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Mansplainin’ the Burkini Ban

Obviously, you’ve heard of it.

The terrible secular liberal tyranny which will now drive thousands of young disillusioned Muslims, Japanese Ninjas, and hippie post-modernist Surf enthusiasts to cross thousands of miles to seek refuge in the the oasis of equality that is Middle East.

Quite clearly, this entire issue of Burkini ban has only one reason, that is a man’s ownership of a woman’s body…purely binary in nature, of white men wanting to see women naked, and brown and brownish beige men wanting to see them in Eskimo suits.

What about the geopolitical reasons? Like where a British driver was told to cover up by a French Arab because, it harmed his sensibilities? Or a French Muslim waitress was told to dress up by two French Arab men? Or where a group of kids were beaten up by a bunch of Algerians because they wanted a beach to be private for their women to bathe?

Must be cultural reason then? After all France doesn’t allow displaying the Cross either? And what about nudity in France as a cultural identity? Must be because French secularism is much more proactive, than their Anglo-Saxon counterpart? While Anglo-Saxon secularism is essentially allowing everyone to practice and propagate their own faith, French secularism actively discourages any faith promotion when it stands in contrast with their individualism and cultural identity which traces back to the French revolution?

What about Arab Feminists who are opposed to Burkini? Tools of patriarchy surely they aren’t?

Trivial.

After all, Western feminists are the proper revolutionaries and can solve any problem with strategic deployment of hashtags, and selective outrage over Burkini while completely ignoring genital mutilation and actual systemic rape culture.

You cannot really claim to be a true blue liberator of women, unless you standside by side with Ayatollah Khamenei on the issue of women’s clothing, no?

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The difference between George Bush and Donald Trump in one photo

With Barack Obama under fire for a flood having happened in Louisiana and him not having visited, Hurricane Katrina and the reaction to Bush’s visit naturally comes to mind. For conservative partisans, Obama is uncaring and the media is biased if they don’t attack him. This is Obama’s Katrina! It is, because conservative partisans are treating Obama just as unfairly as many liberals treated Bush.

To be sure, Bush deserved blame for a poorly-planned relief effort, as did the state and local governments. In this case, there appears to be no reporting to the effect that the relief efforts are being terribly mismanaged, and the extent of the disaster is also not comparable at all.

But then there is the separate question of optics, which is the real reason Obama is being attacked. It’s not that he is doing a bad job responding–it’s just that he didn’t get any photo ops done and it is claimed that he “doesn’t care.” The issue of optics is where Bush was unfairly attacked, because he flew over the disaster zone in an airplane to take a look at it, and he was photographed doing so, and because he wasn’t swimming around in the water or something, critics said he didn’t care.

These photos in the airplane were killer just because they were bad optics:

Unfair for the photos to have been taken and then utilized by his opponents as such? Maybe. One could certainly argue that. When Donald Trump encounters unfavorable press coverage that he thinks is unfair (even when it is straight up quoting what he said), he goes crazy, attacking reports and name calling. “You’re a sleaze.” Megyn Kelly is a “bimbo.” And then there was this beauty last week:

How does Bush respond?

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Hypothesis testing about the 2016 elections

As a political scientist, there’s nothing like testing theories. One of the prevalent theory is that in a Western liberal democracy, to win a general election, you have to be the closest candidate to the center. Ever since Reagan won over, with the Democrats flocking towards him, and Thatcher did the same in UK, it has never been proved wrong.

Recently, these two new charts came to my notice, from YouGov.

Parties leaders left right spectrum-01

Tony Blair man of the people-01

Since Blair, Labour never won the election, because the Tory candidate was closest to the center.

2016, is a unique year, in both UK and US, and it is perhaps the golden opportunity to find out, if this hypothesis is true. Corbyn is hard left and Trump is hard right. According to this hypothesis, they will never win, and in this case the candidates closer to center, Hillary Clinton in US, and Theresa May in UK will sweep the polls.

We shall find out if that theory is universally true.

Excited?

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Is the media really ignoring Louisiana? No.

There’s a narrative in the media that the media is ignoring the flooding in Louisiana.

The public editor of the New York Times wrote the Times didn’t give it enough coverage. Mike Scott of the Louisiana-based Times-Picayune wrote on August 16 that the Times had only published its first story two days after the rains began.

But is it really true that the Louisiana flooding has been ignored? It’s a major news story, and yet days after the Times published its rebuke of itself, the narrative that Louisiana has been or is being ignored continues to spread down the media stream to columnists and bloggers. If the city of New York were destroyed in a hypothetical super storm, wouldn’t the media cover it?

We actually have precedents we can look at. We don’t need to wonder about hypotheticals. Just months ago in June floods in West Virginia killed 25 people. The floods in Louisiana killed 13. The number of houses that were damaged is reportedly very high–the governor puts it at 40,000. But there are natural disasters that killed more while also causing much, if not as much, damage. (By comparison, West Virginia’s governor said “thousands” of homes were damaged, but CNN reported the significantly lower total of 1,200. It may be too soon to know the property damage in dollars for either.)

Two more large-scale floods: those that killed 21 in Utah in 2015 after Hurricane Linda and the 2010 floods that killed 21 in Tennessee and 10 more in Kentucky and Mississippi while causing over $2 billion in damage.

A theory can be tested: If a dozen or more people were killed in say, Nashville, Tenn. or Hildale, Utah, would the media pay more attention to it than they are doing to the Louisiana floods?

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Conservative populism in a disaster response: Who do we view as our fellow countrymen?

Do populist conservatives care about their fellow countrymen? If so, you would think that they would oppose discrimination against their fellow countrymen and thus welcome a memo by the Department of Justice with the intent of decreasing discrimination in the response to the flooding in Louisiana.

Shockingly, that is not how populist conservatives reacted at all. “President Mob Boss sends message to flood-hit Louisiana,” Liberty Unyielding blared. “Obama Just Sent An Offensive Memo To Louisiana Flood Victims,” The Federalist Papers.org shouted. “Obama irks La. flood victims with memo warning them not to discriminate,” the conservative Washington Times reported.

Offensive. Right, because populist conservatives are so politically correct that they would never want to “offend” anyone.

Rod Dreher, an author for The American Conservative, pretty well summarizes the reactionary mindset (in his own mindset) behind the people who are offended by anti-discrimination messages. Offended by a simple piece of guidance about federal law and best practices in disaster response. He accuses the so-called “elites” of being “out-of-touch” with “average Americans” (quote marks and choice of wording is mine — those phrases can’t exist without quote marks).

What he wrote directly was:

It’s like, Is that really what you think of us? That we’re just a bunch of rednecks dying to discriminate?

It’s like: The people of your Louisiana are not our countrymen, they’re aliens whose bizarre emotions we must attempt occasionally to anticipate and manage.

(Italics his.)

And yet, according to the memo the Department of Justice sent, there were documented instances of discrimination in the disaster response to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.

In one case:

A federal court found evidence of intentional discrimination in actions by St. Bernard Parish, which neighbors New Orleans, when the parish sought to restrict rental housing opportunities, including actions to halt the development of rental housing and enacting a permit requirement for single-family rentals that exempted renters who were “related by blood” to the homeowners. Additionally, the parish changed zoning rules to reduce the availability of rental housing, which was widely perceived in the parish as being planned to house African Americans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Because of these actions, the parish faced a HUD initiated investigation, a DOJ lawsuit, and several private lawsuits alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and it ultimately paid more than $5 million in damages and attorneys’ fees to settle the cases.

I throw the question back at Dreher, since he raised it, Are the people of your Louisiana your countrymen? Do you feel black Louisianans should have had access to housing rentals in St. Bernard Parish?

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WHO DID THIS?!

Sad day for free speech

Gawker’s demise, Twitter’s quality control, and Milo’s ban are qualitatively similar. And the implications are dangerous. 

Gawker is toast. The company, which was mired with controversies, is finally declaring themselves bankrupt. The company came out with this release, and I took a screenshot, in case it is not archived. 18c5da01-8627-43f3-813d-96b481d78359

On the same day, Twitter declared that they will impose “Quality Control”, to stop Trolls commenting. The idea is noble, to stop random internet abuse. Mary Sue is of course happy.

However it should give us a pause. But before that allow me to trace some history.

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Trump voters are reality-denying SJWs

It is often said that Social Justice Warriors protesting on college campuses or writing non-scientific papers deny reality.

As the website The Declination says,

But, the point is, objective reality exists. If a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, it did, in fact, make a sound. SJWs deny all of this. Everything is as you personally perceive if to be. Reality is entirely subjective to them.

Donald Trump has remarked that he could shoot someone in broad daylight and not lose most of his voters. He keeps doing and saying stupid things, and yet so far a good deal of his voters have proven him right. Moreover, many of these things are on tape. What gives? Do his voters admit they like this kind of incivility? Not always. Many of them simply deny the reality on the tape.

Here is one of them:

The tweet he was responding to:

So Trump supporters say he never mocked POWs. Well, here you are:

And he never mentioned assassination. Except here:

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The best of #FeministAMovie

As you know, modern Feminism has turned to lazy remakes of old classic movies and changing the male characters to females, instead of you know…make a new interesting female character or storyline, for “liberation from patriarchy” or something.

Today, Twitter reacted with the hashtag

Here are some of the best.

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“Black Lives Matters have also ideologically expanded”: Chat with Robbie Travers

In case you’re not aware, Black Lives Matters UK had an entire day of protest, blocking traffic to London’s Heathrow, and Birmingham airports, and blocking Nottingham city center. It was the day of mayhem, and many holiday goers were livid that they missed their flight.

To put it in a statistically significant percentage, the number of black people killed by police violence in UK is in single digits, however, facts never deterred militant protest movements anyway. With the increasing militancy in UK left, from Momentum, to Socialist Worker’s Party entryism, to BLM, it is inevitable that an 1980s style crackdown will be launched. One might remember, that same thing happened, in both UK and US, when peaceful civil rights movements, or unions, gave way to militancy, and essentially destroyed the broad public support which led to them being crushed by “law and order” supporting candidates on both sides of the pond.12188595_10206147899191049_1123209179_n

Do we see a repeat of that after 40 odd years?

In light of that hypothesis, I chatted with Robbie Travers, self-declared “Arch Blairite”, old fashioned New Labour, and the Executive Director of The Agorans, who incidentally got his FB post blocked, as he criticised BLM militancy.

Here’s the excerpt. 

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The curious case of Ladislav Basternak

After spending a recent year in Italy and stopping in the UK on the way back, the long journey to Slovakia necessarily felt a bit anxious. Not only that there would be a lot of studying for the upcoming final state exam, together with all PhD applications and job/internship search; I have been also particularly curious about the state I will find my homeland in.

This summer, Slovakia has taken over the Presidency of the Council of the EU, and Slovak representatives have started to unusually frequently inflect the adjective ´democratic´ in relation to the country. As if there´s the need to convince domestic and foreign publics of the nature of the Central European state. I am always suspicious when statesmen suddenly come to stress and overemphasize a single issue. And I have had a nagging feeling that instead of comforting increasingly distrustful Slovak citizens, leading politicians have rather been reassuring themselves of persistently democratic character of the Slovak Republic. Or, they have been painstakingly trying to conceal a maturing bummer. It would be a shame if a large- scale scandal in the Slovakia´s domestic politics breaks out right during the Council Presidency. Such an instance would deal a major blow to the country´s prestige and could even lead to a fragmentation of coalition. The growing incidence of and frequency with which the collocation ´democratic- Slovakia´ appears in the media recently calls for further investigation.

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