Archive for Mind Games

Agenda driven scientific conclusions

Reihan Salam describes The Agenda.

It’s all too common: The backers of a broad-based political movement claim their cause is steeped in evidence, but a perusal of the research reveals more hope than substance.

After the drafting stage, the validation committee also recognized that the standards were informed by intuition as much as real research.

developers were warned by some researchers that the link between standards and achievement was tenuous, and that other reforms (“enabling conditions”) would be necessary to see real progress.

But the truth is that we know little about the connection between standards and achievement, and it will be difficult to justify standards-based reform without knowing more.

The subject for Salam is Common Core but the same principles apply to Global Warming and other efforts supposedly based on science (but only with a good deal of imagination supported by ideological bias).

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Hate speech

It appears that the election season is off to a good start and some candidates are already in desperation mode. Andrew Stiles describes how Outrageous and False, Democratic Attack Ads Reek of Desperation and offers advice from the past.

“Good ads communicate with people and don’t yell at them,” a former Clinton strategist told POLITICO in August. “These ads yell at people [and] they’re not believable. They’re not going to create a relationship between the viewer and the ad.”

The overriding strategy seems to be trying to replicate the 2012 strategy of attacking Mitt Romney as a heartless vulture capitalist who literally kills people by injecting them with cancer, though it seem unlikely to achieve the same success given the nature of midterm elections, and the fact that most Obama voters will be too busy watching John Oliver clips to go out and vote in November.

Of course, the real problem is that so many suspend disbelief and take even the most ridiculous assertions as gospel. There is no consideration at all for implications or reality and that provides the temptation to indulge in such personal attacks and innuendo.

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Speed limits and reality denial

City, NDOT disagree on 50A speed limit. The issue is about a 4 lane highway east of Fernley Nevada. What is known is up against denial of reality. Some want slower traffic. Those who study traffic know that people travel at what they consider a safe speed regardless of posted speed limits unless coerced by the presence of law enforcement or other artificial barriers. As in many of the situations where some face dissonance between reality and their desires, the ‘I know better than you’ syndrome crops up sans any solid basis.

Eilrich and Councilwoman Kelly Malloy disagreed with the statistics and the reliance on the 85th percentile, saying drivers go whatever speed they can get away with without getting a speeding ticket, regardless of the speed limit.

“Sometimes statistics don’t outweigh common sense,” Eilrich said. “I do not agree with your statistics.”

Garza argued that drivers who drive faster are the other 15 percent, which he defined as “unreasonable drivers.”

“We have learned to trust the 85th percentile driver,” he said. “They know what they’re doing, and they do it safely.”

Common sense is to consider who has most at stake and what actually happens. The individual driver has his life and property on the line. Investigations of traffic crashes illustrates that exceeding speed limits is way down the list of causes and then only as a contributing factor. Common sense is not a fear of what might be as those fears are often created in order to provide a rationale for a desire that doesn’t fit with what is now.

That is what you have here. Two representatives of the people think their constituents will do “whatever speed they can get away with” and that bit of hubris should cause a pause for reflection. If the goal is driving safely and there aren’t an unusual number of crashes, the conclusion is that the constituents are driving with a safety – not with a reckless what they can get away with – attitude.

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Shakedown

Kudlow describes a shakedown of epic proportions and how it is being used for political gain.

the solution is not to call them names. Or question their patriotism. Or attack “rich people” and “fat-cat bankers.” Or tell America, “You didn’t build it.” The solution is to reform the corporate tax code by slashing the rate to 20 percent. Or better yet, abolish the corporate tax altogether. The biggest winners, by the way, would be wage earners.

So what does all this have to do with billion-dollar bank penalties? Everything. The timing is more than coincidental.

And now, in the saddest of ironies, the Obama administration is again loosening credit standards for “affordable” home purchases and expanding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is incredibly stupid. The same mistakes are being made.

But it’s all part of Mr. Obama’s election-year strategy. Blame it all on the big boys. Pull out the class-envy cards. Rekindle divisive resentments and anger.

Follow the money. Where’s it go? Then examine the tactics. Then examine the implications and what actually happens. 

The people that end up bearing the burden are not those subject to political assault and that is another dishonesty that needs to be properly addressed.

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Self defense

Self-Defense is a Religious Obligation By Rabbi Aryeh Spero:

Religion is more than doing the nice things such as visiting the sick and healing the wounded. That’s Religion 101. Religion demands that we be a whole person, capable of the gut-wrenching actions in saving people, to begin with, from those who would make us wounded and sick.

Who will be the Christian religious leader who will boldly assert that it is a Christian principle, a religious obligation, to wage war to defend oneself from merciless attackers? How many more millions of Christians must die at the hands of Islam until a leader arises and says “Love is not only about loving your enemy, but loving your life aswell. Love demands that you physically fight for your children, your family and your friends. “

It is not only the religious terrorists abroad but the bullies right here at home. Some of the most severe damage done to individuals, families and social groups can be seen in forums and gatherings where someone’s passion devolves into personal attack and vituperative assault. Self defense is not an individual issue. We can’t just stand by and watch someone else suffer the injury if we are to defend ourselves.  There are times when the easy path, while very attractive, is also a very short path with a very unpleasant end.

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The end of the smooth path

Monica Crowley:

While in Alaska, I noticed something I’ve seen repeatedly as I’ve traveled around the country over the past 6 years. I’ve watched it grow exponentially since its first waves became apparent in 2009, and it’s only multiplied since 2012.

In the faces of those with whom I speak and visit is a profound, unshakable fear.

They see the staggering lawlessness…

one major political party — overrun by the extremist left …

the other formerly great political party rudderless …

the chaos at the border and the invasion of their nation.

the destruction of the world’s greatest health care system.

astonishing abuses of power …

their leaders continuously lying …

the collapse of American power and prestige…

America spinning out of control…

a world teetering on the brink…

appeasement and submission and withdrawal have only made the situation worse. The path ahead is not likely to be so smooth.

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Equal Protection Under the Law?

It is a comparison between Exxon and Ivanpah. Coyote Blog takes a look at Equal Protection Under the Law? when it comes to energy producing companies.

You can see from the last line that the Feds don’t seem to be even considering a penalty, but are just considering whether they should permit such plants in the future. If the 28,000 figure is correct, this company should be getting $196 million in fines (the Exxon rate of $7000 per bird) if there was any such thing as equal protection. Even the company’s admitted figure of 1,000 a year is almost 60 times as high as Exxon was penalized for, despite the fact that Exxon experienced the deaths across hundreds of locations in five states and this is just one single solar plant.

What it costs is no longer a measure of feasibility. The side effects only matter depending upon context. — nice if you can afford it.

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Looking past the riot and noticing the participants

Russ Vaughn has been watching the protests and riots in Ferguson and noticed something. Obese and ‘oppressed’in Ferguson???

Sufficient nutrition is the cornerstone of freedom; nothing comes before that human right because if you can’t eat, you have no reason to be concerned about the follow-on freedoms of speech, free expression, assembly and so forth. If you’re starving, no other concern of human existence matters.

But when you, as a political movement, put your marchers on the road of protest and with an unusual number of them wobbling and jiggling their expanded waistlines, bosoms and buttocks as they pass the media cameras, you must accept the reality that a large number of your fellow citizens viewing those video accounts are going to naturally respond with a sense of disbelief that we, as a nation, are depriving them of basic nourishment, which then leads all of us to question all the other liberal tropes fed to them by America’s media.

Only in America.

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Yep, it is another Marton, complete with the fabricated angels

The violence in Ferguson didn’t begin when a police officer shot Michael Brown. It began when a 300 lb thug robbed the Ferguson Market and abused a clerk. The release of the video showing the obese criminal assaulting the clerk led to a terrified statement from the store manager that he had not called the police and had nothing to do with the release of the video.

“They kill us if they think we are responsible,” he said.

But that’s not all the story. Hands Up, Don’t Loot also gets into the issue of the militarization of the police visible in the response to riots using a new urban myth as an excuse for the summer games.

All systems and people are flawed, but our law enforcement and military are reactive. When we don’t talk about what they are reacting to, then there is nothing meaningful to say.

We have SWAT teams because of race riots and urban guerrilla warfare. Without Watts, the Black Panthers and the SLA, the police militarization would probably never have existed.

The militarization of the police was a response to left-wing violence and terror.

and, no, both sides are not the same. “The root cause isn’t poverty. It’s not racism. It’s the left.

The myth building is detailed in another comment about how the Ferguson Lie Comes undone

This is a long list of things that were supposed to be true one day but were false the next. But by far, the biggest and the fattest lie to come out of Ferguson is the idea repeated from every news channel that somehow black people are victims of relentless violence at the hands of white people.

And that explains everything.

That is a Big, Fat falsehood.

and the ‘victim’ hagiography also has its problems. Michael Brown: A Criminal and a Thug explains.

As the media-sanctioned rioting, bloodshed and looting continue in Ferguson, Missouri, evidence is emerging that police shooting victim Michael Brown wasn’t the upstanding citizen that many on the Left have claimed him to be.

Through it all, the Left is out in force in Ferguson, trying to make a bad situation worse.

Evidence is now available that shows that Brown tried to wrest a gun away from a policeman and that he was ordered to freeze before he charged Darren Wilson and was shot.

Before the shooting incident last weekend, Brown used violence and the threat of more violence to steal.

the more we learn about the nature of the crime and of Brown’s character, the clearer it is to see who should really be on trial: The likes of Al Sharpton and the race-hate industry, whose lies are fueling a vicious war against civil society in Ferguson.

And they’ll keep digging until they find evidence that vindicates the mob and the left-wing media and the community organizers from Chicago who have descended on Ferguson in order to make an example of the innocent people who live there.

They’ve got a cause. It may be poorly based because it is based on a lie but that only means they have to lie harder and work the propaganda more, that’s all.

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Why can’t we all just get along?

Intolerance on the leftThe marketplace of ideas can’t function without civility

It’s not a job that starts with the other guy. It starts with each one of us. The marketplace of ideas can’t flourish without respect and civility. That means more than just talking. It means listening.

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Save the birds?

Going down in flames in the war on fossil fuelsStubborn support for solar power steams the bird lovers.

Bird lovers are trying desperately to halt the expansion of the facility, but aren’t likely to succeed because California and federal officials seem to think that if we lose a few hundred thousand or even millions of birds a year, it will be worth it to cripple the fossil-fuel industry. Besides, say the alternative-energy aficionados, the operators of the facilities are killing far fewer birds every year than house cats.

The government knows what to do about that even if, unlike our wind and sun farmers, they don’t have much of an appetite for eagles or raptors. Since house cats don’t produce much in the way of alternative energy, the government is spending millions to neuter them and thus reduce their number, if not their appetites.

What a country.

What a country, indeed.

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Rights at the whim of the authorities

Massachusetts is working on legislation that allows police chiefs the power over citizen’s second amendment rights;. It’s all in the name of safety, of course. “We seek not to be the safest state in the nation, but strive to make our communities the safest in the world,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

A key factor here is that the evidence clearly contradicts DeLeo’s assertion but that has never bothered those who want to control rights to self defense. The desire to control others’ live runs deep and that means efforts are in denial of reality, persistent, and often pernicious.

Note that the effort is to let government authority, the police chiefs, exercize control rather than private citizens. This distrust of individuals and faith in the government is endemic in the philosophy that drives these sorts of efforts. In light of current scandals, one really has to wonder why.

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Understanding the U.S. Senate

It may have started with Amendment XVII when Senators became directly elected. That was a marker for the start of a slide from the Senate’s representation of a State to its being a more direct representation of the people directly. It is a slide towards populism. It all sounds good. The current Senate is taking the idea to heart. See Orrin G. Hatch: Destroying the Senate — and our liberties. “Procedural changes impede the chamber’s traditional deliberative function”

“The Senate was designed to play a particular role in a carefully designed system of government that is based on two related ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence: First, government exists to secure the unalienable rights of individuals; and second, government must be limited or it will, in fact, destroy these individual rights. Those limits include dividing power between the federal and state governments, separating federal power into three branches, and splitting the legislative branch into two very different houses.

“The Constitution lets the House and Senate set their own rules, and throughout the nation’s history these forms have developed consistent with each body’s function. The House’s function is action, and its form has been majority rule. The Senate’s function is deliberation and its form has given all senators, even those in the minority, a significant role.

“Throughout its history, all senators have had two essential opportunities to participate: the right to offer amendments to legislation and the right to unlimited debate. The current Senate majority has attacked both of these rights relentlessly.”

The war on what the country was is not only being engaged in the executive. It is not only a contemporary phenomena. It is one thing to try for something better but the persistent efforts to demolish what works to replace it with what has a serious record of failure, with pipe-dreams and ideological fixations, is not one for peace and prosperity.

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No, they are not all the same

Paul Mirengoff notes how Democrats tilt towards Hamas and blame Republicans for their position.

“What explains the fact that Democrats now see Israel as no better than Hamas in a war precipitated by Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel and its refusal to accept a cease fire.

“Pro-Israel liberals have come up with an odd but not unexpected excuse: it’s the Republicans’ fault.

This, as Mandel notes, was the thesis of the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg back in 2012. He argued that by criticizing President Obama for his policy towards Israel, Republicans make “supporting Israel distasteful to many Democrats.” Worse, they cause Democrats to “lump supporters of Israel in the same category they reserve for climate-change-denying anti-choice Obamacare haters.”

“As question-begging arguments go, this one belongs in the Hall of Fame.”

“The obvious answer is that ideology drives contemporary Democrats to view Israel far less favorably than Republicans view Israel. The political fallout — criticism by Republicans of Obama’s Israel policy and the identification of the Israel-U.S. alliance with the GOP rather with both parties — is a symptom of the difference in the way the two parties view Israel, not its cause.

What accounts for the underlying ideological difference between the two parties when it comes to Israel? The answer, I think, is this: Israel is a U.S. ally with strong Western values and a willingness to use military force when necessary to protect itself.”

“Many Democrats are uncomfortable with one or more of these attributes. Their ambivalence towards the U.S. and its values causes them view a hardcore U.S. ally skeptically (or worse). “

Then you can take a look at the recently uncovered Lerner Email messages or the partisan vote regarding any attempt to reign in executive expressions of power …

there is a difference, a wide gap, between political parties in the U.S. despite what some may claim. 

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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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