Sunday, October 08, 2017

Puerto Rico Enters the 'Great American Victim Derby'

Seems like everyone's a victim in the USA these days, from college "snowflakes" who can't abide someone with views unlike theirs within miles of their campuses to allegedly assaulted women wearing sexually explicit hats to multi-millionaire football players who are sure there's something wrong but can't always remember what it is (other than Donald Trump).  The latest of the many entries in this "Great American Victim Derby" is Puerto Rico -- or at least a significant part of the island's leadership.

Who will win this derby?

It's anybody's guess, but the thing about playing the victim game is that even -- perhaps especially -- when you do win, you're even more likely to continue to be a victim and play some more.  Victimhood is self-perpetuating -- a spiritual, emotional, political, and economic rerun out of the movie "Groundhog Day." Every year it's the same thing and nothing changes.  Something bad happens and there you go again, drinking from the trough until you pass out like a fraternity boy being hazed for the thousandth time.

Why not try something different for a change -- like taking responsibility?

Are you listening, Puerto Rico?

It's an old story.  The island has always hovered on the brink of collapse. Self-sufficiency was an illusion.  I remember growing up in New York City in the fifties and the non-stop immigration of Puerto Ricans (I lived on the edge of Spanish Harlem).  No one seemed to be going the other way -- to Puerto Rico -- despite its balmy Caribbean climate and gorgeous beaches. Maybe that was part of the problem.  If you visit a tropical island, the last thing on your mind is work. You want to kick back and enjoy neverneverland as long as you can.   To some extent, it's the same for locals.  Dolce far niente is a great lifestyle, if you can hack it -- seemingly stress free.  I'm envious. But everything has a price. You look around and things are dissolving . No infrastructure.  No nada. Calamity strikes. And there you are asking for a handout again.

I'm not saying we shouldn't help Puerto Rico.  We must and should.  The situation is dreadful.  But this is a learning opportunity for the islanders.  They should take it. Blaming Donald Trump is the most reactionary and self-destructive thing they can do.  It's victimhood redux. Leave that to the rapacious ideologues at CNN, the New York Times, etc. They'd blame the eruption of the Indonesian volcanoes on Trump, if that were possible -- and even it it weren't.

Despite what global warming fanatics might say, hurricanes are nothing new in Puerto Rico.  There were obviously plenty of them from time immemorial, long before the island was even inhabited. If you're living on the island you know that from childhood. Every year brings a hurricane season. For the last decade it was pretty inconsequential, then it went crazy.  It's God's lottery.

So you have choices: you can leave the island, you can stay and do nothing, or you can stay and do something -- that is, build a hurricane-mitigating infrastructure the way California has, at least to some extent, hardened itself against the inevitable earthquakes.

A fourth way exists, and unfortunately it seems prevalent in Puerto Rico if we listen to the self-serving blather of San Juan's mayor or trust the veracity -- on the same subject -- of this recorded phone call from a  female Puerto Rican police officer.  (Sadly, I do.)  That is the way of evil, politically exploitative leadership:

Radio Announcer: What is your name?
Police Caller: I cannot give my name because I work for Puerto Rico’s Police Department. I need to pass this information out because the stuff that is being brought from the U.S. is not being distributed.  They are not allowing the Puerto Rican people to receive the donations.

Radio Announcer: What part of Puerto Rico are you calling us from right now?

Police Caller: I am right now in Guaynabo.

Radio Announcer 2: Wow.

Radio Announcer 3: But what information do you have? What have you seen?

Police Caller: The Mayor, Carmen Yulin, is not allowing anyone to distribute… We need… what Puerto Ricans need is that the U.S. armed forces come in and distribute the aid. And that they stop the governor, Rosello, and the mayor, Yulin, on doing what they are doing… It’s an abuse, it looks like communism, in our own island (sobbing)… (sobbing continues, inaudible translation due to cries)…

Communism.  Interesting she says that because it has been my observation that in places (countries) where people are reluctant to act for themselves, communism, or some form of totalitarianism, moves in.  It's almost biological, or chemical -- the abhorring of a vacuum. It's also yet more proof of Edmund Burke's oft-quoted dictum: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

So this is a teaching moment for Puerto Rico.  Will they take it?


A right to make a fool of himself

The controversy over the NFL’s indulgence of players protesting the national anthem might be treated as a time to learn. One might learn something from Heather Mac Donald about the mythology underlying Colin Kaepernick’s protest "against the incredible number of unarmed black people being killed by the police." In Kaepernick’s honor, I say that one deserved a high Colinic flush. Instead it metastasized with the invaluable assistance of Barack Obama and his acolytes in the administration and in the media.

One might learn something about the NFL’s standard operating procedure for the national anthem. According to the league’s operations manual: "The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking….Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses." While the NFL has enforced rules against other instances of individualized expression by players wearing their team uniforms, it has somehow indulged the Colinic metastasis.

One might learn something about the extent of the First Amendment’s protection of speech. As interpreted by the Supreme Court, of course, the protection generally protects speech against restrictions by governmental entities such as cities, states and public universities. There are wrinkles and exceptions galore, of course, one of which applies to governmental paramilitary organizations such as police and fire departments, where the need for discipline and cohesion is recognized.

In one of the highlights of our work together representing students and teachers with speech claims in the university setting, John and I came up against the citation of this exception by University of Minnesota lawyers defending the suppression of speech. The university police had been called out to censor an exhibit by history professors on the campus of the University of Minnesota at Duluth. The university lawyers "explained" that the exhibit posed a threat to the order of the campus regime. We somehow managed to persuade the court to distinguish the University of Minnesota from a paramilitary organization.

One might learn that the First Amendment generally does not protect speech rights in the setting of private employment. A private employer can generally limit an employee’s right to express oneself at work. The NFL, for example, relies on its authority to regulate player speech in a myriad of ways with which we are all familiar. It has nevertheless recognized the Colinic exception to these regulations.

Writing at the site of Center of the American Experiment, John Hinderaker quotes my friend and former colleague Teresa Collett of the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. As is her wont, Professor Collett is trying to do some teaching in a teachable moment. She explains:

I don’t watch football. I don’t care about football. But I do care about constitutional literacy. Please stop saying football players have first amendment rights to disregard the direction of their private employers while engaged in privately sponsored activities — which is what NFL football games are. They have no more constitutional protection for their expressive activities than I do for mine at my private Catholic university. Any "rights" they have are based on their contracts and employment law.

On the one hand, we have Professor Collett teaching something true about the scope of our Fist Amendment speech rights. On the other hand, we have Star Tribune sportswriter Michael Rand triumphantly declaiming:

A gameday manual can say what it wants. So can a president, for that matter. At the end of the day, we’re still back to the First Amendment — the trump card, so to speak — which carries just a little more sway than a logistical document or a tweet.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Free speech leads to uncomfortable conversations — ones that Rodgers, correctly, says we need to be having. Debating whether a league rule means players shouldn’t be able to start that conversation probably means you don’t want to have that conversation.

Enough false flags. The real one is too important.

The First Amendment protects Michael Rand’s right to display his ignorance and make a fool of himself in the pages of the Star Tribune. One might learn that Rand therefore needs someone to protect him from himself. (Editors?) Or one might learn you can’t believe everything you read in the Star Tribune.


Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash

What every liberal who didn't see this coming needs to understand

Many will say Trump won because he successfully capitalized on blue collar workers' anxieties about immigration and globalization. Others will say he won because America rejected a deeply unpopular alternative. Still others will say the country is simply racist to its core.

But there's another major piece of the puzzle, and it would be a profound mistake to overlook it. Overlooking it was largely the problem, in the first place.

Trump won because of a cultural issue that flies under the radar and remains stubbornly difficult to define, but is nevertheless hugely important to a great number of Americans: political correctness.

More specifically, Trump won because he convinced a great number of Americans that he would destroy political correctness.

I have tried to call attention to this issue for years. I have warned that political correctness actually is a problem on college campuses, where the far-left has gained institutional power and used it to punish people for saying or thinking the wrong thing. And ever since Donald Trump became a serious threat to win the GOP presidential primaries, I have warned that a lot of people, both on campus and off it, were furious about political-correctness-run-amok—so furious that they would give power to any man who stood in opposition to it.

I have watched this play out on campus after campus. I have watched dissident student groups invite Milo Yiannopoulos to speak—not because they particularly agree with his views, but because he denounces censorship and undermines political correctness. I have watched students cheer his theatrics, his insulting behavior, and his narcissism solely because the enforcers of campus goodthink are outraged by it. It's not about his ideas, or policies. It's not even about him. It's about vengeance for social oppression.

Trump has done to America what Yiannopoulos did to campus. This is a view Yiannopoulos shares. When I spoke with him about Trump's success months ago, he told me, "Nobody votes for Trump or likes Trump on the basis of policy positions. That's a misunderstanding of what the Trump phenomenon is."

He described Trump as "an icon of irreverent resistance to political correctness." Correctly, I might add.

What is political correctness? It's notoriously hard to define. I recently appeared on a panel with CNN's Sally Kohn, who described political correctness as being polite and having good manners. That's fine—it can mean different things to different people. I like manners. I like being polite. That's not what I'm talking about.

The segment of the electorate who flocked to Trump because he positioned himself as "an icon of irreverent resistance to political correctness" think it means this: smug, entitled, elitist, privileged leftists jumping down the throats of ordinary folks who aren't up-to-date on the latest requirements of progressive society.

Example: A lot of people think there are only two genders—boy and girl. Maybe they're wrong. Maybe they should change that view. Maybe it's insensitive to the trans community. Maybe it even flies in the face of modern social psychology. But people think it. Political correctness is the social force that holds them in contempt for that, or punishes them outright.

If you're a leftist reading this, you probably think that's stupid. You probably can't understand why someone would get so bent out of shape about being told their words are hurtful. You probably think it's not a big deal and these people need to get over themselves. Who's the delicate snowflake now, huh? you're probably thinking. I'm telling you: your failure to acknowledge this miscalculation and adjust your approach has delivered the country to Trump.

There's a related problem: the boy-who-cried-wolf situation. I was happy to see a few liberals, like Bill Maher, owning up to it. Maher admitted during a recent show that he was wrong to treat George Bush, Mitt Romney, and John McCain like they were apocalyptic threats to the nation: it robbed him of the ability to treat Trump more seriously. The left said McCain was a racist supported by racists, it said Romney was a racist supported by racists, but when an actually racist Republican came along—and racists cheered him—it had lost its ability to credibly make that accusation.

This is akin to the political-correctness-run-amok problem: both are examples of the left's horrible over-reach during the Obama years. The leftist drive to enforce a progressive social vision was relentless, and it happened too fast. I don't say this because I'm opposed to that vision—like most members of the under-30 crowd, I have no problem with gender neutral pronouns—I say this because it inspired a backlash that gave us Trump.

My liberal critics rolled their eyes when I complained about political correctness. I hope they see things a little more clearly now. The left sorted everyone into identity groups and then told the people in the poorly-educated-white-male identity group that that's the only bad one. It mocked the members of this group mercilessly. It punished them for not being woke enough. It called them racists. It said their video games were sexist. It deployed Lena Dunham to tell them how horrible they were. Lena Dunham!

I warned that political-correctness-run-amok and liberal overreach would lead to a counter-revolution if unchecked. That counter-revolution just happened.

There is a cost to depriving people of the freedom (in both the legal and social senses) to speak their mind. The presidency just went to the guy whose main qualification, according to his supporters, is that he isn't afraid to speak his.


'Divisive and unrealistic': Anti-racism ad from Australian Human Rights Commission showing white businessman shutting African woman out of elevator sparks outrage online

This is just race hate: Hate of white people by Leftists in the HRC. Much to the frustration of the Left, Australia is a very laid  back place and people are treated by the way they behave themselves without regard to race. Different races go about their lives every day without any racial friction.  In my entire life I have seen nothing like the nonsense described below.  But I do EVERY DAY see large numbers of interactions between people of different races that are perfectly civil

A new anti-racism campaign launched by the Human Rights Commission has sparked outrage online. One of the 30 second videos, titled 'Elevator - Racism. It stops with me', has been heavily criticised, with people calling it 'divisive and unrealistic'.

Conservative radio and television broadcaster Paul Murray posted a link to the video on his Facebook page.

Murray's caption read: 'Not a sketch, not a joke. THIS is what HRC thinks 'White Men' do in lifts. What rubbish!

The video shows a white businessman in a suit politely letting a white woman enter a lift in an office building before him.

Then he spots a woman of African background running for the same lift, but instead of giving her the same treatment he tries to stop her from entering.

The horrified white woman steps out of the lift, and both of them stare at the businessman in disgust as the words 'Racism. It stops with me' appear.

Social media users were scathing in their responses to the video.  'I am angry that tax dollars have been wasted on such puerile, infantile rubbish,' wrote one person.

'In over 25 years in the workforce working with people of many ethnicities I rarely see anything like this. In fact I feel the HRC discriminate against white males.'

'Maybe she works in his office and every day she steals his yoghurt from the fridge that he specifically writes his name on, so he didn't want to hold the lift for her? Now he looks like the bad guy!' wrote another.

Others wrote they have never experienced being in a situation like the one portrayed in the ad.

'I'm dark skinned and this has NEVER EVER happened to me in my 45 years. The divisiveness from this mob is truly breathtaking,' said a female commenter.

'As a brown skinned female who is 52 years old, I have never experienced any form of racism in my life,' said another.

'It's like the progressives need to invent problems because they can't find any real ones.

The Human Rights Commission said the videos 'depict casual racism in the workplace and the provision of goods and services'.

Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said the videos, called Community Service Announcements, will be broadcast on national TV.

'Racism frequently occurs at work and while people are doing everyday things such as catching a bus, riding a train, or flagging a taxi,' Dr Soutphommasane said.

'This might come as a surprise to Australians who tend to think that racism is a thing of the past. But independent research and the experiences of many people tells us otherwise.

'We'd like to get people thinking about what they can do to help put a stop to racism.

'We hope these CSAs help create a culture where people are able to identify racism and have the confidence to respond appropriately and safely,' he said.

The elevator video, along with a similar one showing a racist taxi driver, will be shown on free-to-air television over the next two months.

The HRC said a woman of African background was chosen because independent research has found 'people with an African background frequently experience racism at work or while using public services such as transport'.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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