Assessing Hearts and Minds

found online by Raymond

 
From Batocchio at Vagabond Scholar:

The old adage to avoid discussing politics and religion remains a wise social decision in plenty of situations. However, such discussions have to be held somewhere. (Alas, honest, intelligent discussion is fairly rare on the Sunday political shows – the good guests tend to be badly outnumbered by hacks and dolts.) The art of discussion, listening and persuasion isn’t dead in politics, and blogs, discussion boards and activist groups provide some good venues. Unfortunately, the quality of political discussion on social media platforms – particularly if one has a wide set of friends and acquaintances, going back years – can be pretty dreadful. It can be alarming to see someone who’s personally kind (and even fairly intelligent otherwise) uncritically blast the latest factually challenged, frothing bullshit from their political tribe as a self-evident truth.

In such situations, I find myself wondering how best to proceed or whether it’s worth engaging at all. How well do I know this person? How reasonable is he? What’s her background? What’s influenced his views? What frameworks is she using? How much energy should I (or do I possess to) expend? In my experience, some people simply aren’t persuadable; some have little substance to their views even if you politely hear them out. Trying to identify points of agreement and contention can be a useful exercise (and sometimes can de-escalate an argument), but ultimately it’s impossible to find common ground with someone on another planet. (Plus, trying to do so can be draining.)

In the interests of preserving sanity and lowering blood pressure, I’ve been playing with some categories to assess these dynamics and where someone falls.

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Happy Days

found online by Raymond

 
From Capt. Fogg at Human Voices:

Everybody knows America used to be great — greater than it is now, that is, but I wonder when that was and whether everyone would pick the same time of maximum greatness if asked. Nobody seems to be asking. I suspect we’d get a bunch of different answers though and I suspect many would refuse to answer, again for a variety of reasons.

For me, of course it would be the years that were greatest for me and that means when I had few worries and everything was new and exciting and simple.

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More Blunt Truths From Republicans, Please

found online by Raymond

 
From Jonathan Bernstein at BloombergView:

One of the most encouraging signs in this often depressing election year is that more Republicans are stepping up to try save their party. Not only is Donald Trump the wrong choice for conservative Republicans, some are saying, but the reason Trump happened to the party in the first place is that the party has some serious problems.

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The Clinton Way

found online by Raymond

 
From Vixen Strangely at Strangely Blogged:

There are lots of ways to follow up on a story–you can just wholeheartedly print what your sources turn over to you, which can be a bit one-sided depending upon your sources. You can sift through all the data until you have a steaming mess of nearly unintelligible, but fair and balanced “both sides” journalism. Or you could actually follow up on a story, data point by data point, until a bigger picture emerges, thereby doing the journalism thing in a somewhat more pure form. In other words, it’s not enough to describe what something “looks like” or “could be construed to be”–the trick is to arrive at what actually “is”.

For which, it helps to understand what “is” means. Is a donation to a charity that does not pay a salary to Madame Clinton the same thing as donating either to her or her campaign? Nope. Do the aims of the Clinton Foundation and the goals of certain arms of the State Department have overlap? Insofar as making a positive difference in the lives of people–yes. It might help to understand what the Clinton Foundation does.

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Pigs And Bikers!

found online by Raymond

 
From Max’s Dad:

Nothing both cracks me up yet infuriates me more than Iowa. Iowa’s obsession with agriculture and its pigs just floors me. Hey, I lived there a couple of years way back when and trust me, I know of what I speak cuz nothing has changed since I was there in 1979-81. Terry Branstad had a dark mustache and was lieutenant governor back then.Chuck Grassley was only 80 years old or so and about to get swept into the United States Senate back then. So in 2016 nothing has changed about Iowa. Branstad is still the Pope of Iowa and Grassley is running again at age 115 or whatever and he will be re elected because like I said, NOTHING ever changes in Iowa. See now I’m getting infuriated because I see the Wicked Witch of Pork Products, Joni Ernst, in her mom jeans sans witches hat. I know she will be re elected forever and I also see the wild eyed bigot, Steve King, sans his hood. And I know HE will re elected ad nauseum.

But the wannabe Bigot In Chief came to the annual Iowa Roast N Ride yesterday, again with that goofy hat, to dazzle 1800 white folks with his views on race and pigs and hand gestures. Hey man, you cannot get ANY whiter than this crowd of pork enthusiasts and bike riders who all show up on their Harleys without helmets and wearing shorts cuz of freedom!

Donald J Trump, loser, a man who earlier in the day had attempted to take advantage of a murder in Chicago of a young mother of 4 pushing a baby stroller down the street by tweeting out a VOTE TRUMP request to “African Americans”, flip flopped again on immigration because his white crowd of pig eating bikers wouldnt stand for any “pivoting” on easing up on them Mexicans they all want deported.

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NSA Hackers, Hacked

found online by Raymond

 
From Julian Sanchez at Cato Institute:

The Equation Group was like something out of a Hollywood film: A hacking team of unparalleled sophistication and skill who cracked open computer systems around the world like pistachio shells, yet escaped detection for 14 years until being noticed by the security researchers at Kaspersky Lab last year. They were also widely believed to be affiliated with the National Security Agency—most likely working with or from the NSA’s elite Tailored Access Operations unit. Last weekend, the world learned that these hackers nonpareil had themselves apparently been hacked, when a group calling themselves the Shadow Brokers (likely a reference to the popular Mass Effect video game series) posted a cache of what they claimed were some of Equation Group’s “cyberweapons,” or computer exploitation tools, on the Web for all to see—along with an offer to sell even more valuable intrusion software they’d obtained to the highest bidder.

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Donald, Hillary, Motives, Scandals, Hurricanes, Media

Another “Earthlike Planet”

found online by Raymond

 
From Infidel753:

The recently-discovered planet “Proxima b”, orbiting the star Proxima Centauri, is being hailed on news websites as a possible “Earthlike planet” — a term which crops up with some regularity in such reports. Planets beyond our solar system, in and of themselves, are no longer newsworthy — we’ve discovered well over three thousand of them — but “Earthlike” suggests a place with plants, animals, “normal” days and nights, and of course the comfortable temperature and oxygen-rich atmosphere that almost all planets in science-fiction movies miraculously have. There might even be Wookies or Klingons or Greys living there.

Proxima b is actually interesting from one viewpoint — it’s the nearest extrasolar planet ever discovered. Its sun Proxima Centauri is part of the Alpha Centauri system, which is our own solar system’s nearest interstellar neighbor.

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