Archive for May, 2020

What I Remember About 2020

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

A hundred years ago the Spanish Flu was a real problem. But this year, nobody was talking about it anywhere until the Chinese Virus made it relevant. And then a bunch of arguments erupted about Spanish Flu on social media.

Before that happened, if you said “The Year Nineteen Twenty” I would have thought about, and everyone else would have thought about: The stock market crash, flappers, prohibition, spats, white sidewall tires on Packard Clippers, shoe polish in the hair, speakeasy parlors, spittoons, shoe-shine stands, the Dust Bowl…

We remember cultural shifts. We don’t remember pandemics, even if the pandemics are what made the shifts happen.

Bossy FemaleJoe Biden is all-but-obliged to pick a Karen as his running mate. Not a “could be male Karen or could be female Karen,” but a double-ex chromosome, born-with-vagina-and-everything lady-Karen. He’s said so. And it won’t be a soothing, common-sense, quiet-strong type woman either. She’ll be a screech-wort. a scrunt. The kind whose presence you never leave without a sigh of relief. A scold. A shrew. A beeyotch.

It’s going to be 1984 all over again. I was struggling to recall if there was ever a single minute in that year, just one, in which Mondale/Ferraro was out in front, even if only in surface appearances. I can’t remember. Of course when the big event happened — not too many people remember this — it was a landslide of historic proportions.

The masses don’t like being scolded by an unpleasant woman. But someone further up the food chain never seems to get the message. I guess they’re not getting feedback from the outcome because they’re not paying attention to the outcome. They’re process people. I don’t know who they are…would love to find out…but they keep offering up these scolding fusspots for us to accept, we don’t take delivery, and then they do it again. They’re about to do it yet again when there are zip, zero, nada, nil, null, none indicators whatsoever that this is what anybody wants.

Six months into 2020, we’ve been awash in Karens. No one is in the mood for this. This is bad medicine for a campaign that’s fallen ill and is very far away from being on any kind of mend. It’s going to be a bloodbath.

I think this is it. This just may be the swan song. Maybe I’m looking at it with rose colored glasses, but no matter who Biden picks, all these viable futures unfold into a common vanishing point: The witch is gone. Not just any particular one. This whole product offering that never, ever moved off the shelves except when it got yanked back for having gathered too much dust. I think the scolding hag is going away. Think back on these cultural shifts in the past, in the US of A. Presidential elections have a lot to do with how they happened. My theory is simply that we’re seeing it happen yet again, and this is exactly how. A failing ticket drives the final nails into a coffin.

Years from now, that will be the memorable event — that our culture went in one direction in 2020, and a wholly different healthier one in 2021. After that, we still elect and appoint strong women…but they have to be genuinely strong. Not just bitchy, the way far too many of them have been up until now. I envision a future in which seventh-grade teachers will ask the class, “Can anyone tell me when irascible, mean, micro-managing, scolding women fell out of fashion?” and all the kids will yell “2020!!!” And then the teacher will say “And can anyone tell me why it happened?” and there will be near-complete silence.

Only the bookworm nerd who spends all his free time in the library will be able to answer: “I think there was a pandemic that year.”

You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.

The Coming Redrawing, and Re-Redrawing, of the Lines

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

My Governor, Gavin Newsom, is talking “social responsibility” which means money transfer, with him on the receiving end. Of course, people who use that phrase never have any other direction in mind…

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Sunday said approving coronavirus relief funding for state and local governments is “not charity” and that his state is facing budgetary concerns as a “direct result” of the crisis.

“It’s a social responsibility at a time when states large and small [are] facing unprecedented budgetary stress. It is incumbent upon the federal government to support the states through this difficult time,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Newsom said lawmakers have a “moral and ethical obligation” to help Americans across the country…[snip]

“I hope they’ll consider this next time they want to salute and celebrate our first responders…consider the fact that they will be the first ones laid off by cities and counties,” Newsom said.

“This is not a red issue or a blue issue. This is impacting every state in America,” Newsom added.

Hmmm. Our budget is a mess, give us money or else it’s the core essential services that will have to be cut. He says it’s not a red or blue issue, but it’s the blue states with their weird, perverse priorities that keep running into the problem.

Forty of the nation’s fifty states don’t have enough money to meet their obligations, with a total of $1.5 trillion in growing unfunded liabilities.

While most states are in hot water, the problem is worst in states with a Democrat governor alongside a Democrat controlled legislature. A new study from Truth in Accounting analyzed the fiscal health of the fifty states [and] the trend was clear.

California comes in 8th-worst, with $21,600 in unfunded liabilities per citizen. It doesn’t surprise me a bit. I’ve seen my own clear trends over the last quarter century of living here, with the law-making. It’s a busy feeding frenzy and no one takes the responsibility to find out what the law says…today. It’s just too much maintenance. You just ask yourself if a productive working law-abiding tax-paying citizen would want to do it, and if so then it’s probably illegal. Or, it’s taxed very heavily. If it’s something a parasite would want to do, it’s almost certainly allowed and there’s a good chance it’s generously subsidized.

MoneyThere is a myth out there that blue states contribute more money to the federal government, from which the red states do more than their share of the withdrawals. This says a lot more about the blue staters who are manufacturing this propaganda, than it does about the red states which make up its subject. The blue staters have their own reality. If the real-reality doesn’t co-exist harmoniously with it, they just go with the reality they like and then they start proliferating it.

Now it’s true that the average taxpayer in blue states pays a higher per capita income tax than the average taxpayer in red states. But that’s because those states — particularly Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and California — have more rich people. Don’t the Democrats want the rich paying their fair share?

As for blue states allegedly getting back less, what numbers are they looking at? It is true that red states receive 35.75 percent on average of their budgets from the federal government, while blue states receive 30.80 percent. But this is because the blue states’ budgets are far larger due to all the bloat and waste.

Of course the blue staters aren’t going to call bloat and waste, bloat and waste. To them, this is the first & best stuff government is supposed to do. What they dismiss as peripheral concerns — the “first responders” Newsom is threatening to furlough — are more in line with what normal people consider to be government’s core functions. We’re having a disagreement and it’s a cultural disagreement.

We have had this separation for a long time, but of course things have become more contentious since somewhere around the Bush v. Gore election debacle. I see the democrat Attorney General of Michigan is grabbing headlines with the highly democrat-dominant talking point where the opposition is “not welcome here.” The issue is the mask. We’re all supposed to wear masks now.

Michigan’s attorney general said President Trump is a “petulant child” who is no longer welcome in her state over his mask-wearing habits.

In a CNN interview Thursday, Dana Nessel noted that Mr. Trump did not wear a mask when in public view during a visit to a Ford plant in Ypsilanti earlier in the day.

CNN anchorman Wolf Blitzer asked her “Is the president no longer welcome in Michigan?”

“Well, I would say speaking on behalf of my department and my office, that’s exactly right,” Ms. Nessel said.

This move, this sweeping gesture, has become so commonplace that it’s hard to remember how unfitting it is. “[Blank] is not welcome at [Blank]!” says…someone. Someone who has zero legitimate authority to say so, little to no relevant jurisdiction over the [Blank]. Usually it’s some petulant student “leading” a drive to keep a conservative speaker out of a university campus. Do conservative Republicans do this? I suppose our evangelicals make some pronouncements about who’s not allowed into Heaven…but that’s not exactly the same thing, is it? They’re not going through the motions of deciding the matter. They’re just echoing how the rules work, as they interpret them. It’s the loudmouths on The Left who are floating up this “so and so is not welcome here” stuff as actual trial balloons.

That’s kind of what Newsom is doing, in a way. His message is not that there is an “ethical obligation”; what he wants to get out there, is that he’s the one saying so.

It’s a style thing. You’ve heard of style over substance, as a logical fallacy. That’s not quite fair because Newsom and Nessel are not trying to convince anybody that a certain thing is or is not so. An “argument” is not the product they’re trying to sell. They’re just trying to impress, like peacocks with plumage.

I hate to sound like a broken record. I’ve been saying often, for many years, we shouldn’t allow democrats to run anything that matters. To a lot of people that just sounds like a Republican who wants democrats to lose elections, just as democrats want Republicans to lose elections. No that’s not it. I’m not saying it in that tone. What I mean by that is: Do not put democrats in the position of running anything because they don’t do it. They don’t want the job.

I remember one glowing performance review I got at a place where it took a few years for it to sink in that I was poor fit, waiting to be outcast; there was coded well-poisoning language in my first year, which ripened and pickled throughout subsequent ones. Something about my prior developmental experience happening at places where outcome of an engineering endeavor was more important, and that I was distressing some of the senior engineers who placed greater emphasis on following the correct process. Outcome…process. Process…outcome. Interesting concept. I had a little bit of concern over this, and shared it with one of my former bosses one weekend when we met at a shooting range. He mulled this one over as he unpacked his magazines, gazed off in the distance and said, “That’s not a liability, that’s an asset.” Is it really?

What’s more important? Process, or outcome?

I have learned over the years that it depends on your locale.

People like Gov. Newsom are not going to contest the raw facts that show the state is being poorly run. They’re not going to take issue with the inference that something must be way off kilter, way out of place. What they’re going to do is deflect the blame. But they’re not selling the outcome. It isn’t part of their world. They are process people.

This isn’t always apparent because a lot of process people, catching a glimmer of some statistic that might make it look like their management methods could be deserving of praise, will pounce on it. One notable example is President Obama claiming credit for a record 75-month streak of private sector job growth…for which even the NPR fact checkers concede He probably can’t claim legitimate credit. But even if He could, the streak thing is kind of weird, right? “I want a long streak of growth, the longer the better,” said…uh…pretty much nobody. I mean yeah, if you have a President who actually does make something like that happen, it’s a good thing, but it’s also the answer to a question no one asked.

My point is not that the likely outcome from democrat policies is substandard. My point is that, if we’re really going to discuss it honestly — they’re not trying to do that. That’s not the focus of their energies.

They’re about process.

Not about outcome.

This suggests there is a split coming. Attorney General Nessel’s not-welcome-here tantrum, empty as it may be, signifies an unwillingness to co-exist shared by many others besides just her. The process people don’t want to take responsibility for outcome…and they don’t want to be around outcome people. I made the mistake when I received that first-year performance review, of using it to assess my own performance. Ensuing experiences made it clear I should have taken it as a warning, that I was not where I belonged.

Trump’s election four years ago shows how widespread and how incendiary this conflict really is. People argue about Trump, for & against, and if you can pay close attention in those very few minutes before a Cheesecake Nazi lays down the edict of “Stop talking politics, there’s cheesecake” — you will then notice something. These two sides are talking past each other.

Romney betrayed us. Trump delivers.

But his tweets!

Kavanaugh. Gorsuch.

But his tweets!

It’s style versus substance. If a man runs out of a burning building with a baby in his arms, but his socks don’t match, or you find out he’s been unfaithful to his wife…would you throw the baby back in the fire? Some people would. They don’t care about the outcome. It’s not that they want the baby dead, they just don’t care. Something else has captured their focus.

Many among us have noticed the status quo seems unstable, in a way it has not been in times past, and some sort of realignment is in order. One person likened it to a divorce decree citing “irreconcilable differences,” that that’s exactly what we have here. I lost a job a decade ago due to irreconcilable differences…cultural differences…some have theorized that maybe someone in a position of authority discovered my blog. I suppose it’s possible.

CheaperI don’t know. I do know that that was the first time in my life I ever encountered the mindset, of: We would rather the bug stay unfixed. Weird stuff. I’m not going to lie, it still creeps me out today. But only because, now that I’m consciously aware of it, I’ve seen it crop up in other places. Most notably in politics — post-Trump election. We’d rather the baby cook. His socks don’t match.

The Left thinks The Right should have more humility, be less sure of itself. But if I were in Gov. Newsom’s position, with my hand out, babbling away with this codswallop about “ethical obligations” of others…but my state had huge deficits where other states have surpluses…well, it wouldn’t get that far. No one would have to ask me to stick a cork in it before I’d stick a cork in it on my own, already. Just seems like a setup for self-embarrassment. But our friends the lefties who have so much to teach us about being properly humble, are not so troubled. So there he is. And not alone.

They are not monitoring outcome, looking for deficiencies or potential areas of improvement, and revisiting their methods looking for ways to self-improve. The rest of us like to think of them as doing that, because they want us to imagine they’re doing that. And we’re inclined to oblige, because that’s what we do…when we generate wealth they get to tax away to spend on their goodies. But they’re not doing it. You can’t monitor an outcome if you don’t care about an outcome. Process people don’t do that. There’s no reason for them to do so. Anytime something goes wrong, they demonstrate their lifetime-accumulated skills at finding scapegoats for the horrid consequences of their terrible policies. Outcome isn’t their thing. They just compare what’s in front of them with their clipboards full of check boxes, making their little checks and then squawking about what’s left blank. Or about the words we’re using.

Such scolding definitely does have an appeal. Not with me. But, based on my experiences of a decade ago, and before then, and since, I know there are places where I do not fit and I know there are people with whom I’m incompatible. In fact, based on all I’ve seen I surmise there are three different types of us: The outcome people, the “Architects” as I’ve called them; the process people, or “Medicators”; and those who fancy themselves capable of living in harmony with either one of the first two. That third group, I’m afraid, just hasn’t run into the learning experience. It’s still ahead of them. They believe in an emulsification factor, or process, or condition, that simply doesn’t exist. Irreconcilable differences lurk in the pathway upon which they have not yet tread. I hope for their sake that their learning experience is a gentle one.

The process people are made up, substantially, of people who want to be managed. They just want to labor away under the expanding burden of more-and-more rules. They don’t care that the rules do, or do not, make sense. They just want them there. This is not a novel realization. It’s the subject of one of my favorite Heinlein quotes: “The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” You’ll notice this defining sentence is ambiguous: Want people to be controlled? As in, themselves? Or somebody else? This is not a lack of attention on the part of Heinlein, I’ve gradually come to conclude; the ambiguity is intentional. And ingenious. Those who fall in with the process crowd, but do not want to be controlled, want to do the controlling.

To do the controlling. Not to take responsibility for how things go. It’s not their thing. They just like to sit way up high.

I see in this age of the Rise of Karens, many of whom are male…process people…check box people…Joe Biden is said to be taking a longer and harder look at Elizabeth Warren as his possible running mate. Whether that comes to pass or not, she’s made the short list. This is another adventure unfolding in a world to which I do not belong. I simply don’t understand and I don’t think I ever will. Senator Warren was summarily bounced out of the race, rather unceremoniously, because she’s toxic and has bad character and lies pretty much all the time about everything. People don’t like her. It was a rather decisive end to her campaign, and it was a decision handed down by democrats. So why is she on the short list of anything at all, other than “most execrable presidential candidates in history”?

It means something. Whether he ends up with Cherokee Liz, or someone else, that someone is going to be a Karen.

The Democratic Party is an assembly of Karens. That’s who it attracts. So it doesn’t matter which prospect Biden chooses. He gets a Karen.

The petulant yard duty teacher who’s just about had it up to here with me, and is scolding and scolding and scolding some more…again, I just don’t understand. That product keeps getting thrown in the hopper, to be shoved down our throats. No one is actually asking for it. Forty years plus something, I’ve been watching this.

Stein’s Law says that whatever can’t last forever, won’t. This is why people look on with worried anticipation toward some near-future alignment event…a separation event. This does look like something that can’t go on too much longer.

But if the separation does occur, I have a warning of my own that there would have to be a second shockwave. A re-redrawing of the lines, after the first redrawing that is due to confront us. Process people, in spite of their bravado about “not allowed here,” can’t exist without outcome people. Some outcomes are important, and so it follows that someone is going to have to pay attention to them as they materialize. You can’t eat a check box.

There is a reason why the red states have the most solid budgets and the best infrastructure: It’s necessary. Republicans grow the food.

You can’t build things that actually work, thinking like a lib.

So if you think our present situation is unsustainable, I say just wait until you see that next one. Wait until we have everyone properly pigeonholed according to the priorities they claim they have. With the people on one side of it entirely incapable of existing without the people on the other side, and at the same time, being wholly unwilling to admit it. But also with the people on that other side, being able to get along quite well by themselves. That’s an unsustainable situation, on steroids.

I can’t say how that second shockwave is going to happen. I haven’t got a clue. It will have something to do with an “ethical obligation” to give the Karens what they need but aren’t willing to admit they need. I’m sure there will be no gratitude involved, superficial or genuine. The narrative will be pushed that the providers aren’t providing anything at all, just fulfilling this “obligation” we were supposed to be doing anyway. Other than that, I dunno how it will happen. It just will. It’s Stein’s Law.

Listening to the Experts

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

I’ve come to learn something new, again, thanks to the Kung Flu. It’s about “listening to the experts.”

People don’t believe in doing it, I’ve learned. Even the ones who make the most noise about it don’t believe in it.

I’m listening carefully to the people beating up on President Trump and I’m also listening to the people defending him. Here is the defense: Everything he could do, he’s done. He restricted flights, he locked down the border. He turned over the re-opening of the states, to the states, consistent with our constitutional framework and also a brilliant political maneuver.

Expert!The people attacking him insinuate the pandemic is just awful because of his “ineptitude,” although they don’t have good explanations of what exactly that’s supposed to be. And he’s being attacked from the right, for listening to Dr. Fauci. Did you catch that? “Listening to the experts”…here…is a liability not an asset. Is the left giving Trump credit for listening to the experts? That’s a big fat nada unless I’ve missed something. No one from either the right or the left is giving Trump credit for listening to the experts…even though, as we can see for ourselves every day, that’s what he’s been doing. I guess the narrative was already written sometime back that “Trump is getting us killed because he isn’t listening to the experts,” and when reality turns out to be exactly backward from the narrative, both the reality, and the narrative, disappear into a hole.

What if Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama were handling the Coronavirus response? Well then we know there would be praise from near & far — even though He wouldn’t be doing too much differently from what Trump’s done. He might be slower to restrict flights, might not lock down the border at all…He’d give a lot of snotty speeches blaming white people, blaming cops, blaming Republicans…and the media, and the left, would flap their hands & squee like little schoolgirls.

Obama would get credit for “listening to the experts” no matter what. He would likely calculate His latitude as so broad that He could make a big show out of ignoring the experts, what with Him being so much smarter than they are…and then that very same day, minutes later in fact, circle around the room collecting high fives for having listened to the experts. MSNBC, CNN and ABC would squee about how He listens to the experts.

I think the phrase has that little meaning. I think it has zero meaning. The meaning of the phrase has flat-lined. People say it when they mean “Think what I think.” It’s easily testable: If you find out what their cherished belief is, and can manage to produce an honest-to-God expert in good standing who supports a contrary belief, reliable as rain they’re going to insist you listen to the next expert and ignore this one. They don’t want to hear the opinions of the experts. They want to hear their own opinions, with an established and respected “expert” speaking them.

People who tell me I should listen to the experts on climate change don’t want me listening to Fred Singer, Ross McKitrick, Sallie Baliunas, Anthony Watts or Timothy Ball…who are experts. They want me to listen to an underweight Swedish teenager with learning disabilities who can’t even be bothered to go to school.

I don’t believe people believe in listening to experts. I think, based on all I have seen, that that’s a magical incantation people recite when they want to get democrats elected.