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Signifyin(g)Monkey

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  1. I would say the alt-right is first and foremost the product of a backlash against the socioeconomic changes, dislocations and crises produced by globalization. It would be comforting if the issues and conflicts stirred up by globalization and its problems and contradictions were merely the byproduct of bad policy, but I think that gets the order of causation wrong. Globalization is, instead, driven by secular technological and ecological factors that produce political paradigms, forces and counterforces. The alt-right was created by these dialectical forces. We have seen it happen before, when the first great wave of globalization produced the nationalist and populist ideologies that laid the seeds of the World Wars. And while it's true bad policies and bad politicians have always been a factor and ought to be called out as such, it would still be a mistake to overlook the reality that what we're dealing with in the case of the alt-right is something that was produced by superpolitical forces, rather than just a demon spawned by nefarious and/or feckless leaders. Overcoming the designs of the entrenched interests that do, indeed, imperil our future, requires that we deal with the forces that produced them, rather than just whatever concrete form they happen to be taking in the current historical moment.
  2. The amount of leaks that come out of this administration is insane. How did anyone let this get out? How did half of the crazy leaks we've seen over the past few years get out? The amount of indiscipline it takes to let this kind of stuff escape the properly safeguarded diplomatic channels is just mind-boggling.
  3. To be fair to the moderates, it's hard to argue to the people of the left of you (or the right of you!) that their policies are untenable without sounding, to them, like a 'know-it-all' whose 'talking down' to them. Kind of how it's hard for left- or right-wing populists to argue with moderates without sounding, to the latter, like naive, impractical provocateurs. Even conservatives accused Obama of 'concern trolling' them when he'd speak of 'bridging divides' and 'trying to see it their way, too'. I think those in disagreement just tend to get on each other's nerves. Buttigieg's "we're not going to beat Trump with pocket change" comment about Warren not using 'big donors' did have a touch of legitimate douchiness to it, though. Definitely a tin-eared moment on his part.
  4. Omar should openly come out as an anti-semite, (even if she's not) and bill it as a 'uniter not divider', bipartisan quality, because the Jews are the only ethnic group hated equally by right-wingers and left-wingers. This attitude is made all the more unifying by its pancultural, panhistorical nature--no matter the historical period, no matter the political atmosphere and its attendant factions, hating and persecuting the Jews always seems to be a universally supported platform. What better to bring a polarized nation together?
  5. I think the Hunter thing killed his run. People aren't going to want that hanging over his campaign while the impeachment investigation is going on. I had wondered whether, should Biden fall, Buttigieg's numbers might pick up again as he reemerges as the centrist alternative to Warren/Bernie, but his momentum really does seem to have stalled. Not that it matters. I called it from the beginning--Yang has it in the bag.
  6. Actually there’s a giant con job going on in discussions of AI and automation, much of it stemming from people either not being honest about or not knowing how AI really works. AIs aren’t some stand-alone superbeings from Mars. In order to work, they need access to vast amounts of data—and for the AIs of the future to work, because they will be serving people, this data will need to be generated *by people*. And for truly advanced service AIs to get access to this data, they will need access to an open network—the internet/cloud. The problem is that we don’t pay people for their data. We insist that it’s okay to take it from them, using the open network, without compensating them for it. If that persists, then as people get put out of work by efficiency gains in AI, we’re going to have to face up to the fact that we’re doing something pretty dishonest: we’re telling people ‘you’re obsolete, so I shouldn’t have to pay you’, and then saying ‘but I need your data’, and hoping people don’t realize that the latter statement contradicts the first, and that those who own and operate the AIs can get that data without having to pay for it. If instead we become honest in our accounting, and pay people for the value they create, and for the manner in which their data serves as the ‘fuel’ for AIs, then we might not even need things like UBI. People could just make a living by producing useful data and gaining benefits from the ‘data market’ rather than a government subsidy, which produces all sorts of problems when it’s the only source of income for vast swathes of the population—it would be a labor market paradigm which would be much better suited for the economy of the future.
  7. Remember we’re talking about a public with a three second long memory and a news cycle too fast for them to keep up with. Those support numbers are very fragile.
  8. Technically, you’re right, but this is a political process, not just a legal one. If it looks skewed or illegitimate in any way, public support for it will collapse and so will the political will to follow through with it.
  9. Yeah I’m thinking to sell the legitimacy of the impeachment inquiry the whistleblower has to testify. And wtf did happen to whistleblower #2?
  10. This is nothing. Just imagine if she actually had a policy to address the problematic business incentives that lead to Big Tech wielding such insane monopoly power in the first place, and treat the disease rather than foolishly try to smite the symptom while the disease remains and deepens. *Then* you’d see Zuck go full fascist. At least with Facebook being dismantled, what can live on is the basis of its empire: the pattern of using a large scale surveillance operation (disguised as a ‘free social media service’) to mine personal data from a massive userbase and sell it to advertisers for enormous sums, who then use the service to control the population ‘s consumer preferences through the application of behavior modification algorithms to the dataset. Were Warren to attack that pattern—say, by requiring people be compensated for data they contribute that produces revenue—Zuck and all of big tech would know the days of exorbitant monopoly profits would be over, and collectively lose their minds.
  11. I was actually wondering what the practical implications were...Schiff says the whistleblower doesn't need to testify because they already have all the info they need, but the optics seem pretty bad even if that's technically true.
  12. Can’t read the article—did Rudy actually say that about Trump, or is this another Twitter embellishment? Edit: nvm, it’s confirmed in this article.
  13. Thanks. Seems like Rudy's basically been turned into a less competent version of Michael Clayton.
  14. So how does the arrest of Parnas and Fruman relate to the Trump inquiry? Every story I’ve read said they were arrested on separate charges of violating campaign finance laws; but none of the articles explain how this relates to the Trump/Zelensky/quid-pro-quo question at the heart of this. All I can figure out is that It seems to add credence to the fact that Giuliani was involved in a lot of shady shit in Ukraine—but we knew that before, and it doesn’t seem like it’s shady shit that necessarily implicates Trump (yet). Is it just that we think there’s a good possibility that that shady shit eventually might lead back to the president somehow? I feel like the idiot in the theater who missed the big plot twist. Can anyone explain it for me? It won’t ruin the movie for me, I swear.
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