Trump Has Already Abdicated His Role as Head of State

found online by Raymond

From Jonathan Bernstein:

The real reason for it is that Trump, from the very start, has refused to act as head of state, and so no one except for his supporters is willing to treat him as such. That was the story of the Boy Scout brouhaha. It’s related to his tweeting, too. Because Trump refuses to adhere to normal rules of decorum, no one can trust how he’ll behave in any situation.

Either he just doesn’t care about that part of the job, or he’s so inept (or so self-involved) that he’s unable to do it.

This goes back to the very beginning of his presidency.

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A Final Word On Charlottesville: Trump Was Right About the Violence

found online by Raymond

From Libertarian Michael A. LaFerrara at Principled Perspectives:

The fundamental issue surrounding the pro- and anti-Confederate Statues is philosophical. Donald Trump’s response was wrong on several counts, including his moral equivocation of “both sides”—the pro- and anti-Confederates—and of Founding heroes George Washington and Thomas Jefferson with Confederate reactionaries Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

But he was right on the issue of violence.

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I’m All For Removing That Statue, Too

found online by Raymond

From PZ Myers:

There is a monument to Christopher Columbus at the Minnesota capitol in St Paul? I had no idea. He was an evil old monster, I’m all for removing anything like that — and there is a petition to remove it and replace it with two statues, one of Prince and another of someone chosen by the Indian community. I like that idea.

But then, I think we should regularly change art anyway. The Columbus statue isn’t exactly equivalent to Michelangelo’s David. It was bought and paid for by an association of Italian-Americans about a century ago, and so what it really represents is a wave of self-promotion by an ethnic community that had been discriminated against (which is a fine thing to do; it’s just too bad they picked such a terrible hero), and isn’t necessarily high art.

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Balanced Resistance, Pardon Joe, Clergy, Confederate Statues, alt-Right Polka

Genius and Master

found online by Raymond

From John Scalzi at Whatever:

The friend was talking (basically) about how he was annoyed that the fans of a certain person insisted that person was a genius when my friend saw that person’s output as largely just okay. I wrote:

Calling someone you’re a fan of a “genius” is mostly just second-order complimenting of one’s self (because you have the good taste to be a fan of a genius, you see). Most of the people I’m fans of are not geniuses, they’re just really really good at what they do, and because they are, they sometimes make great and/or enduring art.

And I think that’s true. “Genius,” in the context of creativity, is bandied around a lot and is typically used as shorthand for “that person/group I like who does stuff I really like and which for some reason I have incorporated into my self-identity.” There’s also often but not always a whiff of “and they do something I don’t know how to do myself” in there. In short, “genius” means “people who are highly skilled and super-talented in their creative field, who produce high quality material that speaks to me ineffably.”

I think being one of those people is nice work if you can get it, but I don’t think it equates to being a “genius.”

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To Denounce ALL Hate and Racism

found online by Raymond

From T. Paine at Saving Common Sense:

Once again it seems America has come completely unhinged, with the help of the mainstream “un-biased” media there to fan the flames of our own cultural destruction. Sadly, racism has always been a problem in our nation, and around the world, for that matter. Even more sadly, it will always be present in our society to at least a hopefully minor extent. It is an inexcusable evil that, when left unchecked, has resulted in the dehumanization of others so that they could be exploited, enslaved, and even murdered. Even more sadly, the number of people enslaved today throughout the world in 2017 exceeds the numbers that were enslaved in 19th century America. Many of these slaves today are perniciously sold and used as sex slaves.

Yet despite such horrific numbers, America was doing far better with its racism problem in recent times, until the last decade or so. We even had a majority of Americans vote for our first black president. While I agreed with very little of President Obama’s policies and had seen many disturbing signs that had cracked his polished veneer while he was still running for the White House, I too was buoyed by the fact that America in its decency could indeed elect a person of color to the presidency. Indeed, I would venture that the timing in our history was such that Barack Obama’s color was absolutely an asset to his election. (Never mind the foolishness of voting for someone simply because of their color, instead of their qualifications.)

I was greatly disheartened, however, to see that rather than further unite our nation as Americans, President Obama squandered the good will bestowed on him by a significant majority and decided to insert himself into more localized incidents; indeed he was often prompted to do so by the complicit mainstream media once again. The net result was that instead of us all simply being “Americans”, he further divided us into hyphenated Americans, most especially black-Americans and white-Americans.

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