. Never thought to connect the evangelicals to the military. Kinda scary.

On occasion I've heard or read of someone saying, "I'm a Christian first and a ______ second." Seems innocuous at first, but if you think about it, it's really a pretty extreme view - not giving a damn about anyone else's values. How would it sound if it was, "I'm a member of the Taliban first, and a ______ second."?

It's pretty darn bad if it's a teacher insisting on teaching that the Earth is 6000 years old and evolution is a hoax. It's pretty damn terrifying if they're saying, "I'm a Christian first and a [fighter pilot, drone operator, Air Force general, etc.] second."

super390 • 8 months ago

A lot of the bad USAF Academy stuff was publicized by Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He's been fighting these bastards for decades.

fcfcfc • 8 months ago

A decade or more ago, there was a documentary on that very thing, Evangelicals targeting military locations for indoctrination. CS was used as an example. I think it might have been tied into the homo scandal regarding Ted Haggard, etc.. in the doc.. his Mega church as example...

Steve_S • 8 months ago

True Genuine Leaders do NOT seek Power, they are thrusted into it.
Sadly, at least 3/4 of the soldiers lost in the few decades has been because of "Bad Politicians" and their policies. Not to mention the millions of affected civilians, many of which end up as refugee's & migrants, only to be further abused.

As of today a large Repugnant group (same one that killed Wade & Roe) has publicly stated that the American Civil Liberties Union is their Nemesis... That leaves little else to be said, really...

super390 • 8 months ago

Republicans have demonized the ACLU for as long as I can remember, and I can remember the Reagan days. The ACLU is pathetically moderate compared to the injustices we now face.

John Donovan • 8 months ago

Another classic Hanley article. HCR is very good, also Amanda Marcotte.

Terence Conklin • 8 months ago

Miley’s words were reassuring since the patriotism of the military is an important check on abuse by government run amuck. Your final comments were well intentioned I presume but quite abusive and divisive. Your TDS symptoms are kicking up again. Feel better soon.

super390 • 8 months ago

Did you hear Milley use the term "wanna-be dictator?"
Whom the hell do you think that refers to?

William Jackson • 8 months ago

TDS is supporting Trump after he has proved who and what he is! Feel better soon.

Mark Turner • 8 months ago

Great article, thanks.

From my non-American point of view, it seems to me that the real problem is that The System is not working for everyone. By "The System" I mainly mean capitalism but also social mores, IOW, social standards.

Regarding capitalism, we are now in an era of very unequal rewards. I don't think inequality itself is the problem, since human society is always hierarchical and unequal. But capitalism is no longer creating wealth for a large section of society, and it is no longer a rising tide that floats all boats, as it was pretty much for the past 200 years. This has produced the "left behind" section of the population.

(BTW, Capitalism needs to somehow adjust in order to make everyone feel like they are financially better off than they were before. I have no idea how that is going to happen, though, as the drive-for-efficiency characteristic of capitalism means it is not making as many jobs as it did before. )

Regarding social mores, a large section of the population is on the "wrong" side of the judgement of what is socially acceptable. I think this is where the Culture Wars are waged. The "right" side defends LGBTQ+, worries about the Climate Crisis, etc, etc, and is now called Wokist by the "wrong" side.

There is a large overlap between those on the "right" side of current social mores and those for whom capitalism is still working. They are collectively called The Elite.

And there is a large overlap of those who are on the "wrong" side of current social mores and for whom capitalism is not working. They are collectively called the "MAGA" crowd. Trump is their chosen demigod.

Social media is the medium for spreading the social poison of hate, conspiracy and paranoia.

fcfcfc • 8 months ago

"...since human society is always hierarchical and unequal."
Yes, so true because you have currency (Forces Hierarchical) at this point in time when it is no longer needed...

Steve Hanley • 8 months ago

So, social media is anti-social? I agree. : - )

Holly Scott • 8 months ago

Good quality accessible education for everyone floats the boat first, then equal opportunity to succeed.

Steve Hanley • 8 months ago

Thank you, Holly. Particularly important today when MAGA crazies are intent on dismantling the US public education and replacing it with institutions that will churn out millions of Stepford citizens. Public school teachers are quitting in alarming numbers, particularly in red states, while school budgets are being slashed all across America. As the saying goes, "If you think education is expensive, just wait til you find out how much ignorance costs."

Dennis Worley • 8 months ago


super390 • 8 months ago

Rednecks, religious fanatics and fascists don't react to injustice and inequality by demanding that they be ended. They demand that injustice and inequality are specifically reserved for the benefit of their own kind alone.


This is how fascists are able to pose as being conservatives and traditionalists versus the "subversive" Left. Their critique is that capitalists are under a tribal obligation to favor their own race/religion/gender regardless of market logic. The definition of "merit" itself is perverted by any means necessary from mere bias towards the Volk to total subservience. In power, this translates into requiring that Party loyalists are installed in the existing institutions of (unequal) power to act on their bigotry, not officially eradicating them as Marxists would. This is very reassuring to many of the aggrieved voters.

For all such movements, "Elite" has nothing to do with economic class. All classes are divvied up in their dogma between "patriots" and "subversives". All patriots of all classes are supposed to be one big happy family who see no inequality, only "natural" division into chieftain and warrior in pursuit of conquest and glory... and the extermination of the subversives. An elitist is merely a subversive who has any institutional power to oppose the natural patriotic order, from an educator to an artist to a movie studio chief.

d’M Ian-ya • 8 months ago

Milley made a great speech.
It’s unfortunate the US military has been on wrong side of history several times.
(Thinking from POV of Vietnamese / SE Asia, or those Americans who objected to US involvement in stupid war. Plus Iraq II. And achieved nothing in Afghanistan.)
Interesting that it was Eisenhower who introduced god to military.
That’s a huge part of what I find objectionable.
Plus the demeaning / brutalising training isn’t something I’d choose to be part of.
US no longer has a system rest of world envies. More we fear, like we fear what Murdoch can do to us. Military projection beyond US shores no longer as productive, nor as welcome.
Then there’s the fashionable swing to LG rainbow etc. that’s just a minority getting undue influence when there’s other pressing issues of way greater import. Not unlike a certain religious minority I’m afraid to name.
It’s a useful distraction.
I don’t see neural diversity getting same rewards.
Then there’s the economic, cultural & diplomatic might being used as a weapon.
US idiocy has plenty of ways of having undue coercion.
Money, media, spies.
I think US is living a lie.

Username Taycan • 8 months ago

Rest easy. Haven't you seen Elon is solving the world migration crisis?

Elon Musk has become embroiled in an unprecedented public row with Germany’s foreign ministry over the country’s policy of helping organisations that rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and bring them to Italy’s shores.

...There was also concern that the RadioGenoa post Musk endorsed backed the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a far-right party. “Let’s hope AfD wins the elections to stop this European suicide,” it said, apparently a reference to critical regional elections in Bavaria and Hesse next Sunday.

- https://www.ft.com/content/11600482-cb3e-4c48-90c2-6c1672caf954

Rico • 8 months ago

The Citizens United decision was pre-ordained by all the previous decisions that gave Corporations more power to eventually claim the rights of personhood. As people they of course have the right to participate in financing election campaigns. The ACLU acted in support of Citizens United, much to my disappointment, for this very reason. Corporations were originally granted privileges under revokable charters for the purpose of serving the public. To end corporate control of our elections it is necessary to first end corporate personhood as Move-On's constitutional amendment proposal would do.

Max Holland • 8 months ago

If Milley is sincerely arguing that the

"the duty of a soldier [is] to the Constitution and only the Constitution"


"“This We’ll Defend,” and the “this” refers to the Constitution"

.... then why on earth does the US have roughly 800 military bases scattered all around the world? Are these to defend the US constitution? And this costs almost a trillion dollars per year? Can somebody explain the logic?