blueollie

And THIS is why I am cautious about “Crying Wolf”

So Trump took up for the neo-Nazis and other white supremacists by saying “there was guilt on both sides” because, well, some of the counter protesters didn’t act optimally at all times.

“You had people in that group who were protesting the taking down of what to them is a very, very important statue,” Trump said, before suggesting that Lee and other Confederate-era generals, including Stonewall Jackson, are the victims of historical revisionism attempting to delegitimize their roles.

Speaking rhetorically, Trump asked reporters whether George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both slave owners, should suffer the same fate and have their statues removed. “You’re changing history; you’re changing culture,” he said.

Trump reiterated his condemnation of neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. But he also made clear that he believed that some of the counterprotesters were armed and took aggressive actions that helped spark the violence.

Hmmm, so Confederate leaders are on the level of our founding fathers? Yes, you sometimes heard such nonsense in southern circles.

Well…back to the point in my post:

I’ve heard all sorts of things called “bigotry”; they range from being skeptical of using pronouns, wondering if transwomen with male genitals should use women’s “gang showers”, pointing out that the ACT and SAT really do have predictive power (with regards to future success in STEM fields) or for pointing out that, statistically speaking, there is more social pathology in the lower economic classes (though research suggests that poverty is the cause, not the effect), my contempt for the cries of “cultural appropriation”, etc.

I am loath to scream “bigotry” because, well, when one over uses the word, it loses its power for when it truly applies.

And I have a hard time distinguishing unusual amounts of anger for the usual, run of the world noise I hear from my fellow lefties. If the background is full of constant static, it is tough to distinguish a real signal.

And so..to see how Americans are reacting to Trump…I am turning to…the feed of “mainstream Republicans” more so than the feed of my fellow Democrats.

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August 15, 2017 Posted by | racism, social/political | | 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

Denouncing white supremacy is not “political correctness”

You’ve probably heard about the events in Charlottesville where white supremacy groups were protesting..and the next day one of those racist thugs ran over counter protesters with a car, killing one and injuring several others.

Please make this as simple as possible. White supremacy groups are to be condemned, period. No “ifs”, “ands”, “buts”, “butwhatabout”, etc. It really isn’t that difficult and no, 45 has not issued such a straight forward condemnation whereas many other top Republicans have.

Yes, white politicians will go to black groups and to black churches and tell them how terrible racism is. Guess what: they need to do this in WHITE churches, especially conservative white churches. (UCC, UU churches do not count). Frankly, that probably will not happen, at least in any large numbers anyway.

This is about white supremacy and text book racism.

This is not about principled debates over: tax structure, what sort of social safety nets to have and how to implement them, affirmative action (what type, if any and how it is done), crime (declining, but still an issue) etc.

Dear conservative reader (if there are any): I am not trying to turn you into a liberal. I couldn’t even if I tried.

This is about condemning this. It is a very low bar to clear.

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

Tough topics: Islam in the US, Racism …

Islam: Of course, one can be a good American and a good Muslim at the same time; millions are. But currently, Islam is more of a “total way of life” than other religions are, at least for the bulk of those who practice it. As Shadi Hamid
of the Brookings Institution writes:

This fact gets at something deeper, which often goes unsaid because it suggests there is — or at least there may be — a clash of cultures. Islam seems, at least by Western standards, unusually assertive and uncompromising. Critics might see it as full-blown aggressiveness. But Muslims often point to these qualities as evidence of Islam’s vitality and relevance in a supposedly secular age. To put it a bit differently, this is why many Muslims like being Muslim.

Whether consciously done or not, to be unapologetically Muslim today is to, in a way, show that other futures are possible, that the end of history may in fact have more than one destination. If Islam has been — and will continue to be — resistant to secularism, then the very existence of practicing Muslims serves as a constant reminder of this historical and religious divergence.

I realize that some of my fellow American Muslims will view such arguments as inconvenient, portraying Islam in a not-so-positive light. But it is not my job to make Islam look good, and it helps no one to maintain fictions that make us feel better but don’t truly reflect the power and relevance of religion.

In the West, the common response to the challenge of theological diversity has been banal statements of religious “universality.” All too often, interfaith dialogue, however well-intentioned, is about papering over what makes us — or at least our beliefs — different. It is a tenet of our American faith that we’re all basically the same and ultimately want the same things. This is true in some ways, but not in every way.

The crisis of culture and identity — one that sees the rise of the far-right and white nativism in our own country — makes it clear that our differences and divides are real. We would all be better off acknowledging — and addressing — those differences rather than pretending they don’t exist.

Racism/Black Lives Matter, etc. I was sickened by what happened in Tulsa, where an unarmed black guy was stopped and killed by police, though he posed no threat whatsover. And it saddens me that *athletes* are taking the lead in getting the conversation going.

Unfortunately, the conversation often goes off the rails, as this Brown University professor points out. It isn’t as simple as “it is whitey’s fault” or “black people should quit committing crimes” (which is what one often sees in the internet discussions). All too often, “activists” dismiss statistics that they don’t like as being “racist”:

Yes, it is true that blacks are far, far, far more likely to be simple murder victims than to be shot and killed by police. It isn’t even close.

But that misses the point. Law enforcement is there to serve *all* of its citizens. And all too often, law enforcement is seen as a THREAT to ordinary black people, rather than as an entity there to protect and serve. Just listen to what a Republican Senator has to say:

And as far as protestors: no, I don’t like many of the more strident ones. Frankly, I think that what the more strident ones are doing are turning people TOWARD Donald Trump.
But some of the anger directed toward them is irrational…and yes, even well off, well educated people have vented their irrational anger in public.

instapundit

Yes, that is a Law Professor making that tweet.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | political/social, racism, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Black crime and all that…

Preliminaries (yes, I started with my workout; just scroll down): Workout notes: first weights:

rotator cuff
pull ups: 15-15-10-10 (good)
squats: 10 x 0, 10 x 45, 6 x 65, 6 x 85 (with bar)
5 x 25, 5 x 50 “Goblet squats”

incline press: 10 x 135, 8 x 150, 10 x 140

military press: 7 x 50 dumbbell standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 dumbbell
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 single arm, 10 x 110 machine

headstand: 2 reps; first time I lost confidence, second was fine
abs: 2 sets of 12 x twist crunch, 10 x yoga leg lift, 24 x crunch.

Walk: 4.2 mile Cornstalk classic for head conditioning.

Post Subject

I watched this discussion on CNN; the old argument “well, if Blacks committed fewer crimes, they wouldn’t get arrested as much.
No, liberals don’t want to hear this, but there is a grain of truth in that assertion. But what conservatives don’t want to hear is nicely summed up in this article in Reason:

In this view, African Americans have only themselves to blame for the presence and behavior of cops in their neighborhoods. If they would get serious about cleaning up the problems in their own communities, police would not be arresting or killing so many black people.

There’s an element of truth to this line of argument. Violent crime rates are far higher among blacks than among whites and other groups. One reason cops have a disproportionate number of interactions with African-American males is that these men commit a disproportionate number of offenses.

Where the argument fails is in its assumption that blacks are complacent about these realities and that whites are blameless. The gist of the message is that blacks created the problem and blacks need to solve it. […]

The common impulse of whites, then and now, was to blame blacks for pathologies that whites played a central role in creating. Criminologist Charles Silberman wrote in 1978 that “it would be hard to imagine an environment better calculated to evoke violence than the one in which black Americans have lived.” Pretending black crime is a black-created problem is like pretending New Orleans never got hit by a hurricane.

The Giuliani view omits some vital facts. The epidemic of unarmed blacks being killed by police comes not when black crime is high but when it is low. Homicides committed by African Americans declined by half between 1991 and 2008.

Since the early 1990s, arrests of black juveniles have plunged by more than half. In New York City, where Eric Garner was killed by police, the rate of homicides by blacks is down by 80 percent. In Chicago, where most murders are committed by African Americans, the number last year was the lowest since 1965—and this year’s could be lower yet.

What is also easy to forget in the denunciation of black crime is that the vast majority of blacks are not criminals. In any given year, less than 5 percent of African Americans are involved in violent crime as perpetrators or victims. The fact that blacks make up a large share of the violent criminal population gives many whites the impression that violent criminals make up a large share of the black population. They don’t.

Why don’t more blacks living in bad neighborhoods learn to behave like sober middle-class suburbanites? One reason is the shortage of stable families, steady incomes, good schools and safe streets. If you grow up with those advantages, it’s relatively easy to do the right thing. If you don’t, it’s a lot harder.

People trapped in a poor and dangerous slum can’t depend on the authorities to keep them safe. They face serious threats every time they leave home. But a young black man who packs or uses a weapon to protect himself against gangs is committing a crime. Even motivated, well-intended kids can wind up in jail.

I can recommend Steven Pinker’s book Better Angels of Our Nature. Though the book is very large, it does have a section about inner city violence. Much of it stems from the citizens not trusting law enforcement seriously; hence many take matters into their own hands to solve disputes. Middle class people call the police and take others to court.

And while there is quite a bit of social pathology, there is evidence that poverty (and discrimination) drives the social pathology, and not the other way around. William Julius Wilson wrote an excellent book on that topic: When Work Disappears.

But alas, problems are complicated and solutions don’t lend themselves to bumper sticker answers or internet memes.

July 13, 2016 Posted by | racism, social/political, walking, weight training | , , | 2 Comments

Police shootings, Black Lives Matter and all that….

Well, these topics are emotional.

On one hand, well, the data concerning deaths of black citizens at the hands of police is harsh. And incidents such as police being KKK members or posting photos of them aiming a gun at a caricature of a black person running is terrible.

But then, protesters are protesters and they think that they have a right to shut things down (no, they don’t). I know that Donald Trump is smiling. Those morons are not convincing anyone nor are they helping their cause, at least among the unconvinced.

They seem to think “if we make ourselves into enough of a nuisance they will HAVE to give in to our demands”. But I’ve seen no evidence of that happening. I know my reaction is “hmmm, I am glad that I don’t live there and if I did, I’d be looking to leave”. But I have not studied what effect such protests have had; if a reader has a good reference, I’d like to see it.

nopctrump

And I’ll get to the crux of the issue: yes, the police should serve all citizens, and all too frequently the citizens that they are encountering are, well, less than exemplary. Ok, many are out and out losers that I’d rather not associate with.

But that doesn’t negate the principle of everyone being treated fairly, and it sure looks as if some people get more benefit of the doubt than others.

Oh boy. This is depressing all the way around.

July 10, 2016 Posted by | racism, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Trying to understand each other is bad politics

I am not opposed to negative political ads. After all, what is to stop a politician from embellishing his/her record or from making unrealistic promises? Heck, even I can promise to cut taxes and increase services.

But the reality is, you can’t win a race without getting your people to the polls; Senator Sanders got a cruel reminder of that in California. The kids flocked to his rallies, but not to the voting booths. That can be a problem for liberals.

david-horsey-cartoon-2014-elections-squishy-Democrats

So what do the politicians do?

Republicans remind their base that Democrats are evil and stupid people. We want to take away money from hard working people and give it to people like this:

Who, in turn, just have more kids and end up in jail:

And, of course, we try to “keep out God” and are attempting to bring in Sharia Law and just let all of these other second rate nations just walk all over us.

But the Democrats remind US that the Republicans are evil and stupid people. Republicans reject science and embrace racism and misogyny; they want a “return to white America” and to turn our country into a theocracy.

So, the political rhetoric we hear isn’t designed to persuade but rather designed to get our people to show up and vote.

And yes, I understand why they do that. But while I love politics and love following it, I regret not having the kind of policy based discussions that I could have with those who see things differently from the way I do.

And, unfortunately, when people try to make a point, too often it is made in a way that attacks rather than invites discussion:

gettofamily

Yes, WalMart: the idea is they pay their workers too little to live on, so the public, in effect, subsidizes them with public aid. And of course, there is corporate tax break and oil subsidies.

Now one might argue that corporations employ people, do some basic research and make things for us. But then, one can also argue that public aid IS stimulus to the economy.

Think of it this way: suppose I got 100,000 dollars. I’d end up looking for a good, safe, long term investment. On the other hand, if 20 poor families got 5000 dollars each, they’d spend it on things (food and other items) thereby putting the money directly into the economy.

But, because we are too busy yelling at the other stupid, evil people, we don’t have this discussion often enough.

June 11, 2016 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, racism, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Yes, black lives matter…and…

What got me thinking about this topic was this video:

Now yes, BLM is more about law enforcement treating everyone fairly and giving the same benefit of the doubt to black people as everyone else gets. Yes, that is difficult to do, given the nature of human prejudice (not particular to white people; we evolved to reason inductively).

But there IS another issue. As a society, we seem to be ok as long as “we” have the ability to avoid the more violent areas. Those who are stuck in such areas are just out of luck, especially if police presence goes down.

I suppose the rub is that law enforcement shouldn’t be a mechanism to keep “us” (those with a little bit of wealth) safe from those who don’t have any but rather as an entity that protects everyone, including those who have to live in underserved areas. I remember reading in Steven Pinker’s book Better Angels that much of the violence in underserved areas is the result of vigilantism; people there do not feel confident that law enforcement will take their complaints seriously but will instead either ignore them or arrest them for something else. Hence they take the law into their own hands.

If there is a way out of this, I’d love to hear it.

April 9, 2016 Posted by | racism, social/political, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Conservatives and Liberals not getting Trump

Ah, Donald Trump. He is probably the polarizing figure in this election, though Paul Krugman, says this:

I still predict that once Trump locks up the nomination, judicious, chin-stroking Republican moderates will declare, after much cogitation, that given Hillary Clinton’s, um, something or other, Trump is the more responsible choice.

But for now, the establishment Republicans are howling. Why, Trump is RUDE (and yes, he is). Why doesn’t this turn off the Republican primary voters? Why, Trump is not a TRUE CONSERVATIVE. Other Republicans (downballot) will distance themselves from him if he wins! (says Sen. Mitch McConnell, no less). Mitt Romney has attacked him. But those attacks seem to be failing and failing badly.

A few are applauding some ridicule type attacks: look, he can’t even…SPELL!!!!

Hint: Dan Quayle? Tea Party Signs)

Well, here is what the Republican establishment doesn’t seem to get: the less affluent really don’t care about some big CEO or a hedge fund manager getting yet ANOTHER tax cut. They really don’t want us to go to war again. They ARE hurting and seeing a candidate who is NOT talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare…one who wants to repair our laughing-stock bad highways and bring jobs back here….those are matters that affect their lives. Other candidates who need Koch Brother type contributions to be able to run aren’t free to focus on this. But Mr. Trump doesn’t need their money; we have a classic right-wing populist vs. “money conservative” type battle here, as pointed out by Paul Krugman here:

As pundits are discovering to their horror, there’s probably more to the Trump phenomenon than mere celebrity. The fact is that the central planks of modern conservatism — slashing taxes on the rich and benefits for the public at large — are deeply unpopular. Republicans have won elections only by wrapping these policies in other stuff; it’s about cutting benefits for welfare queens and “strapping young bucks” (that’s a Reaganism, in case you’re wondering) buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. And this in turn means that there is a sort of empty box in U.S. politics waiting to be filled.

The matrix here shows the possible positions. A welfare state available to all is the Democratic position, which is pretty much what other Western countries call the social democratic position. The dominant role in the modern GOP is played by a faction that links de facto disdain for Those People with a desire to slash social insurance. Libertarians are, in principle, small-government without the undertones; they are also basically absent from the actually existing electorate.

And then there’s the empty box. Once upon a time that box was filled by southern Democrats, who preserved Jim Crow while supporting the New Deal. But they’ve all moved over to the GOP now, and in the process become anti-social-insurance. But there are plenty of voters who want Social Security and Medicare for people who look like them, but not those other people. And at some level Trump is catering to that unserved population.

It is clear that this is who Trump is targeting. Note his style of “position ad”:

And there are few Republicans that see this coming and actually believe that Trump being unconventional gives him a better shot at Hillary Clinton than an establishment Republican.

But, many liberals have trouble figuring out his appeal too. All they see is the racist/xenophobic part of his rhetoric and they think THAT is where his appeal comes from! Hey, David Duke endorsed him!

So, when I say that I like it that Trump attacked the claim that “President Bush kept us safe” and pointed out that there were no WMD in Iraq

And I like it when a Republican says that hedge fund managers ought to pay more tax and that Social Security and Medicare ought to be strengthened, not cut back. I like it when the lies of the Republican establishment get called out by someone who has money.

Then then I get criticized by other liberals for not focusing on Trump’s galaxy of xx-isms…”how can you say anything good about Trump?”. Psst: yes, I have condemned some of what Trump said, and did so in our local newspaper.

But that is how self-appointed SFB “activists” roll…they can’t see that I am looking at various aspects of a complicated issue and seeing an opportunity.

I think that Howard Dean was onto this in 2004 when he said:

The Democrat front-runner opened ye unholy can of worms recently when he told an Iowa newspaper that he wanted “to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks.” Dean made the remark by way of explaining his opposition to some gun-control legislation and as part of his Southern strategy of inclusiveness.

As in: “We can’t beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad cross section of Democrats,” he explained to the Des Moines Register.

And, “White folks in the South who drive pickups with Confederate flag decals on the back ought to be voting with us and not them because their kids don’t have health insurance, and their kids need better schools, too,” he said at a Democratic National Committee meeting in February.

In the wake of Dean’s most recent remarks, a veritable maelstrom of Bubba-ness has ensued. You’d have thought Dean had invoked Satan by the reaction of the other Democratic candidates, who began jockeying for Most Virtuous and made literal the politics of bumper-sticker slogans.

Emphasis mine.

But some can’t see past their “social justice warrior” mindset; for them that mode is always on, front and center, 100 percent of the time.

Let me be clear: I am voting for the Democrat. I am just saying that there is an opportunity to snag at least a few of the Trump voters, if the Democratic nominee is smart, as I think that she will be.

my letter on trump

February 28, 2016 Posted by | politics, racism | , , | Leave a comment

Day game and other topics….

Workout notes: later run (4 miles); untimed; saw some track athletes out there. Knee: moderately sore.
I went to an 11 AM game (I like summers) with Lynn; we caught up on things.

The Chiefs won 2-0 and played much better than last night.

Recent: I am usually surprised to see my face at the end of these 5K races. You can tell that I am putting forth effort; my times just make it appear that I am not trying at all.

tryingandfailing

Posts
Climate: Illinois was unusually cool in 2014; the rest of the world: not so much.

A worker is fired for having the “confederate flag” on this truck. Yes, this happened in Alabama which doesn’t have a lot of protection for workers; in the past someone was fired for having a Kerry bumper sticker. In some states, workers have political speech protection.

Politics: Sen. Lindsey Graham has fun with the fact that Donald Trump gave out his cell phone number.

Recent law enforcement fiasco A woman was pulled over for not signaling a lane change. She was just going to get a warning. But she got snippy with the law enforcement officer. It “shouldn’t” matter; being unpleasant to be around isn’t a crime. But it lead to her getting arrested, and later dying in jail. Here is a sharp CNN discussion (I agree with the female panel member) and here is a discussion on the legal aspects of the arrest.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | 2016, free speech, Friends, racism, running, social/political | , | Leave a comment