Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trump With "2 Sides" Defense Of Nazi Sympathizers Loses All Moral Authority



"There are not two sides to this. There are hideous, hateful enemies of America, enemies of freedom, and there were people truly exercising their free speech. But he (Trump) is a disgrace" - Nicole Wallace this morning.

In three days we've come full circle and learned that Drumpf himself is not only a pathological liar but a white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer after all. This pathetic excuse for a president, in an unseemly, reprehensible rant yesterday, has now shown himself fully aligned in thinking with the Alt-Right terrorists - the Nazis, KKK  etc. - who wreaked havoc and violence Saturday on mostly peaceful protestors.

The fact this POS could also lie about the nature and actions of the protestors, referring to them as "the Alt Left" - a neologism invented by the dumbest, most conspiracy -based right freaks is itself insulting. Why? Because this POS is lying through his teeth and his ass.  Those actually on the ground and in Emancipation Park and surroundings, such as CBS' Paula Reid, and Rev. Traci Blackmon of the United Church of Christ, fully contradict the swine-in-chief's account.

Paula Reid, asked last night how well armed were both sides, replied:

"Pretty much every white supremacist demonstrator I saw had some sort of weapon. Either a helmet, a shield, a firearm, a baton. As for the counter protestors, most of them were unarmed. Many of them were members of the clergy or were students. Ovewhelmingly, the counter protesters were also the only ones I saw administering medical aid, to counter protesters who had chemical agents in their eyes and their mouth.."

Regarding the Friday night torch march:

"You had hundreds of people marching through the University of Virginia campus chanting white supremacist slogans and carrying Tiki torches. And it seems that almost helped to embolden them which is why they got to the (Saturday) rally several hours early and were already pretty amped up."

Rev. Traci Blackmon  elated on MSNBC how her congregation had to be sequestered inside their church - during a prayer service- as the howling banshee white supremacists marched outside. They were then led out the back doors of the Church to avoid confrontation with a clearly violent bunch  - already having tossed urine bottles at peaceful counter protestors, and clubbed others with baseball bats and shields.

She observed this behavior continued on Saturday when African-Americans singing a hymn  near an entrance in Emancipation Park were set upon by the White racist loons and goons who proceeded to beat and mace them. As Rev. Blackmon put it, "the only thing that saved them was the intervention of Antifa and other protestors" - one of whom drove the racist louts back using a spray can and a match - effectively engineering a mini flame thrower.

When asked by Joy Reid about whether Trump was then lying, Rev. Blackmon didn't hesitate: he lied through and through with each remark made. Hell, even Gen. Kelly had to force his eyes downward, likely in disbelief he had been brought in to try to control this sick, disgusting asshole who has no business cleaning porto-potties far less being a president.

I mean, when you have former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke applauding your spiel it's a no brainer that you're on the freaking WRONG side of events. Also anyone that stands with you is on that wrong side as well.  The nation is now approaching a moral reckoning with the reprobate in the White House and every person will have to choose sides, there will be no neutral space within which to hide.

The very spectacle of young, entitled white men venerating one of the most despicable regimes in history ought to have been a slam dunk to bring condemnation of the Alt-Right without equivocation  - but it was not. Trump actually tried to claim the racist brigands and louts who marched and killed an innocent woman (Heather Heyer) and injured 19 others were "peaceful protestors"  and "very fine people" who had a permit.  Yes, there were very fine people on the OTHER side, mainly religious clergy, people of faith, ordinary citizens.  But NONE on the white supremacist side, because NO  "very fine" person would ever be seen marching while holding Nazi swastika or Confederate Battle flags and screaming "Jews will not replace us".

If Trump had one scintilla of honor and decency he'd have visited the scene of Ms. Heyer's slaughter by now as opposed to spewing pro-Nazi venom, lies and moral ambiguity. This disgusting piece of refuse and garbage - despite obvious efforts of Gen. John Kelly to rein him in, showed his true colors: a white racist, Nazi glorifying swine - who even received praise from another swine: former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke.

In effect, after yesterday's performance, Drumpf lost whatever residual moral authority he had. He now lacks any potential authority to command or lead the nation in anything  - including against North Korea.  Most people won't believe a word he says, I sure won't!

CBS political analyst John Dickerson expressed his predicament this way:

"He was more interested in assigning blame in his remarks to those on the left and ensuring there was this equivalence in what took place than he was interested in showing moral disgust, that a president should show toward neo-Nazi protesters. Those represent beliefs that are entirely at odds with the United States, the country that he's the leader of. 

That repeated and made worse his moral failure from Saturday. Presidents are supposed to rush into these moments and unify Americans ......When he characterized the protesters he totally overlooked the Nazi slogans, flags and salutes. 

His reluctance to speak the essential truth about the neo-Nazi protesters is a failing he's now repeated twice. Republican leaders will now have to distance themselves from the president and the question is how can they get back together again.."

How did most of the clashes occur in Emancipation Park? According to the Charlottesville police chief, it was because the Nazis and KKK'ers etc. didn't follow their march and protest directions to enter the park at specific entrances.  They entered at multiple entrances thereby coming into contact with counter protestors and setting up the inevitable conflicts - given their howling Nazi slogan "Blood and soil" and "Jews will not replace us!".

As I noted two posts ago, even the right -leaning WSJ saw it that way in its editorial  ('The Poison Of Identity Politics', p. A16) today. Noting:

"The particular pathology on display in Virginia was the White Nationalist Movement...They alone are to blame for the violence that occurred when one of their own drove a car into peaceful protestors, killing a young woman and injuring 19.

The Spencer crowd courts publicity and protests and they chose the progressive university town of Charlottesville with malice aforethought.  They used unsubtle Ku Klux Klan symbolism of torches in a Friday night march, and they sought to appear as political martyrs as a way to recruit more alienated young white men."

Not long after the Swine-in-Chief's spiel David Duke tweeted : “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa.”

Right - the "leftist terrorists" who protected elderly African-Americans singing "this little light of mine" from being clubbed to death and maced by white supremacist thugs who also pointed guns at their heads.

Meanwhile, at the site of  Heather Heyer’s death in downtown Charlottesville, mounds of flowers and chalked messages of remembrance now fan out on the road. A lone trumpeter played a somber tune, as word of Trump’s comments spread among those who had gathered to mourn. Rather than a sense of disappointment, many here had come to expect such divisive, off the cuff remarks.  One of Trump's pro-Nazi aides (like Stephen Miller) had even offered the day before to "let Trump be Trump".

And the so-called denunciation of the racists the same day came across as merely half-hearted blabber with no significance. This is exactly how it was picked up the by the Alt-Right Nazis like Richard Spencer, e.g.


Diane Townes, a 62-year-old African American working in education, said the comments were another example of Trump “shaming the victims”.  She added:

Pouting and blaming is not the way to show an example to young people.  He opened the gateway to this with his own gestures during the campaign.”

Mike Townes, Diane’s son, had heard the comments on the radio minutes before arriving at the memorial site.  He said:

I’m actually glad he’s saying it. It is showing this country who he truly is. He represents the people who came to my community as supremacists. David Duke was right about him.”

Eric Gilchrist, another mourner at the memorial, said: “We know that he is selfish and vain, but now I worry he is a sociopath, too. He needs to leave office.”  

Leave office? He needs to be routed from it!  Drumpf has brought ultimate, infernal shame not only to himself and the office of the Presidency but to the nation itself. He has now emerged as a pestilence, a virulent plague not only on the nation but the world. His every day in office fouls that office and what it represents, especially now we know exactly where this piece of filth stands.

In the words of Mike Barnacle this morning on 'Morning Joe':

"What happened yesterday because of the nature of the media and the tools we have available to us today, will live forever. And what will live forever, what will you see? You will see the President of the United States standing before the Republic diminishing the Presidency, the country and himself. You'll see the President of the United States pouring words like salt on open wounds of race, of class, of gender...."

On a high light note: Baltimore removed four Confederate monuments overnight. Good for the city where I used to live! Now, we need to multiply the removal across the nation.

See also:


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Yes, ALL The Confederate Monuments Need To Come Down.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor
Dual symbols of hate: The Confederate flag and Nazi flag. No coincidence they were held aloft by the hateful Alt-right marchers in Charlottesville.  The symbols are what the extreme Right is all about.   If one claims he's "pro-white" but "not racist"  - he's using weasel words to disguise his racism.

How should we regard Confederate monuments? As icons of a respectable historical legacy or - as New Orleans' Mayor Mitch Landrieu put it,  "a part of … terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn."   The answer delivered yesterday by angered citizens of Durham, NC is one with which I agree, e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-uAZa4H1vk

It had to be one of the coolest takedowns of an egregious monument ever, reminding many of the pull down of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad.

Let's note that the Charlottesville white racist rally and terrorism was ostensibly about protesting the takedown of a statue of  the Traitor Robert E. Lee.  Deluded young Southern sympathizers - many ignorant college kids with no knowledge of history - maintained over and over that it was not about hate but rather protecting "Southern heritage". But that trope was torn asunder as we beheld the hate spectacle unfolding with Nazi swastikas held aloft along with Confederate flags. Why? Because both are symbols of hate and the Alt right nuts parading were revealing more about protecting their own hatred toward others than about their defense of history.

When two months ago, a woman (Diana Belles) writing in our local Colorado Springs Independent defended Southern monuments, stating the attacks on the Rebel flag and monuments were  “dragging Confederates through a cesspool of misinformation”,    I had to write a reply which was published a week later;  That reply can be read at this link:

https://www.csindy.com/coloradosprings/reader-what-civil-war-history-did-you-study/Content?oid=5869315

Image result for Lee statue taken down in NEW. Orleans - imagesImage result for Lee statue taken down in NEW. Orleans - images
The Lee statue in N. Orleans before being taken down is shown at left. The building behind was the bldg. (Pan American Oil Corporation) where I worked from 1967-69. The removal of Lee from his perch is shown at right.

I have not changed from that viewpoint one iota. So again, given that perspective, why the display of both Confederate flag and Nazi swastika at the recent Charlottesville rally?   The Confederate battle flag, like the Nazi swastika, is the emblem of hateful aggressive losers. After the Civil War, given the South had lost, it ought to have been retired  to museums (like swastikas in Germany)  but instead had found its way to rise above state capitols, such as in South Carolina.   This transpired along with the erection of foul monuments to the cause of slavers, secessionists.....traitors and refuse all.

What about those Confederate monuments? Their presence blights communities across the nation, large and small, mainly in the South which has held on to them too long as it is. . As of August 2016, there were  1,503 public commemorations of the Confederacy, even excluding the battlefields and cemeteries: 718 monuments and statutes still stood, and 109 public schools, 80 counties and cities, and 10 U.S. military bases bore the names of Lee, Jefferson Davis, and other Confederate icons, according to a tally by the Southern Poverty Law Center. More than 200 of these were in Virginia alone. It's about damned time ALL were ripped down, like occurred yesterday in Durham, NC.

The one of Lee - at the center of the racist rally in Charlottesville  was commissioned exactly 100 years ago, a gift to the city from a local philanthropist, to honor his parents with a physical incarnation of Southern ideals. But the statue was hardly the only contemporary effort to enshrine and defend these ideals. As it was being commissioned, sculpted, and erected, the  Ku Klux Klan was surging through the country. In Charlottesville, the local Klan gave $1,000 to the University of Virginia’s Centennial Endowment Fund in 1921. At the time there was also a second Klan chapter for the students on campus. Thank goodness as the civil rights era dawned and Jim Crow ended those days are gone. The people, students themselves changed perspective - at least most of them.

The Charlottesville Lee statue stands 26-feet tall, despite its oddly small pedestal, unlike the one in New Orleans' Lee Circle which had a much taller pedestal (about 75') . But while latter day Johnny Rebs -  like letter writer Dianna Belles -  castigate  New Orleans' Mayor Mitch  Landrieu,  he did the right thing in hauling it down.

As Mayor Landrieu  explained:

"These statues were a part of … terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city,”

More recently, on the news last night, we saw the mayor of Lexington, KY- Jim Gray -  respond to Charlottesville by accelerating his efforts to move statues of two Confederate leaders from the courthouse lawn to a public park. As Mayor Gray explained in an interview with CBS News last night:

"Mayors on the razors' edge. When you see the tension. When you see the violence that we saw in Charlottesville then you know that we must act..

Civil War historian Amy Taylor (University of Kentucky-Lexington) - in the same segment - also put a finger on the nature of the ignorance:

"People haven't learned or stopped to think about the history behind these monuments. Clearly this is not about the Civil War. These are artifacts from the Jim Crow South"

In other words, they're being used merely as totems to project personal hate, bigotry or animosity against assorted minority groups. Now we know, from the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville - that includes Jews, given the Confederate supporters marched along with the Nazis.

Ironically, the rising tide of change to tear down the monuments was what the Charlottesville rally hoped to stem. The white racist punks who'd marched with their Tiki torches burning while shouting hateful slogans failed.  The next day the same punks supporting Confederates joined hands with the Nazis showing one single march for hate.   Chris Floyd, in one of the links I posted yesterday, aptly described these entitled little white punks:

"Close-ups reveal most of them to be young white college-boy types, pudgy, coddled, comfortable, smug. They're not driven by, say, economic privation or lack of opportunity or lack of education or dire threat or any of the other reasons often adduced for people turning to extremism. No: these smug, well-wadded bastards are driven solely by cankered bigotry & their delusions of racial superiority. You can look in their faces and see what quivering cowards they all are, weak and stunted souls too stupid and too scared to see themselves for what they really are. It's like an oozing sludge of Stephen Miller clones."

Was there any "history" that we needed to know in their defense of the Charlottesville Lee statue ? Hell no!  Only a history of hate and enslavement of others - Jews by the Nazis, African-Americans by the Confederates. That's where it begins and ends.  What all these little turds really need is being sent to a year long remedial American history class.

WHO is this Lee currently honored by a monument at Charlottesville which one hopes a judge allows torn down - or by the citizens themselves?  He’s the general who took an invading army north into Pennsylvania in 1863, in defense of a slave society. And not merely in the abstract. Lee’s army was ordered to respect white property, but to regard the blacks encountered as contraband—to be seized and returned to the South, whether born free, manumitted, or escaped.  Lee himself offered to whip a slave woman to death if it meant "justice" rendered after an escape.  He was a foul, vicious maggot, no better in the end than Hitler - whose own followers his white racist worshippers now march with.

As Esquire columnist Tyler Coates recently wrote:

"To my fellow Virginians and Southerners who have stood so steadfast in their refusal to see our Confederate monuments for what they are, I ask you: What does this say about our heritage? These men and women are not protesting the elimination of Southern culture and history, but rather reacting to their own deluded notions that white people are losing control of our country. When a group of men and women shout out "Jew will not replace us" in front of a statue of Robert E. Lee, what does that say about your symbol of Southern heritage? When these people brandish Nazi symbols and scream "fuck you faggots" in front of your idol, what does it say about a historical figure who supposedly stood up against a tyrannical government to protect his land?

The South lost the war. Over a century later, we're still fighting one—but it has nothing to do with states' rights or Southern pride. It is about racism, intolerance, and hatred. And at the center of it all are symbols that, despite the well-intended Southern narratives that have failed to reframe them as anything else, are the strongest representation of racism in our country's history."
It is long past time now to tear all these disgusting monuments down as the good citizens of Durham NC did yesterday.   These monuments, like the associated hate flags, are merely vehicles to advance more racial violence. In that respect let us note the tally of white domestic terror killings now numbers 40, or far more than committed by "radical Islamists" or Muslims. Will the white hate mongers pay attention or double down on the hate?  It remains to be seen. But the genuine citizens of this great country can no longer stand by in silence as these desperate white supremacy mutants attempt to tear it down in their benighted ignorance and hate..


See also:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/harvey-wasserman/74573/robert-e-lee-s-treason-still-divides-and-kills

Excerpt:

"Lee was an icon of the Confederacy and the architect of its defeat. He was a traitor to the United States of America. He cost humanity uncounted lives….right up to now.  Lee’s gentlemanly portraits are a surface illusion. He could be gracious and chivalrous, a dashing strategist and later a beloved college president. . 

But his core was medieval and obsolete. He was the ultimate undertaker of a culture of death."
 


Monday, August 14, 2017

The Charlottesville Clash - First Skirmish In The Second Civil War?

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, people walking, crowd and outdoor
White Nationalists and counter protesters clash Saturday in Charlottesville, VA.
Rescue workers assist people who were injured when a car drove through a group of people in Charlottesville.
Some of the injured tended to after one of the racists rammed them with a car.

Far-right activists marched through the University of Virginia campus with torches on Friday night.
White Nationalists march Friday night carrying torches onto the Univ. of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. The torch light ceremony reminded many of the Nazi torch light marches in the 1930s.

Even as a panel on CNN yesterday morning ruminated on whether the media ought to limit coverage of melees like in Charlottesville, Virginia some observers suspect the Second Civil War may have been born with that 2-day spectacle.  It all started on Friday night, during an unplanned (i.e. not properly scheduled)  torchlight parade,  reminiscent of many conducted by the Nazis in the 1930s. E.g. the scene below capturing a Nazi torch light parade outside Nuremberg in 1938:
Related image

In the Friday night  manifestation, the hundreds of far right marchers entered the University of Virginia campus, and set upon a much smaller group of counter protesters who were surrounding a statue of Thomas Jefferson. The Nazi-KKK terrorists beat the latter group with truncheons, poles and sticks leaving several bleeding as the vermin bellowed racist and white supremacist slogans. All of this to try to demonstrate against the removal of a statue of arch traitor Robert E. Lee.

Were the Right Nazis, racists and fascists out to emulate their forbears? Without a doubt. If not, why were so many wearing Nazi swastikas and Nazi helmets, gear? As I have repeatedly pointed out on this blog the National Socialism of the Nazis is directly tied to the RIGHT end of the political spectrum and the displays on Friday, Saturday further prove it.


Just before 11am Saturday, a formation of about 200 white supremacists were briefly halted by protesters before moving towards the south-east gate. One of their number was seen to mace a young woman who approached the group. By the time they made it in, there were well over 500 far-right protesters in the park, with about 1,000 counter-protesters in the street.

This parade was watched over by Virginia state police, police officers, and armed “Three Percent” right extremist militia members, who were dressed in fatigues and openly carrying rifles. One of the strong objections of protestors was the appearance of the latter group, mocking military and genuine law enforcement.

Offering explicitly fascist chants like “You will not replace us” and “Blood and soil”, they had been met by counter-protesters seeking to prevent their entrance to the park. Some counter-protesters, including many marching under red and black antifascist banners, sought to block the streets. This led to altercations with far-right groups, who were seen using chemical weapons, sticks and shields on their opponents.

Indeed, throughout Saturday morning -  leading up to the clearing of Emancipation Park -  massed contingents from neo-Confederate and neofascist groups such as the League of the South,  as well as the National Socialist Movement, had made their way along Market Street towards the park’s entrances.  They were determined to continue their ghastly protest all the while chanting "You will not replace us!"   and "Jews will not replace us!"

Then soon after, real citizens - unable to stomach any more of this hatred and being smacked with shields and sticks - let loose on the racists and fascists.   The latter, however, as is their wont - chose to fight dirty and diabolically with one of their number driving a car straight into a group of people peacefully protesting against them , killing one person (32 year old Heather Heyer)  and injuring 19.  The driver (James Alex Fields Jr.)  reversed out of the devastating scene and drove off, the front end of his car all smashed.

The death was announced in a tweet by the Charlottesville mayor, Mike Signer, who wrote: “I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will – go home.”

The governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe,  earlier declared a state of emergency, even as he deplored the outside terrorists and rabble that had descended on the college town to wreak their racist havoc. Meanwhile, in classic mealy-mouthed, weasel fashion  Trump speaking from Bedminster, New Jersey, condemned the “violence on many sides”,  saying:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” Trump added that this has been “going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. A long, long time.” 

Neglecting to call out the hate mongers which thereby would have conceded the hate on display had been spiked with his own ascension, as he coddled and played to the memes of  white supremacy, even putting one of this lot (Steve Bannon) into the White House.

A White House spokesperson later amplified slightly  Trump's weasel words, saying: “The president was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides. There was violence between protesters and counter-protesters today.”

Former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, a Trump supporter who was in Charlottesville Saturday, quickly replied. “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists,” he wrote.

Thereby once and for all ripping off the veneer of deceit concerning the malevolent forces that ushered Trump and his cabal into office.  Indeed, dozens of the white nationalists in Charlottesville were wearing red Make America Great Again hats. Asked by a reporter in New Jersey whether he wanted the support of white nationalists, Trump did not respond.  He didn't have to. Obviously he extols and embraces these knuckledraggers and their devotion as much as he does Putin.  As WaPo columnist Jennifer Rubin put it on AM JOY yesterday, "Trump has been playing footsie with these White Nationalists all during his campaign."  Ms. Rubin added that Trump "considers them part of his base" so of course he doesn't want to offend them or upset them.

Trump rightly faced criticism for his failure to directly denounce the white supremacist demonstrators.   It was THEIR side after all who carried rifles around posing as a "militia" and their side that drove the car into the crowd. It was their side also that maced innocent protestors who merely called out the racists for what they were: Nazi and KKK vermin. By any proportionate reckoning they were the violent ones wreaking havoc, yet Trump like his rabble followers sought to portray the day's events in terms of false equivalence.

To their credit, more than a few Republicans correctly perceived this and commented. Senator Marco Rubio , for example, tweeted that it was important for Trump to describe the events as a “terror attack by white supremacists”.

Sen. Corey Gardner of our state (CO) also didn't mince words, saying Trump "needed to call evil by its name" adding:

"This is nothing short of domestic terrorism and should be named as such...These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism"

The police declared an unlawful assembly alert and a spokesman for the force said the Virginia national guard “will closely monitor the situation and will be able to rapidly respond and provide additional assistance if needed”.

The car attack came about two hours after state police in riot gear had cleared Emancipation Park, the site of the Robert E Lee statue. (The city’s decision in February to remove the statue drew earlier protests by the “Alt-right” and the Ku Klux Klan.)   The murdering degenerate who was responsible was identified yesterday as 20-year old James Alex Fields Jr.   Incredibly some deluded Reich bloggers  have even insisted (with presumably straight face) Fields was trying to "get away" and save his life!!!  Hey, if he was trying to make an escape he drove in the wrong direction!

The mother of this turd, Samantha Bloom, interviewed over night - with clip shown on CNN - confessed to not knowing anything about her spawn's affiliations or interests.  But later, The Daily Beast reported that Bloom, said she told her son to be “careful” if he chose to join the protests. “[And] if they’re going to rally to make sure he’s doing it peacefully,”   Looks like he didn't take mommy's advice.

Looks like she also never consulted with Fields' high school history teacher, Derek Weimer, who stated Sunday that Fields' was "enamored of the Nazis and infatuated with Adolf Hitler".

One of the Alt-Right speakers, the pro-Nazi  Richard Spencer, bawled that he had been maced on the way into the park and lashed out at police and city authorities. Recall this scumball headed the Alt Right group - the National Policy Institute. He's also been caught  in full throated homage to Nazi ideals and agendas with 'Hail Trump!" (Ger. "Heil Trump!") salutes and "Sieg Heils"  See e.g. this bunch at their recent gathering in D.C. after Trump's rise to power:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/richard-spencer-speech-npi/508379/

This maggot had the nerve to bellyache:

Never in my life have I felt like the government was cracking down on me until today.  We came in peace and we were effectively thrown to the wolves.”

Aw,  BWAAHAHAHA!! Forget the drama of this drama queen, the police chief noted that they did not intervene until they saw cause to do so.

Besides,  as one NAACP spokeswoman noted,  the Alt-Right rally wasn't about exercising free speech but fomenting violence and discord in a peaceful, progressive college community.

Even the right-leaning WSJ saw it that way in its editorial  ('The Poison Of Identity Politics', p. A16) today. Noting:

"The particular pathology on display in Virginia was the White Nationalist Movement...They alone are to blame for the violence that occurred when one of their own drove a car into peaceful protestors, killing a young woman and injuring 19.

The Spencer crowd courts publicity and protests and they chose the progressive university town of Charlottesville with malice aforethought.  They used unsubtle Ku Klux Klan symbolism of torches in a Friday night march, and they sought to appear as political martyrs as a way to recruit more alienated young white men."

Who are these "alienated young white men"? According to author J.D. Vance ("Hillbilly Elegy") interviewed on CBS this morning, they are "mostly from well to do middle class families". However, they suffer from at least one major detriment or flaw in their lives: e.g.  can't get along or form relationships  with women, can't fit in at their jobs, can't get along socially other than in online rat warrens (reddit, Breitbart) where they exchange hate with each other. In many ways their alienation is similar to those disaffected youngsters in Europe and elsewhere that seek meaning in their lives with Isis.

Author Vance insists that we "must not stereotype them as knuckle dragging yokels" but how else portray these losers when they conduct themselves like such?  Military fatigues, helmets, shields and mace cans? Give me a break!  If it walks like a duck, quacks like one and acts like one then it is one.

Spencer, for his part,  vowed his gaggle of outed online scum (as from 'Daily Stormer')  would not back down from protesting against the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee. This, the same arch -traitor whose statue was already removed from Lee Circle in New Orleans several months ago. . Then when Spencer mentioned Mayor Signer by name, the crowd chanted “Jew! Jew! Jew!”

Elsewhere, a group of clergy including Dr Cornel West linked arms at the top of stairs leading to the park in its southeast corner. The Rev Seth Wispelwey, of Sojourners United Church of Christ in Charlottesville, said of the faith-based action: “We’re here to counteract white supremacy, and to let people know that it is a system of evil and a system of sin.”

The biggest trope exploded in the Charlottesville clashes? That the Left is the side "hobbled" by "identity politics". This canard was given undeserved attention in a long essay  (WSJ Review, p. C1 Aug. 12-13) entitled 'The Liberal Crack-Up' by Mark Lilla  - a "professor of humanities"  and ostensible liberal - at Columbia University.  In it he claimed:

"Liberals have lost the public's confidence by embracing the divisive, zero sum world of identity politics."

Ironically the piece came out almost as the Right's tribal nuts were demonstrating identity politics on steroids with their assorted Nazis, KKK racists, Confederates and Alt_Right screwballs wreaking havoc on the U VA campus.  As UVA professor Larry Sabato put it on CNN yesterday "it sickened me to my core".   (Sabato's residence is right near the Jefferson rotunda where the marchers passed by).

If ever there was a manifestation of white trash, pro-Trump identitarian politics it was in what we beheld in Charlottesville, spurred on by Trump. This glorified man-baby and swine provided cover for his hateful spawn by not specifically calling them out, opting instead for the palsied narrative of moral equivalence. Even at that he was unable to straight deliver his message, he had to read it from a paper.

72 years ago the U.S. smashed Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist vermin, so the inquiring,  genuine American citizen is correct to ask why we see their latter day supporters prancing around a Virginia university campus now carrying Nazi flags, e.g.

Even Sen. Orrin Hatch had to tweet that "my brother didn't lose his life fighting Hitler to have to Nazi ideas go unchallenged  at home".    On the positive side, the most gratifying image of all arrived yesterday when a young woman tackled Jason Kessler the rally organizer, who made the mistake of returning to the scene  of his crime:


Meanwhile, in Germany yesterday, a 41-year old American was punched out by a passerby German for giving the Nazi salute. (Germans, unlike too many 'Muricans, don't take kindly to saluting the Fuhrer). The Nazi salute — the right arm straight and angled slightly up, palm down — was used as a greeting and a way of expressing devotion to Adolf Hitler under the Third Reich. Germany outlawed the salute after World War II, along with Holocaust denial and other symbols and signals associated with the Nazis. A conviction can carry a prison sentence of up to three years.

We need new laws like this now in the U.S. of A. to deter our homegrown Nazis from projecting their hate, like they did in Charlottesville.

Will a Second Civil War come out of it? Who knows? But as one panel member (Jennifer Rubin) put in on AM Joy yesterday a.m. it does not bode well if Trump himself is unable to call out white supremacy and domestic terror when it arises - especially as he'd do it in a NY minute if a black person or Muslim had rammed into a crowd with a car. (Note: Trump finally did stop using weasel words today, but it is too little, way  too late. As Mayor Signer put it, he blew a good opportunity to show leadership and instead kowtowed to the haters. Hell, his own daughter Ivanka and Jeff Sessions beat him in naming the culprits).

Whether Charlottesville marks the opening clash in a 2nd Civil War in the end depends on whether ALL  Americans return to their senses after this incident. If it merely emboldens a hard core set of white supremacy Trump supporters (or a lot of others who are invested in Breitbart, and fake news)  then the stage is set for future clashes. These are also likely to get ever more violent, possibly with guns used (guns were toted by the 'Three Percent')  racists in Charlottesville).  Indeed, the "Unite the Right" bunch that was finally forced to leave the campus has vowed to return with larger numbers. Let us hope they don't bring loaded weapons with them.

See also:

http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/p-m-carpenter/74538/welcome-to-donald-trumps-america

And:

http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/chris-floyd/74539/american-carnage-white-punks-on-parade

And:

http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/robert-reich/74540/a-national-calamity-in-the-making


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fracking Craze Resumes - And You'd Be Wise Not To Buy A Home In NE Colorado

A drilling rig operates in Erie in 2015.

It was heart breaking to read the recent Denver Post account of the clash between homeowners in assorted northeastern Colorado communities and the fracking industry  (August 6, p. 1A, 16A). People who not too long ago plopped enormous money into new homes near the Front Range now are faced with the brutal fact they can't sell them for a lousy dime. Who wants to live near fracking -drilling operations, no matter how grand the interior (or exterior) of a home?  And that's even given the home building crunch in the state.

What's even worse is that the problems of noise, oil fumes, methane leaks (such as caused the explosion of a home in Firestone killing two) are likely going to occur even more as the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission - a fake name if ever there was one - has approved or received nearly 3,400 new drilling permits as of mid-July. Even accepting not all of the new permit applications approved will end up as new wells, many will.  Also, permits show where the oil-gas producers want to go and as the Post noted "much of the activity is centered in Colorado's prime growth corridor."

In the Post's activity analysis (op. cit. p. 16A) it was found that of the 100 townships examined (each measuring 36 square miles) "55 were rural with few inhabitants and 45 contained incorporated areas." However, the numbers are misleading given that "the number of permits in rural regions were about half that in populated areas."

The Wattenberg Field tract is a case in point. Of the 20 townships within it - with half or more of their sections incorporated or developed- producers have "recently requested nearly 1,000 drilling permits".   What gives with the Wattenberg?   According to the Post:

"Although producers have actively drilled the Wattenberg since 1970, analysts said horizontal drilling has given the field a new lease on life that could last for years".

For those who don't know, "horizontal drilling" means a fracking well could conceivably be 600 to 800 ft. from your home and still get at its oil or gas reserves by the simple mechanism of extending the underground drill apparatus horizontally over that distance and into your back yard. Ok, under your back yard is the better term.

According to Imre Kugler of IHS Markit in Houston, quoted in the article:

"If you take the whole Wattenberg Field , at the current drilling pace, there is a solid 15 years left"

That is a solid 15 years to despoil neighborhoods in townships affected by drilling. 15 years during which home owners can forget about selling their biggest investments because no one in their right mind would buy them.

Let's also take note of this (ibid.):

"Communities in the path of drilling have added 103, 578 people since 2010 which represents a growth of 15.8  percent, according to counts provided by the Colorado Demography Office."

That is 103, 578 new residents many of whom became new home owners, but who've now learned to their great distress they've moved into fracking zones. Endless noise and pollution and exponentially falling property values. 

Can oil and gas drillers just bust in and do anything they want- including fouling up your neighborhood with fumes and subjecting it to endless drilling noise, as well as threatening your water and your kids' health? Damned straight they can. Under the state's “forced-pooling” statute - which dates from the 1930s- an oil and gas company can get a property owner’s mineral rights, with compensation, even if the owner doesn’t want to sell or lease them.   Thus, if oil or lots of natural gas was found under our home, frackers could just set up drilling to go beneath and extract whatever's there to their heart's content. Never mind the averse effects and inconvenience, there isn't a goddamned thing we could do about it. Take it to the state supreme court? Ha! Don't make me laugh!  Each time townships or communities have tried that route, the state court quashed it.

Just last year, in fact, Longmont and Fort Collins had their efforts to restrict drilling struck down by the state's top court. That court, along with the COGCC firmly believes it's better you and your kids suffer from rashes, respiratory distress and cancers than that they lose money from stymied frack operations.

This is not to say that other metro areas, communities have also suffered the same fate. It appears to depend on: a) existing population density, or b) whether the community governors or city council wields enough power  (and will) - as well as state house backing - to stop the frackers.   In terms of (a) the model city is LA for which we learn "dense development on top of a prolific basin killed off new drilling".

How so? Well, 17 million people live in the Los Angeles basin "including 1.7 million within a mile of an active oil and gas well" - this according to 2015 estimates from the California Council on Science and Technology.   Basically, then, there are simply too many people squeezed into the area to allow any more drilling activity - hence "existing wells have gone into hiding, taking on building facades or relocating to islands off the coast."

As an example of (b) there is Pittsburgh sitting in the middle of the Western Pennsylvania field.  But in November, 2010, "Pittsburgh City Council banned drilling within city limits."

According to Imre Kugler:

"Pittsburgh has been off limits from Day One, the whole metro area. Nobody has tried to drill there and it's a pain dealing with Pennsylvania".

So there's at least one city and state which appears to have its citizens' welfare a higher priority. At least now. Recall that it took documentaries ('Gasland', 'Gasland II') by Josh Fox to shed light on the fracking issue and potential for well leaks in PA.   See e.g.

http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2013/07/gasland-ii-fracking-is-worse-than-you.html


Meanwhile, here in Colorado our  fake protectors like the COGCC have enabled the oil and gas giants to take over citizens' lives and render their priorities irrelevant. This has left many Colorado land and homeowners frustrated and feeling that the deck is stacked against them. A driller needs only a single mineral owner to sign a lease, and then everyone else is dragged into the pool. Add to that the oil and gas commission’s liberal approval of pooling orders and the stage is set for potential misuse of the statute.

A link at the end of this post highlights what conditions were for millions of American property owners just three years ago. Now, the drilling has gotten much worse and even more widespread   - especially here in Colorado.  Newcomers that plunked down huge down payments barely 7-8 years ago are now regretting their home purchase decisions as they see the extent to which fracking -drilling has wrecked their home values.  They are raising their voices at town hall meeting, but alas, few are taking them on. 

The unspoken message to anyone planning to move to NE Colorado is: Be prepared for the possibility that your investment could end up quickly in the crapper.  Do you really want to take that crap shot?  Many of those 103,000- odd  newcomers that moved here since 2010 wouldn't do it over again. They are now saddled with homes that have become economic prisons as the oil and gas drillers chip away at the quality of their lives.

See also:


Friday, August 11, 2017

Why James Damore's Google "Memo" Is a Load Of Right Wing Anti-Female Balderdash

No automatic alt text available.

The Culture Wars are back on again, this time fired up by a 23 year old conservative twerp  and former Google Software engineer named James Damore.  Like most young conservatives he has zero clue about the deep politics issues of our time, and is more concerned with hurling his verbal vomit into so-called "manifestoes". In this case, a 3,000 word effort blasting Google's "left bias" for "creating a politically correct monoculture" that ignores differences between the sexes.

Do we all kowtow to this wet behind the ears techie and part time sociologist, biologist who isn't shy about filling us in on those difference? Hell no! His manifesto waxes long about the supposed traits of females which makes them less able to cope in a software programming environment, but doesn't hold up to scrutiny.  One wonders where this twerp even got the time to write a 10  page manuscript given he's supposed to be programming code.  

Some of the screwball tropes exposed in his ten page "memo" and my responses:

1) Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices:
Image may contain: text

He adds as an aside, in a footnote:

Of course, I may be biased and only see evidence that supports my viewpoint. In terms of political
biases, I consider myself a classical liberal and strongly value individualism and reason
.

-------------------------

This is mostly the usual classic, conservative codswallop supported by neither neurobiology or sociology. It is more a product of the political stereotypes spewed out over decades by right wing talk radio and more recently FOX news and others (Sinclair Broadcasting). Nor is there a basis in ethics or morality, so "deep moral preferences" doesn't wash in the way Damore has spun it.  As the Jesuits at Loyola taught me, and with which I can agree even as an atheist, "deep moral preferences" must include seeing the human family as one's own.  You act therefore to reduce unfair disparity via social justice initiatives.  You do not act like a knuckle dragger to advance social Darwinism.

There is indeed no basis in standard evolution theory for the latter.  For example, ‘survival of the fittest’ was never uttered or stated by Charles Darwin himself, in any of his treatises. It was, rather, promoted by the English sociologist Herbert Spencer, in a misguided attempt to extrapolate Darwinian principles to the social sphere. (E.g. The Study of Sociology, 1873, serialized for an American audience in Popular Science Monthly)

In his serialized tracts, Spencer absolutely repudiated all state assistance to the poor, needy, physically feeble, or infirm – based on a bastardized “survival of the fittest”  or "preference for the strong" concept. He believed, erroneously, that people are like beasts that had to be forced to compete for precious resources. If they didn’t do this, they’d produce degenerate, weakened humans- unfit in the evolutionary scheme. Hence, the name “Social Darwinism”.

This Social Darwinism remains embedded in the current incarnation of rabid individualism disseminated by conservative ideologues, who salivate non-stop at the prospect of using it to dismember social safety nets.  Damore's manifesto reeks with the false scholarship of Herbert Spencer in his references to disparities being "natural and just" and  "humans being naturally competitive".

Also his blanket assertion that "the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left" can also be challenged on multiple grounds. Indeed, he seems to need to be reminded (assuming he read it at all),  of the words of the original capitalist, Adam Smith. In his 'Inquiry into the Wealth Of Nations' Smith evoked a more rational attitude when he noted there are:

"needs in a civilized society that a barbaric one refuses to address."

He also pointedly stated (Vol. II, p. 648):

"What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole "

THIS is the basis for the true classical liberalism (governing markets) that Damore purports to embrace yet seems to have vacated his brain when he set out his left-right  "bias" markers. Smith recognized, unlike such modern high priests of conservative economic thought as Martin Feldstein and Milton Friedmann, that any economics devised to create more inequity can't be sustained. Eventually, as Lenin predicted in his essay on Imperialism, it must consume its seed corn and also its raison d'etre.

Echoing Smith, Charles Reich poignantly noted in his book, Opposing the System, Crown Books, p. 103:

"When society itself comes to be modeled on economic and organizational principles, all of the forces that bind people together are torn apart in the struggle for survival. Community is destroyed because we are no longer 'in this together' because everyone is a threat to everyone else. "

In such a capitalist-driven, consumerist organizational economic model, wherein the resource “pie” for the non-wealthy elite grows ever smaller, the young are threats to us oldsters, as we are threats to them, as neighbor is to neighbor. It can't be otherwise. This capitalist model has seen fit, in other words, to destroy our areas of commonality and common cause, replacing neutral civic space with demeaning commercial space and commercialist, market values. Reich's appeal, as well as Smith's is to a traditional capitalism as opposed to the "cowboy" mutation that most conservos today embrace.
----------

  2) On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just
socially constructed because:
● They’re universal across human cultures
● They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone
● Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify
and act like males
● The underlying traits are highly heritable
● They’re exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective
Note, I’m not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these
differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men
and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why
we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.
-------------------------------

That males and females "differ biologically in many ways" is not up for debate. What is up for debate is Damore's contention that these biological differences translate into radically different psychological  and job aptitude differences (e.g. women "have more neuroticism, higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance" so are less capable in high stress jobs). Also there is Damore's contention that biological traits define personality differences. For example, Damore blabs:

"Women, on average, have more openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also
interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing). This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading."

None of these assumptions, claims is substantiated by any research published in respected, peer-reviewed  journals of sociology or psychology. If in fact they were, Damore doesn't cite them which indicates he's merely regurgitating stereotypes imbibed from non-academic sources. Or he's confected his own biased conjectures based on limited experience and maybe frequenting right wing sites.

My own experience has been that if a female physics student is given the opportunity to be systematic and excel in a serious challenge she will do it. Often she will easily surpass even talented male counterparts. One of the more challenging physics projects I've assigned was completed by two female students. It entailed the careful computer modeling of a standard Newtonian orbit - including the code and the base equations used. It was of such a high standard it became one of the few student projects published in The Journal of the Barbados Astronomical Society.

The project entailed using a set of initial conditions (for position) to then construct a Newtonian orbit  by using appropriate differential equations for acceleration and velocity.  Thereby the girls  obtained successive iterations in position, a and v,  and a complete orbit. Their result is shown below:
No automatic alt text available.

Nor was this a "one off" or exceptional. In other words, whenever female physics students were given the same opportunities they generally surpassed the male students, in attention to detail and the overall quality of their work.

The upshot is that nearly all Damore's assertions may be merely based on his own limited  expectations of how females perform in a working environment as opposed to how they actually perform. So he expects they will be "agreeable" or "have a stronger interest in people rather than things" so sees that in female peers.  In other words, he is hostage to his own innate confirmation bias.

3) We always ask why we don't see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we
see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not
be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.

Status is the primary metric that men are judged on, pushing many men into these higher
paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men
into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and
dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of
work-related deaths.
-------

This again is merely more social Darwinist bunkum,  recycled to attempt to justify gender stereotypes to fit the standard conservative milieu i.e. "women are to be kept barefoot and pregnant".  Damore would obviously deny this but his prose fairly reeks of the underlying template that screams: "women are inferior workers to men".  Even Google CEO Sundar Pichai noted that "to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK."

The WSJ in its editorial Aug. 9 ('Google's  Diversity Problems', p. A14) tried to attack that rationale for letting Damore go,  averring:

"In other words its OK to express views as long as they are not antithetical to Google's political culture."

Which misses the point entirely, As author Charles Reich noted in his 'The Greening of America' it actually endorses throwback views antithetical to human decency and inclusion. These are every bit as objectionable as a racist tract used to justify the exclusion of black workers.

The WSJ may whine and moan, but Damore's firing is going to stand. Strangely, the organ of high finance seems to have forgotten that workers in corporations have absolutely no free speech rights, or First Amendment ones. This was pointed out over a quarter century ago by Charles Reich in his book 'Opposing the System.'  Citing the case of 'Waters v. Churchill' (p. 146). He noted "the Supreme court made clear that an employee's speech is not protected if the employer  believes the speech might interfere with the efficiency of the employer's operations."

Since it is clear that allowing Damore's presence (after his memo went viral) would definitely undermine Google's efficiency of operations, it was clear Google had to give this right wing troll the heave ho, all the Right's whining aside.  Indeed, Damore's timely firing may have well kept Google on the right side of the law, especially if the company or its employees felt the memo had created an adverse work environment.

Especially pathetic is Damore's assertion:

"the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths."

What exact "forces' are these? Damore doesn't elaborate so I presume we're just expected to guess. But without specifying them his words end up as merely an empty rumination, devoid of any substance. Indeed, Damore tries to make his point later referring to  "the Left tends to deny science
concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ and sex differences)." But the "Left" does no such thing.

We do acknowledge differences in IQ and sex (biological) differences, but we absolutely reject the notion that these differences translate into  psychological manifestations that would disqualify a person of particular gender - or race- from doing a specific job.  That includes an African -American from being an investment banker and a young female Ph.D. from being a rocket scientist or astrophysicist. Let me also add that for anyone to drag IQ into worker profiling and job qualification smacks totally of Charles Murray's "Bell Curve" nonsense which I already skewered, e.g.

http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2017/07/was-splc-wrong-to-educate-middlebury.html


4)   Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social sciences lean left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what’s being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap. Google’s left leaning makes us blind to this bias and  uncritical of its results, which we’re using to justify highly politicized programs.

--------

Again, we have an assertion unsupported by actual statistics. Where - from what journal of sociology - did Damore obtain the "95 percent" figure?  Where is the fully cited reference and humanities' job by job tally of percentages disclosing a leftward tilt?  Since Damore has offered only his own bloviations without citation then this is mere blowing smoke.  He's attempted to garner specious support for his trope by tossing out generalities and pseudo stats with no backing.

5) Stop alienating conservatives.
○ Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political
orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people
view things differently.
○ In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like
they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those
with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.
--------------

More  victimization and whining as is now typical of the poor little Righties.  They scream their own incessant invective over talk radio, and in "memos" and online forums but crawl into little holes when challenged in other public forums, or work environments. Pardon me while  I play the world's smallest violin for them.  Did Damore even ask himself why "conservatives" are a minority in many of these high caliber environments, especially academia?  Maybe it's because their lot - embracing a "dog eat dog" culture and world - simply doesn't fit into those work environments.

The WSJ editorial stated at the end:

"Many on the left are dismissing Mr. Damore as an alt-Right nut"  and "the monolithic progressive culture incubated on college campuses has spread to corporate America"

The first part is essentially correct, meaning the arguments of Damore could have emanated from Alt Right sites or groups. The second part is a dramatic oversimplification.  It is not that there exists a "monolithic progressive culture" either on college campuses or in some corporations (like Google). Rather,  that as one enters environments where the life of the mind trumps the almighty buck one simply finds fewer conservatives in general - given the preponderance are about making money, not investigating new quasars, or quantum entanglement.  Damore and the WSJ basically just whine because conservative thought and ideas are not dominant everywhere. But why the hell would it be if there exist different priorities for progressive minds and conservative ones?   This is not so much biological in origin as  based on political outlook, and that outlook often hinges on intellectual markers.

Damore's stereotypical rot almost reminds me  of Todd Akins' comments in an interview that  went public back in August, 2012. To quote, after being asked why he supported banning abortion:

“It seems to me from what I understand from doctors, if it’s a legitimate rape female bodies have ways to shut that down.”

Damore's speculations on female biology and how it relates to female job performance being limited  in assorted areas, bears many similarities.   Maybe Damore needs to go back to university and take a few modern sociology courses. At the very least he needs to learn how to cite appropriate research sources when he purports to write future company "memos" or personal manifestos. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

To Control The Social Media Scourge Parents Need To Ration Kids' Smartphone Use

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and indoor
A youngster is distracted from her regular class work because of text messages from bullying imps.


Let me get it out there that if wifey and I were parents (never had the inclination),  we'd be seriously rationing our offspring's use of social media - whether Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. We'd also limit access to cell phones: only for emergencies or official business except maybe for a half hour of social contact a day. Indeed, we'd probably be much tougher than even columnist Minda Zetlin allows in her recent piece in the Sunday Denver Post ('Shut It Down!').    The premise being the grown ups have to get control of the kids' social media addictions as opposed to allowing the kids and their addictions to run them. Or in the worse case, lead to a kid's suicide.

Don't laugh or sneer. A McAfee survey report that also appeared in the Post (3 days ago, p. 12A) noted that cyber bullying has now reached epidemic proportions especially in the U S of A.  The platforms most used for bullying in the order of their percentage of young users affected included:

- Facebook  71 %

- Instagram  - 62 %

- Snapchat  49 %

In the survey, which ranged over more than 3,000 kids in multiple countries it was found there was a 22 percent overall reporting of cyber bullying, compared to 30 percent for U.S. students. This is ridiculous and shows: a) too many kids are spending way too much time with these media, and b) the parents have abdicated control to their addicted kids.

Ms. Zetlin for her part, in her article, presented these bullet points:

-  Instagram and Snapchat have the greatest negative effect on young people's emotional health, with Instagram topping the stats.

- Spending more than two hours a day on social media is detrimental to kids' mental health and a "seriously bad idea".

As I told Janice, and she agreed, if we had young teens they'd be allowed no more than one hour per day on such media.  Do what you wish within reason in that hour but once it elapses, that's it. Finito!

- Social media can mean sleep deprivation which exacts a terrible toll on kids' brains

The problem here is that "social media can be deeply addictive, even more than nicotine".

This alone screams out for parental intervention to make sure one's kids don't get hooked. In fact , if one can monitor their messages - to and from  - it's even better, lest they get snared.

The main culprit parents need to control is the pervasive  FOMO syndrome, i.e. "fear of missing out". Kids can get so hooked, even on nasty, negative images, they keep glancing at the stupid cellphones to make sure no new ones have come in.   This has to be nipped in the bud, and kids taught the Buddhist mind mode to not allow the external world or people to manage one's interior world.

Rather than waste hours on Instagram staring at stupid text messages (or photos) from deadbeat peers, far better to use that time in meditation: clearing the mind -brain of all extraneous stimuli, thoughts. They can use a master word as they close their eyes, the best being "A-U-M" (Ah-ooo-mmmm)..  If they need practice or a model - get a hold of Joseph Campbell's DVD series 'The Power Of Myth' - the specific episode on the Buddhist Monks. They will see and hear the "AUM" as never heard before, every chord and note.

- Cyber bullying is a worse problem than many believe

Indeed! Already my psychologist niece Shayl in her research on the deleterious effects of social media has found that cyber bullying imposes the most serious adverse effects, leading many to contemplate suicide.

Zetlin herself cites a recent survey that discloses that 70 percent of young people claiming they experienced cyber bullying, with 37 percent "on a high frequency basis".  Again, they can't experience such levels if they have no access to the devices.

Ration their use and watch the stats drop!   As Zetlin concludes:

"The problem of cyber bullying on social platforms is largely up to parents and teachers to solve and that's one more reason to know how much time their kids are spending on which social network".

Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, I do admit that I regard Twitter especially as a "cartoon medium" that doesn't permit the full expression of thought. Having to relentlessly truncate communications to 140 characters like Trump does, inevitably breeds immaturity  - and also invites more bullying - since that's about all a truncated message is good for.

The most incredible aspect of the McAfee study that really pissed me off as a former physics lecturer? The stat that "29 percent of students used their devices to cheat."

One kid actually cited the method in "taking a photo of notes then peeking at them during a test".

Say WHAT!??  What the hell is the teacher doing? Did she or he suddenly become a zombie? How about you confiscate ALL cellphones before the kid even enters the room?  That's what I'd do.  AT the end of the test the kid can collect his or device from the security box (similar to those used in TSA lines).

The rate of teen suicides,  owing to cyber bullying,  is increasing at alarming rates and it's time thoughtful,, intelligent parents take control of their kids' devices before it's too late.  As Ms. Zetlin put it: "SHUT It DOWN!"

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Fire, Fury and Foolishness - How The Psycho Putz Could Get Us Into A Nuclear War

Image result for Trump vs. Kim Jong Un images

We all mostly suspected Drumpf was insane, but his bombastic, ignorant rhetoric yesterday proved it beyond a doubt and showed why this screwball needs to be put into a straitjacket asap. His blabbering about raining "fire and fury ...the likes of which have never been seen before"  emulated Kim Jong Un himself. As one commentator put it "it was as if Trump looked at himself in the mirror and saw Kim Jong Un""   The problem is that this game is deadly serious and even had former Col.  Lawrence Wilkerson, saying that he's frightened - given our commander-in -chief has no sense, and basically controls the nuclear codes.

That this cockeyed numskull already (yesterday morning)  leaked classified satellite information (to do with spotting N. Korean patrol boats)  in a retweet on 'Fox 'n Friends' was bad enough. It confirmed his unreliability as a leader as well as his lack of judgment and instability.  He is, basically, not a man to be trusted and certainly not in a major crisis such as we are facing now. Indeed, 61 percent in a recent poll expressed unease in "Dump's" ability to deal with North Korea. In most other nations such a vote of no confidence would see him replaced.

Sadly, not even his new "minder"-  Gen. Kelly - was able to stop this crazy fool from engaging his Twitter account and - as noted on 'Morning Joe' - jeopardizing U.S. assets and methods.

Then, ensconced at his vacation getaway club at Bedminster, NJ Trump told journalists

North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States, They will be met with fire and the fury like the world has never seen.”

In other words, this certifiable maniac is vowing nuclear retribution against the North Koreans merely for making threats.   Try to process that, and the level of mental derangement and lack of judgment to make such a remark, broadcast worldwide.  In the wake of this monkey's performance John McCain told an Arizona radio station:

"I don’t know what he’s saying and I’ve long ago given up trying to interpret what he says. That kind of rhetoric, I’m not sure how it helps.”

Well, that's the point! It doesn't help, only further fuels the crisis and ramps up the temperature.

As I posted earlier, this hotheaded maggot doesn't possess the skill, background historical knowledge or intelligence to steer clear of a conflagration with a nuclear state that would unleash a pitiless assault not on the U.S. (which is currently too far away to strike with a functioning ICBM) but on its South Korean ally. Specifically, the 25 million citizens of Seoul, the "most densely populated city on Earth."

When asked in an MSNBC interview back in April  if Trump would actually attack North Korea, former CIA North Korea specialist Sue Mi Terry responded:

 “I can’t see him following through on this and that is the problem with the brinksmanship policy. Because you’re putting yourself in a bind. You will either have to back down and lose credibility or you are stuck on a ledge with a military option which is very, very risky.

 North Korea is not Syria. It’s not Afghanistan. It’s going to have very devastating consequences.  North Korea will retaliate to any kind of military option. They will retaliate against South Korea given seventy percent of its ground forces are deployed within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the DMZ.  And there’s twenty thousand U.S. military in South Korea and twenty million people in Seoul”


Other experts on North Korea have also warned that this aggressive rhetoric could backfire on Trump, convincing Kim Jong-Un that his regime is in imminent jeopardy and triggering what he sees as a pre-emptive attack.  This is the biggest danger. Given the North is all about survival, anything perceived as an imminent threat to that survival would unleash all their weapons in a last ditch preemptive attack. If the U.S. then responded with a full scale nuclear response to obliterate the totalitarian state it could also draw in the Chinese and even the Russians. At the end we could be looking at a full, all- out thermonuclear war with more than 9,500 hydrogen weapons exchanged.

Daryl Kimball, the head of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, said - in response to Trump's reckless rhetoric:

It is dangerous and reckless and counterproductive for Donald Trump to threaten the annihilation of North Korea. What we need is a dialogue to reduce tension and avoid catastrophic miscalculation. We are currently on the road to a conflict and we have to get to the off-ramp.”

The North Korean regime quickly responded, matching Trump’s bellicosity by saying it was “carefully examining” a plan for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. In a separate statement, a military official was quoted as saying Pyongyang could carry out a "pre-emptive operation if the US showed signs of provocation”.

And there we have the linchpin to massive nuclear war, if one side misjudges the intentions of the other.

National security advisor H.R. McMaster has said that the administration is weighing all options, including a “preventative war”.



East Asia nuclear non-proliferation expert Jeffrey Lewis argues it is already too late for that, quoted in the UK Guardian as saying:
The pre- in preventative means ‘before’,If you start the preventative war after they have the nuclear ICBM’s, it’s just a regular old nuclear war.”

Lest people not take this seriously, the Pentagon - as reported last night - is already trying to prepare military options for Trump. All of this is under the rubric of "preventative war"  Three days ago in the WSJ John Bolton actually presented these "options".   It is as if the military is prepared to back Trump at the expense of the 25 million in Seoul and environs. Presumably they will be "collateral damage" if the lunatic gets his way.  Where is the sanity? Let's recall also that last year the same military minds were appalled when Trump asked: "If we have nuclear weapons why can't we use them?"   Gen. Michael Hayden actually responded that the current U.S. nuclear response system is no longer constructed for deliberation but "rapid and effective" action. In other words, once a decision to launch is made, it's all over.

The last time we came this close  to nuclear catastrophe was in October, 1962 with the Cuban Missile Crisis. On October 27, 1962 U2 pilot Rudolph Andersen Jr. conducted a reconnaissance flight over Cuba when he was targeted and shot down by two Soviet SA2 surface to air missiles. The Cubans and Russians had fired the first shot in the drawn out Missile crisis (now in its 12th day) and the Joint Chiefs pressured JFK to strike back - with air strikes.  Kennedy, however, correctly suspected that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had not authorized the downing of unarmed reconnaissance planes, and he didn’t want to abandon diplomacy. He resisted the Joint Chiefs - especially Gen. Curtis Lemay (who actually had the temerity to compare him to Neville Chamberlain) which is why we can discuss the events today.

It is not at all clear that Trump possesses anywhere near the sobriety and sense of JFK. Which also means it is not at all evident that he can avoid getting us into a nuclear war.  Maybe in this case, one of Trump's generals (Kelly?) will pull the nuclear football out of his hands before he can do final disastrous damage.

Or at least we can hope

See also:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/lawrence-wittner/74496/playing-nuclear-chicken-with-our-lives

And:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/john-stanton/74499/trump-s-psychopathy-threatens-the-internal-stability-of-the-united-states-and-the-world

And:

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/345961-ex-gop-senator-trump-is-sick-of-mind-should-be-removed-from-office

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How NOT To Write A Blog Comment

Image result for Abbie Salny
Dr. Abbie Salny - interviewed several years ago. She was responsible for the decision to no longer accept the SAT as an aptitude test and hence as an alternative entry test for Mensa.

This post could be put under the banner of educational, mainly for the benefit of anyone who wishes to render an extended comment expressing a point of view in response to a post. In this case the (recent) comment in question is in response to an August 11, 2013 post regarding Mensa ceasing to use the SAT (and other tests) for entry because they were no longer deemed aptitude tests but achievement.

The commenter's first problem is posting with no profile, as "Unknown" which undermines the cogency of his or her POV from the outset. Despite that, I am ok with posting an unknown's (no profile) comment but do expect the person to then make the case and with such clarity there is no wiggle room for misinterpretation.  But this was not done. Below I give the comment and my criticisms of each section, which others may want to note for future reference:

----------------

Am I the only one who's even looked up the changes? In case you haven't, here's what they did to make it test "exclusively what has been taught in school:"

-Removed antonyms (because they relied too much on prior knowledge)
-Changed the number of verbal questions from 85 to 78
-Replaced the TSWE with two 15-minute math and verbal sections at the end of the test
-Added ten "open-response" math problems
-Allowed calculators for the math sections
-Increased the amount of reading comprehension questions to compose ~50% of the verbal.


-----------

The intro is all wrong. As if the writer was never taught how to make his or her case in representing a  clear point of view when staking out a position or opinion. Instead of initiating the comment with a clear position he immediately asks a question about "looking up the changes" to the SAT. This makes one suspect that the topic or argument concerns the changes, which are then stated.

But where is it all leading?

The writer goes on:

As you can see, that totally makes the SAT cover absolutely NOTHING but learned material. Literally just learned material.

Actually, we don't know that because no reasoning  has been offered showing that these changes constitute only "learned material".  The reader is expected to just assume they do, i.e. removing antonyms because "they rely too much on prior knowledge". How so? He has not explained. In what way do  antonyms do this and for what kind of prior knowledge? (For reference, the GRE aptitude test - so designated by Mensa- that I took had a significant section on antonyms. *) All we have then is a veritable vacuum when one would like to see justification. Even by this point, if I was marking him on an essay I'd have him at D-minus.

More to come:

Oh, and with the ACT?

-Recentered the English and Math scores
-Replaced the SOCIAL STUDIES and NATURAL SCIENCES sections with general reading and scientific reasoning sections.
-Made the English less grammar-based and put more emphasis on writing skills (once again changing it to exclusively learn-able stuff)

You know, you cannot learn the causes fall of the Roman Empire, or scientific facts.


Remember in history class, when before tests the teacher told you that he didn't actually teach anything and it was all up to your innate mental abilities to know about events such as the Dark Ages and the Incans? Studying history is completely pointless.

--------------------------

Here s/he jumps completely from the basis of the English-Math part of the ACT to history ("causes of the fall of the Roman Empire") and "scientific facts" - which we are informed "you cannot learn".. Again, no explanation of why.   He then rails against putting more emphasis on writing skills (which it is evident he needs) and claims this is tantamount to "exclusively learnable stuff", but with no explanation or argument how he goes from A to B.  He either assumes here the reader is privy to some inside knowledge, or is simply going to take his word.

The diversion to "the fall of the Roman empire" is itself distracting and displays a lack of coherent thought or argument, not to mention historical insight.  He also makes an unsupported, ridiculous claim that one "cannot learn the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire" or scientific facts - which is nonsense. Of course one can learn the putative reason for the Roman Empire's fall which is largely attributed to military overstretch. As for scientific facts, last I taught a calculus physics class I knew not one student who hadn't learned already that all objects fall freely  (at the acceleration g)  in Earth's gravitational field .   Though g can vary from place to place because the Earth's radius slightly varies place to place. SO what the hell is he talking about?


The "unknown" would have done better by confining attention to why the changes in the English -Math parts of the ACT he lists were off base, but doesn't. We are just dragged along in this nebulous aside and with no idea what the writer's central point is.

Then there's the further diversion to some innominate  "history class", and the rapid conclusion "it's completely pointless" - again, without making a clear, cogent case for claiming this.  We are merely expected to accept the "pointless" assertion without a single reason or even example.

Then we read this:

And what's even philosophical about changing a test from aptitude to achievement? "We need to sound smart."

At this point the writer has me scratching my head. Is he with Mensa's change  vis-a-vis the SAT or against it?  He seems to be with it, in asking why the change from aptitude to achievement, but it is not clear again because his argumentation and presentation is too weak and incoherent.  One is also led to inquire the insertion of the "philosophical"  attribute - as if the change is ultimately reduced to one of testing philosophy - which it isn't.   It is based on specific test parameters that distinguish the set of aptitude type questions from those of achievement only.

For example, a physics achievement question might be: Describe the principle of operation of a basic, glass-enclosed greenhouse.

But an aptitude type problem would be:

Describe the nature of the thermal insulation you'd require on Mars (solar constant  =  539  Wm-2 )and how you would assemble it to be equivalent to a 1000 m-3  greenhouse  on Earth. Indicate the thickness of the material needed.

Lastly, we read:

And when changing it, the College Board actually said that the SAT was never supposed to be something unable to be learned. They said they were making it better-aligned with school material. Therefore, the pre-1994 tests are also 100% achievement-based because they said so. After-all, corporations never lie.

TL;DR: No one in Mensa even bothered to look up the content changes
.

----------------

In my response to his remarks I agreed with his take about the College Board in the top paragraph, but not with his take in his last line.

How does he KNOW Mensa "never bothered to look up the content changes"?  He makes the statement baldly without any evidence, only assuming such because my original post did not mention any particulars.  But Dr. Salny did make it clear in the Mensa Research Journal that this was done and she showed the parameters considered.  Just because "Unknown" didn't see it in my post doesn't mean it wasn't done.

In my response comment I pointed out that Mensa had indeed done its duty in regard to the initial content changes of the SAT, which is why they ceased classifying it as an aptitude test. But Mensa did not keep track of content changes to achievement tests thereafter. Why would they have?

A snarky reply was offered: "Let me just say that you're lucky the SAT didn't have many reading comprehension questions back in the day. "

To which I responded:

Actually, I don't believe I am the one with the reading comprehension issues. I believe it is you, Mr. or Miss "Unknown". Part of the problem is also your vague writing, in being unable to make a strong and coherent argument. Is your primary case or issue with looking up the changes, or the changes themselves? Are you trying to argue that aptitude tests don't really make the cut any more than achievement tests? Or are you just arguing that Mensa failed to take each into account?

Try to focus your mind more and present a case for or against whatever it is you are arguing - pro or con. You presented the stats applicable to the changes, now make the argument and form a solid conclusion with a minimum of distracted prose and nebulosity.

All of which is substantiated by reference to my preceding criticisms.

The takeaway here is if you have a comment to make which is concerning a post, and is representing a specific point of view in response, then you are obliged to make that POV clear. The comment in question did not, but we shall hope that at least something in the way of more coherent writing is learned from it.

---------------------
* Some of the GRE antonym questions from 1985 Verbal Section:

Each question contains a word in capital letters then five lettered choices. Choose the one that is most nearly opposite in meaning to the word in capitals:

1. SATURNINE:

(A) genial (B) devout   (C) distinguished  (D) quick-witted  (E) heavy-handed


2. ABEYANCE:

(A) fulfillment  (B) activity  (C) renascence (D) resistance  (E) continuance


3. MUNIFICENCE:

(A) appreciation (B) deception  (C) modesty (D) stinginess  (E) anxiety


4. JUDICIOUS:

(A) insecure  (B) unwise  (C) inept  (D) lacking consequence  (E) without probability


5. DISSEMINATE:

(A) deceive  (B) garner  (C)  constrain ( D) confirm ( E) conjoin