David M. Brown's Blog

October 10, 2016

The Trump stomping of Clinton(s)

Filed under: News — davidmbrowndotcom @ 6:21 am

“Always attack” can’t be universal rule, as commanders and soldiers discovered in the American Civil War and in World War One. Attacking should certainly be at the top of the tactical list, all other things being equal.

I don’t know whether Trump held back in Debate One as strategy or not. If it was strategy, it was misguided in this respect: any time in a campaign like this that you have 80-100 million viewers, you have to treat it as the last time you’ll get such a large audience. Unleash everything. Circumstances of the future aren’t guaranteed. But if Trump was being more subdued in the first debate than he knew he would be in future ones for whatever tactical reasons, the risk of doing so seems to have paid off bigly. In any case, the audience will be there for Debate Three.

( @witscribbler is my user name on Gab.ai, the non-speech-gagging, 300-character alternative to Twitter. Add me. And read my satire of UFOlogy, The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real—and my parody of the bard, Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare—and my pastiche of hardboiled detective fiction, The Case of the Cockamamie Killer )

October 6, 2016

WordPress is telling me to tell you to vote

Filed under: News — davidmbrowndotcom @ 11:36 pm

“Encourage your US-based visitors to vote by adding a subtle prompt to your site” is the banner greeting me at this moment after logging into my WordPress account.

Encourage WordPress to not tell you what to tell your visitors by publishing a subtle post saying “WordPress, do not tell me what to tell my visitors. I’ll decide the content without your unsubtle encouragement.”

If you plan to vote for Hillary Clinton: don’t vote.

 

August 1, 2016

Britannica on Objectivism

Filed under: News — davidmbrowndotcom @ 10:49 am

Although I have a few quibbles with Britannica’s entry on “Objectivism” (not excluding the article’s lower-casing of Rand’s capital-O name for her philosophy), is a pretty accurate summary of some of her main ideas. Perhaps I should not be too surprised, since her work more often gets fair treatment these days than it did when, for example, Atlas Shrugged was published in 1957.

July 24, 2016

Frustrated, nihilistic losers are attracted to ideas that appeal to frustrated, nihilistic losers

Filed under: Ethics,Islam,News,Philosophy,Psychology,Religion,Society and culture,Terrorism — davidmbrowndotcom @ 4:08 pm

Why do some people think that if a Muslim terrorist has been psychologically screwed up in ways not directly related to a jihadist ideology of religious-political murdering of innocents in the name of Islam, then an evident Islamist motive becomes marginal or irrelevant to explaining his mass-murdering? So that, if so, we may no longer acknowledge Islamist rationalization of mass murder as a salient motive no matter how many times the guy screams “Allahu Akbar” as he takes people out?

New York Magazine‘s Claire Landsbaum last month:

“Since the shooting, police have been attempting to piece together what motivated Mateen to carry out the attack. He reportedly declared his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call just before the shooting, and police say he referred to the Tsarnaev brothers, who were responsible for the Boston bombings, as his ‘homeboys.’ But officials stressed that Mateen’s links to terrorist groups remained unconfirmed, despite the fact that he’d been investigated three times by the FBI for such connections.

“It’s still impossible to say what motivated Mateen, but it now appears the answer is much more complicated than Islamic extremism.”

So, there are complexities in life.

But no idea, good or bad, if it is grasped and acted upon in the world, functions in a vacuum outside of anybody’s psychology. It’s specific individuals who accept, implement, practice, spread ideas.

In his book The True Believer, Eric Hoffer observed that frustrated and despairing individuals who seek a way to submerge and forget their lousy lives and selves are open to mass movements that demand submergence of and sacrifice of life and judgment in the name of those movements.

Hoffer: “All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and singlehearted allegiance….

“Starting from the fact that the frustrated predominate among the early adherents of all mass movements and that the usually join of their own accord, it is assumed: 1) that frustration of itself, without any proselytizing prompting from the outside, can generate most of the peculiar characteristics of the true believer; 2) that an effective technique of conversion consists basically in the inculcation and fixation of proclivities and responses indigenous to the frustrated mind.”

In one case after another of a Disturbed Young Man slaughtering people in the name of Islam, we have a screwed-up self + obliterative jihadist ideas demanding sacrifice of selves, ideas which appeal specifically to frustrated souls eager to throw away their own moral responsibility and lives, and, incidentally, the lives of others. How does one indispensable part of this combination become irrelevant if and as we acquire information about the other indispensable part?

If we learn that a zealous convert to Nazism was frustrated and screwed up well before he ever became devoted to Nazism and der Fuehrer, does this mean that the collectivist Nazi ideology, Nazi movement, Nazi institutions, and Nazi mechanisms of force and murder to which the convert has pledged his allegiance—all the animating Nazi notions and apparatus which, in the mind of the true-believing Nazi, justify all manner of viciousness—no longer need be morally, intellectually and physically combatted?

The proto-killer’s bottomless personal frustration, zero willingness to struggle to make better moral choices in his life, and absolute willingness to throw himself and others on the pyre for the sake of ideas that both demand such sacrifices and promise that making those sacrifices will relieve the frustration…these are not mutually exclusive motives that cannot be enlisted together in consistent explanation of why somebody would shoot into a crowd or drive a truck into a crowd while screaming that he’s doing it all for Islam and Allah.

No, we don’t know everything about such individuals. But we know as much as we do know. One thing we know is that nihilistic losers and the ideas designed to appeal to nihilistic losers are perfectly compatible.

 

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

Read Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

July 17, 2016

Editorial to appease fact-averse racists apologizes for apt headline about cop-killer

Filed under: Media and journalism,News,Politics,Psychology,Society and culture,Terrorism — davidmbrowndotcom @ 5:33 am

Uh

A newspaper in Memphis quickly apologized after protestors complained about its choice of headline in the wake of the deadly police shooting in Dallas.

“Gunman targeted whites,” read the lead story headline in the Commercial Appeal, a member of the USA Today network. The headline was accurate, as Dallas gunman Micah Xavier Johnson explicitly talked about wanted to kill white police officers before he was eliminated via robot bomb.

That didn’t stop protestors from gathering outside the paper’s office in downtown Memphis on Wednesday to express their displeasure, some holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter.”

Commercial Appeal editor Louis Graham quickly apologized after meeting with the protestors, and wrote an editorial titled, “We got it wrong.”

Louis Graham’s editorial has stuff like this:

Those three big words in headline type stretched across Saturday’s front page — Gunman Targeted Whites — were true according to police accounts in Dallas at the time but they badly oversimplified a very complex, rapidly evolving story, and angered many of our readers and many more in the broader community.

In my view the headline was so lacking in context as to be tone deaf, particularly in a city with a 65 percent African American population. That front page minimized the broader refrain of what’s happening in our country with anguish over the deaths of young black men at the hands of police. It has been viewed as suggesting that this newspaper values the lives of white police officers more than young black men who have died in incident after incident.

This guy says he also received objections for a headline that referred to how a bridge was shut down because of a protest instead of referring, more content-free-wise, simply to “peaceful protests.” Anyone forcibly blocking others from going about their business is not being peaceful.

Graham says the “Gunman Targeted Whites” headline failed to capture the entire swirling cauldron of nuances of the fast-moving situation—and that this failure, somehow, makes the headline culpable, objectionable, bad. Bad headline. But the function of headlines is to function as headlines, not to substitute for the detailed report that the headline headlines.

Another thing this editor says is that in a city with so many black people, such a headline is tone-deaf. Some people—the ones who yelled at him—were irrationally upset by it, sure. But the headline didn’t say that all black people in the city target white people. It said the killer targeted white people. Nor did the black people of the town march en masse to protest the newspaper’s brazenly fact-stating headline. The fact-deaf BLM jerks, plus some equally fact-deaf and also vocally obnoxious ones in the “wider community,” were the ones protesting. (The editor reports no poll, by the way, nor even any casual conversations with any persons not offended by the headline. He feels chastised, and the persons of whatever color just minding their own business, unoffended by fact-stating headlines, affect him not. If you want to convince Graham to reverse course on any matter, don’t refer to any truths or facts, just storm his palace and demand craven submission.)

People were angry at the paper, Graham says. Why? For any good reason? How does merely being angry mean that the anger is justified? The editor also says he knows that other readers will be angry at his kowtowing (which he wants to believe he is not doing). How and why is their anger at his appeasement misguided? They’re angry too. What about their anger? I fear that we have competing anger factions here and that the only way to resolve the matter will be to resort to facts. Perhaps the fact that the killer was, by his own admission, targeting whites is relevant after all.

Will all future newspaper headlines need to be rewritten to ensure that they can’t possibly offend anybody for any reason? That would be doubleplusungood, but, what the heck, Graham and similarly brave editorial souls may use the following headline, which covers every contingency. But I require a royalty check to be sent to me oneach of the infinite number of times it will need to be deployed in preemptive appeasement of all unhinged protestors:

 HAPPENING
 -Story in article-

This catchall will be especially useful for readers scanning contents pages. I wish I could give the above lustrous gem away for free, but I put so much work into ensuring that nobody of any view could possibly take offense. (Not counting partisans of objectivity and justice, substantive content, etc., that is.) As for the story itself—no! Don’t start reporting any of the facts in the column inches of the formal report either. People could really get upset.

 

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

Read Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

 

July 13, 2016

Hyperdivisive Hillary Clinton admits she may have been a tad partisanly divisive

Filed under: Language and grammar,News,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 11:49 pm

Lady, we already knew. That and your 70%-Bernie socialism are not happiness-making with the sane people. Didn’t you—to select one out of many possible examples—didn’t you, in a very partisan, untransparent and obnoxious way, unsuccessfully try to ram the proto-ObamaCare HillaryCare down our throats twenty years before Obama successfully rammed the neo-RomneyCare ObamaCare down our throats? Do you now disavow the divisive and medical-industry-destroying, individual-rights-destroying Obamacare?

Clinton says: “I cannot stand here and claim that my words and actions haven’t sometimes fueled the partisanship that often stands in the way of our progress.”

Such politic confessional candor is a lie, however. Progress toward what? The TyrannyCare? The StompFreedomCare? If divisiveness and partisanship impede progress toward such baleful ends, we must divide. We must be as divisive as possible.

“Divisive,” like “partisan,” are often-abused terms. Distractive and fuzzifying terms. In politics, they are what people who oppose the ideas, policies or conduct of other people often call those other people for opposing the ideas, policies or conduct of themselves. Slapping these adjectives on political foes is one of the substitutes for clear and unambiguous discussion of what’s fundamentally at stake in political contests. Speaking in such a way divides us from the truth.

Opposing thuggery is “divisive” if the other guy in the room is a thug. You two are not going to be multiplicatively hugging and cherishing each other. No need to wallow in guilt about this. Blame the thug.

Suppose that I oppose willful massive destruction of the freedom of innocent people. Suppose that in a completely nonpartisan way I also prefer the party that is discernibly if too often merely marginally less in favor of willful massive destruction of the freedom of innocent people to the party more in favor of willful massive destruction of the freedom of innocent people. Is my preference for freedom and opposition to the gung-ho mass destruction divisive or non-divisive?

We have no near-term prospect in this country of happy peaceful unity about the value of freedom and individual rights, because, for one reason, so many Americans want to divisively multiply the pace at which others are robbed so that the partisans of robbery can get more “free” stuff. No matter how much loot the pelf-demanders get, they demand more. It’s very divisive. I’m a uniter, not a divider, but you looters have to give me something to work with. Stop robbing and pillaging, stop voting for Hillary Clinton, etc.

Of course, it’s not just the question of whether earners of their money should be allowed to keep their money which divides us. We’re also divided with respect to whether it’s okay to be virulently racist if only you belong to one race rather than another race (a proposition with which I disagree; in my view, nobody should be racist: not cops, not cop-killers, not presidents of countries, not anybody). Then there’s the divisive issue of whether partisans of Islam who Allahu Akbaringly yodel their allegiance to Islam as they mass-murder people are in fact Muslim terrorists and caliphate-partisans or just pretending. And so forth.

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real
   http://amzn.to/1OSNg5q

Read Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare
   http://amzn.to/vDJugV

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer
   http://amzn.to/18Z2m9e

July 8, 2016

With respect to the way James Comey let Hillary Clinton off the hook…

Filed under: Ethics,News,Philosophy,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 1:45 am

…Charles Krauthammer writes, “I admit I’m giving Comey the benefit of the doubt. But the best way I can reconcile his reputation for integrity with the grating illogic of his Clinton decision is by presuming that he didn’t want to make history.”

Krauthammer chastises FBI Director James Comey for shabby logic, but the commentator’s own logic is shabby. How is evading evidence because one does “not want to make history” consistent with integrity in drawing conclusions from evidence?

Proposing a minor variant of the widely guessed motives behind Comey’s evasion of Hillary Clinton’s prosecutability, Krauthammer suggests that the director’s conduct is not as ugly-looking if the Krauthammer-preferred rendition of motive, and not some other motive, animated the evasion.

But imagine a case in which another official, also not being physically threatened, recommends prosecution when that official knows–not guesses: knows–the accused person to be innocent. What then? Would the injustice done to that innocent person be somehow more consistent with the integrity of a commitment to justice if Motive A for committing the injustice were operative rather than Motive B? Would assigning one motive rather than the other constitute giving the “benefit of the doubt” to an official who knowingly cooperates in trampling the rights of an innocent person? That it is hard to be just in a particular case is no excuse for being unjust.

July 6, 2016

What I recommend for any future criminal investigations of me

Filed under: News — davidmbrowndotcom @ 8:57 am

No charges.

July 5, 2016

Rush Limbaugh on the relationship between intention and gross negligence

Filed under: Ethics,News,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 5:25 pm

Must you intend to be grossly negligent in order to be grossly negligent? Must it be listed on your to-do list? “Be sure to be grossly negligent about national security for the sake of protecting any politically corrupt dealmaking with respect to which I probably do not want accessible public records.”

From a July 5, 2016 transcript from Rush Limbaugh’s radio talk show:

Who cares if she intended to put US national security at risk?  Who does? But the fact of the matter [is] that the statute says gross negligence. Gross negligence and lack of intent are the same thing. Gross negligence, if you’re just so willfully unaware, if you don’t care, if you are so unattached that you are not aware what you do, that’s gross negligence.  That’s the statute. How can you intend not to care? How can you intend to be negligent? You just are. [Emphases added.]

But Hillary Clinton did intend to neglect legitimate security concerns about her setting up and using a private server for her Secretary of State job email. She took pains to ignore and circumvent such concerns. She wanted to be able to hide–for example, by deleting masses of emails from the server–any email discussions touching on any matters manifesting political corruption. She wanted to be able to hide any emails touching on pay-for-play deals conducted as Secretary of State on behalf of the Clinton Foundation. She didn’t want these email to be subject, ever, to Freedom of Information Act requests. She certainly intended, and did, tell a lot of lies about all this.

The FBI, of course, has plenty of means to know that there is more to find here than they have chosen to find. But of course they intended to find a way to let Hillary Clinton off the hook from the beginning, regardless of any explicit laws pertaining to handling classified communications.

It is okay and even good to “outsource,” i.e., engage in voluntary trade to mutual benefit

Filed under: Economics,News,Politics,trade — davidmbrowndotcom @ 1:25 pm

At NRO, Victor Hanson has penned a strong article about the ways and wherefores of those who are rich plus powerful plus corrut; but the article is undercut by Hanson’s lumping of “outsourcing” with all manner of blatant corruption and lies.

In a sense, these revolving-door apparatchiks and incestuous couples are bullies, who use their megaphones to disparage others who are supposedly blinkered and ignorant to the point of not believing that a videomaker caused the attacks in Libya, not trusting the Iranians, being skeptical about the theory of sanctuary cities, missing the genius of the European Union, not seeing the brilliant logic in allowing in 12 million immigrants from southern Mexico and Central America under unlawful auspices, panicking about $20 trillion in debt, and incapable of appreciating the wonders of outsourcing.

The same non-corridor folks who don’t appreciate lies about Benghazi and Iran and who worry about trillions in red ink are “incapable of appreciating the wonders of outsourcing”? Incapable of appreciating what? International trade? Trade per se? Is Hanson saying that exchanges on the market are in the same category as rampant political dishonesty and looting? Is that the argument? But he doesn’t say exactly what he means by disparaging outsourcing as he does.

It may well be the case that specific instances of outsourcing, or any specific market transaction, would not have taken place had alternatives not been foreclosed by assaults against producers and consumers in the domestic economy. But this is no indictment of “outsourcing” or markets per se. It is an indictment of high taxes and endless senseless regulations by municipalities, states, and the federal government. Let’s not condemn businessmen–or, for that matter, Amazon and eBay customers who “outsource” certain purchases to overseas vendors offering lower prices on a good–for trying to reduce their costs and do the best they can for themselves despite the constant assaults.

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