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The changes in vibes — why did they happen?

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Clearly it has happened, and it has been accelerated and publicized by the Biden failings and the attempted Trump assassination.  But it was already underway.  If you need a single, unambiguous sign of it, I would cite MSNBC pulling off Morning Joe for a morning, for fear they would say something nasty about Trump.

Another way to put it is that Trump was a highly vulnerable, defeated President, facing numerous legal charges and indeed an actual felony conviction.  Yet he now stands as a clear favorite in the next election.  In conceptual terms, how exactly did that happen?

I had been thinking  it would be a good cognitive test to ask people why they think the vibes have changed, and then to grade their answers for intelligence, insight, and intellectual honesty.

For instance, I used to read people arguing “Trump is popular because of racism,” but now that view is pretty clearly refuted, even if you think (as I do) that racism has some marginal impact on his support.  Or other people have attributed the development to “polarization.”  Whether or not you agree with the polarization thesis, it begs the question here, as we could be polarized with Trump as a big underdog.

In any case, thought I should start this process by offering my answers.  Here they are, in a series of bullet points:

1. Trump and his team understand that we now live in a world of social media.  Only a modest part of the Democratic establishment has mastered the same.

2. The “Trumpian Right,” whether you agree with it or not, has been more intellectually alive and vital than the Progressive Left, at least during the last five years, maybe more.  Being fully on the outs, those people were more free to be creative, noting that I am not equating creative with being correct.

3. The deindustrialization of America has mattered more than people expected at first, and has had longer legs, in terms of its impact on public opinion.  I would say this one is squarely in the mainstream account of the matter.

4. Many Trumpian and MAGA messages have been more in vibe with the negative contagion effects of our recent times.

5. The Democrats made a big bet that trying to raise the status of blacks would be popular, but at best they had mixed results.  Some part of this failing was due to racists, some part due to immigrants with their own concerns, and some part due simply to the unpopularity of the message.

6. The ongoing feminization of society has driven more and more men, including black and Latino men, into the Republican camp.  The Democratic Party became too much the party of unmarried women.

7. The Obama administration brought, to some degree, both the reality and perception of being ruled by the intellectual class.  People didn’t like that.

8. Democrats and leftists are in fact less happy as people than conservatives are, on average.  Americans noticed this, if only subconsciously.

9. The relentlessly egalitarian message of Democrats is not so popular, and furthermore — since every claim must have messengers — it translates in lived practice into an “I am better than you all are” vibe.  Americans noticed this, if only subconsciously.

10. The Woke gambit has proven deeply unpopular.

11. Trans support has not been a winning issue for Democrats, but it is hard for them to let it go.

12. Immigration at the border has in fact spun out of control, and that has been a key Trump issue from the beginning of his campaign.  And I write this as a person who is very pro-immigration.  You can imagine how the immigration skeptics feel.

13. Higher education has been a traditional Democratic stronghold, and it remains one.  Yet its clout and credibility have fallen significantly in the last few years.

14. The Democrats made a big mistake going after “Big Tech.”  It didn’t cost them many votes, rather money and social capital.  Big Tech (most of all Facebook) was the Girardian sacrifice for the Trump victory in 2016, and all the Democrats achieved from that was a hollowing out of their own elite base.

15. Various developments in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Israel did not help the Democratic cause.  Inflation was very high, and real borrowing rates went up sharply.  This is true, whether or not you think it is the fault of Biden, or Trump would have done better.  Crypto came under attack.  The pandemic story is complicated, and its politics would require a post of its own, but I don’t think it helped the Democrats, most of all because they ended up “owning” many of the longer-lasting school closures.

And we haven’t even gotten to “Defund the police,” the recurring rise of anti-Semitism on the left, and at least a half dozen other matters.

16. In very simple terms, you might say the Democrats have done a lot to make themselves unpopular, and not had much willingness to confront that.  Their own messages make this hard to face up to, since they are supposed to be better people.

You might add to this:

17. Trump is funny (he is one of the great American comics in fact), and

18. Trump acts like a winner.  Americans like this, and his response to the failed assassination attempt drove this point home.

19. Biden’s recent troubles, and the realization that he and his team had been running a con at least as big as the Trump one.  It has become a trust issue, not only an age or cognition issue.

On the other side of the ledger, you might argue, as do many intelligent people, that the Democrats are better at technocracy, and also that Democrats are more respectful of traditional political processes, especially transitions after elections.  I’m not here to debate those issues!  I know many MAGA supporters are not convinced, most of all on the latter.  I’ll simply note that, in the minds of many Americans, those factors do not necessarily outweigh #1-19.

And there you go.

Addendum: Of course there was and is plenty wrong with Trump and the Trump administration. But the purpose here is not to compare Biden and Trump, rather it is to see why the Democrats are not doing better.  If your response to that question is to cite reasons why the Democrats are better than Trump…well then you are exactly part of the problem.

The post The changes in vibes — why did they happen? appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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fxer
1 day ago
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> For instance, I used to read people arguing “Trump is popular because of racism,” but now that view is pretty clearly refuted

Uhh, “clearly refuted” how?

> The Woke gambit has proven deeply unpopular.

What in the ever loving shit is a “woke gambit”

> Trans support has not been a winning issue for Democrats, but it is hard for them to let it go.

Yeah fuck those people we should dump ‘em, they’re just dead weight.

> Trump is funny (he is one of the great American comics in fact)

Not particularly, he’s mean though and that is humor to some people


This is a complete assclown of a post.
Bend, Oregon
fancycwabs
1 day ago
Trump isn't funny, but he speaks in the rhythms of Jay Leno's Tonight Show monologues ("Elizabeth Warren, did you hear about this?") and folks can't tell the difference.
beejjorgensen
18 hours ago
Like the newsroom put it, "if liberals are so goddamn smart how come they lose so goddamn always?" Trump's charisma is 18 and his int is at least 16. I always thought he was a great conman. None of the issues actually matter. He called for the termination of articles of the Constitution, ffs, and no one cares. Be relatable and promise the world and you'll always beat someone who can't and doesn't.
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Leaked Docs Show What Phones Cellebrite Can (and Can’t) Unlock

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Leaked Docs Show What Phones Cellebrite Can (and Can’t) Unlock

Cellebrite, the well-known mobile forensics company, was unable to unlock a sizable chunk of modern iPhones available on the market as of April 2024, according to leaked documents verified by 404 Media.

The documents, which also show what various Android handsets and operating system versions Cellebrite can access, provide granular insight into the very recent state of mobile forensic technology. Mobile forensics companies typically do not release details on what specific models their tools can or cannot penetrate, instead using vague terms in marketing materials. The documents obtained by 404 Media, which are given to customers but not published publicly, show how fluid and fast moving the success, or failure, of mobile forensic tools can be, and highlights the constant cat and mouse game between hardware and operating manufacturers like Apple and Google, and the hacking companies looking for vulnerabilities to exploit.

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fxer
1 day ago
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https://archive.is/PLv1Y
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These Board Games Will Bring You Immense Joy, and They’re All on Sale for Prime Day

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Gathering family and friends to play some games, share some laughs, and let off some steam is just so necessary. As everyone forges through this sticky summer, sometimes you just need to take an AC break, put your phones away, and get a little competitive with your loved ones.

Whether you’re playing with the kids on a too-hot Sunday or bringing them on a cozy vacation with friends, these board games will delight, surprise, and stretch your brain a bit. And fortunately, they’re all on sale at prices that the Wirecutter Deals team says are true, actual deals for this Prime Day.

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fxer
2 days ago
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LEGO Technic recreates working Mercedes-Benz G500 to the minutest of details

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LEGO Technic is on a roll this year with back-to-back impressive releases that are a treat to the eye for motorheads. I was utterly impressed with the detailing of the McLaren P1 LEGO set released a few days ago and now the Mercedes-Benz G 500 joins the ranks. This one is also part of the Ultimate Car Concept Series, poised to be one of the best sports car collectibles in a 1:8 scale.

The G 500 celebrates the 45th anniversary this year and LEGO Technic wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip. The result is a G 500 PROFESSIONAL Line model that is a 2,891-piece set for passionate builders. This set will also begin shipping from August 1 for a price tag of $250. Almost half the price of the P1 set and an absolute steal if you are into the off-roading SUV from the house of Mercedes-Benz. The good news is you can pre-order it right now.

Designer: LEGO Technic

LEGO has again delivered its promise of authentic details and recreation of even the most intricate sections of the 4×4 behemoth measuring 8.5 inches high, 16.5 inches long, and 8 inches wide. Under the hood is a replicated 6-cylinder inline engine mated to a 7-speed gearbox having drive, neutral and reverse settings. The internal mechanics are further hones in the form of a working steering wheel and raised suspension. The opening doors come with working locks, along with an opening tailgate and hood to reveal even the finer interior details. Off-road enthusiasts will appreciate the addition of a ladder, spare wheel and roof rack to the mix.

Although the G Wagon has been around for more than four decades, the LEGO team decided to create this Impressive LEGO iteration on the 2017 model. That makes sense when it comes to visual presence as the 2018 version had smaller wheels and a bit lower ground clearance.

The post LEGO Technic recreates working Mercedes-Benz G500 to the minutest of details first appeared on Yanko Design.

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fxer
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Craig Wright’s claim of inventing bitcoin may get him arrested for perjury

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Craig Wright walking on the street, wearing a suit and tie.

Enlarge / Dr. Craig Wright arrives at the Rolls Building, part of the Royal Courts of Justice, on February 6, 2024, in London, England. (credit: Dan Kitwood / Staff | Getty Images News)

A British judge is referring self-proclaimed bitcoin inventor Craig Wright to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider criminal charges of perjury and forgery. The judge said that CPS can decide whether Wright should be arrested and granted two injunctions that prohibit Wright from re-litigating his claim to be bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.

"I have no doubt that I should refer the relevant papers in this case to the CPS for consideration of whether a prosecution should be commenced against Dr. Wright for his wholescale perjury and forgery of documents and/or whether a warrant for his arrest should be issued and/or whether his extradition should be sought from wherever he now is. All those matters are to be decided by the CPS," Justice James Mellor of England's High Court of Justice wrote in a ruling issued today.

If Wright actually believes he is Nakamoto, "he is deluding himself," Mellor wrote.

Mellor previously found that Wright "lied repeatedly and extensively" and forged documents "on a grand scale" in a case related to Wright's claim that he is Nakamoto. The case began when Wright was sued by the nonprofit Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), which said its goal was to disprove Wright's bitcoin-inventing claim and stop him from claiming intellectual property rights to the system.

Wright’s location unknown

Wright's location is unknown, today's ruling said. "The evidence shows that Dr. Wright has left his previous residence in Wimbledon, appears to have left the UK, has been said to be traveling and was last established to be in the time zone of UTC +7," Mellor wrote.

COPA asked Mellor "to dispense with personal service of the final Order on Dr. Wright" because his whereabouts are a mystery. COPA told the court that "Dr. Wright may either be deliberately evading service or at least is peripatetic and is very difficult to locate." Mellor wrote that COPA's view "seems to me to be fully justified and warrants the order which COPA seeks as to service of my final Order on Dr. Wright at his solicitors."

After the events of the trial, Mellor's decision to refer Wright for a perjury prosecution was apparently an easy one. "As COPA submitted, if what happened in this case does not warrant referral to the CPS, it is difficult to envisage a case which would... In advancing his false claim to be Satoshi through multiple legal actions, Dr. Wright committed 'a most serious abuse' of the process of the courts of the UK, Norway and the USA," Mellor wrote.

Anti-lawsuit injunction

Mellor also approved COPA's request for injunctions that prohibit Wright from bringing certain kinds of lawsuits based on his bitcoin-inventing claim. As the Associated Press reported, the approved injunctions are intended to prevent Wright "from threatening to sue or filing lawsuits aimed at developers."

The COPA requests approved by Mellor were for "an anti-suit injunction preventing Dr. Wright or the other Claimants in the related claims from pursuing further proceedings in this or other jurisdictions to re-litigate his claim to be Satoshi," and "a related order preventing him from threatening such proceedings."

Mellor declined to issue additional orders preventing Wright from asserting legal rights as Nakamoto, preventing re-publication of Wright's fraudulent claims, and requiring him to delete previously published statements. The judge said there was some overlap between the injunction requests that were approved and those that were not. Moreover, Wright would have difficulty convincing anyone that he invented bitcoin without violating the two approved injunctions.

Although there is a slight risk that "certain people may start to change their minds or begin to believe that Dr. Wright is Satoshi... I am inclined to the view that the effect would be small. Right-thinking people are likely to regard those assertions as hot air or empty rhetoric, even faintly ridiculous," Mellor wrote.

Similarly, an order to delete statements "would be disproportionate" and is unnecessary because "anyone with an interest in Bitcoin will have been aware of the COPA Trial and know of the outcome," Mellor wrote. However, the judge decided that COPA can make the requests again if it turns out to be necessary.

"I accept that my assessment may turn out to be off the mark. Furthermore, the evidence shows that whilst Dr. Wright has modified his public statements following the outcome of the COPA Trial, that may well turn out to be temporary. Dr. Wright is perfectly capable, once the dust has settled, of ramping up his public pronouncements again," Mellor wrote.

Because of that possibility, Mellor said COPA has "permission to apply, for a period of 2 years, for any further injunctive relief they consider they can establish to be required to protect the interests of the corporate entities they represent as well as the individuals in the Bitcoin community who have suffered due to Dr. Wright's false claim to be Satoshi."

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fxer
2 days ago
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Anthony Mackie wields the shield in Captain America: Brave New World teaser

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Anthony Mackie wields the shield in Captain America: Brave New World.

Marvel Studios has dropped the first teaser for Captain America: Brave New World, star Anthony Mackie's first cinematic appearance as the new Captain America after the Phase Four 2021 TV miniseries, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. This is the fifth film in the MCU's Phase Five, directed by Julius Onah (The Cloverfield Paradox) and building on events not just in F&WS but also the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk. The teaser feels like a half-superhero movie, half-political thriller, and with the tantalizing introduction of Red Hulk, it promises to be an entertaining ride.

(Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier below.)

As previously reported, F&WS picked up in the wake of Avengers: End Game, when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) handed his Captain America shield to Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson (The Falcon) and Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier), having chosen to remain in the past and live out his life with Peggy Carter. Sam and Bucky had to grapple with losing Steve and the burden of his legacy. Meanwhile, the US government had named its own new Captain America, John Walker (Wyatt Russell), a decorated veteran and ultimate "good soldier" who thought he could better embody "American values" than Rogers.  

All three men found themselves battling a terrorist group known as the Flag Smashers, many of whom had been enhanced with the Super Soldier Serum. Where did they get it? From a mysterious person known only as the Power Broker. The Flag Smashers were targeting the Global Repatriation Council (GRC) set up to help those who disappeared in the Snappening (or the Blip) and then returned and had to re-acclimate to a very different world. (Apparently, the Flag Smashers liked it better before everyone came back.) Everything culminated in a knock-down fight between a serum-enhanced Walker, Sam, and Bucky, ending with Sam's wingsuit destroyed. Walker escaped with a broken arm, sans shield, and we saw him in a post-credits scene melting down his military medals to make a new shield.

A new adventure

Frankly, I didn't love F&WS as much as other Ars staffers and critics; mostly I thought it was "meh" and wasted a lot of potential in terms of character development. But Russell's performance as Walker was excellent, and who could forget that priceless scene with the evil Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) dancing? So I'm down for another Captain America adventure with Mackie wielding the shield.

Per the official premise:

After meeting with newly elected US President Thaddeus Ross, played by Harrison Ford in his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut, Sam finds himself in the middle of an international incident. He must discover the reason behind a nefarious global plot before the true mastermind has the entire world seeing red.

In addition to Mackie and Ford, the cast includes Liv Tyler as the president's daughter, Betty Ross, and Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Sterns, both reprising their roles in 2008's The Incredible Hulk. (Ford replaces the late William Hurt, who played Ross in that earlier film.) Carl Lumbley plays Isaiah Bradley, reprising his F&WS role as a Korean War veteran who had been secretly imprisoned and given the Super Soldier Serum against his will, enduring 30 years of experimentation. (He told Sam he couldn't imagine how any black man could take up Captain America's shield because of what it represented to people like him, and one could hardly blame him.)

Rosa Salazar plays Rachel Leighton, Danny Ramirez plays Joaquin Torres, and Shira Haas plays Ruth Bat-Seraph. Giancarlo Esposito will also appear in an as-yet-undisclosed role, but based on the brief glimpses we get in the teaser, it's an antagonistic role.

The teaser opens with Wilson visiting the White House to meet with President Ross. "You and I haven't always agreed in the past," Ross tells him. "But I wanna make another run at making Captain America an official military position." Wilson has well-justified doubts after the events of F&WS, asking what would happen "if we disagree on how to manage a situation." Ross just reiterates his invitation to work with Sam: "We'll show the world a better way forward."

Then Bradley appears at a public event and tries (unsuccessfully) to assassinate the president. Wilson warns Ross that his inner circle has been compromised, but the president appears to be in denial—or there's something more nefarious going on. "Global power is shifting," we hear Sterns say in a voiceover. "You're just a pawn." Is it a warning or a threat? (Reminder: in the 2008 film, Sterns was a cellular biologist trying to find a cure for Bruce Banner, only to be accidentally exposed to Banner's blood and begin mutating himself into Leader.)

Cue much explosive action and mayhem. And in true Marvel fashion, there is one final shot of Red Hulk, the alter ego of Thaddeus Ross, whose big red hand is also prominently featured in the official poster below. It should be quite the showdown.

Captain America: Brave New World hits theaters on February 14, 2025.

(credit: Marvel Studios)

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fxer
7 days ago
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Bend, Oregon
beejjorgensen
6 days ago
Isn't Harrison Ford too old to be President? How do we know he's mentally up for the task?
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