28 thoughts on “News/Politics 8-20-16

  1. ‘With no real convictions other than ambition, she changes her views with the rapidity of a kaleidoscope.” Dick Morris, “Armageddon” (My Kindle doesn’t have page numbers.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Unfortunately, the book isn’t in my local library. The position and political views of lower class whites in the US (and to a lesser extent Canada) is interesting.

    Their lack of economic success is frequently viewed in a cultural or moral lens. And to a certain degree, one can see the evidence for this. But lets face it, its not always. For example, accusing them of laziness is bizarre — construction, factory work, coal mining etc are not easy work.

    From the mid 50’s to the mid 70s, the white underclass underwent a smaller version of the African American Great Migration as they moved from rural areas to what is now the Rust Belt. And for a generation there was some economic success, but with the decline of private sector unions, it all began to unravel. Current economic insecurity has now begun to contribute to the appeal of fear based political messages (i.e. Trump). My solution of course would be to encourage unionization and tax policies to increase the size and security of the middle class. A further development has been the growth of white working class who have given up. Its those individuals gabbing on their cell phones who irritate the non-unionized minimum wage cashier checking out their groceries. In a debt based consumer society its possible to achieve enough material comforts without working. Thus you have the resentment of the working poor feeling Trump like creates.

    Now you can say, the decline of religion among the rural whites as they moved to the city undermined the generational longevity of any economic success they did have. And there is a certain amount of truth. The small town church puts a brake on the amount of drunken stupidity you can commit. I also wonder why its the US (and to a certain extent, Canada and Australia) who have a white underclass and not the European countries from which they emigrated. My European friends and relatives tell me its because in the late 19th and early 20th century, they dumped their underclass and starving masses in rickety boats and let the New World deal with it — i.e. genetic/natural selection in reverse. Perhaps its true but from my observations Eastern Europe didn’t finish the job. However, in western Europe, current gov’t policies actively prevent the rise of an underclass (although one can argue its being outsourced to Turk, Morocccan and Algerian communities).


  3. The above made me think of an other concept; “delayed gratification”. Experiments and follow up studies have shown that children who can wait for a reward will succeed later in life.


    This concept also works on adults. I work in a mixed income school. Many of the parent volunteers are single moms who live in subsidized townhouses and have better cell phones than me. Now I can see the fairly modern townhouse, better cell phones, etc and compare it to my own situation (old downtown home, old phone, no cable tv) and ask why bother. However, I know in 10 years I will have a large pension and a house whereas these mothers once their children turn 18 lose the townhouse and most of their gov’t benefits. Hence, knowing the reward will come, I continue to work. Others don’t see that and become resentful of the single moms.

    The ability to delay gratification has been linked to genetic, physiological (brain structure) and cultural (family type) factors.

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  4. HRW, You are right. Delayed gratification is a huge factor. No one practiced delayed gratification more than the Greatest Generation. Raised during the Depression and coming of age during World War II, they always feared losing everything again and were very frugal. For 35 years that generation made up a huge percentage of my clients. They denied themselves, but often spoiled their children (the Baby Boomers). It will be interesting to see if a new generation of young people can relearn the best traits of their grandparents and great-grandparents.

    Modern lower class whites do tend to be lazy. My wife noticed this first. Their parents worked 2 or 3 jobs. As the article indicated, many modern workers work much less than a 40 hour week. They work just hard enough to get by. They don’t set up an emergency reserve. They don’t save for their children’s college. They don’t save for their own retirement. They look to the government to take care of those things.


  5. Many workers don’t have a choice about how many hours to work–it’s hard to find full time work, much less full time work with benefits–especially if you don’t have a skill. Obamacare also mandated health insurance for anything over–what was it? 30 hours a week? 20 hours a week? and so many employers cut everyone back accordingly.

    I live in California. I know very few college graduates, much less high school graduates, who have been able to find full time employment right out of school. Indeed, it’s a surprise when someone does land any other than the job they worked during college. College, mind you.

    My hard-working son just landed a job after a long, long search. He’s a college professor now, but only two lab courses a week for one semester. He can’t live on that (fortunately, he has few needs and no payments on anything).There’s hints there may be more, but he’s been getting certificates to be a big data analyst–that’s what he really wants to do and what his dissertation was about.

    Of course he’s the wrong color and sex, currently, for the local economy. 😦

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  6. The lack of delayed gratification may increase due to 1) an increase in the predatory loan industry and 2) technology.

    The “greatest” generation delayed gratification because they had no choice. Either the economy or the gov’t prevented it. Its not that their brain structure or morals/culture was any better. With better gov’t regulation of the loan industry, we can prevent problems and force people to delay their materialistic gratification. Technology is a different issue and parents need to understand that giving their 4 year old their cell phone to make them quiet is a very short term solution with long term consequences.

    The 40 hour work week was the creation of the post war industrial union contracts. Increased private sector unionization may help them to return. Part time employers frequently ask their employees to be on call and schedules change weekly. This prevents employees from having a second job — polices that seem deliberately created to keep the employee at beck and call yet keep wages down,

    Michelle, I have several friends from grad school who have become permanent sessional profs. Often working two different schools at time with always less courses than FT. They frequently work under profs with less qualifications or less prestigious degrees. I also know several sessional profs who gave up, enrolled in a faculty of education (its a one year postgrad programme) and now teach elementary and secondary schools. I’ve told other parents that their children may have better qualified public school teachers than in first year university. A local primary french teacher has a Phd in French Canadian literature and French grammar. In comparison many of the first year French courses at the local university are taught by grad students — i.e. those who have yet to finish their Phd. My daughter’s science and philosophy teachers in high school all had Phds. Universities have adopted the service model of employment.


  7. California is about 2/3 as commie as Venezuela. We have lots of people moving to Texas from California. Some are youngsters who found work here. Some are retirees who move here to be near their kids who found work here.

    Rick Perry is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he did a good job of keeping Texas a place for businesses to grow and people to find work.


  8. Apparently Jerry Falwell just compared Trump to Churchill…..I have more own issues with Churchill but seriously…Does Falwell live in Colorado?


  9. Poquito, DJ. And much later in life. A mission trip to Mexico helped.

    HRW, You beat me to the funniest story of the day. Little Jerry Falwell lives in Lynchburg, Virginia. It is a pretty little city just across about an hour’s worth of mountains from the Shenandoah Valley. Some of his students and professors are embarrassed. I teased him on Twitter this morning.

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  10. HRW, The Greatest Generation delayed gratification their entire lives, and the last few years were by choice. I have clients worth over $2,000,000 driving 20 year old cars and setting their thermostats high to save money. It is very interesting to hear how they view the spending habits of their progeny.

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  11. I know a number of people who work two jobs. I know two teachers who took jobs delivering pizzas at night to pay debt. Another man works at least 40 hours a week as a realtor and has a delivery route for a bakery (early in the morning) to help his daughters with college. I worked about 50 hours a week at two jobs going to law school full time, but that was when I was young. I’m too old for that schedule today. My mother-in-law worked two hard jobs all the time her children were growing up so they could live in a nice suburb. At 75, she is still working, but she has cut back to one job.

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  12. I took a ridiculously number of Spanish classes all through college — passed them all — visited Mexico numerous times, but never devoted myself to using it enough to really LEARN it.

    My loss. Wondering if I should invest in an online course (the big question, of course, is whether I’d really apply myself to learn it)


  13. I have a friend who took classes and really wanted to get good. He worked with Hispanics and would only speak Spanish to them in order to practice. They were bilingual and thought he was el gringo loco, but they played along and helped him. Finally, he spent a summer in Mexico City and when he came back he was pretty good at it.

    I have gone to Mexico with our church kids for a week and it is amazing how much you can learn in that setting. The locals really appreciate the fact that you are trying to learn and will help you. About the 6th day there I was alone with the father of a Mexican pastor we support and we had a 2 hour “conversation” alone with no bilingual people there to help. It really helped that I had several years of Greek and Latin. Almost all Spanish nouns come from Latin or Greek or both.

    I came back excited and was going to learn more, but never did. I think one would need to use it in a Mexican church or school (or on the job) regularly to learn more and to keep what you have learned,

    My father-in-law would not let Spanish be spoken in the home as he didn’t want his children to have accents and he wanted them to “think in English”. His plan worked. Neither child has any accent at all. This fools people and can be hilarious. Most Mexicans have American Indian eyes, but my wife’s are large like a Moroccan. In DC in the 80s, people thought she was Italian. In England, they thought she was a Pakastani and were rude until they heard her talk and immediately knew she was an American. On cruises to and from Canada after 9/11, both US and Canadian border patrols thought she was an Arab and chose her out of hundreds to closely search to her great embarrassment.

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  14. That trip to Mexico was not without incident. The first morning we went to church and afterward were encouraged to talk to the locals. The youth (most of whom had studied Spanish formally) were shy, but I was trying my best with very limited skills. Speaking to one of the Mexican deacons, I introduced him to one of our teenagers and thought I said this teenager had “a brother and a sister”. The deacon’s countenance changed for the worse, and my son jumped in saying, “No, Dad, No!” My son then spoke a few words in Spanish to the deacon and everything was fine again.

    With modern technology, this story quickly spread and that night back at our home church, Brother Jimmy told the congregation that we had safely arrived in Mexico, our church service had gone great, but language was a small problem as I had told one of the local deacons that one of our teens was bisexual. Brother and sister, man and woman, it is easy to make mistakes.

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  15. I’ve also heard that immersing yourself in the language — using it frequently, listening to Spanish-language radio — is the way to really grasp it in a useful way.

    There are actually quite a few people in Mexico, even in the interior far south of the border, who speak English well enough that you can get by still speaking your own language there. At least that was the case in my visits there.

    I remember interviewing a child for a story some years ago — it was a dental clinic for low-income families that had opened up, as I recall — and I was so proud that I was able to ask the girl a question in Spanish. I remembered some of it, after all.

    I beamed. So did she.

    Problem was, I didn’t know Spanish even remotely well enough to have any IDEA what she rattled off to me in response. 🙂


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  16. I was talking to one of the regulars at the dog park last night whose husband is in the diplomatic corps — she said her husband is fluent in numerous languages. In her own experience, she thought French was much easier to learn than Spanish, which she thinks is a difficult language.


  17. I had a friend in the Air Force who was from Brownsville, Tx. (He called people north of Dallas, Yankees.)

    Anyhow, he said he learned Spanish in self defense.

    Liked by 1 person

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