clarifications?

July 24th, 2019

Afghanistan has said the United States should clarify comments by President Donald Trump

Oh boy.  I don’t know that Trump is interested in clarifying the comments, but I’m as good a representative for the “United States” as anyone, so I’ll take a crack.  What were President Trump’s comments?

“I have plans on Afghanistan that, if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone,” Trump told reporters. “It would be over in – literally, in 10 days. And I don’t want to do, I don’t want to go that route.”

This was met by the typical chest thumping on the part of some representatives of Afghanistan.  The familiar “Graveyard of Empires” shtick.

We do have a clarification of sorts from Trump…

At one point in his Oval Office remarks, Trump referred to dropping America’s largest non-nuclear bomb on Afghanistan in 2017, and said that dropping more of them would be the “easy solution” to ending the conflict there.

Not the mention the nuclear ones, which… see, the development of the A Bomb during World War Two has created a new calculus which would blow away the whole “Graveyard of Empires”, though with repercussions of old paranoid 50s era science fiction.

Citizen Trump once tweeted the question for the Obama Administration — why are we still having troops out there fighting in Afghanistan?  He’s finally getting around to this as president, though predictably giving it his Biff Tannen spin.

 

on the eve of destruction

July 19th, 2019

The funny thing … George W Bush swung the Muslim vote in 2000.  And why the hell not?  A small “c” conservativism uncomfortable with some tenants of the “gay lifestyle”, and hey — who’s that on the backhalf of the Democratic ticket and what’s he think of Israel again?…

Then again, how is it Trump unites some anti-semitic spewers of “alt right” land with the hawkish Lukid government in Israel?  Things unite, then fall apart.

So, in response to Donald Trump’s racist comment — we are dumped with the responses — clip various comments made by the members of the “Squad” — double back to highlight their unpopularity with members of the electorate (and, yes, Nancy Pelosi is right: they wouldn’t win outside their districts), declare this as brilliant strategy — Trump will now be running against these four, not the actual Democratic nominee.  And did you see that comment made by the Boston congresswoman?  Isn’t that something?  Did we mention polling shows them to be unpopular?

Trump walks into a rally.  They chant to lock her up — I mean deport her — or thereabouts — and, by the way, this Atlantic headline … Trump Supporters Don’t Make Chants About Men — nay, they’re busy back curating Biden groping Biden images for Trump to retweet…. after a bit of Republican buttheading, Trump suggests he tried to calm the crowd and made quick galloping talk-overs.  Surely he jests.

Question:  How does it all play over in some weird parts of Pennsylvania Coal Country?  That’s all that matters.  And quit being a pundit, armchair pundit voter.

Andrew Yang is speaking to you

July 14th, 2019

One lady, a smallish woman of Asian descent, has a sign tucked away.  Clearly of campaign type, it’s message is internationalist in flavor — “For Humanity’s Sake”, or something such.  I guess a rejoinder against Trump’s nationalist nativism.

Standing apart from him, a hipster bearded buff looking guy has another sign which spells them out.  “The Yang Gang”.  These are backers of Andrew Yang, coming off of a rally which he held in the city.
There are surely worse possibilities than “Yang Gang”, imagine the problems for a candidate named “Yanuses”.

I guess we’ll see next year if this leads to him winning the Oregon primary.

small a art

July 12th, 2019

I’ve been somewhat grappling with this weird “Soviet Realist” school of artistic analysis I see in our cultural authorities — oh, praises fora politically spruced up and gun control preachy revival of Oklahoma on broadway, for instance…

Apparently it’s not a crowd pleasure, but it is a critic pleasure

But after intermission, there were empty seats where some of those smiling faces had been, and as the second act wore on, still other theatergoers walked out, evidently repelled by the director Daniel Fish’s dark and daring reinterpretation of this enduring classic from Broadway’s golden age. By the usually rousing final chorus of “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” many of those remaining in their seats—and many of the actors onstage—were in or near tears.

And if you have a problem with all those guns

“We are honored and proud that Oklahoma! will be leading the way on Broadway by partnering with the Gun Neutral Initiative,” Price said in a statement provided to Deadline prior to the panel. “Just because a particular story calls for the presence of a particular weapon, that doesn’t mean that we have to remain complacent in America’s gun-violence epidemic. Helping to destroy firearms that shouldn’t be in circulation is both a privilege and a responsibility.”

Kind of a “Cap and Trade” policy, I suppose.  They should have gone all the way and staged a gunfree Oklahoma show — that would have been avante garde.

So… everything gets reviewed in terms of how much it advances or retards an ultimate political good.  So we see something here with George Packer revisiting Orwell’s 1984.

 In front of my nose, in the world of enlightened and progressive people where I live and work, a different sort of doublethink has become pervasive. It’s not the claim that true is fake or that two plus two makes five. Progressive doublethink—which has grown worse in reaction to the right-wing kind—creates a more insidious unreality because it operates in the name of all that is good. Its key word is justice—a word no one should want to live without. But today the demand for justice forces you to accept contradictions that are the essence of doublethink.

For example, many on the left now share an unacknowledged but common assumption that a good work of art is made of good politics and that good politics is a matter of identity. The progressive view of a book or play depends on its political stance, and its stance—even its subject matter—is scrutinized in light of the group affiliation of the artist: Personal identity plus political position equals aesthetic value. This confusion of categories guides judgments all across the worlds of media, the arts, and education, from movie reviews to grant committees. Some people who register the assumption as doublethink might be privately troubled, but they don’t say so publicly. Then self-censorship turns into self-deception, until the recognition itself disappears—a lie you accept becomes a lie you forget. In this way, intelligent people do the work of eliminating their own unorthodoxy without the Thought Police.

Orthodoxy is also enforced by social pressure, nowhere more intensely than on Twitter, where the specter of being shamed or “canceled” produces conformity as much as the prospect of adding to your tribe of followers does. This pressure can be more powerful than a party or state, because it speaks in the name of the people and in the language of moral outrage, against which there is, in a way, no defense. Certain commissars with large followings patrol the precincts of social media and punish thought criminals, but most progressives assent without difficulty to the stifling consensus of the moment and the intolerance it breeds—not out of fear, but because they want to be counted on the side of justice.

From the new Robby Soave book Panic Attack:

 

The second problem, which follows logically from the first, is the perfection problem. Very few people can grasp with 100 percent accuracy the various requirements of intersectional progressivism, given that they aren’t allowed to interrogate the oppressed, who are the only source of knowledge about their oppression. I once saw this issue explained perfectly in a blog post, written by a woman complaining about all that was required of her. “As an ally, my job is to not impose my own beliefs of what’s ‘right,’ but instead amplify the voices of the oppressed people that I’m trying to be an ally for,” she wrote. “Except that I shouldn’t bug them about educating me, because that’s not what they’re there for. And it’s my duty to talk about the issue of oppression in question, because it’s the job of all of us, rather than the oppressed people, to fix it. Except that when I talk, I shouldn’t be using my privilege to drown out the voices of the oppressed people. Also, I should get everything right, 100% of the time. Including the terminology that the oppressed people in question themselves disagree on.”

Even the most well-intentioned person is bound to slip up. My Facebook feed recently served up a note from someone asking for help finding shelter for a wheelchair-bound neighbor. The immediate reply was this: “The only resource I have for you at the moment is in regards to the words wheelchair bound,” accompanied by a link to a HuffPost article titled “Stop Saying ‘Wheelchair-Bound’ and Other Offensive Terms.” You probably didn’t know wheelchair-bound was offensive terminology—I certainly didn’t—and in any case, you shouldn’t ask someone in a wheelchair what the correct terminology is, because it’s not that person’s job to educate you.

In The Daily Beast, Kristen Lopez described the 2018 Marvel superhero film Ant-Man and the Wasp as “ableist”—that is, disparaging of people with disabilities—for including a character who suffers from chronic pain and is attempting to cure her condition. “Instead of helping Ava find a way to cope [with] (and not necessarily eradicate) her disability, the film seeks to provide a cure.” That’s a bad thing, Lopez wrote, because not all disabled people want to overcome their disability.  Who knew you could run afoul of disability activism by making a movie in which a character who suffers from chronic pain tries to overcome it?

Actually I think we’re trapped into a grand unified theory.  The Washington Monthly review on Soave’s book has some interesting things I would place here, but it’s not online as of yet.

Oh, here it is.

Notably, when Soave reports conversations with left-radical protestors, they tend to convey little interest in liberal theories of the case at all. “Free speech is allowing people to express themselves in a way that doesn’t put other people down,” one tells him at an anti-alt-right counterdemonstration last year. “It doesn’t oppress people and damage our society.” Elsewhere, an antifascist activist is incredulous about any need to justify physically attacking a peaceful group of right-wing demonstrators: “They’re fucking Nazis.” Elsewhere still, in arguing to cancel the screening of a pro-gay film about Stonewall that a group of student activists deemed in an open letter “discursively violent” toward members of the trans community, an undergrad student dismisses the idea of showing the film and then debating about it. “Critical discussion,” she says, “is simply a way of engaging in respectability politics.” Overall, the lack of engagement with liberal ideas is at least as striking as the substance of any radical ideas themselves.

the culture wars suck.

July 10th, 2019

Hate Group Monitors beg to differ against…

… one time Backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  (One Year Wonder who then lost his job to Blaine Gabbert.)

Even if, of course, I’m stuck at the thought: they also like Jane Austen.  Where are we going with this?

I flick open the Willamette Week to see this gloating piece about the lack of sales fallout in any reaction to the Kaepernick veto of Betsy Ross.  It cites Kaepernick as an authority for this bit of information.  For some reason.

Multiple reports traced the decision to objections raised by activist Nike pitchman Colin Kaepernick, who warned that the design had been co-opted by hate groups that express nostalgia for the nation before slavery was abolished.

I will note that the response — “Hypocrisy”, with the photograph of Barack Obama in front of a bunch of historical flags — is false.  Barack Obama is not Colin Kaepernick — Kapernick, famously, did not vote in the 2016 election (you’d have to ask about the two previous elections.)

Also noted in the WW… a plug for a “Drag Story Hour” at Powells, which they posit in political terms as against the reactionaries who made some events a news event and controversy.

We don’t normally cover children’s storytimes in the hallowed pages of this newspaper, but since a bunch of reactionaries are freaking out about it in the national media, it seems worth pointing out that Powell’s is hosting its first Drag Queen Story Hour.  The family friendly event features […] Here’s hopeing the next generation has more liberated views about gender than this one.  Sheesh.

Don’t know about the Portland controversy.  The one that did reach my conciousness was the the Drag Queen Reading in the Los Angeles public library, who… those reactionaries looking in the background found out to be a pedophile.  Unforced error for “Team Woke”, methinks.

The more immediate problem I had with that one was… it did not look like the right drag queen for the kiddies.  It’s where I spot in one of those “litany of outrageous comments” for your Alex Jones –ranting about demonic drag queens indoctrinating kids into satanic rituals, and I know what he was talking about — the drag queen reader looked like he belonged to GWAR or someone opening for Marilyn Manson more then… Gorgeous George or whoever it is I wouldn’t care if you took your kids to see.

And so the WW ends up “Hopefully the next generation will be more liberated”… or, maybe be more circumspect in their liberation than the liberated that we have right now?

(The image I see of the Drag Queen Storytellers in Portland earn a “meh”.  I wouldn’t have cared for it and would have sat bored, marking time, perhaps escaping the drudgery in my imagination of my mind.)

standard fringe political activism

July 8th, 2019

In transaction, I find myself with three one dollar bills who… someone has inscribed on the back, “Q Anon” — all obliterating the large “ONE” word.

Not all that interesting.  A decade ago and the same person defacing this dollar bill would have been inscribing it with “911WeKnow.com”.  But what I find curious…

… they mark right over the “all seeing eye”.

What’s the symbolism that they are reaching for there?  Is it that the all seeing eye — Illuminati — is being obfuscated by the power of “Q-Anon”?  Or … eclipsed?  (If that’s the intention, it is a point of one force getting jacked by another, isn’t it?  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.)

Or is this still supposed to be attached to the nefarious actions of the Illuminati?  Light?  Ha!  Darkness!

I need the director’s commentary on this one.

ignoring the politics of the policy of the politics

July 3rd, 2019

Matthew Yglesias points out what has always stung as strangely controversial and I can never browbeat… ignoring some inconvenient truths as we sunder from one election cycle to the next.

Trump ran with a set of issues contrary to the conventional Republican orthodoxy —

not going to touch social security and medicare, going to bring troops home from the Middle East and pursue a relatively isolationist “America First” foreign policy, going to dismantle foriegn trade agreements.

Even his immigration hawkishness — it’s worth pointing out that the 2006 Democratic midterms were buttressed by victories by rather Trumpish figures like Heath Shuler and Brad Ellsworth — tying immigration in as a big business (Republican) plan that ties in with trade policy in bringing down wages and losing jobs… (Hey… Bush won 40 percent of the Hispanic vote.)
Right off on the fringes of the geographical cluster of states that swung to Trump.

Polls indicate that today’s Democrats are more pro free trade than ever… Well, parsing election results, it doesn’t look like the Democrats are likely to win Ohio, as they now try to wrangle in ward to Michigan Pennsylvania Wisconsin… Minnesota.  (Psst… What are they going to do about guns?)

On the big swarth of the LGBTQ (IA+…) …. I’ve always had this urge to shout at, say, a Huffingtonpost  column post-election headlined “The Worst President Ever” on this front — “YOU’RE INSANE!”  (  Reagan was, wasn’t he?)

The comments section of the Washington Monthly post pointing to the Yglesias article has a number of people who won’t have it.  Obama did the auto bailout, didn’t he?  Sure.  Also he won this geographic cluster of states against a free trader.  As opposed to Trump who won them against a free trader who…

… never opposed any foreign intervention from the Clinton Administration through the Obama Administration, did she?  (The WAMO blog comments assign this to Russia feeding this line to everyone.)