Best of Lee: Brownie Moment

This was one of my favorite Leeisms:

I’d like to take a moment to coin a new phrase: Brownie Moment. A Brownie moment can be defined simply as the moment when a supporter of President Bush is smacked in the head by reality and loses any and all faith in the president from that moment forward. As you may have surmised the term comes from Bush’s recent comment regarding former FEMA head Michael Brown’s leadership in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

This was my Brownie moment. I understand that in the world of politics leaders often have to say things they don’t mean, or shake hands with dictators and scumbags, and do a lot of morally repugnant stuff. But when Bush said that I realized that after surveying the impotent, incompetent response of the federal government he truly, honestly believed that Brownie was doing a heck of a job. That sealed it for me. I’d been turning sour on Bush for a while, but I was still generally supportive of him. When I heard him make that remark, however, that was it. That was my Brownie moment.

I bring this up in light of the Miers nomination. There are a whole lot of head-scratching Republicans gazing at each other wondering what the hell just happened. Could Bush really have nominated this woman to the Supreme Court? Yes, my friends, he just did. I imagine there are a whole lot of conservatives out there today who have just had their very own Brownie moment.

I bring this up because it seems like a lot of Republicans are having “Trumpie Moments”. A lot of Republicans have been endorsing Donald Trump. This is not unusual, of course, parties endorse their nominees. Duh. But it’s come under extra scrutiny this year because Trump is not an ordinary candidate. He’s brash. He’s politically incorrect. The things he says are controversial and often have no relationship with the truth. He contradicts himself, sometimes in mid-sentence.

But Republicans have still endorsed him. Partly because they don’t want to be told what to do by the elite media. Partly because they see defeating Hillary as the most important thing in this election. Partly because they’re hoping he’ll become more Presidential as time goes on. Partly because they think this is an act and he’ll either govern moderately or just rubber stamp their legislation. And partly because they genuinely support him.

But with Trump’s poll numbers plunging, his tone not moderating, a bad money situation developing in the RNC, new polls indicating the House and Senate may be at risk, and indications that Trump is already planning a post-election TV network, a lot of Republicans are backing away from their endorsements or saying they won’t support him. Larry Hogan, Richard Armitage, Rick Snyder, John Kasich, Mark Kirk and Fred Upton are the most prominent names of what is becoming a stampede.

I think a lot of people are having “Trumpie Moments” right now. They’re realizing that his caustic tone isn’t an act, it’s who he is. They’re realizing that he’s bringing the same financial disaster to the RNC that he brought to his businesses. It’s getting so bizarre — Trump is apparently wanting to push hard in traditional blue states like California, rather than swing states like Ohio — that some people are openly wondering if he’s tanking the election. There’s enough defection right now, that Gary Johnson is polling in the low 10’s. If he gets to 15%, he’ll get into the debates (in theory; I suspect the media will find an excuse to keep him out).

This is bad. We can deal with President Clinton and a Republican Congress. But we can’t deal with President Clinton and a Democratic Congress. There’s four and a half months to go and a lot can happen. I make absolutely no predictions. But a year ago, I thought the Republicans would easily sweep this election and get another chance to be conservative. Now, we’re looking at the possible total crackup of the GOP and a Democratic sweep.

And yeah, I know some people are going to say that’s great, that the GOP needs to be burned down. These people are fools. I’ve quoted Charles Cooke before but it’s worth quoting again:

But the idea that it hasn’t effectively and consistently opposed President Obama’s agenda is little more than a dangerous and ignorant fiction. Had the GOP not been standing in the way — both from 2008, when it was in the minority everywhere, and from 2010, when it regained the House — the United States would look dramatically different than it does today. Without the GOP manning the barricades, Obamacare could well have been single payer, and, at the very least, the law would have included a “public option.” Without the GOP manning the barricades, we’d have seen a carbon tax or cap-and-trade — or both. Without the GOP manning the barricades, we’d have got union card check, and possibly an amendment to Taft-Hartley that removed from the states their power to pass “right to work” exemptions. Without the GOP standing in the way, we’d now have an “assault weapons” ban, magazine limits, background checks on all private sales, and a de facto national gun registry. And without the GOP standing in the way in the House, we’d have got the very amnesty that the Trump people so fear

I would add, as I noted before, that Obama wanted to spend $2.5 trillion that the GOP refused to spend, including $700 billion in 2015 alone.

It’s scary what Hillary Clinton would do, pulled to the far Left by Bernie Sanders and unfettered by a GOP Congress. The White House may or may not be a lost cause. As I said, we’ve got four months left. But the House and Senate are not lost causes. And the GOP needs to go all out protecting them. And any conservative or libertarian who values divided government should get on board.

Assassination in the UK

Awful:

Investigators are searching for answers a day after British politician Jo Cox was killed in a brazen attack on the street in her district in northern England.

Cox, a member of Parliament, was stabbed and shot Thursday in Birstall after a meeting with constituents, the Press Association reported, citing witnesses, in an attack that has shocked a nation with tight gun laws.

A local official briefed by police told CNN that the gunman “lay in wait” for Cox before the attack.

Police have arrested Tommy Mair in connection with the case, the Press Association reported. There is no clear indication of a motive, but details are emerging that Mair had an interest in white supremacy.

Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two, was an avid campaigner for the rights of refugees. Her death comes a week before a crucial referendum on whether Britain should stay in the European Union, and she was an open supporter of remaining in the bloc.

I haven’t commented on the Brexit referendum because, frankly, I don’t know enough about the issue. It seems likely this was connected but we’ll wait until more details come out.

What detail was missing from this story?

The LA Times ran a story titled “Looting and unrest continue roiling Venezuela as shortages persist and protesters demand food, where it provided details like this:

Venezuela, where anger over food shortages is still mounting, continued to be roiled this week by angry protests and break-ins of grocery stores and businesses that have left five dead, at least 30 injured and 200 arrested, according to various news reports.

The latest fatality came from the southwest city of Merida, where 17-year-old Jean Paul Omana died Wednesday after being shot Tuesday during a disturbance amid looting.

Widespread violence has been reported there, as well as an attack by protesters on the headquarters of President Nicolas Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela, or PSUV.

As consumers grow increasingly frustrated with ongoing food scarcities and lengthening lines outside stores, protests are turning more violent. A Social media reported protests on Wednesday in the Los Teques, Los Altos Mirandinos and Santa Teresa del Tuy suburbs of Caracas, the capital.

A common thread among protesters demanding the government provide food is that they are suffering from hunger and in some cases heat exposure from spending hours in line. Mired in economic crisis, Venezuela must import the bulk of its food items, but supplies have run short because of the government’s cash shortage, triggered by falling oil prices.

So, we are told that there are food shortages, caused because the government has to import most things in Venezuela these days, and they are unable to do this because of falling oil prices! Note what’s missing in all this detail? How about explaining why Venezuela, a country that once was a leading manufacturer in South America now ends up having to import practically everything, and why the government has to do this, and not the economy as a common course? I know, it’s obvious to those of us that know what evil scourge has been destroying Venezuela, but the usual idiots that lap up the left’s bullshit, are not going to connect the dots without someone telling them what the problem is.

And the problem is not that the US is fomenting an imperialist revolution and interfering with the affairs of state in Venezuela, after all, the Obama administration has gone out of its way to coddle tyrannical leftists and murderers all over the globe, but the very fact that Venezuela is now reaping the rewards of collectivism running its course. Things are now getting to the point where the government has to deploy troops to quell the unrest. I am sure Maduro and Chavez’s daughter don’t have these problems. After all, unlike under the evil capitalist system where the rich have power, in a collectivist system, <a href=”http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3640941/Super-rich-quaff-champagne-Venezuela-country-club-middle-classes-scavenge-food-rubbish-dumps-DOGS-starving.html” target={_new”>only those with power are going to be rich or have the access to what being rich buys you.

And this is the way Obama’s promise to fundamentally transform America will also play out: have no doubt about it. Collectivism is an evil failure. An excuse used by people that will prey on the basest and vilest of man’s instincts – greed and envy – to justify theft. Unfortunately for the dupes that go along, the masters soon realize the pie is limited and will never grown under the system they espouse, so they end up stealing most of it, leaving the people all in abject misery.

This crap has played itself out over and over, with the results always being the same: catastrophe. In most places the decent into hell has been swift and the results immediately apparent. Because of the immense wealth in the western world, wealth created by the very system the collectivists wish to destroy, the western nations that started down the collectivist road are taking longer getting here, but they will get there. The current crop of credentialed elites are so inept that they can’t help but break it all.

Quick Hit

I told you food deserts was bullshit. But that didn’t stop the feds and states from spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to force poor people to eat better.

As Ta-Nehisi said, junk food is one of the few vices the poor can afford without wrecking their lives. And the working poor — those trying to drag themselves up against the raging torrent of liberal policies keeping them poor — fast food is sometimes all they have time for. The idea of getting poor people to go down to grocery store and buy lots of organic kale was always an arrogant classist idea; rich busybodies talking down to working folk. But don’t expect their utter failure to deter them.

It never does.

PETA Dumb

There’s dumb. There’s stupid. There’s idiotic. And then there’s PETA:

(#StateofWomen refers to the White Houses’s State of Women summit which, as far as I can tell, is designed to advance a left wing agenda by claiming it’s a feminist one.)

Here’s a little peek at how I write. I do a lot of my writing while doing other stuff: working, cleaning up the house, looking after kids, swimming (especially swimming). By that I don’t mean I’m actively blogging when I’m supposed to be doing my job. I mean that, while I’m working or bathing Hal 11000 Beta or whatever, stuff is bubbling away in the back of my mind. A blog post, a news event or a tweet stews back there, with thoughts accumulating around it. And then at some point, usually in the evening after the kids are passed out, I write out most of a blog post.

Twitter often works the same way. Sometimes I respond instantly to things. Other times, I’ll read something, think about it while I’m doing stuff and then comment during a break in the action. I’ve learned, with both blogging and tweeting, not to force things but to let my ideas ease out on their own — kind of like taking a particularly hard dump (cue jokes about my writing style).

With this PETA quote, though, I was stumped. I would think of something funny to say and then I’d realize it wasn’t as funny as what PETA had originally tweeted. And then I’d think of a snide remark and realize it didn’t mock the tweet as well as it mocked itself. What can you say about someone who doesn’t see a moral difference between a human being and the vicious, dirty (but delicious) creatures that are chickens? In the end, all I could do was retweet it and let its idiocy stand for itself.

This is close to the platonic ideal of a stupid tweet. Anthropologists will study it for years to explore the idiocy. It’s kind of miraculous, really.

Further Thoughts on Orlando

So I’ve been spending a couple of days letting the news gather, reading commentary and thinking about the Orlando massacre. What follows are a few gathered thoughts on the killing and issues related to it. The short version is that I find myself agreeing with Brian Doherty. As much as we want to stop these events, there’s not a lot we can do short of destroying our way of life. We are a free country. We allow people, at least in theory, to go anywhere they chose, to live in privacy, to express themselves as they wish and, yes, to buy and bear arms. Almost all of the “solutions” proposed for mass shootings involve crushing those freedoms for people who have not done anything: restricting someone’s freedom because some government bureaucrat thinks they might be a terrorist, maybe; taking away “assault weapons” that millions of Americans own and use without harm; expanding the power of government to monitor and control our lives.

These are all solutions running around in search of a problem they can solve. They will not be used to stop acts like the Pulse killings. They will almost certainly be used to prosecute the War on Drugs, to punish people for wrongthink and to crack down on groups we either don’t care about or don’t like. We’ve panicked like this before: internment of the Japanese, the Patriot Act, the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Sedition Act of 1918. Let’s not keep repeating the errors of the past.

Read more… »

Shooting in Orlando

My God:

Fifty people were killed inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, Orlando Police Chief John Mina and other officials said Sunday morning, just hours after a shooter opened fire in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

At least 53 more people were injured, Mina said. Police have shot and killed the gunman, he told reporters.
“It’s appears he was organized and well-prepared,” the chief said, adding that the shooter had an assault-type weapon, a handgun and “some type of (other) device on him.”
Officials warned that a lengthy investigation was ahead, given the number of victims and the scope of the violence.

Once again, be suspicious of initial reports and fuck anyone who tries to use this to advance their pet political cause before they know what happened.

(I won’t print the name of the shooter. Suffice it to say there are good reasons to suspect the motive.)

Science Sunday: A Big Social Science Oops

Wow:

Social science can be so amusing. There is a bit of a contretemps over several recent articles that used datasets supposedly measuring the personality traits of liberals and conservatives which has resulted in several abashed corrections. The researchers used the data in an effort to show that personality traits are not the cause of political attitudes, but instead both are correlated with some other factor, most likely genetic. Interesting enough. This finding is not what is being corrected.

Instead, what is being corrected is the rather casual assumption in the studies by the researchers that a personality factor identified in the datasets they used is supposedly associated with conservative political views. That factor is called Psychoticism. They hasten to explain that Pyschoticism is not the same thing as psychotic. The original article, “Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies,” in the American Journal of Political Science explains:

Having a high Psychoticism score is not a diagnosis of being clinically psychotic or psychopathic. Rather, P is positively correlated with tough-mindedness, risk-taking, sensation-seeking, impulsivity, and authoritarianism (Adorno et al. 1950; Altemeyer 1996; Eysenck and Eysenck 1985, McCourt et al. 1999). In social situations, those who score high on P are more uncooperative, hostile, troublesome, and socially withdrawn, but lack feelings of inferiority and have an absence of anxiety. At the extremes, those scoring high on P are manipulative, tough-minded, and practical (Eysenck 1954). By contrast, people low on P are more likely to be more altruistic, well socialized, empathic, and conventional (Eysenck and Eysenck 1985; Howarth 1986). As such, we expect higher P scores to be related to more conservative political attitudes, particularly for militarism and social conservatism.

Well, guess what. It turned out that they’d coded their spreadsheet wrong. Higher “psychoticism” scores actually correlated with liberal beliefs, not conservative ones. So their study, cited by many liberals as proof that Conservatives Be crazy, showed the exact opposite of their conclusions.

Digression time:

The best thing about science is that it has a corrective mechanism: someone else can do the experiment and check the results and see if they’re borne out. This mechanism works well in the physical sciences, where mechanisms are fairly deterministic — no matter how many times you drop a steel ball, it will always follow the same law of gravity. It works reasonably well in the biological sciences. In biology, systems are more complex and a bit more unpredictable. On balance, heavy drinking will kill you. But there are people who drink like fish and live long lives because genes or other factors or just plain luck keep them going. You also have a problem of reproducing experiments — I can mix chemicals over and over again and weed out the bad results. But I only get to do a 40-year study of people’s eating habits once.

In the social sciences, though, all bets are off. Part of it is that you are dealing with complex systems. Economies are complex, humans are complex and we only get to live out history once. Part of it is an “observer effect”. People behave differently or even lie to researchers when they know they are part of an experiment. For example, Sweden claimed the number of men who had ever seen a prostitute dropped massively after they imposed their “Nordic Model” on sex work, which only makes sense if massive numbers of Swedish men were struck dead by the legislation. In reality, fewer men were willing to admit they had because of the social pressure.

But it’s also ideological. Physicists, chemists, engineers and biologists tend to have a mix of political views; social scientists tend to be almost exclusively liberal. Physical and biological research only occasionally has big political implications (e.g., global warming, GMOs, evolution). And even in these cases, the science is not political; the science is politicized by opportunistic politicians.

But in the social sciences, almost everything has some political implication. So results that confirm the ideological bias of the researchers sometimes isn’t questioned too carefully. Massive tomes on income inequality are praised despite serious methodological flaws. Papers supporting Keynesian economics are taken as gospel despite huge flaws. Garbage research claiming massive amount of sex trafficking is used to inform policy.

An example more germane? A lot of people have claimed that Donald Trump’s supporters are authoritarian. This sounds about right to me except … that analysis is based on sociological debris. Here are the questions used to determine if someone is authoritarian:

Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: independence or respect for elders?

Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: obedience or self-reliance?

Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: to be considerate or to be well-behaved?

Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: curiosity or good manners?

Everyone claims this is the “definitive” test of authoritarian tendencies. Is it? Those traits seem to track culture far more than they track politics. My grandparents’ generation would have shown up as very authoritarian even though they voted FDR in four times and huge numbers of them had fled Europe because of the rise of authoritarianism. But because this test shows that conservatives are more authoritarian and all the sociologists believe that conservatives are more authoritarian, everyone accepts it.

But which is more authoritarian? Believing in a government that governs least? Or believing in a government that controls our lives? The problem here is that liberals don’t think of themselves as authoritarian even thought they are. If you believe in government controlling healthcare, education, retirement and half of the country’s wealth, you’re authoritarian, no matter how sincerely you believe that gays should be able to get married or how liberal your parenting methods are.

(This problem of nomenclature comes up a lot. I can’t find the link, but McArdle has written about a study that showed that liberals valued “fairness” more than conservatives. Every liberal scholar and pundit cited it was proof of how unfair conservative ideas were. But conservatives objected, arguing that wealth redistribution was not “fairness”. They saw it as plunder. Conservatives think that allowing people to keep what they’ve earned is “fairness”. In the end, the researchers agreed that people might differ on the definition of “fairness” and changed their word choice.)

In any case, this is yet another demonstration of how bias clouds the social sciences. This was a very basic error, something that even a modicum of checking would have shown. but no one questioned it, no referee gainsaid it, no one reproduced the results because it confirmed what liberals wanted to believe.

This is how the left sees the system work

Sure, I can refer to this Washington Times editorial piece and stick to the fact that, again, the very asshole leftists that want to disarm the people so they can become even more horribly tyrannical in their ways, are violating the second amendment of the constitution, but in doing so I would be missing the forest for the trees. The big lesson here isn’t that these assholes exempted themselves from gun control laws they foisted on the plebes, but the following bigger problem:

The California state Senate voted 28-8 Wednesday to exempt itself from the pointless gun-control laws that apply to the rest of the populace. Legislators apparently think they alone are worthy to pack heat on the streets for personal protection, and the masses ought to wait until the police arrive.

This is just one of many bills Golden State politicians used this legislative session to set themselves apart from the little people, the ones who pay their inflated salaries.

And this double standards when it comes to the people vs. the political aristocracy doesn’t stop with the blue states like California, but is now central to the entire political machine of this country. Wherever you turn, blue state credentialed politicians have straddled the productive with draconian legislation and fiscal responsibilities, while exempting themselves from them. In many cases they have blatantly passed laws to specifically make this the case, but in most cases, what you have is them simply enforcing the laws against the little people and their political enemies while keeping themselves exempt from that.

What is my proof, you ask? Well, if the law applied equally to us all, Obama would have been indicted for doing what Nixon couldn’t – sick the IRS against his political enemies – and the woman running for president on the Demcoratic ticket would be doing it like this:

This is what Hillary's campaign should look like

This is what Hillary’s campaign should look like

UPDATE: Yeah, she has been lying through her teeth about how bad what she did was:

Once again Hillary’s been caught lying about her criminal mishandling of classified national security information. Recall that Ms. Clinton swears none of the emails which passed through her off-the-record email server system was ever marked classified.

Uh oh. Au contraire, madam, once again you are exposed as a liar.

Fox News gets the credit. In an exclusive report published June 11, Fox News revealed that one of Ms. Clinton’s emails had a “portion marking” that identified the specific information contained in the “portion” as being classified. That means the information was sensitive and was legally protected.

The information had the lowest level of classification, Confidential. It discussed a phone call with the president of Malawi, Joyce Banda. Fox News included an information-rich screen shot of the email.

I wonder how much of that stuff that was “accidentally destroyed” makes this all look like peanuts. Actually, no I am not. I know they got rid of it because it was incriminating, and playing this game where we give them the benefit of doubt is long pas its expiration date.