MOAB Morons

This isn’t complicated. Trump throws some missiles at Syria and gets press kudos. Trump does the same trick in Afghanistan and takes advantage of free advertising associated with the kitcshy MOAB moniker. Everyone, including his stalwart critics, clickbaits about it; thereby continuing the pathetic symbiotic relationship between Trump and our worthless media. Yes, I mean you, clickbait-in-fury purportedly liberal Mother Jones!

Nothing practical is accomplished. The non-articulation of any strategy makes it obvious that MOABing is not part of a broader ME strategy because none exists. Meaningless.

Another day of our lives crests and oozes away.

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Thoughts on Intersectionality

Originally a critical studies concept that was used to talk about the “intersection” of questions of race and gender in the United States, the term has become an organizing principle of today’s left.

It’s a pretty broadly accepted concept, but it has its critics. Marxists think it doesn’t focus enough on class. Natch. Or that it’s not complex enough, or it’s American-centric. Outside of the “critical studies” world, it’s easy enough to imagine that the idea is impossible to accept by political conservatives.

My problem with it is a bit different. It has absolutely no empirical basis. There is no formula for figuring out who is more oppressed. Is it a black transwoman muslim? Or a poor gay Amerindian? How do we measure “oppression.” We can’t. The reason for that is that “oppression” is not one thing, pace Marxists.

For some, oppression is unfair scrutiny by police. For others it is identity-based difficulty in acquiring a job. There is no one oppression. It is not created by capitalism (prove me wrong). It is not created by colonialism. Not alone. All of the different kinds of oppression are just that: different. Some are, quite frankly, trivial and others are crimes against humanity.

I do agree that the catalog of “intersections” seems to depend on an American-centric choice, but if you look closer, it’s who is part of the American left. And herein lies the problem:

The politics of intersectionality define it, it and its theory of identity do not define a politics. If you are part of a group opposed to U.S. policy on any level, you are almost surely “oppressed” in some metaphysically compatible way with African Americans or gays.

This is reductive. It’s Manichean. It is just not correct.

Race-based slavery is the Original Sin of the United States and we aren’t done reckoning with it. Gender equality, on the other hand, was largely pioneered here. Religious freedom and gay rights also emanate from the United States rather than being founded on their negation.

Intersectionalism is so readily contradicted by its—ahem—intersection with religious identity that it’s hard to believe it’s taken seriously at all, given that most religions have teachings that are the source of some of the oppressions that the other groups feel.

When these problems become too plain to ignore, they resort to Colonialism. In other words, inside every Muslim is a LGBT ally trying to get out, but they are held back by their legacy of colonial oppression.

No.

You can’t have diversity that way, by seeing a teleological end point of different groups’ views of identity.

But nobody does more to dissolve this “theory” into absurdity than the Jews. Jews are white, antisemitism is a second-class problem, and Israelis are colonialists.

That’s right. The world’s longest still-existing oppressed group, who have been chased from land to land for literally millennia and who number maybe 15 million–maybe 2% of the entire planet–are part of the oppressor class because they live in the tiny sliver of land called Israel and are rich in the United States.

Jews aren’t a race, so why are they “white”? Jews aren’t all rich unless you’re a Victorian-age antisemite. Jews are only a “majority” capable of oppressing anyone in that tiny piece of land called Israel, which, just happens to be the most liberal country in the area.

Yet unless you’re one of the “Good Jews” willing to despise your co-religionists who feel the need to live in that place (which gets treated worse than North Korea by the international community) you aren’t Intersectional.®

This is simple: Israel is not part of the global left and hasn’t been since the early 50s. Therefore, it’s not Intersectional.® That is the only logical explanation. And that is why Intersectionality is really just a groupthink orthodoxy for the far left.

Quit Trying To Make Legal Arguments Against Trump

Oh boy. Fred Kaplan says Trump’s appointing Bannon to the NSC may be illegal. His legal analysis hinges on a few vague terms and barely justifies the headline. But a broader point:

It is problematic to tell the President who can give him advice in the first place. Maybe Bannon can’t have a “seat” but what difference does this make? None.

You will not solve the problems of the Trump administration with resort to legal arguments and appeals to the courts, especially once his hand-picked justice gets on the Supreme Court.

If people cared about this stuff, he wouldn’t be there in the first place. And if you block him from doing things people support on technicalities, it’s unlikely to be helpful electorally.

Unless we are talking coup, the only remedy for Trump is at the ballot box and that will unfortunately take more than clever legal arguments.

The Unfortunate Uncoolness of Anti-Trumpisms

Admit it.

He’s the worst President-elect in history already, but just because something shows defiance to him doesn’t mean it’s cool or smart or catchy. And we’re going to have to do a lot better to do much good.

The best anti-Trumpisms are the caricatures of him that are only barely exaggerations, like Alec Baldwin on SNL. But so much of what we see online and elsewhere is just … lame.

For example: “pussy grabs back?” And look, I’m not even getting into the fact that the Berniecrats are taking over the Democratic party. They think Bernie would have won, but they are basically saying that moving the party to the left is the way to… capture the white voters who cost the Dems the election?

The problem with that is that what they think Bernie says is different than what he actually says. He says, “focus on wealth inequality” and talks in policy specifics. What they hear is “send everyone to transgender reeducation camp and protest in the streets shutting down the freeway.”

No, unfortunately, Democrats don’t want to—or aren’t ready—to hear what will win them elections again. And it ain’t moving to the left.

It’s this very bitter pill: some white people now behave as a minority even though they aren’t. Call them what you want. They behave this way. To win them over, you need to speak to their issues the same way you do with any minority group or interest.

It might be possible to win without them in a re-run Presidential election, but if you ever hope to get Congress back or even approach parity in governorships and statehouses, this is just what you have to do.

Ready? OK. You won’t like it. I don’t like it. But this is just how shit is.

• It’s the economy, stupid. Which means:

• Stop demanding all social change to occur overnight.

• Apply the same kind of results-based, empirical governance to guns that you want done on issues like the climate. This means you probably need to give up on “assault rifles.” Cheap handguns are the top two dozens most confiscated guns and guns used in crimes. “Assault rifles” look scary but are basically impossible to conceal and are expensive and are used in less than 10% of crimes. Handguns, on the other hand, are used in more than 85% of crimes!  Anyway, gun control will be largely a waste of time as long as the  Trumpish Supreme Court-in-waiting stays alive. School shootings should be a time to focus on why we need universal healthcare that includes mental health coverage. This issue has killed Democrats in enough elections that this should be obvious by now.

• Apply the same kind of results-based, empirical governance to the crime issue that you want done on issues like the climate. This means you probably need to give up on “mass incarceration” as a buzzword because you can’t guarantee that it isn’t one of many different reasons that crime is (or was!) at historical lows. Promoting racial equality in sentencing and encouraging state-run prisons to replace private ones is fine, but fundamentally different than emptying the prisons. This has killed Democrats in enough elections in the past that the thought of making it a viable attack again should horrify you.

• Apply the same kind of harassment-free, warm-fuzzy mentality you expect everyone to show toward the groups you like to religious people, police, and white people. Yes, I know. Racism=prejudice+power. Tell it to your dorm-mates. The white virtual minority either doesn’t or won’t understand that. Stop trying.

• Stop making excuses for terrorists. Enough with muh colonialism. You’re trying to explain how to stop it. What is heard is why we should feel bad when they try to kill us.

• Stop making excuses for hostile foreign nations.

• Stop means testing any government program. Things that are only for poors (welfare/Medicaid) are hated; things that are for everyone are loved (Social Security/Medicare)

Do these things and you have a decent chance of being put in a place where you could work the kind of radical economic reforms we need to the problem of wealth inequality. Expanding Social Security to 55+s and making Medicare available to everyone would go a long way. All those people retiring at 55 would create a flood of jobs. No more pretending Republican answers to healthcare work.

Now, what would happen if we could get to a place where we had a strong, more equal economy? All the social problems would be much more easy to handle. Not simple, but simpler.

Oh, yes. This would also have the added benefit of completely weakening the Trump coalition since reachable voters are the ones you can reverse wedge on some of these issues that aren’t the doctrinaire conservatives.

 

“Hamilton” versus PUTIN-Trump-(pence)

“Hamilton” is the crowning American cultural creation of the 2010s, thus far.* The School House Rock + 90s Rap + Showtunes mashup leaves about a dozen songs stuck in the head and posits new discoveries upon multiple listens. Reimagining the Founding Fathers as Hip Hop Dandies contemporarizes their philosophy, writing, and arguments. The Hamilton Mix Tape lacks the emotional throughfare of the cast album, but its meshing of hip hop and powder wigs is stronger. “I picked up the pen like Hamilton” Nas intones in ‘Wrote My Way Out”. “We’re America’s ghost writers” K’naan shouts in “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)”.

One iconic Broadway show and one increasingly tasty album does not, a definitive quantitative analysis of cultural or attitudes. Still, it does indicate at least some championing of the ideals and big personas of the founders (in spite of their ugly and hypocritical record on slavery) amongst the broader hip hop community, along with a celebration of the immigrant working hard, thinking harder, making it and becoming American.

Meanwhile, in “Real America”™, following, at best, the seediest election in American history (yes worse than 2000) the Right is suddenly largely embracing the mutual hand jobs exchanged between Team Trump and the Potato Jefe Putin. Strong circumstantial evidence that we have literally elected a Manchurian President and lost the Cold War in the postgame interviews is met with a smile and a shrug. I mean, hHey, he’s our Manchurian President, amiright?

Urban, hip hop America embraces the Founders and the ethos of the Immigrant Striver. Reactionary, conservative America embraces Bolshevism and KGB rat fucking and is just fine, thanks, with playing footsie with overjoyed like, actual, Nazis.

It’s enough of a switcheroo to boggle the mind. That is, until one applies my oldest hypothesis: In America Everything Always Comes Back to Race. Then it makes perfect sense. The machinery the founders, however imperfectly built, is applying itself to a multi-ethnic plural society. Putin and Nazis preserve white christian nationalism without any fussy dog whistles. Oh yeah… Duh!

 

* The best movie of the 2010s is “Melancholia,” even more so now. Rogue One even stole its ending!

New Rule

You can’t invoke “threats to democracy” or “undermining democracy” in criticizing investigations into Russian threats to our democracy and when this serves the interests of the man who lost by 3 million votes in an undemocratic system.

It does delegitimize our system but our system is not directly democratic. So, for those so concerned about democracy, they ought to worry about the electoral college first.

 

Did the FBI Assist Kremlin Sponsored Coup?

Never written a more tinfoil line in my life. But, there’s this and this. So am I crazy or is this real?

Did the FBI obtain a warrant using false information from Trump aides to get e-mail issue live again which objectively tanked Clinton in the polls 10 days before the election—and was it part of a Russian plot? Intelligent people are saying so. I’m hearing this. Sad!

After all, the CIA says the Russians wanted to help Trump and no one can explain the second warrant they got on the e-mails.

Sounds like treason to me.