Sunday, May 31, 2020

shared on May 31sts

‪Under capitalism, workers have two jobs. The first is to earn their pay. The second is to earn their bosses’ profit. The faster they do the first and the more they do the second, the more their bosses love them.‬

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I hate talking about morality and politics because

1. They cannot be neatly separated.

2. Including morality usually turns the focus away from politics.

3. My morality is centered on liberty, so my politics let my allies disagree on morality so long as we agree on politics.

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The media knows outrage sells. Don't buy.

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Stories with magic that has well-defined rules are science fiction. In fantasy, life's greatest mysteries are unknowable.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

shared on May 30ths: best evidence Jews were always white, more

Pretentiousness tip: Don't say "take apart". Say "deconstruct".

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Perhaps the best evidence that Jews were always white in the US: When the Nazis studied US laws for ways to segregate German Jews, they didn't study US laws about Jews. They studied Jim Crow laws about black people.

Bonus fact: Nazis decided the one-drop rule was too strict.

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When fans of capitalism reveal their ignorance about Marx, they usually reveal their ignorance about capitalism too. See Jordan Peterson's failure to understand that exploitation is simply profiting from someone else's work.

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For the debate about whether the Irish sent to the Americas should be called slaves:

"The character of an Irishman... He's..a Valluable Slave in our Western Plantations, where they are distinguish'd by the Ignominious Epithet of White Negroes." —E. Ward, London Spy, 1700

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The worst thing that could happen to the left in the US is becoming known as the enemy of free speech. #Antifa #freespeech

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When artists do homages, they hope you'll recognize the source. When they do ripoffs, they hope you won't.

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Regarding the Wall Street statues of the Bull and Fearless Girl:

Fearless Girl does not want to kill the Wall Street bull. She wants to ride him over the rest of us like her brothers in the 1% do.

Friday, May 29, 2020

shared on May 29ths

It's odd so many of the people who object to rhetoric that might diminish the horror of slavery and Jim Crow will insist white non-Protestants like Italians, the Irish, and the Jews were not white. They don't see any differences between racial, religious, and national prejudice.

They may not see differences between racial, religious, and national prejudice because they think identity is personal—we are what we think we are. But that hides the reason racism is worse than tribalism: you can change your tribe, but you cannot change your race.

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The most effective education is the education we never notice.

Indoctrination is the dark side of this truth.

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The job of universities has always been to produce capable rulers. Part of that job is teaching the students that they're righteous so their creativity will be used to perpetuate the system that shaped them.

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Climbing Mount Everest shows us that rich people are willing to put time, hard work, the risk of death, and tens of thousands of dollars into avoiding helping the poor.

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Diversity and universalism are always in tension: diversity values our differences while universalism values our similarities.

Star Trek’s subtext was always about the tension between diversity and universalism, but as neoliberalism began promoting identity, a divide can been seen in DS9 and Voyager: Voyager is the choice of identitarians. DS9 is the choice of universalists.‬

Thursday, May 28, 2020

shared on May 28ths

In war, religion is often the excuse but never the reason.

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If you worry you're a bad or worthless person, you probably aren't. The worst people are certain they're good.

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"Progressive" has followed an old path: it meant the radical left, then it meant the cool kids, then it meant the fashionable kids, now it means Democrat and maybe nothing at all.

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Re Hachette and Amazon fighting over business terms: the butcher and the meat market are fighting, and they both say they're doing it for the cows.

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Is there a name for people who hear things they don't like and contact the speakers' bosses to try to get them fired? In kindergarten, we called them tattletales.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

shared on May 27ths

Sometimes when I read intolerant posts, I check the user bio, then nod when I see the writer is single.

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There's no way to guarantee you'll find someone compatible, but there are many ways to guarantee you won't.

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This explains why tiny gatherings of racist idiots should be ignored:

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." —misattributed to Gandhi

So long as you fight them, they think they're one step from winning.

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Orwell identifies the reason some people prefer the idea of a Job Guarantee to Basic Income:

“I believe that this instinct to perpetuate useless work is, at bottom, simply fear of the mob… It is safer to keep them too busy to think.” —George Orwell

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Those who can't answer, censor.

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Historically, "feminist and socialist" is redundant, and "feminist and capitalist" is a contradiction in terms.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

shared on May 26ths: prequels

A prequel is a sequel that's set before the story that inspired it.

The best prequels tell us our assumptions about the original story's history are wrong. The worst assure us we already knew all we needed to.

At some level, the audience knows prequels are stories that didn't matter enough to be told first. We prefer sequels because they might matter as much or more.

Monday, May 25, 2020

shared on May 25ths

Why I'm not an intersectionalist: There is no intersection of the rich and the poor, the ruling class and the working class, the exploiter and the exploited.

Most people accept the side life puts them on. Some choose one. I've chosen mine.

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Adolph Reed uses a term I'm likely to adopt: race-baiting.

“It's particularly galling to see the Wall Street, Clintonite wing of the party attempt simultaneously to red-bait and race-bait the left instead of participating in honest debate over policy approaches that would improve the lives of all working people of whatever race, gender, or sexual orientation and lead the country forward.” —Adolph Reed

Sunday, May 24, 2020

shared on May 24ths

How can people be outraged by terrorists bombing children and shrug off nations bombing children?

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Human (n): a creature that can get upset about anything

Saturday, May 23, 2020

shared on May 23rds

I just saw a robin on the fence. As I was thinking how beautiful it was, it shat. Nature mocks my romantic impulses.

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Some people see similarities first; some see differences. I hope I'm in the first group.

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It may be easier for libertarian socialists and capitalists to get along than it is for authoritarians—right and left libertarians want to free people in fairly similar ways while right and left authoritarians want to restrict people in very different ways.

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Yesterday, at Harbor Freight, I mistook a white guy for a clerk. Noted for everyone who thinks this only happens to people of color. (I've been mistaken for a clerk, but now that I dress like a bum, it doesn't happen anymore.)

Also: The idea that being mistaken for a clerk is insulting is about as classist as you can get.

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Speaking as a straight man, I think homophobes are repressed homosexuals because they're much more interested in gay sexuality than I am.

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Dear NFL, the only gesture that's more respectful than kneeling is prostrating yourself on the ground.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

shared on May 21sts

The apology police criticize apologies because they do not want apologies. They want groveling.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

shared on May 20ths

If you think Jews are a race, you either think converts aren't Jewish or it's possible to be transracial.

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Dear internet, when you notice dozens or even hundreds of Americans being idiots online, remember that the US population is 322,762,018.

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In times of outrage, good people try to hear what’s said and wise people try to hear what’s not.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

shared on May 19ths

Humans have two attitudes toward history: some like rewriting it, some prefer the rewritten version they were taught.

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When cheering the symbolism of removing statues, remember the Taliban bombing Buddhas and the US staging the toppling of Saddam's statue.

Monday, May 18, 2020

shared on May 18ths

How to know you're talking to a race reductionist: If you say "class trumps race today," they respond as if you said race doesn't matter.

"Trump" does not deny the second thing matters. It only means the first matters more.

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Robert E. Howard explains the internet:
"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split."

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I wish capitalists would distinguish between personal and private property, but they don't because they want everything to be treated like personal property.

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Gaslighting happens. But, like conspiracies, not as often as crazy people think.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

shared on May 17ths

People I half-agree with are less annoying than people I 95% agree with.

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The rich have no incentive to make a better system for us—it works well for them.

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The neoliberal take on the family is that both parents should be working to pay for nannies and cleaning services. They call that being pro-family and pro-feminist, perhaps because many of the nannies and maids are women who have families.

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People who like the Electoral College like it because it reduces the role of popularity in democracy.

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‪No one who voted for Clinton in the 2016 primaries is qualified to talk about electability.‬

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Why sheepdog theory is wrong: people aren't sheep.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

shared on May 16ths

Some say the Communist Manifesto calls for the abolition of the family, but it doesn't. It calls for the abolition of the bourgeois family as part of the abolition "of prostitution both public and private". Its meaning is simple: no one should have to serve another to survive.

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Has a boycott on a US state ever done more than ensure people who would share a better message won't perform there? A state boycott is like sanctions: it means you're willing to hurt everyone for what the powerful did.

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The difference between nationalism and patriotism:

Nationalism: "My country, right or wrong."—Stephen Decatur

Patriotism: "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." —Carl Schurz

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People who believe in meritocracy should approve of basic income. It puts us one step closer to having jobs pay what they're worth rather than what desperate people will accept.

Friday, May 15, 2020

shared on May 15ths

I wish the Libertarian Party hadn't appropriated "libertarian" for the right. Their use of the word obscures the authoritarian effect of wealth.

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Note to self: Two things to do every day.

1. Dance or bike or take a long walk. You'll just get depressed if you don't.

2. Avoid discussing politics with Clinton fans. You'll just get depressed if you don't.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

shared on May 14ths

‪When the far left says we shouldn’t support social democrats, remember how well that worked out in Germany in 1931.‬

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‪If you want people to vote, you have to give them meaningful choices. I can’t decide if we get the candidates we get because political parties forget that or remember it.‬

‪“I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating.” —Boss Tweed‬

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As soon as people start talking about intersectionality, you know nothing will follow that will be a serious proposal for improving people's lives. Checking your privilege is woke; Basic Income, M4A, a high minimum wage, and free public higher education are not.

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I would waste a lot less time online if I accepted that opinions always trump facts.

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Israel is the last colonialist empire. It's natural for other colonialists to defend it.

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People dressed in black who violently oppose free speech? Why would that make anyone nervous? #antifa

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The jury is out on whether men or women speak more, but in the debates, Clinton spoke more than Sanders.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

shared on May 13ths

Finishing writing a story is nice, but it's not nearly as satisfying as knocking down an old porch.

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The hard part about being old and having studied something for decades is 98% of the people trying to educate you will know less than you do. I am very grateful for the remaining 2%.

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It would take too long to list all of the more interesting things Game of Thrones could've done, but if they wanted to pit Jon vs Daenerys at the end, it would've been more interesting to turn Jon into a fascist than Daenerys into a madwoman.

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When people say "human nature", they mean "my nature as I believe it to be".

Monday, May 11, 2020

shared on May 11ths

If you don't understand why "social justice warrior" is an insult, you don't understand irony. Social justice workers oppose war.

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It is impossible to believe in the goodness of humanity and read the comments.

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From 2015:

Dear socialists, do you support Bernie Sanders or someone even less likely to get any attention from the media?

Also, what evidence is there for the sheepdog theory that supporting Sanders is only a way to sucker socialists into the Democrats' camp? It doesn't work in my case: I plan to support Sanders for as long as he's running, and then I'll support a socialist or another promising third-party candidate, or maybe I won't vote, though I continue to think that so long as there's anyone on the ballot who you like at all, you should vote for them, no matter how hopeless you think their odds are, because while it's very true that the US's two parties are controlled by billionaires, only our votes for third parties say we want more choices than two.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

shared on May 10ths

The shortest definition of neoliberalism: trickle-down economics.

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I wouldn't mind the self-flagellating left if they didn't insist on flagellating the leftists who focus on the right.

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Politics are as divisive as religions because politics are religions. Noting that they're secular religions is just quibbling.

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Why rich people shouldn't argue that the US's poor are better off than most of the world:

Because if that's your standard of good enough, there's no reason not to take from the rich until they live like the US's poor.

But I'll add that socialists want to raise the standard of living everywhere, so the rich should never be afraid that we will make them live as poorly as they make most people live now.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

shared on May 9ths

When it’s obvious something has failed to do what was promised, remember that it may have done what was intended. When warhawks promise peace and provide chaos, chaos was almost certainly the goal.

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I always thought the fact US prison populations are not racially proportionate to poverty was a lingering effect of racism, but Cedric Johnson points out that overpolicing the urban poor explains that:

”Blacks are disproportionately represented among those who are arrested, convicted, incarcerated, and under court supervision because blacks are still disproportionately represented among the nation’s poor. Hence, if poor neighborhoods and communities are overpoliced, then it is no wonder as Moody notes that “blacks are almost six times and Latinos three times more likely to be sentenced to ‘hard time’ in prison than whites.””

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Some names for the vapid answers that comfort secular and religious cultists:

Foma (from Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle)
Thought-terminating cliches
Dogma
Sound-bite ethics
Bacon's "Idols of the Marketplace"

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The worst defense of the authoritarian left's attempts to censor people is that they usually fail, so they must not be engaged in censorship. This is like saying that if murderers fail, they must not have been trying to kill.

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Note to self: Stay offline in the morning. You have never gotten an urgent email in the morning.

Friday, May 8, 2020

shared on May 8ths

If you don't like an ad on Facebook, it takes three clicks to get rid of it. That's two too many, even if you love capitalism.

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Some Zionists say the KGB created anti-zionism. They did not. Zionists created anti-zionism with the bombing of the King David Hotel, the massacre of Deir Yassin, and the ethnic cleansing of the Nakba.‬

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For rich people, there are no bad choices, there are only choices. They rarely feel the consequences of their decisions. They never have to skip a meal due to a choice, or even skip dining out, and when climate change hits hard, they'll be in mansions on high ground.

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Whenever you worry or feel smug about the things your online experience tells you, check the polls. Reality is rarely what you think it is, and everyone online is living in an echo chamber.
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If your explanation for anything is "people are stupid", you do not deserve the pass you are giving yourself.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Shared on May 7ths

Updating an old observation: Identitarianism is the socialism of fools.

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I thought tribalism and racism were opposites because people can change tribes but not races. Now I think racism is the tribalism of fools.

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If you wouldn't reveal the end of a mystery, don't reveal the end of any story. All stories are mysteries when first experienced. #spoilers

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Shared on May 6ths

If you say art should not offend, you are saying art should be innocuous.

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Frustrated romantics should be socialists: socialism takes economics out of decisions about who to date, love, or marry.

Which is why people who want to buy sex and love cannot support socialism.

ETA: This comment is only about people who want to be able to use money to influence other people's decisions. It's not about prostitution; as someone else has noted, that's about renting rather than buying sex or love.

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‪We could end desperation by sharing the wealth. Does this mean the rich don’t care about ending desperation? Or do they want most of us to be desperate?‬

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“Problematic” means, “I’m afraid I’ll be criticized if I don’t say there’s a problem with this thing, but I don’t know what it is.” If you say pineapples are problematic, pretentious people won’t question you for fear of revealing they also don’t know the problem with pineapples.

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The most annoying thing cultists say: If you're not for our solution, you're for the problem.

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Ostracism does not educate anyone. The ignorant learn by seeing the world has more choices than they knew.

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Capitalists use many words to describe for-profit journalism to avoid the simplest one: capitalist journalism.

Monday, May 4, 2020

shared on May 4ths

The rich have to despise the poor. If they didn't, they would have to end poverty.

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Rich identitarians are not interested in diversity based on class because they know the oldest rule of privilege: you don't socialize with the help.

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It's harder for identitarians to create diversity because they try to include people on the basis of race or gender. If they tried to include people on the basis of class, diversity would follow naturally because the working class is more diverse than the ruling class.

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The right talks about cultural Marxism. Why doesn't the left talk about cultural capitalism? Is it simply that we fish take our ocean for granted?

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It's a shame we don't have a neighboring country that's found a good model for health care that we could adopt.

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There're no such thing as new stories and old ones. There're just stories you haven't read and stories you have.

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Derrick Bell and Malcolm X show how neoliberals and anti-capitalists see the same problem. One blames society; one, capitalism.

"racism is an integral, permanent, and indestructible component of this society." —Derrick Bell

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

I spent years wondering if Malcolm was wrong. Since the '60s, capitalists have been trying to create a class system that's racially proportionate. I finally realized Malcolm is right. Due to limited class mobility, the only way to end the effects of racism is to share the wealth.

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When someone says “intersectional”, think “neoliberal”. The meaning does not change. Derrick Bell and Kimberle Crenshaw were privileged liberals who liked capitalism and rejected the New Deal understanding of race, so they came up with a new approach that neoliberals embraced.‬

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from 2019:

Just took my first bike ride of the year to Fort Snelling. Beautiful trail along the river. At the end, I looked up the steep hill to the fort and said, "Not today."

The ride back was beautiful too.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

shared on May 3rds

The CIA and the NED were much better at overthrowing democratically elected governments in the 20th century.

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I could support any candidate who promised to give the ability to attack other countries back to Congress.


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If wearing a cheongsam is appropriation, it is not appropriation from the Chinese working class—it's appropriation from China's ruling class.

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If giving people money kept people from working, people who were born rich would not work. #basicincome

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If you say we can change our gender but not our race, you are saying gender is a social construct but race is not.

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Americans are slightly more willing to vote for a woman (92%) than a Jew (91%). Sanders faced more prejudice than Clinton did. #identity

Saturday, May 2, 2020

shared on May 2nds, shegetz and othering, more

I was just called a shegetz, which amused me, and more importantly, helped me see something that's obvious when written out: the first trait of racists is the use of insults that were created for the people they consider "other".

The second trait, of course, is the use of coded language to allude to their insults. So I was pleased that this person avoided code and went straight for shegetz.

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Every two or three days, there's a "free" flyer or paper left at our house. I pick it up and recycle it, and capitalism has taken another minute or two from my life.

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When naming yourself, remember that the qualities you claim will become suspect: liars claim they're honest, the mad claim they're sane, fools claim they're wise.

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For people who support depriving prisoners of the right to vote:‬

‪If you say any right can be taken away based on a judge’s decision, rights become meaningless.‬

‪Taking away a prisoner’s vote does not make prisoners better or society safer.‬

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Just vacuumed after much too long. Let me know if you need fur to make three cats.

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Social justice warrior: someone who would put makers of kimonos out of work in order to keep people who aren't Japanese from wearing kimonos.

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Manuel Zelayas of Honduras should send a sympathy note to Hillary Clinton. He knows how it feels to lose an office after foreign meddling.

Friday, May 1, 2020

shared on May 1sts

‪Can we have a 24-hour moratorium on “fascist” so most of the people who use it can look up what it means?‬

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As the wealth gap grows, identitarianism in its left and right forms grows.

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When people object to being mistaken for clerks, you know what they think of clerks. (I've been a clerk and been mistaken for one.)

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If you can't make your point politely, you haven't thought about it enough.