Thursday, July 19, 2018

Daniella Pletka: "The Anti-Trump Hysteria Isn't Helping"

Jonathan Alter: "The Case For Censuring Trump"

"The Vindication Of Cheese, Butter, And Full-Fat Milk"

Yeah, I grew up on a farm, so I've never really given up on full-fat food. I did cut back on it for awhile when the hysteria hit its peak and I had a gf who was into it...but that didn't last long. I pretty quickly went back to full-fat everything. Skimmed milk is blue-white water. Why bother?

The ACLU And The Twilight Of Free Speech Liberalism

Something interesting at the New New Republic...weird...
   So, now that the ACLU has succumbed to Conquest's Second Law, is there an organization out there that is actually committed to defending free speech per se--like the ACLU used to be?

Coleman Hughes: "Black American Culture And The Racial Wealth Gap"

It's going to take awhile to get my head around this.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Obama Contra Pomo/PC And The Epistemic Claims Of Identity Politics

He's said stuff like this before; I wish he'd do it more often.

George Will: "This Sad, Embarrassing Wreck Of A Man"

Trump's terrible, as most here agree. But his terribleness has driven many of his critics to apoplexy and hyperbole. Will commonly has a cooler head. It's perhaps not his title, but I'd say "infuriating, embarrassing wreck" is more accurate. "Sad" is an insult, not an accurate description, really. I mean, he's winning and cavorting about and doing whatever he wants and ostentatiously thumbing his nose at his don't see 'sad' so much. I wish he were sad. And maybe he is, sub specie aeternitatis, and/or in the sense of being pathetic...but whatever.
   I also very much doubt that the Russians have anything on him. It's an overly-elaborate explanation where a simple one will do: Trump often does the opposite of what he's told he should, and does such things specifically to poke a finger in the eye of his critics/enemies. He probably didn't collude with the Russians, and he's angry at the suggestion. He sees the accusations and investigations and evidences of Russian meddling as being a part of the collusion case against him, and so he takes the other side. Minimizing evidence of Russian meddling is one way to minimize evidence of collusion. He's not a particularly complicated dude, and his actions in Helsinki don't require a particularly complicated explanation. (But, of course, explanatory arguments by themselves aren't very strong. We're really just offering interpretations when we operate at this level.)
   Obviously none of this excuses anything he said. I'm really just saying, yet again: I don't see any reason to make him seem any worse than he actually is. The reality is plenty bad enough.
   Two years six months three days left, as of now. Gird up your loins and proceed with determination.

Is It Legal To Offer A President Money To Resign? Or: Let's Kickstart A Solution

Is it legal to offer a president money to resign? Is that bribery? Because how about a kickstarter? We might be able to raise enough to pay off Trump's debts--or enough to make him an actual billionaire. Isn't that what one of those Jenners did? 
   Why does he want to be president anyway? I mean...for the money (that the additional fame will bring? I'm honestly not sure how such things work) is one popular answer. This doesn't have to be a contemptuous act--if it is, even Trump might turn it down. It's just a bloodless transaction, a positive-sum game. The money seems more important to him than the presidency; the presidency's more important to us than the money. I say it's worth a try.
   Well...actually I guess it would just prompt a bidding war with his supporters. Still: we might win. But: probably not by enough to make it worthwhile for him to leave. But maybe. And there might be some related idea that would work.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Trying Too Hard Not To Be Racist Is Racist

Mother Jones: Air Is Racist

Eating Hot Wings On The Teevee Is, Like, Rape Culture Or Whatever

Not even making it up.

3,251 False Claims In 497 Days?

Not really, of course. Fact Checker is not the greatest fact-checker. It more than occasionally spins and nips and tucks. (Though it misses the mark in both directions at least that's something.) But say the number is half that (note: it's way more than half that). Half that is some shit, lemme tell ya. Half that would be an embarrassment to the republic in and of itself. Half that would be cause for very great concern of the this-is-not-merely-concern-it-is-actually-more-what-you'd-call-alarm variety.
   This, unfortunately, makes me ponder, again, a question I often pondered during the paleo-PC era: which is:
Which is worse?:
[A] Nominally honoring the truth but lying all the time
[B] Just throwing the whole idea of truth right out the damn window?
In all honesty, I do not have a very good answer to that question.
   Throwing out the idea of truth entirely is, as all the kids are saying these days...if these days are ca. 1999...cray-cray. SO cray-cray that nobody actually does it. Which is a mitigating consideration. The PC/SJ left deploys alethic nihilism when they're losing an argument. As in:
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Larison: The Helsinki Debacle And U.S.-Russia Relations

Reasonable, as usual.

Arendt On Totalitarianism and Truth

“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.”
                            Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

I'd quibble about the identification of "fact and fiction" with "the reality of experience," and with "true and false" with "the standards of thought"...but I'm 100% down with the general idea here. Though 'the reality of experience' may be ambiguous. So maybe my quibble is with a misunderstanding. And "the standards of thought" are more on the side of justification than of truth...unless we're talking about some kind of Peircean limit of inquiry...
   Note to self: stop quibbling, stupid. Arendt is on the mark.

"Stop Gendering Your Baby"!

This....this...THIS is, perhaps, the crowning jewel of PC / social justice pseudophilobabble. This thing has it all...from insisting on the sex/gender distinction to thermonuclear botching of the sex/gender distinction to hating on "the olds" to asserting that sex (the biological male/female distinction) isn't real... With some derisive comments about the continuation of the species thrown in for good measure...and with the suggestion that the author had chosen not to become pregnant...which...seems rather implausible...
   Yes, it's Broadly...which might even be a notch down from Jezebel... But these are all arguments common on the PC/SJ left. It's not like this is some big deviation from the orthodoxy. It's just all expressed in a particularly, laughably up-front way. So I'll allow it.
(h/t Critical Spirits...sorry about my failure to h/t last time...!)

NYT Homophobic?

Sarah Hoyt notes that Neo-Neocon notes that this would not fly if it came from the right.

Washington Post: "Trump Just Colluded With Russia. Openly."

Seems like a pretty fair assessment.
   It doesn't surprise me, and I even have a tiny fragment of sympathy for him. I don't think he colluded with the Rooskies. And he's a pretty simple-minded guy. You're with him or your against him. So he sees the accusations as unfair--which, of course, they have been to a large extent. There are good reasons to investigate, but, running parallel to those are the partisan REEEEEEsistance motives--attribute every bad thing to Trump, and get him by any means possible. (Funny how people who have been fretting about our democracy have often also been promoting efforts to get rid of a democratically-elected President via undemocratic means...) So say Trump's innocent of collusion. He's not particularly objective or fair-minded, and he inclines toward adversarial thinking. So all he really sees is unfairness and political chicanery. 
   I think some people...maybe not a lot of people...but, say, an Obama...would be able to step back and recognize that the investigation was necessary and the the Russians were up to no good, even in the midst of fending off unfair accusations/attacks by the other side. But way. He is not such a person. 
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Monday, July 16, 2018

Vox: Trump Only Won The 2016 Election Because Of, Y'Know, The Rules

God Vox is a train wreck.
Ezra: you are better than this.
Trump says Dems have an advantage in the EC...but he won because of the SEE WHAT I'M SAYING??????
   It seems to not have occurred to the geniuses at Vox that x can give Smith an advantage, and yet Smith can lose because of x... MIND. BUH-LOWWWWN.
   I'm currently generally in favor of the electoral college...though I haven't always been...and despite its having given us both (God help us) Dubya and (God help us) Trump. If this seems impossible to you, you may be a writer for Vox. But who the hell cares what I think about it? Even I don't really. I haven't really thought about it hard enough to deserve an opinion.

Are Democrats Dumping Moderates?

To some extent.
As you may recall, democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time...
Also, kids are stupid.
Somebody needs to try to talk some sense into these goddamn Democrats before they shoot themselves in the ass yet again.

Help us,'re our only hope...

"I Think That This Is The Summit That Putin Was Waiting For His Entire Life"

So saith Alina Polyakova, Brookings Russia expert:
“Just meeting with Putin by the U.S. president is not an issue. All U.S. presidents have met with the Russian president,” Polyakova said. “The problem here is that this administration has done this in reverse: Usually there’s a long period of process, of prep work and negotiations. ... The meeting between the leaders happens last to affirm the negotiating process.”
“So I could see—I’m not saying I’m subscribing to this view—from Trump’s perspective, that this is an important relationship that has gone a little bit off the rails ... and that he needs to fix it,” Polyakova said. “And, of course, every single U.S. president has come into office thinking he could fix it because of his charisma and persona, and it was his the last guy who got it wrong, and in that way Trump is not that different from Obama, or even Bush.”

Winner-Take-All Voting Sucks

An amusing explanation by CGP Grey.

Steve Schmidt: Why I Quit The Vile Republican Party

Schmidt quitting doesn't mean that much to me, since he's a hired gun like Carville or Matalin. It means a lot more that George F. Will quit, IMO.
   But, anyway, since I think Trump isn't as bad as he's represented on the left, it's important to take such equally alarming representations from the right very seriously.
   I actually find the question "how bad is Trump...really?" pretty damn interesting, and not just for practical reasons. Seems to me to be an interesting epistemic question. My own answer is something like: he's f*cking AWFUL...what kind of f*cking question is that? But...he's somewhere between about 30% and 80% as awful as e.g. the mainstream media represents him as being. But make no mistake about it...30% as bad would be very, very bad...

The Left And "Identity"

So 'identity' actually means: who you are.
   But on the left it means some intersection of:
(a) Who you say you are
(b) How you show up in a worldview that basically sees only race, "gender," and sexual orientation (and maybe some other stuff like sex...though that is suspiciously real and biological, so...)
   So it's not just "What race / "gender" / etc. are you?" It's "What race / "gender" / etc. do you choose to call yourself?"
   Bah! Have I mentioned I'm against them???? I'M AGAINST THEM!!!!! OPPOSED! DO NOT LIKE!!!!11111


ARE YOU READY FOR justice gym?
   Totalitarians gonna totalize, I reckon...don't want any aspect of life to remain unsaturated by leftist rightthink.

Trump Sides With Putin Against U.S. Intelligence

12 Russian Agents Indicted In Mueller Investigation

I've got nothing to say about this--just felt like posting it.
   I still doubt that Trump colluded...but I guess the main question right now is whether he'll admit what's what and authorize some kind of punitive action. His beliefs, words and actions aren't constrained overmuch by the pressure of he may very well just continue to assert that this is all nothing and ignore it. Facts are stubborn things...but some people are stubborner.

(Not terribly important comment in the cosmic scheme of things: the NYT is, as you can see in the story, still trying to claim that Trump "publicly encouraged Russia to hack Mrs. Clinton's emails," and that he "invited" and "urged" them to do so. Which is bullshit. It was a jokey comment made in the course of excoriating Clinton for being (allegedly) careless with (allegedly) classified emails. More like "well, if they were hacking her, I hope they found those emails she says she lost..." Though, admittedly, his delivery isn't as obviously jokey as some of the jokey comments that the press pretends are serious.
Again: if Trump's so awful, why make shit up about him?
My view: he is awful; awful enough that I feel no need to make shit up.
Also, though: Presidential candidates should not make jokes like that. C'mon. It was no Reaganesque "we start bombing in five minutes"...but it was ill-advised.)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

George Will: "Trump Says Mueller's Appointment Was Unconstitutional; Was He right?"

Very interesting.
But I'm still trying to resist the urge to actually dive into all this stuff. So this is, undoubtedly, common knowledge to many.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

California Outlaws Gay Conversion Therapy

I don't care much about this one way or another--I think sexual preference is largely fixed fairly early on, but malleable to some extent that varies from person to person. I think we'd all be better off if people generally felt freer to be who they are more-or-less naturally. But I also understand people who prefer to have more average/normal sexual preferences, and I don't think it's my business to tell them they can't try to accomplish that if they want to. Though, again, personally, I'd say: try to be happy with who you are. I'm told that "gay conversion therapy" doesn't work--which wouldn't surprise me.
   But question: are all treatments that don't work outlawed in California? How about woo-woo "New Age" crystal-rubbing? Past-life regression? Homeopathy? Acupuncture? Ordinary old faith healing / prayer? Any of the zillion other magical pseudocures? Are they all at least banned for minors?
   Or is this being treated as a special case because it's something that the left hates?

Carlos Lozada: "Can Truth Survive This President? An Honest Investigation."

I think this is pretty good.
Obviously I've been making a bunch of similar noises for a long time, though, so I'm not exactly neutral.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Daniella Greenbaum: "The Social Justice Mob Is A Danger To Society"

Fight them at every opportunity.

Robert Kagan: Is Trump Trying To Destroy NATO?

Not the Post's title...but that's the upshot. Or, rather: the upshot is: yes.

921 days, and counting.

U.S. Ranked As 10th Most Dangerous Country For Women By "Experts On Women's Issues"

When you unhitch your ideology from the facts, all things are possible.