Saturday, October 24, 2020

Actually, one last thought...

 I'm not going to laud everything Trump has said or done.  I'm not going to defend his character, although the spiritual rhetoric I've heard him use lately sounds a lot more like that coming from a believer than the stuff I hear from the other side, which sounds like they're trying to talk the way conservatives and Christians talk but they only know it from how liberals and non-believers tell each other how Christians and conservatives talk.

But I used to say my biggest complaint about him qua president was he wasn't very presidential.  He was crude, inelegant in speech, prone to trolling in social media, and could have done a better job neutralizing the negative spin the MSM put on his works and words.  

Now, though?

He's the most patriotic president we've had since Regan.  He doesn't just express a love for America and a respect for hoi polloi at large, he does so consistently.  He bothers to show up to meet the people. And when he faces criticism, he may make fun of career politicians who still haven't learned the lesson about glass houses and throwing rocks, but he doesn't call concerned citizens bad names, nor does he call their race into question for daring to be circumspect and nuanced about their own political opinions.

That's a lot more presidential behavior than we've seen in a long time.

Friday, October 23, 2020

There has been so much outrageous stuff in the political sphere (never mind Pope Francis's...follies) that I haven't been able to keep up.

 So, I'm just going to hit a few bullets, while I still can.  I'm getting burned out anyway and hopefully I'll be able to make more religious or merely theoretical political posts in the future.

Or I guess several bullets.  Sorry I couldn't keep this briefer.  It's actually better than my initial drafts....

  • I've been getting Scientific American weekly e-mails for years but finally unsubscribed when they got as bad as the NY Times weekly headline e-mail.  I never read every article but the last straw was today when there was one article of interest to me, one apparently scientific article that didn't really float my boat, and several political ones claiming they're not really and never were all that political but it's time to change (especially now that Trump has gone all COVID denier...not sure if that was supposed to be before or after he shut down travel from China to the complaints of Leftists that he was going overboard).  Between that and the transparently biased sources they cite, I'd had enough.  Crying out loud...multiple articles said they and scientists at large (excepting academics, who are predominantly leftist in this era; at least they owned up to that) tend to be apolitical so risking taking a stand should mean something.  Buh?  Where have you been during global warming, SA?  If you forgot that you've been politicizing it ever since Gore lost the election--and no, I don't mean just talking about policy solutions--then you're not competent to write professionally.  
  • Twitter, Hunter Biden...not much I can add.  Just gonna emphasize that Trump's been harassed and impeached for what the Bidens apparently consider to be business as usual.  And if they didn't do anything wrong, why the media blackout?  After four years of weak counterarguments, open lies, and you're-only-fooling-yourself defenses like "Debunked!  There weren't 30,000 people there, there were 25,000!" the silence is deafening.
  • People are saying the Left is so enraged at Trump because they thought they'd be able to usher in USSR Mark Two in 2016.  Makes some sense, but the Long March has got to be a hundred years long by now; what's another four or eight?
  • I wish people at large would think about their prior knowledge when they get presented with propaganda.  Do they even ask themselves "what about what I used to know?" when they're told some contradiction?  This isn't even Gell-Mann, although maybe it's a subsequent effect.
  • Various talking heads: "Trump hasn't even agreed to make a peaceful transition if (or I hope when) he loses!" Dude: You’re the only one taking this seriously. He’s clearly trolling you—you’d know if you read more than half his tweets. After all, you’re the one who thought to raise the question—you’re either drinking your own Kool-Aid or lying. Meanwhile, put a lid on your characterizations of tyranny. You know what else is that kind of behavior? Changing voting rules during the early stages of an election. And he’s not the one doing that; you are.
  • Trump is like Zaphod Beeblebrox. The only problem is, in this cynical and bitter galaxy, instead of letting him distract from the real work of whatever constitutes running a country these days, everything’s just getting exposed because he’s distracting them from what constitutes running a country these days.
  • Some protestor: “This movement isn’t going to stop until it sees real and substantive change.” Fine, but at some point that’s going to mean not causing more property damage and injuries to innocent bystanders and not further provoking law enforcement. Are they willing to come to the table or, like they’ve said, are they going to burn it all down as long as they haven’t gotten whatever they haven’t decided yet will be good enough?
  • "I'm politically correct.  Unlike you, I don't think you should force your opinion on others' lives." Oh, but your whole position is that some people should do so, under certain--or broad--circumstances.  You just think I shouldn't get to be one of them.
  • "We didn't build a wall; the world built a wall around us."  Okay, clearly hyperbole, and that's fine, but what that means is the rest of the world thinks building walls does work.  Message received.
  • I have a much longer post on different strands of socialism I'm still incubating that I still haven't decided to post, but considering the entities and bodies--you know, I'm going to use the term "bodies" for guerrilla type organizations in the future because they might not be hierarchical in quite the same was the military or the Church is, but they are nonetheless cellular--that brought most of the actual violence to 2020's protests, I will say this:  it is disingenuous to say fascism is rightist because it focuses socialism at the state level.  A genocide that gets focused in one city instead of across a whole region does not turn into an affirmative action movement.  It's just the same thing with a few administrative alterations.  
  • Pursuant to that, if the crybullies and SJWs were truthful and right in their claims to fear the government, they would already be getting disappeared.
  • Someone said once "Socialists like to claim that public roads are socialist so I must be a hypocrite if I'm okay with those, but I like to tell them 'I'd be more amenable to your position if you stuck to building public roads."  In the same vein, communism is frequently defended with assertions like "It's never really been tried!  If we had the right people in charge, we could make it work."  I think you're lying to me or at least yourself when you say that, but even if that might be true, before you start talking about implementing socialism to the degree where it will lead to Maoist degrees of granularity in federal involvement in your personal life, can we have a conversation about how you expect to make sure only these elusive right people get put in charge?  Because socialism sure seems to attract people who have more of an interest in the power itself, and they pay a lot of lip service, but when we get to late stage communism, where Marx and Stalin claimed that the state apparatus would just whither away (I guess by the proletariat getting habituated to just doing whatever the right thing is; they weren't explicit on this point, understandably), these not-the-right-people just end up kicking the can down the road so they can keep what they got.
  • When you call someone racist, and they tell you you're projecting, it's because you say things like "being non racist is racist."  It is incoherent to say "racism is bigotry plus power"--which sounds like the position you'll be in if Biden wins, so you'll have to wear the label racist even by your own logic--but then here turn around and accuse individuals of the same thing.  It's why when you call people racist, they don't even bother refuting it anymore; you've overused the epithet and even people who aren't racist aren't bothered enough to take it seriously.  Meanwhile, consider the circumstances of Phillip Anderson and Mouat Freelon.  If you didn't accuse every white person of supremacist attitudes, real ones wouldn't be able to come out into the light, and if you didn't oppose free speech, you wouldn't know these people for what they were until they erupted into opportunistic violence like you've been seeing.
  • Think twice before attempting to uplift the Black Man with your patronizing politics.  It's infantilizing and othering.  Maybe we're all equal beneath the state, but he's not beneath you.  Engage him like an adult.
  • When you gloat about how web sites that suffer sanctions for promoting fake news have a disproportionate negative effect on conservatives, stop and consider for a moment that your zeal to connect those dots makes you look like you don't really have a good answer to Trump's accusations of you propagating fake news--you know, the anti-conservative stuff that used to be the only thing most people heard because the so-called independent media have a cartel that used to monopolize the channels of communication--and are left with making the "I know you are but what am I?" defense. And we both know that doesn't cut it.
  • I won't begrudge anyone for having their preferred information/news sources.  We've all got to decide for ourselves what's best to take in.  But we should make a point of listening honestly to people we disagree with who can support what they claim to whatever threshold you find to be the bare minimum of "not some tin-hat wing nut."  If you don't...if a source you trusted ever did lie to you, how could you ever know?
  • "You're the people history warned us about!"  ("Leave Britney alone!") You sure?  Because w're not the people who are changing dictionaries on the fly to "enhance" support for current events.  Back in the day, it's people who were talking like you, like a majority terrified of a tiny, insurgent conspiracy, who were screaming out of fear for the fate of the Dritte Reich at the hands of the Jews.  Just sayin'.  
  • People like that, and like the ones who have been knocking out black men's teeth for the sake of critical race theory:  are they doing this because this is what they think activism normally looks like?  Do they have some vague image of Kent State in their heads and figure this is Just What Is Done?
  • Was looking at an information source (I won't call it news) I don't usually read and there was so uniformly pro-Biden/"Facebook is fake and Republican" that I started wondering if I had been thinking myself into a corner all this time and relying too much on unreliable sources of my own. They were going on about the Hunter smear campaign and how it had been debunked and all that. Even comments like "Trump is the worst president ever!"  Then I realized two things.  (1) I'm willing to look at the other side and ask myself if this is what's happening to me.  Even Wikipedia lets its contributors do that, no matter how their final product turns out.  (2) I saw the video for myself where Joe bragged about playing hardball with Ukrainian officials to get personal benefits ("turns out Hunter wasn't that influential," another defended, but that's just it, isn't it?  He was there to collect a salary that his dad would "tax" and to maintain a point of contact--all before Trump ran for office).
  • As for Trump being the worst, let's see...Harding is widely considered a bad president just in the general not-suited-for-the-office sense.  Jackson was instrumental in the movement that led to the Trail of Tears.  Andrew Johnson thwarted Reconstruction.  FDR put Japanese Americans (not Japanese-Americans, thank you) in concentration camps during WW2.
  • The "mostly peaceful" protests...okay, maybe numerically they are and only the riots get the press coverage, but one has to question the integrity, the competence, the motives of media that will stand in front of an instance of arson in progress and use that phrase to describe it.  But I'm less concerned about the--what?--alleged 97% peacefulness than I am about the 3% who are killing and burning and looking but aren't getting any pushback from their mostly peaceful co-marchers. But on the other hand, that 97% apparently had no problem with the status quo until George Floyd died, so I'm a little skeptical about motive even then.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

In 2008 Obama was elected and people started taking a lot how Bush should immediately resign so, despite all succession laws and the fact that presidential terms, per the Constitution, run January 20 to January 20,  Obama could take over early and get a head start on his "progress." Now, RBG has gone off to whatever her reward is and despite the fact that Trump is still president until January 20 at least of 2021 (so hold off on your “until a new president” talk), certain entities want him to wait for him to do a well established part of his job until what they want is to believe is a referendum on his performance to choose a replacement. And meanwhile, you're openly talking about packing the court and expanding the riots--so that's an admission that you're actively engineering this unrest, this destruction of cities across the country for political reasons, as well as the odd admission that you assume your winning the presidency this fall is a foregone conclusion--and trying to rationalize it by saying things like "the precedent has been set--no nominations in an election year."

Well, that's a lie and wishful thinking.  In the 20th century alone there were at least 10  successful nominations and 2 unsuccessful ones, by Democrats and Republicans alike, during election years.  So if there's a precedent, it's twofold:  (1) the president isn't paralyzed in the last quarter of his administration just because he might turn out to be a lame duck (2) you can be relied on to threaten violence and dishonesty and unethical when you don't get your way.  LBJ tried to pack the courts, FDR tried to pack the courts, and now here you are.

We get it, you don’t really believe in the rule of law, but what would your argument be if he didn't announce anybody now, but still wins in November and then announced someone?

Sunday, September 13, 2020

odds and ends from socmed

 "Don't criticize the post office for failing when the US military gets so much more money in your tax dollars."

The army doesn't charge me directly for providing a personal service.

"Beauty and the Beast is such hogwash.  Reverse the roles and see how ridiculous it would be.  No one tells a guy who give an ugly girl a chance because she's nice."

1. Beast wasn't a nice guy who happened to be ugly.

2. Guys get told "she has a great personality" all the time.  It's a meme older than socmed itself.

"Strong nationalism...government-controlled media...xenophobia...all signs of fascism and they're all happening here and now."

Yeah, except the things you call "strong nationalism" and "xenophobia" we call "vet immigrants, and welcome in those who are willing to play by our rules;" and it's not the politician you don't like who controls the media, it's opposition party politicians in other branches of government that are anti-nationalist who want to import voters who will be loyal only to them.  If you're still not sure, ask yourself which faction is trying to control the words you use and sometimes even admits that this is an effort to modify the way you think.  Whether it's well-intentioned or not, this is a tactic of fascists, communists, and other varieties of socialists.  If this seems like a granny knot of competing standards and morals, then you might just have tasted a red pill.

"A 1% dip in the market is a recession; the 2.5% dip was called the Great Recession; a 6.5% dip is a depression; what do you call the 35% dip we're going through right now?  The Trump Effect?"

Recessions and depressions aren't a simple matter of degree.  1% is a large fluctuation for an economy of this size but you have to figure in longstanding effects on prices and employment.  Meanwhile, there's a pandemic that we've collectively decided to handle by staying home instead of going to work.  If you don't like that, I have some really bad news for you about socialism....

"We didn't build a wall, but in the end, the rest of the world built one around us!"

So you're saying that there is consensus in the entire rest of the world that proactive border controls work. Meanwhile, in Scandinavia where they didn't shut everything down like you're happy to insist on here and then blame Trump for, their infection statistics are way down.  One would think the goal you're actually pursuing is not the well-being of this country, which leads one to wonder why you want Trump out of the picture.

*mouth foaming about antifa*

Do a Google video search for something like "Seattle May Day protests."  You'll find articles and multimedia about violence erupting on the Left Coast at "demonstrations" that aren't even in opposition to questionably-violent organizations, organizations that--whatever their reputations and legacies--aren't even present; easily going back ten years.  Whom are we supposed to blame for that?  Unless you count the successfully-woke Starbucks, there isn't an openly capitalistic entity in sight; there might be a few individuals floating around, but they don't refer to Oregon and Washington as being "ultraviolet" because purple has red mixed in with it.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

A while ago I got in an argument with some relatives.

Several of us were on the same text message thread when one posted something tentatively hopeful about Covid treatments.  Another one tore into her for believing Fox News, whence the article originated.

OP and I were a little taken aback.  This was supposed to be a light, if a dim one, in the darkness; why was it relevant to attack us for "trusting" a news source they didn't like?

I'd been quiet for a while but tired of it quickly and called for moderation:  I pointed out that Fox has no monopoly on error (which is a little weaker than my personal position, but that was part of my point), and I hear enough ignorant back-and-forth at work, so could they please not include me in the conversation?

*bam* Links to MSM articles allegedly exposing Fox News in barefaced lies.

Dude:  I just got done saying I don't really trust anybody.  How do you think it makes you look when you get even more strident while trying to bring more evidence to the table that one side is dishonest, but it all comes from the other side?  

I don't need one more person telling me some of the "news" I take in is disinformation.  I take it in order to compare with the stuff that many people like my relatives appear to swallow whole.

It's difficult to walk the line in the middle; easier it is, to take a side, accept it wholesale, and then only let yourself see enough of the opposition's arguments to further convince yourself that they're still just making things up.

Things have been getting crazier lately so I wonder if we're getting close to a point where the MSM superfans aren't going to be able to explain away the cognitive dissonance between the beliefs they still strongly hold and the narratives they're told that change more quickly than their minds. 

I was listening to someone or other's channel on YouTube more recently (and this really isn't changing the subject), someone who I think is a little Left but mostly libertarian except on a few social issues, and very much capable of being fair to and having civilized discussions with conservatives.  She made a point that erenow I had not realized needed to be put so succinctly into words:

Conservative news and progressive news, whatever you think of them, are in the business of polarizing their viewers. 

Fox News might have been created not really as a lone voice in the wilderness to give succor to lonely conservatives, but moreso to provide merely a dramatic foil to CNN and MSNBC.  Which is not to criticize the on-air personalities (although a few self proclaimed Catholics could try a little harder to be orthodox before being conservative) as much as the top level executives who are all politically inbred.

Look at how the summer 2020 riots were covered.  In broad strokes:  Fox showed pasty young white people wearing black as-good-as-uniforms causing most of the damage and didn't shy away from black people burning down black neighborhoods, blaming Antifa and cultural problems in the black community itself; CNN & Friends showed peaceful protests and white people dressed in civvies causing problems, and blamed what they deemed conservative racists.  I'm sorry I come off as biased here but I tried to avoid getting sucked in and since I don't have TV at home I was rather at the mercy of the viewing preferences of some of my social associates.

The point is that neither side is really interested in telling the whole truth.  Maybe some individuals are, maybe they're not all drinking their own Kool-Aid.

What they're interested in doing is taking a page out of Bob Lutz's book (I mean specifically Guts, which is worth a read for his business anecdotes, but I'm also speaking generally).  Lutz believed--and I think he's right--that you'll have a healthier customer base if you put out product that is polarizing.  It won't much affect people who already love or hate your work, but it will motivate people who are on the fence; you'll drive a few of those folks away, but you'll get commitment from others who might have gone elsewhere, and that's the proverbial bird in the hand.

The problem is that news isn't a product.  Okay, in a sense it is--you or advertisers pay for an information service--but when it's this processed, it may not really be facts and analysis anymore, which is what they claim to be selling.

Also, to bring this back to the YouTuber's point, a polarized people is a divided people.  I can throw in a quote or platitude about hanging separately or houses divided against themselves.  But in the end, the highest level people with the most money and the least publicity at Fox will greet their equals at CNN and congratulate each other for keeping the populace too fragmented and off balance to really rise up and make a substantive difference.

It's not all about social engineering and tinfoil hat territory.  But it does help explain why stupid shit persists instead of winning a social Darwin Award.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Two inadequately explored questions that pertain to the 2016 and 2020 elections

  1. Considering the benefits that had obtained to, for example, Biden, which we learned of during the Russian election interference probe, what benefit did Russia hope to gain by helping the political opponent of the previous administration gain the office?
  2. If electronic tampering was such a problem, and considering that any improvements in polling security have been so modest that they hardly make the news to reassure the voters, then why are certain elements still insistent on relying on electronic balloting (on-site or remote/mail-in), without bothering to reassure us; instead of coming up with more sanitary ways to vote in person?
It's not that there are no answers to these questions.  The suspicious thing is that no one is really talking about the answers.  They're fighting about the questions to keep our attention focused there.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

So AOC, in the current illiterate book-burning craze of tearing down statues for any or no reason, wants to get rid of St. Damien of Molokai...

(edited 8/16/20) which I reply "WTF is wrong with you?"

Of course, he's Flemish, so that should be a good enough reason, right?

Not by a long shot.

St. Damien was not a "colonizer."  He was not an oppressor.  Say what you will about Europeans in Hawaii at the time in general, but St. Damien was there to serve the leper colony that lived on that island.  He eventually contracted leprosy himself and died there.

Not denying that colonization happened, or that it brought trouble with it.  But St. Damien was amongst those who were trying to take some responsibility for and mitigate the harm done, and made the ultimate sacrifice--whether that's good enough or not, it's the most anyone can be asked to do.  He didn't drive Europeans out of Hawaii like St. Patrick and the snakes of Ireland, but the lepers would still be suffering from leprosy whether or not white men were still around.

If your woke anti-colonialism won't permit someone to do that much, then most of the Woke Left needs to sit down,  shut up, and think about how your life got to a place where your outrage justifies erasing history but not actually alleviating the pain of people you claim to care for, because they're not doing anybody any more good than that.

Yeah, yeah, he taught Catholicism.  He was still instrumental--biases in Western reporting against indigenous contributions to these efforts notwithstanding--in improving the life of people in the Molokai colony.  He dressed lepers' ulcers, helped build homes and schools, organized farms.  I know this still constitutes impurity of action to the Woke, but I don't see the Woke doing even this much good.  Just some symbolic gesture so inflammatory that it is counterproductive.

You're being behalfist over the Hawaiians.  Being disrespectful to their beliefs is othering and infantilizing.  And all your Marxist-derived critical theory is European, anyway--didn't you realize Marx was an old white German man who abused his family and domestic staff?  Knowing that, shouldn't you be asking if his class warfare theories are just some next-level patriarchy that is merely hiding behind Wokeness?