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#140- Burning Down the Fourth Estate A Convesation with Matt Taibbi

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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17 October 2018 09:31
 

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Matt Taibbi about the state journalism and the polarization of our politics. They discuss the controversy over Steve Bannon at the New Yorker Festival, monetizing the Trump phenomenon, the Jamal Kashoggi murder, the Kavanaugh hearing, the Rolling Stone reporting on the UVA rape case, the viability of a political center, the 2020 Presidential election, the Russia investigation, our vanishing attention span, and other topics.

#140- Burning Down the Fourth Estate A Convesation with Matt Taibbi


This thread is for listeners’ comments.

 
 
John V. Linton
 
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John V. Linton
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17 October 2018 11:42
 

On a first listening this seems like standard (now alas) left-wing bias from Sam and his guests…

Climate change is only covered in terms of the problem in adequately adumbrating the apocalyptic concerns and not in terms of the falsity of so many of the stories.  Bret Weinstein on Dave Rubin recently mentioned how absurd this subject is to highly smart people he talks with privately…

The left’s common theory of Trump’s victory is again explored:  That corrupt money led to this.  (Right, just like corrupt money led to Obama?)  How about ideas, issues, moving people?  It’s always soft money when a conservative wins lol…

The 24/7 cable news cycle is depressing but there is this neoMarxist concept of a “viewer false consciousness” determined by fake news—yet it’s not at all obvious that the average viewer isn’t a lot more sophisticated than this.  It’s more again that the American people weighed competing claims and disputed the elite consensus on who should win…  Sounds like democracy at work.

Sam is also SO NAIVE to the point of completely blinkered to demand immediate action from Trump on the journalist in Saudi Arabia.  Especially he is driven to go after Trump, but thankfully at least Taibbi brings him back to reality.  Taibbi is also good on free speech.  In general, lol, Sam’s guests are on average to the right of him nowadays…

Kavanaugh Harris is a complete idiot on.  How dare Taibbi from Rolling Stone of all places accept Harris’s biased take on allegations being instantly so very credible.  What of K’s treatment by the media and entire world calling him a gang rapist for two weeks?  Why doesn’t Harris touch the far more obvious violation of everything sacred?  What about due process?  Taking one person’s word?  Harris mentions multiple people have come forward—does he really mean those other two are remotely believable?

Taibbi to his credit later takes a far more questioning position of the media’s publication of one-person-only testimony (or anonymous sources).  Again, he outshines Harris completely.

It was not completely crazy, as Harris says, btw, to demand some sort of physical evidence.

[ Edited: 17 October 2018 12:16 by John V. Linton]
 
brazen4
 
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brazen4
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17 October 2018 12:52
 

It’s a free country, If trump’s your kinda guy, go with it. Aside from politics, policies, or anything else, a lot of people just can’t stand the guy and his gutter style. But there were enough people who relate to his style to elect him, c’est la vie. Free country.

 
John V. Linton
 
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17 October 2018 13:12
 
brazen4 - 17 October 2018 12:52 PM

It’s a free country, If trump’s your kinda guy, go with it. Aside from politics, policies, or anything else, a lot of people just can’t stand the guy and his gutter style. But there were enough people who relate to his style to elect him, c’est la vie. Free country.

Well here I think is where most people would dissent on the right:  “Aside from politics, policies, or anything else,  a lot of people just can’t stand the guy and his gutter style.”

The point is precisely that there is a solid contingent supporting his policies (fairer trade via tariffs, more realpolitik, tax cuts, law and order, enforcing our immigration laws, strong conservatives on the court)—but still largely dislike him, his tweeting, or his style.

It’s analogous to supporting Hillary on policies but not supporting her mishandling classified intelligence or corrupting the DOJ and FBI with a high-level effort to spy on her opponents.

 
brazen4
 
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17 October 2018 17:07
 

Linton, I get your point. What I just can’t get beyond is that there were other candidates with those same policies and yet it seemed to be the gutter style that was the attraction and the thing that set trump distinctly apart from other conservatives and that continues to be a major attraction to many. I see a possible precedent setting low bar of civility being set by this guy that has a distinct odor of dogshit. There, I joined him in the gutter. Now I need a shower.

 
John V. Linton
 
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17 October 2018 17:43
 
brazen4 - 17 October 2018 05:07 PM

Linton, I get your point. What I just can’t get beyond is that there were other candidates with those same policies and yet it seemed to be the gutter style that was the attraction and the thing that set trump distinctly apart from other conservatives and that continues to be a major attraction to many. I see a possible precedent setting low bar of civility being set by this guy that has a distinct odor of dogshit. There, I joined him in the gutter. Now I need a shower.

I take your point Sir, agreeing with large parts of it, and did not myself vote for Trump. 

However that said I am not honestly sure that anyone else of the original 15 could have beaten Clinton—from either party.

We are then left with an uncomfortable inference (from those who argue so assiduously that Trump is anathema to all norms whatsoever) that it seems slightly convenient that he is also the only person who could have conceivably put this country on an entirely different conservative policy track—that there were no others who could have achieved this—and further that on certain policies, like say the travel ban or constraining immigration at the border, however unaesthetic or emotionally ugly, said policies enjoy majority support, one large function of democracy being, if it is at all representative, eventually enacting those central concerns that have taxed the public for many years…

 
brazen4
 
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17 October 2018 21:30
 

Linton, In my small town (central Maine, very republican) people who never vote came out of the woods to vote for trump so I agree that given all the repubs voted for him he also got all those jerry springer show folks and that is probably what squeaked it out for him. That, coupled with the effects of all the redistricting. As much as I couldn’t believe it happened I had to marvel at the audacity and the repub strategy pulling it off. I think you’re right that none of the other candidates would have beat Hillary.

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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18 October 2018 02:21
 

For my part, Mr. Linton, I would like to see more of you around here.  The political right is scarcely represented, and the one who’d go to bat for it consistently—dare I say invariably and intractably?—has apparently left.  You’ll find the reception cool (to speak optimistically) or even hostile (to anticipate the reactions of some).  But I for one would welcome a thorn in the otherwise overwhelmingly liberal side here.  Diversity of opinion is its own reward, in my book, and there’s not enough from the right to stir things up and bring some balance to the Force.  Its like the Jedi have overrun the place and we need a Vader.

[ Edited: 18 October 2018 03:00 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
John V. Linton
 
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18 October 2018 03:21
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 18 October 2018 02:21 AM

For my part, Mr. Linton, I would like to see more of you around here.  The political right is scarcely represented, and the one who’d go to bat for it consistently—dare I say invariably and intractably?—has apparently left.  You’ll find the reception cool (to speak optimistically) or even hostile (to anticipate the reactions of some).  But I for one would welcome a thorn in the otherwise overwhelmingly liberal side here.  Diversity of opinion is its own reward, in my book, and there’s not enough from the right to stir things up and bring some balance to the Force.  Its like the Jedi have overrun the place and we need a Vader.

Thanks sir.  I appreciate the Sith Lord reference. 

Many of these younger liberals are good people but a little bit green and haven’t thought things through long enough.  They need a gentle pushback on the more extreme elements of their own religion.  (Yes the hard right is every bit as bad as the hard left in its extremism, I often argue, but the hard left’s ideas are far more socially sophisticated and intellectually seductive to the broad middle of the population, hence more dangerous.  Terms like “white privilege” or “toxic masculinity” or “rape culture” are not more persuasive on their own terms, but they are now sown deeply into the process of one’s socialization via the colleges and they have a lot of top spin or torque on them, making them extremely difficult to refute in a way that white nationalism is not.)

You might enjoy my #WalkAway, where I try to take a gentle tack:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhUkiEG-GnM&t=9s

Incidentally I sure hope we can save centuries of accrued Anglo-American law from the guilty-until-proven-innocent mob with pitchforks.  I rather like the orthogonal respect granted to individuals versus the mob in a certain document called the U.S. Constitution.

John

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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18 October 2018 04:47
 
John V. Linton - 18 October 2018 03:21 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 18 October 2018 02:21 AM

For my part, Mr. Linton, I would like to see more of you around here.  The political right is scarcely represented, and the one who’d go to bat for it consistently—dare I say invariably and intractably?—has apparently left.  You’ll find the reception cool (to speak optimistically) or even hostile (to anticipate the reactions of some).  But I for one would welcome a thorn in the otherwise overwhelmingly liberal side here.  Diversity of opinion is its own reward, in my book, and there’s not enough from the right to stir things up and bring some balance to the Force.  Its like the Jedi have overrun the place and we need a Vader.

Thanks sir.  I appreciate the Sith Lord reference. 

Many of these younger liberals are good people but a little bit green and haven’t thought things through long enough.  They need a gentle pushback on the more extreme elements of their own religion.  (Yes the hard right is every bit as bad as the hard left in its extremism, I often argue, but the hard left’s ideas are far more socially sophisticated and intellectually seductive to the broad middle of the population, hence more dangerous.  Terms like “white privilege” or “toxic masculinity” or “rape culture” are not more persuasive on their own terms, but they are now sown deeply into the process of one’s socialization via the colleges and they have a lot of top spin or torque on them, making them extremely difficult to refute in a way that white nationalism is not.)

You might enjoy my #WalkAway, where I try to take a gentle tack:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhUkiEG-GnM&t=9s

Incidentally I sure hope we can save centuries of accrued Anglo-American law from the guilty-until-proven-innocent mob with pitchforks.  I rather like the orthogonal respect granted to individuals versus the mob in a certain document called the U.S. Constitution.

John

Watched the video.  Yes, definitely, I‘d like to see more of you around.  This place could use some of right-of-center diversity to put a disturbance in the Force. 

Since you mentioned it, white privilege, for its part, has been “discussed” here, initiated (alas) by yours truly.  In fact only one proponent of the notion actually discussed it (as opposed to dismissing or delegitimizing the attempt to criticize it).  You’ll find that discussion several pages into the thread, amidst the side-pots that took shape in this gamble.  Frankly, I think it got a more thorough treatment than it deserves, but you can be the judge of that.

In any case, hope to see you around.  You might find this a good testing ground for ideas—a place of both origination and destination.  I do.

 

[ Edited: 18 October 2018 04:58 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Twissel
 
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18 October 2018 04:54
 

right-of-center?
What center?

Currently, US politics and judiciary is so far right that it makes most EU conservative governments look like socialist extremists in comparison.
By every metric, Obama was significantly more conservative than Nixon or Reagan.

 
 
John V. Linton
 
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18 October 2018 05:00
 
Twissel - 18 October 2018 04:54 AM

right-of-center?
What center?

Currently, US politics and judiciary is so far right that it makes most EU conservative governments look like socialist extremists in comparison.
By every metric, Obama was significantly more conservative than Nixon or Reagan.

I wasn’t aware that Nixon or Reagan doubled the debt, nor was the Roe decision (by Nixon appointees I think) an exemplar of conservative jurisprudence.  (In fact, Europe’s legislatively decided abortion policy is some countries more constricted than the U.S. under Roe.  But because it was decided legislatively there, there is less of an endless civil war about where the law stands.)

I also wasn’t aware that Nixon or Reagan took the same view of law-and-order in the streets that our prior president took…  (I seem to recall Nixon cracking down fairly hard, as did Reagan, on rioters to restore bourgeois middle-class public order).

So while I’m sure you have other contrary examples, this would seem to suggest Obama was at least to the left of those two…

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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18 October 2018 05:00
 

See what I mean?!  We are just dying for it!

 
Twissel
 
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18 October 2018 05:11
 

Linton,get some facts, will you?

Reagan did balloon the debt, and it was Dubya who bailed out the banks. Obama got the money back.

Nixon and Reagan were working for universal healthcare and Nixon wanted Universal Basic Income.


Now Trump is throwing the US into massive debt for no economic reason.

 
 
John V. Linton
 
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18 October 2018 07:00
 
Twissel - 18 October 2018 05:11 AM

Linton,get some facts, will you?

Reagan did balloon the debt, and it was Dubya who bailed out the banks. Obama got the money back.

Nixon and Reagan were working for universal healthcare and Nixon wanted Universal Basic Income.


Now Trump is throwing the US into massive debt for no economic reason.

I will grant you a very palpable hit on Reagan nearly doubling the debt, Sir.  (It’s true that the absolute magnitude doubled under Obama was arguably a bigger concern, but your general correction of my point stands.)

I am not really against discussing/debating Universal Basic Income, though I’d imagine Nixon merely flirted in passing with it.  You’re probably aware that the conservative Charles Murray has discussed this as a possible future policy due to our IT boom (and the attendant inequality)—though he couples this with eliminating other sorts of welfare programs in tandem.  It may be we are entering more of a “service economy” and some attenuations need be made…

Now that said, even if Trump’s tax cuts have in absolute terms temporarily added to the debt, there is also a respectable argument for the vigorous increase in the locus of economic activity being in the private sector, rather than the state, and the attendant decrease in unemployment and increase in the quality of jobs provides numerous invisible social benefits (improving morale, self-confidence) etc.  Despite the “starve the beast” metaphor, there is a decent case to be made that if: a) one can increase economic vigor and independence and private saving for individuals then: b) it will be easier to make the entitlements somewhat pruned on the front end of the curve to ensure their long-term solvency.

I think these sorts of questions should be debated entirely on utilitarian grounds (sans overriding ideology), i.e., in terms of the greatest good for the greatest number, which does not by any means conduce automatically to “to each according to his need” or course.

I would also add that even if Nixon was strongly for Universal Basic Income in the early 70s, it should be added that there is a far larger welfare state today than then, e.g. a far larger Disability program, for example, and many other kinds of programs.

Now I’m not for just precipitously ending such measures by any means, by I do get uncomfortable when certain politicians start dreaming of new social entitlements (free college for all, free Medicare) as if there are not quite a lot of social-program financial commitments out there.

 
mapadofu
 
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18 October 2018 07:08
 

You guys realize that Vader is the bad guy, right?

 
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