blueollie

What’s going on with health care, elections, Democratic Party, etc.

Yes, the Senate Republicans are trying, once again, to strip health care away from millions. Why? Because people like the Koch Brothers said “no more money until you do”. It is really that simple, I think.

The 2016 election: it was perhaps a bit more than “Comey letter plus “she is a woman”” but, well, here are some charts. The conclusion:

What’s most notable beyond that in some ways is all the things that didn’t happen.

Trump did not, for example, discover that the white population was deep down yearning for crude racism. Some people were — he won the GOP primary, after all. But Trump got a slightly smaller share of the white vote than the more normal Mitt Romney. Conversely, whatever black and Latino voters hadn’t already abandoned the GOP during the Obama era weren’t driven away by Trump, who did no worse with these groups than Romney had.

And while Clinton managed to rally educated white women to her side in a way that previous Democrats had not, she was not broadly more appealing to women than previous Democrats. And, in fact, she did worse with noncollege white women than a black man did four years earlier.

Most fundamentally, even though the extraordinary significance of the outcome seems to call out for an equally weighty explanation, it appears in the end to have turned at least as much on trivial matters as profound ones.

Maddening, huh?

And the way forward? This essay points out what is wrong with what the Bern Victims are trying to do:

Sanders has a response to the political question of how to get his ideas through congress. He says that his “political revolution” will increase voter turnout across the board and usher in a wave of new Sanders-agenda-friendly legislators. But this claim doesn’t even make sense. If he believes both Democrats and Republicans are corrupted by money and special interests, is he suggesting his supporters will replace nearly all of congress? Where are these Bernie-friendly congressional candidates going to come from? What is his backup plan if this “revolution” doesn’t pan out? This plan seems more like an afterthought than a coherent strategy. Perhaps because it is an afterthought. Ideology is most important.
Sanders has it completely backwards. He’s trying to quibble over how to spend political capital that he has not yet earned and has no realistic plan of earning. This is the fundamental flaw with his candidacy. Bernie Sanders is a bad solution to the wrong problem. It’s not that Democrats are spending their political capital unwisely — it’s that they don’t have any. By peddling his ideological purity tests, Sanders is instead contributing to the problem by harming the effort to build a bigger Democratic coalition, which is the actual way to increase voter turnout, earn political capital, and advance progressive causes.

And here we go. Oh sure, you can point to this poll or that poll that says that there is “support for single payer” but..well, checking a box in a poll is one thing. PAYING for it is quite another and using an issue to win an election is altogether different.

Workout notes yesterday, weights only, then yoga in the evening.

rotator cuff, hip hikes, toe raises, pull ups (15, 15, 10, 10), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 5 x 185, incline: 10 x 140, military (dumbbell, standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40, rows: 3 sets of 10 with 110, then 2 sets of 10 x 50 goblet squats (sill)

Today: 2 mile walk outside, 26:32 for 16 laps in the outer lane (walking), 4 laps on, 2 off: 6:35. 3:53, 6:15, 3:45, 6:01. Just enough to get the heart rate up.

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September 19, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton: not a politician

I’ve watched the back and forth about Hillary Clinton and her book. I’ll have to read the book. But from what I’ve read, it appears that this is classic Hillary Clinton: she looks at an issue (in this case, her election loss), examines the facts and gives an honest answer. But any honest answer (e. g. Russian interference, media holding her and Trump to different standards) will sound like “sour grapes”; it isn’t good politics.

Now, of course, she might be through with politics (a good thing) but a good politician needs to know how to put on a show, when to give details, and when to give a slogan/bumper sticker answer. In my opinion, she does none of those things well.

Now what about “misogyny”? Well, if you are claiming that she lost because she is a woman, are you saying that the Democrats ought to only nominate men? Obama found a way to work through racism and a successful female will have to navigate her challenges as well.

You win elections with the electorate you have, not the one that you wish you had. Dumb people vote. Bigoted people vote. Any candidate who wins will have to win at least a few votes from very unpleasant people.

We Democrats will have to get our act together or Trump will be reelected. I am pessimistic.

September 15, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

And Democratic politics depress me even more…

Sigh. Now we have Hillary Clinton supporters fighting with Bernie Sanders supporters. Yes, I was “Clinton all the way” this time around, and I think it is joke that anyone takes Sanders seriously for 2020.

And so Hillary Clinton came out with a book that I am interested in. But, of course, she is catching heat from not only the Sanders wing and from Republicans (“sore loser”) but also from many who think that her time as a national politician has passed. Frankly, I belong in the latter camp as well, but I am still interested to read what she has to say about the election.

But some of the Clinton supporters: AAARRRRRGGGHH. They are as unreasonable as some Trump supporters.
Some refuse to entertain the notion that she wasn’t that good from the podium..she was not a natural politician. She didn’t have a sense of when to “slogan it” and when to give a nuanced “lawyer like” answer. She did not have the show-biz skills that Obama and Bill Clinton had/have.

Some refuse to accept the fact that she is deeply unpopular; her approval rating is lower than Donald Trump’s. “Why, her book signings are sold out” they’ll respond. True, but “so what”? 30 percent approval rating still means that a lot of people still like her..and that she will be in demand in many circles.

And then you hear the nonsense about “She doesn’t need permission from men to write her book”..”she won’t be silenced” (that fat book contract is hardly “silencing”). Oh boy. What they appear to mean is that they don’t want her to get criticism. Of course she will get it, and there is nothing her supporters can do about it. And yes, some (most?) of the criticism will be incompetent. But that comes with the territory..as do book reviews, critiques and the like.

I can really do without the “personality cult”. She ran…ran a lack-luster campaign and wasn’t able to overcome Cambridge Analytics, Russian interference (in the form of fake news and document hacks) and the baggage of her long history…as well as her inability to say things like “ok, I screwed up..my fault, PERIOD” Such statements were always followed by “tl;dr” explanations which, while true, didn’t help her politically.

Ironically she got the reputation for being dishonest when in fact, she was the more honest candidate (by this measure). Her personality DID not help her though. Again, she was a poor politician, at least in terms of getting elected.

And do not get me started on Bernie Sanders. For one, he is not a Democrat. For another: he is mostly bluster and empty, “never going to happen” promises. If he is the best we can do for 2020, we deserve to lose again.

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Frustration and communication

In terms of talking to others: well, I have reached a tipping point of sorts. I engage far less for several reasons.

For one, when someone, say, makes a statement on social media, they might be doing so for a variety of different reasons:

1. Venting
2. Wanting “you aren’t alone” type responses
3. Cheerleading
4. Inspiring the like minded to action
5. Providing information
6. Attempting to persuade someone
7. Wanting a discussion which may be
a. an attempt to “insult the other side”
b. an attempt to “win a debate”
c. or to explore a topic further; exchange facts and ideas, etc.

And because I am socially awkward, I have trouble knowing what is what…why is the person posting that.
And there was a time when I liked conversation, but now-a-days, I often find people who merely “shout slogans” and provide strings of adjectives. And as far as ideas and facts, there is often disagreement as to what constitutes a fact and many have no clue as to how to make a valid inference. And some ideas really are nuanced; many people simply don’t “get” them (e. g. conditional probability) and it is useless to try to explain it to them.

Now I certainly agree with this meme, but the idea that people search for “facts” that, at least superficially comfort them rather than “digging for the truth” is NOT, NOT limited to Trump supporters.

What is worse: I can really see several sides and understand many different emotional reactions.

One one hand, I can see why many men my age might be inclined toward Republicanism. After all, right now, it seems that if you are doing ok financially, it feels as if leaches will find you. I said “feels” because there is something to be said at being at one’s peak earning power, and that, like one’s physical strength, does not last forever.

On the other hand, the current crop of Republicans are incredibly incompetent; they peddle “zombie lies” and falsehoods and can’t run anything correctly. They deny science, push crackpot economics and screw up basic things.

But back to the Democrats: we have our factions. The Hillary people can’t seem to grasp that she, fairly or not, is amazingly unpopular. But the Sanders camp is a bunch of crackpots who think that he would have won; they don’t seem to get that things like “minimum wage” is a huge issue for most voters. Most of us do better than that and no one wants to think that is where they will end up. Don’t get me wrong; I think that there should be one and there is an optimum one that might vary from location to location. Too high or too low is no good.

Even Trump hate divides us. I don’t like Trump because I think that he is incompetent. I am not that bothered that he may have called Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig” (if what is what it was) or if some aspiring starlet let him pat her on the butt. (remember, the infamous remark was “they LET YOU grab them…”

Now I disapprove of his behavior AS A PRESIDENT and AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE; to me, deportment is part of the job. But it is lack of knowledge, his lack of interest in obtaining such knowledge and his current deportment that bothers me.

Oh well…baseball season (for me) is exciting and football season is underway.

September 8, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

They aren’t going to change their minds…..

From time to time, I read articles about how Trump doesn’t know what he is talking about (example). But you know what? That will not matter to Trump supporters.

They voted for Trump as a big “fuck you” to their perceived enemies; what Trump does makes little difference:

The Rust Belt and Midwest more broadly speaking have experienced so much hardship and for so long that residents no longer care what policy prescriptions candidates promise; they firmly believe that nothing will work anyway. These voters are unlikely to care that Trump often flip-flops on issues, does things for which he vocally criticized Barack Obama, and fails to deliver on promises made during the campaign.

Similarly, pointing out that he has nothing but bile-laced Tweets to show for his first half-year in the White House is not persuasive. So long as he continues to give them a vicarious outlet for their anger toward convenient targets that are often blamed for the Rust Belt’s problems – urban elites, immigrants, gays and lesbians, the media, ivory tower academics, the Clintons, and so on – he serves a vital purpose for them.

It is not easy to watch one’s community slowly fall apart over decades due largely to forces beyond one’s control, nor is it easy to look to the future and see only the same downward trajectory regardless of endless (and ultimately fruitless) plans to “revitalize” the Huntingtons and Youngstowns of the United States. After five decades of bad news, Trump feels like a breath of fresh air. Rather than offering them economic or social policy proposals they have heard before and in which they have no more strength to believe, he offers them an opportunity to extend a middle finger to the established institutions of society and government. That is invaluable to people who have received nothing of value in exchange for their votes since the strong economic years of the post-War era.

So, we will never “win” among them; perhaps we can lessen the margin of loss a bit and get our own people to show up. But mass conversion: never.

So, when one attempts to engage, I try to make my point but when they reject my sources (say, a NYT article or some statistics), I just smile and wish them a good day..and move on.

The 2018 forecast: grim. We might well lose Senate seats and pick up a few House seats, but not enough of them to retake that chamber.

Workout notes: weights and rope skips only. Usual PT (hip hikes, rotator cuff, toe raises), pull ups 5 sets of 10 (grip problems on set 4), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 8 x 170. incline: 10 x 135. military (standing, dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 90 machine. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer. Rope skips: two sets of 50; grabbed one young guy’s personal rope by mistake; I was embarrassed and apologized profusely but he was cool with it.

August 25, 2017 Posted by | politics/social, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Corporate America: more responsive than Congress?

Interesting:

Now think about it: the Louie Gohmert’s and Joe Shimkus’ of the Congress really don’t care about what I think; they reflect their own constituencies. But a corporation very much cares about sales; it really doesn’t matter if they sell the item in Oklahoma or California. The profit is roughly the same. So here, the number of people who have money to spend matters, hence the opinion of such people matters. There is no gerrymandering to skew things, at least for national brands.

I know that this is not perfect, but wow…

Workout notes: weights then running on the treadmill:
weights; usual PT stuff (shoulder, hip, feet), pull ups (5 sets of 10; less rest…very tiring), incline presses: 10 x 135, 5 x 160, 10 x 140, dumbbell military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40 standing, Hammer machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200.

Then treadmill run: 4 miles in 45:09. I did 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 (increase every 10 min to 3 miles) then increase every 0.25 miles. That was my first “run” in a long time; I thought that I had lost the ability to run.

Weight: more or less the same; ok, down slightly.

August 16, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, running, social/political, weight training | 3 Comments

Blind spots, mob actions, and memories

Mob actions: evidently, a small mob pulled down a statue in Durhan, North Carolina. While I agree that these statues should come down, I do not approve of this action. Think of it this way: this small mob speaks only for themselves; they represent no one. A society that agrees to do this represents all of us; society doing this legally makes a much stronger statement. Of course, getting society to do this legally requires time, effort, coordination, gathering allies, at times: organizing economic boycotts, and the like. And there is no instant gratification.

And yes, the statues should come down. No, this is not whitewashing history; after all, we can (and should) study history and be frank about our “sins of the past”. But statues are to honor, and the confederates deserve no place of honor.

And this comes to something that used to surprise me: most of my childhood was on Air Force bases; the Union was good; the Confederates were in the wrong. President Lincoln was a revered hero. That wasn’t the case at all with many southern people I met later (10’th grade and beyond). That just stunned me. I suppose that it shouldn’t have.

I went to school at the Naval Academy and graduate school at the University of Texas, Austin. Both places treated me well. But as for Texas: if one renamed every building named after a racist, well, that would be the majority of the buildings. The school used to defend segregation; I even saw some of the original documents on display. That was icky.

Then I remember the first college football game I ever saw in person: Texas vs. Rice in 1969. There was exactly ONE black player on the field…and he played for Rice (I later found out that he went on to start for the Dallas Cowboys). And Rice used to not admit blacks..they had to wait until Mr. Rice (the founder) died before they removed the “no blacks” from the charter. And yet, Rice is now one of the top schools in the nation; I was accepted there and seriously considered it.

And that leads me to thinking: so many that I met defend that legacy…and these are people who appear to be nice and polite! But they have this massive blind spot in this one area.

What blind spots do I have? And how open would I be to those blind spots being pointed out? I believe that we all have them.

I don’t know; I suppose it is tough to admit when one was fundamentally wrong, and it is tough to not act like a sanctimonious jackass when one is “in the right”.

Workout notes somewhat more intense 10K hilly walk; I did Lynnor hill repeats without Lynnor. 🙂

August 15, 2017 Posted by | politics/social, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

Confronting white supremacy: the messenger matters.

This video was from 1947 but is still very relevant today:

but note the tone: it was “peer to peer”. I think that is the most effective type of messaging.

The above is from my 1976 (junior year of high school) yearbook. Yes, we were The Rebels and I even had such flags on my bedroom wall; it was a “school pride” thing with me.
Now that you are seeing pushback against confederate monuments, well, you can just see the whining and complaining. Bottom line: many truly believe that “their heritage” is under attack. Yes that really isn’t what the flag was about. But, since I’ve been away, I’ve really become an outsider; they do not trust me as being “one of them”.

And that is my point.

When it comes to something as sensitive as race relations in the United States, the messenger matters.

Example: I have white friends who really have few, if any, good black friends. They simply do not accept that racial profiling by law enforcement is even “a thing”.

Yes, this is a conservative Republican. I agree with him on almost nothing. But listen to his experiences.

Here, there is no substitute for having different kinds of friends who experience life in the US differently than you do.

But when it comes to condemning white supremacyj, I’ll just say it. People will be more receptive to the message if it comes from a peer.

You know that your fiend likes you and understands your values. So you might be more likely to really listen to them.

Yes, my Facebook wall is full of old liberal hippies condemning white supremacy. But they are saying what you expect them to say. The person who is at every protest…well, their speaking out surprises no one; they are part of the background.

But a white conservative businessperson might have some personal pull with other white conservatives. A white Republican talking to a predominately white church might get listened to.

The messenger matters.

Workout notes weights only;

hip hikes, toe raises, rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 8 x 170, incline press: 10 x 135, dumbbell military press: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40 (standing), rows: 2 sets of 10 x 65, machine rows: 10 x 130 (up), goblet squats: 10 x 50, 10 x 55, 2 sets of 5 x 60, abs: 2 sets of: 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving bridge, headstand (ok), rope skips: 2 misfires, 50, 49 (missed on skip 50).

August 14, 2017 Posted by | politics/social, racism, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

Will Trump realize my worst fears?

My fear of Trump was not his agenda; we’ve had presidents with conservative agendas before. I disagree with the approach, of course. But I realize that I won’t agree with the policies of every president.

It was Trump’s lack of stability and his unwillingness to listen to those who know what they are talking about that troubled me the most…by far…and more so than his vulgar social media persona.

I was reminded of the Vietnam war which killed between 1.3 and 4.2 million people. It was sold to the US as “Communism vs. the West” when, in fact, Vietnam wanted self determination (who doesn’t?) The Vietnamese and the Chinese were ancient enemies and there was little chance that they would have anything more than a brief “alliance of convenience” to get rid of the US. The Fog of War discusses this. If you haven’t seen it, it goes 1:45 but is well worth it.

Now Trump is irresponsibly shooting his mouth off with regards to North Korea. That is just so irresponsible and childish…exactly what I don’t want a President of the United States to be. This is NOT a Rambo movie.

No, I doubt that North Korea can actually hit the US with anything resembling a reliable weapon. And yes, North Korea will be annihilated if they fight the United States. But at what cost, especially to those in South Korea and Japan (and other nearby countries)?

I sure wish that we had a stable person as President right now.

But I suppose it is one way to rally the rubes.

Workout notes Running was too painful, so I walked a hilly 5 mile course (Cornstalk) at right around a 15 minute pace. I felt much better afterward.

August 9, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, walking, world events | | Leave a comment

Do the Republicans continue to threat the needle?

I am struck by something: Medicaid is very important in West Virginia: percentage wise, they have the highest reliance on Medicaid/CHIP in the nation (29 percent, versus 20 percent nationally, or 19 in Illinois).

Trumpcare would some of its worst effects there.

And yet, West Virginia gives Trump the highest approval ratings in the nation: 60 percent! (as opposed to below 40 percent elsewhere)

So, of course, that is where he went for a rally yesterday. Go figure.

That is a fine needle to thread, isn’t it? At the heart of the GOP agenda is “tax cuts for the financially elite”; you might say that attempts to reform the ACA were “ok, you need to die earlier so the wealthiest can have bigger tax cuts”. I doubt that is the message that they deliver to states like West Virginia.

So…they peddle false promises (“coal is coming back”) and hatred of…well, people like me (“it is those liberals getting in the way of America being Great Again”)

Will this continue to work? In some states, I am sure that it will.

I suppose that some are fine with being pissed on so long as they are praised in the process?

August 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, social/political | | Leave a comment