blueollie

Explaining Trump’s childish outburst…(which one?)

This really surprised me, but shouldn’t have:

Yes, I took a screen shot so it won’t disappear if he deletes it. But wow: I cannot imagine either President Obama or President Bush writing such a thing.
(and for the record: shoplifting was idiotic and immoral; I have zero sympathy for the basketball players)

He was complaining, in public, for not receiving his due of gratitude?

Now, I admit he could be playing some 3-d chess..trying to distract from other, more important matters as well as playing to his very emotional, non-intellectual base. But I really believe that isn’t the case; he really does get his feelings hurt easily.

It reminded me of this old Krugman article from 2014: it explains, in part why President Obama lost support from the very wealthy:

The example many are buzzing about right now is the billionaire investor Tom Perkins, a founding member of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Perkins lamented public criticism of the “one percent” — and compared such criticism to Nazi attacks on the Jews, suggesting that we are on the road to another Kristallnacht.

You may say that this is just one crazy guy and wonder why The Journal would publish such a thing. But Mr. Perkins isn’t that much of an outlier. He isn’t even the first finance titan to compare advocates of progressive taxation to Nazis. Back in 2010 Stephen Schwarzman, the chairman and chief executive of the Blackstone Group, declared that proposals to eliminate tax loopholes for hedge fund and private-equity managers were “like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” […]

Krugman point out that Obama really did tax the rich. But there is more:

The example many are buzzing about right now is the billionaire investor Tom Perkins, a founding member of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Perkins lamented public criticism of the “one percent” — and compared such criticism to Nazi attacks on the Jews, suggesting that we are on the road to another Kristallnacht.

You may say that this is just one crazy guy and wonder why The Journal would publish such a thing. But Mr. Perkins isn’t that much of an outlier. He isn’t even the first finance titan to compare advocates of progressive taxation to Nazis. Back in 2010 Stephen Schwarzman, the chairman and chief executive of the Blackstone Group, declared that proposals to eliminate tax loopholes for hedge fund and private-equity managers were “like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”

And hey, money has bought them everything else…but it can’t buy them adulation and that makes some of them furious. I think that Trump is an excellent example of that. He can’t make us love him, and he refuses to act and govern in a way that makes him lovable (though, I admit, his walk back of the reversal of the elephant products ban does sound promising…he called it a “horror show” and, OMG…I am inclined to agree.

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November 20, 2017 Posted by | Barack Obama, political/social, politics/social, republicans, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Coming apart at the seams: allegations of sexual misconduct

I admit that between Facebook and Twitter..well, by the time I get the idea and time to write, something else has popped up!

Sexual harassment has been in the news. But interestingly enough, it appears that current sexual harassment training has made things…worse?

Sexual harassment courses aimed at preventing workplace discrimination can have the opposite effect, making men less capable of perceiving inappropriate behavior and more likely to blame victims, according to academic studies that cast doubt on traditional training programs.

One researcher who has questioned the effectiveness of harassment prevention classes is Lauren Edelman, a professor of law and sociology at the University of California Berkeley, the prestigious school that has been at the center of a series of high-profile faculty misconduct scandals in recent months.

“Sexual harassment training may, in fact, make it less likely that males will recognize situations that are harassing,” said Edelman, a faculty member in the renowned UC Berkeley law school, where Sujit Choudhry resigned as dean after he was found to have sexually harassed his executive assistant. “Sexual harassment training may provoke backlash in males.”

Studies testing the effects of harassment training are very limited, but some research has suggested counterintuitive and troubling consequences – that after men complete trainings, they may be more inclined to brush aside allegations and discount victims.

Some researchers believe trainings have no positive effects, tend to be more about legal cover than meaningful prevention or may even have unintended negative consequences – raising serious concerns about the way colleges and companies heavily focus on training as a solution to harassment.

This actually makes sense to me; many of these programs appear to be “check the box to reduce our liability” and, I wonder…how much of it comes from an outside speaker who just wags the finger and tells men that they are bad?

Tinkler has also studied how sexual harassment trainings can provoke backlash and how people who say they support harassment laws are resistant to the enforcement of those policies. Trainings can also reinforce men’s feelings that women are “emotional and duplicitous in the way that they both want sexual attention, but don’t want sexual harassment”, she explained.

Edelman, the UC Berkeley professor, said she suspects the backlash could stem from the “cartoonish, somewhat unrealistic” harassment examples that trainings often include – lessons that can make participants skeptical and resentful.

Yep. Now I know that situations differ from place to place..and sometimes signals can get crossed (friendliness be mistaken for being open to a sexual/romantic advance)

This is 40 minutes long, but Carol Tavris talks about campus sexual assault (a different thing, to be sure) and the ambiguity of communication:

Now here a type of thing that appears as if it would be effective (again, applied to college students):

You see: no finger wagging, no yelling at someone for what they didn’t do..but an affirmation of a positive attitude. Who could resent this? Well done.

And now we have the special Senate election in Alabama. Moore was accused of initiating sexual contact with a 14 year old…when he was a 3x year old lawyer.

And ..yes, the Republicans are, predictably, split:

And so I am hearing..from educated feminists, that women are going to take him down. Really? I’ve heard this before. And educated feminists don’t appear to speak to the non-educated women.

The race was listed as tied in a poll right after the allegations came out (with 86 percent of those polled having heard of them). Prior to that, the poll consensus was that Moore had a 8-9 point lead. Will this be enough….will this go the way of Clayton Williams vs. Ann Richards in Texas in 1990 where Williams JOKING about rape lead to his downfall in a very Republican state?

Workout notes; quick 5 mile walk yesterday (1:01:20..treadmill), 3 miles today after weights; usual PT, pull ups(5 sets of 10; switch grip on set 5) bench was 10 x 135, 6 x 185, incline: 7 x 150, military (dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.

pull ups: I find that doing them with my hands turned inward is now harder than a wide grip???

November 10, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Dumbsplaining, Purpose and DNC…

Dumbsplaining On social media: I have decided to cut off (e. g. block) anyone who attempts to “dumbsplain” me. That is, if I raise a point (e. g., the person who reported this incident has told a lie) and the person responds “well, you must be an x-ist”, I just block. Life is too short for me to spend it in optional conversations with dumb, sanctimonious people. I have to put up with some stupidity at my job (and fortunately, I talk to a lot of smart people too), but I am not going to engage in such discussions on my own time.

Purpose

I find this point of view on life to be, well, a bit strange. I really do not think that things happen for some purpose that involves me; that just sounds illogical (and “acting as if” inflames my egomania). I do think that, at times, we can learn a lesson from our failures; sometimes it can be “next time, do it this way” or sometimes it might be “hey, this was never going to happen, no matter what you did”. So yes, sometimes disappoint can mask a potential growth opportunity and this meme may have been a poetic way of saying that.

DNC:
Many of my political friends are up in arms over this:

“Rigged”? There were some financial agreements (HRC donated money to the DNC for other races) but things like debate schedules and “primary/caucus” elections were NOT affected. This thread has more on that:

But, of course, the Berniebots are going crazy and the imbecile in chief is trying to get the DOJ involved …in what, I am not sure…there were no laws broken. This sure seems like banana republic stuff.

And, as disgusting as this is, what is far worse is that so many in our country is ok with it. Our very country is sick; we have first world technology, first world nuclear arms and a 4’th world caliber population.

Workout notes: weights this morning; usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10; now the “rotated arm pull ups are harder than the wide grip?) bench press: 10 x 135, 6 x 185, incline press: 5 x 155, 10 x 135, military: 10 x 50 standing dumbbell, 10 x 45 standing dumbbell, 10 x 90 machine, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell (single arm), 10 x 60. Goblet squats: 10 x 50, 10 x 60, 10 x 60. Light yoga.

Yesterday: 6 mile walk; 4 on the treadmill (58 minutes; varied incline up to 5), 13:3x track walk (200 on, 200 off), 13:3x treadmill walk.

November 4, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

How “honorable” are these Republicans anyway?

Ok, we’ve seen open pushback from Sen. Flake and Sen. Corker.

But, but…we are talking about tax cuts for the wealthy here. Principle? Pshaw. These reptiles are about getting reelected, period.

Sorry, but I remain cynical, though I suppose your ordinary “supply side economics” crank Republicans are at least more stable than what we have as a President.

The economy can recover from another Bush disaster better than it could recover from a nuclear war.

But this leads me to the following point: we are at a point where any information that is unfavorable to Trump will be seen as “fake news” and, like it or not, these people vote in Republican primaries. Not getting on board can be a political death sentence, from the right.

And yes, to their credit, they show up for the general elections (and midterms) too.

So we have to take advantage. And for the love of Democracy, I hope that the liberal purity trolls give it a rest in races in conservative states. Any Democrat who can win in Tennessee, Alabama or Arizona will not be someone that I would vote for in Illinois. I get that. I wish every liberal did.

Workout notes: today, damp, chilly 10K walk. Yesterday: weights: usual pt, pull ups (5 sets of 10, a real struggle), bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 10 x 170 (good), 10 x 135 incline, military (standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45 (dumbbells), rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine row. Goblet squats: 5 x 25, 5 x 45, 5 x 45, 5 x 45, 10 x 50, 10 x 50 (sill). Yoga in the evening.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political, walking, weight training | | 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

Depressing state of politics

Ok, it is no secret that I never considered Donald Trump to be suitable POTUS material. Enough of my countrymen disagreed enough for him to squeak by in the Electoral College though he lost the popular vote by about 3,000,000 votes (and if you start complaining that is a fake statistic because of “illegals voting”, you are too stupid to be reading my blog, so just get lost right now).

Now our rough, tough, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN president is…whining?

Pathetic. But it probably plays to his hard core supporters because, well, many of them are also whiny little victims. A great explanation is here: (and he uses a King Solomon story to help make his point)

Upshot: remember those pitiful “what has happened to my country” whines when President Obama was in office? (if you want to be nauseated, watch at 1:15)

They had an idea of what their country was like (no, it never was that way), and they had a skilled con man running to saying “he would make it great again” by…well, sticking it to the liberals. Sure the real agenda is the same as it always was (tax cuts for the wealthiest among us), and they sold it to the base by, well, attacking people like me.

So that brings me to the Democrats.

And I’ll say it: as evil as I think the elite Republican mission is (the tax cuts for the wealthy above all else), they are better politicians than we are. And their “message to the base” is an easier sale; all one has to do is to cherry pick a few ridiculous college campus incidents to get people fired up about how ridiculous liberals are (like this one)

(for the record: there are crackpot professors…but it has gotten so ridiculous that people who have never set foot in a college classroom see fit to tell me what goes on in colleges and how *I* brainwash students into not working hard, hating American, etc.)

So, what are Democrats about? We are supposed to be about a society that works for all, including the less talented, the disabled, the poor, the sick, those born into tough circumstances, etc.

And guess what? That is a tough sell. The Republicans glorify the rich…and well, most all of us want to be rich, or at least moderately comfortable.

Who wants to be poor, sick, laid off, mentally ill, or disabled?

We Democrats talk about safety nets (e. g. Medicaid) and minimum wages. BUT FEW WANT TO HAVE TO USE SAFETY NETS, TO BE ON MEDICAID OR TO WORK FOR MINIMUM WAGE. These policy issues are tough to rally around and those who would benefit the most vote at low rates. (directly, anyway; the economy does benefit from safety net programs). “The poor” is not that big of a voting block and much of the “working class” really isn’t poor.

Yes, there are people who will never grow much past a minimum wage job and Democratic policies might help them, but no one wants to face up to the fact that they are doomed to be stuck on that rung for life.

And so we get critiques of how well the Democrats are doing (and yes, “pathetic” is accurate). Oh, true, we did win the popular vote in 6 of the last 7 Presidential elections (2004 was the exception) but the EC hurt us in 2000 and really hurt us in 2016.

So we try to critique ourselves, and get, well, pathetic articles like this one. Example:

When the poll came out saying that “Democrats stand for nothing more than opposing” Trump, I thought to myself, ‘If only that were true!’” But they can’t even do that well. When House Democratic Caucus chairman Joe Crowley was asked by the Associated Press just what his party’s core message was, he “hesitated” and then said, “That message is being worked on.”

It was as tone deaf (but honest) an answer as when Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum – as sycophantic a representative of the Democratic party in the punditocracy as there is – wrote about how people would have to be “crazy” not to “have a reflective disgust” of people who are homeless and mentally ill.

Considering homeless people are also disproportionately black, LGBT, disabled and, of course, poor, Drum managed to reveal the disdain the liberal elite has of wide swaths of Americans.

Uh, I think the latter is just reality. Most people do have at least an internal “yuck” reaction to many of the homeless and mentally ill.

My response is that we need to use our morals and intellect to work past that “yuck” response ..and to realize that our discomfort might be born from fear that we are just a single (or a few) unlucky incidents from being just like that homeless or mentally ill person.

Example: what if I sustain a head injury that harms my ability to even do math, much less teach and research it? Oh sure, there is enough in the bank to have the home free and clear (and pay taxes) but what about that income? I have disability insurance, but times would get tougher, very quickly.

Nevertheless, articles such as the one I quoted attempt to throw cold water on what I think are needed, frank discussions.

And there is the old “Bernie would have won” bullshit. Yes, I am aware of the polls that showed him beating Trump head to head by bigger margins than Clinton was leading by..but you don’t think that the Trump analytics team would have absolutely vaporized Sanders? Please.

And some are saying he is the 2020 front runner? Oh, spare me. Oh yes, Hillary Clinton is not a great campaigner and I think that she is done, just as Al Gore was in 2000. But Bernie Sanders? Nope.

Oh well, this is why I haven’t written much about politics this year. I consider Trump to be dangerously incompetent and temperamentally unsuited for the job. But I consider my party to be politically incompetent.
In short, the Republicans can win elections but cannot govern; the Democrats can govern but suck at elections.

And yes, I think that the extreme political skill (and policy chops) of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama hid many of our party’s weaknesses. How many of these “purple unicorns” (blessed with show business AND policy skills like Pres. C and Pres. O) do we have?

It is just too depressing right now.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, economy, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Are you angry? So what?

I keep seeing this as a theme: Trump says something stupid and Mitch McConnell tries to get a vote on a truly dreadful bill, and people get ANGRY. But so what?

I think that Trump speaks very clearly here:

Yes, on occasion, a Lindsey Graham might stroke his chin and say he is “troubled”…but ultimately he votes for the Trump policy in question.

Yes, there are protests ..

But that isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. How much power do these people have? And those who might feel compassion for them are already NOT voting for members of Congress that back this dreadful “wealthcare bill” (yes, the ACA has problems, but an upper end tax cut won’t fix them).

This strikes me as a situation similar to that of airline customer service. Yes, the airlines don’t care because, well, they don’t have to. Each airline has more or less a monopoly on certain routes, so if you are going to fly…well, you basically HAVE to fly them. (this is one reason I want high speed rail…for competition )

So what are we to do? I really don’t know, but here are my “off the cuff” ideas:

In the short term, how do we pressure the Republicans when we basically have zero leverage (Trump supporters won’t change their minds and Big Money is indifferent to the rest of us)

1. Target the most vulnerable Republicans (as we are doing in the Senate); the ones who will need votes beyond the Republican base.
2. Pressure big business. If we find some billionaire threatening to withhold campaign funds unless the Republicans fall into line, find their biggest investments and boycott them. Our money, put together collectively, does have some clout.

In the long term, we need to win back at least one chamber of Congress and win the 2020 Presidential election.

And even here, I’ve seen two different paths discussed.

1. Seek to win back that small percentage of Trump voters who voted for Obama in 2012. Though there aren’t that many of them, there were just enough of them to tip the scales in 2016.

See this thread:

or

2. Forget about them and focus about exciting our own people and getting them to show up.

Now how do we excite the base? Here is where the “Bernie” vs. “Hillary” war continues to rage.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Why Trump gets away with it: hatred of liberals.

Yes, once again, Trump was tweeting stupid, disgusting things.

And yes, Sarah Sanders Huckabee defended Trump doing so.

Now, yes, Mitch McConnell might have enjoyed the cover to try to get to “an agreement on principle” to a still toxic health care…er…”wealthcare” deal.

But yes, Trump’s conduct is disgusting, and even many conservatives agree. Trump does this all of the time. But they defend it because:

Yep…he is their son-of-a-bitch. And they despise us and everything we stand for.

The elite Republicans (Ryan, McConnell, Graham, McCain, Priebus, Pence) all stand to gain something; here is a nice list as to what each might gain.

And so it goes.

June 29, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans | | 2 Comments

They don’t even try to hide it

Yes, the vote on the toxic Senate version of “Trumpcare” has been delayed. Of course, this bill fixes NONE of the problems with the ACA but instead cuts taxes on the wealthy. I am not sure how cutting Medicaid (on a percapita basis) and giving the wealthy a tax cut on investment income is supposed to be good for anyone except those who need it the least.

And yes, Big Money is pissed; they don’t even try to hide their contempt for the rest of us. But have the Republicans become so terrible that even they have to take a step back?

I honestly don’t know.

Right now, the Republicans say (with varying degrees of exaggeration) that the ACA needs improving. I agree with that. But their solution: kick people off of Medicaid and give tax cuts to the rich? Oh my goodness…

Can’t Mitch McConnell, for once in his life, say “no” to Big Money?

Workout notes: weights plus an easy 2 mile walk.

weights: rotator cuff, hip hikes, toe raises, pull ups (5 sets of 10, went well), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 160, 7 x 150, military: 15 x 55 seated, supported (dumbbells), 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 90 (each arm) machine, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 each arm, 10 x 110 machine.

Of note: when I was doing my 15 x 55 while seated, I noticed the pressure I put on my seat. I had 110 extra pounds..and that is more or less how it used to feel to sit when I was at my fattest.

June 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Did Trump outsmart Obama?

I read this article about how the Obama administration handled the Russian meddling in our election issue. Here is the Washington Post article on the subject.

The upshot: Obama found out, told the Russians to “cut it out”, they didn’t and the Obama administration responded weakly. Reason: remember Trump babbling about the “election being rigged” and the threats that he might not accept the results if he lost?

That put Obama between a rock and a hard place. If he went public, the Republicans would accuse him of “rigging the election” for Hillary; remember that one of the things that the Russians did was to spread false stories. But if he responded weakly…well, you see what happened.

So, he figured that Clinton would win anyway..and she didn’t (sort of).

Now Trump is crowing.

Now, in public, Trump denied that Russia was behind the hacking. But what if he knew that Russia was behind it (or even actively colluded, though we don’t have solid evidence of that as yet) and he judged that Obama’s sense of fairness (not wanting to appear to tip the election toward Clinton, which could have backfired) would make Obama respond weakly?

It could be that we got played.

June 25, 2017 Posted by | 2016, politics, republicans | , , | Leave a comment