Being ignorant won’t slow them down

Tom Gresham takes up the case: When the gun-ignorant make gun laws — “Rather than improve safety, they simply waste money.”

When technically ignorant politicians and ideologues ignore those with expertise in a subject, one begins to wonder if there’s not an agenda other than safety and crime reduction at work. Proposing gun restrictions, which they don’t understand, or which are technically impossible, also position politicians for well-deserved ridicule.

Those who seek to ban some, if not all, guns, have always resorted to demonizing or misrepresenting either the guns, themselves or the parts or functionality they don’t understand. Ignorance is the foundation of the gun-ban movement.

Throughout the past half-century, bans have been proposed, and even enacted, on the basis of guns being too small (“Saturday night specials”), being too cheap (“junk guns”), being too accurate (“sniper rifles”), and looking too mean (“assault weapons”). Each has failed when the reality of what a firearm is, how it’s made and how it functions collides with the fantasy world of the technically ignorant gun control lobby.

Enough to make one wonder if there is another agenda … Want something. Do anything to get it. Take from others for reasons that are really unknown hence manufactured.

Guns are not the only issue where this happens.

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The engineering standard?

Herchel Smith takes note of some commentary stimulated by the pending Paris Climate Conference in Global Warming Fraud? Say It Ain’t So!. There are two problems. One is that claims about extreme often depend upon differences in measure that are well under the noise threshold. The other is the lack of accountability in research.

give me an engineering report on the field measurements, and instrumentation used, calibration data sheets, and a data mean, prove to me that you meet the central limit theorem with the ten or so statistical tests used for Monte Carlo calculations, get it peer reviewed, and most of all, have it all done by a registered PE who can be taken to court and lose everything (including his livelihood) if he’s wrong, and then maybe I’ll take it seriously.

Otherwise, the AGW advocates are just wasting my time. But they won’t do that, because they want to write papers in the echo chamber that is AGW “science.”

The standard used is that of the role of a registered professional engineer. An application for a special use permit to build a million square foot warehousing facility near here was peppered with the seals of PE’s who signed off on various reports and findings. While legal culpability might be a bit much for research findings, the means and methods should not be. The problem with much research about climate is that the usual substitute for legal culpability is under assault. Rather than attempting to enhance duplication of results, any who question are told to shut up or even threatened with unemployment or legal prosecution. There is a smell coming from the climate research community and it is beginning to be noticed.

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Pick a target, Never give up. Never surrender.

Exxon has long been a target of the green movement. Now, it’s Schneiderman’s Climate Inquisition — “New York’s attorney general launches a bid to criminalize skepticism“.

what has inflamed progressives, and given impetus to the New York investigation, is the revelation that Exxon has given money to conservative organizations that oppose the extreme policy proposals of climate alarmists. Or, to use the New York Times’s tendentious description, the company may have played a role in “directing campaigns of climate denial, usually by libertarian-leaning political groups.”

The theory is tenuous, but the endgame is clear: to force Exxon and other companies to settle. Even when the underlying legal theory is frivolous, responding to a subpoena like the one served on Exxon—which seeks nearly 30 years of records—presents high financial and reputational costs. Moreover, the risk of criminal prosecution is one that most companies, particularly publicly-traded companies, can’t afford to take. Peabody Energy has already buckled under the threat of prosecution. After a few more energy companies embrace climate alarmism to avoid the taint of prosecution, the rest of the industry will be sufficiently intimidated to pull any funding from groups that question “established climate science.”

Progressives like to claim that there is an overwhelming consensus in favor of radical action on climate change. That may not currently be true, but it certainly will be once climate dissent is outlawed.

Not only is the effort to silence dissidents, it is to punish them and profit in the process. There seems to be a book on how to abuse prosecutorial discretion for ideological ends. The NY AG isn’t alone. Consider what has happened in the US AG’s office regarding, for instance, Black Panthers monitoring polling places. Then take a look at recent stories about how the LA police steal weapons from burglarized homes. 

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How does a lie live so long?

Rabbi Abraham Cooper tells how MSNBC got caught: Lying through their teeth and their maps — “Factually inaccurate maps distort Jewish and Arab land claims.” The thing is that the maps in question have long since been discredited as a 70’s attempt to show how “Those nasty Zionist imperialists have been stealing more and more Palestinian land.”

None of these facts deter a Who’s-Who of mainline churches who continue to deploy the map with impunity, decrying the theft of “Palestinian” land by the Jews and rallying members to vote for punitive measures against Israel.

How does a lie live so long? Seems that a convenient untruth can often trump the real story. Evidence the celebrated link between homo sapiens and his simian ancestors. Or so people thought of it until that hoax was discovered.

So truth will eventually prevail — but only if and when people are prepared to hear it.

In a Gallup poll of attitudes toward the honesty and ethical standards of people in various professions, well over twice as many Americans trusted clergy over television news reporters. Judging by the way the four-panel map of Palestine hoax continues to be recycled by some church groups, they may want reconsider their preference.

The fact is that there has not been any Palestinian state and it is only a modern invention intended to foment civil disruption. The area was a part of the Turkish empire until WWI and then a British colony until allocated to the Jews in 1948 as part of WWII reparations. But lies don’t die as long as they serve a useful propaganda purpose for those without intellectual integrity. The idea of a historic Palestinian state is one of those lies for the anti-western culture enthusiasts.

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Disregard for old-fashioned truth

VDH on The fiction of ‘Truth’ — “Leftists love lies, if the cause is noble.”

Utter disregard for old-fashioned truth is now deeply embedded in contemporary America, largely because it advances a particular agenda. It reminds of an earlier age of politically correct fable, when evidence in the Alger Hiss case and the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case got in the way of ideologically useful mythologies.

Subsequent fact-finding does not seem to dispel these untruths. Instead, what could or should have happened must have happened, given that the noble ends of social justice are thought to justify the means deemed necessary to achieve them.

The “60 Minutes” memos about Bush’s Air National Guard service were never authenticated. Everyone now rejects the myth that the Benghazi attack was a result of a video. Investigators proved that Michael Brown was not executed by Officer Wilson. Ahmed was neither a young prodigy nor a victim of bias.

But the legends are created and persist because they further progressive agendas — and the thousands of prestigious and lucrative careers invested in them.

The enlightened ends of seeking racial and religious tolerance, equality of opportunity and political accountability are never advanced by the illiberal means of lying. What makes this 2016 election so unpredictable are fed-up voters — in other words, Americans who finally are becoming tired of being lied to.

There appears to be a growing awareness of how such deceit is not just a distortion of actual events but an actual hoax. It is no longer a matter of differences in perception but rather a difference in what is actual fact. It used to be that everyone could have their own opinion but they all shared the same facts. This no longer seems to be the case as everyone wants their own facts, too. 

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Understanding the opposition: The Mizzou example

The Neo-Neocon has More on Missouri—and more and more and more. He has been studying the events and happenings and thinks it has legs.

a lot of people are puzzled about what Wolfe and Loftin did or did not do that deserve canning as punishment. I can answer that question quite simply: they didn’t deserve it, the social justice warrior mob demanded it, and what the social justice warrior mob wants on college campuses the social justice warrior mob gets. Enlisting the football team in the fight was the icing on the cake, because football is very powerful on the college campus as well.

The deeper one goes into the facts at Missouri, the more it seems clear (or at least highly likely) that the actual complaints were minor at best, and that it is not at all certain that the alleged offenders were students there. What on earth was the administration supposed to do about it? There was nothing they could have done that they didn’t do. These incidents were pretexts for flexing the muscles of the movement.

The left is very sophisticated. The left is very tireless. The left is very organized. The left is very savvy about politics and power. The left is a giant octopus whose reach is vast, and it is in nearly total control of the American university.

Sophisticated. Tireless. Organized. Savvy. And, no, it’s not a conspiracy or the plot of a gifted few: that is another aspect that makes it difficult to pin down and defend against. A first step is taking the covers off the behaviors and that is why Trump and Carson are gaining so much support.

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Being able to reproduce results?

Ben Marwick gets into How computers broke science – and what we can do to fix it. The issue has a current high profile example of the problem in climatology right now. The Congressional brouhaha over an agency’s manipulation of data and that agency’s reluctance to comply with requests for information is a case in point.

The problem:

For most of the history of science, researchers have reported their methods in a way that enabled independent reproduction of their results. But, since the introduction of the personal computer – and the point-and-click software programs that have evolved to make it more user-friendly – reproducibility of much research has become questionable, if not impossible. Too much of the research process is now shrouded by the opaque use of computers that many researchers have come to depend on. This makes it almost impossible for an outsider to recreate their results.

The problem is that most modern science is so complicated, and most journal articles so brief, it’s impossible for the article to include details of many important methods and decisions made by the researcher as he analyzed his data on his computer. How, then, can another researcher judge the reliability of the results, or reproduce the analysis?

Stanford statisticians Jonathan Buckheit and David Donoho described this issue as early as 1995:

An article about computational science in a scientific publication is not the scholarship itself, it is merely advertising of the scholarship. The actual scholarship is the complete software development environment and the complete set of instructions which generated the figures.

It means all those private files on our personal computers, and the private analysis tasks we do as we work toward preparing for publication should be made public along with the journal article.

This would be a huge change in the way scientists work. We’d need to prepare from the start for everything we do on the computer to eventually be made available for others to see. For many researchers, that’s an overwhelming thought. Victoria Stodden has found the biggest objection to sharing files is the time it takes to prepare them by writing documentation and cleaning them up. The second biggest concern is the risk of not receiving credit for the files if someone else uses them.

What to do? FOSS is gaining attention.

Currently, these are the tools and methods of the avant-garde, and many midcareer and senior researchers have only a vague awareness of them. But many undergraduates are learning them now. Many graduate students, seeing personal advantages to getting organized, using open formats, free software and streamlined collaboration, are seeking out training and tools from volunteer organizations such as Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry and rOpenSci to fill the gaps in their formal training.

Measurements in the lab have always been described the tools being used and any peculiarities involved in the test and measurement setup and procedure as a routine part of reports. What Ben notes is that this bit of background in the reporting of investigations has become rather sloppy when it comes to twiddling with numbers using modern computer technologies. The suggestion for a fix is to go back to fundamentals. Describe the methods used to obtain and manipulate measurements. Provide the software and the well sourced data in a manner that anyone can replicate and examine.

Complicated? That’s an excuse. When there are enthusiasts reverse engineering cheap VHF-UHF radio firmware, hackers trying to see if they can get past security barriers in cell phones and business databases as entertainment, and FOSS projects such as the Linux kernal and the GNU project, excuses don’t cut it. What should cause wonderment is why it is only just now that “many graduate students” are just beginning to see personal advantages in the FOSS paradigm and why proprietary data formats such as those native to Microsoft Office, are so predominant. It’s been more than thirty years since VisiCalc took the  financial world by storm. Isn’t “avant-garde” getting a bit stale for this sort of technology?

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Actual denial

Orac says it is A sad day for public science advocacy and then illustrates hubris and denial in his plaint.

Over the years, I’ve noticed many traits that various antiscience cranks share in common, be they antivaccinationists, quacks, anthropogenic global climate change denialists, or anti-GMO activists, and that is an obsession with ad hominem attacks. They can’t win on the science because science doesn’t support them; so they attack the man—or woman. The tactics they use include online harassment, harassment of families, legal thuggery (as Steve Novella recently suffered), and, of course, harassing them at work by contacting their supervisors or administration. …  Of course, if harassment of one kind doesn’t work, maybe another type of harassment might. If harassment at a science communicator’s day job doesn’t work, maybe a bogus lawsuit or online public attacks might. Whatever the tactic, the idea is to intimidate the critic to silence, or at least to make speaking up so painful that the critic thinks twice about it. At the very least, other scientists who see what happened to, say, Dr. Folta might decide speaking up is just not worth the consequences. Again, that’s the idea.

Consider what he is doing here. His list of “antiscience cranks” list four issues and makes no distinction about the quality differences between them. The label itself tends to be an illustration of what he calls an “obsession with ad hominem attacks” because crank is about the person and not the quality of the argument. Who is it that is creating a straw man in making assertions about the “idea” these cranks have about goals for their action?

One of the fundamental issues in science, and especially in the social ‘sciences’, is an awareness of observer bias and its effects on measure and perception. The behaviors Orac cites are those that can be seen by anyone and have been noted in this blog for years. Where Orac fails is that he does not seem aware of observer bias and tends to commit the same behavior he impugns. There appears to be a self awareness missing. 

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Considering FUD via ignorance: data mining edition

Brandon Valeriano takes on Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt Stoked by Bond and other fiction, our fear of surveillance is worse than the real thing.

There is a real need to rectify our fears and align them with the realities of cyber-conflict. Yes, we face a growing number of attacks online, but their impact and severity are not increasing. To secure this fragile stability, we need to take an approach that will ensure that those attacks and breaches that are bound to occur are kept as limited as possible.

The recent coverage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed by the US senate only reinforces the view that the fears we construct are often the greatest danger to our security. An all-knowing security surveillance programme is beyond our capabilities at the moment, but by preventing government and commercial organisations from making best use of the information available to them, we’re leaving ourselves vulnerable.

Chasing rabbits, it is chasing rabbits. Too many of them going in too many different directions and you can’t live off them because they lack nutrients humans need to survive. But many who don’t know do it anyway. They buy protections they don’t really need and push for laws that weigh heavily in dangerous directions.

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Denial of reality: Rather, Mapes, et al (Galaxy Quest edition)

Scott Johnson was one of the first to point out the blatant fraud involved in the Rather reporting of Texas National Guard documents intended to impugn a candidate for president. The attempt to deny that reality continues with ‘seriousness of the charge’ and ‘fake but accurate’ and other known rationales being drug up to prove what cannot be. A recent movie release attempts to re-write history and Johnson is on that as well. Lies of Truth provides a summary.

The film is all about rewriting history. Thus the celebration of the film by the New York Times at the TimesTalks event hosted gingerly by Susan Dominus last month. The left is unrelenting in supporting the myths that sustain its political religion. Truth runs 121 minutes, but it’s an Orwellian Two Minutes Hate for the ignorant, the gullible, and the true believers.

It is like the mantra in Galaxy Quest: “never give up, never surrender.” Such an approach is fine if you are trying to save the galaxy and have a solid basis in reality but the left is trying to make a fantasy and farce a reality, just as in the movie — With another movie that has about the same credibility as Galaxy Quest.

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It’s up to you

Helen Krieble: The responsibilities of citizenship — “American exceptionalism relies on the energy of individuals.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

This means that citizens are the sovereign power in the United States, and the government is accountable to us, not the other way around. Our form of government, designed to protect our rights, has been allowed to become an ever-more powerful and despotic entity. Instead of holding the government accountable for its trespasses, most citizens no longer understand our Founding documents, as our education system has failed us. They have no idea what their responsibilities are as citizens. Of those that do, most shrug their shoulders and think, “I am only one person; what can I do?”

One activist summed up the problem: “The biggest enemy I battle is people thinking they can’t make a difference.”

Our exceptional form of government is an endangered species. If we do not stand up for the Founding principles and re-assert the duty of citizenship, it could become extinct.

Goal #1 in the propaganda from the left is to make followers rather than leaders. This is done by instilling the view that any one of us can’t make a difference. Krieble cites several examples where an individual has made a difference. Small steps by very many responsible citizens can add up. Stand up. Lead. Make a difference no matter how small in bringing back the idea of governance by the people rather than over the people. It’s up to you (and me, and him, and her …).

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PC BLM and why no solution is in sight

Colin Flaherty provides examples of Cops Fired For Telling the Truth about Black Violence.

“President Obama is proud of his support for Black Lives Matter. He calls stories of elevated black crime and violence “anecdotal” and says a history of racism in America justifies whatever Black Lives Matter says or does.

It matters to Chief Halstead.

After he was fired this month, Chief Halstead broke it down on Fox and Friends: Black Lives Matter is “a terrorist group if you can march down the streets and call for the deaths of police officers,” he said, pointing to videos showing protesters chanting, “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” and chanting about “dead cops.”

Both of those officers knew the risks to themselves their careers before speaking out about the threat of black violence and Black Lives Matter. Both knew the people they were sworn to serve needed to know what reporters and public officials most often try to ignore, deny, condone, excuse, encourage and even lie about: that black crime is wildly out of proportion.

They took the risk. They paid the price. That is what heroes do.

Why are blacks over-represented in jail populations? They are arrested, tried, and convicted more often than other racial groups. Why is that? Perhaps the reason is related to why inner city violence tends to be concentrated in black communities. But, for the left, reality doesn’t matter. The presumption is ‘white privilege’ so blacks become a ‘protected minority’ – isn’t protected a form of privilege? – and jails are emptied because it is obvious to the left that that is the only way to correct an injustice.

Meanwhile, crime rates go up with repeat offenders, black on white crime escalates, and denial runs rampant trying to pretend that what they eye sees isn’t what is really there. Problems get worse, not better. How long will that continue? Why are lessons from history ignored?

Update: HEATHER MAC DONALD Heather Mac Donald in Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, October 19, 2015 regarding The Myth of Criminal-Justice Racism.

The most dangerous misconception about our criminal justice system is that it is pervaded by racial bias. For decades, criminologists have tried to find evidence proving that the overrepresentation of blacks in prison is due to systemic racial inequity. That effort has always come up short. In fact, racial differences in offending account for the disproportionate representation of blacks in prison. A 1994 Justice Department survey of felony cases from the country’s 75 largest urban areas found that blacks actually had a lower chance of prosecution following a felony than whites. Following conviction, blacks were more likely to be sentenced to prison, however, due to their more extensive criminal histories and the gravity of their current offense.

Violent crime is currently shooting up again in cities across the country. Police officers are backing away from proactive enforcement in response to the yearlong campaign that holds that police are the greatest threat facing young black men today. Officers encounter increasing hostility and resistance when they make a lawful arrest.

Some are taking note, others look away. Same ol’ story. What will it take for reality to intrude such that it can’t be ignored?

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Expressing an opinion if you publish?

The question is a troublesome one. One the one hand, companies like Facebook are getting sued because some page on their service offended someone. On the other hand, Facebook censors pages that offend it politically. Tom Gresham explains How Web giants wage war against guns  — “Ignoring Second Amendment rights assaults the free market.”

Blocking the flow of information on the Web is the newest form of book burning.

A question to be asked: When do the restrictive actions of a small handful of companies controlling much of the information on the Web become a legitimate area for review by government?

It’s the ultimate irony that these attacks on legal and highly regulated commerce in firearms come just as we see government reports that over the last 20 years, murders are down by huge numbers, so-called “gun crime” is down by more than 40 percent, and accidental firearms deaths of adults and children are at an all-time low. During this same time tens of millions of Americans have become new gun owners, tens of millions of guns have been purchased, and more than 10 million people have been licensed to carry loaded guns for their own protection. More guns, less crime, to coin a phrase.

Another story is about how Police Chiefs are pushing for universal background checks. This means they want any transfer of a gun, whether a private individual sale, a gift, or an estate, will require FBI permission to proceed. Yet another story was about a study that showed that states with gun control laws had reductions in violent crimes which ignored the fact that violent crimes are decreasing in most states no matter their obsession about gun control.

It is the ongoing battle where reality doesn’t matter much that is depressing. Honesty doesn’t matter much in pushing these efforts, either. Gun control is one of the oldest of these issues. Human Caused Catastrophic Climate Change has been around a while. Only Black Lives Matter is another post-Kennedy issue that comes up now and again. Then there is the effort to reduce the prison population and you can see what that does in noting California’s double digit increase in crime post proposition 47.

Then there’s the Ole’ Miss effort to re-write history by banning any flag with anything that might look like a Confederate symbol. 

The price has been paid before. Why yet again? And again? Is reality, reason, and intellectual integrity that difficult to incorporate into one’s base?

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Banana Republic: respect for law perhaps biggest casualty

As IDB reports it:

Lerner was caught red-handed targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups, wrote partisan emails to prove it, then engaged in a massive cover-up effort — with a suspiciously crashed server, an oddly missing BlackBerry and plenty of excuses.

She evaded even more accountability by shielding herself with the Fifth Amendment in Congress. The consequences to her have been . .. retirement on a full pension with all her bonuses to a multimillion-dollar mansion in the deep D.C. suburbs.
As for her victims — and they were many — there is no justice. Now everyone, no matter what their political leanings, will wonder if they too are a political target by an out-of-control agency protected by the Justice Department.
Because that’s the real consequence of this failure to hold Lerner accountable: A precedent has been set.

Remember the case against the Black Panthers regarding voter intimidation? But, of course, the Lerner episode is put down as just ‘managerial incompetence’ with Democrats railing about how much money was spent investigating IRS corruption – conducting hearings where Lerner plead the fifth.

Jazz Shaw describes the result as The Banana Republic of America.

But what if the case never even makes it into the system? If a crime is perceived by the public to have been committed but the government fails to even attempt the prosecution a new problem emerges. Kevin D. Williamson at National Review has looked over the Justice Department’s decision not to pursue a case against Lois Lerner (or anyone at the IRS) and determined that we may be approaching Banana Republic status.

Then look at the Bengahzi hearings. People cheered when Clinton laughed at the efforts of an Ambassador to prevent himself from being dragged through the streets, abused, and killed. Banana Republic, indeed.

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Yet another target: farmers

Baylen Linnekin reports on a progressive attack front you might not have hear about. Right-to-Farm Debate Heats Up — Controversies over laws in all 50 states that protect the rights of farmers to actually farm. Keep in mind that farming is one of the most direct and concrete examples of the production of value. Farming and ranching take a renewable resource, manages it, and produces food and other goods for the public.

Right-to-Farm laws are on the books in all fifty states. They are enshrined into some state constitutions, including in Missouri, where the state constitution now guarantees, in perpetuity, “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices” in the state.

Right-to-Farm laws like Missouri’s generally serve two key purposes. First, they protect farm owners from state and local regulations that might restrict farming. …

Second, Right-to-Farm laws also protect farmers against the real specter of nuisance lawsuits. In particular, they help protect farmers against lawsuits by neighbors who—in legal parlance—come to the nuisance.

But don’t Right-to-Farm laws preclude lawsuits like Himsel’s? Not exactly. The fact they serve as an affirmative defense doesn’t prevent (and hasn’t prevented) people like Himsel from filing lawsuits against farming operations. It just makes such lawsuits far less likely to succeed than non-agricultural nuisance lawsuits.

From animal rights activists to the EPA’s water grab, there is an assault on the food needed to feed the poor. Current activity may be a bit below the radar – the notice of the left’s propaganda machine – right now but that may change.

The issue goes back to land use and property rights issues. Consider, for example, a subdivision built near an airport where people move in and then start complaining about the noise. Or consider Dr. Sowell’s recent column about housing prices in the Bay Area and the implication of all of the vacant land near I280 between San Francisco and Palo Alto.

It’s nice if you can afford it. It’s suffering and death if you can’t. The example of communism in Eastern Europe illustrates that. See Bruce Walker on The Ultra-Reactionary Left. Why is that history denied by the Left?

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Protect, Defend, Toe the line, no matter the cost

You’d think it can’t happen here. The authors of the fourth amendment to the Constitution said it shouldn’t. Wisconsin Democrats disagree.

Even Steineke was left stunned after the votes were tallied: “As much as I hate to admit it, every member of the Democrat party in the WI Assembly voted against these reforms that would protect their constituencies from unwarranted searches and abuse from their government.”

The vote to reform the John Doe laws, to protect our citizens and ensure people are safe in their own homes is not part of the Democrats agenda here in Wisconsin. Their agenda is partisan politics at their worst.

Jennifer Jacques tells the story: Wisconsin Democrats not particularly interested in protecting citizens’ rights. The same story is evident in the Benghazi hearings.

Every citizen in Wisconsin, and even across the United States, needs to know that Assembly Bill 68 was crafted to ensure that no one, regardless of color, creed, or political party, would be awoken to early morning raids by paramilitary teams, held at gunpoint while their homes are ransacked and property seized, simply for engaging in a constitutional right of free speech. And every single citizen needs to be acutely aware that every Representative from the Democrat party refused to vote in favor of protecting the constitutional rights of Wisconsinites.

The agenda of the new Democratic party is not to protect citizens’ rights, but instead to preserve and push their own progressive wishes. And may God have mercy on anyone who gets in their way.

The John Doe raids provide an example of just how far one party is willing to go and how solid a block they are in pursuing the assault on those that oppose them. The RICO allegations against those who question catastrophic human caused climate change provide another example. The recent 2nd Circuit attempt to under-read the Supreme Court on gun control is another.

Worried, yet?

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Perfect storm for solar

David Bergeron explaines: Why I’m Still Not a Member of the Solar Energy Industries Association even though he runs a solar oriented business in Arizona.

The more I learned about this new artificial solar industry, the more disturbing I found it to be. On-grid solar is nowhere near a break-even economic proposition. It is a very expensive and futile means of reducing CO2. Its job-creation argument is hollow in terms of opportunity cost given that there is no free lunch in the real world of economic scarcity.

Solar is a great field. Many hardworking entrepreneurs have and will continue to strive in free markets to make products that meet real needs. My own company is on a high-growth mode from niche off-grid applications; we have no rooftop business that will inevitably go through a boom/bust cycle according to political favors or a retrenchment thereof.

On-grid solar is a perfect storm for taxpayers: concentrated benefits for the industry, diffuse cost for ratepayers and taxpayers, and, yet, a strong positive public sentiment for solar created by energy Malthusians.

The fact is, when you figure out the total cost of a typical residential on-grid solar plant before subsidies, rebates, incentives and other ‘crony capitalist’ artifacts, the rate of return on the money spent usually exceeds the normal power bills. And that doesn’t include maintenance and repair costs over the lifetime of the solar plant.

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Biting the hand that feeds

Robert Knight reacts to the Columbus Day hate with rundown on the Rewriting of American history keeps guilt alive over slavery, segregation.

It turns out that the hated Western civilization that Columbus brought to the New World in 1492 is entirely responsible for painless dentistry, electricity, indoor plumbing, surgery, life-saving drugs, air conditioning, computers, air travel, non-stick frying pans, pogo sticks, automobiles, ever-increasing life spans, plus private property and the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, voting and all the other individual rights secured by a written Constitution.

One wonders where those Think Progress folks would rather live. If they pine for an undeveloped paradise in Africa, South America or Asia, why don’t they pack up their bicycles and take off for the nearest cruise line or airport?

Multiculturalism’s proponents seem less animated by appreciation for native cultures than hatred of America as an extension of Christianity and Western civilization. Someday, perhaps they will discover why America attracts people from all over the world.

When all that one can see, will see, is darkness, then one lives in darkness. It is such a tragedy.

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Get a life. Think about pros and cons. Consider the context. How unusual an idea!

Jon Evans has an interesting post on a modern delemma: Is Uber The Root Of All Evil? There is a lot of nuance in the ride share business ranging from ideas about employment and workers to impacts of technology to the encrusted regulation as a means to protect business classes to matters of relativism and choice making based on evaluation of risk versus benefit.

Allow me to humbly propose that the pendulum has perhaps swung too far into backlash. Allow me to suggest that “Uber is evil / represents the worst of capitalism!” is not just wrong, but actually dangerous. Allow me to submit that perhaps Uber is the lesser of two evils.

It may be too soon to say that “the full-time job is dead,” but I think it’s clear that a growing fraction of workers will find themselves working a fragmented panoply of gigs and contracts, rather than pursuing a full-time career with benefits. Yes, this isn’t near as stable and secure. Yes, many-to-most of these people may find themselves living in the precariat for much of their lives, barring the hoped-for eventual introduction of a basic income.

Consider the concern for Uber’s “exploited” drivers today; will we be quite as concerned for them when they are no longer being exploited, because they have been replaced by self-driving cars? Somehow I doubt it.

Whenever defenders of the status quo object to a new idea on the hallowed grounds of security, you can be pretty confident that they are lying. So it is with Uber.

Does Uber knowingly violate local law in cities they enter? They sure do. Is knowingly violating the law always an evil thing to do? …No. Not if the law itself is manipulative, exploitative, and written only to benefit a small class of rentiers — which, alas, is all too often the case.
But just because Uber’s evils are front, center, and spotlit, doesn’t mean that they are the worst of all possible alternatives. I still counsel to ride Lyft instead, when you can. But when your choice is between Uber and the local taxi cartels, please think at least twice, hard, about which is actually the lesser evil. The answer may not be as obvious as it seems.

Think about the context? What a novel idea in this era of absolute ideologies that ban and even deny anything not in line with desires and fantasies! Note how much the propaganda machine has infiltrated the language and biased the discussion. precariat, renters, exploited, — where’s Marx when you need him?

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What happens to heretics

It is fairly well known that many media meteorologists are a bit reserved in their views on climate alarmism. Anthony Watts is one such individual who has a popular blog on the topic. Another example has ‘come out’ with a book: France’s top weatherman sparks storm over book questioning climate change – “Philippe Verdier, weather chief at France Télévisions, the country’s state broadcaster, reportedly sent on “forced holiday” for releasing book accusing top climatologists of “taking the world hostage

In a promotional video, Mr Verdier said: “Every night I address five million French people to talk to you about the wind, the clouds and the sun. And yet there is something important, very important that I haven’t been able to tell you, because it’s neither the time nor the place to do so.”

He added: “We are hostage to a planetary scandal over climate change – a war machine whose aim is to keep us in fear.”

His outspoken views led France 2 to take him off the air starting this Monday. “I received a letter telling me not to come. I’m in shock,” he told RTL radio. “This is a direct extension of what I say in my book, namely that any contrary views must be eliminated.”

Of course it is fear mongering as that is a useful tactic for all sorts of things where the evidence just doesn’t quite have the desired impact. Expulsion and censorship should not cause shock, either, as the RICO allegations for “deniers” illustrates (not to mention the Steyn vs Mann lawsuit).

There is dissonance here and it is causing behavioral anomalies in the alarmist and accommodation-at-any-cost crowds.  

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