blueollie

SJWs and Alt-right: two sides of the same ignorant coin?

Like many, I’ve been wondering “how did Trump ever get elected” and I’ve considered the factor that “maybe Trump was a pushback against political correctness” conjecture.

And I asked myself “what role might I have played in this”?

Now don’t get me wrong: there are a lot of people who would have supported Trump “no matter what” and it is difficult, if not impossible, to convert a conservative into a liberal. Genes are in play here.

But..does it appear that liberals, in an attempt to be “fair” to minority groups with less power, refuse to acknowledge tough truths? I had very similar questions along those lines 35-40 years ago! (yes, I can recommend the book Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond)

But yes, I’ve seen justice minded liberals deny facts that they don’t like. Here is an excellent example of that (denying crime statistics)

Don’t like a statistic: say it is false and call it XXX-ist!

Another example: take the issue of race and IQ.
Fact: in the US, different racial groups score differently (e. g., Mexicans score lower than non-hispanic whites)
Fact: IQ IS relevant (albeit imperfect) in terms of measuring intelligence (yes, I know; it is a 1 dimensional measure of a complicated thing, but it is meaningful; e. g. someone with an IQ of 95 won’t be an engineer or lawyer (statistically))
Fact: intelligence, or the potential for intelligence, is heritable.

So what happens: the alt-right people improperly combine these facts to argue that, say, in a meritocracy, you’d expect Mexicans to do worse than whites (as a group). You see: as a group, Mexicans just aren’t smart enough to compete and only affirmative action, which gives unfair advantages, can make things look a bit more level.

The SJW liberals don’t like the conclusion that Mexicans are inferior so they deny one or more of the above facts! Reason: they believe that if the above facts are true (and they are), the conclusion that Mexicans are inferior would be correct!

That is, the SJWs and the alt-right agree on the logic; they don’t accept the same facts.

(disclaimer: I am Mexican and, no I don’t feel that we are inferior in any way)

The problem is not with the “facts” but on how you use the facts. To see what is going on, see this article in, of all places, The American Conservative.

TL;DR argument: the potential for intelligence is determined by genes. This is individual. Example: there is nothing anyone could have done to make me as smart as Steven Hawking. But outside forces effect gene expression (say: fetal alcohol syndrome). So if a group of people lives in worse circumstances (say, inferior nutrition, prenatal care, early childhood education), that could well show up in the group IQ measurements and that can change with time (as it did with the East German/West German example).

So, the “group mean IQ being low means that group is inferior” is not a valid conclusion.

But the denying of facts never helps.

We are seeing something like that going on with the reaction to a Steven Pinker video.

The 8 minute video is worth watching: (I got this from Jerry Coyne’s website)

I can see the the effect on bright students. They go through their educations and are either never told relevant facts, or told that these facts are wrong and believing those facts is xxx-ist. They then find out that those facts are, well, facts…and the student feels betrayed and lied to (and rightfully so).

Rule of thumb: do not rule out a hypothesis because it “fees bad”.

And by the way: the above is what I mean about “political correctness”. Political correctness is not “basic politeness”, as some claim.

By the way, read Pinker’s book Blank Slate.

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January 14, 2018 Posted by | books, politics/social, 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, sleaze and a changing presidency?

I am having a belly laugh over the popularity of the Michael Wolff book Fire and Fury. No, I don’t see the book as especially credible (the author doesn’t have a reputation of accuracy and the content appears to be mostly gossip) and it is my guess that the author wrote it for the money (and it is working, though Wikileaks has published the pdf of the book online).

But:

1. Trump has not reacted well to the book and is drawing well deserved ridicule for his reactions.

2. Trump has achieved much of his political success by doing exactly what the book is doing to him! Isn’t that ironic?

What can I say…maybe that is the way the game is played these days? Figure out who your opponents are and then try to slime them with any sleaze you can make up?

There is a long term downside though. I remember when Blagojevich ran for reelection as Illinois governor. I am embarrassed to say that I voted for him. Oh, I heard the criticisms but I dismissed them as partisan sleaze …and I had no idea these criticisms, this time, were the truth! So, I’ll do my part and try to keep my criticisms principled (and yes, temperament and deportment are qualifications for the office, IMHO).

And has Trump really changed the nature of the presidency? Yes, I like thoughtful presidents (Obama, Clinton, the first Bush) but Trump appears to be a lazy figurehead who runs his mouth but runs little else.
Now some liberals are touting …Oprah??? OMFG. Yes, she certainly won’t be any worse than the conman we have in office right now..and she is rich, popular and knows the “show-biz” game inside and out.

But at this rate, we’ll find our office of the Presidency reduced to something symbolic…and this makes Congress more important than ever.

January 8, 2018 Posted by | books, 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

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

Will Mueller be fired? My guess: no..but…

Here is a short video that explains why it might be tough for Trump to have Mueller fired (he cannot fire him directly) and IF he manages to get that done, why the investigations won’t stop.

This tweetstorm talks about ways Trump could get around current law (e. g. by appointing a new AG by executive order)

Long shot? I do see a lot of posturing. But I wonder if the current Republican political leadership understand that 45 would gladly throw any of them under the bus if it would make it easier on them.

Workout notes: easy 10 mile walk; almost 10.0 as measured by the mapping device. It was partly the first 4 miles of the W. Peoria course with a Cemetery loop and a second loop thrown in, then the 3 mile out and back on the hills in Bradley Park, one pit stop and a quick trip back via Maplewood. It was 2:45; leisurely pace.

December 17, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment