Archive for Mind Games

Pope Francis: just a man of the time?

Front Page Magazine has two columns on the Pope and his expression of the PC attitudes towards the people of Jesus’ ancestors. Caroline Glick describes Pope Francis’ Unfriendly Visit to Israel and Robert Spencer notes the problems with Pope Francis: Mahmoud Abbas is a “Man of Peace”. Both are mindful of the Biblical advice about false prophets. The Pope isn’t supposed to be politically correct in the manner that Jesus and his disciples made their own path.

A friendly visit?

“The Palestinians – and their Islamic and Western supporters – de-Judaize Jesus and proclaim him Palestinian in order to libel the Jews and criminalize the Jewish state. It seems like it would be the job of the Bishop of Rome to set the record straight. But instead, Francis’s discourtesy indicated that at a minimum, he doesn’t think the fact of Jesus’s Judaism should be mentioned in polite company.

Francis’s behavior during his public meeting with Netanyahu could have been brushed off as much ado about nothing if it hadn’t occurred the day after his symbolic embrace of some of the worst anti-Jewish calumnies of our times, and his seeming adoption of replacement theology during his homily in Bethlehem.”

and a man of peace?

“In allowing himself to become an instrument of Palestinian jihad propaganda, and spreading that propaganda himself, the Pope has done a grave disservice to free people and aided and abetted the genocidal jihad against Israel. The damage resulting from his trip is impossible to calculate at this point, but it could be immense. Pope Francis’s jaunt in the “State of Palestine,” was a tremendous show of support for the jihad against Israel, and a dark day for the papacy, the Roman Catholic Church, and free people everywhere.”

Add this to the understanding of the human side of economics and one has to wonder. The Pope is supposed to be a bit better in touch with the real world God created rather than the one human’s imagine.

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Myth mongering: trying to deny the reality

The ‘Nixon got the IRS to go after political enemies’ has been popular lately what with the current IRS scandal. The ‘useless Bush wars’ is another one that denies the authorization to use military force. Now we have the outing of CIA agents as a stimulus to push another denial rationalization. William A. Jacobson describes how the WaPo perpetuates myth that Bush Admin Iraq War supporters “outed” Valerie Plame.

“A reader called to my attention this sentence in a Washington Post report about the Obama administration outing the identity of the CIA Station Chief in Afghanistan …”

“Scooter Libby was convicted for lying to prosecutors and obstruction of justice in the Special Prosecutor’s investigation, under a contorted theory that nonetheless prevailed with a jury. He was sentenced to jail, but the sentence was commuted by George W. Bush.

“Libby, a close confidant of Dick Cheney, however, was not the leaker.

“The leaker was an Iraq War critic in the State Department, Richard Armitage. Christopher Hitchens reported at the time”

They’ve got a twofer going on this one. Not only a ‘both sides do it’ excuse for the current example but also a blame shift away from the culpability of friends in the previous example.

Then there’s the whole issue of screaming about useless investigations compared to what happened to Libby, but that’s another story.

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Incrementalism when all else fails

The banners of “equality” and “fairness” are quite attractive. What is under the banners, though, can be quite ugly. But who looks under the covers? TELFORD: A stubborn devotion to Internet regulation describes one case.

“The “Open Internet Order,” an FCC order adopted in December 2010, intended to place strict federal regulations on ISPs, forcing them to treat all data equally. Veiled under the pretense of “fairness,” these net neutrality regulations could have prevent ISPs from providing efficient Internet service to consumers, as all data are not created equal, and different types of Web content (simple text and live streaming video, for example) require varying degrees of service. Under this order, ISPs would not have been allowed to differentiate between simple and complex data, prioritize high-demand content such as Netflix or take other steps to compete, innovate and attempt to make Internet service better for their customers.

“Fortunately for everyone who uses the Internet — from developers all the way down to casual Web browsers — a federal court struck down the order earlier this year, determining the FCC lacked legal authority to impose such a regulation. Rather than accept defeat, the administration moved on to Plan C, pushing the politically unpopular policy through yet again, this time softened to allow traffic to be differentiated, but only if bureaucrats at the FCC consider it “commercially reasonable” on a case-by-case basis. This version of net neutrality has Google, Facebook and other White House-friendly tech giants in an uproar.”

Persistence is an admirable trait but when that persistence is after controlling someone else, it becomes something else.

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Net Neutrality

J.C. Dvorak takes on the The Net Neutrality Hysteria, one of those appealing labels applied to a questionable effort for government control at the expense of those ‘greedy, evil’ corporations.

“It stems from a belief that without some sort of law or government edict, the evil ISPs—mainly Comcast—will go out of their way to screw customers by practicing all sorts of devilment.”

“So … why hasn’t it done this already? Nobody can really answer that, except to say some unenforceable FCC principles, suggested years ago, are being used to stem any corrupt practices.”

“After years of fear that the government will take control of the Internet, now everyone is begging them to do it. The two liberal commissioners on the FCC pretty much said that problems are coming and rules need to be put in place. This pre-crime thinking will result in regulation that will encroach on everything.”

“The public can find a lot of ways to punish a corporation that abuses its privileges. This situation should not be escalated to the point that the FCC has anything to do with it.”

The Snowden episode is used as an example to illustrate why the government cannot be trusted. That illustrates a bias on its own that tends to detract from the case made. Fundamentally, it conflates the matter of knowing with that of doing. The net neutrality effort isn’t just a listening issue, it is a control and doing issue. It is about having the government regulate the internet service business to control content and how it is handled. It is being done with an unwarranted suspicion of the targets involved and an anticipation of something that might happen but hasn’t yet – notice how that same set of tactics is used by the climate alarmists?

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Ethics, politics, and the current state of affairs

Victor Davis Hanson provides a list: President Obama’s ethical vacuum — “Untainted administrators and department heads are few and far between.”

In all of these cases, politics trumped ethics. Because Mr. Obama professed that he was on the side of the proverbial people, administrators assumed that they had a blank check to do or say what they wished without much media audit. The mystery is not whether some administration officials were incompetent or unethical or both, but whether there are any left who are not.

and, no, both sides are not the same. Asserting so is just a denial of reality.

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The will of the people?

You have to wonder. When the citizens of a state overwhelmingly pass a constitutional amendment only to find that their officials don’t defend it and the courts dismiss it, what will happen next. This scenario has happened in California, Utah, and, now, Oregon. Ed Morrissey has the story about how a Federal judge overturns marriage definition in Oregon constitution.

“Remember when traditional marriage advocates put their trust in constitutional amendments to keep activist judges from unilaterally imposing a requirement to recognize same-sex marriage? In Oregon, that’s not ancient history; 60% of voters approved the constitutional amendment just ten years ago, when several states did the same thing in response to state courts changing the definition of marriage. The strategy didn’t last, as a federal judge overturned the clause in the state constitution — after the state refused to defend it”

In this case, the issue was settled by the voters. … the Attorney General is the people’s lawyer, their legal representative as well as their top law-enforcement officer. If the state’s elected lawyer doesn’t want to represent the people in court, then he or she should resign and let someone else take the job. The people deserved to be represented in court by their paid attorney, whether the AG liked the law or not.

If attorneys argue — correctly — that rapists and murderers deserve a defense, then why should that be denied to the people of Oregon and California?

Dereliction of duty, political activism on the bench, and shoving it down the throats of the people. The question is what will happen when the people decide that enough is enough?

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Both sides do it?

One of the excuses or rationalizations for inappropriate behavior is that ‘both sides do it.’ This comes up in the IRS scandal trying to pretend that wishing to sic the IRS on political opponents (e.g. Nixon, R) is the same as actually doing it. A pattern is beginning to show, however, that is making the ‘both sides do it’ rationalization rather thin. Communications have surfaced that implicate Democrat Party leaders in misconduct in regards to the IRS scandal. Another is described by John Hinderaker about how Democrats persist in illegal use of capital visitor center.

“In addition to being tasteless, the event is illegal for the reasons we stated here. Today, Candice Miller, Chair of the Committee on House Administration, wrote a polite letter to Nancy Pelosi pointing out the legal issues with the Democrats’ use of the Visitor Center for a partisan political event.”

“Tomorrow evening’s event promises to be a clown show, and an illegal one, at that. The fact that the Democrats have sunk this low is one more sign of how intellectually bankrupt the party has become.”

The Koch Brothers obsession is about trying to overturn the Citizens United where the SCOTUS decided that corporations could speak as citizens. The use of taxpayer facilities to air a deceitful propaganda film with Congressional leaders chipping in to denigrate their opposition is the example here. That isn’t something both sides do.

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The case of Lennart Bengtsson – a victim of modern extremism

Luboš Motl has the rant of the day: Lennart Bengtsson will probably remain a renegade, anyway.

“I must say: Welcome to the real world, Lennart Bengtsson. Maybe he didn’t expect this reaction. I surely would. You know, the movement of climate psychopaths belongs among the most aggressive extreme components of the far left and new fascist political movements of our epoch. They have no respect to any moral and human values that would transcend their sick propaganda whatsoever. They’re ready – and eager – to destroy human lives. Some of them are bloody, treacherous beasts of prey dressed up as friends. In the world of Academia, they’re omnipresent. It doesn’t mean that they’re the majority; they are surely not. But their concentration and their aggressiveness is high enough to cripple and poison every large enough research group or institution.”

“It seems unlikely to me that by having resigned from the GWPF board, Lennart Bengtsson will revert his standing in the “community” to the previous conditions. These climate fascists have probably labeled him a dangerous renegade, a heretic, a doomed apostate. Special folders and pages on the black lists have been dedicated to him. Some of the alarmists may be somewhat moderate but the most consequential ones are the infinitely unhinged individuals whose desire for the ideological “purity” (meaning 100% šittiness) within what they consider “their ranks” knows no limits.”

To underscore the observation, it appears that Henninger did a census of this year’s PC impact on graduation speakers in a WSJ column. Worried, yet? 

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Racism and slavery rationalizing ideological hatred

When a wealthy sports star cites a slavery background as a proper grievance in modern society, there is a lie being promulgated. Jack Kerwick describes the Inconvenient Truths about Race & Slavery.

“the very word “slave” stems from “Slav,” i.e. a reference to the experience of millions of (white) Slavish people who endured centuries of slavery at the hands of African Muslims.”

“it was the “African elites” who “converted” the African masses to Christianity and that it was these same elites—not European abductors—who sold their fellow black Africans into slavery across the Atlantic.

Of the 12.5 million Africans sold during the era of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Gates further observes, only about 388,000 were shipped to America.

“An honest discussion of race in America would include the fact that whites were slaves, for sure, but it would also have to accommodate the obscene truth that as many as 4,000 free black families owned slaves in the antebellum South. More stunning still is that, arguably, the first slave master in early America was a black man.”

Slavery is still a problem in the mid-East and in Africa yet that current problem is set aside to whine about an institution that was abolished in Western Culture based countries more than a century ago. Slavery and racism are being abused in an egregious deception.

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Marking a descent into the depths

“Reading Paul Pillar’s smear of Sheldon Adelson saddened me. Paul, when I knew him, was as honest, as intelligent, as idealistic as anyone of my acquaintance. Forty-odd years later, is this what liberalism has come to? A dead end where its best representatives have nothing substantive to offer, but can only smear Republican campaign donors? Where formerly brilliant minds labor to justify a claimed equivalence between the Democrats’ “white primaries” of the 1930s and a Republican donor trying to find a good presidential candidate to support?

“Yes, I think that is exactly the depth to which liberalism and the Democratic Party have fallen. There is nothing left of principle; of honesty; of idealism; of intelligence. There is only malice, snarling in the dark.”

John Hinderaker: Paul Pillar, CIA Terrorism Expert, Descends to Anti-Israel Smear Merchant. The description is just another case. The Senate Majority leader still has his Koch thing, The House minority leader is still trying to figure out how to cover up scandals by smearing political opponents. 

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Modern age simple-mindedness

You can see it in ‘debates’ and in ideology. It shows in the assertions made about motivation and war. It leads to severe dissonance because often the real world does not fit in with it. Professor Hanson describes a case in explaining Why Putin grabs what isn’t his and how “History’s aggressors [are] motivated by fear and wounded pride.”

In the modern age, especially since Karl Marx, we rationalize the causes of wars as understandable fights over real things, like access to ports, oil fields, good farmland and the like. Yet in the last 2,500 years of Western history, nations have just as often invaded and attacked each other for intangibles. The historian Thucydides wrote that the classical Athenians had won and kept their empire mostly out of “fear, honor and self-interest.”

It is these intangibles which drive the left and also create their antipathy towards concepts such as duty, loyalty, honor, and patriotism. It is the simple-mindedness that leads to strange rationalizations of international relationships and behaviors.

The Obama administration has tried to psychoanalyze Mr. Putin as lashing out because of weakness. Or he is supposedly an unruly kid cutting up at the back of the classroom. Or he is acting out a tough-guy “shtick,” as President Obama put it.

Maybe. It would be wiser, though, to review the historical causes of war, especially why conflicts break out. Aggressors often attack their weaker neighbors to restore a sense of pride. They calibrate self-interest not so much in getting more stuff as winning greater honor, feeling safer and instilling more fear.

Just as importantly, history’s aggressors embraced their fears and sense of honor because they thought they could get away with doing so scot-free — given the perceived loss of deterrence.

It is the same phenomena behind Reid’s obsession with the Koch brothers and the simplistic ignoring of reality behind energy issues. There are a lot of words available, words like pride and hubris, for instance, but these seem to have no meaning for one side in today’s political divide. 

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Official FUD mongering

“Let’s get one thing clear: The National Climate Assessment is a political call to action document meant for the president’s left-leaning constituency. What pretense of scientific support that decorates it quickly falls away under a close and critical inspection.”

Spreading Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt is a dubious and dishonest tactic. Paul Knappenberger describes how the recently released National Climate Assessment report raises [a] false alarm and how “Politics [is] certainly behind the president’s report.”

It boggles the mind how a ‘science policy paper at such a level could qualify for “Nothing could be further from the truth.” As Knappenberger notes, the assertions don’t even pass the laugh test. Yet they are put out as Truth.

worried?

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Censure Reid?

Ralph Benko says Harry Reid’s Neo-McCarthyist Vilification Of The Koch Brothers Begs For Censure.

“In conducting a campaign of vilification and of leveling an accusation of “un-American” Harry Reid is disgracing the United States Senate in ways comparable to the misconduct of Joe McCarthy. Only by censuring Harry Reid can the United States Senate regain dignity. Harry Reid deserves censure for Neo-McCarthyism.”

But, you hear, both sides do it! That is like the recent story about how North Korea released a long list of U.S. civil rights abuses to show that ‘both sides’ do that, too. The tearing in that rationale is related to other scandals. Thomas Lifson describes The Democrats’ Dilemma on Benghazi.

“Though they may publicly deny that there is any scandal in the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012, there must be doubts emerging, if only because we now know with certainty that a critical email was withheld in violation of a subpoena from the Issa Committee. Though most Democrats loathe Darrel Issa (and the entire Republican Party, for that matter), the expression “cover-up” is now in play, and the senior Congressional leadership of the party is old enough to remember the Watergate hearings, and the articles of impeachment that emerged from that process, authored in part by a young committee staffer named Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Article 1 cited as part of the justification for impeachment:

withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;

The Bundy affair is another one that comes up and implicates Senator Reid as well. The corruption possibilities have a lot of meat for the conspiracists but isn’t getting much play. What is getting play dates back to the 1976 legislation that started the overturning of Western land homestead grants and rights. That was where the idea of using ‘protected habitat’ started as a means to grab land for politically correct development. 

A disjointed collection? Indeed. The common theme goes back to the Senate Majority Leader and his approach towards his political enemies and his accumulation of wealth while serving as an elected representative of the people. He isn’t alone in what he considers proper behavior.

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Burning Man does an about face

“Money is not Bundy’s point. Pleasing Harry Reid or the federal bureaucracy is not either. Making a living from the scrub of a desert by providing people good food probably is.

“Grant him that. He’s our past, Harry Reid and the bunch in Washington our future. To paraphrase the ancients, sometimes we’d rather be wrong with Cliven Bundy than right with Harry Reid — and the SWAT teams that will revisit Mr. Bundy and his clan very, very soon to enforce a dispute over grazing fees and insensitivity to a tortoise.”

Victor Davis Hanson on Civilian Bundy and The Rural Way

But it seems that Bundy has got a Burning Man organizer miffed (Washington Times). It seems they pay The Man so why shouldn’t Bundy? It does seem rather strange. Burning Man is about individual freedom and sticking it to the powers that try to control, a.k.a. The Man, you know, the one they burn. In this case, though, they side with The Man and go after the individual.

Burning Man charges its participants to pay whatever fees the government decides to charge along with other costs and whatever is needed to make an appropriate profit. The fee is to allow them use of a BLM playa for a week or so. As they’ve done before, they can change venue if the fees become too onerous or the government sets unreasonable conditions or whatnot. Burning Man organizers are more interested in keeping participants coming – and paying the fare – than they are in the land. The land and the nearby communities and the various governmental agencies fall into the category of ideological niceties or necessary nuisances.

Bundy is in a bit different situation. His ranch is a homestead which the government deeded to him with certain rights on nearby resources in exchange for developing the land as a productive ranch. His livelihood depends upon effective and proper stewardship of that land. He can’t just up and go somewhere else – he’s lost 52 neighbors who have been forced out and had to find other careers. When the government goes rogue, or some folks like the Burning Man organizer target him, he is backed into a corner.

It is a typical disingenuous tactic of the left, though: Ignore the issues and ramifications and instead find a nitpick to pound incessantly. The nitpick here is that Bundy is a lawbreaker. The issues and ramifications have to deal with armed forces trying to enforce a civil matter, governmental overreach, regulatory harassment, potential governmental corruption and collusion, proper land use, historical precedence, state’s rights over lands within their boundaries,  and governmental enforcement priorities.

I wonder what the Burning Man organizers would think if Federal, State, and county enforcement showed up en-masse in full SWAT gear to take a sweep of their event to arrest any and all lawbreakers. How many vehicles are not equipped properly or properly licensed and registered? Drugs? Public displays of nudity? Child porn? Polluting the playa or otherwise not following the letter of the use permit? Attendees with outstanding criminal warrants? Foreigners with improper paperwork? Vagrancy? Fires and hazardous materials? Electrical and construction code violations?– It’d be quite a project to cull all the laws and regulations to find all the offenses that could be cited. Handcuffs, guns, tazers, police bullying, and other tactics as seen at the Bundy ranch would probably not make for happy campers.

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Jumping the shark at the Bay of Pigs?

There is an interesting juxtaposition in commentaries this morning.

John Fund wonders about The United States of SWAT? where “Military-style units from government agencies are wreaking havoc on non-violent citizens.”

“The proliferation of paramilitary federal SWAT teams inevitably brings abuses that have nothing to do with either drugs or terrorism. Many of the raids they conduct are against harmless, often innocent, Americans who typically are accused of non-violent civil or administrative violations.”

Then Humberto Fontova takes look at the history of the Bay of Pigs assault that happened 53 years ago.

“Where are the planes?” kept crackling over U.S. Navy radios two days later. “Where is our ammo? Send planes or we can’t last!” Commander Jose San Roman kept pleading to the very fleet that escorted his men to the beachhead (and sat much closer to them than the Sixth Fleet sits to the Libyan coast today). Crazed by hunger and thirst, his men had been shooting and reloading without sleep for three days. Many were hallucinating. By then many suspected they’d been abandoned by the Knights of Camelot.

The Cuban effort marks a point where the heart for winning went out of U.S. efforts for freedom and liberty. The militarization of the police illustrates a building of heart in political leaders for the suppression and intimidation of citizens.

In Cuba, as in Vietnam, as in Iraq, as in Syria, and as in many other places in the modern era, The president tells his forces they can’t be involved and must let those fighting for their freedom die from lack of support. But, let the opposition be one of the President’s citizens who owes a fee and it’s no holds barred to use paramilitary forces to quell that opposition.

Indeed, the U.S. Constitution’s Third Amendment, against the quartering of troops in private homes, was part of an overall reaction against the excesses of Britain’s colonial law enforcement. “It wasn’t the stationing of British troops in the colonies that irked patriots in Boston and Virginia,” Balko writes. “It was England’s decision to use the troops for everyday law enforcement.”

Just how far down this road we will go is the question.

Worried, yet?

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Terrifying: Just how far does this go?

Bryan Preston describes The Terrifying Implications of the IRS Abuse-DOJ Connection. It appears Judicial Watch finally got some traction on an FOIA request and the results are indeed terrifying.

“Lois Lerner intended to use her position atop the IRS’ tax exempt approval office to coordinate the prosecution of political speech. The Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder had at least tentatively bought into that. The Federal Elections Commission was being roped in as well. Lerner’s emails prove that beyond doubt.”

Complaining about others who express their views is one thing. Attempting to suppress such expression via laws such as campaign finance restrictions is another. A rogue government employee using the color of office to harass free speech raises the stakes. But now it becoming rather clear that is has been raised from a rogue individual to an agency to multiple agencies to political party leaders. That escalation of involvement and collusion in the effort is indeed terrifying.

Preston describes a well established tactic: select a target to set an example and then use that example to get the rest in line. 

Now, take that effort to go after nonprofit organizations and think about the southern Nevada Rancher episode. The feds spent millions to go after an individual delinquent in government payment of thousands and used paramilitary operations to do it. In the process, they trashed personal property and showed contempt and incompetence for the lifestyle and craft of the rancher in honoring the land.

worried, yet?

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The false delimma

One of the rationales used to excuse the BLM in the Bundy case is provided by Walter Olson On the Bundy Ranch confrontation quoting Tom Frank. “I hate to see how many on my side who are upset at Obama’s violation of the Rule of Law cheer the Bundys’ criminal contempt of a court order.” The article links to a Breitbart Big Government story that provides a rundown on the legal history. The non-legal, non-conspiratorial background needs Dana Loesch’s view on The Real Story Behind The Bundy Ranch Harassment for balance on the larger picture.

The rationale in the dilemma depends upon the fact that officers in the executive branch (e.g. president, attorney general) take an oath to faithfully enforce the law. A citizen’s role is not so explicit but rather an implicit responsibility to follow and honor the law. To try to hold Bundy to the same status as Obama in regards to the law is a dishonest comparison. The fact that Obama and his party are not setting a very good example in regards to following may make no excuse for others but it also doesn’t set a standard.

There are many issues in the Bundy case that tend towards an interpretation of appropriate civil disobedience rather than criminal lawbreaking. One is in the area of government taking and the property rights of the individual. That goes deep in this case involving homesteading of western lands, water rights, and urban development. It is the property rights issue that has lead to conspiracy theories regarding the Senate majority leader, Chinese interests, and corruption.

The excessive and irrational regulation issue is a factor here as well. One of the primary rationales used by the government for action against Bundy was in regards to an endangered species. That rationale falls flat on several fronts. Cattle and the endangered species have co-existed at the Bundy ranch for generations. The BLM itself is assassinating thousands of members of that species as their recovery facility has been closed. ‘Green’ projects that do have disastrous impact on the species’ habitat have been approved. All of these facts indicate a problem with the government’s basic rational for a taking.

Other issues involve state control and ownership over lands within their borders and appropriate response of law enforcement. The courts have not done themselves proud, either. They have allowed the government’s case to stand despite history, irrational rationale, and competing interests. One cannot also ignore the fact that the Bundy case is not one that appeals to the left which means media inspection and evaluation is rather lacking and poor.

Civil disobedience has an honored history with many ugly spots. The citizens who arrived from all over the U.S. to support Bundy indicate that something is not right with government in this case. That indication tells the rest of us that we need to pay attention and take a look beyond the shallow ‘didn’t pay the rent so is a criminal’ argument to fully understand what our government is doing and whether that is the sort of thing it should be doing – to Bundy or to each of us. 

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Whooee! what a rant. Maybe some are beginning to notice?

Daniel Greenfield calls it The Paranoid Madness of the Democratic Party. His conclusions:

“Political paranoids are totalitarians… and totalitarians are political paranoids. The Democratic Party has become both. Its paranoid totalitarianism runs on conspiracy theories that justify its abuses of power. It has accepted the left’s classic formula of the conservative political opposition as a reactionary force that is the source of all evils in society.”

“progressive suburbanite is not interested in a close look at his political movement. Instead of giving him something to believe in, his party’s media outlets give him someone to hate. His political identity is shaped not by what he stands for, unsustainable debt and an incoherent foreign policy of platitudes, but by his resistance to the Tea Party hordes who want to put black people back in chains, put women back in the kitchen and put homophobes back in the CEO’s office at the Mozilla Foundation.

“The politics of paranoid hatred is the crutch of mental cripples who protect the source of their dysfunction by projecting it onto phantom enemies.”

“The Democratic Party has been contaminated by the madness of the left through its alliance with the left and the entire country is paying the price.”

As is usually the case with this sort of rant from ‘other than the left’, the column is based on observations of behavior and specific incidences or cases that support his view. Greenfield calls out the common tactic of pulling selected items out of context to distort meaning and then illustrates how selection can be done with intellectual integrity. Confusing this use of example and illustration is important in propaganda where the audience doesn’t want to make the effort to see what is constructive and what is not. All too often, the interpretation is more about what confirms and comforts rather than creates dissonance.

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Contempt and collusion

One of the more frightful things these days is the contempt and collusion amongst the powerful for transparency and accountability. Tammy Bruce describes one example in Eric Holder’s contempt for the American people – Wherever Team Obama is taking the nation, ‘you don’t want to go there’

Many of us are not big fans of Congress, but when the attorney general, while speaking at an official congressional hearing, decides to speak in a manner worthy of a gang leader, we see how serious the problem of an unchecked executive can be.

This was after one of the people who report to Holder was found in contempt of Congress and the minority leader in the committee was shown to be in collusion with IRS misbehavior. It was also after much foot dragging on information requests and other cover-up type antics in regards to the Fast and Furious and Benghazi scandals among others.

What is happening here is that all the foot dragging, obfuscation, perjury, and similar tactics drag the hearings and investigations out. That tenure of the investigation is then being used as proof that there is nothing there and that the committee chair is an incompetent boob (as per Bob Beckel).

In previous scandals of this weight, members of both parties – and the MSM – were after the evidence. Not this time. Again, the fact that the investigation is partisan is being used as an upside down excuse. The party doing the obstruction, the party with members involved in collusion, is using partisanship to condemn the investigation and to cover over transparency and accountability.

Worried, yet?

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Sounding oh so reasonable

Timothy Geigner offers what sounds sensible:

“Climate change is the better term, of course, and the majority of the scientific community firmly believes that there is such a thing as man-made climate change. From there, we could have a discussion about how profound the effects of climate change are, whether they’re actually better or worse, what other contributing factors might be in play in impacting climate, and all the rest, and those would be worthy conversations to have. What we shouldn’t do is try to use the law to silence dissenting opinions, particularly if those opinions come in the form of scientific research.”

But then he goes on to describe how the threat of a lawsuit removed a peer reviewed paper from a journal. See Chilling Effects: Climate Change Deniers Have Scientific Paper Disappeared.

“In other words, a study that was judged by peers to be scientifically sound, has been disappeared over the murky threats of possible legal action. Let that sink in for a moment: science is undone because some people didn’t like it.”

What is completely missing from his reality is the fact that it the climate alarmists who are using lawsuits to squash the debate, not the “deniers” that he impugns. This delusion can also be seen when he asserts:

“Look, if you’re a climate change denier, that’s cool. I don’t agree with you, but feel free to write up your own research, publish any compelling information you can come up with, and all the rest. Consensus is never something I’ve been much interested in; I’d rather have multiple ideas to choose from and study. And, hey, if you think we never landed on the moon, Hitler was actually fighting the lizard-people now running world government, and 9/11 was all a holographic light-show designed to allow George Bush to fulfill his childhood dream of landing on an aircraft carrier in a flightsuit, have at it. I want you to let me know you believe in that stuff, because that’s how I’ll know to keep my future children away from you.”

The simple fact of using the term “denier” for his straw man illustrates the dishonesty. There may be a few fanatics who do deny that the climate changes and that humans have some impact on climate, but they don’t drive the debate. That debate is between alarmists and skeptics. Geigner would indeed get his desire for a reasonable discussion if he could cease and desist with creating straw men, with the ad hominem, and with the misperceptions that he illustrates in his essay. It is those he impugns that seek to “have a discussion about how profound the effects of climate change are, whether they’re actually better or worse, what other contributing factors might be in play in impacting climate” and are unable to do so because they encounter lawsuits, insults, invective, censure, and worse.

UPDATE: for the perspective from the other side, see My complaint letter regarding the Lewandowsky affair by Anthony Watts on his blog. From other entries on the blog, it sounds like he is the one being accused of a lawsuit such as noted by Geigner. The contrast between what Watts offers and Geigner is something to consider carefully as well.

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