Morning Ed: Media {2016.11.28.M}

With one neat little trick, we can install Bernie into the White House. Alas, it’s post-truthism all around. Seriously, all around.

What happens if we switch the bubbles?

Via Saul, the media seems ill-equipped to handle antisemitism. It reads to me like they’re trying to bring this out in the open to horrify people, but I fear they are normalizing it.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes about attempts in Alabama to shield prostitution mugshots from the press.

Ouch. In truth, Vox probably gets more grief than it deserves… though it gets a lot more money than it deserves, too.

Well, this is one way to combat fake news, I suppose. The problem is that the Washington Post is running fake news stories about fake news.

Dangit, this was fake news I could have used!

Swedish media is really (rightfully) concerned about media treatment in Turkey.

Clickbait, old school!


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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194 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Media {2016.11.28.M}

  1. Fake news seems to be the big downside of the broadcast power of the Internet. When you either needed an ability to print something out or put it on radio or television, fake news was limited to some very specific markets. Since the Internet allows nearly everybody with a computer and Internet access to post whatever they want than they can post fake news. The Internet also allows fake news to spread more rapidly, especially if it conforms to people’s existing cosmology. The Internet lowered the cost of producing fake news low enough to make it a big problem.

    The switching the bubbles story does not fill me with hope. It seems exposure to differing points of view causes people to buckle down on their beliefs about themselves and the other side rather than open up. One problem with the experience is that the Internet is causing people to be exposed to the more passionate and unyielding version of the other bubble rather than something more measured though.

    The media and Trump’s alt-right followers: During the primary season or the general election, an executive at CBS allegedly remarked that “Donald Trump might be bad for America but he’s good for CBS’ bottom line.” Most main stream media, especially television and cable news, have abandoned its gate-keeping role and is now solely focused on making money. They aren’t going to do anything that endangers their bottom line and that includes calling out the alt-right for what they are. Its pure cynicism.

    Liberals aren’t doing much better with the anti-Semitism of Trump’s followers. On LGM, we had a few heated arguments on how much in danger American Jews are from Trump’s alt-right followers. Some liberals are so wielded to the narrative that its about white people being racist against people of color and straights being against LGBTs that they can not even consider anti-Semitism. To them Jews are simply another type of White American and are not in danger or are in lesser danger and no amount of evidence will change this for them. Many Jews do not find this comforting.

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    • “Limited to small markets”
      You mean like liberals?
      Cause I’ve got someone on TYT (cenk’s show) blatantly lying about what happened to her on election night.
      Not that it takes pulling her polling station, or the security videos to see that she’s lying, of course.

      Jews are pretty butthurt about people granting them less leeway as victims because the Holocaust is fading from memory, and people still think about bulldozing people’s houses by government fiat. This is not to say that they don’t deserve the same rights as we give the Amish guy who got his beard cut off… just that they’re used to being considered “higher up in the victim space” and don’t particularly like losing that ability to be listened to by the left.

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  2. This isn’t really media related but the Atlantic had an interesting article on Trump’s political ideology such as it is.

    The thesis of the article is that Trump is reviving what used to be called honest graft. Honest graft occurs when a politician is openly corrupt and uses politics to enrich himself but also uses his political office and corruption to look out for his voters by providing them with patronage.
    [Mike S: Fixed formatting]

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  3. “Fake” news: Is Huffpo turning into Buzzfeed? The horrors. Best quote from somewhere else on the topic “There’s no great mystery why Trump supporters are easier marks for fake-news trolls. Trumpers view the entire mainstream media as being allied against them…and on that score, they’re absolutely correct.” So, did it really make a difference, This guy thinks so but he was targeting die hard Trump supporters, so did it REALLY convince wavering voters? I don’t think so, or at least, not as much as it’s been made out to be.

    Social media: ““Maybe we should stop having social media,” he said. “For all the things that social media has done in terms of making it easier for me to stay in touch with someone that I was vaguely friends with in college, maybe the ability with social media for people to construct their own reality to create a mob is not worth it.” Quoted for truth.

    Antisemitism: The new republic crying about hate gave me a laugh, given the writer said this “Trump’s response to his large and hateful base of followers…” Yeah, so it’s wrong if you do it, but I’m telling the truth so it’s not hate. Again, I roll my eyes.

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    • Damon,
      “Fake” news lives on TV too. Cenk and friends had someone on election night fucking lying to everyone. Nobody called them on it either.
      “And the whole room clapped”
      … seriously, it doesn’t take looking at the security cameras (…erm, not that I did that!) to figure out when you’re being lied to.

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  4. This is something else I told myself to let go of, but since we talking specifically about the media and “fake news.’

    Eff Richard Spencer and the Nazi ideological horse he rode in on. But, that said, Spencer never raised the question“Are Jews even people”. The immediate antecedent for the souless golems were the political consultants and republicans on TV, and maybe even the ‘mainstream’ press is its entirety. But not Jews, not in that specific comment.

    Now that said, the immediate preceding sentence he talks about calling the mainstream press the Lugenpresse, as they did “in the original German”, so eff Richard Spencer and the Nazi ideological horse he road in on.

    (but that said, a whole lot of people are blaming Clinton’s loss on the press lying about her emails)

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    • It boggles my mind that when criticizing an actual white supremacist, the media still can’t help taking stuff he said out of context and misrepresenting it. How hard is it to find quotes from a literal Nazi that don’t need to be spun to make him look bad?

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      • They’re really that lazy. They take press releases they trust and publish them as articles. They don’t fact-check a Nazi’s quote for the same reason they don’t fact-check anything else. Or they do the laziest possible version of fact-checking, and quote the other side’s press release at the bottom of the article.

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        • There’s only so much time in the day and deadlines to hit, so you double-check only the things that strike you as needing to be double-checked. A white supremacist questioning the humanity of Jews is plausible enough and so doesn’t seem worth checking.

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    • @jaybird

      Are you aware that there is a very long standing anti-Semitic trope that says Jews secretly control the world’s banks and media? This anti-Semitic conspiracy theory has existed for over a hundred years. See the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

      So it seems a bit too cute and clever by half to say that he is talking about the media and not the Jews but the contrarian bent in libertarians is strong and I guess they have to find a way to dissent about everything.

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      • I’m interested in people being quoted correctly.* If someone wants to take what he actually said and assert it was all dog whistly, that’s fair (and true) (and odd, because this cycle was all about making the subtext plain text, but old habits die hard I guess)

        But you can’t just make up pull quotes.

        *on the early days of commenting on this site, I was admonished for putting in quotes a paraphrase of something Jason K said.

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      • The last thing you want is people investigating and saying “huh, what this white supremacist said wasn’t as bad as the media said he said… huh… the media was lying…”

        You’d think that telling the truth about what people said would be sufficient to damn them.

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        • Yeah, just want to chirp in that is making a valid point. The headline was so fantastic, and the screenshots of CNN so weighty that it seemed momentous. That there were no links, and that it took a lot (well, a lot in the internet sense) of digging to get to the actual statements… statements that didn’t say what the accusation said they said. Well, you’re doing it wrong.

          Blends in to MBD’s article today about Spencer and whether the media is a) getting trolled (and losing badly); b) creating a monster to defeat another monster (and we all know what a good strategy that is); and c) alienating very large groups by elevating very small groups.

          I’m not sure that I’d call it normalizing these groups so much as desensitizing other groups… which might be the same thing in the end, but the malpractice is different.

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          • There are several issues here.

            1. Spencer’s cohort might be small in number in terms of people who go to his events and/or subscribe to his newsletter (does he have a newsletter?) but small and dedicated groups of people have been able to exert great influences on human society for better and for worse. Most change seems to happen because of small groups rather than mass movements.

            2. There has been a rise in hate crimes and harassment during the election and since the election. So people might not be officially associated with Spencer or other White Supremacist/Racist/Alt-Right/Whatever you want to call them groups but they can still see, read, and be inspired to act by groups like Spencer. Even before Trump this was true, IIRC Dylann Roof went down the rabit-hole of hate on the Internet after being romantically rejected by a woman with a black boyfriend.

            3. Spencer and co. have been emboldened by Trump’s victory in ways that they would not be emboldened by an HRC victory. I don’t think they would go away but they would be more withdrawn.

            4. Trump did spend a lot of time flirting directly or indirectly with the alt-right via himself or his sons. Donald Jr. (and Eric to a lesser extent maybe) spent a lot of time broadcasting alt-right memes and arguments via social media and these spread. There was the skittles argument. There were photoshops of Jews and others in gas chambers with Trump in a Nazi uniform on the outside.

            Trump also refused to denounce the alt-right despite having a daughter who converted to Orthodox Judaism.

            This was what I was trying to get at with my How Bad Can It Get Post. We are in a great unknown and I am generally seeing two camps: optimists and pessimists. The Optimists insist that it is wrong to pay attention to Trump’s ravings on twitter, his announced cabinet appointments, and that our Constitution is strong enough to handle four to eight years of Trump and survive. The pessimists are a lot less certain but sometimes it seems to me that they are bordering on way too much hyperbole but I am not always sure. Calls on getting the electoral college to vote against Trump are going to be nothing more than wish thinking and invite a Constitutional Crisis.* They are also vaguely embarrassing.

            But on the other hand, Trump went unhinged yesterday and said that he won the popular vote and the only reason the media is reporting that HRC won it is because of massive voter fraud.** IIRC he got this info from InfoWars. If Trump truly believes this, is he going to have his DOJ look into all this voter fraud. At best, it will be a waste of time, money, and resources. At worse, it could lead to a lot of disenfranchisement. I think Trump’s Cabinet picks so far show he is serious on immigration crack downs and cronyism and perhaps going after the Press as well.

            So far most of the Optimists I see are #neverTrumpers but they are also middle-aged, white guys with a nominally Christian or practicing Christian background. In other words, they are safe from Trump’s tirades and it does seem off-putting that they can’t see why appointing Sessions as AG is a potential sign for a civil rights crack down. They never suffered under Jim Crow or Voting ID laws.

            *Like most conspiracy theories this seems too clever and cute by half because all the votes are in safe blue states like California, Washington, and New York. If someone is determined to commit voter fraud, shouldn’t she have picked better states?

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            • Hi Saul… I read your other post and appreciate where you are coming from; I didn’t comment as I think a fair bit of the angst and anxiety comes from shock and the not knowing that comes from ideological realignment, and I can sympathize even if I don’t agree.

              I’m neither a Trump Optimist nor a Trump Pessimist… I think I’ve been one of the few Trump Realists here and while I didn’t predict his win, I did recognize that he had tapped into some real fissures in American politics and commented on how I though many folks were fighting the wrong fight. Or, possibly fighting the right fight wrongly.

              I don’t want to go point by point because I think nerves are still a bit raw and nothing I say by way of fraternal correction will be received well; but I stand by my bullet points above and reiterate that everything you call out strikes me as evidence for, not against my comment.

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        • It becomes a question of this…

          1) Do you have to explain the association?
          2) Will they agree with the association if you do explain it?
          3) Is it worth the amount of time and effort to explain the association, or is that more of a distraction than its worth?

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      • Sure, and that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to point out, but that’s still different from questioning whether Jews are people. The fact that someone is a bad person does not automatically make any bad thing you might want to say about him true.

        But sure, I’ll cop to an obsession with getting the facts right. Guilty as charged.

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  5. In defense of Vox, true facts can be, and very often are, profoundly misleading without the necessary background and context to interpret them. That doesn’t mean that Vox’s interpretation is always the correct one, but the fundamental premise is correct.

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    • An attack on Vox

      true facts can be, and very often are, profoundly misleading without the necessary background and context to interpret them.

      And Vox, instead of providing the ne estar y background and context, provide a watered down thirty seconds digest that most times is worse than nothing.

      And thus people that knew before that they didn’t know something, now think they do. But they don’t. And they end being worse off.

      Vox moves people from the “known unknowns” to the “unknown unknowns” column. That’s evil.

      And they are smug about doing it.

      Fish, I hate Vox. Does it show?

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    • True. The problem that I have with Vox is how often they’re wrong. If you want to follow their model, by all means, do it. Explain things. That’s added value to the world. But as the linked article pointed out, that also means you have to take the lumps when you explain incorrectly. So far they haven’t.

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  6. Fake News: I’m with Lee here. The Internet makes Fake News easy to broadcast and people make serious money on it. Over the past week, it seems like half my facebook feed has been posting articles on how to detect fake news and the other half is still posting wish thinking from Occupy Democrats, Bipartisan Report, and other wish thinking sites. The first group are still liberals before anyone comes in with a snide comment on “conservatives know reality.”

    Another interesting thing is that it is easy to trick a lot of people. Someone I knew in grad school is black and very adamant on Black Lives Matters issues. He post a video by Milo Y and needed to be told that Milo Y was a Breitbart, alt-white, racist, sexist, etc. He responded that he did not know the name but did find certain aspects of the video curious. And this guy know works as a teacher!

    Switch Bubbles: Well that was depressing largely.

    The Media and the Alt-Right: Matt Y wrote a piece during the election about how the MSM media especially cable news channels don’t really care about policy and they don’t think their audience does either. The Cable News industry seems mainly concerned with the horserace aspects of politics. Who is winning? Who is losing? What can politicians say or do without damaging their brands or chances? So the little caption plus the debate was about whether Trump can denounce this section of his base seemed like a massive fail. Plus the CBS quote is interesting and it shows media might care more for money than gate-keeping.

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    • “Another interesting thing is that it is easy to trick a lot of people. Someone I knew in grad school is black and very adamant on Black Lives Matters issues. He post a video by Milo Y and needed to be told that Milo Y was a Breitbart, alt-white, racist, sexist, etc. He responded that he did not know the name but did find certain aspects of the video curious. And this guy know works as a teacher!”

      Pardon me if I put words into your mouth. It sounds like you’re criticizing him for leaving his bubble and exposing others to something that’s unapproved by your circle. You seem to be discounting the possibility that Milo has something to say that’s worth hearing, or at least worth being aware of. Are you saying that people should never post videos unless they fit the narrative?

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      • Honestly, Milo Y has literally nothing worth hearing. This is not a matter of “bubbles,” as if “flamboyant, gay Internet troll” should somehow be an unfamiliar figure to me, as if I live in a “bubble” with no loud, crass gay men who say dumbass racist shit.

        Don’t be silly. Milo Y is a film flam man.

        If I want to step out of my bubble, I might listen to a master machinist from Oklahoma, or a hard luck waitress working in small town Alabama. On the other hand, maybe they should listen to me. I’m pretty clever. I know a lot of stuff.

        Blah.

        Milo is a dingbat.

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        • Pretty much this. I remember hearing about how there’s this clever, witty gay man killing it in political debates and really adding some intelligence to arguments from the right. Within a couple of minutes of hearing the guy talk, it was clear that he’s bright and quick witted and suffers from the standard partisan need to take ridiculous pot shots whenever possible. Within a few more minutes, it was clear that the guy is just a performer who will say whatever makes him sound outrageous and draws attention to himself.

          He seems smart enough that he could genuinely contribute something if he actually cared, but given the choice between that and being famous for being “transgressive” he’ll choose the latter every time. It’s kind of like standup comedy in that a comedian can make good points, but given the choice between being right and funny, they’ll choose being funny. Being right isn’t their job. Being insightful isn’t Milo’s.

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            • Possibly. There are people who can and will make good arguments when good arguments suit them and then switch to nonsense if there’s no way to make a good argument for what they’re pushing. He’s one of those guys, but he does seem capable of making good arguments if it suits his purposes, which indicates that there’s something going on in his brain.

              I also think we tend to underestimate the analytical skill of comics because their primary goal is to be funny. Often (though definitely not always) you need to understand what the right answer is in order to come up with the funniest not-quite-right answer.

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          • He correctly describes himself as a provocateur. I don’t expect anything else from him. He’ll always go for the line that will rile up the most people, on any side of any fence. When there’s a tie, or there’s no opportunity to rile anyone up, he’ll go with a fact. That doesn’t disqualify him from the soapbox, but it makes him boring after 5-10 minutes.

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    • Someone I knew in grad school is black and very adamant on Black Lives Matters issues. He post a video by Milo Y and needed to be told that Milo Y was a Breitbart, alt-white, racist, sexist, etc.

      That’s an interesting approach. I would have gone with some kind of substantive criticism, but I guess going straight to ad hominem works, too.

      Anyway, good thing his betters were there to set him straight.

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      • Both have their place. An ostracized source does not invalidate the merit of an argument, but can definitely disrupt the transmission of an argument.

        If I were relying on a source nobody would listen to, and/or would make me look worse for using that source, it’s useful to know. (Even if it wouldn’t prevent me from using that source.)

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  7. Vox. What seems to get to people about Vox is that they have a “we are the adults” tone that does not respect any dissent or disagreement. Plenty of people on the left also disagree with Vox for the same reasons and find them off-putting.

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  8. The NY Times has an interesting profile on Steve Bannon today:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/27/us/politics/steve-bannon-white-house.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    Some observations:

    1. Bannon seems to have always had anger-management issues and/or he uses his temper and physical strength to have things his way. I’ve noticed this in right-wingers before, the oddest things seem to cause them to blow up like volcanoes. Safety seat belt rules are my go to example. I have seen one too many right winger guy say something like “I wear my seatbelt all the time. I make everyone wear a seat belt when I am driving but it boils my blood that government has a law about it.” This seems to indicate a lack of prospective in my view.

    2. I find it interesting that the same events/facts can radicalize people to the left and to the right. Bannon was always conservative. He was the right age to be awed by Reagan but the 2008 fiscal crisis and aftermath seems to have drawn him further to the right just like it drew others further to the left.

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  9. Also, just a reminder that despite the calls by some that Trump won and thus, we must bow in fealty and reorient our policies according to this New Normal, Trump is still very unpopular compared to other incoming Presidents –

    Net favorables of presidents-elect at this point after election:

    Obama: +41
    Bush: +23
    Clinton: +23
    Trump: -13

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    • Or we can understand the reality that no matter how unpopular Trump is, the next federal election of any kind (except LA US Senate) isn’t for another 2 years, so the only ways to counter Trump in the short term are through the courts, at the state governance level – or via direct action.

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      • Sure, but the point is to pushback against the idea from Very Serious People that Trump is leading some Popular Revolution and that Democrats must Compromise with him for the Good of the Republic.

        If the GOP can win back Congress after two years when Obama started at +41, there’s no reason the DNC can’t do the same in theory with Trump.

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        • Jesse?
          Can we please at least acknowlege that DWS had one goal, and that was getting Clinton elected? She quite frankly didn’t give a shit about the Democrats other than that one goal.

          Please, try picking on Clinton being put back in his place. That’s a far better comparison, if slightly older.

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        • No reason to think they can’t, but also no reason to think it’ll just happen. We’re like two months removed from “We’re the presidential party and they just win because of midterm turnout.”

          I think the Democrats really ought to pick up some governorships, but if I were betting, I’d bet on the GOP for both houses of Congress.

          I don’t think the Democrats ought to succumb to a fictitious Popular Revolution, but they might want to stop acting like they have a majority they don’t have.

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          • But we can certainly look at this:

            Trump won by a clear rejection of the traditional Republican economic message of free trade and minimal government; his message, muddled though it was, envisioned an activist government that was firmly interventionist in the marketplace;

            Trump envisioned a large scale infrastructure plan; poorly conceived and probably corrupt in his intention, but is an example of stuff that historically only a Democrat would embrace;

            Trump implied that Medicare would be untouched; how much this affected the vote is debatable, but there was no groundswell of desire for a repeal of entitlements;

            Trump won by trafficking in leftist concepts- class war between the working class and elites;

            When your enemy seizes your message, you’re in a pretty good place, actually;
            A rough comparison would be to when the DLC seized the free market / small government banner in the 90’s.

            So its reasonable to assert that Americans voted for an activist government of ambition that consciously intervenes in the market to benefit the working class.

            P.S. Oh, and we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the minimum wage was raised in 4 states, and an effort to decrease was defeated in another. I suspect there are plenty of voters who pulled the lever for Trump and a hike in the minimum wage, both.

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            • That’s right… so theoretically the Democrats can self-correct and double-down on all those things in an expansive way.
              Or
              The new Republican party can double down and outbid the democratic party in their constituencies.

              There was an old political saying that Republicans can’t outbid the Democrats on government spending… but they did.

              There’s another old political saying that Republicans won’t bid for Hispanics and Blacks… but that was kinda tied to the first old political saying.

              Realignment stalks both parties.

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              • In my view, the biggest concern for Republicans is that a lot of it hinged on Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity and Trump novelty getting people out to vote. They won’t be facing Clinton again, and the novelty will wear off (see Ventura, Jesse). At which point they’re left with… I’m not sure what. And they could face a recession.

                The biggest concern for Democrats is that Trump will hang on to the new voters he turned out, as well as the McGinty/Trump voters… and then bring the suburban Toomey/Clinton voters back into the fold.

                I think some combination of the former is more likely than the latter, but that the latter is potentially more devastating. I may also be underestimating the possibility of the latter the same way I underestimated the willingness of women to vote for Trump.

                In any event, I don’t look at any of this and say for either party that everything is fine and they don’t need to worry about leaving their comfort zone.

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                • Well, here’s my secret Vegas bet… because Trump did not actually build a movement; because there is no Trumpism, only Trump we are going to get (irony of ironies) a sort of Zombie Reaganism.

                  Not, mind you, resurrected Reagan, but Zombie Reagan owing to the leftover apparatchiks he’s going to appoint from the party. A shambling mess animated by conflicting notions and mostly uninterested or uncomprehending of the changing directions. I’m expecting failure, but not in the exploding rocket sort of way, more like a corpse tumbling down a spiral staircase sort of way. Slow and messy with plenty of stink to go around.

                  Now, Nikki Haley, she I think might put 2 and 2 together.

                  I know that our system privileges existing parties, so there’s a good chance the names and apparatus stick around, but very possible that they won’t mean the same thing they mean now.

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                    • Well, deficits don’t matter when it’s Republicans doing it.

                      I suspect the real fireworks will come when Ryan and Trump play the dominance game, abetted by Trump’s own staff playing the same game (both amongst themselves and against Ryan).

                      A lot of the transition “disorder” is Bannon, Kushner, and Priebus leaking things for leverage in a three way fight to be the one with Trump’s ear.

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                    • Well, there’s austerity or there’s growth. You don’t sell austerity busting projects, you sell growth generating projects. That’s the art of the deal.

                      {and who knows, maybe the secret sauce are all the virtues (or is it vices?) of both parties enacted all at once}

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                  • One could make the argument that it never has worked, and not quite a slatepitch.

                    When, except for maybe Watergate, has the media ever provided indication & warning of a potential crisis that affects the key decisions that are made, and/or before all the key decisions have already been made? Or the damage has already been done?

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                    • I don’t think that that’s what made the media “work”, per se.

                      I think it was the knowledge that, sure, the media was biased but that’s because all of the reporters went to college which means that they got immersed in a cosmopolitan culture… which means that, sure, they’re big fans of planned parenthood but also big fans of the local police, the local corporation (so long as it doesn’t pollute), and the local government (so long as nobody is diddling interns).

                      Biased but DRIVEN to tell the story.

                      Now we know “Okay, there is a shooter at OSU, and they’re not giving a description…” which means that the media is trying to either create or suppress a story rather than tell it.

                      And once you see the media as creating/suppressing rather than telling, you stop trusting it. Even if you agree with the narrative it’s creating and disagree with the narrative it’s suppressing! You know that what it says will not necessarily map to what happened.

                      At which point it’s worthless even if you’re a big fan.

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                  • The Media doesn’t “work” anymore.

                    Not just the media, I fear.

                    I think one of the unintended consequences of the rise of the electronic media is the ability to choose your own institutional knowledge based on your own personal tastes. And a consequence of that is institutions themselves no longer have meaning.

                    I’m struggling to think of any institution that people still trust and want to continue being an institution. And I’m coming up short.

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                      • I dunno.

                        When I was younger there was a sense of “church” being a positive institution in American society. Now is seems that even among the faithful, “church” is pretty meaningless. You need to get just the right church, with just the right teachings, or it doesn’t count.

                        I don’t know a lot of people, of faith or otherwise, who think “church” in and of itself is a positive thing in America anymore.

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                        • Maybe it’s because I live in Colorado Springs, but Church is still pretty big out here. We managed to weather the Haggard scandal fairly well and there are a ton of very big churches that do the big church thing (Christian Singles, Christian Divorce Recovery Workshops, Christian Rock Climbing) and a ton of very small churches that do the small church thing (pastor knows your name, visits families and eats meals at their house, etc).

                          I don’t know how representative Colorado Springs is of the rest of the country, of course. But it still seems to be going strong here.

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                          • I think you might be missing my point.

                            Church is really big out here in Portland as well. It’s huge — especially if you include temples as part of what you’re talking about when you say “church.” I don’t know that many people who aren’t at least semi-regular church goers. My point is that you ( and not just you!) look at places like Portland and think, “they’re not the right kind of church goers, so those people and their churches don’t count.”

                            We used to have two sub-bloggers here who talked about how liberals hate church, and when I would note that most of the liberals I know go to church, they’d ask which one. And when I’d give my family’s church as an example (Episcopal) I’d get back explanations of why because of headcount or trends or history my family’s church wasn’t really religious, and therefore didn’t count as church. (And in more than one discussion, that they should not be granted the same first amendment protections that “real” churches have right to.)

                            Likewise, I know a hell of a lot of people here in Portland who are regular churchgoers who look at Southern evangelical churches and have ready made argument for why those people aren’t really what they mean when they talk about “church.”

                            Church, as a word, is more and more becoming something only those who agree with me about politics get to claim.

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                              • I think that’s backward.

                                With the way you’re defining an institution for “church”, you’d have to also argue that the media is an almost universally beloved and respected institution. After all, notme listens to talk radio and believes what he hears, and that’s media. Saul believes and trusts what he reads at Mother Jones. My mother-in-law does the same for Sean Hannity. My friend Lori does the same for her Facebook feed, now that she’s carefully carved out everyone who isn’t a die-hard democrat from her FB friends. Those are all forms of media, so clearly the media is more trusted now than it ever has been — right?

                                A trusted institution is only a trusted institution if we’re all looking at the same thing and agreeing that we trust it.

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                                • I listen to NPR as I drive to and from work and have a online subscription to the NYT. I don’t listen to talk radio or watch Fox but I do frequent Drudge. I also regularly vist mother Jones, slate, Bloomberg and other news outlets. You seem to think that just bc I have the views that I do that I’m ill informed.

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                            • Rod Dreher makes this difference all the times. On one side there’s the o-orthodox, on the other, those that reject the essence of Christianity

                              It used to be that orthodoxy was defined by the real presence, or the number of sacraments, or infant baptism, or episcopal vs presbyterial, or faith and work, or the Bishop of Rome. And you killed or died because of it.

                              Rod tells us all this is wrong, the essence of Christianity, the condensed symbol (his words) is the attitude towards homosexuality.

                              If you tell him Episcopalians, or Lutherans, or Methodists (his birthchurch) accept homosexuality, he will explain that they have rejected Christianity. But Orthodox Jews are part of the o-orthodoxy because they reject homosexuality. Belief in Jesus Christ is optional.

                              Im not picking on Rod D. This goes around everywhere. Church is just another social signifier

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                      • So not a mind meld?

                        I thought the key insight was:

                        Trump and his de facto allies in the fake news business aren’t trying to propagandize the country with a coherent counter-truth that stands in opposition to a reality of indisputable facts that can then be marshaled to puncture and dispel the official disinformation campaign. On the contrary, they’re acting in ways that deny the distinction between truth and lies altogether, transforming the public sphere into an anarchistic free-for-all permeated by a constantly churning swirl of claims and counter-claims, with no authority able to establish or maintain the standing needed to debunk any of it.

                        The counter-intuitive thought for the day is that Trump isn’t a proto-fascist reestablishing a new authority; rather, he’s the fulfilment of the baby boomer project… the destruction of whatever was left of common authority.

                        What happens to us as a society when all authority has been nominalized? Probably bad things; divorce might be the best thing of the bad things.

                        But, and this is my point (by the way), fighting Trump as an authoritarian doesn’t work… he’s an anti-authoritarian. You have to fight his brand of anti-authoritarianism with authentic common authorities. Irony, snark, sarcasm, (smugness, heh)… all the languages of anti-authority. What if Trump isn’t the end of (a certain sort of) Liberalism, but its fulfillment?

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                        • Well, that’s not “liberalism” you’re talking about, it’s “radicalism.” The destruction of norms and institutions. There was a flavor of that running through the Left of the Boomer generation back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and the notion that Trump represents the flower of that movement is congruent with at least some available evidence. Creepy, though, in that he seems to rely on racial resentment, in diametric opposition to another norm of that movement, and also in that he used the vehicle of co-opting the political party that had previously stood strong for existing norms and institutions in order to get into a position to tear them down.

                          I shall ponder this further. In a manner reminiscent of a nervous camper pondering nocturnal bear and wolf activity while bedding down for sleep.

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                          • I shall ponder this further.

                            Me too. The take away from the article seems to be (as March mentioned) that Trump isn’t an authoritarian in the classical sense (one who coopts power within existing institutional structures for his own benefit) as much as a person who, thru happenstance or opportunism, is merely taking advantage of the general erosion of faith in institutional structures and filling the resulting vaccuum with a form of post-institutional power. A rising from the ashes, sorta thing.

                            Something to mull over, anyway.

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                        • The counter-intuitive thought for the day is that Trump isn’t a proto-fascist reestablishing a new authority; rather, he’s the fulfilment of the baby boomer project… the destruction of whatever was left of common authority.

                          Yes! This was, essentially, my position on him from the start. His business practice is apotheotic late American capitalist: the rules are whatever they need to be for me to win, such that for him, there effectively are no rules. Reality is an ordered chaos that serves only to make him money and give him status. This is the best way to view everything he does, from his campaign promises to whom he appoints to his cabinet and staff, to the blurring of the line between family, business, and his nascent presidential administration.

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                          • I think this is a very good observation.

                            I however must be a very bad person because I think his blurring of the line between family, business and politics is probably his most authentic trait.

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                        • Well, it’s the who issue of the media requiring a certain level of dry dispassion.

                          Let’s say that I’m writing a story about topic X. If, in this story about topic X, I put in some throwaway lines about topic Y that signals that I am a Member of the Correct Tribe, the people who are not Members of the Correct Tribe will either gloss over those lines and get back to reading the story about topic X or they will roll their eyes and lose interest in the story.

                          It’s probably most jarring in sports stories but you can see it in all sorts of stories and we’re reaching the point where most people can see the topic Y derailments in the stories and the story about X becomes so much smoke.

                          If the stories were just about topic X, the media would still work.

                          Everybody sees the callouts to Y, now.

                          And the institutions that have the most Y callouts lose any ability to talk about any X. Even in an X story that heroically manages to only talk about X.

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                          • I get it… Linker is an ex-X’er, so he *always* has to signal Y, especially since he is technically a Y1, and not the more fashionable Y2.

                            But, that’s sort of the point… he can get X from a Y perspective better than some.

                            But, the overall X and Y problem… when we no longer hold the same Truths and none of them are even self-evident anyway… to what are you appealing when you tell me that X is wrong?

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                        • The counter-intuitive thought for the day is that Trump isn’t a proto-fascist reestablishing a new authority; rather, he’s the fulfilment of the baby boomer project… the destruction of whatever was left of common authority.

                          It’s the completion of the secularist project: when morality is no longer divine in origin, each set of beliefs is as good as any other. Thus, there’s no argument to be made against Trump’s peculiar combination of greed and infantile narcissism other than one of taste.

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                • “The biggest concern for Democrats…”

                  The biggest concern for Democrats is if it turns out Trump was right all along, and a focus on social issues over economics really was the problem, and the next four years see a big uptick in the economy as manufacturing is onshored and domestic energy production continues to increase.

                  The biggest concern for Democrats is Republican Woke: “nobody gives much of a shit about racism when we’re all rich”.

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  10. I was out at the other building for this morning’s attack at Ohio State University and watched with amazement that CNN was reporting that there was an active shooter on the grounds and that everyone needed to be careful and shelter-in-place but no one was describing the shooter.

    “Why in the hell aren’t they describing the shooter? Like, at all?”

    Only later, the description that he had crazy eyes did we establish, okay, it’s a guy.

    Only after that did we learn that the shooter was dead.

    And then, only later than that, did we establish that it wasn’t a gun, it was a driving attack followed by stabbing attacks, no gun involved.

    And, only after that, did they get around to actually describing the assailant.

    Hey. If the guy only had a knife, why did the police have to shoot him to stop him?

    If it was a white guy running around, stabbling people after running them down with a car, you just know that the cops would have taken him alive, am I right?

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    • Can anyone explain to me why it’s so important that news outlets immediately identify the demographic characteristics of the alleged perpetrators in these situations?

      Maybe it’s my dislike of the whole “Breaking News” culture, but I just can’t see how I am being ill served by the media if they don’t immediately five me every possible identifying characteristic of a suspect and start speculating about his or her motivations.

      So far, the only arguments that I see are of the “they’d do it if he were white” variety, but pointing out someone else’s hypocrisy is not a positive argument for your own position. At some point, we should try to move beyond these grade school arguments.

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      • Can anyone explain to me why it’s so important that news outlets immediately identify the demographic characteristics of the alleged perpetrators in these situations?

        If they’re saying “there is an attacker, who is attacking people, avoid the attacker and stay safe!”, it might help to know what the attacker looks like.

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        • Yes, I would think the timeliness is the key factor. I mean, avoid the gun is always and everywhere true in a shooter situation… but you are probably better able to avoid the kelly-green jacket and red hair faster. White guy with green jacket and short? That even narrows things down considerably more; and, if I’m an innocent bystander wearing a green jacket, I’m probably ditching it right now too. But wild eyes? In a panicked situation? That’s mostly everyone around you or the last set of eyes you’ll ever see. Either way, not helpful.

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          • All true, but accuracy is important as well. If you can’t identify how the attack is happening, I don’t know that I trust you to identify who is actually perpetrating the attack.

            I also think our different takes on description is leading to some misunderstandings. It’s one thing to try and give a visual description of the attacker (if known), possibly including race, as the attack is unfolding. It’s another to try and describe the attacker in terms of their ethnic or religious identity, or the motivations of the attack, when no one really knows anything.

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        • I don’t think CNN is blasting its breaking news all over the world, so people will be able to stay safe. If this bothers you from a culture war perspective, just come out and say it.

          If we are talking about an event playing out over days or even hours, then the media has a big role in putting out useful information to the public. If we are talking about an event playing out over minutes, you should heavily discount every piece of information being reported. In an ongoing attack, “avoid white/black/tan men” is not a useful announcement.

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        • there is an attacker, who is attacking people, avoid the attacker and stay safe!

          Question: If you are not on the OSU campus, or in its immediate vicinity, why is it urgently important for national news media to get the details out to everyone in the northern hemisphere?

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          • For those outside the immediate area the description is of less importance, however, there is no reason for media to purposely avoid providing a factual description of the shooter either. Stating a fact that a shooter is black or white isn’t racist and doesn’t help those that are racist, while avoiding it does b/c it confirms that the media is hiding something.

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            • “…there is no reason for media to purposely avoid providing a factual description of the shooter either…”

              Do we know when CNN became aware of all this information?

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              • Sorry but I wouldnt patronize a media outlet that purposefully decided what info I should or shouldn’t have when it was available to others. If a fact isn’t confirmed, then say so, but don’t not report it.

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    • Seriously? In a post in which you acknowledge that the media doesn’t know what is going on (ie. not an active shooter situation), you want them to start speculating more? If they think this person has a gun, and he doesn’t, why do you think they will be able to ID him?

      Also, what j r said.

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        • Maybe I was mistaken, but from you posts on this issue I took your point to be that the ‘media’ wasn’t describing the ‘shooter’ in order to further a narrative. And, as Notme made explicit, the description the media refused to give was the ‘shooter’s’ race or religion.

          If that’s not what you were driving at, would you mind spelling it out?

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            • So, it’s my explanation from above, coupled with–was the attacker shot because they were black. Do you have someone saying that last part though? Or is it just something you imagine people saying?

              Do you have any evidence the ‘media’ knew the attackers race or ethnicity when they were deceptively withholding it from you?

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              • There’s a bit thing on Twitter with this guy (not some rando, but not somebody I’d say important) sneering that we’re celebrating the white cop who killed the non-white assailant. That’s the closest I’ve seen.

                As far as the racer’s attack, whether it should matter or not, it’s the subject of a lot of speculation from the moment an attack occurs. Bakersfield, Orlando, Ohio State. Pretty constant. People are waiting to hear which narrative they’re going to be battle out, and which clubs they are going to use.

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                • I’m sure you’re right that people are chomping at the bit for scraps of information to fit into their preconceived narratives.

                  My issue with Jaybirds post was that it seemed to be doing exactly that, while lambasting the media for failing to describe the attackers race when they clearly had no idea what was going on.

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                    • Well they were obviously misinformed about what type of attack it was.

                      I thought our major news outlets just uncritically regurgitating rumors/facts/speculation from twitter was a bad thing?

                      I mean I read the man’s name a few hours after the attack on the ABC News site. Is that to long to wait, or should we just be broadcasting a live tweet stream from rando’s talking about the shooting?

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                          • Hey Jaybird, just to let you know — once again, we’re in a position where nobody understands your point.

                            For a guy that’s harped on communication, the fact that we keep ending up with playing “Guess Jaybird’s point among the moving goalposts” should be a sign that maybe there’s a small problem on your end.

                            So how about you just flat out TELL us what you think CNN should have done and why, instead of dancing around the edges?

                            Once again, I implore you to actually commit to your opinions and lay them out, rather than play footsie with them. You spend an awful lot of time on thin sarcasm, oblique references, and what I’m sure you think are pointed bits of absurdity. So let’s just stipulate we’re all too effing stupid to understand the depths of your thought, and maybe you can just dumb it down for us plebeians, mmkay?

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                              • If his point is that simple he’s doing a hell of a job obfuscating it. I mean he started off with a post about how they (apparently CNN) wouldn’t give the shooters race/religion, but (someone on twitter apparently) would talk about his being shot because he wasn’t white.

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      • Without knowing their skin color and religion, we’re forced into a state of confusion — we don’t know who to reflexively blame.

        White guys are, of course, mentally ill lone wolves. Brown or black people are thugs and possibly terrorists. Non-Christians are terrorists.

        I’m not sure what happens with non-Christian white men. Probably mentally ill terrorists.

        And of course, if a gun is involved, we shouldn’t “politicize the tragedy”.

        That’s what I’ve learned in the last 16 years of random attacks in America.

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        • My favorite take so far: the fact that guns were banned on campus made this a tragedy with 10 living victims and one dead perpetrator, rather then 20 dead ones and one dead perpetrator.

          Thus this car/knife attack on campus is the perfect time to talk about why gun control works.

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              • I think you should read my post again, more carefully.

                Just in case I was unclear, I shall clarify: “Right now” is, of course, the best time to repeal gun control because “right now” is always the best time to repeal gun control. It’s the only topic related to gun control that’s always appropriate. Actually discussing gun control is never appropriate, because it’s politicizing whatever recent shooting came up.

                Weird that you read my post that way. You took from it the exact opposite of my point.

                (And the Islamic State routinely claims responsibility for things it has nothing to do with. It’s not like there’s a downside).

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                • I totally think we should talk about gun control and we need to include our elected officials in that so we can make it happen.

                  I believe that the first places that would be best to start are the states that have Democratic (presumably liberal/progressive) State Houses, State Senates, and Governors.

                  Oregon, California, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut! We need to start getting gun laws passed there and then, once everyone sees how well it works in those states, get other states to adopt it.

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                      • I’m done with “Guess Jaybird’s point” for today.

                        Seriously, man — you complain so much about listening and communication. So why is it you spend so much time trying obscuring your own points?

                        It’s a pretty boring game anyways — frankly the point is never worth the hassle, and half the time you don’t even have one. You’re just playing gadfly.

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                        • I think it has to do with the whole build up build up build up of gun control and why it’s necessary talking points that took place yesterday only to be deflated by the reality that the narrative surrounding the violence was going to be much more easily wielded by The Cultural Bad Guys than The Cultural Good Guys.

                          Winding back through my twitter timeline through the “well, we should talk about gun violence anyway” to the “we need to finally have a conversation about gun violence!” part of the day was yet another exercise in watching a narrative fall apart (only in slow motion and backwards).

                          And comparing it to what I was watching on CNN as it was being “responsible” in real time was really, really interesting.

                          If you want to wonder why nobody trusts the media, yesterday on CNN was a good example.

                          Not because CNN was necessarily doing the wrong thing… it’s just that there were so many more places to get information in real time than CNN and those so many more places had SOOOOOO much more information.

                          Like, for example, descriptions of the perp.

                          Seriously, watching CNN had a room full of people who were wandering in after being out for a bit asking “did they describe the perp yet?” and the answer was “nope” for hours.

                          When there was a minor event involving Dylann Root and CNN cut away to talk about Root’s trial for a moment, someone in the room said “they must have found out that the perp was a Muslim.” Nobody in the room laughed.

                          Now, my environment probably doesn’t map to the rest of the country… but, if some part of it does?

                          The goals you hope to someday accomplish are further away today than they were two days ago.

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                          • Not to put too fine a point on it, but I wasn’t on Twitter or CNN. I didn’t express ANY of those opinions.

                            The only freakin’ opinion I expressed was the rather cynical one that, as far as I can tell, it’s never a good time to talk about gun control.

                            And that only in response to you bringing up ‘talking about gun control’.

                            You were having an argument with people who aren’t here, about topics that no one here was discussing. And not in a “some people on Twitter/CNN were doing this and I thought this” sort of way.

                            You just assigned me their opinions and started arguing. I didn’t even know what their opinions were, which makes it really freaking hard to understand what the heck you were talking about.

                            It’s like some sort of reverse sock puppet. If the sock puppet doesn’t even know what he’s being forced to say.

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                            • Not to put too fine a point on it, but I wasn’t on Twitter or CNN.

                              I recommend twitter far more than I recommend CNN.

                              CNN is to twitter as the newspaper is to CNN. Or newspaper was.

                              The only freakin’ opinion I expressed was the rather cynical one that, as far as I can tell, it’s never a good time to talk about gun control.

                              I can appreciate that.

                              For what it’s worth, I think that the best time to talk about gun control is either when something horrible that is gun-related happens (e.g., San Bernardino shooting, the Orlando Nightclub shooting) or when your party has considerable political power.

                              You were having an argument with people who aren’t here, about topics that no one here was discussing. And not in a “some people on Twitter/CNN were doing this and I thought this” sort of way.

                              Would you like me to find links that were warming up to a discussion of gun control that then petered out as we found out that the perpetrator was not going to make a good “this is why we need gun control” example?

                              They’re out there.

                              You just assigned me their opinions and started arguing. I didn’t even know what their opinions were, which makes it really freaking hard to understand what the heck you were talking about.

                              Have you never argued gun control before?

                              We ought to rectify that. We should have a thread dedicated to gun control and why we need it and why it would work if we instituted it.

                              It’s like some sort of reverse sock puppet. If the sock puppet doesn’t even know what he’s being forced to say.

                              I apologize. I had assumed that you were well immersed in the gun control argument.

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                              • Not to put too fine a point on it, but I wasn’t on Twitter or CNN.

                                I recommend twitter far more than I recommend CNN.

                                CNN is to twitter as the newspaper is to CNN. Or newspaper was.

                                Except that anyone can say anything in twitter and it doesn’t need to be true before it’s repeated by thousands.

                                There’s plenty of reasons why CNN sucks to high heaven (*) -mostly probably related to the need to provide “newsy” content 24/7 when you don’t have news 24/7. But at least they have a certain duty to confirm a fact before they report it.

                                Nothing stops a twit from being fact-free. I hear the
                                President-Elect twits non facts all the time. They used to call this “creating your own reality”, and it used to be tut-tued

                                (*) in the bad sense of the word “suck”

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                            • “You just assigned me their opinions and started arguing.”

                              You have this thing you’re starting to do where you jump into discussions that aren’t about you and then accuse everyone of talking about you.

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                • (And the Islamic State routinely claims responsibility for things it has nothing to do with. It’s not like there’s a downside).

                  What complicates things, somewhat, is that the student made appeals to Anwar Al-Awlaki on facebook a few moments before engaging in his gun-free attack.

                  Now Anwar Al-Awlaki has *NOTHING* to do with ISIS. Anwar Al-Awlaki was the American citizen who was killed without trial in another country.

                  Anwar Al-Awlaki’s propaganda, however, has been claimed to be the inspiration for a number of attacks even after his death.

                  Which means that people will be arguing over whether it was an ISIS attack (like ISIS claimed), merely a Anwar Al-Awlaki-inspired lone wolf terrorist attack, or yet another example of toxic masculinity reaching a boiling point after being subjected to middle-America’s stew of racist and sexist values.

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                    • From NPR:

                      CALLIMACHI: The holy month of Ramadan, which began last week, has traditionally been a time of ramped-up activity for these terrorist groups, not just for ISIS but also for al-Qaida. The reason is that they believe that this month is holy, and therefore an act of jihad against the enemy is going to reap greater rewards for them.

                      So the spokesman of ISIS issued a statement last month where he very clearly called on their adherents in the West – and he specifically names America and Europe – to take it upon themselves to carry out acts of violence against the infidel. And he has an interesting quote in there where he says no act will be considered too small.

                      And I think what he’s doing is he’s trying to appeal to isolated people who may not have the means to carry out something very impressive. And in previous speeches, he’s essentially said that you can use a knife, you can use a rock to smash the head of an infidel, you can even use a car to try to ram into them, and that all of those acts would be considered part of the larger jihad.

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                      • Speaking of Callimachi, and Daesh claiming credit and all that, this tweetstorm is *extremely* helpful.

                        The long and short of it is that they don’t randomly take credit for stuff. They do take credit for stuff that the perpetrator gives them credit for, whether they were a part of the planning or not, on the basis that they’ve asked people to act independently. So along those lines, if somebody acts independently in their name, it’s theirs. But whether that *really* counts as a Daesh attack is a judgment call.

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                      • There is an interesting parallel to a map that was made one time which had certain congressional districts in cross hairs and a man who shot a congresswoman from one of those districts and the conversation that emerged as a result.

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                        • Extremely helpful indeed.

                          She said (in I believe #39) that Isis doesn’t differentiate between ISIS attack and ISIS-inspired attack. But I still think we sort of need to. Because the way in which we respond to those things is different.

                          If we are being attacked by ISIS operatives trained overseas and coming to America which the specific intent of causing terror, we combat that one way.

                          If we are being attacked by folks who were born here or have been her a long time and who connected with ISIS online or simply became inspired by them and then carried out a self-planned attack, we combat that another way.

                          I mean, I guess, “Wipe ISIS off the face of the Earth,” might address both kinds… but it might not. I mean, the Columbine kids had all their Nazi crap and even if ISIS is destroyed you’ll still end up with ISIS-sympathizer or Neo-ISIS just as we did with Nazis. If you are the type of person who can be swayed by stuff you read online to kill people, there is a decent chance you’ll one day find stuff to read online that will inspire you to kill people. Not a guarantee, of course. But a decent chance.

                          So, yea, let’s figure out how this guy is connected with ISIS and then use that information to take effective steps at stopping future such attacks.

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                          • But I still think we sort of need to.

                            I agree. I mean, if there is coordination with them, then we talk about how to intercept that coordination or infiltrate it somehow. If it’s merely inspirational, that’s still important, but it means that we’re probably looking at intercepting different types of coordination (Like Reddit or something, I don’t know, that’s out of my wheelhouse).

                            But whether we consider it “an ISIS/Daesh attack” is (to me) something of a judgment call. Saying that it’s “not ISIS” doesn’t seem right. At the same time, calling it an “ISIS attack” can imply certain things unless we’re careful.

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                              • Are “an attack carried out by ISIS” and “an attack inspired by ISIS” not short and snappy enough?

                                Though, I concede, having read that (really great) “Tweetstorm”, inspired doesn’t feel like quite the right word either. “Called for…”

                                I guess “inspired” still puts the onus on the actor while “called for” puts the onus on ISIS so I suppose it depends which of those we want to focus more on.

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                                • I thought “co-ISIS attack” would work.

                                  “Why are you calling it an ISIS attack? He wasn’t trained to drive through a crowd in Damascus!”
                                  “I didn’t call it an ISIS attack. I called it a co-ISIS attack.”
                                  “You’re just calling it that because he’s a brown Muslim!”
                                  “No, they think he was in contact with an ISIS representative.”
                                  “How do we know that he wasn’t just friends with the ISIS representative and he merely went out to commit a non-Islam-related hate crime?”

                                  Maybe you’re right. Maybe we’ll have this conversation again no matter what.

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                          • So, yea, let’s figure out how this guy is connected with ISIS and then use that information to take effective steps at stopping future such attacks.

                            Why?

                            No, I’m serious, why should we somehow respond differently to an ISIS attack than if it was a deranged guy who was angry about the Ghostbusters reboot?

                            How many Americans have died from ISIS, compared to how many die from just stupid angry guys (and its always, always, a guy)? Like, maybe a 1000 to one?

                            Doesn’t that make ISIS about the most incompetent and toothless “terror” organization ever? Compared to like, “Guys who spend too much time on Reddit”?

                            Don’t we have better uses for our national security and law enforcement resources?

                            We have been fighting the same war for 15 years now, spent about 4 Trillion dollars and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people, and yet one guy with a car is enough to cause all this fear and panic?

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                            • No, I’m serious, why should we somehow respond differently to an ISIS attack than if it was a deranged guy who was angry about the Ghostbusters reboot?

                              Would Dylann Root’s murders be different if he did it because he was upset that Chik-fil-A discontinued the spicy breakfast sandwich?

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                                • The confederate flag would probably still be flying at the statehouse. Walmart would still be selling the confederate flag. There wouldn’t have been the renewed push on confederate monuments. A lot of conversations that were had wouldn’t have been had.

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                                • I can put “why” in perspective, I guess.

                                  If a guy shot up a church because he was crazy, then that’s something that might only be addressed by some balance of trying to fix crazy and trying to limit access to weapons that would make shooting up a church possible… but we know that there will always be things that fall through the cracks in this imperfect world.

                                  If a guy shot up a church because he was a believer in a dangerous ideology, then that’s something that could easily be addressed through elimination of this dangerous ideology. Germany, for example, went through de-Nazification and the Naziism, today, is pretty thoroughly discredited.

                                  There is, of course, a blurry area where fighting against the latter looks, for a short while, like fighting against the former.

                                  If there is a tipping point? Then that is when we, as a society, bring out the big guns as opposed to merely the dinky little law enforcement ones.

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                                    • If you see Naziism as an ideology, it’s not so bad.

                                      Same for Leninism/Stalinism/Maoism.

                                      Hell, it’s even got fans among the (remaining) Leninists/Stalinists/Maoists when it comes to Capitalism.

                                      Oh, and there are quite a few who wish to get rid of “racism”.

                                      Do you think that we should keep these ideologies around, Chip? Maybe as part of the diversity we could go on to celebrate?

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                                      • I was thinking more along the lines of, shouldn’t we be stamping out the evil ideology of white supremacy.

                                        ETA-
                                        Getting back to my point, that whether we call something TERROR or merely crime, is usually because the person calling it that is trying to use it to further an ideology of their own.

                                        Because it rarely has anything to do with keeping people safe.

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                            • Who says I wouldn’t want to take steps to prevent those murders?

                              FWIW, my hunch is that the “effective steps” we’d take to prevent an ISIS-inspired attack would also present other, non-ISIS-inspired attacks.

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                      • I’m not sure which side you were just arguing, but Dylann Roof was seen indeed as an attack by the Confederacy upon America. See the response on the displaying of the Stars and Bars, from Walmart, all the way to the SC Capitol grounds.

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                        • How could the Roof attack be an attack by the confederacy, an entity that hasn’t existed in over 100 years? It’s odd that folks will say that the Roof attack is connected to the Confederacy but won’t say that the OSU attack is by or even related to ISIS.

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                          • White dude shoots black dudes in the South.

                            Smug Northern papers (who view anything outside NYC/DC/SoCal as rube-land) use it as shorthand for all the things they despise about the “un enlightened”.

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                  • The difference is, I guess that the following responses are required:

                    1. If it was a brown skinned Muslim- then it is Terror! and we must scream and dive under our beds in abject fear. And of course, give Our COMMANDER IN CHIEF in a TIME of WAR absolute power to keep us safe!

                    2. If it was a white guy- Ehh, y’know, these things happen. Whatchagonnado?

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                  • If you really want to have some fun, compare this to what people say about Trump’s rhetoric inspiring hate crimes against homosexuals and Muslims in America.

                    Are these just randoes doing bad things, or is it an expression of a dangerous ideology?

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        • We have also learned, well other people have learned, that gun laws don’t matter to current/future criminals. Some of us already knew that but no one believed us, and they continue to deny it.

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