Free Markets, Free People

Culture

I get so freaking tired of this sort of nonsense

And, of course, this bit of pop-psychology comes from none other than The New Republic:

Ultimately, Rachel Dolezal’s story seems like a story about fear. It expresses the fear all white Americans have, or should have: fear of acknowledging our own cultural history as creators of trauma and inflictors of abuse; fear of acknowledging the guilt inherent in this narrative, and, even more staggeringly, taking on the task of alchemizing guilt into something useful. Dolezal’s story also expresses, in its most redemptive moments, the love and respect she truly seemed to have for African-American culture—and the weakness that allowed her to see it not as a culture she wanted to use her white privilege to advocate for, but as a shelter in which she could hide from herself.

This is gob-smackingly stupid and wrong-headed.  My cultural history has nothing in it that has me cast as a creator or inflictor of trauma and abuse. So I don’t fear anything of the sort.  And I certainly don’t accept anyone trying to invent a history that does. However, the history of my larger culture is fraught with it … but here’s a newsflash, so is the history of every other “culture” – many more than mine!  I had nothing to do with that.  The culture in which I abide today is one which, for the most part, cherishes truth and shuns a fraud, seeks peace and harmony and asks to be left alone to live their lives without government interference or the interference of SJWs.  I am and always have been for equal opportunity for everyone.  I treat all people as equals to me. So don’t try to heap on my head the abuses of the past.  It is the practice of con-artists, like Al Sharpton – lay the old guilt trip which, once established, allows the con to leverage advantages for themselves. We’re smarter than that – no sale!

As for Dolezal, in simple words, she is a consummate fraud.  A con.  My culture doesn’t celebrate frauds or cons.  It shuns and shames them.  It also doesn’t try to explain away their criminality or immorality by trying to place the blame on others.  It points at and criticizes the perpetrators of fraud!

And this:

Who are we allowed to become? Children growing up today are likely to believe they can be anyone they want to be, and parents and teachers have grown fond of the phrase “Whatever you are, be a good one.” The emerging narratives of transgender children dovetail perfectly with this philosophy, children whose parents do not force them into a lockstep performance of the gender they were assigned at birth have become visible members of society. Yet the increased presence of transgender issues in our national conversation has prompted some to wonder—with or without their tongue in cheek, or in check—whether this is merely a sign of the times, a side effect of the chaos of modern life. If you can be born male and “become” female, some argue, then can’t you become anything else you want? And if you can be transgender, then can’t the label “transracial” apply, just as legitimately, to someone like Rachel Dolezal?

Who are we allowed to “become”?!  We can “become” anyone we want within reason when it comes to making something of ourselves.

That some have decided to “become” something other than they are in terms of gender or race may impress the fools and other wannabes in our society, but it doesn’t at all impress anyone who can reason and understands how reality works.  You can “claim” to be a walrus, I imagine you can even “become” one with enough makeup, big tusks and a body suit.

But here’s a news flash – you’re not a freaking walrus.  You are still a wannabe.  The only difference between you and Dolezal is the level of fraud she perpetrated on others.  She was malicious in her fraud, a walrus wannabe would just be a bit sad.

For the wannabe walrus, I’m sorry, I don’t “accept” your claim.  Why?  Science.

Same with Dolezal.  While it isn’t at the level of Dolezel’s fraud, it is a fraudulent claim.

Call me intolerant if you wish … I really don’t care.  In fact I embrace the term given the level of asininity it takes to “accept” this nonsense.

You are what you freaking are.  Whether or not you’re mentally defective or unstable is an unknown.  But that doesn’t change what you are – genetically, racially, sexually or physically.

If you have a problem with that, you need to get over it and quit trying to normalize your delusions.

~McQ

The emptiness of post-modernism

“Nihilism denies that there are any objective grounds for truth, especially regarding morality.” – Tom Lindsey

And Nihilism’s child is post-modernism.

Lindsey is talking about the recent outcry among liberal professors concerning the stifling of speech on campus due to … feelings.  Lindsey continues:

True enough. But I wonder whether Schlosser or Kipnis, or most of academe, understand fully the depths of the Academy’s complicity in the atrocities they cite. Take for example, my own field, political science, which, like all the modern social sciences, is grounded in a radical distinction between “facts” and “values, “ according to which, facts alone are knowable, because “empirically verifiable” (provable using only the five senses).  Values, in this account, are subjective preferences regarding facts.  Hence, for social science, the terms “right,” “wrong,” “just, and “unjust” are unknowable by reason or science.

And there’s the rub: Neither the academic freedom for which Schlosser and Kipnis rightly plea nor political freedom can be defended authoritatively on the basis of the moral-cultural relativism (often termed, “postmodernism”) taught today in the social sciences and the humanities. Why?

If all “values” (moral principles) are equal due to being equally unprovable through reason, then the embrace in the West of values such as political liberty, tolerance, equality, and the rule of law are demoted to mere “subjective preferences,” which are no better or worse than their opposites—slavery, intolerance, inequality, and tyranny. But while the postmodern Academy asserts reason’s impotence at answering life’s deepest questions, it simultaneously denies that we are capable of the “moral neutrality” that seems to follow from relativism. Simply put, they teach that we have no rational basis to make “value judgements,” but neither can we avoid making them.

And that’s what we face today.  As “Schlosser” said, “a simplistic, unworkable, and ultimately stifling conception of social justice” has produced “higher ed’s current climate of fear,” enforced through a “heavily policed discourse of semantic sensitivity.”

We’ve heard about the application in academia and how, now, some liberal professors are pushing back.  But it isn’t just academia which is infected with this nonsense.  Society at large is also becoming more and more infected with it – likely the product of the left’s constant pursuit of Nihilism since the ’60s at least.  How many times have you been told that we are not “fit to judge” another’s culture or choices?  How dare we assert “right” and “wrong”.  It’s all relative.  And thus everything is acceptable.

Except when it isn’t.

Take the case of Rachel Dolezel.  The most significant “judgement” I’ve seen of her deceitful life is to be found in, of all publications, in Salon.

So this isn’t about being an ally, or making the family of your choosing, or even how one feels on the inside. It’s about, apparently, flat out deception. It’s about how one person chose to obtain a college education and jobs and credibility in her community. It about allegedly pretending to speak from a racial experience you simply don’t have. You want to live your truth, that’s not how you go about it. And it’s an insult to anyone honestly trying to do just that to suggest anything otherwise, for even a moment.

Even this denouncement is careful though.  Note the qualifier – “You want to live your truth, that’s not how you go about it.”

Anyone know what that’s about?  That’s about carving out an exception to the basic rule of the left that you can indeed make up your own “truth” if you go about it an acceptable way.  I’m not sure who gets to judge what is “acceptable” in the world of non-judgement, but there you go.

Rachel Dolezal is a fraud and a fake.  It really doesn’t make any difference what her intent was given she has lied and defrauded her way to her present position … or former position given she resigned from the NAACP.  She is what she is – white bread as white bread can be.  Even her art is a fraud.

So how did someone so fraudulent rise to the level she did?

Well, it’s the wages of being “non-judgemental”.  Naively accepting.  In this world, you just accept on its face the claims of someone like Dolezal.  You let them invent their “victimhood” and revel in it.  “Authenticity” is more important than the truth even if the authenticity is counterfeit.  A good and useful story is much more important than facts.

It’s about “need” – on both sides.  The “need” of Rachel Dolezal to be someone other than she is.  And the “need” of those who are “authentically” black to have a “victim” to point too and say, “See! Racism”.  She claims to have been the victim of “8 documented hate crimes”.  How perfectly lovely.  The fact that they pretty much all were found to be baseless isn’t important.

Why was she allowed to go on without questioning?  Because she was politically useful.  Because she represented a narrative that many want to perpetuate.

And, as with most liars who have told the story so often they begin to believe it, she’s now rationalizing her actions and denying a problem.  Her rationalization “I’ve always identified as black” somehow justifies her deceit and she believes her declaration is all that is necessary to provide “truth” to the matter.   To her it justifies all her actions, her lies and  her misrepresentations.  What’s awful and hilarious at the same time is she has allies in this endeavor.

The “deny reality” brigade have so programmed some that they believe that whatever you “believe” to be true is true, even if the reality that everyone else deals in daily says you’re full of beans.

And thus we’re at the point, now being discovered in academia by the left, where “feelings” rule over “reality”.

Lindsey provides us with a quote in closing (remember that he’s talking academia primarily);

 “I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas. . . . I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America?”

Who is he quoting?  Well someone Dolezal claimed we who wouldn’t “understand” about race should read – W.E.B. Dubose.

I wonder what he’d think of her sham life or the moral relativity she and others champion.

The quote says, at least to me, that he wouldn’t be too friendly to the idea.

~McQ

 

Obama? He’s just too smart for us on the right!

Or at least that’s the thesis of one Allen Clifton.

Which brings me to President Obama. While I’m not calling him a genius, I do think he’s extremely intelligent. I also believe that his tendency to use “big picture” thinking while drafting policy is something most Republican voters simply can’t understand.

Now understand it this comes from orthodoxy central, aka a site called “Forward Progressives”.  And this is apparently considered “forward thinking”.  We just are too stupid to get it.

He uses Obamacare as an example of us not getting it:

While many Republicans want to look at the “now” aspect of the Affordable Care Act, they seem unable to grasp the reality that as more Americans get health insurance, giving them access to preventable care, this lowers expenses down the road for everyone. If people can prevent very costly heart attacks, strokes or other debilitating health issues now, that’s an overall savings for practically everyone from consumers to health insurers to doctors who now have more patients. Quite literally, improving the overall health of Americans will improve the health of this country. It even makes sense for our economy. If workers are healthier, because they have access to quality health care, that means there will be fewer people calling in sick to work, showing up sick to work (putting other employees at risk) or relying on government programs because their health conditions (that were preventable) render them unable to work at all.

But to see all of that requires “big picture” thinking and Republicans seem unable to understand anything beyond the spoon-fed bumper sticker talking points they’re given by the GOP and the conservative media.

We could spend 5,000 words and countless hours expounding on how clueless this is.  Health care doesn’t get less expensive if you “subsidize” it by penalizing those who work and earn by making them pay for those who don’t.  Period.  Wealth is something earned by individuals, not governments.  When government’s take other’s wealth to pay for government priorities, it leaves less for the individual who earned it to spend on their priorities.  This isn’t a hard concept to grasp, but seems beyond Mr. Clifton and our brilliant president.  While all the pie in the sky BS about a healthier American work force sounds wonderful, for the most part it isn’t the workforce that’s benefiting from this subsidy.  So while you may want to see this as a “far reaching” plus, it isn’t.  There are certainly ways to approach the lack of insurance, but this isn’t one of them.

Mr. Clifton then doubles down on his ignorance of economies with this “Underpants Gnomes” paragraph:

Minimum wage is another issue you see this with. Republicans constantly paint it as a “job killer” (it’s not) while also rallying against the millions of people who are on government assistance. Funny thing though, a good portion of the Americans who are on government assistance have jobs. If we made sure that no American working full-time had to rely on government programs just to survive, instantly we would save our country hundreds of billions of dollars over the years. Not only that, but when Americans have more money, they have more to spend. And what’s the biggest driver of economic growth? Consumer spending. More consumer spending means higher profits and higher demand, which means – more jobs.

But once again, when it comes to Republicans and explaining job creation, anything outside of “tax cuts create jobs” is often too complex for many of them to understand.

So, where again does the money come from to pay that $15 minimum wage?  The earnings of the business.  And what will a business have to do if it has to pay that wage?  Well it has some choices – raise prices, lay off workers, go out of business, etc.

Would someone have more money to spend?  Yes, if they weren’t laid off or their business didn’t close their doors.

And how big of a jump in spending money would they have?  Well initially a bit.  But then prices would adjust, because, you see, as the price of labor goes up, so do the prices of commodities and goods.  In other words, if they still have a job and they’re earning $15 an hour, fairly quickly prices will catch up with their gain and their purchasing power will be about the same as they previously enjoyed.  Meanwhile, businesses who can keep the doors open are raising prices and laying off workers, or considering automation as a replacement for workers.

Apparently this too is beyond the grasp of Mr. Clinton and the brilliant president.  Half the story, in both cases, is where Clifton stops.  And this is considered just freaking brilliant by the boob.

And you wonder why the left lives in a fantasy world?  This isn’t rocket science nor is there a dearth of examples proving these points.  They are everywhere, throughout history.  Look them up?  Oh, hell no … let’s continue to live in our fantasy orthodoxy and call everyone else stupid.

See climate change for further proof of this nonsense.

~McQ

 

Sorry, I refuse to play this game

One of the problems associated with the military is the issue of “stolen valor”, i.e. wannabes who claim service, awards and decorations they haven’t done or earned.

No one other than other wannabes defends this because it is so outrageously wrong in every way.  They haven’t done the service or haven’t earned the  awards and they aren’t who they say they are.  And they are shamed and shunned because of their lies.

That seems to be the proper way to handle those sorts of things.  If you’re not what you say you are, no amount of wanting changes that.  So why should we as a society have to humor that?  We don’t in this case.  Why do we in other cases?  If I paste a horn on my head and claim to be a unicorn, does that make me one?  And do you have to accept my desire as “valid” or “true”?

Of course not.

 

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Meet Spokane’s NAACP Chapter President Rachel Dolezal.  Ms. Dolezal, as she appears now, claims to have been a “bi-racial” child and having African-American blood.  On the right is a picture of a younger Ms. Dolezal as she appeared years earlier when she was naturally blond haired and blue-eyed.

She’s claimed a black father and a black son for some time.

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The young man is actually her brother, adopted by her real parents years ago.  The man on the right she claims is her dad.  He’s not.  Here he is with her mom.

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Yes, about as “white-bread” a pair of parents as you can get.

Ms. Dolezal has claimed a horrific earlier life to add to her “black” bona-fides.  But they are as false as her racial claims:

In an interview with the Coeur d’ Alene Press, Dolezal’s mother shot down many other claims her daughter has made in interviews over the years. Specifically:

Dolezal’s claim she was born in a tepee.

‘Totally false,’ said her mother. She and Dolezal’s father once lived in a tepee but it was before Dolezal was born.

Dolezal’s claim she once had to use bows and arrows to hunt for her own food as a kid.

Not true, says her mother.

Dolezal’s claim she once lived in South Africa.

‘Rachel did not even ever visit us there,’ said Ruthanne, who lived there as a missionary.

Dolezal’s claim her parents punished her ‘by skin complexion’ with a ‘baboon whip’ reminiscent of those once used on slaves.

‘She is fabricating a very false and malicious lie,’ Ruthanne said.

Dolezal’s claim that Larry Dolezal, who is white, is actually her stepfather.

‘Anybody who lives in the town of Troy or Libby knows that Larry is her father,’ Ruthanne said.

So, what should we think of this pretender who has lied and fabricated so much about her life as well as making up horrific stories about her parents?

Well, my inclination is to treat her the same we we treat valor thieves … shame her.  And to point out that as much as she wants to be black, claiming she is doesn’t make it so (take note, Bruce Jenner, your chromosomes still say “X” and “Y”, no matter how you dress or what you hack off).

But apparently that’s not how it works in this day and age:

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Make up a few “facts” (“10% of all people are born (with the wrong skin color)” – really?  And from whence does that little pearl originate?), claim victimhood, and bingo, you’re a “minority” with a “cause” which should be a) tolerated and b) treated as if your fantasy is reality.

Yeah, sorry, not playing this game.

You are what you are – that’s reality.  If you can’t deal with it, it’s not my fault or my problem.  You’re not a victim.  You’re not entitled.  You need help.

End of rant.

~McQ

Slouching our way to oppression

Again we are inundated with the usual and unusual via the internet.  Let’s take a look at a few.

It’s called “projection” Mr. Carter:

In a new interview, former Democrat President Jimmy Carter slammed America as a “racist” nation that refuses to let “old wounds” heal.

Carter spoke to the liberal AARP retirement group in an interview that was released late this week. At one point, Carter said that dreams of a color-blind society are still unrealized in the U.S.

“The recent publicity about mistreatment of black people in the judicial and police realm has been a reminder that the dreams of the civil rights movement have not been realized,” Carter said.

Carter continued insisting that “Americans still have racist tendencies or feelings of superiority to people of color.”

Unless he’s speaking for himself, he damn sure isn’t speaking for me.  I’m not sure where he gets off with trying to tag all Americans with “racist tendencies” or “feelings of superiority to people of color”.  And one must remember the party he’s affiliated with and it’s history in the region of the country from which he hails

Would someone inform this idiot that her 15 minutes of fame are over?

Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia graduate famous across the country as “Mattress Girl” after she hauled a mattress around campus for a year to protest the school’s handling of her alleged rape, has apparently released a sex tape recreating her alleged rape.

Like the Rolling Stone “rape” story out of UVa, she is a fraud.  Now Sulkowicz inflicts this nasty little piece of work on the internet?  Shuffle off to  … wherever, lady.  You’ve overstayed your welcome and our tolerance.

Lord they must think we’re dumb (“Wizard’s first rule).  NOAA has suddenly discovered “adjustments” in temperature data that conveniently wipes out the 15 year hiatus on warming:

To increase the rate in warming, NOAA scientists put more weight on certain ocean buoy arrays, adjusted ship-based temperature readings upward, and slightly raised land-based temperatures as well. Scientists said adjusted ship-based temperature data “had the largest impact on trends for the 2000-2014 time period, accounting for 0.030°C of the 0.064°C trend difference.” They added that the “buoy offset correction contributed 0.014°C… to the difference, and the additional weight given to the buoys because of their greater accuracy contributed 0.012°C.”

This, my friends, is not science.  This is adjusting the data to get the result one wants.  And we all know what that is.

Fraud.

Incompetence, as usual:

The federal government is notifying up to 4 million current and former employees that their personal financial data may have been breached by a hack attack from China, the Obama administration said Thursday.

Credit card data, banking records, and other forms of financial information could have been stolen in the attack, affecting people across the spectrum of the federal government, officials said.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because it is an ongoing investigation, said hackers working with China are the main suspects.

Hey, I know, let’s trust them with our medical records, shall we?

Opacity, as usual:

New testimony reveals that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) used “hundreds of attorneys” to hide critical information from Congress’s investigation of the IRS targeting of conservatives.

According to new congressional bombshell testimony today, the IRS set up a previously unknown “special project team” comprised of “hundreds of attorneys,” including the IRS Chief Counsel (one of only two politically appointed positions at the IRS).

The “special project” this team was given?  Concealing information from Congress.

The IRS’s director of privacy, governmental liaison, and disclosure division, Mary Howard, testified that soon after the IRS targeting scandal was revealed, the IRS “amassed hundreds of attorneys to go through the documents [requested by Congress] and redact them.”

Our government is becoming more and more of a criminal conspiracy daily.

Why are so many poor people obese?  Well, as the SJWs would like you to believe its because of “food deserts”.  That is they don’t have access to nutritious food, but are stuck with fast food, etc.  A new study says “not so fast”:

The paper — “What Drives Nutritional Disparities? Retail Access and Food Purchases Across the Socioeconomic Spectrum,” by economists Jessie Handbury, Ilya Rahkovsky and Molly Schnell — found that “systematic socioeconomic disparities in household purchases persist after controlling for access.”

Translation: Even when healthful food choices are available, low-income consumers don’t always take them.

As a result, the authors suggest, local policies intended to punish fast-food purveyors, liquor stores, quickie markets and other sellers of high-calorie, low-nutrition food might not be the best way to go.

One thing that can make a difference is education. Low-income households with higher education levels, the authors say, “purchase more healthful foods.” Those with low income and low education “respond very little” to having healthful foods available.

Of course this won’t deter SJWs from trying to limit choice even more, will it.  After all, they always know best how you should live your lives.

Finally a little piece on “Progressives: The target is never what it seems” which hits on some points we’ve talked about here many times.

I have written  (here and here) how progressives are masters are distorting words and redefining them so that they no longer are even close to their original meanings. “Liberal” and “gay,” of course, are probably the most such distorted words. Words are the ammunition of discussion and debate, and if one side is allowed to select the ammunition, well, the ensuing discussions and debates are to be expectedly one-sided.

When you’re allowed to redefine words within the narrative, you own the narrative.  And when you own the narrative and you’re a progressive, you end up driving the cultural bus off a cliff.

~McQ

A trot around the intertubes

There’s a lot going on but not much that needs a long and laborious explanation or rant.

The Clinton Foundation and our former Secretary of State are really starting to stink it up.  And my guess is there’s a lot more to come.  Years ago Terry Goodkind wrote a book called “Wizard’s first rule”.  The Clinton’s operate by that rule.  The rule?  “People are stupid”.  And there’s a Clinton corollary – “so is the media”.  They’ve operated off of that rule and corollary for decades.  They don’t see any reason to stop now.

The administration is claiming it has killed 10,000 ISIS members since it began its campaign of airstrikes.  Most people in the know doubt that number is anywhere near the truth and that, in fact, it’s much, much lower.   Here’s why:

Three out of every four times that Obama dispatches American warplanes over Iraq, they return to base without dropping any bombs or firing any missiles.

“Seventy-five percent of the sorties that we’re currently running with our attack aircraft come back without dropping bombs, mostly because they cannot acquire the target or properly identify the target,” said U.S. Army General (ret) Jack Keane in testimony before the U.S. Senate last week.

That’s why White House and Pentagon briefers usually talk about the number of sorties, not the number of air strikes. The number of missions flown is four times larger than the number of bombing runs.

There’s a simple fix, but it is politically unpalatable to the “lead from behind” crowd:

Gen. Keane offered a straightforward solution. “Forward air controllers fix that problem,” he said.

You know, “boots on the ground?”  Doing what they’re doing is sort of like firing artillery without forward observers.  Yeah, you’re likely to hit something every now and then, but is it really effective?  Uh, no.

Apparently ISIS acted as our own forward air controllers:

“Defense Tech reports that at a Air Force Association breakfast meeting in Washington DC on Monday, General Hawk Carlisle, the head of Air Combat Command, shared a story of how a careless social media post directly led to an airstrike against ISIS.”

While that is all well and good and wonderful, my question is why we have a General out there sharing this intel?

“The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they’re combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for Daesh, ISIL,” Carlisle said.

“And these guys go: ‘We got an in.’ So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later through that very building, three [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] take that entire building out.”

He was careful not to share sensitive details about the location of the building and airstrike, but he noted how ISIS’ enthusiasm of social media was turned against them in this case.

“It was a post on social media to bombs on target in less than 24 hours,” he said. “Incredible work when you think about [it].”

He shared a timeframe for a mission to be put together and why they were successful.  Who is the real “moron” here?  Before ISIS may have been guessing why they were hit.  Now they know.

This is going to disappoint the enviro-whacko crowd:

A decade into an energy boom led by hydraulic fracturing, the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded there is no evidence the practice has had a “widespread, systemic impact on drinking water.”

The report is the federal government’s most comprehensive examination of the issue of fracking and drinking water, and it bolsters the position staked out by the energy industry.

Yeah, fracking has only been around 66 years and been used on a million wells.  One might think that if there were a drinking water problem it would have been discovered before now.

That won’t stop the narrative however.  “Science” is only useful when it backs that narrative.  When it doesn’t, it’s just to be ignored.  See “climate change”.

 

Another liberal professor speaks out about the SJW “crisis” on campus:

The current student-teacher dynamic has been shaped by a large confluence of factors, and perhaps the most important of these is the manner in which cultural studies and social justice writers have comported themselves in popular media. I have a great deal of respect for both of these fields, but their manifestations online, their desire to democratize complex fields of study by making them as digestible as a TGIF sitcom, has led to adoption of a totalizing, simplistic, unworkable, and ultimately stifling conception of social justice. The simplicity and absolutism of this conception has combined with the precarity of academic jobs to create higher ed’s current climate of fear, a heavily policed discourse of semantic sensitivity in which safety and comfort have become the ends and the means of the college experience.

Hey, you created it.  You get to live with it.  Either that or you grow a pair and take academia back.

Finally, in the “out of control government” category, we have this little jewel:

IRS lawyers have ruled that once illegal immigrants get numbers, they can go back and re-file for up to three previous years’ taxes and claim refunds even for time they were working illegally.

The lawyers said since the EITC is a refundable credit, that’s allowed even when the illegal immigrants worked off-the-books and never paid taxes in the first place.

Now, these are “laws” the Obama administration is more than happy to follow.  Pay up, sucker.

~McQ

Feminism being redefined on the college campus

It seems everyone is weighing in on the oppressive nature of today’s college campus where “rape culture” is a given (even if it isn’t true) and “triggers” and perceived “aggressions” are treated as unforgivable sins to be punished by the “student collective” in the name of feminism.  I remember when feminism used to mean strong, empowered women. Now, apparently, it means women who are victims of hurtful words and are afraid to come out of their “safe spaces” lest they hear some.

David Brooks actually does a fair job of describing the problem.

The problem is that the campus activists have moral fervor, but don’t always have settled philosophies to restrain the fervor of their emotions. Settled philosophies are meant to (but obviously don’t always) instill a limiting sense of humility, a deference to the complexity and multifaceted nature of reality. But many of today’s activists are forced to rely on a relatively simple social theory.

According to this theory, the dividing lines between good and evil are starkly clear. The essential conflict is between the traumatized purity of the victim and the verbal violence of the oppressor.

According to this theory, the ultimate source of authority is not some hard-to-understand truth. It is everybody’s personal feelings. A crime occurs when someone feels a hurt triggered, or when someone feels disagreed with or “unsafe.” In the Shulevitz piece, a Brown student retreats from a campus debate to a safe room because she “was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against” her dearly and closely held beliefs.

Today’s campus activists are not only going after actual acts of discrimination — which is admirable. They are also going after incorrect thought — impiety and blasphemy. They are going after people for simply failing to show sufficient deference to and respect for the etiquette they hold dear. They sometimes conflate ideas with actions and regard controversial ideas as forms of violence.

Essentially the special snowflakes, who can only exist in a closed system like a college campus, have created an oppressive atmosphere in a place that should be open and free because … feelings.  And college administrators have allowed this nonsense to go on because of two reasons – students are paying the freight and Title IX.  But Brooks is right … the end state of this nonsense is the creation of thought police.  And the SJW’s on campus use their leverage (paying customer) and a wildly misinterpreted law (Title IX) to carry out their vendettas.  And for years, college administrations have been complicit in advancing this nonsense to the the point, now, of absurdity.

However, it has begun to bite back, as it had to, within the college collective.  Megan McArdle brings you up to date on the latest:

In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern, wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education in which she decried the creeping bureaucratization and fear that surrounds sexual activity on campus. Last week, she revealed that as a consequence of that article, she had been investigated for violating Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.

No, I’m not eliding some intermediate step, where she used printed copies of the article as a cudgel to attack her female students. The article itself was the suspect act. According to Kipnis, it was seen as retaliation against students who had filed complaints against a professor, and would have a “chilling effect” and create a “hostile environment” for women in the Northwestern community. Northwestern put Kipnis through a lengthy process in which she wasn’t allowed to know the nature of the complaint until she talked to investigators, nor could she have representation.

You need to read that article to understand what kangaroo courts the “system” within colleges have set up to appease their Title IX requirements as directed by the Obama Administration.  They are incredible and a far cry from anything anyone in the country would call “fair”.  But then fairness isn’t the goal … silence is.  They want to silence all “uncomfortable” ideas that may “trigger” their angst.  And, as you’ll note, the inmates are running the asylum.  Title IX is out of control as Naomi Schaefer Riley points out:

Yes, that’s right, legislation that was originally supposed to combat sexual discrimination in public education and athletics is now being used to silence professors who write essays that contradict progressive wisdom.

Because, you know, they were offended.  They thought they were “safe”.  And since they weren’t or at least didn’t consider themselves to be, they had to act by attacking the source of their angst.  Anonymously, of course.  With no burden of proof.  Just an accusation is all that is necessary, because in SJW-land, feelings rule, no matter how arbitrary and capricious they may be.

Is this the new face of feminism?

~McQ

 

Boston U, Grundy hire update

What a debacle the hire of Saida Grundy has been for Boston U.  8 years ago, Ms. Grundy apparently plead down two felony accounts for a misdemeanor in an act of irrational jealousy in which she tried to hurt, bully and harass someone she’d never met:

Grundy used the identity of a Virginia woman in a jealous fit over a man in late 2007 to create online accounts in the woman’s name, including one on an adult website for people looking for trysts, according to a police report obtained by the Herald under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Grundy got one year of probation after pleading guilty to malicious use of telecommunication services, a misdemeanor, according to online court records and Dan Dwyer, the court administrator at Washtenaw County Trial Court in Michigan. Two felony charges, identity theft and using a computer to commit a crime, were dismissed.

The cyber harassment took place in December 2007 when Grundy was at the University of Michigan, where she earned a master’s degree in sociology and a doctorate of philosophy in sociology and women’s studies in 2014.

The victim told police in Charlottesville, Va., that someone was creating accounts in her name and posting her personal information online, according to the police report.

A detective traced the suspect, identified as Grundy, to Ann Arbor and reached out to police there.

During an interview with detectives at her home in May 2008, Grundy said she had never met the victim but “this was a jealous thing regarding another man,” according to the police report.

She claims it was a bad decision by a 24 year old.  Yet we saw last week that she’s either not learned a thing or is still prone to bad decisions.  This was highlighted with her bullying a white rape victim on line.

Boston U’s reaction?  “Meh”:

In a statement Wednesday night, Boston University said: “A number of years ago, when she was a student at the University of Michigan, Dr. Grundy made a mistake. She admitted the mistake, accepted the consequences, and brought closure to that case. Eight years later, we do not see any reason to reopen it.”

In other words, character doesn’t matter when it comes to “diversity”.  Diversity always wins out.  Boston U would rather inflict a racist bully on it’s student population than admit it’s made a wrong decision in hiring her.

Oh, and the department she will teach in?

On Monday, BU’s African American Studies faculty posted an online message welcoming Grundy, saying she had been hired after a nationwide search and chosen from over 100 applicants. The post mentioned Grundy’s tweets and said they’ve been “shocked by the number of voicemails left and the hostile emails sent to our office and our individual accounts. … However, most troubling was that among the numerous that were serious expressions of dismay were many vile messages, explicitly racist and obscene, that consider cyber-bullying a substitute for frank discussion and freedom of speech.”

“Physician, heal thyself.”  You’re welcoming a cyber-bully into your bosom, for heaven sake.  You ought to be ashamed.

~McQ

Politicizing the Amtrak incident

One of the favorite ploys of Democrats is to claim the GOP has a tendency to “politicize” tragedies.

Well, there’s politicizing a problem and then there pretending there is a problem in order to politicize it.   This recent Amtrak tragedy is the latter.

What do I mean?  Well, they hadn’t even cleared the bodies from the wreckage before former Governor Ed Rendell was on “Morning Joe” talking about how it was due to a lack of infrastructure spending.

Meanwhile, the NTSB is putting out stuff like this:

screenshot 2

Oh … 100 mph in a 50 mph curve?  That’s an obvious problem with “infrastructure spending”, isn’t it?

But that didn’t stop the Democrats talking point from continuing to roll, did it?  Nope, the good old reliable media pitches in as well.  Phillip Bump in the Washington Post:

As The Post’s Colby Itkowitz noted, Congress has delayed passing legislation to fund Amtrak since 2013. The last time it did so, in 2008, the vote passed only after a rail disaster. Which, of course, happened again Tuesday night.

The constant struggle of Amtrak to get funding derives largely from the fact that not very many Americans use the rail system. Ridership is heavily centered in the Northeast, in the corridor between Boston and Washington where Tuesday’s accident occurred. But more than that, ridership is unevenly distributed politically. Data from the National Association of Railroad Passengers shows the number of passengers that get on or off the train in any given congressional district, and reveals an obvious reason why Republicans might not be too concerned about funding the system.

Amtrak has never had a profitable year since its inception.  In fact it is a totally subsidized rail system that would fail if not subsidized.  And as Bump mentions, it is “heavily centered” in a northeastern corridor.  So essentially, given the fact that the “elites” want Americans in mass transit and this fits the description, plus it is very handy for said elites to use if they so choose, they’re fine with a wealth transfer from the rest of the country to support their desires.

Powerline picks up on the media bias as well:

There is a certain irony in these three stories perching one above the other on Politico’s main page: House panel votes to cut Amtrak budget hours after deadly crashAnalysis: GOP cuts to transportation, housing draw fire; and Derailed Amtrak was likely traveling at twice recommended speed.

Politico is a mouthpiece for the Washington establishment, where all spending is good spending. But the anti-Republican theme was picked up by many other news outlets, like Reuters: “Amtrak crash throws spotlight on funding disputes; Republicans back cuts.” And the New York Daily News: “Deadly malfeasance: Amtrak passengers paid with their lives for Washington’s neglect of transportation.”

But funding is not the problem.  Amtrak has gotten over 30 billion dollars in subsidies since its founding in 1970.  30 billion.  For a small railroad.  The WaPo’s Bump also claimed that “Republicans” hadn’t funded Amtrak since 2013.

In fact, they gave Amtrak nearly $1.4 billion less than five months ago.

One of those anti-narrative facts that keep ruining their righteous rant.

Oh, and as for “infrastructure spending?”  You remember the stimulus don’t you?  Wasn’t that for “infrastructure?” And who was in charge of doling out the loot then?

Yeah, certainly not Republicans.

Meanwhile, the union associated with Amtrak decides it too needs to score political points on the back of the 7 dead and many injured:

The Teamsters-affiliated Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Lodge 3014(BMWE) published a blog post on Tuesday attributing the deadly crash to new safety standards proposed by management of the government-partnered railroad.

“The new ‘One Amtrak Way’, along with the new inexperienced Amtrak senior management (after the old experienced senior managers were fired) has lead to this massive derailment,” the union said.

[…]

Reuters reported that the train was not equipped with the latest U.S. safety controls that are supposed to prevent high-speed derailments.

The Pennsylvania-based BMWE failed to mention the actions of the operator on its website, instead focusing on the union dispute with management. The crash, the post said, came as “senior management has declared war on safety with it’s [sic] unions.” Union membership unanimously approved a resolution in April giving union leadership permission to call a strike. Lodge 3014 had about 240 members in 2014, according to its most recent federal labor filings.

“The unions [sic] struggle to maintain safe working conditions is hampered by Amtrak senior management’s lust for complete control and railroad inexperience,” the blog post said.

Amazing.

Why does Amtrak continue to be such a fiscal wreck?  The usual reasons:

In its current form, Amtrak is less a for-profit passenger rail corporation and more a union jobs program (its ridiculous labor contracts are a major reason why the company is perpetually swimming in red ink).

Despite all the disingenuous chatter about a lack of infrastructure funding for Amtrak, the company’s salary costs absolutely dwarf its infrastructure depreciation expenses. In 2013, for example, Amtrak spent $2.1 billion on salaries, while it recorded $687 million in annual depreciation costs. Amtrak’s pension losses alone in 2013 totaled $425 million.

The numbers are pretty easy to compute.  Nothing is going to change here.  Amtrak will continue to be a money pit that benefits only a relative few in the country.

However, again, funding and spending wasn’t the reason this train crashed and killed, is it?  At least no according to witnesses and a preliminary finding by the NTSB.

But since the politicizing has begun by the left, why not jump in.  Powerline asks the pertinent questions:

The real question is, why is the federal government in the railroad business at all? Far more people are killed in automobile accidents than train crashes, but no one says the problem is that the federal government doesn’t pay enough money to car companies. If Amtrak can’t operate safely–reasonably safely, since nothing is absolutely safe–based on the revenue it gets from customers, it should go out of business, like any other company.

Here is another question: why should businessmen, journalists, lobbyists and politicians who commute between Washington and points north have their travel costs subsidized by taxpayers? Train travel costs what it costs. Those who ride the trains should pay those costs, just like those who fly in airplanes. It is absurd that the richest and most powerful companies in the United States have their employees’ travel costs subsidized by you and me. This is cronyism at its worst. Amtrak should be a wholly private enterprise. Having ridden that Northeastern line that goes to Washington a number of times, I think it has great advantages over air travel and could easily charge enough money to be profitable in competent hands.

Look folks, the federal government has proven its incompetence for decades when it comes to running or managing anything in a efficient and cost-effective way.  Why?  Because there are no penalties for it not doing so.  It just takes more of your money to cover its incompetence or goes into debt in your name.

These questions deserve answers. The incompetence involved, the fiscal waste, is simply staggering.  And 7 people paid with their lives because of it.

Will we get any answer to those questions?  Oh, no.  The elites are fine with you subsidizing their travel expenses.  And since, it seems, most of our “leadership” comes out of that area anymore, you’re not going to see that change anytime soon.

Divestment of Amtrak is the answer, but then, passengers would have to pay real costs wouldn’t they?  And the leaching elites, who will condemn you in a NY minuted for not paying your “fair share” aren’t about to see this bit of subsidized cronyism pass by the way side are they?

I mean how would Joe Biden get home?

~McQ

 

 

 

Equality: the wrong perspective

I’m always intrigued when I find this sort of nonsense about “equality” being trotted out as anything but stupidity on a stick.  But here we go:

‘I got interested in this question because I was interested in equality of opportunity,’ he says.

‘I had done some work on social mobility and the evidence is overwhelmingly that the reason why children born to different families have very different chances in life is because of what happens in those families.’

Once he got thinking, Swift could see that the issue stretches well beyond the fact that some families can afford private schooling, nannies, tutors, and houses in good suburbs. Functional family interactions—from going to the cricket to reading bedtime stories—form a largely unseen but palpable fault line between families. The consequence is a gap in social mobility and equality that can last for generations.

So, what to do?

According to Swift, from a purely instrumental position the answer is straightforward.

‘One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.’

Instrumental position?  I’m not sure what that means, but in the larger sense, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a philosopher got it wrong because everything was based on a false premise.  That somehow the “family” is at the root of inequality of opportunity. In reality, as you’ll see, he’s not at all interested in equality of opportunity.  He’s more interested in equality of outcome.  To make that happen, you have to control the variables.

But there’s more to this examination by philosophers Adam Swift and Harry Brighouse.  The premise is nonsense as history has proven.  To their credit, Swift and Brighouse sort of get it, but they have a goal in mind, so they really don’t.  They just hide the goal in a bunch of blathering about families and “equality” and attempt to convince you they’re pushing “equality of opportunity”.

‘Nearly everyone who has thought about this would conclude that it is a really bad idea to be raised by state institutions, unless something has gone wrong,’ he says.

Intuitively it doesn’t feel right, but for a philosopher, solutions require more than an initial reaction. So Swift and his college Brighouse set to work on a respectable analytical defence of the family, asking themselves the deceptively simple question: ‘Why are families a good thing exactly?’

Not surprisingly, it begins with kids and ends with parents.

‘It’s the children’s interest in family life that is the most important,’ says Swift. ‘From all we now know, it is in the child’s interest to be parented, and to be parented well. Meanwhile, from the adult point of view it looks as if there is something very valuable in being a parent.’

He concedes parenting might not be for everyone and for some it can go badly wrong, but in general it is an irreplaceable relationship.

‘Parenting a child makes for what we call a distinctive and special contribution to the flourishing and wellbeing of adults.’

It seems that from both the child’s and adult’s point of view there is something to be said about living in a family way. This doesn’t exactly parry the criticism that families exacerbate social inequality.

Here comes the “but” however.  And it leads to the very same place it always does:

Swift and Brighouse needed to sort out those activities that contribute to unnecessary inequality from those that don’t.

‘What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children, if allowing those activities would create unfairnesses for other people’s children’.

The test they devised was based on what they term ‘familial relationship goods’; those unique and identifiable things that arise within the family unit and contribute to the flourishing of family members.

Got that?  In case you missed it they said “what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children.”  Control in the name of “equality” as defined by … who?

My next question was “who is ‘we'” and by what right do ‘we’ pretend to have the power to allow or disallow activities that parents determine might help their children and are within their power to give them?  Certainly not me?  You?  Who?

I think we all know.

Now we arrive at “equality” crap.  Equality has somehow become the standard by which you must live your life.  In the US, equality has always meant equality of opportunity, equality before the law, etc.  The leftist view has always been “equality of outcome” and has spawned such monstrosities as socialism and communism in its name.  Where these two are headed is toward the latter.  And how do that do that? By the fact that they’re interested in restricting parents in what they can do for their children so the outcome is more likely to be “equal”.

For Swift, there’s one particular choice that fails the test.

‘Private schooling cannot be justified by appeal to these familial relationship goods,’ he says. ‘It’s just not the case that in order for a family to realise these intimate, loving, authoritative, affectionate, love-based relationships you need to be able to send your child to an elite private school.’

We’ve now pretty arbitrarily defined “familial relationship good” and we’ve decided that certain things don’t really contribute that to which we’ve now restricted parents – producing familial relationship goods.  And while research points to bedtime stories as being much more of an advantage to those who get them than private schooling, the intimacy of such a “product” and the trouble enforcing their ban (and its unpopularity) see them wave it off … for now.

‘The evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t—the difference in their life chances—is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,’ he says.

This devilish twist of evidence surely leads to a further conclusion—that perhaps in the interests of levelling the playing field, bedtime stories should also be restricted. In Swift’s mind this is where the evaluation of familial relationship goods goes up a notch.

‘You have to allow parents to engage in bedtime stories activities, in fact we encourage them because those are the kinds of interactions between parents and children that do indeed foster and produce these [desired] familial relationship goods.’

But, as they finally admit,  it isn’t really just about fostering and producing familial relationship goods so much as “leveling the playing field”.  So out of necessity, the family goods list must be short and universal, or they’re a “no-go”. They just can’t seem to find a way to make the family unit regressive enough to go after it, so they’re reduced to going after things that may provide an advantage to some children over others – like private schools.

Now these two have taken a ration of grief based on click bait headlines which have claimed they’re for the abolition of the family.  Well, they’re not, really.  But they are for “leveling the playing field” – i.e. that is the goal of this exercise.  So they’re not at all above finding ways to restrict families who might be able to provide activities and events that they feel (see the arbitrariness creeping in) provide advantages to their children that others don’t enjoy.

It’s certainly not a stretch to believe they’d be fine with doing away with family vacations – after all, not all children can afford to go on vacations and the advantages they would provide to those who can would lead to “inequality”.  And besides, they’re not necessary to produce “these desired familial relationship goods”, are they?  Special summer camps?  Yeah, no, sorry.  A voice coach?  Really? You have to ask?

You get the point.  Everyone hates the word “elite” so load your discussion with those type trigger words.  Imply that you don’t want to hurt the family, but you do want the “children” to have equal opportunity.  And ease them into these restrictions you propose with one that is viscerally easy for the vast majority who don’t have children who attend “elite” private schools.  A little class warfare always helps.

Folks, this isn’t “philosophy”, this is socialist snake oil in a new package.  Once you’ve seen it, you never forget what it is regardless of how they dress it up or pitch it.

~McQ