Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Real thought and discussion versus their counterfeits

I'm a Jordan Peterson fan although I don't always agree with him. He has won praise from many people I admire such as Bishop Robert Barron, although with reservations, and the guy makes you think.

This video shows the contrast between the short-term rush of scoring rhetorical points and the long-term satisfaction of explaining and understanding of something. One requires quick-wittedness and rewards in the short-term. The other requires patience and rewards in the long-term.

[Warning: Bad Language.]

I have never really liked the style of Milo Yiannopoulos and I think this video illustrates why. Arrogance and dismissiveness... check.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Good Advice from Mark Shea

Commenter Nate thinks the quote he references is funny, and it is, considering the source is Mark Shea. But I think he would agree that it is very sound advice. Here is the pull quote from an article Me. Shea wrote in 2010:

"If somebody questions whether you know what you are talking about, you don’t deal with the question of whether you know what you are talking about. You simply say, “So! You want to make excuses for the murder of innocent people by religious bigots!” in the same tone you use to say, “You left your soiled underwear on my coffee table.” For, of course, at the end of the day, it will remain the case that some number of people (46 million? Several thousand?) were put to death… well, not by the Inquisition exactly but certainly by the secular authorities working with the Inquisition. So the story is close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades and that’s all that matters. The idea is not so much accuracy as truthiness: the sense that you have righteously scored off bad guys. And if they are bad guys, then they don’t really deserve to be spoken of accurately, do they? They should have thought about that before they started killing off their millions, or however many it was. The point is: I am righteously angry and when I have righteousness on my side, I don’t need to know what I’m talking about so long as I land some good hard punches on the jaw of Evil.”

The full article is available here for context. But if the pull quote is a little too long for you, I shortened it even more in a nice meme/quote image, suitable for sharing. I suggest people posting it in your office, or maybe on the bulletin board at your parish for reasons which should be entirely obvious.

Pseudoknowledge is a good technical name for what Mark Shea is describing here back in 2010. However it never seemed to get a lot of traction as a descriptive word. Fortunately we have the perfect word to describe it in 2018:

Fake News.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Right Brothers on the #WalkAway Movement

Worth checking out, not too long.

Favorite quote: "The #WalkAway movement is a repudiation of overt groupthink."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Editorial Opinion With Spittle Flecks

NYT Editorialist Michelle Cottle's breathless over-reaction to the Kavanaugh appointment really piles on the BS in this excerpt:

Monday was the kind of day that the president lives for. As the clock ticked down to the announcement of his new Supreme Court nominee, the entire political world hovered in a state of suspended animation and frenzied speculation. Had the president made his decision yet? Who had he chosen? Would his pick get leaked ahead of time? Had any of the top finalists been seen anywhere near the White House?

With all of the build up to the 9 p.m. announcement, it’s a miracle none of the political commentators’ heads exploded from the suspense. The entire production was, in short, classic Trump — an overhyped, self-aggrandizing display aimed at focusing the spotlight on himself for reasons of both personal gratification and political expedience.

The "entire political world hovered in a state of suspended animation and frenzied speculation"? Uh, no they didn't.

A pre-written — and poorly edited — statement from the Women’s March on President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination became the subject of mockery on Twitter on Monday night, including from Mr. Trump’s former press secretary.

The feminist group blasted out a statement shortly after Mr. Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, saying him confirmation would “further erode protections for almost every marginalized group in America.”

The introduction to the statement read “In response to Donald Trump’s nomination of XX to the Supreme Court of the United States.

So I'm not objecting to the characterization of people being frenzied, but they really weren't fussed about who it was going to be. The frenzy was that of bulls at a rodeo gate, raring to go, not speculating about whether they'd have Barrett or Kavanaugh to gore. Although "XX" is the gender chromosome for females. It's also the Roman Numeral twenty, as in they will probably be screaming about Kavanaugh for the next 20 years.

Cottle also hits at least three Trump Derangement Syndrome Bingo spaces in the piece. You have some bathroom lingo ("leakier than a busted toilet"), reference to his crisply knotted tie (nota bene: all modern Presidents wear ties for these occasions) and of course the overarching sprinkling throughout with the reminder that all President Trump really amounts to is a reality TV star.

Do you think she seems to dislike this President?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Mark Shea Attributes Inner City Violence to Trump and the Ku Klux Klan

In a recent public post on Facebook, Catholic commentator Mark Shea used the euphemistic spelling of America as AmeriKKKa — indicative of the Ku Klux Klan — to make point about anti-immigrant, racial violence. To this remark, a commenter points out that the man of Mexican heritage was attacked by a black person.

"AmeriKKKa? The attackers were black."

I checked out the claim and discovered that the commenter was correct. This seems to be a good illustration of posting before you have fully thought through the implications of your assertions. I can type the words Trump's AmeriKKKa in about 2 seconds, Whereas watching the full video took me several minutes. It is possible that Mark Shea did not even watch the video which would explain why he imagined white Southerners committing the crime.

Furthermore we are informed that this is happening in the context of "Trump's America", (sorry, I got tired of misspelling my country) so we are asked to dutifully accept the assertion that this is one of the 4% of black females who voted for Trump. In the Willowbrook section of Los Angeles.

We have to buy that Brooklyn Bridge.

Once again, everything goes back to white racism for Mark Shea, and Republican white racism even when in the inner city a Mexican is beaten by blacks.

Donald Trump received a paltry 24% of the vote in Los Angeles.

Exposing your own thought process in this way would seem to indicate that you are unaware of your own prejudices to a degree which would make the man with the "beam" in his own eye blush.

This is Facebook activism, not sound reason or sensible commentary. Mark Shea is not a reliable guide on moral matters nor on Catholic matters. Period.

The definition of prejudice

Prejudice. Judging someone or something before you know anything about it. Born of ignorance, and rightly ridiculed.

The one girl actually claims she "just saw the pick". False memory. It happens.

Students hate Trump's SCOTUS pick. The first two words are all you need to know: "Students hate."

Hey, Democrats: Thank You and Keep It Up!

So why are Democrats leaving their party? Maybe it is because they are not sure what their party stands for anymore. Or, maybe what their party stands for is being revealed now and the membership does not like it so much. In a good article with lots of links to back up its claims, Christopher Roach asks the question "What does the Democratic party stand for?" I have no idea, but here is a little bit of what it is accomplishing (from the article):

The Democratic Party’s embrace of its left wing has done Donald Trump and the Republican Party a great service. Obama, after all, won in 2008 and 2012 by pretending to be a moderate, deploying unifying rhetoric, and providing social services, including affordable healthcare, to the middle class. Only after his 2012 win did he revert to his Hyde Park socialist background, taking sides on contentious issues like the Trayvon Martin shooting and the anti-police riots in Ferguson. In his second term, he finally decided to push for gun control and the normalization of transgenders in schools and the military. Most importantly, he made it clear that he would do nothing to stop the demographic re-engineering of America and its electorate by stopping immigration, instead, he de facto legalized the-so-called Dreamers through executive order.

As the continuity candidate, Clinton lost. The voters found a voice and a choice in Trump. Instead of going back to the drawing board—as Democrats did with Bill Clinton and his Democratic Leadership Council candidacy in 1992—they have instead shown they think the party simply needs to shout their message more loudly and with greater purity.

My snarky thought as I read through the article was "thanks, Democrats." Then I saw that the author had a similar viewpoint and added the word "thanks" at the end. I would like to see the Democrat Party return to more sane policy positions. But if they are truly moving into the realm of liberal fascism and all this new unhinged fervor is merely a tearing off of their masks, I hope they keep it up.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Democrats are Walking Away from the party

Really interesting new group of people disgusted with liberalism and the democrat party called the #WalkAway Movement or alternatively, the Unsilent Majority. The de facto leader is Brandon Straka, a gay dude from Nebraska who is sick enough of the intersectional groupthink lunacy of the left that he has formally left and is leading a movement out. Naturally he is good friends with Candace Owens, and therefore you are going to hear about taking the "red pill" if you hang around their pages.

The #WalkAway movement has a Facebook page. I don't think they have a regular site yet.

Oh yeah: they also have a Twitter page. I like to listen to them because they're bold, fresh and unfiltered. Their movement is really new and so they have all kinds of equipment failures during their live feeds. I guess Straka's phone actually overheated once and blew up his presentation. But watching the recording actually inspired me to do my own show. It's just raw conviction. They will someday be laughing about this stuff on CRTV or Fox — wherever they end up.

One thing that characterizes all of them is a sort of joie de vivre that you don't see with former-conservatives—especially the anti-Trump Evangelicals—who have become staunch liberals. Usually those people are really anger driven, grew up in a fundamentalist home, etc. Both groups are rebelling against a certain type of self-righteousness, but whereas the #WalkAway people are stressing free-thinking and reason the Christian Leftists are mostly advocating for a more different, ideologically strict self-righteousness based on their newly found leftism. I just had a combox convo with some of them... hoo-boy.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Donald Trump is the President of the United States

I have been complemplating writing this post for a long time and keep putting it off. I feel like I need to write this before I post anything else about politics or President Trump, which are somewhat conflated subjects at this present moment. But the first 100 days came and went, then there was the inaugural anniversary. And I think recently there was the first 500 day mark. Missed them all. I could spin this and say "Hey, I wanted to make sure Trump is OK. You know, doesn't flip out or turn out to be actually a fascist dictator, you know...." But that's not it. I can't help it that I'm an optimist who knows a little about actual history involving fascist dictators.

You can find tons of negative stuff on this blog about Trump if you wish, dated two or so years ago. Some of it I still agree with. Other stuff I would agree with except it would make me look even stupider than I was then.

The main reason I feel obliged to write this is that I was very critical of Trump during the primaries, voted for Kasich, and was displeased that Trump got the nomination. I was sure he was going to lose. I even had a friend who saw him as a conspirator placed in the ring to throw the fight to Hillary. I'm not into conspiracy theories, but this one was enticing due to my Trump-disdain.

In hindsight I missed a lot of signs of Trump's impending upset over Clinton even though I saw the same signs in rural Ohio that Salena Zito saw in rural PA. I want to comment on Trump and his administration on this blog more, and the reason is that I have been spending way too much time on social media. I need to go back to the "good old days" of blogs which are much harder to use, seemingly. (More on that in another post....)

Anyway, back to the election. My problems with Trump and my anxiety about the election did not improve much during the run up to the 2016 Election. The polls were so bad and I was so turned off by some Trump supporters that I wasn't paying attention to anyone pulling for Trump and predicting his victory even if they were making some sense.

I was reading Nate Silver's polling site incessantly until mid-September of '16 when I started a very long, on-site project in Detroit for an automotive finance company with a very diverse employment demographic. I voted early in Downtown Cleveland as soon as the polls for early voting opened. For President I voted dutifully for the Trump-Pence ticket. I was never a #NeverTrump person; I'm a process-voter and I always believe there is a calculus which can be used to determine the best or least bad candidate.

I was staying at an Air-BNB in Southfield, Michigan and listening to the election night coverage on a Salem radio station. I realized at the moment that Trump was declared the winner that my biggest objection to his candidacy was always that he was going to lose. So, there went that. I had a bunch of other objections to him that still bug me: the relentless tweeting, the trade-war silliness, the unwillingness to let others fight small battles, the braggadocio, etc. However these are minimal now compared to the cold war declared on conservatives at this time and the attempt to smear us all as racially bigoted, harass people in public, etc.

The day after the big win, I was seated with a bunch of middle-aged white colleagues at the cafeteria of said automotive finance company with very diverse employment demographic. We were all kind of quiet and looking at each other trying not to grin, seemingly. I said, "Well, I can't believe it but Trump won." Everyone sort of loosened up and cracked wide smiles and nodded. "Yep," "Pretty amazing," were some of the replies. "I mean," I said, "Trump frickin' won Michigan!" More replies of "Yeah, pretty amazing." No one wanted to talk much about it in case the security cameras were pointed at us.

In the weeks that followed I really couldn't believe what was going on in the media and in the liberal minds. Anger, frustration, temper tantrums.... Van Jones's famous "whitelash" comments were an example of some of the more mild reactions. Women left in the middle of dates if they found out the dude voted for Trump. Remember that? Some crazy nut advised women to "get your abortions now" just to show where the mind was going, if there was a mind involved in that verbal exchange.

But during those weeks and months I was really consoled by the fact that Trump had really moderated, and his actions deviated from his earlier rhetoric. The case in point is the travel ban. As written, the travel ban does not mention religion, hence the Supreme Court Justices who upheld it did not even need to consider the fact that he referred to a Muslim travel ban in campaign speeches.

I started having interesting juxtaposed arguments with people on both sides. One day I argued with a relative who hates Trump. I pointed out that he really isn't doing anything different than other Republican Presidents would be doing, so you either dislike the Republican agenda in general or you have something personal against Trump. There was probably truth in both these possibilities, but he would not accept either. To summarize his reason for hating Trump: Trump is evil and we must oppose evil. The next day I was at a picnic for a Catholic group arguing with Trump fanatics ("Trump-train" people) that Trump needs to tone it down with the tweets and trash-talking private citizens. They jumped on me reflexively with "What, would you rather Hillary be President? What about Antifa? Huh?" and "He has to do this to drain the swamp," a phrase that is getting stale and shouldn't be used as a blanket excuse for everything Trump does. These guys were Buchanan-ites so I said, "Hey, I think Trump is doing a lot of good things. Bombing Assad and Syria? I'll take that any day...." That shut them up.

Obviously I have been very much enjoying my new role as "the sensible person" even if I am not always recognized as such. In the past I was always looked at as the hyper-conservative. Now I'm properly cynical like the other guys I'd meet in the barber shop if I wasn't a bald cheapskate. I have tried to be very sensitive to the fact that certain people felt like they really couldn't vote for Trump because of what disgusting behavior he has indulged in. I was sitting in a bar in Pennsylvania with five of my friends whom I've known since grade-school. They are all religious conservatives. I was the only one who voted for Trump. Some of them were fine with the fact that I did that, but others were disgusted with me, two in particular. I think it's possible that they might have since changed their mind after Gorsuch, but they are both college professors and I think Trump's pedestrian manner come across as grating to them.

This post has turned into sort of a ramble fest, but maybe that is the best way to introduce my transformation into someone who appreciates what Trump does for the most part if I don't always admire the way he does it. Around the time of the convention, I had been going to send an acquaintance of mine who was an early "Trump Train" passenger a scathing email in response to an email touting his undying Trump support. I'm very glad I did not. If there is one thing to learn from the Trump Presidency so far it is that to lose one's temper is to lose totally, and to control oneself is always the best long-term strategy.

One of Trump's strategies from the get-go has been to troll people until they lose it, or at least show their true colors. That's how he took out Marco Rubio with the Little Marco remarks. Rubio should never had made the "small hands" remark, it was a complete limp-wristed softball for Trump. I admit that watching him do it now earns my reluctant admiration. It reminds me of my favorite exchange in the original 1957 12 Angry Men when Lee Cobb rips Henry Fonda in conversation with E.G. Marshall.

"I'm a pretty excitable person. I mean, where does he come off calling me a public avenger, sadist and everything? Anyone in his right mind would blow his stack. He was just trying to bait me." says Cobb.
"He did an excellent job," replies Marshall.

I have told my kids many times that I like generally the direction in which Trump is taking our country, and that I'm glad he is president rather than Crooked Hillary, but I have also stressed to them that they shouldn't emulate his intemperance and name-calling. (You see what I did there, right?) I think that objectivity is always to be striven for in the matters of the policies which govern our nation and that is why I find it silly for people to insist that Trump is "not my President! Not my President!" I've never said anyone was either my President or not my President, like I refer to my mother or my wife or my car.

Donald Trump is the President of the United States. That is an objective, unbiased fact. And every night we say the exact same thing during our family prayers. We used to say "God Bless President Obama," and now we say "God Bless President Trump."