Monday, November 20, 2023

Surveying the Substacks: from the Wingnut Grievance Bubble to the imminent end of the baby boomer generation

I’ve written before about the Wingnut Grievance Bubble. it’s that enclosed feedback loop where lunatic fantasies, feverish delusions, nutty conspiracies, repugnant behavior and harebrained notions are amplified. these people watch themselves on Fox News all day long. whatever crackpot ideas rattle around in their heads are never challenged.
for example, inside the Wingnut Grievance Bubble, everyone knows that Joe Biden took bribes from China because everyone knows that Joe Biden took bribes from China. it’s doctrine. it’s tautology. it’s an article of faith. it goes unquestioned.
it doesn’t matter that there’s no evidence.
which is why, every time one of these nudnicks steps outside the Bubble and opens their mouth, they fall right the fuck on their stupid face.
This one hits close to home -- at Crushed By Margaret Cabourn-Smith, MCS writes Secretly Fat CW: Fat and fatphobia
...what happens when you call a woman “fat”:
“The accusation is so strong, it is still effective even if it has no basis in truth whatsoever. I have seen size 10 women being silenced by this line – as if they feel the accuser has somehow sensed that they secretly have a fat aura or will become fat later in life, and called them on it.”
The first time I read this I both gasped and cringed (gringed?), it hit so hard. Recently I read a piece by a fat activist where she mentioned that size (UK) 14 was where fatphobia kicked in and I realized the truth of it....
At The Popehat Report, Ken White writes My Free Speech Means You Have To Shut Up Elon Musk and The Enduring Appeal of “Criticism is Censorship”
...Elon Musk’s sullen yawp amounts to a claim that he has a right for companies to sponsor his speech, no matter what he says. That’s nonsense, both legally and philosophically.
It doesn’t stop there. Musk is also a fan of the theory that when he speaks, your criticism of him violates his rights....
It would be easy to blame this contemptible nonsense on Elon Musk being socially inept, proudly ignorant, and grotesquely petulant. But when it comes to thinking that the right to free speech includes the right to silence others, Elon learned it by watching us, okay? He learned it by watching us.
“Your criticism violates my right to free speech” is a fatuous but common American sentiment. It has been for some time....
At Drezner's World, Daniel Drezner writes My Baggage Check on Israel Where I'm coming from when I write about what's happening in Gaza.
...Until 2016, my personal experience with anti-Semitism was blessedly minimal, on the average of one personal incident every decade or so. As the Trump campaign reached its full flower, however, I found myself on the receiving end of daily anti-Semitic vitriol on Twitter. After Trump was elected it subsided but did not disappear. But I won’t lie, it made me think about Israel in a slightly different way — as a theoretical safe haven.
Everything about the current war in Gaza has been horrific. The brutality of the original Hamas attack is beyond comprehension. Hamas’ deliberate strategy was to provoke an extreme reaction by the Israeli military, and they have succeeded in that task. The Israeli response has been brutal on an industrial scale. I do not really trust the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry for casualty counts.4 I do trust the press coverage on the ground, however, and there is no way to read recent accounts in the New York Times or NPR — or this interview with the head of mission for Doctors Without Borders in Palestine — and not be appalled at the loss of civilian life.
I wish the Israeli wartime cabinet would treat Benjamin Netanyahu the same way the British treated Neville Chamberlain in 1940, but it does not seem that this will happen. So on the one hand I see an Israeli leadership that I do not trust and yet fellow Jews expect me to defend its actions. On the other hand, I have had to sit through sessions in which colleagues talk about how Israel’s very creation was an act of “settler colonialism” and bite my tongue in response because debating that claim is an express ticket to madness.
I see a growing groundswell of global anti-Semitism coming from both the left and the right, and the place that is ostensibly supposed to be the safe haven for Jews committing moral suicide....
At Steady, Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner write The Vile Lies of Antisemitism History's chilling echoes
As we are currently being reminded, antisemitism has a long history, but it is certainly not relegated to times gone by. As could be expected, the fighting in the Middle East has sparked a surge in attacks on Jews around the globe. We have even reached a point where people online were sharing the antisemitic rantings of Osama bin Laden.
It is important to reiterate that criticism of Israel is not inherently antisemitic. Indeed, anyone who has traveled to Israel can tell you there is plenty of dissent within the country about its politics and policies. But there are also cases in which the rhetoric used to attack the Jewish state crosses the line into attacks on the Jewish people. And then there are instances, as with Musk’s comment, when Israel isn’t mentioned at all. And it’s all about the Jews.
Certainly there are other forms of racial, ethnic, and religious bias — Islamophobia among them — that need addressing, in our own country and elsewhere. But today, at this historical moment, Musk’s antisemitism demands special attention.
It is essential that Musk’s statements in particular — and any acts of violence connected to them — be not only condemned but repudiated by everyone, regardless of religion, and including atheists and agnostics, as well. It is especially incumbent on those who are not Jewish to use the power of their position and privilege to denounce antisemitism without hesitation or equivocation.
Antisemitism is one of the great scourges of world history. It has been used time and again as a justification for mass death. It has long been a tool for those who build their power on division and seek scapegoats for their own failures. It can lurk under the surface for years only to explode at the slightest excuse.
That all of this is coming as the former president and current leader of the Republican Party is promising a horrific and fascistic approach to governance if he is reelected only adds to our peril. We know from history where the combination of wealth, power, and antisemitism often lead.
At Phillips' Newsletter, Phillips O'Brien writes Weekend Update #55 Ukrainian Forces Across the Dnipro Also: Do we want Ukraine to "win" is the real question; Ukraine-Russia War Talk returning very soon.
...what we really need to know is does the Biden administration actually want Ukraine to win and liberate its territory? Their rhetoric (at times) says yes but the way Ukraine is being armed says no. The arming says its more important not to antagonize Russia too much than it is to help Ukraine to win. If that is the answer, then the administration will simply continue to feed those who believe the war is a stalemate.
Ukraine can win this war if armed properly (I think I will write a mid-week substack about that soon), however if its armed in the weird way it is now (defensive weapons and weapons that force it to make battlefield attacks) it will be a much longer, more difficult war. The US administration cant micromanage the war the way that they think—but they absolutely can make it worse (and seem to be).
In his National Security and Intelligence Newsletter, Wesley Wark is covering the Ortiz Spy Trial. Two recent articles explain the details: The Ortis "spy" trial Or, what an extraordinary case this is, and Ortis' defence lawyers and the Crown duke it out Is there a winner?
For this first time in modern Canadian history, a jury is hearing a “spy” case. Cameron Ortis, a former RCMP civilian intelligence officer, was charged in 2019 with six counts under the 2001 Security of Information Act (SOIA)--an update of the much older Official Secrets Act. He is accused of the unauthorized transmission of what is called “special operational information” (as defined in the SOIA). In other words, leaking or betraying secrets. The recipient of those secrets were organized crime figures in Canada. Ortis reached out to them via email....
...The defence has said from the outset of the case that Mr. Ortis had authority to do what he did and a “compelling” story to tell. Well, he has told it and the jury will have to decide how compelling it is and the extent to which it creates a reasonable doubt in their mind about his guilt.
To get to that point both defence counsel and crown prosecutors have urged the jury to use “common sense.” They mean radically different things by common sense, of course.
Finally, at Breaking the News, James Fallows interviews author Thomas Barnett for this article: What’s the Hope for the World? ‘The Aging Out of the Boomer Generation.’ Gulp. A bracing talk with Thomas P.M. Barnett, author of 'America's New Map,' on how the US will look, once it gets past its current traumas.
...Barnett argues in his book that the US will naturally become more open to Latin American migrants, both because more of them will be coming, and because the US will have greater needs.
In our talk I ask him: How could that possibly be, in a political climate where “troops at the border!” is a rallying cry.
Fallows: Of course history shows us that climate and disruption drive migrations. The Irish after the potato famine, and many others. But in those days there was not a Border Patrol, and not the same immigration system, not borders in our current sense. How would the real-world US open itself up, as you say?
Barnett: It's going to be accomplished by generational turnover.
The Boomers and the Gen Xers, both Cold War babies, what do they know? They know the sanctity of borders. It's a very Cold War mentality. That's what they know. That's what they're comfortable with. OK?
When you start talking millennials, Gen Zs—I got six of them as kids—they don't have those instincts. They're not gonna sign up for a 50 year Cold War with the Chinese to prevent them from doing—what? Building bridges around the world or something like that? They're very skeptical about our military interventions. You're seeing the resistance on our support to Israel right now. You're seeing the wavering of our support to Ukraine. They're very much focused on climate change.
They are very much convinced that they're going to live in this (ethnically changing) world. I think they're right. And they're eager to address it. So think about who's going to be running the system in 2050. The peaking and the points in history where we're going to have the most adaptation are going to be probably in the 2030s, 40s, 50s. And that's when Gen Z and the millennials are going to come online.
....Yes, America’s openness is its strength and genius. But at the moment the trauma of feeling “left behind” is, he says, a main driver in today’s US politics:
Barnett: There is also, I would argue, this huge fear factor in America that has to do with the fact that we hit peak whiteness in 1950… And then across the course of your and my lifetime, roughly, we’re watching that 90% white America profile in 1950, drop to 45% by 2050…
I would argue, an underlying freak-out factor that figures into all these culture wars is that you’re seeing scared white population targeting any other they can find, and saying they’re the problem
We’ve got to “get back” to where we were. We’ve got to “become more Christian.” We’ve got to “become more white.” They don’t actually say that last part, but their actions speak to that kind of focus…
I don't think you can understate the fear factor that drives this. Robert Pape, the University of Chicago political scientist, did a study of the 377 people that were arrested at the January 6th insurrection. And not only were they like 95 percent white, average age 58, which puts them right into the angry-white-aging zone, but they were overwhelmingly from counties that were experiencing the most rapid decline in the white population. So it's that disorientation.
To me, that's a microcosm inside our country about America's sense of disorientation, displacement, replacement by a non-white world or by the Chinese or by these rising powers.
Barnett argues that time is working against this fearful minority. ...
And one more bonus theme, about an American advantage over China in the long run:
The Chinese dream doesn't include anybody but Chinese. And the Indian dream will be very similar. But anybody can become American. And we should take advantage of that.
And, one more:
If the boomers have done one thing, it's they've created a vision of America that is so negative right now, that a lot of our young people aren't interested in it.

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