Saturday, July 8, 2017

Who would vote against one's own interest.

There is a small industry on the soft left -- from Bill Maher to former classmates to NPR -- whose mantra seems to be
 "How can Trump’s supporters stick with him when his proposals hurt them the most?".
They might want to read this Washington Post article) The media fundamentally misunderstands conservatives on health care).

The article and analysis is hardly brilliant, but then to state the obvious doesn't require that.

The ending is worth quoting:
...Trump’s supporters...are more dedicated to the principle of freedom from government mandates than...worried about the loss of government subsidies...

Until Democrats can figure that out, their efforts to pry Trump’s supporters away from him — on health care or any other subject — an endless source of frustration.
Acting politically against one's self-interest (as perceived by others) is not necessary illogical or stupid.

If you want proof on that, consider that the author of this post is a member of a group that has reliably voted against its own self interest for the last 80 years.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

We have been here before

The organizers of the Chicago Dyke March asked two women carrying Jewish rainbow pride flags (having a Star of David over the rainbow) to leave the Saturday afternoon march and rally.

I particularly like the justification of the organizers of the march that: "anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome."

Ah, only good Jews are welcome. After all, it has been vouch safe that feminists should not be Zionists.

If you are interested, there are some links below (I like article by Bari Weiss best).

When Jews groups often march under signs saying "We have been here before", at Trump Resistance rallies for instance, I like also to remember part of that 'before' was how much support we received from 'progressive allies'. 

Why, it almost makes one want to be a Zionist.

Tensions Flare After Chicago Dyke March Demands Star Of David Pride Flag Carriers Leave Rally

I’m Glad the Dyke March Banned Jewish Stars

Pro-Israel And Queer? Why It’s Getting Hard To Be Both.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sayre's law and free thought

I think that the oppressive behavior at Evergreen, Harvey Mudd, Yale and elsewhere, as described in These Campus Inquisitions Must Stop, is unlikely to be arrested. (H/T Jack Ayer)

It is too good an example of Sayer's Law -- "In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake." 

The special case is: "Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small."*

It is not inconceivable that such actions might allow certain groups to obtain power at certain institutions.  But it is hard to see these institutions actually changing the world around them.

Still it has the potential to secure the careers of some people, and temporarily (until graduation) 'empower' others -- political correctness largely for profit and fun.  So it won't stop.

But, I can't think a better method of defanging the 'left' as a serious participant in real politics.  I wonder if the Koche brothers are behind it.


*This quote is attributed to many people, including Samuel Johnson, Jesse Unruh, and Henry Kissinger (who promoted it to international diplomacy).

Thursday, April 6, 2017

We have met the enemy, and he is ....

Michel Foucault, biting his finger at us.
IT should be thumb.See Romeo and Juliet

French....?  No he is us.  (And must be a he, too, I suppose)

The article, How French “Intellectuals” Ruined the West: Postmodernism and Its Impact, Explained, is a fun, and I think accurate polemic to read.

It uses a term I had not thought of before, epistemic relativism: "belief in personal or culturally specific truths or facts [advocating the privilege of]  'lived experience' over empirical evidence."

That is a wonderful term, which I would say describes cast of mind that seeks a way that is easier than thinking -- one that the 'intellectual' left is as good at as the 'alternative' right.

H/T to Matthew Saroff for pointing this to me.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Press Innumeracy

Frequently, my limited store of patience is exhausted by the press and people.

One particular issue is Innumeracy.

Remember when we were told of the 250 fold increase in British queries "What is Brexit" after the referendum?

Rule one, ask the baseline.  Turns out the number of queries went from less than a couple dozen a week to a couple of couple hundred.

Here's another one Boris Johnson among record number to renounce American citizenship in 2016 , the increase is 26%.

If Obama was President, it would be blamed on the ACA by the reactionaries; as Trump is President, it is being blamed on .... Trumpness.  Seem a couple posted all about it....

The baseline problem, again.

You see, the total number of people renouncing citizenship is 5,411. 

The total number of people receiving US citizenship last year is approximately 750,000.

The rise in renunciations, which has been going on for the last few years, is primarily tax driven -- I seem to recall that Johnson was being dunned for a sale of London property.

The ratio between new citizens and renunications is aproximately .007.

And with me you get the baseline.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Giving gifts where they aren't needed.

Last summer, some older, social media spectators of current events, whom I know, gave a spirited defense of protesters who shut down a Trump rally. 

While, my most personal objection to these defenses of this sort of censorship was the disingenuous way they pretended to understand free expression.

What really lead me to despair (OK, I was there already) was the tactical stupidity.

I am glad to see that some of the people actually participating in protests against Trumpists, in this case Milo Yuiannopoulos, understand what is appropriate, and are worried about the consequences of self serving action.

From  The Milo protests did not go well:
One of the core arguments that Milo makes in his tour is that the left is intolerant of free speech and refuses to hear opposing arguments...What I do know is that Milo is happy as a clam right now. He thrives on the negative publicity that events like this generate.
and Berkeley's Milo Yiannopoulos Protest Was A Gift To The Alt-Right
The violent demonstrators played right into his hands, not to mention those of right-wing leaders across the country....
It is imperative that people of Milo’s variety are allowed to visit American universities and speak freely. Sure, arrange a peaceful protest of your entire student body. Go ahead – boycott the event so is forced to preach to a sea of empty seats. Be my guest and smear him on social media, write articles tearing him apart, or scream your frustrations into a megaphone.
Just don’t. Resort. To violence.
As soon as the fists or the fires or the smoke bombs surface, the other side has won
It almost gives me faith in younger people.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

There is something that makes this worse...

We should be worried about this, Trump Team Sent Federal Watchdogs An Ominous Message That Has Them Worried.

But there is something worse, the precedent comes from the previous administration Dozens of inspectors general complain of hindering oversight.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Interesting Week in being a Jew

It has been an interesting week in being a Jew.

Making a snarky comment that Trump's Holocaust Day message may be an appeal to the left, led to my explaining how much anti-Jewish* expression I had experienced from the left -- which I gather was something of a surprise.

Then, Eugenia (the daughter) and I saw a significant number of signs at the Westlake pro-refugee rally expressing Jewish solidarity.  

Finally, Sam (the son), who is in middle school reported that 'Jew' was now being used as a generic insult, by some students, even to non-Jews (like gay).

He himself had been called 'f---ing Jew' on a couple of occaisions.  (And yes we have mentioned this to the principal.)

I don't think this will come as much of a surprise to my fellows.

Ironically, the strip from the comic Retail expresses my feelings about how the generality might see this:

*I prefer anti-Jewish to anti-semitism, a term implicitly coined to replace Judenhass (Jew Hater), by Judenhassen, with something that sounded more scientific.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

What if he does something right?

Reading Trump vows ‘insurance for everybody’ in Obamacare replacement plan, does not fill me with warm fuzzies, ACA is problematic, what if he actually comes up with a workable plan?

I am not channeling, Nicole Kidman, but here are some things he has said which I could support:

  • The F35 Joint Strike Fighter is overpriced and doesn't work
  • The federal government should negotiate a good deal with pharma for Medicare and Medicade
  • The current 17 spy agencies the US has are an overlapping set of bureaucracies 
  • Everyone ought to have health insurance
  • Social Security and Medicare should be protected

Do I believe he will follow through on this?  No.

I doubt he has the ability or concentration to do anything like this.

And the thought of him pushing this through the  Republicans in the Congress is laughable.

The only thing more laughable would be seeing how the soft left tries to deal with it.

But what if....