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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: New England, The South, Midwest
Home country: USA
Current location: Chicago
Member since: Sat Mar 5, 2011, 12:32 PM
Number of posts: 18,809

About Me

Human. Being.

Journal Archives


From The President:

"...Sometimes we forget how fundamentally the story they told us about ourselves changed the trajectory of America.

That's often where courage begins. When we tell ourselves the story about who we are, what's important, and about our own capacity to make a difference...."

AI Is Here, Part 2: President Barack Obama on What AI Means for National Security

Imagine what 45 thinks about these issues.

AI Is Here -- 7 Days of Artificial Intelligence, and Sam Harris On AI Control -- What? Me Worry?

Some of this is covered in Homo Deus by Yuval Harari (2015). I highly recommend this be read soon, and by as many people as possible.

Intelligence has been decoupled from consciousness. Organic, living things are algorithms.

The AI train has left the station, and there will be a point -- since AI's speed, exponentially building data and 20,000 years of mental work can far outstrip even collective human capacities -- a point at which our intelligence and consciousness just won't matter.

We are not realizing the Brave New World that ends drudgery, begins infinite Burning Man, tempts human wars by algorithm owners.

FRONTLINE + NPR On America's Housing Crisis -- "Poverty, Politics and Profit"

We need to keep focused on how budget priorities are not just national but local.

Good old philanthropy reveals that public money for housing gets siphoned off.

I hope this series does more than "explore."

In a nine-month investigation that takes them from Dallas to Miami, to an upscale resort in Costa Rica, FRONTLINEís Rick Young and NPRís Laura Sullivan explore why jus"t one in four households eligible for Section 8 assistance is getting it, and why the nationís signature low-income housing construction program is costing more and producing less.

ďPoverty, Politics and ProfitĒ premieres Tues. May 9th at 10 p.m. EST / 9 p.m. CST on PBS and online: http://to.pbs.org/2mLjskO


Thoughts On Why 45 & Supporters Believe THEY Are American and We Are Not.

I'm describing and clarifying here, not endorsing; I'm raising questions, not being definitive.

Trump and supporters' belief in their "real" Americanism comes from their view of the Other in American history (and even before):

1. Winning against the Other, without caring how -- or even caring -- is completely American.

Undocumented whites and migrants fought by hook or crook for control of this "new world" land base, and passed on their very identity in a) survival, and b) their holding onto control of this land by any means necessary.

(Sidebar: More than one old dude in the South has told me about the knock-down-drag-out fight as a certain type of combat that people set up and bet on in frontier towns. Men would fight, other men would bet the outcome, everyone else, children included, would cheer it on.
An American form of recreation.)

Conservatives believe
Guerilla warfare was American.
Genocide was American.
Slavery was American.
Witch-hunting/burning was American.

Chest beating warrior values ensured that winning, dominance and survival are American. Recently, they see counter insurgency operations against Occupy, Black Lives Matter or the NoDAPL protests as completely American.

Into the 21st Century they expect people to accept the (win-at-all-costs-cheating) outcome of the stolen 2000 presidential election as American. "You lost, get over it," "The past is past," are their consolations to opposition.

2. What conservatives have always hated about liberals is that liberals repudiate -- in the name of something that's somehow larger, or even alien, yep, alien -- cruelties that conservatives consider truly American.

Conservatives donít necessarily embrace those cruelties, but they donít mind them, either, because they think they are natural, part of how we got to be American. Liberals who reject our past are not American. They traffic with the Other.

3. What Conservatives figure is that, if Americans killed off the native population, then so be it. They figure Americans are as Americans do -- their violence, wars are natural, darwinian, whatever -- and since we today benefit from past Americans doing it, it must be okay. Their attitude forms the unspoken (or unspeakable, to us) basis of their land control entitlement and any civilized "order" that follows.

4. Their definition of American is ineradicable. Their logic is immovable, baked into this country's conservative generations to the point where their exclusionary assumptions don't even have words; instead, they operate from just "feelings" which don't translate well in public discourse. We know from our exposure to Trump's speeches, and from his network "spokespersons."

5. Conservatives' more articulate spokespersons, in rare moments of honesty, say itís funny that the main thing we liberals want is for them to see themselves as we see them, when thatís exactly the very thing they claim none of us can do, either. Now we're called snowflake. Now our protests harden them. Alt is their world; fake is ours.

I'm forced to concede, even in a general sense, that we are never going to get this world view change from anyone. It doesnít matter who they are, they get to have that one thing, their own point of view. Conservatives won't legislate or negotiate anything that compromises that. No compromise.

Generally, as Hollywood and dark money PAC fronts well know, the only non-coercive method of changing conservative hearts and minds is with story. But conservatives know how hard it is to change the historical story of what defines Americans.

6. Conservatives say living with warrior exceptionalism is the price we ALL pay for being here. They support a culture of "warrior" honor as American (one daily example is the opening military ritual in "American" stadiums across the U.S.).

If you or I disagree -- or send messages that make them feel disrespected, dishonored, or lower in status (any refusal to stand, pledge, etc., ) -- we aid and abet the Other (or other countries), and are subject to suspicion, surveillance or counter insurgence tactics by their hallowed security forces.

When I consider that 489 of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. voted for Clinton; the remaining 2,623 counties, mostly small towns, suburbs, and rural areas, voted for Trump...Slightly fewer than fifty-five per cent of all voting-age adults bothered to vote, and 45 and his supporters now run the downsizing of government and rough up 'Others' of the planet.

When I consider that Trump sits at the end of a U.S. history of fighters motivated by their own exceptionalism; that their attitude, hundreds of years in the making, is ineradicable, and conservatives consider it the price Americans pay to live here...

I realize -- as I familiarize myself with the Bannons, Kochs, Trumps or other conservative flavors of the day -- that any clear set of principles conservatives abide by are grounded (pun or no pun intended) in resource entitlement and warrior exceptionalism.

Our best future chance to get anywhere with them, politically, is to stop believing in mutual compromise with them. For eight years all manner of conservative types have shown us they won't compromise. Current "cracks" in their loyalties are no guarantee of future bipartisanship.

Between us and them, there are only concessions to be extracted from them.

We didn't ask for this. Until someone else here or in the party's leadership can lay out a non-binary and/or bipartisan political future for this country, this is what we face.

We also face a contest of ideas:

Was America ever really based on unity through diversity?

Is America still an idea?

Are Americans what they do?

And is America what it does?

If America has spent centuries acting in contradiction to its founding ideas -- because the "win" ends have justified the "any means necessary" -- then perhaps we've become a well-armed military central command, CentCom, of the planet, and little else.

I say all this to DU in order to work out any in-party differences, help us see ourselves as others see us, and maybe improve our communication stance in some hard years ahead.

I love you guys. Be gentle with me.

Can Trump Pardon Himself? You Ask, We Answer

Alan Neff, a lawyer, writes occasional pieces for this site that explain the legalities that frame our politics.

My take on his latest piece here is that it conveys an official historical development of all-American exceptionalism -- shown by secessionists, Founders, slavers and Indian killers on up through federal government -- which drives the context of this administration.

Now, I can't un-see a dark future of pardons all around. Not to mention the millions of 45 supporters all around us who won't mind.


The New Yorker -- "One Hundred Days"

Editor David Remnick best sums up this president's character and the 2016 election within the larger frame of democracy's diminishment, even endangerment.

four hundred and eighty-nine of the wealthiest counties in the country voted for Clinton; the remaining two thousand six hundred and twenty-three counties, largely made up of small towns, suburbs, and rural areas, voted for Trump. Slightly fewer than fifty-five per cent of all voting-age adults bestirred themselves to go to the polls. That statistic is at least as painful to process as the Comey letter, the Russian hack of the D.N.C., the strategic failures of the Clinton campaign, and the over-all darkness of the Trump campaign. Itís a statistic about passivity, which is just what a democracy in the era of Trump can no longer afford.

The Trump Presidency represents a rebellion against liberalism itselfóan angry assault on the advances of groups of people who have experienced profound, if fitful, empowerment over the past half century. There is nothing about Trumpís public pronouncements that indicates that he has welcomed these moral advances

The stakes of this anti-democratic wave cannot be overestimated...Freedom House...has identified an eleven-year decline in democracies around the globe and now issues a list of "countries to watch"... South Africa, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador, Zimbabwe, and, the largest of them all, the United States.. The reason...Trump's ... 'approach to civil liberties and the role of the United States in the world...'

In 1814, John Adams wrote to former US Senator, John Taylor, that democracy '...soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.' As President, Donald Trump, with his nativist and purely transactional view of politics, threatens to be democracy's most reckless caretaker, and a fulfillment of Adam's dark prophecy...

Trump forces us to recognize the fragility of precious things. Yet there are signs that Adams and the doomsayers of democratic values will be proved wrong.


Pope Francis TED Talk: Three Important Lessons For Life

I can't wait for the full translation to come out in subtitles.

I'm sure this gets traction by this Sunday.

NASA LIVE -- Our Home. We Must Not Destroy Her.

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