• Trump

    American under delegated, retired, military rule

    I suppose we’re at the point where someone should point out that if you combine

    • the presence of John Kelly selected as Trump’s chief of staff, Mattis as secretary of defense, and the host of other flag officers in his administration,
    • Trump’s seeming aversion to the nitty gritty aspects of administration
    • Trump’s inexperience with the subject matter

    We largely have retired military rule – if they’re not making the actual decisions, they’re influencing the available options enough to where they might as well be.  It’s a good thing for the most part – Trump seems content to play court jester and social media director, and not much beyond that.  Seemingly he’s capable of  being somewhat presidential, but seems content to delegate any actual decision making to others, and just issue commentary.

    Comments Off on American under delegated, retired, military rule
  • Trump

    The non special theory of our times, and media engineering

    What if we don’t live in meaningful times, and what if the truly notable facts of the 2016 election are

    • A crowded Republican field – allowing the only candidate Trump an opening against more establishment types
    • A phenomenally unpopular Hillary Clinton

    Coupled with

    • Advances in media engineering (like “financial engineering” creating new mortgage products, subprime and otherwise) allowing the media to profitably saturate America with “junk” (not necessarily fake”) news.
    • Increases in generalized anxiety due to Facebook, lack of physical activity and sleep deprivation

    Match those two things together and we feel like we’re in some deep important times, even if in terms of importance it’s like we’re stuck in the 50s with out the cold war.


    Comments Off on The non special theory of our times, and media engineering
  • Trump

    What people actually like about Donald Trump

    Here is yet another article about Trump, and him saying offensive things, part 3939, to wit A Deal Breaker for Trump’s Supporters? Nope. Not This Time, Either.

    Trump not apologizing for anything IS what people like about him – it doesn’t matter what he’s actually said, it’s the way he says it and defends it they actually like.  It’s the medium, not the message, much the same way the Democrats never minded Obama continuing Bush’s wars, NSA surveillance, or an official, not euphemistically named “Kill List”.  The more offensive, the more “courageous” it seems (courageous being something that prompts criticism, which is courageous by the standards of neurotic modern times, not in any actual sense).   If you’re a groupish person you are quite loath to criticize your “champion” (in the original sense of the word), and by and large you’ll come up with reasons for the behavior rather than condemn it.


    Comments Off on What people actually like about Donald Trump
  • alt right

    Everything old is new again – our fun new McCarthyism – and more random thoughts

    One thing that seems to be coming about lately is that the modern left is “shaming” and doxxing the participants in whatever sort of right you want to the rally last weekend – in a manner eerily reminiscent of McCarthy’s blacklist.

    I don’t have any particular problem with that, there is no right to privacy when in public, though people with meaningful work seldom in mass movements so I’m not sure what difference it will make.

    Random thoughts

    On an unrelated note, it’s interesting to hear people who would never ask the average Muslim to apologize for ISIS (which is the morally correct path) carefully parse Trump’s words and find them wanting, as if there is some right answer they would be happy with.

    I think the alt-right, such as it is, will continue to punch above it’s weight in terms of ideological impact (which is actually quite small, but outsize in terms of media attention) because they are actually showing up to persuade, at least a little bit, compared to their sworn enemies who are merely adding profanity to the conventional wisdom.  The alt right worldview is both coherent, new and Utopian, albeit lacking in morality and accuracy.  The progressive left is stuck trying to paint modern reality as experienced by those with degrees in the humanities as the best of all possible worlds.  Both are victims of the narrative and intentional fallacies to high degrees, as one would expect for people who go to marches

    Comments Off on Everything old is new again – our fun new McCarthyism – and more random thoughts
  • Hoffer

    More thoughts on our modern violent scene

    • No one seems to differentiate between Nazism and fascism anymore
    • The “passionate” seem to differentiate their enemies by nothing save ideology, no region, habits, circumstance, etc.
    • No one seems to mention that the more vociferous the protester, than more active social media, and the more marginal the employment  (so it seems to me anyway – that would be a good study for someone)
    • Hoffer quotes of the day

      The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.


      It is easier to hate an enemy with much good in him than one who is all bad. We cannot hate those we despise. The Japanese had an advantage over us in that they admired us more than we admired them. They could hate us more fervently than we could hate them. The Americans are poor haters in international affairs because of their innate feeling of superiority over all foreigners. An American’s hatred for a fellow American (for Hoover or Roosevelt) is far more virulent than any antipathy he can work up against foreigners. It is of interest that the backward South shows more xenophobia than the rest of the country. Should Americans begin to hate foreigners wholeheartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life.


      Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.

    Comments Off on More thoughts on our modern violent scene
  • Hoffer

    The current political mess and people popping under pressure

    I’m reminded of two things in light of the recent Charlottesville murder(s).

    1.  Dan Carlin’s observation that this is what happens when pressure builds up in a society – the weak parts just start popping.  He was originally talking about the stabbing murders in Portland and the congressional shooting in Virginia.  To wit – political violence in America is rarely planned, and often carried out by short term thinkers, the highly anxious,  the failed artists, the “frustrated” (in Hoffer’s sense)
    2. I heard a debate after the Newtown murders about video games.  One person rightfully said that there are no studies directly linking the two.  The other rightfully said that there is no way to have a control group, and raised the question – if you were going to train someone to commit horrible crimes like that (a Manchurian candidate for our modern times I suppose) wouldn’t you want to find some mentally or socially aberrant (pick your dysfunction, anxiety, addiction, neurotic or any bad thing that comes from a horrible childhood) person and have them virtually shoot things for 8 hours a day?  Substitute our modern wealth of outrage media, sleep deprivation, drugs (pick any really), and I think you get the same result.

    Sadly Eric Hoffer gets more relevant every day.


    Comments Off on The current political mess and people popping under pressure