Archive for Mind Games

Do they refuse to see?

An IBT editorial: Venezuela Is Socialist, Senator Sanders. Any Questions? — it appears that some are beginning to wonder about learning from history, especially among those who are supposedly educated.

That reality of socialism and its horrific results is mocked by Sanders himself, who denies it has anything to do with his own ideas. “I myself don’t use the word socialism,” he told a University of Vermont student publication in 1976 “because people have been brainwashed into thinking socialism automatically means slave-labor camps, dictatorship and lack of freedom of speech.”

Brainwashed? The very word comes from socialist indoctrination practices. Sanders’ flip dismissal of those realities reminds us of a quote from Nobel Prize winner and author of “The Gulag Archipelago” Aleksander Solzhenitsyn: “Or do they refuse to see?” Yes, Sanders and his followers refuse.

That’s the part of socialism Bernie Sanders doesn’t want to talk about. It’s the same wherever it’s tried. Voters fall for it over and over, and all it brings is failure. Sanders is only continuing the con. When is he going to be called on it?

It’s about trying to say it will be different this time, over and over and over again. The forces of deceit and illusion are strong. Reality seems weak but it does eventually surface. The path may be slow but that only drags the pain out over time.

But that’s Venezuela and Cuba and … How about Columbia? Marco Rubio says The U.S and Colombia Will Lead the Americas Forward in the 21st Century.

Over the past 15 years, Plan Colombia and other U.S. assistance have helped transform Colombia from a country ravaged by drug cartels and terrorist insurgents to the more prosperous and secure society it is today. … It has helped turn a country with a corrupt and unreliable judiciary into a place with growing confidence that justice will be served for those who violate laws.

Although these realities today may seem like they were inevitable all along, we should never take them for granted nor should we allow these hard-fought gains to be eroded.

Colombia’s achievements to date in overcoming the damage done by the FARC have been extraordinary, but the toughest work lies ahead.

The question is why is it so difficult? Nearly every country south of the U.S. suffers from this plague in one way or another. We even see its effects in the U.S. not only in the rhetoric and pledges of some candidates but also in the many scandals involving departments such as the IRS, the EPA, the DOJ,, and State. 

It does seem ‘they’ refuse to see. 

Worried, yet?

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Evolving stories

There are two political stories in the air at the moment that illustrate significant distortion and potential collusion. One is about Cruz distributing a CNN report as a political trick in Iowa and the other is the U.S. State Department mounting a Clinton defense with the ‘everybody does it’ approach. Ed Morrissey explains the State IG: Classified info went to Powell, Rice aides on personal e-mail accounts story.

Hillary’s defenders will claim, this was done all the time! It’s no big deal! Reuters reports that the IG’s findings were made public by the “top Dem on oversight panel,”

the fact that others have violated a law does not make other violations hunky-dory.

Secretaries of State and their aides have no authority to change classification on information originating in other agencies,

Let’s compare the situations of the three Secretaries of State. All three served four years; Powell and Rice to a lesser extent served at a time when State’s e-mail systems were in flux. Yet the IG can only find two instances of spillage involving Powell’s private e-mail account, and none involving Rice (all ten involved her aides). Hillary didn’t bother getting an official State Department account, but instead hid her communications from Congress and the courts for more than five years to thwart legitimate, constitutional oversight on State. The system she owned and kept at her house was used to retain and transmit classified information on more than one thousand, three hundred occasions. And most importantly, the information that got exposed in this system was intelligence data derived from other agencies, some of which was classified at the highest levels and put sources, methods, and agents at risk.

This story is nothing more than an attempt to misdirect Americans from the egregiously corrupt and likely criminal activities of Hillary Clinton in her efforts to cover up her activities at State.

As Ace of Spades puts it

The interesting thing here is that State can classify, or declassify, information originating with State. But they cannot classify, nor declassify, information originating with another service, like the CIA or NSA.

The issue is that the government is now engaged in an illegal conspiracy against the country. The entire government is in under the control of a gang.

Wonder why people are getting concerned about corruption in government?

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Understanding Trump: impulse buyers with short memories?

Selwyn Duke offers The Voters’ Trump Love Affair Explained in Terms Even Beltway Pundits Can Understand. It’s the kind of stuff you see over and over again in marketing courses and seminars but seldom see in actual practice (which is likely why the courses and seminars are so popular).

as Ben Franklin observed, “You cannot reason a man out of a position he has not reasoned himself into.” Note that while this relates the futility of trying to shake a person from passionately embraced error, people can also have an emotional attachment to correct beliefs, for the right or wrong reasons and with or without an intellectual understanding (e.g., Plato spoke of inculcating children, who are too young to grasp abstract moral principles, with an “erotic [emotional] attachment” to virtue).

And this is what Trump does so masterfully. When he repeats his slogan “Make America Great Again,” says we’re going to “win” under his administration or speaks of building a border wall and getting “Mexico to pay for it,” it’s silly to wonder why it resonates despite the lack of detail. He’s marketing, not doing R&D; he’s not trying to appeal mainly to the intellect, but the emotions. And you do this with the slogan, not by reciting the list of ingredients. Again, this isn’t a commentary on the validity of his recipe, only on the principles of effective campaigning.

Of course, stating the obvious, to connect with people emotionally you must capitalize on something appealing to them emotionally. Trump’s bold nationalism does this. What do the others offer?

It’s as if Trump is courting Lady America with wine, roses and his alpha-male persona, while the Establishment candidates are lead-tongued nerds promising a tent with NSA surveillance, a bowl of soup and squatters on a burnt-out lawn.

These ideas show not only in the campaign but in other areas as well. Consider climate alarmism and its Malthusian roots. It isn’t reason that leads people to doom and gloom and, as Franklin observed, it isn’t going to be reason to lead them away from it. The tenacity by which people hold on to their fantasies is incredible. That is something to fear when those fantasies stray a bit too far from reality. For political candidates, there is good reason for concern and Trump is not the only, or even the primary example. Consider the Sanders add featuring 60’s folk music ….

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Acceptable standards

A retired lawyer is wondering about Federal Bureaucracies: Incompetent, Corrupt, or Both?. Consider the IRS …

And yet, time after time, the IRS has either inadvertently or intentionally destroyed hard drives that courts have ordered them to preserve. In the private sector, this is unthinkable. Private companies obey court orders. They know that if they don’t, millions of dollars in sanctions are likely to result, and executives will lose their jobs. Only in government agencies do we see this kind of irresponsible scofflaw behavior. This is because most bureaucrats have a deep loyalty to the left-wing cause, and there is no accountability.

This is a new development in our democracy. Until now, we have never experienced an extra-legal administration like that of Barack Obama. Will the rule of law survive the 2016 presidential election? I don’t know. That wheel is still spinning.

And then there’s the EPA on its river spill, the State Department on the handling of classified material, … Look at all of the FOIA requests that have ended up in the courts due to intransigence of federal agencies.

Worried, yet? Or still making excuses?

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One funeral at a time

The death of Bob Carter provides an insight into how different people see things. From Stoat and William M. Connolley: Science advances one funeral at a time

Actually A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it, but I’m allowed to paraphrase in titles. And anyway he said it in German, naturally. Today brings us news of another such advancement in science, with the reported death of Robert Carter.

As far as I can recall, he was a minor figure in the Great Climate Wars; at least, I don’t seem to have been very interested in him. He gets those usual suspects Robert M. Carter, C. R. de Freitas, Indur M. Goklany, David Holland & Richard S. Lindzen wrote in 2007; a throwaway line ($1,667 per month) from Heartland in 2012. That seems to be it. It’s a bit of a sad end when even I couldn’t be bothered to attack him. Sou was a bit more interested; or Deltoid back in the day.

Compare and contrast that to Steve McIntyre

I will not attempt to comment on his work as that is covered elsewhere, but do wish to mention something personal. In 2003, when I was unknown to anyone other than my friends and family, I had been posting comments on climate reconstructions at a chatline. Bob emailed me out of the blue with encouragement, saying that I was looking at the data differently than anyone else and that I should definitely follow it through. Without his specific encouragement, it is not for sure that I ever would have bothered trying to write up what became McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) or anything else.

We’ve met personally on a number of occasions over the years – at AGU in 2004 or 2005, and on several occasions at Erice, most recently last summer. He was always full of good cheer, despite continuing provocations, and unfailingly encouraging.

So, For Connolley learning and teaching is out and death to remove unpleasant questions is the way to go. For McIntyre, mentors and investigation and learning and growth are the way to go. Where is the hate? Where is the love? Where is the humanity, intellectual integrity, and respect? Who is talking about “triumph” and winning and losing; war and conquest; destruction of the enemy (even after death)? Who is talking about the loss from death and destruction and valuing growth?

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Witch Hunts

Ian Smith describes How the left shuts down the immigration debate“Enforcement officials are ‘outed’ as an act of intimidation.

Witch hunts, intimidation and slander will increase if immigration patriots fail to organize. A confident and supportive pro-sovereignty movement gives its advocates the confidence to not back down in the face of an attacker, disarming and neutralizing his attacks. Without organization, however, immigration patriots will continue to yield and the “social justice” surveillance state will only keep spreading.

Just another tactic, a misuse of the ‘right to know’ that is behind FOIA requests. The goal isn’t enlightenment, though, it is shaming. intimidation, and harassment. Consider, as another flavor of this tactic, the headlines about 13 hours being political. It isn’t but it does dramatize (and document) a hot button topic that tends to impugn heroes of the left. Therefore it must be slandered and distorted. The idea is the same, feel something ugly so find the witch and then prosecute that witch in any way possible. 

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13 hours for denial in the State Propaganda Machine

Ed takes a look at a WaPo columnist: Say, this 13 Hours actually is political and observes:

The real objection is when a film becomes partisan, not political. The American President would have been a fine comedy if it had not been ruined by its harsh partisan bent. My Fellow Americans was a much better film because it poked fun at the partisan divide. Both were political, but only one was dishonest about its intent. That’s the issue, and Hornaday admits smack in the middle that she doesn’t have a case; she just wants to gripe about the narrative.

Honesty adds to the story. Even when fiction, honesty to intent can make or break the story. A good story builds trust in the story teller as a story teller and not as a propagandist trying to scam you. The Benghazi movie is in the tradition of heroes who are telling their own story. By all (honest) accounts, it is well done and a good action thriller. Compare and contrast to that movie about Rathergate to see the kind of difference that Ed is talking about between partisan and political.

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Statistics and measurement: The climate brouhaha

In science, measurement matters. Issues of precision and accuracy are carefully noted as qualifications to be used in evaluating the meaning of the measurements. Statistics are used to help pull meaning from measures by finding a signal in the noise. Again, great care must be used to make sure that the methods and mathematics are sound. Mann’s Hockey Stick tale is an example of where these issues of precision, accuracy, and proper aggregation of measures can be distorted and twisted to suit a particular purpose. Climatology seems rife with such pollution. Here are two examples. John Hinderaker starts off with a tale about dueling temperature charts. The charts in question are temperature averages over the period from 1880 to the current. One shows average temperature by year on a scale from -10 to 110 (Fahrenheit degrees). This is the nominal temperature variation found in the measurements and the average temperature over the years is remarkably flat. The other graph, for comparison and contrast, is the temperature anomaly over 2.5 degrees for the same period. This graph emphasizes changes by using statistics to narrow down the range of measures and then show differences on a scale that is only 2% of the variations found in the source measures.

Steve wrote here about the global temperature chart that presented conventional data in a normal way, and therefore aroused the ire of climate alarmists, who deemed the graph “misleading” because it didn’t look scary enough

Dickson puts two charts side by side, one showing temperatures, the other showing temperature anomalies, from a presumed base*, on a very small scale so that purported changes are greatly magnified:

A fundamental problem is that the alleged changes that are depicted in magnified form are in fact minute in relation to the uncertainty that goes into their measurement and calculation.

The first problem with temperature measurements is how to qualify them for differences in siting and instrumentation. Anthony Watts got into that with his census of U.S. surface weather observation stations. A second problem is how to calculate an average temperature. This is often done by taking the difference between daily maximum and minimum for each day and then averaging that. It seems that heating and cooling degree days might be a better choice but that only highlights how distance the temperature averages are from something actually useful. A third problem is that of sampling locations. Temperature stations are widely dispersed and more common in urban environments and that doesn’t provide even a good measure of surface temperatures much less atmospheric temperatures. Data selection gets in here as well. There have been stories recently about how climate alarmists are dismissing satellite data as flawed because it does not show the desired increase in temperatures of the atmosphere.

Next up is from Luboš Motl about When religious beliefs trump one’s life“A heartbreaking opinion piece by a climate alarmist“.

Would you speculate about the question whether some change of the largely ill-defined global mean temperature from an ill-defined base to an ill-defined moment will be 2.0 °C or 2.3 °C? This man does. The minimum error margin isn’t much lower than 1 °C, however, and even 40 °C of warming would be way safer than the disease he’s been diagnosed with. I think that most people would think how many months of life await them.

Even if the temperatures in 2100 will be higher by 3 °C than today, and they won’t, it won’t represent any serious challenge for the people who will live in 2100. Worries about the climate are rationally indefensible and most people do this pseudoscientific stuff professionally because they want to get decent salaries for very little work and no valuable work and they want to enjoy the advantages.

The question is what drives this distortion of science?

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New York Values

The Cruz item about “New York Values” is providing a good example of tactics, behavior patterns, and counter-tactics. The issue came up as a way for Cruz to highlight values differences between himself and the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president. Instapundit cites two essays that illustrate this. Alex Griswold says To All Those New York City Journalists Horrified By Cruz’s Jab: Get Over Yourselves. The other is Todd J. Gillman saying Cruz sorry/not sorry for ‘New York values’ barb. First, from Griswold:

First of all– and most importantly– note that Cruz points out that Trump himself said once he had different “values” than Iowans simply because he was from New York City. That alone ought to make the attack against Trump a legitimate one; the notion that all New Yorkers think the same is a vast oversimplification, but that is how Trump framed the issue sixteen years ago.

Two tactics are noted here. The first is the attempt to delegitimize the argument and the second is using the all-or-none fallacy to impugn the assertion. Griswold also notes the lack of consistency, lack of honesty, in the outrage.

The notion that it’s somehow outrageous to say New York has different values than the rest of the country is, to put it bluntly, stupid. No less than the public editor of The New York Times recognized this fact a decade ago, when Daniel Okrent said in a column that “of course” the paper had a liberal bias. He argued that the bias didn’t derive from any vast left wing conspiracy or intentional malice. Instead, he noted that the paper’s editors, reporters, and columnists were all New Yorkers, and they simply have a different “value system” than the rest of the country.

Countless polls have proven the truth of his and Cruz’s words. Generally speaking, New Yorkers’ political and cultural views– read: their “values”– do not resemble those of America at large. That’s not a good or bad thing (the same could be said of Liberty University), it’s just a fact.

What is also interesting is that Griswold is going to great lengths to join the equality brigade in asserting ‘neither good nor bad, just different’ mantra. The key item with values is that there are good ones and bad ones and much of the ‘rage’ in current politics is exactly about which values are good and which are bad. His description illustrates this. Folks in New York think they have good values and the rest of the country don’t — and vice versa.

Southerners and Westerners and Midwesterners have spent their entire lives shrugging off these affronts. But as soon as one person insinuates that something’s rotten in the Big Apple, the same people who guffawed along to all those NASCAR and country music jokes are aghast. Please.

Gillman describes the Cruz response to the hubub. It serves as an illustration about how to handle manufactured outrage based on a false premise (a.k.a a straw man).

Ted Cruz is sorry. He’s so sorry about taking a shot at Donald Trump’s “New York values” that he apologized six times on Friday — kind of.

This wasn’t the apology Trump and others demanded. But it did neatly lump Cruz’s main rival for the GOP nomination with the leading Democratic candidate, and the governor and mayor of a state and city Cruz depicts as a font of social and cultural corruption. It was Cruz’s way to finesse the fallout from Thursday night’s debate, which featured a running battle with Trump over whether someone born in Canada can become the U.S. president.

“I apologize to the hard working men and women of the state of New York who’ve been denied jobs because Gov. Cuomo won’t allow fracking,” Cruz continued. “I apologize to all the pro-life and pro-marriage and pro-Second Amendment New Yorkers who were told by Gov. Cuomo that they have no place in New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

He went on in that vein for two more minutes, apologizing no fewer than six times to New Yorkers for Mayor de Blasio’s antagonism toward charter schools and police, and for the “crushing taxes and regulations” in New York City.

Cruz, in his lengthy faux apology, promised “good news to the good people of New York” — an election in which “people are waking up, and just like millions of New Yorkers, they’re fed up with policies that don’t fight for the working men and women of this country but instead further the elite liberal views that have taken this country down a path that is not working.”

In other words, treat the demand for apology with an illustration of its absurdity by providing a like response and, in the process, clarifying and emphasizing just what the debate is all about.

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Martyrs

There are political martyrs – right here in the U.S.A. and it seems the number of them is growing. Scooter Libby can be seen in this light if ‘this light’ is a comparison and contrast with those on the other side of the political isle such as Hillary Clinton. Richard Kirk provides another example in Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me About Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party. The subject in this case is Dinesh D’Souza and a review of his book about his experiences with the machine of the left.

“no person who had done what I did had even been prosecuted, let alone sentenced.”

During his eight months of overnight confinement with “more than a hundred rapists, armed robbers, drug smugglers, and murderers,” D’Souza began to see prisoners and a flawed justice system in a different light. He also began to understand “the psychology of crookedness” — a “system of larceny, corruption, and terror” that’s “been adopted and perfected by modern progressivism and the Democratic Party.”

Instead of accusing Progressives of ignorance or naiveté, as most conservatives do, D’Souza focuses on corrupt motives that can be boiled down, a la Nietzsche, to envy and the will to power.

To carry out their grand political heist, Democrats must marshal the emotions and votes of an army of envious underlings … Cultural indoctrination in the unfair-society pitch of progressive politicians is accomplished by inundating Americans with television programs, news stories, and Hollywood films that feature crooked businessmen, victimized minorities, oppressed workers, heartless millionaires, and hypocritical ministers. These professional propagandists promulgate their ideas out of envy, seeing themselves as members of the rightful ruling class based on their superior intellects and abilities.

At the very least D’Souza’s experience with the legal system provides one excellent example of the overlap between the “psychology of crookedness” and the motives and methods of progressive politics. His poignant analyses of the Clintons, the two Obamas, and Saul Alinsky, however, provide considerably more fodder for an audacious thesis.

Consider also the John Doe investigations in Wisconsin, the trial of policemen in Baltimore, the decision not to pursue potential corruption and illegal activities by parties ranging from the Black Panthers to Louis Lerner.  Fit the gun control fight into this and maybe you will gain some clarity about the implications and possibilities.

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Tactics and the consequences of escalation

When you escalate your tactics, you best be prepared for the consequences. In a civilized country, uncivilized tactics may take a while to generate a response but when they do, it is likely to be significant. One of the reasons for Trump’s popularity may be that extreme tactics of the left are being handled well and amusing his fans. Those who attempt to disrupt and distract are being called out and the state propaganda machine (i.e. mainstream media) attempting to canonize the disrupters are both being shamed. Terresa Monroe-Hamilton provides an example in GET OUT! Muslim Woman Wearing Hijab and Yellow Star of David Removed from Trump Rally.

Yesterday, it was Bernie Sanders’ plants who were forcibly evicted from a Trump rally. Today, two Muslims strategically sat behind Donald Trump in order to disrupt his rally when he started speaking out against the refugee resettlement program.

Hamid claims that Trump’s supporters had probably never met a Muslim and that she came in peace. Except of course, she didn’t. ‘There is hatred against us that is unbelievable,” Trump told the audience as Hamid was being removed. “It’s their hatred, it’s not our hatred.”

“The ugliness really came out fast and that’s really scary,” Hamid told CNN. It came out because she poked the badger and wore that hateful symbol on her person. We only have her word that someone said that to her by the way. She was there to push a political agenda, not listen to Trump. It was staged and shows how manipulative the media and organized Islam can be. This woman is a liar and a provocateur.

Just who is it that is preaching hate? Who is it that is creating scenarios to express hate? Who is assaulting whom? Who is calling others names and engaging in deceit and dishonesty?

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doubleplusungood crimethink

That’s what Ed Driscoll says in describing the left’s war on science at Instapundit. The stimulus is Toby Young at the Spectator.

The witch hunt against Napoleon Chagnon shows us what happens if scientists challenge the core beliefs of ‘progressives’

How much longer can the liberal left survive in the face of growing scientific evidence that many of its core beliefs are false? I’m thinking in particular of the conviction that all human beings are born with the same capacities, particularly the capacity for good, and that all mankind’s sins can be laid at the door of the capitalist societies of the West. For the sake of brevity, let’s call this the myth of the noble savage.

This gets back to research by an anthropologist (Chagnon) that offended the fantasies of the left about pre-capitalist, pre-white man, ‘indigenous’ cultures. What happens when you confront an ideologue with reality? It isn’t pretty.

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Let them eat cake

Steve McCann: The American Left and the Death of Political Discourse

Much has been made of the precipitous decline and near death of political discourse in the United States. Many attribute this to the coarsening of the language. However, this factor is a symptom of a current underlying and foundational dilemma: the inability of not only the general public but nearly all of the so-called societal leaders and opinion makers to generate an original thought, as well as a stubborn refusal, because of a rapidly evolving totalitarian mindset on the Left and their total domination of the Democratic Party, to use reason and logic when confronted with irrefutable facts and arguments.

Whenever these same proponents appear with the conservative opposition, a pre-programmed recording is switched on. It consists of: 1) Barack Obama and the Democrats are doing a great job considering how much the Republicans and Conservatives have done in the past to foster inequality, destroy the environment and oppose any and all lifestyle choices; 2) the nation needs to spend more money to solve all problems while raising taxes on the evil rich as punishment for exploiting the masses; 3) conservatives are callous, avaricious and care little for minorities, women and children; and 4) any overt criticism of President Obama and the good intentions of the Democratic Party is a not so subtle expression of racism. When called out on these points and confronted with irrefutable facts, the recording is switched on again and repeated as often as necessary.

Lauri B. Regan: Obama and the Insanity of the Liberal Mind

Whether blinded by ideology, motivated by egocentrism and nihilism, or solely focused on their goals of destroying America’s exceptionalism (while ensuring that Democrats rule forever), liberals are incapable of scientific inquiry, common sense analyses, and reason. Their irrationality is best illustrated by examining some of the faux wars they have chosen to fight and the real ones in which they have surrendered.

Unlike Paine, liberals are intolerant and unwilling to reason let alone debate their positions, shutting down all civil discourse and opposing views. Years of Democratic rule have resulted in division, chaos, violence, and a decline in civilized and societal norms. Would that a modern-day Paine write Common Sense, Part II to inspire a new revolution in the country; one in which Americans once again rise up to gain their independence against an oppressive government.

These “faux wars” cited include global warming, Islamic terrorism, gun control, Iran, poverty and unemployment, racism, enemies, and the Constitution. All suffer from the same opportunities for distracted argument, A case study by Brian Doherty illustrates the problem. He says You Know Less Than You Think About Guns — “The misleading uses, flagrant abuses, and shoddy statistics of social science about gun violence.”

Obama tidily listed the major questions bedeviling social science research about guns—while also embodying the biggest problem with the way we process and apply that research. The president’s ironclad confidence in the conclusiveness of the science, and therefore the desirability of “common-sense gun safety laws,” is echoed widely with every new mass shooting, from academia to the popular press to that guy you knew from high school on Facebook.

What we really know about the costs and benefits of private gun ownership and the efficacy of gun laws is far more fragile than what Hemenway and the president would have us believe.

Finding good science is hard enough; finding good social science on a topic so fraught with politics is nigh impossible. The facts then become even more muddled as the conclusions of those less-than-ironclad academic studies cycle through the press and social media in a massive game of telephone.

This case study of one “faux war” illustrates just how a debate slips into the weeds and loses sight of the real issue at hand. People get so involved in ambiguities of social studies that they forget that the real issue involves such things as property rights and matters of self defense. The reference point for evaluating costs and benefits gets buried.

So many examples, no wonder both authors think that the sleeping giant will awaken and take notice and then take action. It is so easy at this time to wonder if that may ever happen.

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Sowell on 2015

This is the time for a lot of thinking about the past and the future. Thomas Sowell has his thoughts on 2015 that don’t instill a lot of confidence about what might be coming next.

More than anything else, 2015 has been the year of the big lie. There have been lies in other years, and some of them pretty big, but even so 2015 has set new highs — or new lows.

Lying, by itself, is obviously not new. What is new is the growing acceptance of lying as “no big deal” by smug sophisticates, so long as these are lies that advance their political causes. Many in the media greeted the exposure of Hillary Clinton’s lies by admiring how well she handled herself.

Lies are a wall between us and reality — and being walled off from reality is the biggest deal of all. Reality does not disappear because we don’t see it. It just hits us like a ton of bricks when we least expect it.

As for 2015, good riddance. We can only hope that people who vote in 2016 will have learned something from 2015’s disasters.

He has a bit of confusion between lies and broken promises but, either way, harm results and relationships suffer. Trust is easy to break and difficult to repair.

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As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American, cites proverbs in describing Samuel L. Jackson’s America-Bashing: a Huge Disservice.

Far too many Hollywood celebs are self-aggrandizing idiots when it comes to politics and culture. Their worldview makes them feel superior to the rest us. Neither facts nor common sense will change their minds. Ronald Reagan nailed it when he said, “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

There was a headline this morning saying the “Pope calls for end to ‘arrogance of powerful’” but his idea of the powerful is probably not the same as the one Marcus is describing (indeed, the Pope seems to be one of those “self-aggrandizing idiots when it comes to politics and culture”).

How are we supposed to deal with the fact that practically every terrorist attack resulting in the maiming and murder of Americans has been by Muslims? Also, though underreported, black youth flash mob attacks, the knock-out game and polar bear hunting attacks on innocent whites are frequent.

What is up with Jackson and other mega-rich black celebs constantly trashing white Americans whose patronage made them ga-zillionaires?

Samuel L. Jackson, Oprah, and other black celebs relentlessly bashing America is a huge disservice to all Americans, particularly black youths. Rather than saying their success is “because” of America, most black celebs promote the liberal spin, saying their success is “in spite of” America. The truth is America is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who choose to go for it. The Left is relentless in its efforts to insidiously hide the blessing of America from minorities.

The Reagan cite from nearly 30 years ago emphasizes the long term nature of the problem that stems from knowing so many things that aren’t so. What can you do when society seems driven by people based in fantasy rather than reality? “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” and he can drag the rest of us away from true witness if we are weak. Marcus is calling for strength.

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Persistent in the assault. Creative (and desperate) in tactics.

Jazz Shaw: 2016 will usher in a fresh wave of assaults on Second Amendment rights. From California’s easy path to confiscation to Washington’s ‘tax’ to Virginia’s executive fiat ending interstate agreements, the efforts are ongoing and the rationales continue to be dishonest.

Having lost the battle of public opinion on the importance of Second Amendment rights and losing repeatedly in the courts at the federal level, gun rights opponents have been crafting new strategies to chip away the constitutional rights of gun owners at the state level. (This is traditionally the line of attack where they’ve enjoyed the most success.) Since the Democrats want to score big points with the gun grabbers in their base and there’s a big election on the horizon, you can count on these stories making the news all year long.

The entire demand for gun safety research is a smokescreen to provide some sort of pseudo-science support behind the effort to ban gun ownership.

Gun violence isn’t the only issue on the table with overblown exageration. Anthony Watts: Study: hyperbole is increasing in science

We’ve long noted at WUWT that the word “robust” has seen a significant rise in usage in climate science papers, becoming a favorite word to use when statistical Spackle has been applied to climate data. Now there’s evidence from a new study suggesting that observation is spot-on.

Researchers at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands say that the frequency of positive-sounding words such as ‘novel’, ‘amazing’, ‘innovative’ and ‘unprecedented’ has increased almost nine-fold in the titles and abstracts of papers published between 1974 and 2014. There has also been a smaller — yet still statistically significant — rise in the frequency of negative words, such as ‘disappointing’ and ‘pessimistic’.

The most obvious interpretation of the results is that they reflect an increase in hype and exaggeration, rather than a real improvement in the incidence or quality of discoveries,

Vinkers and his colleagues think that the trend highlights a problem. “If everything is ‘robust’ and ‘novel’”, says Vinkers, then there is no distinction between the qualities of findings. “In that case, words used to describe scientific results are no longer driven by the content but by marketability.”

This sort of observation is why the efforts to get the CDC back into research on gun violence should be troubling. When it comes to corporations, money is corrupt and evil but when it comes to government ‘investment’ in ‘research’ money is a necessary good. Those who believe this way are not in touch with reality. But then, they may suffer confirmation bias supported by the mainstream propaganda machine. See Climate Depot: Meteorologists refute media claims that Arctic storm caused by humans: ‘That’s utter bullsh*t’ – ‘Who is feeding the media this crap?’

‘That’s utter bullshit,” meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue declared on December 29, in a response to the Washington Post’s claim that the Arctic event “reeks of a human-forced warming of the Earth’s climate.” Maue added: “Who is feeding the media this crap?”
Meanwhile Arctic sea ice extent is currently at a 10 year high

Big Arctic Melt Fizzles: “One Arctic buoy 300 km from the pole reported temperatures just above freezing for an hour yesterday. Another buoy a mile away did not report any above freezing temperatures.”

The current warm spike is not unprecedented. Arctic temperature data shows three cases of North Pole temperatures exceeding freezing (32F) since 1948.

It is one thing to be delusional but that gets compounded when you seek out any anomaly or unusual event to support your delusions and compounded again when you go to extreme links to foist your delusion on everyone else. There is reason to worry.

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Cognitive Dissonance Explained. With Examples.

Deborah C. Tyler gets into Why People Can’t Face the Truth about Obama with some rather inflammatory examples. The key element in these examples is a concept of racist America as the foundation of American Guilt(™).

In the 1950s the psychologist Leon Festinger theorized that the mind spontaneously, continuously reduces cognitive dissonance to enable goal-directed functioning in a paradoxical, inconsistent, deceptive world. Festinger’s discovery founded a rich tradition of research which has demonstrated how the mind resolves contradictions. It provides a powerful way to understand why people can’t face what President Obama is doing to America.

Research has demonstrated countless times that cognitions do not have to be true to create dissonance, they just have to be believed.

The antecedents of Barack Obama’s hatred of America are now well understood.

America is Barack Obama’s prey. He is tearing America apart and feeding the pieces of her life to his foreign and domestic fellow travelers. He is not transforming the nation but terminating it.

The immensity of Obama’s disloyalty is key to why people cannot face the truth about him.

Before the mass denial of Obama’s hatred is explained by dissonance theory, let’s mention subdissonant Americans. Subdissonant Americans have no discomfort whether America is about freedom or racism because they are too intellectually limited, dumbed-down, or drugged out to care.

Festinger’s induced-compliance paradigm of dissonance theory explains why black Americans may be the last group to face Obama’s destructiveness … The induced-compliance paradigm found that people paid only $1 to lie convinced themselves they were telling the truth more than people paid $20 to tell the same lie! This counterintuitive effect has been replicated many times. People who received minimal external motivation for managing dissonance — those paid the least — produced stronger internal justifications to deny their actual experience.

The social psychologist Elliot Aronson advanced cognitive dissonance theory, further explaining why people can’t face Obama’s hatred and destruction. Aronson’s self-concept model theorized the central purpose of dissonance reduction is to preserve positive self-image (I am a good person) and self-justification (I was right all along).

The loss of opportunities and the diminishing of hopes which Obama’s policies have inflicted create a monumental need for self-justification among his supporters.

The reality is there and it is staring down those who want to believe in something else. The reality is that racism is an inherent part of personal identity and only becomes a social issue when it drives social behaviors. What one can see is that the personal identity part is being used to drive victim beliefs that feed the idea that social racism is endemic. The meme is a common one. The reality with race is evident in the rise of the middle class black population and other ‘individually beneficial’ arenas as well as the ruckus about “diversity” as being something beneficial to the point of mandating it rather than earning it.

The takeaway is that the discussion is becoming more visible. This is the discussion about the underlying psychology that drives humans into destructive beliefs and behaviors. More are starting to wonder why people do crazy things or why people ignore reality and that is a first step towards improving emotional health in the population.

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Playing with numbers: incarceration

Paul Mirengoff reports on the myths of over-incarceration. It’s another of those issues where American Guilt (™) is being pushed by distorting reality.

Behind the push for leniency is the notion that America — aka “incarceration nation” — has sinned. We are told, based findings by the International Centre for Prison Studies (“the Centre”), that the U. S. has only 5 percent of the world’s population but nearly 25 percent of its prisoners.

But are these claims rooted in fact? Not according to a paper by Michael Rushford, President & CEO of the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation (via Crime and Consequences).

Most conservatives and centrists understand intuitively that clemency, early release, and shorter sentences for drug dealers are bad ideas. To sell these ideas to sensible Americans, proponents of sentencing reform resort to mythology — most notably the myth of over-incarceration. In doing so, they slander our country.

This is much like going to Las Vegas and thinking it will be nice because everyone will win at the gambling table. The reality is something different. Emptying prisons is betting that crime has little to do with those convicted of committing them. The evidence, and sound reasoning, indicates otherwise but it does not seem that we are in an era of evidence and sound reasoning when it comes to governance. That should be a worry.

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An illustration of why it’s not debatable

The site is named Reason.com and you’d think that it’d present reasonable material. Steve Chapman illustrates otherwise in Ted Cruz’s Climate Change Festival of Fraud
Response to global warming evidence mischaracterizes the truth
. Sounds good but only if you don’t consider what is being offered.

Consider the start: “You have to feel sorry for Ted Cruz.” This is called ad hominem and illustrates that the issue at hand is attacking the person and not climate change.

Then there is “The topic was global warming. Every major scientific body has confirmed its existence, but as “the son of two mathematicians and computer programmers and scientists,” he feels particularly qualified to debunk it.” This is an appeal to authority citing appeal to authority – double whammy. Do remember that Mann’s hockey stick debunking was done by a statistician.

Then considered this discovery of the victim’s flaws: “The second is that the satellite data don’t refute global warming. NASA says that based on surface temperatures.” There seems to be some conflict between satellite and surface measures. Choosing one or the other to suit one’s desires doesn’t instill confidence that truth is being sought. Keep in mind that the surface data record is subject to continuous “adjustments” while the satellite data is not. The most recent brouhaha deals with decisions about ship cooling water inlet temperatures being considered more reliable than buoy data. 

This same sort of confusion is evident in “The same data indicate that of the 14 hottest years ever, 13 occurred in this century. When Cruz says there has been “no significant warming” since 1997, he’s engaging in brazen deception.” The problem here is that rate of change is being confused with actual position. There is also a problem in asserting extremes without considering the facts that the measures are within margins of error and the reference period chosen is usually just recent history and quite limited.

Then there’s the money corruption angle: “Which scenario is more plausible, thousands of scientists pretending to believe in global warming to get government grants or Cruz denying it to get campaign donations?” Perhaps Chapman forgets Climategate from a few years back? In one case there is blatant evidence of corruption. In the other, only allegation. Sliming with a perceived taint of money is a phenomena that deserves proper attention as an escape from “reason.” 

The debate deserves better than this.

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Rants & Raves: fascism, false choices

Stephen Moore takes off on name calling. This time the label is “fascism” and, as usual, the definitions have been skewed to fit. The ‘Fascist’ left in America — “After Trump’s call for a Muslim moratorium the name-calling began

The left simplistically has redefined the term to mean it is when massive numbers of voters support a conservative cause supported by the right and opposed by the left.

but what is the traditional meaning of the word?

Liberal fascism, as my friend Jonah Goldberg has aptly pointed out in his book of the same title, is the “collaboration of government, church, unions and interest groups to expand government. It is simply the liberal impulse for controlling the lives of others.” It is the religion of the left.

But the real definition of a fascist is a leader who wants to use governmental power to suppress rights of individuals. It is the partnership of government and private industry for the collective good. Corporate cronyism is a classic form of fascism, which would include programs like Export Import Bank.

The distortion of language is for a purpose. Robert Knight explains Liberalism’s false choices — “Progressives shame people into adopting their agenda“.

Over and over, we’re given simplistic formulae, plus name calling if we’re on the “wrong” side of an issue.

This is not happenstance; it’s the way progressives shame people into adopting their agenda or at the very least silencing opponents.

This leaves no room for common sense and caution tempered by compassion.

There is no room for discussion, no room for learning, no room for solving problems. At least the behavior is being noted and described. Recognition and acceptance are first steps.

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