Archive for compare contrast

Watching a national suicide and a gooey mess of resentment and excuses

Joel D. Hirst on The Suicide of Venezuela.

I have watched the suicide of a nation; and I know now how it happens. Venezuela is slowly, and very publically, dying; an act that has spanned more than fifteen years. To watch a country kill itself is not something that happens often. In ignorance, one presumes it would be fast and brutal and striking – like the Rwandan genocide or Vesuvius covering Pompeii. You expect to see bodies of mothers clutching protectively their young; carbonized by the force or preserved on the glossy side of pictures. But those aren’t the occasions that promote national suicide. After those events countries recover – people recover. They rebuild, they reconcile. They forgive.

No, national suicide is a much longer process – not product of any one moment. But instead one bad idea, upon another, upon another and another and another and another and the wheels that move the country began to grind slower and slower; rust covering their once shiny facades. Revolution – cold and angry. Hate, as a political strategy. Law, used to divide and conquer. Regulation used to punish. Elections used to cement dictatorship. Corruption bleeding out the lifeblood in drips, filling the buckets of a successive line of bureaucrats before they are destroyed, only to be replaced time and again. This is what is remarkable for me about Venezuela.

I tried to fight the suicide the whole time; in one way or another. I suppose I still do, my writing as a last line of resistance. But like Dagny Taggert I found there was nothing to push against – it was all a gooey mess of resentment and excuses.

Witness is all around us yet many refuse to see. Consider VDH, 21st Century California Reverts Back to the Wild West.

I was the beneficiary (born in 1953) of the work of past generations. In my early youth of the 1950s and 1960, I can’t recall that we locked the house or perhaps even had a house key. We still used a shared open telephone line (my great-grandfather had strung it up with redwood poles and vineyard 12 gauge wire on glass insulators). It was also certainly a multiracial and intermarried upbringing, as Portuguese, Armenian, Japanese, Mexican-American, and Punjabi farmers both collaborated and competed with one another on their 40-80 acre vineyard homesteads.

That entire world, of course, is gone, a victim of wealth, affluence, consolidation and corporatization of agriculture, globalization, high-tech appurtenances, the postmodern ethos that followed the 1960s, and massive influxes of illegal immigrants. What I regret most, however, is the disappearance of the rule of law. In some ways, we have returned to the pre-civilized days of the 19th century. When I walk or ride a bicycle in rural areas, I expect that the dogs that rush out from rented-out homes and trailers are neither licensed nor vaccinated—and that fact is of no concern to authorities.

There seems to be many that put Venezuela and Cuba and Argentina and modern Greece and even California as role models. They see dictators and oppressors as heroes. What is not seen in that the path they seek to follow is one of human misery which is why so many are going in the opposite direction that they defy the law and other national border barriers to do so. That “gooey mess of resentment and excuses” drags all of us with it and there may not be a Reagan “shining city on a hill” for any of us to escape towards to escape.

What I regret most, however, is the disappearance of the rule of law

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Preposterous, climate consensus

Valerie Richardson notes that More studies rebut climate change consensus amid government crackdown on dissent, As the siege continues, it is evident that any area of weakness is getting reinforced.

“As the body of evidence refuting climate alarmism continues to balloon, the question of how the IPCC can continue ignoring it becomes ever more glaring,” said engineer Pierre L. Gosselin, who runs the NoTricksZone website and translates climate news from German to English.

In spite of that research — or maybe because of it — Democrats have renewed their efforts to clamp down on climate dissent.

Two weeks ago, 17 attorneys general — 16 Democrats and Mr. Walker, an independent — announced that they would investigate and prosecute climate-related “fraud,” citing investigations by journalism outlets accusing Exxon Mobil Corp. of stifling its own scientific research in support of the “settled science.”

While Exxon Mobil has denounced the accusations as “preposterous,” Mr. Walker followed up Thursday with a subpoena calling for the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s work on climate and energy policy from 1997 to 2007, including the nonprofit’s “private donor information,” the institute said.

There is kickback. Part is due to the gross abuse of basic freedoms. Part is also due to the fact that many of the accusations and allegations apply to the accusers and not the accused. Doubling down on insanity only makes the lunacy more obvious.

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Why worry when the insane goes mainstream?

Can you imagine going back in time and asking the men preparing to land on the killing beaches of Normandy if they were fighting so that in the near future, confused men in dresses could be free to invade the ladies’ room? This would have made a great script for Tokyo Rose, whose broadcasts were aimed at sapping the morale of U.S. servicemen in the Pacific during World War II.

Robert Knight asks When a ‘progressive’ culture falters and notes that “The lunacy often comes with court decisions that defy common sense.”

The lunacy is coming in big batches, such as the bizarre presidential race, the collapse of civility and the daily outrages from Team Obama. And some of it’s hitting us in small ways, such as court outcomes that defy common sense.

Subway pays because footlong is represented to be a precise measure, driver license pictures can include a colander hat under the pretense of religion but religion is not enough to protect one from the LGBT assault. Boys are allowed to use girls bathrooms. And much of this is by threat of major corporations who are under threat from activist groups.

The protections, the walls of the castle, are failing. The siege pressure is mounting. The people are getting concerned. Lord knows what they will do if they really start to believe the defenses they have built are indeed failing them. 

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Ivanpah showing its worth

Stanislav Jakuba takes a look at the numbers: Central Station Solar: Ivanpah Fail. It’s one of those solar efforts where the economy of scale was supposed to produce effective results.

This latest 392 MW (name-plate) giant was built on 13 km2 of land in Mojave Desert at a cost of 2.2 billion dollars. It generated a disappointing .4 billion kWh thus producing at an average rate of 46 MW the first year.

The $2,200 megawatt price per those 120 MW represents a $18/watt investment. By way of comparison, another nonpolluting source of electricity, nuclear power plant, the Millstone reactor No. 2 in Connecticut, operating at 880 MW since 1975, cost $0.5$/watt, making Ivanpah is thus 36 times more expensive (inflation excluded).

For comparison again, the Millstone nuclear plant complex employs also about 1,000, and its two reactors have been producing 1870 MW actual electrical output. Assuming the same salaries, benefits, and the electricity selling price, the operating expense is 15 times higher at Ivanpah.

As for the occupied land comparison, those 120 MW spread over 13 km2 represents 9.2 W/m2. In contrast, ground based nuclear plants produce some 2000 W/m2 thus utilizing the land area some 200 times more effectively. And they can be erected in any climate and in proximity to users.

The numbers indicate order of magnitude increase in cost for this alternative energy over nuclear. Who pays? It shows up in taxes and energy bills in a way that is regressive. That means the impact on the poor is most significant. The same people who are pushing this expensive energy are the same ones wailing about all the poor people. There is a disconnect in these people with reality and it hurts us all.

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Delusion and denial: techniques and tactics

It is the climate alarmists who are most obvious in using the term “denier” to label those who disagree with them. Denial is a human self defense behavior and, as a behavior, it can be observed objectively. The name calling is one such behavior. Attempting to silence others, such as the efforts to have any who do not agree with alarmist climate views put in jail is another. Constructing a false narrative is another and that brings up the story about Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson by Richard Kirk.

What kind of criticism would prompt a major publisher to withdraw from circulation a New York Times bestseller by a recognized scholar? One would think the objections would have to be weighty and the critics unquestioned experts in the particular field. In the case of The Jefferson Lies, one would be mistaken to make those assumptions.

Thus, as with Oliver Stone’s rewrite of JFK’s assassination, the mainstream media, corrupt academicians, and a sensation-seeking pop culture have again conspired to manipulate history for their own ends.

So who should read The Jefferson Lies? Anyone who thinks Thomas Jefferson and William Jefferson Clinton have a lot in common, anyone who thinks Thomas Jefferson supported the modern notion of “separation of church and state,” anyone who thinks Jefferson was a hypocritical racist, and anyone who thinks academia and the publishing world aren’t partisan cesspools.

The behavior here is that of tarnishing established heroes in order to gild constructed heroes. Think of the assault on leading NFL quarterbacks, for instance, like Manning or Brady. Think of the propaganda campaign to discredit G.W. Bush. Look at the arguments being offered to excuse and rationalize the current crop of scandals from the IRS to the EPA to Benghazi to classified communications management. An alternate reality is constructed, one that is easily demonstrated to be a false reality, yet there is a tenacious holding to that false reality and that is a denial of reality that is troublesome and harmful.

Another behavior, illustrated by the consensus claims in climate alarmism, is the effort to gain comfort in the denial by getting others to join in so it is no longer an individual’s problem but rather a community problem. 

This is much like the President equating capitalism with communism suggesting students choose whatever works. This ignores the fact that capitalist systems have brought more people out of poverty than any socialist program and communism and its ilk have resulted in the deaths of many millions. As one pundit wondered: this is 2016 and we are still debating the quality of Marxism?

It is this seemingly widespread denial of reality in governance and public perception that is so worrisome. It is a glimmer of hope to see some that uncover and highlight the self deceptions.  The community must stand against such delusion if it is to survive.

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Chicago protests and the blame game

A campaign rally had to be ‘postponed’ due to violent protests. The candidate is being blamed because of his tough language about “bad dudes.” That sort of blame the victim and not the criminal media propaganda is what is driving the popularity of the candidate. Paul Mirengoff observes:

This is beyond bad dudeism. The left is attempting to “shut all the way down” the leading contender for the presidential nomination of one of our two major political parties. If the left has its way, Trump will not be able to speak in public. He will have to run the modern equivalent of a front-porch campaign.

With no sense of irony, the protesters, having successfully shut Trump down, chanted “this is what democracy looks like.” Many of them also chanted “Bernie,” suggesting that they really mean “this is what Democratic Socialism looks like.” In so, they probably aren’t wrong.

The violence is from the left. It ranges from violent disruption of campaign rallies to several senators who have written a letter accusing the Inspector General at the Department of State as being too political. These intimidation techniques ranging from actual violence to efforts at intimidation have been all too successful. The fact that much of the electorate notices this and is not happy with the ‘go along to get along’ methods is why the candidate, Trump, has such a popular following. There is a rising to meet that violence and intimidation – the bullying – in the manner of the last resort. That does not bode well as bullies don’t pay much attention to the ‘kinder and gentler’ of the available methods for honest discourse.

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So easily let him do it

Does actual history even matter any more? VDH considers Iraq: The Real Story

Donald Trump constantly brings up Iraq to remind voters that Jeb Bush supported his brother’s war, while Trump, alone of the Republican candidates, supposedly opposed it well before it started.

That is a flat-out lie. There is no evidence that Trump opposed the war before the March 20, 2003 invasion. Like most Americans, he supported the invasion and said just that very clearly in interviews. And like most Americans, Trump quickly turned on a once popular intervention — but only when the postwar occupation was beginning to cost too much in blood and treasure. Trump’s serial invocations of the war are good reminders of just how mythical Iraq has now become.

In October 2002, President Bush asked for the consent of Congress — unlike the Clinton resort to force in the Balkans and the later Obama bombing in Libya, both by executive action — before using arms to reify existing American policy. Both the Senate (with a majority of Democrats voting in favor) and the House overwhelmingly approved 23 writs calling for Saddam’s forced removal. The causes of action included Iraq’s violation of well over a dozen U.N. resolutions, Saddam’s harboring of international terrorists (including those who had tried and failed to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993), his plot to murder former president George H. W. Bush, his violations of no-fly zones, his bounties to suicide bombers on the West Bank, his genocidal policies against the Kurds and Marsh Arabs, and a host of other transgressions. Only a few of the causes of action were directly related to weapons of mass destruction.

It is legitimate to change opinions about a war or to rue a flawed occupation. But it is not ethical to deny prior positions or invent reasons why what once seemed prudent later seemed reckless.

We can surely argue about Iraq, but we must not airbrush away facts. The mystery of the current Iraq fantasy is not that a prevaricating Donald Trump misrepresents the war in the fashion of Democratic senators and liberal pundits who once eagerly supported it, but that his Republican opponents so easily let him do it.

The example of Korea is also mentioned with comparison and contrast. The key though, is the “so easily let him do it” notice. This concern should be in regard to the broader propaganda picture and not restricted to just one episode. The fact that so many swallow the propaganda is bad enough. The fact that so many just allow it to exist without protest should be a more significant concern. Does actual history and reality even matter in governance anymore?

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Koch and Sanders Agree

Charles Koch: This is the one issue where Bernie Sanders is right.

The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him.

Consider the regulations, handouts, mandates, subsidies and other forms of largesse our elected officials dole out to the wealthy and well-connected. The tax code alone contains $1.5 trillion in exemptions and special-interest carve-outs. Anti-competitive regulations cost businesses an additional $1.9 trillion every year. Perversely, this regulatory burden falls hardest on small companies, innovators and the poor, while benefitting many large companies like ours. This unfairly benefits established firms and penalizes new entrants, contributing to a two-tiered society.

Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers. That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare

The issue is currently at debate in Nevada after the PUC decided that the subsidies for household solar systems should stop. For Koch, this is a step in the right direction but for the Sanders crowd this is likely a step backward. Those on the left like to rail against corporations whose profits always seem to depend upon screwing their customers. When it comes to corporations in certain areas that are in ideological sync with them, though, using taxpayer money to screw customers is a good thing.

One of the rationalizations often used to cover over this dissonance is to confuse subsidy with tax breaks. The issue here is whether to allow certain costs to reduce taxable income or to pay money in one form or another to help defray the capital costs of a plant. 

Nevada also has its “who you know” examples in the tax breaks companies like Tesla and Amazon have been able to obtain to bring business into the state. The small guys without connections are seeing ever more taxes and fees because they don’t have the privileges and contacts that the big corporations do. 

So Charles Koch and Bernie Sanders do have some common ground. The problem is that one doesn’t have to travel far off that ground to find who has exceptions and who has consistent values.

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Do they refuse to see?

An IBT editorial: Venezuela Is Socialist, Senator Sanders. Any Questions? — it appears that some are beginning to wonder about learning from history, especially among those who are supposedly educated.

That reality of socialism and its horrific results is mocked by Sanders himself, who denies it has anything to do with his own ideas. “I myself don’t use the word socialism,” he told a University of Vermont student publication in 1976 “because people have been brainwashed into thinking socialism automatically means slave-labor camps, dictatorship and lack of freedom of speech.”

Brainwashed? The very word comes from socialist indoctrination practices. Sanders’ flip dismissal of those realities reminds us of a quote from Nobel Prize winner and author of “The Gulag Archipelago” Aleksander Solzhenitsyn: “Or do they refuse to see?” Yes, Sanders and his followers refuse.

That’s the part of socialism Bernie Sanders doesn’t want to talk about. It’s the same wherever it’s tried. Voters fall for it over and over, and all it brings is failure. Sanders is only continuing the con. When is he going to be called on it?

It’s about trying to say it will be different this time, over and over and over again. The forces of deceit and illusion are strong. Reality seems weak but it does eventually surface. The path may be slow but that only drags the pain out over time.

But that’s Venezuela and Cuba and … How about Columbia? Marco Rubio says The U.S and Colombia Will Lead the Americas Forward in the 21st Century.

Over the past 15 years, Plan Colombia and other U.S. assistance have helped transform Colombia from a country ravaged by drug cartels and terrorist insurgents to the more prosperous and secure society it is today. … It has helped turn a country with a corrupt and unreliable judiciary into a place with growing confidence that justice will be served for those who violate laws.

Although these realities today may seem like they were inevitable all along, we should never take them for granted nor should we allow these hard-fought gains to be eroded.

Colombia’s achievements to date in overcoming the damage done by the FARC have been extraordinary, but the toughest work lies ahead.

The question is why is it so difficult? Nearly every country south of the U.S. suffers from this plague in one way or another. We even see its effects in the U.S. not only in the rhetoric and pledges of some candidates but also in the many scandals involving departments such as the IRS, the EPA, the DOJ,, and State. 

It does seem ‘they’ refuse to see. 

Worried, yet?

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Evolving stories

There are two political stories in the air at the moment that illustrate significant distortion and potential collusion. One is about Cruz distributing a CNN report as a political trick in Iowa and the other is the U.S. State Department mounting a Clinton defense with the ‘everybody does it’ approach. Ed Morrissey explains the State IG: Classified info went to Powell, Rice aides on personal e-mail accounts story.

Hillary’s defenders will claim, this was done all the time! It’s no big deal! Reuters reports that the IG’s findings were made public by the “top Dem on oversight panel,”

the fact that others have violated a law does not make other violations hunky-dory.

Secretaries of State and their aides have no authority to change classification on information originating in other agencies,

Let’s compare the situations of the three Secretaries of State. All three served four years; Powell and Rice to a lesser extent served at a time when State’s e-mail systems were in flux. Yet the IG can only find two instances of spillage involving Powell’s private e-mail account, and none involving Rice (all ten involved her aides). Hillary didn’t bother getting an official State Department account, but instead hid her communications from Congress and the courts for more than five years to thwart legitimate, constitutional oversight on State. The system she owned and kept at her house was used to retain and transmit classified information on more than one thousand, three hundred occasions. And most importantly, the information that got exposed in this system was intelligence data derived from other agencies, some of which was classified at the highest levels and put sources, methods, and agents at risk.

This story is nothing more than an attempt to misdirect Americans from the egregiously corrupt and likely criminal activities of Hillary Clinton in her efforts to cover up her activities at State.

As Ace of Spades puts it

The interesting thing here is that State can classify, or declassify, information originating with State. But they cannot classify, nor declassify, information originating with another service, like the CIA or NSA.

The issue is that the government is now engaged in an illegal conspiracy against the country. The entire government is in under the control of a gang.

Wonder why people are getting concerned about corruption in government?

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Acceptable standards

A retired lawyer is wondering about Federal Bureaucracies: Incompetent, Corrupt, or Both?. Consider the IRS …

And yet, time after time, the IRS has either inadvertently or intentionally destroyed hard drives that courts have ordered them to preserve. In the private sector, this is unthinkable. Private companies obey court orders. They know that if they don’t, millions of dollars in sanctions are likely to result, and executives will lose their jobs. Only in government agencies do we see this kind of irresponsible scofflaw behavior. This is because most bureaucrats have a deep loyalty to the left-wing cause, and there is no accountability.

This is a new development in our democracy. Until now, we have never experienced an extra-legal administration like that of Barack Obama. Will the rule of law survive the 2016 presidential election? I don’t know. That wheel is still spinning.

And then there’s the EPA on its river spill, the State Department on the handling of classified material, … Look at all of the FOIA requests that have ended up in the courts due to intransigence of federal agencies.

Worried, yet? Or still making excuses?

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One funeral at a time

The death of Bob Carter provides an insight into how different people see things. From Stoat and William M. Connolley: Science advances one funeral at a time

Actually A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it, but I’m allowed to paraphrase in titles. And anyway he said it in German, naturally. Today brings us news of another such advancement in science, with the reported death of Robert Carter.

As far as I can recall, he was a minor figure in the Great Climate Wars; at least, I don’t seem to have been very interested in him. He gets those usual suspects Robert M. Carter, C. R. de Freitas, Indur M. Goklany, David Holland & Richard S. Lindzen wrote in 2007; a throwaway line ($1,667 per month) from Heartland in 2012. That seems to be it. It’s a bit of a sad end when even I couldn’t be bothered to attack him. Sou was a bit more interested; or Deltoid back in the day.

Compare and contrast that to Steve McIntyre

I will not attempt to comment on his work as that is covered elsewhere, but do wish to mention something personal. In 2003, when I was unknown to anyone other than my friends and family, I had been posting comments on climate reconstructions at a chatline. Bob emailed me out of the blue with encouragement, saying that I was looking at the data differently than anyone else and that I should definitely follow it through. Without his specific encouragement, it is not for sure that I ever would have bothered trying to write up what became McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) or anything else.

We’ve met personally on a number of occasions over the years – at AGU in 2004 or 2005, and on several occasions at Erice, most recently last summer. He was always full of good cheer, despite continuing provocations, and unfailingly encouraging.

So, For Connolley learning and teaching is out and death to remove unpleasant questions is the way to go. For McIntyre, mentors and investigation and learning and growth are the way to go. Where is the hate? Where is the love? Where is the humanity, intellectual integrity, and respect? Who is talking about “triumph” and winning and losing; war and conquest; destruction of the enemy (even after death)? Who is talking about the loss from death and destruction and valuing growth?

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New York Values

The Cruz item about “New York Values” is providing a good example of tactics, behavior patterns, and counter-tactics. The issue came up as a way for Cruz to highlight values differences between himself and the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president. Instapundit cites two essays that illustrate this. Alex Griswold says To All Those New York City Journalists Horrified By Cruz’s Jab: Get Over Yourselves. The other is Todd J. Gillman saying Cruz sorry/not sorry for ‘New York values’ barb. First, from Griswold:

First of all– and most importantly– note that Cruz points out that Trump himself said once he had different “values” than Iowans simply because he was from New York City. That alone ought to make the attack against Trump a legitimate one; the notion that all New Yorkers think the same is a vast oversimplification, but that is how Trump framed the issue sixteen years ago.

Two tactics are noted here. The first is the attempt to delegitimize the argument and the second is using the all-or-none fallacy to impugn the assertion. Griswold also notes the lack of consistency, lack of honesty, in the outrage.

The notion that it’s somehow outrageous to say New York has different values than the rest of the country is, to put it bluntly, stupid. No less than the public editor of The New York Times recognized this fact a decade ago, when Daniel Okrent said in a column that “of course” the paper had a liberal bias. He argued that the bias didn’t derive from any vast left wing conspiracy or intentional malice. Instead, he noted that the paper’s editors, reporters, and columnists were all New Yorkers, and they simply have a different “value system” than the rest of the country.

Countless polls have proven the truth of his and Cruz’s words. Generally speaking, New Yorkers’ political and cultural views– read: their “values”– do not resemble those of America at large. That’s not a good or bad thing (the same could be said of Liberty University), it’s just a fact.

What is also interesting is that Griswold is going to great lengths to join the equality brigade in asserting ‘neither good nor bad, just different’ mantra. The key item with values is that there are good ones and bad ones and much of the ‘rage’ in current politics is exactly about which values are good and which are bad. His description illustrates this. Folks in New York think they have good values and the rest of the country don’t — and vice versa.

Southerners and Westerners and Midwesterners have spent their entire lives shrugging off these affronts. But as soon as one person insinuates that something’s rotten in the Big Apple, the same people who guffawed along to all those NASCAR and country music jokes are aghast. Please.

Gillman describes the Cruz response to the hubub. It serves as an illustration about how to handle manufactured outrage based on a false premise (a.k.a a straw man).

Ted Cruz is sorry. He’s so sorry about taking a shot at Donald Trump’s “New York values” that he apologized six times on Friday — kind of.

This wasn’t the apology Trump and others demanded. But it did neatly lump Cruz’s main rival for the GOP nomination with the leading Democratic candidate, and the governor and mayor of a state and city Cruz depicts as a font of social and cultural corruption. It was Cruz’s way to finesse the fallout from Thursday night’s debate, which featured a running battle with Trump over whether someone born in Canada can become the U.S. president.

“I apologize to the hard working men and women of the state of New York who’ve been denied jobs because Gov. Cuomo won’t allow fracking,” Cruz continued. “I apologize to all the pro-life and pro-marriage and pro-Second Amendment New Yorkers who were told by Gov. Cuomo that they have no place in New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

He went on in that vein for two more minutes, apologizing no fewer than six times to New Yorkers for Mayor de Blasio’s antagonism toward charter schools and police, and for the “crushing taxes and regulations” in New York City.

Cruz, in his lengthy faux apology, promised “good news to the good people of New York” — an election in which “people are waking up, and just like millions of New Yorkers, they’re fed up with policies that don’t fight for the working men and women of this country but instead further the elite liberal views that have taken this country down a path that is not working.”

In other words, treat the demand for apology with an illustration of its absurdity by providing a like response and, in the process, clarifying and emphasizing just what the debate is all about.

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Martyrs

There are political martyrs – right here in the U.S.A. and it seems the number of them is growing. Scooter Libby can be seen in this light if ‘this light’ is a comparison and contrast with those on the other side of the political isle such as Hillary Clinton. Richard Kirk provides another example in Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me About Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party. The subject in this case is Dinesh D’Souza and a review of his book about his experiences with the machine of the left.

“no person who had done what I did had even been prosecuted, let alone sentenced.”

During his eight months of overnight confinement with “more than a hundred rapists, armed robbers, drug smugglers, and murderers,” D’Souza began to see prisoners and a flawed justice system in a different light. He also began to understand “the psychology of crookedness” — a “system of larceny, corruption, and terror” that’s “been adopted and perfected by modern progressivism and the Democratic Party.”

Instead of accusing Progressives of ignorance or naiveté, as most conservatives do, D’Souza focuses on corrupt motives that can be boiled down, a la Nietzsche, to envy and the will to power.

To carry out their grand political heist, Democrats must marshal the emotions and votes of an army of envious underlings … Cultural indoctrination in the unfair-society pitch of progressive politicians is accomplished by inundating Americans with television programs, news stories, and Hollywood films that feature crooked businessmen, victimized minorities, oppressed workers, heartless millionaires, and hypocritical ministers. These professional propagandists promulgate their ideas out of envy, seeing themselves as members of the rightful ruling class based on their superior intellects and abilities.

At the very least D’Souza’s experience with the legal system provides one excellent example of the overlap between the “psychology of crookedness” and the motives and methods of progressive politics. His poignant analyses of the Clintons, the two Obamas, and Saul Alinsky, however, provide considerably more fodder for an audacious thesis.

Consider also the John Doe investigations in Wisconsin, the trial of policemen in Baltimore, the decision not to pursue potential corruption and illegal activities by parties ranging from the Black Panthers to Louis Lerner.  Fit the gun control fight into this and maybe you will gain some clarity about the implications and possibilities.

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Tactics and the consequences of escalation

When you escalate your tactics, you best be prepared for the consequences. In a civilized country, uncivilized tactics may take a while to generate a response but when they do, it is likely to be significant. One of the reasons for Trump’s popularity may be that extreme tactics of the left are being handled well and amusing his fans. Those who attempt to disrupt and distract are being called out and the state propaganda machine (i.e. mainstream media) attempting to canonize the disrupters are both being shamed. Terresa Monroe-Hamilton provides an example in GET OUT! Muslim Woman Wearing Hijab and Yellow Star of David Removed from Trump Rally.

Yesterday, it was Bernie Sanders’ plants who were forcibly evicted from a Trump rally. Today, two Muslims strategically sat behind Donald Trump in order to disrupt his rally when he started speaking out against the refugee resettlement program.

Hamid claims that Trump’s supporters had probably never met a Muslim and that she came in peace. Except of course, she didn’t. ‘There is hatred against us that is unbelievable,” Trump told the audience as Hamid was being removed. “It’s their hatred, it’s not our hatred.”

“The ugliness really came out fast and that’s really scary,” Hamid told CNN. It came out because she poked the badger and wore that hateful symbol on her person. We only have her word that someone said that to her by the way. She was there to push a political agenda, not listen to Trump. It was staged and shows how manipulative the media and organized Islam can be. This woman is a liar and a provocateur.

Just who is it that is preaching hate? Who is it that is creating scenarios to express hate? Who is assaulting whom? Who is calling others names and engaging in deceit and dishonesty?

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doubleplusungood crimethink

That’s what Ed Driscoll says in describing the left’s war on science at Instapundit. The stimulus is Toby Young at the Spectator.

The witch hunt against Napoleon Chagnon shows us what happens if scientists challenge the core beliefs of ‘progressives’

How much longer can the liberal left survive in the face of growing scientific evidence that many of its core beliefs are false? I’m thinking in particular of the conviction that all human beings are born with the same capacities, particularly the capacity for good, and that all mankind’s sins can be laid at the door of the capitalist societies of the West. For the sake of brevity, let’s call this the myth of the noble savage.

This gets back to research by an anthropologist (Chagnon) that offended the fantasies of the left about pre-capitalist, pre-white man, ‘indigenous’ cultures. What happens when you confront an ideologue with reality? It isn’t pretty.

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Let them eat cake

Steve McCann: The American Left and the Death of Political Discourse

Much has been made of the precipitous decline and near death of political discourse in the United States. Many attribute this to the coarsening of the language. However, this factor is a symptom of a current underlying and foundational dilemma: the inability of not only the general public but nearly all of the so-called societal leaders and opinion makers to generate an original thought, as well as a stubborn refusal, because of a rapidly evolving totalitarian mindset on the Left and their total domination of the Democratic Party, to use reason and logic when confronted with irrefutable facts and arguments.

Whenever these same proponents appear with the conservative opposition, a pre-programmed recording is switched on. It consists of: 1) Barack Obama and the Democrats are doing a great job considering how much the Republicans and Conservatives have done in the past to foster inequality, destroy the environment and oppose any and all lifestyle choices; 2) the nation needs to spend more money to solve all problems while raising taxes on the evil rich as punishment for exploiting the masses; 3) conservatives are callous, avaricious and care little for minorities, women and children; and 4) any overt criticism of President Obama and the good intentions of the Democratic Party is a not so subtle expression of racism. When called out on these points and confronted with irrefutable facts, the recording is switched on again and repeated as often as necessary.

Lauri B. Regan: Obama and the Insanity of the Liberal Mind

Whether blinded by ideology, motivated by egocentrism and nihilism, or solely focused on their goals of destroying America’s exceptionalism (while ensuring that Democrats rule forever), liberals are incapable of scientific inquiry, common sense analyses, and reason. Their irrationality is best illustrated by examining some of the faux wars they have chosen to fight and the real ones in which they have surrendered.

Unlike Paine, liberals are intolerant and unwilling to reason let alone debate their positions, shutting down all civil discourse and opposing views. Years of Democratic rule have resulted in division, chaos, violence, and a decline in civilized and societal norms. Would that a modern-day Paine write Common Sense, Part II to inspire a new revolution in the country; one in which Americans once again rise up to gain their independence against an oppressive government.

These “faux wars” cited include global warming, Islamic terrorism, gun control, Iran, poverty and unemployment, racism, enemies, and the Constitution. All suffer from the same opportunities for distracted argument, A case study by Brian Doherty illustrates the problem. He says You Know Less Than You Think About Guns — “The misleading uses, flagrant abuses, and shoddy statistics of social science about gun violence.”

Obama tidily listed the major questions bedeviling social science research about guns—while also embodying the biggest problem with the way we process and apply that research. The president’s ironclad confidence in the conclusiveness of the science, and therefore the desirability of “common-sense gun safety laws,” is echoed widely with every new mass shooting, from academia to the popular press to that guy you knew from high school on Facebook.

What we really know about the costs and benefits of private gun ownership and the efficacy of gun laws is far more fragile than what Hemenway and the president would have us believe.

Finding good science is hard enough; finding good social science on a topic so fraught with politics is nigh impossible. The facts then become even more muddled as the conclusions of those less-than-ironclad academic studies cycle through the press and social media in a massive game of telephone.

This case study of one “faux war” illustrates just how a debate slips into the weeds and loses sight of the real issue at hand. People get so involved in ambiguities of social studies that they forget that the real issue involves such things as property rights and matters of self defense. The reference point for evaluating costs and benefits gets buried.

So many examples, no wonder both authors think that the sleeping giant will awaken and take notice and then take action. It is so easy at this time to wonder if that may ever happen.

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As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American, cites proverbs in describing Samuel L. Jackson’s America-Bashing: a Huge Disservice.

Far too many Hollywood celebs are self-aggrandizing idiots when it comes to politics and culture. Their worldview makes them feel superior to the rest us. Neither facts nor common sense will change their minds. Ronald Reagan nailed it when he said, “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

There was a headline this morning saying the “Pope calls for end to ‘arrogance of powerful’” but his idea of the powerful is probably not the same as the one Marcus is describing (indeed, the Pope seems to be one of those “self-aggrandizing idiots when it comes to politics and culture”).

How are we supposed to deal with the fact that practically every terrorist attack resulting in the maiming and murder of Americans has been by Muslims? Also, though underreported, black youth flash mob attacks, the knock-out game and polar bear hunting attacks on innocent whites are frequent.

What is up with Jackson and other mega-rich black celebs constantly trashing white Americans whose patronage made them ga-zillionaires?

Samuel L. Jackson, Oprah, and other black celebs relentlessly bashing America is a huge disservice to all Americans, particularly black youths. Rather than saying their success is “because” of America, most black celebs promote the liberal spin, saying their success is “in spite of” America. The truth is America is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who choose to go for it. The Left is relentless in its efforts to insidiously hide the blessing of America from minorities.

The Reagan cite from nearly 30 years ago emphasizes the long term nature of the problem that stems from knowing so many things that aren’t so. What can you do when society seems driven by people based in fantasy rather than reality? “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” and he can drag the rest of us away from true witness if we are weak. Marcus is calling for strength.

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Cognitive Dissonance Explained. With Examples.

Deborah C. Tyler gets into Why People Can’t Face the Truth about Obama with some rather inflammatory examples. The key element in these examples is a concept of racist America as the foundation of American Guilt(™).

In the 1950s the psychologist Leon Festinger theorized that the mind spontaneously, continuously reduces cognitive dissonance to enable goal-directed functioning in a paradoxical, inconsistent, deceptive world. Festinger’s discovery founded a rich tradition of research which has demonstrated how the mind resolves contradictions. It provides a powerful way to understand why people can’t face what President Obama is doing to America.

Research has demonstrated countless times that cognitions do not have to be true to create dissonance, they just have to be believed.

The antecedents of Barack Obama’s hatred of America are now well understood.

America is Barack Obama’s prey. He is tearing America apart and feeding the pieces of her life to his foreign and domestic fellow travelers. He is not transforming the nation but terminating it.

The immensity of Obama’s disloyalty is key to why people cannot face the truth about him.

Before the mass denial of Obama’s hatred is explained by dissonance theory, let’s mention subdissonant Americans. Subdissonant Americans have no discomfort whether America is about freedom or racism because they are too intellectually limited, dumbed-down, or drugged out to care.

Festinger’s induced-compliance paradigm of dissonance theory explains why black Americans may be the last group to face Obama’s destructiveness … The induced-compliance paradigm found that people paid only $1 to lie convinced themselves they were telling the truth more than people paid $20 to tell the same lie! This counterintuitive effect has been replicated many times. People who received minimal external motivation for managing dissonance — those paid the least — produced stronger internal justifications to deny their actual experience.

The social psychologist Elliot Aronson advanced cognitive dissonance theory, further explaining why people can’t face Obama’s hatred and destruction. Aronson’s self-concept model theorized the central purpose of dissonance reduction is to preserve positive self-image (I am a good person) and self-justification (I was right all along).

The loss of opportunities and the diminishing of hopes which Obama’s policies have inflicted create a monumental need for self-justification among his supporters.

The reality is there and it is staring down those who want to believe in something else. The reality is that racism is an inherent part of personal identity and only becomes a social issue when it drives social behaviors. What one can see is that the personal identity part is being used to drive victim beliefs that feed the idea that social racism is endemic. The meme is a common one. The reality with race is evident in the rise of the middle class black population and other ‘individually beneficial’ arenas as well as the ruckus about “diversity” as being something beneficial to the point of mandating it rather than earning it.

The takeaway is that the discussion is becoming more visible. This is the discussion about the underlying psychology that drives humans into destructive beliefs and behaviors. More are starting to wonder why people do crazy things or why people ignore reality and that is a first step towards improving emotional health in the population.

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An illustration of why it’s not debatable

The site is named Reason.com and you’d think that it’d present reasonable material. Steve Chapman illustrates otherwise in Ted Cruz’s Climate Change Festival of Fraud
Response to global warming evidence mischaracterizes the truth
. Sounds good but only if you don’t consider what is being offered.

Consider the start: “You have to feel sorry for Ted Cruz.” This is called ad hominem and illustrates that the issue at hand is attacking the person and not climate change.

Then there is “The topic was global warming. Every major scientific body has confirmed its existence, but as “the son of two mathematicians and computer programmers and scientists,” he feels particularly qualified to debunk it.” This is an appeal to authority citing appeal to authority – double whammy. Do remember that Mann’s hockey stick debunking was done by a statistician.

Then considered this discovery of the victim’s flaws: “The second is that the satellite data don’t refute global warming. NASA says that based on surface temperatures.” There seems to be some conflict between satellite and surface measures. Choosing one or the other to suit one’s desires doesn’t instill confidence that truth is being sought. Keep in mind that the surface data record is subject to continuous “adjustments” while the satellite data is not. The most recent brouhaha deals with decisions about ship cooling water inlet temperatures being considered more reliable than buoy data. 

This same sort of confusion is evident in “The same data indicate that of the 14 hottest years ever, 13 occurred in this century. When Cruz says there has been “no significant warming” since 1997, he’s engaging in brazen deception.” The problem here is that rate of change is being confused with actual position. There is also a problem in asserting extremes without considering the facts that the measures are within margins of error and the reference period chosen is usually just recent history and quite limited.

Then there’s the money corruption angle: “Which scenario is more plausible, thousands of scientists pretending to believe in global warming to get government grants or Cruz denying it to get campaign donations?” Perhaps Chapman forgets Climategate from a few years back? In one case there is blatant evidence of corruption. In the other, only allegation. Sliming with a perceived taint of money is a phenomena that deserves proper attention as an escape from “reason.” 

The debate deserves better than this.

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