Morning Ed: Politics {2018.05.15.T}

[Po1] Ronald Radosh talks about Roy Cohn.

[Po2] Robert Greene II writes about 1968, the Kennedy coalition, and how Kennedy and King became more gestures than historical people.

[Po3] Dune, but as leftism gone amuck.

[Po4] I’m with Barro. Google is asking for a lot of what’s been happening to them.

[Po5] Concerned citizens for hire.

[Po6] What data can tell us about elections is pretty limited, but we’re desperate to believe otherwise and that all is proceeding as was foretold. One of the really weird things about the 2016 election cycle is to watch people go from knowing everything to knowing everything differently than before without ever believing they were wrong.

[Po7] Just a reminder: If you oppose pipelines, you Ride with Putin.

[Po8] Doug Ford wants to protect northern Ontario from immigration against the wishes of northern Ontario.

[Po9] The political shift on gun control is very real, but may not be as durable as advertised.


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Will Truman is a former para-IT professional who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He is also on Twitter. ...more →

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20 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Politics {2018.05.15.T}

  1. Po9: A general point more so than this poll specifically. An issue with these is you get the headline of “majority favor gun control”, which is true and is consistent over many years. The problem you have though is “gun control” is not a legislative bill. Much like the “generic candidate” in polling always does well, “gun control” without any specifics does not have any negative and only the projected positive connotations. Once you get into the weeds of specifics the numbers change, often dramatically.

    For example, the number of people who would say on a survey “should people with mental health issues be allowed to purchase a weapon” the overwhelming response will be in the negative. Start asking what constitutes disqualifying “mental health” and you quickly run into issues: does that mean people on medication, does any MH history fully disqualify you, does that mean an official diagnosis or does anyone who seeks a provider qualify, veterans with PTSD do they fall under that, what if you went to anger management as part of couples therapy, etc. Part of the “durability” is really just lose of momentum when you go from an easily answered survey to the grunt work and legalese of legislation.

    The connected part to wanting more gun control also falls into another issue this survey raises. The one bipartisan issue that has overwhelming agreement is loathing towards Congress. This poll has approval as D11/R18 pct, which is pretty consistent with other data for the last few congresses. There is bit of a disconnect in wanting legislation, or opposing legislation, and both sides calling for congress to do things they have no faith in them doing. Something to think about.

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  2. Po3: I don’t recall that as the exact plot to Dune, but it’s been a while since I read it, I might be fuzzy on the specifics. KitKat Paddywhack is inspired, though.

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  3. I was somewhat surprised that the NY Times ran an editorial piece suggesting that perhaps the US is simply too big to govern well.

    Granted, my peculiar fixation on a partition narrative says that there will be a point — in about ten years — when people will begin to talk seriously about it. Starting first with the notion that the country is too big, then that there are regions that are too diverse in their (sometimes conflicting) goals, then finally with regions suggesting that perhaps they would be better off on their own. Not necessarily economically, and certainly not all for the same reasons. But this seems too soon.

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    • I know some people would claim the Civil Rights Act was the step too far of the Federal Government, but that was a move to protect rights. For me, the step too far was the federal drug war (whatever law or SCOTUS decision gave that life).

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  4. [Po4] — I won’t say anything Google-specific, but I can talk in general terms. The underlying logic of “bring your whole self to work” is hardly unique to Google. It was originally intended for LGBT and minority employees, who often felt they needed to supress their identities in a public setting, in way that str8-white-etc. people simply do not.

    Example: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/13/lesbian-teacher-claims-discrimination-after-showing-class-photo-of-future-wife

    Does anyone think that a str8 person would be terminated for showing a picture of their future spouse at work? Are str8 people promoting an “agenda” for daring to be openly str8 in public?

    The point is, the ability to be openly LGBT is still a big deal, even if many str8 people think we should take it for granted. We should not.

    Similar factors apply to minority and women employees. These are not identical to the LGBT case, but people who live their lives under the constant strain of bigotry are often forced to supress important parts of ourselves, in ways that str8-cis-white-men-(etc.) are not.

    That said, it was probably inevitable that right-wing bigots would turn this policy back at us, that they would say “being a right-wing bigot is part of my ‘whole self’ .”

    Of course they will do that. Obviously. Duh. Bigots gonna bigot. It’s what they do.

    Bring your whole self to work, unless you’re a terrible human being. If so, leave those parts at home.

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    • Unfortunately, terrible human beings rarely view themselves as terrible. They are always the hero of their own narrative. Doesn’t matter where you fall on a political/moral/ethical spectrum.

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      • — True, but the rest of us don’t have to turn off our moral judgement. When bigots complain they can’t “bring their whole self,” the answer is, “Correct. Leave that shit at home.”

        It’s okay to tell bad people that they are wrong. We don’t need to “tolerate” intolerance.

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        • Which works just fine when there is broad agreement over what constitutes bigotry, what is acceptable and what isn’t. If there isn’t, ‘bring their whole self’ is a disaster waiting to happen.

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          • — Each person should oppose bigotry, despite the fact we know that not everyone will in fact do this. But more, management should oppose bigotry, clearly. In turn, they should articulate this policy and ensure that employees are aware. “Bring your whole self to work” does not include every hateful belief someone might hold, even if they disagree on whether it’s hateful. They’re wrong. They can pound sand.

            Short version: I should not have to hide my trans status or be “closeted” just so I can maintain some weird “balance” with fucking homophobes. Screw that. Homophobes and sexist jerks can eat shit forever. “Trumpist,” “gamergaters,” and the remaining assundry dipshits can die hating the fact I exist. Their frustration does not matter precisely because we should not cater to the feelings of assholes.

            Of course, management needs to find better ways to articulate this. Policies should sound professional. Navigating this stuff is tricky and HR is a real job.

            But still, it’s okay to take a side. In fact, it’s critical to take a side.

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    • “Bringing your whole self to work” is one of those things that sound great in theory but really bad in practice. If they wanted to create a more welcoming environment for LGBT people than it might have been better to just say so directly. The cutesy or indirect way is not often the best way.

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      • — Honestly, I doubt it would matter so much. As I said, bigots gonna bigot. If we used different language, they would still find other excuses to bigot, based on some other abstract “principle.”

        “Bring your whole self to work” is a decent idea, and it mostly works pretty well. The fact that the alt-right types will try to co-opt it — of course they will. They will try to co-opt any and all social justice principles toward their grievances.

        Don’t let them.

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  5. Po4: I think there is probably a middle-ground here that is not being explored. I agree with Veronica that minorities should not be required to hide their personal lives at work or risk being fired. But what seems to be uniquely Google is the intellectual free for all that the created to foster the best ideas allegedly. You can find ways to encourage constructive criticism of ideas and also not have it lead to a Damore-esque diatribe.

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    • — Obviously it can be hard for HR to thread this needle. A large company will have many different pressures. That said, I’m kind of weary of “what abouts…” dealing with Damore types. He and those like him are insipid shitheads. We should be eager to say so.

      (We don’t necessarily say that at work, however. It is fine, instead, to let HR usher such people out the door. But outside work, why show them the slightest bit of sympathy?)

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  6. Women's advocacy group publishes list of eight artists who should be removed from Spotify based on the streaming platform's new hate content policy. They include Eminem and Red Hot Chili Peppers: https://t.co/heGhDQAVte pic.twitter.com/ns0qYkAS0L— Consequence of Sound (@consequence) May 14, 2018

    The full list of artists is: Chris Brown, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nelly, Eminem, Don Henley of The Eagles, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Tekashi 6ix9ine, and Ted Nugent.

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