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Found 4 results

  1. Six fun (sad/awful/false/infuriating) stories emerged from the swamp in the last couple of days. Peter Taylor noted elsewhere on the site some vows made by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions on the issue of "leaks." Some of the usual suspects have pretended that this is a "Threat" against the noble profession of prostitution journalism. The strongest or least-false coverage of this issue from that point of view may be from font of evul Politico ... in a story called Jeff Sessions' Attack on the Media Is Worse Than You Think. Of course, Objectivist analysis might find that the threat is more than necessary, and that it will encourage a proper "chilling effect." Less clear is the notion of "Lie Detectors" (in the White House). Polygraphs are a useful investigative tool, but not accepted by US courts on the whole. Less intrusive than a lie detector is the power to subpoena ... but see the story for all the convolutions. (one stand-out point was that it is relatively rare for journalist-itutes to be prosecuted or held in contempt for refusing to reveal sources [think Judith Miller]; the Politico story points out that the four arrested cited-but-not-cited by Sessions were not recipients but those who had purloined secret and often highly-classified 'spy' entrails from the DC borg.) ********************************* The second story circulating is that Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, DC. This may or may not be true -- even though everyone and the dog has been biting on the "news." I do not know if this would become public in the normal course of justice. The third story is that President Trump is a lazy do-nothing, who spends far too much time at his golf clubs ... instantiated in a nasty Newsweek cover. The fourth story is related to the Mueller grand jury suggestion ... this excerpt is from the brief Slate article "U.S. Reportedly Intercepted Suspected Russian Agents' Chatter That Manafort Asked for Their Help With Clinton: There are obviously multiple investigative balls in the air, and the public focus has shifted of late to Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, who certainly have had longer and more lasting influence on Donald Trump, but keep an eye on Paul Manafort, his Russia connections are deep and dodgy. Update, Aug. 4, 2017: Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, issued this statement on the latest round of accusations: “Paul Manafort did not collude with the Russian government to undermine the 2016 election or to hack the DNC. Other than that comment, we aren't going to respond to anonymous officials illegally peddling second hand conspiracy theories. But the Justice Department, and the courts if necessary, should hold someone to account for the flood of unlawful government leaks targeting Mr. Manafort." Manafort was the first somewhat hinky part of the Trump campaign and influence apparat to appear in posts here on OL, back a year and more ago. It's not surprising that Mueller would request documents and testimony from the Manafort axis. It isn't that he was a tool of Russia or an obvious go-between, but that he could have been a major conduit for the wink-wink quid pro quo that the crazy Russia conspiracists are certain is going to be found. Did Mr Manafort wink-nudge the Trump attitude that 'we take help from where it comes, given that politics is a dirty dirty game'? I mean, isn't the essential question reduced to who promised what in return? I take the tentative position that Trump's stated positions on Russia during the campaign and since being in office are obvious. So it will be exceedingly hard to show him 'promising' things on the down low, since he did it on the stump. Then, if he was inclined to reduce sanctions bite on Russia and to warm things up between the superpower and the also-ran, it was open and public. Which requires that underlings and satellites were going to be the ones dealing with the details of wink-wink, nudge-nudge. If you are a Menshist, or not. (the more hysterical of the Russia hoopla employees and hobbyists are those who think every rumour is true, every leak informs the big picture. So the Flynn Effect [very pro-Russia relax] and other fizz from the week means Russian "information warfare" was coordinated. Which is alarmist nonsense, right?) ************************************* The fifth story is about vacation-time, but in this instance taken by the manly President of Russia. Here's a sample: The sixth story is as usual performed by two casts, in two theatres. In the permutations, a Cernovich wing in the White House leaks out a broad range of accusations against Trump's National Security Adviser Lt. General HR McMaster -- that he is a tool of Soros/Rothschilds/Saudis, an enemy of Israel, and ever-so Swamp-Like that his hideous influence must be extirpated from Cabinet. Two guys come shambling up the alley. First guy looks like Steve Bannon, the second guy looks like McMaster, and the guy with McMaster is brown and in a turban**. Which one would you ask out on a date/for help? Which one is leaking to the Washington Post, or -- as this week -- to Cernovich-Breitbart-Gateway Pundit? I think there is a mini-war of ideas in the White House, which slops over into a war of words and Grand Hoopla Theatre in the mediatic multiplex. But what do I know. I am that guy who wrote "Why Donald Trump lost the election." Incidentally, as a bonus seventh story -- did you know that obsessive humans do such things as rigorously analyze Twitter accounts that peddle the Kremlin lines of attack? Yes you did, but did you know that PR and political attack campaigns have a particular 'footprint' or pattern? Of course you did, so it won't be a surprise that there is a website that tracks real-time information-warfare memes and their flows in Kremlin-friendly orbit. If you squint and pretend to be Louise Mensch, yesterday's peak trends like the Cernovich Leaks from the angry West Wingers about McMaster were coordinated with a robust 'managed news' campaign directed by the drunk guy in the alley. See if you can find your favourites bot link or alt-news site here. I add a screenshot of the crazy site, but first an intro from the feverish topic ends of Twitter. __________________________ * I am picturing Harjit Sajjan, who rarely togs out in his Commander outfit, but still. Who doesn't feel safer when a turbaned Sikh gets on the bus? I would think Bannon was a drunk, and McMaster probably a loud talker. Which makes me think how many more generals should join the Trump cabinet and administrative apparatus.
  2. [Edited January 2 2019 -- to remove or replace dead visual-links] Long ago Jonathan and I got some good traction out of a tangle of issues related to Global Warming slash Climate Change. I think we are slated to renew or refresh our earlier exchanges. I am going to poke in links to some he-said/he-saids from a few different threads at different times. One feature of the updated software is an automated 'sampling' of a link posted raw. See below. So this blog entry will be kind of administrative-technical while being built and edited. I haven't figured out if Jonathan and I should impose some 'rules' going in, so your comment may be subject to arbitrary deletion before the field is ready for play. Fan notes included. Adam, see what you think of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, especially the revealing map-based representations of opinion. You can drill and zoom down to state, county, district level to track data across a number of survey questions, where some of the answers are surprising. On some measures at least, the thing it is not found only in the UK, Quebec, Canada: Here's a snapshot of several maps which do not always show an expected Red State/Blue State pattern; [images updated January 2 2019; click and go images] [Deleted image-link] Edited 4 May 2015 by william.scherk Plug my How To Get Where I Got book of books, Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming. Insert link to Amazon, Library link, and to the intro chapter of Weart's companion website to the book. Make sure you include a link to Ellen's mention of a book review. Bob Kolker's June 3 comment is a good hinge. What do we (J and I) think we know about the mechanism Bob sketches? What can we 'stipulate' or what can we agree on, for the sake of argument?
  3. I've mentioned the author Frederick Crews a few times on OL** ... and now I am ploughing steadily through his book "Freud, the Making of an Illusion." It's the kind of book people reserve the word 'magisterial' for, so far. The subject is Freud's story-telling, in essence, and the divergence from the actualities. Crew is the first to exploit the new availability of previously censored or suppressed materials. He has previously rubbished mythic Freud in some earlier work referred to by the lesser term "tour-de-force." What will appeal to the Objectivist or Objectivish is the hard line, the hard line for reality trumping bullshit. Crews was the first to achieve a kind of encyclopedic knowledge of the Freudian-derived Recovered Memory movement and its associated Satanic Ritual Abuse allegations, trials and injustices. He was able to 'wrap it up' like a good prosecutor, with an at-my-fingertips-knowledge of what went down where and when and how and why. A good taste of what would be to come were you to purchase or borrow the book comes from its Preface, which I quote from (you can also Look Inside at Amazon): Among historical figures, Sigmund Freud ranks with Shakespeare and Jesus of Nazareth for the amount of attention bestowed upon him by scholars and commentators. Unlike them, he left behind thousands of documents that show what he was doing and thinking from adolescence until his death at age 83. Although many of those records were placed under lengthy restriction by followers who felt both financial and emotional incentives to idealize him, that blackout has at least partially expired by now. More revelations will emerge, but they are unlikely to alter the outlines of Freud's conduct and beliefs as they appear in the most responsible recent studies. [...] Of course, hardcore partisans can be counted upon to dismiss this book as an extended exercise in Freud-bashing -- a notion that gets invoked whenever the psychoanalytic legend of lonely and heroic discovery is challenged. To call someone a Freud basher is at once to Shield Freud's theory from skeptical examination and to shift the focus, as Freud himself so often did, from objective issues to the supposedly twisted mind of the critic. Like other aspects of Freudolatry, the charge of Freud bashing deserves to be retired at last. The best way to accomplish that end, however, is just to display the actual record of Freud's doings and to weigh that record by an appeal to consensual standards of judgment. _________________________________ ** totalismCult Warning Signs william.scherk posted a blog entry in Friends and Foes ...One of the many astute chroniclers of this time wasFrederick Crews, whose "The Memory Wars" still stands out above the rest. I note in passing his most recent book, a stunning tour de force in my opinion. See Freud: The Making of an Illusion. I have mentioned his work a couple of times here... January 12 30 comments Solving a Puzzle-- Understanding Some People's Reactions william.scherk replied to Philip Coates's topic in Objectivist Living Room ...ThenFrederick Crews saved me. He let me see that crashing through the Dominant Discourse of Freudian Bullshit was a dangerous job. Those who had peddled that shit all the years were deadly opposed to being pushed off their thrones, their departmental thrones, their kingdoms of influence and tenure... January 30, 2012 358 replies Emotions as products of Ideas william.scherk commented on nealelehman's blog entry in neale's Blog ...readFrederick Crews on Freud/psychoanalysis, anything you can get by Allen Esterson, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Frank Cioffi, and the very interesting current-philosophical-outrages site Butterflies and Wheels , a British site that is part of my regular reading. My favourite living philosopher is Susa... June 30, 2007 6 comments
  4. There are two seemingly irreproachable ideas Objectivists need to disavow entirely, even though at first glance they look to be in accordance with AR’s thought: “fact-based” and “evidence-based.” They are actually anti-concepts used to skirt around the necessity to address fundamental questions. According to these notions, any controversy can be settled, and any decision made, by whomever “has the facts straight” and whomever “bases himself on the evidence.” Some might ask, “What could possibly be wrong with facts and evidence?” The answer is that the usages of these notions ignore the whole category of truths that would tell you what facts are relevant to a question and what are the limits of their usefulness. Of course, such basic truths would be facts also—but notice how often the facts/evidence mantra is invoked in order to undermine the arguments of anyone who is suspected of operating from a principled point of view. It is said that the best way to understand and better appreciate a thinker with whom you disagree is to find out what he was rebelling against. Something similar is true for understanding and rejecting a mode of argument, even if it has nice-sounding names. —— In political debates, such as the one on gun control, many people—on both sides—cite statistics that seem to support their position. Often, one side generally calls this being “evidence-based” as opposed to “ideological.” But the problem with this tactic is that correlation is not causation, and your interpretation of any given set of numbers is inexorably guided by your intellectual framework. Any number of factors other than the one you are correlating might be influencing the numerical outcome. That is why both sides can cite statistics that seem to dictate a conclusion. So the solution is to “be ideological,” that is, to guide your thoughts about what is important and causative by your wider views on human interaction. The question then becomes: Whose views on the nature of man and human action and interaction are the reality? Then you will get to the heart of the matter, and may find that one side of the debate is focusing on irrelevant numbers—or perhaps that both are. The lesson is that one must think in terms of philosophic principles, and fundamental human nature, and choose sides according to that—and not try to be “evidence-based.” But of course, one side knows that would be deadly to their stance, and trumpets its “evidence” while proclaiming the impotence of philosophy—”ideology.”