Morning Ed: World {2017.02.28.T}

Mark Brolin writes of the state (of disconnect with the real world) of Labour.

Rage against the present.

This is a superhero origin story.

Like crop circles, except Amazonian and without the crops.

Swedish officials want to know who the heck this guy is.

The fate of Rachel Dolezal, and some commentary from Jazz Shaw.

My god, they do have a superior culture.

St Patrick didn’t actually banish the snakes from Ireland. Here’s how it went down.


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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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64 thoughts on “Morning Ed: World {2017.02.28.T}

      • Thanks. I agree with a lot of this and think that liberal and center left parties through out the world are dealing with similar divisions for a variety of reason. In the Democratic Party, the divide is between the Educated Middle Class and Social Justice faction on one hand and the class not identity politics on the other hand. It’s not an exact comparison because realism and idealism exist in both factions but it does come close.

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        • The article’s claims about theory over practice have some parallels with the Democrats, but the larger problem is with personalities. Obama prospered while the party withered away below him because he was Obama. Hillary, buoyed by certain expectations about how certain demographics ought to vote, could not fail – she could only be failed by demographic groups who voted “wrong” (I’m looking at you, white ladies).

          The reliance of tired lefty shibboleths may be a problem going forward, and it certainly makes some progressive corners of the Internet rather tiresome, but it doesn’t pop up much in elections. The Clinton campaign’s ads were almost entirely about how temperamentally unfit Trump was for the job. All those reams of position papers on her website didn’t amount to a hill of beans when it came down to a personality contest.

          Is there an alternative? Perhaps not. Presidential systems rely more on personal appeal than parliamentary democracies. Bernie wasn’t defeated because people disagreed with Scandinavian socialism. They were mostly “with her,” or in the case of Clay Shirky types, following the lead of their intersectional betters.

          Democrats don’t have a Militant Tendency like Labour, they just have a constant back-and-forth on which combination of skin color and genitalia is most likely to get the right people to the polls.

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  1. I have seen the Anger book around and the review but the review made the book seem cliched. The zings on the enlightenment are true enough but only in a superficial way. Plus as a Jewish-American, I feel like my existence and civil liberties are directly connected to the enlightenment.

    I feel pity for Rachel Dolezal. No one should be homeless and her kids are suffering too but she is incapable of reflection

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  2. Volcano: Folks transformed into a super hero shouldn’t need “help” to get out of a volcano.

    Amazon: I’m sure there’s lots buried under the jungle. More than just geoglyphs.

    Sweden: Sounds like the show’s producers screwed up. FAKE NEWS

    Rachel Dolezal: Yeah, “transrace”? Nah, this chick is just emotionally screw up. Who wouldn’t given that childhood.

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    • That’s certainly an interesting take from Salon. I’m not sure if I entirely agree with all of it. Politics has become intensely ideological that dualism seems unavoidable. When you have one side that believes that the government can’t do anything right and another that believes certain goods like healthcare must be administrated through government than little compromise is possible.

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      • Well yeah but that really doesn’t apply very well to our current situation. If anything the reverse is happening. The “Gummint can’t do anything right” faction is getting whipped within the body of the GOP as we speak. Trumps budget proposals yesterday were: more defense spending, large tax cut and cuts to the parts of the government that don’t provide services to the elderly. That’s certainly no Democratic or left wing agenda but it’s not remotely libertarian. It remains to be seen, though, whether Trump wins out.

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        • It might not be Libertarian but neither are the Republicans. Tough law enforcement, massive defense spending, incredibly large tax cuts, and providing social services only to senior citizens is what they believe in.

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          • Well yes.. it’s basically like Trump is peeling off all the libertarian veneer and saying “to hell with pretenses” and marketing the right wing populism that’s always been at the heart of the GOP. But that’s a really big change from the endless fan dance of small government republitarianism that they’ve had going on for the last decade or two.

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        • It does seem like a repeat of the 1980s though. Weren’t Reagan’s budgets basically the same thing? It is seems like uncontrolled Reaganism because Reagan never had both houses of Congress to work with. He never got the House and lost the Senate in 1987.

          Fashion writers were saying the 80s would make a comeback this year.

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          • Reagan had a much more legitimate foreign security threat than Trump. Gorbachev didn’t become the leader of the Soviet Union until 1985 and the Cold War was still looming for most of Reagan’s administration. Reagan also did govern more moderately than his rhetoric because he was hobbled by Congress.

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  3. On Rachel Dolezal and the notion of a ‘transrace’ person – I don’t know what to make of it. We say gender is a social construct and we can choose where to place ourselves with respect to gender, our genetics be damned. The only person who matters in determining our gender is ourselves.

    If there’s anything that is socially constructed in this world, then race is among those things.

    And we also insist that the only person who doesn’t matter in determining our race is ourselves.

    We insistently deconstruct gender, but cling to the notion that an octoroon is black, one drop racial purity by another name. Michael Jackson and Rachel Dolezal never get to decide their race, only we do…

    I don’t have answers, just a feeling that the answers we’re using now aren’t going to be up to the task much longer.

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    • There is a much longer history of people playing or bending gender and sexuality than ethnicity or class. For some reason all except the most arch-conservatives seem more comfortable with gender fluidity than ethnic fluidity. The history is more complicated with ethnicity. I think a big part of this is that race or ethnicity forms the foundation for the most powerful political unity in the world, the nation-state. To allow people to be fluid in their ethnicity poses political challenges.

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    • There is almost certainly some neurological basis of one psychological sense of sex/gender, whereas I doubt there is anything similar for race. After all, humans are fundamentally sexual beings. It’s how we make babies. It’s central to how we’ve organized societies from day one. Race, on the other hand, is quite a different thing.

      My point, “transracialism” doesn’t exist, except for the claims of this one weirdo. On the other hand, there is a long history of cross-gender identity. Gender dysphoria is certainly “a thing,” similar to how clinical depression is “a thing.” “Race dysphoria,” felt by whites who have an internal sense of “blackness” — it doesn’t seem to exist, except this one weird lady who came up with the theory after getting caught.

      Look, trans folks have enough hatred stacked against us. If “transracialism” exists, well fine, but can we have some evidence before we start down this path.

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  4. I think the Rage Against the Present article is right on.

    I’ve quoted Rebecca West here before:

    “Only part of us is sane: only part of us loves pleasure and the longer day of happiness, wants to live to our nineties and die in peace, in a house that we built, that shall shelter those who come after us. The other half of us is nearly mad. It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable, loves pain and its darker night despair, and wants to die in a catastrophe that will set back life to its beginnings and leave nothing of our house save its blackened foundations. Our bright natures fight in us with this yeasty darkness, and neither part is commonly quite victorious, for we are divided against ourselves and will not let either part be destroyed. This fight can be observed constantly in our social lives. There is nothing rarer than a man who can be trusted never to throw away happiness, however eagerly he sometimes grasps it. In history we are as frequently interested in our own doom… We ignore this suicidal strain in history because we are consistently bad artists when we paint ourselves, when we prettify our wills and pretend they are not parti-colored before the Lord.”

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  5. “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

    For anyone interested in the Repeal/Replace debate, this article on the gubnas’ views is worth a read. What a mess. I mean Trump and the GOP, of course. (But signs of hope, too!)

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  6. So. The Steve Beshear thing.

    While, of course, Steve Beshear is a great person to give this particular response, I can’t help but wonder if there wasn’t a couple hundred people who would have been even more great.

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      • Who are you thinking?

        I just rewatched it and thought it was decent work for a tough job (the postbuttal is always difficult). I mean, part of me thought… yeah, if the previous campaign had Basheared it up, enough folks would have stayed home and stayed put for an Electoral College win. Then the other part wondered if Bashear has a place in the National Democratic party. Then the remaining part wondered if this is what it means by going local and regional… and what that will do to the National party.

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        • I suppose that going for someone who was term-limited out and, arguably, “would have won” had he run another time was a decent choice, but I would think that it’d be an opportunity for someone that we could actually *VOTE* for. Or, heck, root for if they were running for something in another jurisdiction.

          It’s not just a response speech, it’s a commercial.

          We got an old White Guy (who wasn’t Bernie) and an undocumented Dreamer giving a speech in a language that was not English.

          I’m not sure which scales were tipped, if any. But maybe it communicated to the Trumpistas out there “come home, all is forgiven”. Maybe. If it did that, it succeeded… I’m just wondering if it did that.

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