Friday, October 28, 2016

Hypocrites, or Hissyfit Jesus versus Vulcan Jesus

I was talking online with a Christian who believes in Tough Love Jesus, which left me thinking about the Biblical Jesus calling people hypocrites. If you believe the word is an insult, it doesn't belong in the mouth of a teacher who said the greatest commandments are to love God and to love people.

That got me thinking about Hissyfit Jesus, the Jesus many Christians believe in, the furious man who rages at Pharisees and Sadduccees because they won't follow him. That's a comforting Jesus for angry and self-righteous people.

But "hypocrite" is only an insult when it's spoken in anger. It's a precise word: it means your words and deeds don't mesh. Hypocrites consist of two groups, those who lie to others and those who lie to themselves. The first group aren't actually offended by the word; they're terrified of being exposed, so they act indignant to deny the charge. The second group aren't actually offended either, though they may believe they are. Their anger comes from cognitive dissonance—they believe it's right for them to have their privileges because they're sure they're good people who do what privileged people are supposed to do to be considered good people. The only way for them to keep their comforting illusions is to rage at anyone who tries to shake them into seeing the world.

If I was writing a Jesus story, he would speak to Pharisees and Sadduccees like Star Trek's Spock. He would simply tell them that hypocrites live in worlds of their own making, so if they hope to become the people they think they are, the first step is rejecting the illusion they love.

In the Gospels, Jesus never applies "tough love" to the poor, but he constantly applies it to the rich. He tells the rich young man who wants to study with him to do what his other students did and share his wealth with the poor. The young man can't and goes away. But the story includes a bit of hope for all rich people. After the young man leaves, Jesus says all things are possible with God.

That doesn't mean God gives a pass to some rich people—the Gospels don't have any examples of that. They only tell of rich people who know they must share. They fall into two groups. Some, like Zacchaeus the tax collector, follow John the Baptist's teaching to give half of what you have to the poor. The ones who follow Jesus's teaching share everything.

The log in a hypocrite's eye makes them see anyone who tries to remove it as angry or jealous or any of the many things rich people call those who suggest there's no virtue in hoarding wealth while people suffer. If I wrote a Jesus story, I wouldn't change the traditional interpretation of Sadduccees and Pharisees leaving in a righteous huff.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Eleanor Marx explains why sometimes socialists should support liberals

From Eleanor Marx: Working Women vs. Bourgeois Feminism (italics mine):
There is no doubt that there is a women’s question. But for us – who gain the right to be counted among the working class either by birth or by working for the workers’ cause – this issue belongs to the general working-class movement. We can understand, sympathise, and also help if need be, when women of the upper or middle class fight for rights that are well-founded and whose achievement will benefit working-women also. I say, we can even help: has not the Communist Manifesto taught us that it is our duty to support any progressive movement that benefits the workers’ cause, even if this movement is not our own?

Emma's observation about Jesus and tough love

Emma: What are you thinking about?

Me: I was just in a discussion with a conservative who thinks Jesus was about tough love.

Emma: Yeah, if you were a money-changer.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Peasant or Whatever Diet, Day 4: Lost 3 pounds

Because our scale isn't the most precise, I'm not sure if I lost four pounds or two and a half, so I'm calling it three.

When I was in seventh grade, I decided I wanted to lose weight. I did it partly by having a growth spurt and partly by eating my usual sandwiches with one slice of bread instead of two and bicycling to school instead of taking the bus. Sadly, I can't count on a growth spurt now, but the rest of what I figured out then is the basis of every diet: get moving and don't eat what you don't need. The nice thing about calorie-counting is you learn what the food industry doesn't want you to think about: almost everything's more caloric than you assume. The bulk of their profit comes from selling food to entertain us instead of sustain us.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Peasant Diet could take three forms

1. Recreationist. You only use what would've been available to the peasants you're choosing as inspiration for your diet. Bonus points if you cook the food exactly as they would've. Super bonus points if you grow and hunt your own. Any of the recreationist approaches would be difficult and expensive because many foods have changed over the centuries as farmers grew them for different characteristics.

2. No-counting, all you can eat. The "all you can eat" would be potatoes or brown rice or oatmeal, green vegetables, and, once a day, a moderate serving of eggs or dairy or beans.

3. Counting-calories. This is great for people who like puzzles: you get to put the pieces together every day to eat in a range where you won't feel like you're starving but you'll still lose weight. The basic principle is to focus on simple foods and avoid things that would've been time-intensive luxuries in older times.

I'll probably go with #3. I'm too fond of variety in my diet. Which, I realize is part of the reason I'm not thin.

I'll do a concluding post on this tomorrow, and find out whether I've managed to lose any weight.

Wikileaks identifies Feminists Against Women and Antiracists Against Blacks

From WikiLeaks - The Podesta Emails:
Working with bloggers and columnists to write about this from a racial justice and reproductive rights perspective, including a few people who joined us on a call to talk about the "Bernie Backlash" that was unfolding even before his remarks last night—current list is Elianne Ramos, Jessica Valenti (who is writing a column on this as we speak), Jamil Smith, Sady Doyle, Aminatou Sow, Gabe Ortiz, and others
Because poverty is disproportionate both in terms of race and gender, the better candidate for women and black folks was Bernie Sanders, whose platform would've helped them disproportionately. But bourgeois identitarians don't care about that. They supported the candidate who has their interests at heart by using social identity to divide and defeat working people.

Peasant Diet, Day 3: the more complex the diet, the more you have to count calories

I'm still in the calorie-counting phase, which may be a necessary first step to creating a modern version of a peasant diet. Today's surprise was learning margarine is more caloric than I'd thought. On average, it's the same as butter, 102 calories for a tablespoon.

An advantage of calorie counting is the peasant got to eat half a pizza today. And I haven't figured out how a fun-size Snickers fits under the Peasant Diet. Maybe this is a game, and staying under your goal lets the peasant steal a treat from the lord.

The pizza was one of my favorite prepared food hacks: I chopped up a third of a bag of frozen asparagus and spread it on a Trader Joe's Pizza Margherita, then sprinkled that liberally with garlic powder and pepper. Mmm. The extra ingredients call for an extra minute or two in the oven.

How I did today:

oatmeal150
apple95
soup & bread250
apple juice120
1 fun snickers80
1 red wine125
1/2 pizza550
skim milk90
1 slice bread79
dab peanut butter40
skim milk90
That's 1669 calories. All's good.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why socialist parties shouldn't fight with each other

I'm periodically struck by the fact that socialist parties always talk about solidarity, but too often mean, "Solidarity with me, not them!" Here's a very strong argument for keeping the focus on the capitalists. From Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger: It’s Important:
...in the early 1930s, as the National Socialists gained strength, Ernst Thällman, the Chairman of the German Communist Party held to the line that the Social Democrats were a greater threat to the working class and to the possibility of revolution than were the Nazis. The Communists’ conflict with the Social Democrats was both not without justification and mutual.  Some Communists believed that the elements of the working class who were drawn to the Nazis, e.g., those in Ernst Röhm’s Brown Shirts, could be won from them. In 1931 some sought to collaborate with the Nazis to bring down the weak Social Democrat government. In expressing the conviction that the Social Democrats were the main danger in German politics, Thällman uttered the quip that has long outlived him as a cautionary device: “After Hitler, our turn.” His point was that a Nazi victory would expose them as fraudulent with no program for the working class. What Thällman didn’t count on was their success at criminalizing and liquidating all opposition. He died in a concentration camp.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Peasant Diet, Day 2, Update: Jaipur Vegetables, dark chocolate, and wine

For dinner, I fried the rest of the boiled potatoes from yesterday, then dumped in a bag of Trader Joe's Jaipur Vegetables (one of my favorite convenience foods) with a can of tuna, a quarter cup of raisins, and a quarter cup of cashews. That was divided with Emma. We each had a glass of red wine, then split a haystack (dark chocolate and coconut) from The Candy Jar, our great neighborhood candy shop which has the best caramel apples every fall.

The following numbers are guesses for the potatoes and the haystack, but they should be a reasonable reflection of the calories I consumed:

1 red wine125
jaipur veg85
potatoes150
1/8 cup raisins54
1/8 cup cashews85
dark chocolate 30g152
tuna82

So the total for the day is about 1400 calories. Before I go to sleep, I'll probably have a glass of skim milk for another 100 calories or so, and since I seem to be well under the target of 2000 calories, I might even have a Pecan Sandy cookie for another 85 calories.

Here's to living wild!

On ginger-curry carrot and pea soup and the Peasant Diet


I'll probably stop posting my daily calorie counts because one of the things I liked best about the Potato Hack was that you can eat as much as you want of what you're allowed to eat. I hope to do the same thing with the Peasant Diet—you can eat as much as you want of things that a peasant could've eaten—assuming there's no famine, and, if you include meat, the lord doesn't catch you poaching. Just remember we're talking historical peasants, not Hollywood peasants. You don't get to say the peasant made a Snickers bar, and if you want ice cream, you'd better do the equivalent of hiking up a mountain to get the ice.

I had a pound and a half of carrots that was getting a little old and half a pound of peas in the freezer, so I decided to make soup: I boiled the carrots for ten or fifteen minutes, then pureed them. In a frying pan, I sauteed green onions with curry powder, black pepper, and garlic powder. (I tend to cook intuitively, so all I can tell you is that I used a fair bit of curry powder, maybe a couple of tablespoons.) We had some dried ginger in the cupboard, so I minced that and ground it in a mortar, which is fun, and stirred it in, then let the pot simmer.

For lunch, I had a bowlful mixed with potatoes leftover from yesterday.

It was delicious.

Because calories are relevant, even though I don't want to become obsessed with them, here are the numbers for the whole pot of soup:

1.5 lb carrots279
.5 lb peas195
green onions10

That's a total 484 calories. I didn't calculate how much I ate for lunch, but it looks like I have four or five servings left, so I'll guess lunch was around 100 calories in soup and 150 in potatoes. My breakfast of oatmeal and an apple was also about 250 calories, so I'm doing great so far.

Peasant Diet, Day 2


Among the fun things about shopping at a farmers market is you sometimes get vegetables that major grocery stores would reject. I like the Cthulu carrot, but I'm curious about the other. They must've come from a fairly conventional plot. Why would one grow a little, then say, "I'm bored" and take a right angle, then head down again? Okay, it's probably something as boring as encountering a root or a rock and growing around it, but still, that's one clever carrot I'll be eating soon.

Breakfast is oatmeal with a Fireside apple cooked in. Lunch will be carrot curry soup and potatoes. Haven't decided about dinner yet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Potato Hacking, Day 1, Update 2: it's definitely the Peasant Diet

Now I know why the official potato hack calls for not exercising during the potatoes-only phase. I was feeling light-headed again before my Zumba class, so I had a fun-size Snickers, 11 peanuts, and the last of the plain yogurt in the fridge, prob'ly a quarter cup. When I got home, I decided I was going to eat like a peasant whose family had caught a fish and grew more things than potatoes.

Emma's away now. When she gets back, I'll either have a beer (154 calories) or a glass of wine (123 calories). Tomorrow, the peasant will start the day with oatmeal with an apple cooked in it.

 Here's today's calorie count (UPDATED):

10/18/2016
1.7 lbs Potatoes589.9
1 egg90
salsa10
1 carrot25
1 fun snickers80
1/4 cup plain yogurt40
11 peanuts121
2 fish filets200
1 zucchini33
1 red wine125
1 slice bread79
tiny  bit of peanut butter40
1432.9

That doesn't include a tiny bit of oil in the skillet for the egg and the filets, and a little skim milk in coffee, so I'll guess there's another 100 calories there.

According to Healthy Weight Calculator, to Lose or Maintain Weight, to lose weight, I need to consume fewer than 1972 calories, so I'm happy with the way I've hacked the potato hack.

Don't worry that this is turning into a diet blog. I'm going to record what I eat for three more days, and then food posts will probably become rare.

Potato Hacking, Day 1, Update 1: No, let's make it an International Peasant Diet

I began feeling a bit light-headed. That could come from the reduction in calories or from not drinking enough or from a spike in carbs due to only eating potatoes. My goal is to come up with a diet that acknowledges the reality of CICO ("calories in, calories out") and the need for balanced meals but is easy and satisfying. Light-headedness isn't part of that, so for lunch, I had a fried egg (90 calories) and salsa (less than 10 calories) with my potatoes.

I was tempted to officially switch from an Irish Peasant Diet to a Mexican Peasant Diet, but I'm now thinking about making this a Peasant Diet that draws on all the world's cuisines.

ETA: Had a mid-afternoon carrot. 25 calories.

Potato Hacking, Day 1 - First lessons, and hacking the hack into an Irish Peasant Diet


This morning's first lesson is to make sure pictures are in focus. The fuzzy pic above is three pounds of potatoes.

The second lesson is to buy potatoes of about the same size, if possible. It would've been fine to boil these uncut until the largest ones were done, but I wanted to trim the imperfections, and since I was cutting, I chopped them all to about the same size on the theory that would be efficient, but in retrospect, I just made busywork for myself.

Eating nothing but potatoes has its stunt value, but it's not a healthy long term diet. I'd like something I can stick with until I hit my target weight, then use as a basis to maintain that weight. I've modified yesterday's plan after reading The Straight Dope: Could I survive on nothing but potatoes and milk?. The healthy Irish peasant diet was based on potatoes, milk, and oatmeal.

For the sake of the stunt, I'll stick to potatoes today. Tomorrow, I'll begin a proper Irish peasant diet that starts with oatmeal and milk, then consists mainly of potatoes for the rest of the day.

ETA: I just realized I should've weighed myself yesterday. At noon today, I'm at about 182 pounds. (Our analog scale isn't the most precise.)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Potato Hacking, Day 0

Tomorrow, I'll start a four-day "potato hack" diet. The most interesting article I found on the idea, The Penn Jillette Diet – 105 Pounds in 86 Days, is intelligently skeptical about its would-be profiteers. Here are my fave bits:
"How plausible is it that Jillette lost about a pound a day over three months? The first consideration is that, as he lost weight, the rate of his weight loss would have decreased because his daily calorie needs would decrease with his body weight, assuming his daily food intake during his diet remained constant, at about 1,000 calories per day. Making some ballpark assumptions, let’s say Jillette, as a not-very-active male with painful knees, needs about 15 calories per pound to maintain his weight. So at 330 pounds he needed to eat 5,000 calories per day to remain 330. At 225 he needs to eat about 3,350 calories per day. Since 1 pound of body fat equals about 3,500 calories, daily weight loss at the beginning of the diet (with a 4,000-calorie deficit) would have been 1.1 or 1.2 pounds, dropping to about 0.4 pounds per day at the end (with a 1,350-calorie deficit). So with these assumptions the numbers don’t work out to an average one pound per day. Other factors, such as loss of excess liquid from edema, more activity than we’re assuming here, or an overestimation of daily calories eaten, may account for the difference."
"...Jillette joked to his podcast colleagues about lying to the media during interviews, so keep that in mind when evaluating the morphing details of his diet. And writer Calvin Trillin, after extensive contact with Jillette for a 1989 New Yorker profile, commented that “Penn is not exactly a liar, but he is not absolutely wed to the facts of a story if they interfere with the general theme.” Of course the media also makes mistakes and misquotes people all the time."
"There’s a lot of scientific and crank pseudoscience backstory for the diet, as there is with all diets, and buying into it can help with motivation."
I'm trying the hack because:
1. I like potatoes.
2. I'm as guilty as anyone of eating for novelty's sake rather than hunger's.
3. A pound of potatoes is 358 calories. According to
Tool: Calorie calculator, it takes 2000 to 2350 calories to maintain my current weight. I really doubt I'll eat six pounds of potatoes a day. (The hack calls for preparing three pounds a day and eating whenever you're hungry.)

I would like to lose 25 pounds. I'm not planning to do the hardcore version of the hack, which calls for eating only potatoes for two weeks, then adding some other foods. I'm only going to go for four days, then evaluate the experience. If I'm happy, I'll repeat the hack, perhaps using one of the many variations you can find online, perhaps coming up with my own. I'm already tempted to have oatmeal instead of potatoes for breakfast, but for the first hack, I like the purity of only eating one thing. Well, two things, since I bought red and white potatoes.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Two and a half examples of bias at Politifact - UPDATED: Three and a half!

The first time I noticed blatant bias at Politifact was when reading Hillary Clinton says Bernie Sanders voted for regime change in Libya | PolitiFact. It gives Clinton a rating of "mostly true", even though it admits, "Sanders supported a non-binding Senate resolution that called on Gaddafi to resign his post in a peaceful, democratic transition of power" and quotes Sanders explicitly opposing regime change:
"Look, everybody understands Gaddafi is a thug and murderer," Sanders said to Fox News. "We want to see him go, but I think in the midst of two wars (in Iraq and Afghanistan), I'm not quite sure we need a third war, and I hope the president tells us that our troops will be leaving there, that our military action in Libya will be ending very, very shortly."
A non-binding resolution is not regime change—regime change is supporting the use of force to change a regime, as Clinton did when she encouraged Obama to support the people who staged the coup against the democratically-elected President of Honduras.

In Libya, Clinton got her wish for regime change. The New York Times sums up what happened in Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall:
The president was wary. The secretary of state was persuasive. But the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi left Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven.
Today I noticed a second example of even more blatant bias. In Trump says Clinton viciously attacked those who charged abuse by Bill, PolitiFact concludes,
Bill Clinton certainly has been accused of sexual assault and having affairs. The record shows Hillary Clinton played a role in defending her husband, and that the Clintons’ first presidential campaign deployed tough tactics to defend against stories of consensual sex.
Their rating is "mostly false".

But the charges against Bill aren't about consensual sex. Even Clinton apologists like Slate's Michele Goldberg acknowledge that Juanita Broaddrick's rape charges are very credible. Juanita Broaddrick's case against Hillary Clinton, explained - Vox points out,
Norma Rogers, who was the director of nursing at the nursing home Broaddrick ran at the time, told reporters that she entered the hotel room shortly after the assault allegedly took place and "found Mrs. Broaddrick crying and in 'a state of shock.' Her upper lip was puffed out and blue, and appeared to have been hit." Rogers elaborated to the New York Times, "She told me he forced himself on her, forced her to have intercourse."

Broaddrick's friends Louise Ma, Susan Lewis, and Jean Darden (Norma Rogers's sister) all told NBC News that Broaddrick told them Bill Clinton raped her at the time. David Broaddrick — with whom Broaddrick was having an affair at the time; they both eventually left their spouses to marry each other — also told NBC that Broaddrick's top lip was black after the alleged incident, and that she told him "that she had been raped by Bill Clinton."

This is real evidence. It includes Broaddrick’s eye-witness accounts, as well as confirmation from two further eye-witnesses that Broaddrick had injuries consistent with the assault she alleged. Further, those witnesses and more confirmed that Broaddrick recounted the assault to them in 1978, when he was not nearly as powerful a political figure, and one who she supported.
When Politifact glosses over rape charges, they are not interested in facts. Significantly, they don't address the insults Clinton is said to have used when talking about the women. We know Betsey Wright, who worked for over a decade Bill Clinton, coined the phrase "bimbo eruption" for his accusers.

Because "fact" is in Politifact's name, it's hard for them to ignore facts, but they can obfuscate them when it's useful. Reading How much would Bernie Sanders’ health care plan cost the middle class? | PolitiFact, you might conclude no one knows whether Sanders' plan would save money. But US Uncut noted that if you didn't skim the article, you'd see that that Politifact concluded that Bernie's Healthcare Plan Saves Families $1200/Year.

That's a conservative estimate, of course. For a better look at the savings of universal healthcare, see How Much Universal Healthcare Would Cost in the US – Decision Data:
The Netherlands is actually a good baseline to use, since private companies still exist as more regulated entities alongside the government system, and it’s not likely the US will ever shut down private companies. When we add in the costs of obesity and the drug costs listed above, we land at around $6,862 per person on average in the United States. That’s a total savings of around $1,851 per person; $600 billion overall, or about 21.2% of the total cost of healthcare.
ETA: A new example from If Clinton Campaign Believes WikiLeaks Emails Are Forged, Why Don’t They Prove It?:
Ordinarily, if there is no supporting evidence for a claim, PolitiFact has no problem declaring it false. But in this case PolitiFact reached no conclusion — and actually went so far as to raise the possibility that the Clinton campaign does have proof that the emails have been doctored, but isn’t sharing it for political reasons.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I was in a surprisingly enjoyable discussion about religion and race

In my experience, many and maybe most Americans hate to talk about class and love to talk about race. When they do, discussions about class tend to stay pleasant while discussions about race quickly turn angry if there's any disagreement. That may be because most Americans think they're middle class and are aware the concept's vague while most Americans are sure of their race and have a strong opinion about what that means. Or maybe it's because almost all of us believe racism is evil, but we still have different opinions of what's racist, ranging from the right and left forms of identitarianism to the universalism of radical socialists and religious people.

So while I'm always willing to discuss race, what people may not realize is I'm also always wary. I expect disagreement to quickly turn vicious, and I'm very glad when it doesn't. This was one of the good talks: A discussion at Facebook with John Michael Colón. The link is to the post; the discussion starts with the second comment.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Confusing cause and effect: wealth and education

How income varies among U.S. religious groups | Pew Research Center  ranks US religious groups by their wealth and states reasonably, "While there is a strong and proven correlation between education and income, it’s harder to know whether there also is a link between religion and wealth." But Pew links to a New York Times article titled A Simple Equation: More Education = More Income, which reverses cause and effect. The simple truth: rich people can afford more education than poor people, and the richer religious groups line up with the richer groups of immigrants.

When I made the comment about immigrants and wealth on Facebook, someone said that seemed counter-intuitive. I replied:
It ain't cheap to become an American. First generation people in the tech industry tend to be people who had the resources to get a good education before coming here.
The 5 Minute Guide On How To Emigrate To America notes,
For those with an American spouse or family member the process is not difficult. There are also many annual visas awarded to people with special skills and work experience in certain fields that have a shortage of labour. The US uses a point system to categorise long-term visa applicants based on a number of factors including level of education, nationality and work experience. But for the average person with no desirable skills, family connections of considerable cash to invest in America it will be a long and frustrating process to get a permanent resident visa.
As you'd expect in capitalist countries, immigration is easiest for the rich. What is immigration like for wealthy/rich people? points out,
A number of countries essentially will sell immigration access to the wealthy, by offering immigrant status either for a flat out fee, or for a promise to invest in a business and create jobs.   The USA, Canada and many other nations have done this.
The EB-5 Visa Program Allows 10,000 Wealthy Foreigners to Buy Citizenship Each Year starts with an example:
The massive $20 billion Hudson Yards project is one of the nation’s biggest development efforts. When it’s completed on New York’s west side, it will have have 5,000 apartments, six skyscrapers, and pneumatic tubes for trash disposal. And one more feature of the project: It has paved the way for the green cards of about 1,200 Chinese millionaires.
Perhaps the easiest way to recognize the wealthiest immigrants is to notice which groups were most able to start businesses and which groups most likely to sell their labor. White people are probably the greatest mix in this regard—in some parts of the country, like Appalachia, you can find descendants of indentured servants who were never able to escape generational poverty. That's why, as Walter Benn Michaels notes,
White people ... make up about 70 per cent of the US population, and 62 per cent of those in the bottom quintile.
 In one discussion of the Pew article, Abu Noaman asked,
Do you have the income data for Muslim immigrants vs. non immigrants? I ask because most recent immigrant Muslims I know appear to be quite well off, but African American Muslims (40% of all Muslims in America) are not.
I replied,
African American Muslims are mostly descended from slaves who never got their 40 acres and a mule to have a basis for building wealth. Muslims from the Middle East tend to be people who met the wealth requirements to move here.
The poorest American group, of course, are American Indians, the people who owned this entire continent before they were dispossessed of its wealth. Native American religions don't get a spot on Pew's ranking of wealth and religion. But it's easy to guess where they would fall.

Related blog posts:

Wealth in the USA by race, religion, and gender

Why identitarians are offended by discussing the whiteness of Jews

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Reluctantly using Cory Doctorow to illustrate how the left is often fuzzy on race and class

I've met Cory Doctorow a few times, and I've always thought he's a smart, nice guy, the sort who makes the world a better place. I like his work, both on BoingBoing and off it. He's said some astonishingly sweet things about mine. He often provides essential information about the political world—if you haven't read Where the #trumpwon trend came from (not Russia), go read it now.

So when I use him as an example of fuzzy thinking in a specific case, it's not intended to diminish him in any way. I was tempted to say nothing, but he's offered a perfect example of the way the left often conflates race and class, and he's done it at BoingBoing, which gets a gazillion hits a day. Since it's so very public, I've decided to go ahead.

In What it's like to register to vote in states with voter suppression law, he wrote
Who lacks the ID needed to vote? Poor people and brown people and poor brown people. 11% of the US voting population (more than 22 million people), mostly black and/or Latin@ and/or poor and/or students and/or old people."
The voter ID law doesn't hinder the ability of a single middle or upper class black or brown or Hispanic person to vote. It only hinders the ability of poor people of all hues, a group that isn't "mostly black and/or Latin@". In the US, there are twice as many poor whites as poor blacks or poor Hispanics. When poor white and black people are treated the same, the problem isn't racism. The problem is the oldest form of oppression, the oppression of the poor by the rich.

This isn't to say the people who passed the law aren't racist. It's to say they don't like "white trash" any more than any of the other people they consider disposable. Sharon Smith pointed out a commonly overlooked aspect of voter suppression during Jim Crow in Race, class, and "whiteness theory":
When the racist poll tax was passed in the South, imposing property and other requirements designed to shut out Black voters, many poor whites also lost the right to vote. After Mississippi passed its poll tax law, the number of qualified white voters fell from 130,000 to 68,000.
Rich conservatives especially hate the white poor because the white poor don't support them. Paul Krugman noted in Bubba Isn't Who You Think - The New York Times:
...income levels seem to matter much more for voting in the South. Contrary to what you may have read, the old-fashioned notion that rich people vote Republican, while poorer people vote Democratic, is as true as ever – in fact, more true than it was a generation ago. But in rich states like New Jersey or Connecticut, the relationship is weak; even the very well off tend to be only slightly more Republican than working-class voters. In the poorer South, however, the relationship is very strong indeed.
Related: Why #BlackLivesMatter should be #PoorLivesMatter—now with graphics

ETA: This is the article Cory was discussing: US Election 2016: Voter ID laws threaten lifelong voters - BBC News

ETA 2: That article includes another example of conflating race and class:
Estimates suggest that 11% of eligible voters in the United States lack one of the forms of photo ID that are generally required by these strict photos ID laws, and they are disproportionately black, Latino, low income, students and elderly voters.
As I hope everyone knows, those are the groups that are disproportionately poor in the US. But there's no evidence offered that black and Latino people disenfranchised by restrictive voting laws are racially disproportionate to the poor in those states. And logically, they can't be, because no one in those states is running special buses or offering special funds to make it easier for the white poor to vote.

ETA 3: I disagree with Politifact's conclusion because we know the names of some of the people disenfranchised by these laws, and we know that voting is reduced in states with these laws, but this is still interesting: Rep. Marcia Fudge says 11 percent of eligible voters lack a government ID

ETA 4: Study Finds Republican Voter Suppression Is Even More Effective Than You Think

Saturday, October 8, 2016

An interesting fact about Sanders and states that have some form of Election Day Registration ("Same Day Registration")

Minnesota has had same-day voting registration for decades, and it's never caused any problems, so I've always wondered why other states have been so slow to adopt it.

Part of the answer is same-day registration makes it harder for party leaders to control their parties, as the competition between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders revealed.

According to Voter registration in the United States, eleven states (counting DC) have "some form of EDR". Here's who won them:

Sanders: Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Clinton: Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Washington DC

Whether Sanders would've taken Iowa a few weeks later in the race is a good question; that contest was held while Clinton's super-delegate advantage made her look invincible, yet the Iowa results were nearly a tie at 49.9% to 49.6%.

Election Day Registration would be a plank of the Democratic Party if the Democrats truly cared about democracy. Here's why:
Voter turnout is much higher in states using EDR than in states that do not. A 2013 report analyzing turnout in the 2012 United States Presidential election, had SDR states averaging at a turnout of 71%, well above the average voter turn-out rate of 59% for non-SDR states.[24] According to official turnout data report in the 2014 edition of America Goes to the Polls, voter turnout in EDR states has averaged 10–14 percent higher than states that don't have that option.[25] Research suggests that EDR increases turnout between three and fourteen percentage points.[26][27][28][29][30] A 2004 study summarizes the impact of EDR on voter turnout as “about five percentage points”.[31]

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Two Big Reasons I doubt Luke Cage is exposing much white racism in viewers—Now upgraded to Three Big Reasons!


When talking about race and Hollywood, I have to say I know I'm hardly a typical white viewer—I marched in Florida as a child in the '60s to end segregation, I graduated from a Washington, DC public high school that was something like 70% or 80% black, and most relevant when discussing Luke Cage, I went to theatres in black neighborhoods of DC in the '70s to see blacksploitation and kung fu films, and I bought every issue of the comic as it came out.

When the clickbait articles began showing up about all the racist response to the show, I was extremely skeptical. After reading a couple, I see there are actually two kinds of responses:

1. Some white people wonder why there aren't any white people in the show.
2. Some white anti-racism theorists are declaring they're having to confront their racism in order to be better allies.

To which my first response was, "It's Luke Cage! What do you expect?"

But my second response is those people are probably sincere. Privileged people may be the most racist Americans because rich neighborhoods tend to be more racially segregated than poor ones. It's probably perfectly natural for some white people to wonder about a show that doesn't have any significant white characters, but that may only mean they're ignorant, not racist.

And really, it's Luke Cage! What do you expect?

I continue to think the uproar is primarily about the clickbait for two reasons:

1. In 2008, more white people voted for Obama than had voted for a Democrat since Jimmy Carter.

2. 'Luke Cage' Is So Popular that It Crashed Netflix This Weekend.

ETA: 3. Iron Cage: 'Luke Cage' Series Got Priority Because Of His Popularity On 'Jessica Jones'.

Possibly relevant: Interracial romance in comic books

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Ken Silverstein on the Southern Poverty Law Center

From This Week in Babylon—By Ken Silverstein (Harper's Magazine)
Back in 2000, I wrote a story in Harper's about the Southern Poverty Law Center of Montgomery, Alabama, whose stated mission is to combat disgusting yet mostly impotent groups like the Nazis and the KKK. What it does best, though, is to raise obscene amounts of money by hyping fears about the power of those groups; hence the SPLC has become the nation's richest “civil rights” organization. The Center earns more from its vast investment portfolio than it spends on its core mission, which has led Millard Farmer, a death-penalty lawyer in Georgia, to once describe Morris Dees, the SPLC's head, as “the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement” (adding, “I don't mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye”).
Since they haven't been in the news lately, I'll note for young readers that Jim and Tammy Faye were notorious televangelists.