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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Clinton Winning, White Guys Whining

Honestly, if you really want a more just and less corrupt world you should be organizing to get people in office who will raise taxes on the rich and invest in social support for the precarious... leave the fixation on boring predictable rich and famous people hobnobbing together on the charity circuit to the gossip columnists where they belong.

ADDED: Of course, it is the Clinton Foundation non-story that inspired this reaction, but it is truly amazing how much campaign narrative is given over to gossiping over pseudo-celebrity antics. Meanwhile, dead-ender Bernie-or-Busters and Jill SteiNader-ites are acting as though declaring what amounts to an old episode of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" on YouTube is tacky constitutes some kind of radical activism or organizational activity. Hell, that is scarcely even critique.


jimf said...

> [L]eave the fixation on boring predictable rich and famous
> people hobnobbing together on the charity circuit to the gossip
> columnists where they belong.

And the magicians.
Penn Jillette on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, And Why He's All in on Gary Johnson
Aug 2, 2016


Jillette: I really thought there could be no one worse than Hillary Clinton.
And there **is** no one worse than Hillary Clinton.
Except Donald Trump. . .


Jillette: Clinton, who really understands the game, is, I think, from a. . .
but this is a cynical way to think; I don't like to think. . .
but, thinking cynically, Clinton is probably more dangerous
than a Trump presidency, 'cause she'll actually get stuff done.

Nick Gillespie: What worries you the most about Hillary Clinton?
Like, what's she gonna get done that really freaks your shit?

Jillette: I just think a bigger, bigger government. I mean, Trump
should not be someone we're scared of, if the presidency had not
gotten so big. You know, it might come down to -- I don't mean
to get. . . this is a very high-school-y thing to say. . . but I
think, all the same, true. You know, in the 1940s, we decided,
for maybe good reason -- I mean, I don't have a better idea --
that because we wanted to have Mutually Assured Destruction,
one person had to be able to launch nuclear weapons. We decided
that. Now that goes way beyond dictatorship. That's a horrible
decision. I mean, I haven't got a better one, but it's a horrible
decision. So we now have one person who can actually do huge
destruction of the world. I don't want to be overly dramatic and
say "blow up the whole world" -- but they could. They could certainly
do damage, though. And I really believe that Hillary Clinton,
as much of a war-monger as she is, and she will certainly be the
killin'-est president we've had in a long time -- I don't think
she'd hit that button. You know? Now Cruz **bragged** about how
he'd hit the button. And Trump, I don't think he really bragged. . .
he mentioned it, but I can just seem him, if someone questioned
his authoritah, in the right way, I can see him just sayin'
[pokes finger]. . . I mean, can you? Am I crazy talk? . . .


Jillette: . . . and these may be demonstratively the two worst candidates
we've had in history. . . in terms of what the American people
think of them. Has there ever been. . .?

Gillespie: No.

Jillette: It doesn't seem like you should be able to run for President
with over 50% disapproval. . . The other thing that's so odd is
that **anyone** who knows Obama is an Obama supporter. If you meet
Obama, even if you disagree with him, you go "wow, that's a good guy".
I think anybody who meets Bill Clinton goes "that's a great guy.
I loved hangin' out with him". Certainly true for Jimmy Carter.
Certainly true for Ford, you know. Certainly true for LBJ.
Certainly true for John F. Kennedy. We've had, in our history, one
president who, people who knew him personally didn't like him.
And that was Nixon. And now we have. . . I know people who give a
metric shit-ton of money to Hillary Clinton. . . enough money
that they could hang out with her. And they go "ah, I just can't
stand to be around her". And Trump -- there's **nobody** who knows
him well -- well, [except] his family and so on -- who's supporting him. . .

Ford? YMMV, I guess.

Dale Carrico said...

Libertarians are so tiring.

jimf said...

> Libertarians are so tiring.

I know, and they're **everywhere**!!

Dale Carrico said...

I strongly suspect it mostly feels like that online.

jimf said...

> I strongly suspect it mostly feels like that online.

Unless you hang out with computer programmers
and self-styled "skeptics". ;->

Dale Carrico said...

Those bros are the offline online.

jimf said...

> Libertarians are so tiring.

Also, "libertarianism" sometimes seems to me to be as ill-defined
as "Christianity", and as capable of generating diametrically
opposed conclusions.

There's one point in that Penn Jillette ramble (and it is certainly
a ramble -- he seems ready to contradict himself at every turn)
where he says that, for him, a primary political goal of libertarianism
would be to stop "corporate welfare" -- stop the ability of rich
corporations to use the government as a machine to transfer wealth
to themselves from the middle class and the poor.

Say what!!

But then, of course, he turns around and says that government should
not be able to point a gun at an individual's head to extort tax
dollars, even if those tax dollars are to be used for the "common
good". That's more like what you'd expect to hear.

And then, in that "Computing Forever" video I mentioned below, we
have "Sargon of Akkad" suggesting that maybe the government should
indeed do something about the obscene extremes of income inequality,
just for the sake of the long-term stability of society itself. Saying
"Yes, there will always be winners and losers, and that's all
well and good, but maybe we need to make sure the 'losers' can't
lose too badly". And the others were screaming "No! Billionaires
deserve their billions. If you can't have billionaires, then
there will be no more innovation -- no more Steve Jobses and Elon Musks."
And "Sargon" replying "Surely you don't think **money** is the only
thing that drives people to innovate?". But no, they weren't
having it. Socialism! Communism!

I was at a diner this past Saturday with some of the New York Skeptics,
and (even though "politics" is an officially-banned topic),
libertarianism came up. And I trotted out the usual dismissal --
that in my experience, "libertarianism" usually means somebody
who takes the attitude "I've got mine, screw you." or "As soon as
I **get** mine, screw you." And a staunch defender of libertarianism
(and long-time Ayn Rand admirer -- her "philosophy", you understand,
not necessarily the lady herself ;-> ) and, ironically enough, the
usual wielder of the "no politics!" ban-hammer, remonstrated
vociferously with me. "No, Jim, that is **not** what libertarianism
is. That is a straw man, a vicious distortion. Libertarianism
is simply the principle that altruism must always be an act of
free will, it must never be **extorted** from people using
government force."[*] And then he went on to describe acts of
voluntary altruism he had witnessed. I'm afraid neither of us
managed to convince the other of much of anything, "rational
discussion" notwithstanding. ;->

BERTRAND RUSSELL: [I]t's very difficult to separate
ethics altogether from politics. Ethics, it seems
to me, arises in this way: a man is inclined to do
something which benefits him and harms his neighbor.
Well, if it harms a good many of his neighbors, they
will combine together and say, "Look, we don't like
this sort of thing; we will see to it that it
**doesn't** benefit the man." And that leads
to the criminal law. Which is perfectly rational:
it's a method of harmonizing the general and private

[*] In a way, that's a charming fantasy -- the idea that people could
be taught to "do the right thing" without anybody ever having to
be **forced** to do so. It reminds me of B. F. Skinner's fantasy
that the whole world might be run on "positive reinforcement"
without either "negative reinforcement" or "punishment" ever
having to be used. Only in (some people's idea of) Heaven, I'm
afraid. And with libertarianism, some pretty nasty characters get
to hide behind that fantasy.

Dale Carrico said...

Taxes aren't extorted charitable giving but the price for the public investments maintaining the material and normative infrastructure alone within which voluntary and contractual relations can proceed in the informed, nonduressed consensual way libertarians claim to prioritize. Lots of people who have more or expect to have more, it seems, like to think they acquired and maintained it all on their own, when in fact they are extraordinary beneficiaries of a collective inheritance and maintained world of values that precede and exceed them.

Your interlocutor decided to treat your recognition of this basic fact as an ad hominem attack and the conversation was probably already over before it began. It's rather like trying to talk about the impacts of structural racism with someone who thinks this must mean you are accusing them of racist animus.

Quite apart from the palpable falsity of libertarian daydreams "spontaneous order," right or left, it's funny but I can't even say the fantasy that everybody could "do the right thing" without some being "forced" to do so (because of laws, peer pressure, material limits, all contingent) doesn't seem to me charming even as a daydream, really, since it tends to be premised on the idea that there is just one right thing to do in the first place, when the point of departure for politics properly so-called is the recognition that people who share the world are different from one another, see things differently, want different things from life, and so on.

The denial (via "natural law" and the usual kinda-sorta-evolutionary or fetishitically-mathematical reductionisms, and so on) of the artificiality of normative affordances -- equity, consent, freedom, dignity -- and the ineradicability of stakeholder plurality (via faith in no "rational" conflicts of interest, utilitarian optimality, market efficiencies, righteous moralism, and so on) enables libertarian/anarchic formulations, it seems to me, and one finds oneself trying to talk "politics" with people who haven't even grasped what defines the domain of the political in the first place. Needless to say, those are hard conversations to have.

jimf said...

> And then, in that "Computing Forever" [Dave Cullen] video I mentioned below, we
> have "Sargon of Akkad" [Carl Benjamin] suggesting that maybe the government should
> indeed do something about the obscene extremes of income inequality,
> just for the sake of the long-term stability of society itself.

Oh dear, they've now posted extended Rebuttals to each other on their
YouTube channels.
Debunking Marxist Sargonism
Computing Forever
Aug 25, 2016
The Mark of an Educated Mind is the Ability to Entertain an
Idea Without Accepting it, Dave Cullen
Sargon of Akkad
Aug 26, 2016

Some comments on the latter:

This seems to be the inevitable conclusion of the anti-side.
The ever increasing use of bad arguments "You're just like the
feminists", "You've gone full SJW", "You're being a
collectivist/marxist", "You're just being emotional" or
just blind fallacy flinging because why bother engaging with
an idea, even a hypothetical abstract. Just keep going making
the same points over and over and over, never have an original
thought, never entertain a notion that has not been pre-approved
by the "Rationalist™ Skeptic™ Not-a-Hivemind of Totally Individuals"
I wonder how long it's going to be before everyone in the "community"
has to take an ideological purity test or risk being ousted for
not being Rational™ enough.


The anti sjw YouTube movement is starting to turn on each other
over egoism and video clicks. This fucking sucks.

Needless to say, I think "Sargon" comes off as the sensible one
in this debate. Cullen is, as "Sargon" mentions, a "knee-jerk,
free-market fundamentalist".

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! And this means NOT voting for Clinton.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what are you guys smoking. Let's count the ways in which Trump is the far more reasonable candidate:

1) We should not be escalating tensions with Russia (enough damage has been done with Ukraine, and NATO beligerence)
2) We should not be committing so much money to NATO, which is unnecesarry to begin with
3) American workers need to be put first, not the interests of global corporations.
4) Immigration is in no way a good thing to americans

It is all very offensive - to the establishment, which is why they are united against him, and will of course prevent him being elected. They need 1), because only preventing closer integration between Europe and Russia will buy some more time to the house of cards that is the US economy. They need 2), because any NATO expansion means huge purchases of American arms, with the added benefit of making major wars more likely - which is the 2nd best thing for buying more time. They cannot acknowledge 3), because then it becomes clear that US ceased to be a nation state in mid 1970s, and survives only as a cluster of TNCs, which prey on domestic and foreign populations equally. And they also cannot acknowledge 4), because important sectors of the US economy survive on illegal immigrant slave labor.

So, even though Trump is clearlly an idiot, no one should be surprised that he got as far as he did - he, willingly or not, articulates a perfectly sensible grievances.

I do not vote, but this time around I will - for Trump.

(Btw, I have a PhD in Public Policy, and a tenured university position - unlike the host of this blog - before you go with the uneducated, racist Trump supporters line)

Dale Carrico said...

America is a nation of immigrants, the Real real America of the Obama coalition that won twice and grows by the day is diversifying, secularizing, planetizing, and it is our glory and our promise. Anybody truly concerned about exploited undocumented labor would advocate for immigration reform of a kind advocated for by Democrats and the Clinton campaign, nobody truly concerned about abuses by global corporations would support Donald Trump, who has indulged in so many of them personally as an utterly cynical and corrupt businessman and charlatan.

Multilateral diplomacy in foreign policy and factually accountable harm reduction based domestic policy has an incomparably better chance in a Clinton administration than in a Trump administration -- and hence, whatever my disagreements with specific past Clinton decisions made in the compromised scrum of real legislative reform and constituent services or in the published positions of her campaign now (and of course as a person to her left I have many such disagreements, as I always have done with all actually electable politicians I nonetheless supported over their worse opponents), there is no contest between them for any person of good will and good sense.

Donald Trump is a liar, a bully, a bigot, and an ignoramus leading a Republican Party that has surrendered its soul utterly to the disgusting white nationalist fever swamp on which it has stealthily depended since the Southern Strategy to undermine the New Deal, the Great Society, and ongoing civil rights struggles -- and more recently the need to shift from extractive-industrialism to a sustainable society and combat catastrophic climate change.

Trump is losing, Trump will lose, Trump deserves to lose, and you can stew in your brainless bigoted bile from your (if you will forgive me, I suspect imaginary) tenured public policy roost at Santaland or Trump or Singularity University while good people keep working in their slow, heartbroken, compromised, error-prone, conscientious ways to make the world a better place for everybody, including you in spite of your worst efforts.

No need to respond, dear, I'm just deleting you on sight from here on out, leaving you to troll well-meaning strangers somewhere else since that is the noble work to which you appear to be devoted. Best of luck to you and your palpably idiotic foaming-at-the-mouth white supremacist candidate.

jimf said...

> I don't know what are you guys smoking. Let's count
> the ways in which Trump is the far more reasonable candidate. . .
> Donald Trump is a liar, a bully, a bigot, and an ignoramus. . .

All of which, apparently, some folks find just E Pluribus Awesome!

Ann Coulter is a goddess! No publisher's gonna stick
her author's photo on the back flap!

She is the Über-womensch.

Can't you just see her as Lady Galadriel in _The Lord of the Rings_
movie? In the same dress. She takes the Ring from Frodo, turns
him into a Keebler elf, kicks Sauron's ass, and turns
Barad-dûr into a luxury condominium for Orcs. The Shire -- eh,
that'd make a good golf course.

Dale Carrico said...

It's fine that evil idiots exist, so long as they are marginalized into comparative harmlessness by good manners, professional standards, accountable law enforcement, and an organized left.

jimf said...

> It's fine that evil idiots exist. . .

Maybe **we're** the idiots. Who knows? Time will tell.
Or will it, ever? Will the envelope be opened, and the answer
revealed in, oh, say 10,000 years? I'm not holding my breath!

jimf said...

A bit of humor from today's NY Times:
Voting Narcissistic Sociopath — Until Now
AUG. 27, 2016

I’ve always voted for narcissistic sociopaths. Whenever
a narcissistic sociopath runs for office, I donate, volunteer
and cast my vote for him. . .

My father was a card-carrying narcissistic sociopath,
and one of my fondest childhood memories is pulling the
lever in the voting booth after he’d selected the
narcissistic sociopathic candidate and then flicked me
in the eyeball. On Sunday afternoons, our living room
would turn into a salon, with my parents’ friends drinking
coffee and discussing how to spread narcissistic sociopathic
values as they slept with one another’s spouses, stole
the silver and poisoned our goldfish with Drano.

“Your first duty is to the survival needs of the self:
food, water, shelter,” my father would solemnly tell me.
“Your second is to the emotional needs of the self:
rousing up fear and respect from your enemies and
so-called allies. Only then do you take care of the casual
entertainment needs of the self: traveling abroad to
golf resorts, laughing at funerals, buying Hammacher Schlemmer
gadgets. Now, tell me you love me.” I’d express how much
I loved him. “That’s so funny,” he’d say, “because I don’t
love you at all. Neither does your mother. Actually, no one does.”

On his deathbed, ailing from the Drano his best friend
had poured into his coffee, he pulled me close and whispered,
“Promise you’ll always support the narcissistic sociopathic party,”
before flicking me in the eyeball, spritzing Binaca in
his mouth and dying.

Sure, I rebelled a bit in college, briefly considered
narcissistic psychopaths, had a fling with sociopathic narcissists
and, of course, experimented with libertarianism.
But on Election Day, I still voted narcissistic sociopath
up and down the ballot. Self-aggrandizing oratory,
the mercurial backstabbing of loyalists, callous disregard
for anyone else’s well-being: The party’s bedrock principles
would bring a tear to my eye if I had the capacity to
feel tenderness. . .

Donald Trump has given narcissistic sociopaths a bad name. . .

Mr. Trump is a fraud dressed in the narcissistic sociopath’s
own branded clothing line, spouting with no conviction the movement’s
platform of praising dictators and calling women who haven’t
slept with you disgusting. He has merely declared “All Lives Matter,”
not “No Lives Other Than Mine Matter.” . . . And though he
encouraged the assassination of his opponent, he did not
personally issue a bounty while pounding his naked, oiled chest.

Is this the slapdash approach to grandiosity and ruthlessness
we really want as an example for our children?
Not in my America, Jack. . .


Dale Carrico said...

Maybe **we're** the idiots.

Quite so! If in our idiocy we are merely "marginalized into comparative harmlessness by good manners, professional standards, accountable law enforcement, and an organized" opposition -- the fate I wished on those I declare evil and idiotic in my parochialism, tho' for what I hope and strive to ensure are good reasons -- I shall be content to stew my long life through in my curmudgeonly juices.

jimf said...

> Is this the slapdash approach to grandiosity and ruthlessness
> we really want as an example for our children?
> Not in my America, Jack. . .
> > Maybe **we're** the idiots.
> Quite so!

It Might Get Worse before It Gets Better!

Every Jock Is A Puke -- And Why This Matters

What Supernatural Solution to the World's Problems Would You Choose

(For Your Peace of Mind, Remember )

Indeed, it is never far from my consciousness that **I** am a "puke",
not a "jock". Therefore, a **great deal** of my ideological bias
(maybe even my entire Weltanschauung, my whole Wienerschnitzel) could
be plausibly dismissed (by the "jocks" -- roughly equivalent, I suppose,
to what the "third-wave" feminists call the "patriarchy") as nothing more
than sour grapes from a failed-to-launch reject of a "man".
My scores on the sub-sections of the IPIP NEO "Big Five"
personality inventory would probably buttress that dismissal! ;->

And, of course, **you** are a "puke" too, Dale, as you acknowledge
in the 2011 post. Almost all homosexual men are. There are a few
exceptions (I guess Jack Donovan, a.k.a "Jack Malebranche",
author of _Androphilia_ -- a guide to being a queer without
being a puke -- might be one of these. But it takes
a **lot** of work!)

Life, when you're a Male kid, is what the Grownups are doing. The
Adult world seems to be some kind of secret society. . . The thing
is to get In. But there's this invisible, impenetrable wall. . .

Girls somehow seem to be already involved, as though from birth
they've got the Word. Lolita has no Male counterpart. . . A male
kid is really a _kid_. A female kid is a _girl_. Some guys give
up early in life, surrender completely before the. . . wall, and
remain little kids forever. They are called "Fags," or
"Homosexuals," if you are in polite society.

The rest of us have to claw our way into Life as best we can,
never knowing when we'll be Admitted. It happens to each of us in
different ways. . .

-- Jean Shepherd, _In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash_,
introduction to his first being allowed to go fishing with the

jimf said...

> Almost all homosexual men are ["pukes"]. There are a few
> exceptions (I guess Jack Donovan, a.k.a "Jack Malebranche",
> author of _Androphilia_. . . might be one of these.)

Speaking of whom, here's something. . . different.
Donald Trump Isn’t Your Daddy, And He Can’t Fix What’s Broken In America

British journalist Milo Yiannopoulos frequently refers to Donald Trump
as “daddy.”

Milo introduces himself as, “the most fabulous supervillain on the
Internet,” so calling a Presidential candidate “daddy” is consistent
with his own quirky brand of camp conservatism.

I don’t know of anyone else who calls Trump “daddy.” But when I see my
peers caught up in stadium-style slave wave that is ready to crown a
shifty, wheeling and dealing New York City businessman as America’s
savior and “emperor god-king”. . .

. . .“daddy” does seem uncomfortably appropriate.

The incontinent progressive mainstream would have you imagine Donald the
“daddy” as the paternal leader — or Führer, as they put it once upon a
time in Deutschland. However, Donald Trump is no artist, and his vision
for American Greatness seems to be far less grand, let alone “great.”. . .

I asked a Mexican-American Trump supporter, born and raised here,
what he thought a great America would look like in 2017, and he said,
“Like the 1950s only with more technology. Like in _Back to the Future_.”

That’s probably not far from how a lot of the electorate imagines a
great America, actually.

He went on to say that Trump wants a strong military, wants America to stop
getting pushed around, wants to stop political correctness, and wants
everything to be made here in America. That all sounds pretty good.

But what is the appeal of the 1950s? Why do people still see it as a kind
of American golden age?

We have the technology, but how do we get _Back to the Future_? . . .

If America was great in the 50s, it was great in part due to its homogeneity. . .

Trump can never be Caesar or Hitler or Napoleon or even Mussolini,
because the American people aren’t Romans or Germans or French or Italian.
They are all and none of those things. . . They don’t have a shared identity
or culture. . .

The only culture Americans truly share is a culture of commerce. . .

The people inhabiting the United States are so deeply and irreconcilably
divided over so many issues that the national identity is fragmenting. . .

The United States have been united for too long. People who don’t belong
together and who don’t want to work together — who revile each other —
remain stuck together because they can’t imagine a way out. . .
It’s like a bad marriage or an abusive relationship. . .

There are hundreds of reasons why America won’t be able to come together
until it falls apart — until the union fractures into smaller, more manageable
and less easily corruptible parts, and different groups people start
the process of constructing distinct, exclusive cultures and positive
identities. . .

Well golly, Batman!