I love “Onward Christian Soldiers,” of course, but this is my favorite Arthur Sullivan-composed hymn…
1. Reminding me of the basic unethical and cynical nature of state lotteries...A middle-aged African American woman sits outside of our local 7-11 pretty much all day, seven days a week. I’ve written about her before, most recently when she let the door slam in my face despite our family occasionally giving her food, cigarettes and a ten-dollar bill now and then. This morning she bought 40 dollars worth of lottery tickets.
And if she hit the jackpot, she’d be back sitting out front and begging for money in a year or less.
2. My Facebook. theory. You noticed, I’m sure, that Facebook took a 100 billion dollar hit to its paper value in less than 48 hours last week. It all could have been avoided by honesty, transparency, humility, avoidance of virtue-signaling, and fealty to free speech.
- Users should have been told, in automatic emails and in big, bold letters in disclaimers on the site, since too many of them are too dumb to figure it out, that anything they put on the free platform was fair game to be harvested, sliced, diced, used, sold, analyzed and exploited for any legal purpose, by any group, party, nation or organization, and if potential users didn’t like the terms, nobody was making them post.
- Facebook should have avoided pretenses of virtue. It provides a useful means of networking and communication as well as cost-free mini-blogs to people unwilling to maintain real ones. It does so to make money, not to make a better world…especially since social media arguably makes a worse one.
- It should have denied responsibility, in court if necessary, for “fake news” regardless of who created it. Any ad or “sponsored story” should have been so labelled, with Facebook’s position being “read and believe at your own risk. Check “facts” before you spread them around. It’s your responsibility, not ours.”
- Facebook should have had faith and belief in the freedom of expression and speech, and not attempted to censor “hate speech” or “fake news,” neither of which are subject to precise identification and analysis without the corrupting influence of bias. Indeed, Facebook was obligated to support the First Amendment, as a major cultural force.
- Facebook should have stayed apolitical. Instead, it joined the “resistance” freakout over Hillary Clinton’s loss, and signaled its virtue by agreeing with absurd and unsupported claims regarding the importance of fake and risible news stories on Hillary Clinton’s defeat.
Mark Zuckerberg is a classic example of a narrow, limited, juvenile savant whose one big idea gave him more power and influence than he was qualified to handle. Maybe losing all of that money will make him appropriately humble, but I doubt it. Such people almost never learn.
3. Is the U.S. State Department intentionally hassling trans women? This story makes a prima facie case that it is, and if that’s really what is going on, it is petty and wrong. It also is a classic Rashomon situation. Government bureaucracies are inherently inefficient, incompetent, and screwed up beyond all reason or toleration. (Oddly, progressives want more such agencies, with more employees. Go figure.) The story linked appears to show the system trying to make things difficult for a particular group, but the individual targeted only sees how she is being treated, so it appears like obvious discrimination. That, however, is a very subjective assessment.
A member of my family is in jail for a few months, and had been granted work-release privileges so he could continue his job and career. However, those in charge of the program were openly hostile to his efforts to complete the paperwork and arrangements. They kept changing the rules, increasing requirements, threatening him, and delaying the process. When he contacted his lawyer, he was told, “these people can do anything they want to, and get their satisfaction from boring, low-paying jobs by abusing people like you, meaning anyone who would normally be their equals or better, but who is now under their thumbs. You have no choice. Do what they want, or you will suffer. Simple as that.”
My jailed family member is white, male, educated, well-spoken and polite. Eventually, after he grovelled enough, everything was straightened out. “You know,” he said ,”It I were black, there is no way you could have convinced me that I wasn’t the victim of racism.”
It could be the same with the alleged trans discrimination in the passport system. When one of the alleged victims says, “Make no mistake, this was an intentional action by the State Department to withhold recognizing my gender,” she is being sincere and perhaps naive. It may have been an intentional action by low level State Department employees to be assholes because they could be. [Pointer: valkgrrl]
4. I never should have clicked on that link…The post was “5 Reasons Hillary Clinton Was the Worst Presidential Nominee in History,” and I couldn’t resist. I long ago concluded that Hillary was the worst Presidential candidate of a major party ever (Donald Trump would be second, about ten laps in front of whoever is third), and I couldn’t restrain my curiosity regarding whether the author’s reasons were the same as mine.
They weren’t. His number #1 reason is that Hillary was “unlikable,” but as Obama memorably said in a 2007 debate, she was “likable enough.” The key is whether a candidate can be more likable than his or her opponent. Donald Trump is at least as unlikable as Hillary was, especially during the campaign. She wasn’t any more unlikable than Al Gore, Bob Dole, Mike Dukakis, Dick Nixon, Barry Goldwater, Adlai Stevenson, and others.
His #2 reason was Hillary’s apparent bad health. She was far, far from the most unhealthy-seeming Presidential candidate: FDR was on death’s door in 1944, and anyone with open eyes could see it.
#3 is that she was “unaccomplished.” She was, in fact, light in relevant accomplishments and experience, but the average voter doesn’t know or care what relevant accomplishments and experience are, or the public would have never elected Obama, Abe Lincoln, or for that matter, Trump. “Accomplishments” a great candidate does not make.
#4 on the list is “the email scandal.” The email scandal wasn’t what was wrong with Hillary’s run: her refusal to acknowledge it, admit it, and stop lying about it was. Lots of Presidential candidates have had to deal with scandals, and while the email fiasco was a serious one, most of the public didn’t understand it.
The episode does relate to one of the actual reasons she was a terrible candidate, however: she refused to accept accountability for anything, lied when she didn’t need to, and unlike her husband, was bad at it. The fifth reason listed is “baggage.” Well, most candidates have baggage. We have elected many President who had more baggage than their opponents. Hillary had less.
My list of the seven reasons why Hillary was the worst Presidential candidate ever:
1. She didn’t campaign hard, didn’t seem like she thought she had to, and acted like the job was owed to her.
2. She deliberately appealed to group prejudice as a reason to elect her, and blamed the opposite group prejudice on the fact that many people didn’t want to see her President.
3. She directly impugned and insulted a large portion of the electorate during the campaign.
4. She cheated to get the nomination.
5. She failed the Trailblazer Principle, and miserably. Trailblazers have an ethical duty to be, not just good, but exceptional, virtuously without flaw. If they aren’t, they harm the group they are blazing the trail for. This is the lesson of Jackie Robinson’s career. Hillary was the first woman to be a major party’s nominee, and not only was incompetent, she lost in the biggest upset since Truman beat Dewey. She harmed the prospects of women and the image of women as capable politicians.
(Obama also flunked the Trailblazer Principle.”)
6. Once she lost, she did not follow the tradition of accepting defeat and beginning the next President’s term with a show of support and acceptance. Instead, she deliberately worked to undermine the winner of the election and question the legitimacy of the result, to the detriment of the nation.
7. Hillary Clinton has been, by far, the worst loser in American Presidential history, and thus the worst role model and the pettiest, least gracious,nominee that ever was. (This item also magnifies #5 and #6.)