blueollie

Dark Web, Democrat advantages, Republican bubbles, etc.

Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, education tends to make people MORE partisan. I suppose that part of the reason is that we become better at advocating for our positions and learning how to counter “their” arguments. Now for me: I need at least a grudging acceptance of science though, yes, there is some liberal BS that gets passed around as fact and that grates on me.

Those who call it out are, of course, criticized (which is fine) but sometimes, there are those who try to “deplatform them” at events; try to drown out their talks. What the idiots who do this don’t seem to get is that it makes people angry (those who are there to hear the speaker)..and doesn’t strengthen their position at all. And some of these people (serious thinkers) have been lumped together with genuine crackpots in a recent article about the so-called Dark Web.

And there lies the trouble: the “taboo” stuff is mostly bunkum but some of it is not; it would be helpful to have genuine experts weigh in without being shouted down by the virtue signaling peanut gallery.

Now what about 2018 and 2020? In liberal bubbles, you’d swear that there was a “blue wave” coming. But the evidence is mixed. Yes, the incumbent party usually loses seats AND the special elections, to date, have been very bad for Republicans. But Trump’s approval has been creeping up into the low to mid 40’s and the generic ballot doesn’t show much of an advantage for the Democrats any longer.

Yeah, many Democratic women won primary elections, but mostly in districts where the Democrats have no chance in 2018.

The Republican base is too brainwashed to be able to admit that the FBI has genuine evidence on Trump. So you can forget things like impeachment or removal.

So what will happen in the 2018 midterms? I do not know; there are conflicting indicators. Betting markets: Republicans 2-1 favorites to hold the Senate (at least 50-50); Democrats 2-1 for the House.

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May 11, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, social/political | , | Leave a comment

How they see us…

This is a reasonably accurate view of how many Republicans view us. So I will discuss these, one by one. And yes, I will be speaking for myself. And yes, one each of these points, save perhaps the last one (no, abortion is NOT murder) and the one about “persecuting Christians” (no sane American wants anything resembling “persecution”) you will find at least a few liberals that the points apply to..and yes, some really do not believe in prisons, at all.

Let illegals in: this one is interesting. If you dig deep enough, it is certain INDUSTRIES that want illegal immigrants; they can get away of paying their workers less AND being a bit harsher. What you are seeing from liberals is that we want a realistic solution for those who are already here; you just aren’t going to bus them all back. And many of us take..yep..Ronald Reagan positions.

Remember that Republicans used to speak THIS way:

Yes, there are a few “people have the right to go anywhere in the world they want to go, regardless of borders” liberals; you can find them. But they aren’t mainstream.

Let criminals out Yes, there are a few (very few) who believe in no prisons at all. But what most of us want is more equitable criminal justice (e. g. not jailing people for years over marijuana, more even sentencing, more leeway for judges to use individual judgment in cases, etc. But we don’t want dangerous criminals in our neighborhoods any more than Republicans do.

coddle the lazy Ok, this might have a bit of truth in it for more (but by no means all) liberals. There are many who make excuses for any behavior (like this). But many of us take a somewhat more nuanced view.

First of all, there are people who genuinely need it (even conservatives accept this). And there is a balances between making the program usable and efficient and putting in so many “catch the slackers” checks that the programs either become unusable or more expensive than necessary (e. g. drug tests for welfare).

There is also research which shows that some types of welfare (for kids) leads to kids being LESS likely to need it when they become adults. It also provides some “bottom up” stimulus to the economy.

So…I see it as a nuanced situation with benefits and some potential harms (yes, dependency is real)

And yes, some who are now perpetually dependent have a lifetime of stupid, irresponsible decisions. Of course, most who have ever used welfare are not chronically dependent on it.

persecute Christians Ok, while it is true that many liberals do not accept that any religion should dictate what the rest of us should do, to think that there is anything above a crackpot level of support for a genuine persecution of Christians is absurd. And no, saying that others shouldn’t be a captive audience to your prayers at a public event is hardly “persecution” Calling creationism a discredited crackpot theory is not persecution.

demonize police officers Ok, you can find a few liberals who do. Yes, there have been outrageous chants directed at police at some BLM rallies. But what MOST of us want is more equitable law enforcement: for people to not be singled out because of their race. You’d think that wanting people to be judged for what THEY actually do rather than what some who might share a skin tone with them do is, well, a deeply conservative idea.

Here is a REPUBLICAN talking about the matter; I think that he gets it right.

let boys in Girl’s bathrooms This is so new, and yes, when there is an underdog group that is being attacked, liberals tend to rally around. But this is a seriously complicated issue. And we have to ask ourselves: why do we want sex specific bathrooms? Once we can answer that question, then we can move further.

And yes, IMHO, something like bathrooms are different than, say, locker rooms..many biological females would not be comfortable seeing “transwomen with male genitals”.

tolerate and accept radial Islam This is where there is a mixture of dishonesty and misunderstanding on both sides. Yes, many liberals are too reluctant to call out the excesses of Islamic states and the noxious, bigoted, and religiously approved actions from some Muslim communities around the world. And some of the ones to call liberals to task over this are, well, other liberals.

On the other hand, I’d assume that most US Muslims are here because they want a society where there IS freedom. And, no Republicans: my saying that US Muslims should have the same rights to build mosques that Christians have to build churches does not mean that I support ISIS. PS: US conservatives have a great deal more in common with conservative Muslims than I do…women’s rights, gay rights, etc.

advocate for the murder of the unborn As long as you conflate abortion with murder, we may as well not even talk. To conflate the two is absurd.

Workout notes weights and a fun 2 mile walk.

weights: usual PT, pull ups (4 sets of 10, one 5-5, these were rough), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 175, incline: 10 x 135, military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40 standing dumbbell, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer, usual PT, 2:30 of plank still sucked…evening: yoga with Ms. V was especially good.

May 8, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Guns and Trump support..is the tide turning, just a bit?

This was a different situation as Sarah Palin had resigned from office. But it appears that support for her dropped after her infamous “blood libel” comment.

And while a few polls have Trump’s support under 40 percent, his Real Clear Politics average remains at 41 percent. There is not much to see in terms of approval rating. But is the tide starting to turn just a bit?

And yes, the latest horrific mass school shooting really has little to do with Trump though the current “debate” (war for our country’s soul?) breaks along Trump supporter lines. Take a look at the political maps here: if only gun owners voted, Trump only fails to win Vermont. If only people who are NOT gun owners voted, Clinton wins in a landslide (losing West Virginia and perhaps Wyoming).

Trump made things worse with his bravado:

“You don’t know until you test it, but I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” Trump told a gathering of governors at the White House. “And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too.”

Yes, he put a disclaimer ..but: run where? It was a large campus and it was all but impossible to know where the shooter was. But this sort of “Dirty Harry” fantasy plays well with Trump’s base.

And there is the whole assault weapons issue. Please spare me with “no, there is no such thing as an assault weapon” bullshit. The AR-15 and weapons like it are really military grade weapons, minus an automatic feature. They are designed to kill and wound many people, very quickly. And a “bumper stock” can make it very “machine gun” like.

And so we are talking about possibly reviving the assault weapons ban.

Now yes, MOST gun deaths and criminal gun deaths are due to ordinary handguns (another issue); mass shootings are a small percentage of all homicides. And the previous federal assault weapons ban didn’t reduce gun crimes or gun homicides, though it appeared to have a positive effect on mass shootings (4 or more deaths)

The figure from the Wiki article on the Federal Assault Weapons Ban and the method of tabulation is found here.

So, if nothing else, this might calm the effect on the national psyche, though, it won’t reduce gun deaths by that much, or at least to a degree that statistics can detect.

I do not know how it will play out. But if the non-NRA forces can band together and stick together, perhaps the NRA can be taken down financially, or at least forced to reform itself to reverting to being an association for the rank and file gun owner.

Disclaimer: ok, I don’t like guns, and I am worried that some moronic Dirty Harry wannabe will end up trying to play the hero and shooting innocent people.

(yes, that fear has little to do with assault weapons)

But I once earned a “Marksman” ribbon in the military (pistol) and once shot “for pleasure” back in 1981 (target range). And no, I don’t have an issue with hunters, skeet shooters, competitive shooters, business owners who have a weapon for self defense, farmers who use a firearm as part of their livelihood, etc.

And yes, I get tired of some of what passes for debate (e. g. “ha, ha, criminals don’t obey the law”, etc.)

February 28, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Don’t look now, but Trump is…winning. Seriously.

When Trump got elected, there were several things that worried me. One of them was NOT that he’d govern like a typical Republican. Yes, I don’t like Republicans but we’ve lived through them before; I was worried that this loose cannon would get us in a nuclear war and/or crash our economy.

Neither has happened.

Oh, I still don’t like him; I do not like his deportment, his rude tweets, his attacking private citizens (verbally) and his lack of intellectual curiosity.

But as far as his actual actions go, what I’ve not liked about him is exactly what I would not have liked about, say, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, etc.

So, IF, IF, you think that we ought to cut taxes on the wealthy, appoint right wing judges and cut safety net programs…if you thought that the previous 8 years was a nightmare where someone who didn’t have traditional American values held the presidency…where moochers and slackers voted themselves more money by electing a president who gives out free stuff…

Well, you probably are pretty happy with Trump, even if you wish he had a more conservative deportment and would tweet less.

And that Trump tells those nattering, finger wagging social justice warriors to “buzz off” is a little extra bonus, right? (ok, the SJWs often annoy me too, even if we have broad agreement on policy).

And this is reflected in his approval ratings (about 42 percent..up from the high 30’s).

I am not saying that his party won’t lose seats in the 2018; they may well do so. It is even POSSIBLE (unlikely?) that the Democrats pick up a chamber of Congress. But typically, the President’s party lose seats during the first round of midterms.

In my opinion, he’ll be reelected. You have no idea at how much that I hope that I am wrong. But that is what the current situation tells me.

February 23, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

President of sh***y people: Head Deplorable

Ok, we are getting used to this:

When the discussion turned to African nations, the people with knowledge of the conversation added, Mr. Trump asked why he would want “all these people from shithole countries,” adding that the United States should admit more people from places like Norway.

Remember, this is in a meeting with Senators and the like.

The problem: a sizable minority of people in this country probably approves of such remarks.

Sure, some countries are wealthier than others, some immigrants are better educated than others and some are smarter than others. And yes, it makes sense to have a mix of immigrants.

But this is NOT how I want my country to be represented. The President is supposed to be speaking for all of us and not just his precious “deplorables”.

Workout notes: weird. again my warm up (on the treadmill) was challenging; 1.5 miles in 19 minutes, 1 minute run, 1 walk.
Track (lane 2) 8:50 (4:26/4:24)
walk 5 more laps
3.1 mile course plus a bit more outside. (slow)

The 8:50 mile just about killed me…I am out of shape (yes, 1 week after blood donation)

January 12, 2018 Posted by | political/social, republicans, 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

In some ways, (some) liberals ARE more out of touch than conservatives

I admit that I was disgusted to see some of the rank and file attacking Doug Jones after his hard fought win in Alabama. Good lord..did they expect a Bernie Sanders or some SJW type would in in that region?

And I am seeing some calls for protests IF, somehow, Trump manages to get Muller fired (by pressuring others to fire him). Someone posted that we might get hundreds of thousands (sounds good to me) but someone (who I respect) said this:

Oh my.

Well, for one, I wonder what percentage of Americans even know how Muller is and what he is doing…much less understand why it would be so unethical to force him to be fired.
For another: it is one thing for a comfortably affluent person (say, a college professor with full tenure) to be able to do that. But so many need that income and the benefits …who will be there for them if they get fired for missing work? It isn’t as if everyone has an extra 200-300K just laying around to tide them and their families through a period of unemployment.

At times, we latte liberals are clueless.

Oh now, what about that tax plan that just passed the House and will probably pass the Senate? Sure, it is as “elite friendly” as they come. But it is structured in such a way that the lower to middle classes will not see tax increases until :

Many of these cuts are not permanent. The GOP bill sunsets the individual income taxes changes at the end of 2025, while keeping corporate tax cuts in place. And it would adjust how inflation is calculated in the tax code, which would cause many taxpayers getting a cut now to get a hike after 2025.

What we will see is exploding deficits which lead to..you guessed it…cries of “we are too broke to fund Social Security, Medicare” and many other things.

So services will suffer. But you won’t see that right away and the effects will be subtle at first..repairs that don’t get done, more food poisoning outbreaks, dirtier air and water…and Republicans understand this.

They will just blame all of the lack of money for the public good on welfare mothers, many who are NOT pleasant people. And the Republicans know how to do this. They are better politicians.

And the Democrats have it harder. Let’s face it: few like poor, sick people. Sticking up for them in terms of policy is never going to be popular.

Workout notes: easy 5 mile jog along the river (1:05..slow, slow, slow); chilly but sunny..not bad for the middle of December.

December 19, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans political/social, running, social/political | Leave a comment

When you lie and disregard genuine expertise

Want to see something truly pathetic? Watch a Trump judicial nominee be completely unable to answer basic questions on law:

(post article here)

His nomination was withdrawn…but how in the hell did he even make it that far to begin with?

This is unbelievable.

Lies take their toll too, even when one is lying for a greater goal. Here is a very interesting story on how the lie about trickle down economics first got started:

If anyone still believed that the Republican Party had become a party of economic populism, the tax bill that the party is set to pass in Congress will burst their bubble. This bill raises taxes on the poor and cuts taxes on the rich. Most of the American people disapprove.

Senate Republicans negotiated in secret at top speed, and then passed the bill at 1:50 a.m. on a Saturday, as if to minimize public scrutiny. The original American populists were the men and women of the Populist Party who demanded open government and income taxes on the rich; this tax bill is exactly the sort of thing that made them howl in outrage.

But the Republican tax strategy has roots in the American populist tradition, too. That strategy is to disregard experts and rile up the base with tax policy arguments that would not survive professional scrutiny.

Populists did this on behalf of the poor. But the man who first put this strategy to work for rich people was Andrew Mellon, the millionaire who became secretary of the Treasury after World War I. Poor veterans of the war were clamoring for expensive public benefits. Rich men wanted their income taxes rolled back.

Mellon squared the circle by inventing a supply-side argument: Cutting income tax rates would actually increase tax revenues. In particular, he said, cutting the top income tax rates would encourage rich people to pull their money out of tax shelters and invest in creating jobs. Or, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said of the current Republican tax plan, cutting income taxes “will pay for itself with growth.”

Surf to the Washington Post article to read the rest; it is quite interesting.

Workout notesWeights, and a very interesting “one on one” yoga class with Ms. Vickie. It was interesting and fun; LOTS of adjustments.

Weights: usual pt, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (last one was 7-3 with narrow grip-regular grip), bench: 10 x 135, 7 x 185, 10 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, military (dumbbell) 15 x 55 seated, supported, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 10 x 55, 10 x 60, 10 x 60, goblet squats 10 x 60, 10 x 53 to the sill.

December 19, 2017 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, republicans, republicans politics, social/political, weight training, yoga | 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

Graduation exercises done…various topics

Grading done, graduation exercises done. So, aside from some “less than pleasant” family obligations I should enjoy a pleasant month.

Topics:
Sexual Harassment We are seeing lots of accusations and resignations..and in one case, a female was the accused.

I hope that we haven’t arrived at a place where an accusation is sufficient to tank someone’s career.

Example: 20+ years ago, I had a faculty friend who liked me well enough to sit in on one of my classes. She talked about a bunch of stuff..and in a conversation she had mentioned that she felt weak from a religious fast. I replied “yes, you are looking a bit thin”.

Later she asked me to come into her office. I did..she asked “do you know why I want to talk to you?” I responded “I guess it is about the course”. She went on to tell me that my remark was sexual harassment. I was astonished. I said “I meant…” and she said “I KNOW what you meant..” ..Eventually I had enough. She tried to shake my hand but I refused..and I broke off all unnecessary contact with her. No, no charges were ever filed and no official complaint was ever made.

By the way, she is a respected scholar (by our standards) but her personality…not as well respected.

And..it turns out that she HAD suffered some genuine sexual harassment; she was asked out by a senior faculty member; when she declined he told her that the tenure decision, in part, depended on her being “collegial”. So, it isn’t as if she always “cried wolf”.

So sometimes, people can honestly interpret the same situation differently:

So people who think that the issue can be resolved by hashtags, “zero tolerance”, “non-negotiable demands” and the like are delusional; the situation is way more complicated than that.

Republican Tax Scam Yes, they did fix some of the hits to higher education, but it is still a big giveaway to the wealthiest and will probably explode the deficit…which will lead to them cutting Social Security, Medicare and safety net programs because “we are broke”.

Oh, it is a wildly unpopular bill and might cost many of them their seats in 2018..but will also lead to some cushy K-Street jobs and the like. So the unpopularity of the bill bothers them not at all.

Bradley Basketball We saw the men demolish Arkansas Little Rock 86-46 despite clearing the bench.

They won big at Chicago State, though Chicago State got blistered by Northwestern 96-31..trailed 55-8 at the half. Still, the team is winning.

The women lost big at Green Bay, but Green Bay is ranked no. 21 for a reason.

Workout notes: yesterday, routine weight session. Usual PT, 5 sets of 10 pull ups, bench: 10 x 135, 6 x 185, 5 x 185, incline: 10 x 135. Military: dumbbell: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, machine: 10 x 80 (each arm), 3 sets of 10 x 110.

Today: easy 4.2 mile run prior to graduation exercises; clear and crisp.

December 17, 2017 Posted by | basketball, economy, education, political/social, politics, republicans, running, social/political, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment