Archive for Mind Games

End or means? The Humane Society case.

The Washington Times has an editorial: The inhumane society — “A prominent animal-rights charity is not a friend of the furry kingdom”

Many of the organization’s donors presume they’re helping unloved puppies and kittens. Instead, they unwittingly pay for demonizing hunting, encouraging vegetarian diets, promoting global-warming hysteria and devising outlandish rules to drive meat producers out of business.

It was revealed that a years long campaign against the Circus was a fraud with witness bought and paid for and allegations fabricated. Ideology had overtaken ethics and morality and provides a lesson for those thinking about contributing to many ‘feel-good’ causes.

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Political tactics: hit job on the ‘enemy’

The left adores the ad hominem and Fox News is near the top in its pantheon of candidates for ‘most evil.’ Jeffrey Lord describes another example in how a hit job on Fox News in a Veterans’ letter attacking Bolling, Gutfeld, hid liberal activists.

It was a hit job. Sixty veterans signing a much publicized “Open Letter to Fox News” — yet the signers were mysteriously never identified beyond the military branch in which they served.

No wonder. I have been through the list of sixty, and it is filled with Obama campaign workers, one ex-Obama White House aide, liberal activists, Democratic Party congressional candidates, Democratic Party state legislators, and more. The letter was sponsored by the Truman Project, a ten-year-old think tank with a focus on national security. Its board of directors includes Hunter Biden, the son of the Vice President. None of which was even whispered in the haughty “Open Letter” that was distributed to a media all too eager to go along with an attack on Fox News and two of the co-hosts on the Fox show The Five — Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld. Instead the letter was presented as a source of genuine outrage from average, non-partisan American veterans — while keeping the real identity of the signers secret.

And you wonder why Americans are cynical about politicians?

The Truman Project has quite deliberately and deceptively made this “Open Letter to Fox News” appear to the media and the wider public as if its signers are nothing more than outraged veterans. Nothing to see here more than that…just look, report it and move on. Which, in fact, is what all those “news” outlets above not to mention the wider social media did. Not a one of them published the backgrounds of the signers.

But in reality this snarky letter is filled with signers who have either worked directly in the Obama White House, have served in or have run for state or federal office as Democrats, or have worked as activists for various liberal causes.

The lack of honesty is a problem because it rubs off on all. It suffers from the tendency to think ‘everybody does it’ if they are a politician. Only when the body politic begins to make distinctions between those that do and those that don’t will such tactics fade.

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Racist mindset

Patricia L. Dickson is accused of being too logical. An example is her explanation that Poverty In The Black Community Is The Result of Culture Not Racism

A black female friend and I once discussed how our historically unemployed (lazy) relatives often claimed that we were rich simply because we had things that they did not. I said to her that surely they understood that we worked for everything that we have. Her response to me was that they did not understand how we acquired what we had. I told her that it was illogical for someone not to correlate money or possessions with work, and I refused to believe it. Well, a short time later, my friend’s comments proved true.

Until the black community looks inward to solve its problems, nothing will change. Many problems in the black community are the result of a self-imposed inferiority complex. That is why it infuriates me so much to hear race baiters telling poor blacks that they are victims. The victim mindset causes complacency and impotence of action in an individual. One reason that the black community has regressed instead of progressed is due to the victim mindset that has caused cognitive blindness and mental paralysis. Blacks cannot continue to blame society for how blacks Americans are perceived. The black community must examine its culture and its effect on the lives of the individuals in the black community.

Looking inward is always a good start for discovering a source of problems as it is where you can find those things over which you have the most control

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Death can be ignored if the cause sounds good

Bruce S. Thornton on When Activism Kills

The irrational battle against GMO is just one front in a larger environmentalist war against the modern world. Climate change is another, one equally reflective of the dislike of industrialism and capitalism, which have created and distributed more wealth to more people than was even imaginable a century ago. The attack on hydraulic fracturing, part of the war against carbon, irrationally harms its own goal to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, for the switch from coal to natural gas, which emits half the carbon of coal, to generate electricity can “green” the environment more than anything the environmental lobby does. Particularly in the developing world, economic development, which for now is dependent on carbon-based energy, is the best way to protect the environment in the long run. Spending money on improving the environment is the luxury of those who aren’t worried about their children eating for one more day.

Those who have the luxury of abundant and reliable food can afford to decry the economic expansion that is the developing world’s best hope of mitigating the myriad problems afflicting their people. It is criminal for rich Westerners to agitate for policies that keep the benefits of biotechnology from those desperate for its boons, and to pass the costs of their idealism onto those least able to suffer the consequences.

How many must die before the implications of a desire and fantasy can be considered?

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Partisanship on criminalizing the opposition

John Hinderaker presents the detail on the partisan attack on free speech and gutting the First Amendment so as to be able to further efforts to criminalize political opposition.

On Thursday, Harry Reid brought SJ Res 19, to repeal the heart of the First Amendment, to the Senate floor for a vote. The result must be considered stunning by all Americans who value their freedoms. Every Senate Democrat–every one, a 54-vote majority–voted for First Amendment repeal.

To my knowledge, not a single Democrat, either inside or outside of the Senate, has spoken up in opposition to that party’s war on free speech.

Worried, yet?

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Endemic corruption

It started with a misplaced telephone call. That revealed the collusion to obstruct investigation. Arnold Ahlert describes The Obama DOJ’s Subversion of the IRS Investigation

It’s going to be an uphill climb for Democrats. In a Fox poll taken in June, a whopping 76 percent of Americans, including 90 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats said they believed that Lois Lerner’s emails were “deliberately destroyed” by the IRS. The gaffe committed by Fallon would be amusing were it not for the reality that it is yet another indication of the endemic corruption that infests the Obama administration, their Democrat colleagues and a willfully somnambulant mainstream media. All of them seemingly prefer to run interference for one of the most powerful agencies in government, than allow the truth, no matter how inconvenient, to come out.

It will take the people to demonstrate that this corruption must end and the people are, at present, rather weak in opposing such behavior.

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Anti-reality: vaccine edition

At The American Interest: Terminally Hip Parents Deny Vaccines to Children. “The reason why? Bad science. The Hollywood Reporter has the story“.

“There is a kind of “Boko Haram”, western-knowledge-is-forbidden aspect to a lot of fashionable thought these days. The goal almost seems to be to keep our kids away from the accursed knowledge of Dead White European Men that will warp their innocent young characters. The evil medical accomplishments of the horrible so-called scientists rank, of course, highly in the catalog of Western horrors. And because of these experiments in de-Westernization, kids are suffering, even dying.”

Mass suicide in this case is rather more obvious than usual.

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Revising history

Stanley Kurtz explains: Why the College Board Demoted the Founders

What is the core of the American story? What is American history about? For a long time, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was thought to offer the most succinct and profound reply to these questions.

More recently, revisionist historians have developed a different answer to the question of what America’s story is about. From their perspective, at the heart of our country’s history—like the history of any other powerful nation—lies the pursuit of empire, of dominion over others. In this view, the formative American moment was the colonial assault on the Indians. At its core, say the revisionists, America’s history is about our capacity for self-delusion, our endless attempts to justify raw power grabs with pretty fairy-tales about democracy.

What Anderson does not say is that “current practice” in early American history is to indict the Founders for oppression, privilege, and racism.

Anderson’s proposed new narrative of American history vacillates between ignoring core events of our political history and dismissing them as delusional window-dressing for America’s imperialist ambitions.

In other words, Anderson’s proposed new narrative of American history closely matches the narrative of the new APUSH Framework, and is clearly political in character.

Anderson’s contribution to the new Curriculum Module highlights the work of Francis Jennings, the most famous critic of “the myth of the vanishing Indian.”

Anderson’s target in The Dominion of War is the American conviction that liberty and equality are the “core values of the Republic.” Believing this, says Anderson, Americans find it difficult to see their actions as imperialistic, as motivated by anything other than a legitimate defense of liberty.

American exceptionalism is out and America as a self-deluded imperialist power is in.

Jennings and Anderson are able to place Native American influence and white imperialism at the center of American history only by treating the acquisition of territory as what matters most.

Defenders of the redesigned APUSH Framework deny a political agenda. All we’re doing, they say, is teaching students how to “think like historians,” how to deploy critical thinking skills and analyze primary sources with the cool detachment of an objective and mature professional academic. Sadly, teaching students how to bring our forebears up on charges of war crimes is what “thinking like a historian” has been reduced to in this age of the leftist Academy. It’s got little to do with detachment.

We must conclude that what the College Board presents as objectively based historical revisions and politically neutral pedagogical techniques are nothing of the sort. Critical thinking skills are deployed only against the traditional American narrative. Leftist pressure groups elicit cheerleading. America’s Founding is demoted, not because revisionists have proven it marginal, but because they dread and abhor its political legacy. In sum, the College Board’s pretensions to political neutrality are a sham.

This is ‘mainstream academic history’ on parade. The real question is why such a warped and twisted viewpoint gains such credibility. What is this obsession about imperialism that ignores so much? What is this obsession to tear down and destroy what have given so much?

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aspirational vs envious

It’s New York measured against Hong Kong. Richard W. Rahn – Hong Kong, an aspirational society to emulate – “The currency of Hong Kong is effort, rather than envy”

Why is Hong Kong succeeding while New York City is receding? They are both world-class cities with about the same per-capita income and great natural harbors.

Hong Kong, like Singapore, South Korea, Chile and Switzerland are aspirational societies, rather than societies consumed with envy, like France. Work, saving and investment are not punished in aspirational societies, and there tend to be less social conflict and a higher level of civility. The United States used to be an aspirational society, but has increasingly become an envious society.

The leaders of China understand that aspirational societies work and those based on envy do not — but an aspirational society requires both economic freedom and individual liberty. Those who seek to control the lives of others, whether they are in Beijing, Paris or Washington, fear aspirational societies and thus, seek to regulate them — out of existence.

Envy, hate, and greed – it isn’t capitalism but rather the take from those who have to give to those who appear to need (or those who are friends of those in power). Powerful emotions overwhelm the ability to learn from history or from reality.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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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