Sunday, June 30, 2019

Happy 89th BIrthday Thomas Sowell

Quillette: "Antifa's Brutal Assault On Andy Ngo Is A Wake-Up Call--For Authorities And Journalists Alike"

Yes--but anyone who's not yet on to Antifa's totalitarian psychopathy is unlikely to be put onto it by this. I suppose we can hope...but the progressive left is firmly committed to ignoring the excesses of its extremists, including Antifa.

The New Republic Further Degenerates; Now It's Defending Antifa

Elements of the leftosphere are trying desperately to discredit Eoin Lenihan's paper on journalists colluding with Antifa. They're also trying to discredit Quillette generally--to no avail, I'm sure. Their main argument seems to be that by revealing the names of Antifa lackies in the media, Lenihan had doxed them, and thereby put them in danger from right-wing groups. The conclusion, obviously, is that it is impermissible to identify journalists who carry water for the left-wing terrorist organization, lest some equal and opposite group of psychos take it amiss.
   Allegedly, some of the Antifa apologists were harassed by white supremacist groups. And apparently Kelly is trying to argue that this means that it's not permissible to identify by name "journalists" who use their positions to propagandize for Antifa. There's no indication that any of the threats were serious, nor that anyone was actually harmed, nor that Kelly--nor anyone else--was in any actual danger.
   Honestly, just go read this hysterical piece of shit.
   Lenihan's article does seem to have hit a nerve; so good for him. There's a lot of huffing and puffing and sneering derogation in Kelly's article, but not a single sound criticism of the original paper. The CJR has criticized it, but its criticisms were extremely thin gruel. There are analyses of CJR's efforts out there, but I think I've already linked to them somewhere, and don't want to hunt them down again.


I gotta admit--like Althouse, I found myself grinning while watching the vidya.
So I'm sitting here grinning like a fool--when one of the guys is a freaking brutal, psychopathic dictator...and the other is the Supreme Leader of North Korea....
   Seriously though: the dude is a Bond villain who kills people by throwing them into tanks of piranhas. Or with rockets. He's a psycho. And Trump is...whatever he is.
   I dunno, man.
   I just dunno…
   Needless to say, I want NK to open up basically no matter how it happens... But if the Trumpster manages to pull this off, it will be the weirdest f*cking political thing of my entire life...
As a commenter at Althouse's digs said: if Hillary were standing up there with Kim, there would be wall-to-wall, orgasmic media adulation. That alone would be cited as conclusive confirmation of the wisdom of electing a "foreign policy expert" as president. Nobel Peace Prize, here she'd come. But it's Trump, so the coverage is mostly about this being a stunt. Which--maybe it is. Kinda seems to be. But if it's a stunt, it's a pretty damn good one.

Tim Pool: "I'm Not Sure I'm A Democrat Anymore"

He botches some stuff, but overall, this is pretty good.
   He largely discusses this NYT story on America's disappearing political "center of gravity."
   One of the points of the story is that the GOP is further right than the Dems are to the left--if we compare them to European parties. That's of interest, though it's not clear to me how informative/important it is (especially given Pool's point discussed below). And progressive bias is so common in this sort of thing that one always has to keep grains of salt ready. Though, needless to say, false positives about that stuff are as bad as false negatives.
   It's the third diagram from the top, showing how far the Dems have moved left since '08, that is of most interest to me. (Sadly, I can't find a version of it that I can copy; perhaps tellingly, the Manifesto project does not include that diagram on their Twitter feed...only the one showing how allegedly far right the GOP is...)
   Pool makes some good points about the diagram.
   First, it says that 2016 Dems are further from 2008 Dems than 2008 Dems were from 2008 Pubs--more than twice as far, actually.
   Note also: that's 2016 Dems. They've radicalized even more since then, and their pace of radicalization has picked up significantly. There's no doubt that they're way further left today than they were three years ago. For example: as many have noted, a 2008 Barack Obama, in favor of defending the border and opposed to same-sex marriage, wouldn't have a chance in the primaries today.
   Second, this diagram casts doubt on the significance of the diagram showing the Pubs on the far right when compared to European parties, in that it seems to mean that the 2008 Dems would be on the fairly-far right if they were represented on it. That's a great point, actually, that I don't think I'd have thought of.
   Anyway, I'm with Pool and the #WalkAwayers (#WalkersAway?) and many other people: the Dems have Reaganed me: I didn't leave them, they left me.
In fact, I don't see how anyone who was a Dem in '08 could be a Dem today. Unless, of course, they were angrily voting for the leftest available party despite the fact that they considered it far too conservative. But I mean: I don't see how anyone could have been a fairly enthusiastic Dem in '08 and also a fairly enthusiastic Dem today. Nor how anyone would have been enthusiastically pro-Obama then and enthusiastically pro-generic-Dem now.

Uri Friedman: "The Normalization of Meeting Kim Jong Un"

That's basically what I said.
This kind sorta reminds me of the Reagan-Gorbachev walk along Lake Geneva. (Am I thinking of the right place?) At the time, I was a snotty little brat who thought I knew everything, including that Reagan was a complete idiot who was unworthy of the office of president. (Though, to my credit, at least I wasn't one of those USSR-apologists.) It was inconceivable to me that such a stupid person could actually achieve anything great. It simply wasn't something that could really, fully enter my mind. Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, I continued to deny that Reagan had really had any role to play in it. Until Gorbachev himself said that he did.
Anyway. God knows. Maybe Trump will do something great here--or, as Friedman considers, lay the groundwork for significant improvement in the future. 
I mean...I'll believe it when I see it. But unlike contemporary progressives--and my youthful self--I will believe it if I do see it.

Jonathan Turley: 20 Questions For Robert Mueller

Trump At The DMZ

Not sure exactly what this does, but it certainly seems good in some vague way.
Trump and the media seem to be furiously spinning things in opposite directions, with the latter emphasizing the Trump loves autocrats angle. Which...he does kinda seem to... But that seems like kind of a red herring here. He's made more progress on this than any other president I can remember. It does seem like shallow theatrics...but who knows? It's not plausibly bad, and it's rather clearly good in some way. It's lightyears beyond anything I expected from Trump. So: credit where credit's due.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

"Anti"fa--aka "People In The Crowd" Throw Quick-Drying Cement "Milkshakes" Into People's Faces

These people are even more repulsive than straight-up fascists.
I mean honestly, how do you manage that? It's gotta take some work.
Are these guys just sitting around in their basements saying "Hey, how can we be even more grotesquely repulsive than Nazis?"
"Hey, I gotta idea...let's be just like the Nazis...but we'll pretend we're against 'em! We'll pretend to be the good guys!"
"Oh, yeah, man...great idea!...And we'll assemble and carry around on our persons shit-and-urine bombs...which we'll throw at people we disagree with! Nazis...but grosser..."
"Yeah!...and we'll throw quick-drying cement in journalists' eyes if they try to report on what we do!"
Something about this sort of thing just screams I torture small animals behind the school...
I mean, really--what is there beneath shit-and-urine bombs? Fetuses, maybe? It really takes a particularly f*cked-up kind of person to think such weapons are a good idea. It's a suspiciously diligent kind of sadism.
Straight-up fascists seem almost...fascistically wholesome or something by comparison. Like...they want to destroy liberal society...but they're willing to do it in a stand-up fight at least. No slapfighting with poop weapons. At least you can have a grudging respect for panzers and ME 109s...
Also note that the story at the link merely reports that "people in the crowd" were throwing the cement. Y'know...people dressed in black, with bandanas over their faces...those "people"...
Imagine the media outrage if right-wing fascists were doing this stuff...
I guess this is the true sign that I've become conservative--I expect all fascists to be regarded and treated equally, regardless of where they lie on the political spectrum.

[Upon reflection...Quikrete sets up pretty quickly...that casts some doubt on the relevant claim... Not sure how long you could walk around with it in a cup like that. Of course you could just mix it really wet... Yeah, that ought to work. Never mind.
OTOH, there are all those signs for vegan could be that they just taste like Quikrete…]

More On Antifa Assault On Andy Ngo

Rumors of militia violence: all over the news.
By all means, report on threats of militia violence...but how about a modicum of consistency? 

NRO: "The Party Of Illegal Immigration"

As I've been saying: the Dems' position becomes harder and harder to distinguish from open borders.

Andy Ngo Assaulted By Antifa

I'm sure this "Anti"fascist violence will make the mainstream media...right?

Has There Been A Surge In "Hate Crimes"?

I don't see how Klobuchar can get a Half True for this...but you know Politifact… Or maybe it's me. But she said "there has been an increase in hate crimes"--and there hasn't been. There's merely been an increase in reports. If anything, that's good news: more reliable reporting on them. There's a hasty paragraph at the end from a dubious-sounding source that claims that they go up every election year--but they may very well mean that reports of them go up in election years. Which is the same different thing again, as it were.
   Anyway: not exactly good news, but at least not bad news. Neutral news. Which is, kinda, good news, I guess. The eerie paradox...
   Also anyway: people need to stop saying that things are going to shit when they aren't.

Friday, June 28, 2019

E. Jean Carroll's Two Friends Confirm That She Told Them About Alleged Trump Attack When It Happened

Whelp, that's pretty damn significant.
   At first I was somewhat inclined to believe this because I think some of the other accounts of assaults (short of rape) are very credible. Then I heard her speak, and her demeanor did not inspire confidence. Ultimately, I basically suspended judgment--which entails not believing her (but, of course, also not believing that she's lying). But this changes things again.
   Would a court convict on this evidence? What standard of proof is appropriate for talking out your ass about politics?
   And then there's the fact that Trump lies like a rug. So his denial is worth basically nothing.

Ramesh Ponnuru: "There Is Such A Thing As Too Far Left"

Funny that this has to be said...

Jimmy Carter Says Trump Is An Illegitimate President

I love Jimmy...but no: he's a bad president.
That's a completely different thing.
And, heck, he's not even all that bad, actually.

Senate Falls Short On Vote To Constrain Trump On Iran

Limits on the Imperial Presidency?
That's unpossible!

AOC Contrived Border Photos

Conservatives are saying that there's an empty lot on the other side of the fence in the pics, but the story is allegedly that it's a tent city for kids who've crossed the border illegally. I don't believe it's just an empty lot. OTOH, progressives seem to think the photos uncontrived. Which they obviously are not. This is almost certainly a photo-op, and AOC is hamming it up. This says nothing about the border situation, of course, but it does say something about her. I don't necessarily think she's a lot faker than our average pol...but she's obviously playing to the camera in these shots.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Judo Throws In MMA With Names

Sometimes it's such a tangle, and so far from allegedly perfect form, that I don't even recognize them as species of the relevant Judo throw. So I found this interesting:

POTUS: The 'P' Is For 'Pig'; But The "Not My Type" Defense Is Probably Valid

Overall, I'm surprisingly ok with his policies thus far.
But as a person, dude is, as a friend of mine likes to remind me, a swine.
However, the following does not seem to be true:
Sexual abuse is not, ultimately, about sexual attraction. It is about power. It is about one person’s exertion of will over another.
I mean, I'm not in the greatest position to speak on this, since I'm not a sexual abuser. But empirical evidence indicates that--as normal people uncorrupted by political correctness have never doubted--rape is about sex. (Basically, every empirical claim feminism ever convinced me of turned out to be false, incidentally...)
   Anyway, perhaps sexual harassment is different, but I doubt it; it's probably about sex.
   One consequence of this is that--contra the prevailing media conventional wisdom, the not my type defense is probably valid. In the loose, following sense: it isn't a weightless consideration.
   Needless to say, someone accused of sexual harassment will have a motive to lie about whether or not the accuser was their type. But if Smith genuinely isn't Jones's type, that's a reason that confers a non-zero degree of support to Jones did not sexually harass (or rape) Smith. In fact, such crimes only have to be a little bit about sex in order for such a defense to be valid in a weak sense.
   As I've said before, a lot of Trump's accusers are of a type (attractive or previously attractive blonde model-y types); I'm inclined to think that's some reason to believe at least some of them. Though I'm too lazy to articulate exactly why.
   I saw an account of a rape trial in the newspaper once. Though I'm not the most discriminating judge of male beauty, the accused seemed pretty hot--youngish, in good shape, well-groomed, tall, dark and handsome, as they used to say. All that sort of thing. The accuser was extremely unattractive in part on account of being morbidly obese. Now...I simply do not believe that I am not attracted to her is a weightless defense in such a case.
   What if we added to the case, say, that the guy was having all the sex in the world, always with very thin and attractive women, and that he had a well-documented (but non-psychotic) aversion to overweight women? That still doesn't count? At all?
   And don't give me the Hugh Grant response--that won't work. A few counterexamples are weightless when all I'm attributing to the argument is some nonzero degree of validity (in a non-deductive sense).
   So, anyway, the guy is a swine. And we might doubt the soundness of his Not My Type argument, because we might doubt the truth of the premise. But I don't believe that the argument form is invalid (in a weak, non-deductive sense).

"There Is An Existential Threat To The Very Idea Of American Citizenship And The Democrats Are Leading The Charge"

Our options are: (a) the reasonable, generous, moderate, time-tested status quo or (b) a radical crap shoot that is almost certain to wreck everything.
It doesn't help that said crap shoot is particularly incompatible with other radical, crap-shooty policies the same people are advocating. Open borders + massive, lavish welfare state = disaster.

READ THIS: Gerfried Ambrosch: "Making Sense Of Immigration: Why Multiculturalism Is At Odds With Integration"

I almost couldn't agree with this more.
   I've said a lot of it, some of it many times; some of it I'd glimpsed but not grasped; some of it I wish I'd seen, but didn't.
   Though I might change the subtitle to: Why Multiculturalism Is At Odds With The Functioning And Continued Existence Of The Liberal State...  I think that's closer to what Ambrosch argues for. It seems obvious to me why multiculturalism is at odds with integration.
   Ambrosch is good about repeatedly pointing to the respective extremes to orient the discussion. The rightward extreme is: no (or very little?) immigration. The leftward extreme is: fully open borders. Both are bad. But the Overton widow has been shifted so far to the left that we have become disoriented. The old leftward extreme fell far short of open borders even ten years ago. And the left now seems to view Some immigration laws rather than none as a rightward extreme. Currently, despite the fact that we admit a million legal immigrants per year, anyone who advocates actually enforcing the laws against illegal immigration is a racist, xenophobic, reactionary extremist.
   Thing is, America somehow hit the sweet spot for awhile--we seemed to succeed at everything. We were (and still largely are) the envy of the world. We were where most people wanted to go. We were (and still are) awesome.
   But this, well, made everyone (note: exaggeration) want to come here.
   And that includes: a whole lot of people who don't quite share the culture and values that made us awesome.
   Now, part of what made us awesome is: that's ok!
   You can come on in anyway--though we'll keep the influx at manageable levels--and we'll assimilate you. We'll make you one of us.
   We're not the Borg, though; we're the melting pot (or as some have said: the tossed salad). You'll contribute your insights and some of your folkways to our evolution, thus helping to determine what we'll--in a deliberate and controlled way--eventually become.
   But to do this, you're going to have to largely accept at least the basics that allow this system to work as well as it does:
This requires that we consistently define and assert our values and principles, which are themselves subject to rational scrutiny (which is itself a cultural value). Western society is based on Ancient Greek philosophy, Roman law, the Judeo-Christian tradition and Enlightenment humanism. If there is one guiding principle that epitomizes our liberal tradition it is that “no idea is above scrutiny, and no people are beneath dignity,” as the British counter-extremism activist Maajid Nawaz—himself the son of Pakistani immigrants—puts it.
Read more »

Now We Have A Railgun

Gerfried Ambrosch: "Beware Of The Trojan Horse: A Critique Of Social Justice"

This is good.
My own main criticism of "social justice," FWIW, goes a little something like this:
   The term 'social justice' is a lot like the term 'politically correct.' The plain and literal meaning of each makes it a kind of success term: social justice would be something like the condition or property of a just society; political correctness would be something like the state or property of being right--politically. Each is, however, actually a term adopted by the (mainly illiberal) left to name its own position(s). It's rather as if I had a very controversial notion of pedagogy, but named my view something like "effective pedagogy." I could then say things like "effective pedagogy demands that lectures be eliminated." This ends up being in a kind of semantic superposition of states, meaning both (a) Genuinely effective teaching eschews lectures and (b) My particular view entails that you shouldn't lecture. This allows me to basically assert the correctness of my particular view every time I even mention its name--and if I can get you to use the term, too, it gets you to do so as well. This seems like such an unsophisticated rhetorical trick that it shouldn't work. But it does. People are really bad at identifying, characterizing, criticizing and correcting vaguely philosophical tricks and errors. Even the most transparent sophistry will fool some of the people some of the time--which, notoriously, is the best one can ever do.
   IMO the real genius of this trick is that it adds a layer of trickery / confusion to every conversation it enters into. Whatever other bad arguments one may be giving for illiberal leftism, you add one more source of bafflement by using such terminology. And sorting out two errors at once is far beyond the capacity of even most college graduates.
Read more »

"Reproducibility: A Tragedy Of Errors"

We learned that post-publication peer review is not consistent, smooth or rapid. Many journal editors and staff members seemed unprepared or ill-equipped to investigate, take action or even respond. Too often, the process spiraled through layers of ineffective e-mails among authors, editors and unidentified journal representatives, often without any public statement added to the original article. Some journals that acknowledged mistakes required a substantial fee to publish our letters: we were asked to spend our research dollars on correcting other people's errors.
(Incidentally, compare this to which the standards aren't clear and rigorous enough to make a system for retraction at all feasible.)

Psychologists Can't Figure Out Why People Don't Want To Date The "Transgendered"

This is a real puzzler.
I, personally, am at a complete loss for explanations.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Trump Rape Accuser E. Jean Carroll Credibility Watch
Not saying it didn't happen; saying she doesn't come across as sufficiently credible to make her a good bet.
Look, if you were being asked to bet $1,000 on her word, would you do it?
I wouldn't.
Though we do already have fairly good evidence that he's pretty rapey. Not sure what happens when we take that into account... I guess it has to raise the likelihood that she's telling the truth.

Rich Lowry: "The Madcap Caution Of Donald Trump"

The core of Trump's policies aren't that bad, and aren't that far right. He's certainly far, far less radical than the contemporary Dems.
   Subtract Trump’s taste for nonstop controversy and rhetorical brinkmanship, and you’re left with an incrementalist center-right government that has pursued an expansionary fiscal policy and avoided foreign war, for a period of peace and prosperity that — in any other universe — would be at the core of a stay-the-course reelection message.
   For a while, the Obama doctrine was, “Don’t do stupid stuff.” The Trump team has built out the doctrine to “Privately consider and sometimes openly threaten stupid stuff, but at the end of the day, don’t do it (usually).”
Of course it's the possible dispersion that concerns me. If knew Trump wouldn't blow us all up, and if I didn't think he was a sexual predator, I'd likely prefer him to the current blue team clown show, which is almost guaranteed to harm the country significantly if one of the clowns manages to get elected.

Trump = Hitler: Jason Stanley Bullshitting About Fascism...

...if that sort of thing floats your boat.
Another episode in our on-going series The Decline And Fall Of Peter Beinart

"White Supremacy" LOL

Trump's Sexual Misconduct: Rachel Crooks

"Sexual misconduct" seems like the right description of this bullshit (that is: doesn't quite seem to rise to the level of sexual assault):
If she's lying I can't tell it.

Jessica Leeds Accuses Trump Of Sexual Assault

I don't think I'm any better than average at detecting lies. But I think I'm at least passably good at detecting bullshitters--and I don't mean bullshit. Detecting bullshit isn't that hard in many cases. But even when a bullshitter is saying something that isn't detectably bullshit, IMO it's possible to tell that they're a bullshitter at rates better than chance. 
   For example, as I've said many times, I think Christine Blasey Ford is a bullshitter. Though it's not a clean case because significant objective evidence for that conclusion ultimately arose (the stuff about flying, the stuff about the front doors). At any rate, her mannerisms basically screamed loony bullshitter to me. I was downright angry when people kept asserting how terribly credible! she was. It just wasn't true. That was an appalling spectacle.
   If I'm wrong about that, I'm going to hell...but I'm probably not wrong.
   More to the point: near the other end of the spectrum is Jessica Leeds. I have a strong inclination to believe that there's very little chance that she's lying:
It's not rape, but it's not good. It's something that warrants a punch upside the damn head, that's for sure. And I'm appalled that another guy was sitting there and not doing anything to stop him.
   For the record, I have no delusions about being able to make a reliable judgment in every case, nor even most of them. But I'd bet some money on Ms. Leeds's claims if given the opportunity.

Debtwatch: We're Screwed

I'm way, way more worried about the debt than I am about climate change...not that one can't be really worried about two things at once.

Has AOC Broken The Law By Advising Illegals How To Deal With ICE?

Doesn't look that way.
She seems to be advising them of their rights.
OTOH, she seems to be encouraging us to hide them in our homes...which sounds fishier to me. But of course I ain't no lawyer.

Kevin D. Williamson: "Enforce Immigration Law or Change It"

That's what I've been saying for years.
Also: preferably do the former.
Other stuff:
   The United States maintains a policy of separating children from their parents in the case of illegal border crossings in the same sense that the United States has a policy of separating parents from their children when those parents are sent to prison for murder or tax evasion or are jailed for unpaid speeding tickets — or, for a more exact parallel, when we hold them in custody prior to trial.
   For all the angst and wailing about the Trump administration’s so-called zero-tolerance policy at the southern border, there has been almost no acknowledgment of the basic facts of the case: 1) Unlike the mere act of being illegally present in the United States, which is a civil offense, crossing the border illegally is a criminal offense; 2) the president and his administration are sworn to see to the faithful execution of the laws of the United States; 3) the responsibility of the U.S. government is to the people of the United States at whose sufferance it governs, not to the world at large, in immigration law as in other matters; 4) those poor children are indeed put in a terrible situation — by their parents, directly, and indirectly by their home governments.

   Dianne Feinstein and 42 of her fellow Senate Democrats are putting forward a bill that would forbid such family separations, but there are at the moment zero backers of any bill doing what the Trump administration’s critics are in effect demanding without having the gonadal capacity to say so: decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings. That’s what the slogan “No human being is illegal” means.

   And it’s even more complicated when those in custody claim to be refugees seeking political asylum, which almost none of them are. The overwhelming majority are economic immigrants who would never think of following the legal procedure for seeking asylum — presenting themselves at a U.S. port of entry or abroad — if they hadn’t been caught trying to sneak across the border. Asylum claims not made through the existing process should be resolved quickly — ideally in less than 48 hours — and rejected in all but the most extraordinary of circumstances, which would allow speedy family reunification prior to deportation.
Read more »

Kevin D. Williamson: "Immigration Policy: Bordering On Madness"

Good point:
The problem of illegal immigration is itself the result of massive administrative failure in the United States. By systematically failing — and refusing — to enforce our own immigration laws, we have created the international equivalent of what the tort lawyers call an “attractive nuisance.” There are jobs, homes, support, and (in spite of the law) benefits to be had in the United States, with relatively little prospect of serious consequences for those who are caught. If you are a poor Guatemalan without much in the way of economic and social prospects, illegal immigration to the United States is a perfectly rational choice. Guatemala has its own deficiencies, to be sure, but the situation here is Washington’s creation, not Guatemala City’s.

David J. Garrow: "The Troubling Legacy Of Martin Luther King"

Still haven't read this.
Probably won't for awhile.
I guess I already know the worst parts, so I don't know why I'm balking.

Why Not Reparations For Women?

So there's reparations for slavery, and now there's gay reparations...but I can't see any principle by which we could stop there. Why not reparations for American Indians? We actually tried to genocide them...with fair success, I'm sorry to say... And what about reparations for women? (I suppose one must now specify: actual women.) I mean, one standard line is that women have been the most consistently oppressed group in all of history--a line I don't necessarily find wildly implausible...
   I don't like to play progressive it just me, or do women always come out last, somehow, in this sort of thing? When it was Obama v. Clinton, I remember thinking Aha! Finally we'll see who really comes out on top of the "progressive stack"! And we did... Less than a decade later, even men pretending to be women are higher in the "stack." Seriously, don't progressive women ever get sick of this shit? I mean, the whole mess on the left makes no sense anymore, so it's a bit futile to complain about any individual bit of nonsensicality, I guess...
   Incidentally, I don't think reparations for slavery is a terrible idea. I wish we'd have done it when we should have. As I've said, I just don't think it'll ever happen, and I think the social, political, and financial costs are all too high. I'd rather work on poverty directly, and rely on that to have most of the practical effects we hope reparations would have. It's not that every single idea on the contemporary left is crazy--that's not it at all. It's rather that the overall pattern is of a certain relentlessly crazy type, monomaniacally moving always in the same direction. Some of the suggested ideas, taken on their own, are genuinely worthy of consideration. Rather like: your nutty neighbor may have a few interesting points about the Kennedy assassination...but his obsession, taken as a whole, adds up to thermonuclear crackpottery...

Trump Accuser: Women Love The Idea Of Being Dragged Into A Cave By A Man; Memories/Past Are Malleable

I got nothin'

Trump Accuser E. Jean Carroll Thinks "Most People Think Rape Is Sexy"; This Is Notoriously More Complicated Than It Might Seem

Anderson Cooper cuts hastily to commercial.
   Uncomfortable though it is to hear someone say it on the teevee...and though Carroll isn't exactly right...what she said isn't entirely unrelated to the truth. If we're a bit loose with the interpretations, she could be construed as being closer to the truth than Cooper is. First, rape fantasies are, apparently, very common--especially among women. It's complicated for well-known reasons, and obviously doesn't mean that women actually want to be raped--but that goes without saying. (Though in the current climate of insanity, one has to say all sorts of things that go without saying.) Of course Cooper is right that most people recognize rape as a violent assault--but it's possible that he is alluding to the feminist myth, prevalent for the last forty years or so, that rape is "not about sex, but about power" / control / domination. Another version of the myth has it that rape is a political crime motivated by hatred of women and/or the aim of maintaining their subordination as a group to men as a group. Actual evidence clearly indicates that rape is largely / mainly about sex--rape rates tend to track ages at which women are most sexually attractive. Though this is complicated to some extent by the fact that younger people tend to be more vulnerable and to have more active social lives. The feminist myths are also disconfirmed by the high rates of homosexual rape. Feminists sometimes try to explain this latter away with some hand-waving about men being put into female roles...but such ad hoc self-sealing needn't be taken seriously.
   Strictly speaking, Cooper is righter than Carroll--but they each could be thinking these other things; at least they're worth mentioning.
   Carroll's statement, incidentally, made her look weird, and I'd guess it did a lot to undermine her credibility with however many people there are who aren't immediately sure what to make of them. Many on the right dismissed her automatically, of course, and the left / the media (but I repeat myself) automatically believed her. I don't know what to make of the accusation, but I haven't been able to give it much attention. Taken by itself, a 25-year-old uncorroborated accusation would normally be something I'd think I should neither believe to be true nor believe to be false. But, as I've said, I'm inclined to find other accusations (of sexual assault short of rape) against him pretty credible. So that raises the likelihood that Carroll's accusation is true, from my perspective.
   Almost forgot: the Zero Hedge headline says that Carroll said that rape is "sexy," that that's obviously false. That kind of spin really pisses me off. It's clearly intentional. What she says is that she thinks that most people think that. She doesn't say it of herself.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Similar Conditions In Detention Centers Under Obama

This very pic is being circulated as if it were current.
No one thinks this is optimal, in case that, somehow, isn't clear.
But apparently the only even possible defense of Trump is: Obama did it too.
But--again--this seems to show the limitations of the system/facilities. It's a bug not a feature. The system can be swamped; but this isn't intentional infliction of cruelty. We've got to have a system and that system will have limitations. This is how things are in the real world of actual systems. This doesn't seem like a complicated point to me.
Obviously there could be any number of things I'm missing here. But vocal progressives simply seem to be trying to rip at heartstrings without being at all realistic about the shape of the problem we face, the costs at issue, and the causes of the relevant hardships.
To the extent that they are trying to say something like: We have to fix this
I absolutely agree.
To the extent that they are saying: All immigration controls are immoral
Or: We are evil/racist
I absolutely disagree.
Perhaps this attitude springs from a liberal tendency to exaggerate the capacities and competence of government? Do they think that the government is capable of doing all this perfectly, and it's just cruelly/perversely refusing to do so?

Still More Trump = Hitler: Jacobin On "Concentration Camps"

tl;dr: BAD JEWS

Reading: Thomas Sowell, Discrimination And Disparities

Just started it.
I think Sowell is great, and did so even before my recent apostasy. Just a really smart and--more importantly--reasonable guy.

Oregon Clownshow

So, am I getting this right?:
Oregon voters vote down cap-and-trade policy.
Dems in the Oregon legislature decide to pass it anyway.
Pubs flee so as to deny them a quorum.
Dem Governor sends out the State police to...what? Drag them back to the Statehouse by the scruffs of their necks?
State police announce they will merely attempt persuasion--warning! Adults have entered the building...
Pub senator says they'd better "send bachelors and come heavily-armed...", thus introducing the threat of gunplay...though somewhat jokily?
Militias announce they will protect the Pubs; more guns in play now, perhaps seriously.
Militia (?) makes some kind of threat, capital shut down. Or: Dems say somebody who said they had some link to a militia made a "possible threat" knows.
[Probably as likely to be an intentionally exaggerated quasi-hate-crime quasi-hoax as to be for real...but maybe...]
Clownshow powers: activate!

WaPo: "Trump's Erratic Policy Moves Put National Security At Risk, Experts Warn"

I stumble out of bed this morning and execute a controlled fall toward the coffee-maker, eventually finding myself at my desk. Revise like two sentences of this stupid, shitty paper I'm working on, which I hate and never want to see again.
Want to avoid news...
Also want to see whether the Unindicted Co-Conspirator-In-Chief blew anything up while I was asleep.
By stupid habit, check the WaPo.
Find the headline above.
Think: sounds about right.
Miss a beat, then think: Yeah but...the WaPo...
Read more »

Sunday, June 23, 2019

UCSB TA Dogpiled For Pointing Out That Men Are Not Women

++unPC, UCSB TA...SJWs are POed...
Facts are the unPCest thing of all, UCSB TA.

Cathy Young: The CDC's Rape Numbers [May Be] Misleading

As Young notes: "rape culture" nonsense is nonsense...but if we did take it seriously, it looks like feminists would have to admit that it's pretty much a two-way street.
Also: there's reason to believe that the CDC's numbers--far more in line with the infamous "1 in 4" claim than with the DoJ's numbers--are flawed.
The CDC also reports that men account for over a third of those experiencing another form of sexual violence—“sexual coercion.” That was defined as being pressured into sexual activity by psychological means: lies or false promises, threats to end a relationship or spread negative gossip, or “making repeated requests” for sex and expressing unhappiness at being turned down.
Uh..."making repeated requests and expressing unhappiness at being turned down" is "sexual violence"? Whelp, looks like most of us have been "victimized" at some time or other...

Bad Conditions At Detention Centers

First, I don't think there's any chance these reports are entirely true. It's a near-certainty that they're exaggerations at the least. I'd bet money on that. Second, I have no doubt whatsoever that, in a radically overloaded system, there are plenty of glitches. Third, how is it that some of the kids having the flu is our fault? How is it that we're supposed to fix that? Fourth, a lot of this likely has to do with the Dems denying funds and expanded bed space. In short: we didn't cause this crisis, and I have no doubt that we're handling it as best we can.
   Nevertheless: it's important to do our best to fix whatever problems there actually are. Glitches are unavoidable, but--obviously--we want to do our very best to mitigate their effects. Nobody wants to be cruel to the detainees, especially not to kids. But we're not omnipotent.
“In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention I have never heard of this level of inhumanity,” one of the attorneys, Holly Cooper, told the AP. “Seeing our country at this crucible moment where we have forsaken children and failed to see them as human is hopefully a wake up for this country to move toward change.”
An activist lawyer is almost certainly painting the most dismal picture possible--via hearsay, apparently, from detainee children. So there are at least two levels of likely error. And in 22 years of being an activist lawyer she's never even heard of anything worse than this? How is it that I've even heard of much worse? And how are we failing to see them as human? Answer: we're not. And what, exactly, is the change Ms. Cooper wants to see? If it's welcoming all immigrants directly into the country no questions asked...well...let's not be coy: that's exactly what it is.
   Part of what I object to about contemporary progressivism is that it's dishonest about its ultimate goals. It wants fully open borders. It should make that clear. Instead of complaining about glitches in the system as if they were features not bugs, such progressives should come right out and say that they believe it to wrong to impede people from entering the U.S. whenever/however they want. Immigration laws are fascistic and racist, and xenophobic and must all be done away with.
   At least admit this is what you think so we can have an honest discussion about it. When the discussion is cast in these terms, it sounds as if we're merely deciding between (a) feed these kids and (b) let them go hungry. In fact, we are actually deciding between (a) have at least some immigration laws and continue to be a country and (b) just give up on that whole nation thing.
   And if we have a system to prevent people from coming in at will, then that system will be subject to overloading. And if that happens, there will be glitches. If you think we're being intentionally cruel to these kids, you should say so--but everybody knows it isn't true. If you think it's the result of incompetence, then, by all means, say so and point to the evidence. But if it's neither of those, then I think what you have to be suggesting more or less comes down to: stop enforcing borders.

Famous Con Person Anita Sarkeesian Basically Gives Up On Feminist Frequency

Because it sucks it's broke.
Because it sucks.

Media Normalization Of Prepubescent Crossdressing

It's hard to pick out the craziest thing about this [NSFW!]. There's just fact of it, obviously. But there's also how quickly it's happened and how seamlessly the media slipped into promoting it. The PC left lives in an ideologically-motivated fantasy world...but one would have thought that the obvious sexualization of children would have tripped even their circuit-breakers. Is the idea that this sort of thing isn't associated with some kind of sexuality and eroticism? Or is the idea that it's permissible for children to be sexualized? Often such things don't involve any single delusion; if any single one were clearly articulated, it'd be too absurd to ignore. Such delusions often survive in a kind of superposition of states; if any of the components were ever to be brought into clear focus, it would be much more difficult to ignore/defend. 
   I suppose the idea is that it's prudery to be alarmed and grossed out by this stuff? I'm not used to being on the side of the prudes. But, then, only recently has it become prudish to object to borderline-pedophilia. Hey, didn't it used to be pretty ordinary to be appalled by those "beauty pageants" for little girls? I guess I thought that basically everybody recognized how grotesque they were. But I guess they're ok now? Or what? I mean, those things are starting to look downright quaint by comparison. 

Political Correctness Then And Now: (a) Sokal; (b) Boghossian/Pluckrose/Lindsay

Neo-PC is more powerful, radical and dangerous than paleo-PC was.
   Sokal was and still is treated as something of a hero; Boghossian is about to be punished by PSU. Punished for doing the same thing Sokal did: exposing academic bullshit.
   Most more-or-less liberals of my acquaintance are still basically just going along with this nonsense. I don't think it would be excessively harsh or inaccurate to call it silently supporting progressive anti-liberalism and anti-rationalism...though I tend to be suspicious of such accusations. There's normally a difference between not opposing x and supporting x. Still...when something's bad enough and obvious enough and you're still not opposing it... Well, I don't know how to end that sentence.
   The NPCs have the internet now; they're must more unified than the PPCs were. They have made it clear that they will punish anyone with the temerity to challenge or even question their dogma. And what they aim for is legal prohibitions against it.
   To illustrate the movement leftward, I like to point to the case of what we might call hyper-consentualism about sex. One of the things that helped topple PPC was the "Antioch rules": intrusive rules dictating how students at Antioch College--one of the leftiest schools in the country--had to act during sex: specifically, asking for permission/consent at every escalation of the action. The rules were rightly ridiculed as sexual totalitarianism. But what was a reductio of PC lunacy in the early '90s is orthodoxy today--at universities, at any rate. How long will it be before such rules are imposed upon the non-college population? Depends on how long it takes the left to gain such power outside universities. Wherever the left can impose its dogma, it will impose its dogma. There is no good reason to have different rules for universities and elsewhere. The only difference in the two cases is that the left rules the former, but not--yet--the latter. Not that it makes sense to tolerate such totalitarianism at universities...but we seem to have simply come to accept it. [Incidentally here's some drooling NPC nonsense praising the Antioch rules as ahead of their time.]
   Sokal was a hero; Boghossian et al. are punished. PC just keeps winning, pushing the Overton window further and further leftward.
   But oh well...I mean, orange man bad and all...

Larison: "The Iranian People Are Not Our Enemy"

Samuel Moyn: "We're In An Anti-Liberal Moment; Liberals Need Better Ideas"

Almost completely ignores the threat from the anti-liberal left.
Links right-wing anti-liberalism to fascism...but quotes a Marxist critic almost approvingly.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Anderson Silva Top Five Finishes

I just like the technique of certain fighters--and some of them go all the way, and some never live up to expectations. Silva is one who became the greatest. It's kinda funny that the final example here is a guy I flipped over who never lived up to his hype--Vitor. I still love 'em equally.

Writer Accuses Trump Of Rape [Revised]

Dunno what to think about this,
Could be true, could be false.
I used to always believe such accusations. Before it was fashionable to believe all women, I basically believed all women...about this sort of thing. Then I grew up. I came to realize that people lie a lot, and they lie about sex all the time. And that includes women. And that includes rape and sexual assault. 
   When "#MeToo" explicitly formulated the principle Believe All Women, it really struck me how ridiculous that principle is. Note that its absurdity is thinly concealed by stating it as an imperative rather than a generalization. Why not say Women always tell the truth? Or Women always tell the truth about sexual assault? You know why.
   "Believe all women" is as absurd as "believe all men."
   Friend of mine in law enforcement, assigned to one of the back-wateriest Appalachian back-waters, tells me that two things they encounter there with great frequency are (a) rape and (b) false accusations of rape. There's basically a feud back in them thar hills, and false accusations of rape are, apparently, just another arrow in the quiver. They're used to cover up / excuse consensual sex, among other things. I'm in no way suggesting that's what's up in the case of Ms. Carroll's accusation. I'm merely pointing out that false accusations are a real phenomenon, contra current progressive feminist mythology.
   I'm somewhat inclined to believe at least some of Trump's accusers. I listened to some of the accusations pretty carefully, and I found some of accusations and some of the accusers credible.
   Also, of course, DJT more or less admitted to genital-grabbing.
   I was inclined to believe him too, incidentally.
   He is a bullshitter, to say. But when his account and the accounts of his accusers line up...that counts.
   As for the story in question...well...I just don't know. Again, my gut has historically believed sexual accusations by women. I think I was to some extent both born and raised that way. Experience seems to indicate that my inclination is unreliable, however. So I probably shouldn't draw a conclusion about this case.
Read more »

Re-Engineering Humans To Make Them Greener

The main problem with this plan for human reengineering from the perspective of the hard left will be that it involves an admission that biology is real:
live. Such insane proposals include:
  • Induce intolerance to red meat (think lactose intolerance), since livestock farming accounts for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Make humans smaller to reduce the amount of energy we each need to consume. This could be done by selecting smaller embryos through preimplantation genetic diagnosis, a technique already in use to screen for genetic diseases. “Human engineering could therefore give people the choice between having a greater number of smaller children or a smaller number of larger children,” they write.
  • Reduce birthrates by making people smarter, since higher cognitive ability appears linked to lower birthrates. This could be achieved through a variety of means, including better schooling, electrical stimulation of the brain and drugs designed to improve cognitive ability, they propose.
  • Treat people with hormones, such as oxytocin, to make us more altruistic and empathetic. As a result, people would be more willing to act as a group and more sensitive to the suffering of animals and other people caused by climate change.
Of course this seems to accept the extremely unPC assumption that humans should exist at all...

Happy Juneteenth...

...a little late...
I didn't actually understand exactly what it was until recently--I didn't know that it originated in Galveston, for example.
Anyway: not to sound like some kind of PC virtue-signaler...but this really ought to be a bigger deal. You'd think we'd have some kind of major national holiday celebrating emancipation. In fact, you'd more than think it. It's really, really weird that we don't. Like, worse than weird, actually.
What I'm saying is: we ought to have one.

"My Teacher Kicked Me Out Of Class For Saying There Are Two Genders"

What was unheard of five years ago is de rigueur today and will be enforced by law a year from now.

Robert W. Merry: "Lies They Told Us: A Long History Of Being Manipulated Into War"

Also: The 2001 AUMF is killing us.
Isn't there some way to limit or revoke that thing? If we want to stay in Afghanistan, can't Congress approve (pass?) another one?
Blue-team insanity has been so prevalent of late that I almost forgot about the kind of crazy at which the red team excels. And one kind is: dragging us to war. The blue team is often useless for opposing it--but at least they don't normally initiate it. Not of late, anyway.
Of course I'm no expert and haven't been watching the Iran case carefully. Maybe we do have all the reason we need to launch some limited attack against them. But I'm not seeing it. The usual suspects in the GOP seem to be chomping at the bit for war, yet again. I'm certainly not against military action in principle. But it ought to be an approximately last resort.
After the catastrophic madness of Iraq you'd think these people would have learned their lesson.

Michael Vlahos: "We Were Made For Civil War"

All the civil war chatter makes me crazy.
But I'll admit, this is an interesting read. 
Also but: I never know what to do with this sort of argument / account. I can't really evaluate the multitude of sweeping historical claims, arguments, explanations and judgments.
But there are a lot of moving parts in there, and I doubt they're all right. 
I will say: he has a weak, nonstandard conception of civil war.
So when he says that we're on a trajectory toward civil war, he doesn't mean civil war civil war. 
Bad sign that people are talking like this at all, obviously.

Trump Orders Retaliatory Attack On Iran, Then Calls It Off

4-dimensional underwater chess?...or alarmingly erratic?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Philosophy And Transgenderism

  Philosophical Discussion of Trans Identity: A guide for the perplexed.
  Members of the profession have doubtless seen the recent letter from MAP, objecting to the participation of Kathleen Stock at a recent meeting of the Aristotelian Society. As the letter writers thoughtfully advised: “scepticism about the rights of marginalised groups and individuals, where issues of life and death are at stake, are not up for debate. The existence and validity of transgender and non-binary people, and the right of trans and non-binary people to identify their own genders and sexualities, fall within the range of such indisputable topics”.
   Junior members of the profession may be wondering what sorts ideas may be discussed and debated by philosophers, and which may not. Which may be subject to skeptical inquiry and which may not. Which may be discussed at the Aristotelian Society and which may not. Following is a helpful guide.
   You MAY question whether race exists and whether gender exists, you may question whether social kinds exist. For that matter, you may question whether any kinds at all exist, and for the measure, whether abstract objects or even whether the external world exists. You may NOT, however question whether people can identify their own genders.
   You MAY question whether other minds exist, or whether anything at all exists except for yourself. You may even question whether time exists and space exists. You may ask whether all change is illusion. You may NOT, however, question whether people can identify their own genders.
   You MAY also question whether you yourself exist or are a social construct. You may question the existence of the Cartesian ego and you may even wonder if there are such things as Cartesian egos. You may reject them or endorse them. However, you may NOT question whether people can identify their own genders.   ...
In short: despite being supported only by unsound arguments, transgender ideology is the only view that is beyond all possible doubt, and which one must not discuss...except, of course, to lavishly praise it.

Oh, Florida Man...: Slapping Cell Phone Edition

Arrested: good.
Needs to be slapped upside the head...but arrested is better than nothing.
On a somewhat related note: it'd also be good if the "Anti"fas were occasionally arrested for their thousands of similar actions...
But back to the Trumpistas: Lord...not exactly 'Merica's best or brightest...or soberest...

"Third Way" Dems Are Talking Sense

I felt like I might burst into tears reading this.
Hey...can we think of a way to tweak Clintonism? It's not rocket science...but it might as well be given the state of play today. 
But it's the social/cultural issues about which the left has mainly lost its mind. As Glenn Reynolds often points out: to beat Trump, all the Dems have to do is not be crazy. Though I rather think that goes for both sides; the side that can manage to be even a little bit normal is, I think, likely to win 2020. But Trump is not going to suddenly get normal... 
If Obama would start working to undermine the crazy wing of the party I think it might help a lot. Alas, he seems not to be doing so.

Retaking The House

This part is encouraging:
“It’s going to be tough. [The Democrats] have really good majority-makers — [Reps.] Abigail Spanberger, Dean Phillips, Max Rose. They’ve got some good members that know what they’re doing. They seem to not be embracing the crazy,” said one senior GOP lawmaker who requested anonymity. [my emphasis] 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

3 CT HS Girls File Complaint About Boys Competing As Girls

I've been saying for awhile now that this will be the iceberg that sinks the transgender Titanic. These kids train hard and this is important to them. Aside from everything else: scholarships could turn on this. So we're talking tangible harm. And I expect they're not the kind of people to take such bullshit lying down...and neither are their parents.
   It's worrisome that it's not enough that this nonsense is patently false to the point of absurdity. But better to stop it this way than no way at all.
   And the boys who've been convinced they're girls can still compete with the boys--they're still boys, after all. It's not like they'd be barred from competition. The boy's division is basically the open division anyway.

Jewish Community Relations Council Of NY Condems AOC's Holocaust / Concentration Camp Analogies

Here's a hint: the Nazis weren't like: well, you can come in and apply for asylum and we'll give you some public assistance...but if so, you've got to spend a couple of months in Buchenwald...which, of course, you're always free to leave just by agreeing to go back home...

Mike Rosen: Trump-Haters Exceed Him In Hyperbole

(via Instapundit)
The think that makes my eyes roll most is the "threat to democracy" nonsense. He's got a shit-ton of flaws. But the current threat to democracy comes from the left. Trump was duly-elected. The blues have never accepted that, and aim to undo it...and they certainly haven't let a little thing like a finding of no collusion get in the way of that. Trump's the product of democracy, ya twits. You don't like that. Nevertheless, it's true. And your failure to accept and respect that is, currently, the main relevant threat to democracy.
Say it with me now: criticize the real Trump, not the straw Trump of your fevered imaginings.

The Detention Centers Are Not "Concentration Camps"

AOC is not the sharpest tool in the shed, as we know.
First, a short route: if the detention centers are concentration camps now, then they were concentration camps under Obama. But, of course, this is one of the preferred tactics of the extremist and otherwise irrational: changing criteria to get the outcome they prefer. The only difference between the centers under Trump and those under Obama is that they are (apparently) more crowded now.
   More substantively: well, it's not really worth trying to discuss seriously. People are flooding across the border illegally, and overwhelming the asylum system--and many are lying to game it. The only rational system involves detaining them. There's just no plausible alternative. Of course this means that they are concentrated into camps--but those camps are not concentration camps. The use of actual concentration camps involved rounding up undesirables and herding them into prison camps in order to remove them from society...and possibly move them to murder camps. Were we to so distort the meaning of 'concentration camp' as to count these, then prisons are concentration camps. So are military bases. We've always had concentration camps! Are we the baddies????
   The cringiest part is when AOC claims that she doesn't "use the terms lightly"...but then also goes on to call Trump a fascist and an authoritarian. Well...he does sometimes seem to have a wee bit of the latter in him...and any whiff is too much, by my lights. Even the faintest hint is impermissible. But I'm going to set that aside right now. To call him a fascist is just plain stupid. It is, in fact, using the term lightly--about as lightly as it's possible to use it.
   This is just the same old same old for progressives: redefine and change the rules so that any enforcement of immigration law is fascist. They've lost their minds. They make the narcissistic con man look almost level-headed by comparison.

Friedman: "Trump's Only Consistent Foreign Policy Goal Is To One-Up Obama"

Sure seems kinda like that...

Chesterton's Fence

Wish I'd have been less oblivious/resistant to this insight in my youth.

Hope Hicks To Testify To Judiciary Committee Today Re: Obstruction

I just want to know the truth.
But I don't believe either side in this on-going dust-up cares much about truth anymore.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Trump and The Dems Are Both So Horrible...

...that the comparison has fallen below the threshold above which I'm capable of making a discrimination.
Bad news for the country...good news for me. I don't have to worry about this shit anymore.

Trump Says Millions Of Illegal Immigrants To Be Deported Starting Next Week

Before the recent surge, I'd often incline toward the view that we should mostly bite the bullet on illegals here currently. I hoped for a compromise in which Dems would agree to beef up border security and mechanisms for preventing visa overstays, and Pubs would agree to some version of amnesty for those already here. Suboptimal, but perhaps the least-bad alternative. I thought that, if we could actually fix the system so that it operates properly in the future, it might be preferable to minimize deportations. Pubs have actually shown a willingness to accept amnesty (during Bush '43). But the contemporary Dems are, it seems, very unlikely to agree to fix the system, having accepted a covert open borders position.
   I think it's clear how this will go down. The administration will begin the deportations, including of some families. The progressive media will get pictures of crying children. That will basically be the end of that. (Though the Obama administration also deported families, without much of a peep from the media.) The implicit progressive argument is: if you manage to sneak in, you get to stay--especially if you have kids. Families that come in illegally always get to stay. This makes no sense, and I expect they'd never say it explicitly, but that seems to be the argument. 
   I'm not sure what to do about all this. I'm concerned about massive illegal immigration, and even more concerned about the progressive push to convince voters that any opposition to massive illegal immigration is racist/evil. This is the typical approach of contemporary progressivism: adopt a radical, nutty view and defend it rhetorically by insisting that it's so obviously right that any criticism of it must be racist. Non-racist concerns and objections are impossible. 
   I think everyone has compassion for illegal immigrants in general, especially those fleeing violence. But we can't accept them all. (Now, of course, people from Africa have begun crossing the border illegally as well. People from everywhere overstay visas and so forth...but there seems to be something particularly weird about people coming from Africa to sneak across the Rio Grande...) I've long argued that we should have cracked down on those here for economic reasons, in part because it would give us more flexibility with respect to those fleeing oppression and violence. But we didn't do that. And now our options are more limited than they might have been. Of course there are arguments for the view that we should accept many more people legally than we do. Those arguments ought to be taken very seriously. But they shouldn't be accepted automatically, and the left should be slapped down hard for its strategy of screaming "racism!" at anyone who disagrees with it about anything. 
   A huge percentage of the world sucks. Much of it is violent. Much of it is poor. If we allowed everyone into the U.S. who wants in, that'd be, basically, the end of the country as we know it. Even if we only let in all those fleeing violence, it would be a catastrophe. It just can't be done. So hard choices have to be made. That's consistent with helping a lot of people. But it's not possible for us to help all of them. If we continue to allow bogus accusations of racism to consistently win arguments, we're screwed. And if we let the crying children argument consistently win arguments, we're screwed. In fact, the crying children argument would win the day for anti-vaxxers. Furthermore, of course, there's no doubt that plenty of children cry when moved from their homes and brought north through Mexico. Crying kids are often a signal to pay attention; but their tears can't be the decisive consideration. 
   At any rate, I expect this initiative to be a disaster.

William Langewiesche: "What Really Happened To Malasia's Missing Airplane"

I say this is really good.

Larison: "Our Despicable Saudi 'Ally'"

It seems absurd that we continue to ally ourselves with the Saudis. 
They more-or-less maximally suck along every dimension of suckitude...other than the ones that really seem to matter: (a) barrels of oil produced and (b) not being Iran. (Though they're really not all that far down the latter axis...). 
But we're a net exporter now. To hell with 'em.
Not that I really know what I'm talking about. Perhaps there's some super-secret reason why we can't dump 'em. I haven't read anyone saying this, but my guess would be: to keep them from allying themselves with China or Russia. Anybody know?

Herring Calls For Decriminalizing Weed In The OD

Ok, I did not see that coming.

Preference Falsification

Monday, June 17, 2019

Harvard Rescinds Admission To Parkland Conservative Who Dropped N-Bombs On Twitter's protected speech...but it's assholery...and Hahvahd is a private institution...
I'll allow it.

The Right To Sexuality

This short documentary will break your heart, but there's a happy ending:
Paul and Hava met at a performing-arts social event for people with intellectual disabilities. With the assistance of their parents, they went on a few successful dates. The connection was immediate. After some time, they decided to make their strong, loving bond official. The couple made each other so happy that their parents saw no good reason to deny the proposal.


He seems to consider himself a centrist, but this isn't reassuring, and neither is this. Sounds ahead of his time on sexual minority issues, but on just about everything else, he seems to have "evolved" to the left of me. I'm probably persuadable on universal background checks...but probably not on an outright ban on high-capacity mags. I'm more inclined toward a special license for 'em, if anything. And no, gun violence is not "the real emergency plaguing our nation." Gun violence is mostly suicides and gang-on-gang violence, with the latter mostly isolated to a few violent neighborhoods in a few violent cities. And even "tentative support" for the GND indicates a failure to grasp actual facts about climate change.
   I was hopeful that Hickenlooper might be an actual centrist that might break out of the pack. In fact, I've been kind of afraid to look at his stances because I was afraid I'd find...pretty much what I found.
I don't really think that there's much chance of the Dems and me settling on the same candidate this time...but I keep hoping.
   I actually reckon that, for the first time in my life, I will not vote for a Dem for POTUS.
   But I keep hoping that the blues will sober up.
   2020 is going to be a #$%ing shitshow of Biblical proportions.


Ok, I saw this headline, and ducked in for a quick morning laugh at Trump...only to discover that he seems to have meant treated badly by the media or something like that. He certainly isn't saying...God knows, whatever the alternative is that their trying to attribute to him. I don't even know how to formulate the claim...been on the receiving end of worse actions all things considered? It doesn't even really make much sense.
How is it that I end up defending often? There are more things to criticize about him than you can shake a stick at. (Than at which you can shake a stick?) And yet the media can't resist making up shit like this. It's probably dumb to say something so imprecise that it's open to such a misinterpretation--especially when you know how hostile the media is to you. But that's a different kind of criticism.
Also: what he said isn't even true. In the decades following the Founding, the press was notoriously vicious.
As for real criticisms: how about the administration's failure to fill positions at Interior?
Too boring, I guess.

Listen To Pelosi Ya Blue Idjits

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Jazz Shaw On Impossible Burgers And The End Of The USA

If we let the soy burgers win, we don't deserve to be a country.

Blake Montgomery At Buzzfeed With A Loving Portrait Of Antifa

CNN Whitewashes Antifa

This is basically just pro-Antifa propaganda. Note the why they're controversial section. The answer is: sometimes they destroy property, and they use violence in self-defense.
And definitely don't miss the video...which is about something that totally happened.

Bad Cop, No Donut: Zayd Atkinson Edition

   This cop pulled his gun on a student who was picking up trash in front of his dorm.
   Zayd Atkinson, a student at Naropa University, was confronted by an officer while picking up trash for his work-study job outside of his dorm. The officer did not have reasonable suspicion that a crime was occurring and was not entitled to demand Atkinson's date of birth, according to an independent review by a former U.S. Attorney.
   Several officers, some with guns drawn, surrounded Atkinson. A college faculty member later appeared to back up Atkinson. The police officers never asked the faculty member, a white man, to confirm his identity or prove that he worked for the college.
   After almost 15 minutes, the officer gave Atkinson back his ID and left. The officer resigned two weeks after the incident but will remain on the city payroll until February 2020. An internal investigation found the officer violated 2 department policies but did not conclude he was racially biased.
Two minutes in, you're going to be possessed by an overwhelming urge to kick the shit out of this cop. "Dangerous weapon." "Blunt object." In my experience, the majority of cops are reasonable and professional--but there are also some stupid assholes out there.

Chet Faker: No Diggity

George Packer: "Doublethink Is Stronger Than Orwell Imagined"

Perhaps worth reading, but he makes the standard mistake of his tribe: thinking that Trump is the most Orwellian danger loose in the world, and treating the progressive O'Briens as more-or-less an afterthought. Trump's bullshittery is not to be underestimated--but it's of a pretty ordinary type, just turned up to 11. Though, of course, he has nukes...
But the most Orwellian threat in our cultural environment is represented by the PC left. The right, for example doesn't believe that truth is unreal, nor that it's malleable on the basis of politics. The left--or at least much of its vanguard--does believe that. The right lies--the left does, too. But at least the right doesn't accept a philosophy that rejects the very distinction between truth and lies. Trump doesn't seem to care about the distinction--as I've said, he's a Frankfurtian bullshitter. But he doesn't question the difference between facts and fictions--and doesn't demand that we do so. Much as I abhor his loathsome, non-stop bullshitting, I see him as a familiar kind of problem writ large--not an exponent of a whole new kind of theory that denies the very possibility of making sense of the world.

Linda Fairstein: "Netflix's False Story Of The Central Park Five"

This is a story I don't want to know about.
I came across a piece enumerating some of the errors in the standard progressive/MSM account of the Central Park five. Then I couldn't get myself not to read Fairstein's account. My fear is that she's right. If she's wrong, that should be easy to confirm by reading the decision (as she herself notes). But that's roughly equivalent to: it should be (or should have been) easy to prove the documentary wrong. Which wasn't done, apparently.
   This is a convenient culture war test case. It's a case in which the whole edifice of the progressive media is united behind a story of abject racism/injustice. This has all been stirred up again by the documentary--about which the progressive media is uniformly gushing. But the documentary merely stirs the topic up, it didn't start anything. It merely elaborates on the progressive orthodoxy that's reigned for years.
   My recent crazification largely results from the discovery that progressive orthodoxies, which I largely trusted most of my life, are wrong an enormous percentage of the time.
   I absolutely don't have the time to nor interest in chasing this story down.
   But I have a guess/prediction, and it's: if I did decide to look into this more, Ms. Fairstein would turn out to be right about at least a fair bit of it.

"Transgender" Male Who Won NCAA Women's Title Claims Disadvantage Racing Women

Ridiculous as this is, it's far less ridiculous than the proposition that he's a woman. So, hey, now that the first step has been taken, why not go all the way? Women should stop competing in the women's division because of their female athletic privilege--it's unfair and, I dunno, transphobic or whatever.
   Night is day. Up is down. War is peace, etc. etc. etc.
   For the record, once again: I wish Mr. Telfer the best. But, as a simple matter of fact, he isn't a woman. Consequently, he shouldn't run in the women's division. I'm all for being yourself. But, Neanderthal that I am, I still believe that we can't create facts by pretending. Fortunately, at this pace, such retrograde views will die out in a few generations at most. 
And then...and then...

De Blasio: Impeach Trump For Treason

Once again, Dems manage to out-stupid Trump.
But this still surprises who's the stupidest one here?

AOC, GND, Cauliflower and Progressive Superstition

It's easy to ignore such bullshit if you try...but don't try. Just face it. This is a wee little slice of PC superstition: what you grow in your (community!) garden must "make sense in cultural context"--a phrase that, itself, actually makes no sense, though it almost sounds like it does if you don't pay attention. Such projects fail, she tells us, because they have a "colonial lens." Bottom line: people should grow yucca instead of cauliflower in the relevant NYC. Though, as the article notes, yucca doesn't really grow there, as its too far north. This really is a great snapshot of progressive insanity: what matters for growing crops is "cultural context"! The actual biology of the plants is irrelevant.
   And, as I keep noting: either progressives like AOC don't actually believe their own apocalyptic 1-decade timeline for combatting AGW, or their really, really bad at identifying means to achieve their end. If you believe AGW apocalypticism and think it's worth spending energy trying to get Hispanics in NYC to grow yucca instead of cauliflower, you're nuts.

READ THIS: Zack Goldberg, "America's White Saviors"

I think this is one of the best pieces on political correctness and the left's lurch left that I've ever read. It basically all rings true to my mind--even the bits I'd rather not believe.
There's really just too much good stuff in there; I'm not even going to try to start pulling quotes.

Eliot Higgins: "Was Iran Behind The Oman Tanker Attacks: A Look At The Evidence"

Ohhh...So THAT'S What 'No Brainer' Means...

Steve Sailer: Arguing Against Reality

More on Angela Saini's Superior: The Return Of Race Science.
   I yell a lot about progressive transgender mythology, which I think is basically the clearest case of political correctness and prope-Lysenkoism there's ever been. But the contemporary middlebrow progressive account of race is close behind. It's just as ridiculous, and just a tiny bit less obviously so. Both discussions turn largely on "social constructivism," which is the all-purpose, hopelessly confused metaphysics that pervades the contemporary left. (Basically just cultural relativism in a slightly-updated form.) Both are dead-set against biology and biological differences among humans. Neither, however, is willing to simply call the differences fictional--if they were fictional it'd be harder for humanists and soft social scientists to build their entire careers around discussing them. So both adopt the expedient of saying that they're real (or at least not unreal...), but "socially constructed." Though this is much weirder than saying that they're fictional, it's a winning move, rhetorically speaking, because it adds an additional layer of baffling bullshit that helps muddle things just enough to decrease the percentage of people who can see straight through it all. And, of course, both are motivated by politics. And neither would have much chance of survival if half the political spectrum didn't have dogmatic, emotional, political reasons for embracing it. And the other side of that coin is that opposition is squelched by the PC tactic of accusing dissenters of *-ism--racism, obviously, in the case of race, and the newly-minted sin "transphobia" in the case of transgenderism. The illicit moralization of inquiry and vilification of the opposition is one of PCs most effective tactics.

Sebastian Rotelle: John Bolton Skewed Intelligence

At ProPublica.
This sort of dishonesty (intellectual and otherwise) is what got us into Iraq.
Of course we don't have all the facts yet. And of course I have no expertise in this area whatsoever. So it should go without saying that I speak with exactly no authority about this. But, from where we are right now, this looks--to me, anyway--so much like Iraq 2.0 that it's hard to believe anyone could possibly fall for it.
The madness that's gripped the American left in the past five or six years has so repulsed and obsessed me that I almost let myself forget what kind of madness the other side has proven itself capable of.

Larison On The Rush To War With Iran

Iran! The war for people who don't think Iraq was sufficiently disastrous...

HK Suspends Extradition Bill

Saturday, June 15, 2019

"The Case For Gay Reparations"

I'm sensing another winning issue for the blue team in 2020!

Trump Supports Anti-Flag-Burning Amendment

"The Left Has Won The Culture War; Now They're Just Driving Around Shooting Survivors"

damn, that's almost too accurate to be funny

Permafrost Degredation Spreads In Canadian High Arctic / Greenland Loses Lots Of Ice

[1] link
Though I'm not sure what to conclude from the final sentence.
[2] Melting at levels not expected til 2090?
[3] Greenland lost 2,000,000,000 tons of ice yesterday, which is a lot.
Though not unprecedented.
[4] Though unprecedented for June, apparently.
[5] You want to get people to take this stuff more seriously, you should tell them that it will make more of these terrifying tunnels of horrible, horrible death.

Trying To Force People To Sing The National Anthem Is Really UnAmerican

She doesn't want to sing, she doesn't have to sing.
How is this so hard to understand?
My own fascinating policy is:
National anthem:
   Always stand
   Never sing ('cause: can't carry tune in bucket)
Pledge of Allegiance:
   Never stand
   Never say it
   Sit there and stew in silence
   Complain about it afterwards
Because it's creepy as shit and about as unAmerican as you can get. What the hell is it with that thing, anyway??? I mean seriously.

The Nation can't help itself, and insists that representing all of America:
...includes representing the part of America that America refuses to represent: the America being herded into internment camps and the America being denied basic civil and human rights under this venal administration.

Choose The Form Of Your Destructor: Phase 2.1: Choose The Blue Destructor

We've already chosen the red destructor; time to get bi-zay choosing the other one! First sub-phase: debates!
On the bright side, when both paths lead to stupid, one needn't worry about the choice overmuch...

Are Conseratives Happier Than Liberals Because They Are More Inclined To Think That The World Is Meritocratic?

Friday, June 14, 2019

Progressives Love Progressives: We're Totally Brilliant Edition

Peter Beinart has fallen on hard times since the Old New Republic died.
That pic of Warren is painfully cringetastic, too.
If I have to vote for her I'm going to jump off a bridge.

Did The Jury Hate Oberlin?

I'd be surprised if they didn't.
PC is insane and repulsive. Some of us are somewhat inured to it, as we're inured, say, to Scientology. But people who haven't become uncomfortably numb about it should be disgusted.
This trial is about someone stopping college students from stealing his property. The students assaulted him. The college's social justice cult kicked into action and deployed the PC master argument: Racism! Because, you see, you aren't permitted to stop nonwhite people from stealing your shit. And they couldn't be content with one insane protest--they kept it up, trying to ruin Gibson's family bakery. And the college--which is, after all, run by the same basic kind of crazy cultists--backed them up and egged them on. This is insanity, and the jury was righteously repulsed.
It's too bad punitive damages were capped at $22 million.

Daniel Kaufman: Peak Woke Philosophy

Academic philosophy is in crisis--as are the humanities and softer social sciences--as is academia generally. Political radicals now exert enormous control over academic philosophy. Via organized campaigns of harassment, they suppress opposition to their favored politics, and pretend they're doing philosophy rather than destroying it. Destruction masquerading as transformation. Most philosophers seem to either be ignoring this, or keeping their heads down in fear and hoping it will pass. Many, unfortunately, agree with or belong to the destroyers and harassers. Transgender mythology is, currently, more-or-less the tip of the spear. It rests on premises that would have been shot down in flames in any respectable philosophy seminar ten years ago. Today, it rules the roost, flagrantly violating principles that would get any un-PC view gleefully shredded. 
   Daniel Kaufman:
So what's happening now? Woke philosophy’s most recent moves can be found in an “open letter” to the profession, published anonymously (by “t-philosopher”) and entitled “I am leaving academic philosophy because of its transphobia problem,” as well as a lengthy essay, written by none other than the intrepid Weinberg, “Trans Women and Philosophy: Learning from Recent Events” and published at the Daily Nous. The two pieces are an exquisite pairing: T-philosopher is wounded and empowered and terrified and accusatory and defeated and defiant, all at once – sometimes, even in the same sentence – and then, suddenly, thankfully, as if out of a puff of smoke, Weinberg appears on the scene to help us sort it out so that we all might become Better People.
   T-philosopher announces to the profession – all of it – that she is leaving because of philosophy’s “transphobia” and the terrible harm she has suffered at the hands of “bigots” like Kathleen Stock (who else?), whose presence renders her no longer “safe in professional settings.” Then comes the inevitable “call to action”: Journals must refuse to publish articles critical of gender identity theory and activism; conferences must no-platform philosophers seeking to present gender critical arguments; gender critical thinkers must be barred from public discourse, whether on blogs, discussion boards, social media sites, comments sections, or other online venues; and anyone and everyone who is going to engage in both professional and public philosophical discourse on the subject had better accept that “any trans discourse that does not proceed from this initial assumption — that trans people are the gender that they say they are — is oppressive, regressive, and harmful” and that “trans discourse that does not proceed with a substantial amount of care at amplifying trans voices and understanding the trans experience should not exist.”
   If you’ve raised a teenager, as my wife Nancy and I have done, you’ll immediately recognize this as typically adolescent behavior. The clueless narcissism (“to the academic philosophy community…”); the catastrophizing (I know Kathleen Stock. You can watch video of Kathleen Stock. One cannot possibly be “unsafe” because of Kathleen Stock); the empty (because toothless) demands; the emotional blackmail (You see what you’re making me do!); even the proverbial running away from home (I’m leaving and never coming back!) It’s all there.
Philosophy is embarrassing itself. It's cowering in fear while the sophists take over.