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Comments by CK MacLeod

On “Jeffrey Goldberg: The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P. – The Atlantic

I'been in a state of alarm ever since he started winning R primaries, for a time allayed (mis-allayed?) by my mistaken trust in the remnant good sense of enough of the electorate, so in a heightened state of alarm ever since 11/9...

...but you can get used to anything, at least until it kills you.

As for not knowing what he's doing, that's been clear for a while. It also seems that he does not care and never has cared very much about the fact that he doesn't know what he's doing, assuming he even knows that much. Or he doesn't care or care very much, or for very long, until and unless some problem his ignorance and carelessness have created has walked up and hit him in the nose while shouting out its identity.

We might as well have a Magic 8-Ball as president - a malevolent Magic 8-Ball. It does seem that his defense people are capable of imposing greater consistency and responsibility to some significant extent, but our government is not designed to be run from the DoD

On “American Idealism, American Identity – Thread by @dhnexon, with Brief Comments

I think you and I see the main thrust or main problem with Nexon's argument diametrically differently. I think it's easy to place all four Republican presidents you name (and all of the other presidents since Roosevelt, at least) on the same plane, and I think Trump, perhaps against his will, is being dragged back onto it or is succumbing to its gravity or inertia. The differences are 1) that Trump doesn't seem even to understand it, as he doesn't seem to understand much of apparently anything except how to work a room and fool a fool, and 2) that people who are more self-consciously anti-liberal or far-right in the more Old World and America First senses have latched onto him and pulled him along in their direction. At the same time, as I was trying to suggest in the tweet about dual nature of American identity (flag and (liberal-constitutional) republic), and as I've been trying to say all along, the Trumpian ("national populist") impetus has always been there, and there's no nation without it.

I agree with you more on the second part, though I'd say Obama fell more within classic retrenchment, and during his 2nd term was readier to fish than the citizenry was.

On “Brain ‘rewires’ itself to enhance other senses in blind people – Harvard Medical School

Nagarjuna's reasoning is correct, based on his presumptions.

...if “we strip away the non-essential” fully, we are left with nothing.

Or, more precisely, we are left with "no thing," which would not be the same... thing... as absolute nullity.

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You could take the position - and on reflection it would be a quite arguable position, if not necessarily a practical assumption to guide research - that the essence of thinking, what we ought to think of as thinking truly, must always finally evade detection, or must be that which detecting cannot detect, because it is already the detecting. So the business of cognitive science will be to strip away what is non-essential to thinking and confine it to the realm of mere things. The science as opposed to the philosophy of thinking would be a continually pushing away of its object by closing in on it - or an endless series of potentially interesting failures. So, like every other science, only especially so. Or: Since "science" could stand for "thought," any science of science would be infinitely regressive meta-science, science of science of science of science ad infinitum. For the long version I'm afraid it would be back to Hegel or maybe to some of your Buddhist buddies.

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I guess the implication is that them brains is turning out differently than they might have been expected to turn out otherwise - the main takeaway being that the condition of blindness correlates with objectively measurable or detectable organic differences in brain structure, whatever terms you apply to them.

I was interested by the article in part because I have frequently seen people asserting that the traditional claim regarding enhancement or alteration of other senses was a myth. Also interesting that changes in memory and language processing are also detected.

Would of course also be interesting if other "re-wirings" were detected. When I was reading up on cognitive science or neuroscience years ago, it was my understanding that one of the premises undergirding them/it was that every change in mental or subjective state must correlate with an in theory detectable alteration in physical state - that every thought is also a thing or is thingy.

On “Isenstadt and Vogel: Paranoia seizes Trump’s White House – POLITICO

Idunno - but there are a fairly large number of people working at the WH. Not all of them are on 24/7 call, fate of the world hinging on their answering immediately.

On “American Idealism, American Identity – Thread by @dhnexon, with Brief Comments

The discussion is an ancient discussion, so I'm not saying anything even remotely new or original if I point out that, in the dialectic of the liberalizing state, a failure point is reached where, precisely for the reasons you offer, people, as we say, "forget who they are" or no longer can tell who or what they authentically are or what they authentically care about or whether they authentically care about anything at all. It's at the point, explaining why, that we see "the best lack all conviction." It's at the same point that a Trump slouches toward DC to be born, the kind of figure we would need to invent if he didn't arise on his own, as we also say, discounting the possibility that we really did invent him, if not quite consciously. We need an enemy, in this theory, to know who our friends are, and, since we don't have the evil aliens invading the planet, we turn to and against the evil aliens we conjure among us out of the available human material. In the classic game, the ones who move first meet little resistance, so their power waxes for a time, but over the same period they themselves become enemies much more satisfactory, more really dangerous and reprehensible, than the ones they made up, and so discover and in discovering enable the founding of the true and righteous resistance. Surely it will arise. What seems less certain, and would be unknowable ahead of time, is how much it will resemble either the new enemy or the prior losers.

On “Eric Levitz: The Case for Countering Trumpism With ‘Left-Wing Economics’ – New York

He cares, or cared, about people getting the impression he cared about whether people had the impression he cared about their caring, and that's about as close to authentically caring as they've mostly gotten.

On “The Deep State vs the Derp State (OAG #10)

Seems especially any Fuehrer-principle-ish movement has to assume malign counter-agents, since otherwise it would have to acknowledge that the world may not really be susceptible to His Indomitable Will, or its Triumph. But everyone who proposes anything "radical" faces at least some version of that problem. The Left or progressivism gets into its own peculiar trouble along those lines, too. The assumption is that the same history bending inexorably toward justice requires expert interventions uniquely by Leftists or progressives, but the prospects for collective human agency, whether of the masses or its vanguard, are also exaggerable.

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I did read up to the moment comments at OT but decided to respond here.

When the lefties vs the righties start arguing about Trump's 2005 1040, I tend to think it's time to move the discussion elsewhere - so, welcome home.

The jump-cut to nukes was initially jarring, but thanks much for the links to the Wallerstein pieces, which I agree are interesting, and even apart from this context.

I'm not ready to accept the definition of the DS that you offer, or of "the good DS," but the example does encapsulate the problem - or the wish (or our hope, their fear). Hoping the DS will check Trump is also a bit like hoping there really is a conspiracy of Illuminati running things, because even if they're evil, at least they still need a world to run, and a major war and even less Depression probably aren't really in their interests. The other hope is that the good citizen finds zerself in the right place at the right time by the will of God or American dumb luck or something. But it's hard for me to see Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov as an appendage of the Soviet Deep State, which was a very Deep State indeed. He was more an appendage of the State, period. Likewise a soldier refusing an evil order post-Nuremberg is choosing the "exception" or a unique form of it, from the Deep State of the Whole World to Come.

On “One doctor’s experience telling patients Trump is president – Slate

OK, but I'll give him a bit of latitude, too, since I did enjoy his observations.

On “Yearning for President Blog – OAG #9

I think for these purposes Facebook would be a rough equivalent for blogging, though as an inferior alternative given Facebook's limitations. As a "midpoint" Facebook seems to make it intentionally difficult to share smoothly to Twitter and other services, for example. Otherwise, there are just too many things you can't do, or that it's very difficult to do, with Facebook. The major thing it has going for it is that it is very good at doing what it does do: It's very fast, for instance. I dislike it too much, and use it too little, to comment further on it with much confidence. What do you think?

On “Nested Comments Unbound 1.0 Now Available from the WordPress Repo

I've only scratched the surface of what can be done to organize long and complicated threads visually - for example:

It will be hard or impossible to make out from the image at thread size, but in addition to the color-coding, we can also make depth > n smaller and more squozen together. There's another tool available (not yet in the plugin, but used in the other comment format at this site) for instantly collapsing sub-threads, which may also help. As would commenter-highlighting.

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(For instance - stress level jumped when it seemed that your comment wasn't indenting right, but the fact that I was replying to myself replying to myself replying, etc., an unusual thing for a comment thread, and that you were replying to an earlier reply, not my most recent reply-to-reply-to-reply-etc. led me to the wrong expectation about where your comment should align... actually everything is OK-ish.)

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Thanks - tho still have to see about a couple o' things, especially as applied to unique environments like this one...

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Yep. I can relax now maybe kind of.

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This one at 4, and, if the next comment doesn't turn toward the left, I may weep... or anyway check my settings.

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This one should be at 3.

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So this comment, replying to the first one, should be at Depth 2.

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We're starting to nest at level 4 on this rather genteel blog.

On “All the News that’s Fit to Kill (OAG #8)

...ironically ironically ironical that an enemy of irony would express himself so ironically, apparently, ironically, as per habit (if not compulsion), about a latest possibly ironically self-defeating ironically and ironically ironically counter-ironical action of his enemies ironically his allies.

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You are especially right about "You obviously love great journalism!" having been the real WaPo slogan as far as a lot of us are or were concerned...

...I'll just add that I agree with most of the rest of what you say, and appreciate its vividness!, but still think that the motto is a little worse than you allow.

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The de-evolution will be televised.

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His take would be ironical and unsympathetic since he's saying "yeah, it's a magnificent thing, isn't it?" - the opposite of the reaction that WaPo obviously wants and expects, but has invited. You're supposed to want more light and not to want democracy to die, and so support the WaPo for those reasons, not because you may think that it is advancing the dark and lethal cause unwittingly, or because you think that the WaPo is hopelessly helpless to do more than observe and record the ongoing demise.

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