Showing posts from October, 2019

“2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Kamala Harris asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a Tuesday letter to consider suspending President Trump's account...”

“... for violating its user agreement with his tweets about the Ukraine whistleblower and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).... Harris accused Trump of violating Twitter's rule that users ‘may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people’ by falsely accusing the Ukraine whistleblower of ‘spying’ and Schiff of treason. The California senator called the tweets ‘blatant threats’ ...” Axios reports. It’s helpful to know that Harris’s orientation is to suppress freedom of speech. Her own political speech has proven quite ineffectual, so it’s in her self-interest to shut down the speech of others. Whether she’s into restricting speech for personal reasons or whether she pure-heartedly seeks the greater good through censorship, it’s a bad orientation to display as you’re running for President. I’m certainly glad she has the freedom of speech to express that lousy thinking, though. What she’s said puts her out of the running for my vote. (And, yes, I know Twitter is a

“According to an excerpt, the president privately suggested to aides that soldiers shoot migrants in the legs, but he was told it would be illegal.”

BBC reports on the book, “Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration” (written by NYT reporters and published by the NYT): Mr Trump suggested other extreme measures, according to the book. "Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh," reads the extract. Assuming — only for the sake of argument —  that the unnamed interviewees got these facts right, I would still need to have a feeling for the kind of brainstorming that was going on. This could have been lightweight banter or some way of getting to useful ideas by first loosening up and just saying every crazy thing you could think of, as if you were pitching movie ideas. Trump might have talked about a snake pit or an alligator moat, but how did he talk about it? Context is everything here, the

“As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the....”

“....People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!” Trump tweets his framing of the impeachment story. (Sorry for not linking, but I’m having trouble linking to tweets this morning.) Impeachment is part of the Constitution. How can using that provision be a coup? It can only succeed if the people support using it, and Trump’s opponents are trying to convince the people it’s what they want. Trump is trying to convince the people it’s not what they want, and one of the ways to do that is to portray impeachment as improper — a usurpation of power, like a coup. So, to put the idea “coup” into people’s head is just a way to fight against the impeachment movement. Trump is also broadening the meaning of the impeachment. It’s not about the Ukraine phone call, it’s about all the things America loves — it’s about FREEDOM. He’s asking to be seen as the embodiment of th

“The two new primary polls out this afternoon don't show any negative fallout for Biden in the D primary from the Ukraine story.”

Tweets Nate Silver. I’m having trouble making a link to his tweet, but you can look at all the relevant polls here . Silver doesn’t offer any ideas about why Biden is holding strong. Maybe people aren’t paying so much attention to the Ukraine story. ADDED: In related news, there’s a poll of Republicans, reported at The Hill , showing very low awareness of what Trump’s Ukraine phone call had to do with Biden.

“The world right now can feel oppressively negative, and I find myself exhausted and weepy after a day of watching the news cycle.”

“Self-care can sometimes mean turning off my phone and watching YouTube videos of unlikely animal friendships for a few hours. It’s not sustainable to be tapped in 24/7, and it’s okay to give yourself a day of eating cookie dough while being wrapped in a million blankets before getting back out there to fight the good fight.” Writes Katie Wheeler at WaPo. The rest of what’s there is a very simply drawn comic showing a woman hearing about the news, despairing (“Nooooo!”), and running home to sit, wrapped in a blanket, in the dark. I’m calling attention to this not because I think the drawing is particularly good but because of the open awareness — at The Washington Post — of the natural, predictable human response to the excessive and unbroken negativity of the news. And yet the denial is there: the woman who turns away from the news media’s ugly hysteria will only withdraw for “a few hours,” and after which she will “get back out there and fight the good fight.” She won’t really chang

Watching the National League Wild Card Game.

Brewers up 3 to 0. Go Brewers! UPDATE: Next year.

“Were the collective nerve endings of the electorate not so frayed and numbed by now, we might be even more alive to the ugliness of this message from the White House.”

Writes David Remnick in “The Floodgates Open on Trump” (The New Yorker). The “collective nerve endings” that matter are the nerve endings of Trump haters, and they are “frayed and numbed” and insufficiently “alive” because they’ve received so many “ugly” messages that they can’t feel the ugliness anymore. And yet supposedly, the ugliness has been dammed up. I guess the “dammed-up” image is useful (metaphorically) because it suggests a vast quantity of ugliness that hasn’t got out yet and so there’s potential, if the “floodgates” open, to batter the near-dead nerve endings and finally, at long last, get the reaction against Trump that Remnick is so sure he deserves. The particular ugly message to which the collective nerve endings were insufficiently alive, was Trump’s reaction to Congressman Schiff’s satirical restatement of Trump’s Ukraine phone call: “Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to

“Anthropologists go wrong, he wrote, when they ignore evidence that aggression among men in tribal societies is so highly rewarded that it becomes an inherited trait.”

“Yanomami life was one of ‘incessant warfare,’ he wrote. His data, collected over decades, he said, showed that 44 percent of Yanomami men over 25 had participated in killing someone, that 25 percent of Yanomami men were killed by other Yanomami men, and that men who killed were more highly esteemed and had more wives and children than men who did not. Dr. Chagnon dismissed as ‘Marxist’ the widespread anthropological belief that warfare in tribal life was usually provoked by disputes over access to scarce resources. ‘The whole purpose and design of the social structure of tribesmen seems to have revolved around effectively controlling sexual access by males to nubile, reproductive- age females,’ he wrote in his 2014 memoir, ‘Noble Savages.’ Other anthropologists rejected these assertions as exaggerated and even racist, saying they could do harm to the tribe by casting it in a bad light. Many argued that human behavior was best explained not by genetics and evolution but by the social a