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Bernardo de La Paz

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Member since: Fri Jul 16, 2004, 10:36 PM
Number of posts: 20,664

About Me

Lived most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Left a piece of my heart there.

Journal Archives

Reparations not a solution. 1) Reconciliation, 2) Truly equal justice, 3) Economic support

There is a historic wrong that needs to be corrected due to harms done to African-Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans.

Reparations is the wrong thing to do. It will not work and will not correct the ongoing fundamental problems.

The ongoing problems are fundamentally a lack of justice and a lack of economic support. Fix those and American society will become an even stronger society than it already is.

1) Reconciliation is completely overlooked but very important as the experience in South Africa and Canada shows.

1a) People have to be heard in official public hearings around the country, extensively and widely held.

1b) "The powers that be" (essentially elected government) have to apologize publicly and on the record for past wrongs, sincerely and meaningfully. Meaningfully means putting real legal power and real money behind points 2 and 3.

2) Truly equal justice means access to the courts by real legal subsidies, real justice for people shot by police, equal enforcement across all districts, federal true oversight, civic education for all students, and much more.

It also means elimination of voter suppression and a permanent end to gerrymandering by placing redistricting in the hands of independent impartial commissions permanently taking it out of the hands of partial legislatures.

3) Economic support is much more effective and much more just than reparations.

It helps people directly.
It is not a one time lump sum, so it is not frittered away and gone.
It is provided for as long as is necessary.
It does not perpetuate a racial divide.
It helps all who need it: poor blacks, native Americans, hispanics, unemployed coal miners, etc.
It does not go to people who don't need it as reparations would be given to.
It does not take from other people who would carry it as a racial grievance.
It does not leave an unresolved reverse grievance used to hammer disadvantaged people.
It levels the playing field by raising the low sections.
It can be organized to largely benefit children rather than adults who are less likely to see much change from money.

To be blunt, if reparations are given out on the basis of race, then many whites would forever after say "We fixed it. You poor blacks have no excuse for lagging behind and you aren't getting another penny from us." It would be used as an excuse to strangle welfare. It would perpetuate racial divisions, not solve them.

By creating national economic support for school districts, for example, the effects of income disparity on children would be much reduced, regardless of race or class.

Ultimately the USA has a class problem, which has been in part created by racism but not entirely. Attacking the economic problem on a color blind class basis almost entirely eliminates the racial excuses the upper classes (predominantly white) use to perpetuate their inherited greater opportunities. Attacking the social justice problem will require a more direct address of the racial biases and must be done.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sat Nov 11, 2017, 08:09 AM (2 replies)

Space Age began 60 years ago today

Sputnik 1 (/ˈspʊtnɪk/ or /ˈspʌtnɪk/; "Satellite-1", or "PS-1", Простейший Спутник-1 or Prosteyshiy Sputnik-1, "Elementary Satellite 1" )[5] was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957. It was a 58 cm (23 in) diameter polished metal sphere, with four external radio antennas to broadcast radio pulses. Its radio signal was easily detectable even by amateurs, and the 65° inclination and duration of its orbit made its flight path cover virtually the entire inhabited Earth. This surprise success precipitated the American Sputnik crisis and triggered the Space Race, a part of the Cold War. The launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments.[6][7]

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Wed Oct 4, 2017, 05:15 PM (1 replies)

Nailed it. Income & wealth inequality is a big bad problem getting worse.

There will be a real revolution, not faux T party nonsense, if the issue is not addressed squarely.

It could easily be made worse by the soon-to-come AI tsunami but that could just as easily make things more equal and beneficial.

Globalization, on the other hand, enhances peace and provides wonderful technology we love. The iPhone factory worker in China does not want to fight a war with the USA that buys the phones. She/he wants to go home, help their children with homework and have some beer and noodles. Pretty much the same as the US worker of any kind.

Unemployed and underemployed and exploited people see little left to lose if inequality is too great and become more open to wars.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sun Sep 17, 2017, 07:55 AM (2 replies)

Not STFU, not at all, not one bit of Shut the Fuck Up. No.

Ideals are good. Some forms of purism are good. Democrats and progressives stand for civil rights and inclusion. We are pretty much all purists on those aspects.

People with very leftish ideas should be encouraged to speak up and advocate for their causes and actively try to move the needle left. Likewise for centrists. That is NOT Shut the Fuck Up.

But AFTER the discussion, after the arguments, after decisions are made and voted on, after candidates have been chosen, ... then all members should and must come together pragmatically to help the party and the candidate.

If they can't come together, then goodbye. Good people can agree to disagree on a few items if they generally agree on most items. They can work together.

If a person is a single issue activist or a far left or committed center-right activist, then the Democratic Party isn't the place for them and they need to get out of the way, leave the party, and go somewhere else where they can advance their agenda better.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sun Aug 6, 2017, 09:03 AM (2 replies)

I think that Putin accounted for this & now puts Part B of his plan in motion

Putin's aim was to disrupt and weaken the USA by destabilizing its political system. They got lucky and actually pushed Trump over the line. So they waited (in vain) for a bunch of treats. Putin hoped that the RepubliCons would know how to govern better than events have shown and that they would enable tRump to make the US friendly to Russia. But he also knew that there was a better than even chance tRump would not change and would be a disruptive force all on his own.

Now that it is clear treats are not forthcoming, the destabilization strategy continues, but now Trump and Republicons will "have their time in the barrel".

Expect some odd leaks from odd directions. Expect the pee tape (assuming it exists) or other kompromat to be released. Putin may sacrifice a minor oligarch to prove money laundering against tRump. Depending on what exactly happened during the 2016 election, he may one by one sink Trump, then Pence, then McCONnell, though not necessarily in that order. If he judges the Republicon Congressional leadership strong, he may interfere and try to give Democrats a boost in 2018. Alternatively he may interfere and try to tilt (or even jigger) the vote to make the result as much of a deadlock as possible in the House and Senate.

The purpose of the destabilization is to give Putin a freer hand in Europe and the Middle East. He may push and shove in the Ukraine and possibly in the Baltic. He may make more overtures to China. He will continue to support Assad. He may dance with Iran. He may veto some US efforts in the UN.

Be strong. The United States of America will get through this crisis, scarred, but intact and still strong. There is a good chance that Putin won't get much in the end.

There is an even better chance that the Republicon brand will be damaged for decades.

Odds are good that the US will ultimately emerge recognizing itself as having the progressive, mildly liberal majority that it actually has.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sun Jul 30, 2017, 05:34 AM (1 replies)

If he really believes Democratic voters are stupid, King would NOT cut back on NUTRITION.

He and other CONservatives who think conservative voters are so smart would be doing everything to INCREASE NUTRITION.

But they don't believe what they say, of course. They are afraid of the smart PROGRESSIVE MAJORITY in the USA.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sun Jul 16, 2017, 02:58 PM (0 replies)

Excellent. Anger is toxic and damages your own team. An angry warrior is a dead warrior -- Musashi.

Replace anger with cold loathing and regain focus and sharpness.

Make the other side angry. The angrier they are the more mistakes they make.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sun Jul 16, 2017, 02:41 PM (1 replies)

Death threats: I think Russia may be supplying personal info to people making them

WaPo, Newsweek, and CNN reporters / editors say that they receive death threats with their names and addresses and other personal info in them.

It would not surprise me if the Russian intelligence services or their hired operatives are finding and funneling this information to people known to make death threats. It may appear to the threat maker that it is simply somebody on an alt-right / militia / Trumpanzee site posting it.

A "fellow traveler", as the phrase went in the 1950s when it was applied to people sympathizing with international communism.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Wed Jul 5, 2017, 11:20 AM (0 replies)

As a team, Democrats are still much better than the Republicons. 6 years, 60 votes & they still cant

Six years, 60 votes, and they still can't agree on and pass a coherent health care bill. That's not even considering trying to pass a health care bill that the public will like.

tRump has a team of three: he, himself, and him.

The tRump gang is not much of a team. They are so clueless about governing that Ivanka despairs about the nastiness in Washington and Jared thinks he can solve the 2,500 year old MidEast conundrum by showing up in preppy clothing. They are so amateurish and arrogant they don't even ask for advice from previous Secretaries of State like Kerry and Hillary did.

Steve Bannon is a tool of the Mercers and beholden to his own racist fantasies about minimal government. He thinks he can tear it down from within and rebuild it as pre-Theodore-Roosevelt robber baron white capitalist paradise. He does have some help from the cabinet.

Republican Trump does not have any Republicons on his team. The Party is more & more abandoning him.

Reince Priebus is the only professional there and therefore is the one who says the least. He is there to cover the Republicon Party's collusion from within the WH so that he can cover his ass. He's the most team player inside and outside the WH of all the Republicons.

Ryan can't control his caucus. He's no good as a coach or as a captain or at inspiring. His caucus are running around like mice with their tails chopped off. FOUR CLOSE SHAVES in special elections have got them scared shitless about 2018.

McCONnell has more than Ryan at stake in the Russia collusion treason and coverup. So he's not much of a team player.

Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sun Jun 25, 2017, 02:32 PM (1 replies)

This is supported by an interesting study of aggregated search data correlated with voting

What Google Searches Reveal about the Human Psyche

Transcript and you can hear the segment. I found some more links, posted at the end of the excerpts.


excerpts of transcript:

my next guest says you shouldn't let social media make you feel bad about your life. In fact he has studied millions of Google searches and gained some surprising insights into people's real lives. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is a former Google data scientist. He's a contributing op ed writer for The New York Times and he's the author of Everybody Lies: Big Data New Data And What The Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. And Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is joining us from Atlanta, Georgia. Hello.


AMT: Is this information that Google has that you got or did you go on Google and figure it out?

SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: This is data that they aggregate the search data and they give it to searchers.

AMT: Okay. So what did you learn about racism in the U.S. by examining Internet searches?

SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: Yes. So there is a disturbing element to some of this research. When people are lying, one of the ways people lie is they make themselves look better and they don't admit their racist tendencies. So the comparison on Google is depressing even horrifying, the frequency with which Americans make racist searches, are predominantly looking for jokes mocking African-Americans. And these searches predict very very strongly various political behaviors voting patterns.

AMT: You can make the connection?

SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: Yeah. So for example places that made these searches in highest numbers, there were most likely to make racist searches where there is almost perfect relationship between the volume of these searches and support for Donald Trump in the Republican primary. So it's really clear in this data that racism played a huge role in Trump's rise even if people wouldn't admit that.

AMT: And you also looked at what people were searching for right after Barack Obama was elected in 2008. What did you find?

SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: Yes. I mean another one where people you know on TV or in everyday conversation, people are saying whatever they thought of Obama's policies or positions that it was moving that we had an African-American president. But you see it the same period that searches for really really racially charged jokes mocking African-Americans were rising to their highest levels yet. And one in 100 searches on the night that Obama was elected with the word Obama also included the N word or KKK. So really a very very different in the privacy of their own homes, Americans were reacting to this event much differently than they were publicly proclaiming they were reacting.

AMT: And that was rather than using the phraseology like first black president or the like celebratory phrase.

SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: Exactly. More people are making more searches kind of disturbed by having an African-American president than excited about having an African-American president.

AMT: And so let's get back to what you said about the election of Donald Trump and what you learned about who voted for him. Tell me a little bit more of what you saw.

SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: Well, I think one thing that happened is you see how people responded when Obama was president. So the racist searches people were also searching for and eventually joining a website called Stormfront which is a white nationalist website. And you see kind of a direct relationship that these people who were antagonized by Obama's election and motivated to join these white nationalist websites or make racist searches then put Trump over the edge in the Republican primary.

AMT: And how do you know that you're making the right conclusion with that data?

SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: Well, you have to be definitely careful when you're using statistics and data but there are a lot of tools that data scientists have to control for other variables. You can see is there something else about these areas that explain the relationship? Is it because these areas have more elderly people, or more people with fewer years of education or more people own guns or more people who attend church? And you control for all these variables and nothing explains the result. The only thing that really explains the result is the racism.

AMT: You also looked at clues before the election on voter turnout for Hillary Clinton, that are may be down.

SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: Yes exactly. So if you ask people in a survey: “Are you going to vote in an election?”, just about everybody says yes but then only about 55 percent of Americans actually turn out to vote. So you can't really know from a survey who is going to be in the 55 percent who vote and who is going to be in the 45 percent who don't vote. But you can see on Google. People make searches in the weeks leading up to Election Day. They search for how to vote or where to vote or polling places, and these searches predict very very strongly how high turnout will be. And what we saw in this previous election, in the 2016 election, is that in cities with large African-American populations were 90 or 95 percent of the population is black, there was a large drop in searches for voting information, searches for how to vote or where to vote. So it was very clear from the search data that black turnout was going to be substantially down compared to previous elections. And since African-Americans support Democrats 85 or 90 percent of the time, this was a terrible sign for Hillary Clinton and one of the reasons she did so much worse than polls predicted.

AMT: Because that that did carry out during the election, right?

SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: Exactly. The black turnout was way down.

AMT: If her people had been looking at the data you were looking at they would have seen that coming.

SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: They would have seen that coming and maybe put more energy into getting black turnout up.



NPR Transcript of another interview:

Persuasive proof that America is full of racist and selfish people - Vox
Jun 13, 2017 - “Google is a digital truth serum,” Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of ... that suggested Trump was far more serious than many supposed.

Vox Calls Americans 'Racist' Over Google Searches | The Daily Caller {Right Wing reaction}
Jun 13, 2017 - Stephens-Davidowitz research shows “searches containing racist ... and equates the search data as “clues” Trump was a “serious” contender.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Sat Jun 24, 2017, 11:27 AM (0 replies)
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