Author Archives: Denyse O'Leary

Independent California “isn’t that wacky of an idea”

From Megan Carberry at Salon,

It would hardly be the progressive utopia with which the state is often associated, but it could yield breakthroughs in traditionally stagnant political squabbles. To those who argue that California is obligated to stay and fight for the country’s soul, perhaps free of restriction an independent California could actually demonstrate the success of progressive values in action and serve as a better model for the world than the United States. If being one of the stars and stripes means that the populace will be denying climate science and gerrymandering districts in the interests of preserving white nationalism for a few decades, it’s not unreasonable to want to provide California’s 40 million residents with a better life while we can. More.

and cold water from Victor Davis Hanson at Townhall,

California is likewise becoming a winner-take-all society. It hosts the largest numbers of impoverished and the greatest number of rich people of any state in the country. Eager for cheap service labor, California has welcomed in nearly a quarter of the nation’s undocumented immigrants. California has more residents living in poverty than any other state. It is home to one third of all the nation’s welfare recipients.

The income of California’s wealthy seems to make them immune from the effects of the highest basket of sales, income and gas taxes in the nation. The poor look to subsidies and social services to get by. Over the last 30 years, California’s middle classes have increasingly fled the state.

“Gone With the Wind”-like wealth disparity in California is shocking to the naked eye. Mostly poor Redwood City looks like it’s on a different planet from tony nearby Atherton or Woodside. More.

Reality check: The main value of a secession movement, for California as for Quebec, is to hold the rest of the country to ransom without actually leaving. Under those circumstances, intractable conflict is a growth industry for SJWs facing hard times. There is no fear of the state becoming a utopia.

See also: Mark Steyn on US Establishment (right and left) vs. Middle America

Should government end the subsidies for Asshat U?

From The American Interest,

Former Bush administration official Mark Schneider and policy researcher Jorge Klor de Alva make a coherent case for this in the Washington Post:

Taxpayers, for the most part, unknowingly support private institutions primarily through tax deductions and exemptions. For example, gifts to university endowments are tax deductible and the earnings on these endowments are exempt from taxation, as are the endowments themselves. For elite private institutions, those with endowments in the billions of dollars, the size of these tax breaks can dwarf the direct subsidies that taxpayers send to public institutions.

These tax breaks are rarely debated because they are hidden in the tax code. Meanwhile affluent private universities, claiming their importance to the realization of the American dream, do everything in their power to silence any questioning of their right to enrich themselves through favorable tax treatment. However, it is important to remember that these tax breaks are not divinely ordained. More.

Reality check:  It would almost be fun watching the junior jackboots roll cars in order to defend the academic freedom they actually despise. But does anyone need them to have an education, if they are just going on to be Orwell’s Outer Party anyway? Maybe the arts programs at most universities are obsolete and irrelevant now, and shutting them down would not impact culture.

See also: UK students demand the exclusion of Plato and Aristotle

Academy Awards protest hooplah masks declining public interest

From Brooke Seipel at the Hill,

Hollywood’s United Talent Agency held an anti-President Trump rally instead of it’s usual pre-Oscars party Friday in Los Angeles, featuring Jodie Foster, Michael J. Fox, Keegan-Michael Key and other celebs. More.

Reality check: The other thing that the increasingly politicized Awards culture features is declining public interest. See, for example, from Rick Kissell at Variety:

Oscars Ratings on ABC Down 6% Overall, But Up in Younger Viewers, Key Male Demos

and Dominic Patten at Deadline:

Oscar Ratings: Chris Rock’s Return As Host Draws 34M Viewers In 8-Year Low

There are doubtless other reasons for decline but here is one likely correlation we can expect mavens not to notice: If celebs want to talk to and about themselves and their opinions, as opposed to listening to and interpreting those of their audience, they are in competition with all the other bores out there. It’s a tough market.

See also: SONY trying to save its Hollywood investment

and

Vanity Fair: Hollywood is over

UK green power boondoggle: Virtue signalling is sublime when others pay

And one can even be oblivious to reality. From Ben Webster at U.K. Times,

Britain is wasting hundreds of millions of pounds subsidising power stations to burn American wood pellets that do more harm to the climate than the coal they replaced, a study has found.

Chopping down trees and transporting wood across the Atlantic Ocean to feed power stations produces more greenhouse gases than much cheaper coal, according to the report. It blames the rush to meet EU renewable energy targets, which resulted in ministers making the false assumption that burning trees was carbon-neutral.More.

Reality check: Of course, the money went to a worthy cause: Green self-dramatization among people who think a forest fire would be carbon neutral. Brit taxpayers, it is your lucky day to indulge these people’s illusions for they are Better than you.

See also: Social pseudo-science on climate change denial

Can the US Dems win back rural voters?

From Matt Vespa at Townhall,

So, what to do? The article noted that the college-educated, and mostly liberal, segments of America flock to the cities for economic opportunities, while the non-college educated stay home. Therein rests the urban/rural divide and the emerging Republican stronghold that covers most of the country.

To reverse this trend, liberals don’t know what to do. Wald cited ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis who said that hipsters should move to Iowa. I don’t think that’s going to work. Moreover, we’ve seen what happens when liberals move to rural America; they make them more Republican because of their insufferable politics. The question for Democrats is very much a red pill, blue pill option. Risk the wrath of nonwhite voters in the Democratic Party for shifting focus away from issues, like Black Lives Matter, and focus trying to win back these white working class voters that number in the tens of millions through a concerted economic messaging campaign. Or double-down on identity politics and hope the Republican advantage in the rural areas dies out.

The latter isn’t coming any time soon—and Wald notes the dangers of both. Democrats aren’t guaranteed that white working class voters will return to the rank-and-file. The Left’s relationship with identity politics from the urban areas blanketed the rural areas that had good numbers of Democrats with a thick smugness that has pushed them closer to the GOP, shocked at being shunned to push an agenda based on speech codes, safe spaces, and political correctness. More.

Reality check: Rural and small-town cultural identities tend to revolve around work and achievement: e.g. I’m a trucker, a born-again Christian, a Ford owner, and a Steelers fan. Urban areas are more likely to encourage identities relating to grievance and entitlement: I have post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit disorder, the social worker doesn’t do enough for me, and people disrespect my culture and my beliefs. It’s hardly likely that the same political culture will appeal to both.

If the Dems choose to stick with the urban aggrieved, they must export them and their values to rural areas. Let’s see how that turns out.

See also: Why friends don’t understand how hard the Democrats were hit by US 2016
Talking to friends about the American election, I’m sometimes surprised at the extent to which they buy into traditional mainstream media views as if those media still represented a window on the world instead of being victims of changes they do not understand.

Why friends don’t understand how hard the Democrats were hit by US 2016

Talking to friends about the American election, I’m sometimes surprised at the extent to which they buy into traditional mainstream media views as if those media still represented a window on the world instead of being victims of changes they do not understand. As a result, my friends talk as if the Republican party in the United States is in big trouble when it is the Democrats who are on life support.

From Clare Malone at Five Thirty Eight:

In his eight years in office, Obama oversaw the rapid erosion of the Democratic Party’s political power in state legislatures, congressional districts and governor’s mansions. At the beginning of Obama’s term, Democrats controlled 59 percent of state legislatures, while now they control only 31 percent, the lowest percentage for the party since the turn of the 20th century. They held 29 governor’s offices and now have only 16, the party’s lowest number since 1920.

A look back at the Obama era shows that the party’s big-tent message was both working and backfiring at the same time. The raw numbers seemed to add up to Democratic power, but in American politics, two plus two can add up to four — or, just as easily, to being up crap creek in a leaky canoe. The same national trends that allowed Obama to win two terms — and Clinton to win the popular vote in 2016 — hurt Democrats in statehouses, governor’s mansions and congressional districts.

Building the party with younger and more diverse voters opened the Democrats up to a turnout problem, though. Older, white Americans — the kind increasingly finding their home in the GOP — are more likely to vote than young people of color. More.

Reality check: And so forth. My friends don’t know any of this because the media they attend to cannot even face the reality themselves yet. It is a fundamental shift, one I had not expected myself, which leaves them behind. And it is only incidentally about Trump.

(Trump, streetwise, saw what was happening long before his party’s frat boys had finished hanging up their tennis rackets.)

One way I try to help people understand, especially if they are nuts on the subject of fake news or the alt right or the Russians, is to put it like this:

The Democratic party abandoned its vast blue-collar, pay-the-truck-loan base in favour of celeb my-identity causes which offer minor turnout by comparison. How many transgender guys are there in the U.S, as compared with the number of guys who would like to pay off their truck loan? I believe that the Trump victory is best understood by considering that factor, before going on to any others.

But, believe me, wear ear protectors and body armour to some of these discussions.

See also: Survey results: Political correctness makes people stupid: Part I – the CBC

Survey results: Political correctness makes people stupid: Part II Maclean’s

The tabs, JFK and Marilyn’s unborn baby, and how the abortion issue is changing

From the National Enquirer,

JFK and Marilyn’s UNBORN BABY

Only the new issue of The National ENQUIRER, on newsstands now, can reveal the tragic story behind the lost images, with the blonde bombshell forced to abort her unborn child during the 1960 presidential campaign! More.

Reality check:  Believe what you want about the claim (hardly new). But look how the child, who may have actually existed after all, is positioned in this story, as a human being. The tabloid does not seem very concerned with protecting its readers from confronting that.

Ultrasound? The fact that, with euthanasia expanding, we are all “the fetus” now?

Forty years ago, it was not like this. Here is how the parties to the abortion were understood in a scandal described in the 1970s:

Rep. Wilbur Mills (D. AK), one of the most powerful men in Congress as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, was discovered having a spat with a woman near the Potomac River’s tidal basin by the Jefferson Memorial on October 9, 1974, and when police approached the couple, the woman jumped into the water. The woman, Mrs. Annabel Battistella, was better known as Fanne Fox, a stripper at Washington’s Silver Slipper club. Soon the public learned that Mills had been having a relationship with the stripper since 1973, and he was so taken with her that he wanted to buy the Silver Slipper. Mills was reelected in 1974, and a few weeks later appeared on a Boston stage in pursuit of Mrs. Battistella, whose earnings had jumped from $600 a week to $3000 a week as “The Tidal Basin Bombshell.” Mills quickly became the brunt of jokes, and was hospitalized to deal with his alcoholism. House Democrats caucused and took away his chairmanship. In 1976, Mills announced he would not seek another term, and retired, after 38 years in Congress. In retirement, Mills explained that he had thought he had a brain tumor, and was trying to kill himself with liquor. Mrs. Battistella penned an autobiography, The Congressman and the Stripper, which alleged that when she discovered she was pregnant with Mills’s child, she had an abortion, fearing the baby would be malformed because of Mills’s alcoholism.

It was widely reported that Fox had had an abortion, as I recall, but there was no sympathy even suggested for the baby.

See also: Nancy Pelosi’s bargain around human life It amounts to bringing back the Old Stone Age, this time with needles, not clubs.

and

Didn’t think you’d live to see sex selection abortions defended – by progressives? Canada could save millions by euthanasia, enthusiasts say

Marchin,’ marchin’: Most scientists couldn’t replicate peers’ studies?

From Tom Feilden at at BBC:

From his lab at the University of Virginia’s Centre for Open Science, immunologist Dr Tim Errington runs The Reproducibility Project, which attempted to repeat the findings reported in five landmark cancer studies.

After meticulous research involving painstaking attention to detail over several years (the project was launched in 2011), the team was able to confirm only two of the original studies’ findings.

Writing in the latest edition of Nature, [Edinburgh neuroscientist Prof Malcolm Macleod] outlines a new approach to animal studies that calls for independent, statistically rigorous confirmation of a paper’s central hypothesis before publication.

“Without efforts to reproduce the findings of others, we don’t know if the facts out there actually represent what’s happening in biology or not.” More.

As we’ve said elsewhere, science’s big problems today are on the inside, not the outside. March if you need the exercise and the friendship, but the big problems are actually back at the desk. What, exactly, is the public supposed to do?

See also: Peer review “unscientific”: Tough words from editor of Nature

Hijab hits the catwalk, and flumps

From Catherine Triomphe at Yahoo:

Other than the hijab, the traditional head and neck covering many Muslim women wear, the 30-year-old designer’s clothes evoked nothing of the “modest Muslim” style that sometimes stirs controversy and exacerbates anti-Muslim sentiment in western countries.

On the contrary, Hasibuan’s collection features shimmering, on-trend pleats, silver and golden ruffles, and long trains adorned with pearls, glitter or embroidery that recalled royalty of the Middle Ages.

The models were not chosen at random — the young designer held casting calls specifically seeking first and second-generation immigrants, seeking to show that “fashion is for everybody.”More.

“Many Muslim women wear” the hijab? Aren’t some women killed or threatened with death for not doing it (and related offences)?

Reality check:  Honestly, it’s dowdy and way overdressed, utterly lacking the charm of suggestiveness that the hijab usually at least offers.

My granny dressed that way when battling a high Prairie wind.

But progressive media will try to force us along with themselves to see it as Cool. Because, in the end, all this was never about the Cool or the Liberation. It is about their power to ram whatever they want down the throats of the rest of us, working with whoever helps them. And we will support them financially and otherwise in their failed ventures, oppress those who refuse, and never dare say it isn’t all Cool and Liberated. We read them seriously? We vote for their picks? Then we chose it.

See also: Brit makeup firm
won’t serve Trump tarts

Nordstrom drops Ivanka Trump fashion line

Another designer won’t dress Melania, yawn, KA-CHINK!

and

Top “First Lady” designer won’t dress Melania

No, political correctness does not enforce double standards

They are single standards, wrongly interpreted by many. From Douglas Murray at Gatestone,

During his talk at Georgetown University, Jonathan A.C. Brown condemned slavery when it took place historically in America and other Western countries, but praised the practise of slavery as it happened in Muslim societies, explained that Muslim slaves lived “a pretty good life”, and claimed that it is “not immoral for one human to own another human.” Regarding the vexed matter of whether it is right or wrong to have sex with one of your slaves, Brown, who is director of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, said that “consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex”.

No mob of anti-sharia people has gone to Georgetown, torn up telephone poles, set fire to things or smashed up the campus, as mobs did at Berkeley. More.

Reality check: The single standard is, whatever advances government control over what people are allowed to think, say, and do (however contradictory) is a Good Thing. Whatever retards it is a Bad Thing.

Traditional values are always the enemy because they always posit other sources of accountability. That is the most efficient interpretive key we will find.

If I vote for it, you own it. Except for the problem that you did not vote for it but cannot sell your shares. That is a key difference between politics and government.

Note: Feminists are hamstrung here because they only ever really cared about free abortion on demand and perks for being female. To keep up with the pack, they must endure all crackdowns against women’s rights that don’t directly endanger those things. One wants to ask them, is forcing a woman to kill her baby okay if she is a slave? But, who knows, one of these days there may soon be legislation against even asking.

See also: Twitter: The perils of Nanny as a business model. In other words, Twitter wants to be Nanny in 140 characters or less, but is there a market for that? Should Twitter be government?

Will Political Correctness start to decline?

Yesterday, some friends were discussing the question, and some were certain it would. The public, we were assured, is fed up, just fed up.

But so? The public can be fed up by all kinds of things no one does anything. Change happens because of perceived, avoidable harm to ourselves and/or moral outrage over what we witness.

From Daniel Greenfield at Front Page,

“It’s not immoral for one human to own another human”: Georgetown prof defends Islamic slavery, rape

Georgetown is a Catholic university.

Two things

1. This comes from the account of Umar Lee, a Muslim student who was offended by how far Jonathan Brown went in defending slavery and rape.

2. In the era of the campus trigger warning, rape culture and renaming buildings named after slave owners, Brown offered a spirited defense of slavery and rape.

You can expect feminist protests on campus around roughly… never. More.

Reality check:  Of course feminists said nothing. Aggrieved identity groups do not diss each other if they benefit from the same government handouts and crackdowns. It’s just understood.

But now, if a Catholic had said those things, what would have been the result?

To ask is to unearth an oft-missed point: Slavery and rape are not addressed in order to provoke an honest discussion. If they were, the Catholic could safely have said that. (He could not be a Catholic in good faith, but that is a different issue.)

No, slavery and rape are addressed in order to advance the boundaries of political correctness: If the speaker represents an aggrieved identity group and you disagree with him by saying slavery and rape are wrong, you risk being labelled a bigot.

Thus there is no argument. As intended.

That is the power of political correctness, now displayed in its clearest form since Stalin.

How long will Political Correctness last? As long as we are all unethical enough to accept it. We make that decision every day. And the choice grows starker every day. But, as above, change can only happen when ordinary people are willing to take the risk of voting no.

See also: “What hell is happening in Scandinavia”? Anti-Semitism is now PC

Berkeley’s heirs are now proud censors indeed

From Guy Benson at Townhall,

Take ten minutes and watch this profoundly creepy conversation between Tucker Carlson and a left-wing fascist named Yvette Felarca, who smirks with pride as she describes the riot she helped foment in order to “protect” her community from the threat of words. Carlson opens the segment by showing another clip of Felarca personally engaging in violence during an anti-fascist rally in California last year, then questions her about her big anti-speech “triumph” at Berkeley earlier this month. She calmly — and almost sociopathically — makes the case that speech she deems to be “fascist” could lead to “genocide,” and “rape,” and therefore must be forcefully suppressed “By Any Means Necessary” (BAMN), which is the name of her radically illiberal organization. More.

She is, of course, a public school teacher. Will possibly turn up writing study guides and curricula.

Reality check: The student mobs are, we will find, Orwell’s Outer Party. They will only ever be useful for oppressing others. Asking whether they believe in freedom of expression is like asking if Tuesday wears a blue hat.

Our first step is surely to clean up our personal acts by ceasing to give private money to universities, forcing the government and big business to do it. Then, when they get sick of paying protection, our private ransom to avoid the violence and oppression may be, like a form of tax break, reduced over the years… .

Until, that is, the dear little radioactive snowflakes are out looking for work …

See also: “What hell is happening in Scandinavia”? Anti-Semitism is now PC

But prof, campus riots aren’t even intended to influence the public favourably

Or else she’ll riot!

From Toni Airaksinen at Campus Reform,

Blocking traffic, damaging property, rioting, and other forms of extreme protest behaviours can reduce popular support for social movements, a new study concludes.

The study, Extreme Protest Tactics Reduce Popular Support For Social Movements, was published in SSRN by Professor Matthew Feinberg of the University of Toronto, who told Campus Reform that he was inspired to investigate protest tactics during his tenure as a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, during which time he claimed that he “went to a lot of protests.”

The potential for protests to be counterproductive has important implications for campus activists, he explained, saying, “There is a tradeoff between two of the key aims [in activism]: one is to get attention, and the other is to effect public opinion in favor of your movement.” More.

Reality check: The prof is doubtless a smart guy but he may have missed the point here: The nuclear snowflakes’ purpose is not to get attention but strike fear, not to persuade but to force others to shut up—or shut down. Progressive governments and governments-in-waiting watch their success with keen interest, for recruiting purposes for the outer party.

See also: You mean those college terrorists are not snowflakes? Those kids’ only hope of employment, given their lack of workplace-relevant skills, is as the Orwell’s Outer Party of a permanent progressive government. The surprising part is that there is anyone out there who thinks there is much more to know.

Bad boy Milo on Twitter vs. hate

It didn’t sell. From Milo at Breitbart:

Today’s quarterly release from Twitter was incredibly grim. The only thing worse than their fourth quarter performance is their future outlook. This doesn’t come as any surprise to my regular readers, who will recall that I declared Twitter to be in rigor mortis at the end of 2016.

This death spiral kicked off when I was unjustly banned by Twitter just before I hosted a Gays for Trump party at the RNC. Far from shutting me up, Twitter catapulted me onto television. Enjoy this CNBC clip from Cleveland. I was having a great hair day, just like every day.

Twitter’s management team — the few stragglers who haven’t recently quit or are planning their exit now after this dismal earnings release — think I’m the Anti-Christ. I think that’s going too far, but I will cop to being the Anti-Jack. Jack Dorsey has run Twitter into the ground with no signs of stopping. More.

Reality check: It doesn’t sell because people who aren’t involved don’t care. A lot of hate is like listening to the loud woman at the next table diss her ex. I don’t want to hear it but I definitely don’t want a big crusade against it. I am more worried about the zealots than  about her, with good reason.

Oh well, Twitter succeeded at something: Making hate sound dull.

See also: “What hell is happening in Scandinavia”? Anti-Semitism is now PC

Mashable: Trump time moves more slowly

From Heather Dockray at Mashable,

Remember the mild, scandal-free days of the Obama years, when the biggest breaking news of the day was the holy war against Frappucino cups or the First Lady escaping the White House to go to CVS?

Yeah. Neither can we.

I’ll second that but principally because traditional mainstream media, settling into a post-internet role as PR for progressive government, simply did not treat misdoings as scandals. We needed to go elsewhere for that, and we did.

But that, of course, is not what Dockray means; rather,

“It’s only been 3 weeks?” Meg S., who opposes the Trump administration, asked. “That is a crazy way to feel since so much is happening literally every day. It’s exhausting and it’s crawling by. Maybe it’s because time flies when you’re having fun and time crawls when you’re watching democracy set on fire in real time.”

Dockray then recruits neuroscientist David Eagleman’s work to back up her claims about trauma:

Eagleman’s experiment only examined how time slows down in individual moments of crisis, not daily compounded ones. Chronic trauma isn’t quite the same as individual moments of panic. Still, psychologists witness the same phenomenon when their clients experience depression and anxiety — both of them manifestations of nationwide Trump-related anxiety. More.

Reality check: Eagleman is not the fool Dockray makes him sound like. But in any event, Trump-related anxiety is largely the fate of those who had expected to batten off the corpse of the body politic and must now make a living producing something of value. No wonder time drags for them while they think up some ideas.

Whatever else we can learn, it is instructive how poorly progressives handle the very idea of others making their own decisions, different from the progressive ones. If ever let back into power, they will not lose the opportunity to prevent the rest of us ever having a choice about that again.

See also: Consciousness: Neuroscientist David Eagleman sort of starts to get the picture

and

Darwin’s wastebasket: Time perception, evolutionary psychology, and Donald Trump