USA Politics

Also take note of the 2018 midterm results in Minnesota. Major leftward swing vs. 2016, including flipping my congressional district to the Democrats, when it’s been solidly Republican since early 2001. We now have a Democratic governor, 2 Democratic senators, and 5 Democratic house reps vs. 3 Republicans. Definitely not trending red in the short term.
What do you make of the supposed move away from Democrats in the Iron Range?
 

Jer

Fuddy Buddy
What do you make of the supposed move away from Democrats in the Iron Range?
A lot of that is tied up in mining interests. Mining means local jobs there, but mining also means environmental impact, and some national Democrats (Sanders, Warren, Bloomberg) came out against recent mining initiatives there. I think a lot of folks saw that as a direct attack on their local economy. They’re also generally more socially conservative than the Twin Cities. Trump of course pandered to the area, letting the mining deal go through. And tariffs on foreign steel helped the local iron ore producers there, at least in the short term, so that appeals to them even though many of them don’t care for Trump’s rhetoric or behavior.

That said, the Twin Cities metro population continues to grow at around 6% a year while the Iron Range population is more or less stable. Metro voters trend Democratic, so there’s a steady headwind against the state starting to lean Republican.
 

bearfan

Ancient Mariner
This is a decent example of the insanity around cancel culture.. This guy was essentially suspended, why institutions, especially one like USC bows to these mobs is beyond me.

Full article

Snippets below


(CNN)A business professor at the University of Southern California became the center of an international academic controversy last weekend, after the school administration received a letter accusing him of using Chinese words that sounded like an English racial slur.
The letter was not signed by any individuals, but instead by "Black MBA candidates c/o 2022."

CNN obtained a copy of the letter, but could not find an official USC group by that name or reach the letter-writers for comment.
Professor Greg Patton of USC's Marshall School of Business was teaching a communications class via Zoom call on August 20, according to the university. An online video recording of the call, which USC confirmed was authentic, shows Patton discussing the use of pauses while speaking, and giving an example of how Chinese speakers use filler words.

A week later, Marshall School Dean Geoffrey Garrett announced that a different professor would take over teaching Patton's class for the rest of the semester, in an email to students that was shared with CNN.


In China, the common word is 'that' -- that, that, that, that," he said in the video, before using the equivalent Chinese term nei ge several times to demonstrate.
The following day, a complaint was filed to the school administration, saying the term sounded like the N-word and that Patton had "offended all of the Black members of our class."


"All I can say is, the professor's pronunciation of the Chinese phrase "neige" was accurate, and his use of it as an example of filler language was linguistically appropriate. It's a *very* common phrase," tweeted Yale law professor Taisu Zhang, who has previously taught in Hong Kong and China.
The Black China Caucus, an American organization that describes itself as "amplifying Black voices in the China space," also defended Patton on Twitter.


"The BCC is shocked by how USC mishandled this situation," the organization posted. "Not only would a quick Mandarin lesson reveal that "nèi ge" is a common pronoun, but USC's reaction cheapens and degrades substantive conversations surrounding real (diversity, equity and inclusion) challenges on college campuses!"
 

Midnight

The sun sets forever over Blackwater Park
No, of course the bully isn’t at fault. That’s patently absurd. The bully was an asshole, but the fragile child who decided to seek out a gun and end their life rather than hear one more mean thing said to them is the one who’s at fault. They grabbed the gun, they pulled the trigger. If they weren’t mentally ill then they at least had some serious problems with perspective and critical reasoning if they concluded that shooting themselves in the head was preferable. Shame on the parents for not toughening the kid up or failing to recognize that they were so fragile that they couldn’t safely interact with a normal cross section of children, so they needed to be given special care instead.
I can't quite put it into words, but something about this paragraph doesn't feel right to me at all.
 

Jer

Fuddy Buddy
I can't quite put it into words, but something about this paragraph doesn't feel right to me at all.
I’m not condoning the bully’s behavior, but are you really prepared to say that he’s guilty of murder for just saying mean things to someone? That the use of his words was equivalent to picking up the gun and shooting the victim himself?

What if the girl who had reacted poorly to the word “niggardly” had committed suicide because she was so distraught? Would her blood be on the professor’s hands even though her own ignorance was the only reason she was offended in the first place?

This has incredibly scary implications if you’re going to lay the blame for other people’s actions at the feet of someone else who may have literally done nothing wrong, or who at least committed no crime, even if they behaved poorly.

When someone commits suicide, unless they’re being directly leveraged (e.g. “I’ve taken your child, and unless you kill yourself I will kill them instead”), they are ultimately responsible for their own death. They always had other options.
 

Jer

Fuddy Buddy
There was a story some time ago of a girl coaxing her boyfriend to kill himself. Where exactly does this fall under?
That’s a really interesting case that goes right up to the line of responsibility. Both people had a history of mental illness, and the woman directly ordered the man to get back in the car and kill himself after he’d already been exposed to carbon monoxide and decided to exit his car.

This is different from a typical bullying situation because the woman wasn’t just being threatening or insulting, she was directly encouraging the man to commit suicide when he was already in an environment that could easily cause his death. That sounds like a reckless endangerment charge would have been appropriate to me.

They opted for involuntary manslaughter instead, and the only way I could see a reasonable argument for this is if they could prove that the man’s mental state after his initial carbon monoxide exposure left him physically unable to make a rational decision on his own, and therefore the woman’s command was substituted for his own judgment. I don’t know enough about the case to know if they met that bar or not. If not, then the guilty verdict is pretty concerning to me, and seems like bad precedent.
 
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LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I'm not going to do a blow by blow response anymore, because I don't think that's productive. So let's reset slightly.

@Jer, I don't think you're some crazy right wing nut. I just don't believe it is a far left principle to use one's speech to object to the speech/actions of others. Maybe we disagree on this, but having been emotionally & psychologically harmed, to the point of needing intense therapy to function onb a day to day basis, without someone ever laying a hand upon me, I can firmly say that the attitude of "words are meaningless" is both false and itself harmful, designed to perpetuate the cycle of emotional violence that is both a) is fiercely underreported and b) enables the use of physical violence. If you believe that this isn't harm, then I am very sorry for the people around you. People who do not understand that their words and actions can cause non-physical harm often cause a lot of it, generally unintentionally. In fact, this discussion has caused harm to members of this forum, who've spoken to me privately about it - which is why I'm going to wind it down after this (though feel free to reply, of course).

I will ask that you please stop putting words in my mouth. For example, I didn't say the person bullying someone into suicide was guilty of murder, yet you act as if I did. I said they were at fault. The level of fault varies on the situation in question. You then discussed a highly extreme situation where the person may very well be guilty of murder. I certainly don't think every schoolyard bully is a murderer, yet you misrepresented my opinions this way. I can only assume it was the use of hyperbole to point out that I, and thus the left, and thus those participating in "cancel culture", are incapable of recognizing there is a scale of reasonable response.

The interesting thing is that you recognize that "cancelling" someone occurs on a scale. You've brought up several examples of things that maybe go too far (IE, Professor Patton). I'm more than happy to say that while I understand why someone might be hurt, and the good professor can learn from this by better communicating what's about to happen, I'm sure this won't go much further and I would certainly not support the suspension of this person long term. And I've done the same. I've brought up several controversies that are popularly considered to be "cancel culture" and you've admitted that they're OK because they pass your bar for what is an acceptable reaction (IE, O'Reilly, Cherry).

My question for you is: why are you the arbiter of what is "correct cancellation" and what is "incorrect cancellation"? Why is it that your opinion for what's right is the correct one, and why the opinion of the progressive left (often female, minority, etc) incorrect?

I humbly suggest the following answer: because it's not coming from the traditional places of power - cishet, Caucasian men. And the midwest, being as it is, overwhelmingly white, is threatened by the use of power from non-white sources. And that's human nature! But it's incumbent upon us to recognize our biases - and I think that a lot of people in that region don't really see it that way.

My other final thought is that the ultimate source of freedom is one's own thoughts. It's certainly fine to think x "cancellation" goes too far but y "cancellation" was unreasonable. But it is also certainly fine for someone else to think that Y "cancellation" was reasonable as well. In the end, you've called the exercise "blackmail" and "mob justice" when you don't agree with it, but "Okay" when it happens to someone you think deserved it. The remedy to "cancellations" you don't like...is more speech. Speak up about why you think it's right. Buy their products. Associate with the people who associate with them. Are you worried you'll get the same treatment? Trust me when I say it probably won't happen. You're not that important!

To me, it's about freedom. I have the freedom to not associate with people or products I don't want to associate with, and I have the freedom to tell those people or products why. While I roll my eyes at the boycotts I don't like, I also will vote with my wallet. Associating with the products I think are being wrongfully boycotted, etc. To me, this is how it's supposed to work. Maybe for you, that speech should be suppressed when you don't like it, or think it might be wrongly used, but for me, I'd rather speech be a little unfair to some people who don't deserve it (after all, the right wing constantly tells me the world isn't fair), than speech that is needed be repressed in an over exuberance of force. That's the real concern for censorship.

Fini.

Addendum: Thank you for agreeing that the horrible nature of Internet trolls is sadly ubiquitous and not arguing on "X causes trolls to go berserk and be vile" when we really know it's the whole alphabet that summons trolls. The discussion was much the better for it.
 

Jer

Fuddy Buddy
I just don't believe it is a far left principle to use one's speech to object to the speech/actions of others.
Nor do I. Speech itself is fine, and should be encouraged.
Maybe we disagree on this, but having been emotionally & psychologically harmed, to the point of needing intense therapy to function onb a day to day basis, without someone ever laying a hand upon me, I can firmly say that the attitude of "words are meaningless" is both false and itself harmful
Sorry you had that experience. To be clear, I’m not saying that words are meaningless, or that the emotional pain someone can feel from mistreatment is irrelevant. But it is fundamentally different from physical harm, and it is not reasonable to automatically lay blame at the feet of a person who says something that when viewed through the very specific prism of your own feelings and interpretation lands an emotional blow. Just because you feel hurt does not automatically mean that the other person is at fault. And even if the other person said something with the intention of hurting your feelings, that doesn’t mean that any behavior you choose for yourself in response is automatically their fault either.

It didn’t used to be common for grown young adults to break down into sobbing messes when confronted with ideas they didn’t like. This is a recent phenomenon, and it’s bizarre. It also doesn’t work very well in a society where people have a fundamental right to say whatever they please, which will often be something you don’t agree with. Why is it that generations of people figured out how to suck it up and deal with this reality, but now it’s suddenly become some insurmountable emotional challenge?
In fact, this discussion has caused harm to members of this forum, who've spoken to me privately about it
:facepalm: Wow.
I will ask that you please stop putting words in my mouth. For example, I didn't say the person bullying someone into suicide was guilty of murder, yet you act as if I did. I said they were at fault.
Typically when someone is deemed “at fault” for the death of another, you’re talking some form of homicide charge. You are correct that I didn’t explicitly enumerate manslaughter and negligent homicide as options. Sorry about that. If that still doesn’t accurately cover the intent of what you said, then I’d argue that you didn’t express your intent very clearly.
the good professor can learn from this by better communicating what's about to happen
This is also a very recent phenomenon — warning people that they’re about to see or hear content that might be an emotional trigger for them, even on news programs. It’s bizarre. When I was a kid, 5th or 6th grade, one day at school they separated the boys and the girls and took them off to watch sex ed movies. I wound up seeing some old black and white thing with sailors showing their STD-ravaged penises to the doctor on the ship. I sure as shit didn’t get a content warning beforehand, and while the experience was unpleasant and certainly left an impression, it wasn’t scarring, and it was standard practice in public school at the time. Today it seems like both the parents and the children would have an emotional meltdown if this was still going on. What changed? When did everyone become so fragile?
My question for you is: why are you the arbiter of what is "correct cancellation" and what is "incorrect cancellation"? Why is it that your opinion for what's right is the correct one, and why the opinion of the progressive left (often female, minority, etc) incorrect?
And my question would be how could you have walked away from reading my comments with the impression that I was promoting some arbitrary personal view as superior to everyone else’s? I was extremely explicit about this: “No one is qualified to dictate for everyone which ideas have merit and which do not, and that’s why the expression of all ideas has to be protected, even ones that most people would agree are repugnant.” Free expression of ideas should be absolute.

Regarding the specifics of cancellation, it’s not some line I’ve personally drawn, it’s the line between free speech and arguably criminal activity. You are correct that I shouldn’t have used the term “blackmail” before to describe cancellation tactics, because the threat doesn’t always relate to revealing damaging information. “Extortion“ is the technically correct term. The mob extorts a ritual shaming from the target that must meet their specific parameters, or else they will make a concerted effort to cut off the person’s livelihood. Sorry, but a ransom note is not protected free speech.
I humbly suggest the following answer: because it's not coming from the traditional places of power - cishet, Caucasian men. And the midwest, being as it is, overwhelmingly white, is threatened by the use of power from non-white sources. And that's human nature! But it's incumbent upon us to recognize our biases - and I think that a lot of people in that region don't really see it that way.
This is a pretty stunning, out of left field accusation. By your own standards this should be considered emotionally harmful speech and you should be censured for it. Surely, wrongly accusing a person of racial and gender bias, and then making gross generalizations about an entire region of people at the same time is outrageously hurtful, and if I were to self-harm in response you would clearly be deserving of the blame! (Don’t you see how absurd all of that sounds?)

What if I told you that my multiracial trans nephew had written the last few messages I posted in this thread? Would that change your view of the arguments made? And if so, should it?

I’m not trying to be mean in saying this, but your response here just sounds like lame kneejerk progressive talking points. Falling back on accusations of bias because, well, that’s what people do these days, I guess?

My wife is Asian. I’ve been in long-term relationships with Hispanic and black women before I met my wife. I really do have a multiracial trans nephew. I’ve lived in other parts of the U.S. for significant periods of time. Your “humble suggestion” is laughable on its face, and fairly offensive to boot. I shouldn’t have to rattle off my racial and gender identity bona fides to parry your prejudicial take on my views based on my own race and geography. Good thing that I can somehow find the strength to not fall apart emotionally, dox you, and organize a mob to get you fired from your day job. Though I guess you’d think I’d be perfectly justified in doing so if I felt so inclined.
While I roll my eyes at the boycotts I don't like, I also will vote with my wallet. Associating with the products I think are being wrongfully boycotted, etc. To me, this is how it's supposed to work. Maybe for you, that speech should be suppressed when you don't like it, or think it might be wrongly used
See, a comment like this makes me question how much attention you actually paid to anything I wrote. How on earth did you land on the impression that I was against actual free speech, when the whole foundation of my point was about preserving it? How did you decide that my position was racially biased when race wasn’t a core component of my argument, and the only times I touched on race were in giving examples of how cancellation tactics mirror some of the tactics used to marginalize minorities, and in pointing out that it’s not racist for a kid to want to look like their idol of a different race when dressing up like them? This just leaves me shaking my head.

Let me make it as clear as I possibly can: Free speech good. Extortion bad. Maybe we should leave it at that.
 
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Dr. Eddies Wingman

Brighter than thousand_suns
So Trump boasts that he's been nominated for the Nobel peace prize.

Well.

Some comments from one living in the city where the prize is presented, and also the home city of the guy who sent the nomination.

1. There are a wide array of people who have the right to nominate someone. Most notably, all sitting members of any national assembly, worldwide.
2. For the 2020 prize, there are 318 nominees, so being nominated is not particularly exclusive.
3. It is not particularly common to reveal nominees, The statutes of the committee state that they may not be divulged before 50 years have passed, so when a nominator makes his nomination public, it is against the custom and almost always done to state a point (or get attention, see point 4)
4. The nominator, the Norwegian MP Christian Tybring-Gjedde, is a vocal member of the more nationalist wing of the Norwegian Progress PArty, a right-wing party whose main issues are lower taxes and less immigration. Tybring Gjedde belongs to a fraction within the party who want it to become a flat out nationalist party (in his own words, National Conservativism). By now you are probably not surpised to hear he is the biggest Trump fanboi in the Norwegian parliament.

But I guess the fanbase buys it and thinks this is an achievement in itself.
 

Mosh

And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
Successful talks with NK were probably Trump’s first and last chance at seriously being in the run for a Nobel prize. Well, that and not completely fumbling coronavirus. It’s crazy how easily trump could be sitting on 60%+ approval and a landslide re-election right now.
 

Jer

Fuddy Buddy
I keep getting unsolicited text messages from the Trump campaign. No idea how they got my number. Some “fun“ examples:

The Fake News is hiding away the real Biden. The Biden they don't want you to see is mentally unfit. Click here & see for yourself: bit.ly/2Eis6Vh

Joe Biden can't even keep track of all his lies about China. It's a good thing we do. Click here for the truth: bit.ly/3b6noWG

Looting. Rioting. Burning Cities. These are the realities of a Biden America. See his future for yourself & ensure it's not ours. Click here: bit.ly/2R2qulf

The radical-left threatens our future. Their plans to raise taxes would devastate hard working middle-class families. Do you agree? Reply "Yes" or "No".


I have to wonder who the target audience for this shit is. It’s not like this shrill, obviously misleading crap is going to sway an undecided voter, is it? This reads like red meat for his base, but his base is already energized to vote. If anything, this stuff might re-motivate a disengaged voter to go vote against him. Weird.
 

Jer

Fuddy Buddy
Looks like FiveThirtyEight is now acknowledging Joe-mentum in MN over the past month. Recent polls show Biden up anywhere from 4 to 16 points in MN now, and there were some interesting observations in the +16 poll:
  • In 2016 Trump won MN non-college whites by a 27% margin. In 2020 he’s currently in a dead heat with Biden in this demographic.
  • In 2016 Trump was -9% vs. Clinton in MN with college-educated whites. In 2020 he’s -39%(!) vs. Biden in this demographic.
There are some details about Wisconsin voters in that poll as well that show some stark differences vs. Minnesotans. Interesting read.
 
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