Friday, January 19, 2018

Gay Men and Structural Opression

(The “structural oppression” model is false, by the way. Homosexual male harassment is more prevalent than the percent gay men in the population would imply, suggesting that gay men harass men more often than straight men harass women. The obvious explanation for gender differences in harassment has always been that men constitute 80% of sexual harassers for the same reason they constitute 83% of arsonists, 81% of car thieves, and 85% of burglars. Since most men are straight, most victims are women; when the men happen to be gay, they victimize men. Men probably get victimized disproportionately often compared to the straight/gay ratio because society views harassing women as horrible but harassing men as funny. If this theory is right then it’s men who are the structural victims, which means it’s your harassment that doesn’t count and you’re the ones who shouldn’t be allowed to talk about it. The “it only matters if it’s structural” game isn’t so much fun now, is it?)
 A very good point made by Slatestar in Against Overgendering Harassment

Also consider why men getting raped is funny

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bill Maher on why the Left keeps Losing

I think Bill Maher is right. The liberal brand has become whiny and preachy, and the best thing they can do is start talking about the issues again.

Content warning: it's HBO

The video hits it's high point with this point:
Cultural Appropriation, the idea that white people shouldn't adopt things from other ethnic groups. How dare you mix and match cultures to produce something new. Where do you think you are? Some kind of melting pot?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Haiti is not a Shithole, Except it is

Ezra Klein Tweeted a link to, Trump’s “shithole countries” comment exposes the core of Trumpism
The sheer racism of the comments would be shocking coming from any other president. The heartbreaking, and terrifying, thing is that it’s not the least bit surprising coming from Donald Trump.
AOL quotes congressman John Lewis,
"I think the words and his actions tend to speak like one who knows something about being a racist. It must be in his DNA, in his makeup."
and Senator Dick Durhbin called Trump's remarks,
things which were hate-filled, vile and racist
In a strongly-worded statement, the UN said it was impossible to describe his remarks as anything other than racist
The 55-nation African Union said the remarks were “clearly racist”.
Vice News,
Trump’s “shithole” comments were the most openly racist by a president in decades, historians say
The article goes on to quote 2 historians, but makes it seem like historians have some kind of consensus. Moreover, the article mentions how Trump made some "vague denial" of racism Friday Morning, when the president actually said, "I'm the least racist person." I've never heard a more overt and explicit denial of racism, but it never stops these people from using the word "openly."

So here we are again. Trump says an anti-politically correct thing, and the media whips themselves into a frenzy about it. Now more than ever you should read, You're Still Crying Wolf.

I found one article in the Washington Post that pointed out that U.S. towns get called shitholes too, and it's not racist.
thanks to media coverage of President Trump’s alleged use of the word, they will from now on be aware that being called a “shithole” place to live is a racist insult, which will be a little confusing to the overwhelmingly white population. No matter, because Trump’s haters never lack the ingenuity necessary to define his every utterance as a racist rant.
 I have no problems with the article whatsoever. It's moderate and thoughtful, and it's not like the Washington Post is conservative. But oh my god how the guy gets skewered in the comments section.
I do believe if I look up "sycophant" in a dictionary I'll find your picture.
are you truly a racist moron, or do you just play one to get your views published?
You are a clueless fool.
All these were taken from only the last hour of comments.

And I wonder, is this strategy? Is lambasting anyone who calls a not racist comment for what it is helpful to the Democrats? Because it seems to me like it's only making enemies out of would-be could-be should-be Democratic voters.

The way I see it, a whole bunch of people who would love to vote for another Barack Obama are put-off by this kind of slander. They're afraid to say anything because they don't want to get shouted at and called names like the Washington Post writer above. But they silently go to the voting booth and vote for Trump, or some third party, or don't vote at all, because they don't want to be associated with the angry hatefilled liberals.

Now, could we define shithole?

Because the way it's normally used it means it's poor and dirty. That seems like an accurate description of Haiti. It certainly isn't very presidential for him to say that, but Trump has been riding the anti-politically correct train since the election. It's what he does. I'm confident there are a bazillion people out there quietly thinking to themselves, "well, Haiti is a shithole."

That's why Trump's comments resonates so well with his base. Not because it's racist, because it's anti-PC. Trump is just a regular American guy callin' it what it is, not doing all this liberal ninny tip-toeing around issues. And they can call it racist, but they call everything racist. What was the last conservative presidential candidate that they didn't call racist? Still. Crying. Wolf.

Anderson Cooper of CNN refuses to acknowledge that it's a shithole, but then goes on to describe how much strength and courage you have to have to live in that... wonderful haven?

It very much seems like the left are so obsessed with taking on the diametric opposite views from Trump, that they spin Trump's contradictions into their own. Haiti is a shithole, that's why it takes such courage and strength to live there. The more of a shithole it is the greater the humanitarian imperative to allow immigration from there.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Why I'm okay with Oil Profits

We all know that when the price of oil goes up it's due to greedy assholes in 10 gallon hats. When it goes down it's due to good fortune, or the stars being in the right place or something like that.

Point is, there's something wrong with the way people read oil prices. This allows for hyper-political sites like ThinkProgress to feed off the public's irrationality. In one article they write,
We can expect these companies, all of which rank in the top 10 of the “Fortune 500 Global Ranking,” to reveal billions of dollars more in profits, after earning $375 million in profits per day in 2011 ($261,000 per minute), and $368 million per day in the first three-months of 2012 — bringing their combined profits to $1 trillion from 2001 through 2011.
The U.S. government rakes in a $1 trillion dollars a year, and they're not even global. I'm not sure why liberals should be more comfortable with that than oil profits. It's not like people in government aren't greedy. It's not like they're omniscient angels that both the ardent desire and know-how to spend money in everyone's best interest. It's not like they have a great track record. And it's not like the political left are very fond of government right now.

I think the answer is they're comparing what they think of as a realistic view of markets to an ideal view of government. In some perfect world government probably could spend a $1 trillion a year pretty well. I would spend it on fundamentally new infrastructure, basic R&D research, and the poor. But I shouldn't be comparing the private sector to what I would do if I were king. I should be comparing the real life private sector to real life government.

I'll give you one really important reason why I'm more comfortable with oil than government, because it comes from consensual transactions, not coercion.

And I know life without gasoline is hardly a choice. You try riding a bike to work these days (Hi January in Canada). But there's this crazy option nobody thinks about, you could drive less.

Ultimately I have to believe that that's what people do when gas prices go up. If people didn't drive less in response to higher prices, the prices would go up. And if they still didn't drive less, they'd go up again. And I know gas prices do go up (more than we'd like them to). But I mean they'd go up right at this moment. If we're really, truly, totally at the mercy of the oil industry, prices would consume every bit of every excess dollar. That would be the profitable thing.

But the truth is, we do have a choice. Maybe not to spend some minimum amount on gasoline that it takes to survive, but we spend a lot more than that. This is altogether different from the "consent" we give government. You know, where you can say, "no no no no I don't want this. Leave me alone. I'm not interested. For the millionth time no. Please put away that gun, don't throw me in jail" but actually you're saying, "yeah, I totally consent to paying taxes." Because social contract.

And by the way, oil doesn't make especially high profit margins suggesting that the market power of big oil is actually very limited (industries with the highest profit margins, Oil Company Earnings Reality over Rhetoric, Big Oil not as Profitable as People Think)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Does Trump Matter?

For me, Econlog is about 80% Bryan Caplan and 10% Scott Sumner and David Henderson. The reason is that Scott is too about monetary policy, something I know nothing about. And David while his kindness shows through in his writing and I'm sure he's a smart guy, leaves me bored.

Still, I enjoyed David Henderson's Has President Trump been very Influential? I think the answer is, yes but not as much as people think.

What has Trump influenced?

Tax policy
Immigration policy
appointment of judges

Unexpectedly, Trump hasn't been very influential in terms of International Trade. This is fortunate since it's one of the areas where Trump's rhetoric is awful. It causes me to suspect that perhaps his stated beliefs do not match his actual beliefs. I think many took Hillary as doing this. In debates she renounced things like NAFTA, but was unconvincing to those who were paying attention.

I don't think many thought Trump was telling noble lies when renouncing things like NAFTA. Since he has mostly left free trade alone, it makes me want to investigate how hard Trump has actually been trying to "protect American workers from China." If not, then that's reason to doubt how ardently he really believes what he was saying to get elected.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Who is James Altucher?

Branding is the lying that bridges reality and cost.
 Something to think about from the article, be a person not a personal brand. The writing in it is witty and funny from James Altucher. Tyler Cowen called him very very smart and did a podcast with him recently.

Read the article for clever writing like this:
Cows are branded. Unhealthy drinks are branded. Toothpaste has 4 out of 5 dentists recommending it.

That 5th dentist ended up with a gag in his mouth, handcuffed to concrete at the bottom of the river. He had three kids. They miss him. If you see him call me.

Friday, January 12, 2018

How equal is the Tax Burden? Not very.

We're doing a lot of Michael Huemer lately. From his Facebook:

"A dollar of poor dollar consumption is worth more than a dollar of rich person consumption," is the best argument for redistribution. In a more perfect world, this economic argument would replace completely the vague intuitions about fairness argument.

There's a popular video reporting that when you ask commonfolk what they think the fair distribution of wealth is, you get far more equality than what actually exists.

But I suspect that if you ask people what they think the top 1% fair share of tax burden is, they will give a much lower percent than what actually exists.

Bottom line, political irrationality is a thing, and we should stop using deviation from public opinion as a measuring tool for how bad our society is.