Where does mistaken belief come from?

SATURDAY, MAY 8, 2021

Our Town can't catch a break: Simply put, Our Town—our pitiful, failing town—can't seem to catch a break.

Let's be more specific:

Our Town's thought leaders can't help themselves—and we Townies are constantly misled, even misinformed, by the various thoughts they provide.

For one example, consider an (interesting) new analysis piece in the New York Times. It was written by Max Fisher. His identity line says this:

Max Fisher is a New York-based international reporter and columnist. He has reported from five continents on conflict, diplomacy, social change and other topics. He writes The Interpreter, a column exploring the ideas and context behind major world events.

Fisher writes The Interpreter column. That's the New York Times' way of saying that he's one of the newspaper's "smart" ones.

(Offering a bit more background, Fisher is twelve years out of college—William and Mary, class of 2008.)

In his new column, Fisher explores an important question: Where does misinformation come from? More specifically, he's asking this extremely important question:

Why does misinformation seem to play such a large role in our public discourse at this point in time?

Those are very important questions. Just for the record, the headlines which sit atop Fisher's column look exactly like this:

‘Belonging Is Stronger Than Facts’: The Age of Misinformation
Social and psychological forces are combining to make the sharing and believing of misinformation an endemic problem with no easy solution.

That's the problem that Fisher's exploring. Showing extremely good judgment, he turns to Dartmouth professor Brendan Nyhan for the bulk of his analysis.

To Fisher, Nyhan is a Dartmouth political scientist. To us, he's one of the Spinsanity guys, dating to the earliest days of the political Internet.

Nyhan did a lot of good work back then, in his youth. Since then, he's done a lot of good work in his role as an academic. 

(Nyhan is twenty years out of college—Swarthmore, class of 2000.)

As Fisher examines his topic, he turns to Nyhan first. In the following passage, Fisher, channeling Nyhan, starts to explain why we live in an "Age of Misinformation:"

FISHER (5/7/21): We are in an era of endemic misinformation—and outright disinformation. Plenty of bad actors are helping the trend along. But the real drivers, some experts believe, are social and psychological forces that make people prone to sharing and believing misinformation in the first place. And those forces are on the rise.

“Why are misperceptions about contentious issues in politics and science seemingly so persistent and difficult to correct?” Brendan Nyhan, a Dartmouth College political scientist, posed in a new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It’s not for want of good information, which is ubiquitous. Exposure to good information does not reliably instill accurate beliefs anyway. Rather, Dr. Nyhan writes, a growing body of evidence suggests that the ultimate culprits are “cognitive and memory limitations, directional motivations to defend or support some group identity or existing belief, and messages from other people and political elites.”

Is "good information" really "ubiquitous?" We can't quite agree with that. 

In our experience, bogus claims are everywhere. Fact-checking those endless claims can be extremely hard. 

That said, we agree with almost everything which comes next. Indeed, as we read the following passage by Fisher, we get the impression that Nyhan may be consulting with the same disconsolate anthropological experts from whom we've drawn so much wisdom here on our own sprawling campus

FISHER (continuing directly): Put more simply, people become more prone to misinformation when three things happen. First, and perhaps most important, is when conditions in society make people feel a greater need for what social scientists call ingrouping—a belief that their social identity is a source of strength and superiority, and that other groups can be blamed for their problems.

As much as we like to think of ourselves as rational beings who put truth-seeking above all else, we are social animals wired for survival. In times of perceived conflict or social change, we seek security in groups. And that makes us eager to consume information, true or not, that lets us see the world as a conflict putting our righteous ingroup against a nefarious outgroup.

This need can emerge especially out of a sense of social destabilization. As a result, misinformation is often prevalent among communities that feel destabilized by unwanted change or, in the case of some minorities, powerless in the face of dominant forces.

Framing everything as a grand conflict against scheming enemies can feel enormously reassuring. And that’s why perhaps the greatest culprit of our era of misinformation may be, more than any one particular misinformer, the era-defining rise in social polarization.

“At the mass level, greater partisan divisions in social identity are generating intense hostility toward opposition partisans,” which has “seemingly increased the political system’s vulnerability to partisan misinformation,” Dr. Nyhan wrote in an earlier paper.

Growing hostility between the two halves of America feeds social distrust, which makes people more prone to rumor and falsehood. It also makes people cling much more tightly to their partisan identities. And once our brains switch into “identity-based conflict” mode, we become desperately hungry for information that will affirm that sense of us versus them, and much less concerned about things like truth or accuracy.

We think of ourselves as "rational beings," but we're actually "wired" for social cohesion within a "righteous ingroup?" (Within a so-called tribe?) That sounds a great deal like what major top disconsolate experts have glumly been telling us! 

At times of growing social hostility, our brains switch into an identity-based conflict mode? This leaves us "desperately hungry for information that will affirm [our] sense of us versus them?"

We wouldn't use the word "information" there, since we're actually speaking about something almost completely different. But that sounds a great deal like what top experts have been telling us:

We're wired to adhere to the tribe, and to the tribe's tribal verities? Our brains have been wired for that dating back into prehistory?

We're wired to contrast the good, decent people found in Our Town to scheming people we regard as The Others?

That's exactly what we've been saying, while acknowledging that we've been receiving these insights from major top world-renowned experts! We'll even guess that Nyhan may have gained access to the same high-ranking sources.

At any rate, whatever! Let's see where Fisher's promising essay breaks down, as things tend to do in Our Town:

In theory, Fisher should be on his way to an extremely instructive report. Nyhan's work tends to be quite insightful. What in the world could go wrong?

Fisher should have been on his way to an instructive report. But alas! After reading Fisher's first two paragraphs, our youthful analysts were already giving his Interpreter piece their famous thousand-yard stares.

What had the youngsters so upset? Townies, please! Take a look at the way Fisher started his essay:

FISHER: There’s a decent chance you’ve had at least one of these rumors, all false, relayed to you as fact recently: that President Biden plans to force Americans to eat less meat; that Virginia is eliminating advanced math in schools to advance racial equality; and that border officials are mass-purchasing copies of Vice President Kamala Harris’s book to hand out to refugee children.

All were amplified by partisan actors. But you’re just as likely, if not more so, to have heard it relayed from someone you know. And you may have noticed that these cycles of falsehood-fueled outrage keep recurring.

We are in an era of endemic misinformation—and outright disinformation. Plenty of bad actors are helping the trend along...

Right at the start of his essay, Fisher offered three examples of the mis- and disinformation which currently plague the land. 

And sure enough! In a reflection of tribal necessity, all three examples come from "the right"—from the very bad people in other towns, the bad people found Over There.

None of Fisher's three examples was drawn from the streets of Our Town. Later on, he offers one more specific example. Guess who it involves?

FISHER: In another study, published last month in Nature, a team of psychologists tracked thousands of users interacting with false information. Republican test subjects who were shown a false headline about migrants trying to enter the United States (“Over 500 ‘Migrant Caravaners’ Arrested With Suicide Vests”) mostly identified it as false; only 16 percent called it accurate. But if the experimenters instead asked the subjects to decide whether to share the headline, 51 percent said they would.

These Republican test subjects today! There they went again!

None of Fisher's four examples emerged from the streets of  Our Town. Through the course of his lengthy essay, all four of his specific examples came from the very bad people found in the towns Over There.

Does that make theoretical sense? Consider:

In theory, Nyhan's descriptions of humans as "social animals wired for survival" would seem to apply to humans across the board.   

In theory, the social / psychological dynamics which Nyhan describes would apply to people who live in Our Town, or to people in our own tribe, not just to people we loathe and oppose.

That said, Fisher blew past this obvious point in the examples he offered in his first two paragraphs. Adding to the general absurdity,  one of the three "false rumors" he cites—the claim that Virginia "is eliminating advanced math in schools"—seems to have stemmed from a plausible source.

We base that on this recent column by Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews, a highly reliable non-partisan source. Based on Mathews' column, it sounds like concerns about that possibility may have stemmed from weird behavior and puzzling postings by the Virginia education department.

(Headline: "Virginia allies with, then backs away from, controversial math anti-tracking movement.")

In these ways, Our Town can't catch a break! Our Town's thought leaders can't help themselves when it comes to expressing their thoughts. And the rest of us, the rubes in Our Town, are routinely misled by these leaders.

Fisher could have cited plenty of examples of bogus beliefs being spread in Our Town, even within his own newspaper. It seems to have been beyond his capacity to imagine such a state of affairs. In such ways, a general theory withers and dies on the vine.

We'll guess that Nyhan could explain the process by which Fisher chose his examples:

According to theory, Fisher's brain is wired to spot false belief among opposing groups. His brain isn't wired to spot false belief in Our Town, the place where Fisher and his "affinity group" all live.

The regular people of Our Town are routinely misled in this way. A groaning example of this practice appeared in yesterday's Washington Post.

That example involved an old hobby-horse, "the gender wage / pay gap." Wild embellishment about this topic is an established "oldy but goody" here in Our Town.

We love the way these embellished claims make us feel; our thought leaders routinely provide them. In Friday's example, Petula Dvorak went well beyond the call of duty in this conventional practice. She even included a Mother's Day hook!

We'll try to get to Dvorak's column next week. We'll note the specific disclaimers at her principal data source, disclaimers which explicitly say that its data shouldn't be used in the way Dvorak does. 

For today, we'll only remind you of this:

In the crowded warrens of the New York Times, Fisher is one of the "smart" ones. Nyhan's theory works all the way down, even as Our (floundering) Town can't seem to escape its pull.


47 comments:

  1. tl;dr
    However: "Where does mistaken belief come from?"

    We've read, recently, Matt Taibbi's take on this subject, dear Bob.

    It's quite simple, dear Bob. Thanks to the world-wide-web, your zombie-cult's 'mainstream media' have lost the monopoly on telling people what to think.

    And so they're panicking, spewing hatred.

    And that's all, simple as that, dear Bob.

    We don't have enough will-power to finish reading your post, dear Bob (please accept our deeeeeepest apologies), and perhaps that is your conclusion as well. We hope it is.

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  2. If they had a problem with the rioters last Summer, they could always de-fund them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "And sure enough! In a reflection of tribal necessity, all three examples come from "the right"—from the very bad people in other towns, the bad people found Over There."

    Somerby never wants to admit that the right uses disinformation to advance its political goals whereas the left tends to focus on policy more than propaganda.

    There is a real difference between the right and left when it comes to how information is used instrumentally. Nyhan may be right about the needs of the consumers of information but he isn't talking about the manipulation of supporters using lies, which is rampant on the right.

    Somerby does a disservice when he engages in both-siderism, pretending that the left is doing the same thing as the right, and to the same extent. The left didn't deliberately invent a Big Lie in order to steal an election. The left didn't promote a Q-Anon cult of conspiracy. There is no justification for equating the right and left because the right has chosen to deliberately lie to its followers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The left tends to focus on policy goals.
      The right tend to focus on policy results.

      Delete
    2. No David, the right doesn't care about policy results. If it did, it would have been concerned about all those covid deaths under Trump. The right only focuses on owning the libs.

      Delete
  4. Fisher is making a point about who spreads incorrect info, not who creates it in the first place. The need to spread the info is universal among humans, but the willingness to lie to achieve goals is not equal across the sides.

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  5. "Fisher could have cited plenty of examples of bogus beliefs being spread in Our Town, even within his own newspaper. "

    It would have been helpful if Somerby had identified some of the bogus beliefs originating on the left. If he had, we would see that Somerby's claims of bogosity rest on trivial nitpicks, not the whole cloth lies told on the right. For example, Somerby claims that the left believes that Michael Brown was shot with his hands up, whereas the feds found that he wasn't. But he was shot by cops, so that story is fundamentally correct. Meanwhile, the right makes up shit about Biden that he never said (or anything close), about restricting meat intake by government decree. That is a lie in its broad points and its particulars, not a mistaken nitpick about how much meat or how often.

    Somerby's goal is to portray the mainstream media as unreliable and he will use any academic theory that seems to fit his purposes, much as he grabs lines from Paul Simon, even when they don't apply. Nyhan is not saying that both right and left tell lies to promote in-group cohesion. He is saying that members of the in-group become less picky about the info they pass along when they are feeling threatened. Nyhan is NOT saying the left and right participate in disinformation campaigns to the same extent, but that is how Somerby twists Fisher's essay, and Somerby is wrong.

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    Replies
    1. Michael Brown became an icon which helped to start BLM. "Hands up, don't shoot" fueled outrage but it was a lie. Under our first black president, Barak Obama, and under his DOJ, headed by a black man, Michael Brown's shooting was found to be self-defense and justified. If he really had had his hands up, it would have fundamentally changed the findings. His death was a tragedy, but I seriously doubt that most on the left know that "hands up, don't shoot" was a lie, and was used to fuel outrage, since it's still being used.
      Commentary on "Hands up, don't shoot":
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/03/16/lesson-learned-from-the-shooting-of-michael-brown/
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/03/19/hands-up-dont-shoot-did-not-happen-in-ferguson/

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    2. "Thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo had his hands raised when he was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer, according to video evidence released"

      Do you seriously believe that the whole purpose of BLM changes depending on whether Michael Brown had his hands up or not? It doesn't. Brown was the latest in a string of police shootings of unarmed black men and boys. It essentially doesn't matter whether his hands were up or not -- he was killed and he was unarmed and he was black. This is my point -- Somerby focuses on trivial details that do not substantially change overall meaning. I am beginning to think that he has had a stroke affecting his right hemisphere, which is preventing him from understanding meaning in the same way as others do.

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    3. The police officer's confusion (lies) about the distances between he and Brown during the encounter didn't help the situation.

      Nor that Ferguson Police were thugs running a racket.

      Delete
  6. "We base that on this recent column by Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews, a highly reliable non-partisan source. "

    If that education writer is non-partisan, why does Somerby lump the Virginia rumor in with right-wing examples, as he complains about Fisher's choices?

    It clearly helps Somerby's case, as he tries to portray the media as biased, to have all three examples, not just two of them, come from the right. But the Virginia education example seems like a stretch. It illustrates Somerby putting his own thumb on the scales to further his own anti-media agenda and portray Fisher as blind to Our Town's false beliefs.

    I disagree that the brouhaha over math tracking is a left-wing piece of disinformation, and consider the attack on anti-racist education to be a right-wing meme, but Somerby cannot label someone as non-partisan and then complain because the examples are slanted. If he considers that example to be left, then all three are not selected by Fisher from the Other Town, and he is distorting the facts to fit his own agenda. And that is exactly what he accuses the press of doing, because we are all doomed to be human.

    Of course, all three examples do come from the right, but that is because the right trades in disinformation and manufactures outrage as a tactic, whereas the left does not traffic in atrocities to the same extent. Somerby's failure to recognize the extent to which the left focuses on issues shows his bias, his intent to discredit the left by pretending it is equally to blame for the disinformation that has polluted our political process.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Because of the content-farm-carousel news media finds itself in we get another article where the author may be on to something but forgoes digging deeper and relies on a well-known and convenient narrative.

    The word "misinformation" has become a cue to the stereotype of what people on the left imagine the average conservative to be. He spends further effort in the article providing examples, perhaps to confirm our bias and give us the satisfaction of tying the narrative together.

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    Replies
    1. 1. The term "narrative" doesn't refer to the facts or content of a story but rather its structure and organization, often chronological with a beginning and end.

      2. The right has been shown in several studies to be less knowledgeable about current events and to believe more false things than the left. Further, content analysis of Fox News shows more factually untrue stories. These studies are done by journalism schools and academics studying the media (professionals in media analysis, unlike Somerby). So, this is not a stereotype held by the left but a fact produced by research studying conservatives and liberals.

      3. The best example of this misinformation on the right was the 1/6 insurrection, in which followers who were misled by misinformation provided by Fox News and Trump, engaged in illegal acts because of their wrong beliefs. This actually happened and is not a figment of the left's imagination.

      Delete
  8. "That example involved an old hobby-horse, "the gender wage / pay gap." Wild embellishment about this topic is an established "oldy but goody" here in Our Town."

    The figures that Somerby claims are wrong in discussing the gender/pay gap comes from the Department of Labor. Somerby is the one who is wrong about this, by focusing excessively on the "equal work" nitpick and claiming that when women are compared only in narrowly defined job categories and all other differences between men and women are controlled, there is no gap. That manipulation may produce different numbers, but it doesn't change the facts on the ground for women, that they are excluded from certain job categories, receive lower pay over their lifetimes, are discriminated against when pregnant or trying to manage family/work responsibilities, are given different working conditions, are promoted less and generally have greater difficulty reaching higher levels across professions due to being female. Their social security payments in retirement are lower, their pensions are lower, their job titles are different, and they generally have to do paid work in addition to housework and child care (which men do to a dramatically less extent). But Somerby won't deal with this overall reality -- he focuses on a statistical nitpick and then generalizes that to extend to the entire situation for women in the workplace.

    And he does this because he won't admit that women experience sexism. His goal is to promote the false impression that everything is fine when it comes to gender equity on the job. It isn't. But Somerby's repetition of this particular complaint is a version of the Big Lie being told on the right about Trump's 2020 election win, and repeating it over and over, doesn't make it true. It just makes Somerby a huge asshole.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. "We love the way these embellished claims make us feel; our thought leaders routinely provide them"

    Neither Nyhan nor Fisher has said this.

    Somerby keeps saying that we love our beliefs on the left, but nearly everyone I encounter on the left is upset about the misinformation spread by the right. Some are so distressed that they are contemplating moving out the US. Some have disrupted family relationships over such beliefs, broken up marriages over support for Trump and his lies. There is no enjoyment or pleasure being derived from what has been happening.

    It is, in fact, insulting to the left that Somerby would suggest that we enjoy it when conservatives accuse Hillary of being a pedophile or Bill Gates of trying to microchip the world, when he has actually been trying to solve serious global health problems.

    Painting liberals as the kind of people who get off on identifying conservative lies is Somerby's attempt to put the left on an equal footing with the right, as conservatives live to "own the libs". But there is no equivalence that I can see. This is Somerby's attempt at spreading his own brand of disinformation, in this case to portray liberals as bad people. Somerby won't call abusive cops sadists, but he will portray the left as enjoying something that only causes us anxiety and grief.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mr. Fisher is smart. That’s why he sticks to orthodoxy.

    Some years ago, I had what I can only describe as a fun, but merciless beat down by Richard Dawkins via several email exchanges about religion.
    .
    Now Mr.Dawkins has gone and said the wrong things and is the doghouse, not with political junkies or politicians, but his own academic colleagues.

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  12. Somerby thinks racism is no longer a problem. How does he explain this:

    "We talk about redlining like it’s a thing of the past, but like most of America’s racist systems it hasn’t really gone away—it’s just simply evolved. A Black homeowner in Indianapolis has filed a discrimination complaint after an appraisal on her house increased by $100,000.

    All she had to do was remove all traces of her Black identity from her home."

    From The Root

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  13. “ “Over 500 ‘Migrant Caravaners’ Arrested With Suicide Vests”) mostly identified it as false; only 16 percent called it accurate. But if the experimenters instead asked the subjects to decide whether to share the headline, 51 percent said they would.”

    Sure we’d share it. For the horrible reason that it’s hilarious.

    ReplyDelete
  14. U.S. Intel Walks Back Claim Russians Put Bounties on American Troops https://www.thedailybeast.com/us-intel-walks-back-claim-russians-put-bounties-on-american-troops Beyond BuzzFeed: The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story https://theintercept.com/2019/01/20/beyond-buzzfeed-the-10-worst-most-embarrassing-u-s-media-failures-on-the-trumprussia-story/ What Are the Consequences for Adam Schiff’s Lies?
    In the good old days if a member of Congress was caught in a major lie, misleading Congress and the American public, there were consequences. https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-are-the-consequences-for-adam-schiffs-lies-11590174358 Case of the Covington kids is a perfect example of media bias https://nypost.com/2019/01/21/case-of-the-covington-kids-is-a-perfect-example-of-media-bias/ Is MSNBC worse than Fox News? https://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/12/is-msnbc-worse-than-fox-news-179175 " 2. The right has been shown in several studies to be less knowledgeable about current events and to believe more false things than the left. Further, content analysis of Fox News shows more factually untrue stories. These studies are done by journalism schools and academics studying the media (professionals in media analysis, unlike Somerby). So, this is not a stereotype held by the left but a fact produced by research studying conservatives and liberals. " Half of Survey's Very Liberal Respondents Believe 1,000 or More Unarmed Black Men Killed by Police in 2019 https://www.policemag.com/596346/half-of-surveys-very-liberal-respondents-believe-1-000-or-more-unarmed-black-men " So, this is not a stereotype held by the left but a fact produced by research studying conservatives and liberals. " And who does the research that produces these " facts " genius ? A far left think tank ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some people in this country don't even know Republicans are 100% dedicated to voter suppression.

      Delete
    2. Who does the research? University professors.

      Delete
    3. Many people in this country are so confused, they still think Hillary Clinton is corrupt.
      And this is AFTER all those Republican-led investigations turned-up no proof.

      Delete
    4. Anonymouse 8:06am, 8:16am, 8:19am— Why don’t you rent a billboard for this stuff? You’d reach more people.

      Delete
    5. 10;54,
      Why don't you kill yourself? More people would enjoy this world.

      Delete
    6. I doubt that one would fly.

      Delete
    7. Unlike the lying accusations of Clinton's corruption.

      Delete
    8. Cecelia,
      We'll never know until you try.

      Delete
  15. Here is another report that might change Somerby's mind about whether racism is no longer a problem in our society:

    https://www.theroot.com/new-central-park-karen-swipes-black-womans-charger-tel-1846852469?utm_source=theroot_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2021-05-08

    Note that this author doesn't like the use of the name Karen to describe such actions, just as Somerby dislikes it. He says:

    "First, let me just say that I refuse to call this one a “Karen.” The internet has already dubbed her the “New Central Park Karen”—meaning she’s the uninspired sequel to Amy “Central Park Karen” Cooper that nobody asked for—but in this America where Black people have managed to force a spotlight on systemic racism in policing, the moniker “Karen” just feels too benign to be an appropriate descriptor for racists who seek to weaponize law enforcement against Black people."

    ReplyDelete
  16. " Some people in this country don't even know Republicans are 100% dedicated to voter suppression. " The Voter-Suppression Lie https://news.yahoo.com/voter-suppression-lie-103021474.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAHCktIIQA9arWvzXJOa8h2mb4SkwhqUVxloqnNqWcy7aU1PAJfsG04rI7kbgk00fGiBm3WcLdoyvsWHfx5oXn5mQXRIQuI5_huNZStqN7zbwBtvcfPmjvAJcjIjxNkPLuAKmVmozFGLlJvEiUJ8NThPOqWWsQGjbD51jJNSh_YFC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The old Jim Crow was billy clubs and fire hoses; the alleged new Jim Crow is asking people to write a driver’s license number on their absentee-ballot envelopes."

      Many older people do not drive any longer and thus do not have a driver's license. For some, it is expensive and difficult to obtain one, especially if there are lines at the motor vehicle licensing office or they lack transportation to get there.

      Why should they have to go to this added effort and expense simply to exercise the franchise granted to them by the constitution? Young people, who have a license in order to work, may not see that this is a barrier to those who have given up driving because of age or eyesight problems.

      This burden falls disproportionately on black voters because they are more likely to have less income and thus more likely to skip getting a license used only for voting purposes. Of course, those who devise such laws know this, and that is what makes such laws an attempt at voter suppression akin to Jim Crow Laws, which were also intended to deprive black people of their constitutional rights. That the method today is slightly different changes nothing about the intent.

      Delete
    2. "To better ensure the security, the law requires that voters provide a driver’s license or state ID number to apply for a ballot and one of those numbers (or the last four digits of a Social Security number) when returning the ballot."

      Anyone who works in the US will most likely have a social security number, but women who worked primarily in the home, born before 1990, will not necessarily have one. Their labor on behalf of their family is not paid and they will not receive social security payments in old age. There are other women who worked "off the books" or as domestic workers who never had a social security number either. The older someone is, the more likely this will be true, since the requirement that a social security number be acquired in order to issue a birth certificate for a baby only came into effect in 1990.

      Obviously, this will affect black women more than white ones, since they are more likely to hold domestic service jobs. And this will disproportionately affect older voters, not younger ones who acquired a social security number at birth. That is why this seemingly innocuous law will suppress black votes. Those who write such laws know about this, and that is their intent in imposing such a requirement, largely unnecessary due to the very low occurrence of voter fraud. More women will be hurt by this law than invalid votes prevented.

      Delete
    3. Hopefully, the federal government will soon pass all the laws necessary to end the blatant and despicable discrimination of the dead voters.

      It must stop. There's been enough cruelty and indignity done to our departed parents and grandparents. Our loved ones.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    5. Too bad no one has confirmed that any dead voters have voted.

      Delete
  17. Lawyers Guns & Money blog quotes the Washington Post:

    "At the most basic level, people are still hesitant to return to work until they are fully vaccinated and their children are back in school and day care full time. For example, all the job gains in April went to men. The number of women employed or looking for work fell by 64,000, a reminder that child-care issues are still in play."

    Somerby thinks it is fun to gripe that women are complaining about the pay gap, but women really are harder hit by the realities of covid in the workplace because they bear the brunt of child-raising responsibilities. This is ultimately going to widen the pay gap.

    This is not the time for an asshole like Somerby to be pretending that there is no difference between job prospects for men and women.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not to worry, the job numbers are a wake up call.

      Brian Stelter is now issuing tweets about not judging people who want to open everything up and heretofore he had ascribed that mentality to white supremacists who want to sip the blood of beheaded scientists during communion services at Pentecostal mega churches.

      He even tweeted an opinion that wearing your mask outside is...virtue signaling...

      The times, they are a’changin’, baby!

      Delete
    2. I hear businesses can't find good workers because they don't understand "supply and demand".

      Delete
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