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May 21, 2019

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Originalism is a fraud.

And has been from the beginning. A rationalization of convenience, at best.

The foundations for legalizing abortion in America were laid during the early 20th-century birth-control movement.

Says Thomas, the ur-originalist.

Unsurprisingly, the author of the book on the US eugenics movement, which he cited in his opinion, says the old perjurer is talking crap:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/clarence-thomas-used-my-book-argue-against-abortion/590455/

"molecules of freedom"

There is much in that vein...

“The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,”
https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a27608847/trump-administration-climate-science-suppression/

"molecules of freedom"

The US does have a natural gas problem. The additional LNG that can be exported after the expansion announced in the press release where this phrase was used is about the same as the amount flared off in North Dakota. In the last few months, the wellhead price for associated gas in the Permian Basin region has occasionally gone negative: the producers have to pay people to take it.

It's depressing to think that Gov. Perry, who clearly knew little about the DOE job when he took it, but has buckled down and learned a lot, may turn out to be the least incompetent of Trump's Cabinet officials.

Open thread, so an interesting article on anti-semitism on the left:

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/05/no-direction-home-tragedy-jewish-left

President Trump on Thursday attacked Robert S. Mueller III as “totally conflicted” and “a true never-Trumper” and claimed that the former special counsel would have brought charges against him if he had any evidence — a characterization directly at odds with what Mueller said in a public statement Wednesday.

President Trump appears to have an opportunity to do something good for the nation: he could direct the Department of Justice to reverse its policy against indicting a sitting President. Right, like that's going to happen....

Still, IMHO it would be a good thing if it did. Certainly the rationale for it (that the President is too busy, with tasks which are too important, to spend time dealing with a criminal charge) has been disproven over the past couple of years.

Since it's not the government, the 2nd Amendment doesn't apply.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/30/tech-giant-brings-software-gun-fight/

But the impact might be substantial.

well, duh.

But after he died last summer, his estranged daughter discovered hard drives in her father’s home that revealed something else: Mr. Hofeller had played a crucial role in the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Files on those drives showed that he wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats. And months after urging President Trump’s transition team to tack the question onto the census, he wrote the key portion of a draft Justice Department letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act — the rationale the administration later used to justify its decision.
...
The disclosures represent the most explicit evidence to date that the Trump administration added the question to the 2020 census to advance Republican Party interests.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/us/census-citizenship-question-hofeller.html

"fraternization of opposites and all manner of morbid symptoms pertain."

Don't they, though. The plot thickens daily.

We can safely say that all manner of political and religious movements, left, right, and indifferent, throughout history, even those supported by Jews, eventually end up turning on and murdering Jews, including the Jewish supporters.

It seems baked into the poisonous human cake and even then, some believe the poison cake so precious that they won't bake it for the Others they hate, preferring to feed the Other pure poison without the trouble of cake.

This, despite Rod Dreher's insistent but highly remunerative, and hysterical business endeavor to portray Christianity as the worldwide victim.

I can see where his movement is going to end up, too, as you can sense the dreadful momentum building once again, on the Right and the Left.

I can condemn the open anti-Semitic hate directed by the worldwide conservative movement against George Soros, and still selectively disagree with Soros the individual regarding his views on globalism and economics.

Just so, I can condemn and support the arrest by Israeli authorities of Netanyahu and his thugs for their individual conservative right wing corruption and utter demagogic hostility toward Palestine and Iran (as I condemn Iranian and Palestinian conservatism's hatred of Jews and Israel) and support the Left in Israel and Israel's right to exist.

Tragically and ridiculously, the world, the stupid, malign non-Jewish world, could unite around the ultimate morbid symptom, which historically raises its monstrous head periodi(diot)cally, as if timed by an egg-timer, and tie Soros and Netanyahu together and burn them at the stake.

One day, all of the Others will unite and destroy the others who have determined throughout history who always gets designated as the Other.

this political moment which, following Gramsci, I define as an interregnum in which there is a “fraternisation of opposites and all manner of morbid symptoms pertain”

https://twitter.com/antelava/status/1132514082408546305

Otherwise, almost all of what JDT said.

Neglected to add that GFTNC's link is a must-read.

P, the malign filth, is planning to send the USS McCain into the South China Sea, without air support and other naval (bellybuttonless) backup to confront the Chinese, thus killing two birds with one stone, scuttling John McCain's mark on America, just as p as scuttled everything Obama-related, and commencing a nuclear World War III, to confirm his 90-minute study of everything there is to know about nuclear weapons.

Then the professional bankrupt hopes in the ensuing worldwide mayhem to do what the conservative movement hired him for, declare the U.S. Government bankrupt and every government function except the War Department and the SS fucks who protect his fat broke, golf-cheating ass from certain liquidation .... kaputnik, fini, over and out, shuttered, eternally gone for lunch.

Unless the Others come to the rescue in time.

JDT: I assume you're referring to my New Statesman link about the current anti-semitism on the left, as opposed to my fun, but essentially frivolous, link showing George Galloway and Steve Bannon in bed together. Frivolous because to anyone who has been watching him carefully for a long time it has been clear that Galloway, despite being one of the most gifted and persuasive orators of this generation, is essentially a malignant piece of work...

I meant the former, until I read the latter, and now I mean both.

As usual, I manufacture stories about the worst that can happen, and then conservatives tell me I'm precisely on the mark:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/is-america-prodding-taiwan-towards-conflict-with-china/

“This, despite Rod Dreher's insistent but highly remunerative, and hysterical business endeavor to portray Christianity as the worldwide victim.”

Dreher gets hysterical about things in the US. I don’t think he is faking it. That is his personality. That sort of personality thrives on the internet.

But in many parts of the world Christians are in fact subjected to murderous persecution.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48146305

I agree, Donald.

Unfortunately, Christians unwillingly get to join the fray, and it should be condemned in righteous anger.

My complaint is with Dreher's mercenary use of those depredations to build his brand, especially regarding the issue of "religious freedom" in the U.S., while, natch, taking every opportunity to poke liberalism at large in the eye while keeping a straight (in the other meaning), innocent face.

That said, he is a social conservative and not so much a dyed in the wool economic conservative, despite his constantly making hay of the word "Socialist"

He's building a personal monument of his Christian victimhood, especially his right to discriminate against the LGBT, not that some LGBT
exhibitionists don't cross into absurdity.

History tells us where that leads.

I don't think he's faking it either, anymore than an ice cream lover is faking it when he buys and cashes in on a Dairy Queen franchise.

But it's the sincere ones you've got to keep an eye on.

And I'm sincere about that.

Hysterical and thriving too.

Regarding GFTNC's link, I have one quibble and that is his remarks down deep in the text that include Philip Roth, although I get the writer's larger point.

Roth, as an American Jew, possessed a subtlety about his life as a Jew and all that entails, including Israel, that many folks miss or gloss over, which can be illustrated by much of the American Jewish condemnation of his novel "Portnoy's Complaint" and his early short stories.

This, (from this: https://imagejournal.org/article/the-pleasures-of-obsolescence/

"Philip Roth, Operation Shylock (1993)

Philip Roth once summarized the range of his father’s dinner table conversation as “family, family, family, Newark, Newark, Newark, Jew, Jew, Jew.” He slyly added, “Somewhat like mine.” But there was always a fourth obsession for Roth: America, America, America. He considered himself before anything else an American writer. Indeed, the fact that the grandson of Galician immigrants, raised in Newark’s Jewish enclave of Weequahic, was every bit as American as Thomas Wolfe or Sherwood Anderson was one of his great themes. Roth never doubted his status as a genuine American, but he thrived on contradiction, so he was fascinated and provoked by those who believed that a Jew would always be first and foremost a Jew, never entirely anything else. Such people included not just anti-Semites, but fellow Jews who rejected the possibility or the desirability of assimilation.

Roth had profound things to say about a theme that has become central to our culture: identity. He didn’t want to be defined by his Jewishness, but he found at every turn Jews and Gentiles alike insisting that he had no choice. Roth’s half-century-long battle with the anti-assimilationists began after the furious response to his earliest short stories, which were seen as an airing of dirty laundry, and it provided material for some of his best books, including Operation Shylock.

As the novel begins, Roth discovers that a man who bears a striking resemblance to him has been living under his name in Israel. What’s more, he’s been using Roth’s fame to advocate for what he calls “Diasporism,” a return of the Ashkenazi Jews in Israel to the European countries they fled after the Holocaust. Roth travels to Israel to seek him out. While there, he attends the trial of John Demjanjuk, the Ukrainian-American immigrant who was living as a retired autoworker in Cleveland when the Israelis put him on trial as the notorious concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible, and he conducts a long interview with the Israeli novelist and Holocaust survivor Aharon Appelfeld. The book contains real reporting from the Demjanjuk trial, as well as real conversations between Roth and Appelfeld. This kind of mixing of documentary material into the novel has become commonplace in recent years, but it is rarely tied to such a madcap fictional plot. Roth loved playing with his own autobiography in his novels almost as much as he loved mocking as philistines anyone who read his novels autobiographically. This book—which calls itself a “confession” rather than a novel—goes farther down that hall of mirrors than anything else he wrote."

I have mixed feelings about Dreher. But yes, his victimization routine can get ugly. He pulls back sometimes. Sometimes he is self critical, which is why I read him. His huge glaring flaw is that he acts like American bigotry and support for Trump is a reaction to leftist arrogance, as though bigotry in America hasn’t been a constant thing all along.

Though in a different way I think the liberal hysteria in some quarters about Putin is equally ahistorical. The Russian interference in our politics is a tiny drop of spit in an ocean of homegrown American hatred, nonsense, and lies.

On Israel, I don’t quite agree.

“I can condemn and support the arrest by Israeli authorities of Netanyahu and his thugs for their individual conservative right wing corruption and utter demagogic hostility toward Palestine and Iran (as I condemn Iranian and Palestinian conservatism's hatred of Jews and Israel) and support the Left in Israel and Israel's right to exist.”

Most of Israel seems pretty rightwing these days. The “ left” candidate Gantz ran in part by bragging about what a great job he did bombing Gaza in 2014.

https://www.thenation.com/article/israel-elections-benny-gantz-war-crimes-gaza-holocaust/

Shmuel Rosner had a NYT column today about how far right Israel is. He of course is happy about it. The Left is politically irrelevant in Israel. Rosner is one of four NYT opinion writers who approved or excused Israel gunning down Palestinian protestors last year— the others were Bret Stephens, Matti Friedman and Tom Friedman.

I agree with trying to be nuanced and morally consistent, but one can condemn antisemitic hatred and terrorist attacks without expecting Palestinians to love a country whose “right to exist” is directly tied to their ethnic cleansing. Not that I expect anyone, Palestinian or Israeli, to trust either Hamas or the PA. And of course the US role has been at best feckless and at worst complicit.

Israel seems to be what the US would be if most people had voted for Trump. Then the internal conflicts within the right would start to split them up without giving anyone any decent person to vote for.

https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520234222/sacred-landscape#reviews

That last link to the Benvenisti book belongs to an earlier paragraph.

I forgot to give the Rosner link.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/30/opinion/israel-election-coalition-lieberman.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Here is Rosner justifying the shooting of Palestinian demonstrators at the border.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/opinion/israel-defend-gaza-border.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fshmuel-rosner&action=click&contentCollection=undefined&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=10&pgtype=collection

But in many parts of the world Christians are in fact subjected to murderous persecution.

The centuries long depredations visited on what used to be called "the 3rd world" by the manifestly and overtly (also white) Christian West bears no blame for this I'm sure.

cf: We kill hundreds of thousands of arabs in Iraq and are SHOCKED!, SHOCKED! to discover retaliation against their Christian minority.

I am simply gob-smacked. Will wonders never cease?

“The centuries long depredations visited on what used to be called "the 3rd world" by the manifestly and overtly (also white) Christian West bears no blame for this I'm sure.”

I was actually going to mention how the Iraq War led to much of what has been happening to Christians there. I was also going to mention that our support for Syrian rebels was equally disastrous, helping to drag the war out. And if the rebels had won both Alawites and Christians would have had to leave or else stay and possibly be exterminated..

But I decided not to be my usual leftist self and keep things short.

Western imperialism ( including its liberal interventionist variant) is not solely responsible for the persecution of Christians around the world, but yes, it has played a major role.

Christians in Iran, for one, have been on the pointy end of the stick for at least a century - long before the US or the west in general had anything to do with anything.

Christians and other minorities in the Middle East are lucky from the standpoint that Islamic fractions spend so much time and energy hating on each other.

It also helps some that Islam, at least officially, mandates respect for "people of the Book" -- i.e. Jews and Christians

Honored in the breech, in a lot of cases, but at least a talking point for some.

....long before the US or the west in general had anything to do with anything.

with all due respect, balderdash.

Can the tree of liberty absorb all of that conservative republican freedom gas:

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-birds-are-not-hitchcocks-by.html

Or, are we merely seeing the tippi of the hedrenberg?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX2OQyk_wgc

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-gravedigger-of-democracy-is-now.html

Joseph Welch: Senator, have you no sense of decency, sir?

McConnell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDa2s5MZuO8

I can't see that only a little bit of savage violence will serve as long-deserved and eminently just vengeance on the entire worldwide conservative movement.

with all due respect, balderdash.

i'll just note that "Iran", which i specifically noted, gets one mention in that article.

LOL...then you read it? Here's another:

For your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Thanks.

I think the liberal hysteria in some quarters about Putin is equally ahistorical.

My impression is that the "hysteria", or concern, if you will, is not about history, or even Putin specifically, as it is the degree to his interference was welcomed, abetted, and embraced by the POTUS and his campaign.

That actually should inspire concern, IMO.

I think the significant aspect of Russian interference would be the email thefts, which was significant because there was genuinely newsworthy material in there, however illegally obtained.

The silly aspect comes from concern about Russian social media activity dividing our nation and spreading propaganda and so forth. That is a drop in the ocean.

As for POTUS, he can be influenced by money or flattery from any direction, so yeah, that matters. For the most part, though, I think Trump’s awfulness on policy has little to do with Putin.

For your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

and "Christian" doesn't appear in that one.

"the west has never meddled in the ME" is something i never asserted.

The silly aspect comes from concern about Russian social media activity dividing our nation and spreading propaganda and so forth. That is a drop in the ocean.

But is it really just a "drop in the ocean"? I'd be interested in seeing evidence on that. Or just on the general topic of how influence efforts on social media work, and to what effect. (It's not a topic I feel like I understand. But then, I am a bit bemused at how well advertising in general seems to work.)

The silly aspect comes from concern about Russian social media activity dividing our nation and spreading propaganda and so forth. That is a drop in the ocean.

the concern is not silly.

it is bit hypocritical, for those who actually know all the relevant US history, to be mad when other countries meddle in our elections, but i'd be shocked if even 20% of Americans know it. yes, they should know it, but they don't.

and futhermore, it's never been true that two wrongs make a right.

if it was bad for the US to meddle in other countries' elections, it's also bad when it happens to us.

so, we should stop it. and we shouldn't accept it when other countries do it to us.

editing...

"it is bit hypocritical, for those who actually know all the relevant US history, to be mad when other countries meddle in our elections while not caring that the US did it also, ... "

Here we go again with all that nasty, inconvenient facts and evidence stuff.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/despite-trump-administration-denials-new-evidence-suggests-census-citizenship-question-was-crafted-to-benefit-white-republicans/2019/05/30/ca188dea-82eb-11e9-933d-7501070ee669_story.html

Not that the revelations are a surprise or anything. But solid evidence of perjury by the Secretary of Commerce does seem to be there.

Some on SCOTUS will have no problem dismissing this as completely irrelevant. I would not even exclude the possibility that claims will be made that evil intent and bad faith do not affect the question of legitimacy in any way (and that since in the abstract the question itself is not per se harmful, there's no reason to consider it so in the specific context).

WRT Russian interference, not all drops in all buckets are equal. I fully believe that the Russian troll farms had just enough of an effect in Wisconsin and in Florida to tip things that little bit more such that the GOP thumb on the scales there could save the day.

Every little bit helps, said the old man as he pissed into the sea.

My impression is that the "hysteria", or concern, if you will, is not about history, or even Putin specifically, as it is the degree to his interference was welcomed, abetted, and embraced by the POTUS and his campaign.

Exactly. That the Russians interfered, while very regrettable from the American POV (and strenuous steps would be taken in any rational country to avoid it happening again) could justly be regarded as sauce for the gander. The really important thing about the Russian interference is partly what russell says above, and even more, how it is being ignored and even tacitly welcomed by much of the GOP and of the Republican electorate.

I would, I think, draw a distinction between two different kinds of "interference".

One is, essentially, propaganda/advertising -- even if falsifying the source. The other involves monkeying with voter lists, vote totals, etc. -- that is, the mechanics of the election The former is irritating; the latter is a whole different level of unacceptable.

I'll just leave this here. Bad press is not the worst outcome of failure.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/north-koreas-kim-jong-un-carrying-out-purge-after-hanoi-summit-collapse-chosun-ilbo/ar-AAC9ZgJ

Imagine a place where your every word, expression, and gesture is a potential landmine.

"No country is as misunderstood as North Korea, and no modern tyrant has remained more mysterious than the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il. Now, celebrity ghostwriter Michael Malice pulls back the curtain to expose the life story of the "Incarnation of Love and Morality." Taken directly from books spirited out of Pyongyang, DEAR READER is a carefully reconstructed first-person account of the man behind the mythology."
Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il

wj - the line between those two things blur in the face of modern data collection and number crunching. If the Russians were to have access to a candidate's canvasing database, they could mount a very targeted disinformation campaign aided by the metrics they get from social media data abusers like Cambridge Analytic.

I believe that to be a highly probable scenario from the last election. No need to tamper with much official to get a very directed effect.

wj: One is, essentially, propaganda/advertising -- even if falsifying the source. The other involves monkeying with voter lists, vote totals, etc. -- that is, the mechanics of the election. The former is irritating; the latter is a whole different level of unacceptable.

I once chided Donald for conflating the changing of votes with the changing of ballots.

Convincing (some) Americans to change their vote by means of surreptitious propaganda and disinformation is indeed different from surreptitiously changing the ballots on which they recorded their votes. But I would argue the former is more insidious, not less.

The counterargument would be that whether people get convinced by propaganda, or disinformation, or rhetoric, or logic doesn't matter. If you convince them, they are ... well, convinced. If you change people's mental picture of the universe into one where

o Hillary is a crook but He, Trump isn't;
o a 6-week-old fetus has constitutional rights but a 6-year-old immigrant child doesn't;
o the "white working class" is getting ripped off by foreign workers and not by domestic billionaires;
o fossil fuels are a renewable resource and money isn't;
o American "socialists" are dangerous but American collaborators of foreign kleptocrats are NOT;
then you don't need to hack into their balloting system. But I think that reinforces my point.

--TP

Every little bit helps, said the old man as he pissed into the sea.

Catalogued for future use.

I'll just leave this here

"You're fired!"

I’ll just leave this here

A man your president publicly admires.

it’s a little bit hypocritical

It’s pretty consistent, too.
A demonstration of contempt for and subversion of democracy both overseas and at home.

The best quarrels are the internecine ones...

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-21/tory-grandee-patten-calls-johnson-mendacious-and-incompetent
“He’s lied his way through life, he’s lied his way through politics, he’s a huckster with a degree of charm to which I am immune,” Patten said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London. “As well as being mendacious he’s incompetent.”...

I think it's reasonable to predict Patten won't be voting for Johnson in the leadership election.

Without further comment:

https://uk.reuters.com/video/2019/05/31/kim-jong-un-executes-officials-after-fai?videoId=556749337

What Tony P said @10.02 above.

Persuasion by systematic, targeted falsehood is worse than ballot-tampering because once you can prove ballot-tampering it is, at least theoretically, clear-cut. But targeted disinformation? We are seeing in real time how neither the disinformed, nor the providers of the channels of disinformation, give the slightest of fucks. Facts are irrelevant, gut-feeling is all, and gut-feeling is infinitely manipulable.

R.I.P., Leon Redbone.

The success of this Republican campaign, reflected in conservative media coverage, to protect Trump was best captured by Amash’s own constituent Cathy Garnaat, a Republican, who NBC reported was “surprised to hear there was anything negative in the Mueller report at all about President Trump.”


“I hadn’t heard that before,” she told NBC after the Tuesday town hall. “I’ve mainly listened to conservative news and I hadn’t heard anything negative about that report and President Trump has been exonerated.”


That comment alone cements that Amash, in becoming the first and only Republican to call for impeachment, is fighting against an entire machine — from the elected leaders to sympathetic media outlets.

https://www.vox.com/2019/5/30/18646048/republican-protect-trump-mueller-report-amash

R.I.P., Leon Redbone.

such a loss.

he's been a favorite of mine for as long as i can remember (literally). i was 4 when his first record was released, and my dad played it constantly.

he played at the Lenox Folk Fest in 76. and my dad took me. it's the first concert i remember going to.

i saw him a couple of times since and he was amazing.

Persuasion by systematic targeted falsehood is more effective than ballot-tampering, which is why on the ground republican ballot tampering must be designed to be unprovable, for the purposes of giving cover to right wing Supreme Court justices like John Roberts who exhibit, in theory only, strategic shame (in the matter of timing) in their efforts to subvert the democratic system, as opposed to their more ruthless brethren like the other four right wing justices who have no fucks left to give, even for their mothers.

Facts are irrelevant, gut-feeling is all, and gut-feeling is infinitely manipulable.

Them are the rules as dictated to us by the vermin conservative movement so the opposition on the Left must employ what fucks remain in their possession (or stow the fucks on the conscionable shelf until such time as possessing giveable fucks once again becomes a thing in an America once assholes have been vanquished), and apply those rules more vigorously, ruthlessly, and effectively to win elections, or in the still slightly (in my view) lower percentage case that measures other than elections become necessary, to destroy the conservative movement by other means and see it disappear into the dustbin.

The shit we make up must be shittier and more convincing, now that facts and Truth are irrelevant, temporarily one can hope, than the shit the conservative movement manufactures and distributes via p's and McConnell's rotten mouths and mainlined 24-hours-a-day, 360 degree surround sound by the conservative lying, thieving media shit fan to their opioid-addled shithead constituents.

Headline later today: P expresses admiration for Kim-Jong-un's murderous methods; sez America could learn a thing or two about silencing its disloyal domestic enemies.

Follow-up: Secretary of State Pompeo (flop sweat glistening), from an undisclosed location (farther up p's fundament than Colonel Kurtz managed to row up the Nung River), says p is the man and pleads that he will do better in negotiations with North Korea, but supports Kim-Jonh-un's measures too, adding "the losers he sent to negotiate last time just don't know how to kiss toukus; maybe we'll see the A team in future")

Larry Kudlow, is a separate development, piddled on the newspaper p puts down in the Oval Office for his butt kissers.

P's golf caddie quickly reviewed p's score cards and announced p regularly shoots much, much better ... so much better you wouldn't believe, we're talking negative numbers, less than zero, you've heard of the hole-in-zero, right ... than the award-winning scores announced from his resorts, and then the caddie took a running start and dived headfirst into the alligator-infested water hazard on Mar-a-Lago's 19th hole, where the disloyal go to swim.

Leon Redbone's alleged passing is fake news. He's alive and well. Pass it around.

As someone said here once: We can believe what we want to believe and have the opinions we wish to have.

I don't know why Leon Redbone's loved ones and music business associates are lying about his health.

Systematic, targeted falsehood and fuckless disinformation and cash are free speech protected by the First Amendment, and as George Carlin opined "Well, if it's legal, what's the problem?"

Which is why we have the Second Amendment.

To hunt the fuckless down.

"I hadn't heard that before."

What Helen Keller exclaimed when Anne Sullivan spelled "water" in the former's wet hand.

"I hadn't heard that before."

What Thomas Watson said to Alexander Graham Bell on the first telephone prototype.

"I hadn't heard that before."

What Travis Bickle said to himself in the mirror after looking behind him and asking "You talkin to me?"

Persuasion by systematic targeted falsehood is more effective than ballot-tampering

Persuasion by systematic targeted falsehood is an industry, that extends well beyond politics.

The fundamental, intractable problem is that any and all attempts to counter it are limited by people's capacity for critical thought and their willingness to use their damned heads.

It needs to be sufficiently important to people that they will make the effort. For a lot of people, that's not the case.

The success of the American republic relies on people giving a shit. Place your bets.

From a delightful piece entitled Republicans are Expert at Hurting Their Own Voters

“Unless you stop asylum seekers, I’m going to strangle American manufacturing and farming, cut off the supply of avocados, undermine my demand (made the very same day!) to immediately pass NAFTA 2.0 and deal another blow to the United States auto industry!”

That’s essentially what President Trump did on Thursday in what is sure to go down as the most counterproductive move in the most counterproductive trade policy in U.S. history.

Between the tariff wars trashing their markets, climate change trashing their planting schedules, and border-wall fanatics stonewalling disaster relief funding, reality may be starting to creep past Faux News in the breadbasket of America.

Trump: "We're going to keep increasing unemployment in Mexico until Mexicans stop illegally crossing the border."

GftNC: We are seeing in real time how neither the disinformed, nor the providers of the channels of disinformation, give the slightest of fucks.

I have long thought that politicians who con people into voting for them are the political equivalents of the fellow who cheats on his pilot's license exam. Sure, he gets official permission to fly the plane. But he will get himself killed ... along with all the passengers, of course.

--TP

The definitive answer to the one-sided only question as to why Jewish synagogues, driving while black, juvenile immigrants and their parents, and liberals at large are targeted in America for savage, murderous kidnapping and killing gun violence by the conservative right wing, and not one fuck-left-to-give anything is done about it:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/laura-ingraham-paul-nehlen-white-nationalism

FOXNews and their conservative vermin brethren put out hits on the Other at will and in broad daylight and the hits are carried out at will.

They are a criminal clearing house for hatred and murder.

Why can't the same happen back at them?

Those who have the least fucks to give will emerge the winner in the America that is now configured for ruthless pig-fuckery, and the wrong fuckless ones are winning.

Give up all fucks.

I have a suggestion: there should be an "truth-mark" for written material, perhaps a 'T' in a circle.

Any writer would be free to add the mark to their work or not - the suggestion respects the First Amendment.

If the mark is there, the writer becomes liable to criminal prosecution if the work can be proved to be knowingly or recklessly false. It would be possible to avert prosecution by publishing a correction at least as prominent as the original, so long at that is done in time to avoid irreversible consequences.

Fuckless:

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a27679444/donald-trump-tariff-mexico-immigration-federal-reserve-judy-shelton/

Kind of late with book reviews, but I just read all the World of the Five Gods books by Bujold and loved them all, with one exception that I only liked, The Hallowed Hunt. Ingrey was hard to like. But I loved the first two Chalion books and the Penric and Desdemona novellas.

This successfully washed the bad taste left by Martin, Weiss and Benioff (or whatever his name was ) out of my mouth. Kind of sick of grim dark. Especially grimdark done badly so the two shiwrunners can run off to further destroy another admittedly already destroyed series.

"If the mark is there, the writer becomes liable to criminal prosecution if the work can be proved to be knowingly or recklessly false. It would be possible to avert prosecution by publishing a correction at least as prominent as the original, so long at that is done in time to avoid irreversible consequences."

I'm on board.

But first we build out the increased prison space to house American liars, I'd say, by a factor of 100 times.

Which of the five dentists, the four positive liars, or the one minority negative-reviewing liar, will go to jail for claiming or not claiming that XYC toothpaste is a dentist-approved dentifrice.

Personally, I'd execute the advertising copywriter, his superiors, and colgate palmolive management for making that shit up in the first place.

Outright lying is as American as the cherry pie baked with the cherries from the cherry tree George Washington and his knob-shiners (we cannot tell a lie, but no one said anything about writing it down) lied about cutting down.

The word "Lie" is not in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

If it was, the entire American enterprise, which has skated on a thin membrane of prevarication and outright bullshit for its entirety, would deflate and burn like Jack Nicholson in "The Witches of Eastwick".

But now that it has caught up with us in the personhood of the conservative movement and p, I say good riddance.

And here I thought we could believe our own bullshit and somehow progress, while enjoying the skating, in spite of ourselves to something better.

Send me $35 bucks and I'll send YOU a manual on how to place tiny little ads in local newspapers from which you will make millions. Order now and I'll sell you a set of Ginsu knives to cut up your used cans.

Feathers and cherries:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADxFPQZAlJw

Pop!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KfXa_-tU9s

We're going to keep increasing unemployment in Mexico until Mexicans stop illegally crossing the border.

Every time Trump tweets about new tariffs, the markets do a small nose-dive. Then all parties reach some rapprochement, or some time goes by, and they bounce back.

Lather, rinse, and repeat.

I'd like to see the stock trading patterns of Trump and his kids for the time periods around his tariff announcements.

It wouldn't be surprising if the entire trade war grift (regardless of the merits of fixing by negotiation what problems exist) and every other kicked up cloud of fucking horseshit visible from space by p and the conservative movement have as their motivation the illegal theft of funds across the board.

Just as it won't be surprising when (and if) the p crime syndicate finally departs (feet first on gurneys to the morgue would be the preferred exit route) from our fucked government and we learn that massive amounts of funds (as in bankruptcy-inducing amounts) are missing from government accounts across the spectrum of government agencies.

I've never witnessed such self-deluding pig shit in the world of stock market analysis, a field capable in the past of colossally full of shit self-delusion, with the end of course being stealing their clients' money by hook or crook, as I'm seeing in the past few months.

They can look into the cameras and justify any crap p does.

See here, for example, just today, directly from the school of always wrong alcoholic and drug-addled always look on the bright side because otherwise you are not an American if you believe it it will appear prosperity gospel tax-hating vermin cocksucker Lawrence Kudlow.

https://finance.yahoo.com/video/trump-shift-tone-stock-market-185607069.html

It's amazing how much shit can be gulped down and damage done to the Republic for which it bullshits by those swimming in the fucking tax cuts.

They'll say anything. And convince themselves to believe it.

By the way, if I travel to Mexico, Mexicans should shoot me in the head and take my wallet as I cross the border.

They'd be fully justified, as I am a fucking American.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/05/31/friday-morning-open-thread-everybodys-talkin-bout-it/

I'd like to see the stock trading patterns of Trump and his kids for the time periods around his tariff announcements.

Yes.

It wouldn't be surprising if the entire trade war grift (regardless of the merits of fixing by negotiation what problems exist) and every other kicked up cloud of fucking horseshit visible from space by p and the conservative movement have as their motivation the illegal theft of funds across the board.

Just as it won't be surprising when (and if) the p crime syndicate finally departs (feet first on gurneys to the morgue would be the preferred exit route) from our fucked government and we learn that massive amounts of funds (as in bankruptcy-inducing amounts) are missing from government accounts across the spectrum of government agencies.

I'm convinced of this.

“But is it really just a "drop in the ocean"? I'd be interested in seeing evidence on that. ”

How much did the Russians spend in 2016? What did we spend? There was some similar meddling by Democrats in the Alabama election. Did that matter?

But I am thinking of much bigger sorts of long term lying and propagandizing going back decades. I would have to look up links, but there’s been a concerted effort to portray government spending and social programs as inherently bad going back to the 70’s. That’s all perfectly legal, but I am sure that has had orders of magnitude more effect than social media campaigns depicting Jesus and Satan armwrestling. Every example I have seen of Russian influence seemed trivial to me, except for the stolen emails.

Or think of the oil companies and others spending God knows what to convince people global warming is uncertain. Now that topic is part of the freaking culture wars. That was no accident.

Or think of rightwing talk radio going back decades. Think of Iraq. Or some of our other stupid wars.

Then I see people talking about Russian social media influence causing divisions and sowing disinformation in our pristineand my eyes just start rolling. It’s like Birchers blaming social unrest on Soviet influence. Well, there were commies in the civil rights movement.

As for Russian meddling compared to ours, let me put it this way. I first read Chomsky back in the 80’s. It was eye opening for me, all sorts of horrible things we did. But he was talking about assassinations, death squads, carpet bombing, and genocidal wars. If he had been talking about how we planted a few false stories in newspapers or stole some documents to embarrass a political candidate ( things I am sure we have done countless times), I would have yawned. We interfered in the Russian elections in 1996. We openly bragged about it. We interfere in Israeli elections and they interfere in ours. I would bet this happens with other countries too. This is trivial stuff. If we can’t survive social media campaigns from Russia, then we can’t survive them from anybody. But I think it is just another source of bull crap in our system and a minor one at that.

I should also point out that interference in policy debates arguably matters more than Russian social media noise. Which corporations and countries supply the money that support the think tanks and their experts that we see arguing for or against various policies on television? (Personally I only watch television policy debates about the proper use of dragons in wartime—I could not care less what the various a- holes say on PBS, NPR, Fox, CNN or MSNBC.)

The Powell memo— that is what I was thinking of.

https://billmoyers.com/content/the-powell-memo-a-call-to-arms-for-corporations/

I also remember seeing Milton Friedman’s “ Free to Choose” on PBS in 1980. I didn’t know much about politics then, but it felt like people were really pushing hard the idea that government was bad in nearly every way and was inherently inefficient. I would say this sort of perfectly legal activity is vastly more influential on our politics than the Jesus vs Satan armwrestling or a handful of tiny demonstrations the Russians stirred up.

What strikes me about people going on about the Russian social media threat is that it sounds like the most crazed form of whackyass conspiracy theory. In real life there is this huge social force that pushes for less government regulation, stirs up skepticism about the harm caused by tobacco or greenhouse gases, pushes for endless wars and more military spending. It’s called “ capitalism”. For better or worse this is what democracy is— rich people spending a lot of money telling us that what is good for them is good for everyone. And even a crazed narcissist like Trump mostly ends up doing what these guys want, which is why the Republicans have stuck with him so far.

But no, “ there is a threat to our democracy” ( I hate that phrase ) because the Russians managed to inject some truly hamfisted bits of mostly asinine propaganda into social media. That’s our problem...evil foreigners.

Donald: If we can’t survive social media campaigns from Russia, then we can’t survive them from anybody.

If you can't survive a straw landing on your back, you're no camel.

Sure, America is full of home-grown pigfuckers. And yet "we" have "survived". So of course "we" can "survive" the extra bit of piddling pigfuckery of Putin and his puppets, right?

--TP

Donald,

There has always been a threat to our democracy. The point is the level of threat may well be enhanced these days.

Those "huge social forces" have now barfed up a president who embodies their will in an era characterized by the kind of increasing ideological sorting not seen since the Antebellum days.

This is made worse by an oppressive income stratification.

The rich will do anything to keep their toys.

The aid of a hostile foreign power to a political organization that gladly accepted it, either overtly or covertly is just icing on the cake.

Hence my concern.

It matters because the election was so close. And because Trump welcomed the assistance.

The latest news here is that Trump has endorsed Boris Johnson. Which is good news for those of us who think BoJo as PM would be bad for the country.

Donald- you seem to be focusing on the ham-fisted nature of the propaganda being produced and comparing it to the shamelessness of the broad, culture-war propaganda of the pre-Internet days. As far as that goes, I agree with your assessment.

I'm not despairing over memes. I'm despairing over the ways in which the feedback loops built into social media platforms and big data give interested parties much more *control* over the distribution of propaganda and ways to measure the effectiveness of that propaganda. Big Data is a brave new networked world. It's not the Internet Research Agency or the Romanian troll farms that sank us, it's Cambridge Analytica.

What Nous said.

And Donald, why do you keep ignoring the point some of us keep making about the issue being less Russia's interference, and more the Trumpies' and GOP's enthusiastic (or in the latter's case complacent) acceptance of same?

As for Russian meddling compared to ours, let me put it this way.

I don't really give a crap about Putin.

What's unusual is the behavior of the POTUS, the principals of his campaign for that office, and his party. It deserves attention and concern.

Or, what GFTNC said.

I do give a crap about Putin.

Putin and other dictators are on a roll, just as they were in the 1930's. But we're too cool and disinterested to give a shit. We're all about same/same.

I read this.

We're not up to it. Fascism (sorry, GftNC, but whatever it is, it's close) is happening now, and we can't deal with it in our own country. Democracy, and the notion of evolutionarily getting on with the promise of our country, it's really not likely to happen. Gonna take a miracle.

By the way, my state, assholes rule.

Oops, meant to link "my state" to https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/police-respond-to-shooting-at-virginia-beach-municipal-complex/2019/05/31/49dca07a-83e6-11e9-933d-7501070ee669_story.html?utm_term=.a4a070924cff

"Contrary to the dissembling explanations from the corporate press, this movement did not emerge overnight―nor are its varied subgroups in any sense interchangeable with one another. As united by their opposition as they are divided by their goals, the members of the New Right are willfully suspicious of those in the mainstream who would seek to tell their story. Fortunately, author Michael Malice was there from the very inception, and in The New Right recounts their tale from the beginning."
The New Right: A Journey to the Fringe of American Politics

the Russians managed to inject some truly hamfisted bits of mostly asinine propaganda into social media.

and into the WH

I do give a crap about Putin.

Let me re-phrase.

Putin is a criminal. He runs his country, not like, but as a criminal enterprise. Further, he seeks to undermine peaceful relations between and within other nations to further the interests and influence of his own corrupt state.

He is a menace to the world. He actually is a threat to democracy, here and elsewhere. And not an idle one.

I give a crap about all of that.

In a perfect world, or at least simply a better one, all of that would not pose a significant threat to us or the nations that rightly should be our friends and allies. We would not have a POTUS welcoming and embracing Putin's efforts to interfere in our society. We would not have a propaganda organization posing as a news outlet aiding and abetting his efforts to sow dissent. We would not have "social media platforms" making money from all of that crap, while refusing to acknowledge any responsibility for the damage done.

We would have an administration that made blindingly clear our support for NATO and for the kind of liberal democracy that has kept Europe and a lot of the rest of the world from engaging in stupid destructive wars.

In the world as it should be, Putin would be a thug, the leader of a kleptocratic failed state. Not a non-entity exactly, but not a significant character or player. Someone whose influence could be contained and countered.

We were sold out, for a hotel in Moscow. Among other things. Worse, we sold ourselves out.

Putin per se, I don't give a crap about. Maybe I should, Russia has suffered under his rule, but that isn't my problem to solve.

The sold out part is what is much more concerning to me.

Exactly what russell said @10.29, with this additional gloss: Putin was to some (probably great) extent behind the financing of a lot of the Brexit campaign, and while Bannon openly said that Brexit was their trial run for the Trump campaign, with (as we now know) substantial help from Cambridge Analytica, the UK has been left in its current insane position at least partly (and probably to a great extent) because of Putin's desire to destabilise and destroy the EU, and then NATO. And while condemning the Trumpistas and the GOP for their cooperation with Russia, I do not in any way exempt Nigel Farage, Arron Banks or anybody else in the Brexit camp from the same.

and we know Russia has its hooks into the NRA - the same NRA that blasts transparently-false propaganda to its idiot followers while shilling for the "right" of said idiots to own any lethal weapon they can carry.

Virginia Beach city government undergoes a routine reduction in force, just as student bodies across the country have experienced monthly reductions in class-size headcounts.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/virginia-beach-city-government-shooting

Unfortunately, families and friends of the murdered had to learn about the layoffs of their loved ones on the news.

Conservative gun fuck vermin expressed relief that the civil servants would no longer be taking long lunches, nor would they be squirreling away sick leave and vacation time on the armed taxpayers' tab.

And the pension shortfall, well, this is one way to address it.

The NRA, which is now a pro- and quasi-government paramilitary terrorist group in the United States, just as it has become under Putin's KGB guidance in Russia .. that's right ... pro-Russian government ... for example, to uphold the Russian Orthodox Church's visceral hatred of the Russian LGBT population.

Should there be a popular uprising in Russia against Putin's crypto capitalist pigfuckery and human rights abuses in Russia by those to his Left, and who isn't, the NRA will, against all of its bullshit anti-government principles, serve as a pro-Putin liquidation force against the rebels.

That Russian violence will serve as a prototype for the so-called American paramilitary NRA, now solidly pro-government, to butcher and slaughter liberal patriots who are going to overrun Mar-a-Lago during p's last days.

Monday is National Impersonate Authority Day.

p will lead a military parade and puppet show around the Washington Mall.

Everyone else, try to act like you have power, influence, and leverage.

Fake it. Wear a dumb hat. Seems to have worked for the assholes.

I want to replace republican conservative election-stealing, gerrymandering schemes with hardened Liberal Democratic apartheid borders, with conservative tribes segregated into their very own walled-off Bantustans and if they attempt to govern me in any way outside their designated borders, then we go all Texas Ranger on their Comanche asses.

This is just a tiny taste of what we will learn p and his criminal thugs and welfare queens have done to government:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/5/31/1861729/-Racist-Official-Who-Called-Michelle-Obama-An-Ape-Sentenced-To-Prison-For-FEMA-Fraud

I'm warming up to reinstatement of the death penalty in all 50 states.

But only because we don't have the prison space for the entire millions of right wing racist conservative thieves who make up the conservative movement infrastructure and who are plundering government coffers as they deflectively point over there and croak "look, another nigger Jew fag!"

What Russell and GftNC said.

Plus:

On the eve of his state visit, President Trump touched on Britain's sore spot — its withdrawal from the E.U. — with praise for Brexiteers Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.
Putin's boys are working hard to support each other. (And, thereby, him.) Too bad Trump is so unpopular in the UK that his endorsement is unlikely to be a plus for Brexit.

“So of course "we" can "survive" the extra bit of piddling pigfuckery of Putin and his puppets, right?”

Yes.

Snark aside, the problem with America is America. But if you want to focus on evil foreigners, and I don’t, I think the almost exclusiive mainstream focus on Russia is bad faith hypocrisy— we need an evil enemy to justify our military industrial complex. If we get into a war with Iran, it won’t be Russia that helped push us in that direction. It will be Israel and the Saudis.

But even then I don’t agree with the subset of people on the far left who overstate that influence. Our ruling class works for itself first and foremost.

“And Donald, why do you keep ignoring the point some of us keep making about the issue being less Russia's interference, and more the Trumpies' and GOP's enthusiastic (or in the latter's case complacent) acceptance of same?”

Because I think it is a comparatively trivial issue. If I believed in the death penalty, I would favor it for Trump for colluding with the Saudis. And again, Russian influence is just a drop in the bucket of horrendous influence stemming from people in our own culture.

It won’t happen, but I dream of the day when “ rule of law” meant something more than powerful people inside the Beltway treating each other with respect while colluding with genocidal monsters overseas. Fuck this political culture.

Anyway, I am done ranting for this thread. I won’t change minds and y’all won’t change mine.


I think the almost exclusiive mainstream focus on Russia is bad faith hypocrisy— we need an evil enemy to justify our military industrial complex.

This would be more plausible if there was any suggestion of an industrial "solution" to the threat from Russia. But if anyone is advocating that, I've missed it.

Now if you wanted to argue that this is what is driving our foreign policy with regard to China, you'd have a much better case. But Russia policy? Just not seeing it.

I should say for the benefit of the Secret Service that for complicity in genocide I only favor life imprisonment for Presidents after a fair trial. The President should receive adequate representation— perhaps a public defender with an otherwise light work load—and opportunities to appeal a guilty verdict, with a chance of pardon from Pence/ Biden which he would no doubt receive.

I won’t change minds and y’all won’t change mine.

could be. maybe even most likely.

nonetheless, your company and point of view are appreciated.

Our ruling class works for itself first and foremost.

True. George Bush and Barack Obama have more in common with each other than they have with most of the people that voted for them. Even Bush and Hillary Clinton.

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