Archive for Mind Games

Case study comparisons

Rick Wallace takes a look at A case study bearing on the nature of “consensus” in normal science and in the AGW controversy. He looks at the idea of consensus in evolutionary biology and the definition of species, quantum mechanics, and other areas.

But I would contend that this is what real scientific consensus looks like. In such cases, discussants never take the ideas in question as sacrosanct, and because – at least in a normal, healthy science – intelligent inquiring intellects are constantly evaluating ideas for themselves and setting them against their own experience, such ideas are subject to vigorous and even harsh examination, often leading to a range of opinion, especially if there are serious conceptual or semantic difficulties (as there are in the case of the species concept).

Thus, in real science any state of agreement is labile at best – and establishing a consensus is about the last thing on peoples’ minds. I would go so far as to say that under these conditions, as often as not, a leading idea is a target to take aim at rather than a flag to rally ‘round.

Obviously, this cast of mind is utterly different from what we find in the AGW arena. Which in itself is compelling evidence that the motivations are different in normal science and in (C)AGW.

What is perhaps most fascinating about modern spectacles like the AGW movement (and here I’m thinking in particular of the Moscow show trials of the 1930s) is that the truth is always right there in front of everyone – and it is always apparent to those who can see.

Once again it is the point that the observable behavior can tell you about the quality of the intellectual integrity.

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It’s our response to the radiation

The BBC has a short video exploring the question: Has Fukushima’s radiation threat been exaggerated?

Five years after the devastating earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plant in north-eastern Japan, one expert is asking if the impact of the radiation was massively exaggerated.

Professor Gerry Thomas, a leading authority on the effects of radiation, walks the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes through the deserted exclusion zone and measures radiation levels.

What goes totally by the board is the mass casualties due to the earthquake and tidal wave. That has now become history while FUD mongering about the nuclear plant hit by that event continues to make headlines. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island also come up on a regular basis in the same vein. The abandoned cities and other responses to fears are shown to illustrate a danger that has never been realized by any measure that makes a clear distinction from the normal.

It is the same with climate where the measures of an ideologically desired effect are so small that they are difficult to separate from ‘normal’ that FUD mongering has to take the place of actual reality.

Dragons and demons are real, it seems, but the still only exist in the minds of those invested in fairy tales and fears. The cost of the response to those fears is not considered in any rational way. Fukushima was hit by a natural disaster outside of its design considerations yet still did not provide a worst case scenario. How much is spent on trying to be perfectly safe in an unsafe world? What is the implication of such spending on the lives and health of the populace? How is the balance?

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Self-identifying behavior

All of this has been known for a decade. Only conspiracy theorists and manipulative demagogues continue to claim that “Bush lied us into war in Iraq.” Consider it a self-identifying behavior and choose accordingly.

Ed Morrissey makes the point about the Iraq war. The key isn’t so much what the opinion is, it is the behavior in response to reality. The “Bush lied” meme is one that sweeps history under the rug and that sort of behavior self identifies those who choose fantasy over reality.

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The romantic eco-left

The romantic eco-left consists of upper-middle-class people who can’t put two and two together when it comes to economics or science. They just assume that water will come out of their faucets and electricity out of their outlets. These people love global warming because it provides a story that allows them to pursue their bizarre, anti-modern goals under the guise of saving the world.

Since science is no longer scientific, but political, global warming belief breaks down along political lines. The Democrats believe, and the Republicans are skeptical.

Norman Rogers: Yet Another Hottest Year on Record

Other than the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy (“Neither party pays much attention to the scientific facts”), Rogers brings up a few good points worth considering.

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Straw men in consensus – is that science?

Another survey by ‘social scientists’, another example of the problem. Ronald Bailey: The Debate Over Global Warming Is Just a Big Misunderstanding, Says Study — “Or is it?” The stimulus here is a study by Princeton psychologist Sander van der Linden and his colleagues.

Overall, the authors espouse what they call the “gateway belief” model of persuasion: If Americans are told that most scientists think man-made climate change is happening, they will think so too. Not only that: They will become more worried about it and start demanding government action to stop it. And so the study essentially endorses more science education as the way to resolve climate change rows.

These findings contradict previous research from the Yale Cultural Cognition Project, which concluded that beliefs about politicized areas of science are generally treated as cultural signals telling fellow partisans that you are a good person who is on their side. According to the Yale researchers, getting people to change their minds about a politicized issue amounts to trying to persuade them to betray their tribe. This dynamic makes them highly resistant to attempts to bombard them with alleged widely agreed-upon facts. Contrariwise, the folks at the Cognition Project find that the smarter a person is, the easier it is for them to find “proof” for his or her beliefs.

There are a few items mentioned that should lead to skepticism about the study report. First up is the political bias differences. When Democrats and Republicans disagree, the issue isn’t science, it is politics. Second on the list is the straw man based on fuzzy definitions and misdirection. The political disagreement is about governmental interference and cost versus benefit differences regarding the importance and level of understanding of potential human caused climate catastrophe. Exactly what global warming means and the specific items of ‘scientific consensus’ happen to be are not clearly defined nor placed into an appropriate context. A third item on the list is putting scientific consensus as something of value above all else. In science, skepticism is the value that takes precedence as it leads to learning and the advancement of knowledge. That leads to another item which is mislabeling appropriate skepticism as a denial and ideological ignorance.

The idea that ‘more science education’ will solve the problem has been around for a long time as well. It is a simplification of human cognition that has been around for ages and is as much a historically demonstrated falsehood as the idea that socialism will lead to economic prosperity. The correlation between the populations holding these two beliefs is something to consider carefully as well. An esoteric example of this is the argument about whether to teach the traditional biology then chemistry then physics order or to reverse the order to provide a more logical presentation based upon dependencies. From a cognition standpoint, it is a matter of learning to handle abstractions effectively. High school biology is mostly hands on observation and description while physics tends towards the abstractions of algebra and calculus. This, in turn, gets into the efforts to change curriculum away from algebra towards something ‘more useful’ like statistics or to implement programming techniques rather than intellectual development.

The amazing thing is that the U.S. does so well in STEM despite the populace fascination with alternative whatnot, snake oil cures, FUD mongering, and political candidates who make absurd promises and intellectually vacuous rationales for their behaviors. 

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Unraveling the meme with reality: Where is the real racial violence?

Colin Flaherty describes The Great Racial Hoax of Albany. An accusation about whites beating up blacks stimulated riots and demonstrations and other such public denunciation of racial violence. The problem is that the buses where the alleged incidents happened had cameras.

The Great Hoax of Albany started out straightforwardly enough: a dozen violent and racist white students harassed, threatened, tossed N-bombs and attacked three black coeds — hurting them really, really, really badly.

For no reason whatsoever.

It ended Wednesday when Albany police charged the three black women with assault, and charged two of them with filing a false police report about the racial violence.

No one pointed out — or cared — that in Albany, racial violence is a common and one-way thing: Black on white.

Then came the cameras: First, a camera phone from the bus. Though the audio and videos were sketchy, at no time did anyone see or hear anything like the scenario the black coeds described.

No threats. No violence. No racial slurs. In fact, some insist that the camera phone shows one of the white guys trying to stop the fight.

Then came the other cameras: the city bus had 12 of them.

The Albany Hoax is just one of several racial fairy tales to come and go over the past year. But Albany columnist Chris Churchill is urging us to pay them no mind. They are the work of the devil, he said, because everyone knows that black people are victims of relentless white racism all the time, everywhere, and that explains everything.

There is a plague of such false allegation and Flaherty lists several examples. This phenomena is part and parcel of the allegations about “mass incarceration” of blacks that only looks at the race of prison population and not at crimes committed. There is a problem. It is racial. It is internal to that race. It is related to the 70% or more babies without fathers. It is still in the denial stage. It festers. It destroys. And it is fed by those such as the Albany columnist. 

Just who is it that feeds civil disruption? What happens when they are successful?

Worried yet?

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So easily let him do it

Does actual history even matter any more? VDH considers Iraq: The Real Story

Donald Trump constantly brings up Iraq to remind voters that Jeb Bush supported his brother’s war, while Trump, alone of the Republican candidates, supposedly opposed it well before it started.

That is a flat-out lie. There is no evidence that Trump opposed the war before the March 20, 2003 invasion. Like most Americans, he supported the invasion and said just that very clearly in interviews. And like most Americans, Trump quickly turned on a once popular intervention — but only when the postwar occupation was beginning to cost too much in blood and treasure. Trump’s serial invocations of the war are good reminders of just how mythical Iraq has now become.

In October 2002, President Bush asked for the consent of Congress — unlike the Clinton resort to force in the Balkans and the later Obama bombing in Libya, both by executive action — before using arms to reify existing American policy. Both the Senate (with a majority of Democrats voting in favor) and the House overwhelmingly approved 23 writs calling for Saddam’s forced removal. The causes of action included Iraq’s violation of well over a dozen U.N. resolutions, Saddam’s harboring of international terrorists (including those who had tried and failed to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993), his plot to murder former president George H. W. Bush, his violations of no-fly zones, his bounties to suicide bombers on the West Bank, his genocidal policies against the Kurds and Marsh Arabs, and a host of other transgressions. Only a few of the causes of action were directly related to weapons of mass destruction.

It is legitimate to change opinions about a war or to rue a flawed occupation. But it is not ethical to deny prior positions or invent reasons why what once seemed prudent later seemed reckless.

We can surely argue about Iraq, but we must not airbrush away facts. The mystery of the current Iraq fantasy is not that a prevaricating Donald Trump misrepresents the war in the fashion of Democratic senators and liberal pundits who once eagerly supported it, but that his Republican opponents so easily let him do it.

The example of Korea is also mentioned with comparison and contrast. The key though, is the “so easily let him do it” notice. This concern should be in regard to the broader propaganda picture and not restricted to just one episode. The fact that so many swallow the propaganda is bad enough. The fact that so many just allow it to exist without protest should be a more significant concern. Does actual history and reality even matter in governance anymore?

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Pushing snake oil and using voodoo while calling it science

jccarlton is asking What Is “Science”. Between the videos and links that prompted the question and illustrate why it is a question, there is enough material to peruse to spend a day or two or more. The focus is on behaviors and how they reflect the quality of the ideas being presented. Behaviors can be observed and that means they can provide an objective insight into subjective bias and presenter issues.

It’s rather amazing that nobody points out the logical fallacies involved stating that the opposition HAS no arguments and are all “deniers” rather than actually addressing their supposedly false arguments. Somehow in all the debate, the side that says that they are on the side of “science” never seems to present any, well science.

We, as human beings want to trust that there’s somebody who knows more than we do. That trust though is often misplaced. The problem starts when other factors influence research. When there’s agenda driving things the science becomes yet another tool to push the politics to drive the agenda and get the desired policies. When the policies are the desired result, all you end up with is people in lab coats spouting nonsense.

The problem with the scientist as prophet scenario is that science is ultimately about discovery, not prediction. So when you treat science like a religion you are no longer dealing with discovery of what is, you are preaching what you want things to be. That’s not science, it’s using the appearance of science to legitimize your agenda.

The integrity of the activists and the media friends is never called into question. Though maybe it should be. Whether it’s creating a consensus about AGW or attacking a pesticide the activities of these people leaves a lot to be desired. But this was inevitable. Give power to people and the corruption and all it brings soon follows.

The problem is to separate the good from the bad. The power of seeming reason is a powerful tool when you are pushing snake oil. Add to that that much of what science is surrounded by jargon that may be impenetrable by outsiders seemingly. Which is actually the point. The problem is that all it takes is one bad study surrounded by all the trappings of authority to do tremendous amounts of harm.

The typical pronouncements that we see should peg our BS meters. Especially when, like Tyson and Nye strong language is used to suppress dissent and debate. If there is an effort to suppress argument, that’s your first huge clue that what you are getting is BS.

So how do you tell real science from hokum. Simple, you don’t allow anybody to keep you from asking questions.

One of the big issues to consider is not only how to distinguish between real and hokum but why nobody seems to care. The examples of AGW, GM foods, vector born disease, and vaccination are one thing. Having the two leading candidates in a national election having to testify about their potentially felonious acts is another.  There was some wondering when there was so much enthusiasm for a socialist despite the reality of history but it seems the concerns are almost in the noise. It seems other issues, the promise of the snake oil, has overwhelmed reason and integrity.

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Casual with the truth

On the ‘everybody does it‘ front, the Coyote provides a good example. The topic is ‘every politician lies’ and the error is the underlying assumption that all misstatements of fact are the same from the trivial typo to the propaganda meme. The latter is noted at the Coyote Blog (in confusion with the former).

I really don’t like the meme that Bush lied about Iraq (on WMD’s, possession of yellow cake uranium, whatever). Here is why: the implication is that if we just had smarter, more honest politicians, all of our interventionist foreign policy would work great. But beyond the fact that we never have smarter and more honest politicians, this meme prevents us from learning the right lesson from the Iraq war.

This is indeed the cost of the propaganda meme type lie and one that separates it from other types and should also serve as a reminder that just casually tossing around the ‘everybody lies’ accusation is an evasion and not a proper truth. Consider this:

The lesson from the Iraq War is that we are never going to have a sensible foreign policy until we adopt some humility — a lot of humility — about our ability to understand other countries and manipulate them by force.

Humility. That starts within. It is a personal characteristic. It is, perhaps, in taking the view that each of us ‘lies’ and we need humility to accept that we may even be lying to ourselves. That means we should be a bit reserved in casting stones and making gross assumptions about others. Sometimes we reveal our own issues in subtle ways.

I grew up in a Texas conservative Republican family, though I shed a lot of the social conservative baggage, as well as any team allegiance to the Republicans, decades ago.

Humility? This not only blasts an entire ideology but sets one as above those heathens. That is called hubris, not humility. He notes that “They say that a converted Christian is more passionate that those who have been Christian all their lives”. Yes, well, Christians are Christians because they accept the fact that they are sinners (i.e. liars) and must atone. That aspect is missing in those who see faults in others but not themselves.

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Simple Sabotage

The blog is about organization leadership and the post is about tactics that sabotage one’s own efforts. 9 Ways We Sabotage Ourselves is a book review relating tactics manuals for WW II undercover operatives to modern organizational leadership.

In Simple Sabotage, authors Robert Galford, Bob Frisch and Cary Greene explain that in January 1944 the OSS (Office of Strategic Services—predecessor of the CIA) published the Simple Sabotage Field Manual to train resistance members in the art of sabotage. “The Manual detailed easy ways to disrupt and demoralize the enemy’s institutions without being detected.”

One thing you will notice from each of these tactics or behaviors is that none of them are all that bad on the surface. One could easily find a rational explanation for engaging in them—to a point. And that’s the problem. That’s why these are insidious.

You can see these tactics in practice in government and politics and campaigns as well. The effect is not productive.

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Apple’s Straw Man

Mark Wilson notes that Apple is using a straw man argument to fight the FBI. The key he notes is that the court order says nothing about encryption yet encryption is a key part of the objection raised by the Apple CEO.

Apple is being utterly disingenuous in suggesting that this is a story about encryption. It’s not.

That’s not to say Apple is completely wrong, of course, but it is certainly being misleading.

The thing is, putting forward the idea of breaking encryption is a far, far more emotive issue. It’s something that everyone — every company — cares about.

No company wants to be seen to be siding with the enemy, even if the “enemy” is fighting terrorism. The real enemy here, for Apple, is Apple’s image. Apple is terrified of any of its sheen becoming tarnished. Sadly, the company has resorted to poorly thought out arguments based on flawed logic and unsound reasoning to support its position. The damage to image has already been done.

Part of the question in that of figuring out just who is the enemy. Apple has well know leftist leanings and that leads to suspicion that they consider the U,S. government (but not other governments, it seems) as the enemy – just look at the Snowden hagiographies from this crowd. The tactics are common. Use a straw man to divert the topic and confuse the issue. Logical fallacies do not foster honest discussion and this one provides yet another example of socially important issues corrupted by a lack of intellectual integrity.

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Koch and Sanders Agree

Charles Koch: This is the one issue where Bernie Sanders is right.

The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him.

Consider the regulations, handouts, mandates, subsidies and other forms of largesse our elected officials dole out to the wealthy and well-connected. The tax code alone contains $1.5 trillion in exemptions and special-interest carve-outs. Anti-competitive regulations cost businesses an additional $1.9 trillion every year. Perversely, this regulatory burden falls hardest on small companies, innovators and the poor, while benefitting many large companies like ours. This unfairly benefits established firms and penalizes new entrants, contributing to a two-tiered society.

Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers. That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare

The issue is currently at debate in Nevada after the PUC decided that the subsidies for household solar systems should stop. For Koch, this is a step in the right direction but for the Sanders crowd this is likely a step backward. Those on the left like to rail against corporations whose profits always seem to depend upon screwing their customers. When it comes to corporations in certain areas that are in ideological sync with them, though, using taxpayer money to screw customers is a good thing.

One of the rationalizations often used to cover over this dissonance is to confuse subsidy with tax breaks. The issue here is whether to allow certain costs to reduce taxable income or to pay money in one form or another to help defray the capital costs of a plant. 

Nevada also has its “who you know” examples in the tax breaks companies like Tesla and Amazon have been able to obtain to bring business into the state. The small guys without connections are seeing ever more taxes and fees because they don’t have the privileges and contacts that the big corporations do. 

So Charles Koch and Bernie Sanders do have some common ground. The problem is that one doesn’t have to travel far off that ground to find who has exceptions and who has consistent values.

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From talking to Saddam Hussein

Ronald Kessler describes the secret FBI debriefings done by George L. Piro as Behind Saddam Hussein’s deception — “Saddam faked having weapons of mass destruction, but he had nuclear ambitions.” It sheds light on the primary accusation of the Code Pink types picking out G.W. Bush as lying about Iraq having nuclear weapons.

The mainstream media have largely ignored Saddam’s admissions about faking WMD and his aspirations to pursue nuclear weapons. In an example of how inept Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are at public relations, neither has referred to Saddam’s admissions in explaining the rationale for taking him out.

But given that Saddam realized he was about to be executed and had nothing to lose by being forthcoming, his admissions to the FBI help illuminate why Mr. Bush and the CIA were convinced that Saddam was indeed a threat.

Of course, even Donald Trump, despite what he says today was condemning Hussein much in the same way he is talking about going after ISIS now. He joins a lot of Democrats on that bit of altered history recollection. What is also interesting is that Hussein engaged in a deliberate deception as a part of an effort to keep Iran at bay in a manner that they have now been released due to recent agreements between Iran and the U,S,

So, in this example, we have history being re-written and its consequences re-visited in a way that encroach upon world war and nuclear Armageddon. Worried yet?

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History by Personal Pique

It is another propaganda victory in that more than half the populace believes the war on Iraq was a President Bush mistake. Carl M. Cannon takes the covers off reality in Donald Trump, Iraq Demagogue.

These Democrats weren’t saying anything controversial. They were reflecting a bipartisan national will that echoed official U.S. policy. That policy, regime change in Iraq, was an actual law—The Iraq Liberation Act—signed by Bill Clinton on October 31, 1998.

This was the environment inherited by George W. Bush when he took office. The September 11, 2001 attacks only upped the pressure on Saddam, especially after Iraq became the only Arab nation not to condemn them. Weeks later, Bush received a letter signed by nine members of Congress, including John McCain and two Democrats, noting that U.N. inspectors hadn’t visited Iraq in three years.

George W. Bush made more than 150 speeches and public comments between his State of the Union address in 2002 and the March 19, 2003 announcement of the invasion. In almost all of them he cited multiple reasons for his tightening vise grip around Saddam’s regime. These include Saddam’s habit of invading his neighbors, including Iran and Kuwait; his support for international terrorism; his depredations against the Kurds; his violation of U.N. sanctions; his hostility toward Israel, which included missile attacks on civilians; his destabilizing influence in the region; his frightful crimes against his own people that included “rape rooms,” a phrase Bush invoked.

The human rights dimension was the one that seemed to motivate Bush the most. On two occasions, he recalled that Saddam had conspired to assassinate a former U.S. president, namely, his own father. This brings us full circle: Donald Trump’s apparent motivations for smearing George W. Bush is that the 43rd U.S. president has the temerity to campaign for his brother. Trump represents a new school of historical revisionism. Call it History by Personal Pique.

Yet casually accusing Bush of bad faith is another matter. When Trump does so, it has the feel of calculated misdirection. The reason? He’s the one lying about Iraq.

Yet even Cannon asserts that “an accurate recollection of the facts, however, does not absolve the Bush administration of blame for policies that led to the spiraling disintegration of the Middle East“. As indicated by Hanson (cf earlier post), it can be argued that the “spiraling disintegration” is not the Iraq war but rather the abandonment involved in ending it to appease the nationalist and sectarian interests, the isolationists, and the peace at any cost crowd. Consider the events after WW II and Korea where the U.S. commitment was honored  vs those after abandonment in Vietnam and Iraq.

But it is so easy to avoid discomfort by blaming some villain no matter how vacuous such efforts be. 1939 is in front of us again.

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Déjà vu 1939

Professor Hanson: The return of appeasement, collaboration and isolationism — “The world of 2016 is beginning to resemble the powder keg of 1939

The world of 2016 is eerily beginning to resemble the powder keg of 1939 Europe.

Iran, China and North Korea, along with radical Islamic terrorist groups, all have particular contempt for Western democracies. Almost daily, various aggressive nations or organizations seek provocation …

The European Union is largely unarmed. Yet it still trusts that it can use its vaunted “smart diplomacy” to reason with its enemies.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin’s Russia cuts deals with Iran, Syria and most of the enemies of the West. Like Stalin before, Mr. Putin cynically assumes that his triangulations will turn aggressive powers exclusively against the West. …

America is slowly withdrawing from involvement abroad, using the same isolationist arguments heard in the 1920s.

Past interventions in the Middle East have worn on the nation. Ingrate nations did not appreciate American sacrifices. In tough economic times, some contend that defense spending should be diverted to more social programs.

Appeasement, collaboration and isolationism always prove a lethal mix — past and present.

You see, Iraq was a mistake some assert. But that is only if isolationism will prevent hijacked airliners from flying into sky scrapers in suicide missions … And then there is Iran and the deal with nuclear weapons … now ISIS

worried yet? or is WW II on your list of big propaganda conspiracies like the holocaust and Stalin’s purge and the other things that even the Pope seems to forget.

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Propaganda effort in full swing

The news is full of quotes from Senator Reid and President Obama repeating the claim that the Republicans are the most obstructionist, evva’ — the stimulus is the death of a SCOTUS judge.

The adage is ‘repeat a lie often enough and it becomes truth’ and that is what one can see going on right now. Trumper’s Code Pink and 9/11 truther pledge of allegiance is another example.

In both of these examples, recent history makes clear that the efforts are poorly based but then reality has never been of much interest in propaganda campaigns such as this.

The real concern is why such dishonest efforts are effective.

Worried yet?

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Full BDS: D. Trump

BDS is Bush Derangement Syndrome. It is a result of one of the most insidious and malicious propaganda campaigns of our time. Donald Trump brought it back into the limelight at the South Carolina debate. Paul Kengor provides the background in Bush Lied About WMDs? Trump’s Outrageous Accusation.

In short, all of that very recent history was forgotten by an emotional, angry, childish political left after our troops didn’t find the WMD stockpiles we all expected.

Of course, we did discover some WMDs in Iraq after 2003 (everyone forgets this), and chief inspector David Kay found both Iraqi infrastructure and intent to ramp up WMD production once Saddam later figured he was in the clear. We did not, however, find the WMD stockpiles we expected.

That said, the argument that George W. Bush deliberately lied about WMDs is not only extraordinarily unfair but stunningly misinformed and nonsensical.

There is a related meme out there on this same line. It is that invading Iraq was a mistake. This idea must be weighed against the Authorization to Use Military Force and the Iraq Resolution (see Wikipedia). Those who say it was a mistake are saying that the United States should stand by when there is a “brutal repression of its civilian population,” a “capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people” and many other similar assertions. They must also confront the fact that the resolution received overwhelming support. The real question is that of a fickle people, a political opposition that decided that their resolution should be sacrificed on the alter of political propaganda and deceit for political gain without any consideration for the mayhem that has resulted as a consequence.

This gets right up there with the ‘anti-war’ protesters in the 60’s who engaged in war against their own nation.

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The question of our time

The Democratic Party is united in staking its future on fundamental falsehoods, from race and crime and sex (discrimination) and illegal immigration and the position of the United States abroad. Watching Clinton and Sanders speak to these matters in tandem is almost shocking. We are in the realm of all-embracing lies.

Scott Johnson takes note in After last night, an observation after watching the debate between Sanders and Clinton that did not mention e-mail or the other popping scandals even once. The ‘fact checkers’ are going to have to put in some overtime trying to find ways to truthify the talking points presented.

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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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