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It's going to be beautiful, assuming you like brutalism.

We're going to build a wall, and you, the American people, will pay for it. Many of you twice, due to lost services. Some of you will also lose land, so that's three times. But let's pretend Mexico will pay us all back, ok?'"I'd like to hear the details. What is this wall?" asked Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.'
Recent posts

American Epistemology

For a while, with all the talk of 'post-truth', I had been wondering if we hadn't stumbled into a dumbed-down post-modernism. Pidgeon Post Modernity, if you will. But that didn't feel right. Something simpler, and thus harder to grasp, was driving all the denialism and dissembling of American conservatives and so-called populists. Here it is, crystalline in clarity: "This is as clear a distillation of Trump’s epistemology as you could hope for. Simply put: Might makes right."

Notes on the Senate Democrats' response to Neil Gorsuch

Nationally, there is no motivation for Dems to work with Republicans here. One might claim to be saving one's ammunition for another, hypothetical fight, but the threat of removing filibusters on SCOTUS nominees will remain. Republicans will use it again and again, with impunity, unless and until they actually invoke the rule change or lose their majority. Acquiescing to their bullying now will simply confirm their tactic. But, as I have said before, politics are local. Senator Joe Manchin of conservative West Virginia, for example, may not have a lot of room to stand with his fellow Democrats in filibustering a well qualified (though creepily dispassionate, and thus not at all compassionate) conservative judge. Local politics, with tough reelection battles looming, is what will keep Democrats from having a strongly united front here. But Democrats can lose 7 votes on cloture and still continue a filibuster unless and until Republicans in the Senate change the rules. All they nee…

Our actions and their effects weigh more than our feelings and desires in the moment.

Perhaps driven by character and feeling, I have always considered effect to be at least as important as intent--and almost always more so.

When it matters, intent tends to augment, mitigate, or determine the degree of fault or laudability, rather than rendering an act moral or immoral. If no one is actually harmed (or is at some point likely to be) by an act, we don't generally worry too much about it. If you accidentally push somebody in a crowd, or push them to get past while being chased by murderous mobsters, that's not so bad as pushing the same person simply because you can, and it may be excused, but you probably still owe them an apology. If they stumble and fall after you shove them, you are responsible for whatever injury may occur. If you push them into traffic, and they are run over, your possible sentence and likely charge may be less than if your actions had been malicious, but there's a good chance you'll need legal representation.

Broadly, if no one ga…

If you want to see Democratic officials push liberal policies, argue for the policies themselves.

I often see people argue Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America (which is roughly true), so Democrats should just adopt his policies and they will become popular like him (which is not at all obvious, and probably wrong).

Trevor Timm wrote a piece for the Guardian entitled, "Everyone loves Bernie Sanders. Except, it seems, the Democratic party". This headline is unfair, misleading, and untrue. When you intentionally mislead people, you are lying to them. Lying to people is not journalism. It is unethical, and a poor basis for discussion.

Looking at polling from late last October until earlier this week, Bernie is consistently popular. His worst poll placed him at 52% favorable and 39% unfavorable, while his best (and most recent) numbers were a sterling 61% positive to 32% negative. Despite the author's claims, this was actually an outlier, and significantly better than most other polls conducted in the last six months (and roughly 5 points higher than hi…

Parallels

I hear from people to my left, 'We just need to be stronger in our values, and push harder (perhaps violently) for economic justice and progressive values. You are ignoring us, and that is why we are not Democrats. You were too friendly with businesses and the establishment. You make too many compromises. You didn't fight for the working class. That is why you lost in 2016. You will continue to lose until you listen."But I vote for people who want to regulate Wall Street, curb polution, and raise standards of living. I want to do this without running into the problems they have today in France or Venezuela. We can strengthen our safety nets without sawing away at the tightropes we walk upon.I hear from people to my right, "We just need to be stronger in our values, and push harder (perhaps violently) for economic justice and traditionalist values. You are ignoring us, and that is why we are not Democrats. You were too friendly with people who aren't white, straig…

Racists Anonymous

Proud American bigots will not own their bigotry. Even most KKK groups deny they are racist (though they clearly are). 'Racism' is a fighting word in the US. Try telling some Trumpeteers their approach to Latinos is racist, and see what happens.The US is full of active and systemic discrimination,  including very strong racism, but we don't want to acknowledge it. We don't want to talk about it. We don't want to change it, unless and until it is seen as directly harming rich, white people. Then, maybe we'll consider halting the war on drugs, or at least pot.Many of us don't want to admit historical tidbits like slavery, Japanese internment, the terrorist civil war that lasted 30 years after the Civil War (which the south won), race riots, Indian wars, or imperialism. Calling racist policies and acts what they so clearly are is perceived as an insult to those who craft them and carry them out.We definitely do not want to think about how redlining was started…