The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Statute of Limitiations

Is there a statute of limitations on history? I mean—honestly— is there some period of time—100 years, 250 years, 500 years, 1000 years—after which we decide that some place or event or person (people) did awful things, but we just have to move on. I'm not suggesting that we forget those awful things. Nope. Just that we don't obsess about names or places, entities or statues that are connected to events that happened in the distant past. There is little to be gained from meaningless gestures of outrage over things that happened hundreds of years ago. In fact, it detracts from current strategies that might actually improve some of the aggrieved communities.

Let me provide a few examples. Following the precedent established by social justice mobs in the United States, let's turn our focus to Italy. Social justice warriors might argue that the Roman colosseum is a monument to violence, slavery and cruelty. Almost 2,000 years ago, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators watched weekly as slaves were torn apart by wild animals, mortal combat among enslaved gladiators was cheered, and other unspeakable competitions were common. 

Therefore, following the now established social justice precedent, should modern day Italian SJWs in Rome tear down what remains of the colosseum? After all, it's a "racist" reminder of the past, triggering psychic discomfort and rage among the woke. For that matter, the city of Rome itself, conjures images of an ancient empire that was "colonialist" to the extreme, promoted slavery of all kinds, and was otherwise not an exemplar of social justice.  Should modern day Italians rename "Rome" with a politically correct moniker? is 2000 years enough for the statute of limitation to kick in? I really don't know.

How about someone more contemporary—say, the marxist revolutionary Che Guevara? Guevara has been accused of murdering large numbers of innocents, and he was an active participant in a Cuban 'revolution' that confiscated the life's work of hundreds of thousands of Cubans, created a massive outward flow of migrants, reduced the freedom of millions of Cubans, and imprisoned or killed anyone with opposing views. 

I'll admit that none of Guevara's deeds would trouble the majority of today's social justice warriors in the least, but it certainly might trigger psychic discomfort and rage among many good people. Should those people therefore demand that the sale of Che tee shirts be banned, that movies about him be censored or withdrawn, or that any other memorialization of the man be "torn down" in an attempt to erase him from history? Seems perfectly reasonable, if we use the current social justice mob's precedent as a guide.

But back to the statute of limitations on history. Should we, like the Khmer Rouge or the Taliban destroy any historical reference that is troubling to some but NOT all of the people. For that matter, even if a person, an event, or a place is troubling to ALL of the people, should it be erased from history?

The woke would tell us "yes," that there is no statute of limitations when something causes them psychic discomfort and rage. That, of course, is madness, but "erasure" seems to be the insanity du jour.  After all, we're now living in Wonderland. Yet again, the Cheshire Cat smiles.


ADDENDUM:
----------------------
BTW, where are Joe Biden and the Democrats on all of this. William McGurn writes:
At the mildest, surely it would be informative to learn if the former senator from Delaware agrees with Wilmington’s recent decision to remove a statue of the state’s most famous son, Caesar Rodney, from downtown. Rodney is known in American history for riding 80 miles through a storm to get to Philadelphia in time to cast Delaware’s deciding vote for independence. His statue was removed because, like several other Founding Fathers, he owned slaves.

Notwithstanding calls for Mr. Biden to declare himself on the issue, he’s clearly betting that a press corps that managed to ignore a former Senate staffer’s charge of sexual assault for weeks won’t press him on the statues and the mayhem. No doubt he is betting correctly.

On paper, this should be an easy call. The Democratic voters, especially African-American voters, who made Mr. Biden their nominee did so on the belief they were going with the moderate. But Mr. Biden has been under relentless pressure to move left, and he’s obliged by flip-flopping on many positions that made him a moderate—from his support of the 1994 crime bill to his initial rejection of the Green New Deal.
I'm certain that Joe Biden himself is incapable of crafting a coherent response to McGurn's implied query, but his staffers along with other Dems can do it for him. Why the silence?

UPDATE-1:
-------------------
It looks like the Democratic party is finally addressing this issue, but not in the way many of us would like. Consider the following tweet:


John Gabriel comments:
One of the two major parties in the U.S. now publicly proclaims that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt are the moral equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan.

Has everybody lost their minds?

I know. Rhetorical question.

Perhaps Biden and Pelosi can hire the Taliban. They have experience removing monumental sculpture.
And if the Taliban demure from this idiocy, I'm sure the Dems might be able to find a few Khmer Rouge holdovers who might be willing to do the job.

UPDATE-2:
-------------------
For the social justice warriors whose insanity is driving the "erasure," there is no statute of limitations. All offensive places, people, and events MUST be erased, all offensive (to them) statutes MUST be torn down, all language must be cleansed of micro-aggressions, all speech must be moderated and controlled. Charles Lipson comments on the "rigid groupthink" that is the hallmark of social justice warriors:
What’s wrong with this rigid groupthink? First, it takes real problems, such as police misconduct or Confederate statues, and inflates them for political purposes. It vastly exaggerates their extent and gravity, mistakenly generalizes them (Ulysses Grant is not Stonewall Jackson), ignores significant progress in correcting old errors, calls any disagreement “racist,” and relies on intimidation and sometimes violence, not democratic procedures, to get their way. The loudest voices say America and its history are fundamentally evil, that its institutions need to be smashed so they can be reestablished on “socially just” foundations. The mob and their fellow travelers will determine what is just. Who gives them that right? This arrogation of power and attack on public order will not end well.
As Lipson correctly implies, pushback is coming.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Mailing It In

The Democrats are trying hard to convince the public that voting by mail in the time of COVID-19 is both smart, accurate, and fraud-free. Like everything that's going on as we move deeper and deeper into Wonderland, their arguments represent gaslighting taken to a new level. And then, we get this news from a Blue state:
Following accusations of widespread fraud, voter intimidation, and ballot theft in the May 12 municipal elections in Paterson, N.J., state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced Thursday he is charging four men with voter fraud – including the vice president of the City Council and a candidate for that body.

With races still undecided, control of the council hangs in the balance. Paterson is New Jersey’s third largest city and the election will decide the fate of a municipal budget in excess of $300 million, in addition to hundreds of millions more in education spending and state aid.

In the City Council election, 16,747 vote-by-mail ballots were received, but only 13,557 votes were counted. More than 3,190 votes, 19% of the total ballots cast, were disqualified by the board of elections. Due to the pandemic, Paterson’s election was done through vote-by-mail. [emphasis added] Community organizations, such as the city’s NAACP chapter, are calling for the entire election to be invalidated.

Mail-in ballots have long been acknowledged by voting experts to be more susceptible to fraud and irregularities than in-person voting. This has raised concerns from President Trump and other Republicans about the integrity of national elections in November, which are expected to include a dramatic increase in mail-in ballots. If Paterson is any guide, it ought to concern Democrats as well.

Over 800 ballots in Paterson were invalidated for appearing in mailboxes improperly bundled together – including a one mailbox where hundreds of ballots were in a single packet. The bundles were turned over to law enforcement to investigate potential criminal activity related to the collection of the ballots.

The board of elections disqualified another 2,300 ballots after concluding that the signatures on them did not match the signatures on voter records.
Hmmm.  But Democrats keep telling us that there is no election fraud (except, of course, when GOP candidates win) and that mail-in ballots are pure as the wind-driven snow. 

They. Are. Not. Mail-in ballots are a voting mechanism that can be easily compromised. Votes can and will be harvested. Counterfeit ballots will inevitably appear. Signatures will be faked. This list is long.

We hear faux-panicked statements that COVID-19 is forcing the mail-in approach while Team Apocalypse keeps telling us that voters are gonna die if they show up in person. Yet, the same Team Apocalypse remained eerily silent when protesters flooded the streets earlier this month. Maybe the social justice crowd should have mailed it in instead. 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Blue Governance

When the icons of the mainstream media (e.g., the NYT, WaPo and the alphabet networks) decided to join the #Resistance full-force in 2017, they jettisoned journalist ethics, objectivity, accuracy, and professionalism in their obsessive effort to destroy Donald Trump's presidency and defeat him in 2020. Their coverage has been well over 90 percent negative and even worse, when meaningful successes have occurred (e.g., record high employment and wages of African Americans) those stories have been relegated to the figurative back pages of reporting, if they're reported at all 

Never did the media icons think they would make fools of themselves, but they have. Their bias has eroded trust in their reporting and made much of the editorial opinion a laughing stock of incoherent and strident nonsense.

Nothing exemplifies that more than a recent story in Washington Post (WaPo). 

First, a little background. Donald Trump correctly points out that virtually all large cities with high crime statistics and racial strife have been governed by Democrats for many decades. He further asks why given the long term-blue governance in those cities, police reform has not been achieved, and black-on-black violent crime is still rampant. He's right, of course, and the criticism hits a nerve among Democrats. So rather than honestly exploring the issue, the hamsters have decided to imply that Trump is being dishonest.

Because the media icons (actually, they're the Dems' trained hamsters) will do anything to protect the narrative, even if it means beclowning themselves. WaPo ran an article entitiled, "Trump keeps claiming that the most dangerous cities in America are all run by Democrats. They aren’t." WaPo then produced the following graph to defend their position:


Note that blue governance is represented as blue bars in the histogram. I'd say it's overwhelmingly blue, wouldn't you? And the one (that's right, "1") city shown in red, Jacksonville FL? Well, here's the scoop on that (conveniently left out of the WaPo article because it further destroys the narrative):


The utter hypocrisy and dishonesty of the Democrats and their media hamsters is sometimes comical—and this is one of those times. The cub "reporters" and their hack editors who wrote the WaPo piece tried to spin the facts to make Trump look dishonest. Instead, they look monumentally stupid while making Trump's argument for him. 

Social justice warriors and African Americans who have adopted the "black lives matter" montra might be well-served by asking why it is that that Democrats, who have run urban centers for decades, have allowed crime to fester, police brutality to go unchecked, and overall urban decay to continue, all the while suggesting that it's the conservatives' fault. They might also ask why the one major city under Red governance after a century of Blue governance has seen a 40 percent reduction in crime after 14 years.

UPDATE:
----------------------
Glenn Reynolds writes about the Dems increasingly uneasy relationship with African American voters in 2020:
Do Black lives matter to Democrats? As Tim Alberta recently reported, a lot of Black voters think the answer is no. That may explain why the Democrats are blocking the GOP justice reform bill in the Senate: With Black voters already discouraged, Democrats don’t want them to get the idea that Republicans may have something to offer.

Alberta’s reporting, in Politico, is striking. At the invitation of a local African-American politico, he spent an afternoon with a bunch of middle-class Black voters outside Detroit. He found they were disappointed in the Democrats, thought nothing much had changed for them during the Obama presidency, and expected Trump to win even though they planned to vote for Biden themselves ...

Eric Benjamin [one of the voters] commented: “Biden’s a politician, same as the rest of them, same as Trump. But at least with Trump you know where he stands,” he said. “If we were sitting here, me and you, and you’re pretending we’re friends, but then behind my back, you act like you don’t even know me, that’s the worst. I’d much rather you just tell me to my face that we’re not friends. That’s Trump. I respect that. The Democrats always be acting like we’re friends.”

Even activists like Shaun King are noticing that “systemic racism” seems to happen mostly in Democratic-controlled cities and states: “Democrats, from top to bottom, are running the cities with the worst police brutality in America right now. We voted for them.”

So now comes President Donald Trump — who’s already successfully pushed a criminal-justice reform package, the First Step Act, with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and already issued an executive order limiting police chokeholds and other abusive behavior that won praise even from Van Jones — and the Democrats are terrified that he might deliver a major reform bill in Congress before the election, and they can’t have that. Better that nothing should happen than that Black voters might see Trump as performing where the Democrats — even when they controlled the White House and had a supermajority in Congress — never did.

In the words of Black Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina: "They cannot allow this party to be seen as a party that reaches out to all communities in this nation.”
Democrats literally freaked out when Trump suggested that black voters give the GOP a try, stating, "What have you got to lose?" 

Indeed, what have they got to lose, given the dismal record that Dems bring to the table (and WaPo inadvertently documented) after all these years of 80-plus percent black votes for Dems.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Wonderland--Part II

Yesterday, I wrote that we're now living in Wonderland—a place where logic and common sense have been jettisoned and replaced by a mob mentality that has given in to fear and hysteria. In Wonderland some of the general public, almost all of the media , and most of our politicians, along with public health "experts," seem to cite only bad information as long as it conforms to their narrative of events. They jettison hard facts and data that challenge the prevailing catastrophist narrative, avoid context at all cost, and otherwise work to ensure that people are afraid, uncertain of the future, and doubtful as we face an "apocalypse."

We have experienced pandemics in the past—some quite serious. Tens of thousand of people died, tens of millions were infected, and yet, the world didn't stop, life went on, schools stayed in session, businesses remained open, travel continued. The big question is: "Why?"  

I believe that the Alice in Wonderland reaction to COVID-19 has occurred for the following reasons:
  • A main stream media that is no longer professional or trustworthy and therefore creates a false narrative that draws in credulous viewers or readers;
  • Social media that amplifies the false narrative by at least one or two orders of magnitude, introducing still more false information and toxic ideas as a bonus;
  • A society that over the past few decades has worshiped at the alter of "safetyism"—a term coined by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff in their book, The Coddling of the American Mind and defined this way:  “Safetyism refers to a culture or belief system in which safety has become a sacred value, which means that people are unwilling to make trade-offs demanded by other practical and moral concerns.”
  • The false belief (bolstered by so-called "experts") that forward-looking models are precise and to be trusted to the exclusion of common sense and past experience. Even worse, the continuing belief in those models' projections even after they have been proven to be grossly inaccurate;
  • Political leaders who are afraid to make any decision that might blow back on them (even if it's the right decision) and instead take the path that allows them to CYA;
  • A general public and its leaders who are innumerate—meaning they don't understand the meaning of graphs, the subtleties of statistics or the necessity of adapting strategies based on early projections once a growing body of data calls those strategies into question; 
  • Advisors to political leaders who suffer from tunnel-vision, unable or unwilling to consider the ramifications of their recommendations on other equally important aspects of society;
  • And finally, a strong political overlay that affects the manner in which the narrative is crafted and the decisions associated with the virus threat are made.
All of this has led us to Wonderland—a place where catastrophists flourish while the rest of us shake our heads in amazement.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Wonderland

In yesterday's post, I noted that we're living in the "crazy years"—many of us feel like Alice journeying through Wonderland. I used a quote from the book to emphasize this point:
Those who work hard to think critically, to sift through the fake news, the media hype, and now widespread corporate capitulation to the narrative, feel a lot like Alice in Chapter 6 of [Alice in Wonderland]:
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” 
It is true ... we're here ... among mad people. 
Team Apocalypse can barely hide its glee as the Dems' trained hamsters in the media report a "surge" in COVID-19 cases, never bothering to mention that the death rate from the virus continues on a downward trend. 

They use terms like "skyrocketing hospitalizations" to engender the most fear and hysteria they can, never providing context that indicates that the vast majority of those who are hospitalized are very old (80+) and sick with other problems and yet, are now treated more quickly and effectively. 

They use their COVID-19 scoreboard and enthusiastically report that states are setting new "case records," never mentioning that the majority of "cases" are asymptomatic or sub-clinical and affect those in the 20 to 40 year old cohort. 

They use ominous words and music to imply that another wave of shutdowns is in the offing, never mentioning that the "experts" (e.g., Anthony Fauci, MD) who told us we had to "flatten the curve" in March, NEVER promised that we'd eliminate the virus or even reduce the long-term number of cases. 

They imply that states that opened early are seeing the most significant rise in cases, but fail to note that even now, New York State that stayed shutdown the longest, saw far more total "cases" and deaths than states that opened early—even now.

They disregard an ominous "new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association [that] finds that the number of adults reporting symptoms of serious psychological distress rose to 13.6% from 3.9% in the same time in 2018, with higher levels among the young (24%), low-income (19.3%), and Hispanics (18.3%)" (as reported in the Wall Street Journal).

The bottom line is this:
The latest CDC data show that those aged 65 and older account for 80% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. But that age group makes up only 16% of the population... those under age 35 comprise 45% of the population.... [but] 0.8% of COVID-19 deaths.
So we try to protect 16% of the population by shutting down schools and colleges they don't attend, closing bars and restaurants they can choose not to frequent for their own safety, shuttering businesses that they no longer work at because the vast majority are retired, and otherwise wrecking the economy along with the lives and livelihoods of at least 45% of the population. BTW, the same 16% can be protected without the necessity of doing any of this, but nevermind.

Yep, we're living in Wonderland ... among "mad people."


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Mad People

For the Democrats' trained hamsters of the mainstream media, the narrative is everything. If a story dovetails with the narrative, it gets HEAVY emphasis—top-of-the-fold coverage in print media, A-block coverage on TV, and heavy play among the woke commentariat. The hamsters are currently promoting two narratives at once: 

1) our country is "systemically racist," and a collection of "brave and peaceful" protesters are at the forefront of fighting the good fight [with lots of words and gestures], and 

2) COVID-19 is an existential threat, and the numbers indicate that we must keep the country shut down, keep schools and business closed, [and therefore, ruin the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of people].

It would be bad enough if the hamsters actually promoted these stories out of a true belief that their narrative is all there is to the story, but their actions are far more nefarious. They spin every story to make it fit a narrative for the sole purpose of achieving a political objective.

Take the "peaceful protesters" narrative. I wonder ... Are screaming protesters spewing spittle (potentially virus-laced) in the faces of black police officers "peaceful"? Are protesters who to pull down statue "peaceful"? Was it a "peaceful" homicide when someone killed a black 17-year old within the CHOP in Seattle? Were reports of rape, robbery, and other violence inside CHOP "peaceful?" How about the shakedowns and arson of businesses inside CHOP? "Peaceful," I'm sure. None of this fits the narrative, so the hamsters generally ignore it.

But wait ... what about the "noose" that was found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace's garage at Talladega? A primary example of "white supremacy" and "racism." Right?

David Marcus comments:
When it was announced this week that a noose was found in the garage of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver on the circuit, every reasonable person who has paid vague attention to the news for the past few years had the same reaction. We all immediately wondered if this was just another hoax like the Jussie Smollet situation. Everyone except CNN, who dove in like Greg Louganis and with similar results.

On Monday the “news” network had at least three interviews with black people associated with NASCAR decrying the abject racism of the incident. It was offered of proof of just how racist the United States still is. The white anchors all showed anguish and horror on their faces as if apologizing for all of white America. How could this happen in 2020?

On Tuesday, it became clear, and the FBI confirmed, that no noose was placed in the garage, and whatever NASCAR thought was a noose had actually been there for months. [No crime occurred, no criminal charges were to be filed, and there was no evidence whatsoever that Wallace was targeted by anyone.] So if we are asking the question “how could this happen in 2020?” the real subject of the inquiry could be how could CNN run with this story so aggressively when there was every reason in the world to question it.
If it was only CNN, we could dismiss this as an aberration promulgated by a bunch of media hacks who are about as ethical as Bernie Madoff. 

But, but, but ... the Wallace story fit the narrative so beautifully. It had to be true. Until it wasn't.

Sportswriter Jason Whitlock notes that the trained hamsters in the media aren't the only entities that can benefit from the narrative. He writes that within 24 hours of the Bubba Wallace fake controversy, video and photos surfaced from 2019 that "document[ed] that the garage at Talladega had a hanging pull rope [for the garage door] with a small noose big enough for a hand." There was no way that the person who tied the rope could have possibly known who would be using the garage 18 months later. Whitlock writes:
It’s mind blowing that NASCAR couldn’t deduce this Saturday night when a Bubba Wallace team member spotted the rope and labeled it proof of racial intimidation.

“Mind blowing” isn’t the right description. It’s impossible to believe it took the FBI to solve this mystery. There’s a level of willful ignorance that can only be reasonably explained by NASCAR’s desperation for relevance and traction at a time when all sports leagues and their television partners are hemorrhaging money. NASCAR leaned into the noose story because it was good for business, good TV. 

Anti-black racism is the preferred plotline of Netflix, CNN, Twitter,  Hollywood, ESPN, FOX Sports, MSNBC, professional athletes, The New York Times, The Washington Post and now every sports league looking for favorable coverage.

Go ahead, demonize NASCAR. Its history makes it an easy, worthy target. But willful ignorance is driving the decision-making of every sports league, including the NFL and the NBA. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has provoked nationwide chaos, violence and rioting across this country. The movement’s founders have publicly admitted the ideology driving BLM is Marxist.
We live in crazy times—riots over "systemic racism," apocalyptic predictions over a virus that is only marginally worse than the H3N2 pandemic of 1968-69 (when NOTHING was shut down), a media that is no longer trustworthy, and public and private sector leaders who have drunk the Kool-Aid. Crazy times are reminiscent of the through-the-looking-glass world of Alice in Wonderland. 

Those who work hard to think critically, to sift through the fake news, the media hype, and now widespread corporate capitulation to the narrative, feel a lot like Alice in Chapter 6 of that book:
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” 
It is true ... we're here ... among mad people.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

"Barack and Me"

It almost feels mean to suggest that Joe Biden is no longer capable of making coherent policy decisions. Biden exhibits all the signs of cognitive disability—struggling with word retrieval, confusing the sequence of temporal events, misspeaking, or worse, inventing events that never happened, and when not reading prepared or oft-repeated content, coming off as garbled or completely incoherent. It's sad that the Democrats believe that an individual with these disabilities is competent to be president. Even worse is the possibility that a man with these disability may be elected to the presidency.

Joe likes the phrase, "Barack and Me," riding the coattails of a president who was adored by the media and all Democrats. The fact that the Obama administration, of which Biden was the #2 guy, was scandal-ridden and ineffectual is irrelevant. It will be "Barack and Me" until November.

Among the many atrocious foreign policy positions taken by the "Barack and Me" administration was Obama's personal and policy antipathy toward Israel. Following left-wing dogma, Obama and his foreign policy Team of 2s viewed Israel as an "oppressor" and as such, did everything possible to diss the small democracy's leadership, block its ability to defend itself from a sea of violent Arab enemies, and otherwise attempt to embarrass Israel at the UN.

In a recent piece in The Lid, Jeff Dunetz recounts Barack Obama's last vile attack on Israel:
Less than a month before he left office, Barack Obama led the creation of U.N. Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334, which stated that Israel’s presence in Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem was a violation of International Law. Obama directed U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power to abstain when it came to a vote rather than veto the anti-Israel resolution in the U.N. Security Council. Since the abstention allowed the resolution to pass, the Obama action had the same effect as an anti-Israel U.N. Vote. A new report claims Obama wasn’t done. He had one last anti-Israel resolution to push through, but he was stymied by a threat by Russian President Putin that his U.N. rep would issue a veto, blocking it from passing.

On the day of the U.N. vote, President Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor General Mike Flynn spoke to the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak about the upcoming UNSC vote. Per the transcript of the Flynn/Kislyak calls released on May 29th, 2020, Kislyak explained that Russia would have to delay it 2334, but if it came to a vote, Russia would have no choice but to vote for the resolution.
Because of Russia's threat, Obama, always a political coward, backed off, afraid that the Russian veto would cost the Dems the Jewish vote going forward into the new Trump administration.

I doubt that Joe Biden could cogently discuss this event (he might not even remember it), but it would be worth asking him about it and his position toward Israel should he become President.  I'm certain Joe has been programmed to say he's Israel's greatest friend, but if he is, it might be interesting to ask why he didn't push back when the events Dunetz described transpired. Of course that won't happen, given a media that is already working to protect Biden from hard questions.

Should he win in November, Biden will be a pawn who is manipulated by the dictates of the Democrats' increasingly hard-left base and beholden to the Bernie Bros often extreme left positions. Joe Biden-4.0 would be no moderate. Instead, his administration would be an anti-business, big government cabal that would increase our already overwhelming national debt, maintain the victim and dependency culture that was cultivated when he was VP, and otherwise give us socialism-lite. And yeah, even if he isn't unaware of it, his administration (and VP ) will  be at least as anti-Israel as "Barack and Me." 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

#JOG

There is a persistent theme that pervades the culture of social justice warriors—their obsession with words and gestures, often to the exclusion of meaningful results. They use words and/or gestures to indicate how socially conscious they are—TV spots when they're a celebrity, op-eds when they have connections into the progressive media (e.g., NYT or WaPo), large protests with lots of signs and chanting, tweets, Facebook memes and sometimes vandalism or worse—words and gestures—continually reminding everyone how important it is to virtue signal. There's only one problem: words and gestures don't reduce crime; words and gestures don't help people pull themselves out of poverty; words and gestures don't provide better education or repair a broken family.

SJWs also use words and gestures to shut down debate. Once a SJW accuses someone of being a "white supremacist" or dismisses a cogent argument because the speaker has "white privilege" or is "mansplaining" when debating a woman, meaningful communication ends. And that's exactly what SJWs want.

Sportswriter Jason Whitlock comments on the growing trend among certain celebrity athletes to follow the lead of SJWs and use words and gestures as their cudgel when actions and results would be far more helpful to the people they purport to care about. He writes:
Here’s what LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe and all the social justice reformers can do to legitimize their national-anthem kneeling, ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirts and virtue-signaling tweets:

Demand Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, etc., bring a significant portion of their manufacturing jobs back to the United States.

I don’t trust athletes and celebrities to fix the criminal justice system, community policing or other problems well outside their area of expertise ...

We’re making a mistake allowing athletes and celebrity influencers to set the agenda for the kind of reform and change we want to see in America. Professional athletes and Hollywood elites answer directly to their corporate overlords. They’ve lived inside an elitist bubble since they were teenagers and they don’t care to know what they don’t know. 
Celebrity athletes have amazing skills and because of those skills, they have been pampered and idolized throughout their careers. They sometimes translate their treatment by fans and corporate sponsors into the notion that their words and gestures can effect change. Nope, but it is possible that their actions just might. The problem is that their actions MUST coincide with the interests of their 8 or 9-figure sponsorships. Whitlock doesn't pull his punches when he discusses the new breed of SJW-athlete:
LeBron James’ primary employer is Nike, not the NBA. LeBron’s shoe contract is worth more than $1 billion. Every calculated move LeBron makes related to social justice reform — from the Ahmaud Arbery tweets to the Equality T-shirts to the school his foundation partially funds to his decision to remain silent on the Hong Kong protesters — is made with Nike in mind.

What’s good for the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball and the great mass of people is an afterthought. 

Racial unrest in America leading into this presidential election cycle is good for Nike and great for Nike’s primary business market, China. Nike and China are aligned in their dislike of President Trump and his America First mantra.

Trump’s mantra is a call for U.S.-based companies to return manufacturing jobs to America. Nike and China preferred President Obama’s globalist agenda and the Trans-Pacific (Trade) Partnership Obama promoted at Nike’s headquarters in May 2015. 
Actions and more importantly, results, matter a whole lot more that politically correct gestures. Moving jobs back into the USA benefits minority communities with better jobs, better wages, and a better outlook on the future. That would help the African American community (among many others) immensely, but its anathema for the grievance crowd. By reducing dependency and dampening claims of victimhood, people of color would benefit along with the country as a whole. Whitlock has coined the hashtag "Jobs Over Gestures, #JOG."

So the next time you hear a leftist commentator or Democrat politician praise the likes of Colin Kapernick for his "bravery" in standing up to "the system," ask yourself how many jobs Kapernick created directly in his community. Ask what he had done (not said) to create an economy where wage growth within his community rose to historic highs. The answer is—not much. Now ask the same thing about the current president. Trump's words often suck, but the economic results he achieved pre-COVID-19 for minority communities is worthy of an MVP.

UPDATE:
-------------------
When spokespeople for the Black Lives Matter movement speak, SJWs genuflect. 

"America is "systemically racist" they state. 
"The police murder black people wantonly," they cry. 
"We must remove any vestige of racist history," they proclaim.
"Defund the police," they demand.

And when opposing voices ask why BLM generally ignores the extreme and continuing black on black violence that occurs within the African American community, they roll their eyes in anger. 

"Questions like that," they respond condescendingly, " are asked only by 'white supremacists' who want to change the subject. Our focus is on police violence."

Roger Simon asks the questions anyway. After relating the latest frightening statistics (he chooses Chicago, NYC, and Minneapolis as examples) along with stories of the deaths of innocent black men, women, and far too many children, he writes:
Where was Black Lives Matter? Nowhere to be found, since the cops didn’t do any of it. BLM doesn’t seem to care about violence done to blacks if the police are not involved, even though black on black is by many multiples more lethal and more common, resulting in exponentially more black casualties.

BLM’s primary interest appears to be smashing the state, creating revolution with their pals in Antifa in order to take power themselves.

But there is another, perhaps more psychologically potent, reason BLM doesn’t want to deal with black on black violence, other than finding some preposterous way to connect the police when it doesn’t exist.

To do this they would have to raise a question that could be truly embarrassing and elicit shame: Just why haven’t black people been able to improve their own neighborhoods in such places as Chicago, Minneapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis and Los Angeles?

Why are they in such a miserable state after all this time? Why are so many people still killing each other? Is it all the white man’s fault?
Of course, BLM and their SJW cohorts would say, "Yes!" But we all know that's simply untrue. It's yet another gesture designed to lay blame without the responsibility to provide actual solutions (and no, demands to "eliminate racism" are not the solution to inner city violence).

So again we return to the emptiness of gestures. In this case, those gestures are loaded with emotion, but they're gestures nonetheless. Maybe the white and black leftists who want to tear down our existing system and replace it with a socialist Utopia might be better able to convince the rest of us of the rightness of their 'revolution' by actually solving some hard problems first. Maybe a good idea would be to start in their own communities and reduce black on black violence. They could use the hashtag #LOG — you know, "Lives Over Gestures."

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Slow Emptying

It seems that the allure city living has always been a personal thing. The people who love it cite the arts, the social scene, the food, the diversity of people ... the list is long. It's almost as if they have convinced themselves that the crowding, the often less than optimal living conditions, the noise, the clutter, the frenetic pace, the high, high cost of living are a small price to pay for the benefits. That's great.

Major cities across the United States have become bastions of progressive thought and small laboratories for progressive governance. Virtually every American city of any size is governed by a Democrat Mayor and a predominantly Democrat city counsel. Taxes as always high, in part to fund the demands of public sector unions that are the city-Democrats' biggest voter block. Pension obligations (again acceding to union demands) are crippling for major cities and with money tight, spending on infrastructure suffers. Over the past five years, there has been a small, but noticeable exodus out of the cities.

And then came COVID-19 and the recent mass protests.

Urban dwellers are resilient, but these simultaneous events have forced people to face a hard reality. In just three months it has become clear that modern urban progressivism is politically incompetent and intellectually incoherent.

After the days and weeks of marches through cities, what has fallen out of it is basically one idea—defund the police. In New York, with blocks of stores boarded up and cherry bombs exploding nightly everywhere, the City Council has agreed to cut the city’s police budget by $1 billion, or one-sixth. How hard is it to connect the dots?

A shapeless mass declares multiple blocks of Seattle now belong to it, and when asked how long it could on, Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan wanly offers: “I don’t know. We could have a Summer of Love.” The first one was in 1967, also accompanied by massive urban unrest.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the weekend issued a plaintive request to the daily street protests: “You don’t need to protest. You won. You won.” Then the kicker: “What reform do you want? What do you want?”

Historically, the media and press have served an arbitrating function among competing urban forces. No longer. Through the pandemic and now the protests, much of the urban-based media have become bizarrely invested in apocalyptic story lines, picking at scab after scab and problem after problem, with not much effort at sorting substantive policy alternatives other than heading deeper into the progressive frontier.

The message being sent is that progressive governance is, at best, ambivalent about maintaining civil order. The net result the past three months has been a sense in many cities of irresolvable chaos, stress and threat.

I think many younger, often liberal families would stick it out if they thought there was anything resembling a coherent strategy to address this mess—the new health threat, the homeless, the rising crime, the filth, the increasingly weird school curriculums. But there is no strategy.
There is no strategy because any coherent approach to addressing urban decay will run afoul of the Democrats' increasingly hard-left and strident urban base. That base, driven by perpetual outrage, identify politics, and increasingly extreme demands (e.g., defund the police), whipsaws even the most progressive mayors (think hard left Mayors Bill Deblasio of New York or Jacob Frey of Minneapolis being booed by a mob of leftists because they didn't agree with the mobs' insane demands. Or maybe it's uber-progressive mayors like Seattle's Jenny Durkin who has essentially ceded a small part of that city to yet another leftist mob, yet using fantasy thinking that is all too common among progressives, calls it a "summer of love."

At the same time, Team Apocalypse scrambled to shut down cities. Their near-hysterical approach to managing COVID-19 destroyed small businesses and at the same time did little to mitigate the virus' deadly affects. Closing schools, parks, and playgrounds, demanding that people shelter-in-place, and otherwise shutting down urban life have set a frightening precedent. Big city mayors often became petty dictators, drunk on the power to control every aspect of city life. They set a precedent that even the most hardened urbanites find concerning. 

And so, the slow emptying of cities has begun. It's important to see the slow, tragic demise of American cities for what it is—a failed experiment in uncontrolled  governance by the majority Democratic party. In some cases, major cities have not seen a GOP mayor or city counsel in a generation or more. The results of this lack of diversity in governance and thought is what we're now seeing. 


Sunday, June 21, 2020

No Power Over Me

For three and a half years the "four constituencies"—media, Democrats, GOP #Nevertrumpers, and the deep state—have prepared. They've repeatedly called Trump a "white supremacist," a "racist", a "Nazi", a dictator, a misogynist, clinically insane, unfit for office, authoritarian, a fascist, ... and much more. Yesterday, they essentially called him a murderer because he held a political rally where thousands attended (never mind that they cheered on analogous 'rallies' in major cities across the country where tens of thousands of people with preferred ideologies attended.)

They've tried to destroy Trump's presidency with a flood of leaks, with phony, politically motivated "whistleblower complaints, with a parade of "bombshell" books, with a special counsel who found no wrongdoing, with a manufactured impeachment inquiry, with a soft coup coordinated at the highest levels of the FBI and intelligence agencies, 

Their media arm has worked tirelessly to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt about COVID-19, suggesting that it's all Trump's fault.  They've weaponized a viral pandemic in the hope of wrecking the economy and destroying jobs, just so public anger and depression spikes in the months leading to the November election. 

The've implicitly embraced rioters whose path of destruction leaves residents of many large cities uneasy and scared. They remained silent as social justice warriors cancel history they disapprove of, tearing down statues, renaming boxes of pancakes (no ... I'm not kidding), kneeling to appease the mob. They've worked to censor opposing voices while hypocritically claiming it's all about free speech.

And now, they've begun a campaign of gaslighting the likes of which we have never before seen. They embraced the notion that our entire country is "systemically racist" (except, of course, those who are acceptably "woke")—enlisting media, celebrities, sports figures, entertainers, deep state operatives, large corporations and their leaders, the health care community, and academics to reinforce their accusation. They claim that we as a country are broken and only socialism can lead us to a utopian future.

It's a tsunami. And it will wash ashore for the next 4.5 months, only receding when a cognitively challenged Joe Biden—a man who has served inside the swamp for 40 years, and in that time, has accomplished relatively little—is elected.

Brian Cates discusses the current tsunami of gaslighting when he writes:
Ever see the movie “Labyrinth”? Jennifer Connelly is a young girl named Sarah whose infant brother has been taken captive by the Goblin King [David Bowie]. He tries one deception after another to get Sarah to yield to him and in the end…he must beg.

In the final dramatic confrontation, Sarah defeats the Goblin King forever by coming to a powerful realization of the truth:

“You have no power over me!”

All the “power” of these tiny Marxist goon squads and their corporate benefactors is an illusion. It’s not real. It only looks impressive and powerful when it’s seen through the lens of popular and social media.

So keep this truth in mind the next 4 1/2 months as you watch many prominent celebrities, newscasters, sports stars, musicians, and major companies all endlessly babbling about this awesome cool cultural shift away from America’s systemic racism [and Donald Trump!] to Marxist Social Justice and Joe Biden.

Well, let them babble. This 2020 election is not the referendum on America’s Systemic Racist Past as the gaslighters are so desperate to frame it.

It’s about a return to SANITY. That’s what most Americans will demand, and the elections results will demonstrate that.
Among the many failings of the Left is their hubris and arrogance. They somehow think that the general public is unaware of their machinations, that people in MI or PA or WI or OH or FL embrace their positions. In reality, the Left wants those people to take a knee and show subservience. They truly believe that the gaslighting, the fake news, and the skewed polls will lead them to victory.

It won't. 

Pushback is coming.

UPDATE:
--------------------
Leftist extremists continue their "occupation" of CHAZ/CHOP in Seattle or tear down statues of Ullyses S. Grant and Frances Scott Key in San Francisco, or just yesterday and just as ominously, demand that books like To Kill and Mockingbird or Huckleberry Finn be banned because they might trigger a few snowflakes. As this continues, Democrat Mayors of these blue cities acquiesce. 

Kurt Schlichter argues that what we're actually observing is an "information operation" designed by the Left. The objective is two fold: (1) to impart the feeling that chaos reigns everywhere, thereby causing dissatisfaction with current national leadership (i.e., defeat Trump by any means necessary), and (2) to provoke an over-reaction in which "innocent protesters" are injured by federal or state authorities who intercede when local Dems refuse to act.

The SJW protestors have learned something from Team Apocalypse—authors of COVID-19 inspired fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). By rioting here, tearing down statues there, and demanding a kneel-down by corporations and local governments to woke ideology everywhere, their intent is to make it seem that things are falling apart—to create FUD. Recognize that it's all leftist manipulation and nothing more. Look out your window. Is anyone rioting in the street? Have any statues in your local parks been removed? Do you really care whether a brand of pancake syrup has been renamed?

Once we understand their M.O., the actions of the SJW cohort are as pathetic as they are obvious. Like spoiled little children throwing a tantrum, they're trying to manipulate the public and goad state and/or federal authorities to react. If that happened, a dishonest and complicit media would characterize the SJWs as 'peaceful protestors' who became "victims" of police violence.

That's their meta-game, and it's never a good idea to play your opponents' meta-game.

Let them riot in blue cities, let them take over neighborhoods, let them tear down statues, let them ban books locally, let them block police from investigating violent crime, let them make swathes of blue cities into physical and intellectual wastelands. And don't, under any circumstances, do the dirty work of maintaining law and order for Democrat mayors and governors who refuse to do so. Don't take the bait.

Yeah, that's terribly unfair to the decent citizens and small businesses of those cities (an estimated 30,000 of whom live inside CHAZ), but, hey, it's those citizens who voted for Dem mayors (like Seattle's Jenny Durkan) who now capitulate to protestors' every demand. 

Next time around, those citizens have a choice at the polling place ... and so do we.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Life Goes On

Team Apocalypse (TA)—a collection of media types, public health "experts," (mostly) Democrat politicians and other catastrophists who, despite clear and growing scientific evidence to the contrary, continue to predict that COVID-19 is a far greater threat than it actually is. Using cherry picked data, grossly inaccurate models, obvious omissions that don't fit their narrative, and news reports peppered with a variety of edge cases that are outside 3 or 4-sigma, their (largely successful) objective has been to foster fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) among the general public. They want to keep the country shut down, letting catastrophic damage to lives and livelihoods  be damned.  Their aim, they claim, is all about people's health, but their approach is dishonest and smacks of a political agenda.

One thing I will give TA, they're relentless. This week's catastrophist narrative focuses on the growing number of COVID-19 "cases" and "hospitalizations"  in states that have begun to open up. The severity of those cases—whether they're asymptomatic or sub-clinical—is never mentioned. And the hospitalizations? 

First, as hospitals re-open for 'elective' treatment, people who have delayed surgeries and other treatment for months are beiong admitted. Every new patient is tested for COVID-19 and some test positive. They may be completely asymptomatic or have minor symptoms that do not require treatment, but guess what? They're in the hospital (e.g., for a hernia operation) and therefore, Team Apocalypse considers them a COVID-19 related hospitalization. Hmmm.

Second, the whole intent of the shut-down—you know, the one that TA demanded—was to "flatten the curve" of cases and hospitalizations. It was never intended to eliminate cases or hospitalizations, only to delay them until hospitals were better prepared. Oh, by the way, dire predictions of overwhelmed hospitals across the country and shortages of 100,000 ventilators never materialized, but I digress.

John Sanders summarizes rather nicely:
In short, while hospitalizations from COVID-19 are still increasing, they are nowhere even close to the levels we worried about in March.

Furthermore, the fact that hospitalizations are increasing now is by design. It’s not some terrifying aberration signifying a coming “red peak” if we don’t immediately shut down everything all over again and force people into masks this time.

The hospitalization numbers need to be given in context. They’re far lower than we feared, and they’re rising now because that was the desired outcome of flattening the curve.
If TA has its way, we'll stay shutdown indefinitely. Schools will not reopen in the fall, cities will be strangled because their tax revenue has dried up. Small businesses and some large ones will disappear. Unemployment will become chronic. The economy will collapse. Public unrest will become even more common that it already is. The federal government will take on debt that can never be repaid. All in order to save the lives of super-seniors who represent over 50 percent of all fatalities and can be protected with more targeted and rational strategies. 

And all for a viral pandemic that is just marginally worse than a very bad flu season—when NOTHING is shut down, death scoreboards are not maintained, the media is disinterested, and life goes on.

Insanity.


Friday, June 19, 2020

Crazy Times

Donald Trump's first official campaign event in OK will be the unofficial start of the 2020 presidential campaign. In a desperate effort at battle field preparation, the Democrat's trained hamsters in the media (official members of Team Apocalypse) have begun a drumbeat that suggests that holding a rally will increase the number of cases of COVID-19 (it probably will, but the vast, vast majority will be asymptomatic and/or sub-clinical)) and that ... PEOPLE WILL DIE!!! No matter that the hamsters were predictably silent while hundreds of thousands of protesters marched in the streets in the first half of June—a political rally is different because Trump.

To back up their catastrophist narrative, the hamsters this week are also hard at work pushing John Bolton's "bombshell" book ( here's a useful analysis) in which he claims that Trump is unfit for office (gosh, that's a novel accusation coming from GOP #NeverTrumpers); that he's unable to carry out the duties of the president (hmmm ... after 3.5 years of measurable accomplishments that's a little silly), and that he "colluded" with China to establish fairer trade policies, thereby giving himself an electoral advantage (the horror ... no other president in history ever did anything that would give him an electoral advantage). 

Comically, it's the last point—engagement with China on trade (BTW, a significant and unprecedented accomplishment, albeit only a start) that sets a trap for Democrats. Can't wait to see the Biden campaign, if they're as clueless as their candidate, suggest that "Chinese Collusion" is the next big thing. The campaign ads write themselves. In fact, let me try one:
In 2019, Donald Trump "colluded" with China to bring American manufacturing jobs home and to protect American farmers from unfair trade practices ...

In 2013, Joe Biden colluded with China to convince them to invest $1,500,000,000 for a hedge fund Biden's son had just started ...

Remind us one more time ... Who has America's best interests at heart?
And so the campaign begins. There is no doubt it will be the dirtiest, most vile in history. The four constituencies will do everything possible to unseat Trump, and the sitting president will not be a gentleman as the attacks mount. In the end, it will be raw emotion (hatred is not too extreme a term) pitted against political accomplishment. It will be a cognitively-disabled, 40-year denizen of the swamp who is now hostage to the hard-left wing of his party against an unlikeable, bombastic, obnoxious, narcissistic tycoon who, despite relentless daily attacks from all sides, has actually accomplished good things for the middle class,  for minorities, and for small businesses along with trying hard to extract our country from foolish foreign entanglements.

We live in crazy times. This presidential campaign won't make them any less crazy.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Summer of Love

The blue model of governance at the local, state, and federal levels keeps evolving. Throughout the Obama years, the model demanded bigger and bigger government at all levels. It emphasized the government takeover and regulation of important things that affect our lives (e.g. healthcare) but deemphasized other government functions (like protecting our borders or improving infrastructure). It was notably anti-business, suggesting that "you didn't build that." It dissed those who work to maintain public order (e.g., the police) and elevated those who have worked to undermine that order (e.g., criminal and/or extreme radical elements). It emphasized grievance politics, encouraging groups to balkanize while at the same time demanding larger and larger amounts of government assistance and programs. It pandered to public sector unions, even as it recognized it didn't have the funds to support their escalating economic demands or their pensions. 

And those were the good ol' days.

Today, the blue model, already socialism-lite, has been further co-opted by far-left radicals. The supposed blue "leaders" who guide the public in urban centers and blue states and their trained hamsters in the media have remained silent as the radicals become more dominant. Over the last few weeks, legitimate racial grievances have been allowed to morph into riots in which looting, destruction and even violence have been normalized. How many times have you heard the phrase "predominantly peaceful protesters," as if that excuses the lawless and violent excesses of the first half of June.

Before our eyes, we see the blue model transforming itself (and NOT in a good way), becoming more and more radical and doctrinaire with each passing week. We have the Seattle central city take-over, CHAZ or CHOP or whatever they want to call it, supported by the Democrat mayor.

Of course, prominent Dems would tell us that Seattle is not the new blue model, but if that's the case, why have the actions of radicals in Seattle been silently accepted by national Democrat leaders. Has Joe Biden been asked what he thinks of CHAZ/CHOP. For that matter, is he even aware of it? What about Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer or 'rule of law' guys like Adam Schiff or Jerry Nadler or, well, any prominent Dem at all (Maxine Waters, anyone?)  Media supported silence all around.

Given all of this, it worth asking whether adults should intervene.

My answer—absolutely not!

It's apparent that at least few Democrats have adopted this evolving blue model as their new mode of governance while the remainder remain silent. The American people should be allowed to watch it evolve over the next few months—sort of a "Summer of Love," as the far-left Mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan, poetically put it. 

Let's allow this social experiment to play out. Let' see how barricaded streets, a lack of police and fire protection, AK-47 armed squads of untrained and uncontrolled leftists, demands for protection money from the few businesses now under their control, and other demands for food, and water from dangerous children who are both incapable and unwilling to support themselves. The Dems' trained media hamsters will try to avoid the bad stuff, spinning it into an innocuous street festival, but the rest of us will know what's happening.

So yeah, let it play out. Let's see if the general public, you know, the folks outside deep blue urban centers like what they see. Let's see whether more Seattles pop up—after all, it's just a "Summer of Love," isn't it? It's something else as well. It's the new, improved blue model, folks.

Pushback is coming.

UPDATE:
--------------------
The editors of Commentary Magazine are harsh when they discuss a corollary to the new blue model. They begin by noting the social unrest discussed in the body of my post, but then they address a set of corollary issues that are part and parcel of the social justice aims of the new blue model. They refer t all of this as "the unraveling."
The unraveling goes further still. Social-justice mobs have taken aim at freedom of expression, inventing new heresies daily and ruining the lives of those who unwittingly give voice to them. Forced confessions and language proscriptions are the order of the day. Poetry, fiction, movies, and television shows—including children’s cartoons—are canceled and excised from history. Indeed, all art and opinion are now subject to the chopping block lest they prove insufficiently propagandistic.

To rewrite the present, the mob has rewritten the past. They have forced upon us a distorted and grotesque version of American history. With the support of corporations and education boards, school textbooks and curricula tell of an unredeemable America founded not on the promise of human liberty but human bondage. What’s more, this history discounts the transformative progress on racial equality for which Americans—black and white—have given their lives.

Through the violent politicization of all aspects of American life, the mob aims to destroy the country as we know it and replace it with a new one—an anti-America that trades speech for violence, police for thought police, a free press for an indoctrination network, and the respect due the citizen for the obeisance owed the mob.

There is one way to stop the unraveling: Refuse the mob.
Although many Democrats think that moderation will prevail if a cognitively challenged Joe Biden is elected, they're living in a fantasy. If moderation were the goal, party leaders would aggressively reject the actions and the craziness espoused by the SJW wing of the party. They have not and will not. 

The "unraveling" bargain during Obama's reign, continued in the background even under Trump, and has now re-emerged, more virulent that ever.

Pushback is coming.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Events on the Ground

I have to believe that at least some Democrats diasgree with the leftist narrative that demands "defunding (or abolishing) the police." And there are probably a few who believe that the claim of  "systemic racism" throughout all police departments is abject nonsense, not to mention antithetical to the safety and security of all cities and the communities that live in them. But you'd never know that as Democrat leaders remain largely silent on the subject in order to avoid alienating their hard-left base.

For a party that told us repeatedly over the past three months that they are guided by data and science, it's remarkable how little they actually know or care about data and science (related either to COVID-19 or the recent protests associated with police violence against people of color).

The College Fix reports on Harvard Economics Professor, Roland Fryer, whose research indicates that defunding the police is exactly the wrong strategy for those who are concerned about violence in the black community. An African American researcher, Fryer, created controversy in 2016 after he evaluated 15 years of police-involved shootings and found:
In officer-involved shootings in these cities, officers were more likely to fire their weapons without having first been attacked when the suspects were white. Black and white civilians involved in police shootings were equally likely to have been carrying a weapon. Both of these results undercut the idea that the police wield lethal force with racial bias.
Oh my. That's not the narrative we've been hearing. The Dems' trained hamsters in the mainstream media are either too lazy, too stupid, or too ideological to conduct their own research on the subject. Better to parrot the BLM activists who have defined the current narrative.

Fryer's current research is also controversial. The College Fix reports:
[Fryer's] new research is similarly controversial in the media. In a Manhattan Institute video late last month, Fryer exclaimed that he encountered an “absolute refusal to grapple with the data” from the media and “insistence” that he should not publicize it.

Referring to a reporter whom he showed the research, Fryer told The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley: “I thought the person might sit with the numbers for a bit and go, ‘Damn, a thousand lives. That’s a lot.’”

... Fryer gave The Fix a series of recommendations on how to make proactive policing safer and more consistent, from better financial incentives around data collection to investing in new nonlethal technologies.

His “rigorous” use of data aims to increase opportunity within “historically disadvantaged” groups, he said in the interview. It is now a matter of “whether we have courage to do something real about it.”

Police pullback triples the lynching deaths in ‘the most gruesome years’

Fryer and Harvard doctoral student Tanaya Devi studied “Pattern-or-Practice” investigations into viral incidents of alleged police brutality that involved a black person who died. Each reviewed video of these incidents had received at least 2 million views at the time of the study.

“Pattern-or-Practice” investigations are used by federal and state governments to mitigate unconstitutional police activity including, but not limited to, excessive force and racial bias.

According to the Harvard scholars’ working paper on the impact of these investigations into police activity on homicide and crime rates, published in early June, the investigations resulted in “almost 900 excess homicides and almost 34,000 excess felonies.”

This spike in the crime rate occurred over the course of two years in the five cities where those deaths and viral incidents occurred: Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Laquan McDonald in Chicago, Timothy Thomas in Cincinnati, Tyisha Miller in Riverside, California, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

While the underlying cause of this dramatic spike is unknown, Fryer and Devi hypothesize that it is caused by a substantial decrease in proactive police activity.
This kind of research is necessary, but even without it, a rudimentary knowledge of how incentives and disincentives affect human behavior indicates that if police officers are concerned that any proactive contact with the public might lead to disciplinary action or worse, they will avoid proactive contact and only respond to 911 calls after crimes have already been committed. That means more—not less—crime perpetrated against the black community. But hey, at least the BLM narrative will remain intact, even if events on the ground go to hell.

UPDATE:
-----------------------

Holman Jenkins notes that geography, not racism itself, has more to do with violence against African Americans that anything perpetrated by even the worst of police officers (who should be removed from their jobs). He writes:
Starting in the 1980s, researchers identified 880 census tracts (out of 56,000) where social disorder made a law-abiding life difficult. About two million people, including many who are not black, lived in such places in 2005. So, except in the media and popular culture, and perhaps in the minds of police officers, these neighborhoods hardly represent the experience of 41 million African-Americans.

Their residents also overwhelmingly want out. Unfortunately, the thrust of public policy in recent decades has been to keep them in place, partly because doing so maintains some of the safest seats in American politics. Among the unhelpful gestures: elite opposition to charter schools, high marginal tax rates on people moving from welfare to work, and housing subsidies tied to downtrodden and jobless neighborhoods. Now a noisy sliver has taken up the chant “defund the police,” as if doing so wouldn’t leave these neighborhoods even less protected while suburban communities and private enclaves double down on security spending ...

Zach Goldberg of Georgia State University, who developed much of the data, coined the ironic label “America’s white saviors” for these activists ...

The charge of “systemic racism” is their obsession. Using the word rightly, however, “systemic” in America has been our attempt to protect individual rights against the amoral chaos of nature, including human nature, from which all kinds of racial and other irrational hatreds emerge. This may be a losing battle in the long run—nature will prevail, civilization won’t. But in the meantime we could help more people escape bad neighborhoods in favor of places where the law actually protects and supports their quest for a better life.
It is truly ironic that "America's white saviors" propose "solutions" that do far more harm than good, hurting the very people who need assistance to escape from lives riddled by crime and suffocated by dependency. But then again, if those people did escape, where would that leave "America's white saviors"? 


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Open Up!

Those of us who have challenged Team Apocalypse from the very beginning were highly skeptical of public health models that have proven to be grossly inaccurate, even as they were used by political leaders (including Donald Trump) to make draconian shutdown decisions. It appears that Team Apocalypse was perfectly okay using estimates that were off by an order of magnitude or more to make public policy. I just learned that there are other members of the Team who were also hard at work influencing public policy in March, 2020. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, an influential economic analysis from the University of Chicago concluded that the likely benefits of moderate social distancing would greatly exceed the resultant costs. The New York Times and the Washington Post recently cited that study as evidence that the use of strict lockdowns to control the virus’s spread has been justified, and that current efforts to “open up” social and economic activity around the U.S. are dangerous and irresponsible. That is seriously misleading; the Chicago study is already out of date. More recent research supports the idea that the lockdowns should end.

The Chicago study came out in early March and was the first truly rigorous economic analysis of the pandemic. It estimated that a three- to-four-month regime of mitigation, “combining home isolation of suspect cases, home quarantine of those living in the same household as suspect cases, and social distancing of the elderly and others at most risk of severe disease,” would save 1.76 million lives between March 1 and Oct. 1, resulting in benefits of $7.9 trillion, a number that far exceeds any conceivable cost of the mitigation strategy.
These projections proved to be grossly inaccurate [defying both common sense and history], but were accepted with glee by the left-leaning catastrophists at NYT and WaPo, who needed an economic catastrophe to improve their chances of beating a sitting president they despised. 

Relying on these bad economic projections, decision-makers shrugged their shoulders and irresponsibly rushed to shut down. To this day, many Democrat governors and mayors continue to slow walk any attempt at re-opening. Just yesterday, NYC's hard left Mayor, Bill DeBlasio welded shut the gates to a playground to keep children out while praising the BLM protesters who gathered by the thousands the preceding week. Lunacy and hypocrisy at the same time, but then  again, that's not really surprising given the players and ideologies involved.

Using actual data, the WSJ reported on a study at UC-Berkeley concluding:
Social-distancing measures reduced person-to-person contact by about 50%, while harsher shelter-in-place rules reduced contact by only an additional 5%. Then, using data on Covid-19 infection and mortality, they estimated that these measures saved 74,000 lives. Finally, after using demographic data to adjust the VSL—which is lower for older people, who have fewer years to live—the study found that the gross benefit of social distancing has been a mere $250 billion.

That finding casts major doubt on the value of lockdowns and even social distancing as a method of reducing the spread of Covid-19. While we can’t yet estimate a specific figure, the economic cost of social distancing and lockdowns will likely be more than $1 trillion. And that’s an understatement of the costs when you consider increased suicides and other social losses not captured in gross domestic product. For example, parents of young children have widely noted their kids’ gloomy outlook when not allowed to be with friends.

An even more recent study from economists affiliated with Germany’s IZA Institute of Labor Economics suggests that the Berkeley estimate of 74,000 lives saved over the past four months is best understood as an upper bound. The reason is that shelter-at-home policies don’t so much reduce Covid-19 deaths as delay them. Delaying deaths will reduce them if a vaccine or cure is found in time. But we can’t be sure that an effective vaccine will be produced and available any time soon.

Rather than validating draconian lockdown orders, the latest economic research on Covid-19 suggests that social-distancing efforts in general, and shelter-in-place measures in particular, have done more harm than good. That doesn’t mean that all such measures should be abandoned. “To socially distance or not to socially distance” is not the question. The question should be, what policies actually make sense?
What a novel question! Certainly not a continuing lockdown. Certainly not crippling regulations that will put hundred of thousands of small businesses out-of-business. And certainly not the abject hysteria and fear that are encouraged by an irresponsible and dishonest main stream media every single day.

And finally this from a recent study at MIT:
... twice as many lives could [have been] saved if governments focused limited resources on protecting the most vulnerable people rather than squandering them on those who seem to face almost no risk, such as children.
Gosh, that's what those of us who have opposed Team Apocalypse have been saying since April 1st. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Priviilege

As legitimate protests sometimes morphed into violent riots, we all observed the near-complete abdication of responsibility for public order exhibited by Democrat leadership at the blue-city and blue-state level, the offensive assertion that all police are racists, the calls for the abolition of police protection in urban areas, the takeover of small parts of major cities by leftist extremists (think: CHAZ), and finally, the specious accusation that anyone who might be upset by all of this suffers from "privilege" that invalidates their thinking.

I have also noted that the broader electorate looks at all of this and is appalled—by those who perpetrate it, by those who try to put a positive spin on the rioting, and by Democratic politicians who refuse to condemn any of it. 

And now that vast swaths of the electorate are accused of "privilege" when they quietly feel or express their concern, we may have reached a tipping point. The concern of those who are accused (outrageously) of being "racists" or "white supremacists" will morph into anger, and anger will slowly become quiet outrage. That outrage won't show up in polls. There will be no marches or protests by those who are appalled, but it's there—hidden and waiting, ready to emerge in early November. The result will not be what leftists desire.

Matt Walsh pulls no punches when he writes about who is privileged at the moment:
It seems to me that the greatest privilege on offer in our culture today is the privilege to be utterly immune from the law. This is the privilege exercised by many of the “protesters.” And though some of them are white males, many are not. It is, then, a privilege that is not dispensed based on race, but on ideology. We might call it Leftist Privilege. A person with the “correct” worldview, especially if he is gathered with a group of other correct-thinking people, can do almost anything he wants. The Powers That Be will bend over backwards to accommodate him and meet his demands.
The left's accusation of "privilege" is a bullying tactic, designed to shut down any debate and silence any opinion that doesn't conform to their woke narrative. The bullies tell us that we can't understand the issues because ... privilege. They tell us that our demands for the rule of law are unjust, because ... privilege. They tell us that looting (yeah, I know, it's now deemed a "racist" term) is somehow justified because ... critics suffer from privilege. In fact, every accomplishment at a personal or societal level is negated,  because ... privilege. They become champions of "cancel culture," intimidating those public figures with whom they disagree and at the same time eating their own.

Every level of government tries overly hard to appease the radical woke and their accomplices, to nod approvingly when they make ridiculous or outrageous "demands;" to look the other way when they loot or destroy or become violent. They get a pass because woke thinking leads to social justice—an amorphous term that means anything the woke want it to mean.

It's the Left that is the beneficiary of privilege. Freedom to act out without consequences or responsibility, to defame people or groups with impunity, to distort facts without liability, and to accuse others of thought crimes that would make George Orwell blush. What a privileged world they live in.

UPDATE-1:
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When you consider each instance of woke insanity, cancel culture, and hyper-sensitive political correctness individually, they all seem rather banal. But when you consider them collectively, it's reasonable to expect that pushback is coming. 

The Federalist lists 34 recent instances that censor or "cancel" celebrities, reporters, academics, and others who have violated (often unintentionally) wokeness. People are fired, books are banned, TV shows are removed, history is modified—and our supposed cultural leaders nod in approval:
Battle lines are clearly being drawn, where the radical left has offered Americans a binary choice in a false dichotomy between total submission or unrelenting exile with those opposed to the new woke world order cast out of society as unrepentant racists refusing to atone for past generations’ sins. No justice, no peace. Silence is violence. You’re either with us, or against us. There is no middle ground. Which side of history are you on?
Most of us are on the side that will have no demonstrations, no signs with tiresome slogans, no chanting. 

But ... Pushback. Is. Coming.

UPDATE-2:
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Matt Taibbi is a left-leaning journalist who is anti-Trump, and yet, he's fed up with the woke insanity that has resulted in the cancellation of good and decent people on the Left (and the Right). He writes:
“It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness. The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.”
The rest of us, however, won't "walk to the Razor voluntarily." 

Pushback. Is. Coming.