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AvatarComments by Brent F in reply to Jaybird*

On “Inauguration Day in America

My Premier is now losing his stuff on live TV about it. Calling for a trade war against the United States in retaliation.

The context being he rather foolish bought a 1.5 billion dollar stake in the project despite the strong likelihood that this would happen, in order to one up the Prime Minister he hates that bought a pipeline that's going to get built and now he looks like a twit.


Blocking Keystone XL by a day one EO is causing some consternation north of the border.

On “Game of Thrones: The Cool is Not Enough

I've been following a guy who is going through Tolkien's notes to reconstruct how he wrote the thing and that isn't the case at all. Tom Bombadil is there because at that point in the story the hobbits need to be rescued by somebody because they're neophyte adventurers. There was numerous iterations of who does the rescuing.

The sword being important in book three is an example of the author taking the opportunity to backfill what you previously wrote to make a more cohesive whole.

One thing reading about this that suprised me and I think is instructive is that as complex and detailed Tolkien's worldbuilding is, the worldbuilding comes from fulfilling story needs and elements and histories come as needed to fulfill story beats. He didn't imagine a world then wrote a story in it, he wrote an story and crafted the world it would take place in on the fly.

On “Winter is Here

The problem with the later season is they were replicating the plot points on an outline from the author, without much understanding on how it all fit together and how one event leads to the other as an organic whole rather than getting through plot points.

So the series's earlier strength, the internal logic of the massive plot went away when they ran out of book. Ned Stark dies as a logical consequence of the entire King's Landing book one plot built on every character acting logically based on their own character and motivations.

In the latter seasons, stuff just happens, its not built up as individual arcs or as the consequences of one action happening after the other.

On “All the President’s Myths

Warren would have gotten rolled with that demo.

On “What Does God Need With a Political Starship?

Its interesting culturally how this has evolved, to the ancients a god that does not personally intervene is a completely useless god not worth bothering with, regardless of whether they exist or not.

On “From Westword: House of Representatives Approves Marijuana Legalization

A lot of noise was made about that in Canada at the time. Turns out nobody cared. Heck, even the US government didn't kick up a fuss on the subject.

On “12 Rules For Holding Publishing Meetings About Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson is a good communicator of broad self-help messages to young men that produced something of a cult of personality and a grifting empire. He's also something of a kook and managed to get addicted to drugs then went to Russia to do a treatment for drug addiction that Western hospitals considered too dangerous compared to the potential positive outcome to try. He also has views on gender that the transgendered community find broadly offensive.

His defamation lawsuits and coziness with people like Viktor Orban suggest he's no free speech hero either, but likes to posture as such for perceived victimhood status.

All in all, he's not a man worth getting worked up over and doing so gives him more visiblity than he deserves.

He's also from my part of the world originally and went to my university, were he was known for being smart and quite odd. On that basis, I have difficulty summoning much ire in his direction.

In the words of philosopher Wayne of Letterkenny, you should all just take 20% off of this.

On “A Mostly Peaceful Transition of Power

The 8chan precedent suggests trolling like a Nazi encourages plenty of people to act like Nazis. The Trump phenomena appears to have followed the same process.

I'm not disagree with all of your point, but the people who get concerned about his rhetoric aren't wrong either. its a problem, if not an apocalyptic one.


Under the Neustadt conception of Presidential power, a sizeable portion of what POTUS does is what he says. On that basis, I have difficulty with the popular "ignore what he says, look at what he does" rationale. In particular, what he says impacts what a lot of people, principally with the Republican party, do.

Two things can be true simultaneously, what Trump is doing is an attempt to subvert normal American democracy and an actual coup isn't likely to be attempted, let alone succeed.

But this mostly lends itself to Trump is essentially America's Berlusconi thesis.

On “Thursday Throughput: Masks Edition

anti-bacteria vaccines of numerous varieties (attenuated bacteria, antigen proteins, neutralized bacterial toxins).

Its just less common of a therapeutic technique for bacterial disease than it is for viral ones. Bacteria can be treated with antibiotics for one thing.

On “But It’s Not Fair: Student Loans and the Growing Demand of Debt

This is obviously a case of American decline by failure to maintain your positive traditions and strongest institutions.


Also, traditional American protestants love them some education. New England protestants were the most educated people in the world back in the day.

Maybe not so much the Southerners or Scots-Irish, but its not a Calvinists are bad thing.


I sympathize with the argument for education for its own sake. But if its public money, I'd see the goal of and educated public to be served by a robust and affordable public system of colleges and universities. One of the consequences of elite overproduction is there are plenty of smart folks qualified to teach you Proust and Foucault, not just at the private colleges.

America has a history of cheap mass public post secondary education that should be embraced. What shouldn't be embraced is the playschools and elite enclaves, perpetuating another generation of elites who got made for life by attending an Ivy.


Its also the amount that will make this a vote loser. 50,000 is a years salary for a normal person. 5000 people might understand, they'd also understand a program to pay to defer payments for a year or two. But giving that much money away is going to raise some hackles.


I mean, this is why the idea is so politically toxic though. It reads as massive free money to a Democratic demographic

On “Rudy’s Got A Case…Of the Monday’s

Level of scrutiny is like, 1st month 1st year American ConLaw right? Akin to not knowing the difference between Beyond Reasonable Doubt and Balance of Probabilities?

On “But It’s Not Fair: Student Loans and the Growing Demand of Debt

Of American problems, I can't help but feel the student loan issue is the one that gets salience due to its prevailiance amoung young media workers in major urban centres and their social networks.

On “On History and Being Doomed to Repeat It

This line of argument didn't impress me any more when Jonah Goldberg wrote a book on it.

Online Americans like to hyperventilate about their political opposition being totalitarians. I guess this raises the stakes for you when you're actually dealing with a battle between warmed over Blairism and Berlusconi 2.0

On “Election Day Jour Cinq, Pour Certaines Raisons: Biden Finally Wins and More

Opposition implies some degree of organization and effectiveness that they don't have.

Jacobin wants to bitch from the sidelines eternally. Opposition is too much compromise and work.

On “Election Day, Jour Quatre et la Grosse Dame: UPDATED Recap, Open Thread, and Latest News

If the party had the juice to stop Trump, we'd have seen evidence of it right by now.


This appeares to be trending as a repeat of 2012 in results, which was a big win, but not a landslide. So update your priors to that, rather than the false impression it was a nailbitter created by the order the votes got counted.


Is there a guy who can pull off Trumpism that isn't Trump?

There's been many imitations lately but none of the can pull off the recipe.

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