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I know that you know that I know...

I have little doubt that the Democratic Party orchestrated an effort to elicit a violent reaction from Tea Party protesters during the Obamacare vote by having Pelosi and the Black Caucus walk through the crowd in an exposed fashion. When that didn't happen, they made up a story about racial epithets that, despite the presence of cameras everywhere and a $100,000 reward, still hasn't been proven.

This was followed a few days letter by threatening voicemails to politicians of both parties. A brick was thrown through the office of a Republican. Soon after a brick was thrown through a Democrat's office. Both parties accused the other of extremism and violence. Both parties also accused the other of pretending to be the opposing party.

Now Instapundit links to crashtheteaparty.org:

Okay, so some people are trying to pretend to be racists. Or are they? Maybe it's double-reverse propaganda. Maybe it's Tea Party sympathizers pretending to be Tea Party antagonists in an effort to make the antagonists look bad. In this day and age, who can tell?


The worst advice is Mom's

Robin Hanson:

Who is the most idealistic about mating? It seems to me it is children, post-menopausal women, and young male “nerds”, i.e., with especially weak current mating prospects. These folks talk as if they hold themselves and others to the highest standards of ideal love, while happening to speak when they have an especially low chance of fertile sex.

This jibes with my experience as well. Some of the most idealistic, naive--and hence, worst--advice ever given to men about "mating" is doled out by their mothers.

But why should the desire for sexy sons only matter when conceiving them, not when it's their turn to sire?


Sarah Palin Network

The Hilarious 30 Rock parody, 30 Main Street, with parody character Lez Lemonz, an uppity bitch so focussed on her career that she is in her late 30s and still doesn't have grandchildren.


America: the contested legacy

This post is a follow-up to a previous post and its comments.

An anonymous commenter was a-o.k. with the contents of the recently leaked Apache helicopter video, although to me it looked like outright murder. He (and others like him all over God's America) justify this because "they" hate "us" for our values, and basically they have it coming.

Despite the fact that Osama bin Laden is on record saying...

Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Each and every state that does not tamper with our security will have automatically assured its
own security.

...some people still insist that it's for our values.

I'd get into how appalling it is that people justify murder in the name of freedom, but that's not the point here. I'd mention how you can still support the overall war without automatically excusing footage like this, but that ought to be obvious. I'd even throw in a bit about people who live in corrupt regimes having rights just like we have in our glorious republic on a hill, but hey, nobody would seriously dispute that, right?

What I'd actually like to ask is what "our" values are. Ask 3 people what "American" values are and you'll get four answers. What Ayn Rand acolytes love about America is very different from what religious conservatives love about America, and both are different from what left-wing hippies love. Which of those is the "real" American set of values? Do you prefer how devoted so many people are to the flag or how easily you can get high in any random town on the map? Do you like jazz? Rock & roll? What about god-fearin' Nashville faux-country? Maybe a symphony?

While we're having a debate over here about the million facets of America, Osama bin Laden and hundreds of millions of people in other parts of the world are focused on just one: military force. I'm willing to bet Osama bin Laden has never had the pleasure of listening to Robert Johnson, and he probably wouldn't know what to do if he did. Likewise for the pool of people he recruits from, and likewise for other people who don't share his murderous zeal but do resent the constant American exports of death and more death.

When people defend America's right to literally get away with murder in foreign lands, they justify it based on some great feature of America. Osama bin Laden doesn't give a shit if a Cambodian immigrant can start with nothing and end up with a chain of doughnut shops and a Cadillac. Millions of Iraqis don't know and don't care either. What they know of America is a bunch of thugs shooting them. That's what they resist. And that's something, as an American, I don't blame them for.


Problem is power, not money

Before money was invented, the king knew he was king and the slave knew he was a slave. All money does is to give a numerical value to the levels on the food pyramid.

Potlatch

The Pacific Northwest Indian People didn't have access to metal until they were invaded by white people. Because of the climate (rain) it was difficult to preserve and store food and goods that they could manufacture. There was an old saying, "When the tide went out diner was served." In other words, fresh food was easy to obtain and life was relatively easy. Under the potlatch economy, one gained stature by giving stuff away. The potlatch was an intertribal feast. The tribe who gave away the most stuff "won."

But the Indian People had the same sort of social pyramid as did the white people. The Chief knew he was chief and the slave knew he was a slave. This, I think, is why people with billions in invested assets don't retire and enjoy life. Their enjoyment comes from having life and death power over the people on the bottom of the food pyramid.

The family with 20 billion has power over the family with only 10 billion. The "old money" families must hate Bill Gates, who claims his children will not grow up to be billionaires.


I steal comments

At Econlog, rajeev writes:

I think the question about heritability is a red herring. I am a software engineer in India. In 1991, the Indian economy opened up to the wider world. By the mid-1990s, the Internet had become a major force in commerce. By the late 1990s, there we were, "outsourcing" away like crazy. I was an ignorant young man (as all young men are) and made my career choices for entirely unrelated reasons. Smarter, better people than me went off in other directions, and today earn much less than I do.

Think of Sergey Brin, born in the Soviet Union. If his father had fallen under a tram before they could emigrate, how different all our lives would have been.

Think of the pudgy, nerdy boy (like the one I used to be), who today can expect to inherit the world and whose counterpart, barely 500 years ago, would have been the butt of everybody's jokes all his life. The muscular workmen and fierce warriors of the day would have despised the clumsy, uncoordinated fumbling of the men like us. Well into the early/mid 20th century, we were an underclass of sorts.

The world is a large, highly distributed computation(an order, you say?), and it is childish to whine about what we deserve or do not deserve. We "deserve" nothing but are given everything.

At Sailer, ililioioikikd writes:

I thinketh Sailer underappreciates Americans Foster and Joplin. Maybe their music was 'less august' but it would serve as the basis of the dominant music of the 20th century. Even classical music had humble beginnings in church music and folk melodies. For there to be Beethovens, Berliozes, Wagners, and etc, there had to have been a rich folk tradition in Europe.

Most of the high-minded or 'serious' musical culture in America in the 19th century slavishly looked to and copied Europe and produced little of lasting value. When Dvorak came to America and was amazed by INDIGENOUS American musical traditions, few 'serious' Americans took him seriously--just as it took awhile for Poe and Twain to be taken seriously by Americans. Yet, Dvorak really saw the future as the indigenous folk traditions of American music--negro, hillbilly, folk, etc--would serve as the basis of the worldwide dominant music of the next century. Jazz grew to new heights of sophistication. Country and blues fused to create Rock music. So, Foster and Joplin were geniuses in their own way. In a way, their genius was all the more amazing because they had limited access to musical training. One could say Joplin achieved more in his 'cultural poverty' than many conservatory-trained musicians of 'august' backgrounds. A genius isn't only proficient; he is original. Joplin was that.


Spitting Audio

This is awesome.


What’s REALLY at stake in the health care debate

Whether I get laid.

According to a recent study, a woman’s preference among male features is influenced by the mortality rates, life expectancy and impact of communicable disease on those around her. The worse the health statistics for her area, the better she likes masculine features. The better the health statistics, the less value she places on masculinity.

Why? Who knows, but people offer theories. Masculinity, manifesting a higher amount of testosterone, has trade-offs. A deep voice, stronger jaw line and bushier eyebrow are man's way of advertising good genes, dominance and likelihood to father healthier kids. Those attributes are also associated with infidelity, domestic violence and divorce. Women in different circumstances make different trade-offs. Women in less healthy environments find the benefits of greater masculinity relatively attractive and the detriments relatively unimportant. Women in more healthy environments tend to reach the opposite conclusion.

Fascinating, but so what? Each to her own. Celebrate whatever land you love, and whatever loves you land, right?

Fine. But the extent to which we live in a healthy environment or a sick one tends to be a social, not an individual, choice. In short, your votes determine whether or not I get laid. Please think about that the next time you’re in the ballot box; I know I do.

(Ok, don’t go OVERBOARD here; other people need to use that booth, too.)

For what it’s worth, Argentina seems to be pretty good environment for manly men. Lots of Old Spice there? On the other hand, meterosexuals might find optimal hunting in Belgium. And by passing the health care reform act, the US just took a big step away from Argentina and toward Belgium. So if future generations of Americans start to look curiously like Hercule Poirot and Tintin, you’ll know why.


The Wikileaks video protests of '10

Chris Floyd laments the lack of public outcry over a decade of American atrocities. He's right on point.

UPDATE: Via Glenn Greenwald, John Caruso detailing the thirst for atrocities on the part of certain government agents. Justify that, Randroids!


Hypothetical about tax revenues

You are the Tax Czar for life of a typical Western democracy. Pick a year far into the future, say 2025. Your goal is to maximize tax revenues in 2025.

What policies would you enact today to achieve that goal?