Empathy might not work: Daily Bullshit, December 16-17, 2016 (updated)

Horse race

Take Dave Boyer’s article with a grain of salt. A lot of it is based on a Daily Mail story.[1] It seems very odd to me that a serious journalist would give an interview to such a disreputable publication.

Meanwhile, the White House is raising the level of rhetoric against Russia in its dubious[2] claims that the Russians interfered with the U.S. election. “‘They should either stop talking about that, or produce some proof at last,’ [Vladimir Putin spokesman Dmitry] Peskov told reporters Friday. ‘Otherwise it all begins to look unseemly.'”[3] Juan Cole recognizes the personal attacks on Putin as resembling the propaganda of the first Cold War.[4] Actually, it’s worse than unseemly. First, none of us who survived the first Cold War and the infamous doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction should want anything to do with a second one, even if it’s for partisan gain.

Second, it diverts attention from the real reason the Democrats lost, and on this, Susan McWilliams raises the prospect that the “kind of politics [of an ‘ethic of total retaliation’ against a technologically advanced and economically changing America in which [Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels] felt they’d been counted out and left behind] is ‘nearly impossible to deal with’ using reason or empathy or awareness-raising or any of the other favorite tools of the left.”[5] There are a lot of white males, myself included, who identify to some degree with those “Hell’s Angels.” At the same time, the Democrats seemed determined to alienate Bernie Sanders’ supporters[6] such that many of them probably refused to vote, at least for Hillary Clinton. So who was left to vote? Who turned out? A lot of very angry white males. Folks on the left need to reckon with this, but so far, it is amply evident they are determined not to, which is why I no longer identify with the left.[7]

Dave Boyer, “WikiLeaks figure says ‘disgusted’ Democrat leaked Clinton campaign emails,” Washington Times, December 14, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/14/craig-murray-says-source-of-hillary-clinton-campai/

Susan McWilliams, “This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson,” Nation, December 15, 2016, https://www.thenation.com/article/this-political-theorist-predicted-the-rise-of-trumpism-his-name-was-hunter-s-thompson/

George Beebe, “Russia’s Role in the US Elections: The Case for Caution,” National Interest, December 16, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/russias-role-the-us-elections-the-case-caution-18756

Juan Cole, “Demonization of Putin as ‘Personally’ behind Clinton Hack is old Propaganda Technique,” Informed Comment, December 16, 2016, http://www.juancole.com/2016/12/demonization-personally-propaganda.html

Josh Lederman and Bradley Klapper, “Obama vows retaliation for suspected Russian hacking,” CTV, December 16, 2016, http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/obama-vows-retaliation-for-suspected-russian-hacking-1.3206003


  1. [1]Dave Boyer, “WikiLeaks figure says ‘disgusted’ Democrat leaked Clinton campaign emails,” Washington Times, December 14, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/14/craig-murray-says-source-of-hillary-clinton-campai/
  2. [2]George Beebe, “Russia’s Role in the US Elections: The Case for Caution,” National Interest, December 16, 2016, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/russias-role-the-us-elections-the-case-caution-18756; David Benfell, “Blaming the Russians,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9151; David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin’s motives,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9162
  3. [3]Josh Lederman and Bradley Klapper, “Obama vows retaliation for suspected Russian hacking,” CTV, December 16, 2016, http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/obama-vows-retaliation-for-suspected-russian-hacking-1.3206003
  4. [4]Juan Cole, “Demonization of Putin as ‘Personally’ behind Clinton Hack is old Propaganda Technique,” Informed Comment, December 16, 2016, http://www.juancole.com/2016/12/demonization-personally-propaganda.html
  5. [5]Susan McWilliams, “This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson,” Nation, December 15, 2016, https://www.thenation.com/article/this-political-theorist-predicted-the-rise-of-trumpism-his-name-was-hunter-s-thompson/
  6. [6]Clare Foran, “Unity Won’t Come Easily for Democrats,” Atlantic, May 24, 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton-democratic-party-platform/484067/; Kevin Gosztola, “Establishment Collectively Stunned To See Citizens Reject Rigged Democratic Primary,” Common Dreams, May 20, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/20/establishment-collectively-stunned-see-citizens-reject-rigged-democratic-primary; Lauren McCauley, “‘Rigged’ 2016 Election Has Voters Feeling Helpless, Unheard, and Ashamed,” Common Dreams, May 31, 2016, http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/05/31/rigged-2016-election-has-voters-feeling-helpless-unheard-and-ashamed; Amy Sherman, “Democratic debates set to ‘maximize’ exposure, Wasserman Schultz claims, but evidence is dubious,” Politifact, January 20, 2016, http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2016/jan/20/debbie-wasserman-schultz/democratic-debates-maximize-exposure-debbie-wasser/; Byron Tau and Colleen McCain Nelson, “Hacked Emails Show Clinton Links With Democratic Party,” Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/hacked-emails-show-clinton-links-with-democratic-party-1476315158; Ben Ptashnik and Victoria Collier, “Was the Democratic Primary Just Manipulated, or Was It Stolen?” Truthout, June 13, 2016, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36408-was-the-democratic-primary-just-manipulated-or-was-it-stolen; Greg Sargent, “It’s on: We’re getting four more Democratic debates,” Washington Post, February 3, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/02/03/its-on-looks-like-were-getting-four-more-democratic-debates/; Steven Shepard, “Democratic insiders give low marks to Wasserman Schultz,” Politico, May 27, 2016, http://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/debbie-wasserman-schultz-democratic-insiders-223631; Wall Street Journal, “Bernie Sanders Gets No Respect,” March 27, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/bernie-sanders-gets-no-respect-1459117222; Katie Bo Williams, “WikiLeaks email suggests Brazile sent debate question to Clinton camp,” Hill, October 31, 2016, http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/303556-emails-brazile-leaked-debate-question-to-clinton-camp; Megan R. Wilson, “DNC rolls back restrictions on lobbyist donations,” Hill, February 12, 2016, http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/269266-dnc-rolls-back-restrictions-on-lobbyist-donations↩
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Farewell to the left,” Not Housebroken, November 28, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=9133

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