Saturday, November 30, 2019

Why no major US politician supports open borders, but the Koch Bros. do

Like many leftists, I thought we could have open borders without hurting American workers. Then a friend told me to study the meatpacking industry. A little of what I learned:

Workers’ Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants | HRW:
For about forty years in the middle of the twentieth century, from the 1930s to the 1970s, meatpacking workers' pay and conditions improved. Master contracts covering the industry raised wages and safety standards. In the 1960s and 1970s, meatpacking workers' pay and conditions approximated those of auto, steel, and other industrial laborers who worked hard in their plants and through their unions to attain steady jobs with good wages and benefits. Meatpackers' wages remained substantially higher than the average manufacturing sector wage-15 percent higher in 1960, 19 percent higher in 1970, 17 percent higher in 1980.

...In 1983, meatpacking workers' pay fell below the average U.S. manufacturing wage for the first time. Since then, the decline has accelerated-15 percent lower in 1985, 18 percent lower in 1990, 24 percent lower in 2002.

Employers transformed the sector during the 1980s from one in which workers had secure organizations bargaining on their behalf to one where self-organization is a high-risk gauntlet for workers. Where they did not relocate, many companies shut down their plants, dismissed their long-time organized workers, then reopened with a nonunion immigrant workforce.

...As the traditional structure of the industry and its labor relations fragmented, employers drove many workers' wages down to a fraction of what they had been, with parallel worsening of benefits and working conditions. The frequency of meatpacking workplace injuries soared. Injury rates had been in line with other manufacturing sectors with trade union representation, but since the breakdown of national bargaining agreements meatpacking has become the most dangerous factory job in America, with injury rates more than twice the national average.
The 2006 Swift Raids | Center for Immigration Studies:
Government data show that the average wages of meatpackers in 2007 were 45 percent lower than in 1980, adjusted for inflation. 
We estimate that 23 percent of Swift’s production workers were illegal immigrants.

Worker pay has a small impact on consumer prices. Research by the USDA and others indicates that wages and benefits for production workers account for only 7 to 9 percent of retail meat prices. This means that if wages and benefits were increased by one-third, consumer prices would rise by 3 percent at most.
Meat Packing – The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union:
...companies actively exploit our broken immigration system, purposely recruiting and hiring undocumented immigrants to create a disposable workforce. These immigrants often don’t speak English and aren’t aware of labor laws or their rights on the job. It’s a vulnerable, easily-intimidated workforce too afraid to speak out when their paychecks aren’t right, when working conditions are not safe or even when there’s a potential problem with the food they’re producing. This has resulted in an industry where workers have less bargaining power, where it’s becoming harder and harder to earn enough to support families, and where it’s becoming less safe to work. 
US Construction and Meatpacking:
trades hired lower wage migrants to help build private homes at a time when union strength was eroding. 
Two things I've said about borders:

The utopian left loves names for goals like No Borders, No Prisons, and No Police. But if we want the working class to join us, we have to have names for the process of getting to those goals, which requires a transitional period of smarter borders, prisons, and police.

All borders are sites of tragedy. No one should suffer for crossing them, whether they’re seeking refuge or work or a better life where human rights are respected.

Possibly relevant: Bernie Sanders Has A Plan To Revive Labor Unions | HuffPost:
The senator tells HuffPost it's time to ban right-to-work laws and make it easier to unionize.

Things shared on Nov 30s

Monarchists are anarchists with servants.

-

When rich people of color have classist reactions to white workers who may be racist, I want to sympathize with the PoC, but that’s hard when their reaction says their complaint is they are not receiving all the privilege they feel their wealth entitles them to.

-

An inconsistency of the identity left: Calling for sympathy for people with mental illness, then insisting people who behave aberrantly in racist or sexist ways should not be considered mentally ill but instead are examples of structural racism or sexism.

-

The #1 way to recognize bias from people who discuss how many people were killed under Castro:

Do they think Cubans who died trying to come to the US to make a better life are political victims, but Mexicans who died trying to do the same thing were just poor people who should've stayed where they came from?

-

We may never know the exact number of people who died under Castro, but there is one thing we do know: the last official execution in Cuba was in 2003. The US is still executing people.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Things shared on Nov 29ths

I hate scrolling down to United States when I have to say where I'm from. We should change our name to the Armadillo States—our politics often involve armor, rolling into a ball, and peeing on ourselves.

-

On G+, Bernd Paysan used a phrase I adore: "Neoliberale Salonkommunisten". It translates to "neoliberal Salon communists."

-

"As a social party we receive the Negro and all other races upon absolutely equal terms." —Eugene V. Debs, 1903

-

"There never was any social inferiority that was not the shriveled fruit of economic inequality." —Eugene V. Debs

-

The problem with the political compass is it suggests right and left libertarians are equally libertarian, but they are not. The goal for left libertarians is to end the state. The goal for right libertarians is to keep enough of the state to protect the lords from the serfs.

-

I want to complain about all the people who use the internet to complain.

-

Dear internet, if you didn't know something, the age of the source is irrelevant. News is anything that's new to the reader.

The New Deal wasn't inherently racist; it started the black voter shift to the Democrats

See the “Mythologizing the New Deal” section of What Black Life Actually Looks Like by Cedric Johnson

And

African Americans and the New Deal: A Look Back in History

ETA: The New Deal Wasn’t Intrinsically Racist | The New Republic
whites were 74 percent of all the domestic and agricultural workers excluded from Social Security at its outset. That is, three white workers were excluded for every nonwhite worker—a distribution suggesting that the point of the exclusions was not simply to suppress African Americans. Several categories of workers that were very predominantly white—for example, seamen in the merchant marine, self-employed individuals, workers in the nonprofit sector, professionals—also were excluded from coverage. Altogether, three-fourths of the 20 million American workers who were excluded from early Social Security coverage were white.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Things I've said about Thanksgiving and Columbus Day

Happy Thanksgiving! It's the holiday when Americans with awful families and Americans with no families envy each other. Eat something good and do something you like, and dear God, be kind.

-

Happy Tryptophan Day! Today I am thankful for Addams Family Values.

-

Why it's right to celebrate Thanksgiving and change the name of Columbus Day

Columbus's legend ignores the fact that the Americas were discovered at least 12,000 years ago, and Columbus's history as a conqueror and slaver is nothing to celebrate. The name of that holiday should be changed.

There's nothing shameful about the first Thanksgiving—the shameful treatment of the original Americans came later. The legend exaggerates what was good about that first Thanksgiving and glosses over the troublesome parts, but that's just what legends do. There are good reasons to celebrate the best we've done. It inspires us to do more that's good.

So have a great Thanksgiving! Emma and I plan to.

-

"I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land. " —Jon Stewart

This is the day Americans celebrate the Wampanoags saving their ass. If you want to imagine what was lost, read 1491.

-

In honor of Thanksgiving, for the next two days, I will only share things that make me thankful.

-
Related:

The Plymouth Colony was an experiment in mercantilism, not socialism

Quiet thinking

Sexy halloween costumes and social justice neo-puritanism, Parts 1 & 2

Things shared on Nov 28ths

"Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn't know before you learned it." -Unknown

-

"Use it or lose it" is excellent advice for house-cleaning.

-

Conservatives telling socialists that we shouldn't like Bernie because he owns three homes makes as much sense as socialists telling conservatives that they shouldn't like Nikki Haley or Ben Carson because they're brown.

-

I may start referring to the identitarian left as the id-left. And I may start using neo-identitarian to refer to the people I had been calling left-identitarians.

I should sell programs to make it easier to keep up.

-

Does anyone know who coined Latinx? I'm wondering if, like Native American, it was first used by white academics.

-

When identitarians talk about "sexism 101" or "racism 101", they are acknowledging that their understanding is academic, and failing to note that what's taught at expensive schools is what benefits the rich.

-

Marxism has branched into so many schools that I am hesitant to call myself one. I call myself a socialist because it's simpler, like calling myself a democrat instead of a follower of Paine. But I'd be content to be called an Engelsist.

-

Song For The Luddites
by George Gordon Byron

I.
As the Liberty lads o'er the sea
Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood,
So we, boys, we
Will die fighting, or live free,
And down with all kings but King Ludd!

II.
When the web that we weave is complete,
And the shuttle exchanged for the sword,
We will fling the winding sheet
O'er the despot at our feet,
And dye it deep in the gore he has pour'd.

III.
Though black as his heart its hue,
Since his veins are corrupted to mud,
Yet this is the dew
Which the tree shall renew
Of Liberty, planted by Ludd!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

HBO's Watchmen swaps anarchism for race reductionism

I'm liking HBO's Watchmen so far, but this illustrates its reductionist core:
"When we started thinking about what a superhero might look like in the 1930s, it's like, ‘who might be the person likeliest to seek justice outside the traditional means of obtaining justice? Who in the 1930s might be the person most likely to, to head down that path?’ Oh, of course, it's a black person, right?"
They completely missed socialists.

If Alan Moore, an anarchist, had been consulting on the HBO Watchmen, he probably would've noted that black people weren't the only people lynched in America. Wobblies were too. HBO's Watchmen connects the superhero impulse to defenders of racism, but not to defenders of capitalism, like the masked vigilantes who lynched Frank Little and Wesley Everest.

People forget that when Superman first showed up, he was a working class hero as Clark Kent and as Superman. Journalists were not the well-paid products of expensive schools then, and Superman's targets included bankers and landlords.

-

Yes, Moore's name isn't on the project because he values more things than money.

Things shared on Nov 27ths

I was a long-haired kid in the South who got hassled regularly, so I'm thankful pictures like this are ancient history. Yes, I know the same sort of people have found new ways to demand conformity, but there's some satisfaction in knowing the definition of conformity is broader than it was.

Image may contain: 2 people

-

Something I wrote a year ago that I failed to do (because I've yet to find a better term), but still agree with:

I won't refer to left-identitarianism anymore because that validates the notion that its believers are leftists. They call themselves leftists, but they're mostly neoliberals, with some anarchists and fuzzy minded people who don't grasp that socialism is universalist.

-

I’ve noticed something nice: the class-first left is growing faster, thanks to Sanders and now Ocasio-Cortez. Other people are finding ways to say what I’ve been trying to say since 2005, and that gives me hope. If I become less political online—or more—that’s why.

-

The real meaning of MAGA is Make Another Gilded Age.

-

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 1 illustrated the divide in modern feminism: Buffy was a Sanders feminist; Cordelia was a Clinton feminist.

-

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Things shared on Nov 26ths

Some people insist the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were racist. The abolitionists disagreed:

"The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States were a constant reproach to the slaveholding South." —Thaddeus Stevens

-

"It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.” — Joseph Joubert

-

"The great American pretense is that communism is to blame for bread lines in Havana but capitalism isn't to blame for poverty in Detroit." —Freddie de Boer

-

If I was a nicer person, I wouldn't have liked Jessica Jones so much.

-

Fidel Castro is on my list of great flawed men from the middle of the 20th century, which includes Lyndon Baines Johnson. Both did a lot of good, and a lot of people died because of them. If you believe the ends justify the means, Cubans are better off than they would've been if Batista, the US's puppet prince, had stayed in power. They would've been even better off if the US had chosen to embrace rather than isolate them. But Castro did things like desegregate Cuba's beaches while Jim Crow still thrived in the South, and provide all Cubans with healthcare before Johnson gave us the limited help of Medicare and Medicaid, and the US could never forgive that.

Either Cuba survived despite the US embargo, or the embargo was a pointless waste of US resources. You can't have it both ways.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that the embargo cost the U.S. economy $1.2 billion per year in lost sales and exports.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Things shared on Nov 25ths

If you want to understand the US from detective shows, watch The Wire for the city and Justified for the country.

-

When you hate haters, hatred wins.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Things shared on Nov. 24ths

1. Are you named after someone? My uncle who was killed by friendly fire in World War 2.
2. When is the last time you cried? When I heard that someone I know is suffering from an incurable condition.
3.Do you like your handwriting? No, but Emma does, so that's okay. I may measure mine against that of calligraphers and comic book letterers, so I'm always convinced mine is illegible.
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? I'm mostly though not exclusively vegetarian, so sometimes it's turkey or salmon, but it's more often cheese or a fried egg or a black bean burger or hummus.
5. Do you have kids? No.
6. Do you use sarcasm? Of course not.
7. Do you still have your tonsils? No
8. Would you bungee jump? I have a long list of things that might kill me that I have no interest in doing.
9. What is your favorite cereal? In the general sense, oatmeal. In the specific, Trader Joe's ginger granola.
10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Yes, but I avoid shoes that I have to tie.
11. Do you think you are strong? Not compared to weight lifters, but I've always been stronger than most people my age.
12. What is your favorite ice cream? Why limit yourself? My favorite grocery store ice cream company is Talenti.
13. What is the first thing you notice about people? Most of the time, their mood.
14. Football or Baseball? No, thank you.
15. What is the least favorite thing you like about yourself? I get impatient with people.
16. What color pants are you wearing now? Gray.
17. What was the last thing you ate? For dinner, a Chinese-inspired mock duck and rice dish that I made.
18. What are you listening to right now? Emma and the cat breathing as they sleep.
19. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Black.
20. Favorite Flavor? Why one? Maybe cinnamon.
21. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? I hate phones. Someone at a bicycle store.
22. Favorite sport to watch? Dancing
23. Hair color? Some gray, some brown, some missing.
24. Favorite food to eat? Why limit yourself? I like food from every continent except Antarctica.
25. Scary movies or happy endings? Good endings.
26. Last movie you watched ? Dr. Strange
27. What color shirt are you wearing? Brown

-

The US's two parties decided to see who could run the worse candidate, and the American people lost.

-

Indulge my fanboy realization: Except for the Hulk, the Avengers are smart, but the Black Widow is the smartest. Captain America's strength and weakness is he sees the best in everyone, while Black Widow simply sees them. Which of the two is wiser depends on your POV.

-

People who insist the Electoral College is democratic fail to remember that it was created by the rich, not by the people, and changing it cannot be done by a simple vote of the people, but by going through the system the rich created.

-

A minute ago, I did not correct something that was wrong on the internet. That's how my people celebrate holidays.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Things shared on Nov. 23rds

"The President pardoned two turkeys. Neither turkey thanked him. Expect a Tweet in which he threatens to eat them after all." —Emma Bull

-

Confirmation bias would be funny if only one side did it.

-

Now that I've learned about confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance, I'm going to stop trying to convince people of their errors. I'll just shoot them.

-

Right-libertarians reveal their authoritarian souls when they support anti-democratic institutions like the Electoral College and the Senate.

-

Free speech is both a prerequisite for democracy and the way democracy ensures minorities may speak.

-

The most radical part of the Communist Manifesto: “the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.”

Winning the battle of democracy is the first goal for Sanders and Corbyn, which is why authoritarian leftists hate them.

-

If you say anyone who disagrees with your limited understanding of a situation will be banned, I will sympathize with you while I pity you.

-

You do not defeat right-identitarianism with left-identitarianism. You win with solidarity.


"Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us." Thomas Paine

-

Help! I've fallen into the internet and I can't get out!

-

Image may contain: text

Friday, November 22, 2019

Things shared on Nov. 22nds

Dear conservatives,

When most socialists share images associated with China or the USSR, it’s like when you share images associated with 1776: we don’t want authoritarian communism any more than you want slavery.

You don’t want slavery, do you?

-

Expensive cities and cities with reputations for craziness overlap for a reason: to live in them, you either have to be crazy enough to keep paying the cost or so rich that you rarely interact with normal people.

-

The internet used to be a party where people assumed everyone meant well. Now it’s a public square filled with spies.

-

Block lists are for people who are afraid their minds are not completely closed.

-

Dear young people, my generation didn't shaft you. Capitalists did. Under-40 capitalists are still doing what over-40 ones did.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Things shared on Nov. 21sts

If you want to understand others, read charitably.

-

If you cannot fairly summarize your opponent’s position, you are furious about a fantasy. #MostInternetKerfuffles

-

The word police think black Americans progressed by changing their group's name from African to Colored to Negro to Afro-American to People of Color as each previous name was used as an insult by racists. In reality, that was a side show. Names don't create respect. Deeds do.

-

Dear people who say, "Why didn't they know something was wrong?":

Good people give others the benefit of the doubt. Only people who assume guilt are not surprised when someone is guilty.

-

As table decorations, wax apples are better than Red Delicious apples because they last longer and taste better.

-

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." —Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Gray Phoenix, or the Southern Superman, an old proposal for a DC Comics Elseworlds story

I found this file on my computer. I'd completely forgotten about it. I can't even remember if I ever sent it to DC—I might've done a draft, set it aside, and forgotten about it. With the right artist, it could've been fun, I suppose, but the only part that I especially like now is the idea for that world's Green Lantern.

Kal-El arrives on Earth in the 19th century and grows up in Virginia, concealing his powers from humanity, but not from his family. Fighting for the Confederacy as an officer under Lee, he becomes known as "the Southern Superman." He helps the South take Washington, D.C. in 1861. Lincoln is captured, and the war seems to be almost over.

The intervention of a costumed superhuman on the southern side inspires a northern industrialist to become the ultimate guerrilla fighter, the Batman, who uses 19th century technology and a mysterious disguise to frighten his enemies. He rescues Lincoln and the war continues, fought primarily on Northern soil with the Union armies constantly retreating before the Southern Superman and the Army of Virginia.

The war is noticed on Themiscyra. Wonder Woman comes to North America and fights for the U.S., for she sees the Civil War as a war to end slavery even though Lincoln still says his only goal is to preserve the Union.

Abin Sur, the sector's Green Lantern, learns that an extra-terrestrial has intervened in Earth's affairs and comes to Earth, but his space ship crashes. His ring finds a successor, a black woman who has escaped from slavery.

With Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and the Batman battling the South on three fronts, the over-extended Southern forces fall back. The Union navies blockade the South...but the blockade begins to fail when the son of a lighthouse keeper and an Atlantean decides to fight for the South as Aquaman.

Inspired by the Batman's guerrilla tactics and the Robin Hood of Ivanhoe, a Southern plantation owner becomes the Green Arrow; he carries a yellow arrow that he hopes to use to kill the black Green Lantern.

A Southern florist becomes a spy. In her blond wig and dark clothes, she is known as the Black Canary.

At last, with Richmond surrounded by Union forces, Judah P. Benjamin and the Southern Superman convince Jefferson Davis to free the slaves (as he was encouraged to do in our history). France and Britain agree to help the South, and the war ends with the establishment of a Confederate States of America in which slavery has been outlawed.

In a gesture of good will, Abraham Lincoln and the northern superheroes travel to Richmond to meet Jefferson Davis. Green Arrow, the plantation owner whose wealth was halved when his slaves were freed, goes to the same meeting, clearly intending to kill someone, but instead of shooting Lincoln, the man who forced the South to abandon slavery, or the black Green Lantern, he kills Jefferson Davis, who he sees as a traitor to Southern ideals.

Superman and Batman capture the Green Arrow together, and the story ends with the creation of a new organization, the Justice Fellowship of America.

Rereading this, I feel a little guilty about killing Green Arrow because I am a fanboy. But it still seems appropriate to kill at least one person with misplaced ideals.

Things shared on Nov. 20ths

In my soul, there is a constant battle between my father's working class ethos and my mother's middle class niceness. Mom usually wins. But when things matter, Dad does.

-

I won't join any far left party because I'm afraid I'd have to split with myself.

Okay, that was funny in my head.

But I remember de Clayre's "anarchism without adjectives" and wish I didn't have to add democratic to define my socialism.

-

Red Delicious Apples exist so we may learn at an early age that capitalists lie.

-

You do not have to read something to have an opinion about it. But you do have to read something to have an opinion that’s worth anyone else’s time.

-

Police training should include civility training. The best cops understand the practical reason for treating everyone with respect: it decreases conflict. The rest need to learn it.

Yeah, I just saw a video where the cops escalated violence by trying to be the most macho.

-

I never expected to live in a future where people would be punished for protecting drinking water.

-

"Islam is not a race" is how some people say, "I'm not a racist; I'm a bigot."

-

If anyone agrees with everything I say, I'm not doing my job.

-

Problem #1 with socialist academics: They forget what Marx said was the point of philosophy.

Problem #2 with socialist academics: They spend more time criticizing other socialist academics than capitalists.

-

Allies are people you do not trust; comrades are people you do.

-

When it's gray and below freezing, I want to eat everything in the house, then hibernate.

-

"Khrushchev is said to have once teased Zhou: "You must acknowledge that I come from the working class, while you were born to a family of the bourgeoisie." Zhou replied: "Yes, but we have one thing in common. We have both betrayed our class.""

-

I may go 19th century and start talking about the utopian left. It’s a kinder and more precise way to talk about the moralist left, the dreamers who hate practicality and love feeling righteous.

-

"Illegal immigrant" is code for "poor immigrant". With few exceptions, legal immigrants meet wealth requirements.

-

Two-party system: Vote for a party, get shafted until you can't stand it, vote for other party, get shafted until... Repeat until you die.

-

#1 signs of cognitive dissonance online: blocking instead of talking, raging instead of engaging.

-

A Black Bloc rioter is Schrodinger's police provocateur.

-

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ―Aristotle

Gen X had it easier than Boomers did

From The Economic Consequences of Millennial Health | Blue Cross Blue Shield:

Don't blame the boomers, it was gen X that sat by and let the world crumble | The Independent:
I remember sitting opposite a fellow gen X-er lamenting the dismal state of British politics over lunch. “We let it happen though, didn’t we?” he said. “We didn’t get involved. Perhaps we should have. But we were too busy having fun.”
It's been millennials vs boomers for too long: it's time to start blaming Generation X | Nick Evershed | Opinion | The Guardian:
If we look at the composition of governments and who is leading countries, it’s clear that Gen X should start shouldering some of the blame. They’ve been in positions of power for a while now, and terrible thinkpieces that fan the flames of generational warfare should start to reflect this. Should Gen X be doing more to address the climate crisis even though it is largely the fault of boomers? I say yes, yes they should. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Things shared on Nov. 19ths

“Nice” is meaningless—many of the worst people treat friends and acquaintances well. Character is revealed by how you treat your opponents.

-

Has anyone ever been insulted into changing their mind?

-

People who insist two things are "apples and oranges" are often unable to see that they're fruit.

And some people who insist two things are "apples and oranges" can't tell the difference between a Haralson and a Red Delicious.

When people say something is "apples and oranges", you are usually leaving the realm of logic and entering the realm of faith.

-

“People are too eager to say ‘This legendary person had flaws!’ instead of, ‘Wow, this flawed human being managed to do something legendary.’” — Mishell Baker

-

The basic difference between socialists and left identitarians: The racial proportions of US poverty have not changed since King's day. Identitarians conclude the problem is the persistence of racism. Socialists conclude the problem is the persistence of poverty.

Identitarians do not have a solution for racism, but socialists do have a solution for poverty, a solution that King advocated: share the wealth.

Identitarians often say, "Sharing the wealth won't end racism!" That's like saying taking the train won't grow potatoes.

-

Hamilton is the show of the left bourgeoisie. Does the right bourgeoisie have a show too, or do they just get expensive sports tickets?

-

A romantic version of a job that was done by poor people of all races.

Image may contain: 1 person


Monday, November 18, 2019

Things shared on Nov. 18ths

I am constantly surprised by Democrats who say the candidate in 2020 shouldn’t be the country’s most popular politician.

Okay, I could’ve ended that sentence after “Democrats”.

-

Chandler famously couldn't remember who killed the chauffeur in Big Sleep. My theory: Joe Brody killed him to get the pictures and lied to Marlowe, then was killed by Lundgren before he could confess.

-

I get the "winter" part. It's the "wonderland" I'm still working on.

-

Dear leftists, the goal is to be better than the right, not just as bad.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Things shared on Nov. 17ths

Dear conservatives who talk about crony capitalism:

Capitalists are human. Humans have cronies. Please stop being redundant.

Sincerely,

Yr. socialist friend who wants you to up your game

-

I'm trying to decide if "tradcon" is useful. If so, "tradlib" is not because the Gilded Age liberal is not the New Deal liberal who is not the neoliberal.

-

Image may contain: text

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Things I shared on November 16ths

Old creeps, stop misrepresenting the '60s. It was "Do your own thing", not "Make others do your thing." It was about consent, not coercion, and freedom, not force.

-

"If you would deny a thing to your enemy, it is not a right." —Edward Snowden

-

“Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.” —George Orwell

-

"A leftist should not champion being "politically correct." The term was coined to attack dogmatism, not to defend courtesy." —Bob Kruger

-

Zionists happily conflate antiZionism with antisemitism. Since the US's largest religion is Christianity, should we say any criticism of the US is antiChristian?

-

" The political project of the Left is universalist: it is for all human beings. ... And identity politics is essentially not for everybody but for the members of a specific group only." —Eric Hobsbawm

-

The goal for privilege theorists is a class system where rulers and ruled look alike. The goal for socialists is to end class systems.

-

"Duty always calls, but sometimes you just gotta let it go to voicemail." —Michael Butler

-

From 2018:

Facebook just deleted a comment I made about the history of, um, "wh*te tr*sh" because the term is offensive. Damn right it's offensive. That's what I was writing about.

"This comment goes against our Community Standards on hate speech"

So we can't cite hate speech to talk about denigration of the poor. Thanks, Facebook.

-

From 2016:

I started to post the following on a friend's link, then realized it would sound pompous as hell there, so I'm going to put it here where people expect me to sound pompous as hell:

The two driving factors of clickbait are the hope that our beliefs will be confirmed and the hope there's a solution for what we hate. But if there's a way to get people to stop clicking and sharing foolish things, I don't know what it is. The first person to tell us to think critically probably gave the advice before the discovery of fire.

Okay, I'm feeling pessimistic about my species just now. But yesterday I was at the STOP DAPL protest in St. Paul, and I was reminded that the best examples of my species are amazing.

-

No photo description available.

Image may contain: 2 people, text

Friday, November 15, 2019

My comment at Slate about the myth that John M. Ford's family tried to keep his work out of print

I left this at John M. Ford’s books are being republished, but how did he fall into obscurity?:
I was one of Mike Ford's friends and editors, and I want to go on record with this: Martha Fry was extremely helpful when we wanted to keep his Liavek stories in print. The breakdown in communication between his original family, his fannish family, and his agent has many reasons, but there are no villains in that story. There are only gossips who love drama, as there are in any community. If anyone claims his first family tried to make his work unavailable, I will point to the Liavek anthologies as evidence that's not true.

Things I shared on November 15ths

At Aldi today, I came to the register soon after a homeless man who had not been able to wash in days or weeks or months. He smelled like capitalism.

-

Being a democratic socialist, I have yet to be convinced that revolution is the only path to socialism. But liberals sharing vague plans to ameliorate poverty someday maybe make me sympathize with revolutionary socialists.

-

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." —Ray Bradbury

-

Liberals get very upset at the implication they don't care about poverty—but not so upset that they support ending poverty by sharing wealth.

-

"How many bag ladies do there have to be so that one ultra rich woman can wear Chanel ?" —Jim Matteson

-

"A statistical probability of advantage doesn't help an individual who doesn't have the actual advantage." -Ulrika O'Brien

-

Explaining left identitarianism: "How do you create an identity as oppressed when you benefit from oppressing the working class? You have to move away from class and find new identifiers." —Evan Thomas

-

"What do you want with this particular suffering of the Jews? The poor victims on the rubber plantations in Putamayo, the blacks in Africa with whose bodies the Europeans play a game of catch, are just as near to me. Do you remember the words written on the work of the Great General Staff about Trotha's campaign in the Kalahari desert? "And the death-rattles, the mad cries of those dying of thirst, faded away into the sublime silence of eternity." Oh, this "sublime silence of eternity" in which so many screams have faded away unheard. It rings within me so strongly that I have no special corner of my heart reserved for the ghetto: I am at home wherever in the world there are clouds, birds, and human tears." — Rosa Luxemburg to Mathilde Wurm (February 16, 1917)

-

Has anyone studied the politics of callout culture? It's blamed on the left, but I suspect most of its participants are neoliberals. It is predicated on conformity—it is as leftist as McCarthyism and Puritanism.

-

“I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I'm a human being, first and foremost, and as such I'm for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” ― Malcolm X

-

No one lies better than those who lie to themselves.

-

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Thursday, November 14, 2019

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain damns the idea of whiteness

I’m rereading Huckleberry Finn. This is one of the great lines of literature:

“Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on'y white genlman dat ever kep' his promise to ole Jim.”

Twain’s main target is whiteness, but the class system takes a hit too.

I’ve read that some critics ask “Is Huck black?” That’s the kind of question that only a someone who doesn't think about class can ask. Huck is uncivilized.

Twain talked about Huck being torn between his conscience and his heart. Conscience is what civilization teaches us to want, and heart is what we naturally want. His conscience tells Huck to turn Jim in; his heart says to free him. When Huck hears Jim effectively damn all white people, he rejects conscience and commits to his heart.

Left identitarians criticize the novel for making Jim ignorant, gullible, and good-hearted. They miss three facts:

1. Those adjectives describe Huck too.

2. Both Jim and Huck are intelligent. Their ignorance comes from their positions in the Old South's class system.

3. Huck and Jim are gullible because they are ignorant and good-hearted. In a better society, they would be less gullible because they would be educated. They might be less good-hearted for the same reason.

Things I shared on November 14ths

When I ask "Why do the children of the rich deserve to be given money, while the children of the poor do not?" rich people say we all can give to whoever we please. That's like being asked why someone deserves to be beaten and being told we all have a right to swing our arms.

-

Neoliberals think justice is shattering ceilings for the 1%. Socialists think justice is shattering walls for the 99%.

-

The next time someone says "Nazis are Socialists because it's in the name", I'll say anyone who talks favorably of nationalism is a Nazi because it's in the name. And I will add that if you look at what they advocate, the case is much stronger for nationalists being Nazis than socialists being Nazis.

-

"Patriotism isn't about the place, it's about the artificial lines around it." —Steven Brust

-

Patriotism has a benign form, a love of the place where you live that doesn't exclude love of your world. Nationalism is the name of patriotism's malignant form.

-

The identitarian left othering white workers is as evil as the identitarian right othering people of color, women, Muslims, and GLBTQ folk.

-

Why I sometimes share cheesecake art:

Cheesecake is a lost art form. I feel about it the way black collectors of Sambo art feel—we don’t want that time back, but we can still appreciate the craft applied to the strange logic that produced things our culture has left behind.

-

Image may contain: 2 people, text

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 13ths

Universalists believe this:

"We must approach the problem as humans first, and whatever else we are second." —Malcolm X

-

An archaic insult every socialist should know: “quomodocunquizing clusterfist”

Quomodocunquizing: making money in any possible way

Clusterfist: a ‘close-fisted’ or grasping fellow

-

I learned a sad thing: An early draft of the Pledge of Allegiance included “equality and brotherhood”. The editors removed them because people might think they applied to women and people of color.

From https://web.archive.org/web/20100927093557/http://www.oldtimeislands.org/pledge/pledge.htm:
“His original Pledge read as follows: 'I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' He considered placing the word, 'equality,' in his Pledge, but knew that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans. [ * 'to' added in October, 1892. ]”

-

The people who most hate talking about belief systems are those who aren't aware of their own.

-

A friend who disagrees with my politics says I come across as a condescending dick online. I often hear this from people who expect to convert me to their worldview, so I don't pay a lot of attention to it, but I have been wondering if my attempts to be polite come across as condescending. Am I being too formal? Am I not swearing enough? Should I insult people directly so they know I'm paying attention?

-

No insult is greater to an elitist than being treated as an equal.

-

We should end the meme that Trump was all about hate. "Make America Great" is optimistic. "I'm With Her" is not: it only says you're a follower.

-

"Our business in life is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits." - Robert Louis Stevenson

-

If you send me a friend request and your icon is an attractive woman's, I get suspicious. But if your icon is a cartoon character's, I just click "approve" while thinking, "Yep, that's a real person."

-

It's sad when powerless people fight powerless people on the internet. That includes me. Take my best advice and go do something fun now.

-

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'SHOW RESPECT EVEN TO PEOPLE WHO DON'T DESERVE IT; NOT AS A REFLECTION OF THEIR CHARACTER, BUT A REFLECTION OF YOURS. LIFE PLAYGROUND'

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Racism fails to explain why Obama won far more of the white working class vote than Hillary Clinton

From Class Reproduction in America Revisited – Policy Tensor:
Donald Trump won the white working class, defined as non-Hispanic whites without a college degree, by 39 percentage points. It was the largest margin since 1980. But it did not come out of the blue. Starting in the 1990s, the white working class has increasingly abandoned the Democratic Party. Even in 2008, when Obama won with a historic majority, the GOP won the white working class vote by 20 percentage points.

Things I shared on earlier November 12ths

When capitalists say, "It can't work," they mean, "We can defeat it."

-

Identitarians don't care that other groups suffer from the things they do. This makes solidarity impossible.

-

People, stop making fun of Trump being afraid of the rain. He has a completely understandable fear of melting.

-

"Proper English" is the polite way to say "ruling class English".

-

Dear people who agonize over pronunciation: English may have a million dialects. None of them are wrong.

-

One of the nice things about having followers on the right and left is I can move funny things from one community to another.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 11ths

You cannot reason people out of denial. You can only avoid what comforts them and hope time will make them strong enough to face the world.

-

The Bible means "the books", but it's bound as one book. That's its first contradiction.

-

The Bible, an anthology, contradicts itself. The verses you cite reveal everything about you and nothing about your religion.

-

Unpopular opinion? Malibu should be turned into a park so everyone can enjoy it, and fires and mudslides can be easily managed.

-

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing

Image may contain: text

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 10ths

Most people who benefit from neoliberalism simply can't understand the rage of those who have been shafted by it.

-

"a black student is three times more likely to be suspended or expelled than a white student."

Without considering class, that's meaningless. A black student is two-and-a-half to three times more likely to be living in poverty than a white student. Are poor white students and poor black students equally likely to be suspended or expelled? If so, the problem is class, not race. Are poor black students slightly more likely to be suspended or expelled than poor white students? Then the problem includes racism, but the greater problem is still being ignored: poverty.

Putting Implicit Racial Bias to the Test | HuffPost

-

If I could convince myself that procrastination was work, I would be the most productive person ever.

-

Centrists are binarians: they divide the world into those who support the status quo and those who don't.

-

A point I wish more leftists would grasp: Racists supporting someone does not mean the person they're supporting is racist, and focusing on the racist supporters does nothing to defeat the person those racists are supporting.

-

In defense of "agreeing to disagree":

I just saw someone say he didn't like the phrase and thought it was used by people who could not defend their position. I'm a great fan of the phrase. I use it when I choose to be merciful, which is more often than my readers may realize. I would prefer to have brambles in my view than scorched earth.

One meaning of the phrase is "you are not worth my time."

But the more common meaning is "I will tolerate this foolishness of yours because you are worth my time despite it."

Agreeing to disagree is at the heart of civility. It's also at the heart of being an ally, not in the sense that's used by cultists who think allies must think alike, but in the sense used by practical people: despite our disagreement, we can work together.

Ultimately, it's a mark of both maturity and liberty. It means you are sufficiently secure in your own belief that you do not need everyone around you to validate it, and because you want to be free to believe what you choose, you support the right of others to believe what they choose.

-

“You are deceived and blinded that you may not see how this race antagonism perpetuates a monetary system which beggars you both.” —Tom Watson, Senator from Georgia, 1896

-

I always underestimate the hoops identitarian leftists will jump through to claim an appeal to patriotism that's supported by Americans of all races is racist rather than jingoistic.

-

"No war between nations, no peace between classes." #OldSloganStillGood

-

Why aren't identitarians talking about the fact that Clinton lost a lot of the white vote that Obama had won? #RhetoricalQuestion #Economy

-

Dems who blame the GOP instead of the DNC for this election, you're saying you can't win instead of saying you'll learn from your mistakes.

-

When you lose a battle and hope to win the war, it's time to question your assumptions about your foe.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 9ths

If the internet didn't feed trolls, the easily-outraged would die of boredom.

-

Agnostic: An atheist who is quickly bored by arguments about theism and atheism.

-

Emma Bull, talking about the failure of facts to reassure people: "Statistics can't hug you."

-

Reminder: The socialist Charles Fourier coined the word "feminism", a fact that's inconvenient for capitalists and identitarians alike.

"Fourier...was the first to declare that in any given society the degree of woman's emancipation is the natural measure of the general emancipation." —F. Engels

-

Conservatives say the great political fight is democracy vs communism. But when you point out that the Senate and the Electoral College are not democratic, they say we’re a republic, not a democracy.

-

The UK has a House of Commons and a House of Lords; the US has a House of Representatives and a House of Millionaires. The House of Lords has less power than the House of Commons; the House of Millionaires has more power than the House of Representatives.

The names of the two chambers of our Congress reveal more than most Americans realize. The House of Representatives is supposed to represent us. The Senate is supposed to veto anything the rich don’t like.

The job of the senate becomes obvious when you learn “senator” is the Latin title for “old man”, ie, a rich old man, ie, a patriarch or lord.

-

Dear people trying to find someone to blame after a US election: the ultimate villain is a two-party system run by rich people who have no interest in giving us all what we need. Even the people who think they have won have lost, and deserve your pity.

-

The most fascinating fact about Trump voters: "27 percent of white voters who said they want the next president to change to more liberal policies voted for Trump."

This may be the greatest reason why the polls consistently showed Sanders trouncing Trump. Everyone who was paying attention knew Clinton was only promising to keep on the neoliberal course.

-

No photo description available.

-

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Friday, November 8, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 8ths

People who complain about "class reductionists" believe it's wrong to focus on poverty instead of identity.

-

The worst part of the election cycle: The week after, when pundits tell their fans why the results confirm their biases.

-

In the US, a third-party vote in a major election is the only way we can register "none of the above".

-

The mob that went to Tucker Carlson's house is an embarrassment to the left. Target power, not power's parrots.

-

The Senate gives residents of small states (by population, not size) far more voting power than residents of large ones. By its logic, black Americans should have seven votes and white Americans one.

-

Image may contain: 1 person

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 7ths

I just saw a Star Wars fan ask if the bad reviews for Solo were from Russiabots. She added, as though this were a known fact, that bad reviews for The Last Jedi were from Russiabots.

I haven't seen Solo, but if she's right about Last Jedi, I have to tell Emma I'm a Russiabot.

-

I may start speaking of Marie Antoinette feminists instead of identitarian feminists. They're people who are upset by unfairness but don't understand why someone would want Sanders' goals ($15 min. wage, UHC, free higher education) when they could have a female Prez instead.

-

"The Charter of the Forest was sealed 800 years ago today. Its defence of the property-less and of ‘the commons’, means the Right would prefer to ignore it – and progressives need to celebrate and renew it."

Why You've Never Heard of a Charter as Important as the Magna Carta | naked capitalism

-

What I want done after I'm dead?

I don't care. I'll be dead.

I have a notion that pet lovers should be allowed to become food for their favorite animals, but I'm not going to try to start Soylent Green Chow.

-

"Those who are unwilling to share should understand...God is commanding them not to give away their own property, but His." —St. Augustine

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 6ths

I'm not sure which is harder for an old gunfighter—having the kids keep gunning for you, or despairing because the kids shoot with so much enthusiasm and so little skill.

-

If you see power in terms of privilege, you defer to those who grant privileges lest they be taken away. If you see power in terms of rights, you demand them from those who try to withhold them and fight if they refuse your demand.

-

When people are purging their friends for political or religious reasons, this is my favorite Malcolm X quote.

"...my dearest friends have come to include all kinds — some Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and even atheists! I have friends who are called capitalists, Socialists, and Communists! Some of my friends are moderates, conservatives, extremists — some are even Uncle Toms! My friends today are black, brown, red, yellow, and white!" —Malcolm X

-

Revolutionary socialists say a true socialist state has never been created democratically.

But they admit every socialist state created by revolution has failed.

They conclude we must keep pushing for revolution. I conclude we must keep pushing for democracy.

-

Serfs are never to blame for kings. In all of history, there has been one successful slave revolution, and Haiti is still paying the price for that.

-

If you think gun violence is a mental health issue, why aren't you working to improve mental health care in the US? #UniversalHealthcare

-

When I was young, we dreamed of a world where no one would need to marry and no one would be drafted. We got a world where more people may marry and more people will be drafted.

-

C.d. Lewis summarized my position better than I could:

”Will's point is that while a title might communicate something practical on the job, the only thing it communicates OFF the job is that its possessor belongs to a class of persons capable of obtaining the title – and that's only valuable socially and not on the job.”

-

"There's a reason they didn't call it the civil privileges movement." —Emma Bull

-

"Democracy has become Empire’s euphemism for neo-liberal capitalism." —Arundhati Roy

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 5ths

Adolph Reed's definition of neoliberalism: “capitalism without a labor opposition”

-

I thought a little less of Dumas when I heard that he sometimes had a collaborator create the first draft. But I don't now. Many writers create solid first drafts. Few create great final drafts.

-

Today's sign I'm trapped in a stupid dimension:

Bank wanted proof of ID before letting me log in on my desktop. Email's no longer an option, so I had them send a code to my phone. But that app wanted proof of ID, so I had it send email to verify my phone to verify my desktop.

-

There are no centrists: politics is a map, not a line, and while much of the political landscape is known, parts are so little explored that the mapmakers might as well write “Here be dragons.”

Monday, November 4, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 4ths

So far as I know, I am the only High Priest of Seshat. Therefore, this is my first decree: To worship her, support your local library.

My second decree: By supporting your local library, you can be a High Priest too.

-

I hate it when I go to a site like Oglaf that asks if I'm an adult. I don't want to think about hard questions before seeing a dirty joke.

-

If giving people money creates a culture of dependency, we need to end inheritance.

-

When people say “Who are you to decide...” they are telling you they are the people to decide who may decide.

-

I speak out. You whine. #InternetDiscourse

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 3rds

The Third Man would make a great double bill with Casablanca.

-

The 21st century has been disappointing, but I like the Marvel movies.

-

...Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose message appeals to white liberals partly because of the moralism that lets you feel good about yourself in a particularly Protestant kind of way—in the sense of publicly performing one’s moral standing." —Adolph Reed

-

"I had a very sharp and studious black undergraduate student wholly inside a race-first understanding of politics. When I mentioned the white people who had voted for Obama once if not twice who also voted for Trump, his response was, well, of course you can’t say that voting for Obama means that you’re not a racist. I said, yes, that’s true, but by the same token you can’t say that voting for Trump means you are a racist, right? Which they don’t want to accept." —Adolph Reed

-

On Nov. 3, 2016

Dear internet, there's not a damn thing you can do about the election now. It's a beautiful day. Take a walk! Go for a bike ride! Love, me.

-

Friends on the far left like the old saying that if voting could change things, the government would not let us vote. But if voting can’t change things, the government would make it easier for poor folks to vote.

-

It is impossible to argue that inheriting wealth is fair. You can only make variations on two arguments:

1. God rewarded me wealth I did not earn.

2. I got mine, Jack. Screw you.

-

Like everyone, I want to be liked, but people who want to protect their walls can't like the people who want to tear them down. Defending the people with walls has many rewards, but I just can’t pursue them. So I accept their hate as praise, much though I’d rather be liked.

-

Image may contain: 1 person

Why Americans don't like academics who call themselves Doctor

During the American revolution, we rejected the idea that people should have titles. We like job descriptions and think people who use honorifics are putting on airs.

I wouldn't call someone with a master's degree "master", so I'm not about to call someone with a doctor's degree "doctor".

"only people of the medical profession correctly use the title of doctor socially" —Miss Manners

My take: The only people who should be called Doctor in social settings are musicians, superheroes, and supervillains.

After doing a little research on titles in the US, I'm both creeped out and not surprised that as the wealth gap grows, it's becoming more common for PhDs and JDs to be called Doctor in social situations.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Things I shared on earlier November 2nds

To people who say X doesn’t mean (a) racism does not exist or (b) we’re in a post-racial society:

The only person I’ve found who said we were in a post-racial society was Bill Bennett, who got carried away on the night that Obama was elected.

Is there a racist still alive? Then racism exists.

*

Capitalism is the system that racists use—racism has not had its own system in the US since the end of Jim Crow. Without sharing the wealth, US poverty will stay racially disproportionate even if every American gets "woke".

"You can't have capitalism without racism." —Malcolm X

*

If you would not trade places with a homeless white man, you are admitting that class trumps identity under capitalism today.

*

I always thought "free, white, and twenty-one" was racist and redundant. Turns out it's just racist. In the Old South, there were slaves who were legally white.

Legal whiteness before Jim Crow varied by state. In most, it meant being 3/4 white. In a few, it meant being 7/8 white. Being a slave only called for being the child of a slave. Being legally white did not free you—there were quadroon slaves. Only an owner could free a slave.

Being legally white gave you the privileges and responsibilities of whiteness: you could vote (depending on property requirements) and serve in the military, just like any fully white Protestant, Catholic, or Jew. Not even rich black slaveowners had those rights.

Abolitionists often pointed to white slaves to get white people to see themselves in slavery. It was two-edged tactic. With some it reinforced the colorism that favored light-skinned black people. But it made many whites see that what would be wrong for them was always wrong.

*

"Highly educated" is a euphemism for "richer". Every group invests in education when it acquires wealth. The rich reverse the order in order to feel like they deserve their wealth.