Objective reality as a backdrop for the expression of liberal values

Seems several gaggles of my fellow New York Millennials have been taking selfies with the burning wreckage at the corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street in the background. Apparently this has upset some folks.

But what’s the big deal? Or, rather, how is this inconsistent with the otherwise-mandatory liberal worldview? To liberals, there can be no such thing as objective reality, because the existence of objective reality implies that there are limitations on individual freedom imposed by nature. Therefore, in the absence of objective reality, all events — no matter how calamitous — have value only within the context of one’s existence. And thus, a burning building is significant only in the sense that it’s unusual and provides a neat photo opportunity. It has no moral implications. In the liberal mind, then, the things which non-liberals associate with objective reality exist only as a backdrop against which the liberal’s gratuitous expressions of social and sexual liberation may be showcased in the greatest prominence.

Objective reality as a backdrop for the expression of liberal values

Rant: New Jersey National Guard finally getting the publicity it deserves

The gaggle of inept moral cowards running the NJARNG into the ground is finally being outed, publicly.

What this article doesn’t mention is that the ills of senior leadership are not the concerns of only field grade officers. It infects the entire organization. By choosing senior officers based on their level of blind allegiance to a corrupt leader, the rest of the “mere mortals” are forced to deal with incompetent and clueless morons who are incapable of issuing clear and concise guidance. In fact, a great many of them are utterly ignorant of their role in the operations process, requiring subordinates to pick up the slack and simply guess as to their respective commanders’ intent. This creates frustration in the ranks of otherwise capable junior leaders, whose increased stress is reflected in their dealings with their own subordinates.

The effect, in a sense, is viral.

On another note, I have long held that given the country’s engagement in two prolonged armed conflicts over the past fifteen years, it is almost certain that anyone whose service in the armed forces spans that time period and has not been deployed to an imminent danger area is deliberately avoiding such a deployment. This sort of behavior is to be expected from the lowest caliber of service members, but it is not to be celebrated, and those who engage in it should be phased out of the military rather than rewarded with numerous promotions and awards. They certainly should not be appointed to the most senior position of leadership in the NJARNG, and yet the last two TAGs (James Grant and Glenn Rieth) have been of this very sort.

Rant: New Jersey National Guard finally getting the publicity it deserves

VoLTE working on Nexus 6

Google has released Android Lollipop 5.1 for Nexus devices. I installed build 5.1.0 (LMY47E) on my Nexus 6. I had to do this manually (as opposed to waiting for Verizon’s OTA update) because I was not running a stock ROM on the phone.

Bear in mind that I was happy with the phone’s functionality using LiquidSmooth, but because modern phones do not have separate CDMA/LTE antennas, I could not use data services (to include my unlimited-data hotspot, which serves as my primary internet connection) and make voice calls simultaneously. This was extremely frustrating given that I spent over 700 dollars on the phone. Hence the motivation for upgrading the OS to Lollipop 5.1, which provides support for VoLTE.

The process is arcane and non-nerds should not undertake it. Even with my vast system administration and programming experience I found it to be somewhat less than straightforward. The update has to be done over a USB debugging connection on a computer that has the Android SDK installed. Everything on the phone will be wiped out in the process (a fact I became aware of after I saw that all my music was gone following the update). Once you’ve completed the update, it’s easy to reinstall TWRP recovery and apply the SuperSU patch to enable root access.

Incidentally, VoLTE has to be enabled through your carrier account (in addition to device-level support), so I went to my Verizon account settings and did just that. For some reason, this resulted in my inability to send or receive voice calls (data continued to work fine). A quick chat with Verizon technical support and the problem was resolved. I believe this issue was related to my phone not being a Verizon device.

At long last, my Nexus 6 is fully functional and has the capacity for simultaneous voice and data. But achieving this level of functionality took entirely too much technical expertise and intervention on my part. Conclusion: the device is great, the software is okay, and the support sucks.

VoLTE working on Nexus 6

Witch-Doctor Psychology

I happened to come across the most recent edition of New Jersey Psychologist the other day and saw that the cover had the words “Energy Psychology” in large letters. They were accompanied by a pair of hands which appeared to be cupping an ethereal ball of light. My bullshit detector went straight to “10” and I just had to find out what they (“they” being the NJ Psychological Association, a supposedly reputable bunch of folks whose names are always followed by “Ph.D”) were talking about.

Just as I suspected, it’s typical pseudoscientific psychobabble. It’s the same old “ancient Eastern medicine” but wrapped up in a new name. Meridians, chakras, thought fields, the whole nine yards. What is going on?

How can a publication of a supposedly respectable organization, one which represents professional psychologists, be filled with such complete nonsense? How is it that there aren’t hundreds of enraged psychologists shouting down the idiots at the NJPA?

The honest truth is that I just don’t know. I suspect, however, that advances in our understanding of the underlying material origins of psychology has driven intelligent and scientifically minded folks with interests in psychology toward fields (medicine, neuropsychology) which demand empiricism. What’s left are the charlatans and idiots.

Witch-Doctor Psychology

White Guilt Jumps the Shark

In a move that can be described only as bizarre, Starbucks has adopted a policy encouraging its employees to discuss race relations with customers while serving their coffee.

Most of us react to this with revulsion, and Starbucks’ idiot VP of Global Communications Corey duBrowa has been shouted down for this in righteous fashion. But I think it’s important to explore why this policy is so ridiculous, because its ridiculousness transcends mere white guilt.

The traditional view of human relationships is that there exist various “spheres;” the private, the professional, the academic, and the political, to name a few. The way one acts and conducts oneself may vary significantly between those spheres because it may be helpful to emphasize different personality traits depending on present company.

But the liberal view is that any delineation between the public and private realms is wrong, because it’s oppressive in that it rewards people for acting publicly in ways which aren’t in exact accordance with how they act in private. In other words, any separation between the spheres is a violation of freedom of expression. It does not support their agenda of total liberation ideology. Therefore, the traditional boundaries on conversations between people in a public setting must go.

For example, the discussion of race relations would, under traditional order, be limited to the private, academic, and political spheres. It is inappropriate for a person to whom you relate in only the public sphere to engage you in a discussion of race relations. It is annoying; it is an invasion. And even liberals admit this — just read some of the responses from liberals in the linked article.

So it seems that, subconsciously, even liberals are drawn to the traditional order and hierarchy I support unabashedly and vocally.

White Guilt Jumps the Shark

Madison Madness

Another “unarmed black teen” has been shot and killed by a white police officer, this time in Madison, Wisconsin.

As usual, the “teen” Tony Robinson is actually 19, making him an adult. It turns out that the “teen” had a prior conviction for armed home invasion. What I find striking is that he was sentenced to mere probation for this reprehensible crime rather than actually serve jail time. How is this possible? How can anyone believe that probation is an appropriate sentence for someone who entered another person’s home for the purpose of robbing them and brought along a loaded firearm in order to kill or incapacitate the occupant in the event of resistance? It is absolutely unbelievable.

And yet, the “teen’s” white mother insists that he has “never been a violent person.” Well, thanks to Officer Matt Kenny, he’ll certainly never be a violent person again.

But the most disturbing thing about this situation is the pathetic, groveling, teary-eyed statement from Mayor Paul Soglin. He uses typical, politically-authorized language to describe the incident and his liberal sentiments. Of particular note is the misappropriation of the word “tragedy.” Indeed, it is tragic that even in a society which bends over backwards to afford opportunities to those of socioeconomic disadvantage there are still so many people who are simply incapable of acting in a civilized manner. But Mayor Soglin doesn’t mean that this is a tragedy in that sense; he means that Robinson’s death — independent of context — is tragic.

A tragedy is something bad that happens and is unavoidable in that it transcends mankind’s abilities to manipulate the material world to its will. Committing an act of violence, attacking a police officer, and getting shot is not unavoidable. These events do not transcend our ability to manipulate material reality. They are the decisions of a single person of moral and intellectual bankruptcy and the consequences of those decisions.

Madison Madness

More on the Nexus 6, and voice over LTE (VoLTE)

If you haven’t already, please get up to date on my cell phone drama by reading this and this.

After a few days of the Nexus 6, I found that I was having some extremely annoying orientation sensor issues that appeared to have their basis in software. For example, various apps would not reorient based on how I held the phone, even though the orientation sensor itself was working correctly. I also noticed that unlike the Samsung Galaxy S3, I could not conduct voice calls and transmit data simultaneously. This is a major issue and is completely unacceptable given the cost of the phone and the fact that I actually utilized that ability with my S3 on a regular basis.

I decided to try a custom ROM, specifically, Liquidsmooth. I used their “DarkUI” build and loaded GAPPS for CM12. After backing up my stock ROM with TeamWin Recovery, I flashed the LS and GAPPS zip files and rebooted. Everything worked pretty much flawlessly, and my orientation sensor issues are gone. I also have a few convenient features that were not present in the stock ROM, and I have not yet experienced any stability issues. Overall, I’m very satisfied with LS 4.0 as of now.

Regarding voice/data simultaneity, the situation is not as rosy. The reason that older phones like the S3 had the capability is that they had separate CDMA and LTE antennas. So while voice was transmitted over the CDMA antenna, data could transfer simultaneously on the LTE antenna. However, modern phones such as the Nexus 6 and iPhone 6 have only a single antenna, and consequently do not support true simultaneous voice and data. The workaround for this is using data for voice calls (voice over LTE, or VoLTE), something that Verizon supports currently on the iPhone 6. This feature is not supported for the Nexus 6 on Verizon as of now, most likely because the Nexus 6 itself is not supported yet. However, it is expected that Verizon will introduce support for this on the Nexus 6 very shortly as their support for the phone itself is imminent.

Overall, I am disappointed in the stock ROM (software) that came with the Nexus 6 because it introduced extremely annoying orientation sensor issues that a brand new, $650 device should not have. I am disappointed in the hardware for requiring carrier-level support for basic functionality that I took for granted on my older phone. The bottom line is that the end user should not be expected to jump through hoops and spend hours performing potentially risky procedures with brand new hardware (flashing the recovery partition and wiping out existing software) just to have things work acceptably. I am rather technically inclined and have done these types of procedures on several phones and other devices and the process still makes me cringe. It is well beyond what the average user is going to undertake.

Shame on Google and Motorola for releasing a product that is not ready for prime time right out of the box, and expecting us to pay almost $700 for it.

More on the Nexus 6, and voice over LTE (VoLTE)

The misapplication of charity

The Daily Mail has an article about the murder of Dr. Thomas Oakland by Stephen Underwood. I’m not sure that this can be attributed to white guilt, but it can be attributed certainly to the uncritical application of religious, especially Christian, teachings about charity and helping others.

Now, I am not a religious man. But I know for a fact that Jesus never intended for his followers to open their doors and welcome into their homes mindless, violent thugs like Stephen Underwood. Of all the means by which one may practice charity, Dr. Oakland chose to allow a thug into his personal life and transferred enormous sums of money to him directly. By allowing the thug to become familiar with his finances and the location of his cash, Dr. Oakland sowed his own death at the hands of his charity’s recipient.

White, do-gooder liberals and their Christian analogues ignore the real and present danger that surrounds them at their own peril. There are numerous ways to exercise charity and help those who do truly need, and can appreciate, a helping hand; establishing personal relationships and spending time one-on-one with violent thugs is the most dangerous and likely least rewarding among them.

The misapplication of charity

Trailer park engineering

I was describing an intriguing (and annoying) plumbing problem I had been experiencing in my travel trailer to an engineering professor with whom I work. He asked me to come up with an exam/homework problem and solution he could give to his students. I sent him the following document this morning.
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Trailer park engineering

Liberal Jews and the antisemitic bogeyman

My grandmother turned 94 last week and my mother and my uncles had a nice little gathering at my grandmother’s place in celebration. She is beginning to lose her faculties so we are trying to enjoy the time we have with her.

The conversation invariably turned to politics, at which point I announced my view that Islam is incompatible with Western civilization, and that mass Muslim immigration to the West must be halted. This precipitated the predictable and irrelevant “But not all Muslims are extremists!” response, as well as analogizing my position to that of anti-Semites.

The former is simply an emotional response; the existence of individual “moderate” Muslims has nothing to do with whether or not, from a policy standpoint, it makes sense for us to allow Muslim immigration. But the latter betrays the mentality of the liberal suburban Jew: they are terrified of antisemitism, whether or not they’ve ever experienced it themselves. They just know there’s a redneck farmer out there, just over the next hill, who hates Jews and everything about them. And not just a single redneck farmer, but a whole gaggle of them; indeed, they underlie everything that is American. This entire country was founded upon the principles held dear by antisemitic redneck whites, and as Jews, they are just barely able to hold off the onslaught of Jew-hatred. The most powerful tool in the toolbox is undermining the rotten, racist American spinal cord by supporting anything antithetical to its values. And not only that, but anything — any argument or position — even vaguely reminiscent of white antisemitism must be just as misguided and, indeed, evil as the highest chieftains of Jew-extermination. That includes any argument that a particular religion or behavior is incompatible with Western values because, of course, those despicable white anti-Semites said that very thing about the Jews, years ago.

I believe sincerely that the above narrative is, in essence, what goes on in these people’s minds. As a Jew (culturally, rather than religiously), I consider it my job to oppose this crippling and suicidal idiocy. ISIS is cutting people’s heads off on the internet, and American Jews are worried about the guy at the grocery store wishing them a merry Christmas.

Of course, when challenged to produce an example of antisemitism, none of them could recall anything specific. They just know it’s out there. Lurking just beyond the corner, somewhere in the dark.

It’s time to wake up, Jews of the West.

Liberal Jews and the antisemitic bogeyman