Archive for February, 2020

Harrison Ford: We Have to Start Talking Politics Again

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Via Townhall, we learn of a famous actor saying something sensible.

This part isn’t it…

During an interview with CBS News actor Harrison Ford said Americans need to start being more open to talking about politics.

Ford has spent a great deal of time trying to convince businesses and various government agencies to get involved in the climate change debate.

“You’ve spent a lotta time working with big business on trying to get their focus,” interviewer Lee Cowan said.

“Yes – businesses, NGOs, municipalities, state governments have all stepped into the gap,” Ford explained. “I’m now seeing that I think we’re coming close to being able to really commit the resources and energy to confronting the issue, because it’s taken up on the highest level of politics. It’s taken up on the streets by young people.”

Ford sees the so-called climate change crisis as a “bottom-line crisis.”

Prince Charles, Jeff Bezos, the Swedish truant, Harrison Ford and many others…people get elevated to some kind of dais of importance, and they start to think that by massaging & kneading our tax structures and regulatory frameworks, we can change the weather. And we better do it toot-sweet, in fact it may already be too late!

It isn’t knowledge that compels people to think so. It’s fame. Something to do with the way we’re wired.

But then Ford goes on to say,

“I think it’s come to the point where we gotta start talking politics,” Ford explained. “But we gotta talk about it in a positive way. We gotta regain the middle ground. We’re in these ideological enclaves. But the truth is in the middle. Progress is made in the middle.”

“And you think we can get back there somehow?” Cowan asked

“We damn well better,” the actor replied.

It may be the right opinion to have for the wrong reasons, but it’s still the right opinion. If we start talking politics again, we have these factions jockeying and fighting each other to “regain the middle ground.” You may say this isn’t right because all these different factions want the middle ground, not all of them deserve to have it, and so there is a potential here for some wrong to be done; I would agree. In fact this climate change hysteria is a perfect example of that.

But that’s much better than don’t-talk-politics. With that implied rule in effect, this “middle ground” goes to…well, wherever. It’s accidental. People start to say “I don’t want to audibly disagree with X, I have a living to make and it’s not worth the trouble to me.” When X is something silly and absurd. If you can get people prattling away about it in the coffee shops, it wins — pure chaos. Ford may not realize it, but his favorite cause has been benefiting from this already. He thinks more people would come around to his way of thinking if it were discussed with greater cogency and clarity? I’d like to see that put to a real test. I’d like to see the Socratic Method put to work on this thing.

How much carbon are we not-emitting, approximately, as a result of our plastic straw ban?

When we allocate resources to “fight climate change,” how exactly does that work? Where does it go? What kind of oversight have we established to make sure the Earth’s mean temperature is lowered by as much as it’s supposed to be lowered by the suspense date, and what enforcement mechanisms do we have in place to make sure the money gets paid back if this doesn’t happen? Many other questions.

So Harrison Ford might not realize exactly how he’s right, but he is right. When we don’t talk about politics, probably the worst thing that happens is we all forget how to talk about politics…even if, once the family reunion is over and we’re back on the Internet, we’re talking politics! With the don’t-talk-politics rule firmly in place and firmly enforced everywhere else, it is our tendency to do it very badly. That’s why there’s so much insulting and attacking. It’s ineptness. It’s the incompetence that comes from inexperience. You’ll notice a Pareto Rule, 80/20, where eighty percent of the toxicity comes from twenty percent of the (Internet) participants. The “How Dare You!” girl is a good example of this. People don’t know how to explain what exactly their plans entail, or what exactly it is they’re trying to do, how they’ve gone about validating their most important premises, so they start play-acting like there’s something wrong with the people they’re trying to convince who aren’t being convinced fast enough.

It is in that environment that the flawed catechism of “climate change” has managed to survive. I don’t think it would manage to survive a coherent dialogue involving scrutinizing questions. Look at how hard it works to avoid that. The only time it deploys even a cursory appearance of relying on salient facts, is when it bludgeons us from one of those “Get The Facts” websites — no dissent allowed. In fact it’s even worse: Those who push it are constantly working to ostracize any & all dissent, because they know their argument can’t withstand it. It is an argument that demands a monologue because it can only endure within a monologue.

Ford is wrong about this “middle ground” stuff. A concoction half-poisoned is poisoned. This is a very popular myth that we’ve come to accept naturally as a result of our public-school indoctrination: “Share your toys!” So people think if we take some of what this guy wants to do, some of what that guy wants to do, and blend it up with what everybody else wants to do then we’ll arrive at the “right” answer that will please everybody. It’s not a good fit for our times because so much of what people want to do consists of “Make it more and more expensive, for no reason at all, for those other guys to do whatever it is they need to do.” Sorry, but when your plan is simply to screw around with other people who are just minding their own business, you don’t need to be part of the compromise.

“I Hate Arrogant Men!”

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Don’t tell the democrats but they’re miscalculating again. Steyer and Bloomberg have figured out, or are listening to someone who’s figured out, that Trump represents a sea change, a hairpin-turn so to speak, and white straight male pricks who never admit to their mistakes and can’t be told anything are in vogue right now.

Now I’m up to 32 years as a server and/or software engineer, one or the other…I’ve spent the entire time around arrogant pricks, and occasionally have been one myself. I’ll let you in on a secret here. If you win as often as Donald Trump, you aren’t really that arrogant. “Pride goeth before a fall” is a real thing. You have to admit to your mistakes. To me it’s pretty obvious Trump must do this in private. There is a consciousness, an awareness, that such-and-such a move was a mistake and it requires a course correction. Look at his various dismissals. There are people who can’t come back, like ever…Bolton, Bannon, Sessions, Tillerson…those are mistakes. There are others who can come back anytime. Hicks came back, and the door is always open to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Not mistakes. So there is a process of evaluation going on here, resulting in thumbs-down at least as often as thumbs-up.

You have to have that humility in order to win more often than a coin toss. Keeping it hidden is an option…especially for a hotelier and casino owner, or any dedicated marketing professional. But you must have it. You have to learn as you go. You have to be able to answer that question “What do you know now that you didn’t know a year ago?” To do that, you have to be able to admit you were wrong about something.

The country still hates arrogant men, and probably should. Trump’s base only appreciates his style when it comes to watching liberals get humiliated. Oh yes, that’s great stuff. But whoever is out there following Trump as part of some sort of personality cult, worshiping him as a religious figure…that’s not typical, these people do not have the numbers to put him or keep him in the White House. The people who brought Trump electoral victory had to learn to accept his personality, which is more drag than lift.

And to bring them/us around, Trump had to generate positive results more consistently than a truly arrogant man would be able to bring.

The appearance of being an “arrogant man” is very often just that, an appearance lacking supporting substance. That’s because when it comes to men, this society we’ve built for ourselves tends to think things out in crude, binary form: You either admit to mistakes or you don’t, and your admission of mistakes must be public, and frequent. This is wrong. The hero worship that comes our way for our “intelligence” or “big brains” or whatever, is as wrong as this condemnation for being arrogant — very often, I notice, coming from the same people. Somewhere along the way I came to realize that people who commented on how intelligent I was, were merely noticing that I had some and was ready, willing and able to use it. Having and using intelligence is not evidence that you have any great abundance of it, it just means you have some. So that’s a mistake. Another mistake is in requiring some sort of “quota” of I-was-wrong confessions, and if you don’t see that many out of a person then he must be arrogant.

Nobody says that out loud. But it’s very popular, I see, to make snap-decisions about a person’s level of arrogance as if that premise held true. Not only does it not work, but with greater and greater technology and a cushier and cushier lifestyle for us all, it only becomes more errant, diverging further and further away from reality as technology brings us more comfort & convenience, and changes our priorities. The day-to-day problems that confront us are really not that demanding or complex. If you do have some intellect and you are willing to use it, and the problems do not change in any meaningful way, you should make fewer mistakes with the passage of time — even if this intellect you’re applying is only average. That’s the whole point to having intelligence. Unless the problem changes meaningfully, your mistakes should dissipate and diminish after awhile. A lot of people don’t get this. I’m still rather surprised at how many.

Good luck to Ban-it-all Bloomie and Tom Steyer with their “But I’m a jackass too” campaigns. This is going to be a lot of fun to watch this year.

Related: What TF is Wrong With Putting America First??

Attorney General

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

Does the Attorney General work for the President of the United States? Or is there supposed to be an independence preserved there, such that the mere appearance of linkage or coordination in their ambitions is cause for scandal?

AGThere is a clear answer to this, although it’s not written anywhere. When the POTUS is a Republican there is to be independence. Defiance is encouraged, definitely tattling should be happening, maybe even prosecutions. When a democrat is running things though, we go back to the direct-reporting structure. It’s okay for the Attorney General to openly refer to himself as the President’s “wing-man.”

It’s been like this ever since the Saturday Night Massacre. Republican Presidents don’t have an Attorney General, they are to be overseen by the AG and Congress should look at getting a new one — for themselves — if the one who’s in there seems to be showing too much alignment with the rest of the Executive Branch…of which he is a part. Presidents from the other party get to go ahead and have one, who works for them. And that’s perfectly fine.

There’s no fixing this.

We should abolish the office permanently. Replace it with a “Secretary of the Department of Justice,” since “Attorney General” is a stupid name. And put it right in the Constitution that this official works for the President just like the other cabinet officials do, so we can stop having this open question about it and close up this hole the democrats and the liberal press have been exploiting all this time.

Yes, I’m serious. No, I realize it would be impossible to get two-thirds of both chambers and 38 states to agree. But the idea should be put out there, or at least, attention should be called to this glaring double standard. There’s no way to reasonably defend it, it’s just become the default way of dealing with this thing and it’s not acceptable.

Why We’re So Polarized

Friday, February 14th, 2020

A thought about why we’re so polarized:

Well, what do we do to not be polarized? We put our children in school with each other, we recognize that our species is hardwired for tribalism, and we fight this by teaching the children how to play & work together, and share. If we’re going to be honest with ourselves we’re going to have to admit this doesn’t work very well because we bludgeon this into kids before they

1. Get diagnosed with phony learning disabilities, if they’re boys, for acting too much like boys;

2. Figure out as they mature whether they’re more interested in delayed-gratification pursuits, or whether they must have instant gratification;

3. Figure out as they mature what time means to them, whether it’s a resource to be applied against specific goals they have in mind, or whether it’s a problem to be burned away by idle pursuits so that they can make it to their coffins without ever being bored;

4. Figure out as they mature whether they’re more concerned about outcome or about process, about thoughts versus feelings, whether they do their best work in solitude or in a group;Polarized

5. Develop potentially contentious opinions about things and are subjected to the rigors involved in defending them rhetorically.

In short. Once they enter Kindergarten, we essentially browbeat them with what is nothing more or less than a predilection to get along with each other and then we hope that holds up as they go through the various challenges involved in figuring out who they really are. With some kids, this seems to work. There are twosomes, “[BFF] and I have been besties since second grade,” and there are foursomes…these are just the tips of the icebergs though. Most of the student body is not part of this.

Consider the perfect being who knows us all, Jesus Christ, invited over to have dinner with us and get along with us. We like to think about that all the time, don’t we? WWJD? Of course Jesus would get along with us; we’d all do our best to get along with Him; and He would know all the thoughts in our heads, which of us our conservatives, which are liberals, why we’re that way…see the very best in our intentions and still get along. Clearly that is the goal. That is what the rest of us are trying to do. Why do we fall short?

I would presume, if Jesus really was opposed to Trump’s border wall, that it was not His intention to let in millions of drunk drivers and rapists so more people would be hurt. I would presume, if He were in favor of raising the minimum wage, that it was not His intention to make it harder for low-skilled people to successfully apply for entry-level jobs to weaken the economy so more democrats could get elected. And I think liberals would presume, if Jesus showed up wearing a Make America Great Again hat, that He wasn’t a homophobe or a racist. So here is a case where we mortal people have to contend with a challenge that would not confront The Lamb of God. Not unless He disguised Himself maybe. We presume the worst of each other, because out here in adult-world, let’s be honest about this — we’re taught to do this. Trump supporters are racists. Liberals remind each other of that pretty constantly. I think they have a need to do this because so many of them have real-world experiences that suggest the opposite…so they say it very often.

So conservatives presume the worst about liberals because we’re really not that concerned about intentions, we’re more invested in ultimate outcome. Which is that people get hurt by illegal aliens. And that a higher minimum wage forces a local economy to languish, exacerbates inflation, and makes it easier to elect democrats. Whereas liberals presume the worst about conservatives because they keep providing instructions to each other to so presume.

But the real problem here is that teachers aren’t going to want to get involved in people’s opinions, or for that matter any of their grown-up concerns — “We don’t teach you what to think, we teach you how to think.” They’re only interested in breaking that when the time comes to teach kids what to think, in which case they teach them how to be liberals, and slander the conservatives as homophobes and racists. Apart from that, for the most part, teachers will teach the kids how to play together up until about fourth grade…how to work together up until about sixth grade…and then, come the challenges that go along with teetering on the brink of adulthood.

By the time the kid deals with real approach-approach conflict, and deals with challenges that have to do with giving up instant gratification for the delayed…this “Get along with each other” thing has been left in the dust for a good long time.

In adulthood, the real challenge — as most conservatives understand — is this: You have given up the instant gratification for the delayed. You gave up on partying in college so you could study and ultimately get yourself a good job. Now here’s someone who did it the other way…and furthermore, he’s voting for Bernie this year so he can get your taxes raised and then transfer his student debt to you.

He’s sitting at this dinner table. Go, sit down with him, and get along with him…the guy who never gave up anything for anything, hasn’t done squat, and wants to use the force of law to take your stuff. That is something Jesus would like to see you do.

And first grade kids aren’t learning how to do that, on the playground, playing tetherball or hopscotch or whatever it is they do these days. Instead, they’re learning how to get “triggered.”

Why are we polarized?

What we do to avoid being polarized, really doesn’t amount to very much of anything at all.

That Vindman Guy

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

I see the powers-that-be are trying to whip up some kind of scandal involving the employment prospects, or lack thereof, of that Vindman guy. The issue has quickly sunk into the arcane details, on both sides, with Trump-phobes grousing away about the impropriety of firing someone with “whistle blower protections” and “retaliation,” and Trump-apologists parsing the differences between firing vs. reassignment. Meanwhile, it seems both sides agree President Trump wasn’t/isn’t able to count on this guy to carry out the Trump agenda, which to me makes all the quibbling look rather daffy although I suppose it makes sense inside the beltway.Vindman

A scandal about Vindman would necessarily depend on this weird “job-as-property” viewpoint. The idea that once you have a job, it belongs to you, kind of like land. And if you ever lose it then that means someone committed some sort of crime against you. This is the weirdness that is America. Labor unions have indoctrinated us over the course of several generations that whether you’re legitimately fired or not, is up to some “for cause” verbiage in a rule book, not your boss. We’ve accepted it as normal that if the verbiage can be twisted and teased and interpreted the right way, then like Arthur pulling the sword from the stone you become the rightful sovereign, and possessor of that ultimate coveted prize: A regular paycheck provided by someone who really doesn’t want to give it to you.

We definitely need to have some kind of conversation about this.

See, I don’t think a job is property. I think a job is an obligation that hangs over your head. Like: I was planning to cut my lawn Saturday but I didn’t do it, so come Sunday morning I have a JOB I need to do; if I did what I was supposed to do the day before, I wouldn’t have a job. Like that. That’s what a job is, a liability not an asset, a pain in the ass. The fact that there’s money coming with it and this is what you use to pay your bills…well…yeah that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

But if my boss fires me from my job? We-ell…that’s up to him. If the job doesn’t need doing, or if there’s someone else who can do it faster or cheaper than I can, well…too bad so sad. My oncoming stint at the unemployment line, which may be long or short, is a tragedy for me and I guess that’s what distracted us from what a job really is, got us to look at jobs as assets/property in the first place, started us down this errant path all those years ago. The job is not my property. If the job really is property and someone owns the job, that would be my boss.

So here we have a case where the boss is Trump…and he can no longer count on this Vindman person to carry out his policies. That much is obvious, right? So okay. If you’re Vindman, you should expect to be gone.

There’s no scandal here.

Next problem.

You Don’t Care More Than We Do

Friday, February 7th, 2020

Nick Searcy explains to those who need the explaining. It’s a good explanation, although I’m inclined to think if the ones who needed it were capable of getting it, they wouldn’t need it in the first place.

There is no brand of ignorance on the planet more pervasive, more persistent, or more obfuscating than the ignorance liberals have about what motivates their opposition. There is apathy in the ignorance; they don’t care about what they don’t know. They’re proud of not knowing. They’re proud of not caring.

Three Glorious Days of Democrat Agony

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Schlichter

So, February 3, 4, and 5, 2020 were pretty much the most miserable three days in the history of the Democratic Party. I’m not laughing, really I’m not! You know how sometimes you have a bad day when nothing goes right? Well, these super-achievers managed to triple that streak…

He’s referring to Monday, when the Iowa caucuses crashed and burned; Tuesday, when President Trump gave a great State of the Union address; and yesterday, when the Senate formally voted to acquit him of both articles, and end the impeachment silliness once and for all. It’s definitely one for the time capsule. We’re exposed to a lot of “news,” just nonsense on a daily basis that’s supposed to change our course in some meaningful way, really upset the apple cart. And so often this turns out to be lots of build-up with no pay-off, the “news” doesn’t stay news — a week later nobody remembers it. These three events over the named three days, pass the test that’s failed by so many other things on our radar, they really will leave a mark on history and they’re examples of a much longer and broader arc of significant events that are part of our evolving history.

The democrat party is in a decline. The decline may end someday. Each one of the two major political parties have had epitaphs written about it over the years, which over the long term mean exactly nothing. So in another four years, maybe two, much of what’s broken about them now may have been fixed. Much, but not all. The democrats have lost something they’re never getting back again. They lost it awhile ago. They’ve been missing it since that November night in 2016, and that flesh wound has yet to heal.

Then February 5th came along and their impeachment collapsed into rubble. We all knew it was coming, but then … poof. Gone. You tried to take out the king, and you failed. How lame.

Yeah, history will record that you managed to impeach Donald Trump. History will also record that Donald Trump beat you donkeys like rented mules.

Advantage, Trump.

I don’t know if this decline is terminal. I doubt strongly that it is. But if the democrat party as we know it is to go away for good, I’ll not shed a tear. The reason why is ably captured by this video screed from New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

“First of all, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is an extraordinarily sacred award. We’re talking about putting someone on the same level as Rosa Parks, for example, in terms of their contributions to American progress,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Rush Limbaugh is a virulent racist.”

Limbaugh stunned his 20-million member audience Monday with the announcement he’s been diagnosed with “advanced lung cancer.” He told listeners that the disease will keep him off the air on certain days when he’ll receive treatment.

Trump responded by inviting the conservative icon to the State of the Union address, where first lady Melania Trump then presented the medal and placed the award on Limbaugh – who was visibly emotional.

Ocasio-Cortez was not moved.

“To do it in the middle of a State of the Union, and not even dignify it with its own ceremony, as it has, there is all sorts of norms that are being violated,” she said. “Not just for people’s humanity but also, it truly just cheapens the value of it.”

I don’t object to disagreeing with me about the value brought to our nation’s discourse by Rush Limbaugh. I can tolerate people disagreeing with me about that. And I’m not referring so much to the out-and-out fibbing about Limbaugh being a racist, when he isn’t one. That’s pretty nasty, but we have a lot of people running around fibbing about things, and we can put up with that. It’s the price we pay for having free speech in our society.

The thing we really can’t have, the thing that does more damage than even the deliberate lying, is this sunup-to-sundown, all-year-every-year, “Omigaw this cannot stand” state of being aggrieved…about…whatever. This it’s-always-something thing. We have all these people taking to social media or to the weekday or Sunday morning talk shows, with their various trifling complaints, demanding attention for the trifling complaints over & above what’s appropriate for trifling complaints. Ocasio-Cortez objects to the President of the United States awarding a medal that, in his place, she would not have awarded…well…that’s why we have an executive in this country, who goes around doing things that wouldn’t get done if we had to wait for everyone in our shores with a heartbeat to go along & not object. Sometimes that guy is going to do things that some people don’t like, and that’s okay. I survived Obama, you’ll survive Trump.

And the democrat party has declined to the point where they’ve become just that and little else. Just ankle-biters, emergency-cord-pullers missing the emergency. “Hold up there, I have a complaint.” Don’t buy that gas, don’t build that business, don’t hire that guy, don’t don’t don’t. I’m aggrieved. You have to stop everything and hear my complaint. Carbon emissions, objectifying women, not enough blacks on Seinfeld…whatevs…

This has caused enormous damage to us over the years because our country is made up of decent people. I think most Americans, when they hear someone has a beef about something, are initially inclined to freeze in our tracks and see what we can do to accommodate. That’s one of the things that has made us an exceptionally great country. But it’s also been our weakness, because over the years it’s given rise to these waves of ninnies who just take advantage of our good nature. They start bitching, not when they see a problem that could be solved, but when they want some attention — which is always. They’ve been using this good trait of ours to start up their never-finished never-done revolution. They’ve put us in a never-ending state of revolt.

The obvious solution is for us to sharply curtail this spirit of accommodation. To short-circuit our own benign attributes of consideration and sensitivity. To transform into a culture of jerks. I hope that doesn’t happen. I hope the coming transformation stops at a simple reversal-of-polarity in initial premises: “Let’s give your beef a fair opportunity to express and see what it is, but until you can convince me a change is necessary I shall presume there is not to be one.” As opposed to: “Let’s hear about your feelings and see what we can change to make you feel better.”

A cheerful, benevolent, sensitive, sensible, results-oriented, rational and reasonable GFYAOC attitude. Grant all these trifling complaints the fair hearing they’re due, but nothing more than that, and never, ever, ever the benefit of any doubt. They’re so often wrong, and injurious to their own goals. They’ve cost us so much. And they’ve given us a mighty pull off in the direction of becoming a nation of back-biting, complaining, won’t-shut-up “but mah feelings” never-happys. It is a bearing unfit for the dignity of our mighty ship of state. The time’s come to right the course, and if that means the demise of a major political party then so be it. Political parties are temporary. So are problems with achieving maturity, which is what this is. Immature people shouldn’t affect the decisions of mature people, it ought to be the other way around.