Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Cruising the Web

Well, this isn't at all creepy to imagine. Facebook, hot off stories about how Facebook sold people's personal information to advertisers, including political groups, now wants banks to give them people's personal financial information.
The social media giant has asked large U.S. banks to share detailed financial information about their customers, including card transactions and checking account balances, as part of an effort to offer new services to users.

Facebook increasingly wants to be a platform where people buy and sell goods and services, besides connecting with friends. The company over the past year asked JPMorgan Chase JPM -0.40% & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. C -0.22% and U.S. Bancorp USB 0.06% to discuss potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger, said people familiar with the matter.

Facebook has talked about a feature that would show its users their checking-account balances, the people said. It has also pitched fraud alerts, some of the people said.

Data privacy is a sticking point in the banks’ conversations with Facebook, according to people familiar with the matter. The talks are taking place as Facebook faces several investigations over its ties to political analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which accessed data on as many 87 million Facebook users without their consent.
Would you trust Facebook with your financial info? I certainly wouldn't even if they promise not to share the information with third parties.

You might have been following the story of the new New York Times editor, Sarah Jeong, who had tweeted out many anti-white tweets over a period of years. People who have been through her timeline have found dozens of offensive tweets as she spewed hate against white people. Andrew Sullivan quotes some of those attacks on people based on their race.
A series of tweets from 2013 to 2015 reveal a vicious hatred of an entire group of people based only on their skin color. If that sounds harsh, let’s review a few, shall we? “White men are bullshit,” is one. A succinct vent, at least. But notice she’s not in any way attacking specific white men for some particular failing, just all white men for, well, existing. Or this series of ruminations: “have you ever tried to figure out all the things that white people are allowed to do that aren’t cultural appropriation. there’s literally nothing. like skiing, maybe, and also golf. white people aren’t even allowed to have polo. did you know that. like don’t you just feel bad? why can’t we give white people a break. lacrosse isn’t for white people either. it must be so boring to be white.” Or this: “basically i’m just imagining waking up white every morning with a terrible existential dread that i have no culture.” I can’t say I’m offended by this — it’s even mildly amusing, if a little bonkers. (Has she read, say, any Shakespeare or Emily Dickinson?) But it does reveal a worldview in which white people — all of them — are cultural parasites and contemptibly dull.

A little more disturbing is what you might call “eliminationist” rhetoric — language that wishes an entire race could be wiped off the face of the earth: “#cancelwhitepeople.” Or: “White people have stopped breeding. you’ll all go extinct soon. that was my plan all along.” One simple rule I have about describing groups of human beings is that I try not to use a term that equates them with animals. Jeong apparently has no problem doing so. Speaking of animals, here’s another gem: “Dumbass fucking white people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants.” Or you could describe an entire race as subhuman: “Are white people genetically disposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins.” And then there’s this simple expression of the pleasure that comes with hatred: “oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men.” I love that completely meretricious “old” to demean them still further. And that actual feeling: joy at cruelty!
When people criticized the NYT for hiring this woman, they defended her and accepted her statement that she was "counter-trolling" people who attacked her for her race and sexual preferences. According to the NYT statement, they knew about these tweets and discussed them with her and hired her anyway.

Some on the left, as reported by the Washington Post, defended the idea that anti-white comments can't be considered racist.
“Part of the reason it was so easy for the outrage to be manufactured in the first place was it was completely decontextualized and ahistorified,” said Nolan L. Cabrera, an associate professor at the University of Arizona who will publish a book in the fall about racial attitudes held by white college students. “Then it was easy to drum up anger and say it looks like she hates white people. That only makes sense if you are willfully ignorant of 400 to 500 years’ history and contemporary social context and also the context from which the tweets were sent.”

It is likely true, as many have pointed out, that if any minority group were substituted in the place of white people into Jeong’s statements, she would not have kept her job. Some edited Jeong’s tweets to hammer home that idea, replacing the words “white people” in her tweets with “black people” and “Jewish people.”

But Cabrera said the idea was “a complete false equivalence,” noting that whiteness isn’t a cultural identity the way being black, Japanese American or Jewish is. Cabrera listed off examples of government policies that targeted various racial groups, including the Chinese Exclusion Act and Operation Wetback, calling racism a “systemic reality” that necessarily favors white people.

“You hear that all the time: Substitute white and put in minority group x,” Cabrera said. “The term ‘racism’ is not the equivalence of prejudice or bigotry. It’s an analysis of social inequality along the color lines and an analysis of power dynamics and social oppression. None of which has ever been in the hands of people of color or communities of color: There’s never been the social structure to be able to oppress white people.”
David French just has no patience for such arguments that anti-white rhetoric can't be considered racist.
But this argument confuses the gravity of an offense with the existence of the offense. A powerless person’s hate may not harm the powerful, but it is still hate. A powerless person’s hate may even be grounded in specific experiences, but it is still hate. The essence of bigotry is to look at the color of a person’s skin and, on that basis alone, make malignant judgments about his character or worth.

Moreover, it is simply false to excuse anti-white racism on the grounds that people of color lack power. There are certainly many millions of vulnerable and marginalized individuals in this nation, and they are disproportionately (though not entirely) black and brown. But when anti-white sentiment is embedded in the New York Times editorial board, it’s no longer “powerless” in any meaningful sense. Similarly, when it reaches the heights of government, the academy, or the bestseller lists, it’s no longer remotely “powerless.”

None of this should be taken as an argument that power doesn’t matter. Of course it does. Power matters. And so does purpose. That’s why no one should compare Jeong’s comments to the racism you see on Stormfront or to the racism we saw on display in Charlottesville last year. Racism married to violence or violent intent is categorically different from the anti-white racism you see in certain quarters of the elite identity-politics Left. Similarly, racism married to state policies — especially state policies of the relatively recent American past, which continue to have malignant effects on poor and disadvantaged Americans — is categorically different from the anti-white racism that exists in parts of the academy or in segments of American media.
Do we really want to approve and encourage a society divided by race. Haven't we had enough of that in our history?
Finally, to indulge at all the notion that injustice, even systematic injustice, can excuse or legitimize hatred against a class or group of Americans is to open Pandora’s Box. I’ve seen it argued across the breadth of the Web that anti-white sentiment is a legitimate and understandable response to the actions of white people and “white” power structures. But think about this argument. Veterans of our Middle Eastern wars have seen jihadist horrors on a scale that most Americans can’t comprehend. Is it a legitimate response for a veteran to go on a Twitter screed about “canceling” Arabs or calling them “groveling goblins”? Should a white victim of a black criminal draw conclusions about black people more generally? Even if he can point to disproportionate levels of violent crime?

Of course not. A healthy society urges people to reject unhealthy temptations to generalize, and instead urges that we treat our fellow citizens with a degree of grace and to judge them based on their individual actions. Any categorical hatred or disgust stands directly against this virtue. So, yes, anti-white racism is real, and Americans can and should reject it while still keeping in mind matters of gravity and proportion.

Are we really so far gone that we can’t condemn taking “joy” in being “cruel” to another person on the basis of their race? It’s time to understand a fundamental truth: The denigration of human beings — yes, including white human beings — works its own harm.

Of course, anyone who had tweeted such hateful stuff aimed at any group other than "white people" would never be employed by the Times. As Sullivan points out, this supposed "counter-trolling" wasn't aimed at any specific tweets or individuals. She was just putting those comments out there.
Let me explain why I think this is the purest of bullshit. If you want to respond to trolls by trolling them, you respond to them directly. You don’t post slurs about an entire race of people (the overwhelming majority of whom are not trolls) on an open-forum website like Twitter. And these racist tweets were not just a function of one sudden exasperated vent at a harasser; they continued for two years. Another tweet from 2016 has her exclaiming: “fuck white women lol.”
Ironically, now that there are many calling for her firing, she cheered for "online mobs" when they targeted people that she felt deserved opprobrium. I'm not so concerned that she be fired - I don't like cheering for someone to lose her job. But it is the hypocrisy that is so irritating.

And it is truly disgusting that people on the left are now taking the position that anti-white rants can't be racist.
The editors of the Verge, where Jeong still works, described any assertion of racism in Jeong’s tweets as “dishonest and outrageous,” a function of bad faith and an attack on journalism itself. Scroll through left-Twitter and you find utter incredulity that demonizing white people could in any way be offensive. That’s the extent to which loathing of and contempt for “white people” is now background noise on the left. What many don’t seem to understand is that their view of racism isn’t shared by the public at large, and that the defense of it by institutions like the New York Times will only serve to deepen the kind of resentment that gave us Trump. Last night, for instance, Fox News made the most of the Times’ excuses for race-baiting.

Yes, we all live on campus now. The neo-Marxist analysis of society, in which we are all mere appendages of various groups of oppressors and oppressed, and in which the oppressed definitionally cannot be at fault, is now the governing philosophy of almost all liberal media. That’s how the Washington Post can provide a platform for raw misandry, and the New York Times can hire and defend someone who expresses racial hatred. The great thing about being in the social justice movement is how liberating it can feel to give voice to incendiary, satisfying bigotry — and know that you’re still on the right side of history.

As Mark Hemingway points out, her tweets and the NYT's acceptance of them will serve to convince white nationalists that they are indeed the victims of a double standard that supports their own vile positions.
Jonah Goldberg expands on the argument that her rer racism will increase white racism. Goldberg is struck by how her tweets, if indeed they were in response to ugly tweets she received, seek to blame all of one race instead of the individuals who targeted her. That's really the definition of racism.
Sometimes I am well and truly baffled about why this sort of thing is so complicated. I mean, it’s not that the Left doesn’t understand my point.

For instance, when an Islamic terrorist murders people, there’s an instant rush to fret over and condemn any sort of “anti-Muslim backlash.” Never mind that such backlashes have been vastly rarer than we’re usually told, the principle is correct: It is wrong to blame innocent Muslims for the things other Muslims did.

Or just think about how much ink has been spilled arguing that it is unfair and unjust to assume that one black youth is a criminal or a threat just because he resembles in some way a negative stereotype. I’m not mocking this argument; I am agreeing with it.

As I’ve been saying until I’m blue in the face on my book tour, one of the greatest things about this country is the ideal — always in tension with the lesser devils of our natures — that says we should take people as we find them. My objection to identity politics is that it reduces millions of people to a single attribute or grievance. It assumes that, simply by accident of birth, some people are more noble or more evil than others.

If you think that all you need to know about an African-American person to size up his character or humanity is his skin color, then you’re a racist.
But somehow, those common-sense principles to regard people as individuals fade away when the targets are white people.
Suddenly fancy words and phrases fly like sawdust from a wood chipper: “structures of oppression!” “decontextualized!” “ahistoricized!” etc. It’s all so clever and complicated. The same people who take to the streets at the slightest suggestion that Muslims can be judged by the evil deeds of other Muslims will lecture and harangue you for hours, mob you on Twitter, or condescendingly dismiss you for not understanding that all white people have it coming.

I am not denying the history of white racism in America. I’m more than eager to acknowledge it. But what these people are basically saying is that you can say bigoted things about all white people based on things other white people have done. And spare me the argument that some 70-hour-a-week truck driver in Appalachia has it coming because he’s a grand beneficiary of white supremacy.
Goldberg concludes,
If you want to say that white racism is worse than black, or Asian, or Hispanic anti-white racism, that’s a fine argument as far as I’m concerned. What I can’t get my head around is the supplemental argument: that anti-white racism is just fine, if not something to encourage.

Similarly, the conservative argument against double standards sometimes misses this point. The point needn’t be that all forms of racism or bigotry are equally bad. The point is that all forms of racism and bigotry are bad, even if some are worse than others.

Last, if you’re going to claim that racism is solely about power and structures of oppression, then you’re going to need to come up with another word for what most non-woke academics and social-justice warriors mean by racism. In other words, if black people can’t be racist, can we say that a black person can hate white people? No? Why not?

But identity-politics leftists don’t want to find that word. They want to have their cake and eat it too, claiming it’s always fine for them to be bigots because white people are just different. That is simply, structurally, historically, and logically a racist — sorry, “bigoted” — argument. “Oh, I’m very open-minded, I just think all Jews (or blacks, or Aborigines, or whatever) are different.”
I find this all so depressing. In schools where I've taught, this is pretty easy - no student would be allowed to say or write such racist stuff no matter which group they were targeting. It's a shame that supposedly enlightened elites will make excuses for what would never be allowed if a 10th grader were saying it.

Do we really want more of this sort of behavior just because of people don't like someone's political views.

Yuval Levin ridicules Trump's economic illiteracy in thinking that tariffs will make us "able to start paying down large amounts of the $21 Trillion in debt that has been accumulated, much by the Obama Administration, while at the same time reducing taxes for our people." Apparently, Trump doesn't realize that tariffs serve as taxes for people as we will have to pay more on imported products. Trump never seems to recognize the consequences of tariffs on ordinary people. But Levin is exactly right as he points out that the money the government might take in on tariffs is a drop in the bucket compared to the $21 trillion debt we have. And the GOP, having full control of the government hasn't done anything to reduce annual deficits. Levin posts the CBO's projection of future federal deficits and it's an ugly picture.
Since the debt is a function of deficits, this means CBO expects our national debt to grow very quickly over the coming years, reaching almost $30 trillion a decade from now. The main reason is, of course, the growth of entitlement spending—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

New or higher taxes could restrain the growth of these deficits some, but there is no way that taxes (whether the increases in income and payroll taxes the Democrats favor or the new and higher tariffs the president wants) could keep up with the trajectory of projected spending. That will take entitlement reforms that restrain future spending growth, and President Trump has made it pretty clear so far that he is not interested in those.

So whatever you think of tariffs, “paying down large amounts of the $21 Trillion in debt that has been accumulated” is not something they could achieve. Maybe the president knows that, maybe he doesn’t. Clearly he doesn’t care. But we should.

If there is no change in our government's spending, we're going to be facing a serious fiscal crisis. And nothing that either party is doing gives us any hope that this will improve.

Jim Geraghty highlights a speech that Elizabeth Warren gave over the weekend in which she argued that our criminal justice system is racist all the way through.
“Racist all the way, front to back,” is a really surprising and troubling thing to hear about a system that was, until 18 months ago, effectively headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and before her, Eric Holder, appointed and accountable to the nation’s first African-American president. A system that has 214 African-American federal judges, 125 of Latino or Hispanic heritage, 41 Asian-Americans, and three Native Americans. A system that has at least 400 black prosecutors (although far too few elected ones). A system where 27 percent of the officers and police personnel are members of minority groups, as of 2013, the most recent year data are available. Do all of these people feel like they are cogs in the “racist all the way, front to back” machine?

Does she think her potential rival, former Massachusetts governor and assistant attorney general Deval Patrick was part of a racist system? How about former district attorney and state attorney general Kamala Harris?

Wait a minute . . . Holder, Patrick, and Harris have all made noise about running for president. Say, Warren’s across-the-board denunciation of the entire American criminal justice system wouldn’t be a subtle early attempt to paint all of three potential African-American rivals as suspect, having spent long chunks of their careers in this system, would it?

It’s not like Elizabeth Warren ever said or did something cynical about race to get ahead, right?

Matthew Continetti pays tribute to Ben Shapiro, recognizing the popularity among and impact on young conservatives. He even compares Shapiro's mastery of various media and his command of reasoned and amusing arguments to William F. Buckley Jr.
The issue that motivates these young people is political correctness: its denial of differences between the sexes, its reduction of identity to ethnic and racial ancestry, its stultifying effect on intellectual inquiry and free speech. For them, President Trump and the constellation of social and political problems with which he is associated are secondary to larger questions of cultural and academic freedom.

With his extensive knowledge of both high and low culture, Shapiro is more than capable of referring to the pop touchstones of Millennials and Generation Z. He opines on sports, film, and media more broadly, and his busy speaking schedule frequently puts him in collegiate settings where he is exposed to the most pressing topics within the most radical sites in American society. Nor does he shy away from responding to the nostrums of identity politics in these hostile settings. His willingness to debate, indeed his readiness for polemical combat, generates excitement and attracts followers to his cause.

The rise of Ben Shapiro points to a conservatism that embraces the communications technologies of the internet age, emphasizes the rights of life and speech and religion and self-defense, is familiar with and comfortable in the crazy blender of American popular culture, and is caustic in its opposition to socialism and bureaucratic control. A critic of Trump throughout the 2016 campaign, Shapiro has nonetheless come to occupy something of a middle position within the universe of conservative opinion: critical of President Trump's behavior, but also willing to applaud Trump when his policies advance constitutional freedom. Shapiro is someone that both Trump's right-leaning opponents and right-minded friends respect. Even a few liberals are willing to entertain his ideas—until they are shamed into denouncing him, of course.
I have to agree. I enjoy Shapiro's writing and podcasts and appreciate the middle course he takes in criticizing what he calls "Bad Trump" and praising "Good Trump." I can understand how he'd put people off with his beliefs on LGBT issues and his insistence on sexual morality. His positions arise out of his Orthodox Jewish beliefs as well as his unwillingness to recognize gender dysphoria as meaning that a man is a woman. Wherever you fall on those questions, you can appreciate Shapiro's observations on other questions and his exposure of both Democrats and Republicans.

I don't have many students who are conservatives, but I have noticed in the past year that those few politically aware conservative students are talking about what Shapiro has been saying. So his impact is moving down among younger people.

What is wrong with people these days? I'm always amazed when I read stories about ordinary people getting upset when a kid sets up a small business to raise some money and calling in the authorities to shut the kid down. Here's another one of these crazy stories.
A little girl ended her street-corner cookie sales after neighbors complained to police.

Savannah Watters, 10, had been selling cookies and flavored water on the corner of North Union Road and Paddington Drive until police recently were called three times because of the traffic she created.

“No one had talked to me about anything, they just took it upon themselves and called 911,” said Kara Watters, Savannah’s mother. “The police show up to talk to my daughter.”
Savannah had been peddling sweets for five weeks for hours each day.

“Every day for a couple hours I would bring my wagon and go down to the end of the street and sell stuff,” Savannah said.

Watters, a former baker, helped Savannah out by baking the cookies. On one day Savannah sold $250 worth of goodies. She was earning money to buy clothes for school.

“I enjoyed it a lot, so then I wanted to have a cookie shop with my mom ’cause it’s always been my dream to do that,” Savannah said. “I just wish that I could’ve just kept staying there.”
Why can't people go to the mother if there was a problem with traffic? This seems like something that could have been worked out without calling the police in. And cheers to the girl putting in long hours to raise money and her mother for helping her. We used to admire the spirit of entrepreneurialism and hard work among children.