David M. Brown's Blog

September 20, 2016

The case for Hillary Clinton

Filed under: Politics,Television — davidmbrowndotcom @ 5:56 am

Hillary Clinton is strong. Fighting for us. No matter how tired and weary and collapsing and decrepit she may be feeling at any particular moment, her lust for power so that she can help us (and the kids) will keep her valiantly crawling feebly forward. That’s the story and I’m sticking to it.

Dem chair and hack Donna Brazile says on TV in an I-don’t-even-believe-me, rattling-it-off-of-a-3×5-card tone of voice: “Every time I hear Hillary Clinton, I’m always inspired by her.” This is about as credible as Obama telling a bunch of grade-schoolers, “You inspire me.” (They laughed in his face.) So, super-credible.

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

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

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

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September 16, 2016

It’s my money.

Filed under: Ethics,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 3:34 am

Behold this sentiment, quoted at Instapundit, about the Trump camp’s child-care proposal: “Anything that helps them [parents] cover those expenses without being taxed on the extra money they have to earn to pay the costs of raising a family is a good idea.”

Um, just cut my taxes. Anything that helps me cover my expenses by letting me keep more of my own extra money I need to earn to pay for the things in my life that cost more money than I had before I earned the extra money is a good idea. You don’t need to know what I’m doing with my money. You don’t need to give me more of a tax break for one kind of thing I want to do with my money than another kind of thing I could spend it on. Let me hasten to assure you that the stuff I spend my money on is very important to me. I always spend it on whatever is the highest priority to me at that moment. It doesn’t have to be at all important to you. It’s not your money, not your life.

Forget the social engineering. Don’t try to encourage me to do this or that as the price of keeping more of my own money. I don’t need your opinion on whether certain peaceful activities that require money to do them are more deserving of my expenditures on them than other activities. I don’t need you to approve of what I do with my own money. Just let me keep my money. It’s my money.

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

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

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

September 14, 2016

Rush Limbaugh’s shines pale “best light” on Comey’s conduct

Filed under: Ethics,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 9:05 pm

In a recent broadcast Rush Limbaugh said, as transcribed, “And the reason for [Comey’s failure to recommend indicting HC for sloppiness about classified material, ignoring laws and rules about classified material, then lying about what she had done] — I’m totally convinced — is he doesn’t want to the guy in American history who took out the duly nominated…Democrat candidate for president. That’s why he just didn’t want to go there, and knew they weren’t gonna indict. That’s looking at it in as favorable a light as possible.”

“Favorable” light? According to Rush’s own statement, Comey allowed his concern about how he would be perceived to prevent him from doing what the facts of the case objectively called for in his own judgment. I think if we reduce the example to (greater) absurdity, the fallacy of what Rush is saying will be more obvious: “And the reason for that [failure to recommend indicting Democratic candidate Jack the Ripper for a string of murders] — I’m totally convinced — is he doesn’t want to the guy in American history who took out the duly nominated…Democrat candidate for president. That’s why he just didn’t want to go there, and knew they weren’t gonna indict. That’s looking at it in as favorable a light as possible.”

Anybody with the job of being just and objective for a living who allows other considerations short of a gun being held to his head to cause him to be unjust and non-objective has willfully violated the fundamental principles it is the purpose of his job to uphold and apply. Anyone at any stage in the judicial process who deliberate fails to do his job because he anticipates that others would fail to do their job if he does his properly is defaulting on his responsibility. He is not responsible for what others do. He is responsible for what he does.

The actual “most favorable” way of interpreting Comey’s actions is to conclude that he honestly believed he had no proper grounds for recommending indictment. But Rush doesn’t believe this and I don’t either. There are no grounds for believing this. That Comey’s default is motivated goes without saying.

 

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

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

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

September 12, 2016

A tale of two interpretations of the general-election vote

Filed under: Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 11:01 pm

The structure of the electoral process is such that voters first choose among potential nominees for the parties; this is the primary process.

After the primary elections, we have the general election. In the United States, two parties are dominant. They are called the Republicans and the Democrats.

In most presidential elections, including this one, the overwhelming likelihood is that the winner of the general election will be either a Republican or a Democrat. Unnominated Ideal Candidate Pulling the Lever For Whom Will Erase All Operative Political Realities is not an option on the ballot.

Preferring one candidate to the other listed on the general election ballot does not preclude any possibility of affecting political life for the better over the next four years. Nor does preferring one candidate to the other constitute the voter’s affirmation that he endorses all policies and embraces all flaws of the candidate that he prefers.

What preferring and voting for one major-party candidate rather the other does mean is that, given a choice between Candidate A and Candidate B, and regarding the difference between A and B as significant enough to justify making a choice, the voter prefers either Candidate A to Candidate B or Candidate B to Candidate A.

August 25, 2016

Are you a fan of the super-corruption?

Filed under: Ethics,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 6:42 am

If you’re a fan of shameless super-corruption, socialist looting, and socialist handouts, you’re more inclined to vote for Hillary Clinton than to vote for Trump, for Whoever the LP Guy Is, or for None of the Above. One key question is how many of the voters, what percentage, are pro-super-corruption, and what import if any their answer will have for their electoral decisions. Let’s have a poll that asks about the super-corruption:

Are you a fan of the super-corruption?

If you knew for sure that a candidate was shamelessly super-corrupt, would you vote for that female Democrat?

Do you believe that Hillary Clinton is shamelessly super-corrupt?

Are you voting for Hillary Clinton?

Finally: When I asked whether you were a fan of the super-corruption, you said no; when I asked whether you would vote for somebody who is shamelessly super-corrupt, you said no; when I asked whether you believe that Hillary Clinton is shameless super-corrupt, you said yes; when I asked whether you would vote for Hillary Clinton, you said yes; do you wish to amend any of your answers?

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

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

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

August 24, 2016

Let’s not be “capturing” liberty

Filed under: Language and grammar,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 11:57 am

In a recent post for the Liberty magazine web site about why some people are disinclined to discuss the current presidential election in mixed or any company, Wayland Hunter writes: “I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad that people [regard the presidency with cynicism]. The imperial presidency lost almost all of its glamour with the abject failure of Obama (whom, by the way, hardly anybody ever mentions either). That’s certainly good, and maybe it’s permanent. I’m not sure, however, that complete political cynicism is a good long-run strategy for the pursuit and capture of individual freedom.”

I’m not sure that isolating an objective-case usage of “whom” the way Hunter does here is a good long-run grammatical strategy, since it grates on the ear even after the wording that reveals its correctness finally arrives. I’m even more unsure that we should speak of pursuing and “capturing” individual freedom as a positive good. Freedom should never be hunted, wrestled to the ground, captured, tortured, and/or shot until dead. I’m all in favor of achieving and preserving it, however.

August 23, 2016

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say any of the following things to me. I will be offended.

Filed under: Economics,Ethics,Philosophy,Politics,Society and culture — davidmbrowndotcom @ 6:22 pm

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “Here are some words you may never use.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “Let’s soak the rich because they’re rich.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “A person accused of sexual assault is guilty regardless of the facts.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “A police officer who shoots somebody is automatically guilty of wrongdoing, regardless of the facts.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “I don’t have time to read the free Kindle sample of your new book The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “The earth, which I like to call Gaia, or Gaea, is in great danger from industrial civilization; therefore, we must outlaw plastic bags, incandescent light bulbs, and toilets that flush too vigorously.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “The meaningless, nihilistic smears and juxtapositions of modern pseudo-art are an eloquent and transcendent expression of something-or-other.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “As a journalist, facts are not important to me. What’s important to me is skewing or omitting the facts in service of my egalitarian or socialist ideological agenda, and always licking the boots of the politically powerful.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “Islam-motivated terrorism isn’t at all motivated by Islam and maybe it isn’t even terrorism.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “You will enjoy this movie as long as you turn off your brain before you start watching and desist with your importunate demands for originality, intelligence and honesty. It’s just a movie.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “I don’t care how much wealth and survival is made possible by capitalism and ambitous profit-seeking; capitalism is evil. Why? Because production, division of labor, trade, freedom, human life and rationally fulfilling the requirements of human survival are evil, I guess.” I will be offended.

August 20, 2016

Thugs can be either friends or enemies of each other

Filed under: Ethics,History,Politics,War — davidmbrowndotcom @ 3:52 pm

In March of 1940 George Orwell wrote: “The plan laid down in Mein Kampf was to smash Russia first, with the implied intention of smashing England afterwards. Now, as it has turned out, England has got to be dealt with first, because Russia was the more easily bribed of the two. But Russia’s turn will come when England is out of the picture–that, no doubt, is how Hitler sees it. Whether it will turn out that way is of course a different question.” The accommodation with Russia had taken the form of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939.

A couple of thoughts that occur to me are, first, that although historical accounts of Germany’s pact with Russia tend to stress how flabbergasted the world was that these two “ideological enemies” (different hues of totalitarian) should agree to be cooperative comrades in divvying up Poland, Hitler’s short-term agreement with Russia does not at all contradict his long-term goal of smashing Russia, so that somebody at all perceptive, like Orwell, would not be surprised by such a pragmatic mere deferment; and, two, it was obvious to Orwell that the short-term agreement was short-term. And, indeed, Operation Barbarossa began in June of 1941, a little more than a year after Orwell published his column.

A third thought that occurs to me is that Orwell sees in Mein Kampf an “implied intention” to go after England sooner or later, whereas others see in it a desire only to come to terms with Britain, perhaps even as an ally. In Jeff Walker’s interview of the late, great Roy Childs, published in Liberty magazine in 1993, Roy says: “That Hitler had no intentions against Britain, I think can be argued very well. I mean Britain declared war on him and not vice versa. Hitler wanted to go East. Walker: Yeah, he thought that Britain could be his ally. Childs: Yeah. He didn’t want to knock off the French either. Why did he let the British escape at Dunkirk? He wanted to appease them, to a certain extent. He wanted to take central and eastern Europe.”

When I read this, I thought that RAC’s remarks neglected a lot of pertinent facts about Hitler; including, for example, the fact that Der Fuhrer could not exactly be relied upon to keep any very firm promise about what he would or would not do with respect to invading other countries, despite endless wishful thinking by Chamberlain and others. Shire’s heavily documented tome on the Nazi regime is full of behind-closed-doors contradictions of Hitler’s blatant, reassuring public lies about his intentions. Historians debate about why the Germans dithered at Dunkirk, but this is in any case a subsidiary question. What contemporaries could see is that Hitler’s many public assurances and instances of disingenous grandstanding were followed by actions that flagrantly contradicted his playacted promises.

Roy even goes so far as to say that it was a “bunch of lies” for anyone at the time to suppose that Britain might well have eventually been attacked by Germany if it had not gone to war over Hitler’s invasion of Poland. It’s not a certainty that Germany would have attacked Britain in that alternate timeline, of course. Perhaps Hitler would not have attacked the West immediately if he had gotten his way in the East. But was it a certainty that Hitler would never have turned his attention westward had he secured the East? And is it really a “lie” to have been concerned about the prospect? Was Hitler’s track record to date so auspicious? Roy is right about the terribleness of the West’s becoming allied with Stalin and handing Poland to the Soviet Union. But that is not the same question.

Of course, I could not raise these questions with Roy either when I first read the interview in 1993 or reread it later. He had died in the spring of 1992.

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

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

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

August 18, 2016

A social media forum that won’t muzzle and ban? Sign me up.

Filed under: Economics,Politics,Publishing,Self-help,Society and culture — davidmbrowndotcom @ 2:54 pm

If you do Twitter-like and other social-media communicating but hate Twitter-like, Facebook-like muzzling of too-contrarian views and banning of those who utter them, you may want to get on the waiting list for http://gab.ai/ , which is being founded with the explicit purpose of protecting freedom of expression on its forum. Its home page has this quote:

“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”— Salman Rushdie

Gab.ai is small now. Will it get lots bigger? That’s partly up to us. I say we help it reach the tipping point that will make it competitive with the muzzlers and banners. I’m #8052 on the waiting list. Yes, I am a Number.

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

 

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