Log in

No account? Create an account
Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Current Thoughts 
23rd-Jan-2018 07:26 pm - Popularity
This is the wrong place to look for thoughts on popularity: I'm not popular. Only an eighth of the population is less popular, going by the Livejournal rankings, and few of them post often enough to count at all.

Now, on unpopularity: it's not only survivable, but easy on the temperament, since few people will bother to argue with me on anything I post. Being uncontested, I'm unbeaten, if not unbeatable.
Today, science tells us that the essence of nature is passion.

By invocation, we believe. Nothing is impossible.

It can be difficult to know where to begin.

Our conversations with other seekers have led to an ennobling of pseudo-advanced consciousness. Reality has always been aglow with starseeds whose souls are immersed in coherence. Humankind has nothing to lose.

We are at a crossroads of synchronicity and suffering. Who are we? Where on the great story will we be aligned? We are in the midst of a spiritual blossoming of rebirth that will be a gateway to the galaxy itself.

Imagine an invocation of what could be. Parvati will amplify our connection to non-dual aspiration. The future will be an ever-present flowering of fulfillment.

Although you may not realize it, you are angelic.

Dogma is born in the gap where power has been excluded. Only a visitor of the quantum soup may create this reimagining of passion. Without life-force, one cannot believe.

Awareness is a constant. Consciousness consists of atomic ionization of quantum energy. “Quantum” means an unveiling of the eternal. We exist as electromagnetic resonance.

Are you baffled by this? Go here, and re-ionize.
This time, a study from the Wharton School which points out that people who accuse others of being unethical get points from people who see them do this because they assume that the accusation is correct ("no smoke without fire") and that the accuser has a high standard of ethics ("they must know what is ethical to accuse others").

Neither of these assumptions are correct in my experience. The first is notorious among those who have experience in seeing others accused: the facts tend to be exaggerated or falsified in a way ordinarily requiring a journalist. The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect applies in spades.

The second has a fun example from my experience: the mayor of Las Vegas in 2004 was accused of violating the ethics laws of his office by the state commission in charge of its enforcement. He won the court battle on the subject in 2006, since he had actually read the law applicable, and the accusers had not. Self-righteousness is, as it turns out, not the law.

The new strategy, pointed out by Vox Day, is to urge the adoption of an ethics code sufficiently vague to condemn anything you want to condemn. The result? A number of coders will not contribute to projects with a code of conduct, simply to avoid the people who want one.

Actually resisting the code of conduct has occurred, but it caused a lot of trouble for its valiant proponent from the dust bunny involved, to the point he had to protect his Twitter feed from SJW interference. Replacements designed to avoid the problem, like the "code of merit" or the "no code", have not gained a wide following simply because of the flood of "but can we amend this" responses from non-contributors.
1st-Dec-2017 06:11 pm - New English: The Missing Consonant
I've written before about the changes in the meaning of words from the time I grew up to the present. I'm about to turn 62, and those had the ring of "You Kids Get Off My Lawn!" to a couple of friends.

This one is just puzzlement.

When I was growing up, there was a consonant used to begin certain words by all classes of people: "WHat WHen WHere WHy WHether WHerefore WHet WHip WHey" -- got the pattern? at those WH places, there was a strong breath through narrowed lips, good enough to put out a candle or blow a paper. It showed up on WHy with added emphasis for many people when they didn't understand how they could possibly have deserved the disaster they were facing.

For my daughter, on the other hand, those words have no "H", and no breath. "Wut, Wen, Were, Wy, Wether, Werefore, Wut does Wet mean, Dad? Wip, Wut does Wey mean, Dad?"

If it began with WH in the dictionary, it had this sound. But doesn't now, and causes its own occasional confusion as a spelling problem.

Are there any other consonants disappearing that I should have noticed?
“Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.”
For a lawyer in the US, this is surprisingly salient.
"We live in the age of books. They pour out for us from the press in an ever-increasing multitude. And we are always reading manuals, textbooks, articles, books of devotion, books of criticism, books about the Bible, books about the Gospels, all are devoured with avidity. But what amount of time and labor do we give to the consideration of the Gospels themselves? We're constantly tempted to imagine that we get good more quickly by reading some modern statement of truth which we find comparatively easy to appropriate because it is presented to us in a shape, and from a standpoint, with which our education, or it may be partly association, has made us familiar. But the good we acquire readily is that that which enters most deeply into our being and becomes an abiding possession. It would be well if we could realize quite simply that nothing worth the having is to be gained without the winning. The great truths of nature are not offered to us in such a form as to make it easy to grasp them. The treasures of grace must be sought with all the skill and energy which are characteristic of the man who is searching for goodly pearls."

In a nutshell, why I will always prefer the KJV to the modern translations, other than the obvious criticism, which is that modern translators don't have good texts, don't pay attention to cross-references, and apparently don't understand either the original languages or English well enough to do a good job.
20th-Aug-2017 07:34 am - The Automatic Censorship Machine

As noted in this article in PJ Media, Google is teaming up with the ADL and the notoriously vicious Southern Poverty Law Center's hate list to create a new weapon of censorship, based on harassing supporters and advertisers. It's an act of aggression by the goody-goody types to keep everyone else in their lane. The contagion of goody-goody thought is noted here, where assault on people who advocate free speech is the goal.

Deciding to attack based on a list of the unrighteous is, of course, bad theology: we are saved by God individually, not because we are members of a righteous group of some sort. Bad theology of this sort can be found on the right (in various nationalist movements) and on the left (in various identity movements). The sad part of the movements on the left has been how well they train their enemies, as
pointed out by O'Neill:

"You are a white man. Check your privilege. Stay in your lane. You will never understand black people's lives or experiences. You're all about whiteness, that's how you're conditioned." -- SJWs

"I am a white man. What a privilege. I'm going to stay in my lane. I will never understand black people. I'm all about whiteness, it's how I'm conditioned." -- White Nationalists

It's hard to imagine a bigger contrast with Western Culture, and the proud declaration, "I am a man. Nothing human is alien to me." (Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto -- Terence), which opens the universe of humanity to exploration and understanding, and opposes the foolish "cultural appropriation" and "identity" movements that fail, again and again, to deal with the world as it is.

Music and literature both exist to explore the universe of human action, how we are who we are. Both are universal (most of the classical music I listen to has brilliant recordings by Japanese musicians -- cultural purists will note that Europe and Japan do not share most of their culture, but it is possible, and when possible, brilliant.) And that universality means that the shocking, and deeply moving, story in Genesis 22 communicates to us directly its puzzles, difficulties, and resolutions. Culture can be a source, but is not a barrier. Languages can be learned, and are not property, either: and sometimes the original language is not the best reflection of the author (Herman Hesse wrote in German, but is brilliant in English: Edgar Allen Poe wrote in English, but is brilliant in French).

The result of censorship is to impoverish this dialogue, and to remove from civilization the most important human civilizing influence: other people hearing, and reacting to what is written. In a famous example, the British National Party, which had echoed the nationalist aspirations of the continental fascists, slowly regained membership after WWII, to the point where the BBC finally had a leader present the position of the party on television (note that this is exactly what the SJWs are afraid of). The result of that speech, where everyone finally heard what they believed from the horse's mouth, was a sudden decrease in party membership, and a response of revulsion and disgust from most of the electorate (the opposite of the SJW prediction). People are fairly good at bringing others back into the dialogue, but only if they are free to talk without goody-goodies stepping into the conversation and insisting on their own moral condemnations.

This new plan is just another attempt by the goody-goodies to take over the dialogue. Confucius pointed out that goody-goodies are the thieves of virtue, "to try to be wholly righteous is to go beyond humanity and to be something that isn't human" in Alan Watts' paraphrase. It is they who need to be brought into the dialogue, too, because their attempt at censorship and condemnation should also be part of the discussion. Remember the BNP.

1st-Jul-2017 07:04 am - Blind Auditions
In symphony orchestras, auditions are conducted behind a sheet, so that the listeners react only to the virtuosity of the player, not their gender or looks. In music, this has led to more women playing.

What a wonderful idea, right?

What happens if we apply it more broadly?

Well, in Australia, which tried this out, it meant that more men were hired than women in Australian Public Service. Which, of course, was tragic, and means that it will be abandoned. We can't let equality upset the quotas for diversity, after all.

You might get more men. And, as a warning, if you don't get the mix you want in the orchestra, that might change back, too.
1st-Jul-2017 05:59 am - Rephrasing.
In my terms, this is a simple question.

So let's rephrase it as an ethics question, to disguise the truth.

Your child has come down with a terrible disease. Your local government has come to the end of its capacity to help your child survive with this disease, but you have come to understand that in another country, a treatment is being developed that might help.

You would like to take the child to that other country. Hope, even a slim one, looks better than despair.

The hospital has become aware of your wishes. They refuse to release the baby to you. They tell you that they want to cut off life support.

You apply to the courts. They also refuse. You appeal. Denied. You are told that you are interfering with your child's right to die with dignity.

They are not interested in doing anything further. The baby's life is to be sacrificed so that they can quit bothering about it. Actually doing something successful would be humiliating for the hospital at this point, and the doctors would feel sad. You wouldn't want doctors to feel sad, would you?

Discuss the parents' options at this point. Those who dismiss this as an "unreal possibility" may read the genesis of this problem here, with more details.

Those who say that moving to another country for surgery is unprecedented. Even dogs have more of a chance.

And those who say, in the face of this, that opposing state-run health care is somehow immoral, I would join with a friend to say that Giving the State the power over medical treatment decisions is not morally superior in any way whatsoever.

As a final, ironic note: the lawyer representing the guardian appointed by the state to supercede the parents' wishes prefers that the baby be put down like a dog. Not that ethical people have a problem with advocating for positions they do not support, right?

And we come to the end of the process: the people in power get their way, and the baby dies. The people in power usually get their way, and, make no mistake, they usually choose the evil choice if they can. After all, if you choose good all time, you're discriminating by definition, and discrimination is bad, right? You wouldn't want to be bad. You want to cooperate with the god of this world. Who could blame you for that?

And for those who think that we have dedicated doctors who ignore the wacked-out opinions of these "medical ethicists" let's just recall how it used to be before this category of professional pest was invented.
29th-Jun-2017 07:42 pm - Ethics, a Plague on Society
Part of a continuing series into the follies that go with people who want "ethical" behavior, but who don't seem very concerned that it be "good".

This time, someone from Bridgeport, Connecticut's Ethics Commission (charged with the kind of oversight and responsibilities sharp-eyed readers of the prior post would have expected) shows the kind of behavior that he asserts should be expected of an Ethics Commissioner.

There may be other opinions. But those are from the pearl-clutchers, who can be expected to be scandalized and to point and shriek.

Just so you're caught up, the article is here.

Ethics commissioner Dr. Noel Kayo has an ethics dilemma of his own after police said they arrested him outside a hotel here for mistaking a local woman for the prostitute he had ordered online.
“I will not resign,” the 39-year-old cardiovascular researcher and member of the Bridgeport Ethics Commission, proclaimed Tuesday after it became public Monday he was charged with patronizing a prostitute.
This has been known, and discussed for some time: see Moldbug's notes on Richard Dawkins, in which he discusses Unitarian Universalism, Dawkins' religious orientation, and its history. The whole series was collected into a Kindle book, but the quotes I'm looking for were summed up in the conclusion here:

Everyone knows that Western thought today, even in its most fashionable incarnations, has Christian roots. But somehow, most of us think it's possible to escape the implications of this connection by simply denying the Christian label, and adopting a metaphysical doctrine - atheism - which is repugnant to the unwashed who have not made this great leap. The result is that we land in "No Logo" nirvana. We are the enlightened ones. Hail us!

Imagine if I tried the same with Nazism. I could march around in a brown leather uniform all day, waving a swastika banner and condemning the filthy Zionist-Bolshevik hordes. When questioned by the usual voices of decency, I could respond that:

I'm not a Nazi. In fact, I oppose Nazism. So I'm not a Nazi.
I'm half-Jewish. The Nazis would never have me. So I'm not a Nazi.
Nazis believe in the leadership of Adolf Hitler. I don't. So I'm not a Nazi.
My inverted swastika is actually a Hindu fertility symbol. So I'm not a Nazi.
Etc, etc, etc.

How much ice do you think this would cut with the diversity committee? But somehow, when the creed is Christianity rather than Nazism, it can be ditched as easily as a Muslim's wife. Just say: "I'm an atheist, I'm an atheist, I'm an atheist." And no one will ever be able to accuse you of being a religious fanatic, at least not without substantial preparatory explanation. What more perfect cover story for an actual religious fanatic?

Another, shorter, version of this discussion comes from a different author, the Zman. Quote here:

One of the themes here is that the American Left is a different thing from the European Left in that it was not born out of the French Revolution. It was born out of the English Civil War and the religious radicalism of the prior century. American Progressives are the spiritual children of the Puritans and Public Protestantism. Their primary motivation is communal salvation. To that end, their focus is on rooting out sin and naming the sinner, rather than the material egalitarianism we associate with the European Left.

American liberals, even though they don’t always articulate it, operate from the assumption that the community is judged as a whole. It is why they obsessively use the word “community” whenever they are talking about public issues. For the Prog, the ideal for man is the community where members are in harmony, living fulfilled lives. It’s why they are endlessly going on about “building communities.” The community has agency and the members work together toward a common goal, that goal being a state of grace.

Once you understand the communal salvation motive, suddenly it becomes apparent why "point and shriek" is the default reaction, and why no apologies are accepted. The first alerts the community, and the second is a confession of fault in this theology. Vox Day has an extensive treatment of how do deal with this in SJWs Always Lie, but the basis of the confusion in bad theology is better laid out by Mencius Moldbug and by the Zman, references above.

I note with some interest that I'm not alone in this: Pax Dickinson echoed this I view leftism as mainline Puritanism, mainline Protestantism. It's a holiness spiral to the point where they start saying they are holier than God, so then they get rid of God. It's still a religion, it just doesn't have God anymore. There is something utterly hilarious about listening to atheists question God's ethics.

The article continues to reverberate through the nets. Strangest thing.
23rd-Jun-2017 07:12 am - Early Endorsements
Professor C. J. Pascoe, of the University of Oregon, endorses Trump for re-election.

Full-throated citation here: Laughter
In the second edition of The Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H. W. Fowler, improved by Ernest Gowers in 1965 we find:

gender, n., is a grammatical term only. To talk of persons or creatures of the masculine or feminine g., meaning of the male or female sex, is either a jocularity (permissible or not according to context) or a blunder.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of 1911 says:

gender, n. Grammatical classification (or one of the two, or three, classes) of objects roughly corresponding the the two sexes and sexlessness (masculine, feminine, & neuter) (of nouns & pronouns) property of belonging to such class (of adjj.) appropriate form for accompanying a noun of any such class; (joc.) sex.

This was the state of things for most of my life, and the kind of definition offered by the American College Dictionary, Webster's Seventh Collegiate Dictionary, Webster's New World Dictionary, and by the huge 2002 Mirriam-Webster Third New Unabridged Dictionary.

When we get to the 2011 Concise Oxford English Dictionary, something has happened:

gender n. 1. The state of being male or female (chiefly in cultural or social contexts) •the members of one or other sex: differences between the genders. 2. Grammar. a class (usually masculine, feminine, common, or neuter) into which nouns and pronouns are placed in some languages, distinguished by a particular class of inflection. •the property of belonging to such a class.

The revolution continues with a helpful "usage note"

USAGE Although the words gender and sex both have the sense 'the state of being male or female', they are typically used in different ways: sex tends to refer to biological differences, while gender tends to refer to cultural or social ones.

This is followed by helpful definitions of gender bender and gender dysphoria. You can look them up.

The first dictionary heading toward the leap in my collection is the 1992 Third Edition American Heritage Dictionary, followed by the 1993 American Heritage Dictionary: the definition is unchanged, but the usage note brings in the social category explanation, attributing it to anthropologists.

And we are on our way to Facebook, with its dizzying variety of possible "genders" you can opt for. As Jordan Peterson notes, this is an invitation to take something public and create a purely personal description, a surrogate name, your own personal pronoun. In the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has already decreed that employers in the United States must use these pronouns or face sanctions and liability. What's worse is that transsexuals, in my experience, don't want any of these other pronouns: they just want the one belonging to the opposite of their biological sex.

I think it was a mistake. The Woodpile Report, #474, agrees, though I'm sure someone is thinking of trying to sue them. And then there are the people who want to dictate what I am allowed to say, like the EEOC, mentioned above. They're after you, too, ladies and gentlemen, they're after you, too. Fortunately, Altadena is a nice community, and hasn't yet been taken over by the mental midgets.

I see there is more to account for: Social Justice is Language Pollution.

Finally, an appropriate comment from Of Anointed and Laymen:

So an anointed can believe, simultaneously, in an extreme example of doublethink, that evolution must be true, and evangelical Christians are stupid for believing in Creationism (and thus must be accounted as science deniers), while trying to tell us that biological gender doesn’t even exist. The fact that kindergartners can tell the difference, but Yale grads can’t, is telling. So much for the Party of Science, eh?

When a layman tries to point out the obvious logical holes, he is shouted down by accusations of stupidity, and told to go “educate yourself.” The assumption is that the layman can’t understand the subtleties of the argument. For instance, in the gender example, an “educated” man might reply with “well, we are talking about gender as separate from biological sex. Gender is a social construct. Since you don’t know that, you must be dumb.”

Granted, this is what they teach in schools these days. But it’s also a ridiculous argument. A casual observation of animal species in the wild is sufficient to prove the whole thing to be utter rubbish. We don’t have genderqueer dogs, after all. Insofar as gender can be a social construct, it is in direct and conscious contravention to nature.

The argument they make is along similar lines of the feminist view of the patriarchy, as some kind of all-powerful system of privilege holding back (or oppressing) certain classifications of people because of biases, both unconscious and conscious. If the patriarchy is holding you back from being a tri-gender fartkin, then logically it must be that your nature was to be a tri-gender fartkin, you were meant to be one, and the social pressure (gender as a social construct) prevented you from it. But this can’t be true. Tri-gender fartkins observably do not exist in nature. So someone made it up, and then demanded the fantasy be accounted as true, and when resistance to the idea was presented, said the fantasy proves gender is a social construct.

It’s all circular rationalization. It doesn’t actually go anywhere.

The layman doesn’t necessarily go through all of the rationalization hoops to arrive at a similar conclusion, he just looks at the person claiming to be a tri-gender fartkin, and thinks the guy is a loony. That’s what we used to call “common sense.”
27th-Apr-2017 08:43 am - Just a reminder.

Crowder reminds. Not that people want history if it gets in the way of yelling at other people, or putting them down, or hitting them. That would be bad.
26th-Apr-2017 05:08 pm - It always shows up...
The moment of flattery to the reader/viewer shows up. In Samurai Jack, episode 38 (otherwise known as "the birth of evil, part 2"), it shows up with godlike voices declaring, "only human virtue and human righteousness can defeat this evil."

Sadly, that immediately proclaims that the speaker is an element of evil itself, acting in rivalry to the other God of this world. Since no such rivalry is described in the bible, it's a cute conceit: but cuteness just helps it flatter.

The reality? Mankind is unrighteous, and has no righteousness to use for any purpose, including defeating evil.
Why did the Washington Post decide to be the Darkness?

Well, most of the media decided it last year during Hillary's campaign. They decided that any statement made by Trump was to be interpreted in the most leaden, literal, threatening way possible, because real politicians don't understand normal conversation and the people who report on politics don't either. They decided that any position adopted by anyone, anywhere, that could be construed as similar to a position held by Trump was the official stance of his campaign, unless it was explicitly "disavowed", which allowed reporters not to interview Trump supporters, but conduct google searches for positions they wanted to criticize and then attribute to Trump. They attributed every disreputable motive they could think of to Trump, and explicitly made predictions based on that attribution, rather than finding out if it was true.

Basically, they lied. They were the Darkness. They wanted to be the Darkness. They wanted to kill democracy by hijacking the election, and when it didn't work, they doubled down on the actions they had taken before, because it just had to work.

What do young reporters need to do? It's not that hard, but it takes time. They have to quit assuming they know things that they don't.

The fundamental problem is that they do not know what a lie is. No wonder they're frustrated. They need to spend a little time with people and learn the difference between goals, aspirations, tactics, poems, jokes, and statements of fact. It should take them approximately one year of conversing, daily, about everyday topics with people they don't know to get them there. At that point, they will be prepared to discuss motivations, and how we infer them, and when we're most likely to be wrong. That's five years from now they'll finish if they work diligently to make up for their lack of education to the present. They shouldn't feel bad about it. There are a lot of people in the same boat.
14th-Apr-2017 02:46 pm - Alt-Right: Internal Definition
Defining things from the perspective of outsiders has many inherent risks: the most obvious being that if you decide you don't like them, your observations will be skewed by that. Example: any of the definitions of Alt-Right the mainstream media presented from the time Hillary spoke about it to the present. All of them manifest distaste and condescension, and none of them were used by members of the Alt-Right to define their movement.

The basic lesson of dialectic in Plato is a simple one: you try and state the case of the person on the other side in your own words SO WELL that they are compelled to agree that you understand it, and willing to engage with you in a positive way as you evolve your understanding of it. While the lesson is simple, apparently no one in power, or hoping to be in power, in the US understands it outside of Trump and a few members of his advisors.

In light of that, let's refer to the 16 points of the Alt-Right, a statement presented on Vox Day's website as a definition of the Alt-Right from their own perspective. Note that it is wildly inclusive: translated into more languages than any social justice warrior's manifesto, and open to restatement by other groups.

First, I note statement 15: "The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers." So statements using the word "supremacist" will be happily denied by the Alt-Right, as in fact they are, to the general disbelief of the illiterate media (Luegenpresse).

Second, statement 10: "The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means." This leads to a certain suspicion of other groups seeking power within society. Is this related?

Third: statement 14: "The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children." I suppose the response must be that securing the existence of people of other colors is up to those with that color of skin, and I wonder if I'd get a "yes" to that one, despite 15. Insofar as the family appears to be the model of the state, I suspect that statements 9 and 11 rule out any multi-ethnic society, and wonder what the surviving society on this continent would look like.

Any ideas?
It happens to people. They get into a position where they can take positions and enforce them on others, and spend time justifying it to themselves with calming ideas like "I must know what I'm doing, they put me here, so I'm smarter than they are."

In the process, you find yourself, without humility, ignoring the input of those "less qualified" than you are. The reason it's a problem is that even the smartest guy in the room has something to learn from the dumbest guy in the room.

Example? OK.

Al, who headed the mail room at a company near to me, had more vacation days approved by HR than anyone else.

How did he do it? He read the memo, sent out by HR, on vacation days, and sat down with a calendar and played with it for a few afternoons. Partly the result of the mailroom schedule (heavy in the mornings and late afternoons), partly the result of a certain dogged persistence, he had a month off every year in a company that thought it had two-week vacations.

The smarter people above him, who complained about the policy? Two weeks. The smartest people in the room? Two weeks. Learning could have occurred, but apparently, no one was paying attention to him, since he wasn't the smartest guy in the room. He never would be. But he read the memo on vacation days better than the authors in HR.
9th-Apr-2017 07:18 pm - Why People Hate Feminism
As it turns out, everybody's stereotype of a feminist is correct, as most stereotypes are. Pretending that "it's just about equality", for example, is a hopeless position when you observe the behavior of actual feminists, who resist equality whenever they think they have an advantage.

This article goes into more depth on the questions.

Finally, the article closes with a killer metaphor based on pharmaceutical science. Discover at your own pleasure.
Don Surber, indefatigable chronicler of the Trump Ascension and the Trump Election (both highly recommended as fun, interesting reads, and yes, I have relatives who got them, and no, I'm not Don Surber, I'm a fan), has had many fun columns since the inauguration about the temper tantrum that is current media and Democrat politics. One of his most recent is on the most ironic column ever by sometime Newsweek/Politico writer Jeff Greenfield.

Here's Surber's excerpt:

Why the GOP Will Never Accept President Hillary Clinton

With the hiring of Steve Bannon, Trump has ensured that the party will continue its habit of de-legitimizing the Dems.

A long, long time ago (as recently as eight years, in fact) in a not-so-strange and distant land (our own, actually), it was not surprising that a candidate for president might have a kind word or two about his rival. Jimmy Carter could end a debate in 1976 by calling Gerald Ford “a good and decent man”; Bob Dole could remind the 1996 GOP convention that Bill Clinton is “my opponent—and he is my opponent, not my enemy.” And John McCain could firmly reject the idea that Barack Obama was an alien presence—in fact not even a legitimate American. "I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States,” McCain told an agitated supporter in 2008.

But McCain and Dole were courtly exceptions in the modern Republican Party, whose present nominee, Donald Trump, has taken it in precisely the opposite direction. From the start of his rise to the top of the GOP, Trump has argued that not only are his Democratic adversaries wrong, they're not even legitimate. Trump first made his case as contender for the 2016 nomination by becoming the leading voice of the “birther” movement — raising baseless suspicions about whether Obama was born in the United States. Now he has become a presidential nominee who argues that his opponent belongs in jail, and who says the only way he can lose the state of Pennsylvania—where he now trails by double-digits — is if there is cheating or "rigging." When “lock her up!” becomes the default chant at a Republican rally, “good and decent woman” is not likely to be on the lips of any GOP speaker in describing Hillary Clinton.

Surber goes on to note that Greenfield has never written something similar to the Democrats since the election. Those of us who remember this question during the debate being asked have little difficulty recalling Hillary's total inability to answer with anything good about Trump, complimenting his children instead, while he lauded her as a fighter.

But a little, niggling point may have occurred to you. Why, you may wonder, am I quoting Surber, and not Greenfield directly?

Because when Politico saw Surber's column, they promptly took down their article. Because they can change history if they want to. And you can't search for it on the Politico site, either, though other search engines may have parts of the article on other sites. They're enjoying their temper tantrum, and want to keep stomping across the floor.

Me? I've got popcorn. Let them continue.

Erasing history: for the Left, 1984 was a "How To" manual, not a cautionary tale.
Don Surber, retired columnist from West Virginia, has perfectly described a key problem with reforming laws to reach goals: it doesn't work. The permanent government steps in, and the elected officials say, "We can't do anything." We know better, but they continue to deny it.

The 1965 law and its 1986 reform made this problem.

Thus, good men and good women think they can fix the law and fix the problem.

That won't work. The people in California tried that with Prop 187, which denied the benefits of citizenship to people here illegally. A judge said this was "unconstitutional" and the Establishment refused to appeal the decision.

And with that, the bad law stays.

Yes, the judge can be impeached. Tell me how well that works.
19th-Dec-2016 07:38 pm - Baselines
It's important to see what's going on. I have found ShadowStats (http://www.shadowstats.com) to be a useful baseline because the statistics are transparent (same reason professionals like it: it helps not to have a goal for your numbers). Recommended.

OK, just so I have a baseline for unemployment at the end of Obama. Let's see how Trump really affects it. 22.8% looks high for those in the prosperous sections of the country, but for those living in the areas that voted for Trump, it's not a bad starting place. This was a major reason for rejecting Hillary: she continued to view that description as "dark" rather than reflective of part of the country.

This chart will update as the months go on, but the statement above of the baseline will not.

7th-Dec-2016 08:08 am - What is a "Boggs Violation"?
A Boggs Violation is a double standard in arguments: you allow your side freedoms you do not allow the other, and consistently construe the other's argument so that you can maintain the conclusion that they are stupid, venal, and evil.

It comes from a hard-fought battle at the Reform Club, finally brought to a close by Denny Boggs, 6th Circuit Justice who submitted the following [numbers added]:

re: By the way, apropos targeting metaphors and the like

Danny J Boggs [Sixth Circuit Address]
Fri Apr 2 05:42:07 PDT 2010

I think we could just bring this thread to a conclusion by simply agreeing that:

1. All of MY SIDE's references and statements are to be taken in the coolest, hip-ironic, culturally aware, benign-metaphorical way possible (see Watts v. United States, and [granting my side the full benefit of the] the conflicting interpretive modes the various judges/justices on the Supreme Court and the Court[s] of Appeals [have approved]),


2. All of YOUR SIDE's references and statements are to be taken in the most mindlessly literal, threatening way possible.

That should work for almost all of our commentators, of whatever persuasion.

3. Also, any charge against MY SIDE requires exquisite legally admissible proof of its accuracy,


4. Any charge against YOUR SIDE must be true if it was asserted by anyone, anywhere.

5. People on MY SIDE are responsible only for what they said personally, in full-quotation context.


6. People on YOUR SIDE are responsible for the inferred implications of anything said by anyone who ever held any idea vaguely similar to what your people think.


On internet discussion groups, a "Boggs Violation" consists of reasoning wherein your opponents are relegated to the even numbers of the list, while your own side has the privileges of the odd numbers. In the case of the Reform Club, this brought the discussion to and end. Frequently when it is alleged now, the purpose is to stop the side committing the Boggs Violation from doing so without acknowledging it.
6th-Aug-2016 09:26 am - Book? Recommendation
It's a pleasure to recommend a couple of books I've enjoyed:

1. Clinton Cash: Graphic Novel which serves as an outline for the much longer book of the same name. It's interesting to see what's coming, and I can think of no better "future preview" of the United States than this short book. Where are we going and how are we getting there?

2. Somewhither by John C. Wright (to whom I was introduced by LiveJournal some years ago as johncwright, though his most recent posting appears in John C. Wright, Author, and remains trenchant and well-written. This is apparently only a Kindle book on Amazon, which limits its distribution to that platform: but if it comes out in paperback, snag one. Welcome to a different world, connected to this one in ways that might surprise you, with its own rules that you can discover along with the protagonist. Recommended. Hoping there's a sequel.

3. Genesis Commentary by Peter S. Ruckman. This is one of THOSE books: written by a pastor at a church in Florida laying out what he's learned from studying the book of Genesis in the KJV. "Not my circus" I can hear the objections. But here's the thing: he's very smart, he argues for his points well, if loudly, and he may be more convincing than you'd expect. Genesis is the starting point for a lot of what we see right now in the world, and this is a good introduction to it. You may not agree with him, though I suspect that wouldn't bother him, but you'll enjoy the process of learning his perspective and more about a foundation stone of what we see now.

4. Personae by Ezra Pound. Recommended to the English buffs who haven't read poetry in a while. This is an excellent collection of poems, some agreeable, some prickly, by a different voice. One of the poems in the collection, entitled simply "Salutation the Third" is an argument with a reviewer in the New York Times, which prefigures much of the poet's future. "Ancient Music" plays on "Summer is icummen in, lhude sing cuccu!", but is instead, about Winter, and will strike an immediate, laughing chord among those who have lived or live where Winter has sway.

5. The Collected Poems of Rudyard Kipling is by way of apology to those who don't like modern poetry. I enjoy Kipling more and more as the years go on, and recommend him as a bedside book to pick up on restless nights (not, as expected, because he'll put you to sleep, but because you'll start to enjoy being awake more).
This page was loaded Feb 25th 2018, 12:15 pm GMT.