Monthly Archives: February 2017

My Thoughts on the Milo Yiannopoulos Speech at the University of Colorado at Boulder

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 26, 2017

I watched the livestream of the Milo Yiannopoulos speech on my laptop. I didn’t have a problem with much of what he said, despite my leftist political leanings and his reputation for being a racist, sexist, fascist.

He said a number of things I liked (attacking the Politically Correct police, for example). I thought he was a subpar speaker (nervous laughing was common, reading too much from downloadwritten notes, and an over-the-top ego, for example). I enjoyed his disdain for the many (not all) fun-hating, man-hating, sex-negative, attractivenss-shaming feminists.

I wish I could have chatted with him to ask about what seemed like enormous inconsistencies: has it not been the case that his conservative brethren almost single-mindedly attack sex-for-fun (sex only good for making babies), contraception, sex in the media, and gay rights? He attacked the Boulder sugar tax, despite his love for capitalism (taxes use capitalist price signals, in contrast to socialist command economy prohibitions). He repeatedly called for evidence-based argumentation, and frequently pointed out his dislike of obesity, yet did not acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that sugar taxes effectively reduce obesity. Despite the protests, I did not find his remarks to be in any way sexist or racist. He did not strike me as being particularly intellectual. I was thankful that he was allowed to speak at CU. And wish he spoke at Mackey Auditorium, where a larger audience could have attended.

I loved his putting down Boulder as a pathetic excuse for a real city (I’m sure he was at least partly referring to the sterile suburban character here).

Overall, I am enraged that the supposedly freedom- and speech-loving and diversity-loving political left in Boulder felt it necessary to engage in an effort to use fascist censorship to stop what they considered to be undesirable speech.

Is that not what the left has always (and rightfully) attacked the right for doing?

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2016 Elections and the Politics of Friendships

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 23, 2017

I am increasingly of the view that extreme partisan politics is an enormous problem in our society. I think that problem is increasingly on steroids due to such things as Facebook, the Internet, and the huge array of media sources now available to us.

Due mostly to those tools, people are much more likely to only hear or read things they fully agree with and hear nothing that strays from it – a phenomenon that leads to the “echo chamber” effect. This monochromatic look at the world of course breeds a lot of hostility toward other views (or the other political party).

An irony is that in the early days of the Internet, many of us expected that the HUGE increase in information would allow people to be more aware and tolerant of different views. Many of us did not anticipate that such a world would, instead, allow us to ONLY get info we agreed with.

One thing I notice on Facebook, however, is that the very few Republican friends I have will sometimes post contrary views on topics that we on the left are inundated with, and it is fascinating to me because much of those Republican posts seem believable and persuasive. And are views I never hear at all from my friends on the left.

I am bothered by how easily those on the left these days engage in double standards. Attacking Republicans for things back in the Obama years. And now DOING THOSE VERY SAME THINGS now that Trump is president (such as character assassination, caricature, extreme anger, vowing to always oppose anything he proposes, making fun of him, and screaming that HE IS NOT MY PRESIDENT!!).

An excellent example of extreme partisanship.partisan_voters

Didn’t the Founding Fathers warn against the creation of political parties? If so, it is now more clear than ever why they did so.

The best one can do these days with certain people who are friends is to just tolerate their thoughts and try not to discuss the hot button issues. One thing I have learned in my professional town and transportation planning work is that even if the person is very intelligent, when emotions are involved (traffic congestion and road rage, for example), I need to steer clear of the topic.

This is true even though I am VERY passionate and informed about these topics.

Strong emotions tend to turn off a person’s mind. Evidence and logic are often thrown out the window when strong emotions emerge.

I think this also applies to politics.

When strong emotions come into play, I need to remind myself that people with other views will need to learn on their own…

Something else that has driven much of the divisive hostility we are seeing during this presidential elections time: EXTREME, unvarying hostility by the media towards Trump. I really dislike a great deal about Trump and his views and actions. But I have NEVER seen so much negative media attention. Nothing in the past has been even close to this. One result of the extreme 24/7 media attacks against Trump is that even well-informed people have lost their minds about him. The media has convinced them that he is evil incarnate. The world will end tomorrow! Everything wrong in the world is due to Trump! Trump is the most awful person who ever lived!

It is almost comical if it were not tragic and dangerous. I think that there is a decent chance Trump will be assassinated. If so, the media will largely be to blame.

The left needs to come to terms with the following: Given the EXTREME 24/7 media negativity toward Trump over the past year, how was it possible that over 62 million people voted for him? I’m not saying that Trump must be a good guy despite the media bombardment. He is in many ways an undesirable president. But can the left simply say that there are 62 million morons in America? I don’t think so. I think many on the left are out of touch with what many Americans are looking for. Like with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura, a lot of voters decided that America needed to elect a muscular superhero who would be strong enough to not cave in to many of the economic troubles we are facing: NAFTA, TPP, loss of jobs, immigration, etc. Trump created the persona of a strong superman who would stand up and fight for blue collar jobs.

Much of his tactics to do that are inappropriate or ineffective, but I think his overall message appealed to people. Democrats (except folks like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) have mostly turned their back to that concern. And decided that instead of reaching out to the lower and middle class, Democrats could win with HUGE amounts of corporate cash, identity politics, being tough on crime and “terrorists,” and relentlessly attacking Trump as a racist, sexist asshole. The result is that the Democrats lost the presidency, the House, the Senate, and many state governorships.

Yet the DNC now opts to blame the Russians…

With regard to the massive worldwide marches we saw yesterday, I find myself asking where those marches and protests and energy were during the presidential race? During the eight years of Obama?

Our nation has enormous existing problems (war, transportation, economic suffering, pollution, political corruption, the health industry, etc.). We should have had millions marching every week for decades. If Hillary was elected, I’m convinced we would have seen another four or eight years of no marches or protests despite those several huge EXISTING problems – many of which were made worse during Obama’s years in office.

I think many people have concluded that the Democrats have become too much like Republicans (for example, having a lot of corrupt politicians who were bought by lobbyists), and Trump’s campaign pushed the idea that he was an outsider who was not corrupted by lobbyists.

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A Reason Why the Left Should Celebrate the Trump Presidency

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 21, 2017

Worldwide marching and protesting against the Donald Trump election in January 2017…is what I am seeing all over my Facebook wall today.trump-protest-los-angeles-macarthur-park-saturday

For the record, this should be a very clear confirmation of what many of us have been saying for a few months now: The protesting and opposition is a reason why those of us on the left should be HAPPY that Trump is president.

We had EIGHT YEARS of silence from the left while Obama was implementing a neoliberal agenda. Where were the protests from the left while Obama significantly increased the number of wars in the Middle East over and above wars Bush had started? Where was the left while Obama was substantially ramping up the criminal drone assassination campaign? Where were the marches due to Obama being in bed with Wall Street and Big Pharma and Big Oil? Where was the resistance when Obama was giving the Pentagon a blank check? Where were the objections to Obama taking actions that Republicans are known for, such as being a cheerleader for a Cold War by being bellicose and engaging in fear-mongering toward the Russians? Why was the left silent about demanding that Obama spent trillions to build, say, a national US rail system rather than build bombs to kill civilians (and create more terrorists)?

I will tell you where they were.

They were pretending such inexcusable actions were okay because they were being done by a Democrat, and extreme partisanship means Democrats must not speak ill of “their own” for political reasons.

Had Hillary won, we would have had four or eight more years of people NOT marching or protesting or resisting or scrutinizing appointments or Supreme Court nominees. This shameful silence would have occurred even though Hillary was apparently going to be going even MORE to the right than Obama had gone.

Four or eight more years of the left being asleep while the corporate war and exploitation machine keeps chugging along doing things that the left should be enraged about.

With Trump, the left will be hopefully back to what it should have been doing since 2008: protesting.

I do have a big concern, however, despite the good news of the return of protesting from the left.

Due to extreme partisanship, I worry that no matter how progressive various Trump initiatives might be during his turn (and I believe there will be some), many will knee jerk oppose it BECAUSE it is not being proposed by a Democrat. I am already starting to see signs of this counterproductive, paralyzing partisanship.

Extreme partisanship is very bad. Shame on Democrats (and Republicans) for becoming so extreme these days. Extreme at least in part because of the Internet/Facebook/social media echo chamber.

Don’t get me wrong.

I would much prefer to see a political progressive as president right now and not a clown like Trump. But only if the left (and the media) did their job and vigorously demanded that action be taken to address existing problems, and objected to ruinous actions a progressive president opted to take. Sadly, the left has a terrible track record in “holding the Democrat’s feet to the fire,” so to speak.

This is not to say that we have EVER elected a progressive president – because we have not.

Overall, I have been disgusted by how many on the left have been in love with moderate Republicans such as Obama and Hillary.

 

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