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Linky Friday #147: New Year Edition

Britain:

UK 2015 General Election Map, Wikipedia

UK 2015 General Election Map, Wikipedia

[B1] After the vote in the UK for attacking Syria, both male and female MP’s took a lot of heat. Guess who got it worse?

[B2] Relatedly, an anti-war site formerly associated with Jeremy Corbyn is taking a lot of heat for some incendiary articles, including the appearance of: Blaming the west for Paris, praising Daesh’s internationalism, and making an exception of their “no war” policy when it comes to Israel.

[B3] While the US continues to go off its rocker on the subject, David Cameron sees ecigarettes as a legitimate path to cessation and an NHS Board has reversed a previous decision to ban ecigarettes on hospital grounds.

[B4] The Big Sort: Not just an American thing anymore.

[B5] Of course the British are figuring out how to arm a British astronaut with tea.

Gender:

female soldier photo

Image by expertinfantry Linky Friday #147: New Year Edition

[G1] Drone Assassin: A Feminist Success Story

[G2] Women who were fired for being pregnant scored a victory in the courts, though something of a modest one. Meanwhile, an MP in Britain is in trouble for threatening to fire a staff member for taking leave.

[G3] New research suggests that Buffy the Vampire Slayer – and even her more scantily-clad counterparts – really is good for empowering women. More on gender identity norms.

[G4] Awkward: Google ads have apparently been steering women towards lower-paying jobs with their ad algorithms.

[G5] Michigan State sent out a letter questioning the family decisions of faculty. As in, the decision to choose having a family. My wife has gotten this “talk” twice, actually. (Both times from women, as it happens.) (Childless women, though in one case due to tragedy.)

Society:

[S1] If you want your kids to behave, maybe you should hire a creepy clown or take him to this barber.

[S2] A would-be jumper was saved by some quick-thinking police and his own cat.

[S3] An international group of architects seek to build a new Colossus of Rhodes.

[S4] The life-saving potential of urine-powered socks.

[S5] Adam Ozimek lays down his predictions for 2045.

Technology:

Amiga Computer photo

Image by Elsie esq. Linky Friday #147: New Year Edition

[T1] My smartphone’s battery life has plummeted. I don’t have an iPhone, but is maybe Facebook responsible?

[T2] From a consumer standpoint, I’m glad that they’re making breakthroughs in storage space… but memory is the bigger hold-up lately and given the industry trends towards streaming that’s likely to remain the case. On the other hand, presumably cheaper storage will allow for better cloud usage and the like, maybe?

[T3] Amiga Computers turned 30. For those of you two young to remember, in technological terms the Amiga was the iPhone of personal computing. I remember seeing them long past their prime, in the mid-90’s, and they still blew Windows and Macs out of the water.

[T4] Some people may understandably hate it, but Waze is a great app, but it does ask you to navigate some pretty difficult maneuvers. Fortunately, this may be coming to an end.

[T5] This is pretty awesome. Obviously, all we see is a part of the face and some of the most difficult stuff CG is the hair. But… cool all the same.

[T6] iPhones are being dumbed down, and for once, and for once it’s not Apple’s fault. It’s the FDA’s.

Politics:

Barack Obama photo

Image by DonkeyHotey Linky Friday #147: New Year Edition

[P1] If I were Obama, I’d probably feel this way, too: The Jade Helm conspiracy theory kind of makes him sound like a badass.

[P2] What it’s like in Marco Rubio’s classroom.

[P3] Freddie wants the Democrats to move beyond the Coalition of the Cool. I understand where he’s coming from ideologically, but tactically it seems to have worked pretty well.

[P4] I don’t think Ted Cruz would make a very good president, but he’s doing some pretty impressive stuff at the campaign level.

[P5] Barton Swaim, of The Speechwriter fame, writes The Perfect Republican Stump Speech.

Religion:

[R1] I don’t think Ted Cruz would make a very good president, but he’s doing some pretty impressive stuff at the campaign level.Bethany Mandel looks at a study purporting to find that religious kids are less altruistic, and finds it lacking. {More}

[R2] Jeffrey Taylor of Salon says “Hooray for Satan and Satanists!”

[R3] When Pat Robertson interviewed Al Gore. You can really see where Darrell Hammond got his material in this.

[R4] Tiffany Brodesser-Akner looks at Cool Jesus, faith for Millenials and the cool set.

[R5] FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs is a real creep, it turns out.


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83 thoughts on “Linky Friday #147: New Year Edition

  1. B1: it might be for the same reason that Margaret Thatcher drew the Hard Left batty besides her policies, traditional gender expectations. Women are supposed to be more caring and gentle than men under traditional
    expectations and the hard left doesn’t like women for voting against it.

    B2: The British blog Harry’s Place has been covering the insanity of the Stop the War coalition for years. The basic problem is that it consists of people deeply entrenched in the anti-colonial ideology and third worldist beliefs that grew in the 1960s leftist. They see a lot of the I’ll in the world as the fault of Western colonialism and Israel is the ultimate manifestation of this for them.

    B3: and rightists assure that NHS would take people’s fun away.

    B4: the big sort might have even started earlier in the United Kingdom. I think something like it had traces in the 1950s with the areas around London being very inclined to vote Conservative while the North was Labour territory.

    B5: I know that the British don’t like giving guns to law enforcement but tea seems particularly useless in fighting against an alien invasion.

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  2. B2: Looks like Labour is going to get another route in the next general election. Interestingly Labour might just be out of step with the UK majority. There is always something perplexing about this in politics though. Should a party change their core beliefs because the public no longer wants what they are selling?

    B5: Neat.

    S1: Both of these seem like the department of bad ideas.Weren’t there a bunch of stories a while ago about girls who committed suicide because their parents cut their hair off as punishment?

    P3: Freddie is talking about the “broad left.” I did not see him mention the Democratic Party once in this essay.

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    • B2: Its not about changing your position because the electorate is no longer buying what your selling, it’s that Corbyn is not suited to lead a large party. It would be like if Judith Butler got the Democratic nomination out there.

      P3: Yeah, it’s his usual call to a return to the values of the Pre-Hippie and Post Modern Left based on trade unionism and class.

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      • DeBoer’s a bit myopic though. The left of a century ago had no problem integrating the social, the economic, and the poltical, believing liberation came along all three of those axes. Hence, new Soviet Man, Cultural Revolution, etc.

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        • Yes but basically that whole shebang was discredited and wrecked. Roll some leftist out in modern time who says we have to change human nature to make his policy prescriptions work and he’d be laughed out of the room even among much of the left.

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          • Now people just ignore the aspects of human nature that go against their policy prescriptions rather than trying to change them. I can’t figure which is worse. At least the Bolsheviks were willing to admit that there are parts of human nature that go against socialism. The Social Justice movement does not seem willing to do do.

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    • I like “now deemed classified” as a construction. How many were classified at the time?

      I had a colleague who wrote a report that ended up being classified beyond his clearance. I wonder if I can conjugate the verbs in such a way as to make it look like he did something really bad.

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  3. P1 – why is it that none of these conspiracy types think to talk to actual members of the military? As though an officer in today’s armed forces wouldn’t know that suspension of elections, collection of civilian firearms, and abrogating local law enforcement in a non-invasion situation would not be “illegal orders.” Yes, there might be more gray cases of what “illegality” might be, but these are not such. A president — any president, no matter how well-liked (s)he might be by rank-and-file and/or brass might be, would give such an order at far greater risk of being arrested by the military than of actually achieving dictatorship.

    Besides, if the military were going to effect a coup on behalf of a president, it… Well, it wouldn’t be this one.

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    • I actually interviewed some folks last fall who were Jade Helm believers for a different story. They were the first I’d heard of it, actually, because it hadn’t hit the mainstream sites yet. They just brought it up as an example of how the government was working to take over the country for either China or the Muslim Brotherhood. (There were big disagreements about that last part. The guys who thought China was behind it pointed to the word “Jade” in the title as proof that the enemy was “oriental,” the guys who were sure it was the Brotherhood pointed to how “Jade” was too obviously “oriental,” and thus it had to be a ruse to hide the Muslim involvement.)

      All of them — every single one — were current or ex-mlitary.

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      • This is fascinating. Did they give any reasoning for why they thought the US military could pull this off? Texas today has about the same population as Iraq did in 2003, has three major metro areas instead of one, and is probably as heavily armed. If the military couldn’t realistically occupy Iraq, why think they could occupy Texas? And occupying the entire US is 10x the size of the Texas problem.

        Not to mention that Texans could inflict a lot more pain on the rest of the US than Iraq could. Blowing up a few pipelines in Iraq — just enough to keep them from operating reliably — put a modest dent in global crude oil supply. Blowing up the right pipelines leaving Texas put a much bigger dent in the supply of finished petroleum products and natural gas across the Southeast, up the Atlantic Coast, and to Southern California.

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        • Did they give any reasoning for why they thought the US military could pull this off?

          Speculations on that diverge. Initially reports indicated that Obama was acting on orders from Kenyan President and former Alinskyite Uhuru Kenyatta, but that speculation was defeated by what what appeared at that time to be decisive evidence that Orientals were behind the massive covert plot (“Jade” Helm). A consensus quickly emerged, however, that while Obama was clearly a puppet, the likelihood of the string pullers being Orientalese wasn’t sustainable, with majority opinion congealing around the view that the Chinese are too intelligent to allow Obama to give the game away in the name. Subsequent to that, however, solid evidence identifying the purpose of the plot was identified, with the name of the operation constituting a red-herring to deflect attention from it’s intended goal. The purpose, it has been confirmed, was to confiscate American’s firearms, a liberal dream since the dawn of man. And the indisputable evidence confirming this as the intended goal was the existence of the operation itself.

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        • I don’t think that the thought is that the military could pull it off. It’s that the president is the type of president who would make the attempt.

          The right-wingers that discuss Obama pulling something like this (at least the ones that I know) then segue into Red Dawn kinda discussions.

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          • If the President is indisputably evil (or working for evil men, knowingly or not) that makes opposition heroic, by default. It’s not “goals differ” or “he’s wrong” — it’s a struggle of good versus evil.

            And who doesn’t want to be the hero? Who doesn’t want to invest their life in real meaning — something more than ‘voting’ and ‘choosing politicians’ — pulling that lever becomes heroics on par with storming Normandy beach!

            The absolute BEST part of such conspiracy mongering like Jade Helm is you get to indulge in your heroic fantasies (where you are the pure hero, you are ALSO the underdog, and of course you’ll also win — ’cause FREEDOM) but deep down, you also know you’re facing absolutely zero risk. Because deep down, most of those people know it’s not true.

            So no hard choices. You get to be ‘in the know’, you get to be ‘the hero’ in the mythological sense, you get to be part of ‘great things’, and all without actually risking a thing. Or even having to do more than talk.

            Hat trick, you know?

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              • All you need is to own a gun to fantasize about driving off “criminals” and being the hero. Doesn’t matter how crappy your life is otherwise.

                A lottery ticket is cheap, and the worst risk is a paper cut. :)

                I much prefer gun owning for reasons that have some validity. Like “I’d like to go hunting” or “I like putting holes in targets” or “Firing a gun is fun”.

                “I want a gun so I’m safer” is really, from what I understand, an oxymoron. Statistically, owning a gun for self defense leaves you more likely for you or a loved one to be shot, rather than actually using it to defend yourself. (There’s lots of reasons why, starting with the actual breakdown of crime threats and who buys guns down to the pragmatic — a criminal has already committed to the crime, which gives him a huge advantage. Which is why those active shooter simulations end with ‘dead’ would-be heroes and successful shooters.)

                My increasing support for gun control has pretty much been directly correlated with the increasingly visible people who have or want guns for reasons that strike me as delusional or at least completely out-of-whack with reality. (Simple example: People from safe suburbs tooling up out of fear of ‘criminals’. Risk/reward there is way wrong).

                Rather obviously, delusion people with guns strikes me as…worrisome.

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                • The problem is that the more that people from safe suburbs arming themselves makes democratic solutions to gun proliferation less likely in the short term (until demographics change appreciably).

                  On top of that, given that laws are enforced differently in suburbia than in urbia, the whole suburbs getting guns thing wouldn’t change much even if we did pass a small handful of confiscatory laws.

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                  • I don’t know. Zimmerman wasn’t exactly an inner city kind of guy. Regardless of what you thought of the ultimate verdict and the reasonableness of his claim, if he hadn’t had a gun and a paranoia about crime, there wouldn’t be a dead kid.

                    Because he wouldn’t have confronted the kid. Having a gun gives you a sense of power, of agency over your fear. It’s cheap and easy.

                    I live in the suburbs (well, close enough), so you could say my concern in that is local. It’s guys under exactly zero threat jumping at shadows. I mean statistically, they’re gonna shoot their own kids or spouses, of course.

                    It’s scared guys who suddenly think they can and should do something about it, because why else did they get the gun?

                    I don’t know if Zimmerman bought that gun with the idea of looking for confrontation, but having that thing strapped on his hip undoubtedly contributed a great deal to his deciding to confront someone he deemed a ‘danger’.

                    It’s that false confidence, that faux authority, I worry most about. Because it’s human nature, in the end. You watch drunk guys posturing, threatening to fight — and being darn careful not to actually start swinging, because unless you’re incredibly confidant (arrogance or experience or stupidity) you can’t really be certain if you can beat the other guy — and even if you do, you can’t be certain he won’t do a number on you first.

                    But a gun? Goodness. If you have one and he doesn’t (or yours is out and his isn’t) and he’s way over there? Power without risk.

                    Anyways, for civilians, that’s why I’m really against carrying for civilians — concealed or otherwise. I suspect that the mere existence of a gun will cause one party to escalate situations, turning arguments into shooting in a way that fists and even knives don’t.

                    Zimmerman was just one guy, of course, but can you claim he’s really an outlier as people go? that that kind of might-make-right cycle doesn’t exist?

                    (Now police, I’ve got a whole different problem with these days).

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                    • “if he hadn’t had a gun and a paranoia about crime, there wouldn’t be a dead kid.”

                      If, if if, you forgot to mention that IF the kid hadn’t put Zim on the ground and started to assault Zim, that Zim wouldn’t have needed to defend himself.

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                        • And it doesn’t even matter. I’d lay money on the fact that, without a gun on him, Zimmerman wouldn’t have been about his self-appointed patrol.

                          He wouldn’t have gotten out of his truck to confront the kid. He’d have, at most, just called 911 and let police handle it.

                          Which, now that I think about it, doesn’t mean there wouldn’t have been a dead kid…

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                          • A gun is either about power or utility. If it’s about utility, it’s not a problem. If it’s about power, it’s about the power to protect oneself, or power over others.

                            Trouble is people lie to others & to themselves about what it’s about to them, and until someone clearly shows it’s about power over others, there isn’t much anyone can do.

                            I do admit to really being sold on the insurance idea. Of course the criminal class won’t bother with it but it does seem like a minor requirement of legal ownership.

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                            • Yep. I mean confiscation is a possibility with un-insured guns, and also some degree of tracking.

                              I’d prefer to pair it with universal registration, because as I understand it most criminals get their guns through straw purchasers and that’d be relatively easy to shut down with paper trails.

                              But you know, that’d kill freedom or something.

                              But being able to seize (and destroy) any uninsured weapon found during an investigation would at least help as well. A guy arrested having an uninsured gun on him? He no longer has that gun, and even without universal registration it might be possible for an insurance company to track the last insured owner (Even if all the police do is report the serial number to the insurance companies) and flag that owner as a higher risk, because his gun found it’s way into criminal hands.

                              If you require showing proof of insurance to buy a gun, then that’d really kill straw purchasers because they’d either have to keep claiming their guns were stolen OR they’d be liable as the last insured purchaser — even if the information route was solely police->insurance companies.

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                      • I’m afraid changing the culture isn’t really gonna happen. (See my comments below about how a lot of this is simply, well, angst in a group losing power and prestige. Not much you can do abotu that).

                        I don’t think changing the law is all that likely either, which was why I’d started thinking about insurance requirements. To use Zimmerman as a whipping boy, his premiums likely would have gone up a lot for shooting that kid. I suspect after his later incidents (threatening his wife with a gun, a road rage incident, and I think at least one other) he simply no longer would have been able to afford the premiums.

                        Sure, he’d lose his ability to own a gun over dead bodies — kind of an after the fact fix, I admit. I think mandating “Responsibility” and letting actuaries handle it might vaguely be politically possible in my lifetime. Maybe. Probably not though.

                        I’m pretty much resigned to nothing changing. Which is why I find it hilarious when I hear idiots say “We’ve never been closer to gun confiscation in America”. No we’re not. You know how you can tell? The way I’m resigned to mass shootings and the closest I can come to a solution is thinking sometime in the next 30 years, we might make people who own guns carry insurance on them.

                        Tyranny, I know.

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          • then segue into Red Dawn kinda discussions.

            Seems like these are exactly the kind of people ISIS recruits.

            Not that the people you know would sign up for ISIS, acourse. God no. They’re all about The Good Fight and all …

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        • :

          Did they give any reasoning for why they thought the US military could pull this off?

          Actually, they don’t believe it could.

          The standard narrative is that once Obama pushes the button and begins marshall law (or whatever he’s going to do), two things will happen in quick succession:

          1. The US will be invaded at Obama’s order by either China, ISIS, or the UN (which one depending on which of the conspiracy variants you subscribe to).

          2. Once that occurs, the country will “wake up.” There will be a second American Revolution, where the People (including all members of the military who are not political appointees) will overthrow government and dissolve the current United States. A new, freer, and better country will rise from those ashes.

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            • Since the very solid evidence of a Takeover predates ISIS, I’m gonna rule that out. China is certainly clever enough to pull this of (they’re an especially tricky people and all) but I don’t think they’d be able to do it unilaterally. So the UN is the only likely actor on this stage who has the credibility of “neutrality” as well as access to a Hollywood makeup room’s worth of clever disguises. (Tho, Hollywood might be worth considering ….)

              The question is whether the UN conspiracy is driven by comrade-saluting neoMarxists who’ve cleverly infiltrated every major institution in the free world impose ideological totalitarianism, or by Rockefellerian Illuminatists who want to set up a global currency and realize the Tyranny of the Bankers. Course, how’d we ever know? If they’re clever enough to pull this off, they could dupe us into thinking Obama is gonna invade Texas to take their gunz.

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          • A new, freer, and better country will rise from those ashes.

            I’m pretty sure if you just said “whiter” country, you’d probably be accurate. “Those people” that are ruining the country are of a distinct hue, you know?

            In the end, I think the big crisis of modern times is that in America we’re seeing the slow, lingering death of the white male advantage (it’ll linger for generations still, don’t get me wrong) and of white majority. And after centuries of being the boss of the Western world, losing that privileged position is scary as crap.

            That’s a BIG shift. States are becoming majority minority, women and minorities are starting to show up as more than tokens when it comes to powerful positions (if slowly), and it’s a huge social change. Massive. And it is, by it’s very nature, affecting the most powerful.

            It’s gonna get uglier before it gets better. Trump and Jade Helm paranoia? That’s just the beginning.

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            • America will no longer the boss of the Western World, or no longer boss of the World? Global trends may end the latter, but demographic shifts can’t stop the former, unless one actually believes there’s something essential about those demographics.

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                  • I can’t speak for Europe. I don’t live there, don’t study it’s current political climate in depth, and have no real first hand observations.

                    I CAN speak for my observations of America, and especially Texas. And in my opinion, there’s a lot of…buried? subconcious? realizations that things are changing and that, by and large, it’s not going to be helping other people than “white males”.

                    Of course, that’s because white males already have a huge boost, but that’s somewhat invisible to most of them. (You know, fish not noticing water until it’s gone, etc).

                    That’s a recipe for social and political turmoil. If you’ve always been the ultimate arbiter of power, having to share it is…a loss of power. And that rarely happens smoothly.

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                    • Of course, the real threat of “it’ll get worse before…” is not that they’ll become louder or more obnoxious, but that they’ll become more tactical and will start winning. At that point, there may not be a “better”… at least not for a very long time.

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                    • well we can take a look at the UK, where they even broach the notion of electing Corbyn’s Galloway’s protege, it’s hard to find a parallel even in the Cold war, How was this done, well the Gramscian stroll through the institution, that deconstructed British middleclass mores, (it’s an irony, that Python cast members wail about the lawless land they helped created:mind you Python, Princess Bride and Spinal Tap, are an important way of understanding this zany regime)

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                    • Will part of the costs of that be society moving from a higher trust/cooperation level to a lower one?

                      If so, stuff that used to work well will begin working less well.

                      Is Europe working better than it used to? Is the US? Surely this sort of thing is measurable.

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                      • No idea. I honestly suspect that, in the end, not much will change except for incredibly heated rhetoric. First because the process is really, really slow. There’s a lot of inertia there, and I suspect there might even be some reversals. Because it’s still a white male dominated society, and whites are still a majority and will be for awhile. And given how power works (it tends to correlate with age), it’ll be some time even once whites become a minority to see that reflected in the upper echelons of most of the power structures.

                        So I think you’ll see heated rhetoric, probably some really ugly politicians getting a lot of support, and a lot of xenophobia that spikes and falls more according to economic indicators than anything else.

                        In the end, though, a workplace that — say — accurately reflects the demographics of America doesn’t have an inherent qualities that make it more or less trustworthy or cooperative.

                        I think we’ll just see the next few decades filled with a lot of smoke and the occasional fire. I doubt I’ll live to see the process end, but my kids might.

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            • I’m pretty sure if you just said “whiter” country, you’d probably be accurate. “Those people” that are ruining the country are of a distinct hue, you know?

              Very similar conspiracy theories were going around about Clinton back in the late 90s. What is it with this left-wing tic of attributing all disagreement to racism?

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              • Who did I call racist? Or say anything about racism?

                I pointed out a simple truth, easily verified — that American white males are over represented in terms of ‘power’ compared to their actual numbers. Whether you’re talking the halls of Congress, the boards of business, the wealthiest people in America, or breaking down things like “income” by race and gender.

                Are you arguing with that?

                Or are you arguing with the notion that a privileged group (and holding wealth and power in much larger proportion than your demographics is a pretty undeniable example of privilege) is generally unhappy whenever they lose that privilege, whether to revolt, engineered change, cultural drift, or simply reversion to the mean?

                I can’t see how that’s racist, because it’s true of ANY group — whether defined by race, gender, or something else. It’s not like white males are special in that sense.

                So I’m lost, really. Either you think that white males don’t hold power and wealth in America in outsized amounts given their numbers, OR you think that claiming white males are just like any other group is somehow racist when it comes to losing wealth and power.

                You seem awful quick to jump to racism over a pair of simple facts.

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                • You think white people oppose Obama because he’s black…and that that’s not racist?

                  Anyway, I’ve never understood the obsession some people have with having people demographically similar to them in government. Maybe it’s because, being economically literate and a libertarian, I’m not particularly well-represented by any of the white men in Congress. In fact, if I had to pick one (and I’d rather not), I’d say Clarence Thomas is the closest thing I have to a representative in the federal government. I wish I could be as well-represented in Congress as the average black person.

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  4. the Labour Party is the democratic party writ large, lets not pretend otherwise, the animus against ‘bitter clingers’ displayed in this administration, against veterans, prolifers, tea party activists, by the IRS, the Justice Department, and the solicitousness toward other factions, could with some people, provoke the foolishness of Jade Helm. I don’t see any particular objections on this board,toward such a notion, just
    the logistics IMHO.

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  5. re military high command, the examples of mccrystal, petraeus and mattis, vs, sock puppets like Mullen and co, make one doubt there would be any effective opposition, to such a policy,

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