Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Off-topic: Americans are stupid

No one should complain about the outcome of this election, whatever it might be. Americans don’t deserve a good president because they don’t demand one.

Mrs. Clinton and her news media allies (pretty much the entire mainstream media) are only interested in talking about Donald Trump’s idiocy du jour. For his part, Donald Trump is primarily interested in attacking leaders of his own party who aren’t supporting him. The rest of the GOP and its media outlet, Fox News, are more interested in catching Clinton in lies about old emails or maybe even hoping she faints again.

The American people are even worse. We just witnessed the most dramatic presidential debate in history--and the most talked-about thing is what? A guy in a red sweater who asked a question that wasn’t important.

So what's so important that we should be discussing, you ask?

For one thing, Americans ought to be talking about Obamacare. Barack Obama considers it his signature accomplishment, and Mrs. Clinton is running as an Obama acolyte. Obama sold it to Americans with his Pajama Boy ad campaign and promises that it would “reduce the costs of most Americans” and that “no matter what you’ve heard, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor . . . .” In fact, Obama made those claims repeatedly.

The Pajama Boy campaign turned out to be a dud—akin to trying to peddle New Coke (younger readers may not know--in the mid-1980s, Coke changed the formula of its iconic drink--it didn’t last). And the promises turned out to be wrong, to put it charitably. An architect of Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber, later admitted in a moment of arrogant candor that the promises were deceitful—because “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” in this instance. Health care premiums have skyrocketed to the point that Bill Clinton—the man Mrs. Clinton said would be “in charge of revitalizing the economy” in her administration--last week said this: "So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It's the craziest thing in the world."

At this week’s debate, a questioner asked: “Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, it is not affordable. Premiums have gone up. Deductibles have gone up. Copays have gone up. Prescriptions have gone up. And the coverage has gone down. What will you do to bring the cost down and make coverage better?” Even Mrs. Clinton agreed with the questioner. “. . . I agree with you. Premiums have gotten too high. Copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs . . . .” And: “. . . we've got to get costs down. We've got to provide additional help to small businesses so that they can afford to provide health insurance.”

The most important accomplishment of the Obama administration is a mess, and you'd think this would be the principal issue in this campaign. So why aren’t we holding both candidates’ feet to the fire and insisting that they lay out detailed plans about how they’re going to fix Obamacare, or replace it?

Because we're too busy talking about a guy in a red sweater.

And . . . maybe we’re stupid?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Donald Trump's repulsive comments

[Edit: During the October 9, 2016 presidential debate, Donald Trump stated that his comments in 2005 were "locker room talk" and that he did not sexually assault women.]

Back in 2005, Donald Trump bragged, "I just start kissing [beautiful women] . . . . Just kiss. Don't even wait. And when you're a star, let you do it. You can do anything. Whatever you wait. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."

Should we believe Donald Trump was telling the truth--that he would kiss women, and grab women "by the p**ssy," without waiting for anything, including the women's consent? Because that sure sounds an awful lot like sexual assault, doesn't it? Or maybe Trump thinks that the women's after-the-fact consent--because he's a "star" and all--could undo sexual assault?

If Trump grabbed women before the women manifested consent, that's sexual assault. The fact that the women didn't complain doesn't undo the sexual assault.

Should we take Donald Trump at his word? Because if we do, it sure sounds like he was bragging about committing sexual assault.

And I'm wondering when the women will come forward, a la Bill Cosby?  Perhaps this disclosure will trigger women coming forward.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Airline changes woman's seat to accommodate Pakistani Monks: discrimination. Muslim women get men kicked out of gyms: a reasonable request

When Pakistani monks--who are men--had United Airlines move a female passenger because their cultural beliefs forbade them from sitting next to her on a flight, the media gave voice to the woman, who felt she'd been discriminated. “We can’t discriminate against half the population,” the woman said, “for a belief from another nation.” The woman has demanded that United Airlines apologize to every female on that plane, including United employees, and change their policy. The woman said she was intent on protecting women’s rights. United said it regretted that the woman was unhappy and that it has "zero tolerance" for discrimination. See here

But when Muslim women insist that they can't exercise with men around at Harvard and a lot of other places, the men are often banned from the gym for hours each week. The women find it "awkward" working out in a co-ed gym--it makes them "uncomfortable." The communications director of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences called it a "reasonable request."

When Muslim men asked for a religious accommodation that, in truth, did not inconvenience a woman at all, the media gives voice to the woman who insists she was discriminated against. When women ask for a religious accommodation that indisputably does cause some inconvenience to men, it's a reasonable request.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Brown University--where hostility to the rights of accused men is routine

Innocence Project guru Prof. Mark A Godsey has explained that "the risk of wrongful conviction is the highest when there’s public outcry. Most of the exonerations and wrongful convictions have occurred in rape cases."

A federal judge has ruled that Brown University violated a student's rights when it expelled him for alleged sexual assault. The judge did not take sides as to the truth of the accusation, he merely took issue with the unfair process used to expel the young man. According to the Washington Post:
. . . at the time of the incident, in November 2014, the judge said the university’s code governing sexual misconduct contained no definition of consent. Brown formulated one after the fact, in 2015, and a decided the man had violated it, suspending him and barring him from campus until the woman graduates.

The retroactive punishment was sufficiently significant to have possibly made the difference between the man being found responsible or not.

The court found other flaws in the process as well, including the university’s failure to allow the man to introduce evidence that he believed was exculpatory.
The court also took issue with Brown students who tried to influence the judiciary:
After the preliminary injunction, this Court was deluged with emails resulting from an organized campaign to influence the outcome. These tactics, while perhaps appropriate and effective in influencing legislators or officials in the executive branch, have no place in the judicial process. This is basic civics, and one would think students and others affiliated with a prestigious Ivy League institution would know this. Moreover, having read a few of the emails, it is abundantly clear that the writers, while passionate, were woefully ignorant about the issues before the Court.
This isn't Brown's first brush with a controversial rape case. Do you remember the Adam Lack case? As Kathleen Parker wrote: "Despite any substantiating evidence, a disciplinary council at Brown University, where [Lack and his accuser, Sara Klein] were enrolled, found Lack guilty of sexual misconduct and suspended him for one semester."

Libertarian media gadfly John Stossel was sent to Brown University to cover the Lack case for 20/20. Stossel was surprised to discover that debate on the issue was not welcomed. At a rally against Mr. Lack, Mr. Stossel sought to question to protest leaders about their definition of "rape." Stossel described the scene in words that are a stinging indictment on the intoleance of activists who have politicized rape: "I've covered race riots in Portland, a birth-control riot in Mexico City, yet these privileged students at an Ivy League university were louder, and more intense." They shouted Stossel down, began chanting at him, and made it clear that there was only one side to the issue. In their world, Stossel explained, "any challenge to their thinking must automatically be hate-filled and sexist (or racist, classist, or homophobic)." J. Stossel, How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media at 275-77.

Several years before that at Brown, a ''rape list'' was famously scrawled on the wall of a library women's room -- it identified 30 ''men who have sexually assaulted me or a woman I know.'' As soon as janitors scrubbed the wall clean, someone would rewrite the ''rape list'' on it again. Women's groups defended the list and reacted angrily when the school's administration said it would no more tolerate anti-male graffiti than it allows misogynistic, homophobic or racist graffiti.

Another time, a Brown alumni famously applauded the fact that "[t]he woman's version of what happened will always be accepted over the man's account."

Maybe there's something in the water at Brown.