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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,084

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America 2017: "They Live", only with Russians instead of aliens

Our country is now like the banquet scene in the movie "They Live", where the aliens are congratulating all of the complicit humans for screwing over their own species for wealth and power. Except at the moment, the outside force controlling our elites (and to whom they have sold out) are the Russians.

For reference, the scene starts at the 7:11 mark in the summary video below:

Posted by ProfessorPlum | Tue Jun 27, 2017, 11:01 AM (2 replies)

Jared & Ivankas Guide to Mindful Marriage (by Paul Rudnick in the New Yorker)


5. Family is everything. We treasure the special moments, like the time our kids used their crayons to make Jared a construction-paper subpoena. We have game nights, when we play such favorites as Pin the Tail on Whoever’s Out of Favor, Let’s Dress Jeff Sessions in Doll Clothes, and Who Can Hug Mommy Without Touching Her Hair?

6. We like to leave romantic Post-its for each other on our bathroom mirrors, with notes like “You’re my person of interest,” “Tonight I want you to wear your navy blazer, crisp white shirt, khakis, Weejuns, bulletproof vest—and nothing else,” and “I’d like to trademark our love and sell it to the Chinese.”

7. Love isn’t about money, influence, or pretending to walk in slow motion together across the White House lawn. It’s about glancing across a crowded reception at the other person, and smiling shyly, because both of you know that nobody can even remember who Eric or Donald, Jr., is married to.

8. Last week, we had a fun picnic with Paul Ryan and his family. We grinned as we watched Paul grab food from his kids and warn them, “You’d better not start crying or I’ll take one of your shoes.”

Posted by ProfessorPlum | Wed Jun 21, 2017, 09:25 PM (11 replies)

The Conservative worldview is the cause of almost all human conflict

Decision making and governance by progressives and liberals is driven by two main considerations

1. Do as little harm to people as possible and/or do as much good for as many people as possible

2. Treat people equally as much as possible

Most people would agree that these two tenets are the basis for a good moral code.

Conservatives, however, treat these two rules with little *asterisks next to them. The footnote says *applies to the 'right' people only.

What constitutes the 'right' people? Well, it can change depending on the situation, but they use Hierarchy, Ingroup, and Purity to determine who can be harmed and treated unfairly with impunity.

Dirty hippies, brown people, mentally ill people, etc., fail the purity test. Poor people, minorities, immigrants, etc. fail the Heirarchy test. Limosine liberals, social justice warriors, Democrats, etc. fail the Ingroup test.

Ingroup is especially interesting and elastic. If one is an evangelical protestant, Outgroup can apply to atheists, or non-monotheists, or non-judeochristians, or jews, or Catholics, or mainstream protestants, or evangelical Christians of the wrong sect, etc. It can be made to expand or contract depending on the situation. And Ingroup can incorporate Hierarchy and Purity - people below us on the hierarchy, or impure people, are surely in the Outgroup.

And so, Outgroup people can be harmed and treated unfairly (in the eyes of a conservative) with no moral problem. A black person is killed by a white cop? The victim is down the hierarchy ladder (in their eyes) both by their race and their authority, so no harm done. A white woman is harassed by her male boss at work? It would matter, except she is lower in status and gender (in their eyes). Brown, non-Christian people are blown up by white, Christian, Americans? There is no question of injustice there.

Interestingly, this makes conservatives WAY more guilty of "situational ethics" than progressives/liberals (though that is the projection they are always throwing at liberals). Because to them it doesn't matter just what the situation is, the identities of the players also really matters to them. It's why they can cry when their leaders are held to account for crimes, but viciously attack people in their Outgroup for much smaller offenses. It's why IOKIYAR. It's why progressives are much more likely to say "well, if our leader did it, then there should be consequences".

This frame that some people matter and others don't runs through our corporate media, as well, which are plutocratic dictatorships, after all.

Conflict arises from injustice. Injustice arises from the conservative worldview. And that is what keeps the human race at each others throats, for now and all eternity, world without end, amen.

Posted by ProfessorPlum | Wed Jun 14, 2017, 10:40 AM (5 replies)

THIS commercial should be the script for ALL Democrats

it was produced to support Corbyn and Labour.

But it is so much of what I mean when I say that Americans need to stand up on their rear legs and demand some respect.

Posted by ProfessorPlum | Sun Jun 11, 2017, 07:47 PM (22 replies)

Who is going to be our Jaime Lannister?

And rid us of our Mad King?
Posted by ProfessorPlum | Sun Jun 11, 2017, 09:39 AM (4 replies)

I'm convinced that the biggest hacking occurred at the RNC

Much is made of the Russians getting information off the computers at the DNC. But from the way the Republicans have been acting for the last year (or more), I am convinced that they were bigger hacking victims than the Democrats. Whatever was on the RNC servers must have been completely terrible, because Putin has had all of their balls in a basket ever since.

Funny how it isn't talked about.
Posted by ProfessorPlum | Thu Jun 8, 2017, 06:43 PM (12 replies)

Liberal values are principles. Conservative values are subjective.

I grew up in a fairly conservative part of the country, and so my worldview began as fairly conservative. By the time I was about 22, though, my values had shifted quite a bit, and some things that I thought were important when I was young fell away as I thought about the world and how it worked.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the Moral Foundations theory, researched by Jonathan Haidt and others, that posits five main axes of human morality. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_foundations_theory#The_Five_Foundations) Liberals only really care much about two of them, which are:

Care/Harm and

Fairness or Justice/Cheating.

Conservatives care somewhat about those moral axes, but they hold equal importance for three others:

Loyalty or Ingroup/Betrayal

Authority or Respect/ Subversion

Sanctity or Purity/ Degradation

To my mind, the Liberal axes are relatively straightforward to measure and implement as policy. It is easy to see if people are being cared for or harmed, and it is also pretty easy to calculate the maximum good for the maximum number of people, a la the utilitarian philosophers.

In the same way, the principle or fairness and justice is slightly subjective, but it is relatively easy to see if rules are being applied to people equally by imagining the situation applying to others, or a blinded experiment where you didn't know who was who. Again, it is possible to evaluate this relatively objectively and make policy around it.

The additional Conservative axes are much more subjective (at least to my thinking - do you agree?) Conservatives sort of believe in care and fairness, except they use the other three axes to screw over people they don't like. An innocent black man is gunned down by cops? Well, the police have authority over him so don't think about it. A Republican clearly breaks the law? Well, they are in my Ingroup, so IOKIYAR. Brown people get bombed into oblivion? Well, they have an impure religion (unlike mine) so we don't have to care what happens to them.

And Conservatives have shifting definitions of Ingroup, Sanctity, and Authority, too. They can change them at a moment's notice to fit whatever their feelings are at the time. Rich Republicans must have authority over me (they think) because they wouldn't be rich unless they are smart, so I give them my loyalty. But f*ck those Limosine Liberals!

Also, think about a rich white straight American man in a foreign country where he struggles with the language and is starting to feel homesick. In his journeys he meets a woman of color, who is also an American and grew up near his hometown. Suddenly, this Outgroup woman will be treated as his Ingroup, because she connects him to home. But let the same woman be bludgeoned by police for protesting, and he will think nothing of it.

tl;dr? I think Conservative moral axes are subjective and easily used to defend hypocrisy. That is why I moved away from them as a young person, and that is why I don't believe they are good ways to build policy or personal morals.

Conservatives suck, in other words, and are hypocrites. But you knew that.

Posted by ProfessorPlum | Wed May 24, 2017, 08:34 AM (7 replies)

My hope is that Erdogan's bodyguards are met in Turkey by a group of US marines who have newly

made into ambassadors with diplomatic immunity in Turkey.

And they have things explained to them.
Posted by ProfessorPlum | Fri May 19, 2017, 10:58 PM (5 replies)

But what about OUR rapacious criminal oligarchs?

There is something I don't quite understand about this whole takeover of our government by a Russian spy ring. The goal is quite clearly to drain American assets into the pockets of the oligarchs in Russia, the criminal syndicates who have stolen all of Russia's public wealth, by creating discord, deregulating, sowing confusion, basically raising a cloud of anarchy that obscures the massive theft of American public wealth and destroys our institutions. We are being raped, robbed, and pillaged by the Russian Mafia.

But what I don't understand is why this scheme has the apparent blessing from America's own rapacious criminal oligarchs. Are the Koch Brothers just going to stand by and let the Russian mob drink our milkshake? If anyone should be stealing American assets, shouldn't it be American shitheels? Where's our sense of patriotism?

Are Sheldon Adelson, Peter Thiel, Foster Friess, Ken Langone, the Mercers, etc. really just going to stand by and let Putin and his vicious ring of thugs steal the money from American pockets?

I don't get it. They've worked so hard to take away Americans' money, to steal it through the levers of the American government, doesn't it seem weird that they are just going to let Russia steal it instead? Does not compute.
Posted by ProfessorPlum | Sun May 14, 2017, 10:33 AM (5 replies)

Is it possible that all of those Dead Russians included American assets?

during the 18 days of Michael Flynn's tenure as the head of the NSA, this Russian agent had access to almost all American secrets. Are we to believe that he never let the Kremlin know who America's assets in Russia were? And that having found that out, that Vlad didn't immediately eliminate those assets?

I had originally thought that they were people privy to the Kremlin's manipulation of the election, and were eliminated to prevent the west from finding out who was involved and to what extent. But it makes more sense that Flynn simply found out who was talking to our intelligence from inside the Russian hierarchy, and sent that list to Russia.

If this is true, it is treason of the highest order. Even worse than the Valerie Plame scandal.
Posted by ProfessorPlum | Tue May 9, 2017, 11:28 AM (3 replies)
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