Archive for politics

Ever consider the implications of what you think you want?

Jazz Shaw provides an example of dissonance where ideology is in conflict with reality. Watch: Clinton supporting small business owner realizes Dem minimum wage plan is pretty awful.

It’s just another day in the life of a presidential campaign. We have activists out in the streets arguing in favor of someone who is promising to deliver programs which fundamentally damage their own self-interests. At least in Ms. Rosenberg’s case she’s aware of the issue and the damage which is coming. How she squares that with her political views is another matter entirely.

The basic question is about the proper role of government. See Venezuela if you want an example of thinking that control of all commerce is the proper role of government. Actually seeing the destruction doesn’t seem to have any impact and that is what is (or should be) worrisome.

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The Washington Times: dissonance

The Washington Times pundits are at it again. Consider these thoughts:

Stephen Moore on What Republican turncoats forget — “If Obama/Hillary win a third race, there won’t be a conservative movement.”

I certainly don’t mean to disparage conservatives who say they won’t vote for Mr. Trump. One’s vote is a matter of personal conscience. But to actively support Hillary is to put the other team’s jersey on and then run a lap around the stadium.

It’s worth examining the case of the Republicans for Hillary, because none of the arguments make much sense.

Robert Knight describes The reality of a pipe dream — “Socialism has been at war with marriage and family for more than 200 years.”

There’s something about deploying the government as a mugger to obtain the fruits of someone else’s labor that appeals to the worst in us. But it invariably leads to poverty, dishonesty and even tyranny.

A common myth perpetuated in academia and the media is that a straight-line axis would put the Nazis and Fascists on the far right and the Communists on the far left, with Socialists in the middle. But the Communists, Nazis and Fascists are all, in fact, on the far left under the umbrella term of Socialism. On the far right would-be anarchists who believe in no government. America, with its limited government and guarantees of individual liberty, is somewhere in between.

To sort this out, here’s a tale of two cows that I didn’t originate but did embroider a bit.

Anarchy: You have two cows. You sell milk at a price your neighbors want or they kill you and take the cows.

Fascism: The state takes both and sells you the milk.

Communism: The state takes both and gives you milk — but only if you have party connections or stand in the right line.

Nazism: The state takes both and shoots you if you’re Jewish, a gypsy or a troublesome Christian.

Socialism: The government takes one and gives it to someone else. Then they come for the other, accusing you of being selfish and hateful.

Finally, there’s Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one for a fair price to your neighbor . and buy a bull.

Speaking of family matters, in the 1930s, J.D. Unwin, an Oxford anthropologist, released “Sex and Culture,” a study from every continent over 5,000 years. He found that all cultures throughout history honored marriage, and those that abandoned monogamy soon were depleted of energy and were destroyed. This helps explain the fall of Greece and Rome.

Now, why is this important? It’s because Socialism has been at war with marriage and the family since the late-18th century. The most prominent socialist thinkers, including Rousseau, Marx and Engels, promoted the sexual revolution in which marriage and family were devalued in order to eliminate loyalties other than to the state.

As America drifts from our spiritual origins, there are signs of the socialist disease: rising obsession with redistribution and sensate entertainment, loss of virtue and respect for innocent life, mounting public and private debt, and an ever-growing government.

David Keene on Why Venezuela faces collapse — “With a socialist government and a disarmed populace, prospects are grim.”

The Venezuelan collapse is perhaps the starkest modern example of just how quickly socialism can destroy a basically wealthy, democratic nation. When Hugo Chavez came to power, the left in this country celebrated him and his policies. Hollywood types and “progressive” politicians praised him and looked forward to a demonstration of just how effectively socialism could transform a country — and that’s what everyone’s witnessed since. But it wasn’t quite the sort of transformation they expected.

Where are we headed? Where are we going? What are we likely to find? A lot of that can be seen from the travels of others and from where we have been.

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Road to perdition

Edwin Meese III and Kelly J. Shackelford describe How the lawyers plan to stifle speech and faith — “The American Bar Association’s new code must be rejected.”

Frighteningly, the ABA leaders’ statements verify that they understand — and intend — the ramifications of Model Rule 8.4. President Paulette Brown advocates that the ABA must prevent “bias” in ways that go far beyond current law. Committee member Drucilla Ramey insists bar authorities go “to the top of the legal profession” to “incentivize” attorneys to change their views and speech on these issues, views and speech often informed by attorneys’ religion. All this, despite committee testimony that such a rule has “little relation to concerns” arising in most lawyers’ offices, could be “used tactically against someone inappropriately,” and will “have a chilling effect on something that has always been in the best traditions of the bar: representing minority views and unpopular positions or clients.”

The purpose of our legal system is to ensure freedom. Popular speech rarely needs legal protection. The law protects dissenters’ right to disagree with governmental orthodoxy. It must not become a weapon to oppress those dissenters.

The ABA’s un-American censorship regime is beyond draconian; it coerces conformity regarding religious and political beliefs on a level unprecedented in American history. It borders on fascism, and must be explicitly repudiated.

Silence the opposition. Squash any debate. Maintain conformity by bringing everyone down to the pablum level. Tolerate no divergence from the ideal and spew hate and contempt on those who dare question the orthodoxy of correct politics. The road to perdition begins here.

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Decay is hard to reverse

Peter J. Wallison If you believe a President Trump could not stop regulation, think again. A precedent has been set. A small step has been taken.

After Donald Trump’s speech yesterday, many on the left hastened to note that the president doesn’t really have the power to stop the regulatory juggernaut as Trump promised. They are wrong.

Again, Congress will howl, and those of us who protested what the Obama administration was doing will agree, but it will be too late. Congress, and sadly the media, too — for wholly partisan reasons — has abandoned the principle that independent agencies are supposed to be independent, and that principle will not easily be reclaimed when a Republican president makes use of it.

Much of the principle that provided the check and balance process in governance has been eroded. Trying to reverse this is difficult and goes against the grain. See Venezuela for what going with the grain produces.

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Grok Trump?

The IBD claims that Establishment Republicans Shoot At Trump — And Hit Themselves In The Foot

many of the examples these erstwhile Republicans provide to back up their decision apply as much to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as to Trump.

Trump has serious character flaws, to be sure, but Clinton has an actual record of failure in just about everything she did as secretary of state. And that’s to say nothing of the cavalier disregard for national security with her use of an unsecured private email server while at State. Even the head of Obama’s FBI admitted that Clinton’s recklessness likely put classified information in the hands of our enemies.

Constructive criticism of any candidate is important. But there’s a difference between constructive criticism and the tawdry political opportunism on display this week by Republicans who ought to know better.

There are other groups that are making fools of themselves, too. Thomas Lifson takes up the case where Trump successfully baits media into hysteria. Again.

The anti-Trump media (another name for the mainstream media) have resumed their frenzied claims that Donald Trump is out to unleash indescribable horror in the American people. The current version of doom is that he is calling for NRA assassins to kill either Hillary Clinton or her Supreme Court nominees, or both. What he actually said was this:

“By the way if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Within thirty minutes, according to Rudy Giuliani interviewed on Fox News this morning, the Clinton spin machine had shaped the media narrative. Trump was not calling for electoral activism (at a rally of electoral activists!). No, he was calling on “Second Amendment People” to use their evil guns to kill someone or other.

Given these conditions, it would make sense for Trump to capitalize on the media’s inability to be fair, and get them to anger his base to turn out. And also to discredit themselves in the eyes of persuadables in the general public. People who despise him are going to write bad things about him anyway, so why not push them over the edge into revealing more than they intend about their own prejudices?

And Howard Kurtz explains how the Media justify anti-Trump bias, claim he’s too ‘dangerous’ for normal rules,

The media’s legions of Trump-bashers are finally acknowledging the obvious.

And trying their best to justify it.

But there’s one problem: Tilting against one candidate in a presidential election can’t be justified.

This is about the mainstream media’s reporters, editors and producers, whose credo is supposed to be fairness.

And now some of them are flat-out making the case for unfairness—an unprecedented approach for an unprecedented campaign.

Many of the reporters who feel compelled to stop Trump are undoubtedly comfortable because all their friends feel the same way.

But they are deluding themselves if they think that going after one candidate in a two-candidate race is what journalism is about.

Deluding themselves, indeed. Jim Rutenberg of the NYT refers to “coded appeals to racism or nationalism” which is the kind of language used when you are not able to find a reality to support your perceptions.

This is the establishment under the microscope. Establishment has been an ugly word since the 60’s, Those who made it an ugly word were successful and became ‘establishment’ themselves. Now they are trying to defend themselves because they have become the worst of what they railed against in the past. Trump is the one who brought to microscope to the table and what he is making visible is not pretty. But the ‘people’ knew that. That is why Trump is getting traction. Some of the ‘establishment’ get this, they Grok Trump. Others don’t and they are suffering dissonance.

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the State Propaganda Machine vs. Trump

Jeffrey Lord on the Media vs. America.

Monday night at that Trump rally here in Pennsylvania, a rally I have described here in The American Spectator, Trump drew what was unarguably his most sustained applause when he said of his campaign:“the biggest problem is the media.” The audience erupted, applauding and cheering, with many turning – unasked by Trump – to the back of the room where the television cameras were perched on risers and booing repeatedly.

Frank Miele on ‘Mediagate,’ the scandal you won’t hear about on cable news.

In the last two weeks, it has become obvious that a political scandal is unfolding which exceeds in scope anything seen previously in our country’s 240-year history.

I’m talking about “Mediagate” — the attempted coup d’etat by the talking heads at CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, who aimed salvo after salvo of Trumped-up stories at the GOP nominee as soon as he appeared to be closing in on Hillary Clinton following the Republican National Convention.

Then there’s Reena Flores on a Report: Donald Trump never threw a baby out of a rally.

On Friday, Trump charged the media with being “dishonest” about his handling of a crying baby at an Ashburn, Virginia, rally earlier in the week.

That same day, Trump’s general election opponent, Hillary Clinton, came out with a mocking video of Trump’s own words from that memorable Virginia campaign stop, circulating it on social media:

The enterprising fact-checkers at the Washington Post tracked down two sources — an eyewitness to the proceedings and the mother of said baby — and determined that Trump was, in fact, telling the truth Friday about how he treated the bawling infant.

“The media did in fact blow this entire situation out of proportion,” Ebert, from Virginia, wrote in an email. “I’m not looking to make it into anything bigger. All I’m hoping is that Trump personally is aware that I am in agreement with him and stand by the fact that I was never kicked out of the rally.”

Then there’s Scott Johnson: “If you read the story like Russians used to read Pravda, looking for the nugget of truth that might be buried in an article, you will find this

A while back it was a concern that Trump leveraged celebrity for favorable media coverage to win primaries. At least that was honest. Now the wheel has turned, honesty has gone down the tubes and the State Propaganda Machine is in full spin mode to destroy what it created. People do notice. We will see if if matters to the public at large.

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How did it get this far apart?

Robert Knight calls it A tale of two platforms and says that “The glaring differences give Americans a clear choice.”

Regardless of the Trump-Clinton matchup, it’s instructive to contrast the Republican and Democratic Party platforms. While nearly identical in length, they reveal utterly opposite worldviews.

The 54-page Republican platform calls for greater personal responsibility; decentralizing power; a balanced-budget amendment; reducing the size and scope of government; parental rights; gun ownership and religious liberty; tax incentives for economic growth; reducing taxes across the board; a crackdown on the Internal Revenue Service; overturning the Supreme Court’s rulings on Obamacare, abortion and same-sex “marriage”; rejecting any treaties not vetted by the Senate; rescinding President Obama’s executive orders granting amnesty to illegal immigrants; withholding federal funds from “sanctuary cities”; building a wall on our southern border; rebuilding American military strength, and exerting international leadership against ISIS and other threats.

The 52-page Democratic Party platform promises a new War on Poverty and the Bernie Sanders-inspired Socialist War on the Rich [not their wording]; massive new public works projects; expanding federal programs at every level; more tax-subsidized abortions; cradle-to-grave health care; a “cradle-to- college pipeline”; free public college tuition for all; free childcare; mandatory national service; racial affirmative action; the LGBT political agenda; new regulatory mandates on businesses; a radical climate change agenda; leading “a broad coalition of allies and partners to destroy ISIS’ stronghold in Iraq and Syria,” and sky-is-the-limit confiscatory taxation, including a new levy on financial transactions, to pay for it all.

The question is how the politics became this divisive, how the two major parties became so separated in values and perceptions.

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Perspective and context

VDH ponders Trump and the Politics of Moral Outrage. The current brouhaha about Russian hacking is just one example that illustrates his points. That example is about perceptions, actual causes, the use of satire and humor, outrage, and political machinations.

No doubt, some of Trump’s flamboyant invective is isolationist, nativist, and protectionist. Certainly, we are in the strangest campaign of the last half-century, in which members of Trump’s own party are among his fiercest critics. In contrast, the ABC/NBC/CBS Sunday-morning liberal pundits feel no need to adopt NeverHillary advocacy. They apparently share little “Not in my name” compunction over “owning” her two decades of serial lying, her violations of basic ethical and legal protocols as secretary of state, her investment in what can be fairly termed a vast Clinton pay-to-play influence-peddling syndicate, and the general corruption of the Democratic primary process.

Amid the anguish over the Trump candidacy, we often forget that the present age of Obama is already more radical than most of what even Trump has blustered about.

Is Trump’s threatened “isolationism” worse than the present “lead from behind” or the empty step-over lines, deadlines, and red lines of the last seven years? Or than refusing to increase security at Benghazi and creating fables to hide the dereliction? I often hear the question: “Who knows what Trump might do?” I hear it much more often, in fact, than I hear anyone recall “We came, we saw, he [Qaddafi] died” or “What difference does it make?” The point is not to excuse Trump with “you too” moral equivalence, or to cynically race to the bottom of low-bar politics, but again to remind our ethicists that we live in an age characterized by Petronius’s Satyricon, not the elder Cato’s moral republic — and if they object to that fact, there were plenty of occasions to voice their outrage long before Donald J. Trump left The Apprentice. Trump may well be Trimalchio, but neither Clinton nor Obama is a Scipio (more likely a Catiline, Clodius, or Milo).

Like it or not, this election is about degree, relative political agendas, and comparative hazard, not about marrying ideological purity and consistency with sobriety and character — a sad fact that did not enter our politics with Donald J. Trump.

The current campaign is change and the state propaganda machine and established politicians are having a tough time trying to figure out what is going on. There are lessons to be learned about the people and about the wisdom of those who framed the U.S. systems of government.

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Diagnosing tactics: the AP

John Hinderaker: The Association Press Plays the Race Card.

The Associated Press was once a straightforward, relatively nonpolitical news source, but those days are long gone. Now some of the most hard-core Democratic Party advocacy comes from the AP. Thus, it is no surprise that the AP is trying to advance the Democrats’ narrative that Trump is a bigot.

Is that assertion true? The AP takes no responsibility, it is just what “some observers say.”

“Coded racial language” is big on the left, but note that so far, the AP hasn’t quoted a single word that Donald Trump actually said. Not one. The AP goes on in the same vein, quoting Trump’s far-left critics, but never citing any of Trump’s own words.

And tomorrow, the AP will run a story on how Communists and Socialists are cheering for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They won’t do that, of course, because fringe people are of interest only if they support Republicans. It’s just another day in the lives of liberal journalists who are devoted to advancing the interests of their party.

At least the propaganda is being dissected and exposed. There is still a significant gullible market for propaganda and that means that there will be those to serve the market. There is a lot of work to be done to shrink that market and education about tactics, techniques, and methods may help promote better integrity.

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People notice

At least Tammy Bruce thinks so. Chaos at the Democratic National Convention — “The chaos of the Democrats follows the noisy challenge of the GOP.”

Americans notice things like no American flags on the DNC convention stage. It might be small to some people, but it’s a statement. The Democrats think so because someone made a deliberate decision to eliminate the image of the Stars and Stripes. After criticism mounted, they added them the second night. What sort of people need to be proded into including the American flag at a convention for the presidency?

The contrast is there. It is not only in symbols such as the U.S. Flag and other Americana that usually overwhelms at a national party convention. It is also in the speakers and topics that are chosen to be on the agenda. As Bruce noted, it is also in the management of the convention itself, something that isn’t noticed if well done.

Politics seems to have risen above opinion and reason and even integrity. It has gone beyond patriotism and pride in one’s society. Do the people notice? Do they care? They will tell us soon.

Then take a look at the DNC platform. IBT describes it For Democrats, Is It ‘Great America’ Or ‘Hate America’?.

The bedrock of America has always — always — been its free-market system, which has provided greater wealth and opportunity for more people than any other system ever. Yet, there have been no comments made from the convention stage in unqualified support of our free-market system. None.

The truth is, as the Democratic platform clearly shows, the Democratic Party now is in near total opposition to the free-market system we have — favoring instead top-down control of nearly every aspect of American life.

or consider answering the question Why Are ‘Progressives’ Fighting Against Uber and Airbnb?/

So in other words, to help out rich, politically connected special interests, progressives like Warren are perfectly willing to cause direct harm to middle-income families.

This isn’t being progressive, folks. This is being reactionary.

An anti Airbnb notice even came out with the Washoe County property tax notice. Will people notice?

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Tactics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Struggles with guns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Soros v Koch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An IBD collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Democrats v Bill of Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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Perfecting Hindsight: Chilicot version

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

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

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

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

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

Even the original premise is qualified in item 10.

10 Could an Iraq war ever happen again?

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

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

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

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Trump Dissonance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Selective reasoning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do we stand for this?

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

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Voter Fraud

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

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

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

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

This fact is particularly explosive:

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

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

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

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

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targeting the opposition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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