Archive for Mind Games

Tactics

Richard Berman thinks he knows How to defeat activists. “The key is exposing the opposition’s hidden agenda.”

Having a first-mover advantage, then occupying the moral high ground, allows activists to shift the burden of proof to the opposition. This puts opponents in the impossible position of trying to prove a negative — e.g., explaining why a higher minimum wage won’t decrease poverty, and how food labeling won’t make consumers more informed.

So how does one respond? Not by continuing to try to win on an intellectual level.

It is getting more discussion about how integrity – the intellectual level – isn’t much of a factor in today’s political arguments. Berman’s problem in envisioning tactics is that his proposed solution falls back to that of the honest person. That dissonance is a significant internal dilemma: how do you prevail when you are up against an opposition that has no boundaries on its behavior?

Consider, for instance Ed Feulner on Challenging the climate change bullies — “Despite what Democratic lawyers say, free speech isn’t debatable.”

Actually, Mr. Schneiderman can assert that all he wants. Unlike him, I believe in free speech for all, even those I disagree with. What I find abhorrent is the idea of using the power of government to compel groups who express a politically incorrect point of view to open their files for investigation.

Sorry, Mr. Whitehouse. The only fraud being perpetrated here is by those who would deny basic First Amendment rights to their fellow Americans. Let’s hope those who recognize your bullying tactics keep turning up the heat.

Keep turning up the heat – that’s another tactic and it is an effective one. It means selling the people to join you in exposing the fallacies and absurdities and in pushing back against improper behavior.

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A malaise in science, a failure in culture

Dr. Tim Ball thinks that the Credibility Loss in Climate Science is Part of a Wider Malaise in Science.

There are a widespread malaise and loss of direction in western society promulgated by bizarre ideas and theories produced by completely unaccountable academics. How can anyone promote ideas that were so wrong and did so much damage, like Paul Ehrlich, yet continue to practice?

Lack of accountability is endemic among the financial, political, and academic elite trio. It is no wonder that the modern attitude, especially among the young, is that you only broke the law if you got caught. Even then, it is most likely nothing will happen to you or anyone who benefits from your absolution if you are in the elite trio. So the malfeasance expands as the practices and false rewards continue.

One of many incorrect assumptions made in education is that it can increase a person’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ). The difference is between nature (IQ) and nurture (education). Aristotle defined the issue when he pointed out that you can have a mathematical genius of five years old, but you will never have a five-year-old philosophical genius. Aristotle’s point was that most of the subjects’ students study in school require life experience, which they don’t and can’t have.

The give away in the entire climate debacle were the actions taken before and after the emails were leaked. The resort to denial of freedom of information requests for data, use of intellectual property claims to prevent other scientists replicating results. The examples in climate science appear to be extreme.

There is worry about a lack of accountability and differing rules and standards for different cohorts. Why is it fostered and allowed to stand? That is the puzzle.

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Struggles with guns

The dissonance is on display. Paul Marantz is wondering: More guns or fewer? The problems with evidence-based gun research and provides an illustration of asking the wrong question and avoiding logical inference by avoiding selected data.

To me, it seems patently absurd to suggest that fewer people would have died in that movie theater in Aurora, CO, if more theater-goers were toting firearms, or that fewer children would have died in Sandy Hook, CT, if there were armed guards in all schools, or Donald Trump’s more recent statement that if more people in that Orlando nightclub had been carrying guns, “you wouldn’t have had the tragedy that you had.”

Absurd? It is one thing to not understand but entirely another to pre-judge. The use of ‘toting’ is also an indicator of this bias. Why would it be absurd to think that an armed citizenry would increase the odds of reducing the tenure of a mass murderer? The he poses a hypothetical to support his view: “But since we can’t actually know something that didn’t happen.” The logical fallacy is trying to apply a single case to a statistical phenomena. Rather than limit the observations to one specific and selected event to determine definitive result, why not look at the broader, statistical, population? If you do, then you will find cases where an armed citizenry did indeed cut a mass murder short and other evidence that your judgment of “absurd” is off base. This is only a part of the problem.

why not take a scientific approach to determining whether there is such an association and in which direction it points? While my heart resonates with this argument, my head finds a few significant problems:

1. The powers that be don’t want this sort of information.

Just how is assuming a conspiracy taking a “scientific approach”?

2. Even when information is available, we tend to ignore or disbelieve evidence that doesn’t comport with our beliefs. While there hasn’t been enough research on gun violence, there has been some, and it generally supports the notion that having fewer restrictions on gun access is associated with more, not fewer, fatalities

When you start to allege bias, the first place to look is always in the mirror. In this case, the need is shown by a questionable allegations. This is about not enough research – like the research that has been done and the measurements taken don’t support the view I like so we need more to find some that does. Another problem is the “fewer restrictions” means more fatalities which flies in the face of the overall statistic that violence has reduced over the last couple of decades as gun ownership and CCW permits have increased. The only ‘research’ to support his allegation is highly selective and bypasses proper consideration of pertinent variables in a complex situation.

3. Americans’ mistrust of science. This last point is perhaps the most problematic; although as troubling as I find it, I do understand it a bit. First, while science represents a methodology and an approach to thinking about and understanding the world, the way “science” is taught tends to emphasize what we’ve learned from science (often focusing on fact retention) rather than the methodology itself. While the latter is more interesting, it can be intellectually challenging, and one wonders whether our educational system is up to the task

How is this mistrust measured? Is it a sop for an ad hominem attack on those who do not agree? Perhaps a place to start would be to start to examine one’s own views of science. Think about the values of science and how poorly they are reflected in your own conclusions and rationalizations.

In sum: I’m hoping for effective, evidence-based policies to curb gun violence and reduce firearm-related deaths, but I am of little faith.

What are these “effective, evidence-based policies” that are going to do what what is already happening? Why is this restricted to just one type of violence and what does that indicate about the real target of the plea – and why is that target hidden? 

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Soros v Koch

A number of Democrats in the Senate are having a go at the Koch brothers claiming that they are defrauding the public and should be silenced. Meanwhile, there’s George Soros. Kelly Riddel says Beware the Soros zombies — “They’re headed to the Republican convention with a mission to disrupt and distract.”

Civil rights group Color of Change — which Mr. Soros gave $500,000 to in his Foundation’s latest tax return — collected more than 100,000 signatures on a petition to demand Coca-Cola and other companies withdraw their support from the [Republican] convention. The petition that featured a Coke bottle with the label, “Share a Coke with the KKK.”

Brave New Films, which received $250,000 from Mr. Soros‘ foundation, tried to make waves for Republicans by creating misinformation about their convention through social media.

Deceit and lies — that’s what these groups are up to — and they’re using the mainstream media as their pawns.

Last weekend, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a progressive organization that was given $900,000 by Mr. Soros’s Foundation, held a People’s Convention in Pittsburgh, to organize social justice movements ahead of the political conventions both in Cleveland and Philadelphia.

That’s right, Mr. Soros is actively working to build another ACORN.

It is one thing to voice an opinion, another entirely to fund demonstrations to disrupt and destroy and silence the opposition. Soros v Koch illustrates the difference and tells much about the ethics and values that are at play in current politics and the stark differences between parties.

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An IBD collection

Investor’s Business Daily has a parade of solid thinking today. Start off with Walter Williams on why We Don’t Need Another ‘National Conversation’ On Race. Then take a look Kerry Jackson: June Hottest Month On Record? It’s Just One More Overheated Claim. Both illustrate how measures of reality are in dissonance with political desires and fantasies.

The primary victims of lawlessness are black people. To address this problem and most others, black people should ignore the liberal agenda. If civil authorities will not do their job of creating a safe environment, then black people should take the initiative. One example comes to mind. In 1988, at the request of residents, Black Muslims began to patrol Mayfair Mansions, a drug-infested, gang-ridden, unsafe Washington, D.C., housing project. The gangs and drug lords left.

Without self-initiative, there is not much that can be done about the high crime rate in black neighborhoods. Black and white liberals and their allies in the ACLU, as well as many libertarians, will not countenance the kind of tools needed to bring about civility.

Similar to the ‘foolishness’ and many falsehoods driving the anti-police movement is that driving the climate propaganda.

One of the points that has to be taken from this is the foolishness of trying to determine an average temperature for a country, let alone an entire planet.

And it is indeed foolishness. Bjarne Andresen, a professor at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, says the concept of a global temperature is thermodynamically as well as mathematically impossible to establish.

“It is impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth,” Andresen, an expert in thermodynamics, says.

“A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system. Furthermore, the climate is not governed by a single temperature. Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate.”

NOAA would have more credibility if it simply reported that summer had arrived in the Northern Hemisphere in June and reminded Americans, particularly those in regions where June was cooler than usual, that, yes, summer is hot.

Yes, it’s a hot summer and some are saying it was planned – at least the race riot type things. 

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Jay Stalien on Facebook 

The more I listened, the more I realized. The more I researched, the more I realized. I would ask questions, and would only get emotional responses & inferences based on no facts at all. The more killing I saw, the more tragedy, the more savagery, the more violence, the more loss of life of a black man at the hands of another black man….the more I realized.

All of my realizations came to this conclusion. Black Lives do not matter to most black people. Only the lives that make the national news matter to them. Only the lives that are taken at the hands of cops or white people, matter. The other thousands of lives lost, the other black souls that I along with every cop, have seen taken at the hands of other blacks, do not matter. Their deaths are unnoticed, accepted as the “norm”, and swept underneath the rug by the very people who claim and post “black lives matter”.

I realized that some of these people, who say Black Lives Matter, are full of hate and racism. Hate for cops, because of the false narrative that more black people are targeted and killed. Racism against white people, for a tragedy that began 100’s of years ago, when most of the white people today weren’t even born yet.

I realized that some in the African American community’s idea of “Justice” is the prosecution of ANY and EVERY cop or white man that kills or is believed to have killed a black man, no matter what the circumstances are.

I realized the African American community refuses to look within to solve its major issues, and instead makes excuses and looks outside for solutions. I realized that a lot of people in the African American community lead with hate, instead of love. Division instead of Unity. Turmoil and rioting, instead of Peace.

I realized that they have become the very entity that they claim they are fighting against.

I realized that the very reasons I became a cop, are the very reasons my own people hate me, and now in this toxic hateful racially charged political climate, I am now more likely to die,… and it is still hard for me to understand…. to this day.

hard to understand indeed. go read the rest as it is a powerful plaint.

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Democrats v Bill of Rights

Peter Roff on Freezing Free Speech — “Democratic senators are trying to put the First Amendment on ice.”

This coordinated attack on what the Democrats are calling the “Web of denial” is a hideous affront to the right of a person or an organization to hold and to propagate an opinion running counter to the political interests of the powerful. That those participating are making use of the tactics they accuse their opponents in the climate change debate of using would make for delicious irony were the stakes not so high.

Whitehouse and company understand well they cannot yet make a difference of opinion a criminal matter. They can however make it a costly one – and they are not above using the resources available to them as officers of the United States government to do it. No matter what your beliefs about climate change you should all be sickened by the spectacle. Open debate is healthy, but that’s not what this is. It’s an effort at oppression, the kind many of our forebears fled in deciding to first come to America.

If you can’t make it illegal, you can at least make it costly to oppose you. The assault on the Bill of Rights by the Democratic Party is indeed “a hideous affront.” What is frightening is that it is a major political party supported by a good portion of the citizenry.

update: the minions are falling into line: Calling out the Koch Brothers. Note the picking of a personal target and how it is rationalized and defended in the comments. 

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Victory Disease

History is not a closed book and the WW II battle at Midway illustrates both how new understanding can be gained and how old stories are similar to new ones. In Explaining the “Miracle” at Midway, the idea of “Victory Disease” illustrates behaviors readily visible in many of today’s political arguments.

The authors also faulted Japan’s lack of ingenuity in using battleships as close escorts for the navy’s carriers, an overemphasis on quality over quantity in naval aviation, the lack of radar on Japanese vessels, and, perhaps most important of all, Japan’s sufferance from “Victory Disease”— the clouding of judgment resulting from the many easy victories of the early months of the war. “There is an irrationality and impulsiveness about our people which results in actions that are haphazard and often contradictory,” Fuchida and Okumiya conclude. “Indecisive and vacillating, we succumb readily to conceit, which in turn makes us disdainful of others. . . . Our want of rationality often leads us to confuse desire and reality, and thus to do things without careful planning.”

[T]he Japanese defeat was not the result of some solitary, crucial breakdown in Japanese designs. It was not the result of Victory Disease, nor of a few crucial personal mistakes. Rather, what appears is a complex, comprehensive web of failures stretching across every level of the battle—strategic, operational, and tactical. . . . They were the end products of an organization that failed to learn correctly from its past, failed to plan correctly for its future, and then failed to adapt correctly to circumstances once those plans were shown to be flawed.”

There is an irrationality and impulsiveness about our people which results in actions that are haphazard and often contradictory.” “Our want of rationality often leads us to confuse desire and reality, and thus to do things without careful planning.” If you don’t see these human characteristic behaviors driving modern politics, you may need to look in the mirror and do some introspection. It isn’t a “Victory Disease” but rather a narcissism and a defense of self that is an inherent part of identity run amok. It is a bit too much confidence that one’s perceptions are entirely correct, such a confidence that allows no objection even when reality is offering one.

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Perfecting Hindsight: Chilicot version

It’s another ‘report’ to establish moral superiority by bashing and trashing leadership in unpleasant world affairs. This time, it is Tony Blair as the victim for supporting George Bush in the Iraq war. Not that it isn’t countries under examination, it is specific political leaders. Andrew Rawnsley reviews Ten things that Chilcot’s verdict reveals about Tony Blair and the Iraq war. One of the first things to consider in this review is the axioms that show bias.

What he can’t bring himself to say is: “If I knew then what I know now, of course I would never have taken Britain to war in Iraq.” Some react to his defiance by putting it down to self-delusion, denial and vanity. The most important reason is this: for Blair to accept that the entire enterprise was a mistake would be to say to the bereaved that their loved ones died in vain for a terrible folly.

“Folly” ? Notice the many ‘qualified’ assertions about this folly.

Chilcot concludes that the legal basis for the invasion was “far from satisfactory” and confirms that the cabinet never tested the advice from the attorney-general … On the other hand, the war was never condemned by a vote of the UN and the occupation was subsequently given a form of endorsement in post-invasion resolutions passed by the Security Council creating a framework for Iraq’s future.

Up to the cusp of the invasion, key members of the cabinet could have acted to stop British participation in the invasion. Any one of John Prescott, deputy prime minister at the time; Gordon Brown, chancellor; and Jack Straw, foreign secretary, could have halted it by resigning. … The late Robin Cook was the only member of the cabinet to quit

Even the original premise is qualified in item 10.

10 Could an Iraq war ever happen again?

That seems unlikely after the defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some policy thinkers worry there could be a sound case for intervention in the future and it won’t happen because the scars are so deep. Strategy is a mess. After the horrors in Iraq, Britain, with France and America, took a different approach when genocide was threatened by Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, using air power but not deploying troops. That form of intervention-lite has turned out badly. The failings in Iraq and Libya resulted in reluctance to intervene in Syria when anti-regime protesters rose up against the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. Even when he unleashed chemical weapons on civilians, parliament refused to sanction British intervention at the first time of asking. More Syrians have died since that conflict began in 2011 than Iraqis have died since the invasion of 2003. Non-intervention can be every bit as blood-stained as intervention.

The “scars are so deep” but these scars do not come from the war in Iraq but rather the political war at home. It is a political war driven by fantasy and hate and personal desires that run so deep as to stimulate massive reports trying to defend them by ignoring reality. That ignoring reality isn’t so much a creation of a new one as an emphasis on just one aspect of the whole. This is like the desire for a socialist dictatorship supported by ignoring the human suffering that results any time it surfaces.

The ‘other side’ of the Iraq war angst is in the Authorization to Use Military Force passed overwhelming by the U.S. Congress and in the U.N resolutions regarding Iraq and in the recent history of the late 20th century. These factors cannot be swept aside in ad hominem moral preening trying to pretend that humanity is what it is not.  History makes it clear that “Non-intervention can be every bit as blood-stained as intervention,” 

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False prophets

Luboš lets loose every now and then about false prophets in science. This time he thinks: Pesticides needed against anti-physics pests — “Their activity got too high in the summer.”

There’s absolutely nothing new about this particular rant – it’s the 5000th repetition of the anti-string delusions repeated by dozens of other mental cripples and fraudsters in the recent decade. To make things “cooler”, he says that many string theorists would agree with him and to make sure what they would agree with, he promotes both Šmoits’ crackpot books at the end as the “recommended reading”.

This particular rant has been read by more than 45,000 readers. The number of people indoctrinated with this junk is so high that one should almost start to be afraid to call the string critics vermin on the street (my fear is not this far, however). I am sure that most of them have been gullible imbeciles since the rant was upvoted a whopping 477 times. Every Quora commenter who has had something to do with high brow physics disagrees with Muller but it’s only Muller’s rant that is visible. Quora labels this Muller as the “most viewed writer in physics”. Quora is an anti-civilization force that deserves to be liquidated.

A more accurate formulation is that Mr Siegel doesn’t want to see any arguments in favor of grand unification because he is a dishonest and/or totally stupid prejudiced and demagogic crackpot. But I guess that Siegel’s own formulation, while totally untrue, sounds fancier to his brainwashed readers.

The number of individuals just like him has grown astronomical and they produce their lies on a daily basis without facing almost any genuine enemies.

It’s not only in string theory that you have the ignorant posing as experts pontificating nonsense. It is not only in arcane fields of study or science or technology that such people are doing their thing, either. String theory, climatology, genetics and farming, vaccinations, nutrition, criminal violence, and even the law all have false prophets garnering followings of the gullible. 

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was all nonsense but money gets spent, people suffer and die, and the followers waste so much. It does seem that the activity is rather high this summer.

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Flawed inflammatory: the GMO argument

Sarah Hartley seems a bit confused in an Opinion: Why scientists’ failure to understand GM opposition is stifling debate and halting progress.

Genetically modified crops are safe for human consumption and have the potential to feed the world and improve human health, scientists have been telling us for years. On June 30, 110 Nobel laureates from around the world signed a letter demanding that the environmental pressure group Greenpeace stop its campaign against GM crops. How many people must die before we consider this a “crime against humanity”? the letter asks.

Note the selection from the letter and remember that this is an opinion about scientists that fail to understand. Also note that the question is factually accurate and reasonable although it is a confrontation to denial.

Our research has identified five requirements for advancing a responsible debate about GM crops. These are a commitment to honesty; recognition of the values underlying the practice of science; involvement of a broad range of people; consideration of a range of alternatives; and a preparedness to respond.

This is nice, but such advice should start at home. How can there be “a commitment to honesty” when a whole litany of dubious allegations and logical fallacies are presented in support of the opinion? How is calling the letter “inflammatory” be considered honest? How are these “requirements” considered relevant when they appear more to be accusation by innuendo and presented that way because the accusations have no merit?

It is clear that the scientists accusing Greenpeace of crimes against humanity feel deeply frustrated about what they see as shackles on a technology that for them has clear benefits for the world’s poor. However, by signing the inflammatory letter, they reveal a flawed and naïve understanding of the debate. This approach is likely to result in further agitating and polarising the debate rather than achieving the desired outcome. Indeed, some may even see these scientists as using their privilege and authority to promote a particular technological solution to a political problem.

The quote provided refutes the accusation here showing that the opinion is based on flawed perceptions chosen to support a bias. That is supported by labeling and judging the Nobel laureates with words such as “flawed and naïve” and asserting that it is they who are “agitating and polarising” and using “privilege and authority.” The opinion also describes health and nutrition as a political problem and maligns technological solutions.

The fact is that the opposition to GMO is based on promulgating fear, uncertainty, and doubt and shows no consideration for the damage its efforts do to integrity or even the physical human condition. Hartley’s concerns about the scientists are misdirected. She chooses the easy target and, in doing so, demonstrates that she is a part of the problem and not a part of the solution.

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Up the ante

The Ace of Spades describes on of the tactics of denial in Trey Gowdy to Comey: As a Former Prosecutor, Didn’t You Routinely Establish Intent By Citing a Defendant’s Voluminous Lies Told to Cover Up Her Actions?.

No matter what you probe Hillary did, Comey ups the ante for what he claims must be proven, then says it’s not proven.

This is a variant of the technique of changing the rules or moving the goal posts during the game in order to avoid losing. 

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Trump Dissonance

Some get it. Consider Byron York: How Trump speaks. Some folks are beginning to notice that Donald Trump is different. Others, like ‘reporters’ in the mainstream propaganda machine, appear to remain clueless. The clueless don’t want to admit that, maybe, they are a bit weak on understanding so they go on attack and demean, humiliate, and castigate. In doing so, they are missing a phenomena.

Instead of a prepared stump speech that he gives over and over again — the standard diet for political reporters covering the presidential race — Trump instead has chosen to deliver a stream of consciousness performance designed to capitalize on his celebrity, to entertain, to attack opponents, and to address the actual issues in the race. And most of all, to keep his audience awake and paying attention.

People aren’t offended by the bragging because they sense it’s part of the act, and they appreciate the occasional touch of humility.

Still, amid it all, Trump manages to cover some of the bases of a conventional political speech. In Cincinnati, he devoted the first part of the speech to attacking Hillary Clinton in light of the Obama Justice Department’s decision not to charge her in the email affair.

Trump interspersed issues throughout the Cincinnati speech. As always, he never discussed specifics of how he would handle any given issue, choosing instead to talk in terms of goals.

But here’s the striking thing, whether the attendee is a loyal Trump fan or not: After all of Trump’s rambling and meandering, after one discursive aside after another, many of those attending still manage to come away from Trump’s speech with concise and focused takeaways.

He communicates in a way far different from what the political world is used to — but he communicates.

it’s clear Trump faces an enormous, perhaps insurmountable obstacle in getting his message out. He clearly believes he is a great communicator, and he is in fact a very good one. But as a political speaker, Trump is so far outside the box that he has virtually overwhelmed the senses of those reporting and analyzing the news, making it difficult for some voters who haven’t actually seen him to get a clear picture of his appeal to supporters.

A key is to consider behavior. In one column from Erik Erickson who thinks We Have Betrayed Our Founders, for instance, one can observe:

“The biggest problem is falling into the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy and not making crucial distinction about differences. That is especially important to do when the options are not attractive.

“For Hillary, his recitation is witness (lied, jeopardized national security). For Trump, it is judgment (swindled, rigged, dog whistled). That shows a crippling anti-Trump bias.

“Another problem is the ‘vox populi’ logical fallacy in asserting a growing consensus that Trump would be a disaster. That also falls into conflating the known (Hillary) with the unknown (Trump).

“Then the ‘both sides do it’ again in “allegiances now to themselves”

“As for Trump’s character, I think Erickson is off base. People I trust that know him, such as Limbaugh (and Savage) and his extended family and ex girl friends, tell a different story. His campaign tells a different story. His funding solicitation tells a different story. The angry and irrational response to Trump from certain quarters also tell me a different story.

“Demagogue is not, IMHO, a proper label for Trump. Calling Republicans the “adult party” is nonsense when looking at how they have responded to elections and as an opposition party in Congress.

“What Erickson also misses is that the Founders saw our country as being run by citizens, ordinary folks who are not career politicians. Trump fits that bill. Hillary does not.

“Trump is also a much better fit for a moral person than Clinton but it takes a close look at the ‘swindle, rigged, etc’ judgments to understand this.

“Erickson also bypasses the fact that Trump won the nomination over a stellar field of competitors and did so by following the rules. The need is to understand why Trump gets the support he does and you won’t find that by taking the road that Erickson is following.”

There is cognitive dissonance and many who thought they were on top of the game are showing significant behavior anomalies in trying to handle it. Time to get off the high horse charging around waving sabers and put the weapons aside and get down with the masses to figure out what is really happening. 

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Selective reasoning

A functioning legal system means that written law is applied consistently. In the U.S. recently, this concept has been taking some abuse. The FBI v. Clinton is the topic of the day but it is not the only example. Madison Gesiotto says Liberal justices espouse Second Amendment argument in Texas abortion regulation case.

Essentially, what he is saying here is that more laws will not deter lawbreakers from committing crimes.

If they are going to use this reasoning to declare abortion regulations unconstitutional, they should stop denying its validity when raised to support the Second Amendment right of U.S. citizens to keep and bear arms.

One can only help that as gun control cases make their way to the Supreme Court that it will be difficult for these justices to distance themselves from the reasoning used in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

However, as we have seen in recent years, the law doesn’t always apply to everyone, and the left has a way of unapologetically picking and choosing reasoning that is politically expedient.

On the Clinton front there Andrew P. Napolitano: The Department of Political Justice — “Once again, the rule of law exempts the Clintons.”

What has become of the rule of law — no one is beneath its protections or above its requirements — when the American public can witness a game of political musical chairs orchestrated by Bill Clinton at an airport in a bizarre ruse to remove the criminal investigation of his wife from those legally responsible for making decisions about it?

It is obvious that a different standard is being applied to Mrs. Clinton than was applied to Gen. Petraeus and the others.

Unless, of course, one is willing to pervert the rule of law yet again to insulate a Clinton yet again from the law enforcement machinery that everyone else who fails to secure state secrets should expect.

Why do we stand for this?

The thing is, these sorts of things are not only in the upper levels of government, they are in local clubs like the WBCCI, an Airstream RV club. Stand up? It seems that that takes too much work and creates too much unpleasantness. Club Directors ignore malfeasance? Why worry about the club corporate charter? That’s like in Venezuela where they went for socialism and a dictator and didn’t think the current food riots were any risk to consider. What might (historically has) happened is far off so don’t worry, be happy. It’s not going to happen to you and who cares about the other guy.

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Voter Fraud

It’s another partisan issue with Democrats insisting fraud doesn’t exist and voter qualification is unnecessarily discriminatory. John Hinderaker describes one case of Voter Fraud Alleged in Minnesota. As per usual, there are efforts from the Democrats to make evidence collection difficult but what has been found so far is telling.

Here in Minnesota, a case is pending in our Supreme Court that challenges same day registration and various actions by our Democratic Secretary of State that have enabled illegal voting. I haven’t yet had time to evaluate the plaintiffs’ legal arguments, but the factual allegations are explosive

The lawyers representing plaintiffs in the case have done a great deal of digging, and have come up with names, dates and places–illegal votes that likely swung Minnesota elections toward Democratic candidates. The illegal votes that plaintiffs have been able to document are only a small fraction of the actual total

Minnesota’s Secretary of State, Steve Simon, has tried to frustrate investigation into illegal voting by refusing to turn over either to polling places or to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit the complete list, which the state maintains, of those who have lost their voting rights. It is hard to see any possible reason why this list should be a secret, other than the Democrats’ desire that convicted felons, who overwhelmingly vote their way, get away with voting illegally.

This fact is particularly explosive:

MVA found 941 ineligible felons who were allowed to vote in 2008 alone, exceeding the 312 vote margin separating DFL candidate Al Franken and GOP Sen. Norm Coleman after a grueling recount.

This is stunning. It was Franken’s razor-thin “victory” over incumbent Senator Norm Coleman that allowed the Democrats to ram Obamacare down the throats of the American people. If we assume that 80% of the 941 ineligible felons voted for Al Franken–a conservative assumption, as nearly all convicted felons are Democrats–then Franken’s victory is attributable to voter fraud. And the 941 ineligible votes are just a fraction of those that could have been identified if the Democratic Secretary of State had not stonewalled, refusing to turn over the full list of ineligible voters.

Fishing expedition? Witch Hunt? Or an actual cause for investigation? Democrats see this particular issue one way and Republicans another much like in the Benghazi case or the Lerner case or the Clinton Foundation case or Fast and Furious or …. How much “there” is really there and what difference, at this point, does it make?

The pile under the rug seems to be getting to tripping hazard status and the reluctance to lift the edge to clean out the problem seems to be getting more adamant. Something will break sometime.

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More death from the left

One side effect of the environmentalists’s movements has been death, especially in the population of the poor and disadvantaged. Since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and the termination of the use of DDT to control vector born diseases, the health and welfare of the silent classes seem to be of little concern. This is generating some pushback. See Scientists Scorn Greenpeace’s Deadly GMO Scare Tactics

A group of 107 Nobel laureates signed onto a letter calling out the environmental group Greenpeace for its longstanding opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The letter pays particular attention to Golden Rice, a GMO that, the letter states, “has the potential to reduce or eliminate much of the death and disease caused by a vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which has the greatest impact on the poorest people in Africa and Southeast Asia.”

And yet, and yet…Greenpeace doesn’t approve. Worse than that, the group’s eco-activists have actively mobilized against its cultivation in the developing world (where it’s needed most), spreading fear and misinformation that’s lead to incidences of targeted vandalism against Golden Rice field trials.
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The Nobel laureates’ letter concludes with a question: “How many poor people in the world must die before we consider this a “crime against humanity”?” From where we’re sitting, consigning hundreds of thousands of poor children to blindness and contributing to millions of otherwise preventable deaths every year certainly seems to cross that line.

The issue is one of ‘responsible use’ but the debate is plagued by binary position of yes or no. Yes, Carson had a point but no, total banning of all pesticides was not the most effective choice. Tugging on heartstrings with scary anecdote and hyperbolic exaggeration is not a proper way to present a point of view either. 

You can take the Malthusian approach, figure that all resources are limited so the human population must be limited, too- by force if necessary. An alternative is  to look at history and see that human ingenuity tends to solve problems if allowed to do so and human population is self limiting when fears of starvation and impoverishment are reduced. 

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targeting the opposition

The scandals brew. Bill Clinton and AG Lynch have a half hour discussion in an airport – this raises questions because it is the prosecutor hobnobbing with the husband of an individual under criminal investigation. Then there is the AG that dropped the efforts against Exxon even though a coalition of 17 other Democrat AG’s promise to plow on. These are only two ingredients in the noxious brew.

Paul Bedard describes: Fox targeted by FEC Dems in first-ever vote to punish debate sponsorship

Finally making good on long-harbored anger at conservative media, Democrats on the Federal Election Commission voted in secret to punish Fox News’ sponsorship of a Republican presidential debate, using an obscure law to charge the network with helping those on stage.

It is the first time in history that members of the FEC voted to punish a media outlet’s debate sponsorship, and it follows several years of Democratic threats against conservative media and websites like the Drudge Report.

The punishment, however, was blocked by all three Republicans on the commission, resulting in a 3-3 tie vote and no action.

Then the IBD opines about the IRS Scandal: No End To Lois Lerner’s Lawlessness.

It’s now apparent, if it wasn’t before, that the Internal Revenue Service — which was created solely to collect revenues due the government, not to persecute the administration’s political enemies — has become a kind of rogue agency.

Its chief, John Koskinen, is being threatened with impeachment for not telling the truth in testimony before Congress. But Lerner, more than even Koskinen, has become a symbol of IRS arrogance and illegality.

So it looks like Lerner broke the law — again. But will she be punished? Not likely.

President Obama’s Justice Department already passed on prosecuting Lerner in 2015, despite strong evidence of criminal wrongdoing. IRS chief Koskinen, who is less guilty and less implicated than Lerner in all of this IRS skulduggery, is more likely to be impeached than Lerner is to be brought before a judge.

Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department, it seems, is just as politicized these days as the IRS.

One wonders just how long this sort of behavior will remain acceptable and how long the Democrats will continue to mount a solid patisan effort in trying to block investigations, persecute investigators, and otherwise defend and deny. The Benghazi investigation provides another clear example of this effort to whitewash a dirty fence.

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The problem with the courts

William J. Olson and Herbert W. Titus take a look at a SCOTUS ruling that medical precautions in abortion are unduly restrictive in Whole Woman’s Health: Justice Thomas Exposes the Court’s Corrupt Abortion Jurisprudence. A dissent describes a broader view of just where the problem in the SCOTUS decision lies.

Justice Thomas concluded: “Our law is now so riddled with special exceptions for special rights that our decisions deliver neither predictability nor the promise of a judiciary bound by the rule of law.” Concluding with a frontal assault on balancing tests, Justice Thomas warned: “As the Court applies whatever standard it likes to any given case, nothing but empty words separates our constitutional decisions from judicial fiat[.] … If our recent cases illustrate anything, it is how easily the Court tinkers with levels of scrutiny to achieve its desired result.”

“The Court has simultaneously transformed judicially created rights like the right to abortion into preferred constitutional rights, while disfavoring many of the rights actually enumerated in the Constitution. But our Constitution renounces the notion that some constitutional rights are more equal than others. A plaintiff either possesses the constitutional right he is asserting, or not – and if not, the judiciary has no business creating ad hoc exceptions so that others can assert rights that seem especially important to vindicate[.]”

In other words, the courts have become so politically active that the only way to tell what decision they make is to examine the political ideologies of the judges. The actual law has very little to do with anything anymore. 

Think of the movie Red October where a captain orders that the safeties on a torpedo be turned off is the first two attempts did not get the desired results. That is what is happening with the courts: the safeties for governance are being turned off. In the movie, we found out why the safeties were there. Let us hope we avoid analogous results from court actions to remove the safeties on government.

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Tactics and kindergarten

It was a set up job trying to get the opposition into a ‘no win’ scenario. John Sexton describes the tactics in Paul Ryan: I won’t tolerate another sit-in from Democrats.

After Democrats held what the Speaker of the House has called a fundraising stunt last week, some Republicans have recommended he file ethics charges against anyone who violated House rules. Ryan doesn’t seem ready to go there quite yet but he did tell WISN news that if Democrats try it again his response will be different … The Hill reports that Ryan chose not to have Democrats removed from the House floor last week because he had heard that was exactly what Democrats were hoping would happen

Speaker Ryan was put in an impossible situation by Democrats who were clearly hoping he would walk into a trap set for him. Had he cleared the House, Democrats would have turned an argument over a failed gun control bill into an argument over race and civil rights. … Any reaction by Ryan will be portrayed as a racially-charged overreach against a civil rights icon. So it’s hard to see how can Ryan ever win this showdown because whatever he does the media will ensure that he loses.

The same media that has been consistently dismayed by every government shutdown driven by Republicans was giddy over Democrats turning the House floor into an Occupy camp. Despite the clear breaking of the rules and Ryan’s restrained response, the media gave Democrats’ glowing reviews.

In other words, as long as people buy into this behavior, it will continue.

Then there’s the idea that Democrats release their own Benghazi report.

Democrats on the Select Committee investigating the Benghazi attack released their own report on the matter Monday. The report is intended to undercut the forthcoming report by the majority on the select committee which is expected to be released this summer

The report is 339 pages but fully 50 pages of that is dedicated to attacking the Republicans on the committee directly. The report offers 12 recommendations, 3 of which are aimed at the select committee itself.

Democrats have apparently produced exactly what they have accused Republicans of attempting to produce, a completely politicized Benghazi report.

And, if that isn’t enough, consider Jazz Shaw about Washington state to begin teaching “gender identity” in Kindergarten.

Earlier this month another dubious milestone was reached in the state of Washington, already home to many such distinctions. We learned that beginning in the fall of next year, kindergarten students being sent off to school for the first time will be learning about more than the A,B, C’s and which juice box to select before nap time. Teachers will begin instructing the five year olds on the ins and outs of gender identity… just in case they didn’t have enough to be confused about already. (Daily Caller)

Before going any further, allow me a moment to offer some advice for all the parents in the Evergreen State as well as young couples considering procreating. Get out. Pack your things and rent a U-Haul or whatever it takes. Flee the state. There is nothing left worth fighting for there and you should really strike out and find a job somewhere sane.

Childhood is confusing enough and setting off on the path to adulthood is a road with many pitfalls awaiting you. Having the state engage in this sort of destructive behavior should be criminal, but it’s now treated as the new normal. This idea probably works wonderfully to indoctrinate a new generation of Democratic voters, but the damage they may potentially leave in their wake is a tragedy in the making.

It seems that there may be a pattern or correlation here. Throwing a temper tantrum on the floor of the House is a tactic for 2 year olds. So, perhaps, they see kindergarten students as being their peers and that is why they push gender identity and sexual fantasies on these children.

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Using the courts as a political weapon

A unanimous SCOTUS ruled on The McDonnell Case: Another Study in Criminal Law as Democratic Partisan Warfare. Clarice Feldman explains.

It’s common for those unhappy with a decision to criticize the partisanship of the judges involved, but the weakness of the case, which was evident when it was argued in the Supreme Court (and during the trial itself), and the fact that it was reversed unanimously warrants a raised eyebrow. It comes on the heels of the reversed prosecutions of then-Senator Ted Stevens, Governor Rick Perry, House Majority leader Tom DeLay, the IRS war on Obama’s opponents in the tea party and other conservative groups, and the outrageous trampling the rights of those who worked for and supported Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. This case and those matters lead to an inescapable conclusion: With the endorsement of partisan juries and/or judges, the Democratic Party seeks to and will use the power of the prosecution to destroy Republican political leaders and anyone who supports them.

The law was thus rather well settled on this point, and neither the prosecution nor the trial and appellate courts gave it the required deference nor exercised any reasonable (or fair) judgment on the salient issue.

In the meantime, McDonnell’s political career, finances and family have suffered greatly by this strained reading of the law to cover conduct which the Supreme Court and ordinary common sense supports was not criminal , but rather ordinary and perfectly proper official conduct.

What I would bet on is that Democrats will continue to stretch the criminal law for partisan advantage, and that, if elected; Hillary will appoint prosecutors and judges willing to continue to mount such legal warfare.

“Warrants a raised eyebrow?” That seems to be a bit of understatement, especially in light of the previous post about a cohort of partisan AG’s going after the First Amendment for the cause. The Left, and the Democrats, loose many and suffer many casualties but they keep going, keep at it, knowing that there will be an occasional victory and another small push forward in the cause.

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