anonymous rat

Anonyrattie is a civic-minded software engineer in Seattle, WA.
sometimes he tweets
frequently he argues on reddit

we often find the rat arguing in reddit about transit and the usefulness of urbanism. Sprawl is strangling the cities. Too many cars, too much pollution, too much disconnection. Suburbs work against social cohesion. Buses, bicycles, walking, apartments, land coops with shared resources. These are the kind of thing that the world has used since time immemorial. Trying to emulate the rich with a half acre of land, 3 giant cars (used for office work and going to school), and a 4000 sq foot house (with 2.1 children) is not actually a sane lifestyle.

in 2016 the rat has been arguing a lot for Hillary Clinton.


the rat nym mostly lives on reddit.

thoughts from reddit

a few thoughts the rat wrote down on reddit, expanded, edited, and refined.

Remarks on moving the Democratic party forward.

The original comment got me banned from /r/BlueMidterm2018. Ce la vie. If minorities can't contribute meaningfully to a win, then they really don't have a seat at the winning table; giving them that seat doesn't help winning, and, in fact, contributes to the perception of the Democrats' perception as being uninterested in the needs of most people. Hillary and the Dems hammered on the minorities and identity issues, and they lost. The Democrats are at historic lows in national politics.

Either the minorities can deliver enough votes to win or they can't. No argument that the Rs suppress their votes, but if the minorities can't deliver votes, then the Democrats have to chase voters that can deliver votes. This is how you win in our system: you get more votes than the other candidates. The Democrats need to grow a spine and realize that this is a shark's game. The Republicans will simply eat the Dems otherwise. Look at NC. The Rs have such power they are simply stripping the incoming governor of authority. If powers weren't in the Constitution, that would have occured with Obama. That's what's going to happen across the United States until Democrats assemble enough votes to stop it: and that means getting enough of the white racist bigots to vote for Democrats, which means catering to enough of their interests and identity. The current playbook is failing across the board, and that means changing it, not doubling down.

Let me explain further. The 2016 HRC arguments were this: vote for Hillary, because she cares about minorities; because she's not Trump, because she is a woman, because Obama was successful - and HRC will continue his policies. This failed. Why?

  1. Appealing to minorities directly suggests that the majority will lose power. White people felt, correctly, that they would lose power. Thus, they voted in their interest on this message. People tend to vote their interest or their worldview (see Lakoff). (It is also correct that the Fascists and the White Supremacists/Nationalists loved HRC's opponent. But, they simply don't have the numbers to swing a win).
  2. This was a powerful reason to vote Hillary. Trump is an incoherent mess unfit to be more than a fry cook at McDonalds. No idea how he ever succeeded in business. It's certain that any reputable company would have fired him for grotesque foolishness.
  3. It is an article of faith among typical social justice liberals that oppression implies morality: the more oppressed, the more you have authority. This is considered blarney by US society at large. While the Rat is happy to see a woman almost win the Presidency, there's exactly nothing more than symbolism (but what symbolism) there. This is not helped by Trump being a sexist ass, but, voting for Hillary because of her chromosomes was simply not going to happen for most of the US. It is also the case that the US does not value powerful women except as symbols.
  4. Obama was successful on many numeric measures; and, he was successful at connecting with many Americans; something we value. However, the Republican media (Fox and Drudge) - which traces its approach from Gingrich and company in the Bill Clinton era - made the case that Obama was a total disaster destroying the country. This was factually false. However, the Republican media have trained its true believers to not look elsewhere - that those outside of the Conservative bubble are wrong (classic cult behavior, actually). So when HRC effectively declared she'd continue Obama's policies... you see the issue.

Now, let's consider why the Democrats must shift its playbook. First is the numbers: the Democrats have self-destructed since Obama took office. They lost the House, the Senate, the Presidency, have almost no mid-career leaders on the national stage, have spent all of their energy on LGBTQ marriage and Obamacare. Let me be clear: I don't care if gay people get married. I don't care if transpeople use bathrooms. The most moral stance of public policy here needs to be: "And so? Live and let live". But the pursuit of the left into ideological correctness - moral correctness - has boxed them into a space where their issues are not issues most people care about. The LGBTQ community - and particularly the Trans community - simply does not have the numbers to deliver votes that win elections. Rather than fighting for their specific issues, it would have been far, far, far more effective to fight gerrymandering. It would have been much more useful to focus on evolving Obamacare to something that stayed affordable - and included clauses to help the Trans community.

The Democrats now are literally in the position of having to beg the ones in power - the Republicans(and their increasing radicalization) - not to strip the country of a variety of civil rights. This will not work. The Republicans have taken the gloves off and will strip the Democrats of power, influence, and intend to prosecute all they can. The belief Matt Drudge, Steve Bannon, and the Republican media cabal have - and this is not a new belief - is that liberal democracy is destroying the West's heritage and culture(there are reasonable questions about how fast and how fluid society should be, which is the proper place of proper conservativism, but this is not the paradigm the Republicans are in). So when you are in a war, you shoot the enemy, you obliterate his ability to resist, you kill the enemy and walk away. this is what the Republicans are doing. They are in the business of obliterating Democrats, Democratic ideology, liberal ideology, left ideology, and as you progress into the deeper depths of paleo-conservativism, the roots of the Enlightenment. There are religious elements to this, and I won't treat them here, but rest assured, a careful reading of The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 by Nash (a conservative himself) will reveal the fault lines.

Returning to what the Democrats must do: they must eat crow and reach out to the bigots, sexists, and etc who they morally reject. This entails throwing the social justice crew off the national boat: they can't win the rural areas (most of the social justice crew are, like the Rat, urbanites who fled the rural world). I. The easiest thing to do right now is to focus on health care, both traditional, mental health, and rehab. Drugs and mental health are ravaging rural areas, and it's a big problem. This could do real good, and it's likely this could build a real store of goodwill. Following on to that is this: II. drop gun control. It doesn't really exist in the US outside of very specific urban areas; serious crime gun violence don't really exist outside of specific urban areas. Chasing national gun control destroys credibility with rural crowd. And, frankly, it's contra the history of the US and the understanding of the Second Amendment. III. My third piece of advice is that labor and labor rights are probably the ideal long-term strategy for the broad American experience. Short-term, Trump and his cabinet is all about exploiting workers - this will provide a ready-made issue Democrats can land on. Down the road, the gig economy will burn us all, and following onto that, the robots will take those jobs too. Labor matters. People matter. Right now, unions are legendary for benefiting their management at the workers' expense, and further, for stupid "not my job" behaviors. This should stop. Democrats should concientiously and conspicuously seek to ally themselves with the workers across the board: union members should naturally understand that Democrats have their back, and workers for shops like Uber, Walmart, and McDonalds, should all be in unions. There are places where unions don't need to be, but they are not national/multistate companies paying people peanuts.

Finally, the US is designed to grant overpowering advantage to the rural states and counties vs urban areas. Speculatively, this is Jefforson's fault, as he believed in a country of small freehold farmers, not an urban environment. Whatever. But the consequence is that we have to listen far more to a well-off rural/suburban white man in Buttock, Nowhere, than we do to some poor LGBTQ schmuck in Seattle, WA. The first guy's vote matters more, and that's how you win elections. Kinda lame, huh? (Specifically, 3 million votes were nullified in the electoral college because of this system).

Restating the above: Democrats are not appealing to the broad base of America's electorate. They need to pick major issues that the Republican's won't address and that cohere with their historical position. They need to understand they are fighting a life and death war. They need to operate within the gerrymandered/Senate/electoral system. They must appeal to the electorate they have not. They must incorporate those people in their positions of power. This will entail change at a deep level. The Democrat party must therefore change, or die at the hands of power-hungry Republicans who believe that America will be murdered by liberal ideas.

A popular question on AskReddit relates to success & emotional management

Here's the Rat's sayings for success & life

Word to the would be successful. You are given free will, despite the structural issues in society. Don't moan about your bad lot, you can improve yourself. The only question is how bad you want to change.

Another word, now to the would be wise. Mankind is religious, it's deep past our bones. We quest for heros and divinity, whether it be Ganesh or Neil deGrasse Tyson. The Rat is an intellectual "liberalish" charismatic Assembly of God type. Yes, a Christian. The Rat has had many subjective experiences which have convinced him of the reality of the Christian understanding of the Divine. You may not find that persuasive; but you'd be well advised to consider religion as a deep force of humanity and to find the truth for yourself.

In response to a 22 year old artist struggling with depression

Generally for those questions, religion has been the go-to for mankind, and has often been pretty successful. I'm some flavor of devout evangelical(maybe not after 2016, heh) Christian, myself. This is important because religion places the self in a matrix of meaning.

For me: my best years are to come. I'm almost 33, I've got experience, I've got (some, ha) youth, and I've sorted the vast bulk of my growing up problems out. I have managed to hold down a Real Job, and, surprisingly, I got married and stayed that way. 22 year old me would be mind=blown. All that remains is going up; each experience both bad and good gives me depth and knowledge for the next time. I have some concerns over the ageism of my industry, but I firmly believe I have not even reached my professional potential yet, regardless of what the corporate hiring crew fad is. I've taken up new hobbies and moved to new cities.

Looking over your comment history: I can suggest a few things.

I can also remark that I haven't had a pretty ride to where I'm at. Bad relationships, stupidity in school, disaster from not-me in school, disaster from things in relationships, abusive bosses, etc. Life can be very crappy, and often is. But: 'today you, tomorrow me'. A lot of the past 15 years has taught me the lesson that I can pick myself up, dust myself off, and grind forward, even when my head or heart is shattered. Age has brought equilibrium from experience.

Most of what I have today is available to you in the future: the growing up, the equilibrium, some kind of job, the different experiences, the new hobbies, the new interests. I've chosen a lucrative career that I happen to enjoy and had an obsession with as a youth. Art typically doesn't yield that. It yields other things: also worth while. More than me, as you age and gain experiences, your creative works are most likely to gain (if you keep working on it) new luminance and new depth: an empathy for the human experience and deep connections to those who meditate on your art. It's no accident to me that my favorite authors and musicians have a wide and deep experience before they started writing; the younger and less experienced a creator is, the hackier the work they produce. Literally, they and their works had to mature.

In response to a Trump-Russia connection "DNS affair"

Insofar as I have been able to determine - and I'm pretty competent at this stuff - there was Apparently (or at least alleged by the supplied possibly-disinformation ) a connection between a Trump org and Alfa Bank. There is evidence that there was an attempt to set up some whitelisting between servers.

This would be in character for two enterprises trying to communicate with each other. Supposing it's actually true and not a hoax, the most likely explanation is that Trump Org and Alfa Bank were doing some work in relation to Trump's usual business dealings, and the admins had tried to limit the attack vectors.

While there are a lot of Interesting Questions re Manafort, Russia, and why Trump is too friendly, this is almost certainly not where you will find the nasty princess to KO our would-be Cheeto Dictator.

Basically, we would need to see evidence that is more than DNS record queries.

In response to a comment showing similarities between Trump and the Fascists

Good summary! I'll also fill in a few things in response to you. I spent most of the year reading books on Fascism of the Italian and German kinds (Spanish and Romanian can also be dug up, but, meh) since our Orange "Friend" seemed so very similar. A useful background here can be the Futurist Manifesto - an Italian pre-WW1 thing that sort of is a nice "harmony" with ideas that bubbled and fermented and turned into Italian Fascism.

There is an important point the parent comment didn't call out: there's also the (semi-theoretical (see below)) identifying of self with the Corporate State; the fascistisi, the banding together into a Corporate Environment. This percolated up into the idea of the Strong Man, the Personification of All That Is The Nation. The Leader Principle was something like you giving your self to the nation, which would be lead by the Strong Man, defending the Nation and the People from enemies and Keeping It Pure.

Since national/racial purity (itself partly an extremism from earlier european nationalism) was impossible, there had to be a way to define and expose the impurity. This was particularly visible in German, which had an economic crisis. Since Germany was such a great company (the volkisch philosophers reasoned), it must have had those working against it... those impurities! Hitler bound up some of the fascist ideas with the volkisch ideas and built a nationalist idea of a volkisch socialist society. Italy always was never quite diligent on how it chased its purity in this period. Germany was more so, and identified The Jews as the cause of the impurity in its volk. The Strong Man and the Nation thus had to Purify the Nation.

It's so very important to realize that many of the documents written during this period are produced by small groups of people scribbling furiously, often in contradiction to each other, hoping to catch the attention of others. But you can kind of smell the roses in the air, as it were.

Of course, how tightly individuals hewed to these in the private lives of their heads and how they lived fascism as individuals varied, and how much we know of their private thoughts is small.

All of the above should give one pause when reading the rhetoric of Our Orange Friend. He hews to many of the concepts I and the parent comment gave, albeit in an American expression. I can provide a reading list tomorrow if asked. Right now it's time to toddle off to bed and not rummage around bookshelves for sources. :-)

In response to reconciling conservative ideals with bad outcomes from conservativmism

First, let me note that conservativism is a 5-way blend right now: libertarians, anti-communists, theocrats, traditionalists, and nationalists/ nativists. Cruz & Ryan are theocrats; Ryan is a libertarian, the GOP in general claims traditionalist, this year's GOP platform is theocratic, and Trump is purely nationalist. The West of the US leans libertarian. The military leans anti-communist and/or libertarian.

Most social values types are traditionalists or theocrats. The libertarian wing is most popular in the economical stance, as libertarian social values permit marriage in any contract you like, worshiping as many gods as you like, and doing as many drugs as you like. This doesn't play well in the Midwest & South of the US.

(And if you've played Steve Jackson's illuminati game, you're probably laughing right now)

I'm going to answer from the perspective of a libertarian, because that's how I lean in general. I think there are also critiques from a traditionalist/theocrat standpoint, but w/e.

Let's pick out "raising sales taxes on the poor while cutting them for the rich" as our discussion point for the moment. It shouldn't be too much of a flame-attractant. I believe that a flat tax for all is appropriate. Call that number n, to be specified by economics experts (not me). The specific principles are fairness and equality. We need to be treated the same, whether we're Warren Buffet or me. Or some poor chap in a trailer in PA.

I don't really cotton to the idea that the rich are morally worse, or the poor are morally better. I've rubbed elbows with both, and I've been poor. But, that's a major feature of "left-ish" messaging & ideas. My perception is that that comes from the marxist thought stream: bourgeoisie and capitalists are evil. This is often seems to relate to the philosophical ideas that property is theft & the labor theory of value. I disagree with both concepts, firmly. So do most Americans, when those concepts are brought to the fore.

Flat tax affects rich and poor equally as a % of purchase. The basic question is whether a flat tax is just, because as percentage of personal income, flat tax disproportionately affects people more as they earn less. That's simply math. It's just that we all be treated equally; but is it just that outcomes differ? Here's where the fight really digs in. The idea most conservatives have is that, look - we need to be treated the same. Some people get the lucky breaks, some don't, but the law needs to be blind to that. It is super offensive to many conservatives that that the law privileges one person of one background, and not someone of a different background. See: affirmative action. Principled opposition to it is on the crux of "should outcomes differ". The historical justification here is that what might be mandated to benefit A, might be later rejigged to stop benefiting A, and benefit B. And, deeper: should the government have the authority to even provide benefit A? The thing is that most conservatives will acknowledge there's gaps here. They generally propose that the needed social gaps should be filled by community organizations. This presupposes a functioning community, and, often, the individual integrated into the functioning community. Between you, me, and the rest of the internet: this is a limited solution in practice, because the presuppositions don't hold true for enough people. With respect to the tax specifics, the idea comes up that under a certain number for a poverty, a tax rebate would apply.

So to stop running around with justifications and background: here's the answer. "Yes, poverty is terrible. But we don't believe government and stacking more laws on the situation with uninterested and faceless bureaucrats is the answer to solving this problem. The individual and the community the individual is embedded in has to take responsibility for these problems and solve it in a personal fashion".

When someone was salty about Bernie's loss, I told them to grow up... this is the response to the response.

Let me put it even more bluntly. Bernie hasn't been an effective member of Congress. He's a purist. He's popular at home, so he keeps his seat. He was a crass opportunist and saw Hillary's weakness, so decided to jump on the Democrat train and in the process, damaged Hillary's ability to defeat Cheeto. There's no reason to believe he'd be an effective President, or an effective campaigner in the general election. His foreign policy experience has been the most jokeworthy 70s hippie ever. (Mayor's making foreign policy proclamations? Come on.)

Specifically, to beat Bernie, all you need to do is point, yell SOCIALIST, and you've won the attack ad. Not very complicated in the US. Don't like that? Doesn't matter. That's what would happen.

You can have ideals. Thats great. But it turns out, in politics, you don't get to achieve them quickly, easily, or completely. You need to not promise ideals that are unachievable: you need to focus on providing a good vision and a practical path to get there.

Does he have a vision? Yes. Does he sincerely believe it? Yes. But hope and change is not a plan. It's a culture. Don't confuse hope with a plan.

Now, as to growing up: if people sink Hillary because her crew bent over Sanders? They'll get to learn what a genuinely nasty place a white nationalist can make the US. Particularly as he's likely to leave the hard work to the theocrats while he prances about in a gold plane.

Do you want rollback of gay marriage? Rollback of roe v Wade? Rollback of women's rights? Systemic actual harassment and denial of minority's rights? Remember: he and his cronies will get to push supreme Court justices, which means, in effect, they rewrite the Constitution. Civil liberties people have warned for years the power of the Imperial Presidency is incredible. Trump would have zero issues dropping executive orders calling for restraint. That means, in effect, he'd set the NSA loose on blackmailing Congress and the Supremes to bend to his will. So.

Go ahead. Stay home. Vote for Stein or write in Bernie. We'll curse your name on the way to the re education camps.