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Showing posts from 2017

Someone get the CDC a thesaurus!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/cdc-gets-list-of-forbidden-words-fetus-transgender-diversity/2017/12/15/f503837a-e1cf-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html?utm_term=.9280df07ab70

I feel like this may be one of those stories that is quietly walked back in a week or so. Government bureaucracies are nothing if not committed to absolutely staying the same, and they can get around a word ban with little change in intent. Trump is hilariously committed to breaking brains of the liberal pundit class and his half-wit base loves it. It’s really all he has, as he hasn’t been able to get much else done. (Please don’t remind me of the tax bill that is all but certain to become law.)

Identity entrepreneurs

http://www.philly.com/philly/living/sex_love_dating/relationships-sex-dating-polydelphia-20171214.html?mobi=true

 The thing that sticks out to me when I read this wasn’t that a small percentage of people choose to have more than one “partner” (I normally hate describing human relationships in such a businessy way, but in this this case it works). I understand if you aren’t monogamous yet need to get married for financial purposes, that’s something we need to change as a society, but as things are today I get that. I understand being open about that with your “partners.” That’s actually commendable compared to the opposite. But people lose me when they start conjuring up specific identities to describe what essentially is a person having multiple lovers. Yeah, having more than one “partner” isn’t exactly socially acceptable everywhere, but it’s also been happening since time immemorial.

 Typically identities are created by a slow and complex process that ultimately reflects material co…

More “collusion”

What’s going on in Washington right now looks a bit like the run up to Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment in Brazil. Trump’s goons are getting busted for sleaze that everyone does the same way Rousseff’s “corruption” was basically how the Brazilian political system works. (The Brazilians didn’t need a Russia panic, but that’s our own special quirk.)

At the same time as the Flynn craziness (Flynn was also improperly lobbying for, or could we say “colluding” with, Israel in case you didn’t hear), the Senate is to vote on a tax bill they haven’t really finished writing let alone read and debated.

Pardon the conspiratorial tone, but it really seems like Trump’s purpose is to sign this massive money grab, then piss off back to reality tv. I get the feeling there’s a layer of the elite who are sick of being laughed at across the world, but really don’t want to pay taxes and would love to blame the future mess this tax bill causes on an impeached Trump.

Colluding!

Meeting with a foreign government becomes “collusion” if the United States doesn’t have much, if any, control over that government. That’s also how we determine who is an ally. When push come to shove, will they do what we say? If the answer is most likely no, then any contact, especially seemingly friendly contact during a presidential campaign, is suspect. People will even say treasonous. It doesn’t matter the details of the meeting. This is how liberal nationalism is expressed. It’s obviously less inflammatory than the “nuke ‘em” rhetoric, but still pretty goddamned dangerous.

Don’t Panic?

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/sex-consent-dangers-of-misplaced-scale
The link above is a really good contextual look at our current moment. Best case scenario this societal “renegotiation” creates a space for people who have been sexual assaulted to come forward. I don’t see that happening in any meaningful way, in part because of the outsized influence males have on the political process, but also because of the liberal reaction to this windfall of allegations. Instead of demanding due process be extended to the workplace, something that could alter political consciousness drastically (one could almost call it a transitional demand), we’ve seen a near universal embrace of firing someone as a political act, which in turn further legitimizes the near absolute power of private industry.
It’s worth pondering why so little has been said about the authoritarianism that comes not from Trump but as a reaction to him. When people, well meaning or not, start chipping away at the …

The Earth is not Fragile

I found myself cringing the other day listening to a well intentioned, yet completely ridiculous, city slicking environmentalist tell a room full of us how fragile the earth is. I wanted to scream "it is not!" but decorum got the better of me and I stayed quiet. It isn't fragile, not in any real sense of the word. The earth would just as soon wash us all away in a flood than conjure up a gorgeous sunset.
One of the most punk rock things you can do these days, particularly at dinner parties in liberal enclaves like where I live, is say you're skeptic when it comes to what people view as scientific consensus. Usually people think climate change, and are immediately offended by the idea that someone may disagree with what they've been told is humanity's most desperate and urgent threat. This is not to say I don't believe the earth is getting warmer, I surely do, or that I believe humans haven't had an effect on the environment, we certainly have. It'…

I'm Not Worried About Designer babies

It's in the news again, but I haven't taken the time to even think about the implications of "designer babies." The only class able to afford such a procedure if it was to become common, the professional and managerial class, is in the grips of a moral panic not seen since Reagan era "satanic panic" and/or the "repressed memories" scam. (The "repressed memories" thing is less well known, but for a time it became cryptically fashionable for people, usually upper middle class, to explain away how they managed to squeeze the fun out of vices, become drunk bores for example, by saying some poor babysitter buggered them years ago and it was so traumatic they unconsciously hid the memory. A lucrative cottage industry arose digging those memories out, or rather creating them altogether.) 
Anyway, I'm not at all worried because this class has been regularly confusing identity conjuring and oppression seeking with political resistance and a fe…

A ridiculous attempt to sum up Syria or PICK A SIDE ALREADY

I wouldn't lose any sleep if Assad ended up hanging from a street light. But that's not my decision, or yours, unless you are Syrian. Although these things are hard to measure during a war, it appears people in Syria aren't really looking for that. Most people live under government control and have taken it to be the least worst option. That's hardly an endorsement for life under Assad, but it is a recognition that people believe the opposition, at this point pretty well exclusively jihadists, would be worse. It's not difficult to see why, as these same people are setting up slave markets in Libya, a country that quickly went to hell after they lost their despot because of an American regime change project. This is hard for us soft first worlders to comprehend, as we've never had to make such an unclean choice. It doesn't sit well and our moralism demands we pick a side.

We usually only hear about the regime and the opposition. But if we must choose a side,…

We could do this too

People left of center see Trump as someone doing something illegal, or even plotting a coup, primarily because we haven't really seen political power work for us. We haven't seen someone get elected and actually do what the base wants.

Compare right now to 2008. Dems had congress and the white house. People were ready for change. We could have pushed through a national healthcare system, Medicare for all for, something that would have changed the entire political landscape for generations. Instead a compromise was proposed, right from the beginning. We got "RomneyCare" nation wide. The republicans held fast. Not only did they offer zero support for the ACA, they nominated Romney and he ran against his own program! Now that's discipline. He, of course, lost. But the lesson learned was that he was too moderate. And that was right.

This idea that we shouldn't normalize Trump, that he is extraordinary, means he is a politician who actually does what he says to ma…

A meeting of the minds

As the station chief readied the parrilla for the next prisoner, he noticed a distant but approving stare from Donald. 

"We got off to a rocky start," he said, summoning the courage to address Donald directly. 
"We did." Donald approached him and grabbed the chief's shoulders in a familiar hierarchical way. 
"I had a feeling we'd become fast friends," Donald said with a chuckle as they both moved toward the exit. 
The piercing screams began but were soon muffled by the door closing behind them.