A World of Problems

Back when the Germans were threatening to shut down Greece and sell it off for parts, it was fairly obvious that there was no way to “fix” the Greek problem. Even it were possible to radically overhaul their public sector, the debt payments are too high to maintain the level of social services expected from a modern social democracy. Default was unthinkable because close to 80 percent of Greece’s public debt is owned by public institutions, primarily the EU governments and the ECB.

The “solution” was to kick the can down the road until a miracle happened, but now the problem is back.

ATHENS—Greece’s economic recovery is proving elusive, challenging the forecasts of the country’s government and foreign creditors still counting on growth reviving this year.

The International Monetary Fund said last week  that the economy is stagnating, in the first admission from creditors that Greece’s recovery is off track again. Growth will only restart next year, the head of the IMF’s team in Greece said on a conference call with reporters, without offering details.

Of particular concern is that exports, which are supposed to lead Greece out of trouble, are on a slow downward trajectory, hampered by capital controls, taxes and a lack of credit.

“There is no chance we will see a rebound unless we see some bold political decisions that would introduce a more stable business environment,” said Dimitris Tsakonitis, general manager at mining company Grecian Magnesite.

The bailout agreement between Greece and its German-led creditors assumes rapid growth from late 2016 onward, including an official forecast of 2.7% growth in 2017. Private-sector economists believe next year’s growth could be closer to 0.6%.

Weaker growth would undermine the budget, likely leading to fresh arguments with lenders about extra austerity measures.

Greece is still grappling with the measures it has already agreed to. Late on Tuesday the country’s parliament approved pension overhauls and other policy changes that have been delayed for months, holding up bailout funding.

Greek government officials are sticking to their view that the economy is on the cusp of growth. “We are at the turning point at which we can we say with certainty that we are leaving the recession behind us,” Economy Minister George Stathakis told supporters of the ruling left-wing Syriza party Sunday.

The economy will get a push from investors as of the end of the year, when lenders are expected to provide some debt relief and the country qualifies for a European Central Bank bond buyback program, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last week.

In other words, the miracle did not happen and the problem is now worse. This comes at a time when Europe’s biggest bank is in very serious trouble.

Hedge funds have started to pull some of their business from Deutsche Bank, setting up a potential showdown with German authorities over the future of the country’s largest lender.

As its shares fell sharply in New York trading, Deutsche recirculated a statement emphasising its strong financial position.

European regulators and government officials have kept a low profile in public over Deutsche’s deepening woes. However, in private they have struck a sanguine tone, stressing that in extremis there is scope under European regulation to inject state funds to support the bank, provided it is done in line with market conditions.

Marcel Fratzscher, head of DIW Berlin, a think-tank, said: “If push comes to shove, the German government would contribute because Deutsche Bank is the only global bank that Germany has.”

There is one solid rule with banking and that is when the biggest bank is in trouble, all the banks are in trouble. The reason is a bank in trouble seeks to increase its cash by unwinding its holdings. This puts downward pressure on the price of those assets, which forces all banks holding similar assets to revalue and perhaps raise their cash holdings, by selling assets. This can easily set off a cascading effect, which is popularly referred to as contagion. The ghost of Lehman now haunts Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank has something north of €42 Trillion in derivative exposure. To put that into perspective, the GDP of Europe is €14 Trillion. The phrase “systemic risk” is starting to pop up in news stories for obvious reasons. Presumably the German government would step in and bail out the bank, but this is the same German government that invited millions of Muslims into the country. That and no one really knows how big the problem is at Deutsche Bank. There’s nothing more dangerous in the financial world than uncertainty.

If that’s not enough to have you stocking up on potable water and MRE’s, the news brings word that the Obama Administration is trying its best to start a war with Russia over Syria. They are ending talks with the Russians over the bombing of Aleppo. The Russians are threatening to impose a no-fly zone, while John Kerry is making noises about sending troops to Syria. The US position is completely nuts, which is what makes it so dangerous. The same people who screwed this up are now tasked with avoiding a mistake that will lead to a shooting war with the Russians.

The world always has some problem that could get out of control and bring the whole thing crashing down, but the odds are usually long enough to not worry too much. Pakistan is now threatening to nuke India, but that happens often enough to not take too seriously. Pakistan’s military understands that they will lose a real war with India. India understands that they will gain nothing by winning a war against Pakistan. This is one of those problems that can be managed by the permanent diplomatic service, with little help from the political class.

The three crisis I’m following all have some things in common. One is they will require hard choices from the political class to contain. In politics, a hard choice is one that causes a politician to lose support. Merkel’s government is already teetering so how willing is she going to be to make a bold move to rescue Deutsche Bank? The ECB proved unable to deal with the Greeks the last time. If Merkel is facing a financial crisis, who will she play bad cop with the Greeks when Tsipris inevitably comes calling, demanding a break on Greek debt?

The Syria debacle is the most concerning because it resembles so many European problems of the past. There’s a Seven Year’s War quality to it where you have two main players with the rest changing teams after every stage. With the US now increasing the troop levels in nearby Iraq, presumably to fight in one theater of this conflict, the chances of a mistake increase. In these situations, mistakes are often not mistakes, but even when they are, they become reasons to abandon dialogue in favor of military options.

We live in a world of trouble. One can be forgiven for having a sense of foreboding.

Carnival of Nonsense

The other day, I was on a conference call hosted by a youngish women who spoke mostly in riddles. She actually said, “intrinsically customize distinctive relationships” in a non-ironic way. She may have said other nonsense like this, but my eyes had glazed over and I was working on a revenge fantasy, not paying attention. That goofy phrase woke me from my daydream and that’s why it stuck in my head. I spent the rest of the call trying to unriddle what that could possibly mean and why anyone would say it.

Anyone familiar with life in large organizations is familiar with this sort of gibberish that seems to have started about two decades ago. My first recollection of creeping neologisms is in the 90’s when everyone and everything had to have the word “synergy” attached to it in some way. I can still recall a particularly good looking power-skirt enthusiastically telling a group of us that “synergy” was our key to success. I was sure then and I am sure now that she had no idea what it meant.

Echolalic babbling has become so common now that we tend not to notice it. This article on block chain technology I ran across the other day is a good example. I have an interest in the topic so I read these things when I find them, but “read” is not really what I do. Instead, I scan them looking for word combinations that are in a real language conveying actual information. I naturally filter out nonsense like “the diversity of such vertically connected organizations” because it is meaningless pap that just fills space.

The excessive use of jargon is not new. Pointless fields of study like the soft sciences are packed to the gills with jargon. Read a psychology paper and you have to keep stopping to think about the meaning of some word or phrase that more often than not has no real meaning, outside the narrow specialty within the field of psychology. The word is a signal that lets the reader know if they belong. For those who don’t belong, they are intended to scare you off so you don’t look too closely and discover the study is mostly nonsense.

That’s what happens in the corporate world where there are layers and layers of “managers” that only exists because the state has created the need. Companies fear being sued or being whacked around by the state, so they have elaborate processes to comply with the law. The army of do-nothings in the bureaucracy are there to make sure no steps are skipped. They just clog up the works, by forming committees and process management teams that try hard to keep the remaining productive workers from getting their work done.

There’s a chicken and egg issue here. Is this the result of women now dominating the workplace or did this evolve so that women could dominate the work place. Much of the jargon and gibberish we see is attached to elaborate processes, which naturally appeal to women. Males are results oriented while women are process oriented. Get a gander at how federal grants are doled out in the cognitive sciences and you see an elaborate process staffed almost exclusively by women. Perhaps the Muslims are not wrong about everything.

That aside, no one wants to believe their work is meaningless so it is natural to try and make what you do seem important to yourself and others. Larding up these busy work jobs with mountains of nonsensical jargon makes the people doing these jobs feel important. Mastering the corporate pseudo-language allows them to feel like experts and insiders, much in the same way academic jargon works. So, armies of middle managers go from meeting to meeting speaking in tongues to one another, proud that their calendars are full of meetings.

Theodore Dalrymple thinks there is something sinister to this descent into echolalic babbling, but I’m not sure. Orwell’s Newspeak was a part of an overall program of the state to oppress the masses. The proliferation of jargon we are seeing does not strike me as such. Instead, it is closer to what you see with small children on a playground. They have a limited vocabulary and lots of free time so they make up silly words and word games that sound pleasing, but mean nothing.

That’s what the boys and girls in the managerial state are doing when they cook up neologisms. It’s nursery rhymes for adults, who live and work in what often resemble daycare centers for adults. Instead of wrestling with the Legos to build a house, they spend their days wrestling with Excel to make a cool looking pivot table. Instead of memorizing rhymes, they invent bizarre word combinations like “monotonectally transform multimedia based channels” and put them into PowerPoint presentations.

It is another example, I think, of how Huxley got it right and Orwell got it wrong. The authoritarian model imagined in 1984 could never last because it had to rely on force and the math always works against such a system. The violence required to hold it together eventually exceeds the systems capacity for violence. The Huxley model of a world populated by infantilized adults, cheerfully engaged in busy work requires much less coercion from the state and it has a higher carrying capacity.

It turns out that the future is not “a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” The future is a conference call on which a cheery 30-something says things like “progressively coordinate functional strategic theme areas” – forever.

Evolutionary Madness

Back in the spring I did a post on the trouble with artificial intelligence. I fully admit to being a skeptic and I tend to avoid reading much of the cheer-leading for it. Automation will plod ahead, as we have seen. We will see “smart” devises popping up in our lives with varying degrees of success, but no one alive will see the robot future because it will always be the future, never the present. Human intelligence is much more complex and mysterious than the futurists understand so it is just really fast calculators, not Terminators.

The point I alluded to in the post is we have a very poor grasp of how humans manage to navigate the reality of life. Most people engage in a great deal of magical thinking, yet they manage to avoid killing themselves doing something stupid. We’re not even sure how to define this magical thinking, much less quantify it. Close to half of Icelanders believe in elves, which is nutty, but it does not seem to cause them much trouble. Americans believe in magic dirt, despite it being laughably ridiculous.

Self-evolving artificial intelligence could follow the same path as humans and develop all sorts of weird defenses against the harsh realities of life. Or, it could quickly discover that the big questions have no answer and therefore life is not worth living. Artificial Intelligence would quickly evolve into a suicide machine and be gone as soon as it becomes self-aware. The odds of it resembling Spock are close to zero, with the most likely outcome being that it quickly moves through homicidal sociopathy to suicide.

We really don’t know how or why humans all have heads full of nonsense. Humans everywhere have evolved complex beliefs in the supernatural. The working theory is that belief, as in religious belief, was one of the first modern human traits, along with language. Some argue that it is a happy accident, while others suggest the believers tend to be better at making babies, so we end up with more believers than would otherwise be predicted. If you have been reading this blog, you’ll know I’m in the former camp.

A guy calling himself  Donald Hoffman takes this further and argues that humanity has evolved to perceive a world that does not exist, but that allows us to thrive in the world as it exists. Here is a longish interview with him where he explains his theory in some detail. Here’s a shorter NPR summary of that interview that captures the high points. The even shorter version is we are all in a matrix of our own design where we eagerly take the blue pill whenever reality becomes too much for us.

To me, this makes perfect sense. My cat does not need to know a snake is or is not dangerous. He does not need to know much of anything about the snake. He simply confronts it as a threat and acts accordingly. In other words, Mother Nature is efficient. There’s nothing to be gained by endowing the cat with a  love of ophiology. There is great benefit to possessing an innate fear of snakes. Elephants being spooked by mice seems stupid to us, but from the perspective of the elephant, it is brilliantly efficient.

Putting this another way, humans did not evolve to acquire a detailed knowledge of the universe. We evolved in order to bring the next generation to sexual maturity. Understanding the world as it is, in great detail, is of no benefit and would possibly be a great detriment. Instead, we have evolved to perceive the world in a way that allows us to navigate it in the short run, with the highest possibility of success. For those disinclined to accept evolution, God has literally made us crazy, to our great benefit.

This “reality” means artificial intelligence, as in super intelligent entities able to fully grasp reality, is never going to happen. The more likely outcome is the self-evolving intelligence launches off onto a path to some form of insanity, maybe a familiar one or possibly something beyond our understanding. If it lacked the drive to reproduce, then it could simply evolve to some equilibrium and fall into what would look to us to be a dream state. In other words, the possible outcomes for the self-evolving intelligence are mostly a dead end, just as it has been in nature.

Election Reset

We had the great debate and my guess is nothing much changed from 24 hours ago. This election has always been about finding a reasonable alternative to Hillary Clinton, someone a large majority of Americans don’t like very much. One of the oldest rules of politics is that a well known, well established candidate polling below 50% is in trouble. Often, an incumbent that is in such a spot gets a primary challenger as his own party smells weakness, so a young gun is sent in to finish him off in the primary.

The one thing the sissy boys of Official Conservatism™ probably got right about this election thus far is that the other choices in the GOP primary would have probably started with a huge lead over Clinton. The collection of dwarfs assembled by the party had all been vetted to make sure they were the emptiest of empty suits, thus ensuring the Left could not say anything mean about them that anyone would believe. Guys like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio would start out with the Cloud People seal of approval, thus beginning as an acceptable alternative to Clinton.

That’s why none of those options won the nomination. For good or ill, the GOP is the one place where the Dirt People can have a voice and they loudly rejected the dwarfs on the grounds they were nothing but low-tax liberals. Trump is not the ideal candidate, but he talks about the things normal people think are important and that made him look like a giant compared to the rest of the field. Going into the general, he was the high risk option, as far as an alternative to Clinton. As a result, he started from the trailing position in the polls

That has slowly changed over the last six weeks as voters were reminded of why they hate Clinton. Trump has also modified his approach, working on selling himself to the doubters, rather than throwing red meat to his fans. He has also avoided the traps the press has laid for him, which lets people know he can turn it on and off when he wants. People can tolerate a little bit of rough talk as long as they know the candidate knows when to behave. As a result Trump has closed the gap and may very well be leading now.

There’s another way to think of these things, which applies here. In every election, the three big categories are security, economics and culture. They are not of equal importance and some issues fall into all three buckets. Immigration, for example, has a bit of all three, depending upon how it is being discussed. The voters are looking for a general sense of which candidate is more compatible on each of these three areas. What holds it all together is the voter’s sense of the candidates trustworthiness on these matters.

For instance, Mitt Romney polled much better than Obama on the economy, but no one believed Romney. He had been on all sides of all issues for no reason other than expedience. Even though the things he was saying with regards to the economy made sense, the assumption was he was saying them because they polled well. Mitt is one of those pols who will come out in favor of bestiality, if some consultant tells him it is a winning issue. In his case, being right was of no value because he lacked authenticity.

In this election, Clinton’s honesty problem is not a big issue because her lying does not change the voter’s sense of where she stands on the big three items. On the other hand, Trump’s authenticity is a great benefit because it makes him trustworthy. You may not agree with his position on an issue, but you know what you are getting with Trump. His authenticity not only helps him on a personal basis, it helps him overcome the uncertainty issue all newcomers face. It makes him seem less of a risk.

This is why the walls are closing in on Clinton. If you look at the map, states are going from “too close to call” to “leans Trump.” If you look at the polling, states like Georgia and Florida are just about a lock now for Trump. Ohio has been abandoned by Clinton, suggesting her polling says it is over there. States like Colorado and Pennsylvania have now moved into the toss-up category. In all probability, more people were reassured by Trump in the first debate than were convinced Hillary is worth a second look.

There are more debates and plenty of chances for both to harm themselves. Hillary could fall over again or Trump could punch a hobo. At this point, you would rather be on Team Trump as the wind is at his back and his road forward is clearer and more controllable. Clinton will need some help and she has to hope everyone that has dirt to dish is too afraid to go public. Still, she has the media and most of the GOP behind her and that is no small thing. The state of the race at the moment is Trump ahead by a tiny bit.

The Great Debate

When I was a kid, I used to cringe when the geezers would complain about the political debates, calling them “made for TV circuses” or worse. I enjoyed them, simply for the tactics. The moderator would try hard to help the liberal and trip up the non-liberal, if there was one on the debate. If it was just three liberals then it operated as a window into the hive, if you were willing to sit through it and observe. The adults were always puzzled by my interest in these things and they would say I was very mature for my age.

I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now. These days I’m watching solely for the yucks. I want to see Hillary have a seizure and begin speaking in tongues. I imagine her fielding a question about Syria and responding with “Cabbage toaster broccoli banana” and then running around the stage clucking like a chicken. The woman is a horrible shrew and nothing she says means anything, because she is also a pathological liar. The fact that she has made it this far suggests we are in the end times.

Of course, Trump is great TV, even if you don’t like him, and I’m really not a fan of his style. The blustering New Yorker has never been my favorite American type, but he does get off some zingers that you just never hear a politician say these days. His crack about Rick Perry wearing glasses so people would think he is smart is the sort of thing a guy from Queens says. Trump is a man, who has been putting on shows for Americans going back to the 80’s, so he knows how to do it well.

The thing about these shows is they are mostly about reassuring voters that their guy is OK and the other guy is not Cicero or Churchill. Bush supporters were on pins and needles before the 2000 debate. When Gore made a fool of himself, the Bush people relaxed and felt like they had a winner. The Gore people got their turn in the next debate when Lieberman and Cheney had an mature, sensible exchange over important topics. After that debate, both sides were back where they started, sure that their guy was OK.

They say this time will be different, but my hunch is most Trump people will be happy if he avoids throwing a chair at the moderator or calling Hillary a fat cunt. Trump’s reputation for saying outlandish things is wildly overstated. Most of the time, he is simply saying what everyone knows, but no one on TV ever says. In some cases, it is manufactured outrage over something he said. Still, he will be baited by the moderator into talking about touchy subjects and his job tonight is to avoid the traps and play it safe.

Clinton has a tougher task because she is the establishment candidate. The irony here is that she got into politics to be the radical challenging the man and now she is the face of the man. If she tries to sound like anything other than the defender of the faith, she will come off as a phony or a bigger phony than typical. She just has to make sure she does not look like death or have one of those hacking fits where it sounds like she is coughing up a lung. if she topples over or is wheeled out in an iron lung, then it will be curtains.

These things are TV shows and that plays to Trump’s strength. The first debate is like the first impression in that it colors the rest of the contest. Amazingly, millions of people will tune it tonight not having thought much about either candidate. In a sane country, these people would be sterilized, but we let them vote so they are a part of the dynamic. Trump’s TV skills will give him an edge in creating a good first impression. Clinton’s shrill personality is just not made for these things so she is going to have to try and get under Trump’s skin and hope he says something off-putting.

Everyone in the media and in the Cloud Party knows all this stuff. They have been working with the moderator to make sure he understands the the finer points of arkancide. The post-debate talking points are prepared and the reports and analysis are ready to go. The moderator’s job tonight is to hit Trump with a few zingers so they can put his words into their reports and post-debate sound bites. The chattering skulls of the commentariat are practicing their one-liners in front of the mirror as I type this.

My bet is the post debate spin will be based on Clinton’s “presidential performance” and the “gravitas” she displayed versus Trump’s “amateurish and unserious” performance. The words “dangerous” and “reckless” will be tossed around by the talking heads with regards to Trump. That’s the game plan from Team Cankles. They want to run on the message that Trump is too dangerous and unpredictable, so you can be sure the media types have been told to push those points after the show.

By next weekend, Trump will have a jumped in the polls and he will be pushing 50%.



The Death Wish

A few times a month, I get an e-mail soliciting my opinion on Israel or on Antisemitism. Often, these queries are in the context of a question about one facet of the ideological landscape. “Why do you think Jews support liberals, even though liberals hate Israel?” I have not tabulated the results, but my guess is I get more questions about Israel than any single topic, despite the fact I never write about Israel. I’d have to check, but I don’t think I have ever posted about Israel. If I have, it would most certainly be in the context of the Arab world.

My limited interest in the Jewish people is purely biological and cultural. By that I mean I find it interesting that the Ashkenazim have wildly out-performed their numbers in the United States. Jews are about 1% of the US population, but they dominate the law, academics, entertainment and finance. When 1% of the population is 30% of the richest people in the country, that’s phenomenal. There’s also the fact that you really cannot understand the world without understanding religion and that means understanding the role of Judaism and Christianity, particularity how the former made the latter.

The preceding is just a little background for the new readers who may not be as familiar with my work as others. That way I can talk a little about this segment on John Derbyshire’s latest broadcast.

I’m not an anti-Semite; I never have been; and I don’t have much time for anti-Semites. I’ve written a couple of million words of opinion commentary this past thirty years, all of it archived on my website, and I defy you to find any evidence of anti-Semitism in it anywhere.

However, I’ve turned against the word “philosemite,” for reasons I’ve explained elsewhere. Basically, it’s patronizing. If pressed on the issue, I call myself an anti-anti-Semite. I cherish my Jewish friends, and I have publicly—and again, I think, more than once—expressed gratitude in print for the positive contribution Jews have made to our civilization, way out of proportion to their numbers.

I have been reading and listening to John for decades and I think he captures his, as well as most people’s attitude, perfectly. I’m not fond of rank anti-Semitism, any more than I’m a fan of racism, but my definitions are more narrow and specific than they are today so maybe John is correct to say he is an anti-anti-Semite. I don’t know a word for being an anti-racist that does not imply lunacy, but maybe there is one. My view is people are tribal and they will have tribal prejudices. There’s no hectoring that away.

The whole segment is best listened to rather than read, as John’s intonations convey additional meaning to the words. The reason for my interest here is what he has to say at the bottom regarding the anti-Trump phenomenon.

All four debaters were Bigfoot American journalists. Both sides of the debate were anti-Trump; the debate was over whose fault it was that Trump had gotten the GOP nomination. For the motion, arguing that it was the fault of the elites, were Ben Domenech and Timothy Carney, both Gentiles. Against the motion, arguing that it was not the fault of the elites, wereJennifer Rubin [email her]and Bret Stephens both Jewish.

That tells you something by itself. That atavistic style of Jewish paranoia that I spoke about, when it hears the word “elites,” at once flies to the thought:They’re talking about US! … and the hoofbeats of the Cossacks are heard drumming in the distance.

At some mental level Rubin and Stephens read the title of the debate as: “Blame the Jews for the Trump Phenomenon.” That’s why they’re arguingagainst the motion. No, no, it’s not our fault—it’s those damn peasants!

As someone without much of an interest in Semitism or Antisemitism, this struck a nerve. I too have noticed that the people opposing Trump most viciously all have familiar last names. Lots of gold and silver in the #nevertrump clown car. This has always struck me as illogical. Trump is our most Jewish presidential candidate in my lifetime. He has always been a big supporter of Israel and he is more than a bit famous for socializing and doing business with the Jewish business community in America.

It is a good reminder that there is always a portion of every population that has a death wish. They agitate for things that are against the interests of their ethnic group and they are more concerned with strangers than their own family. Jews are no exception. Progressivism is increasingly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Trump and his voters are very much the opposite. Yet, that causes the Jennifer Rubins of the world to hate him even more intensely than one would consider rational. Self-loathing is a powerful drug.

There is a temptation to assume there is an anti-Christian vibe to what we are seeing from people like Brett Stephens and Jennifer Rubin. That’s not the case as they reserve special hatred for orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews. This is where the self-loathing becomes more clear, These people sneer at the guys in the black hats and tzitzit hanging out. If there is any anti-Christian sense to this, it stems from the fact that American Christians are enthusiastic supporters of Israel and virulent anti-anti-Semites.

The point here is that John is correct that these people are haunted by the hoof beats, but they also wish they would return. The longing for death, the death of their people, is what makes them tick. There’s some element of this in all people. It’s just that Jews have been wildly successful in America so their death wish gets played out on TV, while the self-loathing Poles have to nurse their death wish in private. Luckily for all of us, most Jews are not crazy and the smart ones understand which way the wind is blowing.

The Road To Equality

If your culture believes, as an article of faith, that the gods control the weather, you will always assume the gods are behind the changes in the weather. If it rains, it is because the gods want it to rain. Naturally, you will want the right weather at the right time. For example, you will want rain in the spring, but not too much rain. You will want just enough to have a good planting season, so you and your people will come up with ways to please the gods. Maybe that is some sort of offering or a certain ceremony held at a special place.

If you do all the rituals and make all the right sacrifices, but the weather sucks, you will naturally assume the gods are angry, meaning something is wrong. Maybe the rituals were not done properly or maybe someone in the village has been secretly committing some sin that is angering the gods. After all, what else could it be? The gods make the weather so if the weather is bad, the gods must be angry. Therefore, someone or something must be making them angry. The solution is to find the witch!

Modern people tend to laugh at the rubes from the past, who believed such things, but the people in charge of our modern world pretty much believe the same sorts of oogily-boogily. This story from Florida is a good example.

Duval School Board Chairman Ashley Smith Juarez issued an “open letter” to Superintendent Nikolai Vitti on Tuesday that lays out the reasons she asked him to resign last week.

She has also called a special meeting of the School Board on the district’s future this Friday.

Vitti, in a news interview, made it clear that he wants to continue working with the School Board on the issues she brought up, though he does not know and wouldn’t predict if he will get that chance Friday.

“I just hope it doesn’t end,” Vitti said. “There’s a lot of work still to do, and we’ve gone too far to stop now. We’re at a significant place where stopping doesn’t make sense.”

Smith Juarez’s letter says her reasons for seeking Vitti’s resignation lie in strategic plan targets Vitti recently proposed for the school district at recent board meetings and in the growing achievement gaps between minority and non-minority students.

Smith Juarez likened the continued acceptance of an achievement gap between minorities and their white peers to racism.

“All students deserve a high quality and equitable education; these results do not meet that standard,” she wrote. “To accept these results is to accept the racism that has plagued our district for decades; that is unacceptable.”

How is blaming racism for the test scores any different than blaming the gods or evil spirits? In all of those cases, the cause is some mysterious force that you just have to accept on faith. In this case, the article of faith is not that the gods cause weather. It is that all people are born with the exact same abilities. Even though no one can point to actual racist acts, racism has to be the reason for why the black kids score below the white kids. After all, what else could it be? The kids are the same so it must be the school!

It is is not irrational for this airhead school board woman to say these things. This is the inevitable end of the blank slate egalitarianism preached by our elites. If everyone is born the same, capable of everything everyone is able to do, then the differing outcomes must be due to the process. What else could it be? Further, if the black kids are always scoring at the bottom, then the schools must be unfairly shortchanging the black kids and that’s racism. Again, it is all perfectly logical as long as you believe the magic in the premise.

It is, to no small degree, the root of the war on white males, particularly in the schools. Despite all the efforts to get girls into STEM fields, for example, males and particularly white males seem to take up most of the spots. Yeah, Asians do well too, but they do so despite the lynch mobs chasing them down the streets of San Francisco. No one is chasing the honky boys, so they must be cheating and the only way to remedy that is to give them a penalty. Again, it is not crazy, as long as you accept the madness of the premise.

It is this lack of doubt, the unwillingness to accept any doubt, that led the commies to murder so many people. After all, their system was the model of perfection. The reason it failed was the people, so the logical solution was to get rid of the people gumming up the works. The evangelical egalitarians that rule over us are heading down the same path as the old commies. Instead of murdering the enemies of the revolution, they just destroy their careers and reputations. Whether or not we end up in a place imagined by Kurt Vonnegut in Harrison Bergeron is doubtful, but they will try anyway.

I’m All Blacked Out

On my way home last night, I saw a couple of young black women on a corner, holding signs that had “Black Lives Matter” on them with some other writing. I think one of them had something about Charlotte, but I don’t know for sure. They were hoping to get the attention of drivers, but it seemed like no one was paying any attention. As traffic slowed, I did not see any heads turning their way, but in the city, drivers look straight ahead out of habit. That way the bums and panhandlers are not encouraged to molest you.

I caught the light so I was sitting at their intersection with a chance to observe for a few minutes. They stepped into the street and starting taunting the white drivers by holding their signs up against their windows and chanting something. When young black women get worked up, their voices reach a pitch close to a dog whistle. It’s just high pitched echolalic babbling, that is intended to annoy, rather than convey information. I had my windows up so I could make out nothing. My guess is it was just some gibberish they saw on-line or on TV.

Before they got to me, the light changed and they had to retreat back to the curb, which was a surprise. In the ghetto, you run into this behavior a lot. Black females will wait for the light to change and then saunter into the cross walk, giving drivers the business, making them wait as they stroll across the street. It is just one of the many hassles that comes with dealing with people in the ghetto. At some level, they know the rest of us would just as soon ignore the ghetto entirely, so they spend their energy making that impossible.

Sitting there watching their antics, I felt a bit of rage welling up. All this effort to be a public nuisance, to make demands on me, and yet they put little to no effort into managing their lives. Even if they have a claim, harassing drivers on their way home is not going to win them any friends. They have to know it, which means they are not there on the street corner with good intentions. They are there explicitly to be a public nuisance. They just like hassling white people, purely out of racial animus.

More and more, that’s the sort of thing that creeps into my mind when I see blacks acting up. I have a great deal of sympathy for black people, particularly underclass blacks. Despite what you see on TV, most black people in the ghetto are decent people. They just lack the cognitive tools and opportunity. They are my fellow citizens and I want the best for them. I just don’t know what can be done to change their lot in life. The Civil Rights Movement was over 50 years ago, but here we are with young black girls full of hatred for the honkies.

I got home and decided to see what the news channels had to say about the riots in Charlotte. On a Fox show, some old white guy was trying to explain to Juan Williams that the reason blacks get shot by cops is that blacks commit an outlandish amount of crime. He tried to explain how 3% of the population, committing 40% of the crime, is going to have a disproportionate amount of police interaction. Juan Williams is innumerate, so he could not grasp the math. He just kept insisting the cops like shooting black people.

There was something about the irritated look on the face of Juan Williams that bugged me. The old honky was trying to respectfully explain the mathematical reality of crime in America. Blacks are 13% of the population, but they account for more than half of all crime. Most of that crime is against black people. This is public information that is easy to verify. Yet, Juan had a look on his face like the old honky had just farted. You could tell that he was thinking, “How dare this guy say such things?”

Instead of getting angry, I flipped over to the sports channel and, of course, they were celebrating the asinine and insulting protests by black athletes. These pampered babies owe everything they have to white America, yet they have the gall to claim they are victims. They are living lives few humans have had the privilege to live and it is not enough. That’s what’s so damned galling about these protests. They are a reminder that it is never enough. There’s no way to pay off the debt, assuming there is one. It never ends.

That is, of course, something white people used to know. When I was a kid, the old people would often says, “We’ll never hear the end of slavery. We’ll be paying for that forever.” The point was that there’s no point in trying. All of us have done something to someone for which that person will not forgive us. No man keeps going over to his ex-wife asking for forgiveness. You just accept the fact that there is no making it right and you get on with your life. That’s the reality of race relations. There’s no fixing it so there’s no point in trying.

Even so, I’m increasingly pissed off by what I’m seeing and I resent the people behind it. Guys like Juan Williams should be on TV demanding the cops round up every last Charlotte rioter and pack them off to Africa. The rich black guys on TV talking sportsball should be mortified that their co-ethnics are embarrassing their race with these antics. If the roles were reversed and it was whites making asses of themselves, you can be sure the honkies on TV would be furious and embarrassed, demanding a halt to it.

That’s not how it works and that’s what is getting tiresome. Those two black girls get the idea in their heads to make a nuisance of themselves in the street and I’m supposed to feel guilty about it. Frankly, Glenn Reynolds was right. Let’s have a few motorists drive over these people and then we can talk about feeling guilty. Let’s have the cops unleash the dogs and water cannon on these rioters and then talk to me about feeling guilty. I’ll be happy to feel guilty as long as the streets are clear.

I’ve simply had enough. I’m all blacked out. I’m tired of the blame shifting and excuse making. I’m tired of seeing people, who know better, lying to me on TV. Those rich sportsball talkers ain’t living in my neighborhood. They are as far away from the Black Lives Matter types as possible. They live in gated communities with the honkies. Their honky cohorts on TV are not even driving through my neighborhood. They are despicable hypocrites, who deliberately say things on television that make our lives worse.

Black America does not have a race problem. It ain’t honkies robbing, looting and killing in the ghetto. They don’t have a cop problem. The cops shoot fewer black offenders than white offenders. They don’t have a gun problem either. Black America has a black guy problem. They have far too many black guys robbing, looting and killing, almost always doing so at the expense of blacks. They won’t let me fix that problem, so stop demanding I feel bad about it. I’m done. I’m all blacked out.

The Neo-Liberals

Jeff Jacoby describes himself as a conservative columnist. He has written for the Boston Globe as the house broken “conservative” since the early 1990’s. According to his Wikipedia page, he is “the region’s pre-eminent spokesman for Conservative Nation,” and a columnist who had “quickly established himself as a must-read.” Also according to Wiki, he takes a paycheck from the radical left-wing TV station WBUR, one of the many government run NPR affiliates in New England. He’s also been on the payroll of the Progressive cable outlet CNN.

It’s fair to say Jacoby is typical of Official Conservatism™ the last two decades, which is to say he is a neocon. There used to be time when there was a big enough distinction between Official Conservatism™ and the Trotskyites that migrated from the Left in the 70’s, but all of them are neocons now. Jacoby was gonzo for the Bush policy of invade the world – invite the world. He continues to say the Iraq War was a success and he is endlessly going on about the Czar and how Trump is a tool of Russia.

If opposition to the Soviets defined the neocons in the Cold War, opposition to Trump is what defines them now. You see that in this Jeff Jacoby column from the other day. The gist of the piece is to remind the reader of America’s past terribleness and then to tie that history of terribleness to the rise of Trump. You’re supposed to come away with the belief that voting for Trump is the same as forming a lynch mob and hanging some coolies. Just as all good thinkers look back with disgust at America’s past, future good thinkers will be revolted by Trump voters.

Logically, of course, this is nonsense. It is the fallacy of the undistributed middle. There’s nothing connecting today’s voters with the lynch mobs of 150 years ago. More important, no sane person would define America of the 19th century by these rare outbursts of violence. In every age, there are examples of people acting savagely to one another. That is the human condition. What we have here is a rather sleazy attempt to slime the people of the past, and by extension the heritage of everyone alive today, in order to disparage current Americans.

The implication is that discussing immigration is off-limits, because to do so risks being just as bad as those imaginary bigots that haunt our past. We can debate how much we bomb the Muslims, but we cannot have a public debate about how many foreigners we allow to settle in our country. Incinerating half a million Arabs over the last twenty years is perfectly fine, but hurting the feelings of would-be migrants from Mexico would make us worse than Hitler. It’s as if Americans don’t have a right to define what it means to be an American.

At the same time, neocons are forever prattling on about how America is not a blood and soil country. Instead it is a propositional nation. In other words, all you have to do is sign onto the bargain for what it means to be an American and you are an American. That sounds good, until they follow that with the argument that Americans don’t get a say in what it means to be an American. The proposition, according to guys like Jacoby, is that they get to use Americans as cannon fodder for waging pointless wars of choice and they also get to replace those Americans with foreigners of their choice.

You can be forgiven for thinking that guys like Jacoby really don’t like Americans very much. When he is not comparing us to blood thirsty, xenophobic murderers, he’s insisting we lack the moral authority to have a say in how the country is run. That’s what passes for conservatism these days. It is a laundry list of complaints about the American people. When they are not rooting for the death of working class whites, they are twisting themselves into pretzels in an effort to prove they are nothing like the savage Dirt People carrying Trump through the election.

It is a good reminder that neo-conservatism was always a Progressive heresy and never had roots in Anglo-Saxon conservatism. Modern Progressivism has curdled into a list of hatreds, offering nothing but an increasingly dark vision of society. The neocons are following the same path. Guys like Jeff Jacoby can only tell you what they are not, and increasingly that sounds like “not American.” To be a neocon today is to do little more than spew venom at normal Americans for not supporting wars of choice and unlimited immigration.

What we are seeing is the transformation of the neocons into neo-liberals. Maybe it is simply a return to their natural home, but the modern Right sounds pretty much like the Left, except they want to kill Muslims and reduce the tax on carried interest. They embrace the unhinged anti-racism that the Left now preaches and they fully embrace multiculturalism. Now that the Bush Crime Family has decided to back Hillary Clinton, the way is now open for the neocons to become neo-libs and take most of Official Conservatism™ with them.


Honky Ball in Bodymore Murderville

I had the chance to attend a sportsball game last night in the city of Baltimore. My Red Sox were in town to play the Orioles, so I got a chance to see the Olde Town Team in person. I don’t attend many live sporting events these days. It was a nice change of pace, even if it meant the hassle of getting into the downtown area at rush hour. Baltimore has a reputation for being gangland, but people still do work in the city and that means traffic at the predictable times. The downtown area that caters to tourists, both local and foreign is easy to navigate so it is not too bad.

Many on the alt-right are encouraging normies to boycott sportsball and I get why they say it. It used to be that a normal man could get a few hours away from the preaching of the loons by watching a baseball game or football game. That’s no longer the case in football, as they have filled the broadcasts and the games with proselytizing for the New Religion. The players protesting the anthem may be at the heart of why the NFL is suddenly having a TV ratings problem. It would be nice if that were true, but we’ll never know as the media will cover it up.

Baseball has so far been immune to the efforts of the loons to turn it into an instrument of the New Religion. The reason for that, according to one of the players, is that baseball is the white man’s game. That’s true in many respects. The players are mostly white and Latin. Just 8% of MLB players are Afro’d Americans. The NFL is 70% black and the NBA banned the pale face years ago. Further, baseball is a turn based, rules game that does not favor running and jumping. There are few opportunities for attention getting antics during the games, so it tends to appeal to honkies.

Still, the Cult of Modern Liberalism is trying hard to ruin baseball for the white man. ESPN has destroyed their Sunday night broadcast by having a screeching powerskirt as part of the announcing team. She pretends to have played the game and have the same depth of knowledge as a former player, but does so in a way that reminds every man of his first ex-wife. A TV series has been created featuring a female baseball player making it to the majors. Of course, she’s black, because, well magic. Taken together, it is a warning that the crazies are coming for honky-ball.

Then again, the Cult has been at war with baseball for a long time. When I was a kid, they tried to make us play soccer, instead of baseball. That flopped as bad as the metric system. Soccer became the sport for effeminate white kids, who lacked the athletic ability to do anything else. Then they tried to force boys and girls to play together, but girls, and their parents, liked softball much more and that effort failed. Finally, the last two decades have seen a PR campaign to tell us that baseball is dying and basketball is the future, despite the the facts on the ground.

Even so, baseball has held up pretty well. In the 70’s, when the culture war began, even the most popular clubs struggled to attract fans to games. Today, even bad teams can get 15,000 to a weeknight game. Some clubs do better than others, but overall, baseball remains well attended compared to the past. A lot of it has to do with the excellent ballparks and the family friendly atmosphere at the games. A bigger reason, I suspect, is the ballpark is one of the last places where old weird America still exists.

The players look like us, the crowd looks like us and the customs are the same as they were when we were kids. The game starts with everyone standing for the anthem. There is the seventh inning stretch. The players embrace the customs and unwritten rules that have defined the game for generations. I walked in the park and I remembered my dad taking me to my first game. I could remember my grandfather, as if it were yesterday. That’s not something that happens at football or the human flea circus that is the NBA.

One example last night was the response to a rookie the Orioles just brought up from the minors. The crowd was mostly Oriole fans, naturally, but there were many Red Sox fans too. Everyone cheered loudly, knowing that the kid was getting his first at-bat as a major leaguer. When he hit a home-run in his second at bat, the whole place stood until he came out to tip his cap to the crowd. Even the Sox fans stood as that is the way it is done. The cycle of life has always been a part of the game, so you cheer the rookies and honor the veterans, as they pass out of the game.

If you want to understand what went wrong in America, walk around Baltimore, where you see what it is, what it should be and why it is not what it could be. It is a city where the people that know better are vastly outnumbered by those largely incapable of maintaining modernity. There are pockets of beauty and excellence, but they exist in a sea of degradation. Baltimore is what is happening in South Africa. Civilization has retreated into pockets the tourists see, hoping to hold out until the world comes to its senses.

But, the Olde Town Team carried the day, with the legendary Big Papi hitting a three run blast to seal the game. The Red Sox are headed for the post-season for the first time in a few years, and they have a good shot of winning another title. I get why the alt-right kids reject sportsball, but for old guys like me, who still remember when normal people had hope that this craziness would pass, it is a nice reminder of how things used to be. Perhaps the kids sitting there with their fathers and grandfathers will carry with them the seeds to restore the world long after I’m gone.