Commenter Archive

AvatarComments by Brent F in reply to Jaybird*

On “Leave It Be

To this particular issue, the forced development of the Amazon basin due to Brazilian government policy, the American minimum wage is of astonishingly small importance. The relevant factors are Brazilian domestic policy, particularly their internal barriers to international trade, not American domestic policy or economics.


Leftism sure. As is rightism. Latin American politics across the spectrum isn't all that attractive.

You're talking about American minimum wage like its at all relevant.


I had a similar thought about the Canadian North. There's an entire genre of articles that have a certain authoritarian envy when thinking about what the Soviets did to force development of their boreal forest and arctic regions and wish the government would commit huge resources to do the same. The unspoken thing is that this is something authoritarian governments do for prestige and geopolitical purposes with the investments being poor uses of capital on a return on investment basis.

There's something to be said for a government with a comparative lack of ambition. Its less likely to make big bad decisions.


This reads a lot like a American comment. A discussion about another country which touches on some important libertarian themes and all you can focus on is your personal hobby horse about American domestic economic policy. The implication being that all things in the marketplace of ideas should be geared to your consumption and personal obsessions.

Seriously, you dudes do this a lot and you're so stuck in the narrow American viewpoint on politics you can barely see how self-obsessed you are.

On “The Most Insidious Viral Marketing In The World

That sounds like a pretty weak joke. Maybe the discourse would be improved with a breakdown of why the joke didn't work as a joke in comparison to Chappelles's usual skill rather than a pile on about it being offensive.


There's a wider issue about criticism I think. So much of modern criticism is about what the political implications of the work are. Not just in lay discussions about the work, but in professional and semi-professional criticism by critics who should have the training and expertise needed to analyse a work deeply and they devote the bulk of their column space to political implications.

The opportunity cost of this is there ends up being precious little analysis about the work as a work of art. In this case, Dave Chappelle is one at the elite tier of performers in his medium, an all time great. Given the opportunity to produce whatever he wanted, it sounds like he produced something acceptibly good but not near his prime performance. IMO, Discussion by somebody who really knows comedy on a technical level of why that is would be edifying, interesting, and worth 10 minutes spent reading. Instead the discourse is mainly cheap clickbait about how it relates to the latest culture war obsessions. It would be one thing if that's what the clickbait factories were producing, but higher prestiege outlets are typically obsessed about this mode of criticism above others, which leads me to think its related to an academic obsession with politics of art over technique.

On “Speaking of Terror

As a child of video games, the direction of the supposed miss match between David and Goliath is confusing to me. The guy with the ranged weapon and godly aimbot obviously has the advantage over the big slow dude.

On “The Hedgehog Who Won

This, LGM is better thought of a venue where a collective groupthink predominates rather than being lefty in general, with the views dominated by the loudest voices on a particular subject.

So its anti-GOP, but also heavily anti-Biden and lukewarm anti-Bernie. In international politics, their fairly anti-Canadian Liberal and pro-NDP, while being simulatenously pro-Labour but anti-Corbyn on UK politics.

Its a very American intellectual left view of their own country, and has the views of foreign countries based on what the domestic subscribers of American intellectual left ideas view of their domestic politics.

On “Manifest Trumpestiny

I'll stand for the proposition that if the Danes are selling, we should tender our own offer. Canada couldn't afford the psychological damage of America having a greater land area than us.

On “Who Can Stop Biden?

I think there's also some merit in the idea that the demographics Biden dominates tend to be heavily underrepresented in the commentariat. His candidacy somewhat mirrors Trump's in that regard.

On “Mayor Pete

In Mass, the Governor picks the replacement and its being held by a very popular Republican, so Warren resigning means they lose that safe seat until an election happens. So she probably doesn't get picked for anything if she doesn't win the nomination.


Harris is more likely to be AG than get State I'd think.

Buttigieg is in a interesting spot that he's clearly running for a cabinet job if he doesn't get a Veep nod, but there isn't a natural fit for him. Unless its bringing that McKinsey energy to Commerce. He might be considered a fit for the VA, but he wants a job that launches a future career not ends it.

On “Who Are We Kidding? Vote for Biden

Senate campaigns in the West don't so much need a Democratic Presidential candidate to campaign for them so much as they need for the national candidate to not drive the other guys turnout, which is a risk on a few of the other front runners


Last night Biden remembered that he was in Detroit and saving the auto industry would be a big deal in Michigan, while nobody else was thinking about that at all. Seems like he has a better handle of what's needed in the general than the rest of them.

Which goes to how underratedly embarrassing losing Michigan was. Wisconsin you can see happen in a fluke year, while Pennsylvania was always a precarious balance between urban and rural. To lose Michigan on top of it while trying to run up the popular vote in reflected a deep incompetence.


Biden might be the most centrist candidate but he's still far to the left of any anticipated median Senate vote, which is the real limitation on a left wing domestic agenda. So I don't think the policy positioning of a Democratic President matters much for legislative goals like the activist base seems to think.

There's a pretty plausible argument Biden is the best candidate to help win marginal Senate and House races in 2020 too, and that's the real ballgame if they win the White House. So he plausibly can get more done than President Bernie or Warren.

The real question with Biden is does he still have his fastball. He didn't really have it in the first debate and it showed. He's been out of the game since 2016, so there's really nothing wrong if he needs some time to stretch it out against soft competition, and a pretty good second debate suggests he can find it again with some practice, bit he'll have to find it eventually if he wants to be the staff ace in 2020.

On “RetConning the Tea Party

I think there's a strong point to be made that America doesn't really have "small government" compared to other English speaking first world states. Government expenditure as a portion of GDP is pretty comparable to Canada, Australia, the UK etc. What America specializes in these days is cheaply taxed government due to deficit financing.

On the other hand, with perpetually low interest rates this strategy can be maintained for a significant period of time, albeit probably not at the deficit levels of a Trump-GOP congress.

On “AOC and “Squad” vs Nancy Pelosi

I think people consistently misremember what happened on the West Wing. Typically the heroes never got anything big done on their agenda and spent the bulk of their time defending previous gains or negotiating marginal changes. The big speeches were to themselves to keep up morale as they grinded through the mud, and almost nobody got anywhere just with a big speech.

It's like people deliberately missed interpret the show to bet on a strawman version of technocratic liberalism.

That the characters were insufferably smug, is totally a fair cop though.

On “Manifestly American: FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions

Oh lay off the strawmen, it was never about running up the score, that's a red herring to distract from the actual issue.

The complaints were explicitly about the showboating in excess of what's reasonable. The people making the complaints tended to state the goal scoring is fine. People's beef is acting like you won the tournament when you scored against a minnow. The point is you don't act like you're all that when you pummel someone so far below you in skill that they can't muster the slightest defence and expect to be treated like the heroes. If you want to act like the heel, expect to be treated like the heel and not the face.

It also started with other female players calling out them out, not a sexist conspiracy of sports commentators. People who've been on the other side of the USWNT's antics and aren't impressed.


The corollary to "if you don't want to see us celly, don't let us score" is, if you don't want to be treated like the privileged jerk team, don't act like jerks while being privileged.

Its not necessarily a bad thing for the sport for the overwhelmingly better resourced team with a much larger talent pool to draw on to act the heel. It makes for a good narrative. But if you're going to cheer for them, own that you're cheering for the Yankees.


I follow enough international Women's Soccer to know that the American team are totally braggarts and jerks. They're the strongest squad and know it and like to show off about it, which includes rubbing it in the face of less talented teams.

It's their team identity. Just own it. They can be heroes to Americans and inspirations to girls to achieve and still be heels to the rest of the world. The dynamic of the top international women's soccer team with the rest of the world isn't entirely about internal American gender politics as much as a lot of people want it to be.

On “Ronald Reagan’s Missing Overcoat

Probably implies a likelihood greater than 50%. How much money would you stake on a bet on those odds, friend?


So in your preferred narrative, Trump is the new shitty salesman who burning effort to land a marginal account while the large existing client base his predecessors built up are being ignored, insulted and becoming disgruntled.

Sounds like you boys landed yourself a real winner down there.

On “Thursday Throughput for July 4, 2019

Yes, mtDNA is used in cold cases, due to the greater ease in obtaining viable amounts of genetic material from degraded tissue.

I'd consider it incredibly unlikely that anyone has been convicted due to a false match as a result of the tiny amount of paternal mtDNA in a sample though. This information would be much more likely to produce a false negative rather than a false positive match and even a false negative is quite unlikely given what the article discusses. It does throw cold water on the excessively confident 1 in a bajillion confidence forensic specialists give, because that was always premised on an unfounded belief that there was no errors in process or understanding in testing.

On “Trump Meets Kim, Steps in North Korea

As I understand it, the consensus is that this is something the North Koreans have wanted very much and shouldn't be just given away unless America was getting something back.

Trump thoroughly does not care about any of that and sees pageantry as its own reward, so cashed in a bargaining chip for nothing.

On “Heroes and Villains

Yeah, but the original Lee/Kirby Magneto is mediocre. Nobody cared about the thug-ish conqueror Magneto. Relatedly, original flavour X-men were an afterthought in Marvel's stable, it was their later re-invention that made them icons.

It's the maybe he has a point, understandable motivation Magneto that became one of Marvel's most iconic antagonists. Then he's not a one note villain, he's the head of an ideological faction, one that can be opposed, but also reasoned with and allied depending on circumstances. He can run the gamut from villain to anti-villain to anti-hero to straight up hero depending on what your story needs, while retaining the integrity of his character.

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