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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Collective guilt

The idea of collective guilt has gained a lot of currency in the past half century. And it has been extended to include ancestral guilt.

The essential question it boils down to is, are people responsible for the actions of their ancestors?

Should modern day Italians should feel eternal ignominy about the Roman Empire? After all, at least 25% of the population of the ancient Roman Empire were slaves. (Gladiators didn't go into the coliseum to fight lions of their own volition.)

Should today's Greeks be self-reproachful about the Greek empire? It's estimated that in Classical Athens, between 40 and 80% of the population were slaves. (It would be hard to find a Greek today who didn't have both slaves and slave owners in his ancestry.)

Both the Mongolians and the Han Chinese have, at different times, owned each other as slaves. (Nobody volunteers to become a court eunuch.) Perhaps both groups should both pay reparations to each other.

Slavery has been pretty much universal. According to Wikipedia:

Slavery remained a major institution in Russia until 1723, when Peter the Great converted the household slaves into house serfs. Russian agricultural slaves were formally converted into serfs earlier in 1679. Russia's more than 23 million privately held serfs were freed by the Emancipation reform of 1861. State-owned serfs were emancipated in 1866...

In Algiers, the capital of Algeria, captured Christians and Europeans were forced into slavery.... According to the Encyclopedia of African History, "It is estimated that by the 1890s the largest slave population of the world, about 2 million people, was concentrated in the territories of the Sokoto Caliphate [in today's Nigeria]. The use of slave labour was extensive, especially in agriculture." The Anti-Slavery Society estimated there were 2 million slaves in Ethiopia in the early 1930s out of an estimated population of 8 to 16 million...

In East Asia, the Imperial government formally abolished slavery in China in 1906, and the law became effective in 1910. The Nangzan in Tibetan history were, according to Chinese sources, hereditary household slaves....The hereditary nobi [slave] system [of Korea] was officially abolished around 1886–87....but traces remained until 1930....The hill tribe people in Indochina were "hunted incessantly and carried off as slaves by the Siamese (Thai), the Anamites (Vietnamese), and the Cambodians".....Enslaved people made up about two-thirds of the population in part of North Borneo in the 1880s....

The Aztecs had slaves. Other Amerindians, such as the Inca of the Andes, the Tupinamba of Brazil, the Creek of Georgia, and the Comanche of Texas, also owned slaves.

Yes, sub-Saharan blacks were sold by other sub-Saharan blacks to white slave traders who then transported them to the New World. And yes, it was a terrible injustice. But why is that the only slavery we ever hear about? Especially when there are estimated to be between 12 and 30 million people in slavery even today:

A report by the Walk Free Foundation in 2013 found India had the highest number of slaves, nearly 14 million, followed by China (2.9 million), Pakistan (2.1 million), Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, and Bangladesh; while the countries with the highest of proportion of slaves were Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India and Nepal.

Mauritania was actually the last country to outlaw slavery, in 1981, but they didn't actually criminalize it until 2007. Since then, though many slaves have escaped, only one owner has ever been prosecuted. 

Other forms of slavery, such as forced marriage, are still widespread in parts of Asia and Africa and the Middle East as well.

Apart from the issue of slavery, the central question is, are we responsible for actions we didn't take?

Ted Bundy managed to father a daughter before he was executed. Is she somehow guilty because of his crimes? What Bundy did -- torture and kill at least 36 young women -- is unquestionably worse than owning slaves. And his daughter is only one generation removed. Does anyone suggest she bear some responsibility for his actions?

These days, guilt for what one's ancestors have done is a concept that's applied only selectively, in the service of certain groups who want to keep other groups on the defensive.

Monday, February 20, 2017

What exactly causes "white guilt?"

When Adele was awarded the Record of the Year at the Grammys last week, she felt she had to apologize to Beyonce for having won it over her. After last year's #Oscarssowhite campaign, blacks, who comprise 13% of the population, were given 30% of the acting nominations for the Academy Awards this year.

Adele must have been so afraid of sparking another Kanye West-Taylor Swift moment that she decided to preempt it by prostrating herself, beforehand, to Queen Bey.

And those Academy members must have been so horror-stricken by the negative publicity of the Oscarssowhite controversy that they made sure not thirteen percent, but thirty percent of this year's acting nominees were black.

Whites are just absolutely terrified about appearing "racist" against blacks, in any way. It's a crippling fear, to the point where whites will cower in the face of black demands. Yet there is no equivalent fear regarding the other races.

So why is it that no such fear of being accused of racism exists vis-a-vis yellow people or brown people? It's not as if Amerindian or Asian features aren't easily recognizable.

There's a virtual boycott against Hispanics and Asians at the Oscars, but nobody seems to care. Hispanics and Asians are extremely underrepresented in professional football and basketball, yet nobody expresses concern. (Sport is, of course, the one area of American life where nobody seems to be agitating for proportional participation; Americans seem content to let pro sports remain a meritocracy.)

Nobody ever feels obliged to say, oh, some of my best friends are Hispanic. Or, some of my best friends are Asian. Nobody ever feels the need to prove that he regards Hispanics or Asians as intelligent, civilized human beings. These groups simply don't provoke the same types of fears that blacks do.

It's not that there aren't any scary Hispanic gangs around. The Mexican Mafia is as vicious as any black street gang. And MS-13 may be scarier. But on an individual basis, Hispanics don't strike fear into the hearts of white people.

And as far as Asians, well, why would whites be afraid of a group who score higher on the SAT's and are physically smaller and less criminally inclined than they are?

The white fear of being accused of racism against blacks seems to be rooted in the overall white fear of blacks. This leads to the ironic situation where whites are so afraid of blacks that they fear showing how afraid they are of them.

Most whites, even if they don't fully grasp them, at least sense the many ways in which whites and blacks differ. And so, in their heart of hearts, they realize that they are in fact "racist." And since they've been told time and again by the media how evil this makes them, they end up groveling and acquiescing to black demands in order to show that this is not true.

But it's a universal law of human nature that the truer something is, the more effort will be spent denying it. It's the person who constantly says that he's got honesty and integrity whom you can be sure has neither. It's the guy who who disparages gays the most vociferously whom you can be pretty sure has pretty strong inclinations in that direction himself. And so on.

Likewise, those who go to the greatest lengths to prove they're not racist tend to be the ones who in fact feel the most instinctively repelled by blacks. ("Racist" has a lot of vague, overlapping, and usually self-serving definitions, but for purposes of this post, "instinctively repelled" is the sense in which I'm using the word.)

Whites' feelings of guilt don't stem from slavery. Only a small percentage of whites in America today had ancestors who owned slaves. And those who did are no more responsible for what their ancestors did than blacks are somehow collectively responsible for the blacks who've raped and robbed whites. So whites have no reason to feel individually guilty about what happened long before they were born.

It's far more in keeping with human nature to feel guilty about one's own innermost feelings. And if one's inner thoughts about blacks tend to be negative, and if one is told constantly that harboring such thoughts makes one a bad person, that can lead to feelings of guilt.

Whites aren't as fearful of appearing prejudiced against Hispanics and Asians simply because they are less prejudiced against them. They may make some negative judgments about those groups, but they tend to feel more comfortable with members of those groups individually, and therefore have less to cover up. When the average white converses with a Hispanic or Asian, he simply doesn't put his guard up to the same extent.

It's an almost mathematical relationship: the more uncomfortable a white is with blacks, the more alien he perceives them to be, and the more scared of them he is, the greater the effort he will put forth to make it appear he's not racist.

A strident, vocal, virtue-signaling stance of anti-racism is itself the best proof off racism there is. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Jim Crow in reverse

When Adele was awarded the Record of the Year at the Grammys last week, she felt she had to apologize to Beyonce for having won it over her. After last year's #Oscarssowhite campaign, blacks, who comprise 13% of the population, were given 30% of the acting nominations for the Academy Awards this year.

Hispanics are now 18% of the population, and their nominations totaled zero, but nobody seems to be overly concerned about that. That's because the great arc of race relations in this country concerns only black and white; the other races are barely even a sideshow. And, when it comes to that arc, we have come full circle: whites now grovel like a subjugated people.

This behavior stands in stark contrast to the way blacks tend to act around whites. My own experience has been that many blacks are completely uninhibited when it comes to saying what they think around and about whites. And they are extremely sensitive about anything which even hints at subservience. I've heard whites ask innocuous favors of them ("Could you hand that to me?") and witnessed blacks respond with an exaggerated "Yes Massa," or words to that effect, as if the request were somehow racially derogatory.

Most blacks won't take any chance of appearing as a Tom. Given that blacks were once expected to bow and scrape, the sensitivity is sorta understandable. Sorta.

But that sensitivity is engendered not by any actual memory of those times. Brown vs. the Board of Education was decided in 1954; very few living blacks remember life before that. Any black  younger than 65 today grew up during the affirmative action era. Their "memory" comes from the constant propagandizing they hear from the media, the constant reminders of slavery and segregation.

In any case, the black ethos demands racial solidarity above all else, and blacks generally have nothing but contempt for other blacks who kiss up to whites.

(What is "racial solidarity" but racism by another name?)

Today, it's whites who bow and scrape the way blacks were supposed to have done in the first half of the last century. Note how virtually every college administrator has folded without a fight in the face of BLM-style protests.

None of them quite said "Yes Massa" to the protesters. But, given their craven cowardice, they might as well have.

Adele must have been so afraid of sparking another Kanye West-Taylor Swift moment that she decided to preempt it by prostrating herself, beforehand, to Queen Bey.

And those Academy members must have been so horror-stricken by the negative publicity of the Oscarssowhite controversy that they made sure not thirteen percent, but thirty percent of this year's acting nominees were black.

Those rare whites who object to the current double standards usually feel obliged to start off with the qualifier, "I'm not racist, but….."

Blacks, on the other hand, never bother to qualify their statements with "I'm aware of the IQ and crime statistics, but…."

We live in a world where whites castigate themselves for that nebulous and mostly fictional concept of white privilege. And where whites worry about committing microaggressions, one of which is merely noticing the macroaggressions that blacks commit.

Whites are simply terrified of being accused of racism. So they tiptoe around, pretend not to notice obvious patterns, and watch their words extremely carefully. It's basically Jim Crow in reverse.

There will come a day when whites grow some backbone, and feel contempt for race traitors the same way blacks and Hispanics do. But that is highly unlikely to happen before they become a minority in this country.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Warren Buffett votes with his wallet

Warren Buffett endorsed Hillary Clinton for President back in December of 2015, and this past summer, in the words of the New York Times, "excoriated" Donald Trump:

The investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett unleashed a withering attack on Donald J. Trump on Monday for refusing to release his tax returns, asserting he had something to hide, and for misleading voters about his success as a businessman and ability to improve the American economy...

The attack from perhaps the nation’s most revered investor undercut a core argument of Mr. Trump’s presidential candidacy: that his success as a businessman qualified him to run the country despite his lack of political experience.

But an article this afternoon on Yahoo Finance told a different story: 

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has been on a stock buying spree since the election.

Buffett told Charlie Rose in a recent interview that he loaded up on $12 billion worth of stock since the election through the end of January. He didn’t specify the securities he purchased at the time.

(It turns out he's bought Monsanto, Sirius XM, various airlines, and a lot more Apple.) 

If Buffett felt that Trump misled voters about his ability to improve the American economy, why did he load up on stocks as soon as Trump was elected? Shouldn't he have been lightening up instead? 

How would he have reacted to Hillary victory?

It's always more informative to see how people act than to just listen to what they say. And the way Buffett voted with his wallet was a lot more convincing than what he said last summer.

That's why they call them limousine liberals.

They preach to you about the value of diversity, but live in communities which are almost entirely white.

They say wealthy people should be taxed more, then use every trick in the book to avoid paying taxes themselves.

They lecture us about how we have to conserve energy, then take private jets themselves.

All in all, they're not very persuasive.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Joy Villa, marketing genius

You've probably seen that picture of singer Joy Villa showing up to the Grammys in a "Make America Great Again" dress --

It must have taken some courage -- or, at least, nerve -- to appear that way at a show business event where anti-Trump sentiment would be near unanimous. Turns out, it was the smartest thing Villa could have done.

In an article this afternoon, the NY Post reported:

A hitherto little-known singer who donned a dress lauding President Trump at the Grammys saw a spike in the online sales of her record. Joy Villa’s “I Make the Static” soared to No. 1 on Amazon and No. 11 on the iTunes album chart as of 12:30 p.m. Monday.

Villa, a 25-year-old Scientologist who performs as Princess Joy Villa, sported a red, white and blue gown emblazoned with the president’s “Make America Great Again” motto as well as the name “TRUMP” in even larger letters.

You can come to your own conclusions about Villa's singing ability, demonstrated here, on Youtube. And you probably already have an opinion about her religion of choice, Scientology. 

But you can't fault Villa's marketing sense. 

When Fox News first appeared on the scene and then quickly vaulted to the number one spot among news channels, it wasn't because either Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity were so incisive or charismatic. It was because Fox was the only conservative news network available. So while all the other left of center channels had to fight for that half of the TV audience, Fox got the entire conservative audience all to itself.

Likewise, when Madonna publicly expresses her antipathy for Trump, nobody decides to buy more of her music for that reason. Why would they? She's just one of many reciting the company line. 

But Villa must be the only young pop singer out there who has dared to publicly express admiration for Trump. So, a lot of Trump supporters decided to vote with their wallets, and give her a chance. 

Villa doesn't seem an extraordinarily bashful girl --

But then again, you can't be inhibited and be a performing artist. 

The general rule among female singers is, the more flash and exhibitionism, the less singing talent. From what I've seen and heard, Villa doesn't violate that rule. But she's now a household name. And in show biz, sometimes that's all you really need. 

Sinking the knife in

Someone just posed an interesting question via email: do sociopaths need the visceral thrill of lying to people in person, or does doing it via television, or online, et cetera, produce the same satisfaction?

I'm not sure sociopaths need the thrill of fooling people, though they certainly enjoy it. I suppose they also enjoy doing it via social media, though that way they wouldn't get the "hands on" thrill of firsthand observation of a real live person who's been made a fool of.

It's a little like the difference between a serial killer shooting people from long range (which very few of them do) vs. sinking a knife into their victims so they can savor their victims' pain and terror while slowly killing them.

Somewhat coincidentally, the subject of Psycho also came up in the same email. It's a dumb movie: its very title illustrates how little understanding of actual serial killers it has. It conflates "psychotic" and "psychopathic," and tries to make the Norman Bates character both, which almost never happens in real life.

(The movie's only excuse was that it was made in 1960, long before the nature of serial killing was understood.)

The only reason it was a hit was because it was a Hitchcock, and because that famous shower scene with Janet Leigh getting stabbed was "sexy."

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"I'm a gay New Yorker -- and I'm coming out as a conservative"

The NY Post just ran an article by Chadwick Moore, a 33-year-old gay journalist who'd been a lifelong liberal until recently. The relevant excerpts:

When Out magazine assigned me an interview with the rabble-rouser Milo Yiannopoulos, I knew it would be controversial. In the gay and liberal communities in particular, he is a provocative and loathed figure, and I knew featuring him in such a liberal publication would get negative attention. He has been repeatedly kicked off Twitter for, among other things, reportedly inciting racist, sexist bullying of “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones. Before interviewing Yiannopoulos, I thought he was a nasty attention-whore, but I wanted to do a neutral piece on him that simply put the facts out there.

After the story posted online in the early hours of October 21, I woke up to more than 100 Twitter notifications on my iPhone. Trolls were calling me a Nazi, death threats rolled in and a joke photo that I posed for in a burka served as “proof” that I am an Islamophobe.

I’m not.

Most disconcertingly, it wasn’t just strangers voicing radical discontent. Personal friends of mine — men in their 60s who had been my longtime mentors — were coming at me. They wrote on Facebook that the story was “irresponsible” and “dangerous.” A dozen or so people unfriended me. A petition was circulated online, condemning the magazine and my article. All I had done was write a balanced story on an outspoken Trump supporter for a liberal, gay magazine, and now I was being attacked. I felt alienated and frightened.

I lay low for a week or so. Finally, I decided to go out to my local gay bar in Williamsburg, where I’ve been a regular for 11 years. I ordered a drink but nothing felt the same; half the place — people with whom I’d shared many laughs — seemed to be giving me the cold shoulder. Upon seeing me, a friend who normally greets me with a hug and kiss pivoted and turned away.

Frostiness spread far beyond the bar, too. My best friend, with whom I typically hung out multiple times per week, was suddenly perpetually unavailable. Finally, on Christmas Eve, he sent me a long text, calling me a monster, asking where my heart and soul went, and saying that all our other friends are laughing at me.

Moore goes on to describe how it was this rejection from his former friends, as much as anything else, that opened his mind, and made him see how "ugly, lock step, incurious, and mean-spirited" they were. 

The article illustrates several things quite well. Liberals, although they pride themselves on being "open-minded," are just the opposite. They simply want to squelch all dissenting voices, whether by freezing them out, as Moore's friends, did, or by rioting, as the Berkeley AntiFa crowd did. 

Moore's former friends also used typically liberal forms of "argument," which consisted calling him names like "Nazi" and "Islamophobe" and "monster" and asking him where his "heart and soul" went.  They had no compelling logical arguments, and no facts; just insults. 

While the Left condemns "fat-shaming" and "slut-shaming," they themselves seem to indulge in an awful lot in "fact-shaming" and "open-mindedness-shaming."  

Moore's former mentors described his article as "dangerous." Isn't that characterization tacit acknowledgement that Yiannopoulos is telling truths the Left doesn't want people to hear?

As long as the Left continues to carry on as it does, we're going to be seeing a lot more Chadwick Moores. There will probably be some gays who see the Post article and are swayed by that. 

And as we all know, gays are at the cutting edge of every fashion trend. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Those pesky commenters

Yahoo, like its brethren in the media, always has a predictably liberal slant. So it was not surprising to see the following headline this morning:

Protests Erupt in Los Angeles Following Reports of Immigration Raids

There was an embedded video, then the entire article consisted of the following paragraph:

While immigration advocates say more than 100 people were detained Thursday as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials conducted home raids across three Southern California counties, the federal agency insists its operations were "routine" and not part of President Donald Trump`s unprecedented immigration crackdown.

Note the way they quote immigration advocates, and put the word "routine" in quotation marks, as if it's not believable. Note that the word "illegal" is never used, and that it's left unmentioned that ICE was targeting felons. 

Surprisingly, Yahoo, unlike a lot of news organizations, still allows comments after its articles. Most of the media have long since gotten rid of their comment sections, after they discovered that what emanated from them were sentiments directly opposed to their own viewpoints. 

Anyway, take a look at the article, and then click on "Comments" (there are over 2000). Virtually every commenter was strongly in favor of the roundup, and many expressed their views in scathing terms.

(On the internet, they're the not-so-silent majority.)

It's actually sort of reassuring. Despite the constant stream of leftist propaganda emanating from the MSM, most people are far more commonsensical.

Most commenters used only first names, sometimes with an initial attached, or a nickname. You have to wonder whether they would have felt free to express their opinions honestly, had they been forced to use their real first and last names. 

In anonymia veritas.

(I know, I shouldn't mock colleges for using Latin, then do the same myself.)

Update, an hour later: turns out AOL allows commenters, too, and the comments they got after an article about this recent roundup followed a similar pattern

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rebels without a future

There's something magnificent -- at least in his own mind -- about a young guy who doesn't bow to authority, who doesn't obey the rules, and who's a rebel. They can sometimes be charismatic guys who attract women, at least when young. Or they can be the AntiFa types, who don't. (Either way, there's often a strong element of narcissism in their personalities.)

But when you see these guys when they're old, there's usually something a little pathetic about them. Unless they're extraordinarily entrepreneurial, their basic attitude of not wanting to be a grind and hit the books, or knuckle under, or kiss ass, or work in a cubicle, or work for the Man, often leaves them stranded.

If you're Bill Gates, you can drop out of Harvard and thrive. And if you're Mick Jagger, you can drop out of the London School of Economics and still make a lot of money. But stories like theirs are rare.

In most cases, being too cool for school -- or a regular job -- doesn't pay off.

And the rebels usually end up knuckling under anyway, at a lousier job, for an even dumber boss.

And as the testosterone gradually ebbs, so does the exuberance. And once their physicality is gone, they end up poor and bitter.

The cliche here is the high school quarterback, who never quite experienced anything quite so glorious again. But it's not just him; it's all the guys whose youthful self-image wouldn't allow for more pedestrian, practical pursuits.

The kind of pursuits which lead to stability later on.

There's often some substance abuse in the mix. Young guys who like get gloriously drunk, and who are gloriously daring with illicit drugs often let themselves become addicted. Then, eventually, if they manage to survive and get sober, they end up working as drug counselors or the like. Or they just hang on, doing..... something.

I once mentioned how a Schadenfreude Magazine would do well; to date no one has started one. But there are a plethora of cautionary tales about athletes and others who peaked early.

Nerds don't always end up on top. But too cool young guys almost never do.

The silent majority

There've been a couple of headlines recently about how a new poll on Trump's immigration ban on those seven countries has "surprising" results. Evidently 55% of respondents favor the ban, while 33% disapprove. Trump's executive order to revoke federal funding for sanctuary cities is approved by the same margin, 55% to 33%.

According to Business Insider, Trump's order to approve immediate construction of a wall along the border with Mexico is met with 48% approval against 42% disapproval. And his order to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership has 47% approval vs. 33% disapproval.

The only reason any of these results would be "surprising" is because all of the noise has been made by opponents of Trump. they are the ones marching in the streets, protesting, and in some cases rioting. They seems to think that if they show up to these events in large enough numbers, they will give the impression that "the people" are rising up against the horrible dictator in the White House.

"The people," and their allies in the MSM. they certainly seem to have convinced themselves.

But, all the tumult and uproar that these groups generate is misleading. Because the majority of people realize that Trump is making commonsensical moves to protect Americans.

Richard Nixon used to refer to this group as the "silent majority." He was right, too, because he was elected twice. Behavior patterns don't change: the Left made all the noise back then, too.

Monday, February 6, 2017

It's time to plant that false flag

Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich recently suggested that the recent riots in Berkeley were a false flag operation, and that some of the AntiFa-types dressed in black with their faces covered were in fact Trump operatives trying to discredit the Left.

Well, that's not impossible.

Why not take it a step further and say that all of the protesters of the past few weeks have been Trump supporters trying to make the Left look bad?

After all, they seem to be succeeding in that.

But as long as Reich is hurling accusations, I have a suggestion: these marches and protests do need some participation from the Right.

The most recent protests seem to have focused on Trump's immigration ban for the seven countries which have been home to a significant number of terrorists.

What we need is 15 or 20 people to join each protest, with each person holding a placard which will highlight the ridiculousness and hypocrisy and self-defeating nature of what these people are marching for.

The placards could range from the cryptic to the slightly more satirical. And key to many of these placards will be the juxtaposition of a common liberal phrase with a highly illiberal Muslim belief.

The people holding these signs can't be crew cut Anglo types. These signs should be carried by swarthy guys who look more like me.

Here are a few suggestions:

Rescind the immigration ban! 
                     Jihad forever

Amerikkka must be brought down!
                 Just like San Bernadino

Hands off my pussy!
But feel free to cut off my clit

Death to Trump
     72 virgins await

American citizenship -- a worldwide right

Our diversity is our strength 
             Long live Rotherham

I will not go silently back to the 1950's
     But I will go back to the Middle Ages with Islam

No more apartheid in the US or Israel

(The should give Jewish liberals pause.)

Dump Trump
Elect al-Baghdadi

It's not OK to slut shame!
       Just stone them to death.

Impeach Trump 
  and kill the infidels

More tolerance
for Muslim intolerance

Stone racists (and adulterers) to death!

America loves Muslims
    who throw gays from rooftops

We're all Muslims now!
    And women must wear hijabs

Refugees welcome! 
          Rape us, please

Omar Mateen a martyr for our cause

Death to Donald Trump 
           and Charlie Hebdo

    Let Muslims in
or we will drive trucks over you

Love Trumps hate
    ISIS trumps America

Make America sane again
Madonna for Prez, Ashley Judd for VP

No more hate crimes! 
          Only hate hoaxes

The right side of history
[with a picture of an ISIS beheading]

Our diversity is our strength!
[with a photo of decapitated corpses in orange]

Let's prove Robert Reich right.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Do they really have nothing better to do?

How did you spend your weekend? Did you go for a jog? Attend exercise class? See friends? Watch a movie? Catch up on housework? Watch the Super Bowl? Play with your kids? Take your parents to brunch?

Or did you go yell and scream and act hysterical in front of the White House, or at your local airport?

Evidently for the third straight weekend, there were nationwide protests:

The latest presidential tweets come on an afternoon when MSNBC and CNN were featuring heavy coverage of the nation’s third consecutive weekend of anti-Trump protests. Today’s rallies in New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, Miami and West Palm Beach (heading to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida resort, or at least as close as possible) erupted in response to a week of legal back-and-forth over the president’s exec-ordered travel ban.....

In New York, the crowds gathered near the Stonewall Inn, the historic West Village bar that’s become a symbol of gay rights. The afternoon rally was organized to show LGBTQ solidarity with immigrants and refugees targeted in Trump’s executive order.

That last bit is actually sort of funny. It's nice that the LGBTQ crowd is showing such "solidarity" with the would be Muslim immigrants, but you can't help but wonder, do they have any idea how the Muslims feel about them

In any case, the only conclusion I can draw is that for some people, yelling and screaming and feeling self-righteous is fun. Human nature is such that it's hard to get people to do things -- especially in their free time -- that they don't enjoy. 

So they must find the protests fulfilling. 

It's not hard to imagine. You go down to the local gathering spot, get together with a lot of like-minded people, and rage against Trump to your heart's content. It's a little reminiscent of primal scream therapy.

Maybe you're a little hoarse afterward, but you probably feel a lot calmer. And filled with inner peace. Which, judging from a lot of their behavior, is not an emotion they're particularly well acquainted with. 

For instance, I bet this woman, in this now famous video, felt a lot better after her session. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

"The coming clash with Iran"

A friend sent this Pat Buchanan article yesterday. Buchanan, peacenik, is not the way he's generally perceived, but in the past couple decades he has in fact become one of the leading voices for America's withdrawal from the never-ending Middle East conflict.

In the article he outlines perfectly why a war with Iran would be unjustified, and gain us nothing but more enmity in the Muslim world. 

And, as Buchanan points out, one of the best things about Trump was that he didn't feel obliged to kowtow to Republican orthodoxy. And one of the most appealing ways he differed was to acknowledge that the Iraq War was a mistake from the start.

In fact, just a few days ago he said he wished Senators McCain and Graham would stop constantly trying to drag us into World War Three.

(It's a lot easier to tolerate a man of ego if he's also a man of peace.)

So why the recent saber rattling against Iran?

Is some of this tough talk an outgrowth of Trump's annoyance at the nuclear deal with Iran, where Obama and Kerry basically gave away everything in return for pretty much nothing? That "deal," and the subsequent $400 million ransom paid for those four Americans last August, obviously offended the businessman in Trump.

Is Trump somehow being unduly swayed by Israel? It's no secret they consider Iran their biggest threat.

And how much of this might be a matter of the generals on Trump's staff spoiling for hostilities simply because they are more militarily inclined?

In fairness to Trump, he did criticize the recent deal with Iran on several occasions during his campaign. So it's not as if he's completely changing his stance here. But the only outright military action he advocated had to do with ISIS.

Trump may succeed in protecting our borders, in bringing the crime rate down, and in helping the middle class. But if he gets us into an extended war with Iran, that will be his legacy. And it won't be a good one.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fahrenheit 451, updated

The riots in Berkeley last night succeeded. They stopped gay conservative Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus.

As many have pointed out, it's ironic that these riots would take place in Berkeley, which back in the 60's was home to the original Free Speech movement.

It's hard not to be reminded of Ray Bradbury's 1953 book, Fahrenheit 451, about a society where reading books was outlawed and books were burned. The title refers to the temperature at which paper catches fire:

Bradbury later claimed that he'd written Fahrenheit 451 because of a concern that the McCarthy era might lead to book burning.

The book is often described as "dystopian." But it's really not that far from what's happening today, in Berkeley and wherever else people gather to repress freedom of speech. College campuses are now, intellectually, the opposite of utopias.

The scene in Berkeley last night as protesters used logic and reason to counter Yiannopoulos' positions.

The Left is now the know-nothing, narrow-minded, fascist mob which won't allow the opposition a voice.

Leroy Brown, updated (and updated again)

Back in 1973, Jim Croce had a hit song, Bad Bad Leroy Brown. Musically, it wasn't much to speak of, but here are the slightly more memorable lyrics, in case you've never heard it. It was sort of a paean to badass black masculinity.

Listening to Trump talk about how the murder rate in Chicago is out of control for some reason put me in mind of the song, which starts out, "Well the south side of Chicago is the baddest part of town."

If you look at the lyrics, they now seem incredibly dated. There are references to how Leroy is "badder than old King Kong," to his diamond rings, his Continental, and his Eldorado.

The reference to Kong Kong wouldn't fly these days, and probably neither would the fact that he is made to sound like a pimp.

Another way the song seems dated is that Leroy meets his end in a bar fight after "messin' with the wife of a jealous man."

If the 1973 South Side had been anything like the 2017 version, Leroy would far more likely have been shot in a drive by. And the guy who shot him would also long since have been killed, also by a bullet. And the guy who shot that guy. And so on...

Recently, Trump threatened to send in the Feds if the Chicago authorities don't get their act together and stop the violence. Yesterday, according to the Chicago Tribune:

President Donald Trump responded enthusiastically Wednesday to a Cleveland-area minister's surprise comment that "top gang thugs" wanted to meet in Chicago to help reduce the city's gun violence.

"That's a great idea because Chicago is totally out of control," the president told the Rev. Darrell Scott at a Black History Month event at the White House. ...

At the morning meeting, Scott said that the gang leaders in Chicago had committed "to lower that body count" in return for added social programs from the federal government.

"If they're not going to solve the problem — and what you're doing is the right thing — then we're going to solve the problem for them because we're going to have to do something about Chicago," the president said. "Because what's happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country."

The funniest thing was what emerged about the gangs' attitude:

Scott said of the Chicago gangs: "They want to work with this administration. They believe in this administration. They didn't believe in the prior administration. They told me this out of their mouth. But they see hope with you."

"I love it," Trump said.

The article went on to point out that people closer to the situation claim that decreasing the violence will be harder than ever because the former gangs which dominated Chicago have now splintered into hundreds of smaller gangs.

Still, what does their belief in the current administration -- and their lack of faith in the previous one -- say about gang members in the most violent neighborhood in the country?

That they're keepin' it real.

If the President somehow does manage to lower the gun violence in Chicago, someone should write a song about bad bad Donald Trump.

Update, 2/4/17: Commenter JR has just informed me that the Reverend Scott has admitted he was lying about having met with the gang leaders (he only met with one former gang member), and that he has blamed his lapse on lack of sleep. How disappointing. (And how naive of me to fall for it, even if it was in the Chicago Tribune; it really was too good to be true.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The underlying conceit....

...of all these protests about Trump's three month moratorium on immigration from seven Muslim countries is that United States citizenship should be an automatic right for anyone in the world who wants it.

There is no other country in the world -- outside western Europe -- which has an immigration policy designed to benefit foreigners at its own expense.

I can't prance into South Korea and demand citizenship. I can't fly to Russia and announce, guess what, I'm your countryman. I can't climb the fence into Israel and say, hey, I'm an Israeli now.

Mexico, which constantly lectures us about how we should loosen our border controls, has more stringent requirements for citizenship than we do. You must have five years of legal residence there before you can even apply for citizenship. You can only get away with two years legal residence if, according to Wikipedia:

to the judgment of the Secretariat [of Foreign Affairs], she or he has performed or created outstanding works in a cultural, social, scientific, technical, artistic, sports or business area that benefit the nation.

If you do become naturalized Mexican citizen, you are not allowed to become a member of the Mexican military during peacetime, a policeman, or a captain or pilot on any Mexican-flagged vessel or aircraft. Nor are you allowed to become President of Mexico, a member of the Congress of Mexico, a member of the Supreme Court of Mexico, a Governor of a Mexican state, or the Mayor or member of the legislature of Mexico City. 

In the US, the only office naturalized citizens are prevented from holding is President. If Trump tried to institute the types of restrictions Mexico does, the chorus of outraged howls comparing him to Hitler would be deafening.

And imagine going to Mexico and demanding free hospital care in their emergency wards, free schooling for your kids, and the right to bring as many relatives as you want from the US. All paid for by Mexican taxpayers. 

You'd be laughed out of the country. Or, more likely, put in a Mexican jail. 

Perhaps we should march into Saudi Arabia and insist we be allowed to build Presbyterian churches in Mecca. (The same way Muslims can build mosques wherever they like in the US.)

Perhaps we should go to Iran and insist that women be allowed to sunbathe topless on beaches of the Arabian Sea. (The same way Muslim women wear hijabs in the West.)

Perhaps we should go to Pakistan and inform the local residents that unless they institute equal rights for women, they are a backward, savage people. (The same way some Muslims here say they eventually want sharia law in the US.)

And what if we did so while making it clear that we hate everything these countries stand for, and that we do not necessarily disapprove of our fellow immigrants who want to set off bombs in crowded places in these countries.

It would be enlightening to see what sorts of reactions we'd get.

It seems doubtful that each of these countries has a sizable portion of their population which will hold demonstrations insisting on our freedom to do these things.

In those countries, people prefer to commit suicide at others' expense, not just their own.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Wimps with guns, Part II

In June 2015 I posted about how so many of the recent mass shooters -- Dylan Roof, James Holmes, Elliot Rodgers, and Adam Lanza -- were all wimpy physical specimens.

The latest in this ignominious line appears to fit that description as well. As the Reuters reported this morning:

A French-Canadian university student was the sole suspect in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque and was charged with the premeditated murder of six people, Canadian authorities said on Monday....Court documents identified the gunman in the attack on Sunday evening prayers as Alexandre Bissonnette, 27....The slightly-built Bissonnette made a brief appearance in court....

Here's Bissonnette:

Another pencil neck geek.

What I said in 2015 about all these killers:

What do they all have in common? They're small, even frail, and appear to have low testosterone levels. It's pretty obvious that before they took a bunch of lives, nobody took much notice of them except perhaps to note what losers they were. None were athletic, and most were probably virgins. They were all disappointments to their parents, and unpopular with their peers.

And, wimps that they were, they all needed guns as equalizers.

You hear from time to time about 'roid rage, and how steroid users can't control their tempers. And feminists love to talk about "testosterone poisoning," how men are unhinged by hormone-induced aggressiveness. 

That doesn't seem to have been the case with Bissonnette, any more than with the other recent shooters. Maybe they should have gone on steroids. 

Another common thread among these killers is that a number of them had Aspergers. I'm not saying Bissonnette did, but it wouldn't be surprising to hear that was the case.  

How would we screen out these budding Aspie killers? We do know that if we try, the Aspergers advocates will start screaming about how the vast majority of Aspies are law-abiding and peaceful. And, of course, they'd be right. But once you subscribe to the "vast majority" logic, no screening of any sort is permissible. 

Ironically, for all the anti-bullying talk, it's rarely the schoolyard bullies who end up committing these mass shootings. Far more often it's their victims. 

It would be great if the media treated this killing responsibly, and took pains to point out what a loser Bissonnette was, in order to discourage copycat killings

That seems doubtful though, especially in this case, where they'll have the opportunity to crow about Islamophobia and racism and how we need to be more welcoming to immigrants. The MSM never lets a crisis go to waste. The New York Times will probably even tie the killing to Donald Trump. 

But we should see these killings for what they often really are: the revenge of the nerds. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

How long will the honeymoon last?

It's been said in the past that all Presidents enjoy a honeymoon period with the press upon first assuming office. It may last a month, or it may last longer.

As gratifying as it's been to see the press treat Trump with respect and fairness, I'm worried that sooner or later he's going to do something which will turn them against him.

And then, I'm afraid, the honeymoon will be over.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Is Trump a sociopath?

In July of 2015 I said that Donald Trump was not a sociopath because he was so artless with his lies. (Smart sociopaths tend to make good liars, not lousy ones.) Two days ago I used pretty much the same logic to say the same thing again.

In response, commenter Alter Ego replied: 

"Even when it was apparent that his inaugural crowd wasn't larger than Obama's, Trump had to insist that it was. . . . And in a roundabout way, it shows he's not a sociopath."

So Trump tells an easily refutable lie about the size of his inauguration crowd (not to mention the bit about 3M people voting illegally) and that's proof that he's NOT a sociopath?? You lost me there, John.

I replied: 

Good question. What I'm referring to is the STYLE of his lies; they're more childlike, more pathetic in a way. It's almost as if he's an Aspie. I've known people with Aspergers who will lie in the most transparent way, insisting on something being true (or untrue) when it's not, and the feeling you get from them is that they think if they say it, it will be so. I've known two different Aspies who would say something, and then a minute later deny having said it. It's pathetic, and they're fooling no one, but they do it anyway. That seems to be Trump's style of lying. He's INCAPABLE of admitting that he's not the best at something, just the way he's INCAPABLE of not responding when someone insults him, no matter how much it makes him look as if he's punching down (against a Kizr Khan, or an Alicia Machado, or an Alec Baldwin, for example). A sociopath would be much more slyly manipulative, much more aware of how to polish his public image, much better at appearing "noble" and "gracious" while sticking the knife in.

The Aspies I know who've lied like that are definitely not sociopaths; for the most part, they're straightforward and honest. And when they lie, they're more pathetic than scary. Trump's lies are more the former; it comes across more as if he thinks that if he says it, it's true.

Having said this, I don't think Trump is an Aspie, either. And I have to admit, I've said in the past that the second surest sign of sociopathy is pathological lying (the first is serial killing). 

And Trump does seem to stretch the truth on a regular basis; this article provides one good example.

So, I have to ask myself, am I giving Trump the benefit of the doubt just because I agree with his platform? Was I so overjoyed to see him defeat Hillary that I refuse to see the bad in him?

I don't think I am. I certainly haven't been averse to making fun of him. I compared him to Goldfinger here, put him in a competition with el Chapo here, have pointed out that he has ADHD, and in yesterday's post I basically called him a fatso. 

But if I were to claim to be without bias, that would just prove what a fool I am, as we all have biases. And to not strongly consider the possibility that a billionaire who becomes President might not be a sociopath would be the height of naivete. 

But let's take a closer look. Last month I posted a fairly extensive list of the flags which tend to indicate sociopathy. Look through them again, I see a few traits which Trump can be said to have:

He doesn't get nervous or flustered, as shown by his performance in the various debates last year. 

His lying could be a sign, as mentioned above.

Another red flag I listed was that they "often think they are fooling people when they are not. If someone tells you an obvious lie, and acts as if he expects you to believe him, beware." Trump does act as if he expects people to believe him when he lies. 

And there's another red flag which Trump may or may not wave: to respond with "uninhibited viciousness when it comes to those who anger them." It's true that Trump never lets an insult go unavenged (with a return insult); but, he generally leaves it at that. (Sociopaths usually escalate.)

There are also many signs that Trump is not a sociopath. He speaks well of his parents. He has good relationships with his kids, all of whom seem to have turned out well, not a drug addict in the bunch. More impressive, he even has good relationships with his ex-wives, both of whom endorsed him for President. (Very, very few sociopaths have good relationships with their exes.)

And while the NY Times turned up a few people from The Apprentice who said that Trump had commented on various women's sexual appeal, the vast majority of his former employees seem to like him. (And if commenting on a woman's appearance is a sign of sociopathy, then the incidence of sociopathy is far, far higher than 3% of the population.)

Trump is given to spontaneous acts of generosity, as documented here. More tellingly, he didn't seem to do them for the positive publicity they might have generated. (Contrast this to the typical rich sociopath whose every gift is well advertised.) And while he stretches the truth about things like the height of his apartment buildings or the number of people who attended his inauguration, he doesn't seem to make up lies out of whole cloth.

And, he never exhibits the emotional falsity that characterizes so many sociopaths. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that just because the media accuses him of lying, that doesn't mean that he's actually lying. Often the MSM simply wants to cover up the truth. When Trump said that Mexico is not sending us their best, it may not have been diplomatic, but it's true. And when he said that Europe is a "mess" because of all the unwanted immigrants, again, it may not be a pretty sentiment, but it's true. When he said that there was probably a lot of voter fraud in this past election, the MSM immediately responded by saying that those suspicions had been "debunked." But how could they possibly have been debunked without a full investigation?

So, in fact, Trump lies far less often than you'd think from just reading the New York Times and its ilk. And bear in mind, being blunt is in fact the opposite of being dishonest.

A lot of people -- even a few who are regular commenters on this blog -- seem to be getting the impression that Trump is a sociopath from the MSM, which on a daily basis does its utmost to paint a picture of him as Adolf, Jr. And even when you realize how slanted the MSM is, sometimes it's hard not to be influenced by their constant onslaught.

Okay, so where does the lying come from? I don't think Trump's an Aspie, and I don't think he's a sociopath. The best explanation I can come up with is that it's an outgrowth of his narcissism, possibly spurred on by a strong sense of insecurity. In the same way that most narcissists can't own up to a mistake, Trump can't admit that he's not the best at everything, which, in his mind, would be admitting that he's wrong.

Look at old clips of him talking about his various real estate projects. Everything is "the best," "world class," "first rate," and so on. To him, anything less would be shameful, and that's something he has a hard time dealing with. He's also obsessed with winning, and to admit a loss would also be tantamount to admitting that he's wrong, as well.

So, we're left with half-truths and exaggerations.

Remember, Trump doesn't engage in sport lying (lying for the pleasure of fooling people). And when he tars his opponents, he sticks to the truth, even if that's somewhat subjective, and even if he does hit below the belt at times. It's only when people question him: the height of his buildings, or the number of people who showed up for his inauguration, that he is prone to exaggeration.

A sociopath never goes out of character. He may pretend to be something he's not, but the pretense never lasts long, and in any case doesn't stands up to close examination. If Trump is a sociopath, he's spending most of his time out of character. And that just doesn't square with sociopathy.

Anyway, for now, I'm going to say Trump is a very narcissistic personality, but not a sociopath. It's possible I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.