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paulkienitz's Journal
paulkienitz's Journal
December 2, 2019

I certainly prefer Warren over Sanders, and think she'd be much more capable as Prez, but...

...I don't think Sanders is all that bad. I'd rank him at least in the middle of the pack as far as my choices go -- maybe well into the upper half now, what with Kamala's organization imploding and Castro making an ass of himself.

My brother, who worked in the Obama administration, once told me that he saw Sanders as mostly show and not much go, but Warren as "the real deal".

I was convinced at the start of the campaign that Warren was going to solidly overtake Sanders, because she has all of his strengths and few of his weaknesses. That doesn't seem to be happening. Why would more people like him than her? Does he really attract that many misogynists? Or is it the Russians again?

September 20, 2019

if you think this undermines the GOP, you're making the mistake of thinking of them as ideologues

The right wing does not run on ideology, it runs on us-vs-them. The ideology of the moment is whatever favors their idea of "real" Americans over those who are not in that group.

This is why the right wing is so vulnerable to being pulled into fascism. The appeal of fascism is that it will give your culture an edge over other cultures. And that's exactly what the conservative base wants. They want America's traditional white, christian, patriarchal, gun-toting culture to have supremacy over other cultures, foreign and domestic. Ideology is only a tool to gain advantages, not an end in itself. We don't notice this because so many of their pundits play very convincing ideologues on TV, but even they are mostly not ideologues, as can be seen in their routine level of hypocricy. Ideological arguments are only tools to advance one culture and its members over other cultures -- to maintain as much privilege as possible for members of the conservative base at the expense of those who don't qualify for membership in the group. In that light, this move is not the least bit inconsistent with anything else in Trumpism, or for that matter in Reaganism.

July 17, 2019

libertarian covert racism

Conservatives in general, whether clever or foolish, whether with advanced degrees or a GED, all tend to be good at doublethink. You can hear dozens of different philosophies and systems of thought which go in different directions, but all just happen to agree on preserving white christian advantages. Some libertarians are cult dupes, but I think most who use the label are using it exactly the way the inventors of the libertarian movement intended it to be used: as an intellectual cloak for the defense of privilege. And even the very smart ones are mostly unconscious of this, I think... at bottom, the core difference between liberals and conservatives may be one not of compassion, but of consciousness, or mindfulness.

July 9, 2019

they have such a superficial and vacuous concept of heroism and virtue

...one where the symbolism matters more than the concrete accomplishments.

This is the attitude which caused George H.W. Bush to get more upset and angry over flags being burnt than over live human beings being burnt.

The right wing is so full of doublethink that they can't tell the difference between true virtues such as courage, and mere social signals that might identify someone as belonging to their right wing team.

July 6, 2019

Ocean plankton.

Marine plankton grows faster than trees, and once it dies a lot of it sinks to the depths, taking carbon with it. Furthermore, it supports fish and helps undo some of the tremendous loss of ocean biomass caused by overfishing. If we're going to decarbonate the atmosphere successfully, we need both trees and plankton.

June 28, 2019

they love to tar the left with the term "identity politics"

but today's conservative ideology is nothing but identity politics. They don't actually care about values or ideologies -- those are rationalizations or excuses. What they care about is their own kind of people (white, christian, patriarchal) vs other kinds of people.

What I have learned over decades of arguing with mainstream conservatives is that you never know what rationale or value system or philosophy they are going to pull out to justify their position, but you always know whose side they're going to take when someone like them is in conflict with someone not like them.

April 27, 2019

"Does person X deserve the right to vote" is absolutely the wrong question to ask.

As soon as we start drawing a line and separating those entitled to vote from those not entitled, somebody else is gonna come along and start moving that line.

"We all voted and agreed that you don't get a vote" is not democracy.

April 23, 2019

what makes Pete B. so popular?

As someone whose impression of Mayor Pete is that he seems decent enough, but not exceptionally impressive or outstanding, I've been a bit puzzled by his terrific popularity. But I may have a theory... I think he's seen as a youth candidate.

We are at a time when economic opportunity is worse for young people than it's ever been in my life, when the young are generally getting screwed, and intergenerational relations are becoming far more adversarial than they used to be (even though people mostly seem to be getting along well enough with their own parents, which was less common a generation ago).

I think this creates an exceptional demand for a candidate who represents the young. Pete Buttigieg is unusually young and fresh-faced, and addressing issues that matter to the young. Also, being gay helps align him with the young, as anti-gay prejudice is mainly found in older generations, and young people know it.

Am I getting warm?

March 15, 2019

So what's up with Liz's plan to break up Gloogle, Farcebook, and Amazong?

My initial preference in the primaries is for Elizabeth Warren, as she has the most concrete track record at working constructively to limit the power and maximize the accountability of the big financial institutions which are at the core of the increasing stratification and corruption of our public society. But then she comes up with an idea that makes me scratch my head: treat the three biggest internet companies as monopolies and break them up.

With Amazun this might make sense; you could realistically expect separate pieces to compete with each other. But the traditional competitive model just isn't going to apply to Goggle or Facebuck. They offer free services. If you split such a service in two, then whichever of the two offers slightly better service will drive the other out. This especially applies to social media where the number one reason for choosing a particular platform is because it's the one that other people you know have already chosen. There is little value in being the number two social media platform, and I as a user have practically zero choice in which one to use -- my friends and family have already chosen for me, and I can either communicate with them or go off and talk to myself.

So apparently Liz is mainly talking about just divesting them of some of the side companies they have added to their portfolios over the years: Youtub, Instagroan, and so on. That might help reduce the consolidation, but it does nothing about the essential monopoly control that each company will still have in their core area.

But I've also heard someone mention forcing Fazebuck to support integration with other media services, so that if I like service A and you like service B, we can still see each other's shit. That is probably the thing that would help the most, and would allow smaller companies to essentially sell a boutique social media experience that still has the content you're there for. But I remain doubtful that it would actually succeed in creating meaningful competition. Most of the people will probably still end up in the same place.

And for the search monopoly, I don't even see how there's an option like that which on paper might help make it competitive. That lock on the market probably isn't going anywhere until it gets disrupted by artificial intelligence that can understand natural language questions, and even that might just come from the same company.

What do you guys think? Have any of you looked into Liz's plan in greater depth, and do you have any ideas about it?

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Bay Area, California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 1,288

About paulkienitz

Software engineer who thinks a lot about the future. http://paulkienitz.net/future/

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