Reasoning facsimile

Anyone who’s never tsarred a blog may be unaware of the endless flow of “comment spam” that is intercepted before it can ever appear in the threads.  At this moment, for instance, there are 14 comments caught in the Spam Filter.  I’d put that on the low side for a typical day’s non-work.

If you see a comment from someone you’ve never seen before that reads something like the following, then either the filter missed one, or someone’s a comedian:

Once Once more great post. You Appear to have a Excellent Knowing of these themes.When I entering your blog,I felt this .

Now, if you clicked on the above comment’s name-link – “Troy Cress”/ “blogster.com/wantmewantme/” – you might very well discover true love.  That would be even more likely, I think, if you clicked on a link that went with the following:

Ground zero is a monument to all those who suffered and endurd the hardships of 9/11 to take it away is one thing but obama is pretty much spitting on the faces of all Americans who waved the AMERICAN flag to honor those who were victims that day. This is the outcome of America’s mistake but America we should have learned by now. Everyone makes mistakes lets not make this one again. this so called AMERICAN president needs to reevaluate his morals.

That one’s from good ol’ Toby Mondelli of fleshlight.wetpaint.com.  (He reads as HotAir-ready to me.) But Tanna Tewksbury of fleshlight.tumblr.com strongly disagrees with Tobes:

But not one single thing that you said gives the government the right to stop the mosque. Protest the mosque. Do creative things like building the gay bar next door, but the President was 100% right when he said that they have a First Amendment right to build it there.

Intense back and forth.

(Wikipedia link, but still not exactly Safe For Work or public computer) Fleshlight is on to something I’ve never seen before in comment spam, though I don’t believe it’s about tricking human blog visitors into clicking on commenter-links:  It’s about getting comments posted on blogs – fooling living and breathing 3-D bloggers into treating fake comments as real – in a way that in turn fools Search Engine Optimization “web crawler” robot systems into “thinking” that Fleshlight’s numerous sites – which are likely all the same site under different names – are connected to real, active, flesh and blood web users.

It’s kinda, okay I’ll say it, fitting that Fleshlight would come up with such an advanced imitation, or system of imitation, of human intellectual intercourse.

We’re approaching the point, if we’re not there already, that the internet speaks through us, not the other way around.


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TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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