Archive for October, 2016

Critical Thinking

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Wikipedia’s definition is decent and gets us part of the way there: “…clear, rational thinking involving critique.”

The “Critical Thinking Community” has a number of definitions, as one would expect. And I know maybe I’m not in much position to talk, but the clarity-to-word-count ratio runs a bit on the low side:

…the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

That makes people feel good when they belong in a Critical Thinking Community, I’m sure, but I’m inclined to believe that’s the primary point of coming up with this definition, which would tend to indicate it’s not helping us as we seek to DEFINE the term. It’s full of glurge which doesn’t define. It does not transform the subjective to the objective, which is one of the things definition is supposed to do. We would have to hunt down the author of it, with each specimen that may or may not be critical thinking, and ask him “Is this what you had in mind?” That means the job of defining remains undone.

Critical thinking must be critical. A good example of it would be: You’re at home and you receive a call, in the middle of the day, from very prestigious investment broker telling you about this amazing opportunity, they need the money right away if you want to go for it, be sure and keep it a secret because they only want a few people to have the opportunity…

Non critical thinking would be: They’re so prestigious! Who am I to doubt them? And: How could I get my hands on that amount of money before 5 p.m.? Critical thinking would be: If it’s such a great deal and you only want a few people to know about it, why do you need me? Why even tell me about it? Why not invest in it yourself? This meets the Wiki definition; it involves critique.

I would say it is making, or at least pursuing, a conclusive opinion based on the miscellany of available information left after one removes 1) observed evidence, 2) statements of fact & opinion from others and 3) personal biases. Within that residue, critical thinking consists of detecting apparent contradictions, and working to resolve them.

Saw in a comment under a blog post, of which I became aware over a year ago, a great generalized observation of critical thinking, and some of the problems we see with it…although this doesn’t actually use the term.

The fact that increasing sophistication of analysis often causes one to flip back and forth tells us that (1) we should be suspicious when our complicated tools allow us to return to what we wanted to believe anyways and (2) we should decrease our confidence in this process…since even at the highest levels of sophistication available we might expect yet higher levels to change our opinion.

Good advice, for a lot of people I’ve encountered who are a bit too sure of their opinions. You know the type: So much pre-canned data, and statistics, and ALL of it, every jot & tittle, enforces their own preconceived notions. Every speck, every smidgen. Now, this doesn’t apply just to liberals, they don’t have a monopoly on this problem, although doubtlessly they do have a lock on a sizable majority of the suffering from it.

To a liberal, critical thinking is nothing more than maintaining the feeling that that’s what one is doing.

I Made a New Word LXXIII

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Salt Test (n.)

A simple, logical test to be applied to any declared thing-to-be-done, involving the behavior of the advocates for its implementation: If they get everything they want, will it make them happy?

Tellingly, most efforts to diminish the size and scope of control of government, pass the test. “Just get the government out of [x] and let people decide for themselves.” The irony is that while this leaves the final outcome wide open, it is an advocacy for a testable state: If government does not exert control, it does not exert control. Seems like the very few times such a policy change is put into effect, the proponents of it go away “happy,” or at least, don’t come back pushing for something else. They wanted the government out of it, and the government is out of it, come what may.

Conversely, efforts to embiggen government very often fail the test. They fail the test so often, nobody even bothers to question it or think about it anymore. “Raise the minimum wage to [something] an hour!” “Recognize gay marriage!” “Pass ObamaCare!” “Close the gun show loophole!” “End bathroom discrimination!” “Equal pay for equal work[th]!” And the all time champion, “Make the rich pay their fair share!” A lot of these sound like demands for an objectively testable state, and some of them are. “Raise the minimum wage to” is typically proposed with some kind of a number. But, when & if these proponents are given what they want, they don’t go away happy.

Just like Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, they derogate the all-important process of demand, as well as the fulfillment of the demand, to mere steps in some sort of endless dance. Just angular distinctions on a merry-go-round that doesn’t ever stop. Embarrassingly, we all have to acknowledge at some point that not only is this true, but we’re all aware of it even when we’re in the middle of giving them what they want…to make them shut up…which doesn’t work, and when it doesn’t work we’re not as surprised as we should be.

Rather like a hostage situation, in one of those weird old movies where the bad guys have the action hero racing from one pay phone to the next with just seconds to spare. We want each step to be the final one, but we’re so busy executing it that we’re distracted from pondering whether or not there will be more to come. And there always is.

What I Notice About #NeverTrump

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Seven years ago, give or take, I was a bit weirded out after having heard Sarah Palin’s detractors demand, over and over again, that she “shut up and go away” — this was late 2009, after she had resigned the governorship of Alaska and essentially had done exactly that thing. Somehow…somehow…this opened the gate on the turbocharger mounted on the Palin-hatred engine. How come? You’ll have to ask them. They got exactly what they wanted, and boy were they ever pissed off about it. So I jotted down that, and a few other observations about people who hate Sarah Palin.

Well…we have much the same thing going on with Donald Trump. Don’t we? His fortune rises and falls, and it is when his defeat seems most certain that the Trump bashers are most piqued.

1. They get pretty darned upset if anyone dares to question their commitment to the conservative cause. Which is odd, because #NeverTrump means there is something more important than that. Right? That’s the meaning. They’ve sequenced their priorities in a way that makes the most sense to them, and defeating liberalism, supporting conservatism, these didn’t make the cut. Why then all the anger directed against whoever notices?

Prude2. They do share a close kinship with liberals, as a matter of fact, in that they’re just so anxious to show what a supreme command they have over the subject matter under discussion. They fancy themselves to be authorities. They want to be thought of as authorities. It is their way of convincing, however, that interests me, much more than the fact that they want to do this convincing: Their method of persuasion is to demonstrate the extraordinarily high level of difficulty that is involved in telling them anything. The foundation of what they seek to argue, therefore, is that people know best after some extended period of time spent not learning anything.

3. They are putting a great volume of energy into bringing about a disaster, for which they will not take any ownership. Some of them are already getting ready to blame the opposition, the “Trump supporters,” for Hillary Clinton’s impending victory. This is unseemly, at best, and a sign of mental illness at worst.

4. They see themselves as independent thinkers. Independent thinkers, by definition, are hard to manipulate, if they can be manipulated at all. They demonstrate this, unfortunately, by being easily offended. That’s a problem, because it’s not hard to manipulate you if it’s easy to offend you.

5. They are very bothered by the lately emerging signs that character no longer matters, or is no longer valued. But they themselves care nothing about their bedfellows in the #NeverTrump orgy, what level of character they possess. Very rarely do I see a #NeverTrump protest that a statement injurious to Donald Trump, while tantalizing, is just too demonstrably untrue, too easily proven false, too craven, too low-balled. Nothing is too low for them. Anybody who shares this common enemy, with them, must be their friend. And then they wonder what happened to valuing character.

6. They maintain that the driving force behind their crusade, is an elevation of standard of human behavior, and/or an elevation of respect directed toward women. Donald Trump apologized for the locker room talk. I’m a big believer in the idea that apologies mean very little, in the sense that packaging is different from content. But packaging does have some value; white flags are flags, they’re supposed to be emblematic, and an apology is a white flag. This should have been the finish-line for them, if those were the goals. Things the way they are, though, #NeverTrump didn’t skip a beat. Didn’t lose momentum. Didn’t even experience a disruption of rhythm. I conclude this is about obliteration of something, it has nothing to do with improving anybody’s conduct.

7. If you remind them the next President is likely to appoint five Supreme Court justices, reliable as a sunrise they’ll come back with “Hillary is no worse than Trump.” This is one of those things people say loudly and often, because they know it is not true and they can’t really provide support for it. That’s why you probably won’t hear them say “Trump is, in fact, so very much worse.” That would fall in line with the sentiment they wish to spread around, but they’d have to support that; so they stop at simply questioning whether Hillary is any worse than Trump, implying that the two are equivalents. But it doesn’t invite additional exploration. It’s like the lyrics to a song, which is what they want. Just something they can repeat, that doesn’t invite inspection. Of course, their detractors certainly can support the idea that Hillary is much worse, but that’s only a problem if an actual exchange of ideas ensues.

Tag Off Mattress8. When people point out the democrats don’t have a counterpart for #NeverTrump, and don’t call out the obvious character flaws in their own candidates, their rebuttal is something like “That’s what makes us the good guys.” Republicans and conservatives, supposedly, police their own. But, after their efforts find success and Hillary wins the election, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be crying in their beer about “How come the bad guys keep winning?”

9. They share that particular attribute with impatient children, angry people, social justice warriors, and other liberals: They fail the Salt Test. If it could somehow be worked that they get exactly what they say they want, they’re not happy. This gratification is the beginning of their problems and the beginning of their complaining, and not the conclusion of either one.

10. Most suspiciously: Their whole point is that now that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, and nobody has even a remote shot at being the next President other than him and Hillary Clinton, the 2016 election is a “wash.” I would expect responsible adults who actually think such a thing, to look forward to 2020. Or, to 2018. Or, look around…put some things on Facebook that are entirely unrelated to 2016-Trump-Hillary-Trump-hate-Trump. Something like, pictures of dinner. Kids. Cats. Stupid Star Wars theories about who Rey is and who Snoke is. Maybe some “Jesus won’t save this little girl’s life unless her picture gets a million likes,” something like that. But no. In this election they think is lost and not worth any effort from anybody in any direction, because it’s all SUCH a lost cause…it’s all Trump hate, all the time. For people who want Trump to win, to talk about it all the time, makes a lot of sense. For people who don’t want Trump to win because “it makes no difference,” that makes no sense at all. If you feel very strongly that something doesn’t make any difference, you do your talking about something else. Right? Life’s only so long, right?

The Salt Test

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

I remember seeing this very classy tweet from Julie Dawn Cole, the lady who played Veruca Salt, on the death of legendary “Willy Wonka” actor Gene Wilder:


Rather puzzling, at first. You expect, if the actress who played Miss Salt is sad about this latest demise, there should be a temper tantrum or something, not gracious remarks. Well, actors and characters are different. If we can be made to forget this for an instant, or more, that’s the defining characteristic of good acting.

More from her here.

For those who haven’t seen the film, you’re really missing something. Especially if you’re studying, or coping with, spoiled rotten brats:

I’m sure I was a brat once in awhile. Weren’t we all? I seem to recall my parents mentioning it occasionally. In our household, bratty behavior aroused conflict, and the conflict would endure until the bratty behavior subsided. That’s probably all the qualification you need to call out a case of “child abuse” nowadays…the alternative is that bratty behavior does not arouse conflict, and the caricature of that is Veruca Salt’s home life. She gets everything she wants, and this just provokes more and more antisocial behavior, until such time as she learns some kind of a lesson. Which doesn’t happen until she has an experience on the outside…like, in the Chocolate Factory. Like all the other children meeting some deserved fate there, she’d have been much better off if she got her comeuppance earlier.

BUT…

There is something else that impresses me about Veruca Salt, and other brats that belong to this particularly hardcore strain; something that sets them apart from more generic brats. They all have it in common that they want something. But with the more typical variety, if you give them what they want they at least stop complaining. That’s part of the appeal the starts the enabling process of this brat-vs.-parent codependent relationship: “Just give him what he wants, so that I don’t have to listen to it.” That’s the phrase you hear over and over again as you look into this. Some brats even develop the barest glimmerings of what might be called “maturity,” in that if they’re given exactly what they said they wanted, and discover it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, this triggers some sort of thought process of “Oh well, that’s my problem I guess, I learned something” and they stop complaining. In this way, they are what might be called “semi-brats.” Worse than some, not as bad as some others. They are, at the very least, learning how to honor some sort of contract, take responsibility for at least their share of something.

The Salt-Brat, on the other hand, is never gratified. Not even a tiny bit. If you had some sort of device that could measure happiness, you wouldn’t see even an incremental gain after they got what they wanted, as contrasted with before. EVER.

And in this election year, and in so many others, we should use this as an assessment against social advocacy groups that attach their identities to the wanting of something. They all want something; that’s what makes an advocacy group an advocacy group. But there is a crucial defining distinction to be made among them, a line to be drawn between the ones that will pipe down & go away happy if they’re given what they want — versus, the ones who just keep complaining, so that you end up wondering what the point ever was to listening to what they had to say, let alone giving them what they wanted.

You’re still mad? Still hate us? Shoot…we coulda had that for free.

Such a realization made by the targets of the bratty behavior, and/or the donors of the peace offering, of course does not soothe feelings. Doesn’t make conflict go away.

Defend Against What?

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Every now & then liberals will launch a series of assaults, coordinated to what degree I’m not quite sure, that resemble each other to such an impressive extent that they just have to be directed from some central authority. Ever notice this? It became particularly embarrassing to watch about a dozen years ago, when they started insisting President Bush “lied about weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for going to war.” In the blink of an eye, we were up to our eyeballs in people chanting this slogan, or some derivative of it that didn’t vary by much — many of whom we’d known personally for years and years, and had never before used the word “pretext” or anything like it.

Well now that Trump’s the one to beat, conservatives have joined the attack. And there’s a whole tactic that’s been established, cookie-cutter style. I went through and lifted some excerpts from the second-most-recent debate, the one between the two veep candidates. See if you can figure out where I’m going with this…

And I can’t imagine how Governor Pence can defend the insult- driven selfish “me first” style of Donald Trump.

I am interested to hear whether he’ll defend his running mate’s not releasing taxes and not paying taxes.

I can’t believe that you won’t defend your own voting record.

Well, I guess I can’t believe you are defending the position that there is no bias and it’s a topic we don’t even…

If you want to have a society where people are respected and respect laws, you can’t have somebody at the top who demeans every group that he talks about. And I just — again, I cannot believe that Governor Pence will defend the insult-driven campaign that Donald Trump has run.

I cannot believe that Governor Pence would sit here and defend his running mate’s claim that we should create a deportation force to — so that they’ll all be gone.

When Donald Trump says Mexicans are rapists and criminals, Mexican immigrants, when Donald Trump says about your judge, a Hoosier judge, he said that Judge Curiel was unqualified to hear a case because his parents were Mexican, I can’t imagine how you could defend that.

Well, I’m going to see if you can defend any of it.

But can you defend Donald Trump’s claim that more nations should get nuclear weapons?

Six times tonight, I have said to Governor Pence I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next. And in all six cases, he’s refused to defend his running mate.

And yet he is asking everybody to vote for somebody that he cannot defend. And I just think that should be underlined.

More nations should get nuclear weapons. Try to defend that.

And I know you can’t defend.

I’ll run through the list of things where you won’t defend

Can you defend it?

…this is not directed at this man, except to the extent that he can’t defend Donald Trump — Donald Trump has run a campaign that’s been about one insult after the next.

Now this is just one guy, Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine, so it’s not incriminating or surprising that it matches up with itself, especially given Sen. Kaine’s behavior overall. The man sat there just acting like some sort of rhetorical volcano, or maybe a talkie-toy with a busted cord, and with his hair-trigger outbursts and lack of creativity lost the debate decisively. But someone, somewhere, with influence, must have decided his tactic was a winning one. We’re starting to see it spread like pimples on social media. “Let’s see you defend this,” “Can you defend this,” “I can’t believe you’d defend it.”

The sloppy thinking…it’s just something to behold. You see it contradict itself, just up above. “I can’t believe you won’t defend,” “can’t believe you are defending.” Which is it? And what are we doing here, exchanging ideas or just expressing disbelief? Because one of those is worth ninety minutes, the other isn’t.

And defend against what? I’m seeing an awful lot of people, Sen. Kaine included, forget about this. How specific of a defense would they like to see? It’s not reasonable to demand a specific defense, if the attack is not specific. Right? And how serious? “ZOMG lookit that!” is not a serious attack. It isn’t any more worthy of a serious rebuttal than any other non-serious argument.

But there is a serious aspect to this. Last I checked, this was America; we discuss things here. In fact, we’re lectured pretty damn often lately about “that’s not who we are” over some issue, usually in the context of having national borders that actually mean something. “Having borders that actually mean something is not who we are” is an absurd idea that’s gotten way more repetition than it deserves, so here is an idea much more worthy: Dismissing ideas without any actual discussion, the way democrats want to do all the time…is not who we are. That is not to say all ideas are to be taken seriously. But it’s pretty easy to demonstrate, when an idea should not be taken seriously, why that is.

I’m very bothered, and I think all Americans should be bothered, by this recent trend of simply dismissing things, ideas, platforms, candidates, by way of saying “let’s see you defend it” when there’s no actual attack. The proper response is really “Alright, but first let’s see you attack it.” If that can’t be done, then of course no defense is needed.

“I’m Not That Good of an Actress”

Monday, October 10th, 2016

From Breitbart.

Conclusions From the Second Presidential Debate

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Donald Trump does have a sinus condition.

They’re both under pressure to reduce the number of interruptions, which is good to see. Toward the end, I think they both faltered. Trump probably interrupted more.

Hillary does have “deplorable” judgment.

I’m not sure Russia wants Trump to win, but I’m sure Anderson Cooper doesn’t.

It’s okay for you to go over your allotted time if you’re a woman, and being a democrat doesn’t hurt at all.

Trump is the Republican nominee for a reason. Someone should be making the point that the democrats, when they’re in charge, have shown a consistent pattern of making America’s enemies strong. And, belligerent. I don’t like to see strength and belligerence in our enemies, it’s a bad combination. And Republicans should not be saddled with a long parade of candidates who are afraid to mention this is what happens when democrats are in charge, when it is.

They would both make mistakes. If it’s Trump who is President, my press will tell me ALL about it and the damage will be limited that way.

The democrats really don’t have the first idea what a Supreme Court justice is supposed to do.

The moderators are serving two masters and it isn’t working. They’re supposed to do a fair job moderating the debate, but they have their own constituencies, who don’t want them giving a platform to that purveyor of hate, Donald Trump. So they’re supposed to not-interrupt, and they’re also supposed to interrupt. So they resolve the contradiction by interrupting. The Republican candidate.

Hillary needed to convince people she’s not a compulsive liar. Trump needed to convince people he’s got some decency as a human being and isn’t insane. Trump won.

Hillary’s Incomplete Women

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Wyatt Earp: What makes a man like Ringo, Doc? What makes him do the things he does?

Doc Holliday: A man like Ringo has got a great big hole, right in the middle of him. He can never kill enough, or steal enough, or inflict enough pain to ever fill it.

Wyatt Earp: What does he need?

Doc Holliday: Revenge.

Wyatt Earp: For what?

Doc Holliday: Bein’ born.

Tombstone (1993)

I was just noticing a post I put up three weeks ago has fallen out of currency. At that time, you couldn’t go through a week without hearing half-a-dozen times that Hillary Clinton is the BEST QUALIFIED EVAR!! candidate for President…well, that was then. This is now. I haven’t heard that for awhile. Maybe her campaign got hold of what I wrote, and decided it made a lot of sense and they should change direction?

No. This is The Blog That Nobody Reads. And also, there was this thing that happened where she baited Mr. Trump, successfully, with this pudgy beauty contestant. So there are two things that could have changed this course: The media hubbub about Miss Piggy, and Trump’s reaction. To those, we could add a third possibility: Time. Wouldn’t surprise me even a smidgen, if there’s a “how to win an election” white paper out there, a cookbook of sorts, some piece of research that says: Make it about you until there is frost on the pumpkins, then criticize your opponent from that point forward, during the final weeks.

It would be even cleverer if there was no such research. I’ve noticed the #NeverTrump crowd has gotten desperate since Trump’s YUGE embarrassment this weekend, the “hot mic moment” from 2005 where he talked about grabbing pussies. You can see it in their blog postings, the comments they leave upon the blogs, their social media postings, their “tweets.” This is their moment to be right. Trump has to lose this thing, or they’re going to look like asses and they know it. It’s like the guy who decides not to get involved in a mugging, or to help a woman and her infants stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire. Or, not to fight a house fire. If it all turns out to be a lost cause, looks almost reasonable, but if someone happens along to stop the mugging, save the mom with the flat tire, extinguish the fire…there’s no way to look good if you’re the guy who took a pass. Can’t look cool doin’ that.

This, sadly, is what motivates the #NeverTrump crowd. It doesn’t matter if they’re willing to admit it. It’s just true. They’re feeling insecure…Hillary’s campaign, apparently, is playing them like violins. #NeverTrump is easily manipulated, because #NeverTrump is fake and phony. Provably so. Doing the work of God, making a stand for the dignity of women, declaring some sort of war on profanity (in private conversations, which would be manifestly absurd)…all these purposes would be served with Trump’s apology. All of them. Their purpose is not served with his apology, so their motivation has nothing to do with that. They’re the guy who decided not to rescue the mom with the flat tire, desperately trying not to look like an ass. If Trump loses, they get to crow away about “See, told you so! You shouldn’t have nominated that guy! Not my fault for not voting for him, it’s YOUR fault for nominating someone I don’t like!” Seems only fair to them. Mitt Romney’s detractors got to make the same argument four years ago.

You have to wonder who’ll screw it up in 2020, and what their lame excuse will be…

It’s funny, in a sad kind of way, because these people will readily admit their counterparts on the left don’t have the same qualms. Bill Clinton is credibly accused of rape, which is pretty bad…the excuses come out, the wagons are dutifully circled. Okay, it seems reasonable to establish some threshold of proof, and declare it has not been met. But — leftists like to accuse Donald Trump of things, too. They don’t need “hot mic” conversations that were recorded on tape. They speculate. Point is, if you want to catch them hiding behind a double standard, it isn’t hard. You don’t have to wait long. The leftists do not police their own, they let bad behavior slide. Because the political agenda is far too important to them. The #NeverTrump crowd is proud of this…they’re not like that! They’ve got all the faithfulness of an alley cat when it comes to politics. They’ll take their stand with the rest of us against liberalism, but drop it like a hot potato. They’re SO principled! This is what makes the political right the “good guys,” they say.

We-ell…it really isn’t, actually. After Election Day when Hillary is the President-Elect, right after they’re done crying in their beers about “Why do the bad guys win?” they’re going to be blaming someone else. Right? We needn’t speculate. They say so now. So they’re not really owning this decision that character/integrity/morals are more important than a political victory. There’s something awfully distasteful about getting an excuse ready to go, for a failure that’s about to happen and hasn’t happened yet. I’m left wondering when the character/integrity/morals are actually demonstrated. And I think, if that’s what we were seeing, Trump’s apology for his remarks from eleven years ago would’ve counted for something. We want to make correct moral decisions, first & foremost, to set a good example for others, right?

But again, I’m talking logically. These people decide everything emotionally. I lately had something in the e-mails to say about this…

You see it in our elections this year, with this widespread sentiment that Trump, in spite of all of Hillary’s many faults, is the candidate that should be bounced out of this thing, obliterated…make him drop the cartoon hole in the ground, reach up and pull it in after himself…because he’s profane and boorish. You understand what’s wrong with that, since after Trump loses the election and Hillary is President, Trump will continue to be profane and boorish, will still exist. And we’ll be left with a bad President, whom our press will not hold to account.

It doesn’t pass the laugh-test of elementary problem solving, let alone the problem-solving test of elementary problem solving. The problem is that Trump is profane and boorish. If that really is the number one priority and all other problems pale in comparison, and we MUST do something to solve that one…electing Hillary is not the solution. Right? In fact, it would be a much more effective to elect Trump. Put him someplace where he can’t be profane and boorish.

Well, that’s all very silly. GIGO, as we say…Garbage In, Garbage Out. The idea that one guy in the country is profane and boorish and this is some sort of pressing problem upon which we need to fixate — never made a lot of sense in the first place. This is not a thought process for logical thinking or strategy-building, it is put together to appeal to passions and mindless emotion. Vote Hillary, to show Trump how much he sucks! Put that look on his face, that the bad guys in action movies have right before the missile hits their helicopter. The slow-motion, “ZOMG I just realized how much I suck!” face. Again, we don’t need to wait for the patient to admit to his disease: He has given up, at least temporarily, on actually solving any problems, on making anything better. Whether he’s a #NeverTrump who thinks he’s dedicated to the conservative cause (by definition, though, they’re really not), or a liberal who just wants to see Hillary make it in there — they’re way too busy with the effort to show some certain guy how much he sucks, to sweat any small stuff like the economy, foreign relations, ISIS, national security, or the out-of-control public debt.

Trump has repeatedly gotten in trouble lately for being a heterosexual male who likes the look of beautiful women. It was in Hillary’s introduction of Ms. Machado (warning, video behind like auto-plays):

And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” [emphasis mine]

This fantasy that we can control how people around us look at women, by way of selecting certain people to be elevated to very high positions of authority, has been around a long time. As demonstrated above, it doesn’t make a lick of sense. I suppose everyone can’t think strategically about the problems that annoy them the most, and it’s unrealistic to think we should all “take what we like, and leave the rest” when it comes to the opinions of others. We’re always going to have some control freaks who want to control how the rest of us behave, and if they had the maturity to realize “Electing Hillary won’t fix that,” then they wouldn’t be control freaks in the first place.

But there is a real tragedy taking place here, which seems like it ought to be preventable. How that could be done, I don’t know. But it is decidedly negative energy, and not positive. Hasn’t Barack Obama’s reign been proof enough of that? If His being President ever had a chance of improving race relations in this country — which it didn’t, but let’s just pretend for the moment that at least the chance was there once — it wasn’t really going to be by way of inspiring hope, was it? It was supposed to be a campaign of intimidation. Can we admit that much? White racists would get all ready to do their white racist stuff, and suddenly stop and think “Waitaminnit, the President is a black man, I’d better cool my shit.” Now we can get into how it didn’t quite work that way, because it turns out not all racists are white…but that’s a side point. The main point is that Hillary, and those who support her, are planning much the same thing with women. And if she wins, the effect will be much the same; rather difficult to deny that male-female relations will be affected over the next four-to-eight years, the same way black-white relations have been affected up to now. Also, the main point covers that things are not made better this way, because the methodology is negative and not positive, applying fear and not hope.

But, some women don’t care about this. They’re super-enthused already, recognizing the signs that women are enjoying a certain influence on things, that has eluded them up until now.

Which brings us to an unsavory question. What kind of women are these?

These are absolutely, positively, not women who have a problem with profanity in private conversations among adult men. These are Amy Schumer types. There are those who suppose, and there is a certain credibility about this, that this hot-mic “scandal” will end up helping Trump and hurting Clinton, on balance, if for no other reason than because Americans despise hypocrisy. And we’re seeing a big bundle of it here. So we have our first answer to the what-kind-of-women question: Hypocritical women. The “raunchy comedienne” stereotype that does suggestive things with science fiction fantasy props, but doesn’t want any men anywhere to do something so gauche as…looking at an attractive woman in a bathing suit, and enjoying the sight. That is not to be tolerated.

Unattractive, insecure women, perhaps. Steve Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism is that the “most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.” Here is a failure that is maintained as a constant, within social justice movements: They work, and think, in passive voice. “Be considered” — by whom? Dudes actually have this problem. I’m a dude. Some women think I’m good-looking, other women are more sensible. Know what I did about it? I rendered the opinions of all the ones who think I’m not good-looking, irrelevant — by marrying one of the ones who thinks I’m good-looking. See? Active-voice thinking, leads to an active-voice solution to the problem. Try it sometime girls!

But…they don’t. They won’t. They have to control how other women are “seen.” I guess that’s the old thing about think globally act locally? They’ve got to control what everyone else is doing.

They have giant holes in them…no, not that hole. A spiritual hole. Like Ringo’s. They can’t ever fill it…

“Is There Anyone Who Has Never Been in the Minority on Any Decision?”

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

…asks one of my liberal Facebook friends, decisively nudging in an unstated way toward an approved answer of “no.” We-ell…if I’m going to speculate on this with honesty, I have to factor in years, and years, and YEARS of arguing with liberals who’ve been cudgeling me the entire time with entirely unsupported “we all know” arguments. Such arguments are lifted above the depths of inconvenience that goes with the presence of dissent, and the messy business of contending with it. They sidestep it. Hey, it’s a given. We all know.

Or…most of us know. More people agree than don’t agree, and that just proves it, right?

If that is the sentiment — and it very often is — what then is the difference between that, and confessing to a resolute belief in the majority’s privilege to manufacture its own brand of relative-truth, that is beyond challenge or appeal by any other brand? St. Augustine is said to have authored the maxim about “Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” Alright, maybe he didn’t say it; I’m sure the experts would agree it seems like something George Washington would say. The important thing is, if St. Augustine did say it, would liberals agree?

Or, let’s leave the liberal thing behind for a bit, since that’s not part of the question. The question suggests a fragile absolute. That seems quite precarious to me, since to stick to a minority opinion after it’s been demonstrated to be in a minority, requires some sort of principle. Even if it is an unscrupulous minority opinion, you’d have to show some rugged constitution about it, and a determination to withstand the dissent of “everybody knows.”

That, although we may be loathe to acknowledge it in certain situations, demands character. Something we have to develop over time. We aren’t born with it. And it’s absurd to suppose everyone with a heartbeat is developing it.

I remember one lefty-leaning guy in particular, who left me with a palpable sense of “I don’t think that guy has ever gone against the group-consensus in his entire life.” Thankfully, by this time I had developed the sense of discernment not to say some things out loud. I have an effervescent memory of being tempted and deciding against it. And I can dimly recall the parting-shot he used to inspire this: Something about, me being proven wrong was some sort of fait accompli, since everyone — and I had shown my negligence in failing to figure this out for myself — disagreed. Everyone out of…whom? Smart people? English-speakers? Everyone he knew? Everyone with red blood in their veins? He did not say. But there was sufficient definition in his condemnation to satisfy him, which is what mattered…”everyone” was qualified in some, entirely unstated way, and the St. Augustine wisdom did not apply, so anything else to be discussed was just so much useless static.

It isn’t an isolated incident by any means.

And whenever anyone, liberal or otherwise, indulges in the “I know you’re wrong because nobody agrees,” or its companion of “I know I’m right because everyone knows it” — they are implicitly confessing to being part of the lifelong-bandwagon crowd. That is the equivalent of saying “No I’ve never been in the minority on anything, ever, why would I ever consider it?”

There is a lot of danger involved in assuming the majority is always correct.

Kelly Osbourne Tries to Call Donald Trump a Racist

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Ew…Honey, Snowflake, that’s just…aw no…

I do so love it when a mask slips.

“Woman of Great Achievement…Reprimanded by Men of Lesser Knowledge”

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Something called Quartz…by way of Daily Bell, which wonders, like me, if it’s a joke…via Zero Hedge:

Was Janet Yellen mansplained to by members of Congress who grilled the Federal Reserve chair this week in her semi-annual testimony to the House Financial Services Committee?

On the one hand, this seems an unfair charge. The men at the dais in these kinds of proceedings regularly treated Yellen’s predecessors, all of them male, in a similar manner — interrupting them, patronizing them, and generally making fools of themselves — while the economist in the chair would do his best not to explode.

On the other hand, it’s a tough week to ignore the role of gender dynamics in US political discourse. Just days after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was subject to 90 minutes of thinly veiled microaggressions from Republican challenger Donald Trump at their first debate — the interruptions, the remarks about her “temperament,” the questioning of her “stamina,” the criticism of her preparedness — another intelligent woman of great achievement was reprimanded by men of lesser knowledge in her area of expertise.

Thinly veiled what? And you just got done admitting, men who preceded Ms. Yellen in the post she holds, were subjected to “similar” treatment. Perhaps similar is not “identical”; perhaps there are micro-differences in the way the interrupting was done. Since the article does not delve into these, or even examine the question of their existence, it’s hard to say what exactly is being observed here.

Reading on…

This is not to say that Congress doesn’t have an important role to play as a check against the power of the US central bank. These hearings ought to be substantively tough. But do our elected officials have to act so rough in their treatment of the human being sitting across from them?

++blink++ What the fuckety fuck…

Now we have something of a clue. The author of the column is reacting emotionally, describing her feelings as she watched the proceedings. Maybe it was after this she did some research and discovered her objection could be based on feelings and nothing more than feelings, that a bit of careful thought reveals there is no sexism here…it was gracious of her to include this in her second paragraph.

But it was also rather unmanly of her to just shrug it off and continue onward with her screed, knowing full well now that it’s based on nothing.

So is it a joke? If not, then who reads this stuff? I was flailing about for answers, and clicked on the author’s name

Heather Landy is global news editor at Quartz, based in New York. Previously, she was editor in chief of American Banker Magazine. Heather started her career at Bloomberg News, where she wrote about retailing, the steel industry and the corporate bond market (although not at the same time). She then spent five years on the business desk of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Her work in Texas earned a Gerald Loeb award for beat reporting and helped liven up her lectures as an adjunct instructor at TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism. Heather also has served as a special correspondent to The Washington Post, covering Wall Street at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

Scary stuff, when you think about it. The 2008 financial crisis was caused by a bunch of political figures, “men of lesser knowledge” you might say, telling the banks how to do their banking and offering financial shielding, paid for by U.S. taxpayers, from consequences of bad decision-making. It’s a classic case of unproductive people telling the productive people how to do their producing. So the “special correspondent” who covered all this, I suppose, is now writing shell-shocked articles about “do they have to be so rough?” as our top regulator is overseen by our elected representatives, in an effort to keep such a debacle from happening again.

Because that top regulator is a girl. Oh, my. What a powerful argument for not having a woman in Ms. Yellen’s position. Not saying it is politically correct, not saying you can win an elective office pointing it out to anyone, not even saying I’d agree with it…just saying, it is powerful when you consider it logically. After all: How can we stop the 2008 financial crisis from happening again? Make a list of the ways! How long is it? I see only one, and when you take “hold elected and appointed officials accountable” off the list, there’s nothing left.

And it’s obvious Ms. Landy, and God only knows how many readers who agree with her, object to that one thing we can do to keep it from happening again, when a woman is in charge.

Skimming over her archive page, I came across a fascinating bit of literary time-wasting

What it would mean to have a woman in the White House
:
What would she get done? The easy argument: Not much. Congressional Republicans have now spent eight years honing their talent at obstructing efforts of a Democrat-held White House. They could see fit to block any of her attempts to introduce reforms, including those that bring women more equal treatment in society and the workplace. But as a legislator, Clinton had a record of reaching across the aisle, especially to her female peers in the Senate, and frequently succeeded in finding bipartisan compromises. Who’s to say she couldn’t do the same from a perch at the White House?

Hillary Clinton got something done? Holy cats! I had to click open that link…whereupon, I found something by Margaret Carlson…

How the Senate’s Women Maintain Bipartisanship and Civility
Congress’s approval ratings may be in the basement, but civility and bipartisanship among its female members is as strong as ever. Margaret Carlson on how the Senate’s women do it.

When Olympia Snowe announced she was leaving the Senate, her Republican colleagues were hopping mad. Her reasons — that the place had become a dysfunctional partisan hell — only elevated their anger. How dare she depart at a time when they might win a Republican majority in the Senate if they kept her seat?

How me, me, me, and male. Now let’s switch to Snowe’s female colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, who were sad to see her go. Snowe will leave a gaping hole in Washington, in their lives, and in the women’s supper club, a group of bipartisan Senators who meet monthly at one another’s houses or in the Strom Thurmond Room in the Capitol. (No, the irony is not lost on them that he was the avatar of the members who would rather pinch a woman than listen to her.)

The club is not a secret, but it is “no boys allowed” and less about conquering new territory than about finding a heightened quality of life as they seek to heighten their constituents’ quality of life. It wasn’t organized as a caucus around a subject, but to restore some of the natural camaraderie that existed before so many members left their families behind and spent every free moment of their nights and weekends fundraising.

Okay, so Hillary Clinton didn’t get anything done after all, and probably wouldn’t get anything done as U.S. President, at least nothing good. Just as I thought before. Headline over-promised, article under-delivered.

I hate to say it, and I can’t completely mean it of course…in my work life and professional life, I frequently meet women who have skill, competence, an understanding of logic and a sense of fairness, women who are not like Heather Landy or Margaret Carlson — but, here we see another powerful argument for keeping women away from the hallways of power, as well as stopping them from writing articles other people might read — an argument worthy of the most blisteringly offensive chauvinist-pig Disney cartoon villain. It’s a “bad” argument only in the sense that it’s so unlikable, but again, it is powerful if you think about it logically. Only by clinging so fervently, so desperately, so emotionally, and in such a womanly way to her feelings of vengeful scorn, can a WOMAN write of “irony,” albeit in parentheses, and in the next paragraph include a sentence containing “it is ‘no boys allowed’ and…about finding a heightened quality of life as they seek to heighten their constituents’ quality of life.” How did an editor not catch this? Were there no male constituents in Maine in 2012? Or in any of the other states represented by other members of the hen-fest? I assume there must have been some…so, to what sort of brain-diseased female-monster does this seem proper? “Go away! We’re heightening your quality of life!”

When do we get to that part about women showing they can do a job just as well as a man? That they can think about actions and consequences in an equally mature way, produce results at least as favorable, pay-forward the spirit of inclusion from which they personally and professionally drew a benefit, provide a positive role model for the girls who are watching them, trying to figure out what sort of women they themselves want to grow up to be…really show us dudes how it’s done. Make us wonder why we took so long giving them the opportunity to participate, possibly putting them in charge, rather than giving us cause to look back on all this as some sort of historical mistake. Did something happen to that vision? It would seem so…

I have a great idea. How about we just stop paying attention to whether this-person or that-person is a man or a woman. Concentrate instead on avoiding disasters, and producing the best results possible. That would require some sense of maturity out of everyone involved, including the people who write about it…I dunno, maybe I’m asking too much here.