Commenter Archive

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

You clearly got the gist, but for clarity's sake I want to amend my last sentence. It reads "The DS here would be anything at all preventing the speed and efficiency of carrying out nuclear weapons orders."

It should read, "The DS here would be anything at all preventing the speed and efficiency of carrying out nuclear weapons orders in carrying out all Presidential orders, Exec Actions etc."

Or rather it should read as a smoother version of the meaning of that.

Yeah, at any rate the DS definition I offer would render the use of such a portentous phrase "DS" trivial. My reading is that B/T use it portentousness to disguise the vacuousness of what they are saying. Kinda like watching something by David Lynch, but less entertaining.

To me the crucial element is how one construes agency. T/B and perhaps the Right in general have, to my mind, too robust a sense of individual agency. When that seems thwarted, it must only be because of some other, stronger individual agency at work, rather than the force of the political/physical ecology we, or "we", are embedded in.


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.


Well done. And as such deserves thoughtful responses. But a lot to get to, so let me start with some prelim remarks. I did read up to the moment comments at OT but decided to respond here.

So part of the definitional issue is whose DS are we talking about. The Bannon/Trump one seems the most relevant, so what's going on with their use of the term.

It does not seem to refer to the entrenched bureaucracy, but rather a sinster version of it, in league with non-govt elements. The "in league with" is I thnik important because it suggests intentionality and agency to the DS, rather than the accumulation of millions of individual actions done only with the intention of doing one's work, and generally without any or much coordination.

So this DS alludes to, if not actually asserts, the DS of say Turkey. This is, I think part of the frequently allusive rhetoric of T/B that seems to lie, but also seems to strike a chord with a part of the population. Even if they don't understand the specific reference, they get the affective one.

I only have so much juice today, so I'm going to skip ahead in my response, hopefully to fill in later.

The one place the Pres is able to perform a radical action is launching nuclear weapons. Excellent posts on this by Alex Wallerstein here and here.

As he notes:

And from a practical standpoint, we know the system is set up so that the people at the very bottom, the people “turning the keys” and actually launching the missiles, are trained to not question (or even deeply contemplate) the orders that reach them. They are trained, rather explicitly, that if the order comes in, their job is to execute it — not quite like robots, but close-enough to that. The speed and reliability of the system requires these people to do so, and they are not in a position to inquire about the “big picture” behind the order (and would not presume to be qualified to evaluate that).

Perhaps this is what T/B is after in running the entire govt. Perhaps this partially accounts for his fetishization of nuclear weapons.

The DS here would be anything at all preventing the speed and efficiency of carrying out nuclear weapons orders.

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.


See, this is why I'm as you say "an enemy of irony". So to avoid past ironic feedback loops, please extend to me some latitude as a friend of this site.

"Ah, to be him for a day."

Fuck you doc.

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?


Is the in-between point between a Tweet and a blog post the "Facebook essay"?

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.

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

that's why I replied out of place - seemed like it might duplicate more chaotic dynamics of large sites.


(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.)


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


Yep. I can relax now maybe kind of.


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


This one should be at 3.


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


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

On “WordPress Comment Nesting Unbound

[…] envisioned years ago, implemented in various ways via some custom functions and hackage along the way, I’m proud to announce the uploading of Nested Comments Unbound to the […]

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

“You obviously love great journalism!” reminds me of the guy who's told to answer the phone "And how may I give you excellent service today?"


...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.


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.


You could be right.

OTOH, your remark presupposes a sense of agency that my sense is, Land rejects, that the "machinc" agency he understands to be the case would be located in the larger assemblage that intends to advance his program.

Following this interpretation, what you take t be irony would be just part of the machinic feedback loop seeking to maximize chaotic efficiency.

I do have to admit, all of this did have a glancing influence on my Cyborg posts. And seeking to eliminate irony has an ironic appeal for me. But I think Land sees this as epiphenomenon.

Your remarks seek a fully synthetic perspective. Land seems to me to locate his remark not just a step broader in perspective, but from the perspective that there is no perspective.

OTOH you may be right.


I assumed the slogan meant that the WaPo would be pulling out of the darkness any creepy thing that might try to drag democracy down a slimy cave. Ergo, democracy would be clinging to the sticky tentacles of that thing and WaPo would then vanquish the thing and gingerly pick democracy off in order to let it dry and thrive in the sunlight that already exists in the world. I didn't assume that WaPo was bringing the light itself. Although I do feel the slogan is a bit dramatic, even for our times, I say: let them have their fun, no harm done. As I posted on my Twitter feed, and will plagiarize myself here--I thought their slogan was "You obviously love great journalism!" I'm sure I couldn't be the only person who typed that but it made me giggle. Again. Anyhoo, kudos to WaPo for getting everyone thinking about democracy as something worth saving/something on its way out but worth acknowledging. Dissecting that tagline is no doubt stimulating interesting social studies lectures across the world in a time so few news stories are appropriate for younger viewers.

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