Archive for Mind Games

Where do the get that idea? The sad state of education.

Douglas Ernst reports: George W. Bush viewed by one-third of millennials as bigger killer than Stalin: Poll — “Vladimir Lenin viewed favorably by 25 percent of youth.” They’ve been told things by people they believe, things that make a farce out of history. Why? Who? What for?

An annual report released by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that one-third of millennials think former President George W. Bush is responsible for more killings than Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.
The body count of Stalin’s victims before and after World War II is estimated by scholars to be anywhere between 20 million to 60 million people, but roughly 33 percent of young Americans still seem to think Mr. Bush’s time in the White House was deadlier.

“Ronald Reagan said that ‘freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,’ ” said Mr. Edwards, a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “It is the solemn obligation of this generation to educate the rising generation about the manifold victims and crimes of the deadliest ism of the last 100 years — communism.”

It is rather amazing that so many would believe something that even a cursory inspection of world history would refute. The survey also says something about how effective the partisan propaganda campaign to destroy GWB has been. Not only are the facts are wrong, the integrity is missing. That is, no questions acceptance. Gullible? 

But then, the Smithsonian Institution is in trouble for its cozy-ing up to Cuba [The Hill]. Their magazine had a hagiography about the Cuban revolution (not available right now due to technical troubles, it says). All sorts of wonderful words about Castro and Che and the ‘struggle’ but only inference about the result many years on as they struggled to find and get to the ‘holy’ sites of the revolution. Now they want to conduct tours …

what’s with these people? 

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The sea is frothing – some of the commentary this morning

quite a steaming pile in circulation this morning. Take a look:

Donald Trump’s Moral Fervor By James Lewis

At a time when the “news” media betray their own hyped up values of objectivity and fairness, I am beginning to hear a growing voice of moral outrage in America – and it’s actually expressed in clear words, day after day, by the Republican nominee for president of the United States. That would be Donald Trump.

That last sentence is bound to set any lost and lonely lefty loony screaming with hysterical laughter, but hyenas are what they are. From the hyena’s point of view, Republicans are just another meat.

‘People are sick of politics’: how the US election left Reno divided and silenced — “The Nevada city is in a crucial district in the key swing state – yet the polarizing presidential race has forced residents to stop talking about who they’ll vote for”

But this year – though Washoe County is as important and hotly contested as ever – is different. This year, there are no presidential election lawn signs anywhere.

People don’t want their neighbors to know who they’re voting for, for fear of the kind of conflict that led Sanguinetti to ban the topic of politics from his establishment entirely, residents say.

Andrew Malcom says There are way too many coincidences in assaults on Trump —

A few things you’re unlikely to read elsewhere: Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy – and Americans’ ability to choose their next leader – is being destroyed by a sequence of events way too well orchestrated to be coincidental.

Let’s see, which story do you think would draw maximum interest – combing through thousands of pages of stolen documents revealing an unpopular, untrustworthy Democrat proving why she’s unpopular and untrusted. Or obnoxious TV celebrity accused with perfect timing of sliding his hand up women’s skirts, just as he had boasted on tape?

None of this addresses the truth of these charges. Clinton has often said female victims of sexual predators should be believed by default. Unless it seems they’re accusing her husband. She attacked them.

Malcom cites quite a laundry list to support his thesis. He doesn’t mention how the Wikileaks guy is reported this morning to have lost his internet access, though.

National Review says “No, the election isn’t rigged” — “denying reality doesn’t help.” But there is reason to wonder who it is that is denying reality.

As a factual matter, this is, of course, bunk. The electoral process, from bottom to top, is managed by citizens and governed by a dense body of election law. Vote-counting is heavily scrutinized by party officials and independent monitors, and irregularities are subject to legal challenge. The voting equipment used is tested prior to Election Day and carefully monitored before, during, and after. None of this is to say that voter fraud does not exist, or that errors don’t occasionally affect vote totals. But to “rig” an election at the national scale would require logistical know-how seen only in Hollywood capers. To think that the same Clinton campaign that had trouble putting away Bernie Sanders has now arranged to steal an election on a continental scale defies logic — to put it mildly.

As for the media, there is no doubt that the press hates Donald Trump with a passion, and it shows. Unfortunately, media bias is a persistent feature of our system.

Rather typical of the hubris of true believers. They cite an example that refutes their claim and make wild assertions as if they were axiomatic. A NYC election commissioner is caught on tape accepting massive voter fraud, there have been numerous cases of voter fraud in the news recently, political ads often cite Soros or the Koch Brothers, … Consider “bunk” and “to put it mildly” as indicators of just how far NR has gone in losing its perspective. Perhaps it should put more effort into understanding why what it cites might lead to the complaints it condemns.

Daniel Greenfield takes on the sieve of national security secrets in Truth is the nuclear weapon of the new cold war — “Exposing the underbelly of the American Kremlin.” He points out that it isn’t defense and trade secrets that bother the current administration but rather the expose’ of political party secrets.

But suddenly it wasn’t our defense secrets that were being spilled. It was the Democratic Party’s dirty dealings. And all the outrage and anger that had lain slumbering while our national defense secrets were being plundered by the enemy was suddenly roused to a boiling pitch.

Obama has gone to the featherbed mattresses. This means war.

Reports claim that the CIA is “is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election”.

The right time to launch such an “action” would have been after Snowden or after the theft of top national security secrets by China. The OPM database hack should have merited such a response. Instead the corrupt left-wing elites running this country only respond to threats to their political power.

The CIA wasn’t allowed to strike back when its operatives were endangered. But humiliating Hillary Clinton and John Podesta must not be allowed. National security is disposable. Dem security isn’t.

That is what the Hillary Clinton email scandal was really about. The emails are a symptom. The real issue is that our leaders fear sunlight more than vampires. They cannot and will not stand the light. And so foreign dictators can trade transparency blows with them. Truth has become the political nuclear weapon. In the new Cold War, it’s not about how many cities you can destroy, but how much of the corrupt regime you can expose.

The sea is frothing, the storm clouds inspire fear, Yet it seems like that freighter that headed off to the Caribbean from Florida a while back despite a hurricane forecast. It was found later at the bottom of the sea. 

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“we already have re-education camps in America, and they are called the public schools”

Stephen Moore lets loose at the Times. Yes, I still support Donald Trump. “‘All we want from government is less of it’“.

What I don’t get about the prominent Republican defectors who have declared they are now for Hillary, is why they get this weird high off being praised by the leftists in the media. Is it really that important to them to be back on the invite list for the next Press Club Dinner? Yes I am offended by many of Mr. Trump’s actions and words. Who isn’t? But who isn’t offended and frightened more by every word uttered and action taken by Hillary Clinton? I’d vote for my pet frog over Hillary Clinton, but alas, he’s not running.

Even if you believe that Clinton and Trump are louts, why vote for the lout who will raise taxes, put three more Sodamayers on the Supreme Court, cripple our energy industry, double down on Obamacare, support partial birth abortion, and worship at the green altar of climate change? Why not vote for the lout who will do the opposite?

What is most troubling to me than the rapid-fire assaults on Mr. Trump — many of which, alas, he brought upon himself — is the denigration of his voters.

When I first met with Donald Trump many months ago, the first thing I told him was: Donald, I don’t know if I love you, but I sure love your voters. I don’t always agree with them — on issues like immigration and trade. But what I’ve come to discover is that it is the Trump movement, more so than Donald Trump himself, that is an existential threat to the establishment elites on the right and left. They are the front-line victims of government in Washington run amok. One Trump voter said it well to me at a recent rally in Colorado Springs: “All we want from government is less of it.”

Win or lose on November 8, we are not going away.

It looks like there is some learning going on in response to the Left. Those ‘re-education camps’ where the vast majority of professors and teachers are pushing propaganda of the left have grown in power and influence over the last fifty years. The continual assault on rights and freedoms shows all the persistence of terrorists at work. The response to opposition has been ugly and dishonest. The question is just how far the left can go before it is reigned in and held to account. Venezuela, Cuba, and the U.S.S.R. all provide examples of what happens when good men stand by. It may be that some have decided it is time to stand up in the U.S. before it gets that far. 

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Venezuela. It’s happening here.

What happens when justice is corrupted by politics? This is a concern in even the U.S. courts. It can be seen in the number of split decisions where the split is easily predictable as an outcome of known political leanings of the judges. John Sexton describes how this is done in a report on how the Venezuelan supreme court rules President Maduro can approve his own budget.

Venezuela’s slide toward dictatorship continued this week when the country’s Supreme Court, which was stacked with socialist party loyalists, ruled the nation’s congress no longer had a say in the budget process.

The Venezuelan opposition took control of the National Assembly during elections last December. In response, President Maduro’s loyalists stacked the court with judges loyal to him who have been undoing every reform effort made by the National Assembly ever since. Meanwhile, the country’s economy continues to deteriorate with the nation’s inflation rate the highest in the world this year.

Meanwhile, the only hope for stopping this downward spiral is a recall referendum that President Maduro and his cronies have done everything they can to stop.

Stopping the spiral is becoming a concern in the U.S. The feckless Congress, due in part to solid partisanship by Democrats, has not been able to hold the Executive branch accountable.  Venezuela shows how it happens and the results that can occur. Just how far it will go and how it will be resolved remains to be seen. Trump is one result of the people’s frustration and an attempt to stop the corruption and lawlessness before extra-governmental procedures become the default.

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Political suicide bombers

As Rush points out, this happens in just about every election: last minute shaky allegations often going back decades intended to destroy the Democrat’s opposition. Ace points out that this requires knee-jerk judgments.

Objections to the others are mostly about timing. Why wait until just before a political election to lodge these claims?

Now it is true that one accuser can put the courage into another to come forward. However, it’s also true that when people are doing a hit, they attempt to stampede public opinion by not giving the target time to rebut the charges. Charges like this take a while to work out — we’d have to check the aggrieved women’s claims and details against the record (was Trump flying commercial in 1995, for example).

The stampede-of-charges seems specifically designed to not permit that sort of informed, rational investigation.

NeverTrumpers are childlike in their utter unwillingess to treat a binary choice in an election as a binary choice: this is a comparison between two deeply flawed people, not a straight question about whether one of them meets your minimum threshold of acceptability.

Even assuming the charges against Trump are true, you don’t keep a victimizer of women out of the White House by agitating for Hillary; no, you just reward another victimizer of women.

But meanwhile, this man, despised by the Republican establishment (the actual power center of the party), the media, and the Democrat party, not to mention the federal bureaucracy which is now almost wholly captured by the Democrat Party, is up against a woman has already corrupted the DoJ and FBI with the full approval of the Democrat party and media and the winking indulgence of the Republican Establishment, which cheers a Republican loss as part of their internal palace purge power-play.

These are suicide bombers, people the Democrats are willing to sacrifice to achieve their desired ends. How sacrifice? They get their few minutes of fame and then, either after the election when their allegations matter no more or after a proper inspection shows the allegations were false – but then the Democrats tend to be like Muslim terrorists in that they make heroes of suicide bombers despite what they have done.

On the other hand, sometimes allegations stick. That is why the Clinton sex scandals are still on the table. The current candidate’s record in those scandals is well known and appears to have substance. Contrast this to Reid’s allegations about tax returns and Mitt Romney (and now Trump). You’d think these tactics would start to have an impact as known history of dishonesty. Maybe they have. The worry is that the gullible seem invested in their status.

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Views from a Czech Academic

Luboš Motl is a theoretical physicist in string theory whose blog byline is “supersymetric world from a conservative viewpoint.” He has two posts on the U.S. presidential campaign with ideas worth considering: Does Hillary’s victory guarantee a nuclear war? – “It’s unlikely but similar, weaker statements are probably true.” and Liberal media’s usage of dirt is self-evidently manipulative – “Rational people know what this bias means for their evaluation of the data.”

Criticisms of Donald Trump are usually ill-defined insults, slurs, or accusations, or ad hominem attacks focused on things that don’t matter. Even though he is no “clearcut conservative”, Trump has personified the targets of many weird far left-wing conspiracy theories. For example, a part of the left-wing ideological psychopaths known as the climate alarmists have turned Trump into the man who will single-handedly destroy the Earth by making it fry through global warming.

We’re facing lots of fearmongering – I have always thought that an overwhelming majority of the fearmongering that surrounds us is just silly – but we’re facing it on both sides of the presidential campaign.
As a sensitive guy, I don’t really like the “restroom talk” in the mysteriously released 2005 tape of Donald Trump and Billy Bush.

At the same moment, the content of the tape didn’t surprise me at all. He’s owned strip clubs and lots of other things. His talk is straight. He’s been undoubtedly interested in the physical beauty of women. I would guess that this is how some people familiar with him must know him. And the main point he makes is simply true.

Like most other people, he behaves differently in different situations. Everyone behaves in some “potentially embarrassing ways” in some contexts.

When it comes to non-fatal but embarrassing things such as Trump’s “restroom dialogue”, what actually matters to a rational voter is a good estimate of the character of the candidate including the error margin; and including the adjustments that have to be made due to easy-to-see systematic biases and manipulation in the media.

Because the stories make it spectacularly clear that the anti-Trump dirt is being spread by the media (and manipulated social networks) about 300 times more aggressively than the anti-Hillary dirt etc., a rational voter must conclude that Trump is about 300 times purer than what you would deduce from the impressions conveyed by the media. And hundreds of millions of Americans are applying an adjustment like that.

The people who don’t are gullible simpletons. The anti-Trump activists and most “progressives” in general may imagine that all of the American (or another Western country’s) citizenry is – and should be – composed of this kind of gullible simpletons. But believe me, it ain’t so. So when you’re lying and using double standards in all your articles and TV shows, most Americans know that it says much more about you than about those whom you try to hurt.

Some can observe objectively and cite and describe. Others will notice but not be quite up to being able to describe tactics. We can hope that the voters aren’t an ‘irredeemable basket of deplorables’ or “gullible simpletons” or whatever but sometimes that hope seems far fetched.

But then, how did Venezuela get to where it is now?

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Bundy v DAPL

There have been protests about the federal government and its position on land use. The Bundy episodes in Nevada and Oregon present the classic ‘rancher versus the feds’ contest and the government was not shy in trying to assert its ‘rights’. Now there is a contrast and comparison. It is the Dakota Access Pipeline or DAPL. Valerie Richardson reports how Obama backs activists as N.D. pipeline protest spirals out of control.

The Obama administration has come under fire for aligning itself with activists fighting a North Dakota pipeline project even as the protest at the 2-month-old encampment spirals out of control.

An extreme faction within the enclave of 1,500 to 2,500 protesters camping out near the Dakota Access pipeline, or DAPL, is terrorizing the rural community with threats, vandalism and theft, as well as forcing road closures and school lockdowns, according to law enforcement.

“While some would like to say this was a protest, this was not a protest. This was a riot,” Sheriff Laney said at a press conference. “When you have that many people engaged in that kind of behavior, inciting others to break the law, cheering on others as they break the law, refusing to leave when they’re asked to leave, that’s not a protest.”

This week, Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II called on the Obama administration to intervene to stop the project, almost all of which lies on private land but would run about a half-mile from the reservation at its nearest point.

Officials in law enforcement said the uptick in violence appears to stem from a group of 200 to 300 out-of-state arrivals, described by Mr. Keller as “professional agitators,” who have infiltrated the camps near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
Arrest records show that about 85 percent of the 123 people arrested during the two-month span live outside North Dakota.

So far, however, the Obama administration has not provided assistance to law enforcement, although sheriffs in Wisconsin, Wyoming and elsewhere have responded to the emergency request for help by loaning deputies to supplement Morton County’s 34-member force.
The cost of the additional law enforcement runs about $100,000 per week, which is real money in a rural county of roughly 31,000, Mr. Keller said.

It’s the rent-a-mob, again, “terrorizing the rural community with threats, vandalism and theft.”  Also note how they have isolated a rural community and put pressure on the capabilities of that community to handle the load. A third point to compare and contrast is the purpose of the effort. It is not a ‘leave me alone’ thing as with Bundy but rather an effort to derail a commercial effort that seeks to provide necessary energy to a market, necessary for safety and well-being. 

There’s more. It’s telling. And it’s frightening. Venezuela, anyone?

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Really now, what part of life do you not understand?

I wish Joe Heck and his ilk understood humanity as well as people like Bruce Thornton.

Welcome to another debate on everything except the issues. Consider the reporting on Trump’s comments, which is the mother of all dog-bites-man-stories. I don’t know what cocoon you have to come from not to know that every single day millions of men––and women–– of all ages, races, and sexual persuasions exchange vulgar, crude banter about sex. And you’d have to be particularly dumb, or duplicitous, to be shocked that a New Yorker with a flamboyant and braggadocios personality who is involved in casinos, reality television, construction, and beauty pageants probably would do so on a regular basis. Or, if not dumb, then a partisan hack indulging in rank hypocrisy in order to gain political advantage. Welcome to another episode of America’s political hypocrisy and sexual schizophrenia.

But once again, the Democrats and their Republican fifth column think words are more important than reality.

Thornton thinks Conservatives should know better than to so quickly validate a dishonest narrative that benefits the other side.

There’s something else, though, going on––some Republicans’ bad habit of accepting identity-politics narratives about race or women, and then preemptively cringing to prove that they are not benighted racists or sexists deserving of political and social shaming. That is, the same gutlessness in the face of political correctness that in part fueled Trump’s improbable rise to become the Republican candidate for president.

Our larger public culture is equally schizophrenic. We have easy access to porn, a fashion industry that dresses even pre-teens like prostitutes, television shows and movies filled with casual sex, and an obsession with sexual beauty that drives a whole industry of surgical enhancement. Yet at the same time, we rigorously police our language and jokes for infractions of “sexual harassment,” which is what any woman at any time for any reason believes creates a “hostile and intimidating workplace,” in the words of the law. And we have redefined “sexual assault” to include bad decisions one would think a confident, strong, adult woman would see as a learning experience and try to avoid. Instead we infantilize women in terms Queen Victoria would find reassuring.

But conservatives should know better and not jump so quickly to validate a dishonest narrative that benefits the other side. True conservatism knows the traditional wisdom that talk is cheap, and that actions speak louder than words. And true conservatism recognizes that freedom is the highest secular good, but that there is no true freedom without acceptance of the consequences of one’s actions. This latest Trump episode illustrates how clearly our sexual schizophrenia marks the decline of conservatism and the dominance of progressivism in our culture and politics.

The ‘debate’ did get to issues, at least any time Trump could get a word about issues in edgewise. The underlying issue is why base human nature gets the stage while the ‘issues’ do not. This is not a condemnation of the campaigns but rather of the media and, more especially, the market the media serves. The people get what they ask for and that is the worry. Why are voters so outraged at locker room talk but not so much about the death of diplomats, a country in dire debt, a world in turmoil, and other ‘issues’? Why is corruption and lawlessness accepted while vulgarity condemned? What is going on here?

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The noble savage (a.k.a. Indigenous People) versus the reality of human nature

The narrative that purports to justify the replacement of Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day goes something like this. Before the arrival of European colonists, the indigenous peoples of the Americas lived peacefully in idyllic harmony with nature. Christopher Columbus was not an intrepid explorer who opened up new vistas but a vicious slave trader who initiated the genocidal murder of native peoples by rapacious Europeans.

David Deming takes on this myth in Why We Celebrate Columbus Day.

Before the era of European colonization, the indigenous peoples of the Americas existed quite literally in the Stone Age. Their level of technological development lagged Europeans by thousands of years. With the single exception of Mayan ideographs, American Indians did not possess a written language. There is some evidence of Pre-Columbian smelting in South and Central America, but metallurgy among North American tribes was confined to working native metals. Not only was the effectively wheel unknown in the Americas, Indians lacked even horses. Their only mode of transportation was walking.

The indigenous peoples of the Americas were not peaceful. Indigenous lives were “nasty, brutish, and short.” Archaeologists such as Steven LeBlanc believe that conflict between Indian tribes was endemic and intense. Warfare was usually conducted with the genocidal aim of complete annihilation. The homicide rate in Pre-Columbian America is estimated to have been about a hundred times higher than in the present day U.S. About one-third of adult males died in warfare. In the healthiest communities, life expectancy at birth was probably no more than thirty-five years.

Pre-Columbian America was not a pristine wilderness and indigenous peoples did not live in ecological harmony with nature. On the contrary, native Americans profoundly altered the landscape by burning forests, despoiling wildlife and vegetation, and constructing earthworks, roads, and settlements. Their exploitation of nature was often destructive. Mayan civilization collapsed around AD 900 due to soil erosion and unsustainable agricultural practices.

There’s more. Basically what is comes to is that the reverence for the Indigenous People as an attempt to impugn Western Culture. The reality is that many of the unbridled ugliness of human nature, as illustrated by the Indigenous People of the Americas, was tamed by Western Culture and its evangelism of the message of Christ. This taming is anathema to many who now loathe what they deny and have never experienced.  Why? Do they really want to go back to a society where slavery, torture, tribal warfare, cannibalism, starvation, disease, and death were common every day experiences? Why do they want to celebrate these things?

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Suicide became a national trend, exercised by over 10,000 people.

And like in a cult, the mass suicides in Nazi Germany were in part a response to the shock of seeing a massive, inextricable lie come crashing down.

Matt Reimann describes how, In one German town, 1,000 people killed themselves in 72 hours — “Rather than surrender to the Red Army, citizens of Demmin committed ‘selbstmord’. There are famous pictures of citizens of Okinawa jumping off a cliff in response to an invading army. While there are controversies about the coverage of these events in history texts there are also YouTube documentaries interviewing the victims and actual coverage of some of the events. They are historical testament to the trauma of defeat as reality surfaces. WW II provides a particularly stark example where even the holocaust tends to get short shrift and the horrors of humanity barely a pause.

A contrast to that trauma might be in the demise of the U.S.S.R. and the history in Eastern Europe since then as the peoples of the area struggle to come to grips with what was. The terrorist activity in the middle east is sometimes run back to WW I as another lesson of history.

In WW II, the holocaust was only one factor. Appeasement until the invasion of Poland was another. Fantasies for peace fell and they did not fall gracefully. Such fantasies are what lead to the Iron Curtain as well.

When reality finally does come to the door, the results can be ugly. 

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The nature of knowledge, the temptations of the devil.

Sarah Hoyt says the first effect of not believing in God, is to believe in anything. She refers to David French on how Our Post-Christian Culture Often Replaces Faith with Nonsense.

use extreme caution when applying even the most popular psychological concepts to your personal life, to the corporate world, and to public policy. Even the most confidently stated assumptions can be wrong.

So why tie this phenomenon back to faith? Why bring Christianity into the equation? It’s simple. For generations Americans have been taught by word and deed that there is a better way, that the lessons of the Judeo-Christian tradition should be discarded as so much oppressive hocus-pocus. Ancient moral teachings aren’t just false, they’re destructive. With my own eyes I’ve seen Christians — even pastors — refuse to make cultural and moral arguments based on scripture alone. Unless science is also on their side, they’ll keep quiet. Science, after all, is the universal language. Faith is divisive. In reality, “science” is often leading us astray — and for reasons that the biblically literate can easily predict. It turns out that human beings are self-interested, that we’re drawn to quick fixes and splashy results. It turns out that we’re mistake-prone and often make entirely arbitrary judgments. And it turns out that we really, really like to see results that confirm our own righteousness and virtue. In other words, scientists don’t offer an escape from the fallen world; they’re part of the fallen world.

A stimulus for this thinking is recent discoveries that ‘ego depletion’ experiments were not reliable and that led to realizing that many studies in psychology and sociology were also rather difficult to support with consistent experimental results. That realization has put these fields in question that ties into the suspicion and dissonance that results from investigations that disrupt fantasies. There is no discrimination between ‘soft’ results as often is the case in psychology and sociology and ‘hard’ results as is often the case in engineering and physics. This pressure is particularly evident and important in medicine where the ‘hard’ evidence encounters the softer stuff and that leaves room for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) that has no founding in reality but consumes attention and effort and funds to the detriment of healing. 

In religious terms, this is the commandment about false witness. In science, this witness is the truth of God as witnessed by observation and measurement. Critical to this witness is accepting the frailties of humans and that means understanding the limits of observation and measurement. That is why classes in science dwell on accuracy and precision in measurement and why the tools used for aggregate measures (e.g. statistics) emphasize error probabilities and why matters of bias and procedure are important. A proper scientist is one who pays attention to the temptations of false witness and is aware that Truth is only partially visible. That awareness guides the skepticism of a religious scientist.

There are many examples of people who succumb to the temptation of the devil. The creationism ‘debate’ is one example where God’s word laid down in the world around us is contested with an interpretation of human words. The anthropogenic climate alarmism is another topic where underlying fears, political power, and income streams undermine integrity. Even Heisenberg’s observations about quantum mechanics gets twisted in extrapolations to Newtonian scale mechanics. “The first effect of not believing in God, is to believe in anything” is on display. Will we learn?

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Spin: a lexical analysis

John Hinderaker decomposes an AP spin effort the illustrates how either bias or propaganda is expressed and truth becomes fiction.

The Associated Press reports on Donald Trump’s talking about Hillary Clinton’s role in her husband’s rape and sexual harassment scandals. Perhaps recognizing that some people might consider being an accessory to rape and sexual assault more serious failings than talking crudely about women, the AP doesn’t take any chances. You almost have to read between the lines to extract the story from the spin:

When eleven-year-old video of Trump talking crudely was released, was it a “personal attack”? No. But Trump’s criticism of Hillary Clinton is.

Got that? No substance to Trump’s claims, he is simply trying to “deflect” attention from his own “predatory comments.” And note what a strange phrase that is. How can a comment be predatory? Actual predatory behavior (not comments) was shown by Bill Clinton when he raped Juanita Broaddrick, grabbed Kathleen Willey’s breast, and sexually harassed Paula Jones. But the AP wants you to think that such criminal conduct is minor (and in any event “unproven”), whereas Donald Trump’s crude bluster is “predatory.”

There is much more, but you get the point. I would continue, but the spin is making me dizzy.

Along the way, the use of terms such as “defiant”, “dangerous”, “seizing”, “unsubstantiated”, “charge”, and other loaded terms are highlighted and their insidiousness explained. What you have here is a lesson in how to detect when you being fed a load of nonsense by using specific and objective criteria. The sad thing is that such spin may be more a representation of bias (unintentional) rather than propaganda (intentional) and that a large part of the populace buys it.

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Perspective on the election

Scott Johnson presents Ammo Grrrll on the prospect before us in BINARY FOR THEE, BUT NOT FOR ME.

From the very beginning of the primary contest, I have been confused and shocked by the vitriol aimed at Trump, and only Trump, from OUR side’s sizable glump of #NeverTrumpers. Now, as I have said repeatedly in this column, Trump was not even my 6th choice. I voted for Cruz in the Arizona primary.

But, see, Trump won and faces Hillary. What part of binary decision do “undecideds” and especially conservative #NeverTrumpsters not understand?

For better, or worse, Trump is our standard bearer and our thin, orange line against four more disastrous years of political correctness, open borders, lawlessness at the highest level, hideous Supreme Court picks, gun grabbing, deliberate security breaches, BleachBit, IRS witchhunts, another Affirmative Action hire who can’t be criticized because she’s a woman, and appalling attacks on everything military, law enforcement, traditional, or American.

It seems that some of the pundits have lived lives free of the necessity of picking between two unattractive choices. Some may not ever have had to choose between paying the electric bill (or having that shut off) or making the minimum payment on the VISA bill and paying 27% interest.

If you frequently get what you want – choosing, say, between the steak and the lobster in a restaurant – or, what the hey, just having the Surf ‘N Turf together – then you don’t think you deserve to be forced to make a less-than-perfect choice. You can stand on principle. In this case, evidently, the appalling principle of electing Hillary Clinton.

In other words, there’s a lot of folks who are comfortable enough, at least right now, not to worry about the consequences of their actions. By the time they have to live with the consequences of those actions (or inaction) it will be too late. There is a choice to be made and it will be made. Your choice, to borrow from the Little League analogy the Ammo Grrrl offered, is whether or not to swing the bat.

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The sea of the better good

Roger Simon is worried about Turning the USA Totalitarian for the ‘Better Good’.

With each passing day it becomes clearer the investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal was such a sham that it did far more than merely tarnish the reputations of the FBI and the Department of Justice. It distorted our legal system beyond recognition.

The FBI and Justice Department have apparently been used by one political party to keep the other out of power by covert manipulation of our system. That means these institutions have been turned on their heads into instruments of state oppression extraordinarily close to those used by totalitarian regimes.

Where will this end? The casual acceptance of this travesty by significant portions of the electorate and an even greater percentage of our media means that the chances of a return to the rule of law and an even-handed legal system are remote.

I would like to remind those people that many of the greatest despots in history were initially convinced they too worked for the “better good.” We know the results of that.

There is the old tale about boiling a frog slowly so he doesn’t notice what is happening until it is too late. He is a water creature after all and it is a comfortable environment. For the people, that environment is the ‘better good’ and, man, is it getting hot in here.

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Voter integrity problem? What problem?

Opponents of measures to improve ballot integrity like to deny that voter fraud exists. “Voter fraud is very rare, [and] voter impersonation is nearly non-existent,” asserts a statement by NYU law school’s Brennan Center entitled “The Myth of Voter Fraud.” That claim, so common on the left, is based on an assumption that election officials are on the lookout for fraud and mistakes. But incidents in states from Virginia to Pennsylvania to New York show that too many election officials are ignoring or even covering up the systemic problems brought to their attention. One way not to find something is simply not to look.

John Fund says When Election Officials Ignore Voter Fraud, We Need More Oversight — “Those who pretend that fraud doesn’t exist are a threat to the integrity of our elections.”

According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey, one out of eight American voter registrations is inaccurate, out-of-date, or a duplicate. Some 2.8 million people are registered in two or more states, and 1.8 million registered voters are dead.

J. Christian Adams, who previously worked in the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Section and attended the 2009 Fernandez meeting, now heads the Public Interest Law Foundation. He has forced several counties in states such as Mississippi and Texas to clean up their voter rolls. But in many other states, his efforts have run into outright obstructionism. He was able to get voter-registration records from eight of Virginia’s 133 cities and counties, and found 1046 illegal aliens who were illegally registered to vote. In the decade between 2005 and 2015, a number of those aliens had voted some 300 times. Their presence on the voter rolls was only discovered if, in renewing their driver’s licenses, they corrected their past false claims of citizenship.

Obstructionism? That particular tactic is a common political weapon often accompanied by accusing the other side of doing the obstructing (think federal budgeting).

What is worrisome is that the courts overturn reasonable voter assurance laws based on the idea that there is no problem. First, obstruct and deny and then use the lack of overt evidence as support to avoid corrections.

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Are people parasites on the planet?

Chet Richards lays it out: Why Environmentalism Became Both a Religion and a Con Game. What has happened to us? When? How? Chet provides clues for insight and inspection.

John Muir was a Conservationist, not an Environmentalist. He saw the wilderness as a “primary source for understanding God: The Book of Nature.” Muir did not worship Nature, as modern environmentalists do. Muir worshiped God, the Judeo-Christian God. So, here is the difference: Conservation derives from the Hebrew Bible. Mankind is to be Stewards of the Land. We are charged to husband God’s creation.

Environmentalists, for the most part, believe that the Earth’s biosphere is God. And, that human beings are destructive parasites, eating away at the life of their deity. In effect, most environmentalists are atheists searching for something larger than themselves to worship.

This notion that people are parasites really got started in the 1960’s.

The high priests: Rachel Carson, Paul Ehrlich, James Lovelock.

This eminent scientist was scathing in his comments — particularly about the sheer ignorance of the movement’s devoted followers. … The true believers still believe without understanding. Environmentalism is a religion after all.

Long established religions have traditionally provided a framework for ordering one’s life and for reducing this natural sense of insecurity. As we have discovered, there is something about the post World War Two world that has, at least in the West, broken these traditional religious frameworks. Something happened during the war to cause people to no longer trust religious authority.

A skilled confidence man knows that the best way to hook a victim is through the victim’s vanity. The environmental movement is a con. Its leadership preys on the ignorance, insecurity, and hubris of its followers.

But there is always another con, and each new con means further loss of freedom. For half a century the environmental movement has been the primary tool of those leaders who wish to suppress individual freedom and individual initiative. The erosion has been slow, but it has been steady.

True care for the environment, true care for nature, is a rich man’s game. Only the prosperous have the resources to protect the natural world. Only those living in comfort believe that it matters.

Poor people care little for Nature. Poor people struggle just to live. They don’t have time for environmental diversions. The environmentalist con takes away freedom and replaces it with diminished prosperity. Carried far enough, political environmentalism ultimately will drive people into impoverished serfdom and, with the greatest irony of all, it will wreck the environment.

Post WW II, the sixties when the baby boom that was an immediate aftermath of the war gained majority, that is when the tide turned. Carson’s notable works from the fifties culminated with Silent Spring, out in 1962. That made 1962 a marker for the turning point where conservationists spawned environmentalists, where religion and belief turned from God to Gaia, and the idea of humans as parasites on the planet became mainstream. 

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Lawless left? Where’s the outrage?

Kelly Riddell: No outrage for the lawless left — “The left’s bad behavior generates little national condemnation.”

Felon voting, illegal program funding, targeting of political enemies with government agencies, illegal document disclosure, attorney generals using their office to persecute political opponents, cronyism, withholding of public documents, …

response? a big yawn.

worried, yet?

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Under assault: Clinton Tactics?

Scott Adams describes his experiences about The Week I Became a Target. It illustrates campaign tactics in play.

This weekend I got “shadowbanned” on Twitter. It lasted until my followers noticed and protested. Shadowbanning prevents my followers from seeing my tweets and replies, but in a way that is not obvious until you do some digging.

it was probably because I asked people to tweet me examples of Clinton supporters being violent against peaceful Trump supporters in public. I got a lot of them. It was chilling.

Late last week my Twitter feed was invaded by an army of Clinton trolls

At around the same time, a bottom-feeder at Slate wrote a hit piece on me that had nothing to do with anything. Except obviously it was politically motivated.

The one and only speaking gig I had on my calendar for the coming year cancelled yesterday because they decided to “go in a different direction.”

Then they started leaving fake book reviews on Amazon to go after my book sales.

The thing is, these stories, at least the credible ones, are from one direction and they also fit a pattern that goes back twenty years or more. What is frightening is that a great mass of the electorate does not seem to care and even goes to great lengths to rationalize and deny. The price is being paid. The NFL might be showing an early measurable example.

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Gender myths tenaciously held

Mark Perry considers The remarkable academic superiority of high school girls vs. high school boys as shown in an analysis of data released by the College Board that was collected from the academic records of the 1.64 million US high school students who took the SAT in 2016.

And shouldn’t this clear academic superiority of female high school students also challenge the need for hundreds of women’s centers and women’s commissions on college campuses across the country?

I’m not sure the overwhelming evidence of female academic success from high school through doctoral programs will be enough to challenge the existence of gender activism on college campuses, and probably won’t lead to the elimination of women’s centers and women’s commissions. The “female grievance industry” is too entrenched at our universities and in society, and we’ll probably never hear about how female academic success represents such an important victory and milestone for women, that the hundreds of university women’s centers are no longer needed or justified. No, instead we’ll probably hear for generations about how important it is to monitor and report on the “status and needs of college women,” while ignoring the “status and needs” of the “second sex” on college campuses – men.

It’s a “white privilege” thing and only white men have that ‘privilege’ so, therefore, facts don’t matter if they don’t support the meme. 

The data does show that the efforts over the last forty years or so to eliminate gender bias in education, especially in STEM topics, has yielded positive results. The difficulty is in that fact that the desired outcomes have not succumbed. The idea does not seem to sink in that having more girls in the academic elite in schools does not translate into more women mathematicians and scientists earning top wages and honors. Like the anthropogenic global warming alarmists, the disconnect between the models and the reality is stunning. It should lead to trying to figure out what is wrong with the models but, instead, it only seems to stimulate doubling down on insisting that closely held models are more real than actual measure.

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Reality loses to pandering. Again

It’s about safety on the roads this time. Richard Berman says it’s Blowing smoke over road safety. “Politicians target alcohol offenders while ignoring distracted driver carnage.”

California’s legislature and governor overlooked their own Department of Motor Vehicles’ recommendation against adopting the ignition interlock mandate. In its pilot program, the DMV found that crashes increased by up to a sixth after interlocks were installed because they distracted drivers. This is partially a result of their “rolling retest” requirement that makes drivers blow at random intervals while driving. Query: Why do we pay for research if it’s ignored?

Instead, Golden State lawmakers followed the advice of the activist group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which has a mission to increase interlock use.

Meanwhile, interlock compliance rates among hardcore drunk drivers (a BAC of 0.15 or above), who are already subject to them under existing law, are low. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 80 to 85 percent of offenders mandated to use interlocks don’t install them.

The threat from drugged driving has also grown significantly in recent years as states experiment with legalizing marijuana. According to a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 10 million people admitted to driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the year.

Targeting low-BAC and first-time offenders like California’s new law does is a poor use of the scarce resources available to keep the roads safe. Traffic safety officials should instead target the hardcore drunk drivers, distracted drivers and drugged drivers who pose an overwhelmingly greater threat to road safety. Atmospherics and optics may be good for re-election but they won’t save lives or make our roads any safer.

This is in the same family as the gun control effort to “close a background check loophole” and many other sound good fruitless efforts. Someone is aggrieved and wants to do something about it. What they want to do is to restrict and regulate and control others despite human nature, reality, cost, benefit, or implications of their demanded solution. They never learn, the never listen, and they never sit down to consider the consequences, implications, and reality of their desires.

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