Archive for Mind Games

A plea to the Pope: Imago Dei

E. Calvin Beisner presents the Cornwall Alliance to Pope Francis: Be Realistic for Humanity’s Sake (energy/climate policy in the balance) and clearly identifies what is at stake.

Alongside good science in our approach to climate policy must be two preferential options: for humanity and, among humanity, for the poor. By this we do not mean to pit humanity against nature, any more than to pit the poor against the rich. Rather, we mean that because humanity alone bears the imago Dei, any effort to protect the environment must put at its center human well-being, and in particular the well-being of the poor, because they are the more vulnerable, the less able to protect themselves.

The case for this is the Biblical ethos of Imago Dei (from Genesis 1:27, wherein “God created man in his own image. . .”) and a rational God.

the Biblical worldview launched science as a systematic endeavor to understand the real world by a rigorous process of testing hypotheses by real-world observation.

Christian and Jewish scholars have performed high-quality science for centuries. They are confident that good science leads toward and will not conflict with the truth about God and man.

As people of Biblical faith, then, we have a commitment not only to truth, but also to the practice of science as one path to truth.

Your concern for genuine science and for the poor requires a more cautious approach, one that carefully considers the scientific evidence regarding the real, not merely the theoretical, effects of human action on global climate, and carefully considers energy technology and economics in seeking to protect the poor from harm.

The world’s poor will suffer most from such policies. The poorest—the 1.3 billion in developing countries who depend on wood and dried dung as primary cooking and heating fuels, smoke from which kills 4 million and temporarily debilitates hundreds of millions every year—will be condemned to more generations of poverty and its deadly consequences.

The key to this is that the environmentalist movement is one that only the wealthy can afford. What is not stated directly is that Biblical belief is being usurped by a belief in Gaia as god and man is demoted from being master to that of being a plague on earth. The issues in the debate are the poor and the truth. It is about what has been seen to improve the welfare of humanity and what is actually known about man’s dominion of the earth versus fantasies about nature and a proper state of the earth as a ball of mud in the solar system.

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Destructive tendencies: the presumption of guilt, conflict of interest version

If you can’t fault the findings, then fault the person who dares to present them. Asserting corruption via a conflict of interest is one means to do this. This bit of dishonesty is getting some attention at the American Enterprise Institute.

AEI visiting scholar Thomas Stossel, MD has a new book — available April 27 — on regulation on the medical industry titled “PHARMAPHOBIA: How the Conflict of Interest Myth Undermines American Medical Innovation.” Many bureaucrats, reporters, politicians, and lawyers have built careers attacking the medical products industry. In this work, Dr. Stossel shows how attacks on doctors who work with industry limits medical innovation and inhibits the process of bringing new products into medical care.

There are two principal reasons for writing the book. The first is to set the record straight about what has been accomplished.

The second reason is to expose how for the past 30 years opportunists have been responsible for minimizing industry’s contributions to health improvements and denying the costs of achieving them. These individuals claim that if health care professionals or researchers take payments from those industries, they become corrupt and risk their reputations by performing flawed research or harming patients for money. The code slur for this alleged behavior is “conflict of interest.” I define these critics as “conflict-of interest narrative instigators.”

These instigators are wrong, and I wrote the book to set the record straight. The book collates the facts and arguments that can be used to rebut the confident but false assertions of the conflict-of-interest instigators.

The “code slur” is a clue that the support for a desired position cannot deal with the realities of the issue but must instead devolve into allegation and innuendo about the opposition. As the author points out, this slur is also a distraction that is used to weigh honest research down with regulations and policies intended to show it isn’t so and to inhibit research by establishing social barriers. We all pay and it is not only in medicine that this occurs.

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The nature of the debate

First up is the battle about the State Propaganda Machine in regards to education of the children. Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins describe how The ‘fix’ is in for AP courses and
“The College Board’s revisions resemble Common Core politicization.”

When controversy erupted a year ago about the lack of balance in the College Board’s new AP U.S. History (APUSH) Framework, the College Board initially dug in its heels and stubbornly defended the new course. … So even if the College Board “fixed” the fundamental flaws of APUSH, which is unlikely, the problems run much deeper than one course. The only way to halt the College Board’s nationalization and politicization of American education is to attack the College Board’s monopoly. Competition, as always, will serve the cause of freedom.

Next is a look at Earth Day where Stephen Moore shows that State of the planet: It’s better than ever and why “Chicken Little and his friends are wrong again.”

Forty-five years ago when the first Earth Day was held, the catastrophe that awaited us was mass starvation, overpopulation, our supplies of oil and gas running on empty, and even a coming second ice age.

Every single one of those predictions was spectacularly wrong. The opposite occurred. But the doomsday machine rolls on. The declinism on the state of our planet and the well-being of our species permeates our schools, our churches, our malls, radio, TV, the Internet and our whole culture.

This is one of the greatest misinformation campaigns in world history. The state of our planet has never been stronger. Nature has never been more bountiful.

Consider the following six statistics, which go a long way to proving how well we are doing:

Finally, Tammy Bruce comes up with the idea that children and adults think differently – sometimes. Liberals and magical thinking — “How the fantasy view of the world guarantees failure.”

We all know that children think magically, and naturally inhabit a world of fantasy and imagination. It’s the perfect place to be when you’re a kid. The problem is, adults on the left seem to have decided they deserve to live in that same magical world, where facts and logic and reason just don’t exist. … While this behavior does not bode well for the Democratic Party or left-wing special-interest groups, conservatives shouldn’t necessarily celebrate. The strength of our system relies on competition and challenge. If half of our political and social structure is melting down because of disconnected magical thinking, our entire system will be the worse off.

This isn’t a debate. It isn’t even an argument. Children tend to grow out of living their fantasies and put them into dreams so they can deal with the real world. The phenomena that is in front of us seems to be ‘adults’ who are dead set to try to bend reality to fit their fantasies no matter the cost. History has shown that cost is horrific but the APUSH effort is trying to solve that. 

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Look at everything but the data

In a paper published in Climatic Change, the scientists suggest looking at business interests, partisan predispositions and political ideology for the hurdles to policy action.

“Action on climate change requires courage to face the facts by acknowledging, incorporating and legitimizing the supermajority scientists’ views on the issue while recognizing different opinions beyond science,” says Liu.

At PhysOrg: Hurdles to US climate change action are in economics and politics, not divided science

The question is about the ‘facts’ and how they connect to the conclusions being drawn. It is not only the facts about climate change at concern here, it is the facts about the opinions of ‘scientists’ and the supposed ‘consensus’ being claimed.

Perhaps the key is the focus on “business interests, partisan predispositions and political ideology” rather than on issues, rationale for opinions, and sources of disagreement. It is a diversion that shows flailing for efforts to rationalize ideologies when villains are brought in to substitute for actual matters of measurement and reality.

The task of those seeking massive governmental controls beyond what already exists is that of educating the ignorant. Calling them names and avoiding the questions they ask is not usually a good avenue for achieving that task.

(for a comparison and contrast, see Jennifer Marohasy on a Survey Denying My Position on Climate Change)

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Thought patrols and oppression supression

“The basis for this was the campaign-finance reform movement, which sees money in politics as a greater evil than a government empowered to shut down political speech. The John Doe law in Wisconsin shows exactly why government intervention in political speech is worse than any corruption it attempts to prevent. The use of force in Wisconsin got applied to one side exclusively, and intended to shut down conservatives before they could exercise their legitimate political power. It’s even more egregious than the IRS targeting of conservatives between 2009-2013, but it’s the same kind of abuse of power, and it leverages the same kind of campaign-finance reform statutes that give government at state and federal levels entrée to control political speech.”

Ed Morrissey on the Wisconsin efforts to silence certain political critics: “I thought it was a home invasion” — and it was

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Giving away the hard earned prize: Vietnam

It is a favorite meme on the left that is bent to fit its anti-military desires. The problem is that the loss wasn’t military, it was political and the loss sits squarely on their shoulders. Bruce Walker describes When We Lost the Winnable War, why were in it, and the disingenuous opposition.

The whole faux “moral argument” waged by draft-dodgers and communist sympathizers during the 1960s and 1970s against the Vietnam War was wrong. America had a treaty obligation and a moral duty to save South Vietnam and its neighbors from the horrors and poverty of communism. The only real argument that remains is whether we could have “won” this war or not.

As sickening as it seems, craven politicians in Washington and communist sympathizers on American campuses, safe and comfortable in America, bartered away the courage of better Americans who fought and bled in Vietnam and condemned tens of millions of innocents in Southeast Asia to genocide and slavery.

There is, of course, a lesson for us today. The same sort of spoiled and selfish political class in Washington today surrenders the willing sacrifices of all those good Americans who have fought in this, our longest war, so that Obama or his flacks can gain a few polling points or bask for a moment in false glory. We are, today, losing another winnable war.

Of course, for the left, it is American atrocity that matters no matter how small or how isolated. What is forgotten is “The conduct of the war by the communists in South Vietnam was calculated and sadistic terrorism, particularly focusing on threats to members of the family or the local village, who had no political views at all.” The SEATO alliance gets short shrift. The moral outrage was not in trying to defend South Vietnam but in a politically restrained effort that tied the hands of the military and undermined public understanding of the nature of the conflict. The result was that many suffered. It is those that stimulated and promoted that suffering that are preening their moral purity. They did not learn and, it appears, have not yet come to grips with their denial.

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When the ideology doesn’t produce: California

What’s up with California and water? Joel Kotkin describes the Big Idea: California Is So Over. “California’s drought and how it’s handled show just what kind of place the Golden State is becoming: feudal, super-affluent and with an impoverished interior.”

Ultimately this is a story of a state that has gotten tired, having lost its “animal spirits” for the policy equivalent of a vegan diet. Increasingly it’s all about how the elites in the state—who cluster along the expensive coastal areas—feel about themselves.

What we are witnessing the breakdown of a once-expansive, open society into one dominated by a small group of plutocrats, largely in Silicon Valley, with an “amen” crew among the low-information donors of Hollywood, the public unions, the green lobby, and wealthy real estate developers favored by Brown’s pro-density policies.

What is behind this regression of progressive ideology?

The biggest reason California has been so slow, and uncharacteristically feckless, in meeting this existential challenge lies with psychology and ends with political power. The generation that built the sinews of modern California—most notably the late Governor Pat Brown Sr., the current governor’s father—sprang from the old progressive spirit which saw in infrastructure development a chance not only to create new wealth, but also provide opportunity to working- and middle-class Californians.

it’s not just water that exemplifies the current “era of limits” psychology. Energy development has always been in green crosshairs and their harassment has all but succeeded in helping drive much of the oil and gas industry, including corporate headquarters, out of the state. Not building roads—arguably to be replaced by trains—has not exactly reduced traffic but given California the honor of having eight of the top 20 cities nationally with poor roads; the percentage of Los Angeles-area residents who take transit has, if anything, declined slightly since train-building began. All we are left with are impossible freeways, crumbling streets, and ever more difficulty doing anything that requires traveling.

Meanwhile, there is that multi-billion dollar railroad project. Instead of providing water for irrigation or (gasp) even water for the lower class to have showers, let’s build a train that will most likely never be anything more than a monument to a failed ideology whose dreams are really nightmares.

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Adding up the numbers

This is a textbook example of projection, but not the type produced by the Urban Institute or the CBO. The irony is that Krugman’s own lies, combined with the clumsy misrepresentations of math-challenged people like Cohn, have contributed heavily to the skepticism that most Americans feel about Obamacare. Most voters intuitively understand that the numbers don’t add up. Sadly, the same cannot be said about most of the law’s media cheerleaders.

There are those who just can’t handle numbers and then there are those who can but only in ways to support their foregone conclusions. See David Catron: The Right Prescription – Math Is Hard For Obamacarians – The numbers are not their friends.

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Who’s your neighbor?

Jazz Shaw uses New York state as the example but It’s not red state vs blue state. It’s city vs country applies to a much broader context. In some respects, the issue is quite similar to what was behind the Civil War with the urban north and agrarian south.

we’re not seeing a red state vs blue state problem here. It’s large, liberal cities run by high spending Democrats using their numeric advantage to pass policies which bleed smaller, more rural areas to death. It takes place in many states other than New York, too. Pennsylvania is a study in two countries, really, with the urban centers of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh constantly at war with the rural land known as “Pennsyltucky” stretching between them. I’m sure you can find more examples in your own back yards.

But what is the solution? There have been debates raging for years in the Empire State about finding some way to split off New York City as its own state or allowing portions of upstate to secede and sign on with somebody else. But as long as the cities hold the numerical edge on the votes in the state government, there’s not much that anyone can do. It’s a culture war over a way of life and the economic realities of wildly different societal climates. And there’s no end in sight.

In Nevada, it’s Clark County (Las Vegas) versus everybody else. It is getting harder to run and that only means the oppressed are getting backed into a corner again. That should be a source of concern. … By the Way, Clive Bundy is having an anniversary Liberty gathering at his ranch.

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Trafficking in fear

Net neutrality backers traffic in fear. Pushing a suite of suggested interventions, they warn of rapacious cable operators who seek to control online media and other content by “picking winners and losers” on the Internet. They proclaim that regulation is the only way to stave off “fast lanes” that would render your favorite website “invisible” unless it’s one of the corporate-favored. They declare that it will shelter startups, guarantee free expression, and preserve the great, egalitarian “openness” of the Internet.

No decent person, in other words, could be against net neutrality.

In truth, this latest campaign to regulate the Internet is an apt illustration of F.A. Hayek’s famous observation that “the curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” Egged on by a bootleggers-and-Baptists coalition of rent-seeking industry groups and corporation-hating progressives (and bolstered by a highly unusual proclamation from the White House), Chairman Wheeler and his staff are attempting to design something they know very little about-not just the sprawling Internet of today, but also the unknowable Internet of tomorrow.

Promoting fear of what might be is a common tactic used in pushing many ideological ideas. You can see it with climate change, with vaccines, with alternative energy, … “alternative” anything, it seems. In this case, it’s the pipeline becoming critical to the masses for communications and entertainment and business. Geoffrey A. Manne & R. Ben Sperry suggest that The biggest threat to the Net isn’t cable companies. It’s government. The politics driving governmental control of the I’net is clear:

Generally speaking, neutrality advocates don’t spend much time in the weeds of boring traffic-flow engineering and network prioritization. What has animated everyone from HBO comedian/anchor John Oliver to millions of irate FCC commenters has been an angry suspicion that somewhere, some rich corporations are on the verge of hijacking the Internet’s architecture to profit themselves while excluding others.

Suspicion. Fear. Envy. And persistence.

One would think that after 10 years of political teeth-gnashing, regulatory rule making, and relentless litigating, there would by now be a strong economic case for net neutrality—a clear record of harmful practices and agreements embodying the types of behavior that only regulation can pre-empt. But there isn’t.

All of this goes along with the certitude and arrogance that substitutes for rationality, intellectual integrity, and actual, solid factual basis in reality of those advocating for governmental control. The pattern of behavior is a first clue about the quality of what is advocated.

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The chickens will come to roost – but it’s not those of the President’s pastor

Two essays on morals in the country today:

Americans are now at the mercy of a bankrupt society where the crime of sexually assaulting a child is minimized by a judge who measures the “wrongful act” of sodomy against whether or not the offender stalked his victim or felt remorse after murdering a little girl’s soul in the pursuit of sexual satisfaction. Moreover, it’s where, in a game of political tit-for-tat, elected politicians who have already justified murdering 60 million unborn babies are now publicly joking that sometimes fiscal prudence excuses terminating the disabled.

So, sadly, in place of virtuous standards, a viewpoint that reeks of self-serving arrogance is currently in the process of institutionally degrading America’s legal and political systems and systematically progressing to a point where the indefensible is now being defended.

The credibility of moral relativism is shaky, because even for the most ardent relativist there’s always a limit to what principled sensibilities can endure. That’s why every relativist should exercise extreme caution when reacting to the unthinkable, lest a code of ethics be established that even skeptics might be forced to acknowledge.

And as twisted as that may sound to those who subscribe to archaic standards like Biblical doctrine, natural law and universal principles, America is now sliding into further decline because without fear of rebuke, moral equivocators are dismissing despicable behavior and publicly verbalizing vile sentiments. [Moral Relativism and the Normalization of the Indefensible, American Thinker

The other is from Rev. Michael Bresciani.

Apostate churches abound in these last days, but not all have lost their spine. Some of the best known ministries and ministers have sent warning to the Supreme Court justices of the United States that the scriptures attest that same sex marriage and homosexuality are perversions that violate the laws of God, man and nature.

The Bible clearly warns that the practice and promulgation of homosexuality and other perversions will draw God’s disfavor and in time his severe judgement on this and any nation. Those who take their bibles seriously cannot wait until others take them seriously—it will be too late by then.

Regardless of which way these legal battles turn out one thing is clear the only thing real Christians hate about the gays is the fact that more creatures created in the image of God will be cast into an eternal hell.

Concern and sadness about the loss of their lives and futures is something that compassionate believers all share because it is not the will of God that anyone should perish. If it is not God’s will then it is not our will.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Pet 3: 9) [Pop Culture Trends are not Morality—What Christians Actually Hate will Surprise You]

Perhaps the foundation of this is the matter of false witness. When one is willing to deceive one’s self with a false reality, then anything goes.

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The Malthusians “land is a fixed resource” argument

The real estate broker says that land is a good investment because they don’t make any more of it. That suits the Malthusians just fine as those folks are always raising the alarm about how humanity is going to run out of something Real Soon Now with disastrous consequences for mankind. The economist tells a different tale. Don Boudreaux responded to the concept and describes why Supply Is Not Exclusively, or Even Mainly, A Physical Phenomenon.

While I agree that efforts to create land out of water-covered areas won’t yield much extra land, I disagree that land is fixed in supply. It is not fixed, at least not economically.

The economic supply of land, like that of any other resources you can name, is not a physical phenomenon. As long as people are free and inspired to innovate – and as long as input and output prices are free to adjust to changes in supply and demand – the economic supplies of even the most ‘fixed’ and ‘nonrenewable’ resources will expand.

The examples used to illustrate how the utilization of land is not fixed include skyscrapers, refrigeration, and computers. If your value of land is only as nature will have it, then there is indeed a problem. But if you value land for its ability to provide housing, food, and preserves, then the imagination an ingenuity of humans provides endless horizons.

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Maybe the steaming pile is getting a bit more notice?

Naomi Schaefer Riley notes that Facts matter: Left sticks to ‘narratives,’ evidence be damned. There are some indications that this particular observation is becoming a bit more widespread than it used to be. We can hope.

The stimulus on this one is the campus rape epidemic hoax. The reporting still asserts that the claimant was a traumatic rape victim despite a lack of any support for the claim. That doesn’t matter (the reality, that is). What matters is the message. And that isn’t the only item on the list.

But who cares about the facts as long as awareness has been raised? Take the case of Ellen Pao, who filed suit against her former employer, venture capital group Kleiner Perkins, for gender ­discrimination. … Two weeks ago, a jury decided her claims were completely without merit. And yet from the media coverage, you’d think Ellen Pao successfully exposed a Silicon Valley rife with discrimination. … There was no merit to her claims. If Silicon Valley is so filled with sexist pigs acting illegally, perhaps we could find a case where they actually did that.

and another case related only in correlation to the leanings of the ideologues making allegations:

This is not unlike what happened after the Justice Department released its report on the shooting of Michael Brown last summer.

The only “lesson” that could really be drawn from the DOJ report and the grand jury’s non-indictment was that you shouldn’t knock over convenience stores, but if you do and a police officer catches you, it’s probably not a good idea to ­resist arrest.

But that was not the lesson that others wanted to emphasize. Which is why the Ferguson police now have to try to change the composition of their staff and ticketing policies — though they have no bearing on the case at hand.

as to the message?

Actually, yes, it does diminish the importance because it calls into question whether those were real issues at all. … Not everything has to be a teachable moment. And if we do need a moral to every story, it would be useful to find one based on the facts.

That teachable moment is for the other guy since those trying to do the teaching know it all already. The uncomfortable part is that they are trying to teach the masses that that stinking pile is really good eats when anyone with a sense of smell and some level of intellectual integrity can see it for what it really is. Some things are best for fertilizing the fields and buried in the topsoil.

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Double Down: propagating the propaganda to the bitter end

Two stories illustrate how deep the delusion runs. Clarice Feldman describes how New revelation helps exonerate Scooter Libby and Jack Cashill goes into What Columbia Missed In Its Review of Rolling Stone.

In a book just released, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey, Judith Miller, a key witness in the Libby prosecution, states that Patrick Fitzgerald had offered repeatedly to drop all charges against Lewis Libby if he would “deliver” Vice President Cheney to him.

That’s one victim. The other case attempted to smear a fraternity but the news reporting became a celebrity case itself so a journalism school was tasked to find out what went wrong.

With much ado, Columbia responded. Its 13,000-word report identified problems in “reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking.” This was all true enough, but Columbia missed the real problem. As I document in my forthcoming book, Scarlet Letters, cases like the Rolling Stone’s have become so common because those perpetrating a given fraud almost inevitably advance causes that the cultural establishment, the Columbia faculty included, wants to see advanced.

In both these cases, political ideology has swept aside truth, reality, and anyone in the way. When that happens, people get sacrificed for the cause. No wonder there have been reports about how the Russians are trying to put Stalin back on a pedestal by rationalizing what he did to so many of their fellow countrymen. It almost seems like the old medical practice of blood letting to cure anemia.

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A call to account: EPA on climate alarmism

Robert Bradley Jr: Dear Gina (and Jerry): Where’s the Climate Science Behind Your Plan (Carbon Tax)?. – An exchange between Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Gina McCarthy (U.S. EPA), March 4, 2015 raised the question. It appears that the Congressional Committee wants hard answers supported by proper citation rather than evasion or hand waving.

During the March 4, 2015, Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Fiscal Year 2016 budget, several important questions regarding current climate science and data were raised. Although questions regarding the impacts of climate change were clear and straightforward, none of the questions received direct answers, and many responses contained caveats and conditions.

We write today to emphasize that these questions were not posed lightly or in passing. In fact, questions related to whether projected climate impacts are actually occurring are critical to verifying EPA’s commitment to the best science and data, especially as the agency proposes costly carbon dioxide emissions reductions throughout the United States. Stated differently, given that the Administration’s proposal to fundamentally change the nature of domestic electricity generation is based on the apparent need to avoid “devastating” climate impacts to the United States and the planet, it is imperative that the agency be candid and forthright in assessing the reality of this projection.

EPA must demonstrate its commitment to sound science and data by providing prompt and thorough responses to questions from Congress.

The problem, of course, is that business of “providing prompt and thorough responses to questions from Congress” as the current administration seems to hold contempt of Congress as a higher honor than openness or integrity.

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BMV, the Blowhard, and reality. Because: racism, of course.

Colin Flaherty says Spring Break Violence is a Black College Thing. What got him started was an episode of Juan Williams trying to school Bill O’Reilly.

Williams reminded O’Reilly of Freaknik, the annual celebration of black violence and anarchy that got so bad that even the Chocolate City of Atlanta had to pull the welcome mat. Then he mentioned Urban Beach Week in Miami Beach — only reporters call it anything but Black Beach Week — and how that was a celebration of chaos and violence as well.

The annual mayhem continued until 2013, when city officials ran out of ways to describe the “living hell” that 400,000 black people created in Miami Beach. So they turned that small town into a large armed camp.

Today, lots of attendees complain how the cops, the towers, the dogs, the drones, the license plate scanners, the lights, the Homeland Security and the cameras are all killing their buzz. And attendance is down.

large-scale and persistent mob violence during Spring Break is a black thing. Or as the t-shirts say: A Black College Thing.

This is a very long list of black parties that wore out their welcome after several years — and angry city officials determined to never allow that to happen in their towns again.

Most of these large gatherings of black people were cancelled or discouraged after repeated and long-term violence, property damage, lawlessness, fights with police and trash. Always mountains of trash.

There is a problem. Whether it is the mob violence or the blind eye towards seeing it for what it is, there is a problem. It isn’t getting better. Black Mob Violence (BMV) is a perpetrator in a privileged class trying to pretend it is a victim. There is a lot of sympathy for the claim. One can wonder why, but not out loud.

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Be afraid, very afraid. A false god demands worship

Timothy Carney describes how The Left wages total war; and then plays victim.

On one side is the CEO of the world’s largest company, the president of the United States and a growing chunk of the Fortune 500. On the other side is a solo wedding photographer in New Mexico, a 70-year-old grandma florist in Washington and a few bakers.

One side wants the state to conscript the religious businesswomen and men into participating in ceremonies that violate their beliefs. The other side wants to make it possible for religious people to live their own lives according to their consciences.

Yet somehow, the Left and most of the mainstream press paint the current skirmishes over religious liberty as conservative offensives.When Indiana decided to follow the Clinton administration and 19 states in passing a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Left let loose a cacophonous chorus of cries about a dangerous flood of homophobia spreading out from the Hoosier state.

The misrepresentation would be laughable if not for the awesome power wielded by the anti-religious freedom side.

How is it that the State Propaganda Machine is able to make such a lie stick? Why is it that CEO’s of several major corporations reiterate the lie?

Slippery-slope arguments are often valid — but not coming from the cultural Left, about marriage in the United States, in 2015.

After millennia of marriage being uncontroversially a union between one man and one woman, and after a decade of electorates in most states (and President Obama in 2008) upholding that traditional definition, the Left has used the courts to redefine the institution. People are fired for having taken the losing side. On college campuses, the current fights are about banning even the articulation of traditional views.

But no. Tolerance isn’t the goal. Religious conservatives must atone for their heretical views with acts of contrition: Bake me a cake, photograph my wedding, pay for my abortion and my contraception.

It is the thought police mandating that you condone and support the PC by your actions and tithes. This demand is the essence of the reason for the first three of the Ten Commandments in the Bible. What is a Christian, a Jew, or even a Muslim to do when the government insists he worship at the alter of a false god? Do you do as many of the businesses seem to have done and kneel as ordered. Or do you stand with your belief and take the consequences?

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Fear mongering despite reality: the right to self defense

There is something about guns:

“What if someone who spies you walking down the street thinks you look suspicious? What if you become a target for would-be George Zimmermans? Or what if the man you argue with, or potentially insult or offend, even unintentionally, is armed and irascible—and the argument escalates?”

“The gun-rights movement claims it is a staunch defender of the peace, contributing to and bolstering law and order. As gun rights are currently advanced, nothing could be further from the truth.”

“LaPierre’s argument for being armed boils down to this: Americans are on the verge of—or already sinking into—a state of anarchy, where it is each man for himself. In that state, “the government can’t—or won’t—protect you…Only you can protect you,” he warns.”

“The cumulative effect of these efforts is a society where security must be upheld or enforced by individual gun owners, who could misperceive what justice demands in any given situation. Our police have a hard enough time with this task. Consider the controversies in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island last year, where unarmed black men, implicated in minor crimes, died because police used excessive force.”

“A common feature of the many police shootings perpetrated over the last year, and highlighted in the media during and after Ferguson, is that police now assume their suspects to be armed. Given the state of affairs the NRA has fostered, this may be a prudent and understandable assumption. But it also means police are instinctively cautious, hostile, and all too ready to use their weapons against ordinary citizens. In an over-armed society, we may also expect to see a steady uptick in the number of cases involving police brutality or excessive force. And then, as the NRA would have it, the government is most fully and clearly the people’s enemy, too.”

How Gun Rights Harm the Rule of Law – “Second Amendment activists are redefining the public sphere, and with it, American democracy” by Firman Debrander provides an illustration of how modern debate is often not much more than irrational argument. In terms of the quote above, consider that the assertions about the Zimmerman and other cases are contrary to fact and that the assertion about the “gun-rights movement claims” is an ad hominem straw man. There is no substance in the essay. There is only fear about what is imagined might be that hasn’t any historical basis to support it. 

The facts are that the increase in legal gun ownership has resulted in a decrease in crime and that gun control laws have not been show to have any influence on whether or not the police will encounter armed criminals. The redefinition of American democracy lies at the feet of those who insist on redefining the second amendment and impugn the character of the American citizen by asserting that they will become violent criminals unless restrained by a benevolent government. 

Just how can you debate anything with someone who wants his own reality no matter how distant it is from the truth on the ground?

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Both sides do it? Really

John Hinderaker notices the effort to rationalize improper behavior with the ‘everybody does it’ line. Harry Reid is the stimulus where Chris Cillizza offers up the issue.

There is no trust between the two parties because they believe — and have some real justification for believing — that the other side will say and do literally anything to win.

But this is wrong, isn’t it? It may describe the Democrats accurately–I think it does–but when did Mitch McConnell or John Boehner peddle an outright, slanderous lie about Barack Obama? It hasn’t happened. Hysteria is a constant among Democrats: consider Reid’s crazed attacks on the Koch brothers, the current ridiculous misrepresentations about Indiana’s RFRA, the repeated suggestions that scientists who prefer data to global warming alarmism should be shot or imprisoned. There simply isn’t anything like this on the right.

Trying to support the ‘both sides the same thesis’ can be difficult and usually just gets even more absurd. But reality and reason – intellectual integrity – seems in short supply for many these days.

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Sacred belief

Ashe Schow: Why the Rolling Stone gang-rape story will never be labeled a hoax. (ht InstaPundit) follows up on Feulner’s observations in the last post. The topic at hand is a hoax about campus rape and its promulgation by Rolling Stone.

“One way to define the difference between a regular belief and a sacred belief is that people who hold sacred beliefs think it is morally wrong for anyone to question those beliefs,” Dagny wrote. “If someone does question those beliefs, they’re not just being stupid or even depraved, they’re actively doing violence. They might as well be kicking a puppy. When people hold sacred beliefs, there is no disagreement without animosity.”

Because the activists behind the Rolling Stone story hold a “sacred belief” that thousands, perhaps even millions, of college students are sexually assaulted each year, any evidence to the contrary is seen as detrimental to the cause.

The same phenomena shows elsewhere. Consider the debate about climate change, for instance. You don’t have to look far to find examples where sacred belief trumps reason and reality.

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