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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Deceptive Appearances

   Yesterday's top story should have actually been the story that General Michael Flynn apparently met with Pennsylvania Islamofascist Fethullah Gülen.  The entire reason that Flynn was popular with the Trump people was his tough talk against radical Islam.  So it was shocking that in actuality, Flynn was meeting with the person most responsible for the desecularization of Turkey.  Gülen was originally part of the clique surrounding the military government of Turkey in the 1980s.  Back then, radical Islam was seen as an antidote to Marxist impulses in Turkish society.  (Kinda like Afghanistan?)
    Appearances are deceiving, and the supporters of O.B. are often not what they claim to be.  In his column from today, Jonah Goldberg diagnoses the paranoid everymanism of the Orange Blatherskite supporters.  Goldberg writes:
          On the right, a new version of prolier than thou is the new hotness.  Steve 
           Bannon is a multimillionaire former Goldman Sachs globalist who made 
           much of his fortune in Hollywood.  But his new racket--no less of a 
            racket for bein sincere--is to make himself the Joan of Arc to the 
           Trumpen proletariat.  He sells people--many no doubt decent--on
           the idea that there is a Great and Powerful Oz behind the curtain
            keeping them down, thwarting their dreams and denying them their
            destiny.  The Republican Establishment is whatever Bannon or 
            Sean Hannity (another multimillionaire who wears his 
            Budweiser on his sleeve) needs it to be.  It is simeotaneously oppressively
             powerful, blocking Donald Trump's "agenda" at every turn, and out-
             rageously weak, full of Quislings refusing to fight the cultural Marxists
             and George Soros's army of social-justice ninjas.  And because so many 
             people believe this tripe, everyone in the Establishment pretends they
             are against it.  They are like aristocrats of the old order donning
             workman's clothes to avoid the revolutionary mobs.  All of this only
              makes Bannon's life easier and the Establishment more pathetic. When
              no one will defend or deny the existence of your strawman, it's easy
              to win a debate.  Nothing proves the need for intensifying the witch 
              hunt more than the witches' ability to evade capture.
      Estase used to talk about the Primrose League.  He once thought that the average Republican politician was a squishy moderate who avoided social issues like the plague.  In comparison to the ethnically-obsessed Trumpsters and the alt-Right scumbags, the Primrose League looks damn good right now.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Disease of 2017

       There is a very real problem in America today.  People are starting to mistake feeling for thinking, and it is a part of a controversy burning up the internet today.  There was some millennial science fiction writer who created an analogy about abortion that most liberals are treating like the best philosophical argument ever.  It goes like this:  you have several hundred fertilized embryos, as you would in a fertility clinic, and one baby in a burning building.  You can only save the embryos or the baby.  The conclusion is that obviously you would save the baby, ergo, the embryos aren't human;  thus, no one really thinks life begins at conception.
       There are several things wrong with this analogy.  First, the people who think life begins at conception aren't also people who think it's fine to create frozen embryos by the hundred.  Being Halloween, Estase would refer the reader to the movie or book Frankenstein.  Second, it's an artificial dichotomy when you suggest that only the embryos or the baby can be saved.  Logically speaking, the argument would be just as confusing if one substituted an eighty-nine year old man for the embryos;  or a cancer patient for the embryos;  or a convicted murderer for the embryos.  The problem is that all these substitutes for the embryos are obviously human--all the same, you could make perfectly reasonable arguments for why they shouldn't be saved in favor of the baby.  So this argument basically comes down to emotion.  A person feels a baby can feel pain.  A person feels a baby counts as a human being.  Any philosopher who evaluates arguments on feelings alone should move to a field like womens' studies.
       There is a lesson learned from this other than that science fiction writers don't make good philosophers.  If this gentleman was the only person who mistook feeling for thinking, we would have an entirely different world.   Contemporary political arguments have the unerring tendency to be based on emotion, and not logic.  The common ingredient for Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and the Alt-Right is anger.  Anger is not conducive to compromise.  Anger is not conducive to discussion.  Anger is not helpful in reaching mutually beneficial arrangements.  Estase thinks every presidential election from 2008 on was an emotive decision.  Slogans like "Hope and Change" and "Make America Great Again" are emotional appeals, not logical ones.  It is very discouraging that people have spent the last week debating whether or not they feel embryos are people.  No better example exists of how much America feels the lack of a philosophical spirit in its public life.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Disclaimers in Journalism, Part Two

       While Estase eschews the O.B. term "fake news," it remains clear that journalists seek an agenda other than the truth.  On last night's CBS Evening News, a segment entitled "Sexual Misconduct Alllegations" telescoped the cases of Bill O'Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, and a third man into one story.  The segment only actually discussed O'Reilly.  So the point of the segment was nothing other than an attempt to malign Fox News.
      So what about the fans of Peace & Love Inc., who claimed that Monica Lewinsky and suborning perjury was at bottom "just sex?"  So why is "just sex" a problem for Bill O'Reilly, but not Bill Clinton?
      What is even more outrageous is the fact that CBS presented the O'Reilly segment before their story on the Tampa serial killer!  Since when is sexual harassment a higher priority than an active serial killer?
       Another example is the difference in treatment between environmentalists and pro-lifers.  Unabomber Ted Kacynski was never described as an environmentalist.  Earth Liberation Force and its acts of eco-terrorism are never mentioned.  In contrast, journalists make sure to try to associate abortion clinic bombers with the millions of peaceful pro-lifers.
      These are prime examples of how settling scores with ideological enemies is the top priority for broadcast journalists.  Much overheated rhetoric has suggested Orange Blatherskite is an enemy of the free press.  O.B. may have a poor way of communicating it, but the problem of political advocacy in journalism is real, a problem journalists created themselves and refuse to address.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

No Accounting for Taste

       Estase is currently reading On Writing Well by William Zinsser.  It strikes me that even an English professor, writing about good writing, finds it impossible to disentangle content from quality of writing.  Zinsser actually says that Mario Cuomo was more eloquent than Ronald Reagan!  He actually thinks hippie burnout Gary Trudeau is funny!  It's really hard to take such a person seriously as an authority on good writing.  Estase just hopes to use the Twelve Step saying, "Take what you want and leave the rest."
       Looking at the stats page of my blog, it seems that Mother Russia is hanging on every word.  I'm not sure why topics like Killinois' sci-fi Bruce Rauner are interesting to Vlad Putin, or why our slavic friends would like Q.E.D., when its most popular post of all time is Kant's Dictum.  No accounting for taste.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Does H-> Remind Anyone Else of Norma Desmond?

      The 1950 film noir classic Sunset Boulevard told the story of a young, penniless writer who ends up trapped writing a script for meglomaniacal has-been Norma Desmond.  Desmond lives in a fantasy world where people long to see the silent star on the big screen again.  Her decaying mansion becomes the place where the young writer dies, murdered by the delusional Desmond.
       One starts to assume that Hillary Clinton actually thinks Peace & Love Inc. will make a comeback, and that her rapist husband and repellent self will one day occupy the White House again.  Hey H->, everybody is getting really sick of your pity party, your endless litany of people other than yourself who are supposedly responsible for Orange Blatherskite's victory.  We thought you were a pandering old fool, claiming to carry hot sauce in your purse, and speaking pidgin English on the campaign trail.  You're as popular as the plague.  Go away, while you still have some scintilla of dignity.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Hypocritical Ass Alert

      Sci-Fi Bruce Rauner, a few days after vetoing a bill that would have mandated the teaching of cursive writing, due to ostensible concerns about the cost to local school districts, chose to sign H.B. 40, the dreadful Democratic bill forcing Killinoisans to fund abortion.  This is yet another example of the confusion and hypocrisy of modern American politics.  Why didn't we elect Pat Quinn for another term, if what we wanted was sanctuary state status, and a whole new entitlement (albeit one involving death).  And the whole crazy contradiction of being worried about the cost of teaching cursive writing, and then not caring about spending millions on abortion when Killinois already can't pay its bills.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Disclaimers in Journalism

      Don't you ever wish journalism came with disclaimers?  Especially broadcast journalism, which is pretty much a parasitic craft depending mainly on original research done by newspapers.  Warning:  CNN spends most of the workday getting story ideas from the newspapers and reading public figures' Twitter postings.  This sort of thing would clear up the misconception that the TV news game is anything other than the blind leading the blind.
      Sometimes even history is warped by bad journalism.  The false narrative of a one-sided slaughter fest in Bosnia is repeated as gospel truth, by people who should know better.  The reality is that most of the press pool got no further than the swankiest hotels in Sarajevo, and the information they received came from media-savvy Bosnian Muslims.  The fact that UN peacekeepers under General MacKenzie contradicted the narrative sold by the media and Peace &Love Inc. was swept under the rug.  Historians are as gullible as anyone else;  tell a historian something was said on The Most Trusted Name in Cable News, and they will dutifully report it as an historical fact twenty-five years later.  Of course historians would go out of business if they were forced to use disclaimers.  Warning:  Ken Burns tells only the liberal side of history--one in which Woodrow Wilson is a god among men, and Richard Nixon was a psychopath.