Morning Ed: Society {2017.05.23.T}

There’s some truth to the argument that a lot of Golden Age Television is basically coasting in its rep at this point, but this is poppycock. If it’s coasting, it’s coasting at a much higher altitude than yesteryear.

The Guardian looks at the ricochet effect between American and British expressions.

Christopher Orr says that Pixar lost its way when it got snapped up by Disney.

Oh, get over yourself. If content producers want people to watch the opening introductions, they should make them worthwhile.

Because utopias are boring?

This is, culturally, one of the most important things happening right now, and nobody (including myself) is really paying much attention.

When the source material has Greek gods, your story about ancient Greece should have Greek Gods. If it’s King Arthur, it damn well needs Merlin. If you don’t do this, you deserve to fail.


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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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340 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Society {2017.05.23.T}

  1. On intros: it’s one thing to sit through the intro to a movie. You’re only going to see those a limited number of times, usually just once. But I’ve been bingeing Star Trek of late and the intro is over a minute and a half long and exactly the same (apart from occasional cast changes) for 26×7 freakin’ episodes. Yeah, I’m skipping that crap. I really appreciate the tendency of late for shows to have very short intros of maybe only ten or fifteen seconds.

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    • When you watch one episode of Star Trek and that’s the only episode that you’re going to get for the next week or so, that intro is very important to you.

      It says “get in the mood, we’re going to go where no boldly before!”

      Sitting down to watch 6 episodes in a row? Yeah, you probably only needed to see the intro at some point in the last month.

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      • Unfortunately, according to the article: “…it turns out [that] the “skip intro” option isn’t available for Friends. However, it is available for E.T. and Forrest Gump.”

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      • I watched most of the Sopranos and half of the Wire on DVD binge, and I still wound up watching every single opening credits sequence because I liked them so much. (The Wire did change it from season to season)

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        • The Wire did something specially cool: It was the same theme song, but each season it was sung by a different singer, with completely different styles.

          And they say you can’t be original!!

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          • J_A,
            That was the thing — it wasn’t completely different styles. Well, for the first second and third seasons, sure… The fourth and fifth seasons? Little different.

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    • Just to make sure, we’re talking about the opening credits and theme song, right? Not the cold open? Wonder how many guild and/or specific talent contracts the “skip intro” feature violates? Ie, if there is content whose license terms, if you chase all of them down, require that the opening credits be shown?

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  2. The modern mind has become ill-equipped to deal with the profundity of myth and legend

    Oh, it was doing so good, but in the end, Federalist gotta Federalist.

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    • To my knowledge, myth & legend is rarely sprinkled with emoticons & acronyms.

      I’ve never head of how we should respect the witch’s values while she was putting Hansel & Gretel into the oven, or how we should respect the cultural norms of witches on this point.

      I could go on, if you need me to.

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      • We live in a culture awash in references to Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and innumerable comic book superheroes.

        To say the modern mind cannot deal with the profundity of myth and legend is ludicrous poppycock.

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      • I’ve never head of how we should respect the witch’s values while she was putting Hansel & Gretel into the oven, or how we should respect the cultural norms of witches on this point.

        Because no one, not even psycopaths, is evil because they are evil. Evil is “good”, from their point of view, and the witches themselves see you as the evil one, because you are trying to frustrate what, to them, is clearly Good, and Pure, and True

        Or, to say it more poetically

        “……that amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle-earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic. The shining tower of the Barad-dûr citadel rose over the plains of Mordor almost as high as Orodruin like a monument to Man – free Man who had politely but firmly declined the guardianship of the Dwellers on High and started living by his own reason. It was a challenge to the bone-headed aggressive West, which was still picking lice in its log ‘castles’ to the monotonous chanting of scalds extolling the wonders of never-existing Númenor.” (Kiril Eskov, The Last Ringbearer)

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            • The passage does strike me as something that could only be written from a Marxist or Hyper-Capitalist perspective. It makes sense that the original would be in Russian. They were all educated in an anti-Tolkien mindset if they were born somewhere on or before 1980 even if it was accidentally so.

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              • It’s actually a fairly pro-capitalist book (the middle half happens in what is transparently a XV Century Venice knock-off). But it’s also a book about home, and family, and friendship, so in that respect, ii’s very Tolkien

                Only that the heroes are the Orcs, and the Elves are malevolent villains…..

                …except that the Elves think they are doing the correct thing, and masses of dead Orcs is a perfectly fine price to pay for the right thing….

                …to which the Orcs object,…

                …and I won’t spoil the end. Suffice to know that the crowning of Aragorn is not the end

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                • I always liked how Dragon Lance took on the Elves, yes they are the children of the Good gods but they let this go their heads and did a lot of immoral things as a result. They never really learn either.

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            • Ha! I think to do a successful revisionist telling, you have to first properly “get” the source material, then look for what it would imply about the state of the world if that material were propaganda for the winners.

              Jeremy Maguire, for example, I think “gets” the Oz books and fairy tales he uses pretty thoroughly.

              Peter Jackson, if he did get Tolkien that way, didn’t let much of it get through to his movies.

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          • The Enlightenment fanboy in me loves this nugget:

            – free Man who had politely but firmly declined the guardianship of the Dwellers on High and started living by his own reason.

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        • J_A,
          Ha fucking ha. Evil isn’t always good.
          Sometimes it’s just “bored”.

          … raining toes! (This is a very specific reference, involving microexplosives).

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      • Will,
        In the Sun the Moon and Talia, there’s open discussion of rape by the hero.
        So, yeah, if you wanna go support rapists and shit like that, go right ahead.
        You can go first, even.

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    • He lost me when he started talking about Jung, but yeah. That bit about “the modern mind” is just silly, especially in of the facts that (a) the movie bombed, and (b) other much better retellings of the Arthur legend are popular.

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  3. You know, I’m pretty sure that I would not find much value in a discussion of film with somebody who would skip the feather part of Forrest Gump. But I’m not gonna get myself all wound up about it. I know people who thought Snakes on a Plane was a fun movie.

    You don’t have to click the skip button.

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    • The dead giveaway about the Bailey piece is that it offers token praise to Netflix for, inter alia, “… the revivals, the fresh-off-the-festival-circuit movies…” immediately followed by the critique that “they don’t curate their film library.” What precisely this means is not entirely clear. It could mean that they don’t offer the stuff he wants, but this would be odd immediately following praise for the stuff they offer. I take it to be a complaint that they offer stuff he doesn’t want. But of course this harms him in no way, as he need not watch it. So what he is really complaining about is that Netflix lets other people watch stuff that those people want to watch, rather than restricting them to stuff that he, Bailey, thinks they should watch. Later on he talks about the “theatrical experience,” lamenting its decline. (Bub, I will go back to watching movies in the theater when the theater can successfully replicate the Netflix experience.) The whole piece is a complaint that when some people experience art, they are doing it wrong! What a schmuck.

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      • Well put, Richard. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 with my (adult) daughter last weekend. Before it there was a trailer for the upcoming Tom Cruise take on The Mummy.

        After the movie, she started complaining about it. I said that I didn’t think it made much sense to get angry that someone made art I didn’t like. I mean, they conveniently put everything I don’t like into one place to make it easy to avoid. I am not the worlds yardstick. I just like stuff, and don’t like other stuff.

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        • I think it’s entirely legit to complain about art you don’t like if it’s crowding out the stuff you might like. It’s a matter of opportunity cost. $200 million going into a Mummy remake is $200 million that doesn’t go to anything else.

          Like, what Pixar movies did we not get because they made Cars 2 and Toy Story 3? Was there a better version of Brave that might have existed if they hadn’t had to wrap it and go work on Monsters University? Would Inside Out or The Good Dinosaur have been more than cute filler projects if Finding Dory hadn’t been on the schedule?

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  4. Content producers: I watch DVDs at home while working out. This is similiar tot he Netflix issue. I don’t give a damn about the intro. I’ve seen it a dozen times already. Example: Burn Notice: I know the guy’s a spy, I’ve seen the whole season. I know he’s burned. I just want to watch the episode. Fast Fwd. Shesh.

    That dude in the Popsci article? Tell me when you have the collected Tom Baker years of Doctor Who in one collection on DVD!

    King Arthur: That movie looked like it sucked from the trailers!

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    • King Arthur is a unique example of a movie that is going to have more Takes about it than actual advertising.

      It’s the Trump election model applied to filmmaking!

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  5. I will admit that modern television has, when it catches my attention, done a very good job of holding it for a while. However, it can also lose it pretty badly. The old one & done format meant you could have a stinker of an episode story wise & recover on the next. When the story can arc across multiple episodes, or even half or more of a season, you got to have a solid story, or you will lose the audience.

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  6. I remember the BBC getting excited that they found some old Dr. Who masters they thought destroyed. Media format changes are one of those things I think SciFi tends to gloss over as a plot point (we found an old recording, and look, we can still play it with just a bit of tinkering!).

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      • I’ve been through some version of most of the media failures myself. Spent weeks part-time working through all my local contacts in the tech industry to find a particular tape drive (my employer at the time was paying me to extract the data). At least a couple of times spent a bunch of effort helping reconstruct file formats. Failed magnetic media. Haven’t had any of the CDRs I’ve burned over the years fail yet, but I’ve got some that are 20+ years old now and expect that.

        OTOH, I have lab notebooks down in the basement going back almost 40 years that are as good as the day I wrote in them. I’ve pretty much come around to the viewpoint of my friend the librarian — if you want to write the primary source material that historians will discover and use 125 years from now, pigment-based ink on acid-free paper. I used to use a drafting pen. These days I usually use a Sharpie pen, with archival-rated ink.

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  7. Intros….

    I mostly fast forward them, but there are exceptions. The Battlestar Galactica intro had enough emotional content that it would hold me every time. I would sometimes rewind to watch it again. It put me in the right frame of mind.

    On the opposite, the intro for Patriot (a remarkably good-weird show in Amazon that has regretfully gone unnoticed) is endless and useless. The really worse part of the show

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  8. From the linked article

    Dr Who, decades before The Sopranos, changed what television could accomplish artistically. It utilized the serialized storytelling, the depth of characterization and theme of a novel, and the visual sensibility of film. Episodes ended without the pat resolution that defined traditional TV drama. Stories stretched out over episodes and seasons. Characters underwent the sort of transformations that would have confused and alienated the audiences of previous generations of shows that thrived on archetypes.

    Fixed it for you

    Seriously, without even realizing it, Dr. Who, a cheesy show aimed at children, did all of the above, and hence it became a cultural reference of its own.

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    • The season arc was mastered by Buffy, who arguably took it Xena. (Xena, Warrior Princess is vastly underrated. It is easy to overlook how good it is, under that that cheesiness.)

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        • Fair enough. But the thing is, they knew they were being cheesy, and loved doing it. That is really hard to pull off. Consider Bubba Ho-Tep. The imdb plot summary is “Elvis and JFK, both alive and in a nursing home, fight for the souls of their fellow residents as they battle an ancient Egyptian Mummy.” That could have been great, but the actual film is a swing and a miss. It tries to hard for “cult classic” status. Xena managed this season after season. (OK, the last two went downhill, but that is normal.)

          There was real infrastructure beneath that cheesiness. By way of example, in one episode Julius Caesar is captured by pirates. He is eventually ransomed, and then he goes back and crucifies the pirates. The thing is, this is a true story, Well, perhaps not truly true, but it is an ancient story, possibly one he told on himself. While anyone interested in Caesar is likely to know the story, it hasn’t seeped into the general popular consciousness. In other words, the people behind the show either knew this stuff just because or they made the effort to learn it. This turns out, upon examination, to happen over and over. The result reminds me of Monty Python: silliness well founded in substance.

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  9. Prestige television: Much of the commentary I read disparaging prestige television is the observation that making good television is difficult, and many attempts at it fail. This seems to me deeply unsurprising. The same is true of prestige cinema, by the way.

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  10. IIRC there is a theory that Americans use a lot of older English terms like fall or passing because of when colonialists emigrated to these shores. Fall would have been current for the Puritans and they would have been cut off from the development of using Autumn

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  11. The only truly excellent Arthurian legend movie was made by Monty Python. Even Excalibur is a better soundtrack than actual film.

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    • Excalibur is beautiful to watch. Ygraine’s dance is the most sensual imaginary I’ve seen in the screen, and Uther’s ride, carried over the mists by his lust, as Merlin says, is poetry.

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      • I love Excalibur, if for nothing else but listening to Nicol Williamson say the word “Dream!” And when I watch it, I am aware that it is cheese of the highest order.

        For instance, toward the end, we are in Mordred’s camp and an aide suddenly says (of Arthur’s army) “they are coming, listen”. We listen, and we hear Carmina Burana, which has become Arthur’s theme song. It’s incredibly silly, but still it works for me. The wizards duel between Morgana and Merlin is also awesome.

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    • There was a bit in “Excalibur” that affected me strongly, where Arthur is talking to Guinevere and says…

      I have often thought that in the hereafter of our lives, when I owe no more to the future and can be just a man, that we may meet, and you will come to me and claim me as yours, and know that I am your husband. It is a dream I have. (exits)

      I don’t know why but that just nails me, every time.

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  12. TV recording preservation: Why do you consider it important? It’s not obvious to me that every work of art should be preserved. There’s a benefit to preserving some of it, but there’s also a cost. Art tries to do new things. Too much old art discourages new art.

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      • How many composers were there in Mozart’s day? How much of their work is lost to history.

        Mozart was preserved because he was exceptional, which allowed him to capture the attention of people who could ensure his work was preserved.

        It’s probably a good thing few such composers had their work preserved, lest we be awash in archived dreck. Hell, this is one of the problems we have with copyright law.

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        • Though I fully agree with you, I was making a different point, the point that many contemporaries pushed back against Mozart for being too modern, and breaking the classical art conventions.

          Having said that, it’s true that, thinking by centuries, we tend to preserve only the best , and let the rest be lost. Not all art is really “one piece is as good as the same”, when we re flooded by the production of living artists (*), and centuries from now, we will see who we remember

          (*) Next time you walk into a big museum’s classical painting room (think Metropolitan or National Gallery), walk directly to the middle of the room, look at every piece from the distance, and pick the ones you feel are “better” (composition, balance, color contrast, draftsmanship, perspective, whatevs). Then check which were the ones you picked. Most likely, they are pieces from the Great Masters, while the others, highly meritorious themselves, are from less regarded artists, less regarded for the reason that they were not AS good as the Masters

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        • This actually isn’t true. Lots of music survives from guys you have never heard of. The manuscript gets shoved in a drawer and forgotten, but this isn’t the sort of thing you randomly toss out while cleaning house. Instead, it ends up in an archive somewhere, waiting for a strapping young musicologist to ferret it out. Or, in the alternative, the piece was actually published and copies are strewn about various libraries.

          What is different about Mozart from, say, Joseph Martin Kraus, nearly his exact contemporary, is not that Mozart’s music survived, but that it gets played routinely. Kraus is not part of the standard repertoire.

          This isn’t to say that you can’t listen to it. Vast swaths of pre-Romantic music have been recorded. This came with the LP era. The market for recordings of the standard repertoire is limited by the twenty gazillion existing recordings of the same material. The alternative is to record music outside the standard repertoire. This too is a limited market, but at least you have a shot. And who knows? You might hit the jackpot. Why pre-Romantic? Ensembles were smaller, and therefore cheaper. The Early Music movement arose as a secondary effect. Recordings of obscure Baroque music made in the 1960s used modern instruments and techniques. Then some people had the thought that it would be interesting to hear what this sounded like with period instruments and technique.

          In any case, troll through YouTube and you can find any number of recordings of deeply obscure classical composers. You won’t find comprehensive coverage. If you are looking for a specific piece by Joseph Martin Kraus you are likely to be disappointed. But if the urge to hear what “the Swedish Mozart” sounds like, there is plenty out there.

          And yes, most of this stuff is unmemorable. But not all. There are some gems in there. I adore the Missa Votiva of Jan Dismas Zelenka, “the Bohemian Bach,” which I stumbled across trolling YouTube.

          Pinky does have a point about old art. Symphonies keep copies of their programs. We can track what they were playing going back to at least the early-mid 19th century. At that time they were mostly playing music by living composers. By the turn of the 20th century the dead guys were in the lead. Nowadays a full symphony orchestra playing music by a living composer is the exception, though less so that a couple of decades ago.

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          • But how do we know what was lost?

            Old archives like you describe are actually a lot of fun, mainly because you can find gems, and if you are an artist, those gems can be inspirational and result in some pretty exciting new art, specifically because no one knows about the source. It’s hard to crib off of Mozart or Bach, as everyone will immediately know where it came from, but someone obscure…

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            • Oscar,
              The Note of Satanism was a great example of that.
              Nothing like making an album based on an Opera that was dedicated to Satan and thus buried in the Church Archives for centuries.

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    • Too much old art discourages new art.

      I’m not sure what basis there is to believe that?

      Right now I sort of think history is going to be divided into the Archived and Pre-Archived eras. Where not only the highlights are archived, but virtually everything is a part of the record somewhere.

      My great-grandfather was a pretty famous cartoonist back in the day. His most famous contribution to the field was in 1903, when he wrote the very first comic strip featuring recurring characters. The comic would inspire a more famous one, Mutt & Jeff. It’s become nearly impossible to find despite its important stuff. His later works, from 1914-30 is much easier to find, because of much of it was collected in a memorial work because the New York Tribune was more diligent about such things than the Chicago American.

      So, from my perspective, the more that’s recorded the better. You never know what’s going to be important to somebody someday.

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      • I think that the existence of top-tier art can shut down a channel of creativity. Sculpture never recovered from Michelangelo, and Mozart made it impossible to pursue conventionally-structured symphonies. Was it worth it? Of course. Beethoven immediately followed Mozart and his work heralded new thinking about compositional structure.

        The problem lies in the preservation of simple art. If I can’t follow the exact path that led to Mozart, I still have options, but if I can’t follow the path that led to The Simpsons without coming across as derivative, then what can I do? To create something “new” I have to create twisted things, because everything accessible has already been done and filed and has a web page. I can’t make a figure out of clay that looks like a person, because that’s been done. I can’t even make a toilet out of toilet that looks like a toilet. I have to start with something that has no precedent – multimedia, interactive games maybe. But that’s going to run out of steam (or run on Steam, which means it’ll be known by everyone and won’t be an unexplored path anymore). So it leaves me with nothing creative to do. I may as well just link to someone else’s webpage, mash up two songs I like, and “like” a cat meme.

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        • To create something “new” I have to create twisted things, because everything accessible has already been done and filed and has a web page.

          I don’t think this is true. This belief is the basis behind 20th century atonal music. Western composers had been exploring tonality for three centuries. It had, the thinking went, run its course, and it was time to try something new. The problem was that these experiments often sounded really bad. This is not itself a problem. Most experiments fail. But they elevated sounding bad to a virtue, and denigrated music that sounded good as “kitsch.” The result is generations of composers that hardly anyone wants to listen to. A few rose above that, but standard repertoire today is founded on the 19th century, with a sprinkling of 20th century works.

          The kicker is that they were wrong. Not entirely. The recent signs of revival of classical composition benefit from an extended sense of harmony. But they were dead wrong about the sounding bad. There are scores of modern composers who sound good without trying to be Beethoven tribute bands.

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        • Rodin, Richard Serra, Branusci, Jacob Epstein, Jeff Koons, Claes Oldenburg, and many others would like to have a word with you re sculpture since Michelangelo.

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          • I had a sentence in there about Rodin, but I cut it. But he came three centuries later. There was sculpture being done in the years between Michelangelo and Rodin, but you’d be hard put to name an art form that had such a desert. Michelangelo really seems unique in that regard.

            I’m making two points here, and this might be getting confusing. One, that memory of great art can stifle subsequent achievement (even while I recognize that it can inspire as well, and preserves something definitely worth preserving). Two, that recording and preserving lesser art can stifle the impulse to create lesser art (and this comes without the payoffs of inspiration or inherent value).

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          • Never seen Archer, only seen a few episodes of AD. Definitely humor, and theater generally, suffer from the presence of prior art. Most everything’s been done before – which was always true, but it wasn’t so well-documented.

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            • Pinky,
              This isn’t “being done before” this is taking “hot off the presses jokes” and putting them in a new show.

              If that’s not blatantly derivative enough to get hackles rising, well, nothing is, I’m pretty sure.

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            • Archer is better and funnier in theory than in practice. When you watch a small clip it’s like the cleverest thing ever, but 30 minutes of it is 25 minutes too many

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              • J_A,
                Archer is spottier than an appaloosa pony.
                When it’s on, it’s on. When it’s not, it’s really rather dire.
                Christian Slater is a horrible showrunner.

                *Yes, I do confess some bias. However, in my own defense, my friend that… writes… routinely has the “best episodes in the series” to his credit. And I mean that in general, on most TV shows he’s worked on. Except Seinfeld, strangely enough.

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      • The BBC’s decades-long habit of taping over everything that didn’t fight back in order to save a few bob will cause their name to be taken in vain quite a bit as the Archived era progresses. They straddled the gap between the two ages without realizing it at the time…

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    • The article is more qualified then the headline. Often its the headline writers who are the most to blame. But science writing in general news outlets does often suck. There are popular science websites though that do a great job. The quick take away is that headline writers should be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

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      • The article tosses around words like ‘proves’ far too casually for me to consider it qualified. It’s singular saving grace is the quote at the end. Too bad it’s at the end.

        As for headline writers, do we have to wait for the revolution?

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        • Oh it’s not a great article and does say prove which it shouldn’t. But at least they do have an opposing voice at the end. I’ve seen pieces that don’t even have the opposing voice so i gave it a little credit for that.

          If a headline writer goes missing how will we even know without a misleading headline to tell us.

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        • The quote at the end is feeble and should not forestall the revolution. Saying that “some experts were more skeptical about the findings” implies that there has been some broad vetting of the claims. Probably should read: “One expert we found willing to comment was skeptical at this point in time . . .”

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          • Over a tooth and part of a jaw, everyone should be skeptical at this point in time. At best, this should inspire some funding for further exploration. Claims that it upsets the whole “out of Africa” model are beyond stretched.

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          • I’m losing my ability to read newspaper-style stories like this one. They’re written to give you as much important information as soon as possible, then follow it up with details and clarifications. There’s no narrative flow to them. Internet articles – not all of them, no, not all of them – are better-written. They follow a magazine style. Preamble-meat-conclusion, or x number of reasons for believing something laid out in x sections, or chronological beginning-middle-end.

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      • Whew!

        This new discovery means that we’re all Europeans. Our ancestors probably ended up in Africa for a while as part of a safari. Cheetahs did the same thing. They only recently moved to Africa, traveling from North America, likely because they heard that’s where all the cool cats hang out.

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  13. A bar in DC decided to make a cocktail called “Pill Crosby” which featured fake capsules.

    People complained naturally and the Bar first tried to defend the choice, shot themselves in the foot again, and then apologized and pulled the drink.

    The other cocktails were also named after famous African-Americans with a certain degree of infamy if much less than Crosby. Marvin Gaye and Marion Barry were also on the menu.

    Nick Gillespie at Reason decided to defend the Bar. I’ll link later.

    1. As Lee would ask to people even think about whether something would be a good idea before doing it. Shouldn’t people understand how fast these things spread on the net by now?

    2. Libertarians if you want to know why liberals view you as white Republicans in bow ties who like to smoke marijuana look at Nick’s column. It is a highlight of “Liberals criticized something so I must defend it” knee jerk contrarianism. Plus this involved consumer critiques and not government action.

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    • I’m pretty sure that there aren’t that many Libertarians who wonder why lefties see them as white Republicans who like to smoke pot. (Bow ties?)

      They disagree, of course… but they’re a lot more likely to rely on something like the explanation found in Bertrand Russell’s famous quotation: “A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand” than to ask “oh why oh why do liberals view us as white Republicans who want to smoke pot?”

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    • So when some liberal talking head pens an embarrassing knee jerk reactionary piece that satisfies all manner of negative liberal stereotypes, I get to hold that up as evidence as to why libertarians have a hard time taking liberals seriously?

      Good to know. GAME ON!

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      • On the one hand, Gillespie is a big enough deal that I don’t think citing him is nutpicking.

        On the other hand, I take issue with Saul’s characterization of the piece. Nick seems sympathetic to the bar, but on the whole it’s pretty non-commital. The last paragraph:

        Libertarian follow-up question: Is this an example of disciplining via market forces and/or voice (as opposed to exit or loyalty, in the parlance of Albert O. Hirschman)? Or is it simply the latest sign of political correctness and identity politics stamping out anything that anyone can find objectionable? And will the next casualty be “the Marvin Gaye,” a drink whose name is at the bottom of the menu in the picture of the drink above and to the right? Gaye came to an ugly and sad end, shot to death by his own father even as his career was reviving in the mid-1980s.

        And if that counts as being in the bar’s corner, it can just as easily be framed as “Reason editor defends minority-owned business.”

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        • It seems like every party was being sort of dim, Saul included. The bar owner said they like to do things that push boundaries. What happens when you push boundaries; sometimes you screw up and get push back. That is a part of basic boundary pushing bargin. Don’t whine about it. Saul is reading a bit to much into it and i could have written Oscar’s comment. To easy to poke at lame stereotypes. Gillespie does seem to buy into the conservative PC crap which means he is knee jerking a little about a bar getting very predictable push back…..come on Pill Cosby. They knew they were poking a bees nest. They admitted it.

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            • I tend to think PC is just an attempt at a neutral sounding phrase but usually isn’t meant that way. PC is often just “liberals are wrong”. It’s fine for peeps to think that but saying PC is meant to sound less partisan, more above it all and tries to conflate multiple things. What’s the diff between PC and a reasonable complaint. In reality it depends on who says it; if it’s a liberal complaint then it’s PC , if it’s a conservative then it’s a reasonable complaint. If PC means anything then the war on xmas and “happy holidays vs. merry christmas” is as PC as anything that ever PC’d.

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              • The notion that conservative hysterics over perceived slights (such as the War on Christmas) are assumed legitimate is pretty laughable. It just depends on who you’re talking to.

                That being said, I think I agree with your main point.

                I’ve said this enough for it to be a chorus during the Rise of Trump, but most “anti-PC” people can more accurately be described as “Reverse-PC”… which is that they simply want norms enforced in the reverse direction. I get to spit on your icons, but don’t you dare disrespect my flag. It’s only slightly less ridiculous a pose than “Free Speech Advocates for Milo.”

                None of which really suggests that there is nothing behind some of the complaints. A lot of the complaints are transparently absurd, but some of its effectiveness is because they have assigned more accessible terminology to their complaint. War on Christmas hysterics is also part of a larger pattern, but the words used to describe it are more insular in nature. Whether accessible or insular, however, such terminology almost always lends itself to abuse before too long.

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              • For sure! When, however, you get people like Freddie, no conservative nor even remotely within spitting distance of a centrist, and arch-centrist Chait agreeing* that the far left and increasingly the merely left is beginning to indulge in the same kind of self brain eating groupthink that was a precursor to whatever we call what the GOP and the right have devolved into I think we’re in territory of this being more than merely an invention of the right**.

                *And boy does Freddie ever hate that they do.
                **Though my own alarm at it will remain pretty muted until I see serious signs of it escaping from the hothouses of school campuses and flourishing in the real world.

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                  • Freddie’s stuff has always been good, it’s just that a lot of liberals hate him because he holds up a mirror to their bullshit and they don’t like what they see, so they blame the guy holding the mirror instead.

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                  • I’ve always found him both fascinating to read because he’s a very good writer, a highly capable (if emotional) thinker and fascinatingly alien to read because he’s hyper passionate about things which is alien to me and he’s close enough to my own views to be visible from my own position but just… off.. from them (from my own perspective).

                    Shorter:

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                  • Freddie knows about education because he works in it and has a PhD in rhetoric. He also tends to be more nuanced here than his usual dismissals and his self-selected martyred belief that he is the one true leftist.

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                • Freddie’s critics would argue that Freddie is part of the “class not race” Left and this is constant arguments against political correctness is really a reflection on how he is not really part of the modern Liberal/Left coalition.

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                  • Yes and if they don’t see how the conservatives started policing their internal discourses, banning external dissent and drawing increasingly small circles only within which true conservativism lay and eventually looked up and saw Trump bestriding the horizon around them then they’re not trying to change the world; they’re just preening and wanking on the internet and in college.

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                    • The conservatives have power in all three branches of the Federal government though. Their strategy hasn’t hurt them electorally.

                      Intersectionality is a thing in Liberal-Left circles these days. I don’t entirely agree with Intersectionality for many reasons. A lot of what passes as Liberal-Left rhetoric does poorly as electoral strategy but it is clearly seen as an important issue. There are definitely times where I feel excluded from liberal-left circles or at best something of an auxiliary member but I’m not part of the base. I have to recognize that.

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                      • The conservatives have power in all three branches of the Federal government though. Their strategy hasn’t hurt them electorally.

                        They had help from their opposition.

                        More to the point, though, how happy do conservatives seem to be right now?

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                        • how happy do conservatives seem to be right now?

                          Which flavor?

                          The hawks are somewhat pleased (hey, did you hear? We’re selling *TONS* of military stuff to Saudi!) while the Socons are somewhat pleased (he of whom we do not speak this week visited the wall!) while the Fiscons are ticked, they’re *ALWAYS* ticked. They don’t understand that Obama said that Cheney said that Reagan said that “deficits don’t matter”. Besides, where are they gonna go? The Dems?

                          Most importantly, the Republicans who gauge the success of any given policy by how loud the screams of the Dems are? They’re groaning in ecstasy.

                          As for #nevertrump… well, who cares? Are they going to vote for Fauxcahontas/Stuart Smalley in 2020?

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                          • Jaw, me lad, I love you but if you think the Socons are even slightly pleased then I don’t think you’re paying the Socons much mind. Their main themes right now are “We sold our electoral soul and all we got was one Supreme Court justice that any other GOP candidate would have nominated, a reverse of the title IX policy and a MAGA hat.”

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                          • We can discount #NT entirely for the sake of this conversation. Trumpers are angry at congressional Republicans for failing to sufficiently support him. Small government conservatives and moderates alike hate AHCA which is at present the landmark conservative legislation of the 100 days and likely going to fail. Ann Coulter is starting to suggest Trump is selling out. No wall, it looks like. Social conservatives haven’t gotten some of the executive orders they thought they had coming here.

                            Nobody seems especially happy right now.

                            Except Gorsuch.

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                            • I’m really eager to see Gorsuch’s career in the SC.

                              There’s a case of good IPA that says he will not be the socon dreamed white knight, and that he will be somewhere between Kennedy and Roberts.

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                                • The next Alito he ain’t.

                                  I think he will be closer to Roberts than to anyone else, and for sure is pro Capital instead of pro Labor, but I doubt he’ll go rightwards (further right than Roberts) on socon issues.

                                  So now I’m curious you think he might be “strong (from a conservative point of view) on religious issues”, beyond “Them the owners, their rules” (which, on second thought’s it’s what Hobby Lobby says)

                                  I just think Gorsuch would have concurred in the judgement in Hobby Lobby, but not in the reasoning

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                                  • “Them the owners, their rules” qualifies as socon right-wing bigotry these days!

                                    He maaaaaaay side with employees fired on account of not doing their jobs on the basis of their religion. Not Kim Davis, but pharmacy employees or something. Not sure.

                                    I think he might be a pleasant surprised on some criminal justice issues. At least that’s my hope.

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                        • More to the point, though, how happy do conservatives seem to be right now?

                          My acquaintances who are most adamant that they are conservatives are unhappy, but disagree with the premise that conservatives control all three branches of the federal government. If conservatives did, these people say, a straight-up repeal of the PPACA would have passed and something like Trump’s new budget proposal would pass. They seem to think that there are a lot of CINOs in Washington.

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                      • I hesitate to observe this, for fear of jinxing it, but so far the conservative majority appears to be flat out incapable of governing or enacting policy because they’re incapacitated by the stories and fictions they used to parlay their way into office*.

                        *With an assists from both Clinton’s and The Democratic Parties errors along with Comey’s unusual little electoral meddling adventure.

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                    • Err… I think “The Left” has been experiencing significant “white flight” for decades and it’s been transformative but I wouldn’t dare to suggest it’s all over (at least not yet, check back in after 2018).

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                      • My head is telling me that 2018 will be a bloodbath for Republicans. That whole “regression to the mean” thing that will happen after winning 1000 elected positions over the last 4 elections is going to *WHAMMO* hit the Repubs right in the jimmy. Look at Trump’s approval rating!

                        My gut keeps saying “remember how sure you were in 2016 that Trump wouldn’t hit 240 EVs?” and “look at the Senate map again” and “The DNC will probably send the cast of the West Wing and Hillary Clinton to Wisconsin to help GOTV for Tammy Baldwin and Clinton will probably open her speech with something like ‘I should have come here sooner!'”

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                        • I think the same thing and that has a clarifying aspect to it. If 2018 is a wash and the outcomes aren’t a dramatic shift then there’s no way to say that some serious frame work changing needs to be done on the Democratic Party as a political vehicle.

                          Actually I think Clinton being that self aware might come off well but I don’t expect there’ll be much to any Clinton involvement in politics going forward. They have no successors and the Party knows, now, that she just can’t cut it in the public eye anymore (if she ever could). They’ll probably be relegated to what he and she do best (if they’re used at all): Him giving occasional speeches at conventions or other events to invoke 90’s nostalgia and her working behind the scenes to fundraise and get party members to toe the line.

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                      • Well, if the Democrats aren’t over, then the white flight probably is and we’ve found equilibrium.

                        If the white flight isn’t over, then the Democratic Party is probably in a lot of trouble.

                        Clinton didn’t do that much worse than Obama among whites and arguably did a little better, so #1 is looking like a decent prediction right now. Though Democrats still talking about the white voters they don’t need puts me a bit on edge for 2020.

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                        • The removal of Clinton and her baggage is a major element. I’ve come to the unhappy conclusion that the branding was both a result of their particular way of behaving and also a consequence of the branding inflicted on them by the newly (at the time in the 90’s) empowered right wing alternative media that the masses since have since become inured to (the right tried to do the same thing to Obama but only their own partisans bought in).

                          The thumping in 2016 can be laid at her feet but the silver lining of that is that she’s gone and over and there are no more of them and that removes it as an element for future elections.

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                          • The flipside to this is that we generally re-elect our incumbents. And worst-case scenarios as presented in 2016 will not have materialized. And some of Hillary’s mistakes were, up until the election, conventional wisdom of leftwards that may accelerate rather than recede by 2020. It would be foolish to say the Democrats don’t have a really good chance to win in 2020… but there are a lot of ways they can lose, too. More ways than I thought there were in 2016.

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                            • I won’t even consider 2020. It’s too far out and there’re too many unknowns. Will Trump still be Pres? Will he actually want to run again? What happens in 2018?

                              Yes, some of Clintons mistakes; the “deplorables” own goal and the mineworkers jobs selective quoting stem from elements that are inherent to the Democratic/Left framework. But Clintons’ example is cautionary; I’d expect future pols are bright enough to know that those elements need to be handled more carefully.

                              I still feel like removing the visceral hate that right wingers from the center right out to the wings harbor for that name from the equation is a big deal.

                              But 2018 seems key. I feel like the Dems have relatively solid policy positions and pretty reasonable offers but suffered from bad retail politics and a restive base*. The right and the GOP have the opposite problem.

                              *I remember the way the Dem base talked in 2000 when I was just getting into American politics. The similarities were just scary! For a moment I thought I was 20 again!

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                              • DNC reports worst April fundraising since 2009.

                                The Democratic National Committee reported its worst April of fundraising since 2009, according to Federal Election Commission records released Monday.

                                The DNC reported taking in $4.7 million last month.

                                [snip]

                                The Republican National Committee’s April numbers more than doubled its counterpart. The RNC reported raising $9.6 million in April and holding $41 million cash on hand. The DNC said it has $8.8 million on hand.

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                                  • It showed that Trump could beat an opponent who had a two to one fundraising advantage against him. Now the Republicans have the fundraising advantage and the Democrats still have Hillary running around, again noncommittal on another run.

                                    They’ll never be rid of her until someone puts her in prison.

                                    Someone should suggest a full investigation of how Seth Rich, the DNC insider who sent internal party e-mails to Wikileaks, got gunned down in the street in the middle of the night.

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                                    • If you think either Clinton will ever have another shot at the Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party then Jeff Sessions should send the fuzz out to your neck of the woods because you’re on some mighty strong smack or at least some crazy strong false hope. No way do the Clintons come back after losing to Trump.

                                      As to the money raising? We’ll see in 2018 (assuming the disparity holds up). I expect it’ll be pretty incidental.

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                                        • What’s weird about Hannity on this issue is that even if he’s right that Seth was a nogoodlowdown leaker and the DNC had him murdered in righteous retribution (which makes no sense) the evidence of collusion isn’t motivated by the DNC hacking but rather Flynn’s (and now lots of other folks’) lying about contacts and connections with the Russians during the campaign and transition and of course prior to those events. So he’s doubly deluded.

                                          My guess is that if he doesn’t drop the story in a day or two Fox News higher ups are gonna put the kibosh on his show. He’s so deranged he’s hurting the brand.

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                                          • It is more Alex” The media should really be kind and respectful in times of family tragedy” Jones territory. But the purpose is just to muddy the waters and aim the poo cannon at the D’s to take the pressure off of the R’s.

                                            I think Fox has taken the story off their main site. That doesn’t mean Hannity won’t keep pushing it though.

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                                          • I doubt Seth was murdered for retribution. They probably murdered him because they were already wedded to the Russian hacking angle, and Seth could’ve come forward as the leaker an destroyed their campaign narrative.

                                            Plus, I read that Podesta had sent an e-mail saying they should make an example of the leaker. They certainly couldn’t risk him going public. Eliminating him before anyone knew about him, before he had a public face, is vital in squashing such people. Then it’s just a random murder with no political connotations and no back blast.

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                                              • Yes, he is. Kim dot com is the founder of MegaUpload.

                                                Almost immediately after Seth’s murder, Julian Assange offered a bounty for information about the killing. Drudge then ran with that.

                                                How would a late night murder of some low-level IT flunky even come to the immediate attention of Assange, Drudge and others unless people who knew Seth was the leaker were flagging them to the murder’s importance?

                                                And of course what are the odds that the one DNC staffer who gets murdered, out of thousands and thousands of staffers in DC, happens to be the one DNC staffer who was sending catastrophically vital inside information to Wikileaks about how the DNC had rigged the nomination?

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                                                            • The family is pleading with people like Hannity to stop using his tragedy for political mud fights. Let the cops investigate it.

                                                              Assange and Mr. Dot Com are not exactly above reproach and have their own motives. Their involvement does make this any less of a far out conspiracy theory.

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                                                                • Zac, please don’t. Firstly, it really doesn’t jive with the rules or the site, secondly it makes our side look bad and importantly it’s the exact kind of behavior that they want to provoke.

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                                                                  • Respect is earned, not automatic. The fact that you clearly recognize that their comments are intended to provoke vituperation rather than further discussion is what’s so maddening: if you know that, why am *I* the problem? The idea here that an assholic statement said politely is fine, but an accurate one said rudely is not, is a nice idea but in practice it’s how you get a troll infestation, QED.

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                                                                  • I gotta say that has some really strong points. I get that this site wants a wide variety of opinion and doesn’t want to be ideologically mono like LGM or Crooked Timber or Free Republic. But are certified paranoid’s like notme and george-turner the best we can do. Is there some requirement that seriousness demands treating the paranoid fantasies that George is spinning with respect?

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                                                                      • Does it matter at all that certain people conduct themselves in a disrespectful manner and do not respect the site or vast majority of the people here? The policy says to aim to assume good intentions. But at what point do we demand people act with good intentions?

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                                                                        • I tend to limit my level of engagement with people I believe are regularly acting in bad faith, or are acting contrary to what I consider to be in the spirit of the site. Or, at least, what I would like the site to be*.

                                                                          If I didn’t, I would have left this place in frustration a long time ago.

                                                                          * – As a participant, rather than as an editor. My role as an editor complicates matters somewhat, where I am more compelled to engage with people I otherwise might avoid. But even then, I can limit engagement to my own satisfaction. Usually.

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                                                                    • Yes. I am very content to recognize that GT and Notme are strong representations of conservationism as it is functionally practiced by the GOP. I do not want them banned. I want them politely countered. I want their points congenially eviscerated and I want their ideas to stand bare for the world to see without them being able to point to some angry opponent and change the subject to their tone. I do not want them banned. I believe liberal ideals and rational discourse are strong enough to shine in contrast to what they throw out without having to resort to vituperation or, heaven for-fend, banning. It baffles me that so many liberals don’t share my belief and think that their principles are so feeble that they have to resort to force or fury to defend them. But whatevs, this isn’t my site, I just live here.

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                                                                      • I personally don’t want them encouraged at all so I would prefer if everyone just ignored them but failing that your path is better. Still I feel sympathy for Zac’s fedup attitude.

                                                                        I don’t think Zac believes liberal/left ideas are feeble. Neither do I.

                                                                        But let’s just say that recent events and recent readings have caused me to doubt the rationality of man. And there seems to be a kind of pearl-clutching among some on the left (and some libertarians going for a moral high ground) that all political discourse and disagreement can be handled like a polite tea party. Frankly this tea party platonic ideal is a large myth.

                                                                        There is no polite tea party dialogue with the likes of Richard Spencer or Sean Hannity. IIRC there is evidence that says the best way to counter authortarianism is with a bit of backbone and cut the bullshit rhetoric. Not with polite refutations like a tea party.

                                                                        There has been a lot of tsk tsking about how the left has handled right-wing protestors. Sometimes I think that this tsk tsking concern trolling also comes from people that prefer to see a subservient left. But I think about the Battle of Cable Street. In the 1930s, the British Fascists wanted to march into the then Jewish East End. They were met with defiance by Jews, Communists, Labourites, Socialists, Unionists, etc. The fascists were repelled and never came back.

                                                                        I’m sure plenty of people tsk tsked the defiant back then but it seems to have worked. Perhaps a good sod off in intemperate language is necessary. There is also a glory in being among the Cable Street defiant.

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                                                                        • North is right. This conspiracy crap is as weak and silly as anything. It’s a classic diversion from the actual investigation, all the shoes dropping about trump and even that icing on the cake of Mike Flynn taking the fifth after all the R’s ( including Trump adn Flynn and Notme and most likely GT going nuts over Lois Lerner taking the fifth). Cognitive Dissonance is a harsh master. I don’t’ mind poking at them and clowning on the silliness but it just isn’t’ worth investment of emotion. If you putting that much emotion into then they are in your head. Don’t let the trolls or the cray cray in your head.

                                                                          PS Flynn has the complete right to take the fifth and is likely smart to do so. It isn’t any admission of guilt and important part of the protections we all have. Maybe the conservatives will learn a little lesson about that.

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                                                                          • I don’t seem to have a problem keeping up with both accounts. “channeling kimmi” here, but why would I assure the “narrative” coming from DC/Dems/MSM/political class was the actual true narrative? Why would I assume the alleged “conspiracy” is the true narrative either? Some of the claims on both seem logical and raise some very interesting questions. Of course, the public will never know the real truth..it’ll be classified.

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                                                                      • I want them politely countered. I want their points congenially eviscerated and I want their ideas to stand bare for the world to see without them being able to point to some angry opponent and change the subject to their tone.

                                                                        In principle I agree with this. I enjoy conversing with intelligent people of whatever political stripe. All I ask is that it be interesting and respectful. Unfortunately that’s not really possible with those two. One is essentially a right wing version of kimmie and the other is only here to troll and insult liberals. I simply choose not to engage.

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                                                                          • I see that lots are upset that their bubble isn’t being maintained.

                                                                            It’s a bubble, kind of like a prison to keep out other ideas.

                                                                            The Seth Rich murder was a conspiracy theory back when the conspiracy part of the story, the grasping at straws that had ten thousand to one odds against, was that the murdered DNC staffer was the person who was sending data to Wikileaks.

                                                                            There was no evidence for it, and it would be incredibly unlikely that the one staffer who got mysteriously murdered would have been a leaker, especially since it wasn’t even established that there was some DNC insider leaking anything. That’s why the claim started as a crazy conspiracy theory.

                                                                            Now we have a very prominent person who worked with Seth Rich who is willing to testify and provide evidence that Seth Rich was the leaker. This witness, who is rich, is willing to come to the US to testify even though we’re seeking to extradite him on an unrelated matter and send him to prison.

                                                                            That means he’s serious, and his claims are extremely serious.

                                                                            At this point, there is more public indication that Seth Rich was the leaker, and thus was probably murdered to shut him up, than there is for any of the claims about Trump’s Russian collusion, which is all paranoid conspiracy theories that are nonsense from start to finish.

                                                                            If Hillary had won the election, which seemed almost certain when Seth was killed, his case never would have seen the light of day. But she didn’t win, and Washington isn’t going to be able to cover it up for very long.

                                                                            There is a chance that Kim dotcom is pulling a giant prank, but I think Assange would’ve called him on it before now. And remember, Assange, who is blindly dedicated to the “truth” at any cost, is adamant that the Russians weren’t the source of the DNC information.

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                                                                            • As an aside, it occurs to me that Kim dotcom’s playing a trump card in his legal defense against the US charges for which he faces extradition. Perhaps it’s a bit like Assange’s situation.

                                                                              The Democrats are focused like a laser on investigating the Russian collusion in the DNC hacks, when there’s no evidence of collusion but substantial evidence that the DNC’s internal information was leaked – by parties unknown.

                                                                              There’s a vigorous assertion by a witness claiming to be a conspirator in that leak that he knows exactly who the leaker is, the person who sent the DNC’s internal information to Wikileaks. It’s impossible to conduct a non-laughable investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion without hearing testimony from such a witness

                                                                              So the Mueller, the special prosecutor, and all the Democrats, have to either grant Kim Dotcoms offer to provide evidence and testimony in return for dropping the charges against him (stated as a guarantee of safe passage), or they have to admit that they don’t care a bit about finding out what the truth is about the DNC “hacks”, making it plain that it’s all just political theater to support a narrative.

                                                                              Kim dotcom is facing off against the DNC establishment, and he has checkmate in three moves. They have to let him testify, and Trump will Tweet about his testimony, and everyone will know that the DNC leaker was murdered and reach the obvious conclusion.

                                                                              Kim dotcom is obviously talking to some very sharp lawyers.

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                                                                          • As is often the case, you guys have said this way better than I possibly could. I will simply say that A) contra GT downthread I come here specifically because it’s got lots of smart people who I nevertheless disagree with and I find their perspective enriching, and B) pretty much all of my issues with the status quo could be solved by this site installing some sort of ignore or mute function.

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                                                                            • An ignore or mute function would not be to your benefit.

                                                                              We live in a complex world. We used to be a prey species hunted by cats. Life comes at you fast and the facts you were so certain of one minute can change in an instant. You have to stay on your toes if you want to survive, and ignoring what’s coming at you out of the undergrowth because it conflicts with your social status and worldview is a a red ticket out of the gene pool.

                                                                              You have to react to whatever is out there, and what is out there may cause you to rethink much of what you know. Republicans had to do this with Nixon. Democrats generally fail at this because their worldview is more dogmatic than pragmatic.

                                                                              Democrats sprang the Trump tape about groping and Trump supporters immediately categorized and processed it. I’ve said far worse, and so have most people. In fact, I’ve had wild sex with at least a third of NFL cheerleaders, something I’m not proud of because it shows I’m weak to the sins of the flesh.

                                                                              Given my firm stand in defense of marriage, I’m sure I’ll be accused of hypocrisy simply because I’m single and cheerleaders find me irresistible I talk about it, and talk about it quite a lot when I’m among guys who have the same kind of problem, hot girls trying to use older guys for cheap sex.

                                                                              Trump obviously had the same problem, though his morals and character were stronger than mine. I’d totally hit Miss Iceland, whereas he merely complained about what such girls did, and how crazy it was. Been there. Totally understand where he’s coming from. Proper girls are not like what we think, and sometimes it’s kind of shocking.

                                                                              White girls understand this, which is why most of them voted for Donald J Trump after the big hit about locker room talk.

                                                                              In contrast, they looked at all the hot women who were terrified of Hillary Clinton’s goons and totally understood what kind of person she was. They’d no doubt suffered many such women growing up, and didn’t want to repeat the experience.

                                                                              But none of that can sink in to Democrat “thinkers” because they wall off alarming information instead of rolling with it. Something leaps out of the bushes and a conservative processes the input to decide if it’s threat, non threat, lethal threat, tiger racing to pee, or whatever. A liberal, at this point, is conditioned to agree with the group, defend the status quo, and maintain the existing hierarchy, even if their explanations for a simple animal encounter are beyond absurd.

                                                                              There are fundamental reasons why Trump beat 16 Republican opponents and Hillary faced almost no Democrat opponents, and reasons why she lost, bigly, despite being given a 95% chance of victory by people who can’t respond to what comes charging out of the bushes, and who are fixated on absurd explanations of reality because it confirms their social status and virtues.

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                                                                              • George Turner: In fact, I’ve had wild sex with at least a third of NFL cheerleaders, something I’m not proud of because it shows I’m weak to the sins of the flesh.

                                                                                Given my firm stand in defense of marriage, I’m sure I’ll be accused of hypocrisy simply because I’m single and cheerleaders find me irresistible I talk about it, and talk about it quite a lot when I’m among guys who have the same kind of problem, hot girls trying to use older guys for cheap sex.

                                                                                See, if you’re going to lie as wildly as that, you could at least come up with something a little more creative. Maybe you could claim that you’re the Captain-General of Monaco or that you once beat Bruce Lee in a fistfight. But at least don’t make us read your weird fap-fantasies.

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                                                                                • That was an example of locker room talk. Hillary and the media gambled the US Presidential election that regular Americans wouldn’t know about locker room talk and what BS it is, putting everything they had behind the “Trump gropes women” story. It turns out that Americans did know about locker room talk, and now Donald J Trump is President of the United States, Billy Bush is unemployed, and Hillary is wandering randomly around New York in her usual pastel pantsuits.

                                                                                  The media and political handlers had been inside the bubble for so long that they no longer understood how normal people talk. Jeb Bush had fits trying to fight Trump’s use of language and communications, but it was Jeb who ended up lamely begging his audience to clap.

                                                                                  The gotcha game required everyone to agree to pretend to not understand what he said, and feign outrage about it, but for that pretense to happen, everyone had to understand what he said and then pretend not to. That was a stretch too far for too many voters, and they got irritated and started interpreting statements for themselves. They rejected the media narrative and then the media.

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                                                                      • I’m between you and Saul on the subject of how to deal with GT, Notme, and Kimmie. A big tendency has been towards what I call aggressive truth telling in advocacy. People call things as they see them and aren’t going to back down.

                                                                        This leads to a lot rhetoric that might be true but not exactly helpful like how different laws like NYC’s cabaret license or various curfew keeps getting called racist. The idea seems to be that if you call something racist, racist enough than it will go away because everybody knows racism is bad.

                                                                        This doesn’t seem to work. NYC’s cabaret license remains firmly in place in a liberal, Democratic Party dominated city that delights in its diversity despite its checkered origins. For whatever reason, getting rid of the cabaret license is just hard. I’m guessing because not enough people care. If aggressive truth telling does not work in New York than it isn’t going to work elsewhere.

                                                                        Yet, having to deal politely with people like GT, Notme, or Kimmie is just infuriating at times.

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                                                              • It just confirms that Democrats are absolutely desperate that the Seth Rich murder doesn’t get on people’s radar, because there’s only one conclusion ordinary people will have. The DNC, probably on HIllary and Podesta orders, had Seth Rich murdered.

                                                                They’ve probably been paying his family a lot of money to hush up, too.

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                                                              • The thing is … it doesn’t matter – at all – re: the investigations into Trump’s campaign. If the story plays out like George and Hannity believe, it may suffice to prosecute someone in Hillary’s orbit, but bigfuckingdeal. It’s politically irrelevant wrt what’s happening right now except for the propaganda role it plays to keep the true believers on board with Trump.

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                                                                • Actually it does.

                                                                  Assange immediately offered a reward for Seth Rich’s murder.
                                                                  When has Wikileaks ever offered a reward in a simple murder case?

                                                                  Kim Dot Com, who is in a position to know, says Seth Rich was the leaker.

                                                                  If Seth Rich is the leaker then it wasn’t the Russians. If Seth Rich was murdered by the DNC then they knew it wasn’t the Russians, it was their murdered staffer. So they knew the whole Russian angle was false. But then they had to keep pushing it so people wouldn’t look for the real leaker, their murdered staffer, Seth Rich, and then wonder who had him murdered. They needed to make sure everybody thought the Russians did the hacking, even though they knew that was a lie – to cover up their murder – of the person who sent the information on primary rigging to Wikileaks.
                                                                  .

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                                                                    • I spent yesterday discussing the case at length with a former prosecutor and long time defense attorney.

                                                                      He raised a lot of questions about their motivations for coming forward, and one I touched on is that if you’re involved in something like this, you might be murdered too, unless you go public. Then you’re on the radar and nobody can touch you without implicating themselves, because they are obviously going to be the primary suspect. He agreed because he’s used the same tactic.

                                                                      There may be more people coming forward as the case heats up.

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                                                                      • The fun thing about conversations like this is that no matter what happens, it’s evidence of Conspiracy and Shutting People Up.

                                                                        Someone got killed and he may or may not have been involved? He was Shut Up! He shoulda talked, the light of public regard woulda protected him!

                                                                        Someone started talking and then got killed? He was Shut Up! If he’d kept his big mouth shut then nobody would have noticed him…

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                                                                        • DD,
                                                                          When you’re dealing with legit assassins, you got a paper trail. they admit to what they’ve done, and build their reputation on it.

                                                                          We Raise Eyebrows when an assistant DA goes missing in Penn State, and is Missing For Years without Investigation.

                                                                          We Raise Eyebrows when bankers start taking nosedives off tall (secured) buildings in London — and then the reporter goes missing and is never heard from again.

                                                                          There’s plenty enough strange shit happening that it pays to pay attention to.

                                                                          I guarantee the FBI isn’t pinning the blame on the Russians, not internally (They’re NOT that stupid). Armtwisting to “Find Someone to Blame” and the Russians Make a Convenient Target.

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                                                                        • He’s not my attorney, so I’ll leave him unnamed.

                                                                          Graduated from the Louis D. Brandeis school of law. Former assistant prosecutor for Louisville, public defender in Lexington-Fayette County for decades. He also was an attorney for the state EPA (mostly dealt with coal mines), defended the pile of money that is our workman’s comp system, worked for Legal Services Corp, and was in private practice. He’s also a gun dealer who practices Shaolin kung fu, and he’s a registered Democrat.

                                                                          He’s now retired from practice.

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                                                                      • George,
                                                                        Yeah-butt. This is the age of the internet. I can anonymize myself to the point where you can’t tell who I am. In fact, I can even convince you that I’m someone else, and get you to murder them instead.

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                                                                    • notme:
                                                                      Yes, folks here don’t seem to want to ask the question about why assange or kim dotcom would chose to interject themselves in this matter.

                                                                      Because we know the answer already?

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                                                                        • There’s more evidence that dotcom and assange are deep state operatives with the mission to destroy the idea of global techno libertarianism/anarchism than any other theory – other than, you know, the official explanations for everything.

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                                                                        • You’re confused about why Assange, whose organization would lose all of credibility if they turned out just to be an arm of / patsies for Russian intelligence, and who has done everything he can to have that narrative rejected in favor of a different narrative, would interject to support one of those different narratives? Are you honestly asking yourself, “Why could such a peripheral figure as Julian Assange possibly be interested in the outcome of this investigation? How could he not be neutral?”

                                                                          As for Kim Dotcom, I don’t know enough about his motivations on this particular issue, but I do know that he’s a self-aggrandizing blowhard who has been more or less at war with the US government for years. I also know that neither of these two has presented anything that looks like evidence.

                                                                          The “bombshell” details about this case have thus far turned out to be either nothing at all or simply factually wrong, so I’m going to remain skeptical until we see some actual evidence beyond the word of well-known bullshit artists with ulterior motives.

                                                                          I’m just waiting for a story that actually makes sense and has some real evidence to support it.

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                                                                          • Gateway Pundit has an update from Kim dot com

                                                                            I have consulted with my lawyers. I accept that my full statement should be provided to the authorities and I am prepared to do that so that there can be a full investigation. My lawyers will speak with the authorities regarding the proper process.

                                                                            If my evidence is required to be given in the United States I would be prepared to do so if appropriate arrangements are made. I would need a guarantee from Special Counsel Mueller, on behalf of the United States, of safe passage from New Zealand to the United States and back. In the coming days we will be communicating with the appropriate authorities to make the necessary arrangements. In the meantime, I will make no further comment.

                                                                            Apparently Seth called himself “panda” and wanted to fight corruption from within the system, and was developing political analytic tools that he was also going to use for an “Internet Party.”

                                                                            Heck, maybe some Democrats thought that popping Seth would be like killing Lenin in 1914, killing Hitler in the 1920’s, or killing GW Bush in the 1970’s. Perhaps they got word from the future that the Democratic party was dead, replaced by an Internet Party started by a Seth Rich in 2018.

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                                                                            • If you’re wondering whether I had seen Kim Dotcom’s statement before I wrote that no evidence had been presented, the answer is yes, I had.

                                                                              Anyway, it should be interesting to see if Dotcom will be able to use this opportunity to make a deal to kill off his extradition to the US and avoid facing 20 years in prison. My guess is that he will not. But the man clearly has the balls to roll the dice.

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                                                                              • As I stated a few minutes ago somewhere else in this thread, Kim Dotcom played a trump card. The investigators have to give him a deal, any deal Kim Dotcom asks for, or the entire Trump investigation is a kabuki dance.

                                                                                It would be like having LBJ’s closest aide saying “Yeah, we killed Kennedy and I’ll prove it if you give me immunity!” and not calling him as a witness, and then pretending the investigation was open and thorough.

                                                                                Kim Dotcom has obviously realized what cards he’s holding. One of them is “Get Out of Jail Free.” He’s played it. There’s nothing Democrats or the establishment can do about it, except perhaps kill him like they killed Seth Rich.

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                                                                                • The investigators have to give him a deal, any deal Kim Dotcom asks for, or the entire Trump investigation is a kabuki dance.

                                                                                  No. Just no. That’s not the way this works at all. Either your friend is mythical, or he’s yanking your chain, or you completely misunderstood.

                                                                                  First of all, the DNC is not even a party to the investigation. Second, the FBI doesn’t much care for being blackmailed into giving fugitives free passes. If he has relevant evidence to offer, he can come back to the US and face the consequences of that decision, or he can deliver the information via US counsel to the investigators, or he can even agree to be interviewed via a secure audio/video channel.

                                                                                  The idea that a wanted person known to be a fabulist can create a story and spin it into a Get Out of Jail Free card is just stupid.

                                                                                  But who knows? The sitting president could just pardon him.

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                                                                                • George,
                                                                                  Kim is not even in the same ballpark as Assange’s closest aide.
                                                                                  He’s also not anywhere near in the same ballpark as Rich.

                                                                                  He has NOTHING to do with anything, and is just being stupid.

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                                                                                • As I stated a few minutes ago somewhere else in this thread, Kim Dotcom played a trump card. The investigators have to give him a deal, any deal Kim Dotcom asks for, or the entire Trump investigation is a kabuki dance.

                                                                                  If only I had known this was how things really worked, I would have started robbing banks a few months ago, confident that I could make a sweet deal if I just promised to tell the feds all the juicy stuff I know about Seth Rich.

                                                                                  Another missed opportunity.

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                                                                              • If he does not, Democrats and the media will be unable to explain why not. He’s wanted for what, putting up a platform for people to download Fast and Furious Five? And that is more serious than anything regarding the 2016 election?

                                                                                The whole Democrat narrative collapses at that point.

                                                                                Hillary has once again put them in a no win position.

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                                                                          • tf,
                                                                            Feel free to go looking for the assassins yourself.
                                                                            Assassins have this funny habit of publicizing to people in the know who they’ve killed. Taking credit is a good way to keep a good reputation for these sorts of things.

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                                                                    • notme,
                                                                      Assange was already in the matter (and may be covering up for people higher in his org-chart). Whatever he says, he was involved from the get-go.
                                                                      Kim Dotcom is just a stupid opportunist.

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                                                                  • George,
                                                                    Kim Dot Com is not important. Kim Dot Com is irrelevant.
                                                                    Do not listen to the raving lunatic.

                                                                    Also, you don’t know a damn thing about this.
                                                                    I suggest you either listen to people who DO know, or find a way to provide some evidence.

                                                                    See, there’s this funny thing about assassins — they take credit for kills.

                                                                    Now, I’m not telling you to provide evidence. But if you won’t, just shut the fuck up.

                                                                    I would also like to note that there has been some stuff that the FBI/CIA has said the Russians did that wasn’t part of the DNC hacking thing.

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                                      • Clinton is just as viable in 2020 as she was in 2016. What Sessions should investigate is what all those people were smoking when they thought she should run in 2016. Most everyone on the Republican side thought the Democrats would be insane to let her run, but it seems most Democrats didn’t have much of a say in the matter. No viable Democrat dared run against her.

                                        And you knew in 2008 that she was a horrible candidate. Everything she did since then should have confirmed it. But none of it mattered because she just lined up all the super-delegates and gave them their marching orders for 2016. There’s nothing to stop her from doing the same in 2020.

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                                        • Except she lost in 2016 so it’s over. She’ll never take a shot at President again, certainly not as a Democratic candidate.

                                          You’re about one quarter right about 2008-2016, Hillary did line up just about everyone in the party behind her. That’s why her only competition was Bernie. There wasn’t anything nefarious about it though, simply party politics. Bernie flat out lost, long before the super delegates weighed in.

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                                          • Well if the party leadership, including all those high level Obama staffers, all stepped aside because they thought Hillary was a better candidate than they would be, well, they should all just resign and give up politics. They should also stop taking hallucinogens.

                                            The reason nobody serious ran against her is that she has a well-earned reputation for being extremely vindictive and destroying Democrats who oppose her. After her 2008 loss she had everyone in Congress rated from 1 to 7 on “loyalty to Hillary”. And she’s surrounded herself with operatives who don’t have a conscience about stabbing people.

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                                            • That’s all moot. The Clintons earned points through a variety of means (being good soldiers and falling into line when Obama won, participating in his administration, campaigning and fundraising for various Democratic officials, the Obama reelection etc) and they cashed them in for their shot in 2016. Then they lost. Absolutely most people stepped aside: Hillary had been building up to her campaign since 2009 probably. They honestly expected her to get the nod and honestly thought she could win. You don’t want to be on the bad side of the future leader of the party who has a reputation for vindictiveness. Absolutely!

                                              But now? It’s over. Hillary lost the general, not the nomination fight. A reputation for ruthlessness? Utterly useless if no one believes you’ll ever achieve the power to indulge it. If anyone every feared the Clintons before they certainly don’t now. Hillary has no favors to cash in. She certainly has none of the rationale that her campaign had before and tons of reasons (that Democratic officials and voters care about, not ones they think Republicans have invented) not to support her. No one is going to step aside for her, hell very few people would even support her making another bid. There’s nothing left to base a campaign on nor has Clinton made even the slightest move to try. It’s over. All the Clinton obsessives will have to obsess over someone new and it’ll never be like it was with the Clintons.

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                                              • North,
                                                More accurately, Clinton is cashing in favors to prevent herself from being murdered or going to jail. Pissing off the Powers That Be is a dangerous game.

                                                The Clinton Foundation was an entire series of quidproquo promises since nearly forever.

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          • There is boundary pushing and then there is the person saying they are pushing boundaries as a mealy mouthed defense.

            Boundary pushing is best done when done with specificity. Duchamp’s urinal was asking (or trying to ask depending on your point of view) very specific questions: What makes something a work of art? Is it the location? because someone says so? Etc.

            The best boundary pushers are well-trained and studied in the classics and formalities that came before them.

            Then there is “boundary pushing” which seems to be an after the fact defense when you get called out for a tasteless joke. “We just like pushing boundaries man….”

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            • Boundary pushing or being a provocateur are fancy pants names for trolling usually. It is possible to push a boundary with specificity and knowledge of what came before. That is all fine, arts need people to test the edges. All good there. But it usually is just a self-righteous attempt talking your way out of something embarrassing. People who are serious about pushing boundaries usually don’t’ whine about when people call them on it.

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        • The market forces or political politics question is basically unanswerable. If you see the market as fundamentally un-political, as many are want to do, than going after a product or business for a political reason, the drink is named after offensive, than a consumer reason, the drink tastes bad, could never be something involving market forces. This would be especially true if most of the complainers had no attention of every going to that bar as customers. If you think that political action requires government than this is discipline via market forces.

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          • For me, it’s market forces unless the government either steps in, or is lobbied to step in by the complainers.

            If all they are doing is publicizing the names and offering their opinion, the political angles are irrelevant, it’s market discipline.

            If they are trying to get the local alcohol licensing board to take action, or lobbying a EO or human rights council to step in, then it crosses over into political interference, and we get to discuss the legitimacy of said actions.

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        • It would be nice if their readers honestly tried to debate and grapple with those questions but they did not. Instead they engaged in knee-jerk SJW bashing and believing that anything done by liberals/the left is wrong.

          Whether we like it or not (and there are good reasons not to like it) ostensibly local businesses exist in a globalized world and if they want the benefits of the Internet, they are going to take the downsides of the Internet. This might mean suffering from an Internet pushback.

          The questions seem more like a clever way to say “The market produced a thing I don’t like so I will find a way to say it is not a true market force reaction.”

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      • It’s not the nutpicking. It is that when someone tells me he is a Libertarian, this usually translates to this person voting for the Republican, while expostulating about his reservations. At least with a straight up conservative we are spared that angst-laden expostulating.

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    • Here’s the link to Gillespie.

      This can only be loosely described as a defense; he describes it as being in bad taste. It’s more a critique of the predictable histrionics from the pseudo-justice warriors, who made the characteristically impressive leap to the conclusion that this was an endorsement of rape.

      Your description also made it sound like they were somehow belittling black people by selectively highlighting notorious black celebrities, but there are also drinks on the menu named after Dave Chapelle and Duke Ellington.

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  14. One thing that I had been worried about for years there was the whole gender disparity that was happening in China as a result of the one-child policy and sex-selective abortions.

    As it turns out… no. The people of China just happened to fail to tell the government about the extra daughters and folks who were part of the community conspired to keep them secret as well. Like, teachers. Official headcount of the classroom? 20. Unofficial headcount? 27.

    Good for them. This tells me that they’re going to be good at taking things over after the US gets too topheavy.

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    • It’s also worth keeping in mind when making plans that depend on total compliance to bureaucratic requirements, enforced by citizen reporting of rule-breakers.

      Like, even the Chinese Communists couldn’t pull that off.

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  15. Will, I often try to post about the actual things being discussed, but nobody gives two shits because it’s not about Trump.

    RE: Pixar. It’s funny how the author’s central thesis is that Pixar went downhill after Disney bought it out and then he cites as its three Greatest Successes movies that were made well after that buyout. Like, Wall-E was the third movie.

    And–as with so many pop-crit writers talking about Pixar–he totally fucking ignores A Bug’s Life. Like, the word “bug” does not even appear in the article. And what you lose by that omission is the fact that Pixar wasn’t a sure-fire success at first! Everyone was so blown away by Toy Story 2 (justifiably, because it was awesome) that they apparently now have collective amnesia regarding A Bug’s Life. But it was a big risk, at the time, for a tiny studio with a one-for-two record to do a sequel. There’s a world where TS2 was just-kinda-okay and Pixar became a job shop, the way ILM did after Rango.

    And yet. He’s got a point that the commercial impetus is definitely affecting the decisions that are made, the artistic ideas, the choices of what projects to focus on and how to produce them.

    And this rankles, because despite these critical failures and what we see as the studio moving away from its roots, it still makes jillions of dollars. And we don’t understand it, because weren’t we the ones who loved Pixar first?

    But to quote The Last Psychiatrist, it doesn’t make sense for us because it’s not for us. Disney doesn’t depend on nerds coming to see its movies; it depends on parents who see boys going “brrrrrmmm” and pushing Speed McQueen Hot Wheels off the kitchen table, girls holding plastic Dory fish up and imagining that the whole world is underwater.

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    • It’s funny how the author’s central thesis is that Pixar went downhill after Disney bought it out and then he cites as its three Greatest Successes movies that were made well after that buyout. Like, Wall-E was the third movie.

      From memory, so possibly not entirely accurate, but I believe Wall-E was greenlighted by Jobs and production started in 2002. I know it was an idea that the people at Pixar had played with since sometime in the 1990s. Also that the Disney deal said explicitly that up through Wall-E they were “Pixar” movies — Disney had to do distribution, and could do merchandise, but had to accept those movies as Pixar produced them.

      Which as I recall struck me as common sense at the time. Disney was spending $7B for creative talent. “Let’s not immediately overrule the talent’s decisions” seems like common sense. Not that that’s a guarantee. I worked at MediaOne when it was acquired by AT&T Broadband in the days of cable consolidation. Both had similar portfolios of international operations. MediaOne’s were quite profitable; AT&T’s were all losing money hand over fist. AT&T fairly quickly sold off the MediaOne operations and kept losing money. (One of the smarter financial decisions I ever made was to sell all of my stock options the day after the AT&T Broadband/MediaOne deal closed.)

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  16. The article does mention that the three movies in question were in work prior to the acquisition (although it doesn’t go into the contract details). I agree that it’s unlikely that a Disney with editorial control would have greenlit something like “Wall-E”.

    That said, the history of Toy Story 3 shows that there was going to be a TS3 whether Pixar wanted one or not. While Pixar handled all the creative work on the project–and, to Disney’s credit, it did stick to the “you get what we give you” terms–the fact that it existed at all was Disney’s decision.

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  17. Perhaps the answer here is to delete posts that are “hey here’s another thing (link)”. Because those things are not topics for discussion in the post.

    (Yes, I have done this, and I’m thinking now I shouldn’t have.)

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  18. I am writing this down here, because I don’t see the need to get directly involved in these threads. But whenever I see someone spreading these kinds of dumbass conspiracy theories whether it be this Seth Rich thing or 9/11 truther-isms or flat earth theories, I’m left concluding that person is doing it for one of three reasons:

    1. That person is cognitively challenged, or is acting well below their normal cognitive abilities on this one particular issue (i.e. they are stupid);
    2. That person is not particularly stupid, but has allowed their political affinities to short circuit their normally functioning rational capacities (i.e. they are irrational);
    3. They don’t really believe it, but finds that raising this issue is a good way to get under the skin of those on the other side (they are trolls).

    And so, that just leads me to the obvious question: what do I have to gain from interacting with the stupid, the irrational or the trolls?

    These guys will continue to raise these things so long as there are folks willing to entertain the debate.

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          • I’m surprised you need to ask, but it does indeed.

            It also includes assuming that your interlocutor is not evil or stupid (he/she could be a troll).

            As a guidance, give your interlocutor as much or as little leeway and respect you think you yourself deserve

            And use the scroll down function liberally (pun not intended, but it’s funny nevertheless)

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            • I’m asking more as a rhetorical question as I’ve been the recipient of the some of the profanity laced personal attacks by other commenters who then have the nerve talk about having a civil discussion and wonder what they did wrong.

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            • notme isn’t the one you need to talk to.

              I’m thinking more about the people who get into screaming fits replying to him and then ask why he can’t be banned.

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        • “add more to the community than hard truth telling does.”

          I disagree. I want the truth. I seek the truth. If the “community” choose to put it’s head in the sand by silencing the “crazy”, that is their choice. I won’t. I want the crazies on soap boxes in the public square. I can always leave when I’ve had my fill. “Respectful engagement -and respectful scroll down and ignore” Of course.

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          • ” I disagree. I want the truth.”

            I also want the Truth (capital T intended)

            However, the best I can hope for is facts. Truth, like Beauty, and Good, are Platonic Ideals, and like most Platonic everything, if they exist at all, they exist in a place where carbon-based life forms cannot access them.

            Most times “hard truth telling” (scare quotes intended) is people channeling their inner Jack Nicholson and ASSERTING (emphasis intended) their opinion about why others are wrong.

            Jack Nicholson could carried the day in that movie. He had a lot of unpleasant facts on his side. We was right about how the sausage is made. But instead, Col. Nathan R. Jessep also channeled his inner Jack Nicholson, and claimed ownership of the Truth (TM) instead of letting the facts speak.

            The rest is (movie) history. No one can handle the Truth, because no one has the Truth. Let’s talk about facts (and this, as you know, is also my criticism of Fox News and “we present, you decide” media – the shape of the Earth is a fact, not a Truth )

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            • J_A,
              Truths are generally derivable from facts.

              I can tell you right now that you don’t care all that much about the planned genocide of people in a country halfway across the world. If you did care, you’d be doing something about it.

              Humans like to pretend that they’re bigger and nobler than they actually are — and, for the love of god, way less bestial.

              Facts are fine, when you’ve got them. But I doubt you have half the facts. Assassins are like terrorists in one way only: they both admit to their scores.

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              • I can tell you right now that you don’t care all that much about the planned genocide of people in a country halfway across the world. If you did care, you’d be doing something about it.

                You can say that you believe that, or that it seems to you that I “don’t care all that much about the planned genocide of people in a country halfway across the world.”, You cannot tell me that that is a fact, because You-Don’t-Know-What-I-Care-About-Or-What-If-Anything_i-Am-Doing-About-It

                And given that the opinions of a utility executive have little impact on what happens in a country halfway around the world (besides any way voting for HRC and Sheila Jackson-Lee might impact the country halfway across the world), the personal comment, even if true, would be irrelevant.

                Of course, it is a fact that the people that crashed planes onto buildings or bombed pop concerts cared deeply about the genocide of people (or of cultures) halfway across the world from Houston, and decided they had to do something about it.

                And they knew exactly what to do, because they had something better than facts. They had Truth (TM)

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                • J_A,
                  As a matter of “did you fix it YET?” — yeah, I fucking do.
                  Pedal to the metal, you get one chance at this life — if it’s not fixed now and you don’t have a plan, you probably ain’t fixing it, Sherlock.

                  Hell, if you were in BDS, I’d be willing to say you care about the I/P conflict, even if you weren’t running the show (And YES, there are other ways one can contribute to fixing the Middle East. I know someone who helped create Eritrea. And only afterwards realized the place was real.)

                  Hell, if you wanted to make the argument that you’re feeding people by indirectly employing slave labor — or hell, that you were being a Good Person by letting those people Starve because you Won’t Buy from people because that will encourage overpopulation and subsequent disease…

                  I’m not picky, here. But when they die a deliberately planned death, you’ll get to say that you couldn’t be arsed to do anything about it.

                  I’m the same, of course. I could blow a hole in the fence, I could crash a plane. It ain’t that important to me.

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              • If you don’t mind …

                Truths are generally derivable from facts.
                Not truths, but inferences– an important point to note.
                The direction is also important: General to specific (deductive reasoning) or specific to general (inductive), which is more prone to error.

                I can tell you right now that you don’t care all that much about the planned genocide of people in a country halfway across the world. If you did care, you’d be doing something about it.
                The first statement demonstrates a flaw of inductive reasoning.
                The second is an assumption offered without proof, which takes for granted no other relevant factors exist.

                Humans like to pretend that they’re bigger and nobler than they actually are — and, for the love of god, way less bestial.
                This is actually circular reasoning. It is a deductive conclusion grounded on an inductive premise derived from the some fact set.

                Facts are fine, when you’ve got them. But I doubt you have half the facts. Assassins are like terrorists in one way only: they both admit to their scores.
                I’ll let that one stand.

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                • Will,
                  A truth is something that can be used to predict an outcome with a reasonable amount of reliability. Inductive reasoning, sure, but please bear in mind that we have methods right now of modeling every person on the planet. So, our sample set may very well be the entire set. It’ll still be inductive reasoning if we’re generalizing to the N+1 person, of course…

                  Will, I don’t think anyone much cares about the projected death of that particular country. Certainly not enough to stop a country with nuclear weapons from walling off one of it’s neighbors.
                  Yes, I could be mistaken. However, it takes some work to fix a problem. I’m prepared to be generous, and if people are even trying to use the free market, well, that’s something, isn’t it?

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                  • Not truth, but trend.

                    A trend is something that can be used to predict an outcome with a reasonable amount of reliability.

                    The problem with trends is that they are all backward-looking, and limited in utility as forward-looking instruments.
                    That’s why people lost money in the mortgage meltdown rather going short, which would have been the sensible thing to do.

                    Then there’s the old debate (and I forget the names attached here) of Incrementalism vs. Paradigm Shifts.
                    Trends value Incrementalism, without addressing the fundamentals.

                    You come home from work every day for years, and the wife is never fishing the neighbor when you walk through the door.
                    Then one day, all of a sudden, you walk in, and there they are.
                    It’s a fundamental shift.
                    From the view of Incrementalism, maybe the guy’s only halfway in, and you walked in just in time. At any rate, the guy’s not going to be fishing your wife anymore with you standing there, so everything’s ok. No trend.

                    Trends are a bit limited in their utility.
                    Viewing things in that manner may well constitute a legitimate paradigm shift.

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                    • Will,
                      Oh, come the hell off it, Dr. Doom (Roubini) wasn’t the only one who saw the mortgage meltdown coming.

                      Catching a falling knife is always dangerous.

                      I made money off the mortgage meltdown. it wasn’t difficult. Cars are next. You can play stocks too.

                      Yeah, your point is well taken — for trends. But truths ain’t trends. Truths are often inductive, sure… but hell, you can deduce from “birth control pills simulate pregnancy” that “a woman on The Pill is going to react differently to men than she would otherwise.” This is a truth. It’s not the only factor, of course, in whether you get lucky or not.

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            • “However, the best I can hope for is facts.”

              Agreed, but unless someone is auditing every single statement for factual errors, we have what we have. I want people asserting X, people asserting Y, and crazy people tell me that X and Y don’t matter and that I should be paying attention to Z over there! I will sort it all out. Everyone speaking has an agenda, even those who purport to claim they don’t.

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        • “Respectful engagement -and respectful scroll down and ignore- add more to the community than hard truth telling does. ”

          But he’s wrong, he’s WRONG, he’s WRONG he’s WRONG HE’S WRONG HE’S WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!

          I mean, how am I supposed to just not reply to someone who’s wrong!?

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          • For me, and for whatever it’s worth, there are two frustrations. One is that one (which, as you suggest, is both universal and stupid).

            The other is that I–like many others–come here in an attempt to escape a certain bubble. I would love to hear/debate the merits of conservative policy with those who support what it actually is. What gets me the angriest is when I think I’m going to be able to do that, and instead get someone flatly denying key features of the topic. Which, I think, is what frustrates so many people about the folks that triggered this conversation. But then, maybe I’m projecting.

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            • Regretfully, in this particular site, the number of conservatives that engage in the facts of the matter (“yes, reducing health insurance access to 20 million people IS the objective, because that’s a lot of tax money spent in subsidizing all that health insurance”) is very limited

              However, in other sites, it is even more limited

              Hence I stay around

              Cheers

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              • Ah but IS “reducing health insurance access to 20 million people” the objective. Or is the objective 1) to reduce taxes or 2) to return heath care decisions to the individual instead of making a one size fits all plan that is sub optimal, or a host of other objectives. I’ll grant you that SOME may have the objective you state, but others don’t. And your statement is hiding a lot of bias/political position in it.

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                • Assuming this is even a real example there seems to be an assumption that reducing health insurance to millions is an object versus an unintended consequence. Assuming/Claiming it’s an objective makes the process seem evil, which is sometimes how the left likes to portray Repubs.

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                  • Assuming this is even a real example there seems to be an assumption that reducing health insurance to millions is an object versus an unintended consequence.

                    If that outcome is predicted it can’t be an unintended consequence.

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                      • Agreed about that. Which gets us to the place Nevermoor was talking about: what are the policy objectives of the AHCA, do they achieve those goals and are they worth the tradeoffs?

                        We’ll know more in a bit when the CBO score comes out.

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                        • No, nevermoor seems to assume that reducing health insurance access to 20 million people was an actual objective of the bill. That allegation has not been substantiated. I doubt if he can even with greg’s attempts at wordplay.

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                          • to assume that reducing health insurance access to 20 million people was an actual objective of the bill.

                            That was me, not

                            I’m willing to stipulate that the objective is to “reduce the cost to the Federal Government”of proving health care to the population, so that Federal Taxes can be reduced” That 23 million people will go uninsured (not 20, my mistake) is just a necessary step to reach the bill’s goal.

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                  • Whereas the objective of Obamacare was to cause millions of people to lose their insurance and their doctors, while wildly inflating insurance prices for most everybody else, while reducing access with narrow lists of providers, while inflating deductibles to such levels that the insurance is only useful for catastrophic illness, while fining the working poor people who couldn’t afford the inflated insurance costs, while collapsing the entire health insurance industry.

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                      • It seems that his points are just as true as you saying the objective of trump’s bill is to toss millions off their insurance. Since you want to conflate objectives and consequences.

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                        • notme,
                          if you think his reading of the objectives is wrong, kindly provide your own take.

                          I know there are some powerful people out there whose actual objective is to destroy the public school system because they don’t want to pay for it.

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                      • All of those are true. They’re a large part of the reason that Donald J Trump is President.

                        Deductibles went up bigly. Prices went up by double digits year after year. People lost their health insurance. Remember the lie “If you like your plan you can keep your plan?” Yeah, so did everybody else.

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                        • Yeah i heard all about those 20+ million people who have HI now. Wait is that what you are talking about? The CBO score says 20 million will lose coverage so i guess that is what led Trump to win….he did say he would toss millions off of HI right?

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                          • They’re forced to have health insurance by the IRS.

                            There are a lot of people who don’t actually need anything but catastrophic coverage (young males), and some who don’t need coverage at all. What Obamacare did was try to force the cost burden onto young healthy males who can get by very cheaply. Those males are also starting out in life, often having the lowest income. But by fining them or over billing them, we can keep them poor, and delay the time before they have enough financial security to buy a house.

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                • to return heath care decisions to the individual

                  I have yet to hear of any plan which purports to do that which does not also include an enormous hidden backstop for when such individual incurs an uncovered event and which does not screw those who need the exempted care. To wit:

                  The costs of birth need to be paid by someone. If your policy goes down in price because it has a maternity exemption, then someone else’s policy goes up. Personally, I’ve never heard any reasonable moral argument that policies sold to young women should bear that entire cost.

                  ETA: Just how many employer-based policies “return health care decisions to the individual”?

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                  • ” Personally, I’ve never heard any reasonable moral argument that policies sold to young women should bear that entire cost.”

                    Please explain why it’s a cost to a male, who doesn’t want or have children and is close to retirement but short of SS/Medicare?

                    If you don’t currently, or plan to have soon, kids, there’s no need to load up a policy for dependent care, dependent dental care, etc.

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                    • Because we live in a society. Providing for the next generation is usually considered the bare minimum of a functioning society.

                      FYIGM is a philosophical approach that encourages those who disagree with it to start making all sorts of inquiries into how the proponent of that point of view benefited from the actions of others.

                      For example: Do you, Damon, ever use a public road? Someone in your past paid enough for it so that it still endures today for your benefit. Why should you receive the benefit of their largess when you’re not willing to make an investment in the next generation?

                      Frankly, I have no interest in making that inquiry. But one consequence of your position, Damon, is to legitimize that question.

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                      • Ah yes, the alleged “social contract”, which I have neither signed nor seen an actual copy of, that seems to change over time without apparent renegotiation with all parties. Funny how it never gets renegotiation in my favor.

                        Sure…. That’s another name of the tyranny of the majority. Another trope, the FYIGM response.

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                        • Funny how it never gets renegotiation in my favor.

                          Exit. Voice. Loyalty.

                          If you don’t like how you’re being treated by your town / city / county / state / country, you can (a) leave, (b) complain about your treatment and see if enough people agree with you to change things, (c) suck it up, buttercup.

                          State tax burden calculators and inter-country comparisons are all over the internet. A quick skim shows me two things: (a) Americans are pretty lightly taxed compared to other jurisdictions where they’re likely to want to live; (b) most states consistently tax at about 10%, but there are notable exceptions.

                          (Allocation of state tax burden based on income was beyond my interest and google skills.)

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                      • Risk pooling is not the fundamental basis for insurance. Betting is.

                        As long as I can cover a payout, I can run an insurance scheme with just one customer: you.

                        Say I’m willing to risk my house to cover that payout as long as you pay me $X a year.

                        That’s insurance.

                        It’s why Bill Gates doesn’t need any. He’s self-insured because he can cover any payout.

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                          • So please explain the magic that happens once you get enough people together into a “risk pool.”

                            There isn’t any. It’s the same as a casino. As long as the house has a pot of money that can cover a clump of payouts, it doesn’t matter how many customers the casino has for it to stay in operation. Gangs and mobsters used to run number rackets, which were just small time lotteries. As they got bigger, they moved into casinos and could afford bigger payouts. What the higher volume does is smooth out the spikes in income versus outflow, so that the required pot of house money is smaller relative to the amount of income.

                            But it doesn’t actually change the math or the business. There’s still a chance that every customer will hit the jackpot, or develop cancer, and bust the house.

                            The single-customer model required the house to be able to cover that one very lucky gambler, so the house’s pot of money had to be big enough for 100% losses. Though unlikely, that would happen in a finite number of cases, where some of the single-customer casinos would have bad luck and lose their shirts. But that’s the business. In return for a little of your money, they’re offering you a lot of money in the unlikely event of… something.

                            Health insurance is the same thing, just legalized. They’re betting you won’t get cancer. You’re betting you will. If you get cancer, you win and they pay out. If you don’t get cancer, they win and you’re out the insurance premium. If you wanted to bet that you won’t get cancer, you don’t buy insurance. Being uninsured is betting on yourself instead of against yourself.

                            If the policy only pays $250,000, then they only need $250,000 sitting in a bank or other financial instrument, even as real estate, to cover you. The bet is the same regardless of how many other customers they have.

                            But then they make another gamble. They bet that with 10 customers, they’re only going to have one get cancer, and they can pay that out with the same $250,000 that they set aside to cover the first customer. That leads to the concept of the risk pool, but it’s still just gambling because, little did they know, all ten of their customers worked at the asbestos plant.

                            The same risk applies to US health insurers. A vicious plague would break the house.

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                            • “If the policy only pays $250,000, then they only need $250,000 sitting in a bank or other financial instrument, even as real estate, to cover you. The bet is the same regardless of how many other customers they have.”

                              But if risk isn’t pooled, the house is going to push for everyone to have $250K in their little individual pool. If my insurer can’t take money from your premiums to pay for my care, they aren’t going to sell me a plan that costs $800/month and covers cancer. It’d take 26 years of paying in to balance out.

                              And before you say, “Well, that’s only one lost bet!” realize you are describing pooled risk.

                              Imagine each insurer only gets to sell ONE policy. They’ll choose only the healthiest people and still charge tons more than they do.

                              Show me the math on how a system with zero pooled risk… where every insurance company has one customer… does anyone any good?

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                              • That market exists, and is quite common. It’s called self-insurance, and I am one of the members.

                                If you can cover the cost of a loss, cranking through the odds, you don’t have to pay anyone anything. You don’t have to gamble with sharks who are trying to make a good living off your innumeracy, your fears, and your inability to deal with statistics.

                                It’s like full coverage auto insurance. If you can cover the cost of replacing your car, you don’t need to carry full coverage. It’s a convenience to smooth out bumps in your bank account, not a necessity.

                                Mainly, parts of the insurance industry thrives because most people can’t do math or make risky decisions and want to be protected from the consequences. State lotteries exist for the same reason.

                                The difference between a lottery and insurance is the lottery pays out randomly.

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                                • Most people can’t afford self-insurance. Which is why we have group insurance. Which necessarily relies on pooled risk.

                                  If you can’t afford self-insurance, you rely on others in the event pricey medical care is needed. You don’t get to then turn around and opt out of offering the same to others.

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                            • George,
                              A vicious plague is relatively easy to treat, and relatively uncostly. You’ve seen ebola — that took a year to treat an entire swath of countries.

                              Worry more about Diabetes. Things that cost a lot over a long period of time.

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                      • That is the fundamental basis for insurance. Risk is pooled.

                        I don’t think that is quite right. Insurance is a general term for a number of related risk management products. To some extent, all insurance operates by pooling risk on the back end, but the parameters of individual insurance products vary. Some insurance is meant to pool risk across a class of people and some insurance is meant to smooth consumption across the life of a single person.

                        A health insurance policy written to be actuarially fair to the beneficiary is just as much insurance as one written to the demographics of a larger pool. There may be all sorts of reasons why we prefer the latter to the former, but the former is still insurance.

                        Further, the fact that we forget this basic idea is why conversations about health care can get so out of hand. People forget that health insurance (whether it’s provided by a private company or by the state) is a product with inputs and outputs, costs and benefits. So, instead of talking about how to build the best product, we get stuck arguing about these semantic and, for lack of a better term, metaphysical ideas that don’t get us much closer to solving the cost-benefit problem.

                        tl;dr: Risk pools aren’t magic. They are a means of subsidizing those with high health care needs. They’re not a cost-cutting mechanism.

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                        • My point is that saying, “Why should I have to contribute dollars towards anyone else’s care?” is to misunderstand the very basic nature of insurance.

                          If everyone had some sort of individual plan, where their premiums paid for only their own care, everyone would be paying tons more. That isn’t insurance… it’s a savings account.

                          You don’t want to pay for some woman you never met’s pregnancy? Well she probably doesn’t want to pay for your cancer treatment. And since you don’t really get to decide whether you’ll get cancer or not, you need her to agree to before the system goes bunk.

                          Does this mean insurance must cover everything? Nope. Not an argument I made.

                          But it does mean that the current Republican talking line of “Why should Person X’s dollars go towards Person Y’s care?” shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what insurance is or how insurance works.

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                          • My point is that saying, “Why should I have to contribute dollars towards anyone else’s care?” is to misunderstand the very basic nature of insurance.

                            I don’t agree with that. If I am older, fatter and smoke more than you, my life insurance premiums will be higher than yours. If I have three DUIs and live in a neighborhood with high crime rates, my auto insurance is going to be higher than yours. Can we agree that those products still count as insurance?

                            It is a perfectly reasonable position to say, “I’m happy to pay insurance premiums that are actuarily fair to my likelihood to need health care, but I don’t want to pay higher premiums to subsidize other people who should be in riskier insurance pools.” There may be all sorts of moral and social reasons why you can object to that position, but it’s too much to say that it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of insurance.

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                  • Why is birth expensive? We produced 10,000 generations of humans with really no birth costs at all. Animals have babies all the time and they don’t even have monetary systems. Africans are producing more babies than we are for vastly less.

                    We’re obviously doing something wrong.

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                        • Since you have such personal experience, what would be your preferred course of action for the next woman (and all thereafter) in the same position? I see a few options:

                          a. The government can close up the NICUs / stop all research into this area of medicine and direct hospitals to let them die quickly and cheaply.

                          b. The government can on a regular basis have a team of experts (“death panels”) issue recommendations as to when pediatric interventions go too far and on that basis insurers / hospitals / doctors can tell parents they’ve done all they can that’s covered. Additional work will have to be out of pocket. (But investment into research in this area continues.)

                          c. Insurers can do the same as b, without govt participation.

                          d. The hospital and doctors do everything in their power, bill the insurer for what they can and go to the government and charitable donors for the rest.

                          Your thoughts?

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                          • You could do a mix of all those things, though I’d be opposed to stopping research. Heck, we’re now able to raise sheep in artificial wombs that look like Ziploc bags. I’m all for that because it could lead to growing genetically engineered super soldiers in vats, which is the future.

                            But until the costs come down we have a problem. Our technology allows us to spend an almost infinite amount of money and resources on a single patient, and our inclination not to accept death leads us to try just that.

                            This gets back to what caused birth costs to rise in the first place. In the natural world, the world of even our recent ancestors, childbirth was basically free. Not completely safe, but free.

                            Genesis 3:16 (New American Standard Version)

                            To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children;

                            God said birth would be painful. He didn’t say “In debt you will bring forth children.” He didn’t say it would be financially ruinous. But we don’t like pain, and we have drugs, and specialists to administer them, and ultrasonic scanners, and MRI machines, and C-sections, and by gosh we’ll use them all.

                            What we have now is a rigged market, if not a racket. Nobody used to make money off childbirth. We figured out how. The more it costs, the more money the doctors and hospitals and other health professionals make from the insurance companies. The more they charge, the more insurance companies can charge for premiums. Even for people on welfare, there are government programs that can be stuck with a huge bill, paid for by the taxpayers. (My brother’s triplets were all paid for by you, because he’s a government employee and had a great plan that paid out close to $900,000).

                            So what we’ve done is create a huge birth industry that sucks money from the rest of the economy to deliver babies that in about 98% of cases would have popped out for free anyway, and still pop out pretty much for free in much of the rest of the world.

                            That’s because there’s absolutely no one looking at what we’re doing, and how much it costs, and saying “Stop this!” Nobody is willing to be painted as being against babies or motherhood (except Planned Parenthood – for reasons).

                            And of course we’re still delivering fewer babies than, say, Syrians or Ethiopians because they make a whole lot more attempts.

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                            • George,
                              Oh, my god. you think supersoldiers are the FUTURE?
                              Get outta town, dude!
                              CLEARLY, wiring people up to drones and robots is the future.
                              DARPA really likes that research.
                              Supersoldiers? Not so much. They can’t go into nuclear contaminated zones, they can’t endure much of anything, really.

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                            • George,
                              Free when you lose half the women to childbirth is suddenly “not free”. No, seriously.

                              And we’re delivering WAY MORE babies than Syrians (war is not conducive to a stress-free environment, which leads to fertility decreases). Also, we do have a ton more population.

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                              • We’ve never lost half of women to childbirth. That’s just a popular thing with novelists to define their characters.

                                In the real world the maternal death rate has probably never risen much above 1% because there’s only one third-world hellhole on the entire planet with a rate as high as that (Sierra Leone, at 1,360 per 100,000 births), including all those backwards countries without doctors, sanitation, or sense, and a high rate of complications from malaria. More typical of a more backward African country is Liberia, with three or four doctors for the whole country and a maternal death rate of 700 per 100,000 births, which is a 99.3% chance of successfully delivering a baby.

                                CIA maternal death rate by country

                                Those at key risk of maternal death are Hemingway or George RR Martin characters.

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                    • We’re obviously doing something wrong.

                      In my neck of the woods the average hospital charge for a delivery (the word “price” makes no sense here) is $24,000. Back when my wife was born it cost her parents $200 (cash pay) for a hospital delivery.

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                      • If I was a cabbie taking a woman in labor to the hospital, I’d turn around and tell her “Pay me $10,000 and I’ll get your there late. You can buy the kid a new car with the savings.”

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                    • Well George it starts off innocently enough. People helping people birth babies. Then it goes into people getting gifts or some form of wealth for helping people to birth babies. Then people don’t get along about the terms for people helping people to birth babies. It is voiced ‘there ought to be a law’. Then there is a law. The law has something to do with training, and expectations of what people should do and be liable for when helping people to birth babies for profit.

                      So when we look at the Quality-Cost-Time triangle what we see is the quality start getting defined. When the quality becomes defined it takes resources to produce that quality, so what we see is cost increase.

                      Since profit becomes the norm of that activity, people start looking at the cost of the quality for what they are getting. Then the expectation is that they should get the ‘best’ quality for what they are paying. Not only should they get the ‘best’ but that poor shmoe over there should get the best too. We all should have the ‘best’ yes?

                      Well the best costs some real bank, because 10 years of education isn’t enough, 20 years of education isn’t enough…..we’re talking the best here right? 24 years….fish no lets go for 25 plus years plus continuing education. Fish yeah, now we’re talking.

                      Anybody checked the triangle? Oh hell that Quality is really defined now, holy crap look what that did to cost!

                      Oh shet we can’t have costs like that. I know let’s do us some reform, yeah that’ll do it! Oh shet that just made it cost more! This triangle thing is really complicated.

                      I know, let’s create a third entity that’s going to be looking for profit, take an obscene amount of wealth but can pool the risks. Yeah, but won’t that create more inefficiency? SHUT UP! Yeah but won’t that..SHUT UP!

                      This still sucks, I know those people seem to be making socialism work over there. Yeah but that stuff usually has a shelf life of…SHUT UP! You sure are being an…SHUT UP! We’re driving this social bish wagon.

                      Geebus you guys jus ran over my triangle with your social bish wagon. We gonna have some issues.

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                      • Remember the movie Elysium?

                        A fairly pleasant action/sci-fi romp complaining about health care.

                        In one society, it’s downright utopian. They’ve got technology that takes care of everything (even health care!) and it’s awesome. In the other society, everyone is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

                        Well, in the crappy society, one of the short people’s daughter gets some kind of sick that the health care machines in the utopia could fix.

                        The mean utopians won’t let her use the machines, though.

                        So a lot of people blow up, get shot, or get stabbed.

                        Eventually, the dad gets his daughter into one of the machines (whoops, spoiler!) and pressed the button and her illness is cured minutes later.

                        What kind of people would withhold health care from others like that?

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