Patterico's Pontifications

6/12/2015

White Is The New Black

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:57 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This week it was revealed that Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, has been misleading people for years about her race. Dolezal, who passed herself off as black, is actually white:

Dolezal’s mother, Ruthanne, said the family is Czech, Swedish and German, with some native American roots.

Ruthanne Dolezal said that she and her daughter have not been in touch for years but that Rachel Dolezal began to portray herself as African-American eight or nine years ago after the family adopted four black children.

“She’s white,” her mother said in an interview with KREM News. “Rachel has wanted to be someone she’s not,” she added.

Her mother says the family has been aware of the racial claims but has only commented about them when contacted.

When asked whether she was white, Dolezal, who is an Adjunct Professor of African-American Studies at Eastern Washington University, gave an evasive, if not bizarre response:

“That question is not as easy as it seems. There’s a lot of complexities… and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.” She concluded, “We’re all from the African content.”

Dolezal called the controversy a multi-layered issue. She says the controversy is emerging because of legal issues between family members.

“It’s more important for me to clarify that with the black community and with my executive board than it really is to explain it to a community that I quite frankly don’t think really understands the definitions of race and ethnicity,” she said in a Friday interview with CBS.

The NAACP released a brief statement of support for Dolezal’s work with the organization.

In part:

NAACP Spokane Washington Branch President Rachel Dolezal is enduring a legal issue with her family, and we respect her privacy in this matter. One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership. The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal’s advocacy record.

Most interestingly, Dolezal is a charter member of the #BlackLivesMatter:

In the famous last words of Eric Garner, “I … can’t … breathe,” there is a metaphor for the asphyxiation we are experiencing as black people in America and in Spokane. The air is thinner for us now; we are not all getting the same amount of oxygen here. So don’t stop us when we reach for the oxygen mask that is hope for justice. Let us say what we need to say, march when we need to march, and hold our kids when we need to feel their hearts beat. Let us be, be with us, and let us breathe.

Clearly, Dolezal has some mental health issues and one hopes she seeks professional help. But. Given that we are no longer bound by the gender we are assigned with at birth, why should we be bound to identify by the race we are born into?

From Marc Lamont Hill, on a CNN panel discussing Dolezal:

“He told Anderson Cooper this is a “very dangerous practice of trying on someone’s identity” and even said what Dolezal did was the “ultimate exercise in white privilege to say ‘I’m gonna be black for a little while.’”

Trying on someone’s identity? Dolezal would say she’s wearing her own identity. Who are you to judge her for living out loud what she feels and believes is her own truth?? Don’t you know we’re not bound by anything as antiquated and restrictive as identity – be it gender or racial. It’s fluid. And who are you to make the determination of which identities one must remain wed to in their lives? Or maybe you and others just prefer to be selective in which white women you support who are seeking the freedom to be their perceived real selves.

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Actually, orange is the new black.

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Friday Afternoon Open Thread

Filed under: General — JD @ 9:50 am

[guest post by JD]

MD suggested an open thread as he had a couple questions that he wanted to ask of the community. That led me me wonder if any of you have any experience with 60’s BSA or Triumph motorcycle engines. 

Discuss

—-JD 

Story: Parents Dragged Through Hell Because Their Son Was in the Back Yard for an Hour and a Half

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:50 am

This story, if true, is another illustration of why we have given government too much power over our lives:

One afternoon this past April, a Florida mom and dad I’ll call Cindy and Fred could not get home in time to let their 11-year-old son into the house. The boy didn’t have a key, so he played basketball in the yard. He was alone for 90 minutes. A neighbor called the cops, and when the parents arrived—having been delayed by traffic and rain—they were arrested for negligence.

They were put in handcuffs, strip searched, fingerprinted, and held overnight in jail.

It would be a month before their sons—the 11-year-old and his 4-year-old brother—were allowed home again. Only after the eldest spoke up and begged a judge to give him back to his parents did the situation improve.

I’m always on my guard about stories like this. It’s written by a “free range kids” activist and published on Reason.com, so any facts that might be inconvenient to the narrative are almost certainly airbrushed out. But if the true facts are anything close to what is described, the family has faced an Orwellian nightmare.

I can’t really imagine not giving government the power to protect children in extreme circumstances of abuse. I suspect the problem is the incentive structure, which is arranged such that only lenient treatment of parents has downsides. Every bureaucrat wants to avoid the scenario where they were too lenient to parent x, and then parent x killed their kids. So they throw common sense out the window in a situation like this.

Perhaps it’s time that the judge, social workers, and neighbors are named and shamed. Flip the incentive structure around a bit, so that people are worried about the public appearance of dragging parents through hell because their kid was in the back yard for a while.

Assuming there are no bad facts to hide, why not?

Why Progressivism Has Won: Even “Conservatives” Can’t Imagine Market Solutions to Problems Any More

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

How does the Leviathan of the federal government grow in size and power every year? One reason is that, when government “solutions” are offered to a problem, it apparently becomes impossible for most people (including conservatives) even to imagine addressing the problem in a different way.

Take health care for poor people. We used to have a well-developed system of charity care, premised on the principle that doctors were expected to do a certain amount of work without compensation, simply because it was needed and the patient could not afford it. LBJ came along with Medicaid and largely destroyed this centuries-long tradition.

Now, it is taken for granted, even by “conservatives,” that if we were to restrict or eliminate Medicaid, we would not be advocating a market solution (i.e. a better, more efficient, higher quality soluion) to the problem of health care for the poor. No, we would simply be against health care for the poor. Period.

Again: even “conservatives” can no longer imagine the market handling these issues. Take John Kasich, who advanced this very notion in 2013:

In 2013, Kasich lectured a state legislature on God’s interest in his Medicaid expansion. “I…happen to know that you’re a person of faith. Now when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not gonna ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor.”

You see? Already, Kasich can’t imagine health care for the poor unless the federal government handles it. If you are against Medicaid expansion, you are against poor people. And you probably going to hell.

Your choice is Medicaid expansion or eternal hellfire, you guys. Which is it gonna be?

Et tu, Bill Kristol? The answer is, sadly, yes. Kristol’s 2017 Project assures us that we can’t simply do away with ObamaCare without some kind of comprehensive and apparently centrally (meaning federally) designed alternative:

While most Americans would personally like to see Obamacare repealed, they are not likely to yank newly obtained insurance away from millions of their fellow citizens. It is therefore crucial for conservatives to advance a winning alternative that alleviates this concern and leads to Obamacare’s ultimate defeat.

There are three reasons why advancing an alternative is so important: (1) politically, one cannot expect to beat something with nothing; (2) policy-wise, our health-care system already needed to be fixed pre-Obamacare, because the federal government had already broken it; and (3) if Obamacare continues to unravel but conservatives offer no viable alternative, liberals will seize the opening to push for the government monopoly over American medicine (“single payer”) they have always desired.

What is Kristol & Co.’s “winning alternative”? Get government out of the way and allow the market to address the problem? No, stupid, of course that’s not the “winning alternative.” The winning alternative is to agree with progressives to place the responsibility for delivering health care squarely in the hands of the federal government, which will issue “refundable tax credits” to allow people to pay the inflated prices for health insurance — inflated, of course, because of government intervention to begin with.

So, just like education, government intervention (through subsidies and other controls) causes the price of an important good or service to skyrocket, and the solution — even for self-labeled “conservatives”! — is still more government intervention and subsidies.

And the Leviathan marches on.

I read a quote this morning from Thomas Sowell that I can tell is going to stick with me the rest of my life.

Once, after giving a talk, I was confronted by a lady in the audience who asked what some people regard as the ultimate question:

“What is YOUR solution?”

“There are no solutions,” I said. “There are only trade-offs.”

There are no solutions. Only trade-offs. It is a simple insight, yes — but a brilliant one, because it is so often forgotten.

We assume that, because the market does not provide a good or service perfectly, that the government can impose a “solution.” We assume, in other words, that the government “solution” will be better than the market solution — usually without even stopping to consider the question at all — simply based on the fact that the market’s provision of the good and service is imperfect. (Often, the reason that it is imperfect is because of government intervention.)

But all we are doing by getting government involved is substituting one set of trade-offs for another. But the trade-offs commanded by the central planners are not trade-offs chosen by the people affected by those commands. And decisions made by those who are not affected by the decisions are notoriously less reliable than decisions made by those with a stake in the outcome.

There are no solutions, you guys. Only trade-offs. And the trade-offs of the marketplace are almost always going to be better than those provided by central planners.

The inability of conservatives to see these simple truths consistently are why progressivism has won.

Saying “You Guys” Is Sexist, You Guys!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

The latest unbelievable drivel from The Onion Vox: Why I’m finally convinced it’s time to stop saying “you guys”:

I’m a big user of “guys,” and when it was first brought to my attention that the phrase was frowned upon among leading feminist thinkers and people concerned with equality — especially in male-dominated workplaces — my reaction was, “Oh, come on. It’s inaccurate, but it’s not actually hurting anyone.”

But I’ve changed my mind. As I read up on the issue, I realized that my knee-jerk response (“It doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me, personally, and changing would require effort on my part and that’s hard and tiring”) is nothing more than a very typical lazy excuse for avoiding the tiny tweaks to our lives that can, as a whole, make society more equal.

Now I’m convinced that “guys” — unless we are actually addressing a group of guys — has got to go.

The reason is the typical leftist drivel about sexism and male privilege and crap like that. By saying “you guys” to groups of people that include women, we are reinforcing the cultural norms of male superiority, erasing femininity from the world, and basically treating women as nobodies. And here we thought we were just using a convenient short phrase to refer to a group of people in a casual way. WRONG! It’s rude, you guys! I mean, my friends! As Michelle Malkin says: “You guys” is the new “you people.”

The writer is our old friend Jenée Desmond-Harris. You might remember her from this post summarizing an argument I had with her . . . or this post, in which I captured three tweets that summarize her character and world view quite succinctly:

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You now have a pretty good idea of who you’re dealing with, don’t you? By the way, the disdain for male progenitors continues with today’s “you guys” piece:

If you get a jump on changing now, you can avoid being like your grandfather who is still saying “negro” because he doesn’t mean anything by it and that’s what they used to say in his day and he doesn’t see the point of evolving. Don’t get left behind, y’all/friends/everyone/folks.

Raise your hand if you plan to say “you guys” a lot more often in coming days. Just to get under the skin of people like this entitled, disrespectful witch. *raise*

The OPM Hack Worse Than Originally Led To Believe

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:26 am

[guest post by Dana]

Hackers stole personnel data and Social Security numbers for every federal employee, a government worker union said Thursday, saying that the cyber theft of U.S. employee information was more damaging than the Obama administration has acknowledged. J. David Cox, president of the American Federal of Government Employees, said in a letter to OPM director Katherine Archuleta that based on OPM’s internal briefings, “We believe that the Central Personnel Data File was the targeted database, and that the hackers are now in possession of all personnel data for every federal employee, every federal retiree, and up to one million former federal employees.” The OPM data file contains the records of non-military, non-intelligence executive branch employees, which covers most federal civilian employees but not, for example, members of Congress and their staffs. The union believes the hackers stole military records and veterans’ status information, address, birth date, job and pay history, health insurance, life insurance, and pension information; and age, gender and race data, he said.

How bad is it?:

The other day I explained in detail how the mega-hack of the Office of Personnel Management’s internal servers looks like a genuine disaster for the U.S. Government, a setback that will have long-lasting and painful counterintelligence consequences. In particular I explained what the four million Americans whose records have been purloined may be in for: Whoever now holds OPM’s records possesses something like the Holy Grail from a CI perspective. They can target Americans in their database for recruitment or influence. After all, they know their vices, every last one — the gambling habit, the inability to pay bills on time, the spats with former spouses, the taste for something sexual on the side (perhaps with someone of a different gender than your normal partner) — since all that is recorded in security clearance paperwork (to get an idea of how detailed this gets, you can see the form, called an SF86,here). Do you have friends in foreign countries, perhaps lovers past and present? They know all about them. That embarrassing dispute with your neighbor over hedges that nearly got you arrested? They know about that too. Your college drug habit? Yes, that too. Even what your friends and neighbors said about you to investigators, highly personal and revealing stuff, that’s in the other side’s possession now.

What are the dangers of such an extensive breach?

U.S. officials speaking on the condition of anonymity say unequivocally such information was put at serious risk by the OPM hack. Of utmost concern are U.S. employees stationed overseas, including in countries such as China, whose government would covet personal information on relatives and contacts of American officials living in the communist country, according to officials.

“If the SF-86’s associated with this hack were, in their entirety, part of the stolen information, then that would mean the potential release of a staggering amount of information, affecting an exponential amount of people,”

There are claims that the stolen government records are already being sold on the “darknet”.

And to the further embarrassment of the government (via John Ekdahl on Twitter):

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the breach was indeed discovered in April. But according to sources who spoke to the WSJ’s Damian Paletta and Siobhan Hughes, it was in fact discovered during a sales demonstration of a network forensics software package called CyFIR by its developer, CyTech Services. “CyTech, trying to show OPM how its cybersecurity product worked, ran a diagnostics study on OPM’s network and discovered malware was embedded on the network,” Paletta and Hughes reported.

Malware may have been in place for over a year.

The White House had been warned in the past of a possible breach, and as recently as November. By then, it was far too late.

But don’t worry, we’re in the best of hands.

–Dana


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