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Total number of comments: 17 (since 2013-11-28 16:37:57)

James Dennis

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  • It was ISIL, not Hackers, who Hijacked French Election
    • I wouldn't so much say that ISIL "hijacked the electoral process"; I would rather say that, as fellow primitive right wingers, that is how they give their endorsement. As you say, they know full well the political effect of their action. Imagine the world of Steve Bannon/ LePen/ Netanyahu/ Dugin's dreams, where every nation is ruled by right wingers, walled off and hating each other one: an absurd hell on earth.

  • Welcome to Psychopathocracy
    • We might think that we're in for rule by the strong authoritarian leader, but I think we're actually in for "rule by nobody". Additionally, the press conference today demonstrated Trump's complete contempt for the idea that there is a reality that exists as it is independently of us, the observers, and that we can gain a more and more accurate understanding of this independent reality by paying attention to evidence and comparing it to knowledge claims, and making adjustments. He would like to deprive us of the ability to say, "what you just said is not only not true, it doesn't make any sense, and we're not buying it". He is not using language in any normal way, it's apparently impossible to converse with him in a normal way, and it's impossible to regard his words as having any constant meaning, apart from the fact that the words spewing from his lips now are the same as the ones spewing out before; there's nothing new.

      (In the fullness of his moment he said, "Do you honestly believe that Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me? Give me a break." He can't get past the fullness of his feeling that he's a big tough guy and Hilary's just a woman; so why didn't Putin want Hillary to win?)

    • Trump is an emotionally and ethically primitive man, with no actual knowledge whatsoever relevant to the job he is about to take up; he has no sense whatsoever of the meaning or value of the pursuit of truth and understanding, and his brain in general is not that good. His speech is literally meaningless and provides no basis for even a sensible conversation, let alone a rational one, so that one can not learn anything from what he says, but we can only wait until actions are carried out or policies enacted and then react. He has his hobby horses, and the entire intelligence, such that he has one, is directed toward getting what he wants by any means whatsoever. He has nothing, nothing at all but pathology, and there was no possible good reason for voting for this demonic figure, no matter what a voter's interests were. All this and much more was evident all along, yet millions voted for him. There is definitely something wrong with a lot of people. There is a socio-cultural pathology as well, since this kind of response to adversity is not adaptive and not effective, not rational. I don't think this phenomenon is new, either. While he is pursuing his self-aggrandizement, others -- Bannon, Putin, Kushner, Sessions, Tillerson, Icahn, McConnell and all the rest -- will be pursuing their own antisocial agendas. With regard to the people who voted, there is a type of mentality out there that is pathological, characterized by lack of ability to empathise, panicky fear-based response to threats, distrust of out group people, and preference for the hard line approach, with reliance on superior strength. Nothing good ever comes from all of this. The idea of learning as a public good, necessary for a healthy polity, has been forgotten by this society.

  • Sorry, Garrison Keillor: Keith Ellison for President could have beaten Trump, and still Can
    • They should have run Ellison, yes. (Some also have said Biden would have won.) The "next in line" principle for choosing a candidate prevents an alternative, more flexible, principle from operating: That, given the current conditions and mood of the electorate, the candidate that has the best qualities to respond to these conditions should be chosen.

      A side note: I think the reason the rural areas and the all white communities who went for Trump have such a maladaptive conventional mentality is precisely because of their lack of diversity. People who know and socialize with Muslims are less likely to have anti- Muslim attitudes. Internal diversity is a desirable quality for any community, and it is the way of the future. Let's glory in our diversity and make Trumpism the last gasp of parochialism.

  • With Trump, we've all Entered the Dark Dimension of Dormamu
    • I still find it incomprehensible that people could look at this man, and, even in response perhaps to whatever their current state of suffering or ethnic resentment, think it is a good idea to make him President. I want to go back to look at Dostoyevsky's Notes from the underground for reflections on a similar situation.

  • Sanders: "Tough Guy Trump" is afraid to Debate me
    • Trump keeps saying "crooked Hillary". All news organizations should refer to him in every article that mentions him as "New York real estate con man Donald Trump". Seriously. How could he object?

  • How Americans Hate: 8-fold increase in Islamophobic Crime since 2000
    • What percentage of hate crimes of all types are committed by right wingers? What percentage of these right wingers are supporters of the Republican party? Anti- black, antisemitic, anti- Muslim, anti- Latino: all the hate seems to originate in the same group. The primitive demand for America to kick the whole world's asses is always present in this group and is often used by the warmongers. The anger and menace in evidence at Trump rallies comes from a different place psychically than the anti- Wall Street outrage at a Sanders rally. The resort to guns as a response to feeling threatened and the feeling threatened as a response to evolving conditions in the society: why these responses rather than other possible ones? The social intellect of this group seems to be in a pathological state, and the Republican party is not helping, but is exploiting the sentiment as usual in their ongoing scam of those very people, whose support for them is thus based on deception. If the Republicans were to win with this support, these supporters would no doubt feel better, but there would be no tangible benefits forthcoming; why should there be? The party would not have gained power on the basis of a commitment to provide tangible benefits to the ordinary people. It can't be healthy to be so dominated by these negative emotions all the time.

  • GOP Candidates up ante, Promise 4 Major Ground Wars, murder of Innocents, Large Genitalia
    • Trump, oblivious of Nuremburg, thinks he can just order the generals to commit what they know are war crimes, and they will just go along with it, and this is his idea of leadership? Wow. Can the media interviewers and moderators explore this a little bit?

  • Just How dangerous is Sen. Tom Cotton, Iran Letter Crackpot? You'd be Surprised
    • And that's without coffee?! Nice. Don't forget the plutocrats who are stirring that foul pot.

    • Who did he address or deliver the letter to and what did he think the reaction was going to be? (I would like to hear him answer that question.) I know he doesn't make distinctions, but he should have had the letter delivered directly to the "really" hard liners in the Iranian government, his natural allies.

  • Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Miles O’Brien slam CNN as the ‘Wal-Mart of journalism’
    • Prof. Tyson is right that the climate change issue is reported as if it were a garden variety political issue with Republicans and Democrats as the contesting political positions, but it is of course a scientific issue, and the state of the argument in the relevant scientific fields is that alternative views have been explored, considered, argued, critiqued and finally a consensus, i.e., agreement, has been reached on the question. The process of argument has proceeded to a successful conclusion. This is the result that should be reported if indeed accuracy is a concern (but this part seems to have been forgotten). To then put on a petroleum industry hack with an obvious axe to grind to comment on the question is unserious and dishonest.

      I was going to say that you wouldn't bring on a Christian fundamentalist to comment on the latest research on e.g., the role of cis-regulatory genes in long term genetic evolution, but then I noticed that Bryan College officials (yes, that Bryan) in Tennessee have "decided that professors had to agree to an additional clarification [as part of a 'statement of beliefs' that professors have to sign as part of their contracts] declaring that 'Adam and Eve are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life-forms [sic]'". (NYT 28.5.14)

      Hey journalists, the real world on which you are reporting includes a lot of intellectual dishonesty and incompetence that needs to be called out as such and dismissed in any true and judicious account.

  • Arabs and the Olympics (Majid)
    • As a track fan, I'm used to seeing the North African countries, such as Morocco and Algeria, excel in the middle distance events. This year was no exception, as Makhloufi from Algeria won gold in the 1500 and Iguider from Morocco took bronze, as well as doing well in the 5000m final. Bahrain had a bronze in the women's 1500, although I think that runner (Maryam Jamal) was originally from Ethiopia. A local sport culture usually starts with the success of exceptional athletes and good coaching. Kenyan success started in the 1960's when the government brought in a great coach from Germany (if I'm recalling properly).

  • Lemurs are the Species most threatened with Extinction
    • Maybe a guest post from the above commenter (David Graeber)? BTW, Do you know of anybody doing for Africa and African affairs what you are doing for the Middle East and South Asia? I find this blog to be a valuable check on the often unreliable accounts and superficial analysis we get in the journalistic outlets. What I find valuable here is that we seem to get a deeper understanding of the problems that arise, not just because of the more rigorous social science or scholarly perspective, but because we seem to get a better idea of the significance of developments for the people of the area, as opposed to always seeing things through the lens of domestic political considerations in, e.g., US or Israel. And, I must say, knowledge of the languages of the areas is key. Keep up the good work!

  • Omar Khayyam (145) "my bewilderment"
    • Q: Knew what?
      Revelry is great, but one can still be bewildered in the interstices. It's a possibly productive state. I find gardening to be a good thing to do until I figure it out. Instead of running roughshod over people in order to buy a more pretentious car than your neighbour, cultivate your garden. The flowers and trees are satisfied with forming their bodies into things of beauty, to be admired by other creatures.

  • Cole on Goodman & CIA Surveillance
    • Thanks for the Mookie Blaylock reference. It's like, if the guy was a jazz critic and he knew Kenny G, but he never heard of Kenny Burrell or Tommy Flanagan.

  • Ala. Governor Apologizes to Muslims, Hindus, Jews
    • Martha Nussbaum has written quite a bit about that. (E.g., in J. of Human Develpoment, 9,3 (2008.)

    • Compare to Rev. M.L. King's reference, in his "I may not get there with you" speech, to "some of our sick white brothers" who might try to kill him for his efforts in Memphis. That is the real Christian attitude.

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