Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Little Context

Senator Joe Biden (yea, that Joe Biden) was chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings for both Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

Prior to his nomination, Bork was best known for his role in the "Saturday Night Massacre": Nixon ordered AG Richardson to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox who was investigating Watergate. Richardson refused and resigned immediately. Nixon next ordered the deputy AG to fire Cox, and HE refused and resigned immediately. Nixon, working down the chain, then ordered the #3 man at the DOJ to fire Cox, and Cox was indeed terminated. All this happened in one Saturday evening.

The #3 man was Bork.

The Democrats were already preparing to oppose any Reagan SCOTUS nominee. Forty-five minutes after Bork's nomination, Ted Kennedy condemned Bork on national TV:

"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, and schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens."
Histrionics at that level were very uncommon at the time; today it is TV as usual. Further, a report was prepared for Biden (called the "Biden Report") which was used to fan the histrionics. Today, such a report is called "opposition research."

During the confirmation hearing, Bork's video rental history was leaked to reporters — he didn't rent porn, but he did not rewind before returning. There is some irony in this leak, since Bork didn't have a stellar record regarding privacy protections. Legislation protecting video rental records was later passed as a result.

Most of the furor during the confirmation hearing was generated by women's rights groups and pro-choice groups, fanned by Kennedy's speech. And there was that Biden Report.

Bork's confirmation hearing is the first modern example of the confirmation process being driven not by careful deliberation but by public campaigns and character assassinations. This new process was described with a new verb: "borking". That verb was later replaced by "swiftboating".

The Senate voted against Bork's confirmation. Afterwards, Bork said that the Biden Report "so thoroughly misrepresented a plain record that it easily qualifies as world class in the category of scurrility." About Ted Kennedy's speech excoriating him, Bork said that "there was not a line in that speech that was accurate." A reporter later said that while that may be true, Kennedy's speech "worked".

The SCOTUS vacancy would instead be filled by Anthony Kennedy.

The level of partisan vitriol at Bork's confirmation was high, but the confirmation hearing for Clarence Thomas would turn that level up to 11. In fact, the opposition to Bork's confirmation was the Democrats' training for the circus that would be Thomas' confirmation.

Racism was on display throughout Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing.

The Dems brought out someone named Anita Hill to level sexual harassment claims against him. They played minority groups (blacks vs women) against each other. They also asserted that Thomas rented porn videos and watched them in his chambers. Joe Biden claimed Thomas talked about Long Dong Silver with Hill. Rightfully outraged, Thomas made it clear that Biden's innuendos were playing off the stereotypes that black men are sex-crazed and hung:

"This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It's a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree."

Afterwards, one reporter said: "I don't care if Clarence Thomas had an inflatable doll on his sofa and a framed autograph from Long Dong Silver on the wall. Just because a man has an immature interest in dirty stuff doesn't mean he harassed anyone."

Thomas didn't win the confirmation so much as he survived the confirmation process.

The Democrats used the same playbook on Bork as on Thomas: treat innuendo as fact; pretend to be shocked, shocked!, at the supposed outrages against decency; stipulate that Western Civilization would fall; and if all that fails, find someone willing to accuse the candidate of sexual harassment — and that accuser will disappear and soon be forgotten afterwards. The Democrats did that to Roy Moore. They are doing it with the #MeToo movement. They're trying to do it against a former OSU wrestling coach. They are doing it with President Trump. And they will do it on Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's new SCOTUS nominee.

The difference is that four years passed between Bork's and Thomas' confirmation hearings. Now, this level of manufactured outrage is a daily occurrence. Eventually people will figure out that the sky is indeed not falling.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Quotes for 2017

"In 2017, Trump is a major dating dealbreaker. Golden showers are not."
- Dating in the 21st Century

"Many people will find that their experiences with this technology become integral to their sexual identity and some will prefer them to direct sexual interactions with humans... There is no question that sexbots are coming. People will form an intense connection with their robot companions."
- Dr. Neil McArthur, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Manitoba, on the rise of the "digisexuals"

"Of course, these dolls have their limitations – their bodies can’t move independently and they’re cold – but the team behind them, US manufacturer Sinthetics, is currently experimenting with putting heat in the penis to make it feel more real."
- The Sun, on how to keep digisexuals happy.

From an essay by King George III analyzing the American Revolution and its impact on the Empire:

"America is lost! Must we fall beneath the blow? Or have we resources that may repair the mischiefs?"
After this "Basket of Mischiefs" moment, he goes on to describe the colonies as nothing but economic emigres willing to help fill British coffers:
"A people spread over an immense tract of fertile land, industrious because free, and rich because industrious, presently became a market for the Manufacturers and Commerce of the Mother Country."

"I feel like the idea of being trans-black would be much more accurate than ‘I’m white.’ Because you know, I’m not white."
- Rachel Dolezal is ashamed she's white. I'm ashamed she's white, too.

- New word of the year from Trump!

"I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"
- Another tweet from Trump

"Please know what your nugget of love is doing after school."
- Police Chief Thomas Nestel's advice to the parents of participants in a flash mob. Nugget of love, the new euphemism for street thug.

How to lure young kids, when candy isn't working:
"At the time of his arrest, police say Maruna was carrying an iPhone, a MAC book, three zip drives, a bottle of Astroglide lubrication, Vaseline lotion, two bottles of Sprite, and chicken Alfredo in a Tupperware container."

"When you go to work each day, you shouldn't have to worry that a pack of rabid animals will suddenly show up at your home and openly threaten your family"
- Philadelphia FOP President John McNesby about the BLM

Where Cate Blanchett keeps her moral compass:

“It’s in my vagina”

"“Why do I feel so much like Sigourney Weaver?” Reports that he then told the crowd to “bow down before your new king and master, Metal Jeff” are unsubstantiated."
- Jeff Bezos piloting a giant robot. I say we take off and nuke Bezos from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

"As with most things, millennials are largely to blame."
- Why there are now these people called 'kidults'

How Texans fight AntiFa:

"Last night we did our part. We stood up to them. We showed them that we were not going to allow them to continue ruining our society. And yes, I got to punch one, which was really, really nice. But we also hoped to help them see the error of their ways. We even helped the fatties kick off a diet, by eating all their pizza."

Choice quotes from "The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct" - a BS paper accepted and published by a peer-reviewed academic journal:

"There are, however, many examples of persons with penises who will not reproduce, including those who have sustained injury, are unable to coerce a mate..."
"[Manspreading], seen from the perspective of the (conceptual) penis as a (performative) social construct, is clearly a dominating occupation of physical space, akin to raping the empty space around him..."

"Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?"
- James "Hyperbole" Comey

"When a charismatic former alcoholic named Shaft has his life changed by Burning Man, he realises that he actually identifies as a unicorn. No longer able to face the monotony of work and life in the real world, he decides to form a polyamorous and hedonistic movement with other like-minded unicorns."
- What happens when a snowflake goes to Burning Man. Then things go down hill.

“To go from picking cotton balls to picking footballs and basketballs without freedom is not very much progress.”
- Jesse Jackson about poor, oppressed athletes

The magical powers of gays:

"Being no strangers to intense raver and party scenes, most gays have great mastery of chemistry and mixing drinks and candies so that the taste of an underlying drug is concealed.

"These skills are routinely employed on Halloween to make lurid concoctions that will leave 1 out of 5 men waking up groggy and without memories — and sometimes without their costumes — the Sunday after Halloween."

Shelly, an interactive AI horror writer from MIT

"She was right about the light. It had a interesting smell... she was literally floating around it. I couldn't figure out if the smoke was dancing or not. In fact, I even smelt like the stillness of a grotesque distance. Fear, pure evil."
She writes like a cross between "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" and Anne Rice. Chances of passing the Turing Test? 0%

Kevin Spacey, apologizing trying to shift blame for allegedly making sexual advances to a 14 year old boy, thirty-one years ago:

"As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose to live as a gay man."

Zackery Quinto's response:
"It is deeply sad and troubling that this is how Kevin Spacey has chosen to come out. Not by standing up as a point of pride — in the light of all his many awards and accomplishments — thus inspiring tens of thousands of struggling LGBTQ kids around the world. But as a calculated manipulation to deflect attention from the very serious accusation that he attempted to molest one."

Milo Yiannopoulos's response:
"I’m gay. I have been very drunk. It never made me want to touch kids. Fuck off, Kevin Spacey."
Milo goes further:
"This is why identity politics is so poisonous: it seeks to establish separate rules for separate groups based on perceived, or more often simply imaginary, victimhood. Gay people should be held to the same standards as everyone else."

"[Giordano] concludes by expressing hope that people will soon come to “embrace an irreverent disdain for traditional science and instead practice feminist science,” adding that this is time for a “much needed anti-science, antiracist, feminist approach to knowledge production.”"
- Sara Giordano, a professor at UC-Davis.

"In a statement posted to Twitter Tuesday night, Grassley called on “whoever in DOJ is capable” of appointing a special counsel to do so, noting that "‘whoever’ means if [you] aren’t recused.”"
- Chuck Grassley on the quality of Uranium One investigations.

Don't do this, M'Kay?

"Officials in Madagascar have warned residents not to exhume bodies of dead loved ones and dance with them because the bizarre ritual can cause outbreaks of plague. The tradition called Famadihana practised by the Malagasy people involves digging up dead relatives, wrapping them in fresh cloth and dancing with them before putting them back underground. But it has caused concern among health officials at a time when Madagascar is enduring its most lethal outbreak of the plague in years."

"You don't justify the outcome, you reason to the outcome... We always talk about 'E Pluribus Unum,' what's our 'Unum' now?"
- Clarence Thomas

"Allahu Akbar is sometimes said under the most beautiful of circumstances"
- Jake Tapper

Proof of global warming: the snowflakes are melting. Example from Ashley Nicole Black:

"I looked at myself—I'm going to cry even saying this right now—I looked at myself in the mirror, and in that moment, I looked like my grandmother. The first thought I had was that I was glad that she wasn't alive to see that. Then I felt so guilty because of course nothing would ever make me glad my grandmother is not alive. I love her so much, and I wish she was here. But she died when Obama was president, with that hope that the world had moved forward, and black people had moved forward. And she didn't see the huge backlash that came after. In that moment, I was very grateful, and then guilty, and then I went to bed."

"Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me "old," when I would NEVER call him "short and fat?" Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!"
- The Shitposter and Chief

"I’d call their strain “hipster racism”, which typically uses sarcasm as a cover, and in the end, it looks a lot like gaslighting– “It’s just a joke. Why are you overreacting?” is a common response to a lot of these statements... One has to wonder just how many times Dunham has to prove herself a monster before the Beautiful People shun this villain."
- Zinzi Clemmons on Lena Dunham

"We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called."
- Garrison Keillor, on a person accusing him of sexual harassment

John Kelly on being the parent of a fallen patriot:

"He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1%. He knew what the possibilities were because we were at war. And when he died he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends....

"I guess, over time, I had convinced myself that I could imagine what it would be like to lose a son or daughter. You try to imagine it so that you can write the right kind of letters or form the right words to try to comfort. But you can't even come close. It is unimaginable."

"Nothing. I keep other people awake at night"
- James Mattis, when asked what keeps him awake at night.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders lays it down:

"It’s not coldhearted for the President to uphold the law. We are a nation of law and order, and the day that we start to ignore the fact that we are that, then we throw away everything that gives these people a reason to want to come to our country. If we stop becoming the country that we were envisioned to be, then we throw away what makes us special, which makes America unique. This President’s not willing to do that. The previous administration was, this one isn’t."

Have we reached peak SJW? Nope...

"It was everything good about humanity. But when witnessing the act and the fawning over the bunny rescue, I can’t help juxtaposing the feelings expressed about this bunny with the feelings generally expressed when black people are in grave danger."

Birthday cake for Coldilocks, the oldest captive polar bear in the US:

"Coldilocks was treated to a frozen confection made of peanut butter, fish, carrots, raisin and bear chow. Not exactly an ice cream cake, but she seemed to enjoy it."

"Naked under a robe"
- Somebody who accused Trump of inappropriate behavior. Everybody knows Trump has x-ray vision, right?

"704 pounds of free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee."
- The going price for a Massachusetts state senator.

"Trump made me order the meatloaf"
- Chris Christie's newest excuse for going off diet!

"Donald Trump is making me gain weight. I start the day with liquids, but after the morning news, I eat pancakes smothered in maple syrup!"
- Barbra Streisand, joining Chris Christie.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Reality Bites Back: A Review of Scott Adams' "Win Bigly"

Scott Adams' latest book, "Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter", describes the approach he used to predict Donald Trump's winning of the 2016 election. His thesis is that Trump is a "master persuader," similar to Steve Jobs, who has a "skills stack" (Adams' words) that naturally allows him to persuade people to rally to his side, and this resulted in his victory. This is one theme in "Win Bigly". A second theme that Adams did not intend to include, I believe, is what I'll call "the revenge of reality" theme.

Throughout the election, many people were comparing the policies of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump.

Other people, myself included, were concerned about the candidates' overall ethics and politics as well as those of their supporters. Observing a candidate's supporters is crucial. The candidates themselves are slick and polished; their supporters aren't, so their words and actions are far easier to unravel. The Berkeley riots in response to Milo Yiannopoulos' visit told me all I needed to know about Hillary. I'm a died-in-the-wool America Firster Deplorable, and while I supported Trump, I did not believe he would carry his political philosophy to its natural conclusion, nor would he understand the causes that would block him from reaching that goal.

Regardless, those two approaches (policy and philosophy) attempt to answer the question: who will make the best president, should he or she win? Adams realized that neither of those address another question: who will win? In order to answer that, he examined the techniques each candidate used to persuade the electorate to vote for them.

Adams begins his book by describing his experience as a persuader. He is a trained hypnotist, and a lifelong student of the art of persuasion. He calls himself a "commercial-grade persuader".

To get the art of persuasion off the ground, he believes that it is necessary to take what can be called an "anti-realist" approach to how individuals know the world around them. His theory is that people cannot know the world - that we are living in a world where facts don't matter. By this, he isn't talking about temporary ignorance, or ambiguities, or "fog of war" type nescience, but rather an actual inability to know. In support of this he sites anti-realist philosophers like Kant, various marketing experts, and quantum physicists. "All we have is probability and strangeness," he claims.

Adams goes on to say that this doesn't apply to mundane tasks like balancing your checkbook, only the important things. "...[F]acts and reason don't have much influence on our decisions, except for trivial things, such as putting gas in your car when you are running low. On all the important stuff, we are emotional creatures who make decisions first and rationalize them after the fact." Which side do the steps needed to split the atom, or put men on the moon, or perform open heart surgery, belong - trivial or important? He doesn't answer that.

Instead, Adams claims that people view the world through interpretations or "filters". How does one choose among different filters? He uses two standards:

  1. It makes him happy
  2. It makes accurate predictions

Left unaddressed: how does he know if a prediction has indeed come true, if facts don't matter? How does he know that he is indeed happy?

One of the funniest chapters is the one where he describes the various filters he went through while growing up - starting with the Santa Claus filter, going through the church filter (which makes predictions only after one has died), through the marijuana filter, finally ending with what he calls the "persuasion filter".

The persuasion filter is not to be underestimated for, as Adams points out, it is sufficiently powerful to undermine even the scientific method. Just look at "climategate".

Adams recognized Trump to be a master persuader very early. He didn't start the campaign as a Trump supporter; rather, he was impressed by Trump's persuasive abilities and entertainment value. This was enough to trigger Hillary supporters and Internet trolls, which resulted in Adams being the target of intimidation.

As the campaigns continued, Hillary used backdoor means to eliminate Bernie Sanders. These would not work on Trump, simply because those techniques would not play well in public. She had to up her game in a manner that would grant her victory without appearing even more slimy in the public light. This is when the "pussygate" recording was made public, which caused Adams to temporarily switch his endorsement to Gary Johnson, as he "is the candidate who touches only himself."

Those of us who are skeptical/cynical of politicians knew that the importance of the recording wasn't in the content, but rather in how it was being used: as a tool to paint Trump as a womanizer. By implication, those on Hillary's side were pure as snow, like Bill Clinton or Harvey Weinstein. Thus pussygate didn't get much traction.

So, Hillary and her supporters began the allegations describing Trump as "dark", racist, Islamophobic, racist, homophobic, racist, sexist, Nazi... racist. Rhetoric of this scorched-earth kind cannot stick only to Trump, but carries over to his supporters. Indeed, it is designed to spill over in that manner: "people believed Trump was as bad as Hitler, and by extension that marked his alleged propaganda chief (me) for death as well."

Adams was genuinely concerned for his safety and for that of his friends and family. He changed his endorsement to Hillary "for his own safety". You can tell that Adams lives in northern California: threatening violence against another would be unacceptable anywhere else, we have too much integrity to tolerate such threats. In other parts of the country, the snowflakes resort to economic retaliation.

A died-in-the-wool anti-realist would say: friends and family are concepts that exist only in my mind. How do I know that they are in danger? And if indeed it is a fact that they're in danger, it doesn't matter, since... facts don't matter. Fortunately, Adams dropped his anti-realism and came out swinging: "this was not politics. This was bully behavior, plain and simple. And it flipped a bit in my brain that couldn't flip back."

We know the rest of the story: Trump won the electoral vote, the snowflakes had a tantrum of seismic proportions, and the media continues as leftist propaganda machines.

Adams ends the book with a discussion about how persuasion relates to casualty: did his predictions actually cause Trump to win? Predictions are but guesses - when they come true, they are prophecies; when they don't, we salvage the situation by calling them allegories. An anti-realist cannot make that distinction.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, because the author expresses interesting insights into the art of persuasion, and applies those insights to electoral politics. Filter out the anti-realism, and a very strong book remains.

Let me end this review by making a prediction of my own: Trump will be stymied throughout his term of office by what is coming to be known as the "deep state". He will be slow to understand the fact that the deep state is what we ourselves are supporting, and that the easiest way to stop the deep state is to excise it like the cancer that it is.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Snowflake's Day

Dad is still pissed at me for dropping out of pre-algebra. He can be such a hard ass! Yea, I waited until it was too late to get even a partial refund from the university, but so what? Dad will pay for the class again next semester.

The math professor I had this time was a real task master, and he had it out for me since day one. On the first day of class, I asked him if we should clap or just snap our fingers so that people don't get triggered. His response was "neither, this isn't the Oprah Winfrey Show." When I pressed him on the issue, he said, "this is not a debate club, either."

I dropped that class because it was hard and that professor had high expectations for us. When I complained to him about it, he said that he was surprised anybody could graduate from high school and still need remedial math! Before I walked out, I told him that logic and reason are racist creations of white men used to oppress minorities. That's what I learned in gender studies last semester.

The university doesn't like students to shop around, but hopefully I can get an easy math prof next semester.

Yesterday was boring. I started to watch an American football game because I heard the players would be taking a knee during the National Anthem. I've heard about how players have been cussing-out fans for booing them, but that's OK: the players are part of an oppressed minority, and that's just payback.

I only watched the first 20 minutes of the game. I much prefer real football, or what ignorant Americans call soccer. American football is nothing but a capitalist bourgeois spectacle celebrating toxic hetero-normative masculine values. When will people learn that gender is just a social construct? Why can't America be more like Europe?

Today should be interesting, though, because I'm meeting with my friends Mohammed, Shaniqua, LaShawn, José, and Graham over at Starbucks.

Mohammed has always hated Graham because he's gay, even though Graham bends over backwards to kiss Mohammed's ass. Figuratively, not literally. I really thought Graham would drop out of our group after the Orlando shootings, but he's more enlightened than some of his gay friends. They actually want to ban Muslim immigrants, but Graham knew that the real problem was lax gun control laws. He lost some gay friends over that.

Graham has been hitting on me lately, even though he knows I'm straight. I did tell him I was bi, though, so I can appear to be inclusive. I wish he'd stop bringing dildos to our meetings - yes, Graham, we all know you're gay!

LaShawn, who is thinking about transitioning, is very active in the BLM - he says he's one of the few black men in that organization. "The rest are guilty-ass crackas," he says. BLM is all about fighting racism, and that's LaShawn's main issue.

José has been boycotting Taco Bell lately because they've appropriated his culture. José has been lying low, he hasn't worn his "Make America Mexico Again" hat in weeks. He's undocumented, and he doesn't want to go back to Mexico. He was originally going to skip tonight, but the La Raza meeting got cancelled.

There's always been an undercurrent of tension between LaShawn and José. Not sure why, though.

Shaniqua's an African-American woman and a lesbian. Her main issue is body positivity. She's tired of fat shaming. Even though she's 350 pounds, she still walks up one flight of stairs every morning and hardly wheezes. So much for gravitationally-challenged people being less healthy than everyone else! Shaniqua doesn't complain about my white male privilege, much. She's just made associate professor over in the Women's Studies Department, and I hear she's pulling a salary in the high five figures.

My friends can be kind of tiring with all their backstabbing and general cattiness, but they represent the diversity that is our future!

It is 10:30 in the morning, so I might as well get out of bed. It is still chilly - why do mom and dad always keep the basement so cold?

I look in my dresser - not too many clothes there, mom needs to do laundry. I've got a red Che Guevara t-shirt, but today is Friday, and I hear that people on the right wear red on Fridays to support the military. Nazi pigs! I'll wear my black and white AntiFa t-shirt instead.

I've only got one clean pair of blue jeans, but tomorrow is "National Coming Out Day" and I want to wear those on campus. Instead, I'll wear my skinny jeans that mom got me last week. Like I said, mom needs to get around to doing laundry.

So, only a few hours before that meeting at Starbucks.

You know, dad always says that I need some direction in life. I've made significant progress on that issue over the last 12 months, I think. This meeting is part of that progress.

Last year, I wished that my generation had a great cause, something that would get people to rise up and get organized. The government should get involved, and force people to get off their butts. I wished that there was something great I could do. I'm still mad at my math prof. He said, "we are standing on the shore of a great ocean" and "great men create great times." Sexist pig, assuming only males can be great! Didn't he know that it is society that makes the person? Any person's character can always be deconstructed into the effects that others have on that person. That's what my lit-crit professor said two semesters ago. Has Mr. Math Professor even heard of Derrida?

My generation now has a great cause - fighting Trump! We're organizing a "Resist Fascism" rally at this meeting. When I told my math prof that I joined AntiFa to resist Fascism, he asked if I was going to storm the beaches of Normandy. I don't understand what he says half the time. But whatevs, he's a white male, and he can't see the world as it is because of his white male privilege.

We are resisting Fascism, and that's a worthy cause!

I get dressed and go upstairs. No one left me lunch, and the only thing to eat was some cold pineapple pizza. I'm vegan, so dad has them hold the ham. Animal rights are very important to me, that's why I'm vegan.

I guess I'd better get ready for the meeting at Starbucks, so I need my MacBook and my hammer and sickle flag. Mom won't be able to give me a ride today. That's OK, our carbon footprint is too large. I'll just take the bus.

My Apple MacBook has finished charging. How I love that MacBook! Thanks, mom and dad, for getting it for me! Apple's CEO is gay, and they had Michelle Obama speak at one of the developer conferences earlier this year. Those two things right there make Macs better than Windows machines any day! The best tech companies fight for progressive causes, and aren't afraid of getting rid of employees who question this. Good for them!

Side note: I'm really looking forward to the new iPhone X. The web page announcing it has absolutely no photos of lilly-white males using it! Dad says he'll get me one when they come out!

Anyway, my MacBook is ready to go.

What else should I bring? The first time I went to an AntiFa meeting, I brought poster-board and magic markers, thinking we'll be making signs. I was told that the signs will be printed for us. Less work for us! Great!

Wait, I almost forgot my Communist flag with the hammer and sickle on it! Where is that flag? Oh yea, the police confiscated it and the flagpole it was attached to when my friend used it to stab a police horse in the neck. Her bail was set at something huge! The government isn't enlightened - who cares that the flagpole had a nail in it? The horse deserved it, working for the hegemony like that. I'll never see that flag again.

I'll just ask mom and dad to pick me up another hammer and sickle flag - they've always indulged and supported me. I'm only 25, no one can expect me to buy one of those on my own!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Photobombing a Tragedy

Certain Christian sects have a proud tradition of "witnessing" - the adherents believe that they are in this world to witness tragedies, to minister to the sick and injured, and to spread the Word, thereby making the world a better place.

There is a secular version of this activity that is extremely relevant today: being an independent journalist. With mainstream media resigning themselves to being propagandists and high-profile agent provocateurs, an alternative is needed. Take for example the MSM coverage of AntiFa: you almost never see photos of them carrying hammer-and-sickle Communist flags, but they do. Without direct witnessing (observation), most people wouldn't know that they indeed fly that flag.

There is an activity that can be confused for witnessing, and that is "photobombing". By this I mean the insertion of oneself or one's group into a situation where they have no purpose being - beyond gathering publicity.

The presence of militias at the riots in Charlottesville, VA, is a perfect example of photobombing.

The primary participants in the riots were AntiFa and various neo-Nazi groups. Any reasonable outsider would have stayed at home and cheered as the two sides tried to kill each other, or they would attend only in order to witness events and spread the words that MSM reporters are loathe to speak.

Certain members of various militias decided to insert themselves into that mess with the stated goal of keeping the two sides apart.

In what situations should a militia or militia-like group take action? Here's some criteria. Action should be taken if one has proper:

  • Training
  • Equipment
  • Manpower
  • Mission
  • Authority

How many members of the militia had training in urban operations, crowd control, etc? Of the people who went to Charlottesville, few if any.

Did they have the right equipment? None of the photos of the event showed them possessing riot gear, like face protection or shields. But they were "tacticool".

The militia presence consisted of about 32 people, not nearly enough do crowd control.

Then there is the mission: was there a clearly defined mission, carefully planned, with criteria for both success and failure, as well as a timetable? No.

Finally, there's the issue of authority. If Charlottesville law enforcement had deputized the militia members, then perhaps they would have a purpose there. They would be part of a well-organized law enforcement organization that did have proper training, equipment, manpower, mission, and authority. Trouble is, they could borrow the equipment but they could not borrow the training, so again they would be ill-prepared.

Did the police even want the militia there? There may have been a gentlemen's agreement, but nothing in writing.

Yet, there the militia was, where they had no business. They photobombed the riots.

Another disturbing aspect of the militia's participation is the large amount of media coverage it generated. The MSM lumped the militiamen together with the white supremacists. It didn't help that the militia members forgot to scrub their uniforms, and one was photographed wearing a Confederate flag on his uniform.

There was only one seemingly positive report about the militia's presence, a Washington Post article. The writing was so nebulous that it could be read as either a glowing review or a damning condemnation of the militia. An analysis of this article can be found on the Patrick Henry Society website which examines the ambiguity in the WaPo's article, and eviscerates the story as well as the subject of that story.

All this gave the militia a black eye, but other acts made it worse. One militia member created a "Hug a Muslim" video, and he also made overtures to the BLM, despite their explicit racism, in order to prove that militias aren't racist. What happens should the BLM start rioting while the militia is standing next to them? No comment.

Unlike some other people in the patriot community, I do believe that a professional and effective militia is a possibility. It requires eliminating drama and favoring substance over optics. It requires a lot of training from veterans, and the first step is for militiamen to shut up, work hard, and learn from the training. Even then we will never be as good as they are, but that's OK. We just have to be good enough to protect that which we value.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Two More Minutes of Hate

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. This maxim holds not only in geometry, but in business as well. In that situation, the two points are the producer of goods or services, and the customer. The transactions between the two, for it to be "businesslike", must not involve any interference by any agency, government "service", third party, or side issues. No diversions must come on the shortest path between producer and customer.

This singlemindedness is the hallmark of a good businessman, and a similar thing holds for any person with any talent: no irrelevancies allowed.

Unfortunately, American businesses have forgotten that: they allow distractions to enter. Like politics, for example.

We've seen National Football League player Colin Kaepernick kneel at the playing of the national anthem. He's protesting "a country that oppresses black people and people of color". In 2016, he had a base salary of $11,900,000, a roster bonus of $2,000,000 and a workout bonus of $400,000, according to SpoTrac. Poor Colin. Poor, poor Colin.

We've read Starbucks promise to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years in the 75 countries in which they conduct business. Will these include the Starbucks that anti-Trump protesters destroyed during the inauguration? How about the Starbucks destroyed by the rioters at UC Berkeley?

These issues are nothing but distractions from the respective purposes of the NFL and Starbucks, yet they are allowed to happen.

On Thursday, February 2nd, Comcast held protests over Trump's executive order limiting immigrants from seven countries known to breed terrorists. Those protests took place at several Comcast offices, including the Philadelphia one.

The organization of these protests started in the Comcast Silicon Valley (CSV) office located in Sunnyvale, CA. The organizers created a Slack "channel" (a chatroom) that soon included over a thousand members. As plans were evolving, a VP from that office sent the following email to a list of current and former CSV workers:

Hi folks,

As many of you know, a group of Comcasters in Philly and CSV are organizing a walkout for tomorrow (Thursday) at 11 Pacific to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The organizers were inspired by the walkouts at Google campuses around the world on Monday.

If you want to participate or learn more about this, join the #walkout Slack channel.

I’m personally extremely supportive of this action. As a grandchild of immigrants, I understand the contribution immigrants from all over the world have made, and continue to make to this country. And I deeply appreciate that our country, at its best, has extended the opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to people in need.

I want to emphasize that this action is being taken by a group of individuals, motivated by their own social and political views. This isn’t a company-sponsored event, and the participants aren’t making any demands of the company. If your views are different, or if you don’t agree with the action for whatever reason, you shouldn’t feel any pressure. We’re supposed to be “the land of the free” so let’s all respect each other’s rights to speak our minds, or stay silent if that’s what feels right.


I learned of this chatroom from that email. There were various informal and heated discussions of this protest by my coworkers, and there seemed to be a concerted effort to exclude me from such discussions. Which is fine by me.

Organizers of the protest had consulted with management and Comcast legal services. They determined that protesters were not allowed to use the Comcast logo or name on any of their signs.

The protest was not mandatory. It was not an official Comcast event, though employees were allowed to take one hour of paid time off to participate.

I decided to counter-protest.

The night before the protest, I finished the essay called "Two Minutes of Hate" in response to the protests at various airports (and soon, Comcast) over Trump's order. About a half-hour before the protest was to start, I posted it to this blog, as well as to that chatroom. I also sent it in response to that email from the CSV VP.

Almost immediately, people began talking to me about the protests, and the consequences of either boycotting or counter protesting. Typically, my response to them was that they should be resolute, and to remember that they are correct on this issue. Here's an atypical response...

Fellow employee who was afraid to counter-protest: "You think the police will protect you?"
Me: "You think the police can protect them from me?"

The protesters gathered at the plaza in front of the Comcast Center building, as shown in this photo:

The man on the right with the megaphone used to be my manager. His parents were Vietnamese Boat People. They started a highly-respected restaurant, and are living the American dream. Their son didn't learn.

I stood with a sign that read "#RememberTheVictims" and also held a photo of a man with whom I used to do business, and who was killed in the Orlando night club shootings. I stood in a place where people could see those signs as the left the plaza and headed to City Hall.

I followed them to City Hall, listened to them chat, then again stood in a place where the protesters could see the signs as they returned to Comcast. It was a short protest, management gave them only one hour of PTO.

Of course, my manager, most of my teammates, as well as everyone with whom I sit were against Trump’s executive order, so they were protesting, and they saw me with my signs.

The next day, I was fired. My contracting company said they wanted to continue to work with me, and that Comcast was willing to rehire me for another team.

The reasons for my termination are becoming muddied, and I've already received two different excuses for my termination: one was that I was "unhappy" at my current position, the other that my team wanted an operations person instead of a software developer.

I've been a contractor at Comcast Philadelphia for approximately two years. Near the end of my first year there, they tried to hire me full time, but we were unable to agree on the salary. Before my contract ended, my old manager worked to move me to another team. That new team was dissolved a few months later, and that manager found me a spot with what used to be my current team.

Comcast was happy with me and I was happy with them. Until the counter-protest, that is.

I'm uncertain about working with Comcast in the future. Like all corporations, the chicken choking left hand does not know whom the right hand is wanking. For that reason, I hold no ill will towards the company as a whole.

But I am certain that I can no longer trust them. This is the first consequence for employers who become political, when they stray from the shortest path: doubt is introduced into the employee's mind about any action that management takes. Management undermines themselves, thus revealing their own incompetence.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Two Minutes of Hate

Trump's "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States" implemented a temporary ban on immigration from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and Libya. The text of that executive order is available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/27/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states

Based on the level of vitriol in the reaction to that order, people would rather spend hours protesting something they did not spend 30 minutes reading. After all, why take 30 minutes out of your day to determine what to think when the media will do that for you in two minutes?

What is this executive order about, and what are the protests about?

The executive order is not about immigration
Most everybody is from someplace else, therefore there is nothing special about immigration, regardless of how much immigrants are apotheosized. America is not a country of immigrants, we are a country of pioneers. What is important about immigration is how immigrants arrived and what the individual immigrants do with their lives after arriving. Do they open a restaurant or other business, do they provide for their family, do they integrate into the larger community - in essence, do they become proud Americans? Or do they try their hardest to stay "economic migrants" or "hyphenated-Americans"? Or, at worst, do they attempt to convert America into the countries from which they escaped? Becoming American is commendable, and should be supported, but there are no provisions in that executive order excluding immigrants who merely wish to stand on our soil.

It is the right of every sovereign nation to determine who can and who cannot legally enter within its borders. Of the 196 countries on this planet, only seven were excluded by this executive order. So, the order isn't about immigration. Nor is it an absolute ban on immigration from those seven countries, since there are exceptions made for people from those seven countries "traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas" as well as explicit provisions for case-by-case review.

Lest we forget, Trump's wife is herself an immigrant.

It is not about Islam
The order not only bans Muslims from the seven countries covered by the order, it bans all people, with the exceptions listed above. In fact, two of the families stranded at Philadelphia International Airport were Christian families fleeing from Syria - and they were not returned to Syria.

None of the five countries with the largest Muslim populations are on the list. The words "Muslim" or "Islam" appear nowhere in the EO. The references to Islam are indirect, like this paragraph from section 1 of the EO:

"In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including "honor" killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation."

There can be no justification for harboring those who enjoy the benefits of living in our republic while trying destroy it, so why not deny entry to those who harbor ill will to our Constitution and our founding principles? We are not obligated to aid and abet our own destruction.

Further, why shouldn't we keep out anyone who would "oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation"? We have fought too long and too hard to win the rights of minorities and women and gays and lesbians in this country, and it makes no sense to reverse those gains.

What else isn't the executive order about?
It isn't about racism, since there is no such thing as the "Islamic race" or the "immigrant race". It isn't about free speech, either. If you think this is a "free speech" issue, look at what happened yesterday at UC Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement. So much for Michelle Obama's "when they go low, we go high" policy.

What, then, is the executive order about?
The executive order is an attempt to protect America against foreign terrorism. The seven countries are not even specified in the executive order itself, but were identified in the Terrorist Prevention Act of 2015 and its 2016 extension as being current fomenters of terrorists. The order limits entry to people from only those seven countries, requires that the vetting process be improved, requires the completion of a biometric tracking system, and requires public reporting of immigration statistics.

These are the types of actions that should have been taken following the terrorist attacks on 9-11, or at Boston, Ft. Hood, San Bernardino, Orlando, or Mumbai, or multiple places in Pakistan, or Paris (two times), or Berlin, Cologne, or at a whole host of other attack locations.

Finally, what are the protests about?
When Obama banned Cuban immigrants from arriving here, there were no protests. When the Obama administration chose that list of seven countries in 2015 and 2016, where was the outrage? It is easy to say that the root cause of the protests is the election of Trump, or rather, Hillary Clinton's loss. While this is true in part, it is also about the abrogation of the individual's responsibility to determine beliefs based on his or her own observations, research, and reasoning. The protesters are being told what to think, rather than figuring it out for themselves. And they see no problem with this.

The protests are nothing but "Two Minutes of Hate."