Open Thread

Here is the basic idea of an open thread. This is where a comment, idea, link, or whatever can be posted when it doesn’t necessarily fit the subject matter of any available post. This also can be where people can lodge their complaints or make suggestions, including possibilities for future posts.

Plus, this would be a good place for rants, as I’ll be less discerning in my moderation of comments here. I encourage open discussion. But there are limits. If your comment creates a negative atmosphere or simply lessens my happiness, then it will not be approved. I will use my discretion. Make sure your comment is worthy of your time and my own.

11,714 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. I’ve long agreed with the view that there are few problems more dire than overpopulation. Some argue that the population will eventually stop growing and stabilize. But it isn’t close to stopping yet. We might already be past the carrying capacity of the planet, in terms of not just natural resources but also pollution and ecosystem destruction.

    https://un-denial.com/2017/06/12/by-joe-barry-over-population-is-the-real-cause-of-climate-change/

    • She seems like she has significant mental problems or a personality disorder. She really doesn’t understand her situation and why she has made it worse. it sort of reminded of Trump, in how utterly oblivious he can be about how others perceive him and what he says. Someone like that needs a very good, close friend who is wise enough and caring enough to set her straight and tell her to just shut up.

      Ignoring possible psychological issues, she also comes across as someone from the liberal class who has limited knowledge and limited experience of the world. it’s not uncommon to find people like that in academia, sadly. Academia, like the rest of the liberal class world, can be a bubble. There are some really great professors in the world and some that are simply bad. The kindest comments I saw students say about here is that her class was easy, presumably as long as you don’t disagree with her.

      Going by his past, he appears to be an entirely different kind of person. He could get defensive. And he might even be an asshole on a personal level. But maybe he is at least acting on what he considers his principles, even if it was misguided and unhelpful in this situation. Unlike her, he didn’t seem to be making it into a personal fight.

    • I must admit that I have an immediate mistrust of anyone who talks about “woke allies”. I’ve met too many domineering assholes who assume that “woke allies” means that everyone should shut up and submit to them. Only their issues, their problems, and their suffering matters.

      It easily becomes identity politics used as a bludgeon where it becomes a competition about whose identity is most privileged among activists, which too often means middle class activists dismissing and silencing the voices of the working Tpoor.

      Basically, I sometimes question how ‘woke’ are people who go around judging who is ‘woke’. The most woke allies are probably those who don’t use identity politics to attack others. The most effective leaders like MLK tend to avoid that kind of language. The issue is about what is more important, perceiving yourself as being right or fighting for what is right, the latter requiring effective communication.

      It’s obvious that a lot of identity politics is the opposite of effective. Part of this is that, when too much emphasis is put on politically correct rhetoric, anyone can use that rhetoric to manipulate activists. That is what Hillary Clinton did. She knew how to talk like a “woke ally,” but the reality is that she is dangerous to those who care about justice and compassion. Even many neo-reactionaries learn how to use this kind of rhetoric to hide their bigotry.

      Here is a useful rule of thumb: For anyone who is too smooth in using the right rhetoric or too obsessed about it, don’t trust them and turn your bullshit detector on high.

      https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/there-are-no-allies-without-alliances/

    • Those twins sure had a lot of kids and descendants in the following generations. The sisters they married must have been of hardy stock. I wonder why they chose to settle down there, rather than in some big city where there were other Asians. North Carolina has always been a different kind of state, but it’s still the South. It would be interesting to know how they were treated by others in the community.

    • That kind of thing depresses me.

      South Korea has an economic and military alliance with the United States. And the US along with its allies has been meddling in and causing problems in Syria since the early 1950s. We cause immense harm elsewhere and refuse to take responsibility for our actions.

      If South Korea refuses those refugees, the US should take them. Or if even the US refuses to take them, we should stop fucking over people and destroying their societies, just for power and profit.

    • That is likely true.

      It’s hard to imagine any emotionally balanced, psychologically healthy person who is happy and satisfied with life advocating such ideological rhetoric. Alt-right is almost by definition the voice of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, if not outright hatred and fear.

      What these people don’t understand is how they are far from representative of most others. There is a strong element of fantasy projected onto society.

    • There are central issues to understand. This election most of all but US elections in general are decided more by who doesn’t vote than by who does. The reason so many don’t vote is because the parties rig the electoral process through controlling the candidate choices, gerrymandering, voter suppression, silencing challengers, excluding third parties, and using corporate media as propaganda.

      Another reason is that studies show that politicians don’t represent their constituents or even know who their constituents are. One study showed that politicians almost always do whatever the rich tell them to do while ignoring the opinions and interests of the middle class and working class. And a second study showed that politicians, in both parties, wrongly assumed the American public and their own constituents were more conservative than they actually were.

      There is no way for positive outcomes to result from this political system.

    • There are plenty of public pools in the Midwest. But we have high levels of humidity around here. I used to swim in public pools as a kid, here in the Midwest. I never swam in a public pool in the South, despite it being even hotter and just as humid.

      It wasn’t just a race thing. Unless you were lower class in the South, you would use anything that is public as little as possible. For that reason, there is little public funding for public pools and such. They don’t even bother to fund basic infrastructure to the extent that is needed, a problem SC is dealing with at the moment with their roads.

  2. The only time I ever go to pools is to swim laps, so I guess for me non-lap pools where people have fun always looked weird to me lol. Then again, I don’t live in an area with especially hot summers.

    One thing I don’t like about pools in places like NYC is that I have to lock my stuff up instead of leaving my stuff on the deck or else it might get stolen.

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-floating-pools-20150315-story,amp.html

    • I’ve never been a big fan of pools. I took swimming lessons as a kid. And growing up I’d go the pool with my friend. I suppose I had fun back then. We just played games in the water. But I have no interest to go to a pool these days.

    • I’m generally not a fan of empires. But it’s easy to be impressed by the Egyptians. No one has ever repeated their architectural accomplishments. We aren’t even sure how they did it. The only way we could do the same is using the most advanced technology such as the largest cranes in the world.

      Still, I find even more impressive the achievements found at Göbekli Tepe. They built the earliest large stone structures and it was done at a time when there was no stone masonry anywhere in the world. The people at Göbekli Tepe were still tribal hunter-gatherers who hadn’t settled down nor had agriculture and pottery.

  3. I do consider the Clinton New Democrats to be conservative-minded reactionaries. The neoliberalism and neoconservatism in the two parties is more similar than different.

    This isn’t to make a false equivalence. But it is to note that studies have found that politicians in both parties don’t represent the American public. It’s not just that the majority of Americans on many issues are to the left of both parties. The political elite are so disconnected to, as one study shows, to think that the American public is more conservative than it is (this belief, of course, is self-serving).

    The reactionary mind, among the upper classes and among the political elite, may be a broader category than is indicated by Robin’s analysis. I’m sure he understands this to some extent, as he sees the problems with the Democratic Party. But it would be useful for him to more thoroughly analyze the fundamentally reactionary quality of those like Hillary Clinton.

    Without reactionaries controlling the Democratic Party, there would have been a real and attractive opposing choice to Trump. It’s not so much that Trump won as Clinton lost. This election was decided more by who didn’t vote and the reasons they didn’t vote. If all the Democrats can offer is Republican Lite with slightly more moderate sounding reactionary politics, is it surprising that this doesn’t come across as all that compelling of a lesser evil?

    We need to understand that this isn’t a conflict between a reactionary party and a non-reactionary party. Reactionary politics rules our entire political system. This requires a more systemic analysis.

    http://coreyrobin.com/2017/06/03/second-edition-of-the-reactionary-mind-now-available-for-order/

    • There are two possibilities. It could be argued that liberals also can be reactionary. Otherwise, we are forced to argue that reactionary Democrats aren’t liberals. Maybe both interpretations should be explored.

  4. The Language of Pain, from Virginia Woolf to William Stanley Jevons

    Glenn April 26, 2017 at 11:02 am | #

    Americans account for 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone (Vicodin) consumption, 80 percent of the world’s oxycodone (Percocet and Oxycontin) consumption and 65 percent of the world’s hydromorphone (Dilaudid) consumption, according to the New York Times.

    The federal government’s health statisticians figure that about one in every 10 Americans takes an antidepressant. And by their reckoning, antidepressants were the third most common prescription medication taken by Americans in 2005–2008, the latest period during which the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) collected data on prescription drug use.

    Glenn April 26, 2017 at 9:31 pm | #

    The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better was published in 2009. Written by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, the book highlights the “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption”. It shows that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries.

    Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant April 26, 2017 at 1:43 pm | #

    Let me introduce the “World Happiness Report 2017”.

    Yes, this is a thing. The Report, published under the auspices of the United Nations, states boldly that (in its words) that “Happiness Has Fallen in America”.

    Below is an excerpt from Chapter 7, titled “Restoring American Happiness”, it is written by Jeffrey D. Sachs and it focusses on the United States:

    “The predominant political discourse in the United States is aimed at raising economic growth, with the goal of restoring the American Dream and the happiness that is supposed to accompany it. But the data show conclusively that this is the wrong approach. The United States can and should raise happiness by addressing America’s multi-faceted social crisis—rising inequality, corruption, isolation, and distrust—rather than focusing exclusively or even mainly on economic growth, especially since the concrete proposals along these lines would exacerbate rather than ameliorate the deepening social crisis.”

    And this from a footnote at the end of the Chapter in question:

    “5. It is sometimes suggested that the degree of ethnic diversity is the single most powerful explanation of high or low social trust. It is widely believed that Scandinavia’s high social trust and happiness are a direct reflection of their high ethnic homogeneity, while America’s low and declining social trust is a reflection of America’s high and rising ethnic diversity. The evidence suggests that such “ethnic determinism” is misplaced. As Bo Rothstein has cogently written about Scandinavia, the high social trust was far from automatically linked with ethnic homogeneity. It was achieved through a century of active social democratic policies that broke down class barriers and distrust (see Rothstein and Stolle, 2003). Social democracy was buttressed by a long tradition and faith in the quality of government even before the arrival of democracy itself in Scandinavia. Moreover, highly diverse societies, such as Canada, have been able to achieve relatively high levels of social trust through programs aimed at promoting multiculturalism and inter-ethnic understanding.”

    [I especially like this last as some have tried to suggest that social strife in the U.S. is, bluntly, to be blamed on the (disruptive) presence of Blacks in the United States — Michael Moore’s “Bowling For Columbine” made a point of exposing this belief that Americans seem to hold by displaying it in a montage of person-on-the-street interviews. That film goes on to challenge that view. D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of A Nation” was probably the very first broadly distributed cultural product in the U.S. to issue such blame at Blacks.]

  5. Why are there no great thinkers on the right today?

    halginsberg1963 March 18, 2017 at 2:58 pm | #

    I disagree with the underlying premise of both the question and the answer. They presuppose that there were once great thinkers on the right. While Professor Robin may laud the supposed greatness of an Edmund Burke, a John Calhoun, or a William Buckley. In truth, these men – like all conservative “intellectuals” – were small-minded men who used cleverness, sophistry, and appeals to self-interest, rather than brilliance, to influence politics.

    Evan Neely March 18, 2017 at 4:16 pm | #

    I agree with you on this one, with the partial exception of Burke, whose aesthetic writings and general prose style are marks of serious genius. What, exactly, was Calhoun’s contribution to thought? Nullification? There were plenty of people who were making the argument as well as he was, and it’s a mediocre argument that’s also parochial in its application. I’m also not sure what, precisely, was Buckley’s great idea; as far as I can tell he’s entirely affectation, even if he was smart enough to maneuver in the early days of TV. I just don’t see much in conservatism besides its craftiness. Conservatives of transparently genius stature like Quine or Oakeshott rarely contribute much when they’re speaking as conservatives. Oakeshott’s “Rationalism in Politics” is a case in point: compared to Experience and Its Modes, this is just sophistry in the service of reaction.

  6. http://daily-iowan.com/2017/06/13/schrichfield-misconceptions-about-trump-voters/

    Unless you’ve been lost in the Himalayas since November, the phrase “white working-class voter” has probably been forced into your vocabulary whenever attempting to make sense of the 2016 presidential election. From progressive purists to right-wing Trump populists, the term is used all over the political arena. The reality is white working class voters aren’t necessarily the only factor that lead to Trump’s victory.

    The Washington Post published an analysis last week that highlights this notion. While it’s easy to imagine Trump’s base to be a mob of angry 45-year-old men who blame their unemployment on globalism and the so-called Washington elites, this imagery is simply untrue. According to the analysis, only a third of Trump supporters have incomes around $50,000 with another third bringing in anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000, and the final third achieving $100,000 and above. To note, this research only accounts for white voters.

    What about education? Clearly this shows a gap in the income of Trump voters, right?

    I found this conclusion most interesting. The same article states, “To look at it another way, among white people without college degrees who voted for Trump, nearly 60 percent were in the top half of the income distribution. In fact, one in five white Trump voters without a college degree had a household income over $100,000.” Education and income didn’t make much of a difference as Trump voters without college degrees still achieved a sizable income. In this case, education level doesn’t always seem to correlate with income achievement.

    The assumptions made about Trump voters being “working class” also don’t hold true. Of the voters who actually would be financially classified as working class, their reasoning for voting for Trump was much different from the supposed economic plight often presented by the media.

    Research conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic established that white working-class voters who worried about their finances were more likely to favor Hillary Clinton, but when the group was asked about cultural change, they preferred Trump. Cultural change, or the anxiety surrounding foreign influence and American identity, was crucial in their picking of a president. Almost two-thirds of these voters found this to be imperative. While everyday political conversations get hung up on those who voted for Trump, the reason they choose him in the first place is often ignored.

    Political pundits will argue until hell freezes over if Trump was a champion of blue-collar America, but in reality, Trump voters come in all shapes and sizes. White working-class voters in crucial swing states do exist and did, in fact, aid him, but they didn’t single-handedly give the election to Trump. Politics aside, these are a group of people who are struggling.

    What’s sometimes sadly overlooked is the opioid epidemic that ravaged these working-class small towns or the high levels of unemployment in their communities. I believe Trump’s budget and the AHCA will despair these communities, and his empty promises will leave them feeling forgotten once again. Let this be a talking point instead of using the term “white working-class voter” as some sort of scapegoat for the 2016 presidential election results.

    When you get down to the numbers, the election’s GOP breakdown isn’t much different from the past. Suburban country-club Republicans looking for a tax break turned to Trump as well as disgruntled working-class folks searching for a voice.

    Only when an accurate representation of voters is presented can we move toward a more honest analysis of the election and its outcomes. From here, we can draw inferences in whatever ideological fashion we’d like, but the basis of our claims must be rooted in fact.

    • This isn’t really telling us anything new. The data from earlier in the year or even back during the campaign season was basically pointing to the same demographic patterns.

      And there wasn’t particularly any reason to assume that voting patterns were drastically changing, at least among voters. As I keep repeating, this election was more about who didn’t vote than who did. As for those who did vote, much of it followed standard partisan politics.

      But there is one interesting point. Economic issues and cultural issues are getting at the same problems that Americans are experiencing. The difference is simply in how the rhetoric of each favors different parties. This is a deeper truth than is acknowledged, as mainstream public debate rarely points to how economy and culture are inseparable (such as culture of trust, segregation, racism, etc).

      Neither party, however, wants to bridge this rhetorical divide between the rhetoric of economics and the rhetoric of culture. If they did, it would force them to support policies more akin to the Scandinavian social democracies.

    • One commenter made a good point. Most of the focus is on the gangs. But the bigger story is the political corruption. Organized crime like that couldn’t easily operate or be as profitable without major political corruption at all levels. That political corruption is more dangerous and harmful to society than all the rest.

    • The political right, specifically the GOP and right-wing media, has been pushing violent rhetoric and promoting crazy politicians while undermining democracy and disempowering the citizenry. Does anyone remember O’Reilly calling Dr. Tiller a baby killer until someone finally shot Dr. Tiller to death? This followed decades of bombings, arson, shootings, and kidnappings by ‘pro-life’ activists. And we shouldn’t forget that the largest bombings and most deadly terrorist attacks in the US prior to 9/11 were committed by anti-government right-wingers. Most of the violence in recent decades has been committed by right-wingers and often specifically directed at those on the political left.

      What right-wingers forgot is that when you promote violence it tends to spread. Sometimes it blows back in the direction of those instigation violence. The political right did this for short term political gain. And the Democratic establishment didn’t fight against it and often just went along for the ride, also for short term political gain. Now we will all face the long term consequences that have been building at least since Goldwater helped the extremists take over the party when he advocated that, “Moderation in the protection of liberty is no virtue; extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice.” Mission accomplished!

      When rule of law no longer applies and people no longer trust their government, this is what inevitably follows. I’ve been predicting that violence would increase. Of course, we could prevent this violence by doing the opposite of what the ruling elite have been doing for these past decades. But is mere fear of violence enough to change their ways? It’s not like organized crime bosses stop being violent just because there is some violence directed their way. It usually just leads to an even more violent response by the ruling elite, which means more police militarization, reactionary NRA rhetoric, etc.

      What can never be discussed is that most Americans, including most NRA members, support stronger and more effective gun controls. Sanders was criticized based on a false allegation of his being pro-gun, even though his views were perfectly in line with majority public opinion in also clearly supporting gun control. Interestingly, back when civil rights activists and Black Panthers started carrying guns, the political right started supporting gun control. Reagan only supported gun control when he was the personal target of assassination. But since then, the political right saw a political advantage to using an implicit threat of crazy, gun-toting whites to take back their country and make America great again, just like the KKK once did. It didn’t occur to the political right that those wanting to take back their country might not be right-wingers.

      Extremism has come to dominate our political system. It’s not just the extreme violent rhetoric pushed by some politicians and pundits. The entire neoliberal-neocon bipartisan power structure is to the far right of the American public. The vast concentration of wealth and power is built on vast disparities. We’ve known for a long time that inequality is directly related to numerous social problems, including violence (James Gilligan has written some brilliant books about it).

      What is so shocking about this recent shooting is that it came from someone on the political left. There has hardly been much major left-wing violence since the 1970s, such as when the Weathermen were committing their acts of terrorism. But what often made left-wing terrorists, from Weathermen to eco-terrorists, is that they attacked property and tried to avoid hurting people. The Weathermen planned their attacks by determining when no one would be at the targeted location. Even this left-wing property-oriented terrorism has been rare in recent history. As for terrorists on the political right, they have always directly targeted people and they’ve been particularly active these past decades. The fact that someone on the political left has targeted people indicates that the level of frustration and outrage is reaching the boiling point.


      It’s nice to see some commenters understand this.

      MewsashiMeowimoto 42 points 21 hours ago
      I agree with this. But I’d add one thing.
      What protects us is our normative political culture, the set of rules that we all agree to play by. I firmly believe that the political Right in this country has been gradually eroding those rules and norms of the sake of immediate political expedience as it has shifted farther and farther right (effectively leaving the Democrats as more of a moderate than a liberal party). This has reached a boiling point with Trump’s presidency, which has been defined by thumbing its nose at rules and norms.
      I think the combination of eroding our political culture and unfettered access to guns is extremely dangerous. And I think that stuff like this, while horrible, isn’t coming from out of nowhere. It is a consequence, I think, mostly of actions of conservatism in this country that signal an abandonment of norms and even in many cases, traditional conservative values (where you see stuff like Christians voting for a guy like Trump).
      We need to focus on our institutions, especially our countermajoritarian institutions that frustrate the sweeping abandonment of our norms and political culture.

      MewsashiMeowimoto -1 points 17 hours ago
      There isn’t innuendo. Just an acknowledgement that people tend to resort to violence when they feel that they’re disenfranchised past a certain point. Which actually is the rationale that supported the violent revolution that is the reason why we’ve got a country here in the first place- “No taxation without representation!” was the motto.
      Which is why Madison and Jefferson and the framers of our constitution, and the ratifiers of the amendments proposed at the first congress of 1789, were careful to include countermajoritarian protections in the fundamental framework of our system of government and culture of politics, so that everyone would have a means of civil redress that would preclude their being desperate enough to resort to violence.
      But when you intimidate the press, disenfranchise large groups of people, destabilize the judiciary, threaten to not honor the results of an election, and assert fiat rule on an unclear political mandate, that puts all of those careful mechanisms in jeopardy. And because the 2008 and 2010 Heller and City of Chicago v. McDonald courts radically reinterpreted the 2nd amendment to a non-originalist reading, you ensure that anybody who is squeezed enough by the breakdown of our constitutional mechanisms to do something crazy is able to get a gun.
      I truly do think this is terrible. But part of it is the chickens coming home to roost. It is deceptive to insist otherwise.

      MewsashiMeowimoto 2 points 17 hours ago
      You’re talking about opinions which overturned more than a century of stare decisis from Cruikshank and Miller, first interpreting the right as applicable to an individual’s right to own a weapon rather than a state’s prerogative to organize its own militia -which ignores the historical and contextual role of militias in the early years of our country- which the Court only reached by finding a clause that makes up half the language of the amendment to be non operative (which is blatantly non-originalist). Then the Court went ahead and incorporated the right as enforceable against the plenary powers of the states (States rights, anyone?) on the supposition that the right for an individual to own a weapon was a “core liberty” (moreso than grand jury requirement for indictments, right to a jury in a civil trial, etc.).
      I own and carry a weapon. And I’m glad that my state’s constitution has a provision that allows me to do so. But, speaking as an attorney and historian, I can’t see much originalist reasoning in Heller or McDonald that contemplates an individual’s incorporated right.
      Now, if conservatives want to admit that they’re cool with the idea of a living constitution sometimes, then problem solved (at least, the internal consistency problem, not the “dangerous people who like to shoot up public spaces have no problem getting guns” problem).
      I agree there would be, at this point where access has been unfettered for this long, practicality problems with regulating gun access. Which is why I’m pinning most of my hope on trying to repair the political culture and give people franchise and opportunity for redress so that they don’t get desperate and take it to the streets.
      By the way, when I say give people franchise, I mean that without regard to political affiliation. I want conservative people in the sticks to be voting and engaging just as much as other groups who typically go without a voice. I think that some of the reason why we have what we have now is because there were a lot of conservative folks who felt that they didn’t have a voice, and Trump was their response.

      graphictruth -3 points 19 hours ago
      The activist right has been increasingly tolerant of violent rhetoric and tacit approval of violence. Also, when gun violence occurs – like the Sandy Hook massacre, it’s spun as “false flag attacks” on those who wish to keep their weapons.
      Now, this is not coming from the established political class, I’m sure, but they seem unwilling or unable to stand against it.
      I hope this causes people to step back and have a solid think about their thoughts, words and deeds. There is no shortage of crazy, desperate, hopeless people looking for a target to blame for their misfortunes, and there is no shortage of guns. There’s no reason to think this is going to end well for anyone.

      MewsashiMeowimoto 5 points 18 hours ago
      It’s pretty uncontroversial, I think. If you take someone like Nixon, who was seen as a staunch conservative back in the 1970’s, and ran him today, he’d be a democrat according to his policies- he opened up free trade and diplomacy with communist China, founded the EPA, founded LSC, presented no ideological oppositions to New Deal programs like Social Security or even more recently enacted Great Society programs like Medicare or Medicaid. Same goes for presidents like Eisenhower, who siphoned off massive portions of the defense budget to build our interstate system, who largely supported and worked with the New Deal order and regulatory regime, and who voiced open skepticism of military adventurism (having seen enough of war himself).
      Then you look at contemporary policy. The ACA, which conservatives gnashed their teeth over, was first proposed by the Heritage Foundation (a conservative think tank) floating the idea as the conservative approach to healthcare reform under Bush Sr.
      The political center of the country has been steadily shifting rightwards for the past several decades, largely correlating to the aging of the Baby Boomer voting bloc, which is the most politically active age demographic (and by far the most represented in politics).
      I’d be curious about the basis for your stated view.

      Nightmask3 5 points 19 hours ago
      Loooool buddy get out of America for once in your life.
      The Democrats are corporate/crony capitalists and neoliberals at best. They are so far from true left wing it’s hilarious.
      Perhaps the only place in the Dems where left wing policies exist is in social legislation, but even that is something no one in the Democratic party seems to be willing to draw a line in the sand for.

      secretvimle 5 points 19 hours ago
      You’re delusional if you think the democrats are leftwing, let alone far left.
      They’re right of center.

      SilentIntrusion 2 points 14 hours ago
      No man, compared to almost every other western democracy, both of your parties are sitting close to right of centre. Up here in Canada, our Conservative Party (our right leaning party) is still more left leaning than your Democratic party in a lot of ways.

      MewsashiMeowimoto 13 points 20 hours ago
      Most of the Antifa and BLM protests have resulted in property damage, haven’t yielded any fatalities. Where most radical right wing attacks end in shootouts. Then you’ve got stuff like Timothy McVeigh killing a bunch of people.
      That said, the large majority of liberals don’t tend to have a political outlook that trades on the teleological suspension of the ethical. We want civil society, sufficiently funded schools, sufficiently funded New Deal programs that preserve social order by preventing anyone from getting so desperate that violence becomes an attractive option for them.
      As far as the violent tendencies of the Tea Party movement, well, the Tea Party movement by and large wasn’t composed of disenfranchised people. It was mostly older, white, reasonably affluent people who didn’t want to other people to get the government healthcare they were either getting or anticipating getting through medicare. They weren’t desperate enough to resort to violence, because they had recourse through our democratic institutions- they got together, they voted, they elected a tea party caucus that had an impact on policy.
      Many groups don’t have that recourse. Which is why it is important to preserve a culture that tries to give everyone a voice and preserve countermajoritarian institutions that are central to the design of our Constitution. So that those people who aren’t able to lobby and elect a big chunk of Congress don’t get desperate enough to do something stupid and horrible.
      I’ll say again, that it isn’t all good. But yes, I will confirm my position that the Right has been primarily responsible for eroding the norms of our political culture over the past two decades.

      MewsashiMeowimoto 8 points 20 hours ago
      I’m not demonizing conservatives. Nor am I attempting to justify what happened. What happened was terrible, and we need to prevent it from happening again. The way we do that, especially if we’re going to maintain free access to guns for pretty much anyone who wants one, is to work on our political culture, try to restore a culture of decency and moderation to our politics, and preserve our countermajoritarian institutions so that people don’t feel so desperate that they feel that violence is their only recourse.

      theslip74 1 point 19 hours ago
      “The left in the US are no longer liberals, they are the bat shit crazy Westboro Bapist church of political parties.”
      Huh, look at all these batshit insane leftists!
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stabbing_of_Timothy_Caughman
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_Springs_Planned_Parenthood_shooting
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charleston_church_shooting
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Las_Vegas_shootings
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overland_Park_Jewish_Community_Center_shooting
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisconsin_Sikh_temple_shooting
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FEAR_(terrorist_group)
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Austin_suicide_attack
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_shooting_of_Pittsburgh_police_officers
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Holocaust_Memorial_Museum_shooting
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_George_Tiller
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knoxville_Unitarian_Universalist_church_shooting
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Portland_train_attack
      oh my bad.. those were all right-wingers, half of them worried Obama was coming for their guns. I wonder where they could have gotten that insane notion from, couldn’t possibly be right-wing media, could it?
      this one is from Norway, but it’s by far the worst IMO and if you don’t know about this guys motives, you should.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik
      and these are all just since 9/11

      theslip74 2 points 18 hours ago*
      but I don’t see anyone on the right calling for open violence
      What about Donald Trump telling “2nd amendment” people to act against Hillary Clinton? That’s way clearer than Lynch bringing up that people died fighting for civil rights.

      http://www.snopes.com/2017/03/06/loretta-lynch-anti-trump-protests/
      I could post hundreds of riots, assaults, by leftists.
      If you want to compete with my list, they need to be actual murders.

    • I wonder how my mind could have been shaped if I had met the wrong kind of people when I was younger.

      When I lived in SC, racism was in the air I breathed and my dad was being influenced by the right-wing thought becoming mainstream in the 1990s. After high school, I spent several summers working at a Christian camp in the Bible Belt.

      Moving back to a liberal college town in the moderate Midwest helped me to have perspective. But it could have been easy for me to have gotten sucked into a shitty ideological mindset. I remember being in a very bad place mentally when I first went to college and I was desperately looking for answers.

      I doubt I would have found right-wing answers to be satisfying. But if I had been hit hard with carefully designed reactionary rhetoric (especially the kind that borrows from the left), it could have really fucked with my head and left me confused for a long time.

      That twitter series was a good read. I liked the part that describes how reactionaries, as Corey Robin has explained, easily co-opt the rhetoric and tactics from the political left.

      Vex @ Anthrocon 2017‏ @andreuswolf Apr 20
      More
      And it made me vulnerable to another insidious tactic that they’ve developed and perfected in recent years – co-opting liberalism.

      Vex @ Anthrocon 2017‏ @andreuswolf Apr 20
      More
      White nationalists have played dog-in-the-manger with a lot of ideas that are generally thought of as liberal in recent years.

      Vex @ Anthrocon 2017‏ @andreuswolf Apr 20
      More
      Free speech, freedom of expression – “listen, you may DISAGREE with white nationalist views, but don’t they have a right to state them?”

      Vex @ Anthrocon 2017‏ @andreuswolf Apr 20
      More
      “If they censor white nationalists, who will they censor next? It could be your video games! It could be YOU!”

      Vex @ Anthrocon 2017‏ @andreuswolf Apr 20
      More
      In a horrifying twist of historical revisionism, they turned arguments used against the Nazis against people who opposed white nationalism.

      Vex @ Anthrocon 2017‏ @andreuswolf Apr 20
      More
      Hell, they’ve even made a brave effort at co-opting the concept of egalitarianism, painting themselves as the oppressed underclass.

  7. https://voxpopulisphere.com/2017/06/15/jimmy-carter/

    I have been a practicing Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

  8. https://voxpopulisphere.com/2017/06/14/kaili-joy-gray-russia-is-poised-to-steal-2018-election-and-trump-is-rewarding-their-attack/

    https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-13/russian-breach-of-39-states-threatens-future-u-s-elections

    Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.

    In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said. […]

    In many states, the extent of the Russian infiltration remains unclear. The federal government had no direct authority over state election systems, and some states offered limited cooperation. When then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said last August that the department wanted to declare the systems as national critical infrastructure — a designation that gives the federal government broader powers to intervene — Republicans balked. Only after the election did the two sides eventually reach a deal to make the designation. […]

    After the Obama administration transmitted its documents and Russia asked for more information, the hackers’ work continued. According to the leaked NSA document, hackers working for Russian military intelligence were trying to take over the computers of 122 local election officials just days before the Nov. 8 election.

  9. https://nevalalee.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/the-public-eye/

    “And this gets at the real reason for the change. “The community desk has long sought quality of comments over quantity,” the Times writes—so why suddenly emphasize quantity now? The only answer is that it’s easier and cheaper than the alternative, which requires moderation by human beings who have to be paid a salary, rather than an algorithmic solution that is willing to work for data. Given the financial pressures on a site like the Times, which outlined the changes in the same article in which it announced that it would be offering buyouts to its newsroom staff, this is perfectly understandable. But pretending that a move based on cost efficiency is somehow better than the alternative is disingenuous at best, and the effort to link the two decisions points at something more insidious. Correlation isn’t causation, and just because Sulzberger mentions two things in successive paragraphs doesn’t mean they have anything to do with each other. I hate to say it, but it’s fake news. And the Times has just eliminated the one person on its staff who might have been able or willing to point this out.”

  10. “Creative individuals are often considered odd—or even arrogant, selfish, and ruthless. It is important to keep in mind that these are not traits of creative people, but traits that the rest of us attribute to them on the basis of our perceptions. When we meet a person who focuses all of his attention on physics or music and ignores us and forgets our names, we call that person “arrogant,” even though he may be extremely humble and friendly if he could only spare attention from his pursuit…It is practically impossible to learn a domain deeply enough to make a change in it without dedicating all of one’s attention to it and thereby appearing to be arrogant, selfish, and ruthless to those who believe they have a right to the creative person’s attention.”

    —Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity

  11. https://commons.commondreams.org/t/what-they-want-to-hide-tells-you-who-they-are/42470/5

    Leftist
    These guys think we should go a lot easier on the poor, poor megabanks, who’ve suffered enough, and toughen up the real culprits – middle-class families.
    I’ve watched this “save the middle class families” meme going on now – starting with when the useless AFL-CIO adopted it as a triangulation to the right, since the Clinton years. And what I said about it then is still true today – we don’t need to “save the middle class” who, by definition are living quite fine in their nice suburbia and SUV’s; we need to save the Poor!. This “save the middle class” meme also has a not-so-subtle smell of racism.
    If someone has been driven to precarious poverty by their capitalist boss and predatory banks, then, by definition, they are poor and crating tolerable conditions for them brings us back to the proper framing – which is that a great part of the white working class needs to stop describing themselves “middle class” even when they hardly have a pot to piss in, and call themselves that our black citizen’s seem to have always had no problem describing themselves – Poor.

    mbrownec
    There are only two classes:
    The working class, and
    The (capitalist) ruling class.
    I will not use the terms of my enemies. I will not allow them to define and determine the narrative.

    hummingbird
    yes! whenever i hear anyone call to protect “the middle class” i think that know it or not, that person also wishes to maintain a money oriented upper, middle and lower class system. after all, a “middle” class has to be sandwiched between something, doesn’t it?

  12. http://religiondispatches.org/southern-baptist-convention-kicks-out-gay-attendees-waffles-on-white-supremacists/

    “While the Southern Baptist Convention considers whether or not to denounce white supremacy and the “alt-right,” it apparently has no such equivocation over the place for LGBT Christians at its annual gathering: gays and those preaching tolerance for them are not welcome inside the Convention’s annual meeting.

    “At least, that’s the message sent loud and clear to a small group of activists who tell RD they were “forcibly removed” from the convention this morning in Phoenix, Arizona. All told, five people were removed and had their conference registrations revoked, allegedly without formal explanation. All of those removed are affiliated with Faith in America (FIA), a progressive nonprofit dedicated to “[moving] the needle forward on LGBTQ equality in the pews and in our legislation.””

  13. https://un-denial.com/2017/06/16/by-wolf-richter-what-happens-when-the-machines-start-selling/

    “It’s shocking what’s happened to the “free market” and invisible hand.

    “In the good old days not so long ago the price of a stock was determined by a company’s profit, growth potential, and balance sheet. With of course the occasional irrational exuberance thrown in from time to time.

    “Not today. Everything is now irrationally exuberant on steroids.”

    http://wolfstreet.com/2017/06/15/what-happens-when-the-machines-start-selling/

    “Quant hedge funds – where trading is done by machines, not humans – now dominate stock trading.”

  14. If this is true, we are doomed. Collectively created problems can only be solved collectively (e.g., public policies).

    The externalized costs, actually centuries of externalized costs (from imperialism, colonialism, slavery, genocide, resource exploitation, neoliberal corporatism, etc), has to be made internal again to the entire human society that has been harmed. Structural legacies, systemic consequences, and epigenetic results continue to haunt billions of people on this planet.

    Seeing the world as a bunch of separate individuals is how we got into this problem in the first place.

    https://digitalminds2016.wordpress.com/2017/06/15/the-wealth-of-humans-work-and-its-absence-in-the-twenty-first-century/

    “In the end, Avent concludes that no public policies, no known economic theories, are guaranteed to fix the problem of inequality, mass unemployment, and lack of redistribution. It comes down to society, as whole, i.e., to each one of us, to decide to be generous and altruistic, in order to make sure that the wealth created by the hidden hand of the market benefits all of mankind.”

  15. http://www.theonion.com/article/archaeologists-discover-fully-intact-17th-century–56255

    “COLUMBUS, OH—Marveling at how well preserved the archaic opinions were, a team of archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institution announced Thursday the discovery of a fully intact 17th-century belief system in Ohio congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH). “It’s just extraordinary to come across a perspective that dates back to the the mid-1600s and shows absolutely no signs of decay,” said Dr. Claire Goedde, explaining that while it’s not uncommon to encounter partial remains of convictions from that era, it’s exceedingly rare to recover a specimen this pristine. “All the 400-year-old viewpoints remain almost completely untouched, from religion’s place in society to the rights of women to the attitude toward science. I can only imagine the insights this single sample will provide as to how people who lived centuries ago saw the world around them.” Goedde added, however, that the congressman’s belief system was fragile even in near-perfect condition and could deteriorate rapidly if examined too much.”

    • That is a good piece. The author states so many things I’m regularly trying to communicate. Here is a particularly important part:

      “The real takeaway, as Katie McDonough argued at Fusion on the day of the shooting, should be that people who commit domestic violence should not be able to buy guns. As has been the case in so many other mass shootings, Hodgkinson had a history of abusing women, including partners and his own daughter.”

      Clintonistas were constantly trying portray Sanders as a gun-lover. The reason they did that is because he defended the right of gun corporations to operate, according to the law (unless some politicians wants to attempt to pass a law prohibiting the manufacture of guns). His view was common sense, that either guns are legal or not. Like most Americans, including most liberals and most Democrats, Sanders isn’t for banning guns. The primary problem is about gun control, which Sanders has been an advocate.

      (One could add that issues of inequality, mental health, pollution-related toxicity, etc are also of central importance in dealing with violence. And one could note that Sanders is a more trustworthy advocate in dealing with these issues than is Clinton.)

      In terms of both personal actions and public policy, Sanders has always been a proponent of non-violence. It’s too bad the same can’t be said for someone like Clinton who is a law-and-order war-mongerer pushing tough-on-crime policies, police militarization, and mass incarceration, not to mention her economic policies that worsen poverty and inequality (all of which make society more violent).

      Clinton doesn’t care about any of this. She assumes it will never negatively impact her or anyone she personally knows. It’s all a political game to her. She’ll do anything to win or at least to maintain power.

      https://gop.com/clinton-fundraises-with-off-message-nra-friendly-gov/

      http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article58873273.html

      “But she has remained quiet on a controversial deal orchestrated by her surrogate and close friend, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, that gun control advocates oppose. […]

      “It’s unclear whether Clinton supports the compromise or whether it will impact McAuliffe’s role as a top surrogate for Clinton. Her campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

      “Clinton is expected to rely on McAuliffe to help her win the primary March 1 and possibly the state during a general election in November.

      “McAuliffe, who counts Bill and Hillary Clinton as close friends, served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and chairman of Clinton’s first run for president House in 2008. The Clintons attended his inauguration and he campaigned for Clinton in the early nominating state of Iowa last month and held a rally for her in the swing state of Virginia last year. Several Clinton staffers worked on McAuliffe’s 2013 campaign, including campaign manager Robby Mook.”

      http://freebeacon.com/politics/clinton-campaign-chair-defends-clintons-nra-and-wall-street-ties/

      “Clinton campaign chair John Podesta tried to justify Hillary Clinton’s ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Wall Street on Tuesday, ties that contradict her anti-gun, anti-big bank campaign message.

      “The Clinton campaign will hold a March fundraiser where “several” NRA and Goldman Sachs lobbyists will make appearances. These lobbyists include Jeff Forbes, who represented the NRA from 2009 until 2015, and Steve Elmendorf, who has lobbied for Goldman Sachs. […]

      “Clinton has come under fire for raising millions of dollars from paid speeches to big banks while talking about income inequality and Wall Street corruption on the campaign trail. She has also refused to imitate President Obama’s ban on donations from lobbyists and PACs to her own campaign.”

      http://thebernreport.com/hillary-clinton-the-hypocrite-takes-money-from-the-nra/

      “And then, Mrs. Clinton held a fund raiser in Washington on March 21. One of its hosts is Jeff Forbes, who until the end of last year (a few months ago) worked for six years as a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. This ties in well with the fact Mrs. Clinton’s “biggest” campaign bundlers are oil industry lobbyists.

      “The Huffington Post released news in advance of Mrs. Clinton accepting the money raised from Jeff Forbes, causing her to rearrange her schedule. She went to Arizona, and sent her husband (former President Bill Clinton) to deal with Jeff Forbes. It seems Mrs. Clinton is not completely comfortable taking money raised by a former(?) NRA lobbyist, so she sent her husband to collect the money.

      “Jeff Forbes donated $2,700 to the Clinton campaign in April when he was still registered to lobby against gun control. His colleague at the Forbes-Tate lobbying shop, Elizabeth Greer, also donated $2,700 while registered to lobby for the NRA. This is possible because Mrs. Clinton declined to apply President Obama’s ban on contributions from lobbyists, to her own campaign. The Democratic National Committee is also ending the Obama ban on lobbyist contributions, per Mrs. Clinton’s friend, DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      “Banning lobbyist donations prevents the expectation of donors and voters that the policies are dictated by corporations and the rich paying off the candidates with bribes.”

      https://downtrend.com/71superb/anti-gun-hillary-clinton-is-taking-money-from-nra-lobbyists

      “The Huffington Post reports that Jeff Forbes will host a fundraiser for the Hillary Clinton campaign. That probably wouldn’t mean much, but Forbes used to be a lobbyist for the hated NRA. From 2009 to 2015 Forbes was a registered lobbyist for one of Hillary’s biggest enemies. This is a person who lobbied lawmakers to reject harebrained liberal gun control proposals like the ones that Hillary wants to implement.

      “But wait, Hillary’s optics get worse. While Forbes was still registered as a lobbyist for the NRA Institute, he donated $2,700 to gun-hatin’ Hillary. In addition, Elizabeth Greer, another registered NRA lobbyist, gave $2,700 for Hillary’s presidential bid.

      “This gun-friendly fundraiser will take place on March 21st and tickets run from $1,000 to $5,000. Attendees will get to have lunch with UFO conspiracy theorist John Podesta. Actually Podesta used to be hubby Bill’s Chief of Staff and he is currently Hillary’s campaign manager. This leads me to believe that everyone at Camp Hillary is on board with raising money through an ex-NRA lobbyist.

      “The Huffington Post reached out to the Clinton campaign for an explanation of the hypocrisy of accepting money from NRA lobbyists while running on an anti-NRA platform. This is what they got:

      ““Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with a record of standing up to the NRA and the more than 850,000 people who have contributed to her campaign know exactly where she stands,” wrote Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin in an e-mail.

      “Well that explains nothing. Actually, it’s a classic Hillary answer. It ignores the question completely while veering into some unrelated self-promotion.

      “I’m sensing a pattern here. Hillary has made millions in speaking fees for speeches she gave to Wall Street and big banking firms while she claims that she will take on these institutions. Hillary brings in beaucoup bucks from the pharmaceutical companies she promises to regulate and prosecute. And now, anti-gun Hillary is taking money from her biggest enemy the NRA, as she vows to destroy them.

      “Conflict of interest? Hypocrisy? Lack of integrity? Corruption? Take your pick; they all apply to Hillary Clinton. The only thing that isn’t a ruse is the fact that she stands for one thing: money. The truth is, she can be bought and apparently the selling price is not all that high.”

  16. I’m not sure how pro-white alt righters are when they hate any white that dosent fit their image of what whites should be like (the rugged Marlboro man in a Norman Rockwell painting)

    Like I constantly them ranting because they saw a “thin effeminate hipster looking white guy” at the grocery store or basically a white person that doesn’t fit their Uber-conservative image

    • That pattern of ideological thought goes a long way back. The racial order has always been mixed up with and often used as a proxy for many other aspects of the larger social order: ethno-nationalism, religion, class, family values, gender, etc. The racialization of the culture wars is an old phenomenon.

      It was given expression through organizations like the KKK and also through the worldviews of Social Darwinism and eugenics. The idea of racial purity always had much to do with good breeding and genetic superiority. Such things as effeminacy were often treated as signs of weakness and inferiority. That is why Nazis killed gay men, just as they killed cripples and Jews.

      If you really want to follow that thread back, you’ll find traces of it in the earliest colonialism. There has been a long fear of the ‘other’ and the perceived negative impact on society. You can see that even in the ancient world with Romans criticizing Christians as being effeminate.

      During European colonization, one of the greatest fears was how contact with people perceived as inferior could change European settlers and explorers, such as those going native. And it’s true that, since early European society was so oppressive, many people found native societies much nicer. Early on, European captives often didn’t want to go back to European communities, especially women and children who had much greater freedom in tribal life. Whites living on the frontier were typically considered inferior, partly because of their ethnicity and class but also because of their close contact with non-whites.

      The gender issue went both ways. There has always been prejudice against men who aren’t manly enough. But equally other populations (and classes) perceived as too manly would be portrayed as savage and bestial. To be a civilized white person of good breeding meant being manly while not being too manly, such an assessment of course being highly subjective and self-serving.

  17. Was at the farmers market today and heard the Amish/Mennonite sellers speaking what sounds like German to each other XD I didn’t know they still spoke German

    • Yep. The Amish speak German around here as well. It’s an old form of German that is no longer spoken in Germany. Germans who hear this old German spoken have a hard time understanding it. These communities have resisted assimilation by isolating themselves. It’s why, despite German-Americans being the single largest demographic, these traditional communities survived. Even the English-only laws in the early 1900s wasn’t able to destroy their practice of speaking German.

      Many ethnic groups are attacked for the perception of being violent criminals, even when it is false such as with Hispanic immigrants. It’s ironic that, among ethnic groups that resist assimilation, those like the Amish were sometimes viciously persecuted for their unwillingness to be violent, in that they wouldn’t patriotically join the military. During WWII, some German-American religious pacifists (not just Amish and Mennonites but also Hutterites, Amana colonies, etc) were imprisoned by the federal government and in some cases tortured to death.

    • What is most amusing is that, as an Italian, some white people wouldn’t perceive him as being ‘white’. Like many Southern and Eastern Europeans, his features are at the blurry edge of whiteness. It goes to show how narrow is American racial perception.

  18. This is the reason why there is so much animosity towards police.
    Police officers are virtually never held accountable, no matter how clear the misconduct is.
    Another clear example… the cops who shot up a truck in LA while on the manhunt for someone else. The truck didn’t even match the description of the vehicle.
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-no-charges-lapd-shooting-newspaper-delivery-women-dorner-manhunt-20160127-story.html
    When people get the sense that police officers can do whatever the fuck they want without consequences – and they can – that is how you end up with people randomly shooting cops in revenge.
    That’s also how you lose the benefit of the doubt in most people’s minds.
    We all know that cops will do whatever it takes to get themselves or their fellow officers off the hook.

    • That is unacceptable. When the police aren’t held to the same standards of justice, there effectively no longer is any guarantee of justice in society — one of the most basic elements of a culture of trust. It’s the same thing when dangerous, gun-toting whites are treated with kids gloves while innocent black boys get killed by cops for no reason other than the color of their skin. And it also resonates with how those with wealth, power, and privilege can get away with almost anything with very little consequence.

      If we had a just society, there are many cops, politicians and plutocrats who would be in prison right now. But since we don’t have a just society, it is unsurprising that many people seek to take justice into their own hands. Even that shooting of those GOP politicians is probably influenced by a sense of there being no justice in our society, as the shooter called Trump a traitor. It’s true that many US politicians really do act traitorous. And that wouldn’t be tolerable in a functioning democracy.

      We live in a society with an extremely violent government and police forces. Militarization of our society has been happening at all levels. The government doesn’t just act violently toward the poor and minorities but even more violently toward foreigners, having directly killed 20-30 million of mostly innocents following WWII (according to one assessment, although it didn’t include indirect deaths caused by violence and destabilization that has been funded and promoted by the US, including the overthrow and assassination of democratically-elected leaders). The message that this gives to the citizenry is that violence, not democracy, is how problems are solved.

      Those ruling our society are creating a particular kind of social order. Going by their actions, it must be assumed that they want to live in a violent society, just as long as they can keep the violence directed at the powerless. But they might begin to rethink their views on rule through violent oppression and state terrorism as it increasingly blows back in their direction. They better choose wisely going forward because this country could so easily hit a point of no return, assuming we aren’t already at that point.

  19. Maybe I’m being a little naive, but recently, there’s been complaining in the southwest that some of the violence of the Mexican Drug Cartels in north mexico has been spilling into border regions of the USA and beyond. I can’t help but wonder of ending the war on drugs would alleviate some of the violence

    • There has been complaining in Mexico and the rest of Latin America that US violence is spilling out of the US. Most of the guns in Mexico come from the US. And even in the US, most of the guns used by gangs and cartels come from the legal gun market where controls are so loose, weak, and rarely enforced. But those illegally sold guns are big money for big biz.

      Anyway, it doesn’t take a genius to know that prohibition causes violence. It happened during alcohol prohibition. In a different kind of way, it also happens with abortion bans that increases harm, including sometimes increasing the number of abortions. The countries that have decreased the rates of violence and deaths to the greatest extent are those that have done the opposite of prohibition, by way of promoting socially democratic policies: decriminalization, drug rehab, preventative healthcare, more funding for education, etc (ya know, actually helping people, rather than attacking and punishing them while destroying their families and communities).

      Besides, the US has used the drug wars in other countries as a tool of the hybrid imperialism neocon-neoliberalism. It’s a way of putting US troops and CIA into other countries while funding and training militants and terrorists (School of the Americas) in order to do the bidding of plutocrats, such as attacking left-wing governments and supporting fascist regimes. The US fucking around in Latin America is a large reason for the refugee crises that regularly hit the region. Like the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US by those originally trained and funded by the US, it is the opposite of surprising that the hens come home to roost.

      It’s always a matter of the choices that are made about what kind of society is created through governmental policies and actions.

  20. I wonder how much crime is the “if you stay away from the sketchy people you’ll be fine” type though. Or the type between people who know each other. My friend is an EMT in a fairly rural area and it has many drug and domestic violence issues, but I imagine if you’re not in an abusive relationship or involved in drugs you probably won’t have too many problems

    Basically, whenver I’m concerned with crime, I’m concerned with the likelihood of getting mugged or broken in, but a lot of the crime counted could be the “stay away from sketchyness and you’ll be fine” type, I’m assuming

    http://science.time.com/2013/07/23/in-town-versus-country-it-turns-out-that-cities-are-the-safest-places-to-live/

    • If you are in a violent place, it’s hard to stay away from ‘sketchy’ people. When there is low levels of trust and community with major problems of poverty, inequality, unemployment, lead toxicity, food deserts, underfunded schools, lack of healthcare, untreated mental illness, criminalized drug addiction epidemics, and general desperation, all of society begins to feel a bit ‘sketchy’ and others begin to look at you as kind of ‘sketchy’ as well.

      It’s hard to generalize about rural areas.

      I live in a rural state. I’m surrounded by rural areas. Here in Iowa, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest to walk alone at night down a country road. It’s a very safe state. Even blacks living here, although they are arrested at higher rates, are less likely to bet shot here by the police than many other places in the country. I also didn’t feel unsafe in the rural areas of central Kentucky, but the Appalachia of eastern Kentucky is known for its violence.

      In rural areas that are violent, specifically the Deep South, the problems are everywhere and so hard to avoid. All of the problems add up to general dysfunction in all aspects of the worst off communities. It’s an unhealthy environment that doesn’t lead to healthy behaviors. It has been shown that the stresses of poverty alone directly damages brain development.

      In rural areas, it’s not just that violence is higher but specifically violence by people who know each other. But how does one avoid all potentially violent people in a community that has been abandoned by the larger society? Just going to the store or interacting with your neighbor might lead to violence, when violence rates get high enough. Also, in the rural South, deaths in general are higher, not just murders but also: suicides, maternal mortality, untreated illnesses, work-related accidents, accidental shootings, drunk driving, etc.

      There was a friendly guy my parents and I met in central Kentucky. He was living in a rural area. His way of avoiding rural violence was to move out of eastern Kentucky where he grew up.

      There are large numbers of what essentially are refugees from violent poor areas, but sometimes they just bring their problems with them. If someone had their brain damaged by the lead toxicity in a poor community, that brain damage is permanent and can’t be undone by moving elsewhere. What do you do when, because of toxicity-related and stress-related brain damage, you are one of the ‘sketchy’ people who are just trying to get by in life and all of society has decided to scapegoat you?

  21. Speaking of crime though, honestly a scary place in terms of rapes is… college campuses. Especially frat rows.

    • College campuses are bad places for rape. I have a female friend who grew up in Iowa City. She told me she worried about rape growing up because of the college, the campus being a short distance from her childhood home.

      But I know that rapes among the poor and minority are quite high, likely higher than anything seen in college towns. And a man is probably more likely to be raped in prison than a woman on a campus.

      It’s all relative. The main point is that we live in a shitty society.

  22. I actually feel safer in ways in cities than in more rural or even suburban areas in one way. As long as the neighborhood isn’t super notorious for crime (and there aren’t really those types of places in Manhattan anymore, or even really NYC in general) I feel much more comfortable walking alone at night in a dense urban city. I think it’s just because many cities are gentrifying like crazy though.

    There’s absolutely no way in hell I’m going to walk alone at 2am in a rural area or even the dead suburban streets, but I’ve walked alone at night in Manhattan many times. I think it’s because in NYC there’s always other people on the street no matter the time of day, while in rural/suburban areas there’s no one else around and lots of empty space predators could hide XD

    • The downtown here is being gentrified. There was a time when the downtown was a more dangerous place. But I feel safe at night downtown these days. There are other parts of this town I’d feel less safe in at night, although no part of town that I’d feel terrified about walking through at any time.

      When I was living in Columbia SC, crime was getting worse there. There had been a ton of white flight and wealthy flight. The downtown was in decent condition, but far from being gentrified. I wouldn’t have felt safe in downtown Columbia.

    • “Of course, not all cities are equally safe — Chicago has seen a terrifying rise in gun deaths in recent years, and there’s nothing safe about a bankrupt and broken city like Detroit, where it can take 58 minutes on average for police to answer a 911 call.”

      Detroit is not a normal situation. That is a place that has experienced factory closings, economic collapse, mass housing abandonment, an infrastructure crisis, high rates of lead toxicity, and large population exodus. It’s a city in crisis.

      As for Chicago, that statement is total bullshit. Complaints about Chicago are dog whistle rhetoric directed at blacks. But the reality is that Chicago is one of the safest big cities in the country.

    • That guy seems quite obsessed with image, specifically how people perceive him. He goes to immense effort to portray himself in a particular way. I get the vibe that he is trying too hard. He seems on edge. The guy does need to relax. He also seems a bit confused, conflicted, or something. His stated motivations are all over the place. It’s like he has an image in his head that he wants to judge every place according to. If he is a nice guy, he should be able to get along just fine in most places. There are thousands of places to live in the US with varying kinds of diversity, with down-to-earth working class populations, and housing that is at least as affordable as he mentioned.

      In gentrified downtown Iowa City, I pay half the rent that he is talking about from his living in lower class urban areas. There are black neighborhoods here as well and no one would blink an eye at an interracial couple. But I have a feeling that a town like this isn’t urban gritty enough for him. If urban grittiness and diversity is so important to him, I can think of some Midwestern factory towns he could live in where rent is ridiculously low and would be decent places to raise a kid. My sense, though, is that this guy wants to live in a neighborhood that is just shy of falling into severe poverty, in the hope of preventing dreaded gentrification. Well, even in that case, those Midwestern factory towns don’t have much threat of gentrification and often do have stable economies. And if Hispanic is what he is looking for, there are some towns in the Midwest that now have large Hispanic populations, sometimes the majority of residents.

      I’ve lived in different kinds of places (big cities and small towns, college towns and factory towns, urban and rural, majority white and mixed, North and South, etc). I honestly don’t care too much about the specific demographic breakdown. Even gentrification doesn’t necessarily bother me. I just want a place with a sense of community. That is probably was a factor in why I disliked Columbia, SC. It had some urban grittiness in parts of the city which neither bothered me nor appealed to me. And it had diversity, which was in and of itself was mostly irrelevant to me. I never had any problems in Columbia, but there was absolutely no sense of community in a place like that. What makes a place seem welcoming and friendly has little to do with specific demographics or other superficial factors.

      There doesn’t need to be an objective reason to like or dislike a place. Just visit some places and find what feels right. It’s not something that is likely to be easily analyzed, as many places can look good on the surface until you find out what they’re like after living there for a while. Besides, it’s often not the place itself that determines one’s experience. Different neighborhoods, friends, churches, and employment can create entirely different worlds adjacent to each other in the same city. People can be walking distance from another part of town that they never visit or maybe even know exists. Cities allow people to segregate themselves if they want or to seek out diversity if they want. But that is true in many places even outside of big cities.

      What I noticed about his comments is what he kept repeating. For example, he kept stating how he can handle himself and he doesn’t mind a place with some crime. It’s like he wanted to live in a place with a slightly aggressive population where only a tough guy like him could handle it. His ability to prove himself as a man, unlike those wussy liberal elites, by being able to handle potential criminals appears to be an important part of his identity. He is a white conservative who prides his ability to live among poor minorities because he can handle them. If he lived in a safe community where he didn’t have to act tough to frighten off potential attackers, then all meaning in his life would disappear and the narrative playing in his head would no longer be relevant.

      I find that a strange attitude, as someone who has no interest in proving my masculinity. People are strange.

    • The housing costs shock me. It sounds like he is talking about wanting to live in lower working class neighborhoods. But the rental costs he specifically states are over a thousand dollars. What typical working class person is able to afford that high of rent?

      Here in this middle class town, you could rent an entire large house 20-30 minutes from downtown for very little money. I shared rent on a large two bedroom apartment (full bathroom, full kitchen, big living room, and plenty of closet space) a few minutes walk from downtown earlier last decade and my share of the rent was about $300.

      How is it a middle class college town can be cheaper than a poor working class neighborhood in a big city? Poverty is more affordable in some places than others.

    • That intuitively makes sense. I’ve seen some of the data. But some of it is new to me. The most important part, something I always suspected, is how self-sabotage can work in creating self-fulfilling prophecies. If its a highly valued cultural belief that diversity is bad and harmful and inevitably leads to failure and problems, then leadership and participants in diversity will act according to that cultural belief to ensure that it comes true.

      “Teams of four white men and four black men were seen as having equal levels of relationship conflict, but the diverse teams were seen as having more relationship conflict than the homogeneous teams, even though everyone had read the same transcript. Further, this perception of greater conflict made the participants less likely to provide the additional resources the mixed group had requested.

      “This type of unconscious bias can clearly have a significant impact not only on hiring but also on the ways in which leaders create teams and encourage collaboration. Without realizing it, they may be reluctant to add diversity to a team or to assign colleagues with different backgrounds to work together, in response to an (overblown) fear of the tension and difficulty that could ensue. […]

      “In addition, diversity’s benefits are rarely obtained without a strong sense of team and organizational inclusion. Only when people feel welcome and respected will the team be able to benefit from their unique perspective and experience.

      “The research presented here suggests that diversity initiatives may not be successful until we do more to address the way diversity is perceived. When leaders see it first and foremost as a social obligation that makes things difficult and slows progress, they will likely make decisions that undermine the organization’s diversity goals. They may also, at least unconsciously, try to downplay the substance of existing diversity on their teams. If, however, leaders can recognize that the debate and unfamiliarity that come with diversity is an important catalyst for creativity and deep thinking, they will invite it and celebrate it. And very likely, the organization — and everyone in it — will reap the rewards.”

  23. I was thinking about this quote because it almost mirrors me in some ways. I grew up in a middle class to affluent community, around mostly (similar class) whites and some Asians who were competitive and went on fancy ski trips and ivy league schools, yet the people I’ve really connected with irl were people not of my demographic upbringing. I’ve surprisingly connected well with working class people, alternative people of various races, and basically, people who don’t go to Boston College and go on ski trips. Even though externally, I have pretty bougie hobbies like figure skating and other bougie stuff

    “Thanks for the response. I was wondering about Paterson because in Springfield, I lived in a very predominately Hispanic (Puerto Rican) neighborhood. I never had any issues and the only race-based encounter I had was a guy outside of a corner store who thought he was funny asking me “are you lost?”, to which I replied “Nah, I live here. Are you?” which shut him up. The majority of my friends have always been Hispanic. Springfield has not so much tension between whites and Hispanics, but Hispanics moved into the city in droves, which caused all of the white people to move to a more suburban part of the city called Sixteen Acres. The whites felt as though the Puerto Ricans were imposing their culture. There is visible tension sometimes between blacks and Hispanics in the city as well for the same reason. That being said, I was never treated differently and was always invited to parties and gatherings. I currently live in Chelsea which as a city is predominately Hispanic (El Salvadoran) and have never had any issues or even received a funny look. There is A LOT of crime but it is mostly Hispanic on Hispanic and gang related. Paterson to me, reminds me of Springfield. I tend to get on well with Hispanic people as I have more in common with them than I would with a guy who went to Boston College and goes on ski trips with his parents every winter. On any given day, would you see a white person in Paterson or is it just unheard of?”

    Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/new-jersey/2494554-racial-climate-nj-urban-areas-newark-3.html#ixzz4kFV69Nlp

    • The only time I lived in a really affluent community was Deerfield, Illinois. That was a fairly wealthy suburb of Chicago. But I only lived there a few years as a young kid. I never got to know the place or the people. As an adult, I’ve never been around immense affluence, not on a personal level. Although there are some rich doctors in this city, their lives don’t overlap much with mine.

      When I was a kid in this town, I don’t recall knowing anyone who was wealthy. The university hospital wasn’t as large back then, but there would have been some wealthy families around. The elementary school I went to was a neighborhood school and the neighborhood was working class to middle class. I’m not sure where the rich people lived. That is the odd thing about segregation. It can be extremely subtle. I grew up middle class, although at that time of childhood my dad had quit his job to back to school. We were living more of a working class lifestyle and were renting, but the neighborhood we were in was clearly middle class.

      I didn’t think anything about class at the time, not any more than I thought about race. I knew poor kids, as I knew non-white kids. I wasn’t poor and I wasn’t non-white, but it didn’t occur me to give it much thought. The big difference is that wealthiest families were in a different part of town. I didn’t even know the wealthy existed, but they certainly did exist. Many of those doctors and top university administrators had to have been economically well off, some surely millionaires. Iowa City back then felt like a middle class town and the downtown was designed for the middle class.

      That has all changed with gentrification that has made the upper class the new focus. There is no way to ignore the wealthy around here anymore as they take over the downtown. The rest of the town feels much the same way, though. And you still can go a short distance from downtown to find poor working class housing, minority neighborhoods trailer parks, and rural areas. It’s not a large town and so it’s not hard to get from one area to another in a short amount of time. The inequality here is still minor compared to the big cities.

  24. A friend of my mind posted this comment…

    “I can’t believe how many people don’t know that we ousted this Democratically elected leader of Iran. It’s disturbing to hear people bitch about Iran as if poor relations with that country started recently. The National Security Archive rocks.”

    …in response to this report:

    http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB598-State-Department-releases-documents-on-US-backed-1953-coup-in-Iran/

    “The State Department today released a long-awaited “retrospective” volume of declassified U.S. government documents on the 1953 coup in Iran, including records describing planning and implementation of the covert operation. The publication is the culmination of decades of internal debates and public controversy after a previous official collection omitted all references to the role of American and British intelligence in the ouster of Iran’s then-prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq. The volume is part of the Department’s venerable Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series.

    “For decades, neither the U.S. nor the British governments would acknowledge their part in Mosaddeq’s overthrow, even though a detailed account appeared as early as 1954 in The Saturday Evening Post, and since then CIA and MI6 veterans of the coup have published memoirs detailing their activities. Kermit Roosevelt’s Countercoup is the best known and most detailed such account, although highly controversial because of its selective rendering of events. In 2000, The New York Times posted a 200-page classified internal CIA history of the operation.

    “In 1989, the State Department released what purported to be the official record of the coup period but it made not a single reference to American and British actions in connection with the event. The omission led to the resignation of the chief outside adviser on the series, and prompted Congress to pass legislation requiring “a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record” of U.S. foreign policy. After the end of the Cold War, the CIA committed to open agency files on the Iran and other covert operations, and the State Department vowed to produce a “retrospective” volume righting the earlier decision.

    “But it took until 2011 for the CIA to – partially – fulfill its commitment, and even then it was only in the form of a previously classified segment of an internal account of the coup that for the first time included an officially released explicit reference to the agency’s role in “TPAJAX,” the U.S. acronym for the operation. Roughly two years later, after years of research by historian James C. Van Hook, as well as internal negotiations between State and CIA over access to the latter’s records, the Office of the Historian at the Department produced a draft of the retrospective volume, which then had to await top-level clearance.

    “What explains the refusal by two governments to acknowledge their actions, and the inordinate delays in publishing this volume? Justifications given in the past include protecting intelligence sources and methods, bowing to British government requests and, more recently, avoiding stirring up Iranian hardline elements who might seek to undercut the nuclear deal Iran signed with the United States and other P5+1 members in 2015.

    “While the volume’s contents still are being sifted through, here’s a description from the Preface:

    “This Foreign Relations retrospective volume focuses on the use of covert operations by the Truman and Eisenhower administrations as an adjunct to their respective policies toward Iran, culminating in the overthrow of the Mosadeq government in August 1953. Moreover, the volume documents the involvement of the U.S. intelligence community in the policy formulation process and places it within the broader Cold War context. For a full appreciation of U.S. relations with Iran between 1951 and 1954, this volume should be read in conjunction with the volume published in 1989.

    ““This is going to be an important source for anyone interested in the tortured relationship between Washington and Tehran,” said Malcolm Byrne, who runs the National Security Archive’s Iran-U.S. Relations Project. “But the fact that it has taken over six decades to declassify and release these records about such a pivotal historical event is mind-boggling.”

    “As Archive staff make their way through the hundreds of records in the volume, we will update this posting with highlights.”

    • And another person, in the comments section, responded with this:

      “The main problem is that we never learn from our mistakes. Soon after the Mosaddeq scandal, we repeated the same thing in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, and more. Then we created the military and autocratic dictatorships of Nasser of Egypt, Kamil Chamoun of Lebanon, Nouri Al-Sa’eed of Iraq, Abdul Karim Kassem and Abdel-Sallam Aref of Iraq, Adib al-Shishakly of Syria, Al-Habeeb Bourguiba of Tunisia, Noureldeen Al-Attasi, Salah Jadid, and Hafez Al-Assad of Syria, Colonel Muammar Al-Gadaffy of Libya, General Abdullah Al-Sallal of Yemen, Hawaary Boumediene of Algeria, and later Zain Alabedeen Aly of Tunisia. We composed the Ba’ath party in Iraq and Syria under Michael Aflaq, Akram Al-Hourani, Sabry Al-Asaly, and Salah Al-Beetaar. we created the Muslim Brothers, together with with the British, under Sheik Hassan Al-Banna of Ismailia, Egypt and then Al-Qaeda under Sheik Usama Ben-Laden and Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, Mujahideen and Mulla Omar’s Taliban, and later Daesh (ISIS), under Abu-Bakr Al-Boughdady, to get rid of Bashar Al-Assad…and we continue doing this..and enjoying it..At times we call it Arab Nationalism, and Islamic revival, or Arab Spring! All that we do is create monsters that end up eating our young soldiers and sucking our money and resources…….”

    • Great article. Whether or not Elan has the stamina for a reply, I doubt he has the intelligence and honesty to offer a worthy reply. In the linked article criticizing his earlier piece, the conclusion was brilliant:

      “Unfortunately, Murray’s proposal that the IQ gap is the result of a little genetics and a little environment does not offer a way out of the scientific and ethical dilemma faced by the (alleged) science of race and behavior. Scientifically, there is no method that can apportion group differences in this way, no empirical analysis that might assign IQ differences between racial groups to one or another source, much less come up with a meaningful balance between the two.

      “There is not a single example of a group difference in any complex human behavioral trait that has been shown to be environmental or genetic, in any proportion, on the basis of scientific evidence. Ethically, in the absence of a valid scientific methodology, speculations about innate differences between the complex behavior of groups remain just that, inseparable from the legacy of unsupported views about race and behavior that are as old as human history. The scientific futility and dubious ethical status of the enterprise are two sides of the same coin.

      “To convince the reader that there is no scientifically valid or ethically defensible foundation for the project of assigning group differences in complex behavior to genetic and environmental causes, I have to move the discussion in an even more uncomfortable direction. Consider the assertion that Jews are more materialistic than non-Jews. (I am Jewish, I have used a version of this example before, and I am not accusing anyone involved in this discussion of anti-Semitism. My point is to interrogate the scientific difference between assertions about blacks and assertions about Jews.)

      “One could try to avoid the question by hoping that materialism isn’t a measurable trait like IQ, except that it is; or that materialism might not be heritable in individuals, except that it is nearly certain it would be if someone bothered to check; or perhaps that Jews aren’t really a race, although they certainly differ ancestrally from non-Jews; or that one wouldn’t actually find an average difference in materialism, but it seems perfectly plausible that one might. (In case anyone is interested, a biological theory of Jewish behavior, by the white nationalist psychologist Kevin MacDonald, actually exists.)

      “If you were persuaded by Murray and Harris’s conclusion that the black-white IQ gap is partially genetic, but uncomfortable with the idea that the same kind of thinking might apply to the personality traits of Jews, I have one question: Why? Couldn’t there just as easily be a science of whether Jews are genetically “tuned to” (Harris’s phrase) different levels of materialism than gentiles?

      “On the other hand, if you no longer believe this old anti-Semitic trope, is it because some scientific study has been conducted showing that it is false? And if the problem is simply that we haven’t run the studies, why shouldn’t we? Materialism is an important trait in individuals, and plausibly could be an important difference between groups. (Certainly the history of the Jewish people attests to the fact that it has been considered important in groups!) But the horrific recent history of false hypotheses about innate Jewish behavior helps us see how scientifically empty and morally bankrupt such ideas really are.

      “If Murray and Harris want to make a science out of their intuitions about how different groups of people have been “tuned” to behave, they will need to come up with a coherent biological account of what exactly genetic “tuning” of behavior entails and how it might be assessed empirically. It is, I acknowledge, a deeply complex question, both philosophically and scientifically.

      “In fact, I will close by noting that not even the three of us are completely in agreement about it: I (Turkheimer) am convinced that the question is irredeemably unscientific; Nisbett accepts it as a legitimate scientific question, and thinks evidence points fairly strongly in the direction of the black-white gap being entirely environmental in origin; while Harden questions the quality of the existing evidence, but thinks more determinative data may be found in future genetic knowledge.

      “We agree on this, however: Murray and Harris’s current endorsement of a genetic contribution to the black-white IQ gap is based on a weak brew of unexamined intuition and sketchy empirical evidence. In a free country and a free academy, scientists can speculate about whatever they want, but their speculations should not be mistaken for a scientific consensus or a legitimate basis for social policy.”

    • This is a decent comment on the Medium piece by Elan:

      View at Medium.com

      “Charles Murray has a PhD in political science from MIT. Sam Harris has a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA and maybe no equal in communicating science. But neither man is a geneticist.

      “I usually try to give Sam Harris the benefit of the doubt. However, he seemed wholly uncritical of Murray’s statements during the podcast referenced above, and conducting the interview in this way was incredibly short-sighted & irresponsible, especially given Sam’s credentials. The only people who can offer empirical data to refute or support mere assumptions re a genetic basis for racial disparities in IQ made by Murray on the pod are actual geneticists or epidemiologists. However, Harris knows damn well few to zero investigators actively engaged in the field can actually risk visiting his podcast to speak on any health outcome if it is framed as relating to race- not even sickle cell or cystic fibrosis. For these reasons, the incomplete comments on ‘race-based’ IQ that Harris encouraged and endorsed from a political scientist with no genetics training have to stand as gospel on the podcast. Meanwhile, we’re all left out here calling each other bigots, snowflakes, cherry pickers, just biased. Inviting Murray to speak about genetics related to race was about as responsible as inviting Deepak Chopra to speak about quantum mechanics as relates to ‘god’. Last I checked the latter would be anathema to Harris.”

      • “They’re too stifled by PC”

        Yeah but for actual geneticists, things are much more complex than suggested by Murray and Harris. Even the sickle cell stuff, it’s not a “black” thing, it’s a thing that occurs in higher frequency in some west African and Mediterranean population.

        • The rate of sickle cell among US blacks is actually lower than in those parts of West Africa and the Mediterranean. That is the kind of thing that makes treating all ‘black’ people the same as ignorant, wrongheaded, unhelpful, and sometimes directly harmful.

    • It reminds me of a passage from a book, Racecraft, that I quoted from in an old post:

      “One of the present authors some years ago tested the limits of the free market in racist ideas. A crotchety yet likable right-wing colleague approached, looking disquieted and in need of moral support. He was “having trouble” with a certain black student in his bio-psychology class. What was wrong, he wondered, with saying that “black people may, or (mind you) may not, prove to be intellectually inferior to white people? In science, you frame a hypothesis, devise an experiment, find out.” The student raised her hand and, when recognized, blasted him. “Do you know So-and -So (the student in question)?” asked the bio-psychologist. (The author did happen to know the student in question, an eighteen-year-old single mother of twins who was as bright as they come and not one to brook insult.) “Why can’t she grasp that there’s a scientific approach to things , blah , blah?” Finally, the author put a question. “If, as you say, there is no hypothesis that science excludes, why not try this assignment ? Let your students pick any white ethnic group and any stereotype commonly applied to it, greedy, mendacious, dumb, drunken, gangsterish, and so on, then formulate a hypothesis, design the experiment, find out.” The colleague’s face froze.”

      https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/racecraft-political-correctness-free-marketplace-of-ideas/

    • When and where are you asking about? I assume you mean European immigrants to the US, right? And do you mean the period from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century?

      If so, there was much violence during that period. Far more violence per capita than is seen today. Even excluding the Civil War, that probably was the most violent period in US history. Rural areas were particularly violent back then, especially when lead paint began being used on barns in the last decades of the 19th century. And that was at a time when most of the population was rural.

      Also, it’s interesting to note the demographics of the violence. Most of the rural violence, at least in some places, was among whites. Rural blacks after the Civil War apparently had low violence rates, not just toward whites but also within black communities. So, it was very violent and mostly among the population with the highest levels of immigrants, which at the time meant whites.

    • In order to seriously and honestly test that, what would be required is a falsifiable hypothesis for a causal mechanism explaining precisely why and how the two would be genetically related. Otherwise, all that is being done is focusing on some factors while ignoring others in order to defend a preconceived conclusion.

  25. If the police and other authorities see this as a victory, I hope they like seeing more police officers being shot.

    Either the police are there to protect citizens or the police are a dangerous enemy. When there is no longer justice, when officers kill innocent citizens with impunity, and when entire police forces act like occupying forces in communities, there will be violence as a consequence. This verdict was one of many decisions to ensure an endless cycle of ever worsening violence.

    It takes a complete ignoramus to not see the inevitable consequences. It’s just human nature. People who no longer feel safe around police officers won’t give those police officers the benefit of the doubt. We are going to see a whole lot of second amendment solutions. Without justice to maintain peace, it simply becomes a matter of who shoots first. That isn’t exactly a way to maintain a civilized society.

    It has nothing to do with ideology or necessarily specific demographics. Violence will be increasing from various sectors of society.

    Many people are going to increasingly feel on edge and some of those people carry guns. In some countries, even the police don’t regularly carry guns. But in the US guns are everywhere and are considered the primary solution for nearly all problems. American cops pull out their guns and point them at innocent people like its the most normal thing to do. Yet in other countries somehow officers are able to deal with situations without killing people all the time.

    It must be nice to live in a country where citizens don’t fear their own government.

    https://www.hulu.com/watch/1094993

    • Going by the abstract, that seemed plain idiotic. Economics correlates to thousands of other factors, many of them significant but not causally linked to the few factors that were the focus of the study.

      Economics correlates to health and healthcare: food deserts that can cause malnutrition, heavy metal toxicity that causes all kinds of problems, lack of preventative healthcare to deal with health issues before they become harmful, contraceptives that not only can prevent pregnancy but also prevent the spread of STDs, etc (in some populations, such things as parasite load can be an issue). There are other factors having to do with stress, trauma, epigenetics, and whatever else. And there is the underfunding or even unavailability of quality public education, libraries, parks, recreational centers, etc.

      Such things have been shown to correlate to physical and psychological health. But it’s all rather common sense. All the study tells us is what we already no: Horrific conditions lead to horrific results. No shit! I hope they didn’t spend too much money or time on coming to that conclusion. It’s so pathetic that I have to laugh.

    • It makes me extremely happy to see such well informed comments like that on the internet. It’s a breath of fresh air. I need to be reminded that there are some thoughtful people out there, fighting the good fight.

      The ignorance and bullshit one comes across online can be overwhelming and depressing. It’s why I had to stop paying attention to certain areas of the web, all the endless reactionary crap.

      Despite occasional interesting points made, too much of HBD blogosphere is nonsense or worse. A few HBDers are genuinely intelligent and seeing them waste their talents saddens me most of all.

  26. https://voxpopulisphere.com/2017/06/18/john-samuel-tieman-of-guns-and-our-crazy-neighbor/

    No one deserves what happened to Steve Scalize. But no one should be surprised when it happens. Guns are so easy to get.

    So just how easy is it to arm yourself in America? I posed myself a little test. I am a Vietnam veteran. How much would it cost me to equip myself, and arm myself, as I was in Vietnam? And how long would it take me to answer that question?

    I carried the M-16. About the closest anyone can come to such a weapon these days is the Colt AR-15, essentially a semi-automatic variation upon the M-16. Prices vary, but often are under $1000. So let’s call it $999.99. Ammo not included. I would also like a helmet, old school, Vietnam era, $29.99. A flak vest, $249.00. Jungle fatigues, $79.00. Jungle boots, $38.05. I’ll supply my own socks and underwear. I’ll even bring a belt. I found a bayonet and scabbard for $50.

    At this point, I am as well equipped, and well armed, as I was in Vietnam. $1,446.03.

    However, if I were to purchase a 1911 Colt .45, the standard issue side arm of my era, $369, I would now be better armed than I was in Vietnam. (Side arms were generally given to officers and sergeants, and I was a common soldier.)

    I cannot leave this without pointing out one serendipitous find. I can also purchase an M-79 grenade launcher for $8,500. At times, I carried one of these in Vietnam. As I write, my wife insists that a grenade launcher is exactly what we need for home security.

    Total cost, $1,815.03. Make that $10,315.03 if you really need the grenade launcher. Grenades not included.

    That’s how easy it is. It took me fifteen or so minutes to find and price all this.

    I make no claims about being an expert in weapons and such. Which is my point. I am no expert. I can nonetheless easily find what I want.

    On the same day as the shooting in D. C., there was a work-place shooting in San Francisco. And, almost unnoticed, there as a boy shot here at a gas station. By the time I publish this essay, there will be another massive shooting somewhere. I wish I could end this essay on a note of hope. But I am amazed at how little my government cares about weapons in private hands. My city has more regulations about siding than side arms. I once called the local police about gun regulations. The lieutenant, to whom I spoke, was indifferent to the fact that I had actually just inherited an unregistered revolver. A summary of my state’s gun regulations I once read while I drank a cup of coffee. I have no idea why the National Rifle Association is worried.

  27. the same can be said about western planes dropping bombs and drone attacks radicalize middle easterns to commit terror attacks in reprisal.
    I’m actually surprised how fast radicalization occurred in first world country with functioning government now imagine the amount of radicalization in the youth from a war torn country which faces attacks on civilians like this
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-coalition-air-strikes-isis-russia-kill-more-civilians-march-middle-east-iraq-syria-network-for-a7663881.html
    by westen allies’s military, with no functioning government due to western meddling.

    • The sad part is not just the US is killing more innocent civilians than ISIS. That has always been the case, in almost every country where the two can be compared. Similar comparisons can be made showing how our ally Saudi Arabia beheads more people than does ISIS.

      But here is the shittiest part. The war on terror began with fighting Al-Qaeda that went onto create ISIS. The Syrian government was also fighting these same terrorist groups. Yet now the US government is supporting ISIS in its fight against Syria. So now the US is on the side of the terrorists. WTF!

      It’s not to say that the Syrian government is a moral exemplar. Nonetheless, they never did prove that they were responsible for the chemical weapon attack. The evidence actually points to other groups that are known to have had access to such weapons. US officials don’t give a fuck. The US has been committing state terrorism against the Syrians since the early 1950s.

      Considering all of this, it’s highly probable that the average Syrian sees the US has one of their greatest enemies. All the US is doing is creating more generations of terrorists who will be committed to fighting against the more than a half century of US state terrorism that started it all.

      Here is the eternal danger that most Americans refuse to recognize. Whatever the US government does in other countries will eventually be done in the US. And whatever the US government does to poor minorities will eventually be done to the rest of society. The US government first sees what they can get away with in harming the most helpless and most powerless. If there is little resistance or protest, they slowly extend their operations to other populations.

      That is how creeping authoritarianism grows, year by year, from one generation to the next. Those who thought they were benefiting from the authoritarianism harming others some day find that there is no one left to speak out for them. Once the middle class feels the crunch of worsening conditions, that is when the radicalization and terrorism gets serious.

  28. Casual ‘racism’ like jokes or blunt language is more common in latin countries, whether Latin Europe or Latin America, compared to Protestant countries. The very idea of ‘racism’ as a thing people should worry about and condemn, doesn’t exist outside of urban uppity gatherings with ideological leanings. People will yawn if someone attempted to lecture them as American SJW types do.
    Structural insidious discrimination is however lesser, since people don’t deep down think of populations as abstract conceptual categories that somehow pre-determine individual or collective life as is the case with Americans.

    • The racial order in the US is much more based on abstract and absolutist ideology. Racism is primarily systemic and institutional. It doesn’t depend on personal bigotry or even personal awareness. No one needs to acknowledge it or think about it. Racism is simply built into various aspects of society and goes on functioning mostly on its own.

      The formality of politically correct language is precisely used to hide this social reality. Even during Jim Crow and earlier in slavery, there would have been acceptable and unacceptable ways of speaking about the racial order and few people were overt bigots. That kind of political correctness isn’t a recent invention. It’s a key aspect to this racial order.

      That is why proxies are so important. We have many indirect ways to speak about the racial order and implement racism. The racial order does need to be maintained, but only in the sense that an old watch needs to be maintained by winding it up every so often. It doesn’t require much effort, such that it doesn’t seem like effort at all.

    • Plus, Sanders won the support of the majority of young blacks. And I’ve always suspected that he was popular among poor minorities, since he was favored by the lower classes in general.

      The main support Hillary Clinton got among identity politics demographics was specifically older middle class black women. But not minorities in general or many other demographic mixes: younger poor black women, older middle class white women, etc.

      The DNC and many partisan Democrats have been proven again and again to be filled to the brim with bullshit.

    • The conclusion is the most important part. The greatest threat is cultural genocide.

      I’ve repeated what Daniel Everett said about religious missionaries but is equally true of any oppressive force, from capitalists stealing land to cartels displacing populations. Everett described the words of a leading missionary leader, that in order to ‘save’ an indigenous group they first have to be made to feel lost, which is to say that heart of their traditional culture must be destroyed.

      ““We want this plant to be conserved because it’s part of our culture, but every year it gets harder and harder to find.”

      “If supply were to run out, the Wixárika would lose contact with their gods, further undermining their ability to resist other threats like mining and organized crime, Mijarez said.

      ““If they exploit the spiritual center of our universe, we’ll become extinct.””

  29. https://voxpopulisphere.com/2017/06/19/24620/

    “Are we finally realizing the men who commit mass shootings started by beating women?”

    That is a good question. But there are many good questions:

    Are we finally realizing the men (and women) who work in positions of authority (police, military, etc) that allows them to abuse others often started by abusing spouses and children or else became abusers after learning abusive behavior from their line of work?
    Are we finally realizing that men and women who are abusive as adults often were abused as children, abused by both men and women?
    And are we finally realizing that there is a direct causal link between a society that has high rates of victimizers and a society that has systemic and institutional victimization through militarized police, mass incarceration, oppressive racism, violent imperialism, a permanent underclass, etc?

    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/a-fucked-up-world/

    “Who grasps how massively God-forsaken fucked up the world really is?

    “Even many well-informed people appear to be fairly clueless, including activists directly confronting truly messed up problems. Most just don’t get what it all means. They see some data, if they know the data at all, but almost no one looks beyond their little niche of ideology, interests, and personal experience.

    “Take the victimization cycle. That sounds too abstract. A cycle? To put it in simple terms, suffering leads to more suffering. From one person to the next, generation after generation, century after century, all across society. Fucked up people fuck over other people leading to even more fucked up people. An endless tidal wave of fucked-upness, seeping into every crevice of the lives hit by it. A flood of suffering that leaves destruction and disease in its wake.

    “What is the typical response to this? Blame the other guy, the other group. Scapegoat someone, anyone.

    “What is to be avoided at all costs? Looking at the ugly reality straight in the face.

    “That is a major problem with both partisan politics and identity politics, or really any kind of ideological dogmatism. It leads to groupthink, an us vs them mentality. It is pointless and stupid. It just makes everything worse. The larger problems are ignored, the problems that are so immense that taking them in would lead some to suicidal despair. Maybe many people know on some level how fucked up it is and they want to avoid that awareness at any and all costs, even if it means never dealing with the problems they claim to care about.”

  30. The Clinton campaign and DNC worked closely with certain people in the corporate media to create what was essentially propaganda. Also, a group supporting the Clinton campaign had planned on using paid trolls, but I’m not sure if it was ever implemented.

    We do know that various interests and organizations outside of politics have used paid trolls and similar methods. This relates to astroturf often used by corporations and such. Along with PR, public perception management has become big biz, hired by both corporations and politicians. We also know that since the beginning of the Cold War psychological operations (psyops) wielded by governments have been highly effective in manipulating both foreign and domestic populations. The internet opens a new era of mass influence and targeted influence. I suspect we’ve barely scratched the surface of what has been going on.

    Knowing all of this, it makes one wonder what Russia might have been up to. This past year, I kept getting bot comments from fake FB accounts that were based in Eastern Europe. Those were obvious, but most of it probably can’t be easily discerned. It’s possible that a very high percentage of trolls, reactionaries, etc online are either bots or people being paid for some purpose. The alt-right, for example, might not be as large as it seems. A movement that is being highly funded and promoted could be made to appear as populist.

    When a group is being attacked, those doing the attacking likely might scapegoat another group by creating a false identity. Knowing the prejudiced views of Clinton supporters, it wouldn’t be hard to create fake “Bernie Bros” accounts that fit the narrative the Clinton campaign was already pushing to dismiss Sanders supporters. The DNC in trying to maintain power was doing its darnedest to split the political left. It wouldn’t have taken much effort for an outside organization, working for Putin or someone else, in order to further antagonize the conflict. Maybe it was done simply to fuck with the US political system, to discredit the US government, or to promote a weak and easily manipulated candidate like Trump.

    Americans and people in general need to think more intelligently and carefully. We are constantly being deceived and manipulated, even by those claiming to represent us. Research has shown that the Democratic establishment is far to the right of the average person on the political left. And research has shown that these career politicians ignore the general public, not just the poor but also the middle class, in order to do the bidding of the plutocracy and corporations. Putin is the least of our worries. Our political system couldn’t be so easily fucked with by outsiders if we had an actually functioning democracy.

    http://shareblue.com/watching-the-hearings-i-learned-my-bernie-bro-harassers-may-have-been-russian-bots/

    “When it was revealed during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that Russian bots (computer algorithm controlled social media accounts) on Twitter had masqueraded as “Bernie Bros” during the 2015-2016 election cycle, it was not news to me — it was confirmation of my experience.

    “During the campaign season, I was vocal on Twitter about my support for Hillary Clinton. As a result, I became used to receiving sexualized and gendered abuse, and even rape and death threats, on a daily basis.

    “A great deal of the abuse came from so-called #MAGA accounts, the “Make America Great Again” hashtag by which Donald Trump supporters, and those pretending to be such, identified themselves. As more and more information came out about Trump’s ties to Russia, I began to suspect — correctly — that many of these accounts were not real people but rather were accounts with fake identities or bots.

    “Indeed, some estimates now say that as much as one-fifth of Twitter traffic was controlled by pro-Trump, anti-Clinton bots and troll accounts during the election. With these #MAGA account attacks, it was relatively easy to block them and move on — emotionally, at least, as the abuse they delivered was easy to deflect because “they” were not “people” with whom I believed I had values in common in the first place.

    “However, the rest of the abuse came from accounts purporting to be supporters of Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders. And these were “people” with whom I believed I shared common values and policy interests. Almost all of the accounts presented as men — mostly young and white — and used sexist and misogynistic tones and words. I was called “mom” and “grandma” as epithets by these “young men.” I was called every vile sexualized name you can imagine. For some reason that I did not understand at the time, they liked to call me a “vagina.” (I now believe non-native English — i.e. Russian — speakers wrote the algorithms controlling these bots and perhaps imagined “vagina” to be the equivalent of the c-word when hurled at a woman.) Not being conversant in the mechanisms of Russian psychological warfare techniques at the time, it never occurred to me that, like the #MAGA bots, these “Bernie Bro” accounts were actually bots too.”

    • I still want to see more evidence. Was Russia really doing much? Or is this just more rationalizations and distraction from the Clintonian DNC? What has Russia recently done that is any different than what Russia has ever done or, for that matter, different than what the US has done to other countries? Is there something new developing with international psyops online?

      I’d be surprised if all kinds of governments weren’t doing all kinds of things. There is a long history of this kind of thing. But I want to know specifics. Are we really being flooded with massive number of bots? If so, who is funding this activity and to what end? I somehow doubt the US government would want to be honest about this, as the US government might be the largest purveyor of this variety of psyops.

    • I wish there was a good trustworthy source of info. But I don’t trust what the US government says about the Russian government. And for damn sure I don’t trust anything coming from the DNC, Clinton supporters, and dogmatic groupthink Democratic partisans.

      As for alternative news media, there is a lot to rummage through. And most of it is also of questionable value. Still, it’s better than what is found in the corporate media, partisan news outlets, big money think tanks, etc. The problem is even alternative news media doesn’t typically have access to any info outside of the mainstream, even if the analysis is sometimes better.

      What we really need is some high quality investigative reporting. That kind of thing is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to do. Corporate media has no incentive to do it. And alternative media typically can’t afford to do it. I’m sure the intelligence agencies have a ton of info that would make clear what has been going on, but they won’t share that info. Decades from now, a freedom of information request will gain access to some documents. Until then, we are in the dark.

      Anyway, here are some other articles about Russian bots and Bernie Bros:

      View at Medium.com

      https://www.newslogue.com/debate/424/CaitlinJohnstone

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/3/31/1649140/-Bernie-And-Those-Russian-Bots-And-The-Problems-Therein

      http://observer.com/2017/04/russia-bots-bernie-sanders-progressives/

  31. http://www.theonion.com/americanvoices/officials-charged-over-flint-water-crisis-56273

    Several Michigan officials have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak during the Flint water crisis. What do you think?

    “Flint residents can rest easy knowing those in power are doing everything they can to stop this senseless justice.”

    “This is proof that if you put public health at risk, you might eventually be punished after two or three years.”

    “So is it safe for me to take a shower yet or not?”

    • If they don’t start sending these murderous cops to prison, there will be consequences. How many innocent people have to be killed before innocent people start defending themselves and fighting back? I guess we’ll find out.

      It’s similar to when the US invades some country since no one can stop our military from doing so. But no one should be surprised when the local population starts shooting at the occupying soldiers who are terrorizing and killing civilians.

      I’m not sure why those in power want to turn the US into an occupied war zone. Like any powerless population, there is nothing we can do to stop them. It’s there choice and they’ll have to accept the inevitable backlash. Apparently, that is what they want, for some dementedly sadistic reason.

      I suppose they see it as a way of rationalizing the further militarization of the police. There vision seems to be to create an authoritarian police state. I don’t want that. And most Americans don’t want that. But the ruling elite do want that, at least that is what one must assume based on the consistent pattern of actions.

    • The comment below gets at an important issue. There have been many people across all demographics who have been organizing, protesting, etc for generations and centuries. But it is also a fact that most people across all demographics haven’t been politically involved. Most Americans in general are unaware of and confused about most of the problems in the US and in the world. Ignorance, obliviousness, apathy, indoctrination, and cultural bias isn’t limited to able-bodied straight white male Christians.

      It was blacks who were older and in leadership positions who disproportionately supported the tough-on-crime policies that disproportionately harmed blacks who were younger and not in leadership positions. It was women and particular minority groups (e.g., Cuban-Americans and Haitian Americans in Florida) that helped Trump win. There is no monolithic demographic group: blacks or whites, women or men, etc etc. Pretending that such monolithic demographic groups exist is neither intelligent nor wise. That is what intersectional politics teaches us.

      Identity politics is counterproductive at the very least and dangerous at worst, if this reality isn’t acknowledged. Sometimes your greatest enemy is the one within your preferred demographic group of identity politics. And sometimes your greatest allies are those you dismiss or criticize. In the end, there may be a greater common bond and shared interest among poor minorities and poor whites than among poor minorities and middle-to-upper class minorities (history indicates this is often the case). That is what practical politics is about in achieving results that actually improve the lives of average people.


      Robert
      April 22, 2017 at 8:40 pm
      I’m having some trouble with this passage:

      “When things move quickly, folks tend to forget that for some of us, the work of the Resistance is not new. Women, people of color, Natives, immigrants, LGBTQI folks, people with disabilities, and others have been organizing for decades. But all the newly-awakend folks haven’t realized how much effort has gone into the Resistance long before November 9th, 2016.”

      It sounds as though you are saying men, white people, heterosexuals etc. haven’t been organizing for decades. But they have, indeed, they’ve been organizing for centuries. Union organizers, war resisters, many of the abolitionists, etc., etc.

      I am not sure why you would want to erase all of these important movements, but it seems to have the effect of painting the non- or less-marginalized as universally guilty and not-so-subtly asserting the superior virtue of the oppressed.

      Granting that less experienced activists have lots of things to learn from experienced activists, it may also be the case that the experienced may have opportunities to learn from the newcomers. Sometimes, an infusion of people from the mainstream of society into a select group may bring positive change with them. Somewhere in the mists of history, as hardcore early Christians were explaining all of the laws of dress and behavior handed down from the Jewish tradition, there was undoubtedly some brave soul who said “Thank you, elder, for all your wisdom in the old ways, but are we absolutely married to the cut-off-the-end-of-your-dick thing?”

      The modern left’s equivalent of pre-anesthetic, pre-antibiotic circumcision may be its commitment to eternal internecine warfare over who is more oppressed, who is guilty of having their own perspective when they should be “signal boosting,” who is appropriating a hairstyle or, and thank you for this example, whose dog park’s name fails to be adequately inclusive.

      We all have things to learn from each other. Everyone, though, has a right to resist in their own way, and set their own priorities, and no one person or group owns the concept or the praxis.

    • I’ve written about that in at least one earlier post. I forget the exact data for whites. But many Southern whites do have recent African ancestry, which is to say sometime since slavery began in the US. That is hardly shocking, as there was much mixing and over time a significant number of ‘blacks’ who passed as ‘whites’.

      My family has had some genetic testing. No African genetics showed up. But those genetic tests are only looking at two lines of descent, paternal and maternal. That is only a fraction of one’s ancestry. Multiple parts of my family were in the South back in the colonial era. My father’s family only left the Deep South with my grandmother’s generation. And my mother’s family left the Upper South a little over a century ago, in the late 1800s.

      My family lived around large slave populations. And at different points some of my family owned slaves. The chances of my having African ancestry somewhere is highly probable, even if it would be hard to determine from standard commercial genetic tests. I don’t particularly care either way. It wouldn’t change my identity, but it would be interesting to know.

    • That is about attempted improvements using short term cognitive training in adults, long after early neurodevelopment has already happened. As Haier argues, IQ tests aren’t precise measurements. An IQ point isn’t equivalent to some percentage of intelligence and so it is hard to even know what differences in IQ even indicates.

      Norbert Jaušovec and Anja Pahor, in their book “Increasing Intelligence”, discuss Haier’s work. One thing they mention is how neuroimaging has found no brain correlate to general intelligence, which is to say that there many kinds of intelligence or many factors to intelligence. Either way, there is no neuro-g to be measured. IQ tests create a misleading measure, as if portraying some singular intelligence.

      That isn’t exactly a new insight. The theory of general intelligence has long been questioned. But this supports the critics with neuroimaging research. That doesn’t necessarily lessen the relevance of an overall change of general intelligence in a population. It would still be an indicator or proxy of altered conditions, at the very least. The issue then is to use other methods of measurement to determine precisely what is changing, how it is changing, to what degree, and what it represents.

      One thing that it makes clear is that there is no intelligence module, as Chomsky has long wrongly argued about their being a language module. It turns out that, like language, intelligence involves a complex array of neurocognitive abilities and processes working together in ways we don’t fully understand. There is no single thing to be found, no single place in the brain to point at.

      There is another interesting result from some of Haier’s research, also discussed in “Increasing Intelligence”. Using Raven’s IQ test, neuroimaging showed less brain activity among those with the highest measured results. This indicates these subjects weren’t working harder but more efficiently and more focused. Seeing high levels of brain activity could indicate a less early pruning of neural connections, which is a normal part of brain development. More neural connections apparently isn’t better.

      All of this points to a conclusion. The time for intervention has to happen early the first several years. But we already knew that from research on nutrition, heavy metal toxicity, parasite load, etc. If damage isn’t prevented or lessened almost immediately, the results will be permanent. Later cognitive training can’t undo the physical alterations to the brain that primarily happen at key points during pregnancy and in childhood. The only improvement in general intelligence, whatever that measures, for the entire population (Flynn Effect) requires the improvement of conditions for the entire population (as Flynn has argued).

      Haier’s research confirms and corroborates a particular understanding about intelligence, neurocognition, and development. Importantly, whether or not the g-factor directly and accurate measures intelligence, it does directly and accurately measure lifetime outcomes and improved conditions in society. We know that societies that increase their g-factor measurements in their population show immense betterment in their society across the board. The g-factor, as a measurement, is far more important for measuring social conditions than individual conditions.

      The problem with the research paper linked is that it doesn’t discuss this larger context. Haier’s focus is quite narrow. That is fine, as far as it goes. It’s just one research paper, not a book-length meta-analysis of multiple fields of health and development. But the point being that such research can tell us more about what isn’t going on than what is. If g-factor isn’t measuring some singular neurocognitive ability, then what is it measuring as obviously it is measuring something? Haier doesn’t answer that question.

      • Or is it the other way around? Better society leads to higher g-factor, rather than increasing someone’s g-factor improving society

        • Well, an IQ test simply measures something, whatever that is… or rather a combination of things. It won’t just measure intelligence but also everything correlated to intelligence. I’d argue there is no way to have either a better society or a higher g-factor without the other, as they are both correlated with the same web of factors and conditions. Any measurement is just a measurement, not the actual thing being measured. The actual thing being measured is a complex reality.

  32. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/06/10/study-finds-students-themselves-not-professors-lead-some-become-more-liberal-college

    “Part of the conservative critique of higher education is that liberal professors indoctrinate students, turning middle-of-the-road students into Young Democrats (or Young Socialists).

    “But a new study suggests that it’s time to stop blaming professors (of any political leaning) for any leftward tilt that college students may show (and the study acknowledges that many do lean that way over the course of their college years).

    “The influence is coming from students themselves. In fact, the study says, the more engaged students are with faculty members and academics, the more their views moderate toward the center. But the more students become engaged in student activities, the more the liberals become more committed as liberals and conservatives become more committed as conservatives.”

    • professors can’t even get us to do the readings yet appearently they’re indoctrinating us? Lol

      We students mock our professors amongst ourselves and I’m sure they do vice versa

      • A college administrator or politician has more power over the lives of students than does a professor. That is even more true at a time when those working in academia have less job protection than they had in the past, a time also when colleges have been growing top heavy with administrators and increasingly being funded by private sources such as corporations.

  33. “After a mild winter across much of the United States, February brought abnormally high temperatures, especially east of the Rockies. Spring weather arrived more than three weeks earlier than usual in some places, and new research released Wednesday shows a strong link to climate change. […]

    “The new research shows a strong link between global warming and the very warm February that helped to drive the extremely early spring this year. For the entire continental United States, February 2017 was the second warmest on record, and mean temperatures were especially high east of the Rockies: as much as 11 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

    “The study, by scientists working as part of a group called World Weather Attribution, looked at the influence of climate change on the temperatures, using models of the atmosphere as it exists and of a hypothetical atmosphere with no greenhouse gas emissions and thus no human-driven climate change. They found that a warm February like the one just experienced is about four times more likely in the current climate than it would have been in 1900, before significant emissions began to change the climate.”

  34. http://www.politicaltheology.com/blog/the-contingent-campus-adjunctification-and-the-growth-of-the-academic-precariat-kelly-j-baker/

    “…percentage increase of employees at institutions of higher ed from 1975 to 2011.

    “Full-time tenured/tenure track faculty increased by a mere 23%, while part-time contingent faculty increased a dramatic 286% and full-time non-tenure track faculty (NTFF) by 259%. Full-time non-faculty professionals, or the administrative class, increased 359%.”

  35. http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/what-do-you-call-the-last-of-a-species

    “Unfortunately, there is no end of endlings. One of the world’s three surviving northern white rhinos will soon become an endling, as will one of the thirty surviving vaquita porpoises, down from sixty just last year. Though the word hasn’t yet met Merriam-Webster’s standards, it does have its own Wikipedia entry, which Erickson has read with great interest. When he first opened the page, a small black-and-white image of the last known thylacine “gave me a chill,” he said. Though he never expected “endling” to survive, much less to come to personify extinction, he is glad that the word has found its niche. “We don’t name the things we choose to ignore,” he said. “So, somehow, naming it gives it a value that wasn’t there before. If that’s what the word is doing, I’m really proud to have been a part of it.””

  36. This is a person of relative privilege, as a European citizen and academic. This incident forced him to acknowledge the creeping authoritarianism of the US. But he has been visiting the US for decades. This kind of authoritarianism has existed in the US for a long time.

    The difference in the past is that it was hidden behind a friendly face of fascism and so those of privilege never had to to notice it. Not only are privileged people increasingly being forced to acknowledge the authoritarianism but they are also being forced to acknowledge the privilege that previously protected them.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/is-the-united-states-still-the-united-states_us_58b4393ce4b0780bac2b778f?0u0u49r0ca3jtt9

    “This incident has caused me some discomfort, but I cannot stop thinking of all those who suffer these humiliations and legal violence without the protections I was able to benefit from. A professional historian, I am aware of hasty interpretations. Meanwhile, I can raise some questions. Why did the random check fall on me? My “case” visibly presented a problem before even thorough examination. Maybe it’s my birthplace, Egypt, maybe my academic status, maybe my recent work visa expired, maybe my French citizenship too. Perhaps also, the current context. Even if I had made a mistake, which was not the case, did I deserve such treatment? How can one explain this zeal if not by the concern to fulfill quotas and justify increased controls? That is the situation today in this country. We must now face arbitrariness and incompetence at all levels. I heard recently that “Paris isn’t Paris anymore.” The United States seems no longer quite the United States.”

  37. https://fellowsblog.ted.com/on-ivanka-trump-and-truly-inspirational-stem-20dda9a96a49

    “This past Monday, Ivanka Trump tweeted to her 3.3 million followers that she found my TED talk inspiring. It was a disorienting and unexpected turn of events. I was upset, confused, skeptical and on high alert. I didn’t understand how this person, who stands (perhaps symbolically) for things that are reprehensible to me, could find my talk to be inspiring. I reached out to my community and found that they were as appalled and dumbstruck as I was. Was I being used as a pawn in a larger game? I didn’t know, but the one thing I did know is that I needed to respond. A woman in a unique position of great influence, the first daughter of a sitting president, had mentioned me and my work by name. How could I not take the opportunity to respond?”

  38. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/02/ellen-stofan-another-hidden-figure/517740/

    “Stofan was referring to the systemic mistreatment of women in science, as supported by a wealth of scientific papers in academic journals, which speak to the persistence of sexism, ossified gender roles, the prevalence and endurance of bias, and the underrepresentation of women (especially women of color). This body of research demonstrates the detrimental effect of these biases on Ph.D.s, salaries and careers and the importance of representatives and role models.

    “For these reasons and others, Stofan’s omission prompted an outcry. “Don’t ask questions about encouraging young people to get into STEM and then make it look like it’s only for old white guys,” one woman wrote to Stofan. “As a woman seeking a STEM career, for that matter a human who cares about science … this bewilders me,” said another.”

  39. “A decade after the “Save the Rainforest” movement forced changes that dramatically slowed deforestation across the Amazon basin, activity is roaring back in some of the biggest expanses of forests in the world. That resurgence, driven by the world’s growing appetite for soy and other agricultural crops, is raising the specter of a backward slide in efforts to preserve biodiversity and fight climate change.

    “In the Brazilian Amazon, the world’s largest rain forest, deforestation rose in 2015 for the first time in nearly a decade, to nearly two million acres from August 2015 to July 2016. That is a jump from about 1.5 million acres a year earlier and just over 1.2 million acres the year before that, according to estimates by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research.”

    • Where is this person living that they are surrounded by mixed race couples with dyed hair? And why would they think mixed race couples with dyed hair indicate the collapse of Western Civilization as a “normal, organic” society and being replaced by a hologram? I’m having a hard time following the logic.

  40. I was at a party today with many former servers at the restaurant I used to work at. It’s a popular restaurant and professors seem to love it especially. We started talking about the people we’d overhear and oversee while working. And how their conversations with their posse always threw around buzzwords without actually saying anything 😅

    “Hey I saw the article on the exchange rate today!”
    “Oh yes, I read that on NPR”
    “Yes indeed right?”
    “Right! This is a very important thing!”
    Etc etc etc

    • Charles Murray is an odd duck. He is one of those paternalistic conservatives, actually he oddly identifies as libertarian. He comes across as extremely sincere in his intentions, not a genius or anything, just an average public intellectual who believes it’s his duty to help save the country from the losers who would tear it down and from the liberals who just don’t understand.

      That is where it gets interesting. Those like Murray don’t just point to data to criticize minorities. He has done the same thing with poor whites. He blames it all on genetics. These losers, both black and white, are simply born that way and so they can’t help themselves.

      Therefore, the paternalistic patriarchs have to do what needs to be done. This actually leads him to support a basic income because, as he argues, these people will always be losers. The least the ruling elite can do is throw some money at the poor so that they don’t starve to death because it is oh so depressing to watch people starve to death. Besides, bread and circus keeps the mobs down.

      He takes his paternalism quite seriously. But I bet it wouldn’t be hard to push him toward overt eugenics. If people like him gained power, even if a basic income was put into place, there would begin to be talk about sterilizing these worthless eaters to keep them from breeding. It’s the natural next step in this line of thinking.

    • I’d like to know what else is different in these populations that would correlate to and causally link to obesity: diet and nutrition, toxins (that mimic or disrupt hormones, that alter neurocognitive and nervous system development, etc), stress and trauma, epigenetics, and similar factors.

      It would be useful to look at people in these ethnic groups who have families that have been in Western countries for generations. When living for multiple generations in Western societies to such an extent that they’ve become fully Westernized, do they still show differences in obesity?

      This research can’t answer that question because it isn’t controlling for such confounding factors.

    • Such speculative just-so stories become tiresome. Mongolians and Japanese live under conditions with different environmental factors and different epigenetic legacies. Anyone making genetic claims without being able to prove direct genetic causation and a proven mechanism is simply spreading ignorance.

  41. Click to access Healthcare_Report.pdf

    “It finds that all of the key provisions of the AHCA are opposed by clear majorities. Overall, 67 percent oppose the legislation.

    “The study includes a six-way breakdown of voters by their congressional districts ranging from very red (Republican) to very blue (Democratic) districts and finds that even in very red districts majorities oppose nearly all of the key provisions and 63 percent oppose it overall.

    “Seven-in-ten independents oppose the AHCA, as well as a near-unanimous 94 percent of Democrats. Among Republicans, 64 percent favor the AHCA overall, but majorities oppose several of its major provisions.”

  42. https://www.nationofchange.org/2017/06/19/psychedelic-spin-national-security/

    “Perhaps it’s time to take a retrospective look at that Summer of Love moment, half a century ago, and reacquaint ourselves with the two kinds of radicalism of the time, one promoting a more humane idea of security and the other aimed at building a new kind of life that transcended the question of security altogether. Perhaps between them they might spark some truly new thinking about how to respond to the power and dominance of our national security state and to a way of life that shuts us down, locks us in, ratchets up our terrors, and offers us a vision of more of the same until the end of time.”

  43. https://www.nationofchange.org/2017/06/20/flint-water-crisis-involuntary-manslaughter-charges-actually-lead-prison-time/

    “Last week, Michigan’s top prosecutor announced that five officials, including the state’s Health Department head Nick Lyon, will face charges of involuntary manslaughter for a death resulting from the Flint water crisis.

    “It’s a move virtually unheard of in modern American history; legal experts couldn’t point to a single case in which government officials were charged in a citizen’s death because they knew about a problem but failed to warn the public.”

  44. https://www.nationofchange.org/2017/06/20/behind-media-surge-bernie-sanders/

    “It’s routine for right-wing outlets like Fox to smear progressive activists under the guise of “news” coverage. But why the New York Times? And why the special venom for Bernie Sanders? […]

    “Corporate-owned media hostility toward Sanders and the progressive base has been conspicuous and well-documented. That hostility started early in his campaign and never let up, sometimes manifested as giving him scant coverage. When the momentum of the Bernie campaign gained powerful traction as a threat to the corporate order, big media efforts to trash him went over the top. […]

    “Now, in mid-2017, with no presidential election in sight, why is the corporate media hostility toward Sanders so prone to surface?”

    • I’d love to live in a country where everyone was treated equally under the law, where cops and the rich didn’t get special treatment. In such a country, you might call it democracy. I wonder what it is like to be a citizen of a democracy.

    • I’m always going on about history. Americans obsess about history and, despite the US having so little history compared to other countries, Americans still are vastly ignorant. Americans can’t keep a few centuries of history straight. Imagine the difficulty of living in a country with a history going back a thousand or several thousand years.

      “When people talk about two Americas today, wide-eyed, as though this were something new or we are more culturally divided now than we were 150 years ago or after the American Revolution, they’re wrong,”

    • I’ve come to this conclusion. Much of the political right is simply reactionary. There is nothing rational about it.

      And so responding to it with rationality is self-defeating. If anything, it empowers the right by treating it as though it were rational. It gives it a legitimacy it doesn’t deserve.

      That is what I came to realize dealing with race realists such as HBDers. They are selling a narrative and so there can never be any genuine, fair debate.

      “George Ciccariello-Maher is an Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University, where his work often focuses on left-wing political movements. He said the “result of debating and discussing with fascists and white supremacists is that you’re legitimizing their ideas. And you’re also misunderstanding how it is that those ideas function.”

      ““The rational idea would be to come together as poor people to fight against the system and yet that systematically doesn’t happen,” Ciccariello-Maher said. “So when you realize white supremacy functions on an irrational level, that it is a system, a structured system of institutionalized irrationality, then you begin to realize that you can’t argue your way out of it. Then you start to realize that the only thing you can do is to fight.”

      ““We didn’t argue your way into white supremacy and slavery, we’re not going to argue our way out of white supremacy,” Ciccariello-Maher said.”

  45. https://uk.news.yahoo.com/people-still-don-apos-t-213923562.html

    “Fifty-seven percent, meanwhile, view Clinton unfavorably. Those figures are virtually unchanged since November, when Clinton lost the election in a somewhat shocking upset. […]

    “That Clinton hasn’t seen a bump in support represents an anomaly from historical trends. “Over the past quarter century, the favorable ratings of losing presidential candidates generally have increased after the election—some in the immediate aftermath and others in the months that followed,” Gallup wrote Wednesday. Typically, losing candidates can expect to see a bump in favorability of about 4 points, according to Gallup.”

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/rare-feat-hillary-clinton-sees-203009432.html

    “Most losing presidential candidates see a significant spike in their favorability in the months that follow the election.

    “Republican presidential nominees Mitt Romney and Bob Dole, their parties respective representatives in 2012 and 1996, saw a 4-point bump in their Gallup favorability rating post-election. John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, and President George H.W. Bush, who lost to President Bill Clinton in 1992, saw improvements of 14 points and 16 points respectively. Al Gore, the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee, saw a 10-point bump in his favorability after he lost to George W. Bush.”

  46. https://www.yahoo.com/news/5-things-donald-trump-said-162913531.html

    Trump falsely claimed that the Paris climate accord is a binding agreement.
    He proposed a law to ban welfare for new immigrants ― which already exists.
    He hailed his plan to end the estate tax, even though it would only help millionaires.
    Trump bragged about passing 39 pieces of legislation through Congress.
    Trump falsely claimed Wednesday’s event was not a campaign rally.

  47. Even though less people were visibly overweight back then, looking at vintage photos, many people (women especially) actually looked pretty skinnyfat. There are a lot more toned and athletic looking women in America now (and a lot of obese ones)

    • There weren’t many people in centuries past who were either obese or anorexic. Neither extreme is healthy, but those extremes have become more common over the generations. We don’t exactly live in a healthy society.

      My parents went on a trip with my brother and nephew, his youngest child. My mom in particular was appalled at what that kid ate, pretty much nothing but simple carbs and sugar for every meal and junk food for snacks in between meals. The kid might have diabetes before he gets to high school.

      My two nieces aren’t much healthier. That brother’s oldest child is in middle school and she already has a fat belly. The nephew and nieces are all sickly children, constantly coming down with everything that is going around.

      The nephew has a learning disability and hard time focusing. Both nieces seem to have aspergers, one of them being diagnosed. The youngest niece has obsessive compulsive disorder and probably allergies. I know that research shows that diet and health are closely related to the immune system and neurocognitive development. One book I’m reading points to research showing how infections can have long term development consequences, maybe being a major cause behind multiple psychiatric conditions.

      I can’t say my generation was all that healthy. But there was less junk food available back then. And most kids seemed relatively healthy, especially compared to kids these days. Even though I loved candy, I ate normal meals with vegetables and ate whole wheat bread. My parents didn’t buy much junk food. The junk food I did get was paid for by the paper route I did every morning before school, which I did by either walking or biking.

      Certainly, we got way more exercise back then, as most kids walked and biked almost everywhere. My nephew and nieces hate to walk and their parents drive them even to the school a few blocks away. I was walking or biking to school (and soccer practice, a friend’s house, downtown, parks, etc) starting in kindergarten. My childhood was almost non-stop physical activity, except for Saturday morning cartoons.

      I still grew up with a sugar addiction. I eventually was able to kick my sugar addiction, although it was a struggle. But I never had sugar addiction even nearly as bad as my nephew. That kid will sit down and literally eat a bowl of sugar. I feel sorry for him. He is going to grow up to have serious health problems. It makes me sad that his parents are so unconcerned.

  48. I never understood people who struggle with motivation to exercise because I constantly crave movement, LOL. Maybe it’s my ADHD though

    • I don’t crave movement. But I’ve always been active, except during my most depressive periods when I can remain immobile for days on end. I’m more active than not, though. I was a physical child who was in sports and constantly running around.

      Even as an adult, I love jogging and walking, especially love walks around town. I just feel better when I’m regularly active. It’s not hard for me to notice that I feel good when I’m active and feel crappy when I’m inactive. I don’t like feeling crappy and so I tend to stay active.

      What worries me about my nieces and nephew is that they are growing up inactive. None of them ride bikes, play sports, walk to school, or have paper routes. I had an active childhood and so, even when I’ve been out of shape as an adult, I have had a visceral memory of what it feels like to be in shape. But many kids these days have never known what it is like to be in shape at any point in their life. Few people learn to enjoy what they’ve never known.

      My oldest niece lays around on the couch all the time. Having just turned 13 years old, she complains that it feels uncomfortable for her to walk. It wouldn’t surprise me if she becomes obese as an adult. She is the one who already has a fat belly.

    • What the fuck is the American ethnic identity? Most early New Englanders were East Anglians, most early mid-Atlantic colonists and Midwestern settlers were Germans, most early Upper Southerners and Appalachians were Scots-Irish, most early Deep Southerners were African, most early Floridians and Southwesterners were HIspanic, and most early New Orleans residents were French/Cajuns.

      How the hell does that add up to a single ethnicity? There never has been a single religion and there wasn’t an official language until the English-only laws of the early 20th century. The German language was a major language in the US from the colonial era until centuries later when it was suppressed by law. It required severe and systematic legal oppression (sometimes violent) during the world war era to successfully commit cultural genocide against the large number of European ethnics who resisted assimilation.

      It’s funny that Hispanics are now thought of as non-white by many white nationalists/supremacists. The fight between the British Empire and Spanish Empire never had to do with either side denying the other was white. For most of US history, Hispanics weren’t considered non-white. It was rather recent that Hispanic ethnicity became a pseudo-racial category. But Hispanics, like Germans and other non-WASPs, were considered a different ethnicity.

      Why are white nationalists/supremacists trying to turn whiteness into an ethnicity? Is it an attempt to fight against allegations of racism because being in support of ethnicity sounds less bigoted than the old racist rhetoric?

    • Sundown towns and states effected all minority groups, not just blacks. The reason Chinese ended up in Chinatowns is the same reason blacks ended up in inner city ghettos. They sought safety in numbers because of violent persecution. And now those places where minorities were corralled, segregated, and isolated have become desirable as gentrification increased. Minorities in some cases are being forced out of these places and ending up in decaying suburbs.

  49. I don’t get what is going on with the whole Russia thing. I was one of those who dismissed it as simply more political rhetoric. There were many allegations and little if any evidence to back any of it. But that has changed or so the intelligence agencies now claim. They are talking about attempts to meddle with voting machines in something like 21 states.

    No one has proven any successful meddling. Still, shouldn’t we be concerned that it was attempted. It pissed me off when the DNC meddled in the democratic process. So, why wouldn’t it bother me when a foreign government also meddles? I don’t see how this is a partisan issue at this point, no matter how stupid and idiotic is the corporate media in reporting about it.

    If we still had no evidence, I’d still be dismissing it. But it appears we do now have evidence. Shouldn’t that matter? It’s not only Democrats who are pointing this out. Public officials at the state level were the first to notice that election hacking was being attempted. And intelligence agency officials have spoken about the evidence we now have. I’m pretty sure we are far past partisan games at this point.

    Either the evidence is there or it isn’t. If there is no evidence, that means local public officials and the intelligence community are blatantly lying to the American public about having evidence. That would be a major scandal.

    • The issue doesn’t seem to be about what was done and who did it. US officials seem to be in agreement that Russia at the behest of Putin hacked into accounts, attempted to alter/delete info, enacted psyops on the American public, and managed to get Trump to promote Russian propaganda by tweeting it. The questions that remain are what were the Russians trying to accomplish, what were they trying to do, and what will this mean going forward.

      If we are being lied to by US officials or the story is somehow being dishonestly spun to deceive the American public, that is alleging a conspiracy that is using the Russian situation as a distraction. But that would be as serious or more serious than Russian hacking itself. For those who want to dismiss it all, what is the conspiracy? It goes far beyond mere partisanship, as the US officials speaking of this aren’t agents working for the DNC. Is it being suggested that the deep state is pushing a false narrative about Russia? If so, for what reason and to what end?

    • I would love to live in San Francisco for the beauty and climate but the people there ruin it. Also there’s a lot of tension between groups under the liberal veneer. I used to live in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area is a fucking joke

  50. Here is an article about moderation or rather the claims of moderation. Following the link is the critical comment I left there.

    https://eatprayvote.org/2017/06/22/fear-and-loathing-in-american-politics-the-future-of-the-sane-center/

    I’m generally a fan of a “Sane Center.” It depends on what is meant by that. Such things are always relative, specifically in terms of left vs right. Context is everything.

    I’m often reminded of the origins of the left-right divide. The right side has for millennia been associated with power and authority, tradition and the status quo. That is why Jesus was described as sitting to the right of God. And that is why, under the French monarchy, aristocrats and clergy supporting the monarchy sat on the right side of the assembly. Even once the king was deposed, the French assembly maintained this seating with the most radical revolutionaries sitting to the left.

    About the French Revolution, it’s interesting to compare it to the American Revolution. Some of the American founders gave primary credit to Thomas Paine for the American Revolution or at least in lending much inspiration toward its success. Paine was as radical as they come, in many ways far to the left of present Democrats (e.g., basic income).

    Yet guess where he sat as an honorary member of the French assembly. He sat on the right side with his moderate allies, as under that context he was a moderate who argued for not beheading the king and for passing a democratic constitution, the whole issue of a democratic rule of law and democratic procedure. He was more radically liberal than were the radical revolutionaries, but this radical liberalism is precisely what made him moderate. It was those radical or rather reactionary revolutionaries, when they gained control, who sentenced Paine to death and he narrowly escaped that fate.

    As always, the issues is to the right or left of what? Paine was trying to hold the “Sane Center” in an insane world. Even the American Revolution was far more violent and bloody than is typically acknowledged. It was a time when wealth and power ruled brutally and it was no easy task for the oppressed to stand up to that injustice, both on the right and the left. Interestingly, during such revolutions, aristocrats and plutocrats are found on both sides of the fight. The French Revolution was initiated with the help of many aristocrats and clergy who were tired of oppressive monarchy. And the same was true of the American Revolution.

    Paine was an Anti-Federalist, the ideological group that supported democracy as opposed to centralized power. The Anti-Federalists considered themselves to be the real Federalists because they actually wanted a Confederation of states, as was agreed upon under the first constitution, the Articles of Confederation (the second constitution, ironically, was unconstitutional and passed unconstitutionally according to the first constitution). Because of the second constitution, most US citizens lost power and representation with only a few percentage having the right to either vote or run for office. When the revolution continued under the new government by those demanding the democracy they had fought for, the aristocrat Washington put an army together and violently put down those dreams of democracy.

    The US isn’t a country that was founded on a “Sane Center.” That isn’t the kind of country it is. But it is a country that was inspired by democracy and genuine democracy is as radical today as it was in Paine’s lifetime. As Jimmy Carter has observed, the US is a banana republic and was that way before Trump came to power. Research has confirmed this in showing that we don’t have a functioning representative government, as politicians most of the time do what the wealthy want them to do and not what the middle-to-lower classes want them to do (this was analyzed in comparing public policy and public opinion). Still, we are an aspiring democracy and such aspirations shouldn’t be dismissed.

    That is the context. And that leads me to the specifics of this article. It was written that,

    “During the 2016 Presidential election, deep fissures appeared in both the Democrat and Republican parties. The Democrats were divided between a far-left candidate in Bernie Sanders and a more traditional Democrat in Hillary Clinton. Likewise, Republicans were divided among far-right candidates, traditional Republicans and a complete outlier — Donald Trump.”

    Let me first question the claim about what is traditional. What is the comparison being made? Bernie Sanders positions are well within the range of standard policies of FDR’s New Deal. Some consider FDR to be a traditional Democrat and, if so, it should be noted that Clinton’s positions make it clear that she is to the right of FDR.

    We also know that the majority of Americans presently agree with many of Sanders’ positions, as polling and surveys show that most Americans are to the left of both main political parties. So, in what sense is Sanders a “far-left candidate?” Sure, he is to the left of the political center in Washington and in corporate media. But the political center in Washington and in corporate media is to the right of the American public. If we are to use the American public as the measure of the center, then that would mean Sanders is a centrist and all the major candidates are to the right of that center.

    There is more than one ‘center’ to choose from. It depends on which part of society one identifies with. As someone who agrees with majority public opinion on many issues, I personally prefer to use the known data about public opinion as the defining standard of the political center. But I realize others would prefer a different center, as they don’t want a “government of the people, for the people and by the people.” I do want such a government, as did Paine, but also as did Republicans once as those words were spoken by the first Republican president.

    That gets us to confusion of what goes for traditional in the GOP. As one scholar made clear, the Republican Party has always swung between the extremes of populism and plutocracy, somehow melding the two poles at the moment with Trump. Anyway, it’s hard to imagine present Republicans doing something as radical as abolishing slavery like Lincoln, calling out the Military-Industrial Complex like Eisenhower, or simply creating the EPA like Nixon (it’s amazing how liberal Nixon looks these days, more liberal than many Democrats right now).

    It hasn’t just been the GOP pushing right for decades. The Clinton New Democrats sought to triangulate by also pushing right. This is how both parties became uncentered or rather created their own center, quite in opposition to the silenced majority. Where is the sanity in this. Why do we allow corporatist parties and pundits to tell us what is the sane center? Are they really in the moral position to be telling anyone much of anything?

    “Moderatism seemed to have all but disappeared over the past several decades with progressivism’s constant march to the left and conservatism’s to the right, but following the election, people from both sides began discussing a path forward that would help heal the gaping wound of division in our country.”

    In that light, what is moderatism? That is to say, what is being moderated between? Obviously, what goes for moderation in ‘mainstream’ politics isn’t moderating toward the center of public opinion, i.e., eligible voters. When both parties are immoderate, when the corporate mainstream media is immoderate, when too many public intellectuals are immoderate, how are the disempowered and sometimes overtly disenfranchised public supposed to seek out moderation? Does ‘moderate’ have any meaning when the most publicly centrist and most popular candidate in the country, Bernie Sanders, is called a radical left-winger by the minority in the comfortable classes?

    This has a way of making many average Americans start feeling a bit radical. Maybe at times like these radicalism is the last refuge of the “Sane Center.”

  51. Speaking about moderation, Peggy Noonan at the WSJ wrote an article:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/rage-is-all-the-rage-and-its-dangerous-1497571401

    My dad sent it to me, as he likes her writing. Her pieces can be decent at times, but this particular one didn’t do much for me. It’s more false equivalence. As you know, I’m no fan of Democrats. But we should be honest enough to admit that the GOP and its supporters, especially pundits on talk radio and Fox News, have been inciting violence for decades.

    At the moment, the entire country is feeling pressure and the situation isn’t primarily ideological in nature. Even moderate mainstream politician and former president like Jimmy Carter openly states that the US is a banana republic. This is at a time after decades of worsening inequality (a defining feature of banana republics), which research has proven worsens all social problems and violence most of all. Republicans have been pushing the gospel of inequality for as long as they’ve been pushing violent rhetoric, and it has been a useful political strategy. For that reason, those in the Democratic Party seeking greater power have copied GOP strategies and also pushed right.

    We live in a far less violent time, compared to the past. The 1960s to 1980s was extremely violent, across the political spectrum. And the first several decades of last century were even more violent, that having been the era of Klan and gangsters. At times, ideology has played a role. There is research that shows that violence always gets worse under Republican administrations, at least for as long as data has been kept. Right-wing and reactionary ideology worsens social conditions because of what it promotes. But once a society gets pushed toward instability, ideology itself is no longer the motivating factor. Ideology simply creates the conditions for violence to play out for other reasons.

    The guy who shot those Republicans probably didn’t do so for ideology. Most people aren’t overtly ideological in having clear and consistent ideological principles. Many Americans are simply feeling desperate, distressed, outraged, or whatever. Ideology might offer an outlet, but ideology plays more of a role on the societal level than on the individual level. That is true until social conditions get so bad that people start organizing terrorist groups that regularly blow up buildings, assassinate people, etc. We haven’t quite gotten to that point yet. Still, even then, no one joins a terrorist group because of ideology, even though ideology often helps create and cement a new social identity.

    Our concern about ideology should be the neoliberalism and neoconservatism that forms the harmful social conditions and so makes violent consequences inevitable. Once we are at the point of people committing mass violence, talk about ideology is largely moot. We need to push it back a step to see where it originated.

  52. I liked listening to this guy being interviewed. But the host sure asked some stupid questions. I suspect it was one of those situations where the host was merely pretending to be stupid, motivated by the assumption that his audience is stupid and so asking the questions he imagines his stupid audience would ask. The guest, fortunately, didn’t act bothered and gave intelligent answers.

    https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/why-theoretical-physics-says-the-us-is-ungovernable/

    “No matter who holds the highest office in the land, it never seems like the U.S. government is working as well as it could be. Our form of government is so intricately woven that it would be impossible for even the deftest efficiency expert to pinpoint the clog (or more likely, clogs) in the system.

    “But physics can shed some light, says Yaneer Bar-Yam, a physicist and the director of the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge. By applying a special framework borrowed from quantum field theory to convoluted systems like our government and big companies, Bar-Yam can home in on the right amount of relevant information to understand the way the system works, and even what it might do next.

    “So what happens when you apply this framework to the U.S. government? Bar-Yam says that hierarchical systems, where one person is more or less in charge, buckle under the weight of too much complexity. He joins Ira to discuss what quantum physics reveals: that it’s our political system, not the people themselves, that’s making the U.S. ungovernable.”

  53. Basically, as many have been saying for a long time, Democrats are losing because their policies are Republican Lite. Their rhetoric is weak sauce. And they are offering nothing of substance, at least nothing that most voters want.

    Are they really expecting to start winning by continuing to do what has caused them such massive failure up to this point? Do they even care about winning elections at all or is it entirely about maintaining control of the party no matter what?

    It is strange watching a party so seemingly indifferent to winning elections. It’s like watching Republicans who are so often indifferent to governing. That doesn’t leave much choice for voters with a political and media system that can lock out or obstruct all outside challengers.

    https://shadowproof.com/2017/06/21/jon-ossoff-campaigned-message-medicare/

    • That is bringing ignorance to a whole new level. I read the other comments there. I genuinely wonder if some of those people are paid trolls. Too much of it sounds like very carefully articulated rhetoric to serve the interests of the Democratic establishment in maintaining their grip on power. It would be rather simple and cheap to orchestrate a small astroturf-style operation on Reddit. A single person could maintain multiple accounts and do so in their spare time.

  54. Sorry to burst a bubble but NK/SK will not be nearly as easy.
    In Germany’s case it was a population of over 60 mio absorbing roughly 10 mio East Germans in Korea it would be 50 mio trying to absorb a population half their size at 25 mio. German reunification also was a somewhat planned and prepared process with the West even funneling money into the East to keep them going a bit longer while Korea probably will be a spontanous mostly unplanned act as soon as the regime collapses. On top of that the East German economy despite being in a bad state was nowhere near the almost pre industrial economy of North Korea with East Germany also having a pretty decent overall education etc.
    On top of that, yes Germany is reunited but even almost 30 years later there is still a rough divide and the eastern regions have both problems with their economy and unemployment as well as their far-right political landscape.

    • North Korea seems to be a barely modernized society that is some combination of a feudalist-like social order and a slave-based economy. It’s hard to imagine what life must be like living in such a country.

      It’s not just that most North Koreans lack any education. Even the educated elite are probably almost entirely ignorant about the world, about history, and about much of any other topic. I suspect there are only a handful of scientists in the entire country and all of their time is dedicated to developing pathetic missile systems with little funding.

  55. I don’t think Otto warmbier should have died but dude was a dumbass to think he could pull dumb shit (even as trivial as ripping a poster off a wall) in fucking NORTH KOREA. Or going to North Korea for fun.

    • Someone that juvenile or ignorant or clueless shouldn’t be traveling to any country in the world. It’s questionable if such a person should even travel to the corner grocery store. I know that young people do stupid things all the time, but that shows an extreme lack of common sense. If he had any friends with him while traveling, they should have beat some sense into him before letting him go to North Korea as a fun side trip. That is simply insane.

  56. An interesting viewpoint, if a bit convoluted. The entire argument is kind all over the ideological map. And I wonder how consistent is the thinking behind it. What is the actual principle being defended and is it being applied to all cases or only selectively? The comments section adds some balance to the piece, such as one person pointing to another article (https://freethoughtblogs.com/atg/2017/04/17/science-says/).

    Arguing that globalism is a religion feels pointless. Every worldview is based on a set of values, but it probably isn’t helpful to conflate everything with religion. As I see it, religion is a quite specific kind of social entity. Even though I understand and sympathize with the anti-globalization arguments, sometimes they tend toward the kooky and conspiratorial. I’m not sure a government protecting a child’s right to gender self-determination can be sanely labeled as authoritarian oppression, even if it is true about the dangerous effects of neoliberal corporatism taking over the government.

    View at Medium.com

    “Globalism is happening so fast that sometimes it’s hard to see just how glaring the cultural changes have been. Nowhere is this more evident than in advertising, where it seems like overnight companies have changed from mass market capitalists to bleeding heart activists. There’s a big fat question hanging in the air that few have attempted to answer. WHY do Superbowl advertisers suddenly care so much about immigration? WHY does Exxon Mobil suddenly care so much about feminism? What does transgenderism have to do with selling beer, soda, or cheeseburgers?

    “The answer, I believe, lies in a new morality rapidly filling the spiritual vacuum caused by the erosion of religion in the West. That morality is globalism. Globalism, briefly defined, is an a-spiritual, science-based morality that eschews metaphysical ideas of God and natural law and replaces them with humanist ideals emphasizing individual rights, compassion for the weak, justice for the disenfranchised, and the elimination of any cultural differences that get in the way of those goals. Progressive Western governments are increasingly globalist, and they thus find themselves strange bedfellows with the corporate conglomerates they used to abhor. […]

    “My point is not to say that globalism is evil or tyrannical on its own, only that, lacking self-awareness, the potential for it to become tyrannical is much higher. It’s important to consider why globalists are so obsessed with transgenderism, and for what reasons.

    “Like any moral order, globalism has a driving force behind it and that force is the source of its power. In the case of globalism that force is money. For proof of this I recommend two sources, one long, one short, that provide a peak behind the curtain of major globalist entities. One is Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins, in which Perkins, an economist, details his work for several major globalist organizations including the World Bank, IMF, USAID and a few Fortune 500 companies. Through his travails, the reader learns that the true purpose of these organizations is to engage in economic colonization under the guise of morality. Phrases like “human rights,” “tools for independence,” and “empower towards self-governance” are thrown around, but ultimately the goal, according to Perkins, is to indebt as many people in as many places as possible in order to control them. The second source is an article by Thomas Frank titled “Nor a Lender Be” which illustrates the same phenomenon with regard to the Clinton Foundation and Goldman Sachs. Frank attends an event where Hillary Clinton unveils a supposedly world-saving Goldman Sachs micro-lending program which will “empower” female entrepreneurs across Africa. Frank, a progressive himself, suddenly realizes the whole thing is a charade, nothing more than a celebration of colonial power under the guise of moral superiority, essentially the White Man’s Burden all over again.

    “In both sources, the pattern is the same. Debt cloaked in goodness. Control disguised as protection. Unfettered access to labor framed as the mission to save the disenfranchised. Without any spiritual reasons to justify their dominance, the controllers must find something to explain it, and that justification has become globalism. If you take a look around, whether it’s at Superbowl commercials or the mayors of sanctuary cities, the message is consistent: we are in control because we are beneficent, we are beneficent because we are compassionate, and if you define compassion differently than we do, you are evil.

    “Like Christianity, the globalist religion enforces a morality that helps it survive. Where Christianity relied on so-called “traditional gender roles”—basically monogamous heterosexuality—globalism favors individual sexual exploration. The reason for this is because, where Christianity needed reproduction and self-restriction, globalism needs labor and self-indulgence. Work hard and play hard is another way of saying labor extreme and consume extreme. Globalism wants you, whether you’re male or female, to be working constantly to gain and spend as much money as possible, which will in turn drive up revenues, which will in turn drive up the equity-based incomes of the controllers of the system. The biggest threat to globalism is the elements of human happiness that don’t cost money—family, spirituality, free access to nature—while Christianity was overly dependent on those same elements. Globalism loves gender fluidity because it separates individuals from conglomerative values that threaten its viability.

    “This is why seemingly everywhere you look there is a globalist entity supporting feminism, gay rights, and transgender rights. Again, this is not problematic in and of itself. There are many reasons (e.g. individual freedom, preventing overpopulation) why supporting gender fluidity is good. However, any time the governing structure creates the right for itself to actively interfere with the natural right of a parent to socialize their child as they see fit, it turns the corner into tyranny.”

    • It’s a very Western centric view coming from him, including his “default” being the old days of two genders, total heterosexuality, etc

      • It’s also a culturally biased view that it’s a parent’s right and duty to force a gender identity onto a child. Not all cultures think that way. Different cultures have different attitudes about gender and how it gets determined, not to mention who gets to determine it.

  57. I’m glad I’m not a parent. My nieces and nephews have some issues that are along the lines of psychological, neurocognitive, dietary, and immunological. I’m not sure how any parent goes about figuring out potential risks to their child and then eliminate them. These days, we are surrounded by heavy metals, food additives, excitotoxins, hormone mimics, fire retardants, etc… and that is just considering chemicals.

    View at Medium.com

    “In the Ted talk, a mom of 5 and biochemist named Dr. Katherine Reid describes how she has completely managed her daughter’s autism symptoms through diet — with a special emphasis on removing MSG from her diet. The before and after videos of her daughter are absolutely incredible. I highly recommend it.

    “In my subsequent research I learned that MSG — also called free-glutamate — isn’t just about Asian food. More importantly, it hasn’t been removed from our food like we’ve been led to believe. In fact, I learned that MSG has been sneakily renamed 80+ different things and is in many foods found even in top health food stores.

    “And that pectin is one of them. Yes, pectin contains MSG. So do Dextrose, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, and Carrageenan. All ingredients in my healthy, dairy-free yogurt I had been feeding my son.

    “They are excitotoxins, and they were making my son’s brain feel crazy. The complete list of these MSG ingredients is long and may surprise you.”

    • Anyone looking for a eugenic utopia in the future will be likely sorely disappointed. A dystopic nightmare is more likely. It might end up being a massive uncontrolled experiment with multiple countries and international corporations doing crazy shit. No one will be able to put that genie back in the bottle. And no one will know how to deal with the consequences. It will get out of hand very quickly and there is probably nothing anyone can do to stop it.

      Making laws against it would simply force it into secret government research and black market operations. If someone can imagine it, it will be done. And if it can be done, someone will be willing to pay for it. Only later after a generation or two of genetically-altered babies will we see the full lifelong results. There will be large numbers of unforeseen and unintended consequences, no matter how careful researchers are. Our ability to understand what we are doing is always far behind our ability to do something. That is because much of our learning curve will come from mistakes.

      It is irrelevant what anyone’s opinion on the matter. It’s like once the US developed an atomic bomb, it was inevitable that it would be dropped on some city and it is inevitable that there will one day be a global atomic war ending possibly in nuclear holocaust. As for genetic engineering, GMO plants have already escaped into the wild, despite corporations claiming to safely control their experiments. There simply is too much money in it and there is no profit in safety controls. Governments will follow the profits because if they don’t do or allow this research another government will. It will be a genetic arms race and like nuclear research will of course be implemented as weaponry.

      That is just how humans are.

  58. I feel like I wouldn’t have any eye color option except brown. Maybe green/hazel if the sperm was from WASP McAryan XD

    • Well, you could have every option available, if you altered your genetics. But of course, by adding a different color gene, it wouldn’t be your genetics. So just as long as you don’t mind passing on someone else’s eye gene to your child. At present, though, options are more limited, at least for those who aren’t rich. If you paid the Chinese government enough, they might consider altering the eye color gene for you.

      I’d be curious about what a number of governments are researching in secret, the US included. One thing that has stood out to me is that, when the US government publicly releases info about some top secret technology, it usually is already several decades old. There is a lag time. Whatever is being secretly developed at present should be available to the public when the generation being born right now reaches adulthood or thereabouts. That is unless there is a world war, which tends to force secret technologies to the surface. After world wars, there is a sudden technological boost.

      Just imagine the kind of genetic research they are doing in preparation for or will be doing during the next world war. The temptation to create a genetically-altered super-soldier will be irresistible. And my God! the biological weapons would make the chemical weapon warfare of WWI look like child’s play. The world’s future population could be dealing with genetic problems for centuries following whatever is unleashed.

    • It’s sort of an interesting perspective. But it is misleading in its emphasis and in what is left out. The author is correct that the politically active are the middle-to-upper classes, although that has always been true. The majority of the population in the lower classes, however, are simply disengaged.

      There is good reason for this, considering research has shown that politicians only do what the wealthiest want them to do. That is a detail that the author should have noted. Most Americans are cynical about politics because they have so little power and influence. Politics is a game played by the wealthy and, for everyone else, it is just a spectator sport.

      Some commenters made the same basic point:

      user_452897605/03/16 01:26 PM
      “Our political system is rapidly losing the faith of the people because of the big money involved (thanks Supreme Court). Politicians no longer try to represent the people. They represent themselves first, then the moneyed interests after themselves. The peoples work seems to be rather far down the list of priorities. We, the people, need to wrestle back the power from big money and the self serving politicians themselves!”

      BecknBuv05/08/16 07:49 PM
      I’m not buying it.Apparently, Mr. Hersh lives in a completely different bubble than I do.

      “First, in the matter of political donations, Hersh discusses $1000 and up donors. My friends and family are $25 check, maybe even a few times (!), kind of people who agonize over every dollar spent to ensure that it will get the most bang for the buck possible. The only time I expect to get with my “celebrity crush” is watching Obama at the Washington correspondents’ dinner on TV.

      “On the subject of activism, I think Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the Sanders campaign prove that people are willing to engage in political activism when it is available to them, but it is difficult to translate that activism into policy when large donors have more influence than we peasants do.

      “Voting! DSupport voting rights! Our government needs to make sure people are able to find time to vote. Entitled people with power are better able to control their time and get to the polls when they are open. Early voting is key. I am shocked when I see huge lines at polls. People who work for hourly pay and do not have control over the hours they work can’t afford to wait in long lines to vote. They need to keep their jobs and feed their families.

      “Finally, I do not see the Trump phenomenon as something as inconsequential as “hobbyism.” People who are so angry and disconnected that they jump on his racist and xenophobic bandwagon are struggling and hurting. Our country was born of a desire for “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Let’s try to understand the lives of all of our people, not just the ones we socialize with.

      “”One way to inspire duty among citizens whose lives have been comfortable is for them to regularly confront what uncomfortable looks like.” I encounter the uncomfortable in my life, in my work, and in the ways I contribute to my community. I challenge Mr. Hersh to do the same.”

  59. Their Reformation is already happening. Much as with the European Reformation, it’s resulting in church burnings, religious wars, mass death, ethnic cleansing, etc. I understand “Reformation” is used as a byword for anything good in some places, but it was anything but. The Radical Reformation was the Daesh of its day.

    • Major societal changes rarely happen peacefully. No country or religion is above such violent transition. It happens everywhere. Consider the deadly conflict between England and Ireland (partly a religious conflict between Protestants/Anglicans and Catholics) that was near continuous for several centuries, only recently having come to a period of stability.

      Besides, it was in living memory that Europe unleashed mass destruction through two world wars, not to mention numerous proxy wars during the Cold War onward. Europeans have constantly been either killing each other or other people in high numbers for centuries. The past couple of decades have been relatively more peaceful in the Western world. But that is a brief moment in history compared to the near endless violent conflict that preceded it. I’m sure we’ll soon return to another massively violent world war or cold war.

      It’s largely irrelevant what are given as reasons for conflict. If not for the West meddling in the Middle East through breaking up the Ottoman Empire to constantly overthrowing democratic governments, the Middle East might have secularized long ago. A half century back, secularization was taking hold before Westerners decided the best way to fight the Soviet menace was by destroying secular societies in order to replace them with theocracies and by promoting religious terrorists.

  60. This kind of thing gets me wondering:
    http://progressivearmy.com/2017/06/02/new-evidence-suggests-russian-hack-theory-could-be-false-flag-operation/

    If the narrative being spun is all bullshit, then what is really going on? That is more worrisome than the possibility of Russian hacking. It would mean the Deep State or some sector of the intelligence community is involved in something sinister. It would indicate an actual conspiracy going on toward an end that we don’t yet understand.

    Either way, I wish there was more honest debate. It isn’t about partisanship, no matter which way it goes. Neither Russia or insider actors within the US government give a shit about the two-party system. It doesn’t even seem to really be about elections. Someone is fucking with us and it would be nice to know exactly who is involved.

  61. The thing which really amazed me recently is how Richard Spencer seemed to think that ISIS is basically an identarian movement for Middle Easterners… that it was somehow a grassroots movements that came out of nowhere. The sheer ignorance of that statement of his is so terrifying that it really makes me believe that if they ever got into power (more than they are now) they would actually support every Islamist nutjob in the world, more so than today (as long as they aren’t in Europe/North America) because they see them as kindred spirits and not the vile human beings that they are.
    The US administration has been supporting every radical Wahhabi Imam and regime in the world for over 50 years, and were instrumental in supporting ISIS. It’s dangerous to think what MORE they can do to make things worse.

  62. I posted a comment at a blog. It doesn’t appear the person is going to approve the comment. I had the gut feeling that he wouldn’t be welcoming or maybe even responsive to my view. It’s not that I attacked him or criticized his post. I simply shared a different perspective. But I guess he isn’t interested in a different perspective.

    I figured it was worth a try, reaching out to someone who obviously hasn’t thought too carefully about the topic. It’s not my tendency to assume people are willfully ignorant and disregard them. Sometimes people surprise me by seriously considering new info and so I don’t automatically expect my views to be dismissed or ignored.

    But over time I’m getting cynical about this kind of thing. I’ve found that 99.9% of the time that most people aren’t all that curious to learn new info and understand new views. l’ll have to learn to accept this sad fact of humanity, I guess. I have grown tired of going to the effort to formulate a meaningful comment when too many people just don’t care.

    Anyway, here is the post:

    https://protempori.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/of-slaves-and-reparations/

    And here is the comment:

    I have a different perspective, maybe because of different life experience.

    As always seems necessary in these situations, let me disclose the details of my social identity and background. I’m a white guy. My American ancestry goes back to the colonial era. And indeed some of my ancestors owned slaves. I’d also note that my grandmother who descended from those slave owners was a little girl when she lived near where the Tulsa race riots happened and spent her teenage years in a major center of the Second Klan. With my grandfather, she moved to a sundown town where she raised my father. I also spent part of my childhood in a sundown town that was still trying to keep blacks out a few decades ago.

    It just is what it is. I acknowledge that I have privilege in some ways and not so much in other ways. It’s not as if I’m rich. I’m just a working class bloke. But I’ve had opportunities and resources available to me that aren’t available to others. All of this has shaped who I am. It’s not a matter of blame. It’s simply world we were born into, what has been inherited and the historical legacies it’s built upon.

    The past is a lot closer than it appears. My grandparents were children when the last of the Indian Wars were fought. Some Native Americans alive right now rent property from whites whose grandparents killed their own grandparents and stole that land. When my parents were younger, still alive were the last veterans of the Civil War and the last people born into slavery. I know in recent years there was still one last Civil War pensioner on the books. We forget how short is American history. Living a short distance from my grandmother was William Faulkner. He wrote that, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    An interesting book about how historical legacies continue into the present is “The Invisible History of the Human Race” by Christine Kenneally. That book shows how the effects of slavery are consistently seen in regions that were directly impacted, involving persistent problems of poverty, governmental dysfunction, culture of mistrust, etc. What is most interesting is that some of these places prior to slavery were highly functional societies with centralized governments, public infrastructure, and monetary systems. This is also seen in the American South, when comparing specific places where slavery was concentrated and where it was less common.

    That is leaving out one last possible channel of influence. Research on epigenetics has shown how genetic expression can be altered over multiple generations. The field is still young. But the animal research indicates that, assuming the mechanism operates similarly in humans, slavery would be well within the reach of epigenetic changes. We are barely beginning to understand this kind of thing. Humility is in order.

    I have no strong opinion about reparations. But knowing what I know, I understand and am sympathetic to the argument for reparations. It’s clear to me how the past has left its imprint on the present. I don’t know where that leaves us as a society, in terms of the present generation and going into the future. What is clear is that we seriously need public discussion.

    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/six-degrees-of-separation-or-less/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2016/12/19/deep-roots-in-dark-soil/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/facing-shared-trauma-and-seeking-hope/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/society-precarious-or-persistent/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/plowing-the-furrows-of-the-mind/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/union-membership-free-labor-and-the-legacy-of-slavery/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/from-slavery-to-mass-incarceration/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/why-are-blacks-concentrated-in-inner-cities/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/heritability-inheritance-genetics-epigenetics-etc/

    • He finally did approve my comment. But he didn’t respond to it. I guess that is better than nothing. I might have preferred dialogue, though. At least, he acknowledged my comment by approving it, even if all that followed was silence. It wasn’t like I was looking for an argument. I was genuinely curious about what his response might be to a different perspective based on different set of knowledge and life experience.

    • Those early ‘race’ wars were literally fought like wars at times: armed patrols, snipers, etc. Many of the men involved on both sides were WWI veterans. After WWI, veterans brought their weapons home with them. So it was a large population of military-trained, battle-hardened, PTSD-suffering veterans who were well armed.

      Throw in a mix of Great Depression, unemployment, poverty, labor conflicts, immigration, organized crime, industrialization, mass exodus from rural areas, formation of inner cities and ghettos, redlining, racist laws, KKK, ethnic organizations such as Italian Black Hand German Bund, a couple generations of worsening political corruption, and much else. Stir it all together.

      This is why I have to laugh when people fear-monger about America being more violent now than ever. We live in one of the most peaceful eras of American history. For anyone who thinks this is violent, they would pissing their pants in terror if they found themselves living at an earlier time.

      I sometimes think we are close to returning to wide-scale violence because conditions are getting so bad, but we aren’t quite at that point yet. When we return to an era of violence, it will be so obvious that everyone will know it. Until then, we should appreciate this rare moment of peace: low rate of violent crime, no world war, no cold war, no civil war, no revolution, not even any of those old school race wars with battles in the street.

      The problems we face right now more have to do with more basic problems. It’s not violence that most people worry about in their daily lives. What they worry about is finding and keeping a job, paying the bills, not losing their house, getting healthcare, digging their way out of debt, etc.

    • We need reform and a complete overhaul of almost every aspect of our society. The police would be a good place to start. I’d like to see local communities experimenting with other ways of dealing with problems. I’m always a fan of experimentation. We might as well since what is being done now is not working.

      To put it in Sanders’ words, we need a political revolution. That isn’t a metaphor. The American revolution was a political revolution that happened to also be a violent revolution. But history have shown examples of non-violent political revolutions. We should hope for peaceful solutions enacted through peaceful change.

      But as always, the question is whether or not those in power will allow it to be peaceful. If the authorities take a few bad incidents to rationalize further militarizing the police which turns entire communities into occupied territories and the entire country into a police state, I can promise that won’t end well. Those in power can work together with the public and communities to either de-escalate to the conflicts or instead they can worsen it.

      This isn’t the first time this country has faced problems with violent police forces. The same thing happened in the 1960s and 1970s. There was a national movement to reform the police and for decades some of the worst police problems were reduced, even if not solved. But the American public at least got the police to stop shooting live bullets into crowds of protesters.

      We might be beyond the point of standard police reform, though. That is something that has to be publicly debated. If we are too far gone down the path of police dysfunction, we might need to start over from scratch and build a new system from the ground up.

  63. Wow. This is incredibly naive. First, resentment of immigrants has seethed among a subset of Canadians for decades, and there have been race- and religious-motivated attacks in Canada in the last several months. Second, the country just finished a decade of policies by a rightwing government that demagogued immigration and ran roughshod over First Nations’ rights. When will NYT reporters stopped projecting their liberal fantasy of Canada and see that the country has its own racial and class tensions, and that it is a much more complex place, with much less comfort for the “mosaic” once reporters get out of downtown Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Bilingualism still rankles many rural Anglophones, the same people who also covet their guns much more than American liberals assume. Canada is a different country, but less so than either Canadians or American liberals wish to believe.”

    • I think it is that most Western countries look better, from the perspective of living in the US. It’s all relative. There is no other major country in the world that has the kinds of problems the US has, such as high healthcare costs for low healthcare results, not to mention the highest military spending and highest incarceration and highest inequality in world history. Canada, because of being so close, ends up being a screen for the projected fantasies of many Americans.

  64. I think a big part of this phenomenon in Canada is due to the fact that we have more than two viable national political parties, which inherently discourages the “us-vs-them,” “liberal-vs-conservative” mentality that is currently ravaging the United States (and to a large extent the UK).

    Polling in the US shows that majorities support policies such as immigration, health care reform, and so on. But at the same time, many Americans are also in favour of tax cuts, deregulation, and gun rights (for various reasons, good and bad). With the two-party scheme, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition; there is no middle ground.

    In Canada, the presence of three major parties, each with its own set of policies and goals, allows for a reasonable compromise of sorts for those who wouldn’t otherwise neatly fit the dominant left-leaning or right-leaning party, and each party must therefore be responsive to public perceptions. If the Conservatives came out in favour of a “Muslim ban” à la Trump, minority voters who leaned Conservative would have no problem voting Liberal.

    One last thing: having strict limits on corporate campaign funding is also helpful!

    • “Polling in the US shows that majorities support policies such as immigration, health care reform, and so on. But at the same time, many Americans are also in favour of tax cuts, deregulation, and gun rights (for various reasons, good and bad). With the two-party scheme, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition; there is no middle ground.”

      It’s even more complex and nuanced than that. Most Americans are for certain kinds of tax cuts while also being for progressive taxation that would tax even higher the wealthy and big biz. Most Americans are for certain kinds of deregulation while also supporting greater regulations on corporations such as environmental regulations. Most Americans are for certain aspects of gun rights while also favoring certain gun controls and gun bans.

      The issue isn’t the American public. The majority of Americans are moderate on almost every issue. The problem is that public opinion isn’t represented by either major party. It’s not just that the parties are all-or-nothing but that neither side has much of anything to do with what most Americans want and care about. Consider healthcare reform. The plans offered by both parties are far to the right of what most Americans support.

    • A lot of diverse takes on the issues. A major factor is that the two countries have very different histories.

      Kyle R. Canada 14 hours ago

      This article is intriguing, both because it describes some aspects of Canada I’m proud of, but glosses over the flaws. Canada, I feel, is certainly more tolerant than the U.S. and U.K. right now, but racism and populist anger ARE realities. The largest act of terrorism within Canada in the last decade concerned a white Canadian. Trump supporter walking into a mosque and gunning people down. That’s not something you’d see in an entirely pro-immigrant nation…

      AO Toronto 14 hours ago

      It’s more multifactoral than this article understands. Yes the more obvious factors identified — Canadian “identity”, multiculturalism, immigration-positivity, aversion to extremism — are important, but the reasons are wider and deeper than these. Canada’s development as a polity did not arise out blood and revolution, but rather a continued and concerted effort to solve internal disputes and differences through accommodation and compromise. Layer onto that an equally concerted effort to build a (somewhat) distributive society, in which key social goods and rents are much more equitably distributed than in say the US and the UK, leading to far greater social mobility and lower urban-rural disparities, and widespread belief that the country is a collectivity that ought to always look after the elderly, vulnerable, newcomers and the disabled as much as possible (always a judgement call as to how much that is, but much more than in the US). Hence universal single-payer health care and affordable post-secondary education; infrastructure and cultural investment; and a host of other economic and social programmes that are by their very nature inimical to the successful development of a populist, alienated, angry and resentful underclass. Also, the stability of modern constitutional monarchy, always above the partisan fray. These Canadian things are all widely known, seen, understood and experienced by most all Canadians to work quite well and be worth defending.

      Bruce Philadelphia, PA 14 hours ago

      This article touches on many points of how Canada’s geo-political fortune has allowed it to avoid the woes of post-industrial USA , UK and France. Without a doubt Canada (particularly the Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver regions) benefits from the influx of Global and particularly Asian capital and capabilities to the West. Canada is underpopulated, educated, socially responsible, and blessed a multitude of natural resources and one of the lowest corruption rankings in the world (Canada is #9 – USA is #18) it has good governance and great growth potential. While many Canadians complain about how internationalization of the economy is increasing the prices of houses and increasing advantages of speaking Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi and Urdu in addition to the two official languages of English and French, the influx of capital is creating jobs albeit with advantages to those embracing the mosaic versus the melting pot. According to the NYTimes Canada passed the USA in 2014 for having the richest middle class in the world – as the USA concentrated its wealth to the top earners – Canada was able to spread its wealth a bit more equitably. Canada with decentralized provincial healthcare, education and relatively open economic borders is embracing managed immigration and is rising while the USA retreats to improve the gains of its privileged and rich (lower taxes) at the cost of the other classes (decrease access to quality education and healthcare).

      James Murton Ontario 16 hours ago

      This article is one of the best I’ve read on this topic because the author understands Canada’s real secret weapon: our political system, which since the 1840s has been about holding together very different and often antagonistic cultural communities. Originally this was English and French. Canadian Prime Ministers, for instance, routinely had a “Quebec Lieutenant,” a high ranking member of the government whose job was to represent Quebec’s interests to the PM. Cabinets in Canada have for years been made up of the representatives of various interest groups.The article does not claim that Canadians live in racial harmony; it claims that our political system is good at mediating differences. Small wonder; we’ve been at this for awhile.

      Evelyn Calgary 16 hours ago

      I do not think you give enough credit to the (comparatively) robust social safety net that Canadians enjoy or to the public school system. Canadians can accept demographic changes with relative equanimity because they are not as frightened about their economic prospects as Americans seem to be. The consequences of job loss are not as terrifying if you have universal health care and reasonably good unemployment benefits, etc.

      Most Canadian children attend fairly well-funded public schools, where the second generation of newcomers quickly assimilates, and where Canadian children learn about other cultures first hand. For example, my children scoffed when they heard Mr. Trump equated Muslims with terrorists because half of their friends were Muslim and they’d spent many hours playing and socializing in Muslim homes. For these reasons, Canadians are less hostile to newcomers and our diversity has become a point of national pride.

      neilends Scottsdale, Arizona 16 hours ago

      I’m a dual US-Canadian citizen of Asian origin. What both countries have in common is an incredibly stubborn resistance to changing their inner national narratives, even though each are historically disproven. This article simply feeds into that false narrative that many Canadians subscribe to.

      The American narrative is that they freed the slaves in 1865 and mopped up all remaining social ills in the 1960s. The Canadian narrative is that “Canada is different, Canada is progressive.” But neither story holds water when examining the historical record. In Canada in particular, ordinary Canadians remain wholly ignorant of their true national history. Canadian support for the pro-slavery Confederacy in the Civil War, mistreatment of former slaves who fled the US for Canada’s “promised land,” the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War II, a white-supremacist immigration policy that lasted until the 1960s, and the atrocious treatment of Natives are not adequately taught in history classes.

      Similar to Americans, Canadians lack historical context to inform them of their present-day context. Without an appreciation for history, facts like the Islam hysteria that has overtaken the legislatures of Ontario and Quebec (each have passed “anti-sharia law” bans) slip through unnoticed on the national debate stage. “We are not bigots,” Canada self-proclaims while patting itself on the back. Meanwhile, we mourn the Quebec City mosque massacre, for a little bit. And then move on.

      Darnelle Nelson Henderson Nevada 16 hours ago

      As a U.S./Canadian dual citizen living in a conservative western province and wintering in Nevada, I believe that the article is on track.
      The residents of a small town in my province recently rallied around a Honduran family that was about to be deported. As a result the family was granted a two-year reprieve during which they can reapply for permanent status. The town did this not out of mushy sentimentalism, but because the family was recognized to be hard-working and deserving.
      A few points aside from multi-culturalism that I would emphasize –
      Canadian public schools are consistently effective.
      Religion is kept out of politics even though that separation is not constitutionally guaranteed.
      There are few “hot” social issues. Abortion is a personal choice. A closely regulated assisted dying policy is in place. There is no war on drugs; addiction is more of a medical issue. Guns are rare and used for hunting game. Our prime minister who came to office with an admittedly thin resume has not embarrassed us and seems to be gaining trust on the world stage. He celebrates diversity at every opportunity. Quality health care is there for everyone, and we choose our own providers.
      Is everything perfect? Of course not, and I am beginning to see a few ripples of intolerant ugliness on social media. I am confident, however, that for all the reasons I listed above, a strong and respected Canada will go on into the future.

      TWade Canada 16 hours ago

      Stephen Harper tried the tribalism, xenophobic, us-versus-them campaining in the last election cycle when he campaigned on no burkhas and establishing a “hot line” or “snitch line” for reporting applications of sharia law. It got him turfed out. But interestingly, he was doing many populist (racist, anti-intellectual, etc.) political things 10 years prior to Trump even declaring his candidacy for POTUS. So Canada has already had a bout with populist politics but we seem to have survived. You can read all about Harper’s (partially) succesful attempt at the Council of Canadian’s website in an excellent publication from Maude Barlow.

      Andy Winnipeg Canada 16 hours ago

      My father came to Canada from Scandinavia during the 50s toward the end of the last big wave of Western European emigration. He could as easily have gone to the United States but chose Canada after a close analysis of the culture, values and prospects in both counties.

      I would make the same choice today. Canada has long attracted the sort of people who had choices and chose Canada making it what is today.

      For the last 35 years the US has been turning into a sort of privatized, corporate feudal state in which employers go so far as to scrutinize a persons social media record before hiring them. The elite stand to receive a massive tax break that will cost 20,000,000 Americans their health coverage. And the US has become a safe haven for the ultra wealthy from Russia and the like. All contribute to the development of a culture that doesn’t offer much to the vast majority of Americans.

      And then we see things that are frightening like people walking around with guns slung over their shoulders prepared to take the law into their own hands at a moments notice. The militarized police project a sense of menace, not security.

      During the Vietnam war young Americans hosteling around Europe sewed little Canadian flags onto their backpacks to avoid unpleasant situations. With Trump, that has become a good idea again.

      JoAnn Reston 16 hours ago

      In a sense Canada enacted a key feature of Trumpism almost fifty years ago. In the early 1970s responding to fears about a national “brain drain,” the government required all employers to prioritize hiring Canadians or Landed Immigrants as a matter of law. Indeed, in order to employ non-Canadians, employers are actually required to prove that no Canadian could be found to fill the position. Despite Trump’s “America First” rhetoric, there is no comparable legislation in the United States. U.S. Businesses would never accept such government “interference.” This lack of of binding policies and laws demonstrates the reality that the interests of Corporate America and the investor class–versus Trump’s phoney populism– are really running the show.

      Andrew Bomberry Toronto, Canada 16 hours ago

      I can certainly see some benefits to how Canadians broadly approach ‘the Other’ versus how the US does. That being said, Canada has real and serious issues with its diversity. For those of you Americans reading the NYT, try an online Canadian news site covering Indigenous news. It will either not have a comment section, or it will be filled with some of the most vile, racist, and misinformed statements – enough to compare with some of the most antagonistic in America. (The poisonous comments are why you are unlikely to find an Indigenous news article with a comments section allowed).

      That being said, Canadians have also made some pretty progressive strides to addressing these historical injustices, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and recommendations, and the deep commitments to Indigenous reconciliation made by the federal government and the province of Ontario.

      While their fulfillment of those commitments is up for debate, those issues remain party-campaign level issues. That’s something that’s never been the case in the US, which shares so many similar issues of ghastly history of mistreatment against Indigenous peoples within its borders.

      Canada imperfect. Yes. But Canada hopeful, too.

      Sinbad NYC 16 hours ago

      One of the key differences between Canada and the U.S. is that Canada is 100 years younger as a country and this year will celebrate its 150th anniversary of independence. For good comparison, look at the U.S back in 1917 and you will see a country at a different stage of development — booming population growth, expanding economy and strong immigration. This is Canada today. One of the reasons Canadians are so accepting of immigrants is that most of our parents came to the country more recently than those in the U.S. Canada opened its doors to immigration after WW II while the U.S. shut its borders. As a kid growing up in Toronto in the 1950s, virtually every kid on my block came from somewhere else — many from the UK, but also Italy, Greece, Latvia, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Russia. We didn’t know what language to speak on the hockey rink. This familiarity with, and acceptance of, different ethnic groups became second nature and part of the national fabric. We’re not afraid of foreigners — they are us. Also, Canada has one of the lowest population densities in the world — 4 people per square mile — so we need all the immigrants we can get.

    • Why is he trying to hide the fact that he associates with white supremacists and bigots? It’s not like it’s a secret. I guess he feels ashamed and is trying to protect his public image. I think it’s too late for that. He might as well stop pretending to be something else and simply embrace who he is. Honesty is the best policy, even for racists. Just be open about it. That makes life simpler for all involved.

    • Basically, nothing has changed.

      Organized hate groups in the past involved and were led mostly by middle class professionals, as they are today. Liberals in the past attacked leftists as they normalized right-wing activity, as they do today. The pattern repeats because most Americans, including the well educated, are historically ignorant and politically apathetic.

      This is also how the privileged attempt to maintain their privilege. Whether middle class racists or middle class liberals, their greatest worry is class conflict and so both sides of the middle class try to distract from class issues.

    • Here is what is more worrying. If it is true that there is no evidence of Russia hacking or whatever, that means the US intelligence agencies are lying to and deceiving the American public about the existence of evidence.

      That is a major accusation to make, but it is being made implicitly without owning up to it. I don’t trust the the intelligence agencies for many reasons, largely because I know of their history of covert operations (including psyops and propaganda on the American people). Still, to indirectly accuse the intelligence agencies of conspiracy in attacking Trump, if such an accusation is to be made, must be argued and defended openly based on the known evidence.

      The point is that none of such an intelligence agency conspiracy can be blamed on corporate media or even the Democratic Party. Those intelligence agencies at present are operating under a mostly Republican-controlled government. Besides, major Republican figures have been demanding impeachment of Trump. I don’t see how this is ultimately a partisan issue, despite my hatred of partisan politics.

      There is a lot more going on here. Few people seem to want to talk about it. It’s similar to the Clinton Foundation. The Republicans aren’t talking about that either. Why? Probably because Republicans and their cronies are implicated in it. And if Republican foundations were also investigated, similar corruption and pay-to-play (ii.e., legalized bribery) would likely be found. No one in power wants to open that can of worms.

      Here is an interesting piece about Trump and impeachment:

      http://daily-iowan.com/2017/06/19/guest-opinion-can-trump-be-impeached/

      “Democrat loyalists have not liked Donald Trump since he announced on June 16, 2015, that he would run for president. Since Trump’s inauguration, Dems have called for Trump’s impeachment to the point that I became deaf to their declaration. But, when I learned three prominent Republicans recently said they are witnessing a massive corruption of Trump’s presidency that is far worse than Watergate, that got my attention.

      “President Richard Nixon White House counsel John Dean (Republican), the master manipulator of the Watergate cover-up and key witness against his boss, said, “I don’t think Richard Nixon even comes close to the level of corruption we already know about Trump.”

      “Richard Painter (Republican), a University of Minnesota law professor who served as an ethics adviser for President George W. Bush said of Trump, “if administration officials can’t deliver some satisfying answers soon [to Trump-Russia scandals], this is definitely grounds for impeachment.”

      “Eliot Cohen (Republican), U.S. Department of State counselor to George W. Bush, noted that if Trump’s highly classified and sensitive ISIS intelligence information sharing with untrustworthy Russia “was deliberate, it would be treason,” an impeachable offense.

      “Three separate and distinct allegations about Trump by three White House experienced Republicans piqued my curiosity. On further investigation, I found seven prominent and revered constitutional law professors and a former judge are leading a campaign to impeach President Trump: Free Speech for People is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. As of May 18, 1,093,651 Americans had signed their names to the impeachment campaign (www.ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org).

      “The eight-member Free Speech for People legal advisory board contends “from the moment he assumed the office, President Donald Trump has been in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution. The president is not above the law. We will not allow President Trump to profit from the presidency at the expense of our democracy. Congress’s impeachment investigation should include the president’s violation of the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses and whether the president has, in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, prevented, obstructed, or impeded the administration of justice.”

      “As proof, Trump’s 144 business holdings in 25 countries is said to present unprecedented conflicts of interest, internationally and domestically. With Trump having his relatives as senior White House advisers, in which insider trading information could occur, this would be a violation of the STOCK (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge) Act of 2012.

      “Another possible legal issue facing Trump was his May 9 firing of FBI Director James Comey. Many constitutional lawyers insist Trump’s actions in firing Comey, who was gathering pre-election Trump-Russia interactions, is an explicit obstruction of justice by interfering with the investigation.

      “Should an investigation find that Trump asked Comey on Feb. 14 to make the Michael Flynn-Russia collusion investigation go away, that’s another corrupt obstruction-of-justice incident. Flynn and Trump campaign advisers were in contact with Russian officials 18 times prior to the 2016 presidential election.

      “Two questions remain. First, how many alleged violations of the Constitution do we need to make an impeachment-process decision? Second, how do we handle these six alleged impeachable offenses about our 45th president (i.e., Foreign Emoluments Clause, Domestic Emoluments Clause, STOCK Act of 2012, obstruction of justice case No. 1, obstruction of justice case No. 2 and treason)?

      “It’s time for people to make their opinion on this matter known. Remember, Trump is our president who must abide by our Constitution. It is high time we put our country’s best interests before party politics.”

      — Steve Corbin, professor emeritus of marketing, University of Northern Iowa

    • Somehow this comment ended up in the trash. I saw other comments in the trash. Most of them were there on purpose, but a few ended up there for an unknown reason.

      Anyway, this is one of the strongest examples HBDers like to use. The problem is they take highly unreliable info and use it as if it were scientific data. The reality of marriages over the centuries may or may not closely match the official records of marriages and laws about marriages.

      I’m not against such historical speculations on principle. But I’d prefer more intellectual humility and less self-serving ideology. And it bothers me even more when these speculations end up being treated as if they were facts, which is what happens when an ideologically-motivated speculation gets repeated a thousand times within an ideological echo chamber.

      Someone like hbdchick will admit she isn’t doing science. Yet she treats this kind of data almost as if it were scientific. There is a dissociation. This is dangerous because these people push ideologies that have clear real world consequences while refusing to take responsibility for those consequences, often hiding behind politically correct language.

    • Moon_Whaler 90 points 6 days ago
      I just fucking love how the center-left loves to pay lip service to “solving” racism and sexism. Like, maybe economic justice won’t solve those issues overnight, but it’ll do a shit ton more than whatever nebulous bullshit they propose. Specially since POC and women are more likely to be affected by economic inequality.

      BroganTrundler 68 points 6 days ago
      Libs: DISCRIMINATION IS INSTITUTIONAL
      The left: So maybe tear down those institutions
      Libs: WHAT THE HELL FUCKING COMMIE

      In-C-Minor 33 points 6 days ago
      Also why does the threshold for a good thing have to be literally solving racism? I was arguing with someone on Twitter about single payer and they just said that because it might not completely stop racism it was a waste of time.
      It seems to me that even if economic justice has a net zero impact on racism and sexist (which i doubt) shouldn’t we still do them anyway?

      KUmitch 24 points 6 days ago
      it’s a little ironic given that one of the rallying cries against the left has been this idea that we demand absolute perfection and won’t settle for anything less, or “incremental steps” towards progress

      kometenmelodie 28 points 6 days ago
      Not to mention the fact that they constantly present a false dichotomy (“We can either fight for economic justice OR social/racial justice”). I know I’m not offering some genius new take or anything but generally sensible, left-wing people care about all those the issues and understand that they intersect.
      Nobody’s going “let’s put racism on the back burner while we fight for a $15 minimum wage.”

      informareWORKtreatboy 3 points 6 days ago
      No, according to McMegan, anything that can’t be done overnight is pointless, and therefor shouldn’t be done at all (see: fire suppression systems requirements for public housing).

      444sal444switchman 32 points 6 days ago*
      HRC:
      If we broke up the big banks tomorrow — and I will if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk, if my maid doesn’t hide all my shoes from me, if the city doesn’t dump a huge pile of sand in my driveway, if I don’t get stuck on level 2 of Angry Birds, if my maid doesn’t straightened up the house so I can’t find my keys, if I don’t get snowed in, I will…

      ST616 39 points 6 days ago
      The politician who spent the 80s being arrested for demonstrating against Apartheid has a better take on racism then the politician who spent the 80s using black people as house slaves.

      WiseguyD 15 points 6 days ago
      Remember when Hillary’s surrogates contemplated an anti-Semitic smear campaign against Bernie Sanders targeting Southern Christians and African-American voters? And when they leaked that picture of Obama wearing a “MUZZERLUMP-SEEMING” garb?
      Very progressive of her. #staywoke

      squidsandwich 9 points 6 days ago
      Ugh…. Corybnsplaining, what a sexist.

      guccibananabricks 3 points 5 days ago
      Corbyn thinks he knows better than white liberals what’s ailing minorities and women. How presumptuous!

      guccibananabricks 2 points 5 days ago
      Will anything solve racism? NO! Sexism? NO!
      So vote for me!

      iloveneoliberalism 1 point 5 days ago
      Hillary is implying that racial and wealth issues are independent, or at the very least that they are dependent in the sense that pandering to economic issues is pandering to poor whites. What about the educated and upper middle class blacks (the top 5% have a median wealth of 350k, which is pennies)?!?!? They only care about “wealthy” Black people. They are hardly representative of ordinary black folk – black people have a median wealth of 1700. Economic issues are relevant for African Americans! Young Black males in the cities have unemployment rates of almost 50% In the cities. This is an economic and social collapse! But no, I’m a Bernie bro for acknowledging these facts and for wanting economic justice for these Black people rather than wanting a Black CEO or black slaveowner in the Arkansas governors mansion.

  65. In 1980, US was at top edge of the pack, but still w/the pack. By 2013, US spent ~2x the lowest spender [UK], & 47% more than the next highest spender [France].

    http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2015/oct/us-health-care-from-a-global-perspective

    “Health care spending in the U.S. far exceeds that of other high-income countries, though spending growth has slowed in the U.S. and in most other countries in recent years.3 Even though the U.S. is the only country without a publicly financed universal health system, it still spends more public dollars on health care than all but two of the other countries. Americans have relatively few hospital admissions and physician visits, but are greater users of expensive technologies like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. Available cross-national pricing data suggest that prices for health care are notably higher in the U.S., potentially explaining a large part of the higher health spending. In contrast, the U.S. devotes a relatively small share of its economy to social services, such as housing assistance, employment programs, disability benefits, and food security.4 Finally, despite its heavy investment in health care, the U.S. sees poorer results on several key health outcome measures such as life expectancy and the prevalence of chronic conditions. Mortality rates from cancer are low and have fallen more quickly in the U.S. than in other countries, but the reverse is true for mortality from ischemic heart disease.”

  66. I feel like saylor likes to take two or more random things the next BS a connection between them and snark around. Grasping at strWs

  67. I don’t trust projections like that into the future because so much can change

    Also why is he using niger to make some grand story about European migration?

    Fwiw most African countries have dropping birth rates. Niger is one of the poorest countries in Africa though.

    But he might be the type to think Africa might as well be one country

  68. You made a bunch of related posts, so I’ll just pick out this one to ask: Why do you think that this, reproductive rights-supporting, left-wing, progressive candidate is being hit with such an attack, while at the same time people like Bill Clinton (literal white male sexual predator) just seem to never get attacked by these people for the same things?
    These kinds of attacks are targeted. They are not based on objective reality, or even a genuine, personal or structurally-based hatred of whites or men. Otherwise these same people wouldn’t suck off shitheads like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron.
    “He’s a white man” is an excuse, a convenient smear that requires no effort, no evidence, and no further thought. When you have non-white and/or female people to the left of the DNC, these same people still come up with excuses to dismiss them (Tulsi Gabbard loves gassing Syrian kids and white nationalists love her! Keith Ellison wants to gas the Jews and drive Israel into the sea!), and when you have white and male centrist shitheads, for some reason these people manage to find the energy within them to fawn over them like they were the second coming of Christ, despite their 100% rational hatred of white men.
    This kind of attack bears no relationship to anything other than the person who is speaking’s political views, and deserves no more consideration than a mocking dismissal.

    • I tend to look at the entire system. We are all part of that fucked up system that fucks over all kinds of people, not just minorities but also the rural, poor, homeless, mentally ill, etc. I don’t see how a powerless poor rural white person contributes more to how fucked up is society than does an upper middle class minority. Consider all the blacks who, as Republicans, are in leadership positions or, as Democrats, supported tough-on-crime policies. It’s not just a single factor but how they intersect.

    • All of it seems strange. People are reacting to changing conditions. But the more people react the more conditions will change. Multiple aspects of society will be stressed. There is nowhere to escape to because the same problems are to be found everywhere. And the conditions are actually worsening among whites. If the middle class whites are leaving one region for another region, this will create a massive economic segregation among whites in the nation. The class conflict could become greater than has been seen in a while.

  69. Increasingly, if white people wanna flee nonwhites there aren’t that many options. The pacific NW including Idaho Nd Montana are supposedly popular but even those states have a substantial nonwhite population, Native American and Latino (who are basically European and native mixes)

    I guess there’s Northern New England but they don’t seem to be popular destinations for fleeing people all that much. The most popular State’s to “flee to” like Arizona Nevada and Texas certainly aren’t whitopias

    • There is no place to escape to. There will just be a constant shifting of populations. This will lead to conflicts not just between whites and non-whites but all kinds of demographic divides. It’s not like earlier last century Southern whites were welcomed to the North by whites already living there. We may see increasing clashes between different white populations.

    • I wonder if those are stable changes. The growing New Sunbelt population might not be sustainable. That region is experiencing drought, water shortages, and wildfires. That will likely get worse with increasing climate change. Nothing seems stable at the moment. I have strong doubts that trends will continue in a linear fashion.

    • The biggest issue I have with those like Peterson and Pinker is the mischaracterizing of the nature/nurture debate. It ends up being pointless stupidity. Almost no one is arguing blank slate and so what is the point of arguing against it. That isn’t where the actual debate is happening based on the actual research.

  70. https://www.sandersinstitute.com/blog/medicare-for-all-vs-all-the-healthcare-that-each-can-afford

    “Numerous studies document the many inefficiencies of our “system” and its high financial costs. Likewise, study after study documents our failure to provide healthcare to all those who need it, as well as the vast disparities in health and healthcare in terms of class, race, and sex. Finally, our failure to guarantee healthcare to all exacerbates economic inequality through high out-of-pocket costs for care, medical debt, and bankruptcy.

    “The reason is clear. As discussed above, a market-driven approach to providing care is based on a business model that fundamentally conflicts with the very reason that people purchase health insurance. Whereas private insurers aim at limiting the amount they “lose” by paying for healthcare, people purchase insurance for the express purpose of accessing healthcare when they need it. A Medicare-for-all program would be accountable to the people, not to shareholders and the bottom line. Rather, it would facilitate the distribution of healthcare resources, such as new facilities and equipment, based on human need, not market share. Compensation for physicians and other healthcare providers would encourage better primary and preventive care. Rural and low-income urban areas would no longer be neglected. Additional resources would be directed to medically underserved areas and populations.

    “The threat by Congress and the Trump Administration to repeal the ACA makes this a crucial and timely issue. Although the ACA has improved healthcare insurance access, it did so by further entrenching the private insurance industry. Improving our current Medicare system and expanding it to cover everyone is the best solution. If we stand together, we can achieve it.”

  71. https://voxpopulisphere.com/2017/06/29/julia-angwin-and-hannes-grassegger-facebooks-secret-censorship-rules/

    “In the wake of a terrorist attack in London earlier this month, a U.S. congressman wrote a Facebook post in which he called for the slaughter of “radicalized” Muslims. “Hunt them, identify them, and kill them,” declared U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, a Louisiana Republican. “Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.”Higgins’ plea for violent revenge went untouched by Facebook workers who scour the social network deleting offensive speech.But a May posting on Facebook by Boston poet and Black Lives Matter activist Didi Delgado drew a different response.“All white people are racist. Start from this reference point, or you’ve already failed,” Delgado wrote. The post was removed and her Facebook account was disabled for seven days.A trove of internal documents reviewed by ProPublica sheds new light on the secret guidelines that Facebook’s censors use to distinguish between hate speech and legitimate political expression. The documents reveal the rationale behind seemingly inconsistent decisions. For instance, Higgins’ incitement to violence passed muster because it targeted a specific sub-group of Muslims — those that are “radicalized” — while Delgado’s post was deleted for attacking whites in general.Over the past decade, the company has developed hundreds of rules, drawing elaborate distinctions between what should and shouldn’t be allowed, in an effort to make the site a safe place for its nearly 2 billion users. The issue of how Facebook monitors this content has become increasingly prominent in recent months, with the rise of “fake news” — fabricated stories that circulated on Facebook like “Pope Francis Shocks the World, Endorses Donald Trump For President, Releases Statement” — and growing concern that terrorists are using social media for recruitment.

    “While Facebook was credited during the 2010-2011 “Arab Spring” with facilitating uprisings against authoritarian regimes, the documents suggest that, at least in some instances, the company’s hate-speech rules tend to favor elites and governments over grassroots activists and racial minorities. In so doing, they serve the business interests of the global company, which relies on national governments not to block its service to their citizens.”

    • The ignorance and bigotry is irritating. But his trying to suck up to be accepted is plain pathetic.

      It amazes me how little people know. People don’t ghettoizes themselves. They are called ghettos because they aren’t chosen. Jew didn’t choose to be ghettoized. The Nazi passed laws that forced them into ghettos. Blacks didn’t choose to be in ghettos. Sundown towns and redlining forced them into ghettos. And such segregation, according to research, creates mistrust.

      And then he brings up minorities who escape the worst aspects of ghettoization, oppression, and poverty. He claims these minorities are as happy as he is sucking up to their betters. They integrate entirely willingly without any fear that if they look or act the wrong way they might get accosted/shot by police or attacked by bigots. What kind of fantasyland does this guy live in? Maybe he should talk to some of the minorities to find out what they really think, instead of projecting his fantasy onto them.

      I live in a diverse smaller city in a rural Midwestern town. More than 20% are minority in the county, according to the last census. The percentage of minorities in the city limits is even higher. And it’s higher still in the downtown/campus area.

      It’s a safe and easygoing town, certainly far safer than most homogeneous rural areas (in terms of per capita violent crime rates). This is the kind of town where people smile and greet strangers. But that might have more to do with the regional culture or state culture. The difference between this city and other cities than between this city and rural areas in this state.

      If he thinks homogeneous cultures are great, he should live in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, or Russia.

    • He obviously has personal issues. I bet he is an annoying person, in dealing with him face-to-face. He expresses a neediness. He so much wants to be accepted by someone. First, he looked to women to build up his ego. But since most woman he casually met didn’t want to spend their time building up his ego, he blamed them for not subserviently serving his every need on demand. So, instead he turned to neo-reactionaries who prey upon the pathetic needy.

    • Anytime a police shoots an innocent person, that officer should automatically go to prison. We should hold police officers to a higher standard. They should be presumed guilty until proven innocent. We need to create deterrence for police violence. Also, they need to be trained in non-violent methods for dealing with situations. Police in other countries manage not to kill people all the time.

      Even if the kid did have a knife, that is no excuse for shooting him. If he had been white, we all know he probably wouldn’t have been shot. It had nothing to do with the officer thinking he had a knife or rather the only reason the officer thought he had a knife was because he wasn’t white, as research shows that police see minorities holding weapons even when they aren’t. This is unacceptable.

    • Some aspies deal with sensory/emotional overload by way of chunking. It’s a way of making experience more manageable.

      https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/aspergers-and-chunking/

      I’ve also written about the issue of empathy:

      https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/what-is-empathy-and-what-good-is-it/

      “For example, it has been theorized that psychopaths and autistics are mirror opposites. Psychopaths have impaired affective/emotional empathy, but may have unimpaired cognitive empathy. Even if they perfectly understand people (their beliefs, thoughts, motivations, etc) on an intellectual level, they won’t express much sympathy or compassion (especially to distress). Autistics have impaired cognitive empathy, but may have unimpaired affective/emotional empathy. They are strongly affected by the psychological state of others (especially distress), even though they have a hard time of understanding others. So, a psychopath can relate better to others than an autistic and also more likely to harm others, a dangerous combination.”

  72. Liberalism is a thin veneer of egalitarianism painted over the same instincts that drive a conservative (in-group preference, territorialism, etc). Most of these people would still fail the Implicit Association Test, or choose to live in communities of their own. I don’t begrudge them for these things, as it’s not necessarily unhealthy. But the problem comes from their hypocrisy
    permalinkembedsaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]Localdude702 4 points 3 days ago*
    This. I’m honestly beginning to think a lot of supposed liberals (at least the anglo western type) are ultimately just right wingers who are more sophisticated and less openly confrontational. It would explain a lot, especially the hypocrisy of how they act all progressive but when it comes to Asians often sound no different than any alt-right person. At least when it comes to us, they and a lot of the right share the same instincts.

    • It’s not necessarily a thin veneer, although it sometimes is, more often than would be preferable. It’s more that most people (not just liberals) are lacking in awareness, inconsistent, and easily manipulated. For human behavior, anxiety and fear are blunt but effective instruments.

      Liberalism as a cognitive style can only function under liberal conditions. That is both its weakness and its strength, the reason liberals are more concerned about larger conditions.

      We live in a society that was built on imperialism, colonialism, land theft, genocide, slavery, racism, classism, inequality, etc. A certain kind of reactionary dysfunction has always been built into this society. That isn’t true of all societies. In societies that have conditions more favorable to liberalism, it is unsurprising to find higher rates of the cognitive style of liberalism.

      Liberals in the US are in a difficult position. Most American liberals have never experienced a more fully liberal-friendly conditions ever in their entire life. Even those living in more liberal cities have to deal with the anti-liberal stresses of a highly unequal corporatist system. This country is ruthless in many ways. This is what makes identity politics so ruthless here. Even in liberal cities, liberals act as if they aren’t safe and essentially they aren’t.

      It’s unsurprising that liberals fail according to liberal ideals under such non-ideal conditions. The average American liberal doesn’t even understand why it’s so hard to be a liberal. All they feel is the anxiety and fear that is so common in our society. Like most Americans, they simply feel stressed. And that causes everyone to act in less liberal ways.

  73. Most Americans want someone to politically represent them who isn’t constantly fear-mongering, attacking, apologizing, backpedaling, and rationalizing. They want someone with a positive message who will actually do something practical to improve their lives, someone who can not just say what others are afraid to say but to do what needs to be done.

    This isn’t complicated. But it can’t be done while serving big money special interests.

    https://www.nationofchange.org/2017/06/29/ironworker-running-unseat-paul-ryan-wants-single-payer-health-care-15-minimum-wage/

    Randy Bryce: “I’ve already had people, like in the grocery store, who are Republican-leaning voters who know I’ll talk to them – we have stuff in common – come up and say, “Hey, I hear you’re running against Paul Ryan; I think that’s great.” We even had some union members who voted for Trump. They thought he was going to be really great for working people. But people are fed up. And all I have to say is, “Are you healthy? Look at Paul Ryan’s kids. They’re all healthy. They have great health care. He’s trying to take away your ability to see a doctor.” And he’s not here. He’s not here. So I’m reaching a lot of people.

    “We’re definitely counting on turning up the vote. Just the way that our launch took off shows that there is excitement everywhere – not just in this district, but across the country – for people willing to stand up to see one of their own elected.”

  74. My dad sent this to me:

    http://www.mauldineconomics.com/the-10th-man/geek-squad#

    “Years ago, Murray predicted that society would become stratified by intelligence, and that we would be ruled by a “cognitive elite.” All of this has come to pass.”

    It’s sad that people still believe that. Intelligence hasn’t been stratified. Rather the class-based and race-based conditions that promote and suppress neurocognitive development have been stratified. This is not even up for debate and very little speculation is required. We have the historical record to explain what happened and the social science research to explain its implications.

    “Rewind to a few decades ago. Colleges suddenly became more meritocratic, admitting people on the basis of grades and test scores, instead of other criteria. So the smartest people got into the smartest schools, the less smart people got into the less smart schools, and dumb people didn’t get into schools at all. The results of that sociology experiment are fascinating: the smart people in smart schools started marrying each other and having smart children…”

    Tell that to the vast majority who aren’t legacies into ivy league schools, no matter how smart they are. Tell that to the vast majority of kids with immense genetic and neruocognitive potential but were forced to struggle against poverty, racism, segregation, oppression, violence, school-to-prison pipeline, heavy metal toxicity, etc. As one commenter put it (Garret Batten):

    “Jared – I really enjoy The 10th Man. You have excellent insights into the markets and related issues. However, as a trained sociologist, I must object to your analysis of class, college selection, elties, and intelligence. You extrapolate from a claim about education being more meritocratic (more maybe at the college level but not even close to meritocratic and what about high school and middle school), but the increasing lack of mobility in the United States cannot be explained by smart people marying other smart people. As with Murray, these are highly problematic claims with the implication being that the very wealthy deserve as well as the poor derve their lots in life. I would urge you to stick with markets etc.”

    To continue with the article:

    “People don’t talk about this. We are obsessed with racism, but people of differing socioeconomic status just do not mix.”

    He maybe should actually read Charles Murray’s “Losing Ground” and put it in context by reading Robert Putnam’s “Our Kids.” Then put both of those books in an even larger context of info. But the point is that both grew up in small factory towns where the poor and wealthy lived together as neighbors, going to the same stores and churches, and sending their kids to the same schools. Is it surprising that socioeconomic mobility was higher at that time? No. Is it surprising that so many poor kids of low IQ, uneducated parents got high school degrees and went off to college? No.

    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/who-are-the-american-religious/#comment-12956
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/freedom-from-want-freedom-to-imagine/
    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/stranger-danger-and-our-kids/
    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/apr/20/our-kids-american-dream-in-crisis-robert-putnam-observer-review

    “The concatenation of advantages and disadvantages is visible in economic sorting at the neighbourhood level, leading to social sorting in terms of schools, churches and community groups. Putnam writes: “Our kids are increasingly growing up with kids like them who have parents like us.” This represents, he warns, “an incipient class apartheid”.”

    http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2015/03/its_hard_to_make_schools.html

    “Mr. Putnam, whose 2000 book Bowling Alone looked at declining civic ties among adults, argues that students in poverty growing up in the middle of the last century had greater economic and social mobility than their counterparts do today in large part because adults at all socioeconomic levels were more likely then to see all students as “our kids.””

    To continue with the article:

    “This all came to a head in the 2016 election, where we threw out the smart people in academia and journalism and finance and technology and politics—the so-called “experts.””

    One thing research shows is that smart people aren’t smart in all ways. For example, high IQ people are worse about certain areas of personal finance. They tend to overspend. This also relates to the smart idiot effect, which is called that because smarter people are more prone to this bias. I’d also throw in how upper class people have less cognitive capacity for certain basic skills, such as being able to accurately discern and empathize with what others experience.

    So, smart upper class people are like Trump in that they tend toward being sociopaths that lack many basic practical skills, as they are used to others taking care of their problems for them. Those aren’t the kind of people that should be ruling a society. It’s important to note that most Americans didn’t vote for either Clinton or Trump.

    Here are some commenters who made similar points:

    funderbj@riflemag.com: “I am a physician, graduated MIT in 1966, Ohio State Med school in 1970. My observation about the smartest of the smart, insofar as medicine is concerned, is that being too smart can be a serious handicap. The uber performers often missed the common ailments while exploring the more esoteric diagnoses. We called it “thinking zebras, when hearing hoof beats.” I agree wholeheartedly that the next months and years will be interesting, but I doubt that the elite will be any more successful in the long run.”

    ciaran.keogh@xtra.co.nz: “interesting post – however there is one shortcoming with the most “intelligent” will rule effect (which I agree is definitely happening) is that being learned and being wise are two entirely different things. Also it is my observation that the ability to learn comes at the expense of the ability to think. The more “learned” people (and systems) there are running the planet seems to result in less sensible (and moral) people running it. If you said that higher tendency for sociopathy was becoming stratified at the top I think you would need to look no further than Washington or Wall St for convincing proof”

    To continue with the article:

    “Mark Zuckerberg, who is probably going to run for president, made a splash in his Harvard commencement speech when he called for a universal basic income. But I don’t think you’re doing anyone any favors when you give them free money to sit at home and play Xbox.”

    Yet more ignorance. This is actually a good example of smart idiot effect. This guy thinks he is so smart that he perceives his opinion as so worthy as not to require him to have to even inform himself about the topic before coming to a conclusion. He just knows, because he is smart and educated.

    But if he were to inform himself, he’d find out that universal basic income experiments have shown that it doesn’t increase unemployment. That is because most people want more than barely surviving and making ends meet while sitting on the couch pick their nose. This is the problem of rich people who actually believe this is an accurate view of poor people.

    “Cognitive stratification is not stopping any time soon. Cities will get richer, towns will get poorer, a handful of companies will get even more powerful. If you feel like you don’t have a say in any of this… that will probably continue. I wonder about what it will be like to live in a world ruled by people who have won the genetic lottery.”

    He admits that our response to this problem matters. Yet he acts as if fatalistically there is nothing we can do about it.

    About stratification of intelligence, you’d think smart people talking about such a topic would at least know some basic info that is relevant to the opinions they offer. Consider the following bit from a book I was reading yesterday, although the research mentioned is something I’ve come across many times before (BTW do I have well informed opinions because I’m smart or because I read books to inform myself before opinionating?).

    The book is “Linguistic Relativity” by Caleb Everett (he is the son of the infamous Daniel Everett, the family having spent several influential years among the Piraha). The book is specifically about linguistics and the quoted passage is discussing culture, but what is being pointed to are the complex web of causal and contributing factors within the larger environmental conditions. Here is the relevant part (p. 44):

    “As a final example of cross-population variation in cognition, consider the example of IQ heritability. There is a strong assumption among some that measures of IQ are primarily determined by genetic factors rather than those associated with family environment. Even within American society, however, socioeconomic status appears to play a significant role in the extent to which IQ is heritable. Turkheimer et al. (2003) present data on twins representing divergent socioeconomic statuses, and these data suggest convincingly that genetic factors play a much more prominent role in IQ variation among members of higher socioeconomic status, whereas factors associated with family environment play a comparatively greater role in those of lower status. The influence of socioeconomic status on heritability of IQ suggest that even cognitive processes with clear genetic influences remain susceptible to contextual influences and, more specifically, that IQ is affected by environmental factors with a western culture. The latter point is perhaps unsurprising but nevertheless worth stressing. If something like IQ, which is associated with an assortment of cognitive processes, can be affected by contextual factors within a given culture, it seems fair to assume that the cognitive processes in question would vary in accordance with the even-wider range of contextual factors evident in multiple cultures. After all, the differences between the childhoods of Americans from lower and higher socieconomic statuses, respectively, pale in comparison to those between childhoods in western industrialized societies and, for example indigenous societies.”

    This would be wisely framed within another point made by the author, in quoting from “Beyond Human Nature” by Jesse Prinz (the quote is on p. 48 of Everett’s book). Prinz states that, “Human beings are genetically more homogenous than chimps, but behaviorally more diverse than any other species.” That is to say that the vast social and individual differences seen within human populations can’t be solely or primarily blamed on genetic variation. The just-so stories of race realists and human biodiversity advocates don’t offer any real understanding, just yet more dogmatic ideology to obfuscate public debate and undermine political action.

  75. I don’t listen to NPR much these days, but I was bored and I wanted some background noise as I fell asleep. I heard this piece about diversity and Des Moines, Iowa. It was interesting, as there is diversity in flyover country including ethnic immigrant communities. The longest standing Mosque in the US is in Iowa, called the Mother Mosque of America.

    JUNE 27, 2017
    A Spectrum of Faith in Iowa
    http://www.npr.org/podcasts/402557420/talk-of-iowa
    http://iowapublicradio.org/topic/culture-and-diversity#stream/0
    http://iowapublicradio.org/post/book-project-des-moines-showcases-areas-religious-diversity#stream/0
    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/09/think-des-moines-is-full-of-corn-and-white-people-think-again/431343/

  76. At some point in the last half-century, American politicians started talking about responsibility in a new way. Where “responsibility” once referred to the duties of the nation to its citizens, or of the citizens to the nation, or of fellow citizens to one another, it now came to mean the obligations of the individual to himself. Responsibility was personal responsibility. You might date the beginning of this shift to 1968, when Ronald Reagan, then the governor of California, announced in a speech at the Republican National Convention that it was time to stop blaming “society” for people’s failings and to start accepting that “each individual is accountable for his actions.” You might date the completion of this shift to 1993, when President Bill Clinton exhorted Americans in his first Inaugural Address to “demand responsibility from all” and “to break the bad habit of expecting something for nothing.”

    This was more than just a change in political rhetoric. As the political theorist Yascha Mounk argues in his smart and engaging book, THE AGE OF RESPONSIBILITY: Luck, Choice, and the Welfare State (Harvard University, $29.95), the move from “responsibility-as-duty” to “responsibility-as-accountability” was also evident in scholarly debates about distributive justice, in everyday moral language and, most consequentially, in public policy. In 1971, Reagan turned his words into reality by signing a welfare-reform bill in California that made state assistance conditional on people’s good behavior, as judged by work status, child-support arrangements and other proxies for conscientious conduct. In 1996, Clinton signed a similar welfare reform bill that withheld benefits from those thought to show an inadequate willingness to work or an overlong history of requiring assistance. Responsibility, Mounk observes, was no longer, in the first instance, about looking after those in need; it was about rewarding the good and punishing the bad.

    Mounk is not opposed to accountability per se. He does not advocate for a state that compensates its citizens for any and all bad decisions whatever the cost may be. But he does worry that we have embraced accountability to the exclusion of other important values (such as equality and solidarity); at the price of predictability (and the peace of mind that follows from knowing what you can rely on, come what may); and to the neglect of overall social well-being. Does it make sense, he wonders, to focus so much on whether a sick poor person is responsible for not having acquired health insurance? Given that studies suggest public health and economic growth would benefit if he (and others like him) had coverage, shouldn’t we consider providing it regardless of whether he “deserves” it? Or do we so value holding people accountable that we are willing to jeopardize our own welfare for a proper comeuppance?

    To appreciate how deeply the paradigm of accountability has penetrated our culture, Mounk suggests, you need only look at how it has shaped — and distorted — the arguments of those who take themselves to be resisting it. Would-be defenders of the poor and powerless spend a lot of time and effort “denying that people bear responsibility for the way their life has turned out,” because helplessness seems the sole condition for granting them assistance. The underprivileged are depicted as mere playthings of the forces of poverty and racism, “perennial victims,” incapable of agency. Their defenders might have chosen to argue that although the underprivileged sometimes make bad decisions, our duties toward them don’t disappear “merely because they could have avoided needing our assistance” — indeed, that the right policies can help them make better decisions. Instead, Mounk contends, too many advocates unwittingly accept the punitive framework of accountability and, following its logic, end up patronizing those they want to help.

    There’s another concern with policies that aim to distinguish those who have acted “responsibly” from those who haven’t: They require detailed and often invasive bureaucratic investigations into people’s lives. Even for those who have nothing to hide, the experience can be humiliating enough to discourage them from seeking help — to say nothing of the harm to their dignity. In THE POVERTY OF PRIVACY RIGHTS (Stanford Law Books/Stanford University, paper, $24.95), the legal scholar Khiara M. Bridges focuses on a specific case: poor pregnant women seeking state-subsidized prenatal care in California or New York. The evaluations of these women required by the laws in these states are extensive, including assessments of everything from their nutritional habits and reading levels to their religious influences and previous pregnancies. In Bridges’s view, because this intrusion is both extreme and unavoidable, these women are “deprived of privacy rights” altogether.

    Bridges, who is also an anthropologist, spent 18 months doing fieldwork with poor pregnant mothers, which she documented in an earlier book. In this book, she is offering “a legal analysis of the issues” her previous work “explored ethnographically.” She stresses that poor mothers are in a lose-lose situation with respect to their privacy: If they accept state assistance, they abdicate their privacy via the investigation required to assess their “responsibility”; but if they decline to accept state assistance, they also abdicate their privacy because, unable to afford basic necessities, they invite an intrusive investigation by child-welfare agencies. To those who would argue that the state might reasonably want to know whether a pregnant woman has ever used drugs or had multiple sexual partners or missed a prenatal care appointment, Bridges replies that the state must not care too much: Wealthy pregnant women do all of these things, too, yet no state has yet built “an extravagant bureaucratic tool” for monitoring their lives.

    How did this transformation come about? What explains the shift in the United States toward a punitive conception of responsibility? In GETTING TOUGH: Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America (Princeton University, $35), the historian Julilly Kohler-Hausmann disputes the notion, favored by proponents of accountability, that these changes were a natural response to a “crisis” of the welfare state and intractable problems with poor minority communities. On the contrary, she argues, a campaign like Reagan’s welfare reform movement in California actively helped to create that sense of crisis, bolstering “a powerful narrative about the causes of the ‘welfare mess,’” including such caricatures as the “welfare queen.” In selling welfare reform to the public, Reagan repeatedly implied a distinction between full citizens — those entitled to the services of the state — and those seeking welfare. Yet it was the passage of his welfare reform, Kohler-Hausmann notes, that made this distinction real.

    Kohler-Hausmann tells her story through three legislative case studies: New York’s passage of harsh drug laws in 1973 (which construed drug use less as a medical problem and more as a criminal one); California’s welfare reform of 1971 (and a similar “get tough” effort in Illinois); and California’s 1976 criminal sentencing law, which dispensed with the “rehabilitative ideal” in incarceration. In each case, she points out, it was “neither assured nor assumed” before the passage of the legislation that the strategy of “getting tough” would be either politically successful or empirically effective. (Indeed, when Reagan was pushing for his welfare reforms, President Richard Nixon was pushing for the creation of a guaranteed minimum income, which had been building political momentum through the 1960s.) Kohler-Hausmann emphasizes the many contingencies that led to the success of these policies — a complex story unified by the fact that at a time of great political and social turmoil, “getting tough” was frequently “the path with less political resistance from powerful interests in society.”

    Part of the mission of Kohler-Hausmann’s book is to juxtapose the diminishment of the welfare state in the United States with the growth of its penal institutions, and to thereby demonstrate that the last decades of the 20th century witnessed a mutation, not a shrinking, of “big government.” For Mounk, too, the last half-century’s changes to the welfare state require a “coherent story” about the direction in which it’s been going — and that story, he concludes, is a lamentable one of institutions that no longer buffer us from the effects of our bad choices but make it harder for us to live them down.

    • This change obviously wasn’t liberal. That is what makes the Democrats embracing of it so disturbing. Yet this betrayal of culture of trust, shared vision, national interest, public good, community, and social responsibility isn’t conservative either. It’s most definitely reactionary, but such reactionary politics aren’t so much a normal ideology as an expression of anxiety and fear as promoted by concentrated wealth and power.

    • “The intersection of class and race always has the potential to be explosive. This was a nice powder keg, and it just needed the match.”

      There is the key point. That is what is created in a high inequality society. And any society that is high inequality long enough will almost inevitably become divided along race, ethnicity, religion, or something similar. But that is just the form inequality takes.

      The US as a country was built on racialized slavery. What sometimes get forgotten is that racialized slavery was built on inequality. It was because of white and black indentured servants organizing together and revolting together that racialized slavery was created, as a means of avoiding dangerous class conflict. Racialized anything is just one of many possible forms of social control. And in a high inequality society, social control is of penultimate importance.

      In the US, race becomes the way people deal with inequality without having to talk about it. In one of my recent posts, I discussed inequality.

      https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/inequality-means-no-center-to-moderate-toward/

      And in it, I quoted from a book about social science research on inequality. The interesting example I decided to use was studies done on people on planes. It’s the kind of situation, like public schools, that can exacerbate anxiety about socioeconomic class position.

      It’s also interesting that there were two recent examples demonstrating how that anxiety is often projected onto race and ethnicity. In both cases, the minority in question wasn’t poor. But that is irrelevant. As the book I quoted from makes clear, it’s always the perception of class that is most central and being a maligned minority means that you will typically be perceived as inferior and potentially dangerous.

      http://kuow.org/post/there-problem-scary-brown-man-and-white-privilege
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/rampage/wp/2016/05/07/ivy-league-economist-interrogated-for-doing-math-on-american-airlines-flight/

      The real danger that is feared, though, is class conflict. And this danger is very much real in so many ways. High inequality societies are known for their violence. When high inequality lasts long enough, history shows that it eventually erupts into mass violence, either dividing the population further or directed toward some scapegoat/enemy. The US has seen many periods of this.

      The Civil War was helped along because so many Northern whites resented the power Southern aristocrats had held over the federal government since the founding. And that Southern aristocracy was so on edge that it attacked a federal military fort because of the anxiety they were feeling, specifically in South Carolina where the majority of the population was black and the majority of the population was poor.

      Another example was the high inequality era of increasing urbanization, industrialization, Robber Barons, bomb-throwing anarchists, Populism, Klan, ethnic organizations, mass immigration, poor whites moving north, labor conflict, Prohibition, race war, organized crime, and high rate of homicides. Two world wars and the Great Depression helped focus some of that anxiety elsewhere. But it was the New Deal that decreased the inequality that was causing the anxiety.

      The main issue of the school article isn’t that the parents are white liberals but that they are wealthier. It just so happens that being a white liberal in the US correlates to relative wealth, but then again so does many other things. Why it stands out is because of the hypocrisy. That isn’t surprising. High inequality breeds hypocrisy because it creates division not just in society but within people’s experience and identity. One thing to be clear about is that high inequality is extremely abnormal conditions for the human species. We aren’t designed to deal with it well.

      These upper class white liberals are attempting to rationalize their position in the social order. Having their privilege pointed out to them makes them uncomfortable and it should. Their position is precarious because class conflict is not a mere metaphor. Actual conflict, even violence, can and often does follow from class divisions. The funny thing, though, is that the liberal class probably has more to fear from the middle class radicalized reactionaries that also form out of high inequality. High inequality, in the end, doesn’t even manage to maintain class solidarity.

    • That is sad. The behavior of Israelis is not helping to lessen anti-semitism. It’s even ironic that the Zionist treatment of Palestinians is also anti-semitism, as Palestinians have more Semitic genetics than do most Jews. It’s fucked up in many ways.

    • How is it a people like European Jews could experience what they did and learn absolutely nothing? If they learned anything, it was the tactics of the Nazis in oppressing those who are different. It makes me despair. This is how evil operates in the world.

      The hypocrisy of it is incomprehensible. There is no population on the planet that has the least excuse to treat others this way, because they can’t even claim ignorance about what such oppression means and what it does to people. It would be like freed blacks after the Civil War starting their own slave society where they enslaved Africans of even darker skin.

      Israel will be remembered by future generations as far worse than the Nazis. The Germans at least had a rational ideology of eugenic ethno-nationalism to explain their embracing Nazism. But Semites escaping anti-semitism to build a refuge for Semites only to enforce anti-semitism against Palestinians and African Jews doesn’t even make rational sense, much less moral sense.

  77. When you have a world economic system that encourages massive wealth disparity, when you have a culture of insularity and selfishness on the part of the rich, and not forgetting long and brutal history of colonialism in their home countries, this state of affairs is hardly a surprise. If you had to face the choices some of those refugees had to face you might appreciate their plight a bit more.
    Two take-aways:
    1) a world system based on naked greed will eventually produce horrendous results even for the “winners”.
    2) Israel has become the very thing that the persecuted Jews of the past fled

    • The self-destructiveness of it all is what gets to me. It sometimes feels like the human race has become so fatalistic as to have become collectively suicidal. The West, including Israel, has spent generations fucking over innocent people, destabilizing entire regions, exploiting and wasting the world’s resources, and contributing the most to climate change. How does any rational person expect this to end well?

  78. Here is my response to the recent NRA ad. There should be a national organization that raises enough money to buy at least one gun or better yet multiple guns and ammunition for every US citizen who isn’t a middle-to-upper class WASP right-winger:

    African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Catholics, pagans, atheists, the poorest permanent underclass, the unemployed, the homeless, new immigrants, union members, Democrats, Greens, liberals, progressives, social democrats, civil rights activists, Black Lives Matter activists, communists, anarchists, left-libertarians, SJWs, anti-fascists, etc.

    If the NRA wants to threaten the American public, we better arm the American public so that they can defend themselves against these radicalized reactionaries. We also should train the American public in how to safely and accurately use these weapons, help them to get all the proper licensing, teaches them about national and local laws such as stand-your-ground, and provide the framework for them to organize into militias, defense networks, and neighborhood watch groups.

    Then we should make it clear that the NRA, GOP, and right-wing militant groups were our inspiration. Either we need more gun control, less hate crime, and less police violence or we need more guns for more people to even out the odds. After that, we will find out how much the political right loves a gun culture that romanticizes violence as the solution to all problems.

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/06/30/nra-issues-call-white-supremacy-and-armed-insurrection

    • Every aspect of US society is racialized in numerous ways. Dealing with racism in piecemeal fashion often feels dissatisfying and maybe ineffective. The racist social order simply morphs, but it’s fundamental nature doesn’t change. If we are serious about civil rights, we need to strike at the heart of the unjust system. We need more than reforms that tinker around at the edges.

  79. Jimmy Dore, in his criticisms, is admitting the obvious implications. If the corporate media is lying about the Russians, it also means the intelligence agencies are also lying. And as any informed person knows, the intelligence agencies have a history of lying. But they also have a history of knowing more than they tell.

    Before the Cold War started, the intelligence agencies knew the Soviets weren’t a threat but kept silent because politicians wanted to force the Cold War into existence. The intelligence agencies knew that the Soviets didn’t have as many missiles as JFK claimed in his campaign but they didn’t challenge his lie. The intelligence agencies also weren’t entirely confident about WMDs in Iraq.

    That is how intelligence agencies operate. They don’t go public with info except when it serves to promote some agenda. Or else because something forces their hand. That gets to my concern. I don’t know if the intelligence agencies are lying in this case. What is more worrying is that there is much more going on here that we aren’t being told about. What we are hearing, even if not entirely true or only selectively true, could be misleading and serving as distraction.

    I feel certain that there is a lot going on right now behind the scenes.

    Besides all of that, I notice how all of this doesn’t just get framed as a partisan issue but primarily as a national issue. It doesn’t matter if it is corporate media or alternative media, as they both frame it in surprisingly similar ways, including Jimmy Dore.

    What gets left out is that the Russian hacking issue first came to official attention, as far as we know, because local officials noticed what was happening. Were those local officials? Or were others lying about those local officials? Why doesn’t any of the corporate media or alternative media interview these local officials?

    Local officials have a different perspective on political problems. They also have different concerns and emphasis, since they are closer to voters and the everyday lives of average Americans. Local officials are often less partisan and certainly less connected to intelligence agencies. I’d like to hear their take on what happened during the election.

    Whatever one thinks about the DNC or GOP, Clinton or Trump, these local officials deserve to speak for themselves.

  80. This is against the law. When police break the law, they should be arrested, be charged, go to trial, and if proven guilty punished. In fact, their treatment should be more harsh than for citizens.

    We should hold all of our public servants to the highest possible standard and punish them to the greatest degree when they fail. Being a public servant is both a responsibility and a privilege. They work for and are paid for by the public. There only purpose is to serve the public. If they fail their only purpose, that is a total failure.

    It’s worse than that, in that they’ve accomplished the oppose by attacking and harming the public, by treating the public as an enemy. For anyone who cares about either civil rights or law and order, for any society aspiring to be a democracy, this should be unacceptable.

  81. That is one of the better videos giving a clear example of what is wrong with corporate media. This is the difference between a democratic political-economic system and a corporatist political-economic system.

    The former serves the public and consumers, which means the news media would primarily be concerned with maintaining the public good and offering the best product for their customers. But that is obviously not what we get, which is the latter where corporate media serves corporate interests and many of those corporate interests are primarily political interests: military-industrial complex, big energy largely based on natural resources from US public lands and military-enforced access to foreign public lands, geopolitical maintenance of trade routes and agreements, monetary manipulations through the Fed and petro-dollar, etc.

    News media isn’t a normal capitalist business. It plays a central role as part of national propaganda, psyops, and perception management. It’s not just corporate but corporatist.

  82. “Chris is predicting that within 3 years we will either have an economic collapse that temporarily masks the underlying energy problem, or we will have oil shortages and a price shock that will trigger a credit crisis like 2008 but worse. He backs these predictions with the correct data, in my opinion.

    “I independently came to roughly the same conclusion, although I would add a 3rd possibility given rising stresses around the world: a major war.

    “I think the 3 possible outcomes are roughly equal in probability, although given the deceleration in credit growth apparent from the following graph, an economic collapse has the lead by a nose.”

    https://un-denial.com/2017/06/30/by-chris-martenson-the-looming-energy-shock/

  83. https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/30/the-disputed-election-to-head-cas-democratic-party/

    Seth Sandronsky: California is a rock-solid blue state, with a Democratic governor and party control over both houses of the legislature. What does Bauman’s election by a vote margin of 1,493 to 1,431, which Ellis disputes, mean as the 2018 election to change the character of the GOP-dominated Congress draws closer?

    Karen Bernal: It is a fight over the very soul of the Democratic Party. It is a struggle over whether the progressives, especially the great numbers of former Sanders supporters who swept into the party in recent delegate elections, are going to prevail over the party establishment.

    SS: What does the Ellis campaign want?

    KB: We want an independent audit of the ballots cast based on evidence that people voted who were likely ineligible to vote. It is very much in question if Bauman is the legitimate head of the Calif. Democratic Party.

    SS: What is the practical impact of the dispute over the Bauman-Ellis vote?

    KB: You can imagine what happened after the allegations of vote-rigging against Sanders in favor of Clinton in the 2016 primary. There are huge divisions and acrimony within the party, especially in the progressive wing, e.g., the “Berniecrats” (backers of Vermont Independent Sen. Sanders). A large number of Ellis supporters are Berniecrats.

    SS: Where do things go next in the election to lead Calif.’s Democratic Party?

    KB: There are close to 200 ballots with mismatched signatures in addition to what appears to be dozens of ineligible proxy votes. There are other concerns as well, which I am not at liberty to talk about. We are calling for an independent audit of the election. The California Democratic Party’s Compliance Review Commission rejects our bid for an independent audit of the ballot, though, at first, Bauman supporters actually called for one before they changed their minds. They changed their minds after the Ellis team had four (less than full business) days over two weeks (approximately 27 hours) to review the ballots, whereby the call for an independent audit went out based on what they had initially found. It should be noted that the review is not complete, as the party denied access to the materials after the fourth day.

    SS: “There are numerous types of discrepancies ranging from mismatched and missing signatures to individuals casting multiple ballots to ineligible proxies voting,” according to a recent Ellis statement. What is going on here?

    KB: Yes, based on a cursory analysis of county and state Assembly-level proxy voters, for instance, there are around two dozen votes for the state chair that seem ineligible, according to the specific party rules about proxy eligibility. Say you were in a specific county central committee and could not attend the election to vote for the next state chair. If that was the case, a proxy to cast a vote would have to be from the same central committee.

    SS: As we end the interview, what is your final comment?

    KB: One thing is certain, a majority of the elected delegates, not the appointed delegates where Bauman dominated, voted for progressive change. This is why we need an independent audit of the vote.

  84. https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/30/beyond-inauthentic-opposition/

    “I’ve long and consistently used a metaphor from the original version of Upton Sinclair’s famous Socialist novel The Jungle, describing the Democrats as one of “two wings of the same [capitalist and imperialist] bird of prey.”

    “I’ve distanced myself from Lesser-Evilism and written and spoken about some of the ways in which the dismal, dollar-drenched Dems (the DDDs) are the greater and (in Glen Ford’s words) “more effective evil.” The domestically (but not anti-imperially) leftish Bernie F-35 Sanders candidacy (which seduced even the officially Trotskyist group Socialist Alternative during last year’s presidential primaries) could not entice me back into my parents’ and grandparents’ party. (Any slight chance Sanders had of getting me on board was lost by his refusal to meaningfully confront the Pentagon system, which undermines the nation’s potential for social-democratic policy by sucking up more than half the nation’s federal discretionary spending in the process of murdering and maiming millions around the world to maintain a global Empire that accounts for nearly half the planet’s military spending and bears the planet’s single largest institutional carbon footprint.)”

  85. Even left-wingers too often get caught up in such social fictions.

    There was an activist who I got involved with because I was interested in organizing at the local level. He was more of a radical left-wing influenced by Marxist thought. But his vision seemed so limited and limiting. His greatest aspiration seemed to be labor organization since, like so many other Americans, he defined humans according to the work they do.

    I find that depressing. I don’t identify by the work I do. And I don’t judge the worth of others by the work they do. I have no desire to organize workers, as if the unemployed and homeless are worthless. I want to organize humans. Our value is that we are humans, not that we are employed.

    The era of mass labor organizing is over. There is no point in romanticizing the past in terms of a noble working class that no longer exists. Labor ideology has become near meaningless in this age of neoliberal corporatism, globalized plutocracy, and a permanent underclass.

    We aren’t classes. We might speak of castes, if we want to be more honest. The defining feature of our social order isn’t work but the social position we are born into, specifically in terms of power and privilege. Our economic position is more result than cause.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/30/has-working-class-lost-its-meaning/

    “The working-class has become a galvanizing issue for both Republicans and Democrats. Since the end of WW-II, the notion of class has been transformed; the working-class superseded by the middle-class. Today, the working class is back, at least rhetorically.

    “But what does working class mean in an era of deepening inequality, when the American dream can no longer be made great again? Has class been exposed as a social fiction? Perhaps it’s time to reinvent the proletariat.

    “Everybody knows their class identity, their relative socio-economic position within the vast American social order. It determines everything from where one lives to one’s likely life expectancy, from the food one eats to the sex one engages in – and one’s beliefs and the politicians one will likely vote for. Yet, this is America and — with the exceptions of the very top and bottom of the social order — class doesn’t exist.”

    • There are many motivations for diet.

      Obviously, what is cheapest and easiest plays a major role, specifically at a time when so many people lack excess wealth, are in debt, don’t have dependable work, and/or are overworked. The diet people eat often makes perfect sense for the conditions under which people live. If you were a poor woman who had several young children and were working multiple jobs, what would you feed yourself and your family?

      Another factor I often hear is that factory farm vegetables simply aren’t as tasty. They are mass produced to grow fast and be kept without rotting for long periods before being sold. Few people have access to traditionally grown heirloom produce or have the time to grow it for themselves.

      Besides, to return to the first point, no one can ever grow their own food as cheaply as they can buy it and raising one’s own food would be like having another part time job. It is hard to resist food that is both cheaper and easier, even when one could make other choices. If the healthiest food was the cheapest and easiest, there would be more healthy people. The question is why can’t healthy food be cheaper and easier than it is?

      In the past, people didn’t eat better because they had noble ideals about natural foods. Well, I’m not sure to what degree most Americans ever ate all that health. The traditional diet of my working class Kentuckiana family consisted of meat, some kind of carb, and maybe something very basic grown in the garden. But one of their favorite vegetables was wilted lettuce, which consisted of taking lettuce and pouring bacon grease over it. There was always lots of bacon grease and it was used liberally in cooking.

      My mother’s family did eat some basic diversity of foods. They had apple trees. But their gardens seemed fairly basic with just a couple of vegetables grown such as lettuce and beans. They would gather wild mushrooms when they were in season and hunt squirrel or rabbit.

      The most traditional food of all for early Kentuckianans was the johnny cake and all it involved was mixing ground corn, salt, and water cooked next to a fire. My mother’s grandmother had a meal she ate everyday. It was saltine crackers and butter placed into a coffee cup with coffee poured over it. It’s possible that was something she ate when younger and, in place of saltines, she would have used johnny cakes.

      I’d note that, by the late 1800s, canned foods were already a common staple of the American diet. And my mother’s family was certainly as American as they came. My grandparents probably ate something canned on nearly a daily basis for all of their lives. Canned foods have been cheap for a long time.

      Few of my maternal ancestors had long lives. There was only one lady born around 1805 who lived into the first decade or so of the 20th century, but that was rare. Most of them died in their 40s and 50s. A lot of them died of heart attacks. It’s not that they lived horribly unhealthy lives, as they were typically manual laborers and junk food was less common. The basic issue was lack of healthcare and such. People just got sick and died. People only went to the doctor when they absolutely had to and that often meant when someone was already close to death.

      • Frozen and canned veggies often taste better it’s true. As an example canned tomatoes taste like tomatoes while tomatoes at Walmart are usually unnaturally big, tasteless, and slimy. Not crunchy and a sweet/sour/umami mix

        • Some people have access to a farmers’ market. You can get tasty produce that way. But I’m not sure how many people live near farmers’ markets.

          There still are a fair number of people who grow their own produce. Gardening is far from uncommon here in the Midwest, even in town. It can be a lot of work, though. I was talking to a coworker who remembered gardening and canning when she lived with her parents. Now that she was a working mother, she had no interest whatsoever to garden and can her own food.

          It seems like people work a lot these days. Most married couples I know involve both spouses working and usually at least full time. It seems like most people are so busy that they are lucky to even eat together as a family. My mom talks about visiting family for Sunday. Chickens would be killed on the spot, the cows milked, and whatever was available in the garden would have been picked. All the women would spend hours cooking a massive feast.

          I don’t personally know anyone these days who regularly has large family gatherings like that. Most people are too preoccupied these days, even for those rare people who do live near extended family. The only people I know who seem to have much time are those who aren’t married. And single people are even less likely to cook than married couples with kids.

          I’m sure many people could make time to cook quality, tasty meals. But it doesn’t seem to be a priority for most people. My mom is one of the hardest working people I know and, even though she is retired, she is as likely to use packaged ingredients as to use fresh ingredients. She usually does whatever is cheapest and easiest.

  86. Americans around me I notice often eat such processed food. Often the food they’re eating isn’t inherently shitty, but the ingredients that went into it are. Like boxed mashed potatoes ce real potatoes, or a casserole that consists of dumping several cans (many preservative laden like the soups) into a dish and baking it

    • That sounds like the diet I grew up on.

      My mother worked and at one point she had a long commute to work. Her cooking basically involved throwing a few items together, often stuff from cans and boxes. It was all she had time for. She always made sure we had vegetables and they sometimes were fresh. She tended to shop by whatever was cheapest.

      Her mother (i.e., my grandmother) was a much worse cook. Like my mother, she also worked. And I don’t know that the grandmother next door did much cooking either. I get the sense that the meals people ate back then were extremely basic. My mother didn’t learn much about cooking as a child. She largely taught herself out of cookbooks.

      For most Americans, I don’t get the sense that much cooking knowledge was passed on from past generations. No one in my family apparently ate any variety of ethnic food. Even the German immigrants on my dad’s side seemed to have assimilated to the American diet.

      It’s not like none of my family gardened. In fact, there were several lines of my family that were farmers. But for my mom’s family, that farming was purely commercial tobacco. My dad’s family had at least one farmer who grew vegetables. But I don’t know much about the diet in the earlier generations.

      My dad’s mother was a Southerner and cooked some Southern foods like grits. She also made chicken stock. She was a working lady as well and, by personality, wasn’t the kind of person to spend long hours in the kitchen. There weren’t too many stay-at-home mothers on either side of my family. I don’t know the reason for that.

  87. The Worst Diet?

    Media Source
    The tragic story of the Marshall Islands began with a healthy community eating natural foods from the earth…until the U.S. Army occupied the island 60 years ago. They imported canned and heavily processed foods from America, which caused a drop in local food production.

    Now, the price of fresh vegetables is too high for most families and the community survives off of fatty, low-quality meat, soda and canned vegetables. Type 2 diabetes is so prevalent that the most common surgery there is amputation caused by the disease.

    • I would imagine that many of those Islanders worked for the army during the occupation. Their entire traditional lifestyle probably ended. I could imagine it also attracted missionaries who converted the natives and sought to actively destroy their traditional lifestyle. I have strong suspicions that it was more than merely introducing different food.

  88. http://www.reprieve.org.uk/update/comment-trumps-first-100-days-marked-secret-strikes-civilian-deaths/

    President Trump has used his first 100 days in office to ramp up a failed, Obama-era policy of secret strikes around the world. Trump could have reversed this disastrous policy – instead, he has ramped it up, killing innocent children in countries like Yemen.

    The US assassination programme is illegal and unconstitutional – it is the death penalty without trial, on a global scale.
    Secret operations that kill kids will do nothing to make Americans safer. The Trump Administration must urgently halt and review the US policy of global strikes – while America’s allies, such as the UK, must urge the White House to change course.

    https://voxpopulisphere.com/2017/07/03/american-judge-says-democracy-is-broken-as-court-declines-to-oversee-drone-killing/

    Reprieve Attorney Shelby Sullivan-Bennis said: “When a senior judge raises the alarm about our democracy, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Judge Brown appears profoundly uncomfortable with her court giving our President carte blanche to kill innocents abroad. She is right to ask who will check the power of the US executive. The bleak answer today is ‘no one.’”

    Eric Lewis, Partner at Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss pllc, said: “When the judiciary has no role to play in preventing war crimes, “democracy is broken” in the words of appellate judge Janice Rogers Brown in a remarkable concurrence. The Al Jaber case highlights a structural problem under current law. The President can order innocent people killed because of faulty algorithms or bad intelligence and there is no current remedy. In the new world of modern remote warfare there must be oversight and Judge Rogers Brown’s opinion is a courageous call for the Supreme Court to prevent impunity in the commission of war crimes by an unchecked executive.”

  89. The Omaha Platform of the Populist Party from July 4, 1892:

    http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5361/

    “We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them…

    “We demand a national currency, safe, sound, and flexible, issued by the general government only, a full legal tender for all debts, public and private…without the use of banking corporations…

    “Transportation being a means of exchange and a public necessity, the government should own and operate the railroads in the interest of the people. The telegraph, telephone, like the post-office system, being a necessity for the transmission of news, should be owned and operated by the government in the interest of the people…

    “The land, including all the natural sources of wealth, is the heritage of the people, and should not be monopolized for speculative purposes, and alien ownership of land should be prohibited. All land now held by railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and all lands now owned by aliens should be reclaimed by the government and held for actual settlers only…”

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