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August 02, 2022

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Well it didn't work.

It half worked. It didn't attract fewer voters, but it did attract very ideologically motivated votes, the ones whose ideology is "Keep your bloody barbaric religious beliefs away from my body."

Helps a bunch of people in Oklahoma, too.

I thought that it was, "Bleeding Kansas."

Also, it got the moniker because Kansas was to decide its status, slave or free, through a vote, and the slave holders engaged in terrorism to win the election.

The terrorists lost the election.

This is what happens when the dog catches the car.

This is what happens when the dog catches the car.

To the extent that he doesn't know what to do next, yeah. But it's looking like, in addition, the bumper he's biting down on is poisoned. Him busily chewing on it doesn't help.

In the decade before the Civil War, Kansas was referred to as "Bleeding Kansas," not "Bloody Kansas." John Brown, who conducted a slave uprising at Harper's Ferry, WV, lived there for several years and he (with his sons) is believed to have murdered several pro-slavery people before he moved on.

I’ve been wondering if the title was riffing on “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” or “Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath” (since I’m pretty sure wj isn’t fluent enough in heavy metal for it to be “Roots, Bloody Roots”)?

Actually, the way *I* first (and, as I think on it, subsequently) heard it was indeed "Kansas, Bloody Kansas". Not that Procopius is wrong in the original of the phrase. Just that it had morphed by the time it got to mid-20th century California where I encountered it.

And nous is right on when it comes to my musical tastes. (Or lack thereof.)

fluent enough in heavy metal

And Clutch comes through in the ... clutch!

Old John Brown left Kansas before the blood had dried And as he rode his head did shine like the sun in mid-July In a tiny farm house by Brunswick piano He warmed his boots by the fireplace and read aloud from Samuel

David rose to beat the Philistines with five smooth stones and a sling

One October morning his army did approach
The armory that sat between the Potomac and Shenandoah
The engine house flung open with report of several guns
When it was done he looked upon the bodies of his dying sons

David rose to beat the Philistines, with five smooth stones and a sling

Throughout our history there are those ghosts
Compelled to illustrate our dreams and hopes
Victors hang in pictures, losers from ropes
Regardless they all swing in the same boat

Yeah....yeah, yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah

In Southampton County 'round 1831
Nat Turner prayed and the cornstalks swayed
A voice rose up and a text was raised
In the planter's steak house they went from room to room
When it was done they rode along to liberate Jerusalem

David rose to beat the Philistines, with five smooth stones and a sling

Throughout our history there are those ghosts
Compelled to illustrate our dreams and hopes
Victors hang in pictures, losers from ropes
Regardless they all swing in the same boat

hsh - your song reminds me of my visit to Harper's Ferry, which was the most powerfully moving place I had ever been to, and still is. There are places where the past seems to be still a presence, and that's one of them.

I've only driven through Harper's Ferry, but will be vacationing in Gettysburg very soon. I expect the past will be very much present there.

That song is one of the three hidden tracks included on Clutch's album The Elephant Riders and one on the version I own. (You got one of the three, not all three, more or less at random AFAIK.)

Fun fact - they wrote the album and recorded half of it while living in a house in WV outside Harper's Ferry.

Excerpts from a couple interview-based articles:

"The lyrics on this CD entertain a freaky kind of historical perversion. Fallon maintains that the lyrics are a result of their relocation to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, a town soaked in Post-Revolution and Civil War history."

and

'The title track of Clutch's third album was written by the band in a very old West Virginia house that was built in 1760. The song imagines a fictional elephants' cavalry during the American Civil War.

The imagery arose from an offer by the King of Siam to Abraham Lincoln to donate some war elephants to assist the Union. The President politely declined this offer pointing out in his reply that steam power had overtaken the need for heavy animal power of this kind. Vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon told us: "That part of West Virginia where we were living was close to Harper's Ferry. I'd never really known much about the Civil War until that time. When I started reading about it I got very interested in it, and that particular part of the East Coast of the United States and those images infused themselves into that song and that record."'

I went to Gettysburg only once, when I was a child, and one of my uncles lived there for a while. I wasn't susceptible to hauntings when I was eight, but the older I get the more powerful they are. You should give us a report after your visit. Maybe write a post!

I had heard of Harper's Ferry, but if I ever knew the story I had forgotten it. Will check it out.

Here, of course, Bloody Sunday refers to the event in Derry that the U2 song is about, where British soldiers opened fire on unarmed civil rights protesters, killing 13 and injuring 14. Its repercussions continue to ripple down the years.

Just to clarify, I found Harper's Ferry haunting not so much because of, or only because of, what John Brown did there, but because it's a National Historical Park, basically a spread out museum that documents slavery and the fight against it.

Plus, it's at the confluence of two rivers, which in some cultures/belief systems is a sacred space. At Harper's Ferry I could well believe it.

In a cute opinion piece in the Washington Post, columnist Alexandra Petri lays it all out:
Whoops, we forgot women could still vote

Alexandra Petri is amazing. This piece on the 2020 Democratic convention roll call is probably the funniest thing I've ever read. The Maine delegate she mentions is my state senator; before that he was my state rep. It was cool to have him mentioned....

I won't say what I think is the funniest bit of all -- there's so much in there that it's almost unfair to single out any particular bit. But I will......later.

Her piece on having a newborn, written recently when she came back from maternity leave, is also a treasure.

On hauntings - there’s some probability that I will ingest something that will make me susceptible to hauntings while in Gettysburg.

I’ll be sure to include any such thing in my report. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the sake of our readers.

I’ll be sure to include any such thing in my report. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the sake of our readers.

Thank you for your service.

I’ll be sure to include any such thing in my report.

I should hope so.

Thank you for your service.

Amen.

On Alexandra Petri, I was unaware of her, at least by name. I enjoyed the piece on the 2020 Democratic convention roll call, but (perhaps because I have no innate feeling for the differences between the states, except on the crudest level) my favourite line was I must go to Iggy’s as surely as the salmon must swim upstream. And actually, by then, I felt the same!

One of the more interesting things one can do at Gettysburg is a guided tour, on horseback.

It should give one an interesting historical perspective.

My favorite bit of Petri's D roll call piece was a mythological reference, both the form of it and the way it was stuck in there out of the blue. But her treatment of Rhode Island was what had me laughing the most.

Did not expect Clutch -> Harper’s Ferry on today’s interwebs.

In other news, I have an extra ticket for Praxis if anyone’s gonna be in NYC on 8/31. Apparently I’m the only one I know who likes Buckethead.

@Janie

Thank you for that roll call link! I used to think of Newport or RISD when I thought of Rhode Island. No longer. :-)

Since it's the latest open thread...

I find myself worrying a lot that the "One China" fiction that everyone has played along with is going to bite us all in the butt soon. It's let the PRC maintain the position that Taiwan is a "renegade province". It's let Taiwan move along without taking the provocative step of declaring independence, ie, "We were part of China but have now seceded." And the US has quietly sold Taiwan a whole lot of weapons without ever taking the official position of supporting one side of what is legally a civil war.

The PRC has started a four-day live-fire war games that is clearly intended to send the message that they can probably impose a blockade Taiwan can't break on its own. They've gone so far as to let some of the war game area slop over into what would be Taiwanese territorial waters if Taiwan were an independent country. Quite near some very important port facilities. I'm glad I'm not in Taiwan's shoes. Do we ignore the PRC? Do we see how closely we can poke before they shoot at us? Do we scream for the US, saying "You just sent the Speaker of the House, third in line of succession!"

I worry about a real blockade, Taiwan screaming for the 7th fleet, a carrier strike group forcing its way through the blockade, the PRC dropping a tactical nuke on the fleet a nasty ballistic missile or sequence of them.

That "One China" policy should have been dumped half a century ago. Preferably in the late 50s or early 60s, i.e. before China had nuclear weapons to object with. (At the very latest, when Chiang Kai-shek died in 1975.)

But now, it's hardened into stone. No sign of a viable off ramp (to mix metaphors horribly).

I suspect that the best choice would be an unannounced visit to Taipei by a US President, to announce (spring) a new "Two China" policy. China would naturally be furious, to put it mildly.** But faced with a fait accompli, I'm guessing that they would choose not to launch a war. Russia shows them how that would likely go.

** Rivaled only by the fury of Republicans at Biden getting a foreign policy "win." When they really don't have a way to object without looking "weak on China".

I dunno. I'm an idiot, but I don't think Xi is. He knows what side of the bread his butter is on and I don't think China wants US sanctions (nor does the US consumer, for that matter). Taiwan is certainly an agenda item, but I think China is happy to highlight it while it takes eyeballs off of its other SCS adventurism (and beyond).

But I'm not betting the mortgage on it. The rise of authoritarianism may be more emboldening than I think. I have no idea if Xi is the Party or if there are countervailing winds there.

Xi may not be an idiot. But he definitely seems to have screwed up on Taiwan. A couple decades ago, most Taiwanese expected eventual unification with China. In part because Xi was promising "One country, two systems".

Then Xi started to run Hing Kong on the same promise, in what Taiwan saw as a preview of that offer. And then, Xi decided to ignore all the promises he had made to Hong Kong, and force it into the mold of the rest of China. As a result, a majority in Taiwan now look towards independence.

It isn't obvious why Xi decided to shoot himself in the foot like that. A few more years of letting Hong Kong alone, and he could probably have convinced Taiwan rejoin -- after which he could clamp down to his heart's content. But he didn't wait. Maybe there were internal party dynamics involved. Maybe he felt like too many Chinese were looking at Hong Kong and asking "Why can't we have that kind of freedom?" But the prospects for reunification** now look worse than they have been in ages.

** That's peaceful reunification. China could try invading the island, for all the challenges any island invasion entails. But the logistics of that are grim, even though China can hardly be as inept as Russia. Plus, unlike Ukraine, Taiwan has been arming, training, and configuring to stop an invasion. For half a century.

Expected or feared? Or expected ergo feared? My understanding is that Taiwan wants nothing to do with unification and that sentiment is growing ever stronger.

Disclaimer, I’m pleading ignorance here and this is total spitballing on my part.

I was going to mention Hong Kong because I think the CCP has hugely underestimated what it will take to assimilate that region. It will happen eventually but not nearly as easily as was planned. It’s a Western oasis, still, and will not go quietly. That’s a big PR issue for Xi.

Putin is unstable. China’s western and southwestern borders aren’t the paragon of stability. The Dalai Lama is still out there. Vietnam has some issues with China’s escapades in the SCS. And their cheeks are kinda exposed if anyone starts challenging their footholds in Eastern Africa. Japan is aligning more closely with the West and a bolstered NATO is no shrinking violet.

China is a world power on the rise, but they have vulnerabilities too. Xi is in danger of overplaying his hand.

/$.02

Xi is in danger of overplaying his hand

Pete, I think you are spot on. Except for this last sentence. I'd say that he has already overplayed his hand. It's just that the chickens haven't, yet, come home to roost.

If he was smart, he'd retire, rather than pushing thru another term. That way, his successor could get blamed when things go sideways. But maybe he hasn't yet admitted to himself how nasty a mess he's gotten himself (and his country) into.

There'll always be an England.

This from Cockington Village in the UK:
A mayor in England is fighting for his office. He’s also a pony.

Not just elected mayor, but properly invested in office, including the red robes with white trim.

Xi is in danger of overplaying his hand.

I've resisted commenting, because I don't know anything more than anyone else on this. But even if Xi isn't delusional on the scale of Putin, he might well "overplay his hand" to his own detriment -- while still causing appalling death and destruction along the way. So it's not any comfort if that's what he's actually doing.

Two points about China from the depths of my uninformed-ness:

1. China could try invading the island, for all the challenges any island invasion entails. But the logistics of that are grim, even though China can hardly be as inept as Russia. --

As to this, someone I know who spent five years there points out that China doesn't have the naval power, never mind other resources, to pull off a sea invasion successfully. Personally I have no idea. But look at the toddler hissy fit they're throwing right now! They're already delusional enough to think this makes them look strong and scary. (I suppose maybe it does, but it also makes it look like their immature idiots.)

2. Xi may not be as delusional as Putin, but everyone has their blind spots, even world-historical figures who are smart enough to manipulate their systems well enough to take over their own countries.

When I visited my son in China, a constant theme among people I talked to was China's greatness, and (sort of indirectly or subtly) how the west has been disrespecting them forever. It's a wonder they could all stand up straight under the weight of the chip on their collective shoulder. (And I don't believe for a second that this attitude hasn't been schooled into them purposely.)

One guy insisted very seriously that I should recognize that China once conquered Europe. My son explained the "reasoning" later: Genghis Khan conquered China, and then got to the gates of Europe....

So there's delusional and then there's delusional. Whether Xi himself is totally sober about all this I don't know, but on my small sampling the Chinese people are spoiling to redress centuries of being denied their rightful place on the world stage: i.e., top dog, most powerful, most respected. (Most respected: in the "the beatings will continue until morale improves" sense.)

Did you know that since Chinese is a much easier language, it is soon going to replace English as the world's lingua franca?

(Not saying English is easier -- it probably depends on what native language you're coming from. Just saying that the people who said this stuff are absolutely convinced that both parts are true.)

So I'm not sure where exactly Xi's bread is buttered on this......much less where he thinks it's buttered.

Also not saying we don't have ridiculously destructive attitudes schooled into us ... or what is Donald saying in the other thread?

the PRC dropping a tactical nuke on the fleet a nasty ballistic missile or sequence of them.

This won't happen, at lest not well into a fight that the PRC is losing. You well might see a conventional fight. The big questions (in my mind) are:

1. Will the PRC's military stuff, soup to nuts, hold up under real battle conditions? It's one thing to buzz--one sortie--around in a high speed jet, but how many combat missions can that jet fly before major maintenance is required? Will the PRC's vast array of high tech stuff function under stress?

2. What the PRC knows about high tech war fighting is 99% theory. None of it's pilots or even its training cadre have any live battlefield experience *and* maybe even more importantly, no history or tradition of even mildly complex ship-to-ship, air-to-air, air-to-ground etc. as in WWII or Korea (the height of PRC military tactics in Korea was the human wave). As for a naval tradition, the PRC has nothing, no history whatsoever.

That said, I am pretty sure the PRC understands the concept of escalation and the high price it would pay if it were to detonate even a tactical nuke. If hostilities were to break out, the US should obviously intervene but play for a hard "tie" (but eliminate the PRC navy altogether and attrit as much of their air power as can be done without getting too close to the nuclear threshold). There should be no threat to the PRC's territorial integrity whatsoever.

Back to lurking.

Did you know that since Chinese is a much easier language, it is soon going to replace English as the world's lingua franca?

I just can't see a tonal language being universally adopted.** It's simply too hard to learn if you start from knowing a non-tonal language (which most are). One advantage of English is that it is intelligible even when spoken with a serious accent -- well except things like Scouse and Glaswegian.

Certainly written English, specifically the spelling, is challenging. Although less so than, for example, French. But a character-based language? Not going to happen.

** A possibly apocryphal story has it the adolescent Chinese boys are not allowed to speak in public. Because, if their voice breaks at the wrong point, an innocuous common phrase becomes a seriously crude one.

McKinney is back!!!

wj, according to people I talked to, Chinese only has 8 basic characters and English has 26 letters, voila!

Plus English spelling.....

Here's a mind-bending hypothetical for you. In today's Washington Post, their opinion writers take a look at the top GOP Presidential prospects if Trump doesn't run. Number 4, of 10+, is Nikki Haley. Suppose that happens. Suppose further that Biden retires and Harris (the current favorite in this case) gets the Democratic nomination.

Then we're looking ar a choice of two South Asian women. The xenophobes will utterly implode, while their heads explode.

Very unlikely, I agree. But what does it say that it's not at all unthinkable?

Chinese only has 8 basic characters.

I don't know Chinese. My view is from Japanese (which I have studied), which uses characters based on the Chinese ones. Certainly some characters are built up by combining radicals (which, taken alone, are words themselves). But how they will be modified to fit the space available, or which space/position they will take when combining with others, is not obvious. Or consistent. And how the meanings of those radicals combine to get the new word/concept can be . . . odd.

Not to mention that, if you see a character, you have no clue how it will be pronounced. And if you know a word? No way to know what the character will look like. Learning the characters is a lifelong project -- there are always new ones to learn, even if you've been using the word in conversation.

wj, you don't need to convince *me*. The idea that 8 characters vs 26 letters is a convincing step in an argument is on a par with the notion that China once conquered Europe. (Which is, when you think about it, a lot like Putin's notion that Ukraine has always been part of Russia, QED.)

Humans are a mess.

China could try invading the island, for all the challenges any island invasion entails. But the logistics of that are grim, even though China can hardly be as inept as Russia.

Someone, I think at this site, suggested that where Russia is all about beating opponents into submission, China prefers strangulation. The current drill is clearly (at least to me) trying to make the point that a blockade is feasible. A number of airlines have stopped flights to/from/over Taiwan for the duration of the exercise. I don't know how long Taiwan can keep the lights on if there's no delivery of oil, natural gas, or (in the long run) nuclear fuel. Blockade logistics are much simpler than invasion logistics.

Did you know that since Chinese is a much easier language, it is soon going to replace English as the world's lingua franca?

A question from total ignorance... How well does Chinese hold up to accents? English speakers manage to (mostly) communicate across British accent(s)*, American**, Australian, Indian, Southeast Asia, Russian, etc.

* I have been told there are regional accents even within England that are mutually incomprehensible, hence Received Pronunciation.

** From age three through undergraduate college, I lived in a small part of the Midwest where Standard American -- the American variant considered accent-free during the 1950s and 60s -- was what everyone spoke. TV and radio networks trained their people to speak the way I grew up with. In hindsight, I was embarrassingly old before I figured out that regional American accents still existed, rather than being historical and used in film and TV for mood-setting purposes.

a small part of the Midwest where Standard American -- the American variant considered accent-free during the 1950s and 60s -- was what everyone spoke.

Similarly. Except it was California.

I encountered an Anthropology/Linguistics professor in school who could tell where you were from by your accent. In the case of New York City, sometimes to within a few blocks! But he said that if you were from the West Coast, you spoke General American. The only way to distinguish was to present a long Indian word. If you could pronounce it, you were from Washington or Oregon; if you couldn't, you were from California.

My sense is that "General American" became the default primarily due to Hollywood. The movies were made in Southern California. The actors spoke the way they spoke at home (with a few caveats for actors with traces of other regional accents). And so that became the default.

In hindsight, I was embarrassingly old before I figured out that regional American accents still existed, rather than being historical and used in film and TV for mood-setting purposes.

I'm guessing you had that figured out no later than when you worked at Bell Labs in NJ. Drive a couple hours in any direction, and you'll hear a different accent.

* I have been told there are regional accents even within England that are mutually incomprehensible, hence Received Pronunciation.

There are regional accents even within Maine that are mutually incomprehensible. ;-)

Or at least, where the regional accent is incomprehensible to someone like me, who is "from away" (as they say here), and probably put on all the thicker for just that purpose.

A really nice guy changed my tire once when I had a flat while I was traveling far downeast. I only understood about half of what he said, and I consider myself to be fairly well attuned to language variations.

One of the guys in Maine's Schooner Fare (a folk group) used to do a between-songs joke/story that involved 7 or 8 different Maine accents. When he lined them up all in a row that way, you could hear them, and realize that there actually wasn't just one! Sadly, he died maybe 15 years ago, and I have never been able to find a concert video where he did that.

As for Chinese, I'll ask my son, who taught English in China for five years. He will always say his Chinese isn't very good, and I know he means both vocab and knowledge of characters. But I don't know what he'd say about pronunciation. The situation is complicated by the fact that there are local dialects all over China (and I'm pretty sure they're not necessarily variations on Mandarin, but maybe lj could say more about that).

*****

I too grew up whre people spoke TV and radio English -- although oddly enough, a lot of them have evolved into something different now, which I am bemused by when I visit my relatives who are still there. But I did know the other accents weren't extinct, because there were a lot of people in my town from West Virginia. They were looked down upon as "hillbillies." Who were different from "Hoosiers"! -- So many ways of being snooty! Plus our neighbor's daughter had married a man from Alabama, and when they came to visit we got to hear that accent....

My sense is that "General American" became the default primarily due to Hollywood. The movies were made in Southern California. The actors spoke the way they spoke at home (with a few caveats for actors with traces of other regional accents). And so that became the default.

It's not as simple as that. If you watch any old movies, you hear an accent that is quite different from "General American" then or now. Think Katherine Hepburn, for starters.

I was wondering about this recently and a friend of mine who's a movie buff pointed me to several articles about it. But Wikipedia is a good starting point.

How well does Chinese hold up to accents?

What are called "dialects" in Chinese are actually different languages. Not accents, but flat different languages. Mandarin and Cantonese, for example, are mutually unintelligible. (And there are several other Chinese languages as well. Some even less similar.) The grammar is similar enough that those who speak one can read something written by someone who speaks the other (character languages do have that advantage). But spoken conversation is different.

Think of the similarities between English, German, Dutch, and French. If you speak one, you can sometimes get a sense of what is being said in another. Not least because English grew out of the others. ("English is the result of French soldiers who arrived with William trying to pick up Anglo Saxon barmaids.") But conversation is still problematic at best.

I'm mostly staying out of the discussion about China and Taiwan because most of it sounds to me like proxy culture war and military posturing.

What do the people of Taiwan want? What set of actions that are in line with their collective personal agency result in them leading the best lives they can under the constraints they have no control over?

I ask this as a person who regularly teaches classes with students on either side of this conflict having to negotiate difficult intersocial ground to keep a functioning class dynamic.

The cultural issues are very fraught. and I don't think that taking a paternalistic US attitude towards the dynamic is going to make things easier for Taiwan. I think we do need to let them set the tone and give them support, rather than treating them as a prized that we and China are fighting over as part of a larger contest.

As for speculating about Xi's motivations, I don't know nearly enough about the internal politics to speculate, but the bits of things I hear suggest that the domestic politics of it are as imbricated for them as are the politics of NATO and ethno-nationalism for the GOP.

I am generally supportive of Pelosi taking the trip. That seems a measured act of provocation, and one that the Taiwanese themselves support. The rest of this is a bit to stuffed with Great Power baggage for my liking.

"too"

I am generally supportive of Pelosi taking the trip. That seems a measured act of provocation, and one that the Taiwanese themselves support.

Congressional leaders have been making trips to Taiwan for years. Pretty much routine. This time it just seems to be getting a lot more visibility. Not sure if that reflects US politics, or the Chinese having a different reaction compared to the past, or what.

It's Xi. It's in line with a lot of the rest of Xi's handling of internal dissent and diversity. The people I know who are more informed about Chinese politics say he's finding it challenging to steer a course between vocal domestic dissident factions seeking to destabilize him and CCP military hardliners in favor of even more repressive action, and this is getting harder as he steers towards taking a third term in defiance of past protocol.

@JanieM, yes, the famous Mid-Atlantic accent created solely for actors (although adopted by some of the Northeastern elite).

Congressional leaders have been making trips to Taiwan for years. Pretty much routine. This time it just seems to be getting a lot more visibility.

It's one thing when a Representative or Senator goes to Taiwan and speaks to big companies there about the attractiveness of their district or state for investments. It's another when the Speaker of the House, who controls what legislation gets voted on, 2nd in line to be president if something happens to Biden, speaks to the Taiwanese President about unknown somethings. There's certainly speculation that the somethings could have been important. For example,

1) We understand your concern about the delays in weapon shipments, and are trying to balance your needs vs Ukraine's

is quite different from

2) President Biden has instructed me to tell you the carrier strike group will be there to open a PRC blockade if necessary, but won't confirm that in public.

1) We understand your concern about the delays in weapon shipments, and are trying to balance your needs vs Ukraine's

is quite different from

2) President Biden has instructed me to tell you the carrier strike group will be there to open a PRC blockade if necessary, but won't confirm that in public.

Of course, #2 could well constitute nothing more than a reiteration of long-standing US policy. (Excluding the Trump years, of course, when nobody could count on the US to honor any previous commitments. Any more than Trump does his business or personal ones.) We don't know that this is what previous unofficial (and non-public) assurances were. But we don't know that they weren't either.

The grammar is similar enough that those who speak one can read something written by someone who speaks the other (character languages do have that advantage).

I was under the impression that all dialects could read the written language; but maybe I just assumed it when I was told by a very cultured Chinese friend that (contrary to the narrative favoured by Beijing) T'ang poetry rhymed in Cantonese, but not Mandarin, which rather suggests that was the spoken language of the poets. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could weigh in.

What do the people of Taiwan want

I know you know this, but they just want to be independent. And to know that they have superpower backing. Whether that suits the superpower or not is another matter. I got caught up in a demonstration last year of Chinese students, chanting "Stand with Hong Kong! Hong Kong is not China!" It was terrible for me and the person I was with, both of us having grown up in HK. What has happened there is a terrible tragedy.

I was under the impression that all dialects could read the written language.

That is what I was trying to say. A written sentence can be read aloud in any "dialect" and have the same meaning. Even though the words, as spoken, sound quite different. (Grammar is, apparently, far less important to meaning in Chinese than it is in English.)

I ask this as a person who regularly teaches classes with students on either side of this conflict having to negotiate difficult intersocial ground to keep a functioning class dynamic.

I've been chewing on this one. On the one hand, you have liberal democrats who want to stay free, are not committing genocide, are not threatening their neighbors, who do not lock up their fellow citizens and who are watching the PRC swallow up formerly free Hong Kong with overt public threats of PRC "re-education" when unification with Taiwan is achieved. On the other hand, you have nationalistic adherents of a regime that does all of that and more.

Further to GFTNC's point, Taiwan wants to remain free and, in particular, not occupied by and under the thumb of the one country that happens to be the world champion in internal mass execution/starvation. And, it's not like socialist regimes aren't quite competitive in the domestic population reduction game, particularly if you keep score per capita.

So, what the Taiwanese want is to remain a liberal democratic country in control of its own destiny. Your students from the mainland want to take that away. I guess that is a hard balance to strike. What I'm struggling with is the need for neutrality.

If you had fascists from Hungary holding forth in class, how would you deal with that?

Contrary to the progressive default that views US interests with suspicion, we have no interest or desire to duke it out with the PRC. If anything, we'd like for there to be no military friction whatsoever and just have trade back and forth. No one wants war on any scale much less that scale. Does anyone here seriously believe that Australia, Singapore, Japan, S Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, et al *want* to see Taiwan absorbed by the PRC? Does anyone here think the PRC would stop at that point?

We didn't want WWII, but we got it. The PRC--and Russia--is acting like Nazi Germanny. There is no need to dress up the PRC's motive in anything other than plain English: it is a hyper nationalist dictatorship that needs/wants to extend its hegemony for reasons that must make internal sense even if it just looks like vicious land grab to the rest of us.

If you had fascists from Hungary holding forth at CPAC, and getting a "warm reception" (cf too many media outlets to quote) how would you deal with that?

Question obviously not meant for nous!

If you had fascists from Hungary holding forth at CPAC, and getting a "warm reception" (cf too many media outlets to quote) how would you deal with that?

That's an easy one: I would call them out.

Progressives and lefties keep calling them out, to no noticeable effect. If enough conservatives started doing so that might help, particularly given Tucker Carlson's (and Fox's) fanboy antics.

Progressives and lefties keep calling them out, to no noticeable effect. If enough conservatives started doing so that might help, particularly given Tucker Carlson's (and Fox's) fanboy antics.

Here's the thing, Hungary isn't going to invade anyone. Nous seems to have concerns about how to maintain a viable class with PRC nationalists confronting Taiwanese liberal democrats. I'm curious as to why the apparent need for neutrality. I'm comfortable assuming that Nous would be much less reticent if he had a fascist or a white supremacist holding forth. So, again, I'm wondering why there's a need to balance.


Comparing Hungarian fascists at CPAC to the PRC's active infiltration of the US is ridiculous IMO. Does someone expect Hungarian tanks to roll into Poland? There is no credible fascist threat here or anywhere else, but that is manifestly not true for our socialist brothers and sisters. N Korea is offering Russia volunteers. Anyone who isn't actively assessing the PRC threat and trying to figure out how to manage/respond to it is, at minimum, profoundly unaware of the real world.

It may not be long before China had too internal problems to concern itself with Taiwan. But who knows how a dictatorship in trouble will act?

Comparing Hungarian fascists at CPAC to the PRC's active infiltration of the US is ridiculous IMO. .....There is no credible fascist threat here or anywhere else

Fascists (or near as dammit) have successfully infiltrated the upper levels of one of the two major parties in US politics, as the fanboy admiration for Orban demonstrates. If you don't think that the threat to American democracy is real, and getting worse with each primary, you are deluded. And funnily enough, despite arguments you have made here in the past, it's not Black Lives Matter or Antifa driving it. The whole world of what you call liberal democratic countries can see it, but I'm not entirely surprised you and many other comfortably situated semi-centrists can't: the same phenomenon has been observed in other countries as they head towards disaster - people don't realise it's happening until it's too late.

I know you know this, but they just want to be independent.

I think they have an interest in how that gets achieved, though, and their wishes regarding that need to be given weight.

So, what the Taiwanese want is to remain a liberal democratic country in control of its own destiny. Your students from the mainland want to take that away. I guess that is a hard balance to strike. What I'm struggling with is the need for neutrality.

If you had fascists from Hungary holding forth in class, how would you deal with that?

LOL, you have some very expansive ideas about how these conversations happen and what my role in them is.

Five students in a research group, discussing their work. One is Taiwanese. One is from mainland China. They are working by themselves in a day of groupwork on their research.

All of those conversations happen without me being involved. And they can happen in casual conversation with the two students just discussing KPop.

If it is not part of the larger class discussion or the student asks me to intervene, I generally let the students handle it. That's a skill they will need to engage in international research. We are an R1. This is important for them to learn.

If asked, I give my opinions.

It may not be long before China had too internal problems to concern itself with Taiwan. But who knows how a dictatorship in trouble will act?

So long as TSMC is the world's leader in advanced semiconductors, Taiwan will be a target. Absent the US military presence and agreements from 70 years ago, so long as Samsung is one of the three world leaders in advanced semiconductors, South Korea would be a target. Bets on when Intel is effectively nationalized by the US government?

You seem to be suggesting that your Chinese student isn't actively threatening the classroom sovereignty of your Taiwanese student, nous. I find that hard to believe. @:>)

So long as TSMC is the world's leader in advanced semiconductors, Taiwan will be a target.

I was thinking along similar lines. COVID supply chain issues and now the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Pelosi's meeting with TSMC and their new plant in AZ, the CHIPS Act... it all points to securing/controlling semiconductor independence. I can't imagine it's all coincidental.

You know, my Taiwanese students generally aren't surprised by the conversation and have all dealt with this before. So far none have thought the matter worth an intervention. They treat Chinese nationalists the way that my Democratic students treat Trumpers: no profit in engaging them.

I try not to be preemptive or paternalistic, and allow some space for the students to handle their own affairs.

It's always interesting to see which topics the conservatives want to be contentious and freewheeling and which they want to be tightly controlled and guided.

$45M from Alex Jones in punitive damages. That's gonna leave a mark.

$45M from Alex Jones in punitive damages. That's gonna leave a mark.

In my darker moments I imagine Elon paying for it from his petty change jar in the name of Free Speech.

...it all points to securing/controlling semiconductor independence. I can't imagine it's all coincidental.

Arguably, the Allies won WWII by virtue of the East Texas oil field and the Big Inch pipeline. Today we appear to be seeing warfare come to depend on integrated circuits. Not the HIMARS launcher, but the smarts in the missiles. Not the new howitzers, but the smarts in the Excalibur munitions. Drone and contemporary satellite reconnaissance work because of silicon. The F-35 will be dominant in air spaces not because of pilots, but because the silicon (and software on top of it) is superior to what the enemy can produce.

(Tangential, but I understand that the old-school fighter mafia in the Air Force is extremely unhappy that situational awareness based on the data provided by the silicon/software is now considered at least as important as flying skills at the Academy, and that female cadets are better at it then males on average.)

In my darker moments I imagine Elon paying for it from his petty change jar in the name of Free Speech.

And then, when Jones neglects to pay tax on that (it's way over the gift maximum, so it's taxable income), the rejuvenated IRS can go after him for tax evasion. Hey, it worked on Capone.

Today we appear to be seeing warfare come to depend on integrated circuits.

One of Russia's biggest current military problems is that their military hardware requires chips made in the West (i.e. not China). Which, currently, are blocked by sanctions. Every time a chip fails, that's an entire plane, tank, ship, etc. which is effectively gone for the duration. This on top of the losses Ukraine is inflicting.

If anyone here doubted the need to make (at least some critical) chips at home, they need only look at how crippled Russia is becoming.


" you don't think that the threat to American democracy is real, and getting worse with each primary, you are deluded. And funnily enough, despite arguments you have made here in the past, it's not Black Lives Matter or Antifa driving it. The whole world of what you call liberal democratic countries can see it, but I'm not entirely surprised you and many other comfortably situated semi-centrists can't: the same phenomenon has been observed in other countries as they head towards disaster - people don't realise it's happening until it's too late."

The people who expect to benefit from the creeping fascism will refuse to acknowledge its existence--even if the benefit is nothing more than their continued feeling of entitlement to a certain status in society. In other words, if the fascists are on their side and aiming their viciousness at someone else...

"Too late" is when the fascists start threatening them.

For anyone interested in the integrated circuit industry in general and how it relates to Asia specifically, this YouTube video blog has a lot of details. Such as, as noted in the current video, a 300mm integrated circuit crystal weighs 660 lbs. I can remember when you could carry one under your arm.

Asianometry: Science, Technology, History. Asia, mostly. But not always

"Too late" is when the fascists start threatening them.

Just another case of "willful blindness." And equally idiotic.

And then, when Jones neglects to pay tax on that (it's way over the gift maximum, so it's taxable income), the rejuvenated IRS can go after him for tax evasion. Hey, it worked on Capone.

Like the Family Research Council he could try and succeed with declaring himself a church and thus tax exempt. And his lawyers (more competent ones than his current) could cite as proof that his detractors have called his activities cultlike for years. Unlike the FRC he could give times for his 'religious services' by just handing over the timetables for bis broad/podcasts. He won't even have to change his given name to Jim.

Seriously, I have read (although unconfirmed) that collections have already started to pay for his legal calamity . Like Jabbabonk the Orange he can hope that it will not be his money that goes to his victims.
And of course he will appeal (there are speculations that it will be for 'incompetent counsel of defence').

Btw, I at first read that as 'way over the grift maximum'. lol

Five students in a research group, discussing their work. One is Taiwanese. One is from mainland China. They are working by themselves in a day of groupwork on their research.

Seems incongruent with:

I ask this as a person who regularly teaches classes with students on either side of this conflict having to negotiate difficult intersocial ground to keep a functioning class dynamic.

But, whatever.

Fascists (or near as dammit) have successfully infiltrated the upper levels of one of the two major parties in US politics, as the fanboy admiration for Orban demonstrates. If you don't think that the threat to American democracy is real, and getting worse with each primary, you are deluded. And funnily enough, despite arguments you have made here in the past, it's not Black Lives Matter or Antifa driving it. The whole world of what you call liberal democratic countries can see it, but I'm not entirely surprised you and many other comfortably situated semi-centrists can't: the same phenomenon has been observed in other countries as they head towards disaster - people don't realise it's happening until it's too late.

Your memory is defective, no offense. My record is clear: I actively and overtly despise Trump and his true believers. I am equally appalled at the leftward drift of the Progressive wing of the Democratic party which is, in many ways, far more problematic, than Trump because Trump is sui generis and whatever "movement" he has created is personal to him. There have always been extremes in both parties, but the Progressives, unlike Trump, have embedded, institutional power plus discipline. The far right is a clown show.

Changing subjects to the libel case against Alex Jones. The case was tried in Travis County (Austin). As an aside, we are now full time Travis County residents. Jones' defense counsel--unwisely IMO--bifurcated the actual and punitive damage phase of his trial, not that it matters a great deal in this specific case, most likely. I don't have the jury verdict form, but given that the parents are suing for their reputational damages and the associate "mental anguish" occasioned by the libel (technically it's "slander"), it is likely that most if not all of the damages are "general" and not "economic". This is important because Texas caps punitive damages. If all of the damages were "economic", the punitive award will be reduced to 8.2M (twice the economic award). If the damages are "general", the punitive award will be reduced to 750K (1 X actual damages not to exceed 750K).

I'm surprised none of the news services picked up on this. A couple of other things are of interest. When I first saw that the trial was in Austin, I thought "what the hell, how did that happen?" The statute of limitations for defamation in TX is one year. The family must have moved to Austin and filed suit within one year of the shootings. That's conceivable, but I'd like to know more about it. There could be a legal impediment to suing Jones if suit was not filed timely. Anyway, just some side info for those following Alex and his lunacy.

I am equally appalled at the leftward drift of the Progressive wing of the Democratic party which is, in many ways, far more problematic, than Trump because Trump is sui generis and whatever "movement" he has created is personal to him.

I'm gobsmacked. I remind you that Trump formed an actual fascist administration. What national power have the progressive left ever got close to?

There is no sign whatever that the Rs will revert to sanity when Trump leaves the stage. There is every indication that when they get sufficient control they will sweep away the remaining protections stopping an unpopular party retaining power forever.

Trump is more a symptom than a disease. Just a particularly bad symptom. What’s the progressive equivalent to January 6th? What’s the progressive equivalent to the well documented white-nationalist domestic-terror threat in general?

Your memory is defective, no offense.

No offense taken, because I mourn how soon we forget. You have clearly forgotten that I defended you more than once, on this very site, on the grounds that you had made it clear that you despised Trump and all his works, and I will throw in gratis that you colourfully told us how much you despised Ted Cruz too.

Trump is sui generis and whatever "movement" he has created is personal to him.

But alas, McKinney, if you think the Trump damage is over, and has not spread malignantly, I wonder where you have been for the last few years. I used to fight with sapient because I refused to say that Trump and his acolytes were nazis, and I still wouldn't exactly say that, but there is no doubt whatsoever that the tendency in a large part of the Republican party and certainly R-leaning voters is now towards fascism. Again, my defective memory reminds me that you say you are not a Republican, and are now (or were when you said it) politically homeless. But there comes a time when the defense of what you call liberal democracy requires one to look clear-eyed at what is happening, and to stop making false and absurd equivalencies the only purpose of which are to comfort you in your blinkered bunker.

By the way, though, thanks for the Alex Jones damages stuff. I had actually read (somewhere, I can't remember where) about the Texan cap which might have restricted it to $1.5m, and I was going to ask people here if they could elucidate, so your info was very timely.

@wj - Gift tax, if any, is owed by the giver, not the recipient. And there are exceptions for certain kinds of expenses paid directly to the provider, not through the beneficiary - not sure if any of those would apply. So if anyone owed gift tax on Musk paying punitive damages for Jones (if he were so inclined), it would be Musk, not Jones.

This is important because Texas caps punitive damages.

This appears to be the case according to Law & Crime. However...

"Counsel also reportedly plan to challenge the constitutionality of the cap."

There are also allegations of "possible criminal exposure". I dunno if that's simply perjury or if there's more to it. But this doesn't look like the end of it all. We'll see what, if anything, his phone reveals. But it's not looking good for Jones' upcoming litigation.

I refused to say that Trump and his acolytes were nazis,

The "white power" chants on 1/6 are clearly audible and the nutwings are increasingly embracing "Christian Nationalism" and there's this and, FWIW, this. So I'm not saying they are Nazis, but actual Nazis seem to think they're Nazis and game recognize game, so...

What’s the progressive equivalent to the well documented white-nationalist domestic-terror threat in general?

Is it "wokeness"? I bet it's "wokeness".

So I'm not saying they are Nazis, but actual Nazis seem to think they're Nazis and game recognize game, so...

Yeah, I was always clear that some of them were nazis, and clearly nazis loved them, so nazi-adjacent, for sure. And, unbelievably, more and more so now....

Is it "wokeness"? I bet it's "wokeness".

Of course. McKinney has always been very exercised about "cancel culture", particularly when e.g. innocent academics wandered unwarily into the thickets of cultural appropriation. As his pet bunch of lefties and progressives to harangue about the excesses of "the left", he was always keen to berate us for these incidents, and ignored it (perhaps he has forgotten) when most of us agreed with him.

Trump is sui generis and whatever "movement" he has created is personal to him.

Just want to add to the chorus that, while it may have taken Trump (or someone like him) to bring the cult members into the GOP mainstream, his departure won't be the end of the movement. To make a somewhat inaccurate analogy, Jesus may be the founder of Christianity, but Saul of Tarsus is arguably the real founder of the Christian church.

Post-Trump, someone will take Trumpism and get it really established and organized. (Think Maoism and Deng Xiaoping -- noting that Deng wasn't the successor that Mao had picked. Trump's anointed successor may not last long either.) And be far more dangerous than the massively disorganized Trump ever was.

What’s the progressive equivalent to the well documented white-nationalist domestic-terror threat in general?

Is it "wokeness"? I bet it's "wokeness".

I'm not so sure. I may just be out of the loop, but I haven't encountered any examples of physical violence in support of wokeness. Economic attacks (e.g. people losing their jobs)? Sure. Violence occuring, opportunistically, around a woke demonstration -- i.e. by people who could care less about the issue motivating the demonstration? Also sure. But violence by wokeness true believers? Not really.

Trump, the nothing-burger. Only elected President of the United States of America. Still the Republican favorite for 2024. What’s the big deal?

Plaintiff's attorney discussing the punitive caps here. Short version: Cap is per cause of action (3) per defendant (2), so up to somewhere around $4.5 million in theory. But he believes he has cause to challenge the constitutionality of the cap in this case, and because of Jones' bankruptcy filing, it really comes down to how the bankruptcy trustee will value the various claims of the different plaintiffs in all the different lawsuits to determine how whatever is left of Infowars gets carved up. So as a practical matter, he will be making his main argument about constitutionality to the trustee rather than waiting for it to get resolved by the courts on appeal. (Though I imagine he will have to initially raise the issue on appeal to get the trustee to consider it.)

But violence by wokeness true believers? Not really.

Just having a bit of fun returning the jab of McTex's "problematic Progressives" comment. I picked it at random from the Antifa-BLM-Woke-Cancel-Trans-Climate-HunterBidensLaptop grab bag. Feel free to substitute, since they're all interchangeable.

;-)

I tend to think of the upper echelons of the US rightwing more as Austrofascists than Nazis. Too much social mobility and too little Kristianity(TM) in true Nazism for them to like.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatherland_Front_(Austria).

I tend to think of the upper echelons of the US rightwing more as Austrofascists than Nazis

It’s a big tent. ;-)

Trump was the catalyst. The reaction he precipitated continue to metastasize:

https://www.vice.com/en/article/y3ppy5/cpac-marjorie-taylor-greene-and-the-capitol-riot-rage-cage

The line to see Straka in the cage stretched all the way to the back of the exhibit hall at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. His performance came after he participated in a panel alongside Kash Patel, a former Department of Defense staffer whose text messages were wiped around Jan 6 (and now author of a children’s book about Trump), and Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs. In that Panel, Straka berated Biggs, along with the rest of the GOP, for not doing enough to help Jan. 6 defendants. Members of the audience became riled up, and started booing and heckling Biggs. (Biggs, in an apparent bid to improve his standing with the crowd, called to defund the Justice Department and FBI).

The surreal scene around the cage in the CPAC exhibit hall was only made more bizarre when security guards began parting the crowds for extreme-right Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. The “jail guards” unlocked the cage and allowed her in. She hugged Straka, before falling to her knees in front of the chair he was sitting on. They clasped hands and prayed together.

Even if the star leaves the show, the franchise will soldier on.

McKinney: But, whatever.

Apologies. I never seem to live up to the standards of the mighty marxist strawman version of me that you prefer to interact with.

I think that it is characteristic of self-identified conservatives that they will minimize, ignore, or refuse to acknowledge at all any problems not affecting them. IN fact, I think that conservatism isn't really a philosophy as much as it is the belief that government exists for one purpose only: to serve the conservative. Any service to anyone else is a threat to the conservative. Hence the predilection conservatives have for demonizing and marginalizing everyone else.

Apologies. I never seem to live up to the standards of the mighty marxist strawman version of me that you prefer to interact with.

LOL

I called Trump 'fascist' than 'nazi' advisedly. There's an element of "common good" in nazism which is alien to Trump, who thinks the rich, so long as they don't speak against him, deserve all their privilege and more.

I think that it is characteristic of self-identified conservatives that they will minimize, ignore, or refuse to acknowledge at all any problems not affecting them. IN fact, I think that conservatism isn't really a philosophy as much as it is the belief that government exists for one purpose only: to serve the conservative. Any service to anyone else is a threat to the conservative.

Allow me, as a self-identified conservative, to disagree. Profoundly.** While admitting that some self-proclaimed conservatives do fit the description. (Although most are far closer to classic libertarianism IMHO.) The fact that they misuse the term doesn't give them the right to have others embrace their abuse.

I would say that a conservative is characterized by a preference for small changes, rather than big ones. Yes, in some cases a big change may be required; it's a preference, not an absolute position. Also, a willingness to make changes when circumstances change.

A couple of illustration may help elucidate the point.

  • Women's suffrage: this was, frankly, a small change. Yes, it took a Constitutional Amendment to extend it across the country. But the change itself just wasn't that big. Just allowing an additional group to participate in an existing procedure.
  • Gay marriage: Again, it may seem like a radical change. But all it really did was change the marriage law from saying "a man and a woman may get married..." to "two adults may get married...." Another small change.
  • Tax law: While various provisions of the tax law may have made sense (or at least seemed to make sense) originally, they no longer do. Taxing capital gains at a lower rate might arguably have been a way to increase productive investment. Originally. (Certainly the stated intention wasn't to foster greater concentration of wealth.) However experience shows it isn't fulfilling that goal. Clearly it's no longer working (if it ever did -- which is a question for economic historians, not public policy). So deciding that "income is income", regardless of its source, doesn't conflict with any conservative principle that I can see. It's a tweak to how income is classified, reflecting new information/experience.
And conservatism definitely doesn't support broadly undoing past changes in order to recreate some mythical past paradise. (That's reactionary, not conservative.) Not that mistakes can never be reversed (c.f. Prohibition), but changing anything back should require both showing that the change had negative (possibly unintended) consequences which outweigh the benefits. Real negative consequences, not just the "it makes me uncomfortable" kind. And showing that current circumstances are closely similar to those the prevailed earlier. If they are not, then a new change, not a simple reversal, is the appropriate remedy.

An example of the latter may help. We tried creating "domestic partnerships" as an initial way to address homosexuals' desire to form families. The unintended negative consequence: most domestic partnerships were heterosexual couples who could have married, but saw it as a way to evade some responsibilities. In short, it demonstrably damaged the traditional family, which was not the intention. The conservative response was to replace domestic partnerships with gay marriage. Not to just scrap the entire idea.

End of rant. It's just that it's something I feel strongly about.

** It is, to use nous' term, a strawman.

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