Archive for Mind Games

Blame the victim – academics and intellectual dishonesty

“This is not a scientific report at all, but a politicized, subjective screed designed to demonize Israel and assign total blame for a very complex political and military conflict that is well beyond the expertise of these particular individuals. That it was written by intellectuals in the West in the thralls of Palestinianism is not surprising or particularly unusual, especially in the wake of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge to protect its citizens from being murdered. What is troubling, however, is that a formerly-reputable journal such as Lancet is now being exploited as vehicle for flabby research and specious science in the pursuit of political ends.

“This is not the first time that Lancet has strayed in this pseudo-academic manner. The entire so-called “occupation” has also become a target for scientists who attempt to link the general oppression by Israel with a host of pathologies in Palestinian society.”

“When brutal military assaults and Israel’s use of weaponry cannot be blamed for causing health damage to non-Jews, Israel-haters are quick to condemn the general oppression of Zionist occupation and brutality as detriments to Arab health and happiness.”

“Other scholarly publications have been intellectually hijacked with spurious studies that have a fundamental bias to them that discredits the validity of any research.”

Academic Lies and Distortions in the Cognitive War Against Israel by Richard L. Cravatts.

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Mess it up, hyperventilate on the result, then go for the kill: leftist political strategy

“The problem with the death penalty in America is that liberals have taken a system that worked, broke it and then claimed the system is so broken it must be abolished. This is sort of like Barack Obama’s approach to immigration.” -PHILLIPS: The myth of botched executions

First you go after any method except one (lethal injection) then you go after the materials (the drugs) needed to implement that one. Then you hyperventilate on the result to try to impugn the whole idea on everything except its merits or any semblance of honest debate.

“The real outrage with executions is not that a convicted murderer like Joseph Wood may have suffered some discomfort. According to the State of Arizona he was sedated the whole time so he would not have felt anything.

The real outrage is that it takes 23 years for a sentence to be executed.”

23 years of litigation all on the taxpayer dime not to mention the costs of imprisonment.

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Moral and tactical insanity – its us providing the motivation

Krauthammer thinks it is Rare moment in international politics where “international politics present[s] a moment of such moral clarity.”

“Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

“To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.’s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.”

The fact that such clarity does not seem to matter to so many also shows in the recent shootdown on a Malaysian jetliner as well. It also is evident in domestic political scandals and such expressions as AG Holder’s “racist” rationale.  

Then there is that cheating study in Germany that seemed to indicate that those who lived longest under the Soviet socialist regime were more likely to be a bit dishonest in their play. 

How to right an insanity can be especially difficult when the very concept is denied.

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Quack detector lesson

Harriet Hall describes a method for Evaluating Treatment Claims: A Primer that is easily adapted to detecting quackery in other fields.

“The e-mail suggested I write an article providing guidelines for consumers to help them evaluate the validity of treatment claims for themselves. On SBM we are constantly stressing the need to apply critical thinking to what you read, and the many pitfalls to be avoided. I’ll try to synthesize some of the principles into a handy list of questions.”

“If you are a desperate patient, it’s only natural to grasp at any straw of hope; but when the evidence is insufficient, the reasonable approach is to withhold judgment and wait for better evidence. You might think, “If it works, I don’t want to wait” but history teaches us that the great majority of these things don’t pan out. It might not do any harm, but then again it might; there might be adverse effects that haven’t been identified yet, it might raise false hopes only to dash them, and if nothing else it might waste time and money or interfere with getting more appropriate care. When you take an inadequately tested medicine, you are essentially offering yourself as a guinea pig in a haphazard uncontrolled experiment that doesn’t even keep records. Of course, that’s your privilege; but I hope you would do it with your eyes open, with a realistic understanding of the state of the evidence.”

It is basic education: critical thinking and sound reasoning with an appropriate skepticism and allowance for precision and accuracy. The fact that using evidence and logic with a reasonable degree of intellectual integrity is so often missing as to need websites with articles like this is troubling. “It might not do any harm, but then again it might;” – think about the recent reports that the U.S. has spent $165B on global warming in recent years and think about the potential for harm in its misuse and misdirection.

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Political will ignores the last straw

Why is impeachment off the table?

“Democrats, forced to defend Obama’s numerous impeachable offenses, would be placed in the uncomfortable position of defending their own actions (or inaction) and their party’s policies and methods – which would, by extension, also be on trial. (ObamaCare is a perfect example on all counts.)

“And while the Democrat-media complex insists that the GOP shouldn’t want impeachment – in reality, neither should the complex, since the process would call attention to its own integrity and validity. Obama is the “media’s president.” They created him, protected him – and they own him. As the song goes, “it’s too late to turn back now.”

“Until conservatives can successfully convince the people that the office of the presidency is more special than the person who occupies it, and that our constitution is more important than party politics – every single American, not just Republicans in the upcoming elections, will lose. And what is lost, should Obama continue on this destructive path of fundamental transformation, may never be regained.”

Cindy Simpson takes on Impeachment: The Red Line and the Last Straw. The point is that as long as people accept assertions like the AG’s latest race-baiting and excuse and overlook criminal behavior, remedies such as impeachment are not likely to go anywhere. One only has to look at the partisan divide in Congressional oversight committees where Democrats present a solid block even going so far as to sympathize with witnesses and proclaim sorrow that they have had to be dragged through such a process to see how the political will is not there.

The political will goes back to the electorate and as long as the voters do not hold their representatives accountable to standards of integrity and validity, accountability in office will remain off the table. As long as the electorate gives credence to the excuses, the blaming, and the bald assertions that fly in the face of reality, accountability in office will remain off the table and talk of impeachment will be ridiculed and scoffed as it is now.

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Net neutrality – encroaching government control with no rationale, again

‘Net neutrality’ is another of those nice sounding phrases Tim Wu came up with. Like many of the ‘equality’ phrases such as marriage or income equality, it seems obviously some good and wonderful. Propaganda often does have a nice ring to it as long as one doesn’t look under the, often very thin, surface. Robert M. McDowell takes a look under the surface of net neutrality and explains: This is why the government should never control the internet.

“Net neutrality rules have been sold for a decade as a way to keep the Internet “open and free” by keeping Internet service providers (ISPs), such as phone and cable companies, from blocking or degrading Web sites. Its advocates have argued that ISPs have an economic incentive to act anti-competitively toward consumers and competitors. In a common hypothetical they cite, ISPs would slow — or buffer — traffic for Netflix unless it unfairly pays for more access points, or “off ramps,” and better quality of service.

“In truth, however, market failures like these have never happened, and nothing is broken that needs fixing. If consumers were being harmed by ISPs, ample antitrust, competition and consumer protection laws already exist to fix the problem. And major broadband providers have pledged, in their terms of service, to keep the Net open and freedom-enhancing. Why? Because it is good business to do so.”

In other words, the effort is another of the leftist anti-business efforts based on the idea that the government can do it better than the collective. Collective is another term often used as a paean for socialist ideas but in this case it refers to the individuals in the market whose decisions must be served in a capitalist economic environment. It is the antithesis of the centralized control by un-elected elitest bureaucrats.

“In refreshingly honest congressional testimony, Wu has crystalized the net neutrality movement’s goal: “FCC oversight of the Internet.” His simple statement acts as a dog whistle to regulators, telling them to sweep everything about the Internet under the government-controlled net neutrality umbrella— technical operations, business decisions, content and speech. State manipulation of the Net would shape “not merely economic policy, not merely competition policy, but also media policy, social policy” and “oversight of the political process,” according to Wu’s testimony. Current regulations simply do not “capture” the Net the way more government powers would through powerful new rules, he argued.”

This effort shows two phenomena that are usually visible in emotionally driven appeals for a ‘government fix. One is the fact that the fears used as a rational have never happened. The other is persistence.

“During my seven years as a FCC commissioner, I lived through several iterations of the net neutrality debate. Its proponents have broadened the term’s definition each time to serve their own growing purposes, both here and abroad.”

The need is not there but the persistence to force a government solution anyway certainly is. 

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Trying to understand the mess

Daniel Greenfield tries to explain Why Obama Ignored Iraq. Maybe an “It’s the ideology, stupid” as a campaign slogan might summarize things. Maybe his ideas will help those who are having difficulties understanding the many scandals and puzzling political behaviors facing the public today.

“The anti-war activist as pacifist is largely a myth. There are a few anti-war activists who oppose all wars, but mostly they just oppose America. Obama, who got his foot up the political ladder by flirting with the anti-war movement, falls into that category. Obama isn’t opposed to wars. He’s opposed to America.”

“Obama thinks of the ideological issue first. Then he packages it as a national interest for popular consumption.”

“Obama and his staffers see America as just another transnational institution that they happen to be running, not all that different than a corporation, non-profit or UN body. They don’t see it as a country, but a series of policymaking offices that reach across the country and the world.”

“Obama doesn’t just oppose America. He disregards it as an outmoded institution.”

“To a transnational mindset, institutions exist to promote issues. America is only of value to the extent that it can promote the left’s agenda. To the extent that it doesn’t, America is dead weight.”

“Ideologues are not big on independent thinking. When everything is politicized, they lose the ability to see the things that can’t be neatly assigned to one side or another.”

Many ideas to consider. They may help provide a better understanding of why things are as they are and what to do about it.

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Sometimes growing up wealthy influences your mind

The amazing influence of community wealth:

“having never experienced mass starvation as Indian policy makers have, American policy makers are rushing to negotiate with the same food terrorists who banned DDT in 1972, the only effective means of controlling mosquitoes that spread malaria, a regulatory coup that resulted in more deaths than both world wars.”

It is an opinion about Why India Is Right On Organics: Anti-GMO Activists Are Pro-Death Activists.

“get ready to negotiate with people who claim GMO farmers poison our children and the environment, and who believe there are too many people on the planet, without any evidence for either claim. Some say it’s a green religion. But it’s far worse. It’s an unprecedented form of anti-human anarchy, the very worst of what Jacobins, Bolsheviks, Nazis, and Maoists ever imagined.

“Every other anarchistic revolution was always restrained by physical limits. Whether it was how people could be beheaded in France, shot to death in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, gassed in concentration camps, starved to death, forced into slave labor or have their heads smashed in with rifle butts in communist Cambodia, every other revolutionary-horror inflicted by man upon his fellow man had hard, physical limits.

“But what we face now is a genocidal horror-show that only nuclear holocaust comes close to approximating”

Not having had to face the misery up front and personal is a gift. It tends to shove implications of one’s ideologies off to irrelevance and to foster an approach where ideology trumps reality.  — nice of you can afford it but many can not.

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Something has changed. Government as a cancer?

Dr. Hanson calls it the Federal Octopus.

“Government always grows, sometimes even more rapidly under Republican than under Democratic presidents. But under President Obama we are seeing something a little different — the creation of a partisan, semi-autonomous government that seems to exist for the benefit of its employees and the larger ideological agenda of the present administration.

“we are witnessing a new federal government that is a sort of rogue organism that exists for its own enhancement and is willing to do anything necessary to help those who help it.

This is not America. It is like most failed states abroad, which also are not America.”

Perhaps what is most frightening is the collusion of one party in the legislature whose members stand as a solid block opposed to any investigation or inquiry into even the most blatant criminality. It is mindful of the tale of the frog and the scorpion. Denial doesn’t change nature (or reality).

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Hiding reality under a pile of words: ideology, faux philosophy, and crackpots

Modern physics, the ideas inherent in quantum mechanics and fundamental particles, bothers some folks. Sometimes so much they attempt to create an alternate reality. That gets Luboš Motl going. He describes how Philosophy became a euphemism for crackpot physics. What he describes is a phenomena seen in many issues where ideology trumps reality such as in economics, climate, or medicine.

“philosophy has turned into a social movement where one can hide if his ideas have been falsified – killed by a procedure that is the most important building block of the scientific method. Because philosophy as an institution is a hideaway for people who are wrong, it is a factor that isn’t just neutral. Instead, it reduces the efficiency of the scientific method.”

“The point is that the partial evidence and even the rock-solid evidence just doesn’t have the ultimate power to decide and beat other arguments. The ultimate power comes from people who describe themselves as the philosophers. To a large extent, they treat themselves as infallible and their authority as permanent. This intrinsic dependence on the highly imperfect humans – humans that are not subject to any mechanism that would guarantee that they improve themselves or converge closer to the truth – is the real #1 reason why science works and philosophy doesn’t.”

“The principle is about the priority of tools and it’s the calculations that are treated as more powerful in physics than verbal arguments. It is an extremely important principle necessary for physics to work. “

The idea that mathematical calculation is a priority – often asserted in physics as “shut up and calculate” – is also true elsewhere. A standard dictum in management, for instance, is that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. The issues surrounding the measurement of temperature are a major problem in climate change. It is when you define the measures, how they are obtained, and the ‘analysis’ or calculations based on those measures to reach your conclusion that you actually have something for productive discussion or debate.

“This ability of the humans to unify all of their knowledge in this crisp way is stunningly inspiring. People like Carroll who are “sad” if they see concise foundations of physics that leave no room for babbling just hate science – and they don’t belong to science. Philosophers may prefer a world where the foundations of physics require 500 pages of rhetorical babbling. But our world isn’t like that. The “verbal”, conceptual foundations may be summarized in one sentence or two and all the other “details” are a matter of calculations. This conciseness of the foundations is pretty and people who actually like theoretical physics have been attracted by this conciseness (and the expectation that they would unify the foundations even more than that – make them even more concise) – exactly the aspect that repels physics-haters like Carroll.

An ordinary layman could be simply said to be deluded, intellectually insufficient to grasp the true foundations of modern physics. However, people like Carroll are pompous fools, aggressive self-confident idiots who try to paint their intellectual defects in rosy colors and decorations such as the word “philosophy”. They won’t hesitate to claim – and look into people’s eyes while doing so – that their misunderstandings of modern physics makes them intellectually superior while those who dare to understand the basics of modern physics are intellectually impoverished.

The correct term for these people is “arrogant cranks” and the more other philosophers fail to protect their trademark “philosophy” against parasites like Carroll, the more accurately the words “philosophy” and “crackpottery” will be turning into synonyma.”

This brings to mind the recent Congressional hearing about IRS malfeasance. The commissioner also provided this rather arrogant superiority in proclaiming his ignorance of statute and dependence upon what he claimed was “common sense.” It seems that if you can’t calculate, then hubris and a lot of uncommon words make for a good blanket over what is piling up under the carpet.

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Gotta’ be equal no matter nature or anything else

On the ‘war on boys’ front, it is the 42nd anniversary of a famous piece of federal legislation. Christina Hoff Sommers describes Title lX: How a Good Law Went Terribly Wrong

“But the Women’s Sports Foundation disagrees. Girls are every bit as interested in sports as boys. According to its Title IX Myths and Facts, “Given equal athletic opportunities, women will rush to fill them; the remaining discrepancies in sports participation rates are the result of continuing discrimination in access to those opportunities.” And many well-meaning judges and government officials have agreed with them.

“But there’s overwhelming evidence that women, taken as a group, are less interested than men in competitive sports. In 2012, a group of psychologists analyzed men’s and women’s propensities by looking at how many of them pursue team sports in their leisure time. Intramural sports are recreational games that college students can play just for the love of the sport. The researchers found that only 26% of intramural participants are women. They also studied recreational activity in 41 public parks in four different states. Lots of women were exercising, but only 10% of those playing competitive team sports were women. A 2013 ESPN report on youth sports found that 34% of girls in grades 3-12 say sports is a big part of who they are; for boys the figure is 61%.”

“Title-niners treat women’s underrepresentation in sports as an injustice that must be aggressively targeted. But areas where men fall behind raise little concern.”

Gotta’ be equal no matter what it takes … not only equal opportunity but also equal outcome. Nature doesn’t seem to agree so it must be bent to fit no matter the cost.

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Subscribing to the meme on Iraq and WMD

Alicia Colon calls it the Right wing dementia on Iraq in full swing.

“What is unusual is that this revision of history is being committed by conservatives who should know better. Recent commentary by Glenn Beck, George Will and Charles Krauthammer indicate that they have significant memory lapses about why we went to war in Iraq. They now suggest that it was a wrong decision whereas my complaint is that we took too long to invade and oust Saddam Hussein.”

“I would differ from these assessments because I remember all too well what happened on September 11, 2001 and the days following. “

WMD? She covers that one, too. The old adage is that if you tell a lie often enough, it will become truth and lies about Iraq certainly seem to be a case supporting this idea.

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Prosecutors and other government agents building confidence in the system?

“We are not safe. We are not happy. The only question now is: How long are we going to take it?”

What will finally be the last straw? FrankMiele asks.

“There is a name for what the government did to the Washington Redskins last week. It is called extortion.”

Johnathan Turley describes how The patent office goes out of bounds in Redskins trademark case.

“The problem is that the Redskins case is just the latest example of a federal agency going beyond its brief to inappropriately insert itself in social or political debates.

Few people would have expected the future of the Redskins to be determined by an obscure panel in a relatively small government agency. Yet the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board showed little restraint in launching itself into this heated argument — issuing an opinion that supports calls for change from powerful politicians, including President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The board had at its disposal a ridiculously ambiguous standard that allows the denial of a trademark if it “may disparage” a “substantial composite” of a group at the time the trademark is registered.”

“As federal agencies have grown in size and scope, they have increasingly viewed their regulatory functions as powers to reward or punish citizens and groups. The Internal Revenue Service offers another good example.”

“There is an obvious problem when the sanctioning of free exercise of religion or speech becomes a matter of discretionary agency action.”

Then there are matters of prosecutorial indiscretion and the political propaganda campaign. David Harsanyi takes up the latest outrage on this front as Hillary vs. Walker: Due Process Only Applies If You’re A Liberal” – “Child rapists deserve due process. Conservatives governors, not so much.” Hillary defended a rapist early in her career by sliming the victim. Walker was the subject of secret ‘investigations’ that both state and federal courts threw out as unsubstantiated. Hillary gets defended and excused. Walker gets excoriated by innuendo.

And then there’s the IRS commissioner with a smirk and no apologies about destruction of evidence despite the laws for records retention.

worried, yet?

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Power or wealth: Corruption and ideology: The sad state of the Doj

There’s a book out. Feulner describes it as detailing The disastrous tenure of ‘Obama’s Enforcer’ – Holder’s stint as attorney general has been driven by politics and incompetence.

“To some observers, the idea of a truly ethical Justice Department is something of a pipe dream. As far as they’re concerned, the attorney general is nominated by a president who’s either Democrat or Republican, so we shouldn’t be surprised when he conducts business is a partisan manner.

“Such a cynical view, though, is unfounded. Many fine attorneys general have served ethically defensible terms under both Republicans and Democrats. The tenures of Edwin Meese under Ronald Reagan and Griffin Bell under Jimmy Carter, for example, prove that the Justice Department can be run in an entirely independent, professional way.

“Mr. Holder’s term as attorney general represents the other end of the spectrum: driven by politics, tainted by scandal and mired in corruption. The need for an attorney general that will, in fact, uphold the Constitution in a fair, impartial and ethical fashion has never been greater.”

But there’s another story this morning, too. It seems that the Pope thinks that anyone who has a lot of money is unethical so maybe corruption in government and politics wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for rich people. or something. Perhaps this sort of a priori assumption – perhaps based on greed and envy itself –  illustrates the confusion that allows the behavior that is described in the book Feulner describes.

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Reality has legs and will stand on its own. Fantasy requires help. Why so much effort to keep fantasy from falling?

Why?

“If movie liberals defend the accused out of the goodness of their hearts, real ones defend the accused to embarrass the system and shame America. In her memoir, The Never-Ending Wrong, Pulitzer Prize winning author Katherine Ann Porter tells how she first came to understand this. The occasion was the impending 1927 execution of Italian anarchists and convicted murderers, Sacco and Vanzetti.As the final hours ticked down, Porter stood vigil with others artists and writers in Boston.

“Ever the innocent liberal, Porter approached her group leader, a “fanatical little woman” and a dogmatic Communist, and expressed her hope that Sacco and Vanzetti could still be saved. The response of this female comrade is noteworthy largely for its candor: “Saved?” she snarled. “Who wants them saved? What earthly good would they do us alive?”

“With the Italians dead, their innocence and the xenophobic injustice of the American legal system could be preserved in amber, and God help the man or woman who challenged this narrative.”

Jack Cashill takes a look at Why O.J.’s Saga Lives and Trayvon’s Died and notes that reality plays a part. The question is “why” – why do people distort reality in cases like these? Why the fixation on a false fantasy about “the xenophobic injustice of the American legal system” that drives one to ‘Dan Rather’ the facts?

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War on energy; symbols and acceptable collateral damage

First up is DRIESSEN: What’s really behind anti-Keystone fanaticism? who describes how “The pipeline is the symbol of Big Green opposition to modern living standards”

“The Keystone and other anti-fossil-fuel campaigns are backed up by other wealthy liberal foundations that collectively have more than $100 billion in assets.”

“This is a force to be reckoned with — a force that vigorously supports what the Competitive Enterprise Institute calculates has now reached $1.9 trillion in regulatory compliance costs on United States businesses and families. That’s one-eighth of the entire U.S. economy.

It’s no wonder employment and economic growth rates are so miserably low.
Opposition to Keystone epitomizes how callous, arrogant, hypocritical and destructive Big Green has become. Legislators and regulators need to start recognizing the rights and needs of poor, working-class and minority families.”

Then the story about Fallout from fracking bans: Family farms, elderly devastated in Mountain West.

“Overlooked in Colorado’s fierce political battle over the booming practice of hydraulic fracturing are the state’s 600,000 mineral owners, many of whom depend on the royalties from oil and gas leases for their livelihoods. Those owners are growing increasingly alarmed as anti-fracking groups demand moratoriums or outright bans on oil and gas production in jurisdictions across the state.”

Voters in four Colorado cities along the Front Range — Boulder, Broomfield, Fort Collins and Lafayette — approved anti-fracking measures last year. Local and national environmental groups hope to parlay those victories into a statewide win in November.
Mineral owners such as the Koenekes have remained on the sidelines, but that is about to change. Neil Ray, past president of NARO-Rockies, said owners are considering a lawsuit aimed at recovering their losses in cities that ban fracking.
The damages from such a lawsuit could be astronomical. Mr. Ray pointed to an engineering report that places the value of a 640-acre section of eastern Boulder County at $64 million for a mineral owner who is paid 20 percent on the lease over the lifetime of the production.”

“Of course, most voters who cast ballots against fracking aren’t considering the prospect of enormous compensation awards, nor the harm to mineral owners, said Michelle Smith, NARO-Rockies president.”

““Lafayette has an outright ban, so [the widow] is denied that income,” said Ms. Smith. “You can’t put the rights of some of the citizens above the rights of some of the others. And that’s exactly what’s happening.”

Consequences and implications are often overlooked, especially in propaganda campaigns where sound bytes and symbols are more likely to stick in the mind. The fanatical ideologues have the funding to put their utopia front and center. It is up to the voter to detect the lack of intellectual integrity and consider the consequences and implications because they will not be denied and the price will be paid if they are set aside.

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Club Gitmo: Propaganda and delusion realized

Bruce Thorton takes on the Progressive Gitmo Myth. The Bergdahl case has brought the issue of shutting down the prison back to the fore. That, in turn, is a reminder of just how the Left politicized the war on terrorism and that, as usual, gets into the myths of the Left and its delusions about war and about the United States.

“For Obama’s liberal base, Gitmo has been part of a larger narrative of American tyranny, particularly George Bush’s alleged lawlessness in waging an “illegal” and “unnecessary” war in Iraq. … Democrats began endorsing the far-left “Bush lied” analysis of the war that John Edwards, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton had voted for based on the same intelligence that led to the Bush administration’s decision. With the anti-war movement providing the visuals for television news, the left’s distorted history of Vietnam was resurrected to provide the template for the war in Iraq, particularly the charge that the Bush administration had lied … Soon the whole litany of American militarist evils was applied to Iraq and the war against terrorists and their enablers. Torture, illegal detention, and abuse of prisoners were staples of that catalogue, and for leftists Gitmo fit the bill.”

“Yet despite these facts, the myth has arisen that the existence of Gitmo, as the Wall Street Journal summarized liberal thinking, “symbolizes prisoner abuse, serving as a propaganda tool for extremists and complicating counterterrorism efforts with allies.” The incoherence of this argument points to the larger problems of American foreign policy in dealing with jihadism.

First, our tendency to take seriously the malignant propaganda of our enemies bespeaks our civilizational failure of nerve. Since there has not been any “prisoner abuse” at Gitmo, why should we legitimize blatant lies the purpose of which is to erode our morale and serve the interests of disaffected Westerners?”

The question boils down to asking just how many (more) will die as a result of these delusions? Those kinds of stakes are why denial and delusion are so heightened.

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Trying to find a rational understanding of irrationality

Energy, climate, medicine, and even such things as liberty and the military create political brouhahas that can be difficult to understand. An example is a look at the question Why Is Clean, Cheap, Conventional Energy a Hard Sell? (Part 1) by Wayne Lusvardi and Charles Warren on June 5, 2014.

“The result of opposing conventional energy is therefore a win-win-win for socialism. For techno-socialists, there is the mythic grandeur of holding out for the impossible dream of energy utopia. For eco-socialists, there is the mythic holiness of lowering living standards and going back to an ascetic, simple lifestyle in a bucolic green landscape guided by a conservation ethic. And for crony capitalists, it just so happens, a first step in the right direction (in either the techno- or eco- direction, they will assure you) is the use of highly subsidized “renewables” that foist higher electricity prices on everyone else.

Given the inherent mythological handicap of market electricity in offering an appealing vision, despite its undeniable contributions to human welfare, what can those in the conventional energy industry do? Part 2 of this series will discuss what can be done to overcome the powerful mythic pull of postmodern, central planning in the electricity industry and in society.”

On one side is the paradigm of dealing with reality and actually serving the needs of individuals with what can be done. On the other is a vision and an ideal about what should be. One is in the present, the other in a future fantasy. If you have your feet on the ground, it can be difficult to communicate with someone who has his head in the cloud.

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Constitutional tension

Robert N. Tracci provides today’s lesson in Consitutional tension with a current example of its abuse: Sacrificing the Constitution for the Democratic Party.

“Legislative leaders have never been so eager to strip themselves of powers the Constitution entrusts to them. Never before have they so openly colluded with the executive to do.

“Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution vests Congress with “all legislative powers.” Congress can arrogate executive power no more than the president can assume lawmaking functions. Of no less importance, Congress can validly relinquish legislative power to the executive no more than the president can properly cede executive authority to Congress. Messrs. Reid, Durbin and Schumer’s extralegal effort to endorse the executive exercise of legislative power does not confer legitimacy upon potential presidential action. Rather it compounds the constitutional injury such action would inflict while diminishing the institutional standing and credibility of the Senate itself.

“Constitutional vandalism of this kind must be repudiated.”

Countries do not become tyrannies because of just one. It takes collusion and cooperation.

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The hardened heart

It seems that so much of what should be a reasoned debate is useless. Facts do not matter and denial behavior including projection, logical fallacies and the rest become predominant. Herschel Smith provides an analysis of a letter: Dear Christians With Guns.

“But since you don’t believe in God, you have no means to effect anything.  God doesn’t hear you, and Mr. Scott doesn’t control anything.  It wouldn’t matter.  You wouldn’t change God’s law with your prayers anyway, you would only be asking God to change your own heart.  It seems to me that you don’t want your views to be changed, so your heart is hardened.  You’re at a dead end, Anastasia.

As for me, you cannot possibly do anything to my views of the Bible and guns. I see things through the eyes of the holy Scriptures. I’ve pointed out that God’s law requires me to be able to defend the children and helpless. “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.” I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.”

There is a reality and there is a fantasy. All too often, it seems, the fantasy is too real for too many,

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