blueollie

“Well, I am mad”. So what?

Rant to follow:

So often I see people ranting about how angry they are about..well, this or that. And they are going to TAKE TO THE STREETS, demonstrate, march or whatever.

And…nothing changes because not enough of them show up to vote!

Today was the second “women’s march”. Yes, Trump openly taunted them:

Oh sure, he is taking credit for the economy that he inherited (his policies have had almost nothing to do with our current situation…check back in 2-3 years)

Sure, demonstrations have been PART OF a plan to shame/convince the country that it needed to change, but the successful demonstrations were coordinated with voting, legal challenges, economic pressure and the like.

In our area, there are reports that a local store took steps to prevent marchers (a small number) from parking in their lot and parked semis to discourage the marchers from going through their lot.
This store can probably get away with it; it is not popular with the sort of person that would wear a pussy hat.

But my point: to change behavior, you need to have something the other party wants, be it money or votes or whatever. Your being angry with them doesn’t change a thing.

And if you have no power over them, they don’t care. My guess is that this Republican’s approval in his district improved BECAUSE of his rudeness (and who he was rude too)

And voting…means voting for some imperfect candidates and making some compromises.

And turning your movement into something that is batshit crazy doesn’t help:

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January 20, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, social/political | Leave a comment

We’ll never be together but maybe we can do better?

I am sort of “out of sorts” with politics lately. Some of it is that Trump is so unhinged and incoherent at times; there are times when he doesn’t even seem to understand the policies he is advocating for.

Some of it might be my age and station in life; so little of what is in the current news affects me directly anymore. I say “directly” because some bad policy might have harmful effects that show up later (e. g. economic stimulus at the bottom of the economy tends to filter up, inaction or weak action on climate change might (probably?) will lead to terrible effects later, etc.)

And as far as discussing things with others: forget about it. It appears that those most eager to talk well, really don’t know what they are talking about. 🙂

From the current right wing:

And the stuff about Russia and possible collusion (and yes, there is something to this) will NOT be believed on the other side; they will see it as the the usual “political mudslinging” that always goes on.

And we’ve got fights on our own side as well. There is some pushback to the more extremist elements of the “me too” movement, as well as counter push backs.

Yes, I’ve seen workplace groping incidents and no one wants a return to those days (I think). And yes, the workplace should be a place for work. But aside from that, there IS a difference between socially inept attempts to flirt and sexual harassment. Yes, many women know the difference. Not all do.

I’ve had some female friends …friends who HAVE been sexually assaulted in the past…tell me that a lot of this feminist stuff “does not speak to them”.
I’d be interested to know what percentage of women have heard of “me too” and what percentage of women have heard of it but do not embrace it. I do NOT have data here.

And yes, I do wonder if political correctness (which is NOT mere politeness) has harmed us. I think that Steven Pinker is right on here (though this is simplified, as it has to be as it is only 8 minutes long)

Oh well…off to run a bit.

Last night I just KILLED it at yoga class. Ok..maybe not so much; I almost toppled over in some relatively “basic” poses. I need to practice more.

January 11, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, yoga | , | Leave a comment

Figurehead Presidents?

Needless to say, Trump as POTUS disgusts me to no end. And at the outset I’ll say this: if Trump is the R nominee in 2020 (as I fully expect him to be) and Oprah is the D nominee, I will swallow some pink bismuth and vote for Oprah. Reason: nuclear codes; I see her as less likely to start a nuclear war than that unqualified, egocentric, walking-talking example of the Dunning-Kruger effect that we have in office right now.

But the very idea that it is a realistic possibility (albeit, I hope, an improbable one) that our country will choose two TV show hosts as the nominees for the highest office in the land makes me ill.

I think that this article sums it up for me:

Indeed, the magical thinking fueling the idea of Oprah in 2020 is a worrisome sign about the state of the Democratic Party. That Ms. Winfrey could probably beat those considered likely front-runners — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand — is testament to how demoralized and devoid of fresh political talent the post-Obama party has become.

In a way, the conversation on the left (and the anti-Trump right) around Ms. Winfrey is more troubling than the emotional immaturity and anti-intellectualism pulsing out of the red states that elected Mr. Trump. Those voters have long defined themselves in opposition to the intellectual seriousness Democrats purport to personify.

If liberals no longer pride themselves on being the adults in the room, the bulwark against the whims of the mob, our national descent into chaos will be complete. The Oprah bandwagon betrays the extent to which social causes and identities — and the tribal feelings they inspire — have come to eclipse anything resembling philosophical worldviews. American politics has become just another team sport, and if suiting up a heavy hitter like Ms. Winfrey is what it takes to get the championship ring, so be it.

The idea that the presidency should become just another prize for celebrities — even the ones with whose politics we imagine we agree — is dangerous in the extreme. If the first year of the Trump administration has made anything clear, it’s that experience, knowledge, education and political wisdom matter tremendously. Governing is something else entirely from campaigning. And perhaps, most important, celebrities do not make excellent heads of state. The presidency is not a reality show, or for that matter, a talk show.

Yep, I’ll say it: MY POLITICAL PARTY SUCKS. But the other one…OMG….

My own bias I have various biases (as do all humans) and one of mine is what I call a “competency bias”. I expect people in high offices to know what they are doing; just sharing my values and goals is not sufficient. Example: I’d agree with Jill Stein on many issues..probably more issues that I’d agree with Mitt Romney. But if those were the two nominees, I’d vote for Romney.

Via Paul Krugman:

Let’s be honest: This great nation has often been led by mediocre men, some of whom had unpleasant personalities. But they generally haven’t done too much damage, for two reasons.

First, second-rate presidents have often been surrounded by first-rate public servants. Look, for example, at a list of Treasury secretaries since the nation’s founding; while not everyone who held the office was another Alexander Hamilton, over all it’s a pretty impressive contingent — and it mattered.

There’s an ongoing debate over whether Ronald Reagan, who was given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s five years after he left office, was already showing signs of cognitive deterioration during his second term. But with James Baker running Treasury and George Shultz running State, one didn’t have to worry about whether qualified people were making the big decisions.

Now, for me, the situation with Reagan was NOT ok; I want my POTUS to be mentally alert and fully aware of what is happening and able to make thoughtful decisions..to be in charge. Having an average figurehead who spouts the “correct slogans” is not enough for me.

January 9, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Trump: why is this acceptable?

Imagine your favorite football team was coached by someone who didn’t bother to watch film of his upcoming opponent but instead just “winged it” at gametime.

Imagine your business being run by a boss that didn’t plan ahead, didn’t put in the hours but instead just made decisions “by feel”.

Imagine a general who didn’t plan ahead, look at maps, reports, but instead just attacked by his gut instincts.

Yes, all of the above works great in action movies..but in real life?

That is what we have as President: an incompetent, lazy jackass whose work ethic wouldn’t be tolerated at the businesses of many who voted for him!

But our country is so tribal…people can’t see past “he is on my team”.

Workout notes: treadmill; started out 10 minutes at 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, then 5.4 to mile 4 (46:20) then 6.0-6.1-6.2-6.3 down to 6.1 (56:05). Then 16:33 cool down walk.

At first I was like “ok, this isn’t that bad…then I remembered that I used to WALK marathons at a faster pace than this. Oh well…but this was 2 days after blood donation.

January 6, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political | | 2 Comments

White Rage by Carol Anderson

I bought this book on a whim (while browsing through a book store). And while I think that this review is a fair one (the author is more of an advocate than scholar in the book, and a couple of conclusions are speculative, at best), I am glad that I read it.

First for the claims: I was skeptical about the claim that the “absent black fathers” was “debunked”. However, the book contains many resources and I can say that such a “bumper sticker claim” about black fathers is way too simplistic; the actual situation is far more complicated. I highly recommend surfing to this well researched, very even handed Daily Kos article referenced by the text.

And while it is undeniably true that the Contras in Nicaragua were financed, in part, by drug money from the United States and that our government was well aware of this, claiming that the crack epidemic was deliberately created by our government (to provide a funding source for the Contras) strains credibility.

However there is much in the book that is all too credible and informative. The stories about what happened to black families that attempted to move into white neighborhoods in northern states was disgusting and heart breaking.

The author takes our society to task for huge educational gaps that are in place, largely due to underfunding mostly black school districts (not only in the south) and our federal government’s indifference to it, even while extra emphasis was placed on education for everyone else during the “Sputnik scare” era.

Some of this, I knew. But what I found out is that my civil rights history education is inadequate; I basically leaned this stuff at a high school/college freshman level and no further.
Here is one example: I knew about the marches, boycotts, sit ins and some of the famous court cases. What I didn’t know was the very well thought out strategy that the NAACP used with regards to education: they said “ok, you say separate but equal”, ok, we will go along. Now you have to prove “equal”” and of course, it was NOT equal…not even close. And the NAACP could prove it in court..and it was economically impossible to set up two equal systems of education. That put the segregationists in a bind; some took extreme steps of shutting down their public education system completely. But overall, the NAACP prevailed.

So, this book was part of a much needed “education refresher” for me.

One other note: the book embarrassed me a bit. My feeling is that, well, anti-black prejudice is due to perceived black underachievement (that is, poor blacks are hated because they are poor). It turns out, well, a lot of people really do not like black people, period..no matter how how successful.

January 4, 2018 Posted by | books, politics, politics/social, racism, social/political | Leave a comment

Liberals and Trump supporters: denial about the truth on Trump?

I remember reading the book Wartime by Paul Fussell. In it, he said that people had defense mechanisms for avoiding horrific truths:

rumors went around that units would be rotated home because they had done “their share” of the fighting (there were no “tours of duty for ground troops in those days..you stayed until the war was won, you were severely wounded, went insane or died).

There were also rumors about the Germans being tipped off to landings ..that is why some landings were so bloody…the horrible truth is that the Germans were excellent fighters and ALL landings would be wholesale slaughters.

People look for comforting patterns when reality is too horrible to face.

I think that something like this is going on about Trump. His tweets are clearly ridiculous. Trump supporters posit that there is some hidden genius (in context) about these tweets..some grand strategy just for this situation.

Liberals see some evil genius at work:

I think that the truth is far more unsettling: 62 million (albeit not a plurality) thought that this unhinged, ignorant, utterly unqualified narcissist was a suitable president, and he is acting like the incompetent fool that he is..and was BEFORE becoming POTUS. His tweets are just “off of the top of his head rants”. Period.

In my opinion, there is no sophisticated “6 dimensional chess” being played here..just rank incompetence.

January 4, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

Oh boy…and I escape into reading…

Ok, I can (almost) live with the typical Republican crackpot economic “theory” that somehow tax cuts will lead to more jobs. There is a lot of evidence against such claims, but..

Now we’ve gotten to the point where they run fake investigations to cover up genuine evidence of much more serious things.

And we have “our president” tweeting such stupid, dangerous things:

And there are millions and millions (perhaps 30-40 percent of the population) who see such behavior as acceptable or even good.

I live in a very stupid country: millions of citizens cannot distinguish a Dirty Harry movie from reality.

How did we get here? Well, we are still searching for explanations of how many voted for Trump. However one well known hypothesis was fueled by bad data (no, Trump didn’t win every income level, not even every white income level). I still think that white nationalism was a big factor but think that such appeals do not work as well with highly educated voters.

Other stuff:

It was a pretty moon last night.

workout notes: still off and my preworkout weight (with shoes and shirt/shorts) was up to 209 again (Indian last night)

usual PT
pull ups: 4 sets of 10; final set was 7-1-1-1 (brutal)
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 4 x 185
incline press: 10 x 140
military press: 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell (standing), 10 x 45
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 (Hammer)
then 2 miles of walking (32:22), 1 mile with Dave 9:04 (4:40/4:24); he admitted to picking it up a bit when I ran with him.

January 3, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, running, walking, weight training | , | 4 Comments

Trump’s support is still strong in this town….

Mike Smith fired up the coffeepot in this 1940’s vintage diner in the rustbelt town of Noonecares. Noonecares was once home to an active steel mill and a coal fired energy plant, both of which are long since shuttered.

“I think that Trump is one of the hardest working presidents”, Smith said, “if only the media would get off of his back. He isn’t out there playing golf like Obama.”

Joe Jones was laid off when the mill closed 2 decades ago: “well, ok, perhaps the mill won’t open again, but it would be nice to have this town running again; Trump is working to make that happen”, Jones said. Jones went on: “We need to focus on the hard working Americans and get them off of the culture of dependency”, noting that the 384 dollars a month he receives in welfare doesn’t go as far as it once did. “Right now, the only jobs we have are the ones at Dollar General and Walmart”.

Paul Thompson is a regular; he was also laid off and found work at that Walmart: “yes, making America great again means getting rid of that entitlement mentality”, Thompson said. “But I sure hope that Trump doesn’t take away Medicaid ..but I support him anyway”. He just got back from breakfast at a nearby hotel where his girlfriend works as a cleaning lady: “yep, she sneaks me in for the free guest breakfast”, he said.

“Had Hilary won, she’d be in hot water over her selling all of our uranium to the Russians”, Thompson said. “What is all of this stuff about Trump and the Russians anyway? No Russian made me vote for Trump!”

December 31, 2017 Posted by | political humor, politics | | Leave a comment

What Happened by Hillary Clinton: my take

The tl;dr take:

1. This won’t change your mind about Hillary Clinton. If you despised her before, you’ll feel the same way after the book. If you loved her before, you’ll still love her. If you thought “ok, decent policy wonk but not really charismatic”, well, you’ll leave this book with the same opinion.

2. I was disappointed: I expected it to be more of “I should have opened X field offices in Pennsylvania and spent Y in ads in Wisconsin” and perhaps a bit more introspection. There was some introspection, but it was scattered throughout. On the other hand, I did learn that what sort of breakfast egg dishes she likes, that she likes an occasional hamburger, that she likes kids, that Justice Ginsberg does planks twice a week and yes, that she (Hillary Clinton) wears yoga pants. Seriously (page 19 for the yoga pants mention)

3. I’d say that about 2/3 of the book is worth reading. The best section is the one called Frustration, which features the 5 chapters Country Roads, Those Damn Emails, “Trolls, Bots, Fake News and Real Russians”, Election Night, Why. I was expecting most of the book to be like this section. It did give a nice summary of the issues of e-mails, Russian meddling, how the press handled things and some of the prevailing headwinds. The chapter “Sweating the Details” in the section “Sisterhood” is good too. And she flat out admitted that much of the country simply does not like her.

4. I’d say that she is finished running for elective office; she really did burn some bridges and say a few things sans a politician’s filter. Here is a beauty: (page 276; she is describing people in Appalachia)

But anger and resentment do run deep. As Appalachian natives such as author J. D. Vance have pointed out, a culture of grievance, victimhood, and scapegoating has taken root as traditional values of self-reliance and hard work have withered. There’s a tendency toward seeing every problem as someone else’s fault, whether it’s Obama, liberal elites in the big cities,
undocumented immigrants taking jobs, minorities soaking up government assistance–or me.

5. And yes, about the “basket of deplorables” remark: she admits that it was a political mistake to make that statement, but she stands by the actual logic of the statement (about half of the Trump supporters fall into that category). Actually, I do too, but it is an interesting statement to make..at least from a politician not named “Trump”.

6. Oh yes, she really doesn’t like Trump. She does take shots at Sanders, Comey, the press, etc. But she really doesn’t like Trump.

7. Above all, this book is, without apology, aimed mostly at women; I’d say at educated, upper middle class women.

More detail: the book is not a linear time progression. It starts out describing the inauguration and her decision to attend (later to go home and put on a fleece top and yoga pants). Chronologically, it skips around quite a bit.

Much of the early part of the book is a bit like NBC’s Olympic coverage: human interest stuff (what she eats, when she wakes up, day to day stuff…kids, grand kids, relations between her staff, etc.).

She does get onto issues, including Black Lives Matter, Mothers of the Movement (black victims of gun violence), Police (yes, she talks about the massacre of police officers), climate change, and the lead in the Flint water supply (and wonders if advocating for poor blacks in Flint cost her votes in Michigan). She also talks about NATO and some of the complexities of foreign policy.

She does have some beefs though:

1. Press coverage. They seemed to be fixated on her e-mail problems (way overblown) and that ate up much of her press coverage; it hurt her ability to talk about issues. It also blotted out coverage about other things, such as he bus tour. She also pointed out that Trump appeared to send the press a “new rabbit to chase” almost daily; that appeared to keep the press from drilling down on his honest to goodness issues.

2. Russian interference: she goes into this in detail; the main issue is not only did they hack into the DNC and into her Podesta’s e-mails, but they also strategically planted fake news and gamed the social media and search engine algorithms so that these stories appeared on the feeds of likely undecided voters living in battleground states.

3. Bernie Sanders: she took shots at his unrealistic “we could have this or that” claims and ridiculed the idea that if we could somehow just get the PACs out of business, his proposals would be popular NATIONWIDE; he seemed to disregard regional differences in attitudes. She resented the implication that she was somehow crooked.

4. She flat out admit that the history of “Clinton scandals” (mostly untrue) dogged her and made people ready to believe new “non-scandals” about her. And on page 399

Moreover I have come to terms with the fact that a lot of people–millions and millions of people, decided they just didn’t like me.

.

5. Introspection: she said that she should have not used the line “we are going to put a lot of coal miners out of work” even though it was quoted out of context.

Here are her full remarks, with the most relevant parts in bold:

Look, we have serious economic problems in many parts of our country. And Roland is absolutely right. Instead of dividing people the way Donald Trump does, let’s reunite around policies that will bring jobs and opportunities to all these underserved poor communities.

So for example, I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right?

And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories.

Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.

So whether it’s coal country or Indian country or poor urban areas, there is a lot of poverty in America. We have gone backwards. We were moving in the right direction. In the ’90s, more people were lifted out of poverty than any time in recent history.

Because of the terrible economic policies of the Bush administration, President Obama was left with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and people fell back into poverty because they lost jobs, they lost homes, they lost opportunities, and hope.

So I am passionate about this, which is why I have put forward specific plans about how we incentivize more jobs, more investment in poor communities, and put people to work.

She did discuss her “basket of deplorables” remark on page 413 and noted that she wasn’t talking about all Trump supporters but “about half of them”. She then goes on to provide data (from polls) regarding the attitudes of Trump supporters to back up her claim of accuracy!

She does not pull punches about those who overlooked some of Trump’s ugly statements either.

Getting back to introspection: she acknowledges that perhaps, when listening to angry voters, she jumped straight to proposed solutions instead of listening to the venting to assure the voter that she “got” and “felt” the depth of their anger and pain …first.

6. Resentments: I’ve discussed her stated, well resentments about some of Trump’s supporters. She also took shots at “my way or the highway” activists, shots at those who attempted to “disrupt” her rallies (she made a point to put the word in italics (page 203). About the woman’s marches: she approved of them but wondered where that passion was during the election itself and why some did not vote. She resented Sander’s bumper sticker depth of policy, the press, the timing of the Comey letter (which probably DID cost her the election), the Electoral College and…

7. Being a woman: I’d say that the underlying thread of her book is about being a female and the disadvantages that brings from sexism (e. g. her being a female is one reason to be against her), misogyny (on page 114-115 she explains the difference between the two). She complains about the extra time a woman (in the public eye) has to spend on make up. And yes, she acknowledges that she lost the white women’s vote and especially the non-college educated white woman’s vote.

8. Yes, she discusses race and thinks that she did suffer some backlash from those who resented having a black president for 8 years.

9. She did discuss campaign strategy just a bit and pushed back on the narrative that she didn’t campaign enough in the former “blue wall” rust belt states.

Clearly, there is much more in the book than what I said, but hopefully, you’ll get a sense of whether you want to read it or not.

Update: here is a fact check of her book (it comes out pretty well) She also mentions a Facebook meme that I not only saw but passed around (Bernie and the pony) and a Facebook group that I belonged to (Pantsuit Nation).

December 24, 2017 Posted by | 2016, books, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Heaven Help Us!

Social
Could you date (or stay married to) a Trump supporter?

And for the record: yes, I’ve dated Republicans. I have Republican women friends that I’d be sweet on, were I single. So, yes, there are some things that are non-starters for me (say, someone who was excessively religious, smoked, super sanctimonious) but people vote in certain ways for a variety of reasons.

Speaking of Trump: actually, I see the GOP “Tax Scam” to be conventional Republican politics. I don’t see it as “Trumpian”. If anything, I think that Trump probably makes the law less popular than it otherwise might be:

So how will Trump’s presidency end? While I think that the D’s have a good shot at retaking the House in 2018, the Senate is a long shot and, well, let’s just say that while I do not KNOW what will happen, I’d be very relieved if Trump doesn’t win reelection (I expect him to..though I have little confidence in this prediction).

Why do I expect Trump’s presidency to end after a SECOND term? A look at the “conventional wisdom” at the Democratic hopefuls makes me ill. I sure hope there is a Bill or Barack who is lurking beneath the radar.

Workout notes
Weights only. somewhat different order: pull ups: 5-5
bench press: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 1 x 195, 1 x 205 (spotter touched the bar, but I think that I had it), 7 x 185
pull ups: 4 x 10 (strong)
military: 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell standing, 10 x 90 (each arm) machine
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 single arm, 10 x 60 dumbbell single arm
a bit of yoga (head stand too..was good)

I just didn’t feel like walking or running.

December 22, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, weight training | | Leave a comment