Category Archives: Random Musings

A Relevant Quote

“Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.”

The Impeachment Worked

I've been seeing a lot of people talk about how the impeachment of Donald Trump is a waste of time and money. I've long heard people say it would never work, and it appears they are correct... in a way. However, I think this impeachment has done exactly what it was supposed to do.

The Democratic leadership didn't pursue impeachment for many previous offenses, even as many Democrats called for them to do so. The reason is they never expected Donald Trump to be ousted by any impeachment trial. The purpose of this impeachment trial was to make a case for the public to see how craven the Republican defenders of Donald Trump are. This was ultimately just a way of saying, "We (probably) can't stop Trump because his sycophants are in control. If you vote for them again, this is what you'll get."

Republican defenders of Trump don't want to see evidence. They don't want to hear from witnesses. They don't want to have any discussion of Trump's behavior at all. They will do practically everything in their power to stop any examination of Trump's behavior because their view is Donald Trump is their party, therefore no opposition to him can be tolerated. Note, I said he *is* their party, not he is *of* their party.

You cannot be a Republican and oppose Trump in any meaningful way, You will be driven out of the party. Many people already have been. That level of willful polarization in the party is a depressing state of affairs, but it is also the best state of affairs Democrats could hope for. Their message is becoming, "If you think it is bad to have a king as president, with no checks on his power, don't vote Republican."

I wouldn't care to predict if this approach will pay dividends in terms of election results, but it has certainly worked in terms of messaging. I'd wager almost nobody believes Trump and his supporters are acting with any integrity at this point. Even the people who defend him largely recognize it's purely for partisan reasons. Ask some of them, and they'll all say basically the same thing, "It's 'us' versus 'them,' and any member of 'us' is better than 'them.'"

Hot Take on MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. cheated his way through college, relying on numerous and massive cases of plagiarism, to the point his doctoral thesis is utterly without value. When this was discovered, his university, his family and many others went to great lengths to try to cover this up. When that failed, they did everything they could in order to downplay it, to the point society at large doesn't know about it, and those who do usually don't know how significant it was.

During the Civil Rights Movement, King intentionally had youths engage in dangerous protests so pictures would be taken of children being assaulted, which he felt would generate better publicity than if it were adults who were assaulted. There is significant reason to question whether this tactic actually helped his cause. Many of King's contemporaries were adamantly opposed to King's practice of intentionally creating violence, especially when those who would get hurt were children.

There's much more that could be said, but my point isn't to say King was a terrible person. My point is this, King was not a great man. He's celebrated today not for the person he was. King is celebrated for a person he never was. Today we celebrate a figure created out of ignorance, self-delusion and outright lies.

Here's my hot take, we would not have this holiday if King had not been assassinated by a white man when he was. His death created a symbol of a black man people could use to signal their opposition to racism.

I Did Something

I did something today I've debated doing for a while. I don't know if it'll have any effect, but I'm happy to have finally decided to go ahead and do it. It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, comes from it over the next couple weeks.

Sorry for being vague. I just wanted to make a note of this for timing purposes.

Yeah, You're a Bigot*

I am so tired of people saying things like, "I'm not a bigot, I just want illegals to follow the legal process!" Most of the people who say things like that are the same people who demonized "caravans" as an invasion of illegals.

Guess what? People have the right to come to the country and apply for asylum. People you demonize are following the legal process. You constantly spread hate for them anyway. That shows you're full of it. If your concern really were for the law, you wouldn't spew vitriol over people who follow it.

So yeah, that makes you a bigot. Or at least, a xenophobe.

Rebutting Conspiracy Theories Seems Pointless

A recent post may have made you realize I really don't want to discuss conspiracy theories about the alleged chemical attack on the city of Douma by the Syrian government. I've been trying to avoid discussing that topic, especially on Twitter, but I let myself get dragged into it today.

Don't worry. I'm not going to write a long screed about the topic. That's not the point of this post. The point of this post is to show why I didn't want to. I always come away from exchanges on topics like this feeling they were pointless. Most of the time, I find myself putting more work into examining what others say than they did.

This is why I ask people to make their case in a collected, coherent manner with all the requisite information provided in a single location. It almost never happens. I understand doing so requires a fair amount of work, but not doing so simply forces anyone who cares to examine what you say to do the work you refused to do.

Today, I'd like to show a Twitter exchange why I describe the discussions so many people try to get others to participate in are pointless. Also, I'd like to keep a copy for record keeping.
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Funniest Question of the Year?

There was a post at Andrew Gelman's blog recently about a topic I've discussed here often so I chimed in on a couple things. An exchange happened because I made a couple remarks about things like how climate change is not expected to drive humanity extinct or even cause the deaths of billions of people. In my comments, I mentioned how the worst projections of the IPCC aren't anywhere near that extreme. This lead to a discussion of the tired meme which says the IPCC is overly conservative in its projections of the impacts of climate change, a meme which relies upon the alarmist views of a relatively small number of people. Discussion of this idea led to what may go down as the funniest question of the year:

For those who don't know, the IPCC won a Nobel prize. Michael Mann was an author on an IPCC report so he went around repeatedly telling everybody he had won a Nobel prize, which was not true. Personally, I don't think the fact Mann stole credit for the IPCC's Nobel prize means he should be trusted over the IPCC.
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Is it Worth Rebutting Conspiracy Theories?

People say untrue things all the time. Sometimes what they say is so untrue I feel obliged to respond. I'm not sure that is healthy though. Today I'd like to discuss an example which shows why. The example involves the alleged chemical attack on Douma, a city in Syria, on April 7th, 2018, by the Syrian government. Many people have alleged this attack didn't happen, claiming reports of a chemical attack were a fabrication created by a conspiracy of people seeking to create negative sentiments for the Syrian government.
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Too Incompetent to Obstruct Justice?

With there being a holiday this weekend and my legal issues earlier this week, I don't have a lot of energy to write new posts. There are a number of things I'd like to discuss though, so for now, I'll go with a simple one. The Mueller report was released recently (with heavy redactions). There are a lot of people putting a lot of work into spinning the narrative around the report, but to me, it seems one point is clear: Donald Trump did not obstruct justice, even though he tried really, really hard to.

I'm not sure what to make of it. Trump repeatedly gave unlawful orders to his staff only to find his staff ignored the orders or refused to carry them out. Trump seems to be protected from criminal prosecution primarily because he is too incompetent to get his own staff to do what he tells them to do. That seems more damning a criticism than any charge of criminality ever could have been.