Decoding The Social Safety Net (5-19-24)

01:00 A Modest Proposal For Expanding The Social Safety Net,
03:00 Social safety net,
07:45 WP: Business titans privately urged NYC mayor to use police on Columbia protesters, chats show,
14:45 Iranian helicopter crash with no sign of the country’s leaders
1:25:10 ABC podcast: How to help a conspiracy theorist: an ex believer and an expert weigh in,
1:31:40 What influences your inner voice? Controlling ‘chatter’ part two,
1:39:00 Moog became a Youtube megastar — and it messed with his mental health,
1:56:50 Seeing red — anger and aggression,
2:10:15 Why Israel is in deep trouble: John Mearsheimer,
2:17:00 500,000 Israelis have left the country since Oct. 7
2:18:40 The Mussar Dispute (Part 7) || Dr. Marc Shapiro,
2:40:40 The Right’s Stupidity Problem,
2:42:00 Nathan Cofnas: Why We Need to Talk about the Right’s Stupidity Problem –
To win over the elites, the right needs to challenge the Big Lie that motivates wokism: the equality thesis,
2:45:00 Noah Carl,
2:47:00 Noah Carl says racists tend to be less intelligent

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A Modest Proposal For Expanding The Social Safety Net

Wikipedia notes: “The social safety net (SSN) consists of non-contributory assistance existing to improve lives of vulnerable families and individuals experiencing poverty and destitution. Examples of SSNs are previously-contributory social pensions, in-kind and food transfers, conditional and unconditional cash transfers, fee waivers, public works, and school feeding programs.”

This net got a reference in the final episode of HBO’s mediocre TV series, The Girls on the Bus. The lead character says to her editor: “We know that Dick Braun [cyber currency billionaire based on Sam Bankman-Fried] is a bad dude and he is backing the mayor who is most definitely a liar…”

Editor: “Why would Braun back a nothing mayor?”

Lead: “Braun knows the power of a pretty filter. Put deregulation, pro-business neo-liberal policy behind the mayor’s glossy facade. Add the fact that he’s a Democrat and most people won’t realize he’s quietly shredding our social safety net.”

Near the end of the show, the lead says: “We had become unwitting agents of the patriarchy. And it would take all of us to stop him.”

The Boys on the Bus would have knifed each other to get the story. We were supposed to be rivals… Instead, we became a family bonded together to save our democracy.”

Sometimes adopting more feminine values (such as egalitarian cooperation) increases safety and sometimes adding masculine values (such as hierarchy and independence) promotes safety.

Christopher Caldwell wrote in his 2020 book The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties:

The succinct explanation that New York Times war correspondent David Halberstam gave in 1972 for the high-quality work he and his fellow journalists had done in Vietnam was that there had been no women in their lives to mess things up.

“Because only one of them was married,” he wrote of his colleagues, “there was no wifely pull to become part of the Saigon social whirl, to get along with the Noltings or the Harkinses, the kind of insidious pressure which works against journalistic excellence in Washington.”

Women meant compromise and intellectual mediocrity.

If you asked women to name the quality they most admired in women, “intelligence” ranked tops, at 57 percent. If you asked men, the best thing about women was “gentleness,” at 38 percent; only 1 percent of them cited intelligence.

Seismologist Lucy Jones wrote in the Los Angeles Times June 12, 2021:

People, not kits. If you really want to be ready for the next big earthquake, forget the earthquake kit and go talk to your neighbors…

The path to recovery after a disaster is created by people. People who choose to stay in a damaged neighborhood. People who choose to offer a place to stay to someone whose home is being repaired. People who choose to support their local businesses and make sure they can stay open and viable. Social scientists have been able to demonstrate that communities with a high level of social capital, where people are connected to one another, recover more quickly and more completely after disasters.

Connecting with people we live near is no longer as obvious as it once was. Because we can electronically stay connected with friends and families even when we move to a new town, we do not have as strong a need for human connection driving us to start new relationships with our neighbors. Those distant friends can help us after a disaster — perhaps giving us the ability to leave the devastated community. The result is one less person available to help that community recover.

If Southern California will continue to be a place we want to live in after the earthquake, we need our fellow Southern Californians to choose to stay when our infrastructure is damaged and our economy is disrupted, and choose to work together to rebuild. Communities recover because community members choose to commit themselves to that recovery. That commitment comes from a sense of connectedness, and that is best created before the disaster.

Having good relations with the people close to you is an important part of your social safety net. Safety is not just something that we look to government to bestow upon us. In part, it is something we earn.

As America has become more diverse, we have become less trusting. When we say diversity is great, we say that it is great that we less in common with each other.

It is easier to bond with people with whom you have much in common. Civil rights laws beginning in 1965 have steadily chipped away at our traditional rights to freedom of association and to private property and have created a less cohesive, less trusting and more litigious nation. Allowing people to hire who they want to hire without threat of litigation, and to rent to whom they want to rent, would increase social cohesion and trust and thereby expand the social safety net.

Woke culture that decrees that certain sacred groups such as blacks, gays, trans and Jews are off-limits to public criticism does not increase social cohesion and trust. Every group benefits from accurate criticism.

The more difficult it is made to state the obvious, such as that different people have different gifts, the more you reduce social trust.

Why have the campus protests of 2024 received a much firmer police response compared to the protests of the 1960s? Because the Jewish community is well organized at protecting its interests.

The Washington Post reported May 16, 2024:

Business titans privately urged NYC mayor to use police on Columbia protesters, chats show

A WhatsApp chat started by some wealthy Americans after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack reveals their focus on Mayor Eric Adams and their work to shape U.S. opinion of the Gaza war.

A group of billionaires and business titans working to shape U.S. public opinion of the war in Gaza privately pressed New York City’s mayor last month to send police to disperse pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia University, according to communications obtained by The Washington Post and people familiar with the group.

Business executives including Kind snack company founder Daniel Lubetzky, hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, billionaire Len Blavatnik and real estate investor Joseph Sitt held a Zoom video call on April 26 with Mayor Eric Adams (D), about a week after the mayor first sent New York police to Columbia’s campus, a log of chat messages shows. During the call, some attendees discussed making political donations to Adams, as well as how the chat group’s members could pressure Columbia’s president and trustees to permit the mayor to send police to the campus to handle protesters, according to chat messages summarizing the conversation.

The more we know about how our country operates, the more trust and cohesion we can build.

Many people think that public protests are an effective tool for changing America. They aren’t. The Atlantic reported May 10, 2024:

Mass demonstrations are becoming more frequent but less effective.

[R]esearchers could find no evidence that protesters changed minds or affected electoral behavior.

Mass struggles have come to rely too much on street protests [and] neglect the “quiet, behind-the-scenes planning and organizing that enable movements to coordinate and sequence tactics in a way that builds participation, leverage and power.”

If you want to learn about the effective use of power, you could do worse than study the effectiveness of the Israel Lobby on U.S. foreign policy.

One billionaire will likely be more effective at changing public policy than a million protesters.

A vital way of increasing social safety is by imprisoning super predators.

Former U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr wrote in the WSJ Oct. 26, 2022:

Rising Crime Rates Are a Policy Choice

Progressives can’t solve the problem because they won’t abandon the practices that cause it.

The violent crime surge was preventable. It was caused by progressive politicians reverting to the same reckless revolving-door policies that during the 1960s and ’70s produced the greatest tsunami of violent crime in American history. We reversed that earlier crime wave with the tough anticrime measures adopted during the Reagan-Bush era. We can stop this one as well.

Studies have repeatedly shown that most predatory crime is committed by a small, hard-core group of habitual offenders. They are a tiny fraction of the population—I estimate roughly 1%—but are responsible for between half and two-thirds of predatory violent crime. Each of these offenders can be expected to commit scores, even hundreds, of crimes a year, frequently while on bail, probation or parole. The only time they aren’t committing crimes is when they’re in prison. For this group, the likelihood of reoffending usually doesn’t recede until they reach their late 30s.

The only way to reduce violent crime appreciably is to keep this cohort off the streets. We know with certainty that for each of these criminals held in prison, there are hundreds of people who aren’t being victimized. This “incapacitation” strategy requires laws, like those in the federal system, that allow judges to detain repeat offenders before trial when they pose a danger to the community, and that impose tough sentences on repeat violent offenders.

History shows this strategy works. Before 1960, violent crime in the U.S. was modest and stable. In the early ’60s, however, liberal reformers pushed to turn state justice systems into revolving doors, with violent offenders quickly released on parole or probation. Predictably, violent crime exploded, going from 160 crimes per 100,000 population in 1960 to 758 per 100,000 in 1991.

Developing a stronger in-group identity will likely make you safer and add to your social capital. However, it will come with downsides to out-groups. The New York Times reported May 18, 2024:

Strangers in Their Own Land: Being Muslim in Modi’s India

Families grapple with anguish and isolation as they try to raise their children in a country that increasingly questions their very identity.

Israeli Jews have developed a stronger in-group identity over the past two decades. The New York Times published May 16, 2024:

It was the pictures of Palestinians swimming and sunning at a Gaza beach that rubbed Yehuda Shlezinger, an Israeli journalist, the wrong way. Stylish in round red glasses and a faint scruff of beard, Mr. Shlezinger unloaded his revulsion at the “disturbing” pictures while appearing on Israel’s Channel 12.

“These people there deserve death, a hard death, an agonizing death, and instead we see them enjoying on the beach and having fun,” complained Mr. Shlezinger, the religious affairs correspondent for the widely circulated right-wing Israel Hayom newspaper. “We should have seen a lot more revenge there,” Mr. Shlezinger unrepentantly added. “A lot more rivers of Gazans’ blood.”

It would be nice to think that Mr. Shlezinger is a fringe figure or that Israelis would be shocked by his bloody fantasies. But he’s not, and many wouldn’t be.

Israel has hardened, and the signs of it are in plain view. Dehumanizing language and promises of annihilation from military and political leaders. Polls that found wide support for the policies that have wreaked devastation and starvation in Gaza. Selfies of Israeli soldiers preening proudly in bomb-crushed Palestinian neighborhoods. A crackdown on even mild forms of dissent among Israelis.

The Israeli left — the factions that criticize the occupation of Palestinian lands and favor negotiations and peace instead — is now a withered stump of a once-vigorous movement. In recent years, the attitudes of many Israelis toward the “Palestinian problem” have ranged largely from detached fatigue to the hard-line belief that driving Palestinians off their land and into submission is God’s work.

A stronger in-group identity always goes hand in hand with a sense of victimization and decreased empathy for out-groups.

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Decoding Stormy Daniels (5-15-24)

01:00 Robert Stark interviews me about Stormy Daniels,
05:00 My Stormy Daniels interviews,
08:00 Who is Stormy Daniels?
27:20 Matt Pegas’s new book, The Black Album,
28:45 Anatoly Karlin talks about his intellectual restructuring,
29:20 Robert Stark talks to Constantin von Hoffmeister about Esoteric Trumpism,
31:40 Esotericism,
33:00 Robert Stark on life in California
47:30 The War in Gaza and the International Context with Aaron David Miller and Stephen Walt,
50:00 Against sunscreen absolutism,
1:03:00 Resident Physicians’ Exam Scores Tied to Patient Survival – New analysis finds tests for new doctors can measure what matters — the life and health of patients,

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My Favorite Podcasts

* Decoding the Gurus
* If Books Could Kill
* Conspirituality
* The Daily Reprieve
* Optimal Recovery
* All in the Mind
* The Teacher’s Pet
* We think it’s funny
* Aporia Magazine

My favorite podcasting app is Podbean.

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Decoding Dan Rather (5-12-24)

01:00 Dan Rather,
07:00 Did the press uncover watergate?
09:00 Netflix documentary on civil rights,
11:00 The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties–A Conversation with Author Christopher Caldwell,
20:00 Women, mediocrity and excellence,
25:00 The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties,
39:00 Most news is unimportant,
50:00 Conservative Claims of Cultural Oppression: The Nature and Origins of Conservaphobia,
52:00 We all have hero systems,
1:01:50 Sailer’s First Law Of Female Journalism,
1:02:50 What should you expect from the news?
1:04:00 The craft of interviewing,
1:10:00 The News Is What Bureaucracies Report,
1:15:00 What should you expect from the news?
1:25:00 Where do journalists come from?
1:37:00 Watergate as democratic ritual,
1:48:00 NYT: Why Antiwar Protests Haven’t Flared Up at Black Colleges Like Morehouse,
1:54:00 HBO’s Small Town News & That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity Question’,
2:06:00 Dan Rather’s sweater period
2:08:30 The Liberal Liturgy,
2:12:40 The News Is What Bureaucracies Report,
2:16:00 Former USC medical school dean blames sickness for bad behavior
2:20:00 When Did Intellectuals Stop Supporting The Free Market Of Ideas?
2:25:00 Conservative Claims of Cultural Oppression: The Nature and Origins of Conservaphobia,
2:29:30 The Politics of Expertise,
2:32:30 What’s the frequency, Kenneth?
2:48:00 How The News Differs From Reality,
2:53:00 The “Objective Facts” of Journalism,
2:55:40 Christopher Caldwell: The Age of Entitlement
3:08:45 The Case Against The News,
3:26:00 Reporter Seymour Hersh,
3:30:00 Journalistic Ethics (12-9-20),
3:40:00 All the News That’s Fit to Click: How Metrics Are Transforming the Work of Journalists,

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