Ruminations about What (and How) to Post in the Current Times

Reader rtd admonishes me:

Someone with your smarts & level of education should be able to ignore these types of political rhetoric & certainly not induce you to create a blog post devoted to such atrocious comments & lunacy (particularly considering, as you’ve explicitly noted in the past, that you hold your readers to a relatively high regard as it relates to their intellectual capabilities). Unfortunately your (persistent) biases & subjectivity don’t seem to allow you to take the high road

He’s writing in response to the December 2015 post entitled NYT: “Donald Trump Calls for Barring Muslims From Entering U.S.”. At the time, I re-worded the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to fit then-candidate-Trump’s call.

Now, in the context of the Mr. Trump’s recent discussion of determining immigration and refugee status, rtd says, don’t sink to the level of Mr. Trump’s terminology of “s***hole” countries, as Mr. Trump considers what legislation he is willing to sign.

I will admit in these changed times, it is hard to stomach much of the language being used (it’s not how my parents taught me to speak) — as well as the intent behind this language. The question is, if Mr. Trump is saying he’s going to do X, shouldn’t we consider outcomes if he does X (taking into account that within the first week of his administration, he did try to ban residents from several majority Muslim countries from entering the country — and finally managed to)? In other words, will ignoring coarse language and intent make those things disappear?

My answer is no.

47 thoughts on “Ruminations about What (and How) to Post in the Current Times

  1. Not Trampis

    Possibly the worst thing that occurred was the reason given by several Republican senators that the word shithole was not used but it was shit house.
    If only evangelicals in the USA were as biblcally literate as those down under

  2. rtd

    Wait… where did “Mr. Trump” say he was going to envoke a “shithole” or “Muslim” version of the Exclusion Act of 1882? I feel that you’re acting like a (Trump-sized) child.

    Menzie, i almost guarantee that I’m on your side with respect to (what certainly seems to be) this administration’s unacceptable views towards non-white male groups. I don’t think however that an economist stooping to the same level is productive. IMO, you should make powerful arguments using objective and serious analyses employing the tools we know you’re gifted with. Instead you decide to make the discipline look like a joke when using a respected economics blog to subjectively and disingenuously further sensationalize this administration’s sensationalist views.

    Also, you’re very confused with the (possibly rhetorical but certainly ridiculous) question “will ignoring coarse language and intent make those things disappear?” Please understand that ignoring and perpetuating are certainly not one in the same. Your emotions seem to get the best of you and it doesn’t seem to benefit your commentaries. In this post and so many others you are vindicating my claim in the above quoted that “Unfortunately your (persistent) biases & subjectivity don’t seem to allow you to take the high road.” Just be better.

    I will say that i am constantly flattered by how smitten you are over me . Let me know the blog post you want me to print and autograph for your office wall.

      1. rtd

        To continue our series, you should note that “rumination” has multiple definitions and the one best fitting to this post isn’t the one you likely intended.

      2. CoRev

        <b<Menzie, and from a conservative view point you are the perfect exemplar of RTD’s: “Unfortunately your (persistent) biases & subjectivity don’t seem to allow you to take the high road.” Moreover, your obsession over Trump’s progress, by ignoring his successes in fulfilling his campaign promises, exemplifies you bias.

        Your selection and style are examples of a failure to eschew objectivity while exhibiting your own bias. Your blog partner, however, shows a higher level approach by displaying his objectivity.

        These anti-Trump articles are a platform for the “angry liberals” to vent their emotions. Perhaps that is your goal.

        1. 2slugbaits

          your obsession over Trump’s progress, by ignoring his successes in fulfilling his campaign promises, exemplifies you bias.

          Huh??? Ignoring his “successes”? Most of Menzie’s posts refer to Trump’s “successes” and his keeping or at least trying very hard to keep his campaign promises. The problem is that Trump’s “successes” and campaign promises have been bad news for the country. Good news for very rich folks and white nationalists, but bad news for the rest the country.

          These anti-Trump articles are a platform for the “angry liberals” to vent their emotions.

          I suspect that they’re more for the edification of Trump supporters. I would call it missionary work among savages. A “pike in a carp pond” spurring Trump supporters to keep swimming outside the Fox Noise bubble. See…you just learned a Goethe reference.

          1. CoRev

            2slugs, “The problem is that Trump’s “successes” and campaign promises have been bad news for the country. Good news for very rich folks and white nationalists, but bad news for the rest the country.”


        2. baffling

          “Moreover, your obsession over Trump’s progress, by ignoring his successes in fulfilling his campaign promises, exemplifies you bias.”
          his campaign promises were filled with racist rhetoric. not surprising you consider fulfilling those as a success.

          1. CoRev

            Baffled, “Moreover, your obsession over racism, while ignoring Trump’s successes in fulfilling his campaign promises, exemplifies your bias.” There, fixed for you.

          2. CoRev

            Baffled, BTW, why the race obsession? Oh, never mind, I just remembered it is all you have when relying on “identity” politics.

          3. CoRev

            Baffled, defend a bigot???? No! I was questioning your motivation(s) and thinking while noting your bias re: your singular issue, racism.

          4. baffling

            Corev, you appear to be in denial of the bigotry and racism that emerges out of the current White House. While it is there, i will continue to comment about it. You can either continue to deny, or acknowledge the truth. I would not need to make any comments if Donny did not continue to display his racist personality. Why do you defend him?

          5. CoRev

            Baffled, your response is s perfect example of racism/t obsession. “Identity” politics and assigning “victim” status are responsible for your obsession. Any passing reference that approaches these areas triggers the obsession. It’s truly sad you wear these blinders.

          6. baffling

            Not obsessed with racism. Simply willing to call it out when i see it. You and peaktrader, amongst some others on this blog, lack the moral courage to take a stand against racism when it occurs. You would rather sink in the moral swamp of team trump.

            Look, trump is not only a racist. He has also claimed on tape to be a propagator of sexual harassment and/or assault. But i assume you deny this as well.

  3. PeakTrader

    Did anyone hear Trump say that S word? – it was said 195 times on CNN in one day! – how low will CNN go?

    1. PeakTrader

      Everyone who knows Trump knows he’s not racist.

      “Kara Young, who is biracial, was Trump’s girlfriend for two years in the 90s. She’s surprised that her ex-boyfriend is up to his neck in racial controversy. “I never heard him say a disparaging comment towards any race of people,” she told the New York Times.”

      Trump’s “intent” could be a number of other things besides racism. Of course, correcting biased people by telling them how it is can seem offensive. That doesn’t mean the media should speculate in the worst way and try to manipulate people.

    2. PeakTrader

      Trump’s ex-wife Ivana says:

      “”I don’t think Donald’s racist at all. Sometimes he says these things which are silly or [that] he doesn’t really mean,” she said. “But he’s definitely not racist.””

      1. baffling

        so we should take somebody who has interacted with trump at his/her word? fine. we have quite a few women who have stated that trump sexually harassed and/or assaulted them. peak, are you going to acknowledge those women and their description of donny, or are you going to be selective in your praises of donny?

          1. baffling

            ivanka and his old lover are truth tellers, but those ladies he harassed are not? Is that what you are implying? Your comments imply the “accusers” are not truthful, but your references are truthful. How do you know the difference?

          2. PeakTrader

            You’ve concluded Trump harassed women.

            Guilty, until proven innocent.

            You lost any credibility.

            I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but believing people with questionable motives, you know nothing about, or know they’re biased, is unreliable.

          3. noneconomist

            Well, if HE says he didn’t do it, end of story.
            The accused is always believed.
            You can watch any cop show to figure that one out.”Oh, you didn’t do it? That’s all we need to know!”

          4. baffling

            Peak, i lost credibility? Really?
            Donny was RECORDED stating how he behaved exactly like those women “accused” him of behaving. Exactly what more evidence would you like before you would consider this credible? Unbelievable. Donny admits on tape this behavior, and yet his supporters still deny! He really could shoot somebody on 5th ave and still be elected by his minions! What a sad state…

      2. noneconomist

        Why don’t we just believe what our world leaders say? Putin swears he knows nothing about Russian interference in the 2016 election. If HE says it’s so, it must be so! Why would HE lie?

      1. PeakTrader

        January 15th:

        “Sen. Lindsey Graham on Monday still wouldn’t confirm whether President Donald Trump made the “s***hole” comments last week, but asserted that “I know what was said,” he told The Post and Courier.””

        Senator Lindsey Graham said in 2013:

        ““The people coming across the southern border live in hellholes,” Graham said. “They don’t like that. They want to come here. Our problem is we can’t have everybody in the world who lives in a hellhole come [into] America…””

        Only tattle-tale Durbin confirms the S word.

        1. PeakTrader

          Several people confirmed Trump used tough language and there was at least one woman in the room. Perhaps, Senator Graham was upset about that – you know how Southern boys are.

      2. PeakTrader

        January 18th:

        Trump is ‘absolutely not’ driven by racial animus, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said on CNN…You can be as dark as charcoal [or] lily white, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re nice to him,’ he said…You can be the Pope and criticize him. It doesn’t matter. He’ll go after the Pope. You can be Putin and say nice things and he’ll like you.’ ‘It’s not the color of your skin that matters,’ Graham continued. ‘It is not the content of your character. It is whether or not you show him respect and like him.’”

  4. pgl

    I guess rtd does not want economists to participate in the political world at all. Of course politicians make all the rules including those that touch on economic issues. Maybe the free expressions right granted by the First Amendment do not extend to those capable of doing economic analysis. Of course there is a reason why I do not use my real name in blogging – it might be a career limiting move for this economist.

    1. rtd

      you guessed wrong ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      1) i certainly do want economists to participate in the political world
      2) i certainly am not in favor anyone taking away Menzie’s (or anyone else’s) 1st Amendment rights – such comments are common yet poorly thought-out responses

      1. pgl

        “i certainly am not in favor anyone taking away Menzie’s (or anyone else’s) 1st Amendment rights”.

        Then we shall ignore your previous comments basically telling Menzie to shut up.

        1. rtd

          I never told Menzie to shut up. I told Menzie he’s a partisan and subjective blogger who gives economists a bad name.

          In wither case, telling someone to shut up (which I’ve never done) isn’t the same as taking away a fundamental right. It’s sad the interweb is so full of commenters who can’t see/understand this.

          It seems to me that, by implication, you’re asserting that Menzie wishes POTUS’s first amendment right to be taken away. I on the other hand don’t agree with this. I think Menzie wishes POTUS didn’t say things like “shithole”. Just like I don’t wish Menzie’s first amendment right to be taken away, I only wish he would blog in a productive fashion using his analytical skills in an objective and reasonable fashion. See?

  5. Manfred

    “…it is hard to stomach much of the language being used (it’s not how my parents taught me to speak)…”

    Oh yes, Trump is the first that uses obscene and coarse language, right? And of course, his political opponents are all without fault, they are all angelical beings, never ever a bad word from their mouths, never ever an outburst, never ever cursing.
    I love it when the Left pretends to have the Moral High Ground in everything. So fast do they forget their own faults, their own specks in their eyes, their own repugnancies. But well, so it is, I guess.

    1. baffling

      “tommy was also saying those bad words, so why am i the one being punished?”

      the plight and logic of a 7 year old. and apparently the logic of manfred and the conservative movement.

      when we add to this behavior, the approval of lying to achieve ones means, as advocated by rick stryker, it makes one wonder about the current state of conservative culture.

      1. CoRev

        Rick Stryker? Where has he commented on this thread? That’s an extreme level of compensation for being bested.

        1. baffling

          You don’t agree that somebody who endorses lying to achieve ones goals is lacking in moral character? Rick is a common creature on this blog. Since manny has made commentary about the moral behavior of others, it does seem fitting to include Ricky in the conversation. And yet those of you on the conservative bench don’t seem to have a problem with Ricky’s position-that is truly baffling.

      2. Manfred

        Right baffling.
        It makes *me* wonder about the left-wing culture.
        When Lyndon Johnson curses, it is all ok.
        When Bill Clinton has oral orgies in the Oval (Oral?) Office, it is all ok.
        When Ted Kennedy leaves a woman dying in a car in a river, it is all ok (the Lion of the Senate).
        But when Trump, in a private conversation, says a bad word, suddenly the Left discovers good manners, and it is not ok.
        As I said, it makes me wonder about the current state of left-wing culture.

        1. 2slugbaits

          Manfred No one is surprised or shocked that politicians use vulgar language, just the like the rest of us. Trump’s taste in art is crassly philistine, so I would expect his language to just as crassly philistine.

          LBJ certainly was certainly crude. Nixon’s mouth earned the Lifebuoy treatment. And Obama had quite the potty mouth when playing basketball. But as far as I know, none of them lied about it. Trump is the only one who lied about it. He even tried to pretend that what we were hearing on the Hollywood Access tape wasn’t really his voice. Sadly, I suppose plenty of Trump supporters believe him. Trump was right about one thing; he could shoot someone in plain sight and his base would still hang with him.

          Trump’s comments were not “in a private conversation”; they were in a well attended meeting on official government business in a government building. But it’s not his vulgarity that’s so disturbing; but rather the willingness of Republican lackeys to obfuscate and pretend that they didn’t hear what they plainly did hear. Those folks are moral cowards, plain and simple. And the greatest sin wasn’t that they didn’t try to remind the President about proper decorum and good taste (good luck teaching Trump good taste!), but that they didn’t appear to be bothered by the obviously racist undertones in his comments. Instead we get the completely implausible lies from the DHS Secretary and the pathetic and convenient amnesia from red state senators, excepting Sen. Graham.

        2. baffling

          Again manny, just because you find another example of poor behavior is not justification to give donny a pass, as you are willing to do. The issue, TODAY, is not lbj from 50 years ago. It is the current president of the United States, in 2018, behaving as though he is an elitist, uneducated bigot. How would you characterize his behavior? Pretty pathetic behavior for the leader of the free world.

  6. Julian Silk


    Let me put it this way. I don’t like the language, either. But, you know, we deal with the situation we have. If the U.S. had elected Mussolini, with all the ensuing language about the greatness of the U.S. consisting of the domination of other countries, and how the American ideal types (the white Christians whose parents had emigrated to this country in the 1800s) were systematically being denied by inferior races or types, would it be better to ignore it and write about upper semi-continuity? I think you are providing a service in trying to explore some degree of fact-based alternatives, and yes, both you and I can be wrong. But to the extent that you had the ability to command some attention, I think you are doing a good job.


  7. Erik Poole

    Oh. You mean President Trump is not a sectarian warrior at best or just simply a racist?

    Hmm. I must have gotten the wrong impression.

    But Menzie, this ‘us versus them’ politics is an old story in all countries including the USA. How about the US-supported nuclear weapons backed ethnic cleansing project in the former Palestinian mandate?

    That issue blows back on the US and results in dead Americans not to mention the tattered American reputation when it comes to preventing nuclear weapons proliferation. Or the glorious birth of Da’esh, a lovely spin-off from the Israeli nation building process.

    I recall you being very hesitant to discuss that issue in the past. Should I assume that your willingness to pay for facts on the ground in East Jerusalem and the West Bank as positive expressed in terms of American wealth and American lifes? In that respect your politics are no different from that of other leading Democrats, Republicans and Trump supporters.

    The Israeli-Palestinian issue has been iconic amongst national liberation and other violent political groups around the world. All the rich, western countries have stopped taking resources by violence except the USA and Israel.

    I live under the impression that American economists believe in secure economic property rights with important exceptions. So why do American intellectuals treat Palestinians like inferior humans but expect us to treat Chinese, Blacks and others as first class citizens?

    What are you afraid of, or at the end of day, do you actually share more in common with President Trump than you are willing to admit?

    P.S. My willingness to pay for facts on the ground in the terrain taken in 1967 as measured by dead Americans is zero.

  8. Moses Herzog

    Although I respect Menzie’s stance on cleanliness of language, I do not personally subscribe to it. There are some times, when “gosh golly darn” just doesn’t do it. And although it’s nice/charming that people like Menzie and my age 70+ Mom may think that “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Father Knows Best” were the height of Western culture, I find movies like “3 Billboards” to have been much more enlightening myself.

    And I’m sure Heather Heyer had a “jolly good time” being killed by car bumper, but I think I would prefer (hypothetically, between the two choices) being an Antifa member myself

    “You say tomato, I say tomato. you say ‘turtle egg’, I say bastard”

  9. joseph

    It’s not the vulgarity, per se. It’s the vulgarity as an expression of bigoted racism. For years Republicans used coded dog whistles to express their racism. Trump is simply more open and his Trumpian base is absolutely delighted at the liberating feeling of open racism. They don’t have to hide their racism in shame anymore.

  10. baffling

    Interesting that nobody is concerned about the trump affair with the porn star. I guess a conservative really is not concerned that their dear leader cheated on his wife and newborn baby boy with a porn star. Perhaps they had an open marriage? Really none of my business. But the coverup and hush money paid out to keep the mistress quiet is a little disheartening. I would think this would open Donny up to possible blackmail scenarios. I don’t imagine Putin and the Russians would ever try to leverage this against the sitting president? Porn stars, hush money and blackmail are now part of the conservative culture? Must be mainstream meadia fake news… from the Wall Street journal.

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