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AvatarComments by veronica d in reply to Jaybird*

On “Biden Executive Orders: Read For Yourself

Obviously I'm pleased to see the focus on minority rights, and in particular LGBTQ rights, as those directly affect me.

I've very please to see the response to covid, including the federal mask mandate. Although that doesn't really affect me, as I have little direct interaction with the federal bureaucracy, I do think "leading by example" will have a positive effect. After a year with a president who refused to wear a mask, it will be very nice to have leaders who insist on wearing one. Plus it's reassuring to know our president takes covid seriously and believes that testing is good, even if it "makes the numbers go up."

(Opinion: Trump is literally that stupid. He honestly believed that testing was bad because it made the numbers go up. He said so multiple times. It wasn't 4-d chess. He's just a moron who thinks that your car engine will run forever provided you never check the oil.)

Anyway, on the latter point, it's nice to have leadership who shows the basic level of intelligence and moral calibration that I'd expect from a functional adult.

On “The Politics of Survival: Putting Yourself in a Box

@oscar -- A lot of people think "automation" just means manufacturing machines, but nowadays automation covers a lot of things. For example, can you imagine what someone like Poincare would have done with Mathematica?

In his day, the question, "I wonder what would happen if..." would be followed by hours, even weeks, of tedious computation. Nowadays we follow that question with ten minutes of coding and perhaps thirty minutes of compute time.

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WAR? JAGS?

Are these sports things?

On “The Politics of Survival: Putting Yourself in a Box

Look, I'm glad you got out of a bad situation, and I'm sorry you were ever in a bad situation. All I'm saying is that shouldn't be enough. Because after you left, there is a good chance those kids just started bullying someone else who couldn't get out.

I certainly wouldn't want to trap you in that school. I like you and want you to prosper. However, none of us should be satisfied that one kid can get out of a bad situation. I want most kids, and in fact nearly all kids to be able to get out.

I escaped pretty extensive bullying when I began lifting weights and started running with the punker kids. It worked. People stopped bullying me. However, it's not a solution that would work for everyone. I had friends who were small-framed and mildly autistic. Getting buff and becoming more socially adept weren't really "in the cards" for them. They needed help.

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I don't have a strong policy-based opinion on charter schools, as that would require me to research, which would cut into my sitting around time. That said, there is something about the discourse surrounding charter schools that makes me very uncomfortable. Allow me to explain.

The selling point of things like charter schools and voucher programs, and many similar approaches, is that some families will be able to take advantage of the system and get a better education for their kids.

Okay fine. Let's suppose that is true.

There is a hidden assumption, specifically what about all the other families, who for whatever reason cannot take advantage of the system? What about their kids?

I'm very suspicious of programs built to lift a few but leave the remainder behind.

I think it ties into the "anyone can make it" argument. Even if that is true, what about everyone else?

The notion of public healthcare, public education, worker rights, and similar regulations are built on the idea that most people are average -- that's what the word means -- and that they deserve a baseline decent life.

On “January 6th: A Layman’s Post About Group Behavior

Here is the deal: prove it.

Prove that the maga chuds would have been perfect, peaceful little angels without the BLM protests.

A pair of counterpoints:

1. If antifa didn't exist, the right wing media ecosystem would invent them.

2. Likewise, the frothing madness in the rightwing social media ecosystem is utterly detached from the reality of BLM or antifa, just as it is utterly detached from the reality of election law.

In other words, they live in an epistemologically closed bubble that self-generates outrage. If they can find real outrage material, they'll use it. However, if they do not find real outrage material, they'll simply make shit up.

Evidence: every single claim they've made about the election, plus qanon.

On “Them’s Fightin’ Words: The First Amendment and Incitement

There were a few cases of right-wing agitators at BLM protests. However, keep in mind, there were many BLM protests, in many cities, spread over many weeks. Moreover, there are elements on the right who would be motivated to do this. First, there is the "boogaloo" set, who are crazypants accelerationists, who dislike the stated goals of BLM, but who want to foment chaos -- with the ultimate goal of a race war. Think of them as junior Charles Manson wannabes. Then there are more cynical groups who specifically want to discredit BLM.

Anyway, given the scale of the protests, and given an ounce of common sense, one would expect some degree of outside agitation.

That said, it would be painfully naive to conclude that all vandalism and rioting associated with BLM was outside agitators. Of course it wasn't. Obviously. Duh.

The assault on Capitol Hill was a single event, on a single day, in a single place. The goals and motivations of the participants are well documented. Specific actors have been identified and arrested. Much of their background is available with a simple websearch. As far as I can tell, there was zero BLM or antifa related agitation during this event. There didn't need to be. The maga chuds were clearly going to do that all on their own.

It seems that antifa decided to simply skip this event. I'm actually not sure why. I have a theory. First, they tend to be very aware of what the maga chuds are planning -- after all, the maga crowd absolutely sucks at opsec. Their networks are trivially easy to penetrate. It was clear that this would be a shitshow, and many of the militia oriented chuds were openly planning to bring weapons.

By and large, antifa has zero interest in armed conflict. The "black bloc" sorts mostly emerged from the punk community, where fistfights were commonplace. Guns are a different level of escalation. Attacking congress during an important procedure is not the sort of thing that would attract antifa involvement. One would assume that the police and national guard are well equipped to deal with the situation (except -- well about that).

Anyway, there is an intergalactic void between burning down a Wendys and trying to overturn a democratic election to install a "president for life." I'm 100% certain that everyone here understands that difference. Thus, pretending there is no difference is intellectually dishonest. That is all.

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The people who were outside the capitol shouldn't be charged with anything. Protest is a very important right. Nor should they automatically face consequences to their employment, provided their contract doesn't have some clause that prevents all political involvement. (I think there is something like that for uniformed military. I'm not sure what the rules are for police, but personally, I don't think that merely attending a rally should be disqualifying.)

This, of course, changes if they were carrying some inflammatory sign, or said something awful in an interview. If I discovered a local police officer was there with a "Stop the Steal" sign, I would be very disappointed in them for being an idiot, but that is protected speech. If they had a "Hang the bastards" sign, never mind an Auschwitz tee shirt, that's different.

Anyway, we need to stay focused on the people who entered the capitol.

(And why the heck is it spelled capitol instead of capital? English is weird sometimes.)

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It would be really funny if it was rico, just to see Ken White have to post, "Okay fine. This time it was rico. Now leave me alone."

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And now we’re arguing about whether the Great Leap Forward was as bad as people say it was

No, you're arguing about it, because people here fall for your DARVO bullshit, instead of just writing you off as a bad faith troll.

Hey everyone, JB is a bad faith troll, and obviously so. Learn to recognize DARVO tactics and don't fall for them.

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I'd imagine there aren't too many practicing "sedition experts" (a fact that sadly might change in the near future).

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That makes sense. Thank you.

May I ask another question. If hypothetically there was some meat to the accusations that law enforcement was deliberately understaffed and that there were "stand down" orders from the White House, could that be used in concert with Trump's public statements to show sedition?

(I'm not sure if "sedition" is the correct word, but something along those lines.)

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I'm curious about a legal principle here. In movies, mobsters will often say something like, "This is a nice store you have. It would be a shame if something happened to it."

Note, I have no idea if real-life mobsters talk like that, or if they ever did. However, it is a well understood property of language (at least English), specifically of saying one thing but meaning another.

I assume that this sort of thing shows up in criminal trials, where the defendant didn't literally say what they're being accused of, but they still meant it, and everyone knows they meant it.

My assumption is that juries are allowed to conclude the obvious, that although the accused didn't literally say they were going to destroy the shop, it was their clear meaning, and thus they are guilty of extortion.

Am I right about this? Could such a principle be deployed against Trump?

(Clearly I thing it should be deployed against Trump.)

On “The Destructive High Water Mark of MAGA

My assumption is that even if we block Trump from running, then some other fascist demagog would just step into his role. We act as if he is uniquely terrible, and he is terrible, but his role was produced by terrible social fragmentation in our society, and there are 300 million of us. There are many others ready and willing to be an authoritarian leader. At least some of those will have the right combination of charisma and narcissism to become Trump 2.0.

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My imperfect understanding, based on my possibly incorrect reading of various lawyers who post on Twitter, who may or may not be correct, is this: provided the house passes articles of impeachment while Trump is still in office, the senate is then free to consider them after he is out of office. Why bother? Because one of the allowed penalties of impeachment is to ban the impeachee from holding office again.

I have no idea if this is a good idea. My desire to see Trump impeached now is to prevent him from issuing pardons to those involved in active sedition. Regarding further steps, I support them in principle, but I can't really comment on their political implications.

The big picture is that Trumpism isn't limited to Trump.

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This is JB's entire schtick. It's all he has.

Homicide, genocide, stubbed toes, nerds feeling left out -- all the same.

On “Trump Concedes, Kind of

That was unexpected.

On “The Destructive High Water Mark of MAGA

Oh it was almost certainly a deliberate coup. It was unmistakably sedition, as the stated goal of the attackers was to seize the capital and stop the vote count in the futile hope that would keep Trump in power.

The fact that this plan is idiotic doesn't matter. They believed it would work. At least the hoped it would. They attacked congress based on these beliefs. They stated these beliefs in unambiguous language, some of them on camera. They violently stormed the capital while congress was in session based on these beliefs.

The question is this: was the poor police response deliberately engineered by Trump, or was it an unhappy accident. This would clarify the shape of the coup, not its existence.

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I find it entirely plausible that the executive branch deliberately fumbled the law enforcement deployments to help facilitate the coup attempt. However, we won't really be able to investigate until Trump is out of office.

One problem with that article. It quotes a supposed Nato official who claimed that Trump told supporters to "storm the building." However, Trump never literally said that. One might argue that it was implied. Certainly the fash groups had been talking about doing exactly that since this event was planned, mostly on sites like Parler (and even more loathsome places). Trump was probably aware of this. It is easy to think that storming the capital was simply understood between Trump and the various fash groups. However, that point needs to be argued.

The author of the article has a responsibility to fact check, even a quote. It would raise their credibility if they mentioned that this aspect of the quote isn't literally true. Letting stand unchallenged feels like tacit endorsement, which lessens credibility.

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I certainly hope you're right.

I very much enjoy being wrong about my dismal predictions.

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When a woman leaves a narcissistic abuser, she has to literally hide from him. This is why women's shelters exist. (Although I firmly believe that men's shelters should also exist.)

A restraining order does absolutely zero to dissuade a narcissistic abuser. In fact, it often makes things worse.

She must die. He must be the one to kill her. Nothing else matters.

Trump is very dangerous right now. Count nothing out.

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It's annoying I want my cool scifi toys!

Plus can we anime real? I even dyed my hair, but I didn't get magical powers. Stupid reality.

On “The Destructive High Water Mark of MAGA

This isn't the high water mark.

In fact I'll make a prediction: there will be a right-wing terrorist attack on the inauguration, and it will be encouraged by Trump -- although his bootlickers will parse his language to a torturous degree to deny it. This attack will either succeed or it will be thwarted, but it will be attempted.

Note my last prediction was that the US would hit a million covid deaths by end of year. The most recent forecast I've seen was that we will likely hit just shy of half a million by end of January. So I was half right and a month off.

Let us hope my newest prediction is even more inaccurate.

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