Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bruce Bawer: "How Higher Education Studies Men"

In sum, it is an ideological, rather than a scholarly, project.
   Gender studies is more nonsense than sense, and it unabashedly promotes extreme leftist politics and views of culture. There's nothing wrong with studying gender--though it's approximately a thousand or so times less important than it's currently taken to be. But what currently passes for scholarship about it is just plain laughable. It's not a close call, it's not a gray area, it's not a close call, it's not a matter of's just crap.

Bari Weiss: "Three Cheers For Cultural Appropriation"

"Cultural appropriation" is approximately the most ridiculous concept in the arsenal of the ridiculous left.

George Will: "Yale Saves Fragile Students From A Carving Of A Musket"

Patrick Lee Miller: "The Google Memo: The Economist On Nothing"

Folt Denies Richard Spencer Space To Speak At Carolina

I'm against this, and I'd expect a legal challenge.
   Currently, this is what Antifa et al. seem to be aiming for: the heckler's veto. Right-wing (or even just non-radical-leftist) speakers speak, The hard left shows up and starts violence...voila! Righties can't be allowed to speak "because of concerns...about safety."
   Carolina is a public university. As long as he's not directly inciting violence, Spencer can't be denied merely because we don't like the content of his ideas--nor because other people might dislike those ideas so much that they might react violently.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pelosi Statement Defending First Amendment, Criticizing Antifa

Well done, Congresswoman.

Transgender Ban Frozen While Mattis Moves Forward With New Review Of Options

This seems like a better course of action to me.
   I do worry that the PC theory of transgenderism (or, as some say, "trans ideology") and the almost-boilerplate adjunct view that questioning it is verboten...has become too firmly ensconced, and that an objective reviews will be politically difficult or impossible. But it seems preferable to a Trumpian ban by fiat. It's basically my rejection of the theory that makes me think a ban might not be necessary. I don't believe that e.g. Jenner believes himself to be a woman, I'm inclined to think, rather, that he wants to be a woman. That's a strange and hopeless desire...but the former is, so far as I can tell, no different than thinking that you're Napoleon. The natural interpretation of it is as a kind of insanity. And it seems like that ought to be a problem when it comes to military service. It's the politically correct story line...but unlikely to be the truth. So maybe military service will turn out to be a rational option.


Seriously...isn't this the kind of criticism of women's clothes that we're supposed to...not?
(Why did I even click on that article is real question here though.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Ben Sixsmith: "An Argument Against Open Borders And Liberal Hubris"

I'd like to point out that about five or six years ago I started saying that "progressives" were saying a lot of things about immigration that didn't make sense unless they were tacitly accepting--or at least moving toward--an open borders position. Basically everybody said I was wrong....but I wasn't. (Though: it's not just progressives: it's also some neoliberals and libertarians.)
   Anyway--it's a terrible idea.
   We should recognize certain obligations to non-Americans, and try to help them. One way we help them is by letting a very large number of them immigrate here legally (I'd like to see this decrease a bit in the not-terribly-distant future). Another way is via foreign aid (which I'd like to see increase.) Another way is that our military does a lot to keep the peace and defend the world (though a bit of the opposite, too, unfortunately...). 
   Open borders is exactly the kind of ridiculous social experiment that conservatism rightly wars us against--it's too big a gamble, and the consequences of failure could be catastrophic. There are other, better ways for America to help non-Americans. Wrecking the U.S. isn't going to help anyone.

The Left's Bizarre Adulation For Chelsea Manning

The bizarre case of Chelsea Manning really does illustrate some prominent aspects of the craziness of the far left:
There are elements of the American left that would celebrate any leaker of government secrets, regardless of their gender identity. But it’s hard to imagine Ms. [sic] Manning receiving such a positive reception — never mind a spread in Vogue — if she [sic] still identified as Bradley, transgender [sic] being the liberal cause du jour. Ms. [sic] Manning’s atypical identity adds a frisson of subversion to her [sic] already subversive acts. Transgender, it would appear, trumps treachery.
(Of course 'Ms.' should be 'Mr.', 'she' should be 'he', 'her' should be 'his,' and 'transgender' should be 'transgenderism'...but accuracy of expression is tres politically incorrect... )

Violence Against Nazis, the Klan, and the Like

For the record, I'm no pacifist (well...a colleague of mine who was a scholar of pacifism once told me I was a pacifist...just not a very good one...)  I'm 100% down with meeting violence with violence when more-or-less necessary. I absolutely think that one should be prepared to mix it up with bad guys in defense of the innocent... But not just because you think it's cool to wear black and play at being European. Violence does tend to lead to bad things, including more violence. If you've got other reasonable options that can preserve justice and dignity, I'm inclined to think that you should probably take them.
   My objection to Antifa isn't that they meet force with force--sometimes that's the only real option. My objection is that they're anti-liberal left-fascist asshats themselves who tend to initiate violence against people, shut down legal speech and assembly, characterize everyone they disagree with as fascist, and make bad situations worse. And "they're better than the Klan" is neither obviously true nor a significant point in their favor. Everybody's better than the goddamn Klan. That point carries virtually no weight with me. And the Klan isn't really the Klan anymore. The 21st-century Klan is more of a curiosity, a vestige of its former, eviler self.
   And, while we're on the subject: if shit ever were, God forbid, to get really real in the relevant respect, it's my expectation that people like me will be the ones out there doing the fighting, and the black-clad hipster lefties will be nowhere to be seen.

College Professor Reminds Students It Will Take A Few Classes To Memorize Everyone's Triggers

God bless The Onion

Florida Professor Fired For Tweeting That Harvey Was Karma For Texas

NRO: A Compelling Case Against DACA

Well, I've got to admit, these are good points.

Heather MacDonald: "Scandal Erupts Over The Promotion of "Bourgeois Behavior" At Penn

   It's a familiar story by now: someone dares to say something politically incorrect...ergo racism!
   It's a very bad sign that this nonsense survives long after it's become patently absurd.

David Wong: "How Half Of America Lost Its F*cking Mind"

IMO this is really unusually good.
   It's really about the rural-urban divide, and how urbanites are typically wrong about the rest of the country.
   (And I say that despite thinking that Cracked has become a steaming pile of politicized crap...and having thought that John Dies At The End was pretty bad... )
   I don't quite think that he quite gets #1 right...but he may be somewhere in the vicinity of the truth.

Trump: I Pardoned Arpaio During Hurricane Because I Thought T.V. Ratings Would Be Higher

Not Looking Good For Silent Sam

I'm not sure what we should do about Silent Sam is...but I'm fairly sure that we shouldn't frantically take him down during a spasm of semi-rational mania, and partially in response to fears of violence.

Man Who Claimed To Have Been Stabbed Because Of His Neo-Nazi Haircut Apparently Stabbed Himself

It's...almost refreshing to see a fake "hate crime" on the other side.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Peaceful Antifa Protesters Peacefully Surround Suspected Trump Supporters To Purely Self-Defensively Stomp Their Heads Into The Street

Antifa Attacks Peaceful Right-Wing Protesters in Berkeley

I'm not surprised that it happened at all...I'm surprised that it was reported, and in such a straightforward way.

Trump Set To Roll Back Limits On Military Gear For Police

   This seems like a questionable decision, to say the least. Doesn't it?
   And where are the right and the GOP on this? Sometimes pro-militarization-of-cops, sometimes anti-...  I suppose it's no great puzzle, and there are just different factions...
   The Dems need to make sure they don't get represented as--and don't actually become--the anti-"law-and-order" party again. (Even the phrase "law and order" seems to carry a note of disapproval--or is it just me?) But you can be anti-crime, obviously, without being in favor of turning every police force into a paramilitary unit. Grenade launchers and tracked vehicles do sound like more than a bit much to me. I cops really need ammunition of ".50 caliber or greater"? Does law enforcement need...what? 20 mm rounds? Or what?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Francisco Chairez: "The Year I Spent In Joe Arpaio's Tent Jail Was Hell. He Should Never Walk Free."

Being sentenced to jail is not the same as being sentenced to torture--or it shouldn't be.
If nothing else, remember that a lot of these people are wrongly convicted and innocent.
You don't have to be soft on crime, nor soft on illegal immigration to think that this sort of thing is wrong.
Though Arpaio wasn't convicted for this stuff, so I suppose it's not directly relevant to the question of his pardon.

McGregor Takes Mayweather to Round 10

Holy crap...I did not expect McGregor to last that long.

The Economist: An Unforgivable Pardon For Sheriff Joe


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Nazis Commemorate 50th Anniversary Of George Lincoln Rockwell's Death In Arlington

Jesus are we just going to have Nazi rallies all over the damn place now, or what?
These guys have seen better day, that's for sure.


Trump Confronts Unprecedented Public Rebuke By Gary Cohn After Charlottesville

“citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK.” 
Yet another variation on the theme.
Here's the fact: a non-trivial number of leftist counter-protesters showed up near Lee park looking for a fight. (Undoubtedly many of the right-wing protesters did, too.) Counter-protesters showed up with clubs, pepper spray, bottles filled with urine, and, allegedly, some "bombs" containing urine, feces, paint and mace. And they used them. And not merely in self-defense. These were not peaceful (counter-)protesters. And, since they were looking to prevent the wingnut protesters from exercising their First Amendment rights, it's not clear that they were "standing up for...freedom." Wingnuts have rights, too. Furthermore, to note that the (un-peaceful) (counter-)protesters were responsible for a lot of the violence is not to "equate" them with the white supremacists--except insofar as both groups were responsible for some of the violence.
   Again, my main points throughout all this have been:
     1. Truth matters (and truth matters more when matters are important)
     2.  If what Trump said was really that bad, it shouldn't be necessary to lie about it.

Megan McArdle: We Live In Fear Of The Online Mobs

   I find myself in more and more conversations that sound as if we’re living in one of the later-stage Communist regimes. Not the ones that shot people, but the ones that discovered you didn’t need to shoot dissidents, as long as you could make them pariahs -- no job, no apartment, no one willing to be seen talking to them in public.
  The people I have these conversations with are terrified that something they say will inadvertently offend the self-appointed powers-that-be. They’re afraid that their email will be hacked, and stray snippets will make them the next one in the internet stocks. They’re worried that some opinion they hold now will unexpectedly be declared anathema, forcing them to issue a humiliating public recantation, or risk losing their friends and their livelihood.
   Social media mobs are not, of course, as pervasive and terrifying as the Communist Party spies. But the Soviet Union is no more, and the mobs are very much with us, so it’s their power we need to think about.
   That power keeps growing, as does the number of subjects they want to declare off-limits to discussion. And unless it is checked, where does it lead? To something depressingly like the old Communist states: a place where your true opinions about anything more important than tea cozies are only ever aired to a tiny circle of highly trusted friends; where all statements made to or by the people outside that circle are assumed by everyone to be lies; where almost every conversation is a guessing game that both sides lose. It is one element of Margaret Atwood's "A Handmaid's Tale" that does resonate today: Any two acquaintances must remain so mutually suspicious that every day, they can discuss only the pleasant weather and their common fealty to the regime.

The Law Of Group Polarization

Friedersdorf: The Arpaio Pardon Is A Blatant Assault On Civil Rights

UN CERD Calls On U.S. To Violate First Amendment

CERD also called on the Government to ensure that the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are not exercised with the aim of destroying or denying the rights and freedoms of others, and also asked it to provide the necessary guarantees so that such rights are not misused to promote racist hate speech and racist crimes.
   This is a different link than I had before, but it seems better.
   I'm starting to see why conservatives hate the U.N. It does say a lot of crazy, creepy stuff. Of course it's easy to see where they're coming from here, even if what they're advocating is inconsistent with First Amendment protections... I don't consider their view inexplicable...but I do consider it disastrously wrong. And I do have to wonder why they're saying it when they have to know that it's inconsistent with Constitutional protections.
   Contrary to the new slogan in certain political sectors, some free speech is, indeed, "hate speech."
   Some people just aren't cut out for this America thing, I guess.
   The Klan and their ilk are free to talk away. If they start directly inciting violence, that's a different thing entirely.

Mayweather-McGregor Tonight

Mayweather's obviously the favorite by far...but, man, if only grappling were legal...

Why Not Leave The Transgender Issue Up To The Pentagon?

I'm skeptical about the entire phenomenon, especially given that any deviation from the PC theory of transgenderism has been declared Literally Hitler. That means that it's unlikely that there's a lot of honest inquiry into the subject matter going on right now. Wide swaths of the left seem to have gone into full-blown advocacy mode, and that typically includes the relevant sectors of academia. The groupthink and political advocacy masquerading as familiar as it's become, it's still creepy as hell. But I hope that the Pentagon has the wherewithal to see through that sort of thing and make a rational decision. At the theoretical level, the PC theory of transgenderism is a train wreck, and it's got to be opposed. It's insane to pretend that men can literally become women (and vice-versa) merely by declaring it so, or feeling that way, or dressing differently, or even having plastic surgery. And it's chilling how quickly the left was able to try to put the force of law behind its fashionable cause of the moment, mandatory pronoun misuse.
   But, at the practical level, whoever can serve can serve, and I'm inclined to trust the Pentagon to make the call. I wouldn't be surprised if Trump's decision were the right one...but I don't see how to defend making such a decision by fiat.
   And, not to sound like even more of a broken record: in addition to Trump's screw-ups themselves, he's fueling a PC/progressive backlash of absolutely monumental proportions.
(Though I agree that taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook for medical expenses associated with "transitioning," and that seems fairly clear to me.)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Trump Pardons Joe Arpaio

Jesus Christ you have just got to be kidding me.
This is appalling.

Trump Likely To End DACA

That would be a mistake, IMHO.

Bizarre Kindergarten Transgenderism Ceremony In California Freaks Kids Out

This insanity is out of control.
They should have at least had the decency to tell the kids that there was no actual transformation of any kind involved, that it's impossible to change sexes, and it was all total BS...

Statue Of Revolutionary War Soldier Col. William Crawford Vandalized in OH

   Crawford was tortured to death by the Seneca-Cayuga, incidentally. It seems like that should addition to the fact that he died 78 years before the start of the Civil War.
   I suppose it might conceivably have something to do with his role in the French and Indian War...but I doubt it. I expect his statue just "looked old."

Jefferson Statue At UVA Vandalized

Totally unpredictable..

Corker: Trump Hasn't Shown Stability or Competence

Helen Raleigh: How American Anarchy Parallels China's Cultural Revolution

Mao immediately realized that he could use these over-zealous and ignorant teenagers as a political tool to purge his enemies and shape society to his own liking. He elevated the Red Guards’ status by appearing at a massive Red Guard rally on August 18, 1966 at Tiananmen Square. This event lent Red Guards political legitimacy, and officially kicked off the Cultural Revolution. The Red Guards’ ideas quickly spread from colleges to high schools.
No one on campus dared challenge the Red Guards. Capitulations from school authorities only emboldened them. They led students to strike, refusing to take classes from people who were deemed less than ideologically pure. Professors, teachers, and school administrators were paraded and forced to make numerous public self-criticisms about “transgressions” against government-sanctioned orthodoxy. Soon, college entrance exams were suspended and many schools, from universities to high schools, were closed. The entire education system was paralyzed.
Without schools to go to, the Red Guards traveled all over China to spread their ideas and tactics to the “real world.” Other people, such as factory workers unhappy with the shortages, organized their own groups to challenge leadership of their own work units. Since no one was working, businesses, factories, and many government agencies were shut down. The entire country fell into lawlessness and chaos.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Christopher Cantwell Held Without Bond In Connection With Charlottesville Protest

Dude is a thermonuclear asshat.

No-Gi Throws; Sambo Fusion

Sambo Thigh Lift Throws Using Georgian Grip

Everyone I Don't Like Is Literally Hitler

Study: Trump Supporters Rely Heavily On Conspiracy Theory Sites

I am shocked--shocked!--to find that Martian child slavery is going on here!

UC Berkeley Chancellor's Message Re: Free Speech

Daniel Payne At The Federalist: Our Post-Charlottesville Narrative Is A National Embarrassment

I absolutely agree with absolutely everything about this.

Who Has Real Epistemic And Moral Authority With Respect To The Confederate Statue (And Flag) Issue(s)?

   So I was thinking (and saying) that Lee himself had a great deal of moral and epistemic authority with respect to the issue of Confederate statues. That doesn't seem wrong to me, but I pretty much immediately started thinking that the people with the most epistemic and moral authority here are almost certainly black Americans (and descendants of slaves in particular). Pretty obvious, and I've thought it for a long time...but so obvious that I didn't really think to say it. Of course everybody's had the same idea...dunno why there's not more discussion of it. Maybe everybody thinks it's too obvious to say.
   At any rate: here's a way to get an important, at-least-very authoritative perspective on the issue: find opinion polls on the issue that break out the results by race.
   I'll be astonished if there aren't a lot of such polls... Will look it up when I get a chance, but wanted to get that thought on the table.
   Can't stop obsessing about this stuff...gotta chill out. Starting to interfere with stuff I need to be doing...

"I Don't Know How It Got This Bad":

Somewhat Nutty Panel of Trump Supporters vs.Dishonest, Contemptuous Alisyn Camerota Re: Charlottesville And Trump's Comments

You want to understand our current predicament, you could, IMO, do worse than this video. 
   The panel is loopy as hell at points, especially when it comes to their credulity about some of their premises: they trust Facebook conspiracy theories, and one of them at one point asserts that the Nazis are possessed by the devil. Which...actually...when you think about it...would explain a lot...
   But with respect to their reasoning about the central moral and political issues about the event, and Trump's statements...they mostly shred Camerota. She's contemptuous of them, and makes no effort to hide it, lecturing and condescending to them the entire time--and making no effort to be honest or objective. Since she can't resist distorting Trump's comments to make them sound worse than they were, the panel is able to bust her fairly effortlessly.
   They're also right that the media--or, at least CNN and its ilk--has proven that it can't be trusted with respect to such issues. Camerota repeatedly confirms their point by obviously cheating, e.g. when she repeatedly pretends to misunderstand what Trump meant when he said that both sides were violent. 
   At any rate, this really does seem pretty representative of what's currently up.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Poll: 28% Of Americans Think They Have True Freedom Of Speech Today

Rasmussen, but, hey:
Few Americans think they have true freedom of speech today and think the country is too politically correct.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 28% of American Adults think Americans have true freedom of speech today. Most (66%) think, rather, they have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.

Big Google Is Watching You

"Documenting Hate"
Yeah...I really don't see anything that could go wrong there.

Nicolas Wolfinger: "How I Survived The Title IX Star Chamber"

State Dept. Science Envoy Resigns...

...because Trump's response to C'ville violence "enables" racism and sexism "and harms our country and planet."
   Ok, let's leave aside the fact that 'enables' functions here as a very weasely weasel word...and let's set aside the contentious questions of racism and harm to the country--or, hell, grant them if you like.
   Can anyone explain to me how sexism and harm to the planet are supposed to get in there?
   And spelling out "impeach" with the first letter of each paragraph? What is this guy, 12?
Trump: I suck so bad that it's impossible to make me look good!
Progressives: Hold my craft beer...

"Social Justice" Math

The National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) and TODOS: Mathematics for ALL (TODOS) ratify social justice as a key priority in the access to, engagement with, and advancement in mathematics education for our country’s youth. A social justice stance requires a systemic approach that includes fair and equitable teaching practices, high expectations for all students, access to rich, rigorous, and relevant mathematics, and strong family/community relationships to promote positive mathematics learning and achievement. Equally important, a social justice stance interrogates and challenges the roles power, privilege, and oppression play in the current unjust system of mathematics education—and in society as a whole.

Antifa Takes On 4Chan

This is going to be hilarious

No Enemies On The Left

Kerenski's maxim is one of the left's most pernicious ideas, and it's:
"...Still The Mantra Of Too Many Liberals."

Unite The Right Organizer Was Recently A "Wannabe Liberal Activist"

Sounds like he's got the true believer gene.

C'Ville: Lee, Jackson Statues Shrouded In Black

The Curious Rise Of 'The White Left' As A Chinese Internet Insult

Kinda interesting. The author wants to explain why the PCs should be derided by so many Chinese netizens...but he doesn't even consider what I'd suggest as the most likely explanation: they're wrong, in fact crazy, in fact repulsively so. Of course it's a matter of degree... Even ordinary liberals are inclined to go too far from time to time...but they seem clearly to be thinking about the crazy extremists, i.e. the PC left. I mean, why think that the Klan is crazy if the Klan isn't in your country? Why think that The People's Temple was nuts when they existed elsewhere? Some groups and clusters of ideas are just objectively, grotesquely stupid.

Sumantra Maitra: Is America Headed For A Civil War?

[spoiler alert]
Probably not, anyway.
But that doesn't mean things are great.

California: $1,000 / 1 Year in Prison For Failure To Speak In Accordance With Transgender Ideology

This is utterly insane.
   Another thing that's insane is that we live at a time such that I'm expected to profess my good will by clearly saying: I'm not advocating being intentionally mean to people. Hell, I'm not even saying that one should never going out of one's way to do loony things that make others feel better. I'm not speaking to those things at all. I'm only saying what I'm saying: that it's insane to try to enforce this sort of thing by law. The theory itself is cray enough. You can't change your sex by saying you have (and: pronouns like 'he' and 'she' indicate sex, not "gender.") And you simply cannot legally mandate that people must say false things. And you can't legally mandate that people must use English incorrectly. And you can't legally mandate that people must adopt the modes of expression favored by loony, extremist cultural fads. It would be insane enough to try to jail someone for repeatedly calling someone by the wrong name as a form of harassment...but it's about an order of magnitude more insane to try to punish them for, e.g., just electing not to use someone's name at all
   This crazy really is just off the scale. 

Drum: There's No Simple Way To Unite The Democratic Party

Stop being spastic might help, though.
   That is: stop advocating major changes. Be conservative, but with a somewhat liberal inclination. Assure voters that you're going to basically stay the course, but explore a few modest changes that you think are crucial--e.g. tweaking the ACA, making some renewed efforts to decrease poverty, exploring ways to bring some jobs to inner cities and rural communities, possibly raising the top marginal tax rate a bit, back toward historic levels. Maybe directing the DoJ to get us a definitive answer to the questions at the heart of Black Lives Matter, and exploring options like guest-worker status and a path to citizenship for some illegals, while pushing E-Verify and penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegals.
   If the Dems allow themselves to (again) become the party of crime, high taxes and illegal immigration, and if they continue to push lunatic PC causes like Title IX extremism and gender studies ideology, they're doomed. And rightly so.
   I guess that'll just lose it's not really a solution to the problem at hand. But, as always, I think that the center should guide our judgments. Deviating too far from centrist opinion is a good way to look crazy, because it's a good way to be crazy.

J. D. Tuccille: "Choose Sides? You Bet. But Antifa And Fascism Are On The Same Side"

Silent Sam Is Next, Of Course

   Exactly no surprise whatsoever there.
   Fortunately, there are legal checks on this sort of thing. Unsurprisingly, the mayor of Chapel Hill is pretending that this is a safety issue.
   I still don't know exactly what to think about the general issue. But I have to say I'm not wild about shrieking mobs tearing down statues. I've always been puzzled about what to think about Silent Sam, and was also puzzled that more people weren't puzzled.
   I'm largely with this guy;
At one point, UNC senior Darin Beech shouted “Fascists tear down statues and burn books” to a crowd gathered in front of the Confederate statue.
Beech said he thought taking Silent Sam down feels ridiculous, particularly given what he saw as an intention to honor fallen soldiers.
“Nobody cared about this two months ago, and now everybody wants to destroy all these statues and monuments,” Beech said.
Not maybe so much the first point, but the latter two points. I'm skeptical about going from everything's peachy to kill it with fire or you're a Nazi in the space of a few months. Silent Sam was a puzzling thing twenty years ago, and it's a puzzling thing now. I'm not inveterately against moving it...but I'm against doing anything until this spasm of madness passes.

Will The Crown Prosecution Service Go After Online Mockery and Insults?

[Weirdly NSFW]
This is of great concern if true. It's Brendan O'Neill...but it's also in the dunno, man.

Triple Parentheses

Well, here's another thing you should know about, I guess.
   The internet more and more seems to me like a place for crazy to concentrate and evolve, with little predation by the ordinary facts of life. Maybe every crazy-ass prejudice and type of crazy will eventually have its own ecological niche.

Trump's Phoenix...Thing

Why is the president holding a campaign-type rally seven months into his first year in office?
Tried to make myself watch it...just couldn't do it.
This hinting around at pardoning Arpaio sounds like some tin-pot dictator lunacy.
I have no idea what the hell's even going on anymore.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Five Good Mattis Quotes

I had not heard some of these.

More Anti-Free-Speech Nonsense From the Left

The anti-free-speech movement seems to be the hot new progressive / "liberal" cause.

Trump's False / Misleading Claims Thus Far: Over 1000

Oldest Christopher Columbus Statue In The U.S. Vandalized (in Baltimore)

First, I do think it's important that something approximately like this was predicted (mostly by conservatives). The prediction was that removalism (or whatever you want to call it) would turn its attention on other historical monuments, specifically including those of Founders like Washington and Jefferson. I think this sort of thing confirms the prediction to some extent. (It is, of course, a separate question whether removalism should expand its scope; but many of us predicted that it would.)
   Second, Columbus was a bad guy, and I don't think that it's insane to bring this up and question our respect for him. I don't know what to think about such things...I have no fixed view on the topic. But Columbus was, in fact, brutal. (Unless I've been mislead about the historical facts.)
   Third, I think I am right to have expressed skepticism about the treason argument in support of Confederate statue removalism. I've never been convinced that removalism rested very heavily on that argument. For one thing, the PC/SJ left doesn't really care about treason. They're largely anarchists, and even those who aren't are largely anti-U.S. So I can't believe that they care much about treason. Of course the treason argument does carry weight for people like you and me. And that matters.
   Fourth, it probably goes without saying that I'm against this sort of destruction...but I'm less and less sure of what one is expected to profess anymore...
   And, not to keep seeming crazy, but I'm not insistent about recognizing the role of the hard left in C'ville violence for nothing. Being anti-Klan/anti-Nazi doesn't mean that we have to be blind to the danger on the other side. Or at least it doesn't to my mind...but I'm obviously in the minority, as I've acknowledged.


This Josh Whedon thing is Gamergate with the sexes reversed.
   Except that, in Gamergate, the bf/accuser was immediately declared the villain for having made public details about a woman's sex life. In this case, the accuser/wife is being treated as a hero for making public the alleged details of her husband's sex life.
   As in the Thomas Pogge incident, the standards are reversed when the sexes are reversed.
   The woman at the center of Gamergate is now a middlebrow / PC / SJ heroine, the subject of a recent hagiographical essay in NY Magazine (which, incidentally, contained all the standard inaccuracies about Gamergate, and then some.)
   Quinn claimed to be harassed and threatened. Whedon, already the subject of PC internet dogpiling for minor SJ faux pas, will undoubtedly get the business again. Whether he will be threatened remains to be seen...though keep in mind: Quinn and her cohort lie about and exaggerate such things routinely. Being oppressed = SJ cred. I fear is the PC/SJ trump card. So there is a strong incentive to lie. Also: scummy though such harassers are, it's not at all clear that internet threats should count as real threats.
   Things are complicated. Gamergate involved threats and harassment, but that's not what it was. It was, in part, an objection to the incestuous state of games journalism (which I don't care much about), and it was a revolt against the PC-ification of games journalism. Games journalism struck back by declaring Gamergate to be inherently and essentially misogynistic--and the SJ-controlled mainstream and not-quite-mainstream media backed them up. The PC left responds to disagreement by declaring those who disagree to be evil, hateful, prejudiced...some sort of -ist or -phobe. This is a rhetorically effective strategy, and a lesson to any who might have the temerity to speak up in the future.
   Look, life is complicated, and these things are complicated, and you probably don't care about Josh Whedon or Gamergate. I really don't either...except insofar as they are microcosms of the overall current battle between PC / SJ and the forces of sanity.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Game Of Thrones: "Beyond The Wall"

Boy, that show has gone downhill fast. It's dawdled along, often at a snail's pace, for six seasons...and now it's suddenly just cramming shit in hand over fist. This is a stupid thing to worry about, but I can't help complaining about it.
[spoiler alert]
First...this mission makes no sense whatsoever. There's virtually no reason to think that showing Cersei one alleged white walker has any chance at all to completely change her mind. It's just idiotic to undertake this extraordinarily risky mission aiming at an entirely speculative outcome. Second, the banter among the missionaries was pretty good in some cases...but, again, everything is rushed. What might have taken an entire season previously is now crammed into a single episode. Third...ah, screw it. Look, they conveniently come upon the small band of walkers...defeat them easily...then it turns out that they all have some kind of scream power to summon all the other walkers instantly. Somehow Gendry out of the blue becomes "the fastest one" of them...when did that become clear? So he's sent for help.... and the rest of them make for a frozen lake with a rock in the middle of it...aaaand it was basically clear what was going to happen from there on out. Oh and: somehow they make it to the big rock with the tied up walker...though they're running for their lives the whole time. Who was carrying the extra 100-or-so pounds, we don't know. The whole rock-in-the-frozen-lake thing is like a bad D&D session. It's a transparent, shitty set-up for a heroic last stand and last-minute rescue. Oh and...where did all the 0-level human cannon-fodder come from? Every time somebody died, it turned out to be somebody I didn't even know was in the group. And the worst part was the bullshit time dilation. Gendry runs to the wall, they send a raven to the southernmost point on the continent, and the dragons all fly back hours? A day? What? It makes no sense whatsoever. The death and resurrection of a dragon or two was pretty likely at some point...but...where the hell did they get those chains? And Benjen coming out of the blue, just to get eaten...shiiiiii.... Also...the Jon and Dany really feelin' it, though everybody had to know it was coming.

ACLU Of Virginia Response To Governor's Allegations That ACLU Is Responsible For Violence In C'ville

This, too, seems interesting/important.

Mayor Signer Declared C'Ville A "Capital Of Resistance"

How To Safely Watch The Eclipse Or CNN

Buzzfeed: "What Really Happened In Charlottesville"

This seems to me to be a pretty interesting and important account.

Scientific American: The New Science Of Sex And Gender

What would you say are the odds that these articles are all apolitical and reasonably objective?
   I'm rooting for them to be...but I wouldn't bet so much as a dollar on it.

Roy Moore Leads GOP Run-Off Opponent By 20 Points


Needless to say, it was Old Testament here--real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling. 40 years of darkness. Earthquakes. Volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave. Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria.

Antifa Speaker: "F*ck Your F*cking Constitution"

Doubleplus politicallyungood to mention this.

Our Advanced Astronomy Set-Up Here At The Institute

Sam Clovis, USDA

Now that's the Trump I know and...wish I didn't...
Where does he even find these guys?

Romney Criticizes Trump Re: C'Ville

So, again: I'm not denying that my perspective on all this is off-kilter. My guess would be that it's an overly-literal turn of mind, combined with having had the misfortune of seeing both the actual Tuesday press conference and the bizarre CNN response. And probably also: being over-eager for people to recognize the threat posed by Antifa and the violent left. The Klan, Nazis, etc. are a current obsession is with the left...and my guess is that that's part of what's making me diverge from the consensus on all this... 
   Anyway, Romney writes: 
I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president's Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.
   It would seem to me (ignoring the stuff in my first paragraph) that this is Romney acknowledging that Trump didn't actually say what people are saying that he said, but indicating that that's the way it came across. However, that's not what he (Romney) actually says. It's a bit hard to explain why Romney would start out that way if he didn't realize that Trump didn't say what he's being accused of saying...but, again, I've kinda given up on the "discern the secret meaning" game with respect to all this... Something seems to have skewed my interpretation of Trump's Tuesday comments.  (Though there then remains the problem of the Saturday and Monday comments...which, as I understand it, I'm also crazy with respect to...)
  Anyway, Romney says that Trump's statement made the Klan et al. happy and the rest of us sad. He then says that Trump's "apologists" "strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard"... Which I guess could be true, but, (i) I really haven't heard much of that; I though that basically everyone denounced everything he said; and (ii) honestly, it seems very easy to argue that he didn't mean what "we" heard...because all you really have to do is point to what he actually said...  But...anyway... 
   Then we get: "but what we heard is now the reality." I'd hate to appear any crazier than I already do...but it's a little hard for me not to see this meaning something like You didn't say that p, but that's what everybody thinks, so you might as well have said that p. That is the general sort of thing people mean when they say things like "this is now our reality." That's typically a cagey phrase, meant non-literally--and that is an issue that I can speak about with some authority... 
   Then we get the request for Trump to address the issue.
   So, it's a bit hard for me not to see this as confirmation of my take...which isn't inconsistent with the meta-point I've made from the beginning: sane people have to acknowledge that, with respect to cases like this, if it's you vs. everybody else, you're probably the crazy one.
   What should Trump do:  not my area, man. 
   But my guess would be:
   I guess make another statement. For the love of God, get Obama to help you write it or something. If only there were a way to get Obama to deliver it...  Anyway, this disaster has to be addressed...but, honestly, the best that can happen, IMO, is to distract everyone with a smaller, more recent failure. If the Saturday and Monday statements were interpreted as being pro-racist, it's hard for me to figure out what you can say that won't be interpreted that way. The Tuesday press conference was a disaster in a large number of ways--don't have a press conference! We already know what will happen. Make an address. The problem, as I see it, is that you're in a dilemma with respect to blame for the violence. you can state the truth (that elements of both sides came ready/eager to fight (it's basically Antifa's stated purpose), both sides initiated some of the violence, etc.), which will cause another spasm of hysteria in the media, because they will twist that into a "moral equivalence" claim. Or you can lie about it and say that the protesters were 10,000% responsible for the violence in every way. Honestly not sure what to do there... If we are to defer to the collective judgment of the majority, then the thing to do is brain basically shuts down at that point... Anyway, you have to say much more clearly this time: there is no moral equivalence being proposed between Nazis and peaceful, anti-Nazi protesters. You garbled the point last time, you gotta say it clearly this time.
   Ah, screw it. 
   There's more of interest in the Romney statement, but I've gotta quit obsessing about all this.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pro-Trump "Mother Of All Rallies," Juggalo March On Washington To Occur On Same Day

I hate everybody right now.

David Marcus: "How Anti-White Rhetoric Is Fueling White Nationalism"

Not great, but I, too, am concerned about the main concern.

Franklin Haiman, "The Remedy Is More Speech"

Elon Musk, Luddite

What kind of pantywaist is against killer robots? Why should we have to kill everybody ourselves in an age of automation? What are we, savages?

"These People Must Not Like Boy Scouts": "The Audacity of Talking to the Klan"

Daryl Davis converts Klansmen by befriending them.

Demonstrators In Columbus, OH, Rally For Removal Of Christopher Columbus Statue

Symbols Of The Far Right (And Counter-Protesters)

Man, these guys gotta lotta symbols.
   One important slogan they leave out is the infamous "fourteen words," i.e.: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." This phrase is a super big-ass deal among the white power types. They're extremely into talking about "white families" and "white children." If there's one thing these people enjoy talking about more than being white, it's getting together with other white people and making more white people. They are all about the reproduction--or at least talking about it.

MTP 8/20/17: Two Worthwhile Segments

First, a segment with Andrew Young. I was interested to see what he had to say, as he's a guy I respect, and I wasn't actually completely sure precisely how he'd come down on this. I thought he had some really good things to say. Inspiring, actually.
   Second, a discussion/debate between Richard Cohen of the SPLC, and Mark Brey, author of a book on antifa. I haven't liked the direction of the SPLC in recent years, but I thought Cohen did a really good job (though I'm more sympathetic to his position). He basically just stated the ordinary arguments, but did so well. Brey, meh. I thought his arguments were generally pretty bad. They mostly had to do with Europe in the '20s and '30s, and I doubt their applicability to 21st-century America. He also tried to pull the standard BS lefty move that equates hateful speech with physical attacks--and Cohen called him on it. No reasonable person denies that violence is sometimes necessary in defense of the innocent. But it's crucial to try to minimize that sort of thing.

Blood In The Face

I expect I've mentioned it before over the years, but this made a huge impression on me back in the day. It's still one of my favorite documentaries, and I basically can't recommend it highly enough. NSFW, unsurprisingly. And it's not going to make you feel good about humanity.

Mnuchin's Statement On C'ville / Response To Requests To Resign In Protest: A Case Study In The Prevailing Madness

Link  to Mnuchin's statement.
Politico story.
Open letter to Mnuchin from Yale classmates.
Excerpt of interest to me:
We [ask you to resign] because President Trump has declared himself a sympathizer with groups whose values are antithetical to those values we consider fundamental to our sacred honor as Americans, as men and women of Yale, and as decent human beings. President Trump made those declarations loudly, clearly, and unequivocally, and he said them as you stood next to him.
This is false, and it illustrates what I've been trying to say about Trump's press conference and the response thereto: you can draw all sorts of bad conclusions about Trump, and I'll be right there with you. But a certain proposition has taken hold on the left and in the media (and to some extent even on the right, it seems)--that he "loudly, clearly, and unequivocally" said that he supports or sympathizes with white supremacists.
   And that just isn't true.
   It's falsified by observation of the press conference video and inspection of the transcripts.
   Perhaps you think that he was expressing those ideas though he didn't actually say them. Perhaps you think that what he said reveals his actual beliefs, and those beliefs make him a white supremacist. I've already admitted that I'm not great at figuring such things out, and should probably leave such tasks to others. But as for the assertion that it's what he actually, explicitly, clearly said: it is not.
   Here's another general idea that's animating my disagreement with the prevailing theory (or "narrative"--ugh): if Trump is so obviously terrible, then you shouldn't have to make shit up about him. You shouldn't even have to spin and stretch and exaggerate. The worse he is, the less you should have to fudge things.
   But the left (which includes much of the "MSM," I'd say) is, IMO, in the grip of Trump Derangement Syndrome...and only the worst things you can think and say about him are acceptable to those in its grip.
   Personally, I think that there's an extremely strong anti-Trump case to be made on the basis of the actually-available, unspun, not-at-all-made-up evidence. Not that it matters what I think. The point I'm trying to make here would be no weaker if I were a Trump supporter. In fact, even mentioning my position against Trump is probably cheating. I basically think that the left simply won't take seriously arguments originating from the right anymore--it's all ad hominems all the time.
   I understand this stuff making people crazy. What could be more understandable? But that doesn't mean that it's good to be crazy about it, nor bad to be sane. And I'm afraid that's where we've gone. Only the arguments of good people are to be admitted to the discussion, and all good people must be out of their minds with hatred of white supremacists. Anything less than ecstatic religious fervor is suspect. Any effort to be dispassionate is self-discrediting.
   I maintain the retrograde notion that truth matters, no less now than ever. And I find the lurking idea that maybe it shouldn't matter in cases like this to be alarming in the extreme.

Standard disclaimer: I could be wrong.

The Road To Hate: For Six Young Men, Charlottesville Is Only The Beginning

This is bad.
   We had this stuff minimized. It'll never go away entirely--it's stupid to aim or hope for that. But we had it minimized for a decent stretch of time, and now it's back, and with a purpose.
   None of this part surprises me:
That radicalization was rooted, he said, in his own feelings of alienation, which intensified when he went to Indiana University and confronted an elite he soon came to disdain. “They made fun of my accent and overbite and they called me white trash and hillbilly,” Parrott said. “I was never able to identify with a single person.”
   The biggest mistake is letting this stuff start up again. It's gone from being comatose to being back on its feet and filled with hope and purpose. It would have been easier to keep it comatose. It may very well be difficult to contain at this point.
   We screwed up, and now we've got another problem.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wreckage of U.S.S. Indianapolis Found 3.5 Miles Beneath The Philippine Sea

Charles C. W. Cooke, "Let's Rethink Free Speech"

It is high time that the ACLU moved onto the right side of History and abandoned the “narrow reading” of the First Amendment that is the result of 50 years of unanimous Supreme Court precedent. In lieu, it must focus on working toward more diverse and productive ends, such as giving Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump the robust censorship powers that they so richly and urgently deserve. The United States federal government is now run at every level by Republicans. So, indeed, are the lion’s share of the governors’ mansions, statehouses, and localities. If the ACLU really knuckles down, it can ensure that these figures — and not pernicious “neutral” principle — determine the edges and contours of America’s civil society.
Don’t bore me with your objections. Park is a smart woman, and she knows what “hate” is. We all do. Hate is hate. It is not speech; it’s hate. Sometimes hate is violence, even when no action is attached. How do I know, you might ask? I know because hate is, by definition, hateful, and that means it’s not speech. And why isn’t it speech? Because it’s hate, and hate isn’t speech. This is basic common sense, rejected only by haters.

The Left Pushes NYT Reporter Into Retracting Her Report Saying That The Far Left Was just as Violent And Hate-Filled As The Far Right In C-Ville

The hard right sucks--but the hard left sucks and largely has control of the media.
(Townhall link...but I'm too lazy to archive it. Also, I'm starting to think that conservative sources are starting to earn those clicks.)

A Charlottesville Counter-Protester Uses A Purely Defensive Flamethrower In Purely Defensive Self-Defense

Lucky for him he just happened to have it with him.

Boston "Free Speech" Rally Ends Early Amid Flood Of Counter-protesters; 27 People Arrested

Thank God the free speech (or "free speech" as the Washington Post put it) rally was shut down.
   Speech, as is obvious, should only be free when it is popular. I certainly hope that these people have been taught a lesson. America will not stand for free free speech speech. If people with unpopular opinions are allowed to assemble and speak, this could lead to the free and open discussion of ideas. God bless the real Americans who stood up against the free exchange of ideas. I'm sure you'll all agree that there is nothing more patently unAmerican than that.
   We're not told which side the 27 people were I guess it could be either side, huh? I mean, I guess the media would totally let us know regardless of which side they were on.

Sullivan: "Contradictory and Misleading Details" About Tiki-Torch March

The march across the grounds pisses me off so, so very much more than the rally at Lee park. I'm trying to remain vaguely sane and objective about all this, but I basically lose my shit every time I see people marching up the lawn chanting 'blood and soil'. Honestly, as staunch a defender as I consider myself to be of the First Amendment, I'm not sure I could have held my shit together had I been there and seen that. Somewhat more honestly: I'm pretty sure I couldn't have.
   God bless America...Nazis have rights too...what a god-damned crazy experiment this is. Credo quia absurdum est, and I ain't lyin'.

Counter-Protesters *Did* (Sorta) Have Permits

Apparently the C'ville counter-protesters did have permits. At first this seemed very significant to me...but then I found out that their permits were to assemble in McGuffy Park and Jackson/Justice park. So--unless there's something about permits that I don't know--they had no business in Lee/Emancipation park. Here's a map showing what's what and where. So really I guess this doesn't matter.
   Also, we desperately need to know who started the fights. You'd think we'd have drone footage out the'd think wrong, then, I guess...

Trump Inspires Thousands Of Kids To Believe That They Could One Day Grow Up To Be President Of The Confederacy

God bless The Onion

Vice Documentary Dude Further Humiliated

   Behold, the master race.
   I'm not 100,000% down with the left's penchant for doxing people and destroying their lives...but it's hard not to find this pretty satisfying. Chris Cantwell is the repulsive dude from the Vice mini-documentary about C'Ville (highlights: expressing his revulsion at the thought of Ivanka Trump marrying a Jew; pulling out three or four concealed backups for his AR-15). By far the most satisfying part is that he turns out to be a big crybaby. Jesus Christ, is this guy representative of...whatever he is? Or is he a particularly grotesque case of it?
   I've gotta stop reading about this stuff. It's become an obsession at this point.

Scott Adams: How You Know You're In A Mass Hysteria Bubble

I don't really know much about this guy beyond Dilbert, but we seem to be on pretty much the same page about the greatest crisis of all time of the moment, Herr Obergruppenfuhrer Trump's unequivocal declaration of the American Reich/ the New Confederacy/ Mordor II. I don't agree with everything he writes, but I think it's basically near the target.
   I guess I shouldn't joke about this, because if I'm wrong, I'm totally screwed beyond any hope of redemption. However, even if I'm right I'm totally screwed anyway given our new national commitment to the principle that Feelz > Reelz. Failure to join the shrieking mass denunciations = literally Hitler. (The country's screwed pretty much whether I'm right or wrong; just screwed in different ways, depending.)
   Also note: Nowhere in any of my squawking have I declared that I am not a Nazi and not a Klansman! Nor that I am even against Nazis and against the Klan! Nor even that having a racist President would be bad!! What do you think the best explanation of that is?????
   And, also, I actually have little doubt that Trump will go on to basically conform to the accusations out of sheer contrariness. And that will be interpreted as confirmation of the accusations. The Twitter defense of Confederate statuary is, I guess, just the first step in this direction. Besides, he's escalated nuclear tensions with NK and managed to get branded a Nazi within the space of like two weeks. He's simply not up to this job even under normal conditions--and certainly not under prevailing conditions.

NYT: "Trump's Embrace Of Racially-Charged Past Puts GOP In Crisis"

   So now the characterization of what Trump said has evolved into he embraced our "racially-charged" past:
   President Trump’s embrace of the country’s racially charged past has thrown the Republican Party into crisis, dividing his core supporters who have urged him on from the political leaders who fear that he is leading them down a perilous and shortsighted path.
   The divisions played out in the starkly different responses across the party after Mr. Trump insisted that left-wing counterprotesters were as culpable as neo-Nazis and white supremacists for the bloodshed in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. Much of the right was ecstatic as they watched their president fume against the “violent” left and declare that “very fine people” were being besmirched for their involvement in the demonstration.
Since, as I've agreed, I'm obviously the crazy one here, I'm not in much of a position to say anything about what Trump did or didn't do overall, in the big picture, by suggestion or omission, etc. As I've admitted, when you think that p, and everybody else thinks that not-p, the smart money is typically on everybody else. However, what I can say is: that is not an uncontentious assessment of what he actually said in the notorious press conference on Charlottesville on 8/15.
   What he actually said seems to have been true--with the possible exception of the "good people" comment--which also seems to have been true, though it's less clear. (There's evidence for it in this NYT piece).
   This inaccurate headline is just one of hundreds...and it's actually one of the less-weird ones, I'd say, since at least it isn't clear what it would be to "embrace the country's racially-charged past." Other inaccuracies are more straightforwardly wrong (e.g. he defended white supremacists, he expressed support for white supremacists). It's also not, strictly speaking, accurate to claim that Trump said that the sides were equally culpable. What he said was that there was/is "blame on both sides." That doesn't, strictly speaking, mean that there's the same amount of blame on both sides. But that's a reasonable interpretation of what he said. (It should worry reasonable people that the most uncharitable interpretation is being chosen at every point...but at least, in this case, an "interpretation" isn't basically being just plain fabricated.)
   Truth matters, as I find myself needing to say over and over anymore.
   The fact that this has to be said at all is a strong indicator that things have gone rather far off the rails.
   The fact that a concern with the actual facts is now, apparently, racist means that we've started down an even more dismal and dangerous possible path.

ACLU Suggests Police Permitted C'Ville Violence In Order To Have Grounds To Declare A State Of Emergency

Because the First Amendment isn't for bad guys.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Could Russia Teach Us How To Deal With Confederate Statues?

My crazy idea is still: start by taking them off their pedestals, and bringing them down to earth. I suggest that this might make a really big difference. It's weird how much it matters that they tower over us.

Beinart: The Rise Of The Violent Left

Arrivederci, liberalism:
   Trump has changed that. For antifa, the result has been explosive growth. According to NYC Antifa, the group’s Twitter following nearly quadrupled in the first three weeks of January alone. (By summer, it exceeded 15,000.) Trump’s rise has also bred a new sympathy for antifa among some on the mainstream left. “Suddenly,” noted the antifa-aligned journal It’s Going Down, “anarchists and antifa, who have been demonized and sidelined by the wider Left have been hearing from liberals and Leftists, ‘you’ve been right all along.’ ” An article in The Nation argued that “to call Trumpism fascist” is to realize that it is “not well combated or contained by standard liberal appeals to reason.” The radical left, it said, offers “practical and serious responses in this political moment.” [my emphasis]
   Those responses sometimes spill blood. Since antifa is heavily composed of anarchists, its activists place little faith in the state, which they consider complicit in fascism and racism. They prefer direct action: They pressure venues to deny white supremacists space to meet. They pressure employers to fire them and landlords to evict them. And when people they deem racists and fascists manage to assemble, antifa’s partisans try to break up their gatherings, including by force.
   Such tactics have elicited substantial support from the mainstream left. When the masked antifa activist was filmed assaulting Spencer on Inauguration Day, another piece in The Nation described his punch as an act of “kinetic beauty.” Slate ran an approving article about a humorous piano ballad that glorified the assault. Twitter was inundated with viral versions of the video set to different songs, prompting the former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau to tweet, “I don’t care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I’ll laugh at every one.”
   The violence is not directed only at avowed racists like Spencer: In June of last year, demonstrators—at least some of whom were associated with antifa—punched and threw eggs at people exiting a Trump rally in San Jose, California. An article in It’s Going Down celebrated the “righteous beatings.”
And--post-C'ville--it's politically incorrect to even admit that the violent left is violent. It's like having the cloaking device, but being able to attack with it up. What, me bash someone over the head with a bike lock?
   We seem to be sliding toward an American politics and culture that is, basically, Nazis vs. Commies. The muscular liberalism that won WWII and the cold war is busy cowering in the corner...or making excuses for the leftier of the two psychopathic groups. 
   I don't think this is a done deal, but any stretch of the imagination. But that's where the progressive establishment seems to want us to go.


Don't let the screen door bang your ass on the way out.

Are We In The Midst Of A Moral Panic?

Starting to seem that way to me.
   Not sure how cogent the concept is, but I guess it'll do for now.
   It's starting to seem to me that racism is now being treated a bit like witchcraft or demonic possession. Anybody might be one (or be infected by it). Accusations fly in every direction--and the truth of the accusations doesn't matter or barely matters. The best way to avoid being accused is to be fanatical in your opposition to the evil...and, of course, to accuse others liberally, and believe accusations readily. If you're accused, denial is fruitless, and only shows that you're both guilty and a liar. Best to fess up and be seen as guilty and repentant. Concern about the truth of accusations is a sign of insufficient persecutory enthusiasm.
   To me, it seems like mass hysteria--online and in the media, anyway. IRL I'm not seeing any uptick, though, in academia, things have been moving in this direction for quite awhile. Maybe I'll see something when the semester starts.

Robert E. Lee Discouraged Monuments; They 'Keep Open The Sores Of War'

This is immensely important, it seems to me:
   [Lee] expressed his views in two famous letters that are now recirculating widely in the wake of Charlottesville.
   The first was to Thomas Rosser, a former Confederate general who in 1866 queried Lee about a proposed commemorative monument.
   “My conviction is,” Lee wrote, “that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; & of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.”
   Lee thought it better to tend to the graves of the fallen. “All I think that can now be done, is to aid our noble & generous women in their efforts to protect the graves & mark the last resting places of those who have fallen, & wait for better times.”  
   God bless historians. I actually felt a little bit like bursting into tears when I read this. (In a totally masculine way, of course...) There are several non-trivial objections one could obviously make to this appeal to Lee's authority--but, honestly, I think that this is as close as we ever get to a conclusive answer to a question of this kind. And add to this the fact that most such statuary doesn't date from the time of the war, but from the early 20th century...and, seriously, I think the case in favor of doing something up to and including moving the average Confederate statue into a more museum-like setting has gotten very powerful. (Which is not to say that there aren't reasons on the other side that might emerge tomorrow.)
   We're still stuck with some thorny aspects of the problem--e.g. given that the war and its personalities and symbols have become part of Southern culture, how does this alter the question?* (And, remember, the lost cause idea is powerful and common, and doesn't itself have anything to do with slavery.) And, even if we agree that we should defer to Lee's authority and take his advice, what sort of timetable should we think in terms of? Personally, I think that the current spasm of Confederacy "erasure" (to use a term beloved of the left) is a bad idea...but nothing's optimal anywhere in this vicinity.) IMO a lot of what's going on now is motivated by anger and the desire to punish the conservative South...and I can't believe that this is exactly invisible, especially to those who feel as if they're on the receiving end of it. So I suspect that a choice will have to be made. We can have something more like a fast, decisive, punitive wave that sweeps away these monuments and leaves a lot of anger in its wake...or we can try to figure out some way that is more judicious. OTOH, the obvious response is: it's a straightforward question of where the psychological harm is going to be felt: among black Americans or conservative southerners. I want to say, as usual: go slow. But that has its costs, too.
   Well, I'm no good at thinking about stuff like this--this is all kind of just musing.
   For now I'm just going to be something approximating happy about having found that there's someone with a kind of genuine epistemic / moral authority that may be able to decide this issue for us.
   Kinda funny that Lee may end up demonstrating that he's more worthy of admiration than we thought precisely by providing us with reasons for removing statues to him.

*Not to put too fine a point on it, but: deciding whether to remove a statue is different than deciding whether or not to put one up.

Trump's Charlottesville Press Conference 7

Infrastructure question, go ahead.
QUESTION: Should the statue of Robert E. Lee stay up?
TRUMP: I would say that's up to a local town, community, or the federal government, depending on where it is located.
QUESTION: Are you against the Confederacy?
QUESTION: How concerned are you about race relations in America? And do you think things have gotten worse or better since you took office?
TRUMP: I think they've gotten better or the same – look, they've been frayed for a long time. And you can ask President Obama about that, because he'd make speeches about it.
But I believe that the fact that I brought in – it will be soon, millions of jobs, you see where companies are moving back into our country, I think that's going to have a tremendous positive impact on race relations. We have companies coming back into our country. We have two car companies that just announced. We have Foxconn in Wisconsin just announce. We have many companies I say pouring back into the country.
I think that's going to have a huge, positive impact on race relations. You know why? It's jobs. What people want now, they want jobs. They want great jobs with good pay. And when they have that, you watch how race relations will be.
And I'll tell you, we're spending a lot of money on the inner cities. We're going to fix – we're fixing the inner cities. We're doing far more than anybody's done with respect to the inner cities. It's a priority for me. And it's very important.
Should statues of Lee stay up? Local decision.
Good answer. I usually deride illicitly misinterpreting such questions as political/legal/procedural ones...but in this case, I think it's the best way to go.

Have race relations gotten better or worse? Is anything other than answering 'worse' going to be considered acceptable? It's hard not to say 'worse' in the wake of C'ville... Dunno whether this is the sort of thing that can be quantified. Perhaps he should have said something like This was a difficult weekend for the nation, and we shouldn't rush to conclude that it is a trend rather than a blip...  But Trump doesn't give such answers.

MD Removes Taney Statue From State House Grounds In The Dark Of Night

Ok, this is just getting creepy.
   The very fact that this is happening all at once, in a kind of spasm, is creeping me out almost more than anything else. And, again, I'm not even firmly against removing such statues. C'ville voted to remove the Lee statue in due course after due deliberation. But this scramble to suddenly take down statues right and left--and now expanding the targets beyond Civil War figures per se... This just seems bizarre to me. Though Scott v. Sanford really is an embarrassment, of course.
   It's some consolation that this may be happening to keep the hard right away, because no one wants another C'ville-type event in their neck of the woods. A bit of poetic justice.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ex-Neo-Nazis Explain What's Driving The Far Right

I have no idea whether any of this is accurate..

Will C'Ville Accelerate The Split Between Liberalism And The Radical Left?

Here's one Natasha Lennard proclaiming antifa's anti-liberalism openly.
   Seems to me there are more crazy lefties now willing to admit that they aren't liberal. 
   Anti-liberalism is central to the hard left...but in the States they seem to keep it largely on the DL. With liberals flocking to side with antifa over C'ville, it seems like an odd time to come out...but maybe e.g. Lennard figures that there's no stopping the tectonic shift of the American left away from liberalism and toward the currently-fashionable cluster of anti-liberal alternatives.
   Shit is getting bad, and no lie.

Wolf Blitzer Wonders Whether Barcelona Attack Is Copycat Of C'ville Attack

Ok that's enough internet for tonight.

"Trump Enters Culture War With Call To Preserve Confederate Statues"

Raw Footage of C'ville Violence

   I've watched about ten of these things now, and one thing's perfectly clear: the view that the right-wing protesters were responsible for all of the violence isn't anywhere in the vicinity of the truth.
   Another thing that's fairly clear: firearms and violent right-v.-left riots: not a good mix. I'm kind of surprised nobody got shot (though, in this video, one of the wingnuts does threaten to shoot one of the moonbats).
   Jesus Christ it's utter madness.

Charlottesville Unite The Right Protest Video

This apparently has some connection with InfoWars, but it's still damn interesting.
   Comparing this to the Vice's like night and day.

Will Congress Remove Confederate Statues From the Capitol?

Trump's tweeting is, as you may find hard to believe, not helping.

How Big Is The Klan?

I groggily Googled this question, and ended up finding this.

The Klan, however, is--well, the ADL says about 3k, and the SPLC says about 6k. So that probably means about 3k. That's not great, obviously...but, by historical standards, it's pretty good. That's about the same size as (the Google also reveals) the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates. Also, the SUNA looks a little more capable in a fight. So could be worse. It was about 3-6,000,000 around 1924, when the whole population was only about 110,000,000. And I'm sure it wasn't randomly distributed across states, if ya know what I'm sayin. That had to suck. At least we're not dealing with that.

(In my extensive research, I also discovered that the Klan has a website! (here), and a web store where you can buy some of that sweet Klan gear you've been needing. Though...honestly...some of that stuff...looks kinda racist...
Also, according to a shirt they have for sale, the Klan is apparently an LLC. Which, I have to admit, is probably a pretty good idea if you're the Klan...)

Trump's Claim That There Were Good People / Non-White-Supremacists At The C'Ville Rally Turns Out To Be True

Well, I was wrong about being wrong.
[h/t J. Carthensis]

And now I need a break from this for awhile.

[Of course this doesn't tell us how many such people are there--and just a few won't do to make Trump's claim significantly true. But this accords with the view of the rally that's out there in the rightosphere, so far as I can tell, so I was assuming that there were more. But that does, technically, remain to be seen.]

Trump's Charlottesville Press Conference 6

Ok, here's the core of the thing:

TRUMP: OK, what about the alt-left that came charging them (ph)? Excuse me. What about the alt-left that came charging at the – as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?
QUESTION: Mr. Trump...
TRUMP: Let me ask you this. What about the fact they came charging – that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.
TRUMP: As far as I'm concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.
Wait a minute, I'm not finished.
I'm not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day...
TRUMP: I will tell you something. I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you have – you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now. You had a group – you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Do you think that the – what you call the alt-left is the same as neo-Nazis?
TRUMP: Those people – all of those people – excuse me. I've condemned neo-Nazis. I've condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were White Supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.
So – excuse me. And you take a look at some of the groups and you see – and you'd know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you're not, but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.
So this week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?
You know, you all – you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop? But they were there to protest – excuse me. You take a look, the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.

When I re-read this, I came to think that something really bad/unfortunate happens here between the last chunk and this one: the question "What is the alt-right?" gets dropped. I think it was weird (and maybe even an expression of disrespect) to ask the POTUS to define the term in the middle of a press conference--it was probably meant to embarrass him by asking him a question almost nobody knows the answer to. But I do think that it would have been good to have at least gotten out on the table the point that almost nobody seems to know what it is.
Still, Trump manages to get a really, really important point out on the table: a segment of the American left--the "alt-left" in his terminology--has become extremely violent, and was responsible for part of the violence in Charlottesville. This really is a crucial point. It transcends even the terrible events in C'ville. It's a big problem, it's not addressed with sufficient seriousness by the media, and it seems to be not-entirely-disapproved of by the more mainstream left. The violent left made a bad situation worse in C'ville.
Question: "Do you think that the...alt-left is the same as neo-Nazis?"
A good question. We need clarification on that.
Trump then reiterates his condemnation of Neo-Nazis... (Strange days indeed when this is required, eh?)
He then asserts that not everyone there was a white supremacist...and that's huge. And, though this isn't getting as much attention as some of the crazy points people are making, this is where I think Trump screws up bad. I didn't realize how bad this was when I watched, nor when I first read the transcript. I'd been informed that there were a lot of straight-up conservatives at the rally, and that the racists and white nationalists etc. were a fringe that the core participants had tried to keep out. And that many people were there hoping to peacefully protest the removal of the Lee statue. So far as I can now tell, that's all wrong. I've seen no evidence that there was a core or even a fringe of non-racists there. That's an embarrassing enough mistake when I make's tragic when the President of the United States makes it. It doesn't change the fact that they had a right to protest...bad people have rights, too. But it's a really terrible mistake to make, and it significantly changes my judgment about Trump's comments. You just can't make that kind of mistake. You just can't make it. It doesn't alter the fact that he's just said that the racists suck...he's merely wrong about there being non-racists about... But really, in this context, under these conditions, about this topic...Jesus...
[ turns out that Trump was actually right about this.]
This week Lee, next week Washington...true, again. Everybody should see this one coming.

So, despite containing a crucially important truth, this is the segment in which things spin out, I'm afraid... He did not say that the two sides were morally equivalent, and he did not defend white supremacists...but he screwed up bigly.

What To Do About Political Demonstrations By Crazy People

The Klan marched down Franklin Street when I was in grad school, so we all spent a fair amount of time thinking about what the best response would be. Obviously the two most salient options are:
       (a) Go and jeer
       (b) Stay away and deny them an audience.
Ultimately, despite my curiosity, I decided that we ought to stay away.
   However, not everybody agreed, and lots of people went and jeered.
   Which made me realize that the stay away strategy wasn't going to work, because it really only works if everybody--or close to everybody--will do it. But they won't. Which seems to leave: go and jeer. Which I think is basically what they want...but I also think that a lot of people yelling at them is probably better than a few people yelling at them.
   (This is not to be confused with: Go and physically attack people to deny them an opportunity for free expression of their ideas.)
   I had fantasies of talking everyone into going about their business on Franklin, assiduously refusing to give any indication that they were even aware of the Klansmen... Not realistic, obviously...but I think that'd be pretty effective, and I really wish it could be pulled off.
   It doesn't matter to me all that much that there's no good, workable, direct response, because I don't think we should put our eggs in that basket anyway. The remedy, as we know--or as we ought to know--is more speech. If the rest of us want to say our peace, too, then we should hold our own event. If racists want to publicly and collectively express their belief in the moral equivalent of a flat Earth, that's their right. Raging against them seems to betray some kind of confusion--as if their minds could be changed by it or something. Our ideas will win out, but not like that, not by just being expressed loudly and angrily at people who have already set their hearts against them. That's just not the way such things work.

What The Hell's The Alt-Right, Anyway?

Hundreds Gather At UVA Against White Nationalism

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence"

Well done, 'Hoos.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

David Rothkopf: "Donald Trump Gave The Most Disgusting Public Performance In The History Of The American Presidency"

This lying and hysteria about what Trump said is actually making the guy look pretty good by comparison:
   Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon gave the most disgusting public performance in the history of the American presidency. Framed by the vulgar excess of the lobby of Trump Tower, the president of the United States shook loose the constraints of his more decent-minded advisers and, speaking from his heart, defended white supremacists and by extension, their credos of hatred. He equated with those thugs the courageous Americans who had gathered to stand up to the racism, anti-Semitism and doctrine of violence that won the cheers and Nazi salutes of the alt-right hordes to whom Trump felt such loyalty.
   After several days in which Trump and his advisers wrestled with what should have been a straightforward task — condemning the instigators of the unrest that rocked Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend — Trump revealed the reason that finding those words was such a struggle. He, too, is an extremist.
   No one who values the best of what the United States has stood for could watch without feeling revulsion, anger or heartbreak...
   Look, what Trump said is a matter of public record. These are just lies. Compare them to what was actually said. I don't like the didn't like what he thought it was thought it was a travesty...hell, you thought it deserves impeachment...whatever the merits of your case, you can hold those opinions if you like. But the delusional hysteria, the flat-out lying about what he said...that's just plain nuts.
   For whatever reason I keep thinking back to the McEnroe-Williams dust-up. The facts in the case were clear. What McEnroe said was clear. There was virtually no wiggle room whatsoever...barely any room at all for intellectual dishonesty to operate...and yet...lies found a way... A trivial issue, a handful of statements, virtually no latitude for bullshit to get a grip...and it still turned into a massive argument.
   What's going on here is basically the same thing--but with much more at stake, a much larger and more garbled set of assertions, a much bigger backstory, and about ten thousand times as much emotion in play. 
   I'm happy to be done with Trump. I don't like the guy one damn bit. And if I thought people were all just BSing to drag him down, that'd be one thing. But watching someone get dragged down by this's starting to seem worse than keeping him.