The Left may be about to claim a Pyrrhic victory

Note: This is the third in a series of blog postings emanating from work originally compiled for a Daily Bullshit entry. That text has now been moved here.

With an increasingly likely early departure of Donald Trump from the presidency, the Left may be about to fool itself in a few ways. Continue reading “The Left may be about to claim a Pyrrhic victory”

Forecasting Donald Trump’s demise

Note: This is the second in a series of blog postings emanating from work originally compiled for a Daily Bullshit entry. That text has now been moved here.

Update, August 21, 2017: When I originally published this entry, on August 19 at 1:10 pm, I failed to cite a source for my claim that Trump had flip-flopped on who was to blame for Charlottesville. Since then, the Los Angeles Times has published an article specifically documenting the flip-flops.[1] I have added the reference to the original.


Following Steve Bannon’s departure from the White House,[2] John Bennett at Roll Call considers Trump’s alienation of conservative factions, especially now what are really paleoconservatives.[3] There are actually two levels to this matter: First, there is the question of how much support Trump actually sacrifices by ditching Bannon. Paleoconservatives, apart from calling attention to themselves with protests such as at Charlottesville,[4] and occasional terrorist incidents, don’t really amount to much—and, truth be told, the less insane among them are well aware of this. Continue reading “Forecasting Donald Trump’s demise”

  1. [1]Colleen Shalby, “From blaming ‘many sides’ to ‘racism is evil’ and back again, what Trump has said so far on Charlottesville,” Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2017, http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-how-trump-s-responded-to-violence-in-1502831078-htmlstory.html
  2. [2]Michael C. Bender and Peter Nicholas, “Steve Bannon, Controversial Aide to Trump, Exits White House Staff,” Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/steve-bannon-leaves-white-house-staff-1503075345
  3. [3]John T. Bennett, “Trump Is Quickly Running Out of GOP Factions to Alienate,” Congressional Quarterly Roll Call, August 18, 2017, http://www.rollcall.com/news/trump-gop-factions-alienate/
  4. [4]Joe Heim, “Recounting a day of rage, hate, violence and death,” Washington Post, August 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/local/charlottesville-timeline/

Authoritarian Populists, Paleoconservatives and Donald Trump

Events in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which, among other things, an “alt right” neo-Nazi ran his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a paleoconservative rally, killing one and injuring several, have brought questions of Donald Trump’s relationship with paleoconservatives into an all too fuzzy focus.[1] Trump was slow to condemn the incident, initially blaming both sides, then blaming the “alt right” (paleoconservatives), then reverting to blaming both sides. This is the first of a few postings in reaction to those events, slightly refined from the now-removed original on the Daily Bullshit. Continue reading “Authoritarian Populists, Paleoconservatives and Donald Trump”

  1. [1]Joe Heim, “Recounting a day of rage, hate, violence and death,” Washington Post, August 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/local/charlottesville-timeline/

Why techies consistently get the social sciences wrong

It’s about a paradigm.

I’m not—at least not today and probably not ever—planning on taking on the memo written by a now-fired Google engineer which attempted to explain why women are not as well represented in high technology. But I would predict we’ll probably see more such memos and that, even if we don’t, the underlying attitudes will persist. Continue reading “Why techies consistently get the social sciences wrong”

Totalizing Donald Trump

Don’t misunderstand me—some sort of summation of Donald Trump, the despicable human being, is my aim here. And we should be clear that labeling him a narcissist[1] is incomplete. He seems to me also a bully, who might not believe that might makes right but does seem to believe that it is an unproblematic means for restoring or establishing right; he therefore encourages bullying among those on his side. Continue reading “Totalizing Donald Trump”

  1. [1]Henry Alford, “Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!” Vanity Fair, November 11, 2015, http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/11/donald-trump-narcissism-therapists; Aaron Blake, “The American Psychiatric Association issues a warning: No psychoanalyzing Donald Trump,” Washington Post, August 7, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/08/07/the-american-psychiatric-association-reminds-its-doctors-no-psychoanalyzing-donald-trump/; Will Pavia, “The psychiatrists’ verdict: Donald Trump is a man incapable of guilt, with inner rage,” Times, May 20, 2017, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/psychiatrists-verdict-on-trump-a-man-incapable-of-guilt-with-inner-rage-zsrlt707b; Brian Resnick, “Psychiatry’s “Goldwater Rule” has never met a test like Donald Trump,” Vox, May 25, 2017, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/5/25/15680354/psychiatry-goldwater-rule-trump; Gail Sheehy, “At Yale, Psychiatrists Cite Their ‘Duty to Warn’ About an Unfit President,” New York, April 23, 2017, http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/04/yale-psychiatrists-cite-duty-to-warn-about-unfit-president.html

Thoughts on the 5th of July

Because this is what I do these days, I was driving around the East Bay yesterday. Oakland, in particular, seems to have a custom in which not just a centralized organization sets off fireworks (though I imagine some do) but lots of people do. As I drove down the streets, I occasionally dodged explosives while others went off above my head.

Fireworks are a celebration of the war and imperialism in which this country was born and upon which it has existed for all but sixteen calendar years of its existence.[1]And so this celebration saddened me, even as people wished me—and I was compelled to wish in return—a “Happy Fourth.” Continue reading “Thoughts on the 5th of July”

  1. [1]David Benfell, “United States History of War,” May 24, 2015, https://parts-unknown.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=military:united_states_history_of_war&s[]=military&s[]=history