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JHan's Journal
JHan's Journal
February 24, 2017

The Shallow State

"The shallow state is in many respects the antithesis of the deep state. The power of the deep state comes from experience, knowledge, relationships, insight, craft, special skills, traditions, and shared values. Together, these purported attributes make nameless bureaucrats into a supergovernment that is accountable to no one. That is a scary prospect. But the nature of bureaucracies, human nature, inertia, checks and balances, and respect for the chain of command makes it seem a bit far-fetched to me. (The bureaucracy will drive Trump, like many presidents, mad, and some within it will challenge him, but that’s not the same thing.)

The shallow state, on the other hand, is unsettling because not only are the signs of it ever more visible but because its influence is clearly growing. It is made scarier still because it not only actively eschews experience, knowledge, relationships, insight, craft, special skills, tradition, and shared values but because it celebrates its ignorance of and disdain for those things. Donald Trump, champion and avatar of the shallow state, has won power because his supporters are threatened by what they don’t understand, and what they don’t understand is almost everything. Indeed, from evolution to data about our economy to the science of vaccines to the threats we face in the world, they reject vast subjects rooted in fact in order to have reality conform to their worldviews. They don’t dig for truth; they skim the media for anything that makes them feel better about themselves. To many of them, knowledge is not a useful tool but a cunning barrier elites have created to keep power from the average man and woman. The same is true for experience, skills, and know-how. These things require time and work and study and often challenge our systems of belief. Truth is hard; shallowness is easy."

- David Rothkopf, The Shallow State
February 24, 2017

Lawrence O'Donnell picked up on something I missed...

.. having to do with dress and fashion.

Trump is obsessed with personal appearance, was annoyed by Sean Spicer's* suit, even John Bolton's moustache was too intolerable for him, yet Steve Bannon, his closest advisor, looks like a bum.

What you wear speaks volumes, whether you dress to impress or dress to offend - even if you dress without a care.

Trump's rules of attire don't apply to Bannon and the message he's sending is: Trump has no power over me.

February 24, 2017

How many times must the intersection of class and racial discrimination be explained?

I've run out of paper to draw road maps.

Run out of pencils and the ink in my pen is dry.

I don't even have a crayon for this ish.

I am tired repeating myself to people online and offline.

But I now realise it should not be my burden to explain shit.

February 23, 2017

Utah leaders acknowledge immigrants' contribution to state's economy

An analysis of cost vs contribution.

This is why presidents have largely kept silent on this, and why immigration reform makes sense.

-“We need a steady workforce of people willing to do this work,” Utah farmer says.

-Utah immigrants pay $1.2 billion taxes and have about $4 billion in spending power per year.

-They account for 8.6 percent of the state population, running businesses that provide jobs for more than 31,000 people, and they have a reputation of entrepreneurship and special skills.

They also support the agriculture, construction and restaurant industries, by taking many jobs that others do not want.

February 23, 2017

Tim Wise is bringing it..

"Aside from the sheer spitefulness and bigotry the lay behind the Trump Administration's decision to rescind the Obama guidance for schools (which had required schools to allow students to use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity), there is something else I think we need to note and which is rarely discussed. Namely, that transphobia is, at its root, largely about fragile masculinity.

How do we know this? Simple: in all the uproar over which bathroom trans folks should use, the only example ever dredged up by transphobes is the "biological" (at birth) male, who dresses as a woman (note, transphobes often think trans people are basically just cross-dressers), and then molests little girls in the women’s room at Target or some such thing. Aside from the obvious responses — there are no examples of this ever happening, and men have never needed trans bathroom protections to molest little girls, nor have they felt the need to dress as women for the purpose — notice what the example signifies. These fears imply that all trans people are trans women (persons whose sex and gender assignment at birth were both male). But what of trans men?

If someone is born biologically a woman and assigned that identity at birth, but their true gender identity is male and they live as a male, present as male — and perhaps even have undergone gender confirmation surgery — do the transphobes really want that person to go to the women’s room? I doubt it. But that is what their preferred policy would dictate that person should do. Which means they aren’t thinking about such persons at all. Because if they were they would probably be freaked out that these masculine looking “women” (in their limited worldview) were going to be in such restrooms with their little precious Becky. The fact that they don’t think of trans men in the least suggests that their phobia is more about policing masculinity and punishing those “men” who do not meet their expectations of manhood or who fail to identity with it at all. It is as if they are so afraid of their own sexuality and identity that any consideration of a person born “male” but who is actually a woman confounds their very sense of self.

Transphobia, in short, is less about fear of the other and more about fear of the self: fear of one’s own often complex sexuality, fear that perhaps gender identity and sexual identity are fluid and not binary — and thus, are complicated and messy and not simple and easy to understand. Simple minded people like simple minded answers about the world. Complexity scares them. Indeed complexity and nuance and ambiguity are the first casualties of, and the greatest fears of, reactionary thinking.

Which is why when people suggest that trans folks are disordered they have it exactly backwards. It is they who are disordered. They operate on the basis of irrational fears and biases, and an irrational hostility to human complexity. If anyone needs counseling it is the transphobe, not the trans man or woman."

- Tim Wise
February 23, 2017

I'm beyond the silliness of "establishment" arguments. Let's remember..

The lesson of 2016 should be the importance of Unity. Regardless of who wins the DNC chair - I honestly don't give a squirrel's ass who wins - should be supported.

21stCentury brings with it challenges- and I care because I'm a millennial. Solutions to dealing with these challenges are baked in Democratic policy.

Manufacturing jobs were a big concern during the election but they began to wane in the 70's and started to reach crisis levels in the 80's. Wages were no longer in sync with productivity gains. Worse yet, businesses/corporations obsessed with short term profit were only too eager to throw workers under the bus and lay them off whenever there was a whiff of economic turmoil.

Now we're approaching the age of automation, and it won't be stopped. Trump thinks unlimited drilling will bring back jobs, however while Oil production is on the rise, jobs in this industry have dwindled... and why? Because drilling rigs are fast becoming robotized and operated by someone with a computer so there are fewer opportunities for field hands. Trump's proposed tax cuts won't be a respite either because whatever increased profits businesses gain will likely be spent towards automation, mechanization and computerization of their businesses or they'll simply share these profits in dividends to shareholders.

Trump claimed he won't touch Medicare, yet he appointed Tom Price and Mick Mulvaney: two extremists who have different ideas.

Democrats, on the other hand, understand the need to push for higher wages, ensure a secure safety net, shifting to renewable technologies and the importance of a social dividend. As middle class jobs and even service jobs become threatened, it will be Democrats who have the right vision to steady us in uncertain times.

So I am beyond the silliness of who is establishment and who is not, once party leadership grasp the importance of these things and messaging our solutions to constituents we have a fighting chance because we have the better policies.

February 23, 2017

Mexican senator aims to hit U.S. for Trump's 'big lie' on NAFTA

The #MAGA Chronicles

A prominent Mexican senator wants to remind President Trump of the benefits of free trade -- by taking a big one away from the U.S.

Senator Armando Rios introduced a bill that would drastically cut down Mexico's purchases of U.S. corn.

Mexico bought nearly 25% of all U.S. corn last year, totaling $2.6 billion. It's the second biggest market in the world for U.S. corn only behind Japan.

Trump says NAFTA, the free trade deal with Mexico and Canada, has been a "one-sided deal" in which Mexico has won and America has lost.
Rios disagrees.

"The position of Donald Trump is a mistaken one and it's a lying one," Rios told CNNMoney Wednesday. "They have been insisting that Mexico takes advantage of the U.S. regarding NAFTA and that's totally false... It's a big lie, so there is a good way to show that this is not true."


Rios' bill also reflects a broader push in Mexico to diversify its economy away from the U.S. and sign new or revised trade deals with nations in Latin America and Asia as well as the European Union.

"Right now we have hostile position from the U.S. and we have all our eggs in the same basket, so we should probably start diversifying in the short term," Rios said.
February 21, 2017

This is some bitter truth..

"When white people are hurting economically we’re supposed to feel their pain and “bring the jobs back” to their dying rural towns. But when people of color lack jobs in the cities (in large part because of the decline of manufacturing over 40 plus years, as well as discrimination) we tell them to “move,” to go to school and gain new skills, and we lecture them on pulling themselves up by their bootstraps because the government doesn’t owe them anything. But apparently we DO owe white coal miners and assembly line workers their jobs back because remember, out of work white men are “salt of the earth” while out of work people of color are lazy."

- Tim Wise
February 13, 2017

What Liberals Dont Get About Free Speech In The Age Of Trump

A great read from start to finish, if I could post the entire essay I would....

What Liberals Don't Get About Free Speech In The Age of Trump by Katherine Cross

"Why have so few talked in detail about Milo’s specific acts of hate, from sexual harassing a blogger and supporting the abuse of Gamergate, to using derogatory slurs and anti-Semitic symbols, playing a role in the rise of hate crimes against Jewish people?

Why was there no battalion of op-eds in major newspapers about Adelaide Kramer, the trans woman Yiannopoulos harassed off of UW’s campus after he devoted the better part of his address there to attacking and slandering her? Whither her free speech, or her right to the education at UW that she had earned on her merits? Coverage of her story was limited mostly to online opinion outlets and Teen Vogue. Yiannopoulos warranted an editorial from the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board.

...where *were these noble defenders of liberty — from eggs on Twitter to carefully manicured beards at The Guardian  when it emerged that US Customs and Border Patrol were searching the phones of certain people of color to see if they had criticized Trump on social media?


You can think whatever you like, and even say it without fear of government reprisal, but when you introduce force-multipliers for speech into the equation, things begin to get very hazy indeed. You have a right to a view; do you have a right to pronounce it to millions of New York Times readers, however? No. ....

To speak to so vast an audience is a privilege, not a right. To speak through a newspaper or magazine column, a TV talk show, an interview on national TV, a speech at a university, or a primetime debate program, is, by its very nature, a privilege not open to all. There are billions of people on this planet, each speaking their views at any one time, but they can’t all appear on the Today show. Once again, we intuitively grasp this basic logistical matter, but forget about it entirely when a raving bigot shows up, feeling cornered by an abstract principle into insisting that he or she be given not only space to speak, but the largest possible platform and audience for it.

It has been the pride of my life to be able to write editorial copy and speak at universities and conferences around the world. I do not, however, delude myself into thinking I have a right to any of these things. They are privileges I have earned. I have a right to the views I espouse here; I do not have a specific right to force the editors of The Establishment to use their platform for that espousal.

The same applies to Yiannopoulos at Berkeley. What people are really arguing about is whether Yiannopoulos has a right to be paid to go on a speaking tour, complete with hotels, a bus (yes, really), and an entourage. That is a separate question from whether he has a right to hold his views; he could spread them, as so many do, from street corners and subway stations. He does not have a specific right to any particular rarefied rostrum, however.


One of the biggest problems with mainstream liberalism is its fetish for abstract principle over material reality. It is prone to forgetting that in a democracy, principles exist as a means to an end: the guarantee of maximal rights and liberties for the greatest number of people. ...

What liberalism’s fetish for abstraction does, however, is leave it woefully unprepared for rights conflicts, which are inevitable in a complex society. At some point, one person’s exercise of their rights will come into conflict with another person exercising theirs, and this dispute must be adjudicated upon. Someone’s rights will be abridged as a result, which will be necessary to guaranteeing democracy’s stated aims.

The right to free speech is essential; it is very, very far from abstract. Ask anyone who had their phone searched at a border crossing this past week. That scenario is the very reason we have a First Amendment: uniformed, armed officers of the state, searching the correspondence of a civilian to see whether they criticized the president, punishing them if offending material is found. More than anything our First Amendment exists to protect the rights of the ordinary person to criticize those in power without fear of reprisal from the state. Yet instead we debate the right of an already rich man to use his exalted platform to take away the speech rights of others.

This is largely because liberal abstraction — and its counterparts on the political right — are very shy about delving into the specifics of any one case, lest it complicate an otherwise triumphantly straightforward argument.

So many people are hung up on Yiannopoulos’ right to free speech (without enumerating the specifics, e.g. a right to this platform, a right to payment from this institution, et cetera, none of which are democratic rights per se), while ignoring the rights his hate-mongering specifically abridges. This recent editorial in The Guardian by Matthew d’Ancona does not even try to reckon with the rights-conflict issue raised by Yiannopoulos’ planned Berkeley rally, and it’s quite typical in that regard. For the principle-obsessed pseudo-civil-libertarian, details only confuse the matter. D’Ancona merely gestures at it through yet more generalizing language, saying: “In a pluralist society, the line of least resistance is to shield citizens from offence. The problem is that everyone is offended by something, or by many things.” But this discourse of “offence” is a refuge for those who do not wish to speak of substance.

February 11, 2017

the channeling of Huxley and Alinsky in a series of tweets:

"Liberties aren't given, they are taken" - Huxley

"Action comes from keeping the heat on. No politician can sit on a hot issue if you make it hot enough."- Alinsky.

Kurt should know better, and he was proper schooled. This is not the time for respectability politics:

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About JHan

Be true, be brave, stand. All the rest is darkness.
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