Adding up the numbers

This is a textbook example of projection, but not the type produced by the Urban Institute or the CBO. The irony is that Krugman’s own lies, combined with the clumsy misrepresentations of math-challenged people like Cohn, have contributed heavily to the skepticism that most Americans feel about Obamacare. Most voters intuitively understand that the numbers don’t add up. Sadly, the same cannot be said about most of the law’s media cheerleaders.

There are those who just can’t handle numbers and then there are those who can but only in ways to support their foregone conclusions. See David Catron: The Right Prescription – Math Is Hard For Obamacarians – The numbers are not their friends.

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Who’s your neighbor?

Jazz Shaw uses New York state as the example but It’s not red state vs blue state. It’s city vs country applies to a much broader context. In some respects, the issue is quite similar to what was behind the Civil War with the urban north and agrarian south.

we’re not seeing a red state vs blue state problem here. It’s large, liberal cities run by high spending Democrats using their numeric advantage to pass policies which bleed smaller, more rural areas to death. It takes place in many states other than New York, too. Pennsylvania is a study in two countries, really, with the urban centers of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh constantly at war with the rural land known as “Pennsyltucky” stretching between them. I’m sure you can find more examples in your own back yards.

But what is the solution? There have been debates raging for years in the Empire State about finding some way to split off New York City as its own state or allowing portions of upstate to secede and sign on with somebody else. But as long as the cities hold the numerical edge on the votes in the state government, there’s not much that anyone can do. It’s a culture war over a way of life and the economic realities of wildly different societal climates. And there’s no end in sight.

In Nevada, it’s Clark County (Las Vegas) versus everybody else. It is getting harder to run and that only means the oppressed are getting backed into a corner again. That should be a source of concern. … By the Way, Clive Bundy is having an anniversary Liberty gathering at his ranch.

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Trafficking in fear

Net neutrality backers traffic in fear. Pushing a suite of suggested interventions, they warn of rapacious cable operators who seek to control online media and other content by “picking winners and losers” on the Internet. They proclaim that regulation is the only way to stave off “fast lanes” that would render your favorite website “invisible” unless it’s one of the corporate-favored. They declare that it will shelter startups, guarantee free expression, and preserve the great, egalitarian “openness” of the Internet.

No decent person, in other words, could be against net neutrality.

In truth, this latest campaign to regulate the Internet is an apt illustration of F.A. Hayek’s famous observation that “the curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” Egged on by a bootleggers-and-Baptists coalition of rent-seeking industry groups and corporation-hating progressives (and bolstered by a highly unusual proclamation from the White House), Chairman Wheeler and his staff are attempting to design something they know very little about-not just the sprawling Internet of today, but also the unknowable Internet of tomorrow.

Promoting fear of what might be is a common tactic used in pushing many ideological ideas. You can see it with climate change, with vaccines, with alternative energy, … “alternative” anything, it seems. In this case, it’s the pipeline becoming critical to the masses for communications and entertainment and business. Geoffrey A. Manne & R. Ben Sperry suggest that The biggest threat to the Net isn’t cable companies. It’s government. The politics driving governmental control of the I’net is clear:

Generally speaking, neutrality advocates don’t spend much time in the weeds of boring traffic-flow engineering and network prioritization. What has animated everyone from HBO comedian/anchor John Oliver to millions of irate FCC commenters has been an angry suspicion that somewhere, some rich corporations are on the verge of hijacking the Internet’s architecture to profit themselves while excluding others.

Suspicion. Fear. Envy. And persistence.

One would think that after 10 years of political teeth-gnashing, regulatory rule making, and relentless litigating, there would by now be a strong economic case for net neutrality—a clear record of harmful practices and agreements embodying the types of behavior that only regulation can pre-empt. But there isn’t.

All of this goes along with the certitude and arrogance that substitutes for rationality, intellectual integrity, and actual, solid factual basis in reality of those advocating for governmental control. The pattern of behavior is a first clue about the quality of what is advocated.

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The chickens will come to roost – but it’s not those of the President’s pastor

Two essays on morals in the country today:

Americans are now at the mercy of a bankrupt society where the crime of sexually assaulting a child is minimized by a judge who measures the “wrongful act” of sodomy against whether or not the offender stalked his victim or felt remorse after murdering a little girl’s soul in the pursuit of sexual satisfaction. Moreover, it’s where, in a game of political tit-for-tat, elected politicians who have already justified murdering 60 million unborn babies are now publicly joking that sometimes fiscal prudence excuses terminating the disabled.

So, sadly, in place of virtuous standards, a viewpoint that reeks of self-serving arrogance is currently in the process of institutionally degrading America’s legal and political systems and systematically progressing to a point where the indefensible is now being defended.

The credibility of moral relativism is shaky, because even for the most ardent relativist there’s always a limit to what principled sensibilities can endure. That’s why every relativist should exercise extreme caution when reacting to the unthinkable, lest a code of ethics be established that even skeptics might be forced to acknowledge.

And as twisted as that may sound to those who subscribe to archaic standards like Biblical doctrine, natural law and universal principles, America is now sliding into further decline because without fear of rebuke, moral equivocators are dismissing despicable behavior and publicly verbalizing vile sentiments. [Moral Relativism and the Normalization of the Indefensible, American Thinker

The other is from Rev. Michael Bresciani.

Apostate churches abound in these last days, but not all have lost their spine. Some of the best known ministries and ministers have sent warning to the Supreme Court justices of the United States that the scriptures attest that same sex marriage and homosexuality are perversions that violate the laws of God, man and nature.

The Bible clearly warns that the practice and promulgation of homosexuality and other perversions will draw God’s disfavor and in time his severe judgement on this and any nation. Those who take their bibles seriously cannot wait until others take them seriously—it will be too late by then.

Regardless of which way these legal battles turn out one thing is clear the only thing real Christians hate about the gays is the fact that more creatures created in the image of God will be cast into an eternal hell.

Concern and sadness about the loss of their lives and futures is something that compassionate believers all share because it is not the will of God that anyone should perish. If it is not God’s will then it is not our will.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Pet 3: 9) [Pop Culture Trends are not Morality—What Christians Actually Hate will Surprise You]

Perhaps the foundation of this is the matter of false witness. When one is willing to deceive one’s self with a false reality, then anything goes.

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The Malthusians “land is a fixed resource” argument

The real estate broker says that land is a good investment because they don’t make any more of it. That suits the Malthusians just fine as those folks are always raising the alarm about how humanity is going to run out of something Real Soon Now with disastrous consequences for mankind. The economist tells a different tale. Don Boudreaux responded to the concept and describes why Supply Is Not Exclusively, or Even Mainly, A Physical Phenomenon.

While I agree that efforts to create land out of water-covered areas won’t yield much extra land, I disagree that land is fixed in supply. It is not fixed, at least not economically.

The economic supply of land, like that of any other resources you can name, is not a physical phenomenon. As long as people are free and inspired to innovate – and as long as input and output prices are free to adjust to changes in supply and demand – the economic supplies of even the most ‘fixed’ and ‘nonrenewable’ resources will expand.

The examples used to illustrate how the utilization of land is not fixed include skyscrapers, refrigeration, and computers. If your value of land is only as nature will have it, then there is indeed a problem. But if you value land for its ability to provide housing, food, and preserves, then the imagination an ingenuity of humans provides endless horizons.

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Maybe the steaming pile is getting a bit more notice?

Naomi Schaefer Riley notes that Facts matter: Left sticks to ‘narratives,’ evidence be damned. There are some indications that this particular observation is becoming a bit more widespread than it used to be. We can hope.

The stimulus on this one is the campus rape epidemic hoax. The reporting still asserts that the claimant was a traumatic rape victim despite a lack of any support for the claim. That doesn’t matter (the reality, that is). What matters is the message. And that isn’t the only item on the list.

But who cares about the facts as long as awareness has been raised? Take the case of Ellen Pao, who filed suit against her former employer, venture capital group Kleiner Perkins, for gender ­discrimination. … Two weeks ago, a jury decided her claims were completely without merit. And yet from the media coverage, you’d think Ellen Pao successfully exposed a Silicon Valley rife with discrimination. … There was no merit to her claims. If Silicon Valley is so filled with sexist pigs acting illegally, perhaps we could find a case where they actually did that.

and another case related only in correlation to the leanings of the ideologues making allegations:

This is not unlike what happened after the Justice Department released its report on the shooting of Michael Brown last summer.

The only “lesson” that could really be drawn from the DOJ report and the grand jury’s non-indictment was that you shouldn’t knock over convenience stores, but if you do and a police officer catches you, it’s probably not a good idea to ­resist arrest.

But that was not the lesson that others wanted to emphasize. Which is why the Ferguson police now have to try to change the composition of their staff and ticketing policies — though they have no bearing on the case at hand.

as to the message?

Actually, yes, it does diminish the importance because it calls into question whether those were real issues at all. … Not everything has to be a teachable moment. And if we do need a moral to every story, it would be useful to find one based on the facts.

That teachable moment is for the other guy since those trying to do the teaching know it all already. The uncomfortable part is that they are trying to teach the masses that that stinking pile is really good eats when anyone with a sense of smell and some level of intellectual integrity can see it for what it really is. Some things are best for fertilizing the fields and buried in the topsoil.

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Double Down: propagating the propaganda to the bitter end

Two stories illustrate how deep the delusion runs. Clarice Feldman describes how New revelation helps exonerate Scooter Libby and Jack Cashill goes into What Columbia Missed In Its Review of Rolling Stone.

In a book just released, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey, Judith Miller, a key witness in the Libby prosecution, states that Patrick Fitzgerald had offered repeatedly to drop all charges against Lewis Libby if he would “deliver” Vice President Cheney to him.

That’s one victim. The other case attempted to smear a fraternity but the news reporting became a celebrity case itself so a journalism school was tasked to find out what went wrong.

With much ado, Columbia responded. Its 13,000-word report identified problems in “reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking.” This was all true enough, but Columbia missed the real problem. As I document in my forthcoming book, Scarlet Letters, cases like the Rolling Stone’s have become so common because those perpetrating a given fraud almost inevitably advance causes that the cultural establishment, the Columbia faculty included, wants to see advanced.

In both these cases, political ideology has swept aside truth, reality, and anyone in the way. When that happens, people get sacrificed for the cause. No wonder there have been reports about how the Russians are trying to put Stalin back on a pedestal by rationalizing what he did to so many of their fellow countrymen. It almost seems like the old medical practice of blood letting to cure anemia.

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A call to account: EPA on climate alarmism

Robert Bradley Jr: Dear Gina (and Jerry): Where’s the Climate Science Behind Your Plan (Carbon Tax)?. – An exchange between Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Gina McCarthy (U.S. EPA), March 4, 2015 raised the question. It appears that the Congressional Committee wants hard answers supported by proper citation rather than evasion or hand waving.

During the March 4, 2015, Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Fiscal Year 2016 budget, several important questions regarding current climate science and data were raised. Although questions regarding the impacts of climate change were clear and straightforward, none of the questions received direct answers, and many responses contained caveats and conditions.

We write today to emphasize that these questions were not posed lightly or in passing. In fact, questions related to whether projected climate impacts are actually occurring are critical to verifying EPA’s commitment to the best science and data, especially as the agency proposes costly carbon dioxide emissions reductions throughout the United States. Stated differently, given that the Administration’s proposal to fundamentally change the nature of domestic electricity generation is based on the apparent need to avoid “devastating” climate impacts to the United States and the planet, it is imperative that the agency be candid and forthright in assessing the reality of this projection.

EPA must demonstrate its commitment to sound science and data by providing prompt and thorough responses to questions from Congress.

The problem, of course, is that business of “providing prompt and thorough responses to questions from Congress” as the current administration seems to hold contempt of Congress as a higher honor than openness or integrity.

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BMV, the Blowhard, and reality. Because: racism, of course.

Colin Flaherty says Spring Break Violence is a Black College Thing. What got him started was an episode of Juan Williams trying to school Bill O’Reilly.

Williams reminded O’Reilly of Freaknik, the annual celebration of black violence and anarchy that got so bad that even the Chocolate City of Atlanta had to pull the welcome mat. Then he mentioned Urban Beach Week in Miami Beach — only reporters call it anything but Black Beach Week — and how that was a celebration of chaos and violence as well.

The annual mayhem continued until 2013, when city officials ran out of ways to describe the “living hell” that 400,000 black people created in Miami Beach. So they turned that small town into a large armed camp.

Today, lots of attendees complain how the cops, the towers, the dogs, the drones, the license plate scanners, the lights, the Homeland Security and the cameras are all killing their buzz. And attendance is down.

large-scale and persistent mob violence during Spring Break is a black thing. Or as the t-shirts say: A Black College Thing.

This is a very long list of black parties that wore out their welcome after several years — and angry city officials determined to never allow that to happen in their towns again.

Most of these large gatherings of black people were cancelled or discouraged after repeated and long-term violence, property damage, lawlessness, fights with police and trash. Always mountains of trash.

There is a problem. Whether it is the mob violence or the blind eye towards seeing it for what it is, there is a problem. It isn’t getting better. Black Mob Violence (BMV) is a perpetrator in a privileged class trying to pretend it is a victim. There is a lot of sympathy for the claim. One can wonder why, but not out loud.

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Be afraid, very afraid. A false god demands worship

Timothy Carney describes how The Left wages total war; and then plays victim.

On one side is the CEO of the world’s largest company, the president of the United States and a growing chunk of the Fortune 500. On the other side is a solo wedding photographer in New Mexico, a 70-year-old grandma florist in Washington and a few bakers.

One side wants the state to conscript the religious businesswomen and men into participating in ceremonies that violate their beliefs. The other side wants to make it possible for religious people to live their own lives according to their consciences.

Yet somehow, the Left and most of the mainstream press paint the current skirmishes over religious liberty as conservative offensives.When Indiana decided to follow the Clinton administration and 19 states in passing a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Left let loose a cacophonous chorus of cries about a dangerous flood of homophobia spreading out from the Hoosier state.

The misrepresentation would be laughable if not for the awesome power wielded by the anti-religious freedom side.

How is it that the State Propaganda Machine is able to make such a lie stick? Why is it that CEO’s of several major corporations reiterate the lie?

Slippery-slope arguments are often valid — but not coming from the cultural Left, about marriage in the United States, in 2015.

After millennia of marriage being uncontroversially a union between one man and one woman, and after a decade of electorates in most states (and President Obama in 2008) upholding that traditional definition, the Left has used the courts to redefine the institution. People are fired for having taken the losing side. On college campuses, the current fights are about banning even the articulation of traditional views.

But no. Tolerance isn’t the goal. Religious conservatives must atone for their heretical views with acts of contrition: Bake me a cake, photograph my wedding, pay for my abortion and my contraception.

It is the thought police mandating that you condone and support the PC by your actions and tithes. This demand is the essence of the reason for the first three of the Ten Commandments in the Bible. What is a Christian, a Jew, or even a Muslim to do when the government insists he worship at the alter of a false god? Do you do as many of the businesses seem to have done and kneel as ordered. Or do you stand with your belief and take the consequences?

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Fear mongering despite reality: the right to self defense

There is something about guns:

“What if someone who spies you walking down the street thinks you look suspicious? What if you become a target for would-be George Zimmermans? Or what if the man you argue with, or potentially insult or offend, even unintentionally, is armed and irascible—and the argument escalates?”

“The gun-rights movement claims it is a staunch defender of the peace, contributing to and bolstering law and order. As gun rights are currently advanced, nothing could be further from the truth.”

“LaPierre’s argument for being armed boils down to this: Americans are on the verge of—or already sinking into—a state of anarchy, where it is each man for himself. In that state, “the government can’t—or won’t—protect you…Only you can protect you,” he warns.”

“The cumulative effect of these efforts is a society where security must be upheld or enforced by individual gun owners, who could misperceive what justice demands in any given situation. Our police have a hard enough time with this task. Consider the controversies in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island last year, where unarmed black men, implicated in minor crimes, died because police used excessive force.”

“A common feature of the many police shootings perpetrated over the last year, and highlighted in the media during and after Ferguson, is that police now assume their suspects to be armed. Given the state of affairs the NRA has fostered, this may be a prudent and understandable assumption. But it also means police are instinctively cautious, hostile, and all too ready to use their weapons against ordinary citizens. In an over-armed society, we may also expect to see a steady uptick in the number of cases involving police brutality or excessive force. And then, as the NRA would have it, the government is most fully and clearly the people’s enemy, too.”

How Gun Rights Harm the Rule of Law – “Second Amendment activists are redefining the public sphere, and with it, American democracy” by Firman Debrander provides an illustration of how modern debate is often not much more than irrational argument. In terms of the quote above, consider that the assertions about the Zimmerman and other cases are contrary to fact and that the assertion about the “gun-rights movement claims” is an ad hominem straw man. There is no substance in the essay. There is only fear about what is imagined might be that hasn’t any historical basis to support it. 

The facts are that the increase in legal gun ownership has resulted in a decrease in crime and that gun control laws have not been show to have any influence on whether or not the police will encounter armed criminals. The redefinition of American democracy lies at the feet of those who insist on redefining the second amendment and impugn the character of the American citizen by asserting that they will become violent criminals unless restrained by a benevolent government. 

Just how can you debate anything with someone who wants his own reality no matter how distant it is from the truth on the ground?

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Both sides do it? Really

John Hinderaker notices the effort to rationalize improper behavior with the ‘everybody does it’ line. Harry Reid is the stimulus where Chris Cillizza offers up the issue.

There is no trust between the two parties because they believe — and have some real justification for believing — that the other side will say and do literally anything to win.

But this is wrong, isn’t it? It may describe the Democrats accurately–I think it does–but when did Mitch McConnell or John Boehner peddle an outright, slanderous lie about Barack Obama? It hasn’t happened. Hysteria is a constant among Democrats: consider Reid’s crazed attacks on the Koch brothers, the current ridiculous misrepresentations about Indiana’s RFRA, the repeated suggestions that scientists who prefer data to global warming alarmism should be shot or imprisoned. There simply isn’t anything like this on the right.

Trying to support the ‘both sides the same thesis’ can be difficult and usually just gets even more absurd. But reality and reason – intellectual integrity – seems in short supply for many these days.

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Sacred belief

Ashe Schow: Why the Rolling Stone gang-rape story will never be labeled a hoax. (ht InstaPundit) follows up on Feulner’s observations in the last post. The topic at hand is a hoax about campus rape and its promulgation by Rolling Stone.

“One way to define the difference between a regular belief and a sacred belief is that people who hold sacred beliefs think it is morally wrong for anyone to question those beliefs,” Dagny wrote. “If someone does question those beliefs, they’re not just being stupid or even depraved, they’re actively doing violence. They might as well be kicking a puppy. When people hold sacred beliefs, there is no disagreement without animosity.”

Because the activists behind the Rolling Stone story hold a “sacred belief” that thousands, perhaps even millions, of college students are sexually assaulted each year, any evidence to the contrary is seen as detrimental to the cause.

The same phenomena shows elsewhere. Consider the debate about climate change, for instance. You don’t have to look far to find examples where sacred belief trumps reason and reality.

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Don’t debate. Demonize!

It’s Ed Feulner on Muzzling the marketplace of ideas — “Leftists pounce on those who question their worldview” with a few examples.

““Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” The words of the First Amendment couldn’t be plainer. Yet more than two centuries after the Bill of Rights was written, they remain the subject of fierce debate.

Actually, I should amend that (no pun intended). These words would be the subject of debate — if debate were permitted. But these days, apparently, we’re all so thin-skinned that we can’t bear to hear an opinion that challenges our worldview.”

“Part of the problem, surely, is rooted in basic ignorance of American history and our founding documents. That’s why I opened by quoting the First Amendment. It may strike some readers as too basic to even mention, but numerous surveys show an alarming degree of ignorance and illiteracy.”

“More and more, this is our world. We don’t debate, we demonize. ”

“You don’t communicate with anyone purely on the rational facts or ethics of an issue,” wrote Saul Alinsky in “Rules for Radicals,” the bible of the so-called progressive left. “Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and popularize it.”

Some will try to tell you ‘both sides do it’ but that only gets interesting in seeing what they can offer to support the conclusion. Trying to be nice by pretending such things is a part of the problem, not a step towards a solution. It’s kinda’ like pretending the alcoholic doesn’t really drink any more than anyone else.

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Earth hour: get people off it for betterment?

Mark Perry explains why Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty, and backwardness citing Canadian economist Ross McKitrick.

“Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.”

“The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.”

Why? What is it that drives those who are able to put their own energy needs into the background to want to deprive others of the freedom and liberty it can bring?

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Culture in denial

The story is about The Old Man and the Sea of Black Mob Violence by Colin Flaherty.

“In light of thirty years as a court-appointed psychologist and prison psychologist, this episode of black mob violence in Concord is not Newburn’s first rodeo: “Through the MSM, the popular culture, and liberals in government, the message to black people for years has been that they are not responsible for their actions, nor will there be serious consequences for their violent behavior.”

“The result of this has been disastrous for black people. To the assailants in this crime, their violent assault was righteous, and now know they are backed up all the way to the White House. Adding fuel to this insanity fire is the tragic/comedic myth that the reason for their collective life failures and the gross decay of their communities is due to white people.”

“They had no conscience as they inflicted great violence on these helpless people, and they attacked because they believe they have legitimate license to do so.”

Self defense is punished. Crime is hailed as righteous. There is something ‘not right.’

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Sustainability as a religion

Stephen Hayward asks is “sustainability” substainable? regarding “the release today of a copious report from the National Association of Scholars on the religious fervor for “sustainability” on college campuses today. The report is entitled Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism, and I heartily recommend it”.

“Environmental scientist Timothy O’Riordan warned in 1988 that “It may only be a matter of time before the metaphor of sustainability becomes so confused as to be meaningless, certainly as a device to straddle the ideological conflicts that pervade contemporary environmentalism.” Well, that time has come: like other concepts that could have been sensible and usable if done seriously, “sustainability” has become, as the NAS report notes, completely absorbed into the usual anti-capitalist ideology, and yet another pretext for the central environmental will to extend political control over people and resources”

“Some day we’re going to look back on this whole period the same way we now regard the temperance movement and Prohibition. But, as with Prohibition, in the meantime a lot of criminal rackets are taking root.”

Meanwhile, a lot is being wasted and many are being harmed.

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We all lose

Jazz Shaw on George Zimmerman: No regrets:

“The media, while covering not only the Trayvon Martin case, but Michael Brown and others, has managed to further divide the country along racial lines and convince minorities that the rule of law is not to be trusted and authorities are to blame for all ills. But the real distrust of the government has spread to “the other side” as well, seeing how the idea of having your day in court and clearing your name no longer means very much. There were no winners in these stories. In fact, we all lost.”

This is the kind of damage to the society of the country that will be difficult to repair.

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The difference

See William Connolley at Stoat for an example of the difference between sides in the climate argument.

“All right-thinking people will obviously agree that the top one is better; WUWT is denialism, and AW is primarily known as a blogger, not a meteorologist.”

The topic and entire content is ad hominem buttressed by the vox populi logical fallacy and a straw man thrown in for good measure. There is no discussion of the issues. Opinion is offered as judgment. Anyone who raises a question in the comments about the premise is taken to the woodshed with ‘reduce to the absurd’ type counters.

If you want to learn about climatology and meteorology, look to WUWT. If you want to see the ugly side of human discourse, maybe try Stoat.

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Poorly read pastors: time for shame

Karen Lugo noticed A Megachurch History Lesson: Americans No Better Than ISIS

“Unbalanced accusations of American evil from the pulpit cause disproportionate harm to the unique sense of moral authority possessed by historically informed people of faith. American aspirations to charity, economic opportunity, and freedom of conscience stem directly from the founders’ understanding of Providential design. America’s founders realized that they were establishing a very special “city on a hill” inspired by Christian Scottish Enlightenment ideals.”

“Now Americans of moral confidence are needed to speak against a real genocide of Christians at the hands of ISIS. Would those living under the tyranny of terror really require that Americans have a perfect record before speaking out on the most urgent moral and religious freedom issues of our lifetimes?

Author’s Note: I contacted the church with my concerns on the Sunday afternoon of the sermon and the pastor who delivered the sermon responded to say that he may have been clumsy but that “our reading of history is far from one another.“ The senior pastor said he hoped I would understand “if we do not dialogue any further on this one issue.” The sermon, entitled “Becoming People of the Cross,” may be viewed on the church website, but the almost two minute section that I transcribed above was removed at some point during the week after the sermon was posted (approximately the 31:09 minute marker). Finally, I submitted the text of my piece at final editing phase to the pastors for review, comment, clarification, or rebuttal. The senior pastor replied: “No comment.”

Perhaps the Pastor needs to carefully consider Luke 6:42? It is time, past time, for people like Lugo to stand forth and shame such ignorance. This needs to come from the congregation as well as outsiders – much like the NYPD turning its back on the mayor recently. The Pastor needs to be reminded that “Obedience to the ninth commandment is a requirement for building character.” and that Jesus was about acknowledgment and forgiveness of sin, not “no comment”.

NOTE: it is interesting in that the Bethel Church of God author on the 9th Commandment also suffers from these problems even while describing the word of God: “Some business people lie all the time. Their desire for financial advantage overrides any honesty they may have, and they engage in scams and fraudulent schemes constantly.” A more truthful assertion would be that some people lie all the time. This choice of words is indicative of a bias, a lie in an of itself. The author notes that self deception is behind may lies and most of that will only be held to account by God at final judgment. Business, on the other hand, is accountable to its customers. Any business that lies will suffer as a result. The only social agency that can lie and get away with it is government and this is a lesson many seem to have difficulty understanding, especially, as it seems from these two pastoral examples, church leaders.

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