Archive for compare contrast

Political fact checking: tool of the trade

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. calls is a Fact checker fandango — “Research of the record fails to trip Trump.”

Mr. Potato Head was working with CNN’s posse comitatus to bring down Mr. Trump for his revelations about Crooked Hillary, but it is they — the so-called fact checkers at CNN — who were brought down.

After last week’s speech, it appears Donald Trump’s charges against Hillary Clinton are absolutely copper bottom. CNN’s “fact checkers” should be retired. Like all politicians, Mr. Trump might occasionally exaggerate a trivial matter. Hillary lies repeatedly on things that matter.

It is an interesting use of “copper bottom.” That comes from efforts to keep the hull of wooden sailing ships free of barnacles and other sea creatures that destroyed the hull and reduced sailing efficiency. Here, the implications are that the ‘fact checkers’ are analogous to the barnacles and other destructive creatures.

The tragedy is that so many are willing to go so far in trying to defend the indefensible. Calling themselves “fact checkers” is doing a disservice both to facts and to checking for integrity and honesty.

Leave a Comment

Utah v. Strieff, does SCOTUS have a racism problem (tell me it ain’t so!)?

Jazz Shaw thinks The Fourth Amendment wasn’t created to protect the guilty but one SCOTUS case got some riled.

The Libertarians are up in arms over yet another Supreme Court decision this week which involves the question of when police are allowed to use evidence of a crime in the prosecution of a suspect. In a five to three ruling which crossed the normal ideological battle lines of the SCOTUS justices, the court found in the case of Utah v. Strieff that evidence of a crime discovered during a traffic stop could be used if the suspect has an outstanding warrant for an unrelated offense. (New York Times)

The responses from Justice Sotomayor in her dissent and from the Libertarians who are bemoaning the death of the Constitution are equally maddening, though for different reasons.

An officer with a gun. (Every lethal force encounter between police and minority suspects)

No one can breathe. (“I can’t breathe” Eric Garner)

Until their voices matter. (Black Lives Matter)

This wasn’t a Supreme Court dissent. It was a series of excerpts from a Black Lives Matter diatribe in a case which wasn’t even addressing questions of profiling or any other related issue.

In this case, Shaw is illustrating racism by example. Paul Mirengoff describes how those illustrating racism and calling for decorum and such might be expressing projection in A penny for your thoughts — “Here’s the measured response of a British leftist, Laurie Penny, to the Brexit:”

“So, here’s the thing. This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world, and yesterday the frightened, parochial lizard-brain of Britain voted out, out, out, and today we’ve all woken up still strapped onto this ghost-train as it hurtles off the tracks.”

There is, of course, more to the Brexit than the desire to curb immigration by low-skilled Europeans. Many Brits wanted to wrest control of Britain’s destiny from EU bureaucrats. In other words, they wanted much more say than the EU will allow them in determining what the “modern world” will hold in store.

They shall have it. No wonder leftists like Penny are incensed.

The Brexit vote also prompted outrage at xenophobia and other such contemptuous moral failings. As with the similar flailing against Trump, the level of the outrage says more than the allegations and accusations.

Leave a Comment

Paradigms, due process, and civility: guns

Scott Adams thinks he knows Why Gun Control Can’t Be Solved in the USA. One problem is the idea of “solved” as applied to gun control as the debate has little to do with guns and a lot to do with control. The Democrats temper tantrum in the House yesterday showed that. The temper tantrum was about due process, not gun control, as due process was the only sticking point on a Senate bill the Democrats otherwise supported. Adams also illustrates the misdirection problem.

So it seems to me that gun control can’t be solved because Democrats are using guns to kill each other – and want it to stop – whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats. Psychologically, those are different risk profiles. And you can’t reconcile those interests, except on the margins. For example, both sides might agree that rocket launchers are a step too far. But Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as “Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”

Let’s all take a deep breath and shake off the mental discomfort I just induced in half of my readers. You can quibble with my unsupported assumptions about gun use, but keep in mind that my point is about psychology and about big group averages. If Republicans think they need guns to protect against Democrats, that’s their reality. And if Democrats believe guns make the world more dangerous for themselves, that is their reality. And they can both be right. Your risk profile is different from mine.

Fear always beats reason. So as long as Democrats are mostly using guns to shoot innocent people (intentionally or accidentally) and Republicans are mostly using guns for sport or self-defense, no compromise can be had.

When fear drives people to solving the wrong problem, there is a solution to be had. In the Adams scenario, this would be for Democrats to address the reason why they are killing each other – e.g. inner city crime. The problem here is that they oppose the effective and proven methods. Stop and frisk has been set aside in New York. Black Lives Matter works on a false premise to emasculate proper policing. Releasing criminals from prison on a false pretext of racial disparities in the prison population is another. None of these have anything to do with gun control but they do have something to do with murder and mayhem.

What is missing in the efforts to solve a political problem is first the lack of intellectual integrity. There is no common basis in reality upon which to build any solution. The House tantrum shows just how deep a denial exists. That tends to lend credence to the idea that “Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats” as that is one of the fundamental reasons for the second amendment in the first place: citizen defense against irrational tyranny that eschews such concepts as due process much like the Democrats are advocating.

Leave a Comment

Now here’s a rant for you: Derek Hunter on Why They Hate Us. The problem is that he isn’t that far off the mark as his examples illustrate.

If you only watch network news and read the New York Times you easily could come away with the impression that last Sunday morning a conservative Christian man, draped in crosses and screaming “Make America Great Again,” walked into a gay bar and murdered 49 people on direct orders from Republican National Committee headquarters located in the basement of the National Rifle Association’s headquarters, naturally, in a space they rent from Fox News.

What kind of sick monsters blame the horrific actions of one man on their political opponents? A lot of them, it turns out.

Although the poltroon declared his reasons, unambiguously, to the police and a local news station, Democrats saw an opportunity to advance their agenda of limiting the rights of all Americans. Ignoring the truth, every branch of the progressive left simultaneously and sanctimoniously struck the same cord – it was the gun’s fault.

Pure hatred is the currency of the Democratic Party in the 21st century. Democrats try to blame their political opponents for every act of evil or terrorism committed on US soil. The media parrots these nefarious charges as gospel. The truth eventually comes out but only after the lie has taken root with many.

The ends justify the means for the political left – and always have. Motivated by hate – for opponents, the Constitution and anyone who won’t submit to their belief of moral and intellectual superiority – there is no depth to which they will not sink, no pile of bodies on which they will not dance to advance their agenda. In then end it’s sad, it’s disturbing, it’s fascistic, and it’s progressive…and we are not, which is why they hate us.

You don’t have to look far to find your own examples, unless you are one of the very many who are in denial and joining in on the irrational and harmful behavior. What are your feelings? What is behind your perceptions? Do you cut off any who raise questions about your views?

Leave a Comment

Believe it or not (and, no, this isn’t Ripley)

Mark Perry put up another map comparing U.S. state economies to that of foreign countries to try to illustrate just how massive the U.S. economy really is. The comparisons of GDP is only part of the story. There is another, more stunning, statistic about the power of the U.S. IBT comments Just How Crazy Big Is The U.S. Economy?

Economist and IBD contributor Mark Perry recently put together a map of the U.S., with the state names replaced with countries that have comparably sized economies. It is eye-opening.

New York’s economy, for example, is equal in size to all of Canada. California’s is as big as France. New Jersey and Saudi Arabia have comparable GDPs.

Perry’s map doesn’t show this, but you’d only have to combine Texas, Florida and Indiana to have a GDP that’s bigger than all of the U.K.
Overall, he notes, the U.S. produces 24.5% of the world’s economic output, but with less than 5% of its population.

There’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth at how much the U.S. consumes and a lot of this is in the zero sum game paradigm where what one has was taken from somebody who now doesn’t have. As with nearly every such manufactured crisis about how the world is going to run out of something, the paradigm is palpably wrong.

Perry points out that wealth is created and the U.S. does a better job of this creation than nearly another other country on the planet and by usually quite a large margin. Despite the numbers, many citizens don’t believe it. This may be because they are too close and cannot gain a broad perspective of just how good they have it. That provides opportunity for politicians. Sanders wants to emulate one poor producing country and Trump wants to protect against those who can’t compete.

Believe it or not, the U.S. is a big country in very many ways.

Leave a Comment

Trumpysteria exposed

Luboš Motl takes on “Terry Tao’s “axiomatization” of the cheap anti-Trump mudslinging” — Donald Trump is fit to be president. The problem is that Tao illustrates the moral preening that casts judgments on others that is based on fantasies rather than realities.

I believe that many opponents of Trump must start to see how incredibly empty most of these attacks against Trump are. I believe that even many voters of the Democratic candidates feel some compassion for Trump and they start to see that he isn’t being treated fairly. Many people may become aware of the bulldozer of the would-be “establishment” that just mindlessly runs over all inconvenient people. I can’t tell you whether Trump will be elected the U.S. president but he may very well be elected and become “officially qualified”. And he may also become a great president, perhaps similarly to Ronald Reagan who had been forecast to be a failure in rants very similar to Tao’s rant but who proved all those rants entirely wrong.

In the post, Motl provides an accurate 9 point list of why there a sufficient chunk of the electorate does consider Trump qualified. It isn’t advocacy, it is a takedown of Tao and intellectuals who wand afield from integrity and honesty in their thinking. The point is that the matter of qualifications is one of being able to convince enough people to elect you that you win, no more and no less. Even criminals can be (and have been) qualified by this process.

Leave a Comment

Coming to grips with the idea that reality may not be simple

Ed Stetzer struggles. “Lord, I Thank Thee That I am not Like Those Evangelical Trump Supporters” — “Religious scorn should not flow from our voting choices.”

This embrace of Trump caused some Christian leaders to react variously with disbelief, astonishment, despair, and, often, complete dismissal.

When religious leaders hold one view (strongly), and the grassroots hold another, it’s a recipe for religious scorn.

What we can’t do is scorn our fellow Christians who vote in ways we do not approve. In years past, I generally had to encourage evangelicals to avoid scorning fellow evangelicals who voted Democrat. Now, perhaps we need exhortation to avoid scorning those who vote for Donald Trump.

I get the concerns. Trump has made offensive comments, holds positions with which I deeply differ, and is like no candidate we’ve seen in recent history.

Yet, I am also worried that—whether he is elected president or not—the reaction to Trump’s campaign may harm the evangelical wing of the Church.
Here’s why:

Many evangelical leaders are embarrassed by the evangelical support of Trump. That’s reality. Yet, some of those leaders are responding poorly. Our gut reaction is to dismiss his supporters as not being “real” evangelicals, and to question their faith.

I’d like to suggest a different approach.

Rather than looking down with scorn on evangelical Trump supporters, perhaps we should sit down with them, listen to them, and hear their concerns.

There is a struggle evident. There is a lot of “I disagree” that is quite fuzzy – even fuzzier than Trump’s positions. There is an evident distaste for the person bleeding over to finding reasons to oppose – the kind of approach that leads to hate and even violence. There is a complete absence of consideration for the alternative. There is the absence of what actually is in favor of concern raised to new heights about what might be. There is the them vs us problem when it really is all us.

“we should sit down with them, listen to them, and hear their concerns” is loaded with hubris and exactly the human phenomena that started the column: “In the 18th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells a story about two men who go up to the temple to pray.”

Perhaps by listening, one can learn that one is being guided by fears when those ‘others’ are being guided by actual events and happenings. More than anything else, the evangelicals favoring Trump weight what they know and not what they fear. This includes knowing that Trump is bombastic and whatnot but it also includes knowing that his opposition doesn’t just talk the lie but walks the lie. The difference is important and shows in that Trump has been successful but his opposition has not. Ed struggles with this and many in his congregation are trying to tell him something. We can hope that he listens to them and to Jesus .

Leave a Comment

Cowperthwaite and Hong Kong

Every now and then there is a civil servant who makes a difference. The Most Powerful Wealth Generator There Is is the story of one such colonial administrator.

At some point during our first conversation I managed to irk him by suggesting that he was chiefly known “for doing nothing.” In fact, he pointed out, keeping the British political busy-bodies from interfering in Hong Kong’s economic affairs took up a large portion of his time. Throughout Sir John’s tenure in office, the British political elite tried to impose its own ailing socialist economic model on Britain’s colonies, including Hong Kong. Sir John managed to quash all such attempts and Hong Kong benefited as a result.

The answer to growth is as simple as that. Liberty, the ability to own your own property, make your own mistakes and chart your own destiny is the key to growth for everybody. When you are free to pursue wealth, wealth happens. That’s because when people make free exchanges, both sides benefit from the exchange. When that happens, business and civilization thrive and grow.

and then there’s Venezuela…

Leave a Comment

Where’s Star Wars?

Torgersen takes a look at The Martian and Mad Max and it is in water much deeper than just the Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. It is about a world view and the role of humanity past, present, and future.

Clearly, audiences across the globe had a much greater preference for the science fiction movie that focused on actual science being employed in a setting where science — and mankind — are making miracles happen.

But the professional body of Science Fiction and Fantasy writers liked their bleak future better. The future where a despotic madman keeps women as breeding and food stock, while the young men all die very bloodily, and too early; before the lymphoma and blood cancers (from the nuclear fallout, naturally) can kill them slow.

Of course, The Martian was every inch a Campbellian movie, while Fury Road was almost entirely New Wave.

Guess which aesthetic dominates and excites the imaginations of SF/F’s cognoscenti?

Now, I think there is a very strong argument to be made, for the fact that Campbellian vs. New Wave is merely the manifestation of a deeper problem — a field which no longer has a true center.

My personal stance has always been, “To hell with the hoity-toities! Give me my space cruisers and galactic adventure, like that which fired my imagination in the beginning!” But this is a very passé attitude. Nobody wants nuts-and-bolts SF/F anymore, do they?

The Martian box office take isn’t the only indicator. Look at the latest in the Star Wars saga. Whether it is almost feasible science extrapolated or dam’ the science for space adventure where the good guy wins, the box office seems to favor the feel good over the apocalyptic. Now consider that in light of political topics such as human caused catastrophic climate warming, the GMO and ‘natural organic’ foods controversies, energy resources, and other science related where is mankind political controversies. Does man overcome problems or does he (she) cause them?

Leave a Comment

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

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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. 

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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?

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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?

Leave a Comment

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?

Leave a Comment

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?

Leave a Comment