“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”
― Milton Friedman

“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Sunday, September 23, 2018

JBP at 20 Monroe Live

My wife and I were at Dr. Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life lecture on Thursday (Sep. 20) in Grand Rapids, MI. We had VIP seats (3rd row, center) which added a badge, a picture with Peterson, and a separate interactive Q&A session. An unadvertised perk, for which my skinny old butt was grateful, was padded seats. Beyond row G, there was no padding. 20 Monroe live is a venue designed for rock concerts, not lectures, and all the folding chairs were packed closely.

Dave Rubin opened: A couple of decent jokes, and invocation of several Peterson memes (e.g. Cathy Newman, lobsters). All of which drew positive reaction from the audience. Rubin was OK, but has a pretty much canned intro. He welcomed 3,000 people when the capacity (it was filled) is about 1500. Must have been thinking about a previous event? He also told us we were the first audience to cheer for the venue's announced policy of "no heckling, no video." Aside from the fact that Peterson ticket buyers come for an intellectual stimulus and wouldn't want to peer at the man through a forest of cameras held high in the first place, or listen to some SJW ranting instead of what they paid for, I've also read of the same reaction elsewhere. Maybe Dave wasn't at that event.

The audience was about 35% female, 40% young male, and 25% older male. I make that latter distinction because I'm in the category, and it is relevant to the second-hand ad hominem arguments of many of Peterson's critics. These postmodernist fellow travellers (most of them aren't aware of how their social justice world views were formed) claim his demographic is overwhelmingly young, alt-right, and male - and mostly incels. They claim this audience proves he is a fascist, homophobic misogynist. Untrue of the demographic, but it's all they've got. Peterson has hundreds of hours of video online going back decades, which you can be sure these SJW's have minutely combed for any badthink.

On the contrary, the more of him you see the more you will be convinced he is intelligent, articulate, polymathic, grounded, kind, thoughtful and humbly aware of his own exhaustively examined faults. It's not possible to spend a little time listening to him and come to any other intellectually honest conclusion.
The problem is simple: journalists guilty about inequality portray Peterson as an anti-trans, Cold War lunatic. Then, people who read that commentary and end up watching videos from his Biblical Series, or his Maps of Meaning lectures, do not find a right-wing radical. Instead, they find a passionate lecturer against authoritarianism who is deeply invested in a symbolic, archetypal understanding of human nature. Now, they realize that all these left-leaning outlets have lied to them. Instead of exposing a bigot, they’ve smeared a serious scholar.
For political reasons. But, Peterson's message is only political in the sense that he looks at the science and comes to different conclusions about human nature than does the collectivist left.

He said nothing political during his speech.

Politics came looking for Peterson, he didn't go looking for politics. His many years studying psychology, and vast experience as a clinical psychologist, have convinced him that postmodernism is a nihilist threat. Until his government decided to apply group-identitarian principles to him through the mechanism of compelled speech, he was invisible to the Internet. Then he made his conclusions explicitly public.

Back to the event. People I talked to said they were there because they wanted to better understand Peterson's ideas. They sense the nihilism oozing from academia and media, and don't want to succumb to it. Only one of them recognized the phrase "long march though the institutions;" and "Gramscian" drew a blank. But they all knew the effects. They're looking for intellectual ammunition.

It is the first event of this nature I've attended which began with a standing ovation. That goes back to a Barry Goldwater campaign rally in 1964. That's before I could vote.

I think Dr. Peterson had a cold. His voice seemed a little hoarse, or maybe it was the spirit of Kermit. A meme you'll have to look up if you don't recognize it.

From 2 minutes in the audience was transfixed. Interruptions by applause decreased as he continued; not because he stopped making valuable points, but because nobody wanted to interrupt the flow. Interrupting a train of thought is his specialty, but he usually does it himself (then jumping right back to his main thread).

Peterson gave an original, insightful, erudite, humble, astoundingly extemporaneous performance. It seemed improvisational. Which is to say, it was typical.

For reference, the 12 rules:

1.  Stand up straight with your shoulders back
2.  Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
3.  Make friends with people who want the best for you
4.  Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who
    someone else is today
5.  Do not let your children do anything that makes you
    dislike them
6.  Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
7.  Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
8.  Tell the truth – or, at least, don't lie
9.  Assume that the person you are listening to might know
    something you don't
10. Be precise in your speech
11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

He started with Rule 1 (this is not necessarily obvious, he skipped around and only directly mentioned rules 1, 3, 2, 5, 9 and 4, in that order, IIRC). He invoked Rule 1 in speaking to the Problem of Evil, and to set up the relationship between responsibility and meaning: Be prepared for tragedy, in part by taking responsibility for yourself. In doing so you find not the answer to the purpose of the universe; but meaning in your life.

He segued to the rule 3, 2, 5 sequence (with excursions to 5, 9 and 4), building the case for treating "yourself like someone you are responsible for helping" because that directly impacts relationships with your spouse, your children, and your community. Not concepts you haven't heard from him before, but essential to the core element of his message: individual sovereignty requires individual responsibility.

The collectivist counterpoint is: "Treat everyone as a member of a group you need to control in order to ensure your own power." I.e., power is well-being. Peterson has never specifically said this (AFAIK), but I think the contrast is both accurate and useful.

I'd put the overall experience in the top 90% of the hundred or so hours I've watched on YouTube, half of that (so far) his university lectures. I didn't expect to hear shocking new directions. After all, the talk was about 12 Rules. There were many concepts with which I was familiar, but with different stories, examples, and analogies. I learned from those. JBP spoke of ideas he'd "just figured out in the last 2 weeks." Nice to be a spectator in that journey.

He is a powerful teacher; he lets you see the mundane as marvelous - again. It's an encouragement to regain your childlike wonder. Listening to him is a challenge and an invitation to explore the borders of chaos and order.

He was also funny. There were some hilarious riffs on relationships. Peterson had to pause to let the laughter die off.

I'd give a lot to see Peterson's humour unleashed over a beer or three. I imagine it to be poker-faced and Menckenian, though peppered with, “And that’s that, bucko!", "Think again, sunshine!", and "Bloody neo-Marxists!" Hearing him laugh about something is a treat.

In a era where Jerry Seinfeld eschews college campuses because of their near Stalinist humorlessness, we won't see unconstrained Peterson humor anytime soon. He is pilloried enough without contributing sound bites for the deliberate misinterpretation at mis-re-education camp(use)s. This is a shame.

There was a deserved standing ovation at the end of Dr. Peterson's address.

The following will likely vary by venue, but for those of you wondering about the content, sequence and timing of activities, as I was, here's a bit of housekeeping info. The lecture is followed by a general Q&A. In this case, Dave Rubin selected questions submitted online through Slido. This segment completes the basic portion of the show.

Then there's a delay of 15-20 minutes while they set up for pictures.
It was stated in emails prior to the event that it was OK to give JBP a gift during the picture segment. I did. I gave him a kiddie cup from a dinner I had at Red Lobster on the occasion of my wife's birthday earlier this month. I expected a laugh from the doctor, and I got one. He asked where it had come from, and I told him Red Lobster via my 10 year old grandson. I have my own cup, from a granddaughter. So I have that in common with him now. ;)
As my 20 seconds ended, I thanked him for the hard work and dedication that made it possible for him to give us the gift of his insights.

We were asked please not to engage in extended conversation, since to move 200-300 people through the process takes 45 minutes - if it's moving quickly. This is why there's no book signing, the time would easily double.

You would think that at a Jordan Peterson event, people would be particularly loath to violate this responsibility.

Well, there's always a couple, aren't there? You could hear grumbling from everyone both in line and already finished when a couple of people took a minute or two. I was jealous, but proud that my inner child hadn't done anything that made me dislike him.

The reason people who had already had their picture taken were grumbling is that the last portion of the evening is spent in a more intimate, back and forth Q&A with JBP. They were robbing us of that time. About 50 of us stayed for it.
I paraphrase: The questions ranged from a long exposition (female): "I like STEM. I'm a proven talent. Males and females give me praise for my abilities. It's still really hard. Should I continue?", to (female) "What psychedelic drug would you recommend to a beginner?", to (male) "I have evil tendencies. I've always identified with villains. I've resisted temptation to do -some unspecified thing- so far. How do I ensure I continue to cope?"

A takeaway for me was the intimate nature of some questions before a group of 50+. Some people had a remarkable level of trust in a bunch of strangers whose only certain characteristic was an interest in Jordan Peterson's ideas; and a belief JBP could tell them something important about a personal problem.

He handled the serious and the oddball questions with aplomb and real interest. Probably at bit like office hours at UoT, or a clinical session with a client. ;)

This conversation lasted a little over an hour, and my wife and I discussed the evening for our entire 45 minute drive home. A fine evening.

Jordan Peterson is a classical liberal who strongly supports First Amendment principles. His cogent defense of these ideas is a gift to all of us. I highly recommend visiting his website and YouTube channel, particularly the videos of his lectures at the University of Toronto. His passion for teaching and the importance of his thinking can only be appreciated with a deeper exposure than a single lecture, or an interview with an ideologue like Cathy Newman.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Doublethink Boredom

Leaked video shows Google co-founder Sergey Brin comparing Trump voters to 'fascists' as he vows to thwart rise of populism in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election
Brin talks about the typical mentality of Trump voters.

He argues that those with 'routine jobs' were more likely to vote for Trump than those with 'non-routine' jobs - and said 'boredom' might explain the President's popularity.

'There's actually a lot of historical precedent for boredom being a huge factor in vote choice,' Brin told the crowd.

'And actually in building extremism. We've done a lot of work on extremism that shows a high correlation with boredom.'

'Data suggests that boredom led to the rise of fascism and communism. It sort of sneaks up sometimes, really bad things.'
Google Built China A Prototype Search Engine That Allows Government To Spy On Citizens’
“The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, was designed for Android devices, and would remove content deemed sensitive by China’s ruling Communist Party regime, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.”
I guess the difference between the US and China is the Chinese leaders are bored. They're certainly deplorable, and the routine of operating their totalitarian social credit apparatus must get boring. Especially if you have the mentality of a typical Chinese Communist. Brin's going to help them with that, but won't automating the surveillance state make running it even more boring? Where's the fun in having a computer assign people to re-education camps based on a search term they use?

One must wonder about Brin. On one hand, perhaps we should heed this aphorism from F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." On the other hand, he seems to lack self-awareness.

IAC, Brin does not appear subject to the possibility of cognitive dissonance.

Perhaps George Orwell can explain it for us:
The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth
-Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London, part 2, chapter 9, pp 220

Pussy Hats and Hijabs

This video has been “unlisted” on YouTube. Which, since you can still watch it, I take to mean you can’t find it with a search. So I post it here for a bit wider exposure than Google deems appropriate. 18:39

Barbara Kay - How to Launder a Hijab

Nth-wave Feminists support a female dress code, invented in 1970 by an Iranian mullah, and now enforced by males.

The only point of agreement between Feminism and Islamism I can detect here is that men are evil, though that’s offset from the current Western feminist dogma by the fact that sharia makes females entirely responsible for controlling men’s sexual behavior. More succinctly, “If you are raped, it’s your fault."

Not so long ago, when feminists were called upon to condemn clitorectomies, honor killings, murder of young girls for attempting to get an education, inability to be seen in public unless accompanied by a male, and other aspects of Islamic totalitarian patriarchy, they demurred that they couldn’t be expected to denounce another culture. But, American Feminists weren’t really afraid to criticize other cultures, they were afraid their own complaints would be revealed as trivial.

Tiring of squirming on the charge of hypocrisy, accurately leveled, Feminists found themselves needing defenses against the realities of Sharia Law. They enlisted Islamic, Marxist activist Linda Sarsour to carry the water. Sarsour was co-chairman of the 2017 Day Without a Woman strike and protest where, as always, she wore her hijab. While consorting with women in pussy hats.

Here’s some Linda Sarsour tweets to ponder:
Happy birthday to the revolutionary #AssataShakur!” read the tweet, which featured a “#SignOfResistance, in Assata’s honor
Assata Shakur, aka Joanne Chesimard. is a convicted cop-killer living in Cuba, and is on the F.B.I.’s list of most wanted terrorists.
"You'll know when you're living under Sharia Law if suddenly all your loans & credit cards become interest free. Sound nice, doesn't it?
There’s that. Then, if you’re female, there’s 'your educational opportunites will be entirely decided by the State Patriarchy.'
"shariah law is reasonable and once u read into the details it makes a lot of sense. People just know the basics"
Like being hung for self-defense against a rapist. Like risking a public flogging for participating in a public demonstration (maybe wearing an odd shaped pink toque) without your male guardian.
"10 weeks of PAID maternity leave in Saudi Arabia. Yes PAID. And ur worrying about women driving. Puts us to shame.
And now, Sarsour has an even better point. Women have recently been granted the right to drive in Saudi Arabia so we don't even need to worry about THAT anymore. This amazing privilege is somewhat tempered by the fact that they still need male permission to leave the house. But they get 10 weeks of paid maternity leave. Both of these privileges are granted by, and dependent upon, the whim of an absolute monarch. Where in the world, after all, are social conditions closest to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tail?

Sarsour is notably silent on how many Saudi women are CEOs or on corporate boards, never mind that only about 15% of women (a tripling since 1992) in Saudi Arabia are even employed “outside the home,” and the female unemployment rate is around 30%. Saudi women don’t need to drive to get to jobs they don’t have, or to schools they can’t attend (emphasis mine):
"The Ministry of Higher Education was established in 1975 to provide higher education to all students based on Islamic laws and to supervise its process [27]. The goal of education for women was for them to be successful housewives and good mothers, with knowledge suitable to their nature such as teaching, nursing or giving medical treatment…

...it is very difficult for women to attend university since they need a male guardian [7-40][7]"
Saudi Arabia ranks 138th out of 144 on the 2017 Global Gender Gap Index published by the World Economic Forum. You may know of them from their annual meeting in Davos. The US ranks 49th, down 4 points due "to a significant decrease in gender parity in ministerial level positions," so take it with a grain of salt. Even ranked by elite EU leftists, though, the discrepancy is notable - if incomprehensible to a desperately self-promoting Islamofeminist. It's comical.

We can agree that as a stand up comic Linda Sarsour is in a class with Sandra Fluke. But there's hope for Sarsour. Even the Saudis are moving away from Sharia. The cultural peeks in that link are worth reading, and are a bit chilling. Stand up comedy clubs are now permissible, if you have a license and don't say the wrong thing. It reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld's remark, "Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC."

That's cultural appropriation by campus Lefties.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Find the Nazi

Zina Bash is Mexican born, Jewish on her father's side, and her grandparents were Holocaust survivors. She is one of Brett Kavanaugh's former law clerks and was previously employed in the White House as part of the Domestic Policy Council.

She has recently been attacked by the #Resistance as a white supremacist.

Dr. Avital Ronell, protege of postmodernist guru Jacques Derrida, was born in Prague to a pair of Israeli diplomats. She is a self-described 'queer' professor at NYU. Ronell has just been suspended because one of her former graduate students claims that she sexually assaulted, stalked and harassed him. Full appreciation of Ronell's transgressions (documented by her own emails) requires knowing that student, Nimrod Reitman, is gay.

Dr. Ronell was fiercely defended in a letter by 50 #MeToo intellectuals and academics insisting the charges were not true, though they didn't know the facts.

So, which one is the Nazi, for making the white power "OK" symbol...

...and which one is just scratching her arm?

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Citizens for Electioneering Michigan's Energy

Big Political Spending By Electric Utility Raises Concerns

If you think that government unions should be prohibited from taking members' money to spend on political ads those members disagree with, you may also object to Consumers Energy shareholders' money being used for political ads supporting Consumers' agenda. Which, among other things, includes outsourcing electricity generation to other states.

I have no objection in principle to the idea of cost effective outsourcing. I mention it because the inaptly named "Citizens for Energizing Michigan's Economy" has been fear mongering about outsourcing Michigan electricity supply jobs in a blitz of radio and television ads. Most of the funding for that electioneering came from Consumers Energy.

Consumers Energy points out the campaign ad money did not come from customers.
"Our contributions to Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy came from the company in the form of non-customer, shareholder dollars. In other words, funds driven from our shareholders – people buying stock – and not from customer bills.”
As if this makes any difference. As TOC has noted previously, money is fungible. The money they used for political purposes could have been used to defray costs, increase shareholder dividends, mitigate rate increases, or invested in capital projects. Instead, it was used in a crony capitalist scheme to maintain and extend its government granted monopoly status - upon which their stock price largely depends.

Remember Consumers election spending next time they ask you for a donation to their solar projects, or their Green Generation wind program, or offer you a discount for letting them take control of your air conditioner.

Consumers' political activity should be severely constrained, as befits a company operating with a government granted commodity monopoly.


Update, 5:09PM. I'd forgotten these details from 2014:

In November 2014 the MPSC approved a settlement agreement authorizing Consumers Energy to recover $9,752,187, with interest, in deferred major maintenance expense.

Deferred MAJOR MAINTENANCE expense? And they have a government guaranteed 90% market share? And they put $43 million into political advertising in this time frame?

That's one way to ensure profit margins stay in double digits.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Academiarchy

A well written peek into the suppurating cesspit that is SJW academia (which is most of it). The cracks in the edifice are being exposed, ironically, by #MeToo hypocrisy. The author would appear to be risking her career, so I find it remarkable. It’s also remarkable it could be published.

Added to the DoJ support for Asian applicants’ suit against Harvard, DeVos finally insisting Title IX must observe due process, and the fear inspired vitriol directed against Professors Jordan Peterson, Johnathan Haidt, Christina Hoff Sommers, Brett Weinstein, Charles Murray, and Stephen Pinker, this is encouraging.

If you’ve ever wondered where the Left’s version of Jordan Peterson is, there isn’t one. Oh, there are academic superstars like Avital Ronell (and Catherine McKinnon and Judith Butler, for example) all over the place. But they can’t be called “public” intellectuals because their ideas are agenda driven, deliberately obtuse, and generally abhorrent to the public.

And Ronell’s defenders know it. Judith Butler’s cringing apology is instructive, and essentially admits to autonomic tribalism. Basically, “We rose in righteous anger because the punishment didn’t fit the crime, even though we didn’t know what the crime was.”

Oops. Ronell is a female Harvey Weinstein, but they couldn’t wait to find that out before reflexively attacking her accuser.

#MeToo leader Asia Argento couldn't be reached for comment.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Appropriate again

The Road to Serfdom 1945 Radio Dramatisation

From 1945. I don't think they covered this at Boston U when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was earning her econ degree, or maybe she was too busy demonstrating for universal government rationed health care.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Citizens for Enervating Michigan's Economy II

There are a few lobbyists styling themselves "Citizens for Energizing Michigan's Economy" who are hammering the radio with political ads criticizing legislators who support expanding energy choice. CEME is, in fact, dependent for funding upon Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy. These guys have been around for awhile, so their pedigree is clear:

Touting A 'Looming Energy Shortfall,' Utility-Connected Nonprofit Spent $7.4 Million Last Year (2015)

The $4-Million Push To Influence Michigan Energy Law (2015)

Utilities spend $1.6M to influence Michigan energy policy debate (2015)

Michigan Big Energy firms working together to steer legislation to fatten their profit statements (2015)

Consumers Energy confirms affiliated PAC donated to Rep. Gary Glenn's election opponent (2018)

Consumers Energy contributed $43.5 million over four years to Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy (2018)

Utilities-backed dark money group sparking energy debate in Michigan This article describes "“Citizens for Michigan’s Energy Future,” which is just another front for the same lobbyists. (2015)

One of the current ads claims that opposing energy company plans is the same as "outsourcing Michigan jobs" in the utility industry. Well, it might be true that there would be fewer Michigan utility jobs. However, job creation should not be a utility company's prime objective. They should reliably deliver electricity at reasonable rates. Which means no featherbedding.

Besides that, they don't tell you they are in favor of outsourcing electricity generation in order to help meet Michigan's ill-advised* renewable energy goals; This Michigan Utility Is Planning Your Energy Future: "[Consumers Energy] expects to rely heavily on electricity from out-of-state generators by 2040." Lots of Michigan's energy is planned to be purchased from other states, while Consumers' own solar arrays will cover "between 25,000 to 35,000 acres by 2040."

They neglect to mention that they lobby furiously to eliminate energy supplier choice (now capped at 10%), dramatically increasing costs for public schools. See also; Consumers Energy-funded group running ads against electric choice/deregulation

TOC mentioned "Citizens for Energizing Michigan's Economy" in 2014, when they were last found trying to increase your electricity costs by opposing consumer choice in electricity supply. They ran deceptive advertising then. They are doing it again.

Lobbyists have a First Amendment right to petition the government. I think you should have a balanced view of their agenda, and who these "citizens" are working for.

According to Consumers Energy's spokesperson Katie Carey, "Our contributions to Citizens for Energizing Michigan's Economy came from the company's general funds and were not reflected in utility customer rates." Well, since money is fungible - and could have been used to reduce rates, or pay dividends - I'm skeptical.

*Oh, by the way, here's how windmill power worked out for Ontario: Ontario Wind Turbines

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

In which SCOTUS agrees with FDR

Today the Supreme Court ruled on compulsory government sector union fees, recognizing such fees as a First Amendment issue about compelled political speech. To summarize:

JANUS v. AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES
States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees. The First Amendment is violated when money is taken from nonconsenting employees for a public-sector union; employees must choose to sup- port the union before anything is taken from them. Accordingly, nei- ther an agency fee nor any other form of payment to a public-sector union may be deducted from an employee, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.
This opinion essentially agrees with that of famous Progressive Franklin Roosevelt:
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
There is no such thing as a "public-sector" union. There are government unions, of which the public is the employer, where bureaucrats "negotiate" among themselves, and a third party payer is stuck with the results.

When you name such unions "government unions", it's much easier to understand that government "management" and government "labor" have common goals and the employer doesn't even have a seat at the table.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Trade War Casualties

In addition to US tariffs raising the cost of the steel and aluminum Harley uses to make motorcycles for Americans, TrumpTrade is driving US manufacturing jobs to Europe. Doesn’t say how many jobs will be lost, but 40,000 motorcycles a year are no longer going to be made here. Meanwhile, Harley has to eat $30 to $45 million in 2018.

Tit-for-tat going as expected. It’s all the fault of those dumb Europeans, of course.

Harley-Davidson To Move Some Production Outside US Over EU Tariffs

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A trout in the milk

Unfortunately, the DoJ IG report failed to reach any number of stunningly obvious conclusions about breach of trust by FBI and DoJ executives, because none of them overtly stated in any surviving official document that they were intent on subverting the 2016 election.

"Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" seemed to be a good enough model.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better illustration of Henry David Thoreau’s dictum; "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” Along with some river pebbles, sea shells, lilly pads, and sunken treasure.

The IG’s Report May Be Half-Baked
By ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
June 15, 2018 2:08 PM

If you don’t know him, McCarthy "is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others. He also contributed to the prosecutions of terrorists who bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He resigned from the Justice Department in 2003. He is a contributing editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.”

IMO, he’s the best single analyst of the venality and corruption at the highest levels of the DoJ and FBI.

RTWT.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Justice among the socialists

A New York City high school which produces makers is under attack by looters.

No Ethnic Group Owns Stuyvesant. All New Yorkers Do.
-Boaz Weinstein
"Admission to Stuyvesant was and remains determined by a single test available to all middle school students in the city. There are no soft criteria for admission: no interviews, no favoritism for legacies, no strings to be pulled. It’s all about whether you do well on the test, which best determines whether or not you can do the academic work.

You would think that Mayor Bill de Blasio would celebrate Stuyvesant as the crown jewel of the city’s school system. Instead, he has announced a plan that will destroy it in all but name.

This month, the mayor said he would seek legislation that would eliminate the test completely. Instead, he’d guarantee automatic admission to Stuyvesant — and the seven other specialized high schools in the city — for the top students at every middle school, regardless of their abilities.

The mayor says he is trying to address what is undoubtedly a heartbreaking problem: the gross underrepresentation of black and Latino students at Stuyvesant and schools like it. In 2016 black and Latino students constituted 44 percent of the kids who took the test (and 65 percent of the New York City school population). Yet they make up just 4 percent of Stuyvesant students and 15 percent of students at the specialized high schools overall.

But the mayor’s solution is no solution at all.

For one thing, his plan seems purposely oblivious to his administration’s utter failure to prepare students across the city for the admissions test — and for a school as challenging as Stuyvesant. In nearly one quarter of the city’s public middle schools, zero seventh graders scored at the advanced level on the annual New York State Mathematics Exam in 2017. Mr. de Blasio would send the top 7 percent of students at every middle school to the specialized high schools, but at 80 middle schools — or one out of every six — not even 7 percent of seventh graders passed the state math exam."
Mayor de Blasio is insisting on equal outcomes for Middle School students. Never mind if there aren't 7% of a school's graduates who are even competent (much less excellent) in math, he's going to insist they be placed in a group where they will certainly struggle. If the school system for which the Mayor is responsible produces innumerate graduates, he'll just lower the definition of numeracy.

I'll bet vanishingly few of those 44% taking the entrance exam were students at the 80 schools where not even 7% can pass the state math exam. Graduating with no math competence is the problem, and throwing those kids into an advanced program is doing them no favor.

It's not a numeracy problem to the Mayor, it's a melanin content problem. The breakdown of the freshman admittees at Stuyvesant:

      Asian     — 613
      White     — 151
      Hispanic — 27
      Black      — 10

I wonder how the 37 black and brown students who passed the entrance exam feel about Mr. de Blasio's proposal. They represent 4.62% of the freshman class. We know that 44% of the aspirants who took the test in 2016 were black and brown. That means over 10% of them passed. Will the 3% who made it based on a meritocratic exam be denied admittance in favor of the new "7% from all" social justice rules?

Before those 37 graduate from Stuyvesant, dozens of kids who don't know what a square root is may be their classmates.

One consequence is that few, if any, outcome equal, square-rootless admittees will succeed. Another is that resources will be diverted from those who could do the work, and some of them will fail when they could have succeeded. So, how long do you think it will be before de Blasio's Equal Outcome parameters will also be applied to Stuyvesant graduates? Stuyvesant diplomas will become certificates of participation. The equal outcome will be pre-ordained graduation, whether earned or not.

If de Blasio is successful, the vast benefit this school brings to us all - equal opportunity for everyone to become better, happier, and wealthier by standing on the shoulders of merit - will vanish.

The arc of equal outcomes bends toward the lowest common denominator. A term with which Mr. de Blasio's new Stuyvesant students will be unfamiliar.

That's what he wants. Any other result promotes the idea that people are not interchangable parts to be arranged in life by Government whim. De Blasio's utopian project cannot tolerate that.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

This is new

But it still shows President Trump's confusion on trade and tariffs. From whitehouse.gov:
Press Conference by President Trump After G7 Summit

Emphasis mine.
Q Mr. President, you said that this was a positive meeting, but from the outside, it seemed quite contentious. Did you get any indication from your interlocutors that they were going to make any concessions to you? And I believe that you raised the idea of a tariff-free G7. Is that —

THE PRESIDENT: I did. Oh, I did. That’s the way it should be. No tariffs, no barriers. That’s the way it should be.

Q How did it go down?

THE PRESIDENT: And no subsidies. I even said no tariffs. In other words, let’s say Canada — where we have tremendous tariffs — the United States pays tremendous tariffs on dairy. As an example, 270 percent. Nobody knows that. We pay nothing. We don’t want to pay anything. Why should we pay?

We have to — ultimately, that’s what you want. You want a tariff-free [sic], you want no barriers, and you want no subsidies, because you have some cases where countries are subsidizing industries, and that’s not fair. So you go tariff-free, you go barrier-free, you go subsidy-free. That’s the way you learned at the Wharton School of Finance. I mean, that would be the ultimate thing. Now, whether or not that works — but I did suggest it, and people were — I guess, they got to go back to the drawing and check it out, right?
So, they did teach him that tariffs are a bad thing in his Econ 101 course. One would think this attitude would have made NAFTA easy to re-negotiate.

Since this is the first time I can recall any mention of it in the President's otherwise protectionist, multitudinous rants; maybe he's just now remembered it. Better late than never, but his recall is incomplete and confused.

Canada does, indeed, levy a 270 percent tariff on milk imported from the US. However, it is not the US that pays that tariff, it is Canadian consumers. Just like it's American consumers and businesses who pay US tariffs on softwood lumber, steel, aluminum, washing machines, cars, etc., etc..

As to no subsidies: If Canada wants to subsidize US purchases of steel, aluminum, softwood lumber, or cars: I say let them. Those are subsidies given to US consumers by Canadian taxpayers. It's stupid for Canada to do it, but it isn't our problem.

President Trump is confused about who pays tariffs, and he appears to view trade as a zero sum game. If one side wins the other side must lose. Nothing could be further from the truth. By definition, in any freely conducted trade all the traders win.

If he could just remember that lesson from Wharton, he'd be a much better CEO. Maybe he missed class that day.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Mercantilist revivalism

Used to be when you said "conservative" people had a clear idea of what you meant philosophically. Adam Smith, W. F. Buckley, Goldwater, Reagan, or Cruz might come to mind. Maybe it would invoke the tea party, free trade, Constitutional originalism, free markets, and opposition to deficit spending. Now, it's all a mess thanks to a long run of "conservatives" like John McCain, George Bush, and Donald Trump

There's "conservative," "neo-conservative," "cuckservative," "Trump conservative," "Alt-right," etc.. TOC has worried in the past about this philosophical dilution - defining freedom down. The current round of internecine attacks, including selective rejection of long standing principles, have been more damaging than anything the Progressives have accomplished.

Cronyism and protectionism are seen as fine if the correct people do it. Now protectionism is "conservative," along with corporate bailouts.

We all need to reread Friedrich Hayek's Why I am Not a Conservative: "The tug of war between conservatives and progressives can only affect the speed, not the direction, of contemporary developments." Hayek was a classical liberal, a qualifier required since the collectivists stole the original word. Now we're witnessing the further muddling of what has been meant in the United States by "conservative," i.e., "classical liberal."

The latest example; "Conservatives" who defend Trump's populist trade shenanigans as 'bargaining positions' are expediently abandoning moral leadership.

Why Trump's Higher Tariffs Now are Unlikely to Result in Lower Tariffs Later
I think it is absurd to assume that Trump's real intention is to get us to a new equilibrium with lower tariffs all around the world. He does not understand the value of free trade and his closest adviser on this issue is an ardent protectionist. Trump's negotiation experience is all in zero-sum games where he is trying to extract the most of a fixed pie for himself, not in trying to craft win-win solutions across multiple parties.

But here is the real reason this won't work: The current relatively-free trade regime that exists today was built almost totally on America's moral leadership on the issue...

[M]many of the most powerful political actors in our trading partners actually represent large corporations (some state owned and some just highly-aligned with the state) and powerful labor unions who would be perfectly happy to pursue additional crony protectionism of their industry even at the expense of the majority of their country's consumers and businesses. All these forces for protectionism have always been kept at bay in large part by America's leadership on the issue.
Not any more.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Redefining "The Right Stuff"

Maybe we'll have to redefine STEM as Sanctimonious Tyrannical Extortion of Mediocrity.

How Identity Politics Is Harming the Sciences
“All across the country the big question now in STEM is: how can we promote more women and minorities by ‘changing’ (i.e., lowering) the requirements we had previously set for graduate level study?”
Diversity, determined solely by skin color and/or "gender orientation," is becoming the most important characteristic for designing bridges, spacecraft, and medical devices.

Expect slower innovation, more engineering failures, and greater risk from surgeries.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A thought on President Trump's apparent renewed Trade War

Any price increase due to import taxes, aka protectionist tariffs, exactly equals the reduction in the disposable income of consumers in the country imposing the tariff.

While this benefits the general government coffers, it loots every citizen’s pocket - even those who never buy the good in question: The consumer is forced to either buy less of that good or less of some other good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Gettin' by with a little Halp from his friends

Well, I think we know the source of the $3K Stefan Halper paid George Papadopoulos. See below if you wonder what that means.

Note: the date of the payment is contemporaneous with Halper's meeting with Papadopoulos.

Update, 4:41PM.
I want to qualify that last sentence. I don't consider "contemporaneous" to be a year later.

Halper was "investigating" Papadopoulos in July 2016. Halper was on a $411K retainer.

May 17, 2017 is the date Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel.

July 2016 is the date Stefan Halper "reportedly begins meetings with Trump advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, secretly gathering information for the FBI."

The "investigator" started early, or the investigation was already in progress. Same point, but emphasized.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Let me Halp

New York Times headline:
F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims

Merriam-Webster:
Investigate: "to observe or study by close examination and systematic inquiry"

Spy: "to watch secretly usually for hostile purposes"

Perseveration: "continuation of something (such as repetition of a word) usually to an exceptional degree or beyond a desired point"

We could concede that the Pink Lady's use of "investigate" usefully distnguishes what (CIA/MI6 asset and virulently anti-Trump) Professor Stefan Halper did vis-a-vis the Trump campaign from "spying."

Or, we could ask whether the words "secretly" and "hostile" would actually improve our understanding of what Professor Halper attempted as an agent of the FBI.

"Secretly," as in "FISA warrant."

"Hostile," as in comments from Comey, Page, Strozk, Yates, McCabe, Brennan and Clapper, et al..

"Perseveration," as in, well... MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff, etc., etc., etc., etc..

We might conclude that "spying" is "investigation" with secret, darker motive. Or, we could conclude the Times would consider use of the word "spy" as a barrier to their perseveration.

The Times indirectly acknowledges the secrecy (emphasis mine):
After opening the Russia inquiry about a month later, they took steps, those officials said, to ensure that details of the inquiry were more closely held than even in a typical national security investigation, including the use of the informant to suss out information from the unsuspecting targets. Sending F.B.I. agents to interview them could have created additional risk that the investigation’s existence would seep into view in the final weeks of a heated presidential race.
Worth noting is that "the inquiry" was a national security investigation. Probably because there was no jusitification for a criminal inquiry. Unlike, for example, Hillary Clinton's private email server investigation.

We might wonder why the DOJ so very vigorously objected to naming Professor Halper in defiance of Congressional demand, citing national security and personal safety issues, when he had been known to be working for the CIA for decades - a fact the Times omits - and why the Times did everything it could to identify him, while coyly withholding his name. After it was leaked to them by someone in the CIA or FBI.

Mr. Halper, aka "the informant," "[T]ried to press Mr. Papadopoulos about what he might know about the Russian effort..." to influence the election. Mr. Halper also paid Mr. Papadopoulos two dollars a word for an essay on "a disputed gas field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea." The Times is silent on where the money for that came from. Curious minds want to know.

The Times mentions that, "The role of the informant is at the heart of the newest battle between top law enforcement officials and Mr. Trump’s congressional allies...", without further speculation on what that FBI role was.

Let me help. It was to conceal his true purposes when he met with Mike Flynn, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos (all charged, along with Manafort, by Mueller with things irrelevant to Russian Facebook ads, DNC email hacking or Hillary's WikiLeaks contretemps) under the aegis of, as the Times admits, a "secret warrant" - obtained by the FBI using fake information supplied by a British ex-MI6 operative, and paid for by the opposing political party. Halper told his targets he wanted to 'help' the Trump campaign.

Halper has appeared in the NYT before. From July, 1983:
'He was never very specific. He struck me as being just obsessed with the idea of hurting Jimmy Carter's re-election.' Coyle said he believed the man, who was not identified, was upset because he was refused some kind of grant. He said he told the man to leave and informed Carter officials in the summer of 1980 about the incident...

The New York Times reported the Reagan campaign headquarters conducted a data-gathering operation to collect inside information on Carter foreign policy and used a number of former CIA officials in the effort.

It said Stefan Halper, a campaign aide who handled communications for Bush and provided news updates and policy ideas to the traveling Reagan party, was in charge of the operation. Halper called the report 'just absolutely untrue.'
Since the Times considers Halper abandoned spying on political campaigns, they should at least have named him a "clandestine investigator" - a euphemism perhaps too close to the plain English word for Times readers.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Looting and Freedom

Whether political freedom or economic freedom is more important is a moot question.

The most basic property right is self-ownership. To the degree that right is compromised, so is freedom. A commenter at the linked article above noted this:
“I propose in the following discussion to call one’s own labor, and the equivalent exchange of one’s own labor for the labor of others, the ‘economic means’ for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the ‘political means’.”
   – Franz Oppenheimer, The State. New York: Free Life
      Editions, 1908 (1975), pp. 24-25

Beyond the unabashed wealth redistributionism of a Bernie Sanders, ‘unrequited appropriation of the labor of others’ includes all forms of rent-seeking: Regulation favoring entrenched business (from tariffs to requiring hair braiders to take hundreds of hours of training, to subsidies for solar panels, movies, art, mortgages, etc., etc., etc.); union shops; civil asset forfeiture and eminent domain; and zoning laws.

We may agree politically to give some portion of some of those freedoms to the State, but we will, by definition, be less free; and bureaucracies will always take more than is granted.

Principled resistance to the looting is a requirement of freedom.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Canadian model?

At Neo-neocon: The cost of Canadian health care

It's not just the financial cost, it's also the suffering cost while waiting for an appointment.
There is no free lunch. There is no free health care. And anyone comparing outcomes in different countries by comparing statistics on infant mortality and life expectancy is comparing apples and oranges. These matters are influenced by much more than a healthcare insurance system.
Among other things, it's whether you count preemies who die as stillbirths. In the US, it is far more likely they'll be counted as live births.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Stoic Justice Warriors

Jordan Peterson channels Marcus Aurelius: Life is hard. Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Get your room clean before you decide to start changing the world. Pick up the biggest weight you can carry, it will give meaning to your life. Treat yourself as someone you care for. Pay attention.

Marcus Aurelius on How to Turn Around a Rotten Day
“...there will always be difficulties to drag through your day… Nothing has to go right today for you to act with honor and character. ...we, not other people, are the problem. ...things don’t have to go well for you have to a good day. ...instead of treating yourself with respect, you have entrusted your own happiness to the souls of others. ...Concentrate every minute…on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice."
Peterson has become notorious because so few have ever heard this. Modern University courses would regard Marcus Aurelius as a white-privileged, patriarchal colonizer; if they mentioned him at all.

That, and they're all clamoring about their "rights" with no regard for their responsibilities.

Update. 5:47 PM.
I notice I am not the first to make this association:
Jordan Peterson and the Return of the Stoics

Thursday, May 03, 2018

The Long March

On April 17th I wondered:
Is free speech under assault on college campuses? Well, some people, including President Trump, think not.
Then we have this idiot show up to assure us that to think free speech is in danger on campuses (including those where e you can't be sure using the made up pronoun "zir" is the only way to avoid administrative persecution) is a vast delusional right-wing conspiracy.

The vastness is only limited by the number of people who weren't conscripted for the ‘[L]ong march through the institutions.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Colluding with the Russian Oiligarchy

Russian trolls' post-election task: Disrupt Florida and other U.S. energy pipelines
Russia’s hidden hand in the Florida pipeline protests was extensive, according to sources familiar with the operations. At least eight Russian accounts, most tied to the troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, sent at least 16 social media messages excoriating the Sabal Trail pipeline or retweeting messages from one of its most prominent opponents, a frequent guest on RT. The tweets were sent to a total of more than 40,000 followers as well as anyone else who saw them via hashtags.
This is just one example of Russian manipulation of useful Green idiots. The Russians do a lot of this in Canada, too.

If we're worried about Russian election shenanigans, we should be equally concerned about this tampering. It's gone on longer, involved more money, and is intended to reduce US national security and divide Americans, while boosting Russian oil revenues and world-political influence.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Crimestop

Is free speech under assault on college campuses? Well, some people, including President Trump, think not.

Most of those skeptics promote a distinction between free speech and "hate speech," a term Mr. Zuckerberg has yet to define for us; but he's working on an AI to apply the definition he comes up with: Once all those messy linguistic, contextual, semantic issues humans can't even deal with are programmed.

That is, he dreams of automating enforcement of Silicon Valley values conforming to regulation he's requested from our technology-naive and Constitutionally slipshod Congressional placeholders. They'll be looking to erect an emanating penumbra since: No, there’s no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment. They have to help Mr. Zuckerberg add one.

We can look to George Orwell for insight into how that public/pirate partnership is likely to work out.
"The mind should develop a blind spot whenever a dangerous thought presented itself. The process should be automatic, instinctive. Crimestop, they called it in Newspeak."
-George Orwell, 1984
A model is already apparent. Google fired James Damore for failure to crimestop. On campus, they're calling it "self-censorship."
The Skeptics Are Wrong Part 2: Speech Culture on Campus is Changing

Click to enlarge.

Very Liberal students care far less about giving offense than about being judged. That is, they worry more about tribal membership in-good-standing and find it implausible their opinions would offend anyone. A collectivist approach.

Conservative students are much more concerned about campus thought police than Liberal students. I would have liked to see them less concerned about giving offense to peers as an indication of individualism, but they know they are surrounded by a great number of people who easily take offense. And they are probably just more polite.

I'm sure you can infer other interesting theories yourself, but the result is not good for any of these students: The Stifling Uniformity of Literary Theory
One wonders whether the students that the academy is producing today could if asked to, provide the arguments of their ideological or political counterparts, without resort to crude caricature or ad hominem...

What might a course look like if a race theorist such as Derrick Bell was studied alongside someone like Thomas Sowell? For about thirty years both Bell and Sowell were consistently among the top five most cited black scholars in American Academia according to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.12 However, as with so many prominent intellectuals, while Sowell is revered among classical liberals, libertarians and conservatives, he is practically unheard of on the left, despite his pioneering work on the economics of race and ethnicity.13 To borrow Jonathan Haidt’s phrase, liberal intellectuals are in danger of being ‘blind’ not only to the other side’s moral taste buds, but also to their most important thinkers.14
Here's another post I think helps explain why Liberals don't like free discussion of ideas. They mean well, but can't be bothered to examine consequences in their quest to perfect the rest of us.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Dispatches from the NRA's Kremlin office

NPR is all over it.

Caught in the intersectionality of Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-Ore.) grandstanding, pervasive Russian collusion hysteria, and teenager induced attacks on civil rights, the National Rifle Association has revealed that it received contributions from individuals with some unspecified ties to Russia.

Might be US citizens living there. Might be Russian nationals living here. Might be Vladimir Putin himself. Who knows? We need to know the extent of this conspiracy.

OK: A total of 23 individuals have been identified.

They contributed a little over $2,500 to the NRA.

Since 2015.

Most of it was membership dues.

The usual suspects, like Everytown for Gun Safety and Media Matters, are outraged. But, for their main money-persons $2,500 wouldn't even make a car payment - assuming Bloomberg and Soros, for example - didn't just pay cash for Maseratis, Rolls, or Ferraris. Or armored Escalades.

Simultaneously, the Russians appear to have funneled several orders of magnitude more money into Green activist groups opposed to fracking and the building of pipelines.

But, don't take my word for it. Here's Hillary on June 18, 2014:
Clinton Talked About “Phony Environmental Groups” Funded By The Russians To Stand Against Pipelines And Fracking. “We were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort, oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you, and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia.” [Remarks at tinePublic, 6/18/14]”
There is other evidence of Russian interest in disrupting energy supplies, which should come as no surprise from a kleptocracy heavily dependent on oil and gas revenue. See here, here and here for Russian efforts to protect Gazprom revenues.

And, of course, the Russians also used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to spread energy-guilt propaganda. It was a bigger effort than their campaign to disrupt our elections, which we know was a few million dollars. Scroll down here to see some of the Russian social media ads attacking pipelines and fracking.

The Left hasn't complained about those ads because they like them. Even if they were interested in the Russian attempt to stifle US energy independence, they'd have a hard time finding it at NPR, where a search for 'russia frack' turns up 3 hits, none related to Russian interference.

Which of these stories seems more important for people to know about? I'm looking at you, NPR.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The President's hugest success?

Achieving Durable Success in the Fight for Deregulation
By virtually any metric, President Trump’s regulatory agenda has achieved nearly unprecedented results. Neomi Rao, the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), has carried out Trump’s one-in, two-out executive order (EO 13771) to the letter, just as his supporters had hoped and detractors had feared.
Well done.

Feminist: Biological sex real

... judge demurs.

Radical feminist warned to refer to transgender defendant as a 'she' during assault case

Truce in the pronoun wars? Note the judge's (apparent) use of "Miss" and "she." If the quote's inaccurate The Telegraph is in trouble.
"District Judge Kenneth Grant warned Ms MacLachlan to refer to Miss Wolf as “she” while giving evidence.

He said: "The defendant wished to be referred to as a woman, so perhaps you could refer to her as 'she' for the purpose of the proceedings."

Ms MacLachlan replied: "I'm used to thinking of this person who is a male as male."

The row was the latest in an ongoing battle between Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs), who believe that transwomen should not be given the same rights as those born female, and transgender activists."
Female Privilege? Just a ploy to stop 26 year old males from punching you if you're a 61 year old female? Maybe that's redundant.

And, what are the exclusive rights of those born female?
"She [the accused] described the event as a hate rally and said the fight broke out because she feared Ms MacLachlan planned to out her as transgender online."
Um, isn't the point of participating in a public rally to make sure people know you're trans? How can we get woke if it's not pushed into our faces?

BTW, the verdict was "guilty." And the accused's desire not to be outed seems to have been frustrated. Her picture is even more prominent after her conviction. And what do you bet "Miss" Wolf has a Facebook page?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Free the Post Office!

Amazon Controversy Makes the Case for a Private-Sector US Postal Service

Read it. Then consider who is the author of USPS troubles.

The only mention of postal services in the Constitution appears in Article 1, Section 8: The Congress shall have Power To establish Post Offices and post Roads; That’s it. Not has to, has power to.

The Congressional mandate for universal postal service and the creation of a government protected monopoly is a legislative choice, not a Constitutional mandate.

But, don't take my word for it. In a footnote to its 2014 report on postal finances, the Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service had this to say:
The USPS often is mischaracterized as a quasi governmental or private entity. It is neither. The USPS is a government agency that was created by Congress to achieve various public purposes. Federal law defines what products and services the Postal Service may offer. Additionally, the USPS’s employees are federal employees who participate in the Civil Service Retirement System, the Federal Employees Retirement System, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
The Post Office suffers from its slavery to politicians and union potentates who put their own interests first. The result for the USPS is 'corporatism without the benefits.'

The pretense that the USPS is a not a government agency is a crony-capitalist obfuscation. The USPS has the WORST of both worlds, the congress controls what they can do and must do, yet forces them to do business whether it’s profitable or not. Congress micro-manages USPS real estate and employment rules and also sets the price of USPS’s mandated services.

Contrary to President Trump's narcissistic whining (which is really about WaPo coverage), Amazon is not the problem. A little fenced off corner of The Swamp is the problem.

But acknowledging that won't help his poll numbers or justify his poorly disguised animus toward a man who probably could benefit from a dispassionate thumping.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dumb f**ks

Mark Steyn had exactly the same reaction I did. I watched some bits of Zuck's testimony on Fox News because I wanted to see the bland boy-face of evil and I wasn’t disappointed. He performed magnificently enough that my wife became pissed off at me for yelling at the TV. The snippet Steyn notes provoked my second loudest yell and an admonition to stop ranting.

On Fox, this bit came before the weaseling he did under examination from Ted Cruz, when I erupted with my loudest commentary. My wife changed the channel at that point.

Zuckerberg's intentions are what he thinks makes him a misunderstood white hat. In his ignorant isolation he truly thinks his intentions are good: That is what makes him evil.

When he speaks about “protecting the “community”” he sneeringly arrogates moral superiority, and is too ignorant to even recognize it. When he speaks about “protecting the electoral process” he is saying “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” He had no concern about "protecting" the 2012 election, when his company actively aided Obama. So be it, as long we as define that as campaign "contribution in kind," but stop with the maternalistic condescension.

And give up the moral preening that your mission is defining "hate speech."
One senator who did understand the dangers ahead was Nebraska’s Ben Sasse. Earlier in the hearing, Zuckerberg had suggested that Facebook will eventually develop algorithms that will sniff out hate speech and be able to address it immediately. “Hate speech — I am optimistic that, over a five to ten-year period, we will have A.I. tools that can get into some of the nuances — the linguistic nuances of different types of content to be more accurate in flagging things for our systems.”

When Sasse’s turn to question Zuckerberg arrived, he asked a simple question: “Can you define hate speech?”

Zuckerberg said it would be hard to pin down a specific definition, and mentioned speech “calling for violence” as something Facebook does not tolerate.

Does anyone at Facebook understand the ramifications of a vague definition of hate speech? Does Zuckerberg think that the sometimes-violent opposition to any viewpoint that is even remotely conservative on college campuses happened in a vacuum?
He’ll be using Fahrenheit 451 as the instruction manual. And on that, Facebook stock rises. We are dumb f**ks.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"Equal Pay Day" is December 31st

...if you consider occupation, hours worked, experience, education, job security, work safety, working conditions, and continuous length of time in the workplace. None of which factor into the feminist mythology of "equal pay day."

For Equal Pay Day: Evidence of employers paying women 19.5% less than men for the same work is as elusive as Bigfoot sightings

If women did the same work as well or better than men for lower compensation, why would the patriarchal capitalist oppressors hire men?

Put another way, women as a group would rather have a Masters in Education than in Engineering.