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Trump administration: policy vs. personality

by CWS

May 1, 2019

I posted this comment earlier tonight in response to the latest article in right-leaning media crowing about the supposed demise of "#NeverTrump". In it, I intended to address the cult-like devotion to Trump that many of his fans display, but I also ended up summarizing a lot of my thoughts on Trump's presidency so far, so I figured I may as well toss it up here for posterity.

I wrote:

Just because you support the Trump administration's policies does not mean you have to support the man, personally, without question and 100% of the time. Conservatives should not be afraid to be honest with ourselves and each other, and the fact is that Trump, himself, remains an extremely mixed bag. At best.

He took the government's boot off the throat of the economy and has slashed many restrictive and unnecessary regulations, which has been an extremely good thing. He took the handcuffs off of our military and allowed them to do what needed to be done to liberate ISIS's physical territory and demolish their caliphate, which has also been a godsend after the horrors Obama allowed them to get away with, and for years. He has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and has also recognized that Iran is, and has always been, our enemy. These things are magnificent, and are worthy of unequivocal praise.

But however great these things are, they do not erase or make up for the undeniable flaws in Donald Trump's personal character. He habitually lies and exaggerates, and he does it all the time; that's just a fact, and it's a highly problematic one. He frequently indulges in extremely juvenile and often pointless flame wars on Twitter, and he does it in ways that often end up hurting his own cause. Also problematic. And he had an affair with a porn star while his wife was pregnant with their son, and he paid her to keep quiet about it during the 2016 election. That's simply disgusting.

"But those things have nothing to do with his administration's policies or the way he does his job," many say. That's a fair argument, up to a point; it's also, not coincidentally, precisely the argument Democrats made throughout the 1990s to defend Bill Clinton, and for exactly the same reasons. But character does impact policy, in ways great and small. More to the point, it makes it more difficult for Trump's defenders to argue on his behalf without being hypocritical.

But let's get back to policy. Trump allows his very liberal daughter and son-in-law, neither of whom were elected to anything, to decide the direction of his administration's policies far too often for my, and many other conservatives', liking. He has advanced extremely left-wing positions on international trade and gun control, and done it under a Republican banner, which has in turn had the effect of shifting the entire party's position on those issues to the left over the long term, if not permanently. This was one of the biggest fears of conservative, so-called "NeverTrumpers", and they have indeed been proven correct. He talks tough on border security and abortion, then he turns around and signs budget resolutions which completely undermine his own position. He has appointed one potentially decent Supreme Court justice, but he has also consistently failed to stand up to the out-of-control activist judiciary, and on matters where his own authority clearly supersedes theirs. He also failed to hold the Republican leadership to their campaign promises, most prominently on the repeal of Obamacare, and as a result the Democrats retook the House. And he totally gave away the farm in his negotiations with North Korea, where he elevated and heaped a humiliating degree of personal praise on one of this planet's most barbaric and cruel dictators, for which the US got very little in return. And last but certainly not least, he's spent money at a rate that makes even Obama look tight-fisted by comparison.

By all means, support the administration's policies, where they deserve to be supported. But don't let them blind you to the failings of the man.

Easter massacre in Sri Lanka

by CWS

April 22, 2019

A series of coordinated suicide bombings at several Catholic churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have left at least 290 Christians dead, and an additional 450 500 injured.

While no one has, to my knowledge, claimed responsibility at this point, we have seen this scenario play out enough times over the past couple decades, all across the globe, to know exactly what happened here. And the scale and coordinated nature of the attacks was far too organized to have been the work of a few random crazies.

Some continue to insist that we are not witnessing a clash of civilizations, but those who do most of the killing seem awfully determined to prove otherwise.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

by snowman1989

April 12, 2019

*facepalms* I can't believe THAT is what they chose to name the movie. You trying to rub the salt deeper into the wounds, Disney?

Alright. Here's the damn trailer.


Had The Last Jedi not been a thing, or ever existed, I might have been interested. But since The Last Jedi unfortunately DOES exist... I find myself not caring. :| I've never cared so little for a movie before in my life, and it's heartbreaking. Because the last movie ruined Star Wars forever. And the prospect of having Lando and the Emperor return in this movie just makes it worse. We all know, based on the patterns of the previous films, that Lando is going to die an ignominious death. And the Emperor?! His story was done! His story has a clear beginning, middle and end. Bringing him back isn't just lazy writing, it's a sleazy move to prey on our nostalgia!

More and more I hate Disney for retconning the Extended Universe, because it had some great stories that the directors could have taken inspiration from, instead of copy-pasting the original trilogy. They could have done the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion, where an extragalactic enemy with organic ships and major technophobia invade the Star Wars galaxy. Or they could have introduced the World Devastators, giant nigh-invincible mobile war factories built by the Imperial Remnant that consume entire cities and planets to build more ships, more fighters and upgrade themselves. Or the rise of Grand Admiral Thrawn, a military genius with a great love for art, who nearly destroys the New Republic in its infancy.

I'm so fucking angry how they've squandered this universe. :x :cry:


by snowman1989

April 9, 2019

A few months ago we got test footage of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, which I'll show first before we get to the meat.


So, a lot to cover here. I was hesitant to put this in the DCU category, since this is a stand-alone film. Not just that, it doesn't play like a superhero(villain) movie at all, but a psychological thriller. It feels too grounded to be a comic book movie, and instead has a Scorsese feel. I get the feeling DC might finally have learned their lesson, and are starting to move away from universe-spanning epics, because let's face it, they fucked it up. :lol: If they want to compete with Marvel, THIS is how they do it; produce quality, stand-alone films, much like they already have done in the animation department. More than that, it appears that DC is willing to take risks and go in more experimental directions if Joker is anything to go by.

From the looks of the trailer, I'm encouraged. So far they've hit the right notes. I'm seeing a lot of inspiration from The Killing Joke, and that late night show scene looks like they might replicate the infamous massacre the Joker commits in The Dark Knight Returns.

R.I.P. Dan Howard, AKA kuroitora

by CWS

April 4, 2019

Man, I am absolutely stunned by this news. I just found out that our own kuroitora died of pneumonia today.

I've known this guy since the mid-'90s. I met him through the online Bubblegum Crisis fan community, then met him in person during my visit to Baltimore in '99. I considered him a very good and loyal friend. We didn't agree much on politics, but so freaking what. He was the best artist I've ever met, and I hoped I might find a way to collaborate with him on something, someday...but I guess not.

I really can't believe's just awful.

Borderlands 3

by CWS

March 27, 2019

Well, well, well...



Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

by snowman1989

March 22, 2019

Holy shit. :o I didn't think we'd ever get another Masquerade game, but here we are. The original game from 2004 is one of my all-time favourites, a cult classic with a moody environment, fascinating lore and moments of bloody horror. Though if you ever want to play the original, I'd recommend getting the modded patch because the game was released... half-finished and buggy as hell... how times have changed? :?


Please Paradox, don't fuck this up.

Google Stadia

by CWS

March 19, 2019

So now Google is jumping into the gaming market with a cloud streaming platform, and their controller looks like a cross between a PS4 and Xbox controller.



System Shock 3

by CWS

March 19, 2019

I'm just gonna leave this here.


Christchurch Mosque Terror Attacks

by snowman1989

March 15, 2019

It's been a while since I was here, and I wish it were under better circumstances. :cry: As you can tell from the title, Christchurch was just this afternoon the target for a co-ordinated attack on our Muslim community by white supremacists who invaded two mosques during prayer and opened fire with AR-15 assault rifles. One of the shooters was sick enough to film as he gunned down dozens of people. The current death toll is around 49, and may yet grow as many more are critically wounded. Bomb squads have also disabled several IEDs found in one of their vehicles.

This was a mass shooting the likes of which New Zealand has never seen before. It's also our worst ever terrorist attack, and before today I could only look at the Rainbow Warrior bombing that killed one person for past reference. I'm still not able to completely accept this just happened. This kind of thing just doesn't. Happen Here. I feel I needed to emphasise that. It doesn't. Happen. Here. We're one of the most peaceful countries in the world, far from any civil strife or foreign invasion. No emoticons or words can describe how I or anyone else is feeling right now.

Christchurch can't catch a break anymore. First an earthquake damn near destroys it, and now this!

"Our Culture of Contempt"

by CWS

March 3, 2019

Arthur C. Brooks has authored an interesting article in the New York Times (of all places) on a topic that's come up in our own discussions a number of times over the years. I have to admit, he makes a pretty compelling argument.

Arthur C. Brooks wrote:

Our Culture of Contempt

The problem in America today is not incivility or intolerance. It’s something far worse.

By Arthur C. Brooks
Mr. Brooks is a scholar of public policy and the president of the American Enterprise Institute.

March 2, 2019

I live and work in Washington. But I’m not a politics junkie. To me, politics is like the weather — it changes a lot, people drone on about it constantly, and “good” is mostly subjective. I like winter, you like summer; you’re a liberal, I’m a conservative. In the 2012 presidential election season, my wife and I had a bumper sticker custom-made for our Volvo that read “Vegans for Romney” just to see the reaction of other Washington drivers.

My passion is ideas, especially policy ideas. While politics is like the weather, ideas are like the climate. Climate has an impact on weather, but they’re different things. Similarly, ideas affect politics, but they aren’t the same. When done right, policy analysis, like climate science, favors nerds with Ph.D.s. And that’s me. For 20 years, I’ve been a professor of public policy and president of a think tank in Washington. (For a decade before that I made my living as a musician, but not the cool kind — I played in a symphony orchestra.)

But even a climatologist has to think about the weather when a hurricane comes ashore. And that’s what’s happening today. Political differences are ripping our country apart, swamping my big, fancy policy ideas. Political scientists have found that our nation is more polarized than it has been at any time since the Civil War. One in six Americans has stopped talking to a family member or close friend because of the 2016 election. Millions of people organize their social lives and their news exposure along ideological lines to avoid people with opposing viewpoints. What’s our problem?

A 2014 article in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on “motive attribution asymmetry” — the assumption that your ideology is based in love, while your opponent’s is based in hate — suggests an answer. The researchers found that the average Republican and the average Democrat today suffer from a level of motive attribution asymmetry that is comparable with that of Palestinians and Israelis. Each side thinks it is driven by benevolence, while the other is evil and motivated by hatred — and is therefore an enemy with whom one cannot negotiate or compromise.

People often say that our problem in America today is incivility or intolerance. This is incorrect. Motive attribution asymmetry leads to something far worse: contempt, which is a noxious brew of anger and disgust. And not just contempt for other people’s ideas, but also for other people. In the words of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, contempt is “the unsullied conviction of the worthlessness of another.”

The sources of motive attribution asymmetry are easy to identify: divisive politicians, screaming heads on television, hateful columnists, angry campus activists and seemingly everything on the contempt machines of social media. This “outrage industrial complex” works by catering to just one ideological side, creating a species of addiction by feeding our desire to believe that we are completely right and that the other side is made up of knaves and fools. It strokes our own biases while affirming our worst assumptions about those who disagree with us.

Contempt makes political compromise and progress impossible. It also makes us unhappy as people. According to the American Psychological Association, the feeling of rejection, so often experienced after being treated with contempt, increases anxiety, depression and sadness. It also damages the contemptuous person by stimulating two stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. In ways both public and personal, contempt causes us deep harm.

While we are addicted to contempt, we at the same time hate it, just as addicts hate the drugs that are ruining their lives. In an important study of political attitudes, the nonprofit More in Common found in 2018 that 93 percent of Americans say they are tired of how divided we have become as a country. Large majorities say privately that they believe in the importance of compromise, reject the absolutism of the extreme wings of both parties and are not motivated by partisan loyalty.

So what can each of us do to make things better? You might be tempted to say we need to find ways to disagree less, but that is incorrect. Disagreement is good because competition is good. Competition lies behind democracy in politics and markets in the economy, which — bounded by the rule of law and morality — bring about excellence. Just as in politics and economics, we need a robust “competition of ideas” — a.k.a. disagreement. Disagreement helps us innovate, improve and find the truth.

What we need is not to disagree less, but to disagree better. And that starts when you turn away the rhetorical dope peddlers — the powerful people on your own side who are profiting from the culture of contempt. As satisfying as it can feel to hear that your foes are irredeemable, stupid and deviant, remember: When you find yourself hating something, someone is making money or winning elections or getting more famous and powerful. Unless a leader is actually teaching you something you didn’t know or expanding your worldview and moral outlook, you are being used.

Next, each of us can make a commitment never to treat others with contempt, even if we believe they deserve it. This might sound like a call for magnanimity, but it is just as much an appeal to self-interest. Contempt makes persuasion impossible — no one has ever been hated into agreement, after all — so its expression is either petty self-indulgence or cheap virtue signaling, neither of which wins converts.

What if you have been guilty of saying contemptuous things about or to others? Perhaps you have hurt someone with your harsh words, mockery or dismissiveness. I have, and I’m not proud of it. Start the road to recovery from this harmful addiction, and make amends wherever possible. It will set you free.

Finally, we should see the contempt around us as what it truly is: an opportunity, not a threat. If you are on social media, on a college campus or in any place other than a cave by yourself, you will be treated with contempt very soon. This is a chance to change at least one heart — yours. Respond with warmheartedness and good humor. You are guaranteed to be happier. If that also affects the contemptuous person (or bystanders), it will be to the good.

It is easy to feel helpless in the current political environment, but I believe that is unwarranted. While we might not like the current weather, together we can change the climate to reward leaders — and be the leaders — who uplift and unite, not denigrate and divide. Watch: The weather will start to improve, and that will make America greater. I am dedicating the rest of my professional life to this task.

Mr. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute and author of the forthcoming book “Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America From the Culture of Contempt,” from which this essay is adapted.

The Cat With Hands

by CWS

March 1, 2019

So this is an old (2009) YouTube short that famed director Guillermo del Toro is now promoting...hmmmm.


Spider-Man: Far From Home

by CWS

January 15, 2019

First trailer.


Counting Peter Parker, there are at least three established victims of the Infinity Snap in this trailer...soooooo...

What Music Are You Listening to?

by khouji123

January 7, 2019

Splender - I Think God Can Explain

Technologies in Pets

by khouji123

January 7, 2019

What are the newest technologies for pets? For example, this pif-300 which is a Wireless Dog Fence, a system that will allow your pet freedom while keeping them safely contained within the boundary area and it is the ideal solution for anyone unable to use a traditional underground fence because there is no digging or burying of wiring the system can be set up in only a few minutes. How about you, do you have any idea for the newest technologies for pets?

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