The Grabbing of the American Pussy* (Or, The Government You Deserve)

Well, that was close. For a while there I wondered if all my dystopias would be consigned to the dustbin of irrelevance. Now they’re more topical than ever.

I think I’ll add a laugh track going forward, though. If I can find one with the right edge of hysteria.

We had a number of feeds going as the returns came in, but PBS was up on the Big Screen because their coverage was less vacuous than the CBC’s. Yet even there, in one of the few remaining refugia of substantive journalistic commentary, the instinctive reaction to Trump’s victory was to reassure each other how great the US remains as a nation, how “resilient” its noble people. Almost as if they were talking about some utopian Star Trekky Federation, and not a country whose origins are rooted in slavery, invasion, and germ warfare— a country which has for generations shamelessly interfered with the internal politics of other nations; which funded bin Laden and cozied up to Saddam; orchestrated the overthrow of democratically-elected governments from S’Am to Iran; funded death squads in Latin America and puppet dictators in the middle east. A country which even now— according to metrics ranging from homicide and incarceration rates, poverty to education— is more third world than first. Yet even the notorious lefties of the PBS seem to think that their nation remains (as Paul Ryan put it yet again last night) “the greatest country God ever put on this Earth”. They seem to think that Trump is some kind of aberration, that America was somehow once “great”, and can be “again”.

I didn’t hear anyone suggest that Donald Trump might be pretty much what the USA deserves, given its history and current behavior.  Sure, we’re looking at a flying leap backward for every kind of human rights except the corporate kind. Trump emboldens the racists and the gun nuts and the deniers and the homophobes and the misogynists in our midst. That rightly scares the shit out of anyone who doesn’t fall into one of those categories, but guess what; turns out there’s more of them than there are of us, so they win.  Welcome to Democracy, in the Greatest Country God Put On This Earth.

Look, I get it. Our rulers tell us self-serving stories, and we lap it up because we want to feel good about ourselves. Up here in Canada— especially since our last federal election— we like to think of ourselves as players on the world stage, purveyors of ploughshares not swords, newly-reawakened stewards of the environment and a safe harbor for refugees. In truth we’re a pissant little country infatuated with a charismatic bobblehead who says all the right things about climate change and gender parity and Human rights— all the while hoping we’ll forget about police mass surveillance of Canadian citizens[1], and trade deals that give foreign multinationals veto power over our environmental laws. A dude who seems to think that the laws of politics and of physics somehow carry equal weight, that he can negotiate with the heat capacity of the world’s oceans (“Okay, we’ll cut our bitumen production by 15%, but then you have to increase your joules/kelvin by at least 5…”).

We all do it. We’re wired for tribalism and self-aggrandizement (even Canadians). But if there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on, it’s that Trump’s ascension is the mother of all wake-up calls. And I always thought that a wake-up call, by definition, caused one to rethink calcified positions: to consider the possibility that some of these stories we’ve been raised on are just flat-out untrue.

Instead, the pundits are talking about “protest votes” and stay-at-home Democrats.  My Facebook feed squirms with people blaming everything on Sanders’ supporters and third-party candidates. I, on the other hand, still haven’t quite figured out why— once the DNC got caught with its thumb on the scale— Clinton wasn’t disqualified on the spot and Sanders nominated by acclamation. Back in university, if you got caught cheating on a test you got a zero at best, more likely suspension or expulsion. A scientist bases a paper on faked data and that paper is gone, along with said scientist’s career. Hell, even over in one of Trump’s lame-ass beauty pageants I’d like to think that if a contestant was caught kneecapping a competitor she’d be out on her ass.

And yet, the official machinery of the scrupulously-neutral DNC is caught stacking the deck for Clinton— hell, admits to stacking the deck for Clinton— and nothing seems to change. Sure, a sacrificial Wasserman-Schultz gets tossed under the bus in a belated act of damage control, but the tainted results are allowed to stand with a shrug and a Sorry and a whaddyagonnado? The machine grinds on, Clinton’s supporters trot out the same old bromides about her heartfelt devotion to women’s rights and PoCs (although I’m willing to bet that a fair number of the civilians murdered  in the course of those drone strikes she gets so wet over— which by the way rack up collateral kill rates as high as 98%— I’m willing to bet that a fair number of those victims might have been various shades of brown, and women to boot).  And everyone falls into line, because they’d rather keep cruising toward the iceberg than burn to the waterline before they even reach it.

Don't worry. Either way, you'll end up face-down at the bottom of the sea.

Don’t worry. Either way, you’ll end up face-down at the bottom of the sea.

Looking back, there might have been some opportunity for a wake-up call even back then. Because as it turns out, not everyone fell into line after all.

So now the world’s heads of state are all busy timing their obligatory phone calls for the same moment, so that only Putin has to talk to Trump in real time and everyone else gets mercifully redirected to voicemail. Angela Merkel has announced that “Germany and America are connected by common values,” which I guess is especially true if you factor in an eighty-year time lag. Down in Jesusland there is much rejoicing (which still seems odd to me, given the Whore-of-Babyloniness of the President-elect.  Maybe they’re anticipating the Rapture).

The rest of us just hunker down and wait to see how bad it’ll get.

A lot of it comes down to whether Trump actually meant anything he said.  He couldn’t have meant all of it; one half of it contradicted the other. Many perceive Trump as a racist misogynistic homophobic thin-skinned sociopathic crook with poor impulse control, but that interpretation assumes a certain level of honesty in the man’s statements (well, except for the crook part). I see something more consistent with operant conditioning: a Pavlovian Trump salivating after applause, randomly trying out various lines until the local audience starts cheering. He was, for example, pro-choice before he started courting the antichoicers—so while he may move to overturn Roe v. Wade he’d probably just do it for shits and giggles and not for ideological reasons. I don’t see much in the way of a coherent ideology at work; I don’t even see much of an agenda, beyond the base instinctive drive of Me Me Me.

Which is not to say I’d leave my stepdaughters unattended within five hundred meters of the man.  And he probably will tear up the Paris Accord, because that’s an easy promise to keep and he’s too stupid to understand the ramifications. So the environment’s fucked (but hey, there’s that silver lining for us dystopian SF writers). One promise I hope he does keep is to tear up the TPP; it seems increasingly unlikely our own Prime Minister has the guts to.

I can only find it deeply ironic that it is now, of all times, that— for work-related reasons— I find myself exploring legal options for going back into that cesspit after having been banned for six years. I’ll admit the prospect is enough to make me rethink my carefully-crafted veneer of ironic detachment. If it cracks even a little, I might find myself sobbing with the rest of you.

In the meantime, I’m gonna go drop acid for the first time in my life.

Who knows. With a little luck, maybe I’ll discover I already did that fourteen hours ago.


 

*Title courtesy of Caitlin “The BUG” Sweet

[1] Although to be fair, we picked up a lot of pointers in that area from our neighbors to the south.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday November 09 2016at 10:11 am , filed under politics . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

162 Responses to “The Grabbing of the American Pussy* (Or, The Government You Deserve)”

  1. Dude, did you not pay attention to ole Tim Leary? Set and setting are the key to a happy acid trip. Set being your frame of mind, and setting being the physical and social context in which you find yourself at the time the countdown ends and blast-off begins. You want to take your first trip on the first day of the Reign of Trump? Best of luck, my friend. The resulting visions may fuel your fiction, though, so there’s always that.

  2. We, Russians, see that whole situation as revenge. So you Westerners thought you can lurk in our zone of influence, fund Nazis, tamper with elections and install Russophobic governments? Ha-ha! Too bad, we can strike back! Now it’s OUR turn to lurk right inside your countries, fund Nazis, tamper with election and, erm… install Russophobic governments? Umm… I think there is some hidden long-range agenda, I believe in superior intelligence of Putin the Multi-Dimensional Chessmaster.

  3. How was the acid?

  4. Feels good to be right don’t it?

  5. What, given the things I tend to be right about?

    Hardly ever.

  6. I do hope you’re not thinking that all of us voted for Trump. Clinton (for all her faults) may have gotten more actual votes, but again, the electoral college screwed us over.

  7. I understand. But even with all the gerrymandering, all the redrawing of district boundaries into weird pretzel shapes— even with all the voter suppression— it still amazes me that the vote was close enough for those things to make the difference. Saying that only 47.5% of USnians voted for Trump— a full, wow, 0.17% less than voted for Clinton— isn’t what you’d call an unassailable defense of the intelligence of the American voter.

  8. Terry Hickman,

    We have a problem with that whole votes not equaling representation thing up here, too, although here we tend to get governments that about 60% of us showed up to vote against, instead of the 51% who tend to vote against the elected government down in your parts. Regardless, we both have pretty attenuated versions of democracy…

  9. I don’t think that humans are fit to govern ourselves anymore… Democracy might not work for a species with such a short memory, radical myopia, engrained tribe mentality, lack of logical and reasoned decision making. When the majority of a population can be convinced to repeatedly vote against its own self-interest, does democracy work?

    Beyond the racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and egomania, I’m actually most worried about the accelerated environmental damage that were likely going to cause with a trump presidency.

    I’m ready for a benign AI autocrat to take over and handle the complex systems of the environment, economy, etc.

    Acids a good thing to do once in a while. Enjoy. Pretty amazing what changing brain chemistry will do. I’m particularly fond of micro dosing, a 10th of a dose at a time.

    P.s. just read a bunch of Neal Asher, which I’ve enjoyed. If I’m not mistaken you get a shout-out in Shadow of the Scorpion. Am I right?

  10. My understanding of the rejoicing in Jesusland is that the fundies by and large see the profane Mr Trump as an acceptable price to pay for getting the Holy Mike Pence within grabbing distance of the levers of power. One preacher, as I understand it, has even promised that God will “take care” of Trump when the time is right, allowing Pence to step into the Number One slot.

    He may not need to. Reportedly, Trump wooed John Kasich — his initial VP pick — with the promise that Trump would do all the public presidenting, but Kasich could have control over “foreign and domestic policy”. In case you slept through civics class, “foreign and domestic policy” is what the president does. Unless we establish an embassy on Alpha Centauri, there’s nothing else. That would have made Kasich de facto president in all but name. If this is true, it’s likely that Trump made Pence the same offer: Trump can be a kind of hobby president, and Pence can do the work and call the shots.

    Interestingly, Pence is actually a Catholic — albeit a born-again, evangelical one. I don’t know how well that sits with the Protestants who make up most of the US’s most committed godbotherers, but apparently — judging by the number of votes cast for Trump by evangelicals — they count on him to do the right thing. His track record on abortion, Teh Gayz, shared bathrooms and other core elements of Our Savior’s message of love is apparently sufficient to reassure them.

    The only reassuring thing is that I haven’t yet found anything to suggest that Pence is particularly eager to bring about the Rapture or hasten the End Times or anything. So perhaps he’ll be happy to make sinners miserable on Earth, rather than playing risky games with the nuclear back catalog in the hope of accelerating scripture. Perhaps.

  11. Child’s hand, say hello to hot stove!

  12. Lay off the acid. Will only make it worse.

    Like this.

  13. Without getting into your definition of human rights (IMO there is only one human right–freedom from force and fraud), how exactly does Trump’s election represent “a flying leap backwards for every kind of human rights except the corporate kind”?

  14. Peter Watts: ” …it still amazes me that the vote was close enough for those things to make the difference.”

    So much this. I am not remotely a fan of Hillary Clinton, but my wife and I both voted for her, because Jesus H. Christ on a stick, look at the alternative. At this point, it’s impossible to be sure in precisely what ways the Trump presidency will be horrible, but horrible it will be.

    This quote has been getting a lot of play, for obvious reasons:

    “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” — H. L. Mencken

    But Walter Benjamin seems more on-target to me:

    “History is a nightmare from which we are trying to awaken.”

    I don’t think the US will be waking up anytime soon.

  15. But, Peter, #NotAllYanks :’C As a non-deplorable, I’m banking on free deportation. I wanted to get the fuck out of here before it was cool, and (of course) only money prevented it.

    I was waiting for your post to pop up in my feed. I knew there would be one. Keep on dreaming up those dystopias, reading about them makes it more bearable to live in one, for whatever perverse reason.

    PS, I got some advance video of the coming mass exodus: https://youtu.be/Jiws5DAiAJY?t=12s

  16. Michael Moore called this a while back.

    Personally, I see the same processes happening in America as happened in Britain: a vote against Hilary was a vote against the status quo. I may not like this, but I can understand the sentiment.

  17. So, this is what you were really trying to warn us about in Blindsight. Your Lego Aliens were just a vehicle for the material about sociopaths. How they thrive in modern management structures. How we evolved tribals have a hardwired tendency to follow their leadership. Maybe if you had dumbed it down a bit for us. Though IRL I think Trump is a narc, not a psycho.

    @Ashley: Stupid White Men

    So, Doc: 1.)Do you call your sdaughters pones because they are made of cornbread? Is this your sly biologist’s reference to the basis of the N’Am diet?

    2.) I gather they are each too young to marry Americans seeking to become Canadian nationals at this time? Are there any plans for this in the future?

  18. Actually, before Moore there was Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Several decades since I read it, but as I recall the question for psychologists was: Why does it seem so much easier to turn working class people to the political right against their own interests, than to recruit them to the left? Most of the rest of the book was about the co-option thru Nazi propaganda and iconography of the masses repressed sexual energies, frustrations, and authoritarian family structure by the party. Goebbels the industrial Valerie the Vampire.

    At one point you have Venter as a victim of forest fire economics. Is Venter still alive in the future, or is it his company? I googled ffe, but I’m still vague on what you meant. Please dumb it down to my level. Gracias.

  19. Peter Watts,

    Wait, I thought you were the one who doesn’t believe that people make rational decisions based on thinking? Or am I thinking of the Dilbert guy?

    But, yeah, the thought that 47% of Americans could vote for a Birther? That’s deeply depressing…

  20. Peter, first, if you had already dropped some acid, you might have extended your metaphor a little bit to wonder about the people who are fairly-quietly rowing away from the Titanic after locking down the autopilot on the current course, and setting some incendiaries[1]. Because, after all, there are just too darned many people on the ocean these days and it’s getting hard to catch enough fish. Of course as a metaphor this would lack rigor but if you drop enough acid — like apparently most of the voters — you might not much care if your mental models diverged significantly from reality.

    There has been a bit of talk about how this election was a reaction against the elites, more or less the rural/agricultural whites and the laid-off former workers of the Rust Belt, expressing their displeasure at the candidates they believe represented the powers-that-be, who (in the voters’ opinions), decided to disrespect and ignore the travails and needs of the poor citizens in favor of bestowing support on the poor newcomers (immigrants of whatever legality, and refugees) who the rurals believe threaten their incomes, opportunities, and social support systems. (Chuck Todd, political analyst, NBC News network, this date, roughly 1925 hours.) I think that covers it pretty well if you want to drill down all of the way to the exclusion of almost everything else. Call it the “did you think we’d let you continue to disdain us” vote.

    What worries me the most is not so much the climate-denial, or any personal character flaws that might exist. I am more concerned about the lack of a forward vision about how to manage, forestall, or promote, the inevitable change from a staffed society to an automated society, not merely in the industrial and agricultural sectors, but even in the service sectors. Wendy’s restaurants (a fast-food burger-joint chain) is seriously considering replacing as many staff as possible with automation, as soon as possible. Don’t think it cannot happen, recall the “automat” from WWII when the men were all overseas and the women who would usually handle restaurant work were busy in the factories making bombers and tanks. How could Trump’s plan to “make America great again” work if it lives up to the promise to bring jobs and production home, but the jobs and production all go to robots and other automation? There’s another inherent conflict and contradiction and it may be the greatest one. I grant you that it removes a “pull factor” from the immigration equation, if there are no fast food jobs for illegal aliens… but there would be none for citizens, and perhaps particularly none for the younger citizens or developmentally-disabled citizens for whom such jobs were the only resort… until the industry was captured by the organizers of the illegal-labor market.

    Speaking of immigration, in this Reynoldsian universe which may be the best thing we can hope for right now, people with advanced degrees and additional rare talents might be the only people with any hopes of getting work, and I hope that as the immigration system comes under a new barrage of non-legislated Executive Orders, there will be opened or preserved for you, means to enter for meaningful opportunity. We all realize that you may not like us here very much, as we are now, but that sentiment and worse would be shared by about half of our citizen voters, hence this new situation in which we find ourselves.

    And now that the campaign is over, maybe I can finally get through to whoever it was that stole my UseNet postings from 2003 or so, and tell them that the situation has changed somewhat since they plagiarized me for their platform plank and then totally botched all subsequent discussion of it.

    Ref:
    1. “I’m afraid they’d have a long way to go to put out those fires, that smoke is coming from America.”

  21. nas,

    ^^^^^^^ This. Um, good luck? Do make sure you have a couple of sober trip guides with you.

  22. Only not this election, but brexit was a wake up call.

  23. The giant banner on ACLU.org makes me feel a little better. “SEE YOU IN COURT”

  24. As ever you have put it way more eloquently than me. I just screamed “FUCK FUCK FUCK” at the TV over and over.

    But, with the way things are going here in Germany, it wont be long before we are goosestepping right behind the Americans, bellowing “Hail Trump” and “Hail Petry” together in blissfull, hate-fuelled harmony.

  25. Heard a great line the other day: “Trump has no ideology. Trump’s ideology is the 20th Century Fox logo, but with his name”.

  26. “trade deals that give foreign multinationals veto power over our environmental laws” – which is exactly what Canada tries (quite successfully so far) to impose on EU, see CETA. :-/ Just saying.

  27. Great, though horribly depressing, analysis.
    I think the laugh track is a must, going forward.

  28. The K,

    Sometimes I fantasize about escaping. Carl can get German citizen through his dad, but yeah, I don’t think Germany (or maybe the entire EU?) is a place to escape too. Canada? I’m afraid they’ll swing back to being more like us. I saw someone mention New Zealand in another thread and they have worker visa programs for needed skills just like Canada does. I’m a software developer. My company has offices in APAC even though I work for the US part of the company, maybe I could switch?

    There are a lot of people more at risk than I am, so I think it would be bad if I leave and prevent someone else from being able to leave.

    I don’t know. I’m freaking out and thinking of all the worst things that could happen and I don’t know if they will happen but I keep freaking out.

  29. Freaking out. We already have concentration camps here, they are called prisons. If they want to send more people and more segments of the population they hate then all they have to do is criminilize every little thing. or maybe they don’t even have to criminilize new things, they can just decide to go searching until they find something that can be interpreted as a thing.

    They don’t even have to use prisons as concentration camps. If they want to treat people even worse, they can classify any little behavior as terrorism and send people to somewhere to be tortured in ways that are worse than prisons.

    What the. Is there anything I can do about that? How did people resist during WW2 and is that even possible at our current level of technology? Will I be able to help someone rescue people?

  30. Are they going to reverse all the open data initiatives? At least now people get datasets that allow them to investigate police behavior.

  31. Peter Watts: Saying that only 47.5% of USnians voted for Trump— a full, wow, 0.17% less than voted for Clinton— isn’t what you’d call an unassailable defense of the intelligence of the American voter.

    I’m the last person to try to make a case for the intelligence of the USian worker/citizen, but that was 47.5% of the 56% of the electorate that actually bothered to vote. And the electorate is only around 2/3 of total population. I realize I’m grasping at straws here.

    One positive from this election is that it spells doom for conservative ideology in the US. A significant part of Trump’s winning message, wrapped in mountains of racism, xenophobia and misogyny, was the rejection of old conservative standbys like global capitalism, corporate servitude and trickle-down economics. He could still pull off a bait-and-switch, and his supporters are certainly uneducated enough for this to pass unnoticed, but I doubt it. He has no ideology.

    SK:
    Only not this election, but brexit was a wake up call.

    Maybe, but for different reasons IMO. Brexit seemed to be driven by racist xenophobes and old people frightened by their own growing irrelevance, lost in pathetic fantasies of glory days in an Empire That Never Was. With Trump, racism and isolationism were the dominant themes, but there was also a strong undertone of disaffection with a system that failed those in need. The Democrats should have capitalized on that.

    I would have voted anti-Republican regardless of the candidates, and I did. But voting against an ideology is not nearly as exciting as voting for an individual. Had the Democrats picked Sanders over Clinton, I believe they could have avoided voter lassitude and won this election, even with one of the most unpopular candidates ever.

  32. As a U.S. citizen who voted against Trump, I will present myself here for the obligatory kicking of someone when they are down and delicious schadenfreude, even though I don’t personally feel like I “deserve” a Trump presidency. Nor do I feel like the majority of the electorate that voted against him, only to see it awarded to the minority vote because of our ridiculous electoral system, particularly deserve it.

    I definitely don’t think the U.S. citizens who are most likely to suffer under the legislation that will come out of the next few years deserve it. I certainly don’t believe that all the people beyond the U.S borders that will suffer under the continuing effects of climate change did anything to deserve the consequences of having a climate change denier set environmental policy for the U.S.

    ***

    The fact is these things are cyclical. If you look past all the frantic polling analysis, finger pointing, and punditry, to the political science models that modeled this election based on economic and historic fundamentals, you’ll see they reliably predicted a very close race, and most of them favored Trump. Or maybe not Trump specifically, but almost any generic Republican/ anti-incumbent candidate would have been poised for success, even before you factor in the political rhetoric.

    It’s very difficult in modern U.S.politics for the incumbent party to hold onto the presidency for longer than two terms. Over that time, supporters of the party in power become complacent, divided or disillusioned (justifiably or not), and the anti-incumbent opposition becomes increasingly motivated. It’s all happened before, and it will all happen again, in the U.S. and elsewhere.

    A lot of damage will be done over the next few years that will set a progressive agenda in the U.S. back for years after the current President leaves office. However, if you wanted to find the upside in the cycle, historical precedent shows that the party that wins the Presidency typically suffers anti-incumbent backlash in subsequent mid-term congressional elections, and begins losing power in government. It notably happened to FDR, Truman, Reagan, Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama and others. From a certain point of view, winning a Presidency is one of the worst things that can happen to a political party, because it’s all downhill from there in the foreseeable future, and Trump makes a yuuuge focal point.

    So if you want to blame someone for Trump, you can blame me. I personally don’t see what more I could have done to stop it, but I realize we’ve lost quite a lot of credibility, and someone has to take responsibility. Really, we should be more dismayed at the measurably predictable loop of human behavior we’re stuck in that makes assigning blame or credit almost pointless. I’m not one for defeatism though, so I’m going to join the insurgency and work towards that next turn of the carousel. I’m going to do it because nobody inside or outside of the U.S. deserves Trump, but sometimes in a democracy, Trump happens.

    ***

    Dr. Watts, I hope you’re feeling well these days. We haven’t heard anything about your health in some time. Even though we are terrible people who deserve it when bad things happen, your troubled neighbors to the south remain concerned for your well-being.

    .

  33. First of all, hello to everyone, as I’m posting here for the first time. I’m a fan of the Blindsight/Echopraxia universe and love the novels.

    Back to Trump. If he really pulls out of the Paris Agreement then the whole world is fucked. However, maybe he will tank the US economy and the American CO2 emissions will fall down anyway.

    About the prison complex:

    Sheila: What the. Is there anything I can do about that?

    You can always donate to ACLU. They’re already preparing to face Trump in court if he implements his unconstitutional policies: https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/if-donald-trump-implements-his-proposed-policies-well-see-him-court

  34. FWIW I’d recommend mescaline over LSD, on the basis that the effect (for me, can’t say for others) is more purely cerebral, with less of the visceral reaction, including nausea.
    And if you have any issues, any skeletons in your mental closet, you will be meeting them again.

    Trump is a symptom, and if he hadn’t come along, someone else would have.
    Trump was galvanized by the available support for dangerously radical change, rather than supporters of dangerously radical change being galvanized by the appearance of Trump.

    A lot has been said about the racism of Trump voters, much of which is true, as far as I can tell from spending a lot of time hanging out with them on the web.
    What is said much less about their embrace of Trump, when he emerged, and the White Identity politics that he represents, is that the ground was laid for this by the tolerance shown to identity politics generally in the US (and elsewhere).

    The rise of a figure like Trump was predicted with a fair degree of accuracy by Plato:
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/04/america-tyranny-donald-trump.html

    and by John Stewart Mill:
    http://www.bartleby.com/130/1.html
    (particularly paragraphs 2 & 3 on that page).

  35. Undoubtedly racists voted for Trump. Undoubtedly mysoginists voted for Trump.

    And.

    People who had seen their lives destroyed by corporate “Free Trade” agreements voted for Trump.

    And.

    People who had been thrown out of their homes by banksters voted for Trump.

    He effectively assembled a coalition of the Idiots and Disenfranchised.

    As an example: low-income white rural Pennsylvanians voted for Obama in 2008 and then switch over to Trump in 2016. You can’t call that racism. How about them being so nauseated with the candidate accepting $250k to speak in secret at Goldman-Sachs events for 45 minutes, that they had to vote against her. Oh, and then they get called racist.

    I’m pretty much convinced that Trump, like Ford or Brexit is the molotov cocktail of the disenfranchised. People who don’t ever expect their needs and wants to be heard in the political discourse and therefore don’t mind burning it to the ground.

    QUIBBLE: Corporations aren’t humans.

  36. Lukasz: About the prison complex:

    Sheila: What the. Is there anything I can do about that?

    You can always donate to ACLU. They’re already preparing to face Trump in court if he implements his unconstitutional policies: https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/if-donald-trump-implements-his-proposed-policies-well-see-him-court

    Thanks. I’ve donated to them. I’ll probably donate to PP, and figure out if there’s a good charity that does work to protect immigrants. I’m waiting to calm down from my freakout and should take a break from thinking about all this.

    there’s a thread on ask.metafilter about what can be done to help and I’m following it.

  37. Sheila: I’ll probably donate to PP, and figure out if there’s a good charity that does work to protect immigrants. I’m waiting to calm down from my freakout and should take a break from thinking about all this.

    Taking a few days long break from the news is probably the best idea right now.

    Here, near the end of the article, are listed some organizations fighting for good cause with links to their websites (author also plans to update and expand it next week): http://gothamist.com/2016/11/09/getting_involved_organize.php Even though I’m preoccupied with lunatics in the government in my own country, I’m also thinking of at least symbolic donations. I don’t know, however, if it’s legal under the US law for the charities to accept money from the foreigners.

    Last but not least, there is still a slight chance that the US and rest of the world wouldn’t be irreversibly damaged in 2018, so get ready for the midterm elections.

    Don’t give up.

  38. Sheila:
    Sometimes I fantasize about escaping. Carl can get German citizen through his dad, but yeah, I don’t think Germany (or maybe the entire EU?) is a place to escape too. Canada? […]

    I’m waiting to calm down from my freakout and should take a break from thinking about all this.

    .

    Hi Sheila. I believe a quote from one of my favorite books may be helpful here:

    “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

    ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King

    I can’t decide whether to start teaching myself one of the C languages this week (do you have any thoughts on C++ vs. C# ?), or to learn how to knit. I’ve always wanted to knit. Whichever new skill I decide to pick up, I’m going to apply it to the purpose of remaining in this country and being a constant irritant to the assholes who just took a big steaming Trump on everyone.

    Why? Because I’m an American, and if there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s pissing people off. We don’t run…we stick it out being as loud and obnoxious as we can be well past the point of good manners or sense, by gum. Perhaps I will knit a positively scathing cozy with my newfound knowledge.

    Besides, as much bad stuff as we’re going to have to weather over the next few years (with lingering effects beyond), I wouldn’t want to be the party with the shrinking base and a permanent sub-40 approval Trump in the White House trying to hang onto power. The next few years will not be pleasant for them either. The pendulum will swing back hard, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that…and then knitting something to commemorate it.

    Plus, rumor is Trump wants to make Sarah Palin Secretary of the Interior. C’mon–you know you want to stick around for that clown show.

    .

  39. Peter Watts,

    That seems to imply that because Trump won, we’re all idiots. I’m not, and neither are most of the other opposition voters. “Americans are idiots” is just as offensive – and obviously inaccurate – as “French people smell bad” or “Canadians have no personalities.”

    lol I had to think hard to come up with an insult for Canadians.

  40. This is a pleasant thing to get distracted about.

    DA: I can’t decide whether to start teaching myself one of the C languages this week (do you have any thoughts on C++ vs. C# ?), or to learn how to knit. I’ve always wanted to knit. Whichever new skill I decide to pick up, I’m going to apply it to the purpose of remaining in this country and being a constant irritant to the assholes who just took a big steaming Trump on everyone.

    Back when I was coding in C, C++ was atrocious or so I thought. I hear it’s much more reasonable these days. I have no fucking clue about C# but it probably doesn’t hurt. You could try one of the Seven Languages in Seven Weeks books.

    Since you bring up knitting, you might look in to machine knitting and then learn whatever language you need for working on arduinos (flora platform is easy to sew in to things) or perhaps some single board computers (raspberry pi, beagle bone black, etc). Depending on where you are, you may be able to get access to a knitting machine.

    Someone I k now knits conductive wire in to knitted threads in order to have a good platform for soldering things on to knitted fabric with ease. She ran this workshop during a halloween party at our hackerspace (sadly I could not make it since I was traveling). I told her that she should sell swaths as a platform to people who want to work with the fabric vs. making it.

    If you want to do hand knitting, you can sew in conductive thread later. er…. perhaps you can leave off the circuitry. I just naturally jumped to that part.

    …If you want recommendations for other programming languages, of course I will suggest python (there is also an educational initiative with the microbit which runs python on the chip) and also go, which I have been using at work lately in addition to python. My friend worked on Net Logo for a while, which is like Logo but instead of just one turtle its N turtles and you can broadcast commands to all of them and program sets of them to react in different ways. People have used it for modeling climate stuff, and it also gets used in education.

  41. DA,

    “rumor is Trump wants to make Sarah Palin Secretary of the Interior” – I’d watch that, but I’d rather see her as Secretary of State. Why settle for a clown show when you can have the whole circus?

    Definitely not Tim,

    “I’d recommend mescaline over LSD” – although if you’re embracing a 100 kilometer diet, mushrooms would work better for those of us in the north as peyote doesn’t grow here…

    “the ground was laid for this by the tolerance shown to identity politics generally” – at a Queen’s U Halloween party this year they banned the wearing of sombreros (among other things) to avoid the harms of cultural appropriation… I fail to see how that kind of thing does more good than harm…

    Sidenote: congrats to PW and CS on the blog title – the “Recent Comments” menu on the right looks like a Warhol painting!

  42. C++ has and hasn’t improved. The features and libraries people are encouraged to use are much nicer than they used to be but all the horrors are still there in the holy name of backward compatibility.

    I find it very capable but would never suggest anyone tackles it as their first OO C like. Far too rugose and squamous. I haven’t done a lot with C# but it looks like a saner entry point into the genre.

  43. After having another day to cool down and do some reading and talking, I’ve got some links to share and I’ve synthesized some observations. This was stimulated in part by reading some of the comments here, so thanks Peter for sparking that off.

    UNDERSTANDING WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED:

    I think it’s now abundantly clear that the populace in the USA is living in two opposing mass hallucinations. It’s not only “the red team” existing in a totalizing bubble. I believe that “the blue team” just got wtfpwned in 2016 in the exact same way that “the red team” did in 2012. Romney supporters were so damn *surprised* when he lost in 2012, and I was surprised that they were surprised! I thought the Republican establishment understood that Romney was a sacrificial candidate with no shot. But they didn’t.

    Republicans, from the elites right down to the footsoldiers falling in line to vote their lesser of evils, actually thought a milquetoast sack of watered-down corporate “conservatism” would *win* against Obama. As much of a liar as he turned out to be, Obama still had a bit of an inspiring halo left over from 2008. Even strategic genius Karl Rove bought the idea of a Romney victory, and as evil a man as he is, he’s anything but an idiot.

    Now the effect is playing out in reverse.

    These collective hallucinations are in great part fueled by the media. The sad remains of American journalism – especially cable “news” – has long since bifurcated into inflating one bubble or the other in an orgy of selection bias. Add in a profit motive, and thus a motive for hanging on to an audience, and “news” becomes infotainment; this in turn transforms elections into a sports match. On comparing the presentation of election coverage to the presentation of Monday Night Football, it becomes immediately obvious. And as often happens with sports, national electoral politics gets elevated to the status of a religion. This comes with all the attendant ingroup-outgroup psychology and suspension of rational thought that religion often brings.

    The fascinating and disturbing thing is that the mass hallucinations, the bubbles, have become self-inflating on the Internet. Although mass media still contributes, I don’t believe it’s *necessary* any longer to sustain the dynamic. This is in sad contravention to many of the hopeful predictions of the late 90s and early 2000s. The Internet can easily bring a vast diversity of information and viewpoints into anyone’s sphere, but only, as it turns out, if the person *and the algorithms which feed them* are open to it.

    Facebook is an obvious example here. People shape what they see on Facebook through the selection bias inherent in who they are “friends” with, and that’s bad enough. But the feed algorithms – again with a profit motive, again with a motive to keep an audience – greatly compound it. Machine learning is plenty smart enough to figure out what any given user will likely click on, and away we go with a runaway feedback loop. This isn’t just the case with Facebook, though. Search engines do it too. It’s literally called a “filter bubble,” for fuck’s sake.

    Honestly, Peter, I think what with all your pontificating on the future of the net (leak-spreading viruses? hello!) and your talent for exploring the glitches in human consciousness, this could be great raw material. Godwin time: the majority of Germans were not actually Nazis. The fact that the hardcore Nazis were so thoroughly *enabled* by the rest of the populace is a fascinating and disturbing case of mass psychology. I eagerly await a hair-raising short story.

    As to the people behind the bubbles, the following infographics are quite revealing. It’s worth it to pore over them a bit, particularly for Americans but even for non-Americans with less understanding of regional identity in the United States: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/election-results-from-coast-to-coast/

    Also, before the election I’d been following the reporting of James and Deb Fallows at The Atlantic as they flew around the country visiting small-town America to, quote, “go to places that you would normally go to only if there were a flood or a tornado or a shooting as opposed to treating them as real entities and giving them the sort of three-dimensionality that you’d naturally give to the big coastal cities.” Another long and worth read (or listen). http://www.npr.org/2016/11/09/501423970/how-trump-broke-campaign-norms-but-still-won-the-election

    The takeaway there is that everybody seems to believe America is *fucked* in one way or another – except in their town. Their town is pretty okay.

    This is why I call the bubble dynamic “mass hallucination.” Not that everything is fine and dandy in terms of domestic or foreign policy – it isn’t – but the two halves of the national consciousness have decoupled from each other and from reality in important ways.

    WHERE WE COULD GO FROM HERE:

    Ken White is a guy I respect immensely. He’s been a tireless champion of free speech, civility AND understanding for as long as I’ve been following what he has to say. This read is really worth it. I will caution that if you’re not yet in the mood for “we will carry on” statements – even with historical backing – you may wish to scroll down a few paragraphs to “our values endure” and onward: https://popehat.com/2016/11/09/getting-back-to-work-the-day-after/

    Some excerpts:

    Of course there are racists and misogynists in America. Of course both those things continue to play a significant role in American life. (How significant? That depends on how much money you have.) Of course some of Trump’s supporters are very explicitly racist and misogynistic, and of course Trump courted those groups as part of his base. But attributing a Trump victory to racism and misogyny is a quick, cheap, easy way out. People aren’t that simple. Americans didn’t conclusively reject racism by electing President Obama, and didn’t conclusively embrace it by electing President Trump.

    It falls to realistic Trump opponents not to crush the people who voted for him, but to persuade them. In this election the GOP showed that it could fight back against demographic change — not just by marshaling high percentages of white voters, but by persuading higher-than-expected percentages of minorities. The Democrats can’t respond to that by writing 40% of the country off as irredeemable.

    The anti-Trump message was based too strongly on entitlement — _based on who you are, we are entitled to your vote, by right._ You can see that in the frothing rage at third-party voters after Clinton’s defeat. You’ll see it in the ugly backlashes coming at the minority voters who didn’t vote “correctly.” But voting isn’t a matter of entitlement. “Vote for me because the other guy’s horrific” is not an effective method to persuade or get out the vote. It’s an idea that focuses on the other guy, not you. You’ve got to deserve victory. Clinton didn’t. Clinton stank of entitlement to rule, the media conveyed that message, and that message fatally amplified Clinton’s scandals, conveying that Clinton was entitled to follow the rules differently, to act differently, to be treated preferentially.

    I submit that every American appalled or outraged by President Trump’s election should pick an issue that is important to them, educate themselves thoroughly about it, and come together with fellow Americans to fight for that issue — to defend people in various circumstances who cannot defend themselves.

    I also felt compelled to load Quinn Norton’s twitter page, which I still check out now and then long after having dumped Twitter. She echoes Ken White here, and as always, she reminds me why I want to have her babies as soon as science can give me a uterus. https://twitter.com/quinnnorton (and, anybody reading these comments would likely love Quinn’s indie journalism, here’s a starter pack https://medium.com/quinn-norton )

    The first step of any non-violent conflict resolution is assume the fundamental humanity of your opponent.

    America isn’t different than it was Monday, there’s just a part of America that can’t deny what’s going on anymore. That’s an opportunity.

    We end up not willing to deal with people in conflict with us, and that gets you to a bifurcated society.

    We mustn’t ignore these, often ugly, always difficult, social forces anymore. Progress takes engagement.

    Today is a fantastic day to read, or re-read Let America Be America Again. https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/let-america-be-america-again

    Finally, there’s a very important reality which is overlooked often enough in the United States and, I fear, even more so abroad. “Deplorables” *DO NOT* make up half of eligible voters. There is a loony authoritarian 30% in most Western societies, it seems, but I really do believe it tops out at around 1 in 3. But more importantly, *you can’t only consider eligible voters here.* Trump got destroyed in the youngest age bracket, which – tellingly – went *so* heavily for Bernie in the primaries.

    Demographic shifts would have prevented this particular disaster in 2020, but we’re not there yet. The disaffected whites and has-been baby boomers with their claws still firmly sunk into the heart of power, they will be a significantly smaller proportion of the electorate in four years. Demographic change is accelerating, not slowing down.

    And it’s not only urban kids who are advancing multiculturalism and rapidly rewriting all the ossified old folkways concerning gender. They’ll make mistakes, sure – the censorious “safe space” excesses being a case in point – but overall, they’re moving in a good direction. What beliefs do you think are held by those kids in Jesusland who didn’t get to read Blindsight (in class, anyway?) And kids of parents who did or would object – are all of them doomed to be mindless parrots?

    Having seen an attempted school book-banning episode up close and personal in the 1990s, and seeing the loons get their ass handed to them the very next election, and all that playing out in a red state – there may be a bit more hope for us Yanks than one might initially suspect.

    Demographic change does not, as Ken White and Quinn Norton and others point out so credibly, give “the blue team” a license to wait things out and write off the non-deplorable portion of “the red team.” But demographics are a point worth considering. The kids are all right.

    Peter, thanks again for the forum, I very much enjoy this blog.

  44. Well, in italy we elected Silvio Berlusconi three times, so we can’t really teach lessons to anyone. However, IMHO it is possible that in foreign politics Trump could actually be a better option than Clinton; or at least he could make less damage. The reduced tension with Russia and Turkey could actually lead to a solution of the crisis in Sirya and help stabilize the Middle East, whereas I think that Clinton would have increased american military involvement. Moreover his election could lead to a democratic reaction in Europe, before our own nationalists get to power. It might be just wishful thinking, but still….

  45. As for Catholic voters, in an interview on the Italian press today pope Francis pointed at the unequal distribution of wealth as the main cause of migration and of internal problems such as criminality in richer countries, and advocated distribution politics among and within states as the solution. If american catholics had followed what he has been saying since his election concerning politics, economy and environmental issues they should have voted for Sanders. Unfortunatly they seem deaf to his calls

  46. a note re the Merkel statement: it is actually a bit of rhetorical judo because the statement is longer than what you quoted. That was just the last bit. First, she counted off all the values supposedly shared between Germany and the US and those are all values that Trump supposedly ran _against_ (tolerance for minorities, refugees, people of all genders and all sexual orientations and so forth). So she managed to not-congratulate him by congratulating him.

    I have some fierce dislike for her on the German domestic side but she is quite intelligent and in the most recent past has done some surprisingly good things. For whatever reason.

  47. Greggles:

    I’m pretty much convinced that Trump, like Ford or Brexit is the molotov cocktail of the disenfranchised.People who don’t ever expect their needs and wants to be heard in the political discourse and therefore don’t mind burning it to the ground.

    I think that’s exactly right. There are a lot of really unhappy people in the US, and in this election they gave the establishments of both parties big fat middle fingers. The Republican establishment got theirs in July, and the Democratic establishment got theirs in November. I think it’s significant that BOTH parties had protest candidates in the primaries, and ultimately one of them advanced to the presidency.

    Politically, the future belongs to whatever party can find a way to help out the folks the system just isn’t working for. What can they do for the fifty-something factory worker whose employer closed his plant and moved the jobs to Mexico? What can they do for the twenty-something who took out loans to pay for college, but couldn’t translate a degree into a good job, and now has to pay off a six-figure debt on a laborer’s wage? It’s the economy, stupid. It’s the economy, stupid.

  48. My favorite quote about the election so far, from Samantha Bee:

    “What we did was the Democratic equivalent of installing an above-ground pool. Even if we’re lucky, and it doesn’t seep into our foundations, the neighbors will never look at us the same way again.”

    Pretty much says it all right there.

  49. Tyler S: When the majority of a population can be convinced to repeatedly vote against its own self-interest, does democracy work?

    Seems to have worked just fine for Donald Trump.

    But the question itself is a little like asking if parasitism “works”. The answer really depends on whether you’re asking the hosts or the tapeworms.

    Tyler S: just read a bunch of Neal Asher, which I’ve enjoyed. If I’m not mistaken you get a shout-out in Shadow of the Scorpion. Am I right?

    Hotel named after me? I think so, yeah (although to my shame, although I have that book on my shelf I haven’t read it yet).

    AngusM: One preacher, as I understand it, has even promised that God will “take care” of Trump when the time is right, allowing Pence to step into the Number One slot.

    You know, that makes a scary amount of sense.

    Leona:
    Child’s hand, say hello to hot stove!

    You remembered!

  50. DA,

    With new coding skills combined with knitting and other materials you can make protest signs like http://www.nybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/love-trumps-hate.jpg

  51. Deseret: Lay off the acid. Will only make it worse.

    It did. When I came down again, Leonard Cohen was dead.

    EMP: how exactly does Trump’s election represent “a flying leap backwards for every kind of human rights except the corporate kind”?

    Roe V. Wade was, what, 1973? So, yeah— if you believe his stated intention of repealing that, the flying leap goes back about four decades.

    That said, I’ve already opined that I don’t think Trump is much of an idealogue. I think the main problem is that he is now the focus of power in a party that is infested with idealogues, and who can use him to those ends; and that regardless of any policies he may or may not enact from the top down, his ascension has basically let so many grass-roots assholes off the leash that street-level hate crimes are gonna go through the roof. And when the various -phobes feel thus emboldened, you’ve got a serious human rights problem right there.

    A better question, though, might be to wonder what this Earth thing called “Human Rights” even is. It’s a cultural artefact, mainly; in Darwin’s universe, it’s not an easy thing to argue from first principles.

    Gordon M: PS, I got some advance video of the coming mass exodus

    Only the real world could make “Aliens” look like the utopian alternative…

    Ashley R Pollard: Michael Moore called this a while back.

    Yeah, but Michael Moore also said that he knew for a fact that Trump was terrified of victory and planning to lose. Really depends on which iteration of Michael Moore you want to take as canonical.

    Mark Major: So, this is what you were really trying to warn us about in Blindsight.

    God no. None of my books are this realistic. My books are full of decent people up against impossible odds; there aren’t really any of the outright villains reality seems to have in such abundance. Every time I tried to write an actual villain, I threw it away as being an unbelievable caricature than no one would believe.

    Shows how much I know.

    Mark Major: So, Doc: 1.)Do you call your sdaughters pones because they are made of cornbread? Is this your sly biologist’s reference to the basis of the N’Am diet?

    “Pones” is short for “ponies”, since they were birthed by the BUG (Beloved Unicorn Girl), and are hence equiine.

    It’s a long story.

    2.) I gather they are each too young to marry Americans seeking to become Canadian nationals at this time? Are there any plans for this in the future?

    Ask their mother.

  52. Mark Major: At one point you have Venter as a victim of forest fire economics. Is Venter still alive in the future, or is it his company? I googled ffe, but I’m still vague on what you meant.

    Venter’s dead (I think there was passing mention of a Venter Memorial conference on synthetic biology somewhere in there?) The company bearing his name lingered on, though.

    Godric:
    “trade deals that give foreign multinationals veto power over our environmental laws” – which is exactly what Canada tries (quite successfully so far) to impose on EU, see CETA. :-/ Just saying.

    Dude, if you think I’m any kind of defender of Canadian gummint policy, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Sheila: They don’t even have to use prisons as concentration camps. If they want to treat people even worse, they can classify any little behavior as terrorism and send people to somewhere to be tortured in ways that are worse than prisons.

    They kind of do that anyway. For example, in Michigan, not getting on the ground fast enough after having been punched in the face and maced is classed as an “assault”.

    Fatman: Had the Democrats picked Sanders over Clinton, I believe they could have avoided voter lassitude and won this election, even with one of the most unpopular candidates ever.

    Wait, I thought Clinton was one of the most unpopular candidates. I thought Sanders did just fine in the polls; in fact, I seem to remember the stats suggesting that Sanders would do far better against Trump than Clinton would have (correction: did), back before the DNC successfully fucked him over.

  53. RE the german situation:

    Someone i know recently told me that we Germans mimic everything the Americans do..just with a timelag of 10 years or so.

    Considering the fact that the rise of our new far right, the Afd, somewhat mirrors the rise of the Tea Party Movement, i predict their inevitable ascencion to power in the election after the next one. Since Marine Le Pen will surely get France under her control, that leaves..well..the Brits? Maybe?

    At least i dont have to worry about my pension anymore..gotta see the bright side.

  54. DA: As a U.S. citizen who voted against Trump, I will present myself here for the obligatory kicking of someone when they are down and delicious schadenfreude, even though I don’t personally feel like I “deserve” a Trump presidency. Nor do I feel like the majority of the electorate that voted against him, only to see it awarded to the minority vote because of our ridiculous electoral system, particularly deserve it.

    (Is that you, Scott? You write a lot like Scott.)

    Anyway, yes, I take your point. And it’s always a danger, when shaking your head and growling “Fuck ’em, they did it to themselves”, that the more properly nuanced view— which includes all those disenfranchised who didn’t do it to themselves, but end up getting fucked over worse than anyone— gets lost in the pox-upon-both-houses rhetoric.

    But if you can think of some way of forcing those fat cats in first class to go down with the ship they’ve sunk without also sacrificing all those poor bastards in steerage into the bargain, then by all means— but wait, Sanders could have done that. Electing Sanders would have nonviolently ushered in radical reforms (by US standards, anyway) that would not have entailed more cozying up to the banks, more overseas intervention, and more pro-TPP, pro-fracking, environmentalists-should-get-a-life Clintonisms. And Sanders was polling better against Trump than Clinton was anyway; he had a better chance at victory, and his policies were more inclusive to those myriad disenfranchised than Clinton’s ever were.

    And yet, once the game was shown to be well and truly rigged— once Clinton’s allies had essentially cheated their way to victory— all those progressive voices just caved. Nobody called for the result to be thrown out. All those voices cheering for Sanders immediately switched to Clinton. Silverman told the Bernie bros they were being “ridiculous”; fuck, even Sanders went into the tank for Clinton. And look what happened.

    So, yeah: I have little patience for all those people saying “Don’t blame me, I campaigned against Trump” if what they really meant was “Don’t blame me, I worked for Clinton”. Because Clinton was the wrong choice. She was the wrong choice according to the polls, she was the wrong choice according to policy platforms, and she may have even been the wrong choice according to a fair vote by the DNC (we’ll never know now about that last one). As it turned out, stumping for Clinton only helped Trump.

    So I have no sympathy for the Clinton camp. They brought this on themselves. Fuck ’em.

    And I think all those people who are now even more afraid to go out at night because they wear a hijab, or because they’re non-binary, or because they happen to have skin darker than a caramel— I think those people should be saying Fuck the Clinton Camp too.

  55. Greggles: As an example: low-income white rural Pennsylvanians voted for Obama in 2008 and then switch over to Trump in 2016.

    Huh. That’s an interesting little factoid.

    QUIBBLE: Corporations aren’t humans.

    But they are people, my friend. Mitt Romney said so, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company backs him up all the way back in 1886, and Citizens United confirms it.

    Terry Hickman: That seems to imply that because Trump won, we’re all idiots.

    Yeah, there’s that lack of nuance thing again. My rant in my previous comment addresses that.

    That said, though, while many individual Americans are fucking brilliant, statistically— taken as a whole— the US is pretty stupid. More of you believe in angels than accept the reality of evolution. 46% of you believe the human race was created in its present form ten thousand years ago. Almost half of the adults in the US cannot correctly answer the question “How long does it take for the Earth to complete an orbit of the sun?” even when the question is presented as multiple choice— hell, somewhere around one in five of you don’t even seem to realize that the earth actually orbits the sun, and not the other way around.

    How can you square such stats with anything other than a dullard America?

  56. dpb: C++ has and hasn’t improved.

    Wait, what? When did this thread turn into a discussion of C++?

    Gordon M: Godwin time: the majority of Germans were not actually Nazis. The fact that the hardcore Nazis were so thoroughly *enabled* by the rest of the populace is a fascinating and disturbing case of mass psychology. I eagerly await a hair-raising short story.

    I’m on it.

    Good links, too.

    Michael: a note re the Merkel statement: it is actually a bit of rhetorical judo because the statement is longer than what you quoted. That was just the last bit.

    Yeah, I know. I kind of gave in to temptation for the sake of an easy cheap shot.

  57. Peter Watts: I thought Sanders did just fine in the polls; in fact, I seem to remember the stats suggesting that Sanders would do far better against Trump than Clinton would have (correction: did), back before the DNC successfully fucked him over.

    That’s certainly one of the narratives forming right now, and if someone wants to cling to it they have as much right to as people trying to form some narrative about the “poor oppressed white working class” lashing out (median Trump supporter income is higher than the average, and higher than the average Clinton voter).

    But just like all the “what if” scenarios being cobbled together right now, it involves a whole lot of speculation, and requires you to throw out a lot of conventional political wisdom to believe he wouldn’t have actually done worse than Clinton.

    ***

    Setting aside the conventional wisdom that we’ve seen reinforced time and again that a North East Coast liberal simply cannot win on the national stage in the U.S., there is the big anti-Semitic elephant in the room. It gives me no pleasure to remind anyone of this, but in Jesus-land an atheist can’t get elected dog-catcher. To believe that national U.S is ready to elect a non-lip service Christian as President is to have more optimism about my country than I do. Trump, subtly, or otherwise, absolutely would have attacked this, and I think there can be no doubt after this election that it would have worked.

    I suppose the obvious rebuttal is “But Obama!”. Yes, but none of the candidates were an Obama. You get an Obama once in a generation. It’s true that the country is undergoing a lot of shifting attitudes, and maybe if we actually had just elected our first woman president, I’d believe we were ready to elect our first non-Christian. But we didn’t, and I don’t.

    Plus, Sanders didn’t enjoy the support among Blacks and Hispanics that Clinton did, the groups whose voting allowed Clinton to keep it as close as she did. Lets not lose sight of how close it was–Trump lost the popular vote, and a 1-2 % shift in the race…1 out of every 100 people voting differently, and we’d be spinning completely different narratives this week.

    Would he have made up that deficit with more energized white voters on the left? Maybe. I personally believe in any contest of two grumpy old white men spouting populist rage that Trump’s brand sells better, because he tells white people more things they want to hear.

    Sanders polled better in the primaries because he was an unknown, and no one on the Right took him seriously enough to turn their attention on him, whereas Clinton was carrying around the baggage of two decades worth of focused vitriol. That would have changed had Sanders ever become a real threat to be nominated. Would he have maintained that favorability once people got a look at him on the national stage, and he had to undergo the impossible scrutiny the other candidates did? Maybe. But I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.

    That’s a lot of maybes, and a lot of ways he would have had to be especially groundbreaking. I certainly would have preferred to vote for a Sanders. In the end, I think people just chose the devil they knew in Clinton, because while she had all that baggage, her flaws were known and nothing really surprised. On the other hand she had endured 2 decades of really the most withering attacks the Right had to offer and survived, so they really couldn’t hurt her any worse. For an election with so much on the line, people made the safe choice, and I haven’t really seen any compelling case yet that suggests there was a better one to be made if you’re thinking critically about winning an important election, rather than philosophically.

    ***

    Trump won because economic and political factors were favorable for an anti-incumbent to win, and negative populism always plays. Since the FDR/Truman era, only once has a party controlled the Presidency for more than 2 consecutive terms (Reagan/Bush sr), and Bush sr. was voted out after a single term. It is the world’s misfortune that this anti-incumbent happened to be Trump, at the worst possible time for a Trump to happen.

    .

  58. Peter Watts: Wait, what? When did this thread turn into a discussion of C++?

    That’s my fault. Sheila and I had a bit of an aside about consoling one’s self, and there was a quote about learning in the face of adversity, and …oh well, it’s all above.

    But wouldn’t you rather prefer to be discussing the merits of various C languages right now than what we *are* discussing?

    .

  59. Peter Watts: .

    So, yeah: I have little patience for all those people saying “Don’t blame me, I campaigned against Trump” if what they really meant was “Don’t blame me, I worked for Clinton”[…]

    Fuck ’em.

    So, are we no longer making the distinction between people who voted for Clinton in the primaries, and people who, analyzing the eventual choice critically, determined that Clinton was obviously, clearly the far better thing to happen than Trump?

    I’ll still let you kick me if you want to prevent that ire from being focused on the many people in the US. and elsewhere that don’t deserve it. But I’m a registered independent, and am unable to vote in Democratic Primaries in my state.

  60. My only consolation to all this is that maybe, just maybe, on his first day Trump will say, “Holy %!$@ America, they just showed me the crashed alien ships they’ve got in Area 51. Wait, I’m not supposed to tell you about them was I? Oh well… look, I promise you we’re going to be bigger spaceships, they’re just going to be the best!”

    I mean, I don’t really even believe in crashed alien starship conspiracies anymore. Or that if there were, they’d tell Trump the truth about them, even as president. But I’ve gotta have something to hope for.

  61. Peter Watts: (Is that you, Scott? You write a lot like Scott.)

    I don’t know who this Scott is, but he sounds verbose and fairly insufferable.

  62. Peter Watts,

    By thinking of people as individuals, instead of faceless blocs. Too many of us progressives are guilty of the latter (me included), and look where that got us. 46% of *me* is not racist (maybe 5% which I try to recognize and actively resist).

  63. Peter D: My only consolation to all this is that maybe, just maybe, on his first day Trump will say, “Holy %!$@ America, they just showed me the crashed alien ships they’ve got in Area 51.

    Ha. I don’t want to downplay what a disaster of unknowable proportions Trumps election is–giving conservatives control of all three branches of government means they’ll be able to do unmitigated damage over the next few years with lingering effects well beyond. For all the criticism of people on the Right voting for Trump even though they allegedly didn’t like him, I would have voted for a Cocker Spaniel over Trump to keep the next few years from happening.

    But there’s far more than one consolation to be had, once you’re able to pick yourself back up and start working again.

    1) Conservatives control *everything*. They now get all the blame for everything, and given the record low approval ratings of both the Republican party and Donald Trump, and their shrinking electoral base, I don’t know any Republican who can see beyond the next few years that feels really good about the future.

    2) We get to get rid of Obamacare–a well intentioned but fatally flawed piece of legislation–so we can replace it with something closer to the way it should have been done in the first place, and Trump and the Republicans will take all the political fallout for getting rid of it for us.

    3) The next few years are going to be the best thing for liberal apathy in some time. For all the people falling back on lazy mindsets like “one party isn’t any better than the other”, the next few years should prove very educational, and very unifying.

    4) We get to rebuild. Someone like Elizabeth Warren would have been shut out by a Clinton presidency, but now she has a theoretical window in a few years, even though conventional wisdom says she’ll be too old. The point is we’re now completely free of the baggage of the Clinton era Democrats, and can start putting newer, better candidates in office once the smoke starts clearing.

    5) This is the beginning of the descent of conservative power in the US for some time, not the beginning of the ascent. Modern history says that the elected President’s party almost always starts to take a beating in subsequent mid term elections, and begins losing power. Trump isn’t the end of the story–he’s Act 1. Stick around for Act 3.
    .

  64. The big problem for the “Clinton lost due to lack of voter enthusiasm” narrative. The Times is reporting that at current count, over 2 million more US citizens voted for Clinton than voted for Trump. If that holds, it would make it the largest electoral/popular split in U.S. history. She received more votes than any other political candidate from any party in history, except Obama, and nobody in this election was an Obama.

    We have to accept that the factors that elected Trump were systemic, at least as much as they were demographic. This is the price we pay for not giving a shit about local politics. Gerrymandering is killing us.
    .

  65. ^I shouldn’t really have tacked that point about gerrymandering onto the popular vote observation. Gerrymandering is more relevant to congressional elections than Presidential.

    But Local politics are completely relevant to getting enough States into something like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, in order to finally get rid of our ridiculous electoral system.

    .

  66. Peter Watts: And yet, once the game was shown to be well and truly rigged— once Clinton’s allies had essentially cheated their way to victory— all those progressive voices just caved. Nobody called for the result to be thrown out. All those voices cheering for Sanders immediately switched to Clinton. Silverman told the Bernie bros they were being “ridiculous”; fuck, even Sanders went into the tank for Clinton. And look what happened.

    The elections have recently become psychodrama, a sort of farce of the style “what will you overlook in a candidate to get a certain policy desire actually carried forward”. This one could have been a really valid contratemps/counterpoint of “would you accept pie in the sky commie silliness for the promise of free college educations for everyone” versus, well, Donald Trump. As it was, we were given the choice between Careerist War-Hawk Grandma Nixon versus, well, Donald Trump. Given two clowns to vote for, all other things being pretty much the same — with Sanders it would not have been such — you vote for the clown who you think will be funniest longest, or whose act has at least got the benefit of unpredictability and novelty. As a clown act, the Clintons were very old hat. That being said, Chernobog save us, clown acts aren’t where one gets good governance, which we need quite desperately.

    Peter Watts: And I think all those people who are now even more afraid to go out at night because they wear a hijab, or because they’re non-binary, or because they happen to have skin darker than a caramel— I think those people should be saying Fuck the Clinton Camp too.

    I am seeing some of those folks being driven into a frenzy more by the Clintonistas’ fearmongering than I am seeing them oppressed by actions of the Trumpists. That sort of thing will evolve, no doubt. As for me, I do hope that nobody tries to enlist me to go be evil to people solely for being different. They might convince me to be evil but not on their intended targets. I think there are probably a majority of actual Conservatives for whom Conservatism includes “equal protection of the law” and other of the notions that were meant to make America great in the first place. Speaking as one of those eternally-unpopular German-Americans who as a people got shat on with sincerity in the early-mid 20th century and for years thereafter, I feel it incumbent on me to rise to the defense of people who, however unpopular, are entirely within the law and their rights. I feel certain I am not alone in such sentiments.

  67. DA: But just like all the “what if” scenarios being cobbled together right now, it involves a whole lot of speculation, and requires you to throw out a lot of conventional political wisdom to believe he wouldn’t have actually done worse than Clinton.

    At the risk of being glib, would that happen to be the same conventional political wisdom that figured Clinton’s election was a sure thing?

    We get to rebuild. Someone like Elizabeth Warren would have been shut out by a Clinton presidency, but now she has a theoretical window in a few years, even though conventional wisdom says she’ll be too old. The point is we’re now completely free of the baggage of the Clinton era Democrats, and can start putting newer, better candidates in office once the smoke starts clearing.

    I really, really, really hope that’s true.

  68. Keith Z-G: At the risk of being glib, would that happen to be the same conventional political wisdom that figured Clinton’s election was a sure thing?

    I’m not sure what you’re suggesting here–that because conventional wisdom based on precedent failed to be predictive in one sense, it can’t be predictive in others?

    “Conventional” wisdom took a bit of a beating this year, but not nearly as much as the current narratives being fashioned suggest. Many of the most credible political science models based on precedent and other conventional factors that had nothing to do with message or polling, showed a very tight race that favored Trump. If anything, this just reinforces how little message or ideas (at least the ideas you’d prefer) really have to do with national elections.

    Clinton received, at last check, over two million more votes than Trump nationwide. With just a 1-2% shift, the electoral map would have been different, and we’d be telling different stories this week. That could have been due to nothing other than the baseless 11th hour Comey letter.

    The polling averages, for the most part, were off by a couple points, which is a reasonably small and typical polling error. Polling analysis, on the other hand, was largely shit. It remains so even now as people point to one single poll or another that supposedly shows the “real story.” Few people, journalists included, seem able to responsibly handle polls and polling average models within their limitations, and accept the nature of probability and margin of error.

    ***

    As I said, Clinton was not my preferred candidate, and I didn’t vote for her in the primary– even though the eventual Clinton vs Trump choice was a no-brainer. But I still find her, tainted as she is, to be a more plausible victor on the national stage than Sanders, who has just a few too many strikes against him in the “conventional wisdom” department. It has nothing to do with whose ideas I prefer, or what I think is right or just. She at least has the virtue of wearing her skeletons on her sleeve.

    After this week, you think I’m being too pessimistic about a significant portion of the US electorate? That a candidate who succeeded by trading on xenophobia, racial fear, and religious bigotry, and who was releasing anti-Semitic ads up until the last moment of the campaign, wouldn’t have had a field day with a Jewish candidate–a non-Christian in a country that has never elected one to national office? A candidate who brazenly uses words like “socialist”, which on the national stage typically sends that portion of the electorate into an irrational apoplectic fit. You think that once Sanders made it to the national stage and people started diving into his hippy dippy background in earnest, nobody would turn up some sort of radical association of the type that killed Kerry and nearly killed Obama, and that theoretical polling advantage wouldn’t come crashing down to earth?

    After Trump, you think I’m not giving enough credit to the US electorate? You think the Presidential election has anything to do with whose ideas are better?

    The funny thing here is how much more deeply cynical I am about the American electorate than even those of you with the the most acidic vitriol for it, yet still believe that Sanders somehow had a better chance.

    .

  69. Peter Watts,

    Wasn’t me wot started it. Honest guv.

    On topic, I am continuing to be impressed by the choices Trump is making for his team…

  70. Gordon M: There is a loony authoritarian 30% in most Western societies, it seems, but I really do believe it tops out at around 1 in 3.

    This loony authoritarianism It is, of course, exclusively right-wing. No right-thinking liberal person would demand an organization purges itself of politically unreliable elements, nor would they demand someone steps down from a position of authority over a paltry political donation a decade ago.

    There are still a few sane voices out there, people who don’t buy the narrative hook/line/sinker like gee, almost the entirety of this comment thread. (Gordon M seems a bit of an exception…)

    This angry Brit nails it under 4 minutes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLG9g7BcjKs&t=305s

    Sure, Trump is a sexual predator. Who somehow managed to be around a ton of women and even young girls and so, so good at his sexual predation shtick he’s never had to pay any money, in a US court. Being a billionaire doesn’t protect you from getting prosecuted, like his the case of his fellow NY billionaire Epstein demonstrated. (He only got 6 months jail, but he has the conviction..)

    But it’s the narrative that Trump is a disgusting perv who can’t control himself, so it has to be true. Like the narrative that Trump is destined to lose and doesn’t even want to win was true.

    PW here says something about ‘hate crimes’ by Trump supporters. Sure, where are they? US isn’t the UK, and so far the only hate crimes that have surfaced involved poor people beating randoms for ‘voting for Trump’.
    But you an find videos of the disadvantaged robbing or beating people for ‘voting for Trump’ on youtube or liveleak.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnQNFBHHs6w

    Where’s the videos of Trump hate-mobs beating anyone? Mhmm?

    And then there is of course the riots. Because nothing will put the fear into the deplorable rednecks as young people trashing their own solidly blue-city, like say, Portland.

  71. To every unitedstatian liberal crying in this thread “We are not dumb, that’s rednecks!” I suggest to read this article (written by liberal-left, if I’m not confusing anything, in Russia we have different definition of “left”, “right” and “liberal”):
    http://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11451378/smug-american-liberalism
    Summary: multiple evidence from various reliable sources suggests that rednecks are dumb, but liberals of so-called “Land of the Free” are even dumber in average and extremely dumber in elite segment (compared to respective conservative elites). Well, Dr. Watts already said it before: people which let clan of Bushes became presidents 4 times are irredeemable. I hope Canada will build the wall too, or at least refuse citizenship applications, so all of you will meet your inevitable doom.

  72. Ivan Sakurada:
    To every unitedstatian liberal crying in this thread “We are not dumb, that’s rednecks!” I suggest to read this article (written by liberal-left, if I’m not confusing anything, in Russia we have different definition of “left”, “right” and “liberal”):
    http://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11451378/smug-american-liberalism

    That is a good article. Thanks.

    This one explains quite a bit about the cultural differences between the US working and professional classes, and why Trump appeals to the former in a potent way:

    https://hbr.org/2016/11/what-so-many-people-dont-get-about-the-u-s-working-class

  73. Y.,

    A friend in NYC was assaulted by a man claiming the internment camps a la Nazi Germany are coming, that “you people” {he mistook my WASPy friend for a Jew} are already on trial, while wearing a Make America Great Again hat, etc. Hilariously, Trump advisors are already backing off of most of his campaign promises per WaPo, though Rudy “9-11” Giuliani swears there will be a wall.

  74. DA: Sanders polled better in the primaries because he was an unknown, and no one on the Right took him seriously enough to turn their attention on him, whereas Clinton was carrying around the baggage of two decades worth of focused vitriol. That would have changed had Sanders ever become a real threat to be nominated.

    Good point. I hadn’t thought of that.

    But my understanding is that among Millennials, Sanders polled better during those primaries than Trump and Clinton combined, and the Millennnials just didn’t come out to vote (as is their traditional wont). I grant you that Sanders would never get the anti-atheist and antisemite demographics, but his presence on the ballot may well have energised the previously-dormant Millennials to come out and kick ass on his behalf. That might have made all the difference.

    After all, Obama didn’t catch much of the racist vote, and that’s a yuge chunk of the population. He brought it home anyway. Which is why I disagree with the claim that there’s only one Obama per generation. I think Sanders could have been another Obama, in the sense that there were some votes he would be forever denied, but others he would have energized like never before. (I also think Warren would have done even better, but apparently she was encouraged not to run.)

    As for Sanders not bringing in the black vote, my understanding is that Clinton kinda failed on that front as well. (I also saw someone throwing around the claim that 66% of white women voted for Trump, which blew my mind, but that was in the midst of a rabid SJ ragefest so I can’t speak to its accuracy.)

    DA: But wouldn’t you rather prefer to be discussing the merits of various C languages right now than what we *are* discussing?

    Point.

    DA: So, are we no longer making the distinction between people who voted for Clinton in the primaries, and people who, analyzing the eventual choice critically, determined that Clinton was obviously, clearly the far better thing to happen than Trump?

    Let me nuancify that a bit. We will refrain from kicking anyone who came late to the party, well after Clinton’s horse had left the barn, and there truly was no other choice but Trump. But we take those saved kicks and redirect them towards those who were there for the DNC shenanigans, who saw the thumbs on the scale and the obvious bias at work deep in the heart of an officially-neutral body, and— upon witnessing Clinton’s coronation— shrugged off all that malfeasance, threw their lot in with the establishment candidate, and set about ridiculing the Bernie Bros because they wouldn’t fall in line. There could have been a revolution at that point. People could have walked out of the hall and publicly announced that they would not support the results of a rigged process. It is at least possible that that would have worked. So kicks to all those who were there at the butterfly moment, and didn’t even try.

    No kicks for you, though. Stop asking for them. People might get the wrong idea.

    DA: I don’t know who this Scott is, but he sounds verbose and fairly insufferable.

    He’s actually a very articulate dude and a great artist, and I’m sorry to have lost him as a fan. But, you know. Politics.

  75. Peter D: I mean, I don’t really even believe in crashed alien starship conspiracies anymore.

    Personally, I’m not writing anything off these days….

    DA: Someone like Elizabeth Warren would have been shut out by a Clinton presidency, but now she has a theoretical window in a few years,

    …like this. Oh dear God, if there’s anything left after the next four years, and someone like Warren does get a shot afterrward, Trump might ironically turn out to be the best thing that’s happened to North American politics in a few generations. Fuck conventional wisdom.

    DA: The big problem for the “Clinton lost due to lack of voter enthusiasm” narrative. The Times is reporting that at current count, over 2 million more US citizens voted for Clinton than voted for Trump.

    OK, that post is saying she had a 1.5% lead in the popular vote. The numbers I saw crawling across the screen the morning after said 0.67, less than half that (putting her between Gore and Nixon). I don’t know how to reconcile that.

    I’d argue that a difference of 0.67% basically means that Adolf and Cletus had engine problems on their way to the polling station. It’s a weaker argument at 1.5, but that’s still a pretty weak lead given the contrast between the two candidates. Even if it is the biggest gap barring Obama, I take little comfort.

    Mr Non-Entity: I am seeing some of those folks being driven into a frenzy more by the Clintonistas’ fearmongering than I am seeing them oppressed by actions of the Trumpists. That sort of thing will evolve, no doubt.

    Eh, I have doubts. But I suspect we may be seeing a reaction that transcends political party; the guys that got their asses handed too them are gonna be way pissed off and looking for scapegoats. The victors, smug and vindicated, can afford to be generous in victory.

    But tell me that there wouldn’t have been more blood in the streets if Trump had lost. Go on. I dare you.

  76. DA: Many of the most credible political science models based on precedent and other conventional factors that had nothing to do with message or polling, showed a very tight race that favored Trump.

    I’d like to see those links. As far as I know, the only poll to consistently show a Trump advantage was the LA Times; pretty much everyone else had a lock for Clinton, with odds as high as 90%+. Nate Silver’s 538— hardly a statistical charlatan— had the odds at 2:1 in Clinton’s favor the morning of.

    Y.: Where’s the videos of Trump hate-mobs beating anyone? Mhmm?

    The Ides of March have come, Caesar. But not yet gone.

    Ivan Sakurada: To every unitedstatian liberal crying in this thread “We are not dumb, that’s rednecks!” I suggest to read this article (written by liberal-left, if I’m not confusing anything, in Russia we have different definition of “left”, “right” and “liberal”)

    It’s an interesting perspective, but a weak argument. While I don’t for a second deny that Libs can be insufferably smug (I’m not even a Liberal, and I can be insufferably smug), Rensin largely dismisses much of the basis for that smugness (i.e., having the facts on one’s side). Climate change, for example, is a solidly established scientific fact; so is evolution. Creationists aren’t stupid, neurologically; they’ve got the same number of synaptic connections as any of us, on average. So what is an appropriate response to someone who’s obviously capable of parsing the data, but refuses to? Scorn doesn’t seem out of line, especially when the consequences of denial are global.

    Rensin also, I think, misrepresents the kerfuffle over Kim Davis, framing it as a bunch of entitled left-wing assholes piling on and delighting in the defeat of a hapless-if-misguided opponent. But Kim Davis is hardly unique; people throughout the US have been putting up with institutional homophobia, with endless incremental restrictions on abortion rights, with an exploitive health-care industry and the criminalisation of poverty and— you get the gist. For decades, the Republican agenda has trampled and disenfranchised millions; and after all those defeats, Kim Davis represented, at long last, a victory of sorts. I think it’s perfectly understandable that you’d want to dance on the body of a stormtrooper or two, even if they’re not Emperor Palpatine. But Rensin ignores all those past grievances, and portrays Davis essentially as a lone rube crushed under a dogpile.

    Some interesting links in that article, though.

  77. Peter Watts: OK, that post is saying she had a 1.5% lead in the popular vote. The numbers I saw crawling across the screen the morning after said 0.67, less than half that (putting her between Gore and Nixon). I don’t know how to reconcile that.

    I believe that is because some votes are always counted much later, and those votes traditionally skew democratic. It’s not enough to sway an election, usually (although I would kinda love it if someone realized that the late-counted votes actually, improbably, gave Clinton the victory), but it’s enough to alter the count.

    In fact, this same thing I believe was behind the classic Donald Trump tweet where he suggested the country needed a revolution because Obama won the Presidency in 2012 through electoral votes, even though he lost the popular vote… it later came out that Obama won the popular vote as well, once the final count was in. I assume Donald Trump has changed his position on that by now (if not outright denied he ever thought that).

    And now of course there’s some efforts to try to get some of the electors (who in many states aren’t bound to vote as their state is supposed to vote) to switch. I don’t rate their chances very highly, although it occurs to me that if the Republicans were smart, THEY’d try to arrange that (though it only works if they can avoid looking like they did).

    I mean, they’ve got Republican control of the House and Senate, and the President. Which gives them a free hand… except, there’s no one to realistically blame things on if things start to go south, as they will. But if the electors switch, and they get Hillary in there, they can still get most of what they want, they might face presidential vetos and a different SC makeup, but they already vowed to block any Supreme Court justices and vetos only slow down their agenda, which might be good for them in many ways. They can gut many of the social programs they don’t like without any responsibility for replacing it with something better (because they can always be attempting to negotiate with an unreasonable White House) They’re freed from any of the inconvenient promises Trump might have made, or might genuinely believe, or might someday change his mind and suddenly think is a good idea. They can blame any downturn in economic indicators, etc on the lack of support from the White House, even if it was their own policies that led to it, rather than having to face it all themselves when the midterm elections come. And, on top of all that, (assuming it doesn’t come out that the Republicans pushed for the electoral vote switches) Hillary would be considered an illegitimate President who “stole” the Presidency from Trump, to many people in their base and probably many outside of it, meaning in 4 years they’ll be even MORE eager to defeat her (with a candidate who they can more easily control). It’d be like an epic political judo move and would probably keep the party viable for longer term. Of course, if long-term thinking was a Republican strong-point, they wouldn’t be climate-change denialists.

  78. Peter Watts: I’d like to see those links.As far as I know, the only poll [snip]

    Not polls. Poly-sci models crafted on things like economic and historic fundamentals, though some did include polling data to some extent.

    I don’t know if this post will go through–I’m having problems posting to the ‘Crawl. But you can check here for a roundup examining some of these.

    Peter Watts: OK, that post is saying she had a 1.5% lead in the popular vote. The numbers I saw crawling across the screen the morning after said 0.67, less than half that (putting her between Gore and Nixon). I don’t know how to reconcile that.

    You can thank a wonderful little racist institution called the Electoral College for that.
    .

  79. RE: Smugness

    Liberals don’t have a monopoly on smugness. I force myself to read opinion material from both ends of the political spectrum because…I don’t know. I hate myself I guess. But if you don’t think the smugness is free flowing from the other guys right about now, yer nuts.
    .

  80. Not sure if anyone’d already mentioned it, but according to the Wikileaks, Clinton campaign purposely helped Trump to rise:
    https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/796222841612042240
    They are pure evil.

  81. Peter Watts: As for Sanders not bringing in the black vote, my understanding is that Clinton kinda failed on that front as well.

    Black turnout was slightly down from Obama, but I hope we can all accept the folly of basing your expectations on Obama’s performance. No one in this election was an Obama, and I don’t expect to see another like him for some time.

    But black and Hispanic turnout was overwhelmingly for Clinton, and probably how she managed to keep it as close as she did, electorally speaking. Hispanic turnout in particular is claimed to be much higher than some of the notoriously error prone exit polls suggest by the people who did the most extensive polling of Latinos.

    .

  82. Peter Watts: I also saw someone throwing around the claim that 66% of white women voted for Trump, which blew my mind, but that was in the midst of a rabid SJ ragefest so I can’t speak to its accuracy.)

    According to preliminary exit polls, Clinton won women by 12% overall, carried only 43% of white women (Trump 53%, not 66), but won 51% of white women with college educations with the same depressing educational divide that separated the two candidates across all demographics.

    It is perhaps somewhat surprising I suppose, but in the end women chose political tribalism–which isn’t very surprising at all. Republicans traditionally do better with white women. Obama got 42% last time.
    .

  83. Peter Watts: As far as I know, the only poll to consistently show a Trump advantage was the LA Times; pretty much everyone else had a lock for Clinton, with odds as high as 90%+. Nate Silver’s 538— hardly a statistical charlatan— had the odds at 2:1 in Clinton’s favor the morning of.

    Re: Polls.

    The polls, or at least the polling averages were mostly fine. Individual polls are always going to be all over the place (that LA Times poll was right for the wrong reasons–it had fatally flawed methodology). The popular analysis in the country was largely shit. Nate Silver is the only one to come out of this with his credibility intact, as far as I’m concerned.

    The poll averages were off by about 2 points, at least on the national level, which is a fairly standard error. It’s about the size of the error that happened in Obama’s favor over Romney. This one just went the other way, and it was disastrous electorally for Clinton. The data on some of the states was a bit sketchy, but the States generally follow the national polling.

    People are just really, really bad at accepting the nature of probability–in that when you say something is more likely to happen, people tend to think that means it will happen. People see numbers higher than 60% as 100%. They also don’t appreciate the reality of margin of error.

    Those two points were everything. They would have made the difference between a tossup forecast and the eventual 70% forecast under Silver’s model.

    Silver was yelling at the top of his lungs in the last couple weeks about the unusually high degree of uncertainty in the election due to the third party candidates and the large number of undecideds, and Clinton’s comparatively vulnerable position on the electoral map due to closer or insufficient polling in some states. People with far more ridiculous models, like the Huffpo forecast that had Clinton at something absurd like 99%, criticized him for giving Trump too much of a chance. Silver rather hilariously lost his shit over that.

    A lot of cards were being played all over the place this election, and that two points was the difference. The election happens 2 weeks earlier, or the last minute Comey smear never happens, and we’re all having different conversations right now. Silver was the only one to consistently warn towards the end that Trump had a real shot.

    .

  84. Peter Watts: So what is an appropriate response to someone who’s obviously capable of parsing the data

    You lie to them, use false flag, destroy their values from inside, promote spoilers. Isn’t it essence of politics? And since liberals have superior Machiavellian intelligence, there should be no problem for them to cheat those simple-minded folks of Jesusland. Or even if there should, it’s much saner to try to do anything than to waste immense resources of DNC on cheap jokes in Huffington Post.

    And you certainly DO NOT pose yourself as The Only And The Inevitable, if you have to actually win elections. Even Putin, who has no problems rigging elections as he like, was never seen that condescending to his major opponents like Communists.

  85. Peter Watts: So what is an appropriate response to someone who’s obviously capable of parsing the data, but refuses to?

    You’ve posted about this before, I think. Scientists don’t communicate the right way when trying to explain climate change or vaccination. For people to do effective communication they need to understand what makes communication effective. Maybe the Cultural Cognition Project has papers that analyse this?

  86. Peter Watts: Wait, I thought Clinton was one of the most unpopular candidates.

    I was talking about Clinton.

    Even with Clinton as the candidate, the Dems could have held onto Wisconsin and Michigan (where she lost by the narrowest of margins), and most likely defended Pennsylvania too (where the margin was very small). But instead of focusing her efforts there, she decided to campaign heavily in NC (where she realistically didn’t stand a chance, even without the vote suppression) and Florida (which is completely unpredictable in every election), states she didn’t need to win.

    OTOH, Sanders could have probably kept the Blue wall intact. Maybe he would have lost more heavily in NC and Florida, which wouldn’t have made a difference. As a Sanders supporter, I’m rather biased, but I don’t think I’m completely unrealistic. This could have been the first election in which I voted for a candidate instead of voting anti-Republican out of disgust. I sort of feel like I was robbed.

    People tend to overlook that mainstream Republicans took a worse beating in this election that Democrats did. Trump pwned the Repub establishment and redefined what the GOP stands for. The Dems’ brilliant response to this was to offer Conservatism-Lite on a stale, unappetizing plate and hope that not enough dumb mouthbreathers come out and vote. They still won the popular vote and were decently positioned to win overall, in spite of significant tactical errors.

    Y.: And then there is of course the riots.

    Protests/riots are the stupidest thing people could be doing right now. Republicans didn’t riot in ’08, they consolidated and organized and gradually clawed back Congress, then the White House.

    Over the next 4 years, the Dems could use the powerful anti-Trump sentiment to galvanize their sorely neglected grassroots movement into action and work toward building a better bench. Chances are they won’t learn anything and will essentially wink out of political existence by 2020, when I’m hoping a more coherent progressive force will emerge.

  87. Peter Watts,

    A train wreck can be entertaining to gawk at especially for the morbid. The nihilist inside me is clapping with glee at knowing that we might have kickstarted our own undoing. Kind of a fight club moment I suppose.

  88. Sheila: Scientists don’t communicate the right way when trying to explain climate change or vaccination. For people to do effective communication they need to understand what makes communication effective.

    That’s an interesting comment. Terms like “Global Warming” and “Climate Change” just don’t sound very dangerous, and as such aren’t effective as calls to action. You’d think clever and motivated people could come up with something better. I think I’d go with “The Heat Trap,” which sounds much more alarming without being wrong.

  89. Fatman: Protests/riots are the stupidest thing people could be doing right now. Republicans didn’t riot in ’08, they consolidated and organized and gradually clawed back Congress, then the White House.

    No, the stupidest thing they could be doing right now is petitioning for the Presidential Electors to go rogue and overthrow the vote results–which sadly is exactly what some people are doing. There’s no chance of it happening, but if it did then it really would be game over. There’s no coming back from the complete systemic breakdown that would cause and the enduring loss of already fragile confidence in the system.

    I don’t agree that protesting (not rioting) is stupid. Again that supports the number of false equivalencies that benefited Trump the entire season–that he somehow is just like any other candidate whose opinions you happen to disagree with. People from both ends of the political spectrum have agreed that Trump is an extraordinary threat, and unfit for office. He should absolutely be treated as such and not normalized. He may be the lawful President-elect, but that doesn’t make him right, and it doesn’t obligate the US citizenry to roll over for him.

    The Tea Party wing of the Republican party absolutely continued to rally and protest during the Obama administration, even if the media got bored with covering it. I should know–I’m related to one. Protesting/organizing is not an either/or proposition. How do you think the Tea Party managed to keep enthusiasm high to win those House seats?

    The Democratic party IS re-organizing right now. You’ll know which way the wind is blowing in a few months by who wins the party chair–Ellison (Warren/Sanders progressive wing) or Dean (moderate/Establishment wing). Right now things look good for Ellison. But it’s going to be a long time before they have a shot at starting to swing the pendulum back. There’s no realistic chance of retaking the Senate in 2018, though some inroads into the House can be made. So it’s going to be 4 years before they have a serious shot. That’s a long time to just sit on your thumbs while the barn is burning down.

    .

  90. Peter Watts: So what is an appropriate response to someone who’s obviously capable of parsing the data, but refuses to? Scorn doesn’t seem out of line, especially when the consequences of denial are global.

    I don’t know. How is scorn working out for the more aggressively disdainful wing of modern atheism? Are religious thinkers all over the world changing their stripes? No, of course not. These are well-evolved systems of thought that are functionally immune to scorn–that expect and thrive on scorn.

    Cognitively speaking, it’s costly to challenge one’s own opinions. Scorn, or even a barrage of facts, tends only to harden someone in their position.

    You especially won’t like this Dr. Watts, but I read a number of articles over the course of the election that suggest the process of changing someone’s mind can only be accomplished as a long game, and often not at all. It requires less talking at them, and requires more listening to them, and an appalling amount of touchy feely kid’s-glovery that may leave their minds more open to making a jump of their own accord at some point in the future.

    ***

    For the many on the ‘Crawl who are better versed in cognitive science than I am–I heard Nate Silver make a claim during one of his podcasts to the effect of “We know that partisans don’t change their opinion of a candidate based on their opinions/actions. They change their opinions to accommodate those actions.”

    I tried to find something clinical to support this, but haven’t turned up anything satisfactory that specifically verifies it. It would be a depressing statement about the primacy of tribalism if true. Can anyone back it up?

    .

  91. DA: He may be the lawful President-elect, but that doesn’t make him right, and it doesn’t obligate the US citizenry to roll over for him.

    I would be careful of making calls of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and like to point out that US citizenry did roll over for him.

    The Teabaggers either protested specific policies (e.g. TARP, taxes, health insurance reform) or rallied on anniversaries (July 4, September 11). Trump hasn’t even assumed office yet, let alone done anything, so the protests against him come off as hysterical lamentations by a bunch of sore losers. This is what they look like to someone who voted against Trump. I can’t imagine the protests will win over many independents, or make Trump voters question their choice.

    DA: Right now things look good for Ellison.

    I’m hopeful, but not holding my breath.

  92. Fatman: I would be careful of making calls of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’,

    Clearly right and wrong is a judgement call, but are you really chastening me for implying Trump is “wrong”? That doesn’t seem in line with the rest of your stated opinion. Trump is empirically wrong on any number of issues, including climate change, and subjectively, morally wrong on many others. Why are we (you and I specifically) arguing about this?

    I’m not going to waste time qualifying every statement I make as one of opinion, when pretty much everyone on the internet understands that to be the case.

    ***

    Fatman:and like to point out that US citizenry did roll over for him.

    It bears repeating that more US-ians voted against Trump than for him–a non-trivial amount that will end up being the largest popular-electoral split in US history. That’s twice in two decades the system has thwarted the will of the people. The only way the people roll over for him, is if we normalize him–let him conduct his business unopposed. Trump is not normal unless we let him be.

    Plus, don’t you get tired of lying to people all the time? Don’t you get tired of telling them it will all be ok if we just conduct ourselves politely, and play along–telling them that the system works when it so clearly doesn’t for significant portions of the US electorate? I know I do. As someone who occupies a safer place in US society, I don’t personally feel I have the right anymore to make that claim to people that are being trampled by it. I wish people wouldn’t riot, but I understand why they are.

    ***

    Fatman:Trump hasn’t even assumed office yet, let alone done anything,.

    Have you been paying any attention at all to the people Trump is in the process of appointing in his administration? An alt-right white nationalist as chief strategist? Establishment bankers as Treasury Secretary (lets see how anti-establishment Trump voters reconcile that one)? Putting Climate Change deniers in charge of environmental policy? Suggesting that he will put his own children in charge of his administration as well as his financial interests? The things Trump has promised to do immediately upon taking office?

    Do these things not count as “doing something?” When exactly is the right time to protest something–before they happen to try and influence an outcome, or after the ship has sailed? These are things being decided *right now*.

    Exceptional crises require exceptional response. I wouldn’t have enjoyed Romney being elected–I would have railed against it–but he wouldn’t have represented the unique threat Trump is at the current time in US and international politics. He is lawfully elected, but he is not normal, and doesn’t get to be treated as normal. Sorry.

    A minority of US voters with a systemically inflated influence in our particular government elected Trump primarily out of self-interest and petty racism, rather than public interests. As Dr. Watts says, fuck’ em. They may get their way legally in the short term, but we don’t have to make it pretty for them. Social protest and political organization are not mutually exclusive, and one is often fueled by the other. The protests are operating on raw emotion right now, because Trump trades on raw emotion. They will eventually become more focused.

    ***

    We fucked up. As the allegedly-Chinese curse would have it, we are living in interesting times. The world is watching. The only way we could make it worse is to remain silent to accept it as the status quo. The grapes *are* sour. Pretty fucking sour indeed. There’s enough sour taste to go around for everyone.
    .

  93. Peter Watts:

    Roe V. Wade was, what, 1973? So, yeah— if you believe his stated intention of repealing that, the flying leap goes back about four decades.

    That said, I’ve already opined that I don’t think Trump is much of an idealogue. I think the main problem is that he is now the focus of power in a party that is infested with idealogues, and who can use him to those ends; and that regardless of any policies he may or may not enact from the top down, his ascension has basically let so many grass-roots assholes off the leash that street-level hate crimes are gonna go through the roof. And when the various -phobes feel thus emboldened, you’ve got a serious human rights problem right there.

    A better question, though, might be to wonder what this Earth thing called “Human Rights” even is. It’s a cultural artefact, mainly; in Darwin’s universe, it’s not an easy thing to argue from first principles.

    I did not know he professed a desire to repeal Roe v Wade. Nor do I believe for a second that he would act upon it.

    Street level “hate” crimes have been going through the roof, but so far its been Trump supporters/straight white males getting their asses beat, not the other way around. (Hate crime is another bogus term. An action is a crime or not a crime. Why the action was taken is irrelevant and factoring it in a legal setting criminalizes thought.)

    You’re right, he’s not an idealogue, but you’re wrong about his party being infested by idealogues. It’s infested by stupid people. The Dems are infested with idealogical zombies and idiots, and the Reps are infested merely with idiots. Reps still identify themselves with the pseudo-philosophy they call conservatism, which at least is traditionally freedom-focused and individualistic/anti-collectivist (or was, until the time of JFK’s demise).

    Conservatives who identify and follow their beliefs to their logical ends inevitably become libertarians. For that matter, the rare modern liberal who unlearns enough statist brainwashing will inevitably become a libertarian too.

    On the subject of cultural artifacts and first principles, you apparently don’t know what you’re missing in libertarian anarchism. It’s humanity’s best hope of peace, tolerance, conservation, progress and, perhaps most importantly, clear-thinking. The scholarly works of Mises, Rothbard, Hoppe, et al extensively cover subjects so fun as epistemology, ethics and the intersection of hard and social sciences. Less than a year ago I thought social science was an oxymoron–I was very wrong.

    As I’ve been studying Austrian economics and its first principles, I am continually reminded of a) the mountain allegory at the beginning of Echopraxia, and b) Lee Smolin’s Time Reborn. Why? Well, consciousness. Human action and consciousness are inextricable. The scholars listed above literally study human action–they call it praxeology–and in order to do so they must tackle or attempt to tackle the hardest questions known to the human mind.

    With all due respect Peter, like most folks, you seem to be hampered by high levels of cognitive dissonance on the topic of politics and economics. And like most people you’ll probably react to that statement with “politics is subjective” or “thats just your opinion, man”, which is exactly why its worth your time to look into the above listed scholars.

    Hope you’re feeling well. Out.

  94. Re the whole “Scientists don’t communicate the right way” and “So what is an appropriate response to someone who’s obviously capable of parsing the data, but refuses to? ” strains of thought:

    I think the issue is that progressives are fundamentally different to those on the right, in how they perceive the world and form their worldviews (and therefore, how they communicate about such things). And – sorry, progressives – but in this case the baseline wiring firmly belongs to those on the right. What you’ve got on the left is a worthy, upstart paradigm that continually gets its arse handed to it, whenever push comes to actual shove (which it does, sooner or later). Progressives have to be okay with this sysiphean struggle to introduce what they see as “balance”. It takes a certain amount of zen-like courage, to move the needle so imperceptibly slowly to the left, at the right rate, over deep geological time, for all humanity. We progressives shouldn’t be trying to be more “right-like” or take a more vigilante tone. That’s like cylons trying to be more human-like: zero-sum effing game.

    Also: color me badly-colored-by-occupy… but these new street protests are very “unwilling to spill your coffee”, in my eyes. The price of participation is cheap; in an all out slug-fest, these (mostly) kiddies would probably run home. And trumpsters watching the newsreels will not miss this fact :)

    Otoh: the appropriate response to someone who’s obviously capable of parsing the data, but refuses to, is to walk away / silence. I mean I can’t be running around schooling everybody all the kottam time. And, progressives need to stop teaching statistics 101 and just start removing bandwidth.

    FWIW, I’ve put the “you actually don’t get to talk to me about this” approach to pretty good effect, and it forces all parties to THINK, because in the absence of all that stoking rhetoric, we appeal sometimes to the amygdala: shit… is the other side right? what are they up to? hrmm…It’s too quiet! I got a bad feeling about this!… fueling the curiosity needed to step out of whichever bubble (and trust me, you’re IN one… we’re all in one) that you happen to be in.

    Progressives can still be damn proud, but they have to start admitting that the shiny new upstart paradigm could do with some tweaks. That’s A-OK. :)

  95. EMP: I did not know he professed a desire to repeal Roe v Wade. Nor do I believe for a second that he would act upon it.

    In the debates and post election interviews, he has stated he believes it to be an inevitability based on the Justices he plans to appoint. The President’s ability to overturn legal precedent is limited to the Justices they appoint. In that sense he can and will act on it. Whether the Justices actually do act to overturn it is another matter.
    .

    EMP
    Street level “hate” crimes have been going through the roof, but so far its been Trump supporters/straight white males getting their asses beat, not the other way around.

    Inaccurate. Some Trump supporters *have* been reportedly attacked. But so have anti-trump protesters.

    There’s also a whole lot of other shit going on. SPLC, a hate crime watchdog group, claims there have been over 400 reports of “hate” harassment and intimidation since the election.

    Many reports are currently un-verified. There has been at least one false reporting to date that I am aware of. Until federal statistics are released, we simply won’t know if these things are actually spiking, or we’re simply paying more attention to them now than we usually do.

    But to claim this stuff isn’t happening at all defies quite a bit of evidence to the contrary.
    .

  96. ^One of the links I posted above occurred prior to the election. I grabbed it in error from a lengthy list I have. If you want others instead I could provide it. Or you could find the stuff for yourself with minimal effort.
    .

  97. DA: In the debates and post election interviews, he has stated he believes it to be an inevitability based on the Justices he plans to appoint. The President’s ability to overturn legal precedent is limited to the Justices they appoint. In that sense he can and will act on it. Whether the Justices actually do act to overturn it is another matter.

    I see. His position makes sense from a federalist perspective. Federalism is the logically consistent pro-choice position, rather than a one-size-fits-all policy dictate from the central state.

    I favor returning all policy making power to the states. In fact I’d prefer to vest all political power to counties and parishes.

    DA:Inaccurate. Some Trump supporters *have* been reportedly attacked. But so have anti-trump protesters.

    There’s also a whole lot of othershit going on. SPLC, a hate crime watchdog group, claims there have been over 400 reports of “hate” harassment and intimidation since the election.

    Many reports are currently un-verified. There has been at least one false reporting to date that I am aware of. Until federal statistics are released, we simply won’t know if these things are actually spiking, or we’re simply paying more attention to them now than we usually do.

    But to claim this stuff isn’t happening at all defies quite a bit of evidence to the contrary.

    Fair enough. There are fools on both sides, but only one side–the left–tends towards violence nowadays. Even then, I reckon those folks are mostly professional activists paid for by globalist interests attempting a long-term divide and conquer strategy in the US. It’s working IMO.

    The SPLC has zero credibility in my book. They’re on record referring to anarcho-capitalists like Ron Paul, Doug Casey and Lew Rockwell as hateful extremists whose ideas are dangerous to the public. I know for a fact that these men are some of the least hateful people in politics, finance and academia. Their ideas are the humanity’s best hope for peace and prosperity in the face of ever-growing leviathan states around the globe. Their ideas threaten the state apparatus by challenging people to think outside the 3×5 card of allowable opinion–that’s why they’re dangerous according the SPLC.

  98. Furthermore, this.

  99. DA: but are you really chastening me for implying Trump is “wrong”?

    Just saying that it’s ill advised to frame the protests as “right” vs. “wrong”. Going back to what you said, they are not influencing any outcome. Nothing is “being decided now”, it’s already been decided. In that context, I don’t understand what it is that the protesters are protesting. The fact that Trump was legitimately elected? Do they want him to “go away”?

    DA: It bears repeating that more US-ians voted against Trump than for him

    It bears repeating that more USians didn’t give a shit than voted either for or against Trump. My take on this is, if you don’t get out and vote, you’re fine with whoever wins. So in my view, most Americans are perfectly OK with Trump as President.

    EMP: globalist interests attempting a long-term divide and conquer strategy in the US

    I’m not sure where all these dingbatty exhortations of “globalism against America” are coming from. Most likely from choice philosophical websites for erudite neckbeards (which I enjoy reading myself, but don’t tend to take seriously). For the past 100 years or so, we have been the number one driving force for globalism and “globalist interests”. In every respect, globalism = ‘Murica. So now we are trying to divide and conquer… ourselves… to be even more globalist?

    I shouldn’t have left my subscription to The Fedora’d Gentleman lapse…

  100. Fatman: I’m not sure where all these dingbatty exhortations of “globalism against America” are coming from. Most likely from choice philosophical websites for erudite neckbeards (which I enjoy reading myself, but don’t tend to take seriously). For the past 100 years or so, we have been the number one driving force for globalism and “globalist interests”. In every respect, globalism = ‘Murica. So now we are trying to divide and conquer… ourselves… to be even more globalist?

    I shouldn’t have left my subscription to The Fedora’d Gentleman lapse…

    Yes, the US state (not “we”) seeks to divide and conquer its own people. We are not the state and the state is not us. (Check out Rothbard’s Anatomy of the State.)

    Indeed, the greatest force in favor of global government in the good ole US of A. I was referring to foreign globalists a la Soros, but I do not disagree that the US deep state and a majority of its largest benefactors seek to establish global hegemony. (Check out Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island.)

    What’s dingbatty are the hordes of otherwise intelligent people who fail to recognize the lessons of history, that progress equals more individual sovereignty, not less, and that centralization of power is the most dangerous threat to humanity in the history of the world. (Check out Hoppe’s Democracy: The God That Failed or 1984 again.)

  101. Lukasz: Not sure if anyone’d already mentioned it, but according to the Wikileaks, Clinton campaign purposely helped Trump to rise:

    Jesus.

    Well, if I had any vestigial sympathy for those guys before, it’s gone now.

    DA: Silver was yelling at the top of his lungs in the last couple weeks about the unusually high degree of uncertainty in the election due to the third party candidates and the large number of undecideds,

    Yeah, I remember that, now that you mention it. I guess I just didn’t internalize it at the time.

    Sheila: You’ve posted about this before, I think. Scientists don’t communicate the right way when trying to explain climate change or vaccination.

    That’s a little like saying that it’s not enough for a counceller at a battered-spouses’ shelter to have superb counseling skills— she also has to know kung-fu, to be able to defend her charges when their assailants come calling. It’s certainly cool if your councellor can do all that, but to tell them it’s their fault if they can’t smacks of victim-blaming to me.

    Scientists do the fucking work. They collect the data and test the models and draw the conclusions. Now, increasing number of people are opining that they have to be PR specialists as well; and when that happens, scientists will probably be blamed for not having the savvy to pass political legislation that reflects their findings.

    It’s not all on the scientists. The rest of you fuckers have to carry a bit of the load too.

  102. DA: I don’t know. How is scorn working out for the more aggressively disdainful wing of modern atheism? Are religious thinkers all over the world changing their stripes? No, of course not. These are well-evolved systems of thought that are functionally immune to scorn–that expect and thrive on scorn.

    Cognitively speaking, it’s costly to challenge one’s own opinions. Scorn, or even a barrage of facts, tends only to harden someone in their position.

    Yeah, agreed. And the rest of that comment too. I’ve read some of those studies; you can get people to change their minds on an issue depending on the way you phrase the question. Even more effectively, you can bypass facts entirely and simply commandeer the command structure; if a trusted leader of your own tribe says something, you’re far more likely to fall in line than if a rival leader says exactly the same thing.

    Which may actually be cause for hope in this case. Trump doesn’t believe in much of anything other than the continuing glorification of Donald J. Trump. Which suggest that the things he said during the campaign are largely irrelevant; if he can see a self-promoting angle on the whole climate-change front (for example), he could turn on a dime and become a champion of the environment. And his tribe would be a lot more amenable to that.

    But I wasn’t advocating scorn as a means of social change. I was just saying it’s a perfectly legitimate and defensible response at parties. And the goal there is not to change the mind of your opponent; the goal is to make your opponent look like an uttter moron, the better to convince any undecideds in the audience.

    DA: Don’t you get tired of telling them it will all be ok if we just conduct ourselves politely, and play along–telling them that the system works when it so clearly doesn’t for significant portions of the US electorate?

    This is an excellent point. I’ve known a number of people who’ve chosen to “work within the system for constructive change”; by the time any of them got to a position where they could effect change, they’d been corrupted by the system.

    Bureaucratic and political organisms have immune systems and self-perpetuation agendas, just like any other kind. If you want to overthrow the organism, you don’t sign up as a white blood cell and work within the immune system for constructive change.

    It’s a stupid mouse who abides by laws written by cats.

  103. EMP: On the subject of cultural artifacts and first principles, you apparently don’t know what you’re missing in libertarian anarchism. It’s humanity’s best hope of peace, tolerance, conservation, progress and, perhaps most importantly, clear-thinking. The scholarly works of Mises, Rothbard, Hoppe, et al extensively cover subjects so fun as epistemology, ethics and the intersection of hard and social sciences.

    Fuck. I thought I had my work cut out for me with Kant. Now I’ve got to read all these other guys too.

    Leona: It takes a certain amount of zen-like courage, to move the needle so imperceptibly slowly to the left, at the right rate, over deep geological time, for all humanity.

    You think we actually have geological time to play around with?

    Leona: we appeal sometimes to the amygdala: shit… is the other side right?

    I didn’t actually think the amygdala did that….

  104. Peter Watts: You think we actually have geological time to play around with?

    I was exaggerating for effect. I do sound very literal though, don’t I? I have to be careful about this, when I write – I mix literal and not-so-literal way too much.

    My point: We’re gunning for a dynamic equilibrium, not a static one where one side has won forever, and within our lifetimes to boot, so that we can just die happy. It’s a long game. It’s an ESPECIALLY long game for progressives. They shouldn’t lose heart just because the pendulum is swinging the other way. They should stay the course, fix what’s broken (and some shit IS broken), and continue to fight for what they believe in, and prepare to drive the pendulum right back toward the center. At which point (history has taught us) they will fully overshoot, and so it goes on…

    Peter Watts: I didn’t actually think the amygdala did that….

    Is the amygdala not one of the structures that regulate the emotions of anxiety and fear? I’m not a scientist; you remind me that I would do well to remember that. Anyhow: I mentioned fear because I’ve come to understand that fear is very much part and parcel of one’s politics, if one is truely honest.. it comes down to our fear of losing something we believe is ours, or our fears of belonging/not belonging, our freedom to be ourselves, ultimately our fear of survival / not surviving in one type of world or another. I realize that this might be no grand revelation to others, but for me, I had never paid much attention to politics before this – I had far more pressingly tangible ways of mediating/directing my survival in the world. So, while I was snarfing popcorn with the best of them during this US election cycle, I also learned a lot about why people are political at all, and I’m grateful for what little I’ve come to know about my own politics; my own prior fears and those of others. If things had been any less farcical I honestly would’ve learned a lot less. If people hadn’t tried to exploit my fears I would not have been forced to recognize them and grow stronger for them. If people had not revealed their own fears, I would not have gained compassion / empathy for their viewpoint. And lastly, if people in the US were less afeared, the rhetoric would be a lot less vitriolic and partisan.

    (yeah yeah, you learned a lot yadda yadda, now get off!)
    (I’m going!!)

  105. hey, new paper not exactly replicating the backfire effect.

    Fact-checking doesn’t ‘backfire,’ new study suggests

    pardon me while I read this.

  106. Fatman: Just saying that it’s ill advised to frame the protests as “right” vs. “wrong”.

    Ok. We’re talking about different things then. You launched that comment off of a statement I made about Trump being wrong. And yes, things are being decided now. As Elizabeth Warren is fond of saying, “Personnel is Policy”.

    Otherwise, we simply disagree on this. Comparing the protests now to the protests during the Obama admin assumes an equivalency between the two administrations. I disagree there is one. There is bipartisan agreement that Trump is atypically problematic, and the response to him will also be atypical.

  107. Fatman: Just saying that it’s ill advised to frame the protests as “right” vs. “wrong”.

    Ok. We have our wires crossed, and are talking about different things then. You launched that comment off of a statement I made about Trump being wrong. And yes, things are being decided now. As Elizabeth Warren is fond of saying, “Personnel is Policy”.

    Otherwise, we simply disagree. Comparing the protests now to the protests during the Obama admin assumes an equivalency between the two administrations. I disagree there is one. There is bipartisan agreement that Trump is extraordinarily dangerous and unfit. The response to him will also be extraordinary.

  108. It bears repeating that more USians didn’t give a shit than voted either for or against Trump.

    This statement may have truth in spirit, but it is not factually true. More votes were cast this year than any on record, and more voted against Trump. The percentage of eligible voters was down slightly, and I mean slightly, from 2012, but that doesn’t qualify it as a low turnout election.

    It’s true that only a small majority of eligible voters vote (this year was about 58 % at last check). There are any number of reasons for this. But in a system that regularly renders the will of the people meaningless, that renders your vote meaningless if you vote a mile to the east of someone else, that suppresses minority vote, and inflates the power of a few, I can’t blame anyone for apathy.

    The question to me isn’t why someone would not vote. The question to me is why I, living in a State that rendered my vote meaningless, bothered to.

  109. EMP:

    Fair enough. There are fools on both sides, but only one side–

    Settings aside the left/right issue, what we *do* know, from the recently released 2015 FBI statistics, is that hate crime rose in 2015 in the the US–particualrly of the anti-muslim variety (up 67% from 2014). It could very well be this is just part of a larger trend that we are paying more attention to than normal because of the election.

    We won’t have the 2016 federal statistics for some time to tell for certain.

  110. Peter Watts:

    It’s a stupid mouse who abides by laws written by cats.

    Actually, a mouse that can abide by written laws would be pretty smart…

    But I take your point. I wasn’t trying to be quite as pessimistic as you are, because I choose to exercise my human inclination for magical thinking in regard to the theoretical potential for a just, transparent, and forward-thinking government, where people come together to decide what they want to accomplish. I got there late in the day they were handing out dubious belief systems, and it was either that, Sasquatch, or the Lost City of Atlantis. The latter two just seemed so …1970’s “In Search Of”.

    I was thinking specifically of Black Lives Matter–a protest movement that formed around the entirely reasonable request of, “Would you please stop killing unarmed people that look like me, then walking away with little more than a My Bad”. Let’s be clear…peaceful, organized protesting is still a socially disaffected way of saying “please”. There are steps beyond that.

    What did we we give them? Donald “Stop and Frisk” Trump, and his white fear-mongering. It’s not an especially subtle “Fuck You” from people with the least moral entitlement to give it.

    As people climb all over themselves to find some simple narrative to fit this complex situation into, the most frustrating one for me is how we need to empathize with the Trump voters–that is was the white working class that feels left behind and was lashing out.

    Well, you know. Tough shit. Things may be tough for you, but your median income, at least of a few months ago, is higher than the average, and higher than the average Clinton supporter. The people with the most valid excuses to be handing out Fuck Yous, the ones who really have the boots on their necks, didn’t vote at the expense of other citizens. They haven’t thrown entire ethnic and religious social groups under the bus to express their displeasure. They weren’t willing to blow it all up like you were to express your anger–despite legitimate claim to that position.

    I just don’t feel like I have any credibility left (not that I ever really had any) to tell people to keep it clean, play like good sports and it will all work out. It’s not working out. The people that threw them under the bus for Donald Trump genuinely don’t give a shit, and they’re running the show. I’d like to tell them that I stand with them, but that would be ridiculous. I don’t know their lives, and I still benefit at their expense in society.

    Don’t really feel like I belong anywhere now. It’s not with one group out of shame, not with the other out of scorn. New Dems don’t want me because while I’m progressively sympathetic, from a tactical standpoint I tend to retreat to center and worry that the Dems are in the midst of over-correcting…

    …oh my god! I’m disaffected! I’ve been left behind! Bring on 2020–I’m gonna get mine, jack!
    .

  111. DA:

    Just got your email, and tried to reply to it, but my reply bounced with a 550 (no such recipient). Are you behind some weird wonky encryption firewall or something?

    Because the system is treating your comments differently than it’s ever treated anyone else’s. As I suggested in my unreceived email, it’s like you’ve broken physics.

  112. Peter Watts:
    DA:

    Just got your email, and tried to reply to it, but my reply bounced with a 550 (no such recipient).Are you behind some weird wonky encryption firewall or something?

    Because the system is treating your comments differently than it’s ever treated anyone else’s. As I suggested in my unreceived email, it’s like you’ve broken physics.

    Oh, well, it regard to that specific email, I didn’t give a real email addy as I didn’t anticipate a reply, and I dont tend to post real email addresses on line.

    But yes, the ‘Crawl spam filter hates the shit out of me. I’ve been trying to sort out whether its a local issue, but can’t find any reason for it. I’ve tried different browsers. I sort of wondered if maybe you had handed out some IP bans at some point, and the shifting dynamic IP from my ISP sometimes hands out one that was problematic.

    Maybe it’s the NSA surveillance. Maybe the ‘Crawl is as tired of my droning as everyone else.

  113. @DA,

    Re over-correcting… It has the virtue of never having been tried, unless you count the New Deal and its contemporary banking regulations, which was an effective correction whether it was extreme or not. In Canada, as I understand it, things like Single Payer healthcare came out of the church-run system that handed out aspirin and prayer recommendations for cancer. I’m not sure that’s an over-reaction either. Crazy times sometimes require big changes.

    @Everyone,

    And one may find an Orwellian re-writing of the “Business Plot” if one does a web search for it.

  114. I definitely keep a blacklist— it was kind if necessary after Squidgate— but your IP ain’t on it.

  115. Peter Watts:
    I definitely keep a blacklist— it was kind if necessary after Squidgate— but your IP ain’t on it.

    Ah well. I’m not an expert on these things, but my understanding is that depending on the range of IPs you block, dynamic IPs can sometimes be assigned by ISPs that might fall into a similar range. My IP is always changing.

    I’m not sure how this whole WordPress thing works, but I had always assumed that because I don’t have a WP account, and because I don’t actually give real email addresses in the comment field (who does that?), normally I’m placed into the moderation queue with the edit timer where you have to manually enable my comments.

    Recently, though, on some days I’ll click submit on a comment, and absolutely nothing will happen. No matter what I try to submit, nothing will work. I’ll come back in a few days and be able to post again. It’s possible my subsequent attempts to submit a post simply enrage the system further, leading to an interweb tube-tie. I’m only behind a standard commercial router, and I even cycled my modem/router to try and clear any problems, but to no avail.

    Personally, I just think the ‘Crawl has good taste and doesn’t want me dumbing the place down.

  116. Deseret:
    @DA,

    Re over-correcting… It has the virtue of never having been tried, unless you count the New Deal and its contemporary banking regulations, which was an effective correction whether it was extreme or not. In Canada, as I understand it, things like Single Payer healthcare came out of the church-run system that handed out aspirin and prayer recommendations for cancer. I’m not sure that’s an over-reaction either. Crazy times sometimes require big changes.

    This is what I’m hoping is correct. But I’m burdened by too many decades of US politics going back to Reagan, and watching time and again how the Right destroys a candidate that drifts too far to the left on the national stage–how cold war legacy mindsets still demonize certain systems of thought even among a mostly centrist populace.

    Electing Ellison, an actual card carrying progressive black Muslim to the Democratic chair would be a declarative Fuck You in response to the Trump coalition. But it could also easily be a move that keeps progressives out of power for even longer than they would otherwise be. My personal fear is that until we get rid of the Boomers with a generational shift, there’s a practical limit to how far you can push it. It’s never about what I want. It’s about what I think can happen.

    I’m sympathetic to the argument that there’s no point in having an opposition party if it isn’t distinct from the thing they’re opposing. I would love to say that as long as we’re going to be out of power, we might as well be out for something worth supporting. But I’m also, painfully, agonizingly, aware that philosophical platitudes don’t keep the house from burning down, as we’re going to see the painful reality of over the next few years.

    Politically, however, I’m a failure and a coward. It’s possible that all those decades of “conventional” wisdom about the world around me no longer serve a useful purpose, and people unencumbered by it may succeed by risking things that broken people like me consider futile. The fight belongs to younger, better people now.

    I can’t lie to you about your chances…but you have my sympathies.
    .

  117. DA: Settings aside the left/right issue, what we *do* know, from the recently released 2015 FBI statistics, is that hate crime rose in 2015 in the the US–particualrly of the anti-muslim variety (up 67% from 2014). It could very well be this is just part of a larger trend that we are paying more attention to than normal because of the election.

    We won’t have the 2016 federal statistics for some time to tell for certain.

    It’s difficult to leave out the left/right issue on account of your premises. CNN and the FBI are notorious purveyors of disinformation, and their recent conduct showed them for what they really are–political agents of the statist persuasion. Time Warner, CNN’s parent company, was one of Clinton’s biggest supporters.

    Moreover, “hate” crime is a leftist, i.e. statist, construct of identity politics that has no place in a rational court of law. As I said prior, a human action is a crime or not a crime–crime being defined as a violation of one or more person’s private property. Certainly the reasons why a crime took place is critical for investigatory purposes, but emotions have traditionally held no weight in front of a judge and jury. Frankly, given the diverse nature of human motivation it is difficult for me to imagine how criminal intent can be quantified with any level of credibility.

    Identity politics is the crown jewel of the domestic US state apparatus. It is the divide and conquer strategy at home, and it works. There’s no better way to distract the populace from the hatching domestic leviathan than pitting racial and cultural groups against each other, save maybe the likewise manufactured tribalism that is professional and college sports. People begin to identify with arbitrary groups first and foremost, rather than identifying as individuals with unique thoughts. Self-skepticism goes out the window and righteousness sets in. Recognition symbols rule the day.

    Collectivism is a cancerous meme, and so far as I can tell it is pervasive.

  118. Fatman,

    Actually, the reasons you have for Trumps success describe brexitism perfectly. Its not empire, its not old glories. Its exactly the same reasons.

    The only interesting / astounding thing, as mentioned earlier in this thread: this has been coming for at least 25 years, but the assumption was that the left would benefit and sweep all away.

    But as it turns out – even turkeys love Christmas !!

  119. Peter Watts: And the goal there is not to change the mind of your opponent; the goal is to make your opponent look like an uttter moron, the better to convince any undecideds in the audience.

    I have to admit to being guilty of this, especially when discussing religion with religious people. Obviously I’m not looking to win over minds and hearts, or prove to them that “we’re right”.

    EMP: What’s dingbatty are the hordes of otherwise intelligent people who fail to recognize the lessons of history

    Or otherwise intelligent people who idolize private property and demonize government as ‘coercive monopoly’, without acknowledging that the former cannot exist without the latter. Pick a lane, and stick with it.

    EMP: I do not disagree that the US deep state and a majority of its largest benefactors seek to establish global hegemony

    Bud, I’m afraid you’re on top of a slippery slope that bottoms out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. If that’s the way you’re headed, best of luck and cya.

    DA: This statement may have truth in spirit, but it is not factually true.

    Maybe I wasn’t clear. What I mean is:

    Trump votes – 61.5M
    Clinton votes – 62.8M
    3rd party votes – 5M
    Did not vote – 90M

    I.e. over 150M eligible voters either supported, or were okay with, a Trump presidency.

    DA: The question to me is why I, living in a State that rendered my vote meaningless, bothered to.

    Personal motivations aside, I agree that the way we elect Presidents in the USA is messed up, but it’s not like the Democrats didn’t understand the rules before they started playing the game. The Electoral College wasn’t sprung on them as some sort of game-changing surprise on November 7. And there were plenty of people who stayed at home in areas where their vote would have counted bigly.

    DA: the most frustrating one for me is how we need to empathize with the Trump voters

    I really struggle with that one too. We’re supposed to empathize with people who a) have been witnessing the decline of manufacturing over a period of three decades, but never bothered acquiring an actually useful skill and changing profession, b) suck on the Federal teat like there’s no tomorrow, while grumbling about taxes (which they don’t pay) and all the minorities on welfare, and c) complain about the Gubbimint meddling too much in business, then in the same breath complain about businesses bringing in cheaper and more skilled workers from overseas and whine for the Gubbimint to put an end to it. All between hits of meth/Oxy. Sure, companies are just waiting for lower taxes so they can pay you $50 an hour to screw bolts into a car door, or whatever. And if we impose import tariffs on Saudi oil, maybe whaling will make a big comeback too.

    Nope. Scorn.

  120. Peter Watts:

    . As I suggested in my unreceived email, it’s like you’ve broken physics.

    I believe his name is not actually DA – its John Titor 😉

  121. Peter Watts: Scientists do the fucking work. They collect the data and test the models and draw the conclusions. Now, increasing number of people are opining that they have to be PR specialists as well; and when that happens, scientists will probably be blamed for not having the savvy to pass political legislation that reflects their findings.
    It’s not all on the scientists. The rest of you fuckers have to carry a bit of the load too.

    Also, I don’t even know if what I think about communication is right, based on seeing that one paper about not replicating a backlash effect. science communication is hard. :/

    We need more science writers who study science AND science communication; I’m sorry for laying it on the scientists.

  122. Fatman:

    I really struggle with that one too. We’re supposed to empathize with people who a) have been witnessing the decline of manufacturing over a period of three decades, but never bothered acquiring an actually useful skill and changing profession, b) suck on the Federal teat like there’s no tomorrow, while grumbling about taxes (which they don’t pay) and all the minorities on welfare, and c) complain about the Gubbimint meddling too much in business, then in the same breath complain about businesses bringing in cheaper and more skilled workers from overseas and whine for the Gubbimint to put an end to it. All between hits of meth/Oxy. Sure, companies are just waiting for lower taxes so they can pay you $50 an hour to screw bolts into a car door, or whatever. And if we impose import tariffs on Saudi oil, maybe whaling will make a big comeback too.

    Nope. Scorn.

    Let’s be honest, eh? You’re not struggling with anything at all. You know where you stand.

  123. Fatman: Or otherwise intelligent people who idolize private property and demonize government as ‘coercive monopoly’, without acknowledging that the former cannot exist without the latter. Pick a lane, and stick with it.

    Private property exists without government: your body is the most basic form. Any use of your body against your will is an naturally an injustice.

    Perhaps you’re conflating government with Law? Courts need not be administered by an organization with a monopoly on violence. The free market would do wonders towards making the US justice system more just.

  124. Fatman: people who a) have been witnessing the decline of manufacturing over a period of three decades, but never bothered acquiring an actually useful skill and changing profession

    I’m curious as to what useful skills these people were supposed to acquire, and what alternative professions they were supposed to move into. We’ve completely hollowed out the manufacturing sector, eliminating well-paid (and frequently highly skilled) jobs and offering nothing but minimum wage (or sub-minimum wage) service industry jobs in their place. The notion (pushed heavily by the Democratic Party) that the way to solve this problem is with a big push in STEM education is ludicrous: even if everyone possessed the particular intellectual abilities needed for that kind of work, we already greatly overproduce graduates compared to the number of available jobs.

    Just to be clear: based on your other comments I think we’re largely in agreement, and I’m in no way attempting to excuse the bigotry, xenophobia and sheer, self-destructive stupidity that characterizes a substantial fraction of these voters. But there is a genuine and very intractable economic issue involved here, and I don’t think saying “They should have just switched jobs” is a solution.

  125. EMP: The free market would do wonders towards making the US justice system more just.

    You’re hilarious.

  126. EMP:The free market would do wonders towards making the US justice system more just.

    PhilRM: You’re hilarious.

    Thanks! Although I wasn’t making a joke. Profit incentive works wonders. More importantly, the lack thereof is eventually ruinous. Bob Murphy on the topic.

  127. vodkaferret: Let’s be honest, eh? You’re not struggling with anything at all. You know where you stand.

    I do struggle with it, because it’s annoying but I can’t really blame people who are legitimately suffering. Without badly paraphrasing Asimov, cult of ignorance, blah blah blah. Not to mention political elites actively fomenting racism in order to distract from existential issues (no excuse for people buying into racism, but still).

    EMP: Private property exists without government: your body is the most basic form.

    Unfortunately using it to make a living is a Class 1 misdemeanor where I live. But I guess if we didn’t have laws…

  128. Fatman: Personal motivations aside, I agree that the way we elect Presidents in the USA is messed up, but it’s not like the Democrats didn’t understand the rules before they started playing the game. The Electoral College wasn’t sprung on them as some sort of game-changing surprise on November 7. And there were plenty of people who stayed at home in areas where their vote would have counted bigly.

    You imply that understanding the rules suggests approval of the game when it’s only game in town, and then condemn people for choosing the only available alternative, which is not to play.

  129. EMP: It’s difficult to leave out the left/right issue on account of your premises. CNN and the FBI are notorious purveyors of disinformation,[snip]–

    Difficult for some, clearly.

    Dr. Watts, are we still of the opinion that the ability to parse data has *anything* to do with a person’s stance on any given issue?

    My own acceptance of the reality of Climate Change has nothing to do with my ability to parse the data. I don’t have the background required to rigorously evaluate it. I make my decision based on a preponderance of expert opinion that I consider credible and plausible. If someone chooses not to find that same body of experts credible, isn’t being a poor judge of human character and motivation the worst we can really accuse them of?

  130. DA: Difficult for some, clearly.

    You expressed a desire to converse without the left/right paradigm and then proceeded to cite as truth a leftist network’s story about a leftist-invented legal construct that serves no purpose beyond the recent leftist goal of fomenting divisiveness. And I repeat: given the diverse nature of human motivation, it is difficult to imagine how criminal intent can be quantified with any level of credibility.

    Clearly, its difficult throw aside left/right.

  131. @EMP

    I chose the CNN link for no other reason than it was the most efficient single link I could find that sourced its information and provided relevant links to the data, as well as featuring the percentage increases. From that link anyone could make up their mind about how valid any of it is. Anyone who hadn’t already made up their mind before viewing the data, that is.

    Let’s recap. You made a claim that the *only* people being targeted by so-called hate crime were white people on the political US right. I provided reasonable (IMO) evidence that this is not the case. I went on to say that there isn’t enough evidence to say one way or the other right now, whether the incidents in question were actually on the rise. You seem more interested in trying to funnel everything into a left/right lens, whereas I assign no particular political blame.

    I use the term “hate crime” only as a commonly understood general distinction to communicate the specific types of crimes we are referring to, while you keep trying to deflect to a completely separate argument on whether motivation should matter when prosecuting a crime. Maybe it shouldn’t, but that is not what we are discussing. We are discussing whether crimes of a specific nature, i.e, the difference between murder vs. assassination, are in fact on the rise.

    The fact is, the federal statistics compiled by the FBI are the best available data we have on the matter at hand. Did the FBI politicize itself this year in some respects? Sure. But it’s impossible to say whether that’s the result of a top down politicization, or the work of individual elements within the organization.

    I make no claims as to whether the federal stats are completely accurate or unbiased, though I do confess to the assumption that if they are they are, they are likely to be consistently inaccurate or biased, so spikes in the data can still be informative. The best data we have suggests that yes there was a relatively large spike in these types of crime last year before the election thrust the issue into national awareness. There isn’t enough data to say one way or the other about this year in regard to the election.

    So you’ve rejected the best available data wholesale based on the source. You refuse to deal with the question being discussed. Do you have any credible claim to actually being interested in the question at hand? Or do you want to go on pretending that you’re not simply more interested in making the case that it’s something that doesn’t happen at all?

    .

  132. Fatman: a) have been witnessing the decline of manufacturing over a period of three decades, but never bothered acquiring an actually useful skill and changing profession,

    Well, I’m not going to bust anyone’s balls on this one, since every significant political faction, including third parties, still actively peddles the idea that “jobs” are something we could somehow get back if we just did X differently, or were somehow able to constantly re-educate ourselves to match the rate at which technology obsoletes jobs across the blue and white collar spectrum.

    I may cheerlead for one side over the other, but I would switch faction affiliation in a second for the first party that had the courage to go on a national stage and say, “Your jobs aren’t coming back. Human labor has been significantly devalued, and it’s only going to get worse. Our current way of doing things is running out of time. Here’s what we do next.”

    .

  133. DA:I use the term “hate crime” only as a commonly understood general distinction to communicate the specific types of crimes we are referring to, while you keep trying to deflect to a completely separate argument on whether motivation should matter when prosecuting a crime.

    I did not intend to deflect from the subject at hand and grant you that I may have lackadaisically conveyed my objections to hate crime. However, from my perspective it was you who deflected from the larger subject at hand (which you saliently address below) by latching onto my lesser truth claim about the left (which is arguable but involves MSM reporting where everything is possibly Wag the Dog-level BS).

    DA:We are discussing whether crimes of a specific nature, i.e, the difference between murder vs. assassination, are in fact on the rise.

    This is a distinction I hadn’t previously pondered and appreciate you bringing it up. Indeed, the difference between assassination and murder is the same as the difference between hate crime and any other crime. The former is subjective while the latter is objective, respectively. Accordingly, an assassination should be prosecuted as murder and criminal reporters should handle the backstory.

    I agree that purely racially motivated crime cannot be denied, but flatly do not trust any state source that claims to quantify criminal intent.

    Mustn’t each category of crime involve hate at one time or another? How then is hate quantified with any level of objectivity, or utility? What useful information might we glean from analyzing this data?

  134. Peter Watts: Nate Silver’s 538— hardly a statistical charlatan— had the odds at 2:1 in Clinton’s favor the morning of.

    This is one of those statistical things that drive me bonkers. US elections aren’t exactly high-frequency events. And it’s not like you can 75% win. 2:1 odds are not all that long. Every three elections, you’d expect the underdog to win once. Hardly a Black Swan event.

    The biggest problem I see now is that after all the apocalyptic warnings about a Trump presidency, we pretty much need to root for disaster. Because if he turned out to be somehow OK or just disappointing, then everyone who (rightfully) ranted against him will look pretty dumb. Sadly, though, it looks reasonably likely that he will be as terrible as advertised.

    Oh well, I think the world will be better off without that particular hegemon running around. Time for the rest of the democratic world to step up.

  135. PW: a country whose origins are rooted in slavery, invasion, and germ warfare

    I acknowledge the first two, plus the other inconvenient truths of New World conquest you cite (and could add a few). But “germ warfare” over-eggs the pudding, unless you’re using it as shorthand for what’s happened every time *any* species brings its diseases, parasites, commensals et al. across an epidemiologic divide… in which case the invasions of what would become the US hardly stand out. Yeah, Lord Jeffrey Amherst & some other bastards — but you know better than most that 99.99..% of the epidemics that swept the Americas began when some European simply breathed, coughed, shat, pissed, fucked, or dropped a flea or louse. Hell, if the Bering migrations were “pulsed” per the consensus as I recall it, the Siberian emigrants of 12K BCE undoubtedly brought some new pathogenic treats to the descendants of those who’d come ten or twenty millennia earlier. That‘s not on this privileged white Boomer progressive, is it?

    YES to your amazement that “the vote was close enough for those things to make the difference.” (I felt that way in 2000 as well as this time.) The Trump constituency was quantitatively and demographically almost identical to those of McCain and Romney; the crux of the election was not the 320K votes (0.5^%) that he gained nationwide over Romney, but the 3.5M (6%) decline from Obama 2012 to Clinton, most of whom didn’t vote at all. I don’t want to argue the reasons for the decline here, but that — not the ever-so-much-discussed defection of the Rustbelt/rural working class, which had been happening since the 1960s and was 90% complete under Bush II — was the elephant in the room, or rather the disappearing donkey.

    It’s not even the economy, stupid… it’s the turnout.

  136. Mark Russell: This is one of those statistical things that drive me bonkers.

    It’s nonsense. In the week leading up to the election, the RCP polling average had Clinton up by 1.3-1.7%. She’s up by 1.13% in actual results as of today and is expected to end up somewhere under 2% when all votes have been counted. I’d say that polling predicted the final outcome with remarkable accuracy.

    But “IS THIS THE END OF POLLING?” makes for a far better headline than “Election Result More or Less as Expected”, so hey.

  137. […] is a climate denier and he’s packing his administration with climate deniers; as Peter Watts pointed out, Trump “seems to think that the laws of politics and of physics somehow carry equal weight, […]

  138. […] Trump is a climate denier and he is packing his administration with climate deniers; as Peter Watts pointed out, Trump “appears to suppose that the legal guidelines of politics and of physics by some means […]

  139. […] is a climate denier and he’s packing his administration with climate deniers; as Peter Watts pointed out, Trump “seems to think that the laws of politics and of physics somehow carry equal weight, […]

  140. This is a distinction I hadn’t previously pondered and appreciate you bringing it up. Indeed, the difference between assassination and murder is the same as the difference between hate crime and any other crime. […]

    Mustn’t each category of crime involve hate at one time or another? How then is hate quantified with any level of objectivity, or utility? What useful information might we glean from analyzing this data?

    Because motivation in social phenomenon is always analytically instructive. Just as with analyzing a spike in hate crime, identifying a spike in paid political assassinations over garden variety murder could prove informative in helping to analyze the political situation in a country–where are the specific areas of political turbulence, which social mores might be breaking down, etc.

    I really don’t feel like that’s something that requires explanation to a clever fellow such as yourself.

    EMP: I agree that purely racially motivated crime cannot be denied, but flatly do not trust any state source that claims to quantify criminal intent.

    Then since the script you’re reading from doesn’t allow you to consider the best available data on a subject, there’s not much point in pursuing a discussion with you over it, is there? Why don’t we move on, and you let the rest of us poor misguided fools call a spade a bloody shovel.
    .

  141. EMP: What useful information might we glean from analyzing this data?

    ^Not to mention the fact that a judge may choose to impose the maximum sentence in our system over a defendant stealing to finance organized crime, vs one that was stealing because their family was starving.

    But let’s be honest. You’re likely to disagree with me over the nature of subjective sentencing as well.

    Motivation is always a valuable bit of information in criminal activities.

  142. DA:

    Your “this is such a test” post made it into my mailbox, but when I went to the wordpress dashboard It Was Not There To Be Moderated. Not even in the spam trap.

    I did find a couple of others of yours in there, though. Strangely, because they weren’t there on the postmarked dates.

  143. Jesus Christ is now officially the so-called honorary king of Poland (so it’s Jesusland now?). No, seriously. “The Jubilee Act of Acceptance of Jesus Christ as King and Lord of Poland” is a real thing.

    First, these authoritarian clowns (“Law and Justice” party — sic!) won the parliamentary election last October (and the presidential election earlier that year). Then, they paralyzed the Constitutional Tribunal, started throwing money into welfare programs which do not target the people who need help the most, created new anti-terrorist laws, invited nationalist paramilitary groups into some kind of National Guard… They love Polish Catholic Church (which at this point should just officially cut ties with Vatican as it has not much in common with Pope Francis), so they tried banning abortion. Facing massive protests, they resigned (for now). Oh, and they deny global warming, love free-trade agreements (but cry about “independence” and “dignity” every fucking day) and encourage racism and xenophobia. Sounds familiar? Meanwhile, Brexit and Trump happened.

    All this crap reminds me of the aliens from “They Live”. Can our civilization still survive or did we cross the point of no return?

  144. If there is hope, it lies with the raccoons.

  145. Peter Watts:
    DA:

    Your “this is such a test” post made it into my mailbox, but when I went to the wordpress dashboard It Was Not There To Be Moderated. Not even in the spam trap.

    I did find a couple of others of yours in there, though. Strangely, because they weren’t there on the postmarked dates.

    As I said, the ‘Crawl simply has good taste. For the most part, it’s made me a better poster on this thread, although the inability to edit a post without sending it to spam limbo is problematic for someone with such an adversarial relationship with the English language. Most of the “lost posts” are dupes, although there was one particularly forlorn response to Deseret that I doubt I’d have the courage to post again sober (I try not to post on the ‘Crawl while sober).

    Lukasz: All this crap reminds me of the aliens from “They Live”. Can our civilization still survive or did we cross the point of no return?

    I don’t know. What are our bubblegum supplies looking like?

  146. […] is a climate denier and he’s packing his administration with climate deniers; as Peter Watts pointed out, Trump “seems to think that the laws of politics and of physics somehow carry equal weight, […]

  147. DA: I don’t know. What are our bubblegum supplies looking like?

    The bubblegum reserves are yuuuge. We have bubblegum, we have the best bubblegum. We can chew bubblegum and kick ass bigly… No, I can’t go on, it’s not funny anymore. It never was.

    Now, some good news: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientists-take-another-step-toward-safely-burying-co2/
    Carbon dioxide can be turned into solid rock. Now, we only need to scale this process up, get some cheap, clean and efficient energy source* and we can start removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Yay!

    *We’re fucked, it’ll never work on mass scale, how are we going to power the whole thing without releasing even more CO2?

  148. READ this post & the many comments.
    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2016/11/playtime-is-over.html
    On Charlie Stross’ ,blog, please?

  149. Lukasz,

    Here, some light “The Live” reading. They Live and the secret history of the Mozilla logo (that gives context for jwz’s bubble-failure extract)

    Last night we had an event that was a musical tribute to the movies of John Carpenter, so I busted out my “MAKE AMERICA OBEY AGAIN” costume. On Halloween, that costume seemed funny. After last week, it doesn’t seem so funny any more.

  150. DA: Because motivation in social phenomenon is always analytically instructive. Just as with analyzing a spike in hate crime, identifying a spike in paid political assassinations over garden variety murder could prove informative in helping to analyze the political situation in a country–where are the specific areas of political turbulence, which social mores might be breaking down, etc.

    I really don’t feel like that’s something that requires explanation to a clever fellow such as yourself.

    I concede that to some degree “motivation in social phenomenon is always analytically instructive” but assert that hate crime analysis serves state-funded academia, identity politicians, nanny statists at large–those folks who are inexplicably interested in what other people are saying and doing–and media demagogues. Considering those who benefit from hate crime analysis are, among others statist vassals, a) those who invented the concept, b) those who identify and assess such crimes, and c) those who publish aggregate findings and infinitely hyperbolize anecdotal evidence to corroborate the same, how can a skeptical layman look upon the matter as though he might learn something valuable, or useful? Furthermore, I wonder why he should be concerned with or be encouraged to act upon incidents outside of his general locality?

    DA: Then since the script you’re reading from doesn’t allow you to consider the best available data on a subject, there’s not much point in pursuing a discussion with you over it, is there? Why don’t we move on, and you let the rest of us poor misguided fools call a spade a bloody shovel.

    I guess not. Just so you know…

    My script, insofar as it regards law and my personal behavior, is little more than the non-aggression principle. “[from link] It states, simply, that it shall be legal for anyone to do anything he wants, provided only that he not initiate (or threaten) violence against the person or legitimately owned property of another.” Adjudication of an otherwise secondary consideration a la M. O. and/or criminal intent is indeed contrary to this legal theory (or script, code or doctrine), which I believe to be the only legal theory that is consistent with ethical or moral norms.

    I care not about other people’s affairs unless forced into the matter (which the state does), and prefer discussions on what can be known for sure, i.e. what we know is true. The only things I reckon to be true from our conversation is this: assassination is always murder, but murder is not always assassination. Hate crime is always crime, but crime is not always hate crime.

    I enjoy the discussion! A lot of very smart folks lurk about The Crawl–a testament to PW.

  151. Sheila,

    Thanks, that was an interesting read. As I’m using Firefox, it’s nice to learn that story. And the Halloween costume isn’t funny but it’s spot-on.

  152. You wanted a war of extermination against any ideology opposed to yours. Now you have it.
    You just don’t get to win, sorry.

  153. Nah, I wanted a war of extermination between two opposing ideologies, neither of which is mine. I can’t help but win.

  154. Stupidity and violence have always been the people’s nuclear bomb. And now, they’re throwing one into the White House. It isn’t as stupid as it seems.
    The environment has changed, which means, world economy: You need to work less to produce more. You need to be a complete, unbelievable idiot to turn this into a global problem, but apparently, mankind is. Old solutions don’t work any more, the system seems incapable of reforming itself, let’s blow it up. It’s logical, rational, sensible. Our human intellect fails miserably, but our animal instincts work well. They fool and switch off our intellect, because their solution will hurt like hell.
    All over the planet, people are voting for mammoth parties, because the ice is melting, and coco palms and tropical beaches are popping up all over the place. They can’t handle it, so they gather around leaders who tell them, Ice Age will return, if you grow more fur. Well – either we learn to shave and put on sunscreen. Or, we let evolution handle it as usual, with a chainsaw massacre as educational inspiration. Either way, the result will be elephants relaxing on a beach, with umbrella cocktails in their hands. The question is only, how many of us will die and suffer on our way there.

  155. Frank Luntz of all people recently tweeted that 85% of manufacturing job loss in the US is actually due to automation and not shipping jobs overseas, citing a Bloomberg report. Seems like there are only two solutions to being robotted out of a job. Lest we think education is one of them, Bill Gates says computers will soon program themselves, so SilVal may be seppukuing itself soon as well.

    Looking forward to living on a beach eating seaweed sludge. 😉

  156. […] is real. As Peter Watts points out, there is no negotiating with the climate, despite what Trump thinks: “Okay, we’ll cut our […]

  157. Ivan Sakurada,

    But the minorities and right side of history! American liberals lost because they shot themselves in the foot, while Trump exploited American disenchantment that HRC ignored, and being unpalatable to anyone but other liberals, then the DNC and liberals sank Sanders, that other liberal people actually liked and generally least-worst candidate overall.

    A fucking farce.

  158. Whoa, I’ve seeing a lot of Bernie Bro-esque “that goshdarn establishment puppet Hillary cost us the election” noise here. Time to finally pump some reality in this discussion, shall we?

    The only actual factor that explains the outcome we’re seeing is this: ELECTION. FRAUD.

    Funny how nobody in this entire conversation brought up the teeny-tiny detail of the wholesale dismantlement of the Voting Rights Act – a Civil Rights Movement era law specifically created to guarantee fair and open elections – and attendant voter ID legislation. If you look at the transcripts of the townhall meetings, voter ID served explicitly to keep POCs out of the booths.

    Throw in a months long disinformation campaigns scripted by the Kremlin and some last-minute FUD courtesy of a rightwinger cabal at the top of the FBI, and you have one hell of a rigged election.

    And in spite of everything, HRC still got more votes but was cheated out of her win by the anti-democratic Electoral College. (And maybe a boatload of hacked electronic voting machines, seeing as there’s less legal regulation for them than slot machines in casinos…)

    All those nuclear-grade bullshit about Hillary’s unlikeability (which netted her literally more votes than her opponent) or disregard for the nebulous concept of “American/middle-class disenchantment,” you’re all just parroting talking points of the conservative propaganda machine!

    Pray tell, if Trump’s rise is based on “disenchantment,” on “economic anxiety,” then why aren’t POCs a large contingent of this modern populism? Why did they vote for Hillary in droves? After all, they felt the economic depredations of the last decades the most, the worst.

    Well, I’ll tell you why: IT’S RACISM, STUPID. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN RACISM.

    A bunch of white pople voted for Trump because they want him to maintain white privilege, the social totem pole. The white guy wants to say to himself “no matter how poor I am, how bad I have it, at least I know I’d be living worse if I were a brownie.”

  159. Doyle,

    I can’t disagree (nor do I want to) with any of your points as far as they go. That said, arguments against the Electoral College would carry a bit more weight if they’d been made before Trump won. I’m also skeptical that anyone on our side of the fence would be decrying Russian involvement if it had helped Clinton instead of Trump. So many of the arguments I’m seeing against corrupt process only seem to be getting raised now because the corruption favored the other side.

    I can’t even get myself worked up over this Russian Interference thing as a matter of basic principle. Let’s put aside for the moment the fact that we haven’t yet seen much in the way of compelling evidence for claims that were initially, in effect, commissioned by the DNC, and backed up by the CIA and the FBI nodding solemnly and saying “Trust us”. Let’s accept the premise of Kremlin disinformation as a fact. My reaction is still: so what?

    Does the US have some kind of monopoly on interfering with the internal politics of sovereign nations? Given CIA involvement in an endless series of foreign coups, uprisings, and “disinformation campaigns” over the past century or so, I’d have to say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. And surely 2016 can’t be the first year in which Russia tried to game US politics, any more than it’s the first year in which The US tried to game Russia’s. Surely they’ve both been at it since the forties. So this sudden outrage isn’t entirely consistent with objections over the process per se; it’s more consistent with the throwing of tantrums by poor losers.

    As for Clinton’s edge in the popular vote; we’re talking an advantage of 2.8 million out of a population of well over three hundred million. Much as I revile Clinton for her foreign policy, economic, and environmental positions, 2.8 million is an astonishingly slim lead given the nature of the competition. In a population of 325 million, up against the likes of Donald Trump, you’d think an African Grey parrot should be able to rack up a bigger lead than that.

    The whole damn country’s broken. Time to trade it in on a new one.

  160. Doyle Harken:
    Time to finally pump some reality in this discussion, shall we?

    The only actual factor that explains the outcome we’re seeing is this: ELECTION. FRAUD.

    Please, enlighten us to the reality of this supposed election fraud. Are you saying that all elections are frauds, that voting is the consecration of a state religion and amounts to little more than sanctioning the theft of your neighbor thereby continuing cycles of oppression en masse?

    Doyle Harken:Pray tell, if Trump’s rise is based on “disenchantment,” on “economic anxiety,” then why aren’t POCs a large contingent of this modern populism? Why did they vote for Hillary in droves? After all, they felt the economic depredations of the last decades the most, the worst.

    Behold, the Clinton archipeligo…

    I wonder why you think folks in the archipelago should have anything to say about the affairs of people in the spaces between each island?

    Doyle Harken:Well, I’ll tell you why: IT’S RACISM, STUPID. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN RACISM.

    A bunch of white pople voted for Trump because they want him to maintain white privilege, the social totem pole. The white guy wants to say to himself “no matter how poor I am, how bad I have it, at least I know I’d be living worse if I were a brownie.”

    Ha! Who are you calling stupid? The folks who live in between are fed up with the statist dictates emanating from the islands, and you call it racist?

    Trump won because of differences in opinion regarding applied philosophy, period. If you can’t see the difference, take a look in the mirror and hit the library–and leave the emo name-calling at the door.

    Dilbert-creator Scott Adams on Trump protesters and cognitive dissonance:
    …protesters look as though they are protesting Trump, but they are not. They are locked in an imaginary world and battling their own hallucinations of the future. Here’s the setup that triggered them.

    1) They believe they are smart and well-informed.
    2) Their good judgement told them Trump is OBVIOUSLY the next Hitler, or something similarly bad.
    3) Half of the voters of the United States – including a lot of smart people – voted Trump into office anyway.

    Those “facts” can’t be reconciled in the minds of the anti-Trumpers. Mentally, something has to give. That’s where cognitive dissonance comes in.

    There are two ways for an anti-Trumper to interpret that reality. One option is to accept that if half the public doesn’t see Trump as a dangerous monster, perhaps he isn’t. But that would conflict with a person’s self-image as being smart and well-informed in the first place. When you violate a person’s self-image, it triggers cognitive dissonance to explain-away the discrepancy.

    So how do you explain-away Trump’s election if you think you are smart and you think you are well-informed and you think Trump is OBVIOUSLY a monster?

    You solve for that incongruity by hallucinating – literally – that Trump supporters KNOW Trump is a monster and they PREFER the monster. In this hallucination, the KKK is not a nutty fringe group but rather a symbol of how all Trump supporters must feel. (They don’t. Not even close.)

    In a rational world it would be obvious that Trump supporters include lots of brilliant and well-informed people. That fact – as obvious as it would seem – is invisible to the folks who can’t even imagine a world in which their powers of perception could be so wrong. To reconcile their world, they have to imagine all Trump supporters as defective in some moral or cognitive way, or both.

    As I often tell you, we all live in our own movies inside our heads. Humans did not evolve with the capability to understand their reality because it was not important to survival. Any illusion that keeps us alive long enough to procreate is good enough.<

  161. Peter Watts: That said, arguments against the Electoral College would carry a bit more weight if they’d been made before Trump won.

    They were. Routinely. Here’s one I recall prior to the election that shows how the EC causes minority votes to be worth only a fraction of that of white voters. Anyone acquainted with U.S. history may find that familiar. I recall reading at least a half dozen anti-EC opinion pieces in the weeks leading up to the election. Movements like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact designed to bypass the EC without a nearly impossible constitutional amendment pre-date Trump’s win. Trump’s win simply thrust the issue forward again.

    The EC shouldn’t be abolished because of Trump’s win. It should be abolished because it’s ridiculous and indefensible even if there wasn’t the popular vote disparity.

    There are plenty of good arguments about how getting rid of the EC would be difficult. I’ve never heard a credible one for why we’re better off with it. Even if those in favor of the EC (guess who they are) were correct that it it would cause politicians to focus their attention on certain states over others, that’s no different from the current situation, and people in non-priority states would still have more power than they do now where your vote is effectively meaningless if you don’t live in a swing state.
    .

  162. The Primary.