Laugh, or cry?

1. The Chinese respond to the debate (from a ChinaTalk post with the subtitle “If we don’t laugh, we’ll cry”):

    From Guangdong:

    “Alzheimer’s disease vs. schizophrenia”

    From Beijing:

    “Trump’s debate today taught me a lesson: If 10% or even 5% of your words in a public speech are obviously lies, then sorry, the media will not stop picking on your lies. But if more than 90% of your words are lies, then the media will really give up, because they really don’t know which words to pick on.”

    I opt for laugh. My view on the election: “Vote for the less corrupt senile guy.”

    2. A very interesting thread on the decline and fall of the aboriginal inhabitants of Tasmania. Reminds me a bit of the decay of civilization on Pitcairn Island.

    3. It’s interesting that both the Russians and the Chinese view the other side as “Mongols“.

    China and Russia have a long history of cultural animosity. When the Russians consider the marauding Mongols who threatened them repeatedly across their history as a people, they equate those hoards to modern Chinese. When the Chinese conjure up images of the barbarians against whom they built successive Great Walls to defend themselves, today they think of the Russians who live on the great steppes of Asia. Since the seventeenth century when Russian settlers began to establish large communities in Siberia, there have been frequent skirmishes between the two peoples.

    Of course, Russia stole lots of land from China.

    4. The Supreme Court acted to shield Trump from jail time before the election. You’ll never guess how the 6-3 vote in favor of Trump lined up—undoubtedly based on “judicial philosophy”. Here’s Reason magazine:

    The Court’s decision nevertheless raises questions about whether a former president can be held criminally liable for outrageous abuses that arguably qualify as official acts. “The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the country, and possibly the world,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor writes in a dissent joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. “When he uses his official powers in any way, under the majority’s reasoning, he now will be insulated from criminal prosecution. Orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.”

    5. Noah Smith’s (correct) opinion is indeed “unpopular”, which shows just how far America has regressed (in a moral sense) since the 1990s:

    6. This (from the National Review interview of Michael LaRosa) is excellent:

    The problem we face as a party is that we’ve spent several years shaming Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and others who we’ve accused of joining a cult of personality with Trump. Parties are not supposed to be cults of personality. They’re not families, they’re not siblings, they’re transactional by nature, because their only purpose is to win elections. That’s why they are transactional. It’s not meant to be sentimental. And frankly, the point some Democrats are making, not in public, is that we are now becoming very similar to Republicans, actually, because even though there is a real danger in Donald Trump becoming president, we are not going to step aside and leave our guy. That’s what they’re saying, that our guy, standing by our guy, is more important than winning, and we have now kind of conceded the case to Republicans. We’ve now given them quite an upper hand.

    7. And who better than Janan Ganesh:

    Even now, after the debate fiasco, Democrats are couching their misgivings about Biden in ambiguous language. Searching questions have to be asked about him, I read. Alternative candidates are within their rights to sound out donors, apparently. The passive voice is getting a strenuous workout. As ever, the priority is a sort of Edwardian drawing-room etiquette. On the one hand, Trump is an existential threat to democracy, and all legitimate means must be used to stop him. At the same time: don’t let’s be beastly to each other.

    Soon after the debate, Biden put in a solid showing at a campaign rally. Some Democrats talked this up as though it were a missing fragment from the Gettysburg Address. This is where liberal denialism ends up: the ignominious spectacle of Biden, a proud man, who served his nation and the world by defeating Trump, being commended for getting to the end of sentences. In its own way, it is a more poignant spectacle than the botched debate ever was.



    26 Responses to “Laugh, or cry?”

    1. Gravatar of viennacapitalist viennacapitalist
      2. July 2024 at 12:13

      i speak Russian, know lots of Russians and have bern there many times: never heard a Russian confuse Chinese with Mongols- absolutely ridiculous claim, sorry!
      it is really easy to fool Americans since they typically speak no foreign language and only get filtered information on other peoples/cultures

      It is maybe also worth pointing out that the Russians could only „steal“ Manchuria (named after the non-Han Manchus) because someone else pushed a nasty Opium war on them in the south (now, who could that be?) It is further worth pointing out that back then „stealing“ land was a very European thing to do (just look at north America)- nothing particular nasty about those Russians to see here either. I am pretty sure the chinese understand this…

    2. Gravatar of JHE JHE
      2. July 2024 at 12:20

      While I don’t have a general problem

      A couple of thought on Noah’s tweet.

      First, the primary factor in China’s rise out of poverty (no other factor is in the same galaxy) was the state stepping back massively from the business of allocating resources. The idea that China’s rise out of poverty happened “because of” international trade undersells the role of domestic economic reform, much of which was carried out prior to negotiations over WTO accession. To me, even though it’s meant to be a “pro-China” argument it also is obnoxious to Chinese readers because it oversells the role of Western countries and undersells the role of China’s own domestic politics.

      Relatedly, and this isn’t really a criticism of you or Noah, the idea of “letting China in” has now become a facile meme. If you have something of value, people will buy it. The Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc traded extensively with the West, especially Europe during the Cold War (notably, this trade did not make the Eastern Bloc rich, because what they were offering was mostly pretty low-value). The U.S. could have probably slowed China’s growth somewhat by restricting U.S. FDI into China and imposing high tariffs on Chinese imports, but there was also not some sort of magic wand we could wave to command everyone else to adopt the same policies.

      Speaking of facile memes, “Russia stole land from China” certainly qualifies. Russia took large swathes of lightly populated land (that was politically dominated by non-Han Chinese) from the Qing Dynasty. You could just as well say that the Qing Dynasty “stole” Tibet, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and that those should all be removed from China if you start turning the clock back in that manner.

    3. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
      2. July 2024 at 12:25

      Viennacapitalist. I don’t think he meant that literally, rather the way they are viewed—as equivalent to the old Mongol hoards.

      Not sure what your other point has to do with anything.

      “I am pretty sure the chinese understand this…”

      Yes, just as they are very forgiving of the Japanese colonialism in China.

    4. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
      2. July 2024 at 12:28

      JHE, I hope it goes without saying that I’m not suggesting the border issue with Russia be opened up again. I’m just pointing to the Chinese view of the situation.

      I agree with your comments about China’s internal reforms being far more important than the WTO decision.

    5. Gravatar of viennacapitalist viennacapitalist
      2. July 2024 at 12:51

      in pre-litarate Russian society every non-european from the steppe was called „Tatar“, after the science of anthropology made its mark on the 19th century, the term tatar has bern used for certsin tirkic steppe peoples.
      but even do, Russians always seem to have known a Chinese from everyone else. i have bern told (not verified) that moscows „kitai gorod“, i.e. literally chinatown has existed for centuries and is the oldest one of its sort…

      I would say there is a big difference between what the Russians did and the japanese approach: japan went in with full force, with brutality, subjugation and the whole 1930 nationalism toolkit. the Russians (19th century style) more or less forced a contractual agreement (presumably way less violent) on the chinese. I feel that the chinese remember the boxer rebellion, the opium wars, etc. much more harshly than the Russia anexation of manchuria. it certainly did not prevent chairman Mao to copy Lenin word for word (would he have done the same if Lenin had been an Englishman, or Japanese?) and beeing imrnsely popular…

    6. Gravatar of Kangaroo Kangaroo
      2. July 2024 at 16:44

      Scott, here’s the county-by-county 2016 election outcome on a national map.

      American hates hilary. American hates the Democrats.

      For goodness’ sake even NY went almsot all for Trump!! It’s not even clear if Hilary won Pheonix and Tuscon. But she won Gallup, NM and it looks like she might have scored Shiprock up in Navajo country.

      Here’s 2020:

      It’s only slightly better. Biden is not even close to commanding half the country. A quarter at best.

      You can open each map in a separate tab in the same browser and switch tabs back and forth. Biden made very little progress **EVEN THOUGH TRUMP HAD ALEADY THREATENED TO IGNORE THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION**

      Can you imagine how much Americans must hate the Democrats’ agenda to keep voting for Trump?????? You say the Demcrats deal withe their problems but it sure doesn’t look like that’s the case. After all, AOC cruised the primary and she’s about the biggest terrorist in the party.

      Scott its the Democrats hauling bananas. It’s the democrats trying to criminalize being Republican. Its the Democrats advocating racism and undermining free speech. It’s the Democrats abusing the judiciary and executive power.

      You should take a few notes from Cochrane. I think he’s grumpier than you.

    7. Gravatar of Peter Peter
      2. July 2024 at 16:55

      “Of course, China stole lots of land from Korea and Magnolia which it turn was partially succeeded to Russia after centuries of the Chinese government encouraging the Han to ethnically cleanse the area to establish an ahistoric claim”. FTFY.

    8. Gravatar of JHE JHE
      2. July 2024 at 19:24

      “I would say there is a big difference between what the Russians did and the japanese approach: japan went in with full force, with brutality, subjugation and the whole 1930 nationalism toolkit. the Russians (19th century style) more or less forced a contractual agreement (presumably way less violent) on the chinese. I feel that the chinese remember the boxer rebellion, the opium wars, etc. much more harshly than the Russia anexation of manchuria. it certainly did not prevent chairman Mao to copy Lenin word for word (would he have done the same if Lenin had been an Englishman, or Japanese?) and beeing imrnsely popular…”

      I think this is largely accurate. It’s not nothing to be sure, for one Chinese people will all tell you that China used to look like a dragon, but now looks more like a chicken because of what was peeled off by Russia (including Mongolia). But, it’s absolutely true that the core narrative is more about UK/US degradation of Chinese sovereignty followed by the extremely violent and concentrated Japanese invasion. Russia may have taken more square miles of territory than the UK, but the feeling is that it was sort of just free-riding off of a UK-led project.

      People will point to the Sino-Soviet split as motivated by Chinese revanchism, but to a large extent that was simply a battle for primacy over control of the global communist movement that ended in 1989 as the Eastern Bloc was falling apart. And of course of a general strategic tension between China and Russia that is much broader than the ceded territories. People often cite Mao’s claims about Northern Manchuria being stolen, but the context was that Japanese Socialist delegates were complaining about Russia having grabbed the Kuril Islands from Japan after WWII. Mao highlighted the Russia landgrab there (and elsewhere) to essentially mock the question. I will put the answer below, because it’s quite funny:

      Tetsho Ara, head of the delegation of the staff of the Socialist Party on the island of Hokkaido asked: ‘At a time when we had no knowledge of it, the Kurile Islands were taken from us, according to the Yalta Agreement and the Potsdam Declaration. We demand their return, and we would like to hear the opinion of Chairman Mao in this connection. ’

      The following was said in response:

      The places occupied by the Soviet Union are very many. In accordance with the Yalta Agreement, the Soviet Union, under the pretext of assuring the independence of Mongolia, actually placed that country under its domination. Mongolia covers an area much greater than that of the Kurile Islands. When Khrushchev and Bulganin were in China in 1954 we raised this question, but they refused to speak to us about it. They annexed a part of Rumania. They cut off a part of East Germany and chased the local inhabitants into the western part. They cut off a part of Poland and included it in Russia, and as compensation gave Poland a part of East Germany. The same happened in Finland. They cut off everything that was possible to cut off. Some people have declared that Sinkiang Province and the territory north of the Amur River should be included in the U.S.S.R. The U.S.S.R is concentrating troops on its borders.

      The Soviet Union covers an area of 22 million square kilometers and its population totals 200 million people. The time has come for it to stop annexations. Japan covers an area of 370,000 square kilometers and has a population of 100 million. It has been only 100 years that the land east of the Baikal has been Russian territory, and it is from those times that Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Kamchatka, and other points can be considered territory of the Soviet Union. We have not yet presented accounts on this score. As far as the Kurile Islands are concerned, the question is clear for us — they should be returned to Japan.

    9. Gravatar of Sara Sara
      2. July 2024 at 23:16

      I knew you would quote the minority decision written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, because she’s the most radical of the three liberals. And I’m sure you didn’t take time to read the majority decision.

      No, the president cannot use seal team six to kill their political rival and claim immunity. That’s an absurd argument, which has no bearing on reality.

      Because you’re legally illiterate, let me explain to you why the majority decision makes sense.

      First of all, you cannot have total immunity because then the president would be above the law. (the justices DID NOT give total immunity).

      Secondly, you cannot have no immunity either, because if you have no immunity than there is no longer a separation of powers between the judicial branch and the executive branch. Radicals on the judicial branch could make it nearly impossible for the executive branch to function.

      You claim the supreme court is simply voting on “party lines”. No, they are not. And stop denigrating the court, you disgusting, deispicable, radical left ignoramus. Not every liberal agrees with Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s radical view, and not every conservative agrees with Clarence Thomas’s view. There are a range of views, and a degree of subtetly that you clearly fail to grasp.

      And you’re batshit crazy — and a royal dumbass, if you think that the idiot Jack Smith (more legal losses than anyone I know) would be able to jail Trump.

      That’s real special. You must have taken the short bus to school.

      Don’t you find absurd that you cannot even coherently go into the details of any of these cases because you don’t understand them, yet you parrot what you hear from some legacy outlet.

    10. Gravatar of Bob Bob
      3. July 2024 at 01:09

      Wait is unfortunate that replacing obviously shitty candidates has to happen in dark rooms, as the public approaches to change are a total disaster.

      The Republican problem is unfortunately far bigger than Trump now: See the wonders of Missouri sending forward a proposition to make ranked choice voting illegal and make propositions need a majority in most geographies, not just a majority of the vote, as they want to stay far away from the median voter.

    11. Gravatar of Edward Edward
      3. July 2024 at 02:05

      Please write down the statements you claim are lies (90%), and the statements you claim are true (10%).

      Let’s go through them together, one-by-one.

      I will wait.

    12. Gravatar of Scott H. Scott H.
      3. July 2024 at 09:12

      #1 is equally if not more apropos for wokespeak and various conspiracy theories.

      When someone has made three crazy assertions, listed 2 arguments that “aren’t even wrong”, and made around 4 or 5 other erroneous assumptions, all within their first paragraph, what hope do you have for getting to the bottom of the issue?

    13. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
      3. July 2024 at 10:24

      LOL at people who don’t think Trump is a pathological liar. (The real TDS)

    14. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
      3. July 2024 at 11:43


      Just go through Trump’s last debate transcripts. Nearly every statement,if not every statement, was a lie. In fact, polls and and focus groups show that Trump was not seen to have given a good performance, as many knew he was lying. He’s a daytrader who makes up lies as he goes.

    15. Gravatar of Cochrane Cochrane
      3. July 2024 at 11:49

      > I opt for laugh. My view on the election: “Vote for the less corrupt senile guy.”

      This isn’t a good decision. Trump once in office will deregulate the economy so much that the US will get consistent 5%+ GDP growth. He’ll also destroy social security which is going to fix the fiscal troubles of the country.

    16. Gravatar of steve steve
      3. July 2024 at 14:00

      Might be harder to find things Trump says that are not lies. Anyway, we have tow awful choices. Also think Noah is correct but a lot of that growth has come catch up growth, basic stuff like roads and electrification. They liberalized markets some and got industrial growth but they haven’t liberalized that much so I have doubts about future growth.


    17. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
      3. July 2024 at 14:19

      Here’s some relatively good news:

      Kamala Harris is now tied with Biden on PredictIt betting market.

      Yes, she’s not a strong candidate, but perhaps has a better profile at this point than Biden.

    18. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
      3. July 2024 at 21:16

      Less corrupt?

      All the evidence points to Biden, the “big guy”, as the most corrupt politician in American history, but the globalist religion needs no evidence. Faith alone is enough for the globalist gangsters.

      I must say I love it when you cry, though, because there is nothing sweeter than globalist tears. It’s why I keep coming back. There is simply no better place for a dose of TDS than this blog.

      BTW, Biden used “build back better” as his campaign slogan. Do you know who else used “Build back better?”

      Drum roll please….
      Drum roll….

      That’s right! Klaus Schwab and the globalists. The WEF gave Biden the slogan in 2019. It was also used widely by the WEF during the pandemic. After lockdowns were lifted, Scwhab said… “We missed an opportunity to build back better”.

      Who is the new globalist puppet going to be after Biden steps down?

      I bet Sumner wishes he was part of this new Triumvirate.

    19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
      4. July 2024 at 08:44

      Cochrane, Don’t know whether to laugh or cry at your comment.

      Steve, I think you underestimate China. Yes, it’s only a middle income country, but it’s a middle income country with the world’s second most impressive tech sector. It’s not Mexico.

      Having said that, I agree that they need much more liberalization.

      Michael, It would be just like the Dems to dump Biden and then go with Harris.

    20. Gravatar of steve steve
      4. July 2024 at 11:26

      After years of investigating the GOP still hasn’t found evidence of corruption by Biden. He likely dies pretty soon with them never having found anything. Sad.

      Scott- I hope i didnt sound too harsh. Having come so far so fast is a real achievement. I am influenced by my daughter and her husband having spent the last few years working that. It seems like the government is far too directly enmeshed in business and industry, though it’s sometimes in odd ways that kind of let markets work. Was also disappointed with their stories about corruption but that may just be in the areas they worked.


    21. Gravatar of John John
      4. July 2024 at 16:32

      I agree with #5. I strongly disagree with #6 though. Dems arguing over whether a bad debate is grounds for yanking a sitting president is not in the same ballpark as Reps’ cult-level support of DT.

      Do you think, if Biden loses in November and mounts a baseless challenge to the results, that he would be allowed anywhere near the DNC in 2028?

      Do you think, even if one subscribes to LaRosa’s philosophy that winning is everything, that it’s a no-brainer to dump Biden? If so, for whom? Unpopular Harris? Or someone else, in which case how many Black female backs are stabbed?

      In a world full of crazy, I still have to hope that Dems might be rewarded for offering a tiny helping of sane.

    22. Gravatar of Cochrane Cochrane
      4. July 2024 at 16:46


      You might not like it but this is how we save the Republic.

    23. Gravatar of BC BC
      4. July 2024 at 22:01

      “I’m just pointing to the Chinese view of the situation.”

      Ok, do you agree with the Chinese view or do you think that means the Chinese view poses a threat to the region? When I say that “Putin’s view” is that Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe were unjustly taken from the Russian Empire, I mean that Putin’s desire to reconstitute that Empire poses an existential threat to Eastern Europe and NATO. When I say that, from Hamas’s perspective, all of Israel from the River to the Sea must be liberated and returned to the Palestinian people, I mean that Hamas’s view is incompatible with Israeli security. When I say that Trump and his MAGA supporters still think that the 2020 election was stolen, I mean that their inability to accept reality clouds all of their judgement regarding our political and constitutional processes.
      What’s the sense in which you’re “just pointing to the Chinese view”?

    24. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
      4. July 2024 at 22:09

      John, Obviously the GOP is far worse.

      BC, I agree with the Chinese view that Russia stole the land, but obviously it would be insane for China to try to get it back, and they will not try to do so.

      Ditto for Mexico and California.

    25. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
      5. July 2024 at 07:38


      What do you expect? The Democracs shoould nominate a popular candiate for President in a year in which they’re arguing they’re fightinng for democracy? Where’s the drama or suspense in that approach?

    26. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
      7. July 2024 at 14:16

      @Michael S:

      The Dems didn’t really have a choice once the incumbent selfishly and stupidly decided he wanted to run again.

      I blame Biden almost entirely for their predicament.

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