Archive for Mind Games

Criminalizing politics

Paul Mirengoff takes a look at the McDonnel case and the matter of criminalizing politics. This is after the battle criminalize Governor Walker.

But how does one distinguish these offenses from the common situation in which individuals, companies, and unions give money to candidates substantial amounts of money in the hope that they will favor them in some fashion? In theory, the distinction turns on whether the recipient accepts the donation with the understanding that he or she will perform official acts in exchange.

The problem, as professor Bellin observes, is that a jury is permitted to infer such an understanding from circumstantial evidence. If the jury thinks it sees “knowing winks and nods” (these words actually appear in the jury instructions in McDonnell’s case), it can render a verdict that will send the public official to prison for a long time.

The “knowing winds and nods” standard, if one can even call it one, leaves prosecutors with enormous discretion to go after public officials they dislike for personnel reasons or want to injure for political purposes. The ridiculous, politically-motivated attempts to portray Governors Rick Perry and Scott Walker as criminals demonstrates that prosecutors will take advantage of this opening.

Such prosecutions are being used as political weapons by unscrupulous ideologues but is also a part and parcel of that ideology the presumes guilt in certain classes.

Leave a Comment

Who your hero?

Sundance: It Begins Again – “Justice For Mike Brown” Attacks – Springfield Missouri Black Mob Attack White Couple

In the course of researching the Trayvon Martin case we uncovered an almost immediate pattern of racial violence which occurred as a direct result of the inflammatory race-baiting spotlighted by the grievance industry and the national media. Throughout 2012 and 2013 we found dozens of these attacks – 14 immediately after the verdict. … On August 20th 2014 the pattern begins again

The problem is that Martin and Brown are rather odd choices for hero and the act of self defense is a rather odd one to impugn. Such oddities don’t seem to impair those seeking rationalization for racial violence stoked by resentment and envy — and propaganda. 

Race isn’t the only centerpoint. Consider Snowden. He is hailed as a hero in some circles yet many are beginning to realize his treason has had a big impact on Islamic terrorists efforts in covering their tracks.

Then there’s the assault on cops as if to foist responsibility for criminal behavior on them. The DOJ isn’t helping much, either.

Leave a Comment

Moral outrage

The Slut Walk epitomizes liberal moral outrage against morality itself. It’s also a tragic metaphor for our era’s weird revolt against sanity and time-tested truth about human nature.

Robert Knight onHow a moral code outrages the secular left – “The notion of personal responsibility gives the secular severe heartburn”

It’s a long list and Knight provides selected examples.

Leave a Comment

Moralizing markets

There is a struggle some have about the wealth created by modern capitalist markets. Kevin Brown hits this in his column Capitalism and the Common Good — How to gear the free market so that people floursh.

As people of faith, we need not deify or demonize the market. Instead, I propose we focus on ensuring that the market’s consequences create the least possible damage and the greatest common good for our neighbors near and far. The market may be one gift from God, but he’s given us a greater gift in the church. Together, we can watch out for the most vulnerable members of society lest they slip through the cracks of our global marketplace.

The biggest problem is that he confuses causation with correlation and neglects the inherent moral issue centered on the temptation of man. From “The Coltan Conundrum” to child labor laws, he confuses the sources of evil. He shows an awareness of this:

Stanford ethicist Debra Satz says that in Adam Smith’s classical economic vision, markets flourish when they are grounded in property rights, with appropriate government regulation and social conventions. In other words, well-functioning markets do not so much produce these attributes; they need to be grounded in them. Thus Christians can be actively involved in shaping the regulatory environment and the moral and ethical social conventions that allow for healthier markets.

The ideology is the false assumption that corrupts thoughts and lends bias. It is one that delves into motivations rather than actual behavior.

The market is regularly tempted to think of humans less as persons and more as “factors of production.”

The economist occasionally surfaces in this mudstorm:

UK political philosopher Jonathan Wolff says that for an economic system to survive, it need not be optimal, just superior, to other systems. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be the best available option in an imperfect world. As an economist and a Christian, this strikes me as a helpful vantage point in moving the market debate forward.

At the practical level, most critics of the market system advocate some form of a planned economy, … this only introduces new problems. In planned economies, we do not see the same level of innovation or effectiveness … Planned economies also hinder the supply and demand forces that ultimately provide consumers with the best prices. … We must also note that a paternalistic environment usually discourages human creativity, initiative, and industry. And these are all ways in which we bear the image of God. There is a spiritual cost to a planned economy.

While Brown wails on at length about “collateral damage” he seems to forget how the market brings this into personal consumer decisions (along with context and other issues). In marketing, this aspect of the transactions is known as the brand. People will pay a lot to get what they want from a vendor who has an image they endorse. You can see this in the assault on WalMart (and others) regarding merchandise made in China, for instance. The key here is that a market system is not simple. It is composed of many transactions and each one has many factors that involve personal choices. As the first quote above signifies, the issue with markets, the angst and moralizing, isn’t really about the market system but rather about individuals and the choices they each make every day and for every purchase.

That is the fundamental problem. Instead of looking at ourselves, we are looking for a scapegoat. Ragging on that scapegoat isn’t going to solve anything as long as each of us as individual humans do not take possession of our faults and failures

Leave a Comment

Myth propagating

Slate, of course: Amanda Marcotte says Let’s Stop Idealizing the Home-Cooked Family Dinner.

Money is also a problem. Low-income women often don’t have the money for fresh produce and, in many cases, can’t afford to pay for even a basic kitchen setup.

Well, yes, being poor does usually mean money is a problem but what is at note here is the denial of reality. The ‘poor’ in the U.S. would be considered ‘middle class’ in most of the rest of the world. You can see this in the fact that the targets for dinner aren’t exactly suffering. See Census: Americans in ‘Poverty’ Typically Have Cell Phones, Computers, TVs, VCRS, AC, Washers, Dryers and Microwaves (and 96% have stoves).

Beyond just the time and money constraints, women find that their very own families present a major obstacle to their desire to provide diverse, home-cooked meals. The women interviewed faced not just children but grown adults who are whiny, picky, and ungrateful for their efforts.

and then the bias

the main reason that people see cooking mostly as a burden is because it is a burden. It’s expensive and time-consuming and often done for a bunch of ingrates who would rather just be eating fast food anyway. If we want women—or gosh, men, too—to see cooking as fun, then these obstacles need to be fixed first. And whatever burden is left needs to be shared.

ya’ see? It’s the war on women! When it comes to such ideologies picked for mainstream promotion by those on the left, facts and reality just don’t matter. They are made up to support the fantasy. What used to be a service for loved ones now becomes a burden for ingrates. The fix isn’t to control the ingrates but rather to re-assess values and attitudes of the burdened.

Leave a Comment

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).

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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. 

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment