Even Kevin Drum…

Drum wrote a m post, entitled “GOPus delenda est“, which is pretty extreme for him:

Today, the Republican Party exists for one and only one purpose: to pass tax cuts for the rich and regulatory rollbacks for corporations. They accomplish this using one and only method: unapologetically racist and bigoted appeals to win the votes of the heartland riff-raff they otherwise treat as mere money machines for their endless mail-order cons.

Like it or not, this is the modern Republican Party. It no longer serves any legitimate purpose. It needs to be crushed and the earth salted behind it, while a new conservative party rises to take its place. This new party should be conservative; brash; ruthless when it needs to be; as simpleminded as any major party usually is; and absolutely dedicated to making Democrats look like idiots. There should be no holds barred except for one: no appeals to racism. None. Not loud ones, not subtle ones. Whatever else it is, it should be a conservative party genuinely open to any person of any color.

This is a hill I’m willing to die on as well.

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Virtual Reduces Access

Digital artifacts, esp entertainment ones, seem to broaden access to the artifact. I can download a book, song, or movie at anytime from any place. With streaming services we all, in some sense, have access to virtual libraries beyond anything most of us could have hoped for.

And yet.

Consider Netflix. It’s streaming library is depressingly shallow and getting more so in many ways (note that Disney will pull much of its content soon in favor of its own platform). We will see more an more content fractured into different silos until someone bundles them up into very expensive packages a la cable.

Copyright increasingly sucks. I mean, it’s long been a horrible drag and boon to rentiers but it’s getting worse. It turns out that the Web and the Internet are not that hard for bad guys to control and they don’t have the common good job mind.

I’m a Leftist/Liberal Pro-feminist. Here’s why Democrats should oppose Kavanaugh

  1. He’s going to be substantively and procedurally awful. Women’s reproductive rights are surely on the block with Roe either overruled or gutted. But lots of other stuff will go down. Many crap argument for a Republican outcome will be entertained and even adopted.
  2. Republicans stole a SC seat (and really stole more than that given 2000 and 2016). You don’t provide cover for thieves esp when the recipient of the stolen property isn’t going to cut you a break if you do. (They also stole lots of other judgeships.)
  3. Fighting this might help make SC fights salient to more Democratic leaning voters.

There is no liberal feminist case for Kavanaugh.

Labour’s Antisemitism Issue

It’s really depressing to have a major Labour related headline topic be antisemitism in the party and problems with how the leadership is handling it.

I’ve been varyingly concerned about antisemitism since Brexit and Trump. Increasing right wing populism, nationalism, and white supremacy tend to increase antisemitism and its violent manifestation. There seems potential for strange interactions with anti-Muslim sentiment as well.

It’s really important to remember that anti-semitism is dangerous. The historical track record is appalling to say the least. I think it’s smart to err on the side of avoiding even brushing near it.

Musk Mess

Vox has a piece recounting the Elon Musk kerfuffle around the Thai kids trapped in a cave rescue. It’s not quite as sympathetic as Quora piece they cite, but they’re pretty sympathetic. Well, no one thinks his “pedo guy” tweet was excusable but they try to provide a lot of context.

Meh. Look, people can say horrible things when they are upset, but Musk can easily afford to have a Twitter vetting team. Which, obviously, he should have. Long before this.

Even if you think Erik’s take is a bit off base (ie that Musk’s Republican donations are normal “business costs” donations and his overall donation pattern is positive) the spirit is right. Musk is just a rich guy who gets way more attention because of that. We should be paying less attention to him.

Trust Not In Pundits with Too Much Bonkers Confidence

I put all my blogging energy into an LGM comment about the problems with Seth Abramson, Twitter legal conspiracist, albeit against Trump these days:

Seth has done an outstanding job on this.

Really?

First, some context:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/seth-abramson/5-things-weve-learned-abo_b_9772408.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/in-sanders-wins-californi_b_10252990.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-explain-the-sanders_b_10206250.html

He wrote a lot of bonkers stuff during the election. Not in the league of HA Goodman or even Greenwald, but a lot of silly stuff all with the same breathless, relentless, overconfident air.

This should give us a bit of pause. It doesn’t mean he didn’t change for the better, but it means we should take care.

Second, that thread:

Trump didn’t “as good as” out himself as a Russian agent—he *literally* did, and his statement about DNI Coats literally proves it.

“Literally” eh?

Trump’s hand-picked Republican Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, has the *same* intel on Russia’s attack on America Trump has—by definition. It’s undisputed.

Say what? I mean, the only sense in which this is true is that Trump has *formal* access to everything Coats has. We also know that Trump reads almost nothing, cannot sit through most briefings, retains little, ignores everything, and makes up a ton more.

So, it’s not undisputed that Trump is working rationally and knowingly off the same information. In fact, that’s certainly not true!

This is the key for some wacko inferences:

Or *would* be, if we didn’t know that there is *one* difference between the two men’s intelligence sources.

Trump doesn’t read, listen, or care about them?

The *one* difference between the intel Coats has and the intel Trump has is that *Trump has met privately with Russians on multiple occasions*. He did so—without the necessary meeting attendees, including advisers and witnesses—in the Oval Office, at a prior summit, and today.

See, this is very silly. This is obviously a difference, but it’s one of a multitude. It’s significant, but not necessarily dominant.

So the only explanation for Trump saying that he “disagrees” with intel his own DNI is 100% on is if he’s relying on the sources *he* has that DNI Coats doesn’t

I mean, what? The right explanation for Trump saying that he disagrees is that the US intelligence communities information is really bad for Trump. In all sorts of ways. That’s totally sufficient for Trump to say it’s wrong. He said that the content of an interview with him from a conservative UK paper was false mere hours afterwards. He didn’t have “intel” the paper didn’t. He just didn’t like the fallout.

So what did Trump do with the additional intelligence he received from the Russians in his three (at a minimum) protocol-busting meetings with hostile foreign actors? He used that intelligence—and the disagreement with Coats it bred in him—to *attack the United States* on TV.

We think that he got “intelligence” from the Russians? I mean, this stretches the meaning of the term out of shape. The Russians aren’t sharing intelligence with Trump! They may be lying to him, blackmailing him, or colluding with him, but not by sharing intelligence that he acts upon. I mean come the fuck on.

And now:

In doing so, Trump *literally* was acting as an agent of Russia, relying on Russian intelligence as his marching orders in spreading dangerous propaganda on international television. *That’s* why Brennan called his actions treasonous—because they *literally* (by law) are.

“Intelligence as marching orders” is incoherent and redundant. Whatever this is, it isn’t a proof that Trump “literally” confessed or that Coats’s statement “literally” proves it. It just isn’t. It’s a bizarre inference which isn’t necessary to reach a reasonably analogous conclusion.

And it’s really doubtful that his actions now are “literally” by law treasonous. The president has enormous power and wide latitude esp in foreign affairs. It’s not determined that he’s given “aid and comfort” to an “enemy” because he has a great deal of influence of who counts as an enemy! So, like with impeachment, whether what he’s doing is treason will be primarily a political determination.

If Seth’s hackery bore useful political fruit, I’d wince and be ok. It’s not at all clear that it does. I’ll leave you with these sage words:

I’ve been a metamodernist creative writer for many years now, but had not seen an opportunity to bring this earnest, optimistic, and loving art practice into my professional writing activities until Bernie Sanders came along. Not only do I fully support and endorse Senator Sanders’ agenda, I see in his political methodology evidence of the metamodern, just as I know for certain when I hear Clinton’s cynical incrementalism that I am in the presence of a postmodern political ethos. The reason we think of Bernie Sanders as impractical or even naive is that he is; what most fail to see, however, is that his is the “informed naivete” of metamodernism. He sees that our economic and cultural markets are in a terminal state of deconstruction, and yes, this makes him angry and “negative” in a certain respect, but he sees too that the opportunity this deconstruction affords us all is a moment in which we can reconstruct everything we’ve known in a way that better reflects our values.

So when I wrote that “Bernie Sanders Is Currently Winning the Democratic Primary Race, and I’ll Prove It to You,” I was offering a “minority report” of the Real:

Nonsense presented as analysis is a problem cf Glenn Greenwald. It often is concealed under a torrent of “evidence”. This irks me as I’m a torrent of evidende sort of guys and I resent people using the form poorly for bad ends.

Trump Protests in the U.K.

There were quite huge protests for Trump’s visit to the U.K. Trump himself was standardly bizarre down to his going to his golf courses in Scotland. Because he’s the worst, he didn’t divest from them.

He also tried to knife May in an interview with the Sun but he perhaps has only torched Johnson. It was all nonsense and obviously so. One key hint about the madness of Brexit is that he clearly wants to push the U.K. around in a trade deal. Remember folks, Trump only likes deals where he’s screwing you.

I toyed with going to London for the “larger then his inauguration crowd” protest but it was just too much. I did go to the standard Manchester one which maybe had 1000 over the course. Not bad considering he wasn’t here.

None of this makes an immediate difference. It can’t. Trump has a shit ton of formal power and a congress that is backing him to the hilt. Protesting didn’t stop the Iraq war. But it seems to help at the margins. You have to keep trying. Trump might help us get out of the Brexit mess by forcing people to recognise the insanity. But maybe not!

Here’re some photosS