Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Cruising the Web

Ah, here is a totally neutral NPR reporter (or is that oxymoronic?):
The weight of Hillary Clinton’s history-making campaign reduces some women to tears, according to a “question” from NPR White House reporter Tamara Keith on Monday. As though she were doing PR for the Democrat, Keith gushed, “Secretary, last night when you took stage in Sacramento, there was a woman standing next to me who was absolutely sobbing. And she said, you know, ‘It's time. It's past time.’”

She continued, “People here and people just come up to you and they get tears in their eyes.... Do you feel the weight of what this means for people?”
Why doesn't she just ask, "Please, Secretary tell us how wonderful you are and how it is essential that you be elected?" Come on. How many women are out there crying over Hillary and why aren't they getting psychological help? I bet that the great majority of liberal women have the same attitude that I hear from my female students. They want to have a woman president, but they're not at all thrilled about Hillary.

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USA Today has a powerful column by a former Marine telling the story of one officer whose career was ruined for leaving the nuclear code book out for a few minutes, but took the honorable choice of admitting his mistake and taking the hit. What a contrast to Hillary Clinton.
Apologists for Hillary Clinton’s alleged criminal mishandling of classified documents say that it doesn’t matter, that she really did nothing wrong, or nothing significant. But the real question is not so much what she did as how she has responded to being found out.
Of course, the word "honor" just doesn't appear in the same sentence with either of the Clintons unless you're talking about their lack of honor.

Karen Yourish writes in the New York Times to ponder whether it really matters that both Clinton and Trump have such terrible approval ratings.
In addition, American views of the parties and the candidates are more strongly divided along party lines than in the past. Political scientists say this has resulted in a phenomenon where people vote against the opposing party rather than for their own candidate.

“We are in a position where both parties have extremely negative views of the opposite party and that pulls down the candidates’ favorables,” said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School poll. “The good news for both of them is they have to run against each other. So, in that sense, neither is substantially disadvantaged.”

Another bit of good news for both candidates is that the two candidates are decidedly more popular among their parties’ faithfuls.

“The image of the candidate among his or her own party is a critical metric because it can be an indicator of turnout,” Mr. Newport said.

Jonathan Chait has an interesting essay
about the anti-Trump riots and why those on the far left feel that resorting to violence is an acceptable response to Trump's candidacy.
It is a fascinatingly bifurcated response. Vote for Trump! Or maybe suppress his campaign through violence! Anything other than, you know, just trying to elect Hillary Clinton. This may seem like a contradiction, but it is actually consistent. And not just because the most likely result of violently confronting Trump is to enable his election. It is the expression of a backlash on the left against liberalism — with all its maddening compromises and deference to the rights of the enemy — which fetishizes success as the by-product of cataclysmic struggle.

The defenses of violence revolve around the same point. If Trump poses an extraordinary threat to the sanctity of American democracy, doesn’t this justify an extraordinary response?
He goes on to cite several on the left endorsing violence and explains how those on the left justify this to themselves even if they were successful in blocking Trump's victory through their violence instead of just firing up more support for Trump. They just don't care what the use of violence against a politician's supporters would do to our political system.
Liberalism sees political rights as a positive good — rights for one are rights for all. “Democracy” means political rights for every citizen. The far left defines democracy as the triumph of the subordinate class over the privileged class. Political rights only matter insofar as they are exercised by the oppressed. The oppressor has no rights.

“Free speech, while an indispensable principle of democracy, is not an abstract value,” as one fairly representative left-wing polemicist explained. “It is carried out in the context of power disparities, and has real effects on peoples’ lives. We can defend freedom of speech — particularly from state crackdowns — while also resolutely opposing speech that scapegoats the most vulnerable and oppressed people in our society.” A liberal sees Trump’s ability to deliver a speech before supporters as a fundamental political right worth defending. A radical sees this “right” as coming at the expense of subordinate classes, and thus not worth protecting.
The difference that Chait draws between those on the radical left and those he terms as liberals definitely exists, but I think that the term "liberal" in Chait's essay refers more to the classical liberalism of men like James Madison or John Stuart Mill, not the liberals of today on college campuses.

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A self-described "recovering liberal" writes about how the hippies of the 1960s have "morphed into campus fascists." Where indeed have all the hippies gone?
The enlightened former freaks who now inhabit these campuses have become increasingly hypersensitive and nasty, spitting tacks at people for all manner of imaginary crimes such as “cultural appropriation.” Recently, a white guy got hammered for wearing dreadlocks. This is deeply ironic because, as I recall, we hippies were masters of cultural appropriation. Hookahs, Nehru jackets, bead curtains, reggae, Eastern religions, sitar music, Tibetan prayer flags, chakras, ethnic food, dashikis, Rasta shoulder bags, ironically worn military apparel, mandalas, henna tattoos, muumuus, hand-woven Guatemalan tunics, pyramid power, Maori tattoos, macramĂ© — excuse me for a moment, I think I’m having an acid flashback. Trails, beautiful trails. . . .

Ahem. Apparently, this appropriation business has become big business. Visit one of the hippie apparel shops online and pick up a Native American Dream Catcher necklace or a Kathmandu boho sling bag. Maybe a nice African thumb piano, or a pair of Cambodian water buffalo sandals — just “add to cart” and check out with your Amex Platinum card. The people who are griping about these outrages support entire industries based on cultural appropriation....

Today’s outraged, privileged, fragile snowflakes conjure up utterly trivial nonsense to consider as an affront: microaggression. This can include using the wrong one of more than 50 gender pronouns, sideways glances, snort-chuckling, eye rolling, resigned sighing, and even merely existing in proximity to a person with raw sensitivity. Sorry to get too linguistically nitpicky (that’s Noam Chomsky’s territory), but shouldn’t behavior be required to attain a certain level of intensity to earn the term “aggression”? What’s next— nanoaggression? Will kindness be re-categorized as “negative aggression” and become another form of effrontery?

What we’ve learned from this process, is when aggrieved people— even peace-loving flower children— acquire power, they invariably turn into oppressors as horrible as, or worse than, the tyrants they replaced. This is how we have come to witness the spectacle of a white guy with dreadlocks being assaulted by a black woman wearing Bob Marley flip-flops, neither of whom is a Rastafarian or Jamaican.

Where have all the hippies gone?
Gone for tyrants, every one.
When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn?

And this story from Britian makes total sense to diversity-mongers today.
A lecturers’ union is refusing to let its officers take part in debates at an equality summit if they are white, straight, able-bodied men.

The equality conference of the University and College Union said that members must declare their ‘protected characteristic’ – whether they are gay, disabled, female or from an ethnic minority – when applying to attend.

Activists say that it means representatives who do not qualify cannot participate in all of the discussions – even though they have been elected by their union branch.

They would be barred from ‘break-out’ sessions that organisers claim are a ‘safe space’ for those with the ‘protected characteristics’ to talk openly about their situations.

There are four sections of the conference – for women, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.

Though there were also some ‘joint sessions’ last year, for break-out discussions reps must have the relevant ‘characteristic’.
That means reps would be barred from debates on areas they were not affected by, and a straight, white man who was not disabled would be unable to attend any.

Political incorrectness is only something Republicans can do. When a Democrat says something racially offensive, for the MSM it's all swept into a black hole.
Remember the time a presidential candidate suggested that Gandhi used to run “a gas station down in St. Louis.” No it wasn’t Trump. That was Hillary Clinton. Had Trump said it, we would still be hearing about it. But since Hillary Clinton was responsible for it, it went down the memory hole.

Along with her more recent “Colored People Time” gag.

And who can forget the time that Trump said, "You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.” But that wasn’t Trump. It was actually Vice President Joe Biden.

But still it was indisputably offensive when Trump told the Asian Chamber of Commerce, "I don't think you're smarter than anybody else, but you've convinced a lot of us you are.”

Then he followed that up by joking, "One problem that I've had today is keeping my Wongs straight."

You would have to be ridiculously politically incorrect or an outright buffoon to say something like that to the Asian Chamber of Commerce. And this is exactly why Trump is… but wait, those lines actually came from Democratic Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.

Reid recently popped up to call Trump’s comments racist. And he ought to know. Harry Reid believed that Obama was electable because he was “light-skinned” with ”no Negro dialect”.

Memories are short when it comes to Democratic racial and ethnic stereotypes. Not to mention slurs.

Trump is certainly not the only prominent politician who says wildly politically incorrect things. Democrats do it all the time. And they do it in more pointed ways.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is running for the Senate. Sanchez is a racist who accused the “Vietnamese” of “trying to take this seat” when running against a Vietnamese-American candidate. Last year she managed to ridicule both Hindus and Native Americans with one slur.

There was the time that Bill Clinton suggested that, Obama “would have been getting us coffee”. Or when Biden described his future boss as the, “first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and nice-looking guy.” Despite two terms in which Republicans were accused of racially stereotyping Obama with secret dog whistles, nothing any major Republican figure said was anywhere as bad as what Obama’s Democratic predecessor and his own Senate ally had said about him.
Sure Trump says offensive things almost every day. So the media can spend every day hyperventilating about how terrible he is. But when a Democrat says something equally offensive, it's ignored or passed off with a shrug that we all know that Democrats can't mean anything about their true feelings.
Any of the above comments would have disqualified a Republican, but barely rate mention for Democrats. The truth about Trump is that he hasn’t said anything that plenty of Democrats haven’t said.

Long before Trump’s call for a Muslim ban, President Carter responded to the Iran hostage crisis by banning Iranians from America. Harry Reid had also proposed eliminating birthright citizenship long before Trump did. Building a wall with Mexico? Hillary Clinton called for it back in the Senate. Before she was condemning “talking about building walls”, she was talking about building walls. And warning that, "A country that cannot control its borders is failing at one of its fundamental obligations”.

The media has made a game out of pretending that everything Trump says is shocking. When Trump poses with a taco bowl and posts, “I love Hispanics”, the media gets giddy with outrage. But when Hillary Clinton foolishly panders to black voters by claiming to carry around hot sauce in her purse or posts, “7 Things Hillary Clinton has in Common with Your Abuela”, there are shrugs.

All politicians have their cringeworthy pandering moments. But the media chooses which of them it plays up and which of them it plays down.

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Byron York points out that it was Donald Trump himself who made the Trump U fraud case and the judge a major story.
In the normal course of events, a campaign flap starts with an expose in the press, or an attack from a rival campaign, or perhaps an embarrassing gaffe. The candidate is then forced to discuss, or at least acknowledge, a matter he would rather not face. The candidate's biggest hope is that everybody will stop talking about it.

Not Trump. Of course there had been news reports and discussion of Trump University earlier in the campaign. But it wasn't in the news on May 27, when Trump appeared at a campaign rally in San Diego. The city just happens to be where the Trump University case will be tried in federal court, under U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. While Trump has discussed the suit in speeches before, being in San Diego apparently put him in the mood to dissect it at length.

Great length. In a speech that went a little less than an hour, Trump spent more than ten minutes talking about Trump University. Ten minutes is a lot of time. It was far more, for example, than Trump spent talking about jobs — one week before a terrible jobs report raised serious questions about the recovery. Ten minutes was more than Trump spent talking about illegal immigration, his signature issue. Or veterans, a recent favorite. Or even, astonishingly, the damning State Department report on Hillary Clinton's email scandal.
So he talks about the case more than any other topic and then kept returning back to the case in the following days. Anything about Trump is more important to Trump than any other issue or story. He just can't help himself. He has a gripe about the case and is ticked about it and so can't shut up about it. Now he says he won't talk about it anymore. We'll see how long that lasts. What is your over/under of how long his vow of silence lasts. What happened about his anger that surrogates had been told to deflect questions on the case?

Paul Mirengoff looks to see
if there is actually any bias in Judge Curiel's rulings in the Trump U case. He doesn't find any evidence of bias. Perhaps that is why Trump's lawyers aren't making any motion to demand the judge recuse himself.

Holman Jenkins writes about how ironic it is that the Trump U story is exposing all of Trump's weaknesses. It's redefining the Trump brand.

Hillary finally says something that I agree with:
“I’m tired of Donald Trump.”
Sadly, the GOP aren't able to just shrug and move on to some other subject; he's the nominee.
If Donald Trump’s tirade against Judge Gonzalo Curiel arises from his sense that Trump University has become a threat to his presidential hopes, he may be right.

Poetic justice has taken a hand. The failure of Trump U, and its resulting lawsuits, would not be a national story in the first place, subject of withering investigations by major press organs, if Mr. Trump weren’t running for president.

Secondly, the lawsuits themselves portray a scam that precisely reflects the arc of Mr. Trump’s career, from tyro real-estate developer to peddler of his personal “brand.” Could there be a more apt example of the Peter Principle than if Mr. Trump’s latest brand extension—into presidential politics—ends up destroying his brand?

Well, getting early on the Trump bandwagon and even having a Trump robocall on her behalf didn't help Renee Ellmers in yesterday's primary. Conservative groups who had previously supported her banded together to support George Holding and campaign against her. I'd seen more negative campaigning in a primary than I'd ever seen before in North Carolina.

Apparently, Donald Trump still doesn't have a clue what it will take to win the general election.
No one ever expected Mr. Trump to change his personality—but they did figure he would adopt the methods necessary to win a modern election. Instead, Mr. Trump continues to deride fundraising, polling, data analytics, voter targeting and staffers like field organizers. He has built no communications team as far as we can tell beyond press secretary Hope Hicks and campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
Mrs. Clinton has 21 press aides including a communications director, a lead press secretary, a day-to-day spokesman, a travelling press secretary, a rapid-response director, a rapid-response spokesperson and a variety of handlers dedicated to regional and specialized outlets. This is what it takes to drive a coherent national message.

Mr. Trump may believe a similar apparatus is a waste of money, and that he can run his campaign out of his hip pocket like the Trump Organization: shoestring, centralized and ad hoc, with nearly every decision made at the top. He may think, too, that the political professionals are dummies and he’ll keep winning like he did in the primaries.

But the pros know that competing in a general election, and appealing to a voting-age population of some 240 million, is different than winning 40% of the Republican primary vote. It also doesn’t inspire confidence that Mr. Trump’s political and business operations are so fungible: Many Republicans will conclude that he chose the self-interest of his personal brand in a petty Trump U lawsuit over increasing his odds of winning the White House.

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Here's a piece of advice for armed robbers - don't rob a McDonalds full of special forces.
Armed robbers bit off more than they could chew when they held up a McDonalds in eastern France whose diners included a group of hungry officers from an elite military force.

Around 40 customers were chomping on their burgers on Sunday evening in the fast food outlet in a shopping centre in Besancon when two men burst in, fired in the air with a shotgun, threatened the guests and ordered staff to open the till, which contained €2,000 (£1,550) in cash.

However, unbeknownst to the robbers, among the terrified customers were 11 off-duty members of the French paramilitary special forces, Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale, or GIGN - the Gallic equivalent of the SAS - who were not amused at having their meal of Big Macs and French fries disturbed by the low-level criminals.

Check out the $12,495 Armani jacket that Hillary is wearing. The word hideous comes to mind. I know it's unfair for female politicians to be judged on their clothes and figures that most men, except Chris Christie, aren't.

It seems a real challenge for designers to put together an attractive outfit for a woman of Hillary's build. I would think that designers would like to take on that challenge. Not all women are slim; why not show that you can design for a woman with Hillary's...er...fashion challenges.

And then there is the delicious irony that she wore a jacket costing over $12,000 while delivering a speech in which she decried income inequality and criticizing wealthy hedge fund managers for conspicuous consumption. Dan McLaughlin connects her hypocrisy to the blind spot that liberals often show to their own hypocrisy.
Of course this is hypocrisy, to denounce conspicuous wealth and argue for more government confiscation of it, while flaunting it yourself. The very definition of hypocrisy in public life is doing or having for yourself the things you propose taking from others. Hillary wants to have her cake and have Uncle Sam eat yours too.

And yet, given that liberals so often see hypocrisy as by far a worse moral failing than any other sin besides perhaps intolerance, they are often blind to it on their own side — they call to limit the use of energy, while galavanting around in private jets and high-powered SUV motorcades. They defend keeping poor kids in public schools without a choice to leave, while sending their own kids to expensive private academies. They hire picketers and leafleters to protest low wages and benefits, and pay them a pittance and no benefits. They press for strict gun controls, then hire armed private bodyguards of their own. They call for massive tax hikes, while seeking every tax shelter they can find. And they denounce income inequality while wearing $12,000 jackets. If we can’t make them even a little bit embarrassed about that, what can we criticize?

Phil Jackson's Zen attitude toward coaching led to some strange decisions on how to motivate Shaquille O'Neill.
Jackson was legendary for encouraging his players to read and handing them meaningful books throughout the season. At first, he gave Shaq a book by Friedrich Nietzsche.

“I didn’t read it, I went to Cliffnotes.com,” Shaq said.

Shaq said he saw parallels between Nietzsche and himself—“[he] was so intelligent and unorthodox that people thought he was crazy—and realized Jackson was trying to send him a message.

“I realized after reading Cliffnotes.com that I needed to reel it in a little bit.”
Yes, because when I think of Shaq, I think of Nietzsche, don't you?

I've been rather mystified at the canonization of Muhammad Ali after his death this weekend. Apparently, Ali's obnoxious and poisonous attitudes towards race have disappeared down the rabbit hole. Jeff Jacoby reminds us of just some of the hateful things Ali said when he was in his prime. As a follower of Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, he was in favor of segregation of the races. He even supported segregationist George Wallace.
"I know whites and blacks cannot get along; this is nature," Ali replied. That was why he liked George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor who was then running for president.

Collins wasn't sure he'd heard right. "You like George Wallace?"

"Yes, sir," said Ali. "I like what he says. He says Negroes shouldn't force themselves in white neighborhoods, and white people shouldn't have to move out of the neighborhood just because one Negro comes. Now that makes sense."

This was not some inexplicable aberration. It reflected a hateful worldview that Ali, as a devotee of Elijah Muhammad and the segregationist Nation of Islam, espoused for years. At one point he even appeared before a Ku Klux Klan rally. It was "a hell of a scene," he later boasted — Klansmen with hoods, a burning cross, "and me on the platform," preaching strict racial separation. "Black people should marry their own women," Ali declaimed. "Bluebirds with bluebirds, red birds with red birds, pigeons with pigeons, eagles with eagles. God didn't make no mistake!"

In 1975, amid the frenzy over the impending "Thrilla in Manila," his third title fight with Joe Frazier, Ali argued vehemently in a Playboy interview that interracial couples ought to be lynched. "A black man should be killed if he's messing with a white woman," he said. And it was the same for a white man making a pass at a black woman. "We'll kill anybody who tries to mess around with our women." But suppose the black woman wanted to be with the white man, the interviewer asked. "Then she dies," Ali answered. "Kill her too."
How is the man who said those things such a role model today?
Ali was contemptuous of black boxers, such as Frazier or Floyd Patterson, who didn't share his racist outlook. His insults were often explicitly racial. He smeared Frazier as an "Uncle Tom" and a "gorilla" whose inferiority fueled stereotypes of black men as "ignorant, stupid, ugly, and smelly."

Ali was many fine things, but a champion of civil rights wasn't among them. Martin Luther King at one point called him "a champion of segregation." If later in life Ali abandoned his racist extremism, that is to his credit. It doesn't, however, make him an exemplar of brotherhood and tolerance. And it doesn't alter history: At the zenith of Ali's career, when fans by the millions hung on his every word, what he often chose to tell them was indecent and grotesque.
He seemed to change in his last years as, ill with Parkinson's, he settled into his role as a living icon. But shouldn't he be judged by what he said when he was in his prime rather than by the statements issued in his name when he was perhaps too ill to make those statements himself? How did he suddenly come to be a champion of civil rights whose eulogies in the past few days skipped over these statements? It's as if his refusal to fight in Vietnam sanctified him so that he got a free pass for everything else he said. There are some athletes who truly should be regarded as role models. I never saw Muhammad Ali as one of them.

2 comments:

Roy Lofquist said...

So the Trump University case is an example of a personal obsession that is distracting him and ruining his effort.

Have you ever asked yourself why lawyer jokes have been popular for centuries? "First, let's kill all the lawyers" is the most quoted line in the Shakespeare ouvre.

Perhaps The Donald is a slier fox than the wise men. Or is that the wise guys.

Eric Wilner said...

Hey - I'm not the only one who noticed how ugly that jacket was!
I kind of assumed it was mis-identified, and that it had actually been $12 from Goodwill (or the Salvation Armani, perhaps).
But then I ponder the world of Fashion, and I keep wondering: do people actually pay for that stuff? As opposed to being paid to wear it?
I guess the Important People must be Different. For sufficiently short-bus values of "different."