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johnnyFive's profile

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I think you're right, and thank God for that--it means we may still have a recognizable country once Trump is through with it.

Pretty much this. I wouldn't be half as worried about this if there were a viable opposition.

I think the truth is that people disliked Hillary, but also severely underestimated Trump's chances of winning. To most of the country it seemed safe to stay home, since there's no possible way that Trump could actually win, right?

But remember how pathetic the Democrats' opposition was to W? Or to the Republicans in Congress when they had the White House? I'm consistently amazed at the Democrats' singular ability not to have their shit together. They passed the ACA by a thread, and have been demonized for it. People are only now realizing that hey, maybe repealing it isn't a good idea, but the Democrats have been at best incidental to that.

Good call on the donations. Grabbing some EFF swag as we speak (with a donation on top).

    How are you proposing to do that?

As I said, make sure that we influence those around him as much as possible. I agree that many of his inner circle may be narcissists themselves, or are at least willing to put personal power over anything else (since Trump pretty clearly is going for loyalty over ability).

Congress should be the primary focus. This can apparently still work, if the bruhaha over their trying to gut their own ethics office is any indication. Meanwhile, we have to stop feeding the Troll in Chief. Keep those turnout numbers low, and make it clear to anyone who is connected to reality that he doesn't have the support of the country as a whole. The abysmal approval ratings and low inauguration turnout are a good start.

But I would love to see a protest closer to the Capitol, where not a single sign mentions Trump. I can't think of a better rebuke for someone like him. Don't hate him, make him totally irrelevant.

My mom, aunt, uncle, cousin, and the latter's boyfriend were all in DC. My mom says that one of the metro workers she talked to said that some 600,000 people rode the metro this morning (organizers were quoted in the newspaper as saying that "as many as half a million" came). I'm glad they did.

Yes and no. Snopes doesn't actually have any evidence to support its assertion. Yes some of the old posts are at the Obama White House website now, but web pages aren't tangible things: putting them in one place doesn't automatically remove them from the other. That's a specific choice. It's a stretch to say that those links were changed without the consent of someone in the transition team.

This is doubly true given that one of the pages that was added was the new energy plan, which specifically says:

    For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.

(emphasis mine). Clearly some deliberate changes have already been made to the site, and it's ridiculous IMO to suggest that pages on e.g. LGBT rights or climate change being removed were somehow accidental. The new administration could've kept them in place if they'd wanted to, and clearly they don't.

    I believe what the author is saying because the description of Manning fits spot-on with a handful of drop-outs and still-stragglers from Basic, and based on conversations with a few of my classmates that have were active duty and deployed solidifying my understanding that this description of Manning is exactly what they would've assumed.

But that's my point: saying that the link is consistent with your own and others' preconceived ideas doesn't magically make it accurate. This is a textbook example of the kind of "post-truth" rhetoric that is flying around these days.

    But the same way I assumed that all the horrible shit Manning leaked was going on anyway, it would be mind-blowing to me if this person's account was not the spot-on truth about Manning.

The same is true about this. Two baseless sets of assumptions don't suddenly become supported once there's enough of them.

    In other words is it still a strawman if it's true and critical to an objective view of the argument?

That's begging the question. The author has 0 proof that his depiction of Manning's time in basic is accurate, and 0 proof that her treatment was the reason for the leak. On the contrary, there is specific evidence that it was not the reason for Manning's actions. Claims from a random internet person with an interest in making good with the intelligence/military establishment are not enough by themselves.

What absolute nonsense. It's just an elaborate exercise in straw Manning -- if the intelligence community and military establishment can make it about the person, they don't have to get into the far stickier "shining a light on war crimes vs. keeping them secret" thing.

He takes one aspect of the defense argument, that Manning was ostracized in the military, acts like that was Manning's entire reason for doing what she did, and then says that's bullshit.

    What is not accurate is the false and felonious image of the U.S. military on which the defense of her conduct has been, at its root, predicated: that somehow everyone in her formative years in the military was practically part of a tribe of 6’2”, overly-aggressive Alpha males pumping testosterone out their pores who ganged up on the smallest in the group and tore her apart out of hyper-machismo intolerance...

"Felonious" is a word that has no business in this sentence. But again, it's a meaningless argument. He cops out by saying that the idea that "everyone" was this alpha male type is wrong. That's fine, but even if that's true, how does that refute Manning's assertions? Notice too how he fails to mention that higher ups in the military said Manning shouldn't have been sent to Iraq (from the Guardian link Huwieler himself posted).

Moreover, he's failed to address any other possible motivations, such as the ones actually espoused by Manning:

    These documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had this complete and detailed a record of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives—with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear, and nightmares that come with them—then it's difficult to ever forget how important these documents are.

Which was confirmed by a psychiatrist who evaluated Manning during the court martial:

    Well, Pfc Manning was under the impression that his leaked information was going to really change how the world views the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and future wars, actually. This was an attempt to crowdsource an analysis of the war, and it was his opinion that if ... through crowdsourcing, enough analysis was done on these documents, which he felt to be very important, that it would lead to a greater good ... that society as a whole would come to the conclusion that the war wasn't worth it ... that really no wars are worth it.

But again, that would require the government to justify its secrecy and the underlying actions, which is much harder. It's far easier to write a hit piece on the person's character (that she's transgender makes that even easier). That way they can take advantage of the "ick" factor in so many people's minds too. Plus you get plenty of those sweet, sweet page views.

johnnyFive  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

Thanks to the site-that-shall-not-be-named, I came across an awesome YouTube channel. It's from a guy who teaches Scandinavian stuff at UC Berkeley, specializing in Old Norse. He does videos about various aspects of this culture, and also has some lessons on the language itself (you know I've been going through those like it's going out of style).

Otherwise, I'm just kind of in a holding pattern. Waiting 'til I can start taking students for reals, which will hopefully be soon, while trying to cope with work. It's about the worst possible job to have for someone of my mental layout, so I don't know if there really is a way to make peace with it other than just doing it less. Time will tell.

johnnyFive  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017

The high today was 62 F, which is ~17 C. It rained some late last week, and is expected to do so again later on. In my state in particular, it's not unusual for us to have snow on the weekend, and then it'll be 17+ C by the end of the following week.

Of course, we pay for the (relatively) mild winters by having to deal with 38+ C in the summer, with the humidity hanging out above 90%.

That's why we all have guns.

johnnyFive  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: 22nd Annual Quotations Strand

The prologue to Don Quijote de la Mancha is one of my single favorite pieces of literature. The artistry of the prose, combined with the humor of the whole thing and Cervantes' takedown of the more pretentious habits of his fellow writers combine into an amazing whole. I'd like to translate the whole thing, so won't post it here just yet.

Instead, have this blurb from a letter written by Laurence Sterne to Ignatius Sancho, a free black man living in England in the mid-18th century. Sancho had asked Sterne to write in favor of the abolitionist cause, saying

    That subject, handled in your striking manner, would ease the yoke (perhaps) of many — but if only one — Gracious God! — what a feast to a benevolent heart!

Sterne, meanwhile, was in the middle of writing Tristram Shandy, which contains a conversation between two characters bemoaning the poor treatment of a black servant in a shop. Sterne's response is great, and became widely quoted among abolitionists in the UK:

    There is a strange coincidence, Sancho, in the little events (as well as in the great ones) of this world: for I had been writing a tender tale of the sorrows of a friendless poor negro-girl, and my eyes had scarce done smarting with it, when your letter of recommendation in behalf of so many of her brethren and sisters, came to me — but why her brethren? — or yours, Sancho! any more than mine? It is by the finest tints, and most insensible gradations, that nature descends from the fairest face about St James’s, to the sootiest complexion in Africa: at which tint of these, is it, that the ties of blood are to cease? and how many shades must we descend lower still in the scale, ere mercy is to vanish with them? — but ’tis no uncommon thing, my good Sancho, for one half of the world to use the other half of it like brutes, & then endeavor to make ’em so.

    People argue about politics on the internet because arguing about politics in their real lives can make their lives a lot more complicated and unpleasant.

This is true, but I think is a symptom of the broader problem of how much of our personal identity get wrapped up in political positions.

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