Archive for Education

Everyone loses

Jennifer Harper: Not to worry: Trump voters ‘have got his back’ – “President Trump’s actions have spoken louder than the news media’s criticism in recent days.”

“Trump voters aren’t just changing their party allegiance, they’re crystallizing a new identity: as common-sense Americans bound together against seemingly hostile liberals who appear to disdain their way of life. And the Democrats have done nothing to win over these voters, nothing,” Ms. Zito concludes.

Stephen Moore: The violence next time – “Violent tactics by far-left terrorist groups have elicited support from the mainstream left.”

During the campaign season, I attended many Trump rallies across the country. It wasn’t uncommon for fights and brawls to break out when protesters showed up. In most, but not all cases there are nut cases on both sides — the left instigated the violence. I saw it with my own two eyes.

Now in the wake of Charlottesville, the media and the left are preposterously not just accusing the nitwit white supremacists, but are labeling President Trump, conservatives, and Trump supporters racists and bigots. If you don’t renounce any association with or support for, Mr. Trump, you too are morally inferior.

The truth finally comes out: the left really does believe that Trump voters are “deplorable” people.

The shameful war on free speech on college campuses will intensify. Those on the right will be shut down — and this will be rationalized because conservatives are racists and those on the left are righteous. The closing of the American mind will get worse.

We will see more militancy from groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa, who have been emboldened by the media.

It’s ugly and dangerous out there. For decades the left has preached the need for tolerance, but these are the people who want to use their own force or the force of the state to silence any voice that disrupts their worldview.

So just who is spreading a message of hate in America?

Robert Knight: What have liberals got to hide? – “They claim creating an election integrity commission is a way to advance voter suppression.”

Mr. Schumer equates any and all election integrity measures such as voter ID laws as brutal instruments designed to “suppress” the votes of minorities, the elderly and the young. In fact, minority voting has increased following passage of voter ID laws. Perhaps folks have more of an incentive to vote when they know their ballots will actually count.

Mr. Schumer contends that vote fraud is a myth cooked up to advance voter suppression.

This is a serious charge, and nobody knows better how to go about suppressing voters than the Democratic Party, which benefited from it for nearly nine decades with its Jim Crow system before congressional Republicans rammed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

But back to the original question. Why not have a bipartisan panel of experts make sure that election officials are doing their jobs to ensure fairness and integrity? Indeed, if you think vote fraud poses no threat, why oppose a study that might prove your point? If the panel comes up empty, you get to crow. But if it exposes sloppy practices that enable fraudulent voting, shouldn’t you want to know that, too and clean up the mess?

So, I think I know what’s behind the Democrats’ fear of the election integrity commission: They have already lost the argument over voter IDs. In its eventual report, the commission will be making the case for how to ensure accurate voter registration rolls. And, accurate voter rolls prevent vote fraud.

If that isn’t frightening to a liberal, nothing is.

Jazz Shaw: Taylor Swift’s lack of politics is a problem for the left – “Some of her friends are now forced to go out and defend Swift against the possibility that she might be a Trump voter (absent any evidence at all) without actually saying whether she is or she isn’t.”

Much like the very pronounced problems we’re seeing with professional football these days, the music industry never benefits from partisan politics. It’s poison in the system of the industry. Whether you are liberal or conservative, as soon as you go off on a rant you’ve turned off potentially half of your audience. And it’s not as if these musicians are particularly qualified as political analysts to begin with. How are we benefiting from hearing their liberal or conservative diatribes?

Perhaps… just maybe… one reason that Taylor Swift maintains her universal appeal is that she stays in her lane, puts her incredible set of pipes to good use and leaves the politics to the politicians. And rather than lambasting her for it, some of her colleagues in the music industry could use her as a positive role model. They might see their sales go back up.

Paul Mirengoff: Can the left do without identity politics? – “I’m going to draw on Samuel Huntington. … American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony (1983).”

In American Politics, Huntington made the argument, familiar now but relatively fresh then, that America is a “creedal” society, founded and based on values of liberty, equality, individualism, democracy, constitutionalism. Political upheaval occurs when Americans come to believe that the gap between our creedal values and reality is unacceptable.

what was distinctively American about each of these periods was that the demand for reform usually was presented in terms of our creedal values. By and large, the appeal was not to an ideology — e.g., socialism or communism — but rather to Americanism. We were falling painfully short of our ideals.

We seem to be in an upheaval period right now. But is it creedal?

I say it isn’t. For the most part, the modern left isn’t invoking the traditional American creed. 

the creed Huntington identified consisted of these values: liberty, equality, individualism, democracy, constitutionalism. This is not where the modern left is coming from (nor did the left of the 1930s draw heavily on these values, which is a major reason why Huntington didn’t include the 30s as a period of creedal upheaval).

Huntington was quite clear that equality in the creedal context means equality of opportunity. Equal distribution of income has never been part of the American creed, although high levels of inequality can, and have, helped spark and fuel creedal upheaval.

The contemporary left is doing much more than complaining about high levels of inequality. It is openly advocating socialism. Thus, in Huntington’s terms, its movement resembles the un-American ideologically-based upheavals of Europe.

In any event, it’s clear to me that the current leftist upheaval is not creedal. What does this mean for the role of identity politics?

I think it means the left needs identity politics. Identity politics sparks the passion that the gap between creed and reality normally provides.

Identity politics also provides a colorable basis for adopting an anti-American posture in a creedal society.

Identity politics provides the explanation. It enables one to argue that America is rotten to the core.

Lisa L. Lewis: Why Does High School Still Start So Early? – “Research shows that unreasonable start times lead to chronic sleep deprivation in teens. Why are schools so slow to make changes?”

Scott Shackford: Teachers Union Head Casts School Choice as Racism – “In May, Los Angeles voters put school choice supporters in charge of the Los Angeles Unified School District board, a show of support for parents’ right to decide where to send their kids for an education.”

demographic data across the United States show that charter schools are remarkably ethnically diverse. As of 2014, some 27 percent of the more than 3 million charter students nationwide were African American and 31 percent were Latino, according to Department of Education numbers.

So it would be more than a little disingenuous to attack school choice as a tool of racists. But that’s exactly how American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten is responding to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ push for more parental control.

Arguing that DeVos’ “preferred choices” of charter schools and tuition vouchers “don’t work,” Weingarten also insisted that privately operated schools are not accountable. But that’s not true: they’re accountable to parents, who can decide to stop sending their students there if they don’t like what such schools are doing. The biggest incubators of school choice are not white strongholds but diverse metropolises such as Los Angeles and New York City.

The larger absurdity of Weingarten’s speech is painting the powerful teachers union as a David fighting the Goliath of school choice advocates. … The real Davids are the parents themselves battling to establish control over the quality of their children’s educations.

Peter Roff: The Exxon/Mobil shakedown – “Environmental activists lead the charge, claiming the company lied about global warming.”

the trial lawyers and university scholars and public interest activists and media hogs and politicians who found the tobacco case so helpful to them in so many ways tried to get their hooks into Big Snack, Big Soda, Big Pharma, Big Food and other industries without much success. Their only bright spot thus far is they’ve managed to get Big Oil — or Exxon/Mobil at any rate — into court over allegations the company lied for years to the public about the effects of global warming.

For anyone who bothers to connect the dots, the effort to prove the case against Big Oil has many fingerprints on it. It’s not some kind of artesian effort to get at the truth with the different players coming together to reach the same conclusions at convenient times by coincidence. There’s too much order and logic behind it all for that to be the case.

Someone or something is behind it all, motivated more by self-interest than by altruism. On the other hand even if this effort fails it’s been a pretty good shakedown cruise for the theories and tactics they planned to employ against industries with deep pockets. What ultimately flops against Big Oil could, with a little tweaking here and there, work quite well against Big Something at some time in the future.

Michael Kirsch, MD: After a $417 million judgment: What should corporations do? – “Talcum powder has become magic legal dust that brings forth zillions of dollars to those who have been attacked by the poisonous toxin.”

Just last year, I informed readers of $55 million and $72 million judgments to cancer victims who used powder against the manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. Earlier this year a Missouri woman was awarded $110 million in damages.

Recently, a jury in California, where the cost of everything is stratospheric, ordered J&J to pay $417 million in damages to a victim of ovarian cancer.

the plaintiff’s attorneys were able to string a circuitous array of dots that connected talcum powder to cancer in front of a jury who was likely more sympathetic to a dying victim than to a mega corporation. But, sympathy is not evidence and being a successful company does not define negligence.

This mega-judgment is rendered beyond absurd when one accepts that there is no convincing and consistent scientific conclusion that talcum powder is the responsible agent.

What should product manufacturers do?

Irrational money grubbing means everyone loses whether it is from the destruction of the legal system via misuse to the destruction of businesses via questionable lawsuits whose goal is greed and envy rather than justice.

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Arpaio, Climate Change, Free Speech, Voting, IRS … the pot is near boil

The limit was hit after only a review of the first tier in the news. So much. Texas is drowning and needs your prayers and support but that is a different sort of too much, a more immediate and pressing too much. Here’s what else is going on. “I could swear that I saw Vladimir Putin in a Confederate uniform the other night sneaking into my yard to plant poison ivy.”

Consider this whopper in a story about freedom of speech:

Meanwhile, supporters of a president who routinely rails against the free press have enthusiastically donned the mantle of first amendment freedom fighters.”

The President rails against fake news but plauds a free press. See What Trump gets about the media. “As is often the case with Trump, the rhetoric is so insulting and extreme that it’s hard to take the underlying point seriously. But, as also is often the case with Trump, he’s onto something real.” Lies, deceit, and distortion, especially in the Press, should be a concern of everyone and the Major Media has demonstrated a low regard for such intellectual integrity.

Julia Carrie Wong does have a good essay if you can get around the bias such as shown by that whopper. The far right is losing its ability to speak freely online. Should the left defend it? – “Free speech was the left’s rally cry. But the fate of the Daily Stormer, a hate site ‘kicked off the internet’, signals the increasing irrelevance of the first amendment.”

That’s when the chief executive of website security company Cloudflare [Matthew Prince] “woke up … in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet”, as he told his employees in an internal email.

Critics charge that technology platforms have enabled a disparate network of racist extremists to seek one another out, raise funds, and plan and execute such rallies. But unlike consumer facing companies such as Facebook, YouTube, PayPal and Discord, and even as liberal voices – including the Guardian editorial board – applaud it, Cloudflare won’t defend its actions.

“I am deeply uncomfortable with the decision we made,” Prince said in an interview. “It doesn’t align with our principles.”

“This is a really terrible time to be a free speech advocate,” said Jillian York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It’s a ‘First they came for the … situation,” she said, referring to the famous Martin Niemöller poem about the classes of people targeted by Nazis, “only in reverse”.

But the fate of the Daily Stormer – as vile a publication as it is – may be a warning to Americans that the first amendment is increasingly irrelevant.

American technology companies that were once imbued with the ethos of Twitter’s famous sobriquet – “the free speech wing of the free speech party” – have changed the rules, or at least decided to start selectively enforcing rules that are technologically unfeasible to apply across the board.

If the left does abandon its free speech principles, it may come to regret it.

“I’m really surprised to see liberals talk about what speech needs to be taken down, and not take that conversation a step further and talk about who is actually doing the censoring,” York said, questioning whether we should trust either the government or “unelected white Silicon Valley dudes” to make such decisions.

Or as Keller says: “We should not expect the new speech gatekeepers to be benign forever, or to enforce rules that we agree with forever.”

Charles Hurt: There are no decent plans in Congress, just lies, intraparty squabbling – “We are witnessing some of the most spectacularly absurd political gambits in American history unfold right now before our very eyes.”

The first comes from Democrats in Congress, who want to somehow blame collapsing Obamacare on Republicans. … The Democrats who huddled in darkness with powerful lobbyists to write the Obamacare bill. The Democrats who hid the Obamacare bill from the public and even their own members in Congress.

To be sure, Republicans in Congress should be humiliated — if politicians were capable of such a thing. They had seven years to come up with an actual plan to repeal Obamacare.

Now they have the chance to do just that right this second and they flinch.

But somehow blaming Republicans for the catastrophe that President Obama, Mrs. Pelosi and the entire Democratic Kleptocratic Regime gave us? That’s insane.

The second spectacularly absurd political gambit we are watching this season is this open effort by Republicans to somehow blame all of their problems on Mr. Trump.

how it is Mr. Trump’s fault that the professional, experienced politicians in Congress failed to repeal Obamacare is beyond any rational thinking.

It is almost as if Republicans in Congress — along with Democrats — are determined to find a Republican somewhere to blame for it.

Robert Knight: The death of parody – “Because of its shrillness and excess parodying the left is nearly impossible.”

Ever since Donald Trump’s election, we’ve been awash in such cultural and political lunacy that it defies attempts at parody.

It’s not just the concerted assault on anything reminding us of the Confederacy, or the numbingly constant messaging that only bigots oppose giving boys access to girls’ locker rooms. The very idea of America as an imperfect but good and decent country is under daily assault. Plus, the president can’t even brush his teeth correctly. You can read all about it.

The real thing on CNN looks like a daily sendup from the satirical site The Onion.

The Washington Post under Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has been turned over to editors who are apparently about 12 years old, smoking dope and stoked in cultural Marxism.

How do you satirize the left’s general, ongoing hysteria? It’s starting to affect me because I could swear that I saw Vladimir Putin in a Confederate uniform the other night sneaking into my yard to plant poison ivy.

Dave Boyer and David Sherfinski: Trump’s pardon of Arpaio sends strong messages to immigrant advocates, Mueller team, loyalists – “President Trump’s pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio has set off a new round of recriminations, with Republicans saying they disagreed with the decision and Democrats saying it was an unforgivable abuse of power that presages still more political mischief.”

The last administration instituted a policy of requiring pardons to be vetted by the Justice Department before President Obama would grant them. Mr. Obama set records for clemency in cutting sentences of drug dealers and users and repeat felons — including those who used guns in the commission of their crimes.

Mr. Obama also issued end-of-term decisions to commute sentences of a member of a Puerto Rican terrorist group, and of Chelsea Manning, who before undergoing sex-change surgery was Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, serving 35 years in prison for leaking government secrets to WikiLeaks.

Mr. Trump’s first pardon signals he won’t be beholden to the Justice Department process that Mr. Obama followed.

“The Arpaio pardon was an easy call on the politics,” Mr. Corallo said. “The Trump haters are going to keep hating him regardless. The president’s base approves of it wholeheartedly. The people in the middle are not concerned with it.”

He added, “The president was fully within his authority to issue this or any pardon. Regardless of whatever process exists at DOJ, the constitution grants the president plenary power to pardon anyone. The remedy for those who disagree with the pardon is at the ballot box.”

Mr. Franks said the pardon was neither unprecedented nor outrageous, as critics suggested, and he compared it favorably with Mr. Obama’s commutation of Manning’s sentence.

“While no one can dispute Manning acted to undermine our country’s national security, Joe Arpaio has spent a lifetime trying to maintain it. Comparing the two, it is easy to discern that Arpaio is a patriot while Manning is a traitor,” Mr. Franks said.

“I think the Arpaio pardon is pretty straightforward,” Mr. Bossert said on ABC’s “This Week” program. “Just about every modern president ends up with some controversial pardons, but I think the president’s been pretty clear on it and I certainly don’t think it’s fair to characterize him as not caring about the rule of law.”

Daniel John Sobieski: RINOS Wrong on Arpaio – “House Speaker Paul Ryan also headed for the tall grass, echoing McCain’s sentiments.

Arizona Sen. John McCain’s limited understanding of the law and the Constitution was on display when he falsely claimed that President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio undermined the rule of law. McCain was joined by his Arizona colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake, who is up for reelection in 2018:

Indeed, as McCain acknowledges, the power of the President to pardon anyone for any reason is absolute.

Arpaio was found guilty by a Clinton-appointee after he was denied a trial by jury based on the relative minor nature of the charge, a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail. The ruling reeks of politics, with the decision to prosecute Arpaio on profiling charges made by an incoming Obama administration bent on throwing open the nation’s borders to illegal aliens

As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized at the time, the decision to prosecute Joe Arpaio smacked of hypocrisy, injustice, and legal gymnastics involving one Thomas Perez, current foul-mouthed head of the Democratic National Committee and former Obama administration DOJ official

The fact is that Joe Arpaio was in fact enforcing federal law as originally written, only to have the Obama administration rewrite the law in order to prosecute Arpaio.

Perhaps if Arpaio had given away the nation’s secrets, or been an international felon like the Clinton-pardoned Marc Rich, or been a New Black Panther intimidating Philadelphia voters in 2008, McCain, Flake, and Ryan might have a case. But they don’t. Joe Arpaio was and is a patriot fighting to protect our nation’s borders from invasion and was acting in good faith in enforcing federal laws it was originally written, not as reinterpreted by a liberal judge.

Anthony J. Sadar: Why the skeptics reject ‘human-induced’ climate change – “The stark reality does not support the unsettled settled science of man-made global warming.”

Many campus scientists are dismayed at what they see as unreasonable skepticism of the scientific establishment and the denial of the edifice of scientific facts that include disastrous global warming resulting from excessive human carbon emissions. In the coming decades, such emissions will apparently doom the planet, according to some high-level sources.

Step off campus and confident predictions of climate calamity are confronted by the world of reality where there are no safe spaces. The reverberations from the college echo chamber are damped by wide-open reality.

Antics, such as marches on Washington for ostensibly protecting scientific integrity, only serve to accent the politics and juvenility involved with modern scientific practice.

Campus science elites should at least try replacing patronizing arrogance with humble confidence. After all, there is a chance that elitist knowledge of the state of global climate decades from now might be wrong.

Don Surber: Why was health agency pushing the climate change lie? – “I will flat out call it a lie.”

For 30 years now, the United Nations and other Marxists have pushed the unhinged theory that man is causing the world to burn out of control. That is what global warming (now called climate change) is all about.

No serious scientist would back this quackery if not for the billions in taxpayer money governments use to pay of scientists in the guise of funding research.

Not one prediction has come true.

After 30 years of getting it wrong, anyone who is not a skeptic is either a fool or a liar (in some cases, both).

President Trump is draining the swamp.

That’s the climate that needs changing.

Arnold Steinberg: Not the Perfect Storm – “To CNN, Schumer, et al.: Now is NOT the time for politics.”

“As millions of people in TX and LA are preparing for the hurricane,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY), leader of the Senate Democrats, proclaimed in a series of Friday night tweets, “The President is using the cover of the storm to pardon a man who violated a court’s order to stop discriminating against Latinos and [to] ban courageous transgender men and women from serving our nation’s Armed Forces. The only reason to do these right now is to use the cover of Hurricane Harvey to avoid scrutiny. So sad, so weak.”

And, so low-life for Schumer.

There’s more.

All this would be a sick ploy, if it were true. Our fellow Americans are in distress. … We are still one nation with a resurgent sense of community. Help our fellow citizens, even if their historical statutes are politically incorrect and presumably worthy of Orwellian revisionism.

Jenny Beth Martin: Trump, McConnell, Obamacare and the tea party – “The media just don’t understand.”

“It is with that message in mind that we are heading back to Capitol Hill on Saturday, September 23rd to rally in support of the agenda that the American people supported in last year’s election. We’re going to send a message to Washington politicians: “Keep Your Promises,” and we invite all Americans who want to see the America First policies come to fruition.”

Stephen Moore: ‘Keep it simple, Stupid’ – “The key to tax reform is avoiding bills with too many moving parts.”

Larry Kudlow, Steve Forbes and I (founders of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity) have been pleading with Congress to keep the debate focused on three simple reforms:

1) cut tax rates for large and small businesses to 15 percent to make America competitive and create jobs.

2) repatriate $2.5 trillion of money held by American companies back to the United States at a 10 percent tax rate.

3) double the standard deduction for every family and individual tax filer.

The good news for Republicans is that the three components of this tax plan are all things that Mr. Trump campaigned on and are popular with voters.

Thomas Lifson: Chicago had 14,000 more votes than voters in 2016 general election – yet “President Trump continues to receive scorn over his assertion last year that vote fraud accounted for Hillary Clinton’s raw vote majority.”

They really, really don’t want anyone looking closely at vote fraud. They claim there is none of any significance.

That must be why this report from Chicago City Wire has been so thoroughly ignored by the mainstream media:

But we can expect that Democrats will continue to dismiss the possibility that vote fraud worked for them on a significant scale. The fact that they resist investigation is telling.

Rick Moran wonders: Is the IRS Scandal About to Break Wide Open? – “Lost emails, destroyed hard drives, foot dragging, stonewalling, and a smirking, sneering IRS commissioner doing his best to obscure the truth

this has largely been the response by the Internal Revenue Service to investigations by Congress and FOIA requests from conservative groups trying to discover the truth about the IRS targeting scandal.

But one federal judge appears to be just as curious as the rest of us about what exactly the IRS was up to when it targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny in approving their tax-exempt status.

tantalizing hints emerged last week that whatever the truth is may be recoverable.

More names means more witnesses to be deposed under oath. Perhaps some promises of immunity are in order so that the truth can be wrung out of an agency that has been used to target the political opponents of a president and materially affect the ability of conservative groups to exercise their rights.

As for the flood, the Cajun Navy and many other volunteers are flooding into Texas and Louisiana to aid and assist. It’s going to be a management headache but practice is honing solutions for constructive cooperation. It’s not over yet and there is much work to be done.

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Forgotten History the Rewritten History

The Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in America by Janet Levy.

A well written and well researched historical narrative, White Cargo does an excellent job of elucidating a forgotten part of our colonial past by telling the story of thousands of Britons who lived and died in bondage before African slaves were transported to the New World.

In contrast consider John Hinderaker’s observation about Confederate: More Left-Wing Propaganda – “The premise of Confederate is that the South prevailed in the Civil War, and now, in the 21st century, slavery still exists there.”

The show will “draw a line” between slavery and “voter suppression,” whatever that means, and mass incarceration–being convicted of a serious crime is just like being a slave,

Liberals love to talk about slavery. In fact, kids who go to public schools could get the impression that the only thing that happened in American history between 1600 and 1964 was slavery.

Actually, if liberals wanted to create a television series about modern slavery, they wouldn’t have to concoct a counterfactual history. There are plenty of places where the institution of slavery has been translated into the 20th and 21st centuries. They could set their series in Cuba, for example. What does slavery with “no whips and no plantations,” as Bloys put it, look like? Cuba would be an excellent example; they would only need to replace whips with more lethal devices.

Then there is the U.S.S.R., or China, or East Germany, or North Korea. The modern form of slavery isn’t really hard to find. We have been more or less surrounded by it for quite a while. But HBO is looking for left-wing fantasy, not reality.

Scott McKay: Forget about Trump and the Russians. The real action is with the Awan brothers and Fusion GPS. – “There’s a lot of debate about Trump’s “drain the swamp” mantra these days, but nobody is really denying the swamp exists. And nobody can — not with Fusion GPS and the Awan brothers skulking around in the muck.”

If you’re sick and tired of the never-ending “Trump And The Russians” scandal, which for all its hype has produced scant little actual evidence of anything other than desultory cooperation on the part of the president’s camp with an investigation it quite reasonably believes is a kangaroo court, this letter from Goodlatte’s committee might just be what the doctor ordered.

Ace: More on Fusion GPS: Veteran Washington Reporter Says Media Won’t Report on Fusion GPS’ Activities as a Major “Source” of “News,” Because If You Dug Down Into It and Saw Fusion GPS’ Emails With the Media, “It will look like an apocalypse”

Leo Goldstein: The “Battle for The Net” – a Little Twin of Climate Alarmism – “Both issues are built upon scientific or technical matters, serving as an obstacle for public understanding.”

Net Neutrality is the good principle that a provider of information access service, a device, or a platform must be neutral regarding the content accessed or transmitted by its service, device, or platform. In particular, Internet Service Providers must not discriminate between net traffic based on the content or originating website. Also, they must not give preferential treatment to their own services, such as voice over IP, relative to their competitors.

Under the pretext of net neutrality, FCC crafted multiple regulations that made broadband ISPs almost unable to manage their own networks, and put their whole operations in the legal grey area. Not incidentally, the robust growth in broadband providers’ competition that preceded Obama election stopped and many new broadband technologies (like WiMAX) became buried. For the first time in the history, Internet access prices started to rise! But that was only a prelude to the real action.

Just like climate alarmists, Free Press et al. created a bogeyman and declared it the enemy in the battle. Only this time, it’s not “fossil fuels,” but broadband ISPs and cable companies, … The Left has recognized a unique advantage in fighting a bogeyman – the bogeyman neither fights back nor argues. Thus, they win every debate!

same ol’ same ol’

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July 4, Liberty, Dignity, and History

Richard W. Rahn: The anti-liberty lobby – “Those who claim the right to others’ labor would fit in with slaveholders.”

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits “involuntary servitude” and slavery. At what point does a tax on someone’s labor — where the proceeds of that tax are largely used to provide income or services to others — constitute “involuntary servitude”? At various times, many countries, including the United States, have tried to place very high tax rates on the “rich” or others — and it always fails. The “rich” withdraw their taxable labor by taking more leisure time or move to the shadow economy, or to where they are more lightly taxed. Those who think they have the right to the labor of those they revile, i.e., the “rich,” have the same mentality of the slaveholder who also thought he had the right to others’ labor.

Liberty is not only being destroyed by taxation and regulation; it is also being destroyed by formal and informal speech codes, particularly on college campuses. Those who would seek to impose limitations on the free expression of others are actually revealing they have much of the mindset of King George III of England at the time of the American Revolution — who also believed that speech he did not like was impermissible.

Geoffrey P. Hunt: Beneath the Dignity of the Office – “The first article of impeachment against president Donald J. Trump — if the Democrats regain the U.S. House majority — will be that his behavior demeans the office of the President.” See The Hill: House Democrat introduces bill to amend presidential removal procedures)

In fact, Donald Trump has restored dignity to the office, when you consider how Barack Obama soiled the office with his own dissembling, fabrications, and manipulations, not to mention the sort of race hustlers, hoodlums, felons, and traitors routinely welcomed to Obama’s White House.

WWE is the perfect metaphor for the mainstream media. Phony but authentic in its phoniness. Mostly fabricated, but built upon a few truths once upon a time.

The irony is lost on CNN that WWE replaced the three-ring circus, with Trump, and CNN the main event. And CNN will taste the clammy canvas every time, with Trump still president, refreshed for another bout, where the outcome is already known.

Bethany Patterson: The New York Times needs to raise its journalistic standards – Publications – AEI – “This description is and should be an affront to every reader who wants the truth and facts from a newspaper. At the very least, Shear should have reported by what authority Trump’s claim was “debunked” — that is, shown to be incorrect — then readers could decide for themselves.”

Scott Johnson: The eternal meaning of Independence Day – he cites Lincoln’s speech of July 10, 1858 and one comment in that speech rings a bell in today’s arguments about entitlements and taxing the rich and how health care is a “right” and how, for instance, Nevada is whining that it must have other people’s money for its health care.

They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden. That is their argument, and this argument of the Judge is the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it.

Didn’t President Lincoln get some of his fame or notoriety as a wrestler, too?

Another oft cited speech today: Calvin Coolidge on Independence Day.These great truths were in the air that our people breathed. Whatever else we may say of it, the Declaration of Independence was profoundly American.” As Reynolds says: “read the whole thing.”

Back on the Real Russian Front, Scott Johnson notices The romance of Soviet stooges – “Vivian Gornick is the author of the 1979 book titled The Romance of Communism. It’s a romance with which many readers of the New York Times are familiar even if the thought of it is revolting to anyone who knows the relevant history.”

Austin Bay: The History Of Fake News: A brief history of weaponized information – “Contemporary universities do a lousy job of improving the critical thinking skills of students — such a lousy job that you might conclude many professors don’t want their students to know how to think.” From the article in National Interest by David V. Gloe:

How to begin to learn how to discern fake news? By rediscovering the broad civic applicability of the historical method. It starts with modifying the national epistemological approach to acquiring knowledge, and, applied across the population of the United States, the impact could be profound.

Quite when America started deviating from critical thinking is unclear, but a test of American college students, the College Learning Assessment Plus (CLA+) shows that, in over half of the universities studied, there is no increase in critical thinking skills over a four-year degree. The reasons for this are far from clear, but the pursuit of knowledge has become more argumentative, opinion-based and adversarial than illuminating. Research papers are reminiscent of watching the prosecutor layout a criminal case on Law and Order.

The article uses the World Wars to illustrate its points on Fake News in the light of intelligence agencies and propaganda. Gloe says “Fact-based and objective reporting and analysis is surely the gold standard, but information consumers also have a role, even a civic obligation as citizens to take some responsibility for what they allow themselves to consider as truth.” An example often cited here can be seen between Hanson and Newmark, both students and teachers of history. When Newmark speaks of Trump she often falls into judgment while Hanson observes and opines. Newmark leaves no room for options in perception and interpretation. Hanson does. That provides clues about which to consider as most credible and which source is at higher risk for Fake News.

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Remember that bit about Cruz v Chaplin? Luboš Motl weighs in

Now here’s a dose of high dudgeon for you: Was the U.S. created by int’l community in 1783?

The American departure from the insane Paris climate treaty has made the behavior of many extreme leftists extraordinary. After Donald Trump was accused of being a servant of Russia – in the absence of a glimpse of evidence – our EU overlords kindly informed us that the U.S. is no longer a good friend and we the Europeans are obliged to befriend China, India, and Russia instead.

Well, Ms Joyce Chaplin isn’t just an extreme leftist. She’s been also hired by Harvard University as an expert in the early American history, probably because she doesn’t even know when the U.S. was created. Cruz has mocked her, The Weekly Standard has mocked her, The American Thinker did it as well, and she deserves some words from me, too.

But the other thing that’s spectacular about Chaplin’s tweet is the claim that it was the “international community” that established the U.S. in 1783.

The big picture as well as virtually every detail that the likes of Joyce Chaplin tell you about things like that is insanely wrong. They distort the year in which the world’s only superpower was born, who created it, why, who signed the treaties, whom he supported, and on top of all these lies and stupidities, they interpret this alternative history as some debt that the U.S. should repay 250 years in the form of its support for some stupid ritual that got popular in some countries.

People like Chaplin are so far from anything that could be considered a reasonable opinion that it seems impossible to intelligently debate such people.

A Czechia string theorist is schooling a Harvard Historian? The really sad part of this is that Luboš has a better handle on early U.S. History than the Historian.

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3/18/2017: civility and flawed logic

Instapundit cites Matthew Continetti: Charles Murray’s Attackers: – “What happened to Charles Murray at Middlebury was an affront to academic freedom, democratic norms, freedom of speech, and basic manners.” … “The left will miss civility when it’s gone. They’re happy now while its disappearance is one-sided. That won’t last.”

And the following post is another example. David Harsanyi: Chuck Schumer’s Indecent Attacks on Neil Gorsuch.Make no mistake, though: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) now opposes a potential SCOTUS justice because he promises to be impartial when upholding the Constitution.” Then there is Orrin G. Hatch on What to expect in Gorsuch confirmation hearing – “At its best, the confirmation process provides an open venue for careful questioning and reflective deliberation; at its worst, the process can quickly devolve into partisan spectacle, killing the chances of even the most qualified nominees.”

Notwithstanding Gorsuch’s superb qualifications and principled approach to judging, Democrats and their liberal allies strain mightily to find plausible grounds to oppose his nomination. They misread his opinions, misstate his reasoning, and in general paint a picture of a man who simply does not exist. Unfortunately, we can expect more attempts to misrepresent Gorsuch’s record during his confirmation hearing. In particular, we can expect to hear over and over again the false and frankly ridiculous claim that Gorsuch is outside the “judicial mainstream.”

Liberals will tie themselves in knots claiming that Gorsuch is some sort of fringe jurist, that his views place him on the far flank of the federal judiciary. But any honest observer will concede that these accusations are complete bunk. Opponents will claim that his decisions say things that they very clearly do not say, or stand for propositions that even a generous reading cannot substantiate.

Ultimately, Gorsuch’s opponents will fail because he is so clearly a man of integrity and so clearly qualified to serve on our nation’s highest court.

Perhaps the most important take-away from comments like this is that the Republicans are beginning to accept the nature of the political opposition they face.

Or, back on Instapundit, CRICKETS:Bow Wow slurs Melania Trump in the nastiest way possible. Three guesses how reporters responded to the message.

Jonathan H. Adler quotes The most important part of Judge Bybee’s dissent from denial of en banc review in Washington v. Trump – “Five justices dissented from the denial of en banc review, arguing that the panel decision made multiple legal errors and should be vacated.” The dissent is tainted by a complaint that is, perhaps, a dig at the President and others who have a low opinion of the court due to opinions such as the one at issue. Do note, though, that the complaint also applies to both the judge who issued the restraining order as shown in his decision and in those seeking the restraint as shown by how they based their request.

The personal attacks on the distinguished district judge and our colleagues were out of all bounds of civic and persuasive discourse—particularly when they came from the parties. It does no credit to the arguments of the parties to impugn the motives or the competence of the members of this court; ad hominem attacks are not a substitute for effective advocacy. Such personal attacks treat the court as though it were merely a political forum in which bargaining, compromise, and even intimidation are acceptable principles. The courts of law must be more than that, or we are not governed by law at all.

This confuses several issues. Ad hominem is about the personal characteristics of an individual, not about an institution such as the court nor is it about a decision or other specific behavior of that person or institution. The kind of “civic and persuasive discourse” that one expects inside a courtroom proceeding is different from that in the political or social arenas. The topic of civility is an important one but it does not belong here. The topic at hand is that of the role of the courts in regards to the law and established practice.

Read Hawaii Judge’s Flawed Aloha Akhbar Logic by Daniel John Sobieski.

Judge Watson’s logic belongs in a parallel judicial universe where judges are allowed to regulate foreign policy, clearly a presidential prerogative defined in both law and the U.S. Constitution. Judge Watson cites no law and, in the case of the Constitution, says the travel ban violates the Establishment Clause which forbids favoring or disparaging a particular religion. By that logic, you could never restrict any immigration from any Muslim country for any reason. Judge Watson strays outside the four corners of the executive order and ignores explicit U.S. law to cite President Trump’s campaign statements, which are totally irrelevant. Motive, even if correctly discerned, is irrelevant here. Only the law and presidential authority should apply.

A first requirement for civility is intellectual integrity. When a group of people dismiss integrity in thought and action, the rest of the people have a difficult problem to address. 

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3/0/2017: The Lynch Mob

Luboš Motl breaks the barrier this morning with his post on The climate lynch mob at MIT. He sets the scene with the Murray Middlebury fracas.

Jay Parini and other professors at that college realize that some basic rules of Free Speech 101 were grossly neglected. However, the wild young people keep on calling themselves “college students” and they are basically dictating the atmosphere – and what is possible and what is impossible – on that college.

A zoo would be a much more appropriate place to keep these young people than a college. Let me emphasize that I recommend this habitat to the participants of that protest regardless of their race, gender, or ethnic background.

Sadly, not just gangs of politically radicalized young people may be described as marginally brain-dead inhabitants of the U.S. universities these days. Whole faculties sometimes behave in nearly equivalent ways.

Two weeks ago, Richard Lindzen – a retired MIT professor of atmospheric physics – penned a letter to Donald Trump that urged him to withdraw from the UNFCCC … Note that the petition hasn’t attacked anyone at all … Unfortunately, a “counter-letter” authored by Lindzen’s MIT climate colleagues was different in character.

22 signatories of this “counter-letter” include full professors … Needless to say, the fact that 10 members of the faculty at that program refused to sign wasn’t mentioned by anybody, surely not by the left-wing press that promoted the counter-letter. Another “detail” that no one mentioned is that none of these people is impartial.

It’s ludicrous for them to pretend that they are giving an independent testimony about some external problems. They’re not witnesses. Obviously, they are the defendants now.

They are denying this fact – and their extreme left-wing comrades in the media are denying, too

Those of us who have read the communist propaganda press (and those of us who are somewhat familiar with 100 Authors Against Einstein) recognize the style.

I am telling you, Kerry Emanuel and other 21 members of the MIT climate lynch mob. You are violating the rules of decent interactions between the scientists. It is getting out of control, many people are watching what’s happening, and because of your similarity to the immature leftists at the Middlebury College I have started with, the opinion is strengthening that the problem of your presence at scholarly institutions deserves a vigorous solution.

The Coyote picks up on the same theme: Global Warming is Killing Environmentalism – “I have written many times that someday we will look back on the early 21st century and decide that the obsessive focus on Co2 and global warming gutted the environmental movements effectiveness for a generation.”

Twenty years ago, the clean air and water acts enjoyed tremendous public support, even grudgingly among Republicans. No one, even in the Left-hated Reagan Administration, ever made a serious effort to impinge on them. However, over the last 20 years, environmentalists have overreached themselves. Their obsession on climate and other crazy overreaches (like the Waters of the United States rules) have caused a lot of people to starting thinking all environmentalism is bullsh*t. Yet another way the global warming obsession is undermining the environmental movement.

Mark Perry: Wednesday evening links, all charts and map edition – pictures (graphs) can make a point. The Map of the Day shows the relative sizes of stock market capitalization, Trade freedom is compared to GDP per capita, exports are compared to imports, the newspaper jobs history graph shows a remarkable reversal, college costs have risen much faster than inflation, and gender differences in colleges have also flipped.

Just wondering though, with all of that admirable and demonstrated success at dominating academically in higher education, do we really still need thousands of women’s centers and commissions across the country at almost every college and university? Perhaps they were necessary before 1980 to help women succeed in college, but their superiority over men in earning college degrees for more than three decades might suggest they don’t need any special or extra help today that isn’t also available and offered to men?

The 60/40 flip in colleges favoring women seems to be correlated with the overwhelming bias and activism on campus. This might be something to examine. Medical school graduates are now close to gender parity but still do not show the overall campus feminine bias. Might this have something to do with the hard STEM emphasis in medicine?

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1/15/2017: Pinyin remembered after a plethora of compare and contrast in ugly politics

It’s getting to be a very common report. The assertions of the Georgia representative are being held to the ‘what if a Republican leader said this about Obama’ standard. Here’s another example by Katie Mchugh: Journalists Versus the White House: A Tale of Two Media Reactions. The C&C is between Acosta v Trump and Munro v Obama. The media sympathy, except for some folks at Fox News as Neil Cavuto so memorably pointed out, is with Acosta. Munro was considered a heckler.

It’s an interesting contrast to the neutral or supportive coverage of CNN’s Acosta, whom Smith defended, saying “journalists should [not] be subjected to belittling or delegitimizing by the President-elect of the United States.” Acosta could have told Trump he was a “fake president,” as CNN’s Don Lemon reassured his colleague.

The press’s responses to the two incidents are revealing.

When it comes to Democrat malfeasance, the press immediately pounces on anyone who questions or exposes them.

Here is Munro’s explanation of the 2012 event, given to Fox News. Compare to the support Acosta received from media after bellowing at Trump. Obama routinely dismissed the concerns of Americans, and that’s fine with the privileged enforcers of the status quo. But when Trump dismisses a hostile media, that is an intolerable violation of the rights of the so-called “free press.”

That bit about the Georgia Representative is getting quite a bit of play perhaps because Trump took up the challenge. Sundance: President-Elect Trump Pushes Back Against Self-diminishing Rep John Lewis… – “Traditionally Republicans have curled up into a ball and refused to defend themselves against ridiculous attacks from moonbat leftists. However, Donald Trump is not a traditional republican. Today, Donald Trump pushed back

The media (writ large) and professional political left do not have a familiar frame of reference for what to do next. Ergo, the pearl-clutching ‘how-dare-he’ ism begins… they were counting on Lewis’s race to be a PC shield against any backlash. Once again, Donald Trump proves he doesn’t see race – he sees stupid.

John Hinderaker dissects how The AP Spins Lewis Vs. Trump – “This is the kind of nonsense we are going to see for the next four years. It is all-out war between Donald Trump and the Democratic Party press, and so far, Trump is winning.” The Las Vegas Review Journal headline Donald Trump unleashes Twitter attack against civil rights legend illustrates the bias, too – Trump didn’t unleash an attack on civil rights but rather responded to a civil rights has-been that attacked him.

But the Left doesn’t know when to stop digging and James Wilkinson reports that Trump inauguration boycott grows to 19 Democrat lawmakers: Congressmen will NOT attend after The Donald’s feud with civil rights hero John Lewis, who said he will not be a ‘legitimate President’ – the quotations cited illustrate just what kind of Trump these Democrats have created in their own minds.

Reality does pop to the surface on occasion. Kyle Feldscher: Trump continues to slam Lewis, calls cities ‘burning and crime infested.’ – “Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!” Trump tweeted.”

But Don Surber notes that a High crime rate is acceptable to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Democratic Congressman John Lewis who locked arms in brotherhood Republican Senator Jeff Session at the 50th anniversary of the March on Selma stabbed Sessions in the back this week.

I was going to let it slide until his hometown newspaper defended him, and Atlanta’s high crime rate — all because the newspaper suffers Trump-phobia.

The bit about Sessions and Lewis arm in arm gets to The Breathtaking Hypocrisy of Senate Democrats By Bruce Walker.

Senate Democrats are trying to assume the high ground against President Trump by rubbishing his nominees. Consider the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. The sum total of arguments against Senator Sessions are that at one time, many decades ago, he may have made a flippant offhand comment about the Ku Klux Klan and that he has suggested that the radically leftist NAACP and ACLU may be radically leftist.

His record of prosecuting Klansmen, desegregating Alabama schools, and generally upholding the law is, of course, totally ignored.

The record of Senate Democrats and the brutal suppression of blacks in the South is stunning – and largely ignored by the leftist establishment media and educational systems

The record of Senate Democrats toward the Klan is extraordinary, considering the attacks this gaggle has been making against a man who actually fought the Klan. Perhaps if Senate Democrats passed a resolution apologizing to America for producing out of their number Klansmen who became president, vice presidential nominee, attorney general, Supreme Court justice, Democrat floor leader and president pro tempore of the Senate, then the rest of America would pay a bit more attention to their silly attacks on Senator Jeff Sessions.

That last might just be ‘it’! The Democrats are after Sessions because he successfully prosecuted some of their friends in the KKK?

Lewis used ‘the Russians’ as his rationale for outrage. Clarice Feldman gets into the implications of the latest on that in The Trump Dossier Puts the Deep State in Deep Doo-Doo – “to gin up the ugliest, most scurrilous claims, and then trust the click-hungry media to disseminate them. No matter how false the allegations, the subject of the attack is required to respond, wasting precious time and losing credibility.”

Glenn Greenwald (hardly a Trump fan) thinks it’s more, and on examination of the Intelligence Community’s handling of this tripe, it’s hard to disagree with him. He points out the unprecedented support for Hillary Clinton in this “deep state,” and takes issue with their advancing the Steele memos

David Goldman, who did support Trump, was more succinct: “Warning the intelligence communities about salacious and politically motivated leaks: the president-elect threatened to drag their shenanigans into the daylight. No one has ever done that to the spooks before. I’m lovin’ it.”

The denizens of the Left are being called to account for what they say and what they do. The squealing is horrific but a lot of Americans are with Goldman.

Paul Mirengoff asked some protesters about a Secretary of Labor nominee and found: Whoever Puzder is, they’re against him – “We’ve all heard of low-information voters. Meet low-information protesters. The Democrats’ reliance on them is telling.” Obviously, the opposition is not well informed and thus must not be conscientious or well meaning. i.e. it is destructive protests and nothing more. See also Inauguration Protesters Plan To Destroy Property And Disrupt Balls.

Jonathan H. Alder illustrates the cancer of bias in his opinion How a high school student’s painting caused congressional Republicans to act like campus snowflakes – As the proper authority decided that the painting was a violation of existing rules and the Republicans were not demanding safe spaces or freedom from offense nor committing uncivil behavior, Alder’s analogy lacks intellectual integrity. This illustrates the cancer of destructive bias.

YouTube pulled Legal Insurrection due to a copyright infringement claim. Neo-Neocon has the story about Silencing Legal Insurrection at YouTube – as another pundit noted, it’s probably not a good idea to go after a nest of law professors with bogus copyright claims.

It takes VDH to use Greek and Roman concepts to describe Trump and the American Divide. His essay has come up as the ‘must read’ of the day but it is a rather heavy slog.

Country people in the Western tradition lived in a shame culture. Family reputation hinged on close-knit assessments of personal behavior only possible in small communities of the like-minded and tribal. The rural ethos could not afford radical changes in lifestyles when the narrow margins of farming safety rested on what had worked in the past. By contrast, self-reinvention and social experimentation were possible only in large cities of anonymous souls and varieties of income and enrichment. Rural people, that is, don’t honor tradition and habit because they’re somehow better human beings than their urban counterparts; a face-to-face, rooted society offers practical reinforcement for doing so.

In classical literature, patriotism and civic militarism were always closely linked with farming and country life. In the twenty-first century, this is still true.

Trump, the billionaire Manhattanite wheeler-dealer, made an unlikely agrarian, true; but he came across during his presidential run as a clear advocate of old-style material jobs, praising vocational training and clearly enjoying his encounters with middle-American homemakers, welders, and carpenters. Trump talked more on the campaign about those who built his hotels than those who financed them. He could point to the fact that he made stuff, unlike Clinton, who got rich without any obvious profession other than leveraging her office.

Jon Gabriel takes up President Obama’s Disastrous Record on Race – “Watching Ferguson, MO go up in flames, I ironically remarked, “My favorite part about the Obama era is all the racial healing.” Little did I know how many times people would republish that line in the years that followed.”

Before getting into politics, Barack Obama was a community organizer. This anodyne term was created by Chicago leftist Saul Alinsky who created the position to “rub raw the sores of discontent.” Many thought Obama’s moderate sounding speeches meant he had tossed Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals in the dustbin. Instead, upon entering the White House, Obama created Organizing for Action, which has trained 5 million Americans in Alinsky tactics.

A bit of news: Chinese linguist Zhou Youguang, who created the writing system that turns Chinese characters into words using letters from the Roman alphabet, has died aged 111 [BBC]. “Before Pinyin was developed, 85% of Chinese people could not read, now almost all can.” Language matters and so does the alphabet.

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1/12/2017: The Deep State

Ace: The Media and the Deep State Have Gone to War With the Duly-Elected Commander-in-Chief To Be

The “deep state” is a term borrowed from the Turks, who used it to describe the permanent government embedded within the bureaucracy and military that wields power no matter who is nominally the President.

Gleen Greenwald says the American Deep State has gone to war with Trump:

Glen Reynolds comments:

SO THIS ISN’T EXACTLY A CLIMBDOWN, but I’m rethinking my position that a good argument for having Trump as President is that if he gets out of line, the press and the Deep State will go after him and bring him under control.

There are two reasons for that. First, the press and the Deep State are already going after him, before he’s even had a chance to get out of line. And second, I mean, holy crap, could they be any sorrier at doing so? I mean, “Peegate?” Really? What the hell?

This is good news for Trump, sort of, but overall it’s really bad news, since it means that both journalism and the intelligence community are both more politicized, and less competent, than even I thought. Sweet Jesus, these people are terrible.

Bradford Richardson: Protests 101: College civics classes focus more on demonstrations than citizenship – Conclusions of a report from the National Association of Scholars.

“Making Citizens: How American Universities Teach Civics,” a report published by the National Association of Scholars, examines the curricula at four universities and concludes that courses aimed at understanding America have largely been replaced by vocational classes on how to transform it.

“In practice this means that instead of teaching college students the foundations of law, liberty, and self-government, colleges teach students how to organize protests, occupy buildings, and stage demonstrations,” the study says. “These are indeed forms of ‘civic engagement,’ but they are far from being a genuine substitute for learning how to be a full participant in our republic.”

The report also shows that what happens in academia doesn’t stay in academia. Far from remaining isolated on America’s colleges and university campuses, the new civics has changed the very idea of what it means to be a citizen. That idea has expanded into a multibillion-dollar industry made up of federal and state bureaucracies, nonprofit organizations and professional advocacy groups.

An example of ‘old fashioned civics’ is described by Johnny Kampis about The unsung heroes of Illinois – “Watchdogs are raising a racket over local corruption.” It’s about using FOIA and lawsuits to uncover corruption. It’s rather sad to use the legal system this way as the such tactics can be abused for harassment and intimidation. See, for instance, the effort to sue Trump for his name-calling in tweets. Republican consultant Cheri Jacobus says its a “free pass to trample on the rights of free speech of any critic” but the judge says the Twitter name calling “cannot be taken seriously.” You mean it’s OK to call Trump names but he can’t respond in kind? Interesting.

Suzanne Fields says it’s Pouring new whine in old battles – “Meryl Streep and Madonna, of all women, reach for greater celebrity as ‘victims’.” The privileged complain about being victims, etc. Cal Thomas picks up on this with Meryl Streep behaves as if elected to office – “Rude celebrities are destined for obscurity.”

There is a difference between a celebrity and a star. If you’re not old enough to know what real stars looked like, I again refer you to Hollywood’s Golden Age, where actors kept their clothes on, didn’t swear or have sex on screen and held the attention of audiences by the superior quality of their work.

As for shameless posturing, Senators Booker and Schumer are making sure that negative views of politicians are well supported. See Paul Mirengoff on how Tom Cotton Calls Out Cory Booker – “Scott has written about Sen. Cory Booker’s vacuous testimony against the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Booker broke with Senate tradition, becoming, it is said, the first U.S. Senator to testify against the nomination of a colleague.” The New York Post editorial says Cabinet hearings’ only ‘surprise’ is Democrats’ grandstanding:

Of course, the president-elect has already made all those points himself — but Democrats insist on pretending he hasn’t. … Both men, in other words, made clear that the Trump administration won’t be the monster painted by liberal fearmongering.

Sad to say, this won’t be enough. They’ll likely be confirmed — after Democrats indulge in considerably more grandstanding.

Peter Heck describes The one act that defined President Barack Obama for him. It is about going after a 177 year old Catholic charity. He concludes:

After 22 years of torture in a Cuban prison for his refusal to sign a government document supporting Fidel Castro, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel became a Nobel Laureate and advocate for human rights. Before his death, he said of the Little Sisters of the Poor, “They know what my body knows after 22 years of cruel torture: that if they sign the form … they will be violating their conscience and would commit spiritual suicide. If they did this they would forfeit the true and only wealth they have in abandoning the castle of their conscience.”

That President Obama failed to ever respect that eternal truth is both pitiful and shameful. And it’s why I’m beyond elated to bid him a permanent farewell.

On the Coyote Blog: Does The Left Know How To Make An Argument Not Based On Racism? The Trouble With the Left’s Critique of Trump – This is an anti-Trump advocate who hasn’t gone totally TDS taking note of what TDS has done to hurt his views.

two decades of living in university monocultures and political echo chambers, combined with a one-track focus on social justice, seems to have left the political Left with no ability to engage in rational opposition politics.

The Golden Globe Awards were a magnificent example. I presume that many of these actors are reasonably intelligent people. And they are obviously upset and worried about Donald Trump’s election to President. But they can’t express anything beyond their fear and loathing. They can’t articulate what specifically worries them, and when they do articulate something specific – e.g “this may be the last Golden Globes Awards” – it is silly and illogical.

Perhaps worse, these critiques of Trump are, IMO, focusing on all the wrong things and sucking the oxygen out of the room for more relevant criticism.

The SJW’s are going to scream race, race, race at the Sessions nomination, and since there does not seem to be any smoking gun there, they are going to fail. And Sessions will be confirmed without any of his real illiberal issues coming out in the public discussion about him.

All of this is without even mentioning how the Left’s over-the-top disruption tactics seem to just feed Trump’s energy. At some point, Hercules figured out that cutting heads off the hydra was only making things worse and switched tactics. If only I could be so confident about the Left.

What the Coyote seems to miss is that Trump’s opposition did not have positions on his favorite topics much less anything to debate. He also falls into the ‘excessive literal interpretation’ problem that plagues the ‘Establishment’ as well.

Jason Willick: The Danger of President Obama’s Farewell Address [caveat: American Interest greedy site] – “Unfortunately, like much post-election discussion about democracy and authoritarianism, the president’s remarks in the Windy City more or less collapsed America’s crisis of governance into a partisan squabble, with the orthodox center-left agenda as the guiding light for freedom and democracy, and the Republican agenda as its nemesis.” Despite this observation, he falls into the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy and misses the core issue as one of intellectual integrity.

Greg Laden illustrates the depravity of the Left in asking What Does Rex Tillerson Get Out Of Being Secretary Of State? – “the truth is that he and Exxon Mobile stand to benefit a great deal from a Tillerson SOC.” Why is this depraved? It illustrates the negative view of humanity as a paramount value. Laden can see nothing but the swamp and envisions the entire world as a part of his swamp. The question is a good one but there are other possible answers and a non-depraved person would weigh them carefully and even presume the positive and express skepticism, and be aware of, of political platitudes.

Here’s a former senior editor at Penthouse Magazine: Let’s Review: Peegate – He lays out common sense step by step and concludes:

While I know that millions of morons are nodding like the drinking bird over the glass in their deep and abiding belief in this overflowing crock, I still find it hard to believe that there are smart people out there that really are this stupid. But of course they are not that stupid, not the smart ones. Instead they know this is a crock and yet they find they must drink from it lest their #NeverTrump fantasy world dissolve.

Sad. Their repetitive manic desperation now has foam flecking their lips and jowls as they dive down deep, and not for the last time, into this fuming septic tank of their own political sewage. Without even a snorkel. If they ever get out of the tank they will need a long, long golden shower.

William A. Jacobson: Peak Ted Cruz at Jeff Sessions Confirmation Hearing – “Exposed Democrats hypocrisy and named names.” Must see video. Effective witness is needed despite the squeals of those exposed.

It’s a flood. The NOAA people are saying people in Reno that have put up sandbags and protections for last week’s Pineapple Express should keep them in place as it looks like more might be coming. That’s weather. There’s also a flood of news. Let’s hope that it, too, calms down soon.

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1/4/2017: Media noose, Trump tactics, Democrat behavior, Techie moral preening, and Adieu to academia

Ken Blackwell: A media noose for Jeff Sessions – “He’s a white son of the South and that’s enough to justify a lynching.”

There’s only one reason why large news organizations invest so much time, energy and money — they sent reporters to Alabama, each of whom spent a week there — to do these biased stories, and it’s time someone said what it is. The reason is because someone, somewhere, deep down doesn’t believe a white man from Alabama should be the attorney general of the United States.

That’s every bit as racist as saying a black man from Chicago shouldn’t be president of the United States.

The anti-white, anti-southern racist obsession with which media organizations have pursued Mr. Sessions is a sign they have learned nothing from the presidential campaign, where we all witnessed their all-out opposition to Donald Trump.

Ace has more on this citing several other columns: This Is How the Media Dies: Not With a Bang But a Whine.

And he’s of course definitely right. The media are acting viciously and defensively precisely because they are defending the territory they’ve claimed for themselves by pissing all over the outskirts of it. They will not abide a challenge nor a chastening; they intend to “win” the argument they’ve been having for 40 years with 300 million Americans.

They won’t, but no one accepts a downward change in status gracefully and without embarrassing spectacle.

Thomas Lifson: House GOP capitulation to Trump ethics tweet is a really big deal – the key here is how direct outreach created influence that could not be ignored.

A Trump tweet was sufficient to generate thousands off outraged calls to members’ offices, an avalanche so potent that no politician would dare ignore it. In short order, like burglars caught in a powerful searchlight, they scuttled the plan and hoped that the whole thing would go away.

This is a reality that makes a good comparison and contrast with Jason Willick at A Leftist Who Gets It – (beware that American Interest is greedy and disrespectful of readers). This might also be considered projection in light of the manner of operation of the Obama administration.

The sophisticated case for optimism about a Trump presidency is that his unconventional political style and force of personality can break the cycle of stagnation and decay. But there is also a real danger that Trump’s hard-to-deny authoritarian impulses, operating against an exhausted political establishment and decaying political institutions, could pave the way for something much worse: A more personalistic style of politics, in which elites negotiate with one another for power and wealth unconstrained by the rule of law. This type of competitive authoritarianism seems to be on the rise all over the world.

Kurt Schlichter: For Democrats, 2017 Will Be The Year of Living Stupidly – predicting the future is usually an indicator of someone gone off the edge. That is when the prediction is based on questionable perception rather than a short extrapolation of current reality. Schlichter’s prediction shows both. It takes the current ‘off the edge’ predictions of the left and makes its own predictions extrapolating from there.

As 2016 ends, progressives enter the new year terrified that Donald Trump will continue to run circles around them, and their epic meltdown is only going to get more epically meltdownier. They’ve been shrill, stupid, and annoying for the last two months, but brace yourself for the next 12. Fear is going to make them go nuts – not the fear that Trump will be a failure, but the gut-wrenching, mind-numbing fear that Donald Trump will be a success.

The left is going to keep freaking out, and it may take well beyond the next 12 months for these losers to realize that it’s just not working, that they have hit bottom yet continued to dig.

We can expect more nonsense along these lines. Everything Trump does will draw howls of anguish. Courageous hashtags like #TheResistance will spread across Twitter. The traditional media will whine all the way down as it falls towards irrelevance. And Trump will march on, heedless of his critics. 2017 has the potential to be awesome.

Gerald K. McOscar: Let Democrats be Democrats – “The two camps are divided as much by opposing worldviews as by opposing political views.”

It is liberals, Ivy League-credentialed, sophisticated, tolerant, open-minded stewards of received wisdom and “settled” science, who are most impervious to facts and resistant to change. Ironically, these putative descendants of Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason function in a world distorted, like a funhouse mirror, by emotion at the expense of reason.

With these respective worlds, so far apart, there is little room for critical thought or intelligent discourse. Mr. Trump will never reach détente with his critics. Thus, he has nothing to lose by doing precisely what he promised if elected.

Cooler heads in the liberal camp have suggested that Democrats stop pointing fingers. They have suggested several ways for their allies to tack closer to reality: stop being insufferable know-it-alls, venture beyond the east coast-west coast liberal echo chambers and extend a hand to folks in flyover country, attempt to give opponents the benefit of the doubt.

Napoleon said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

Republicans should pray without ceasing that Democrats continue to be Democrats.

More on this line by Ed Morrissey: Schumer: Trump better pick a mainstream Supreme Court nominee, or else. As Morrissey notes, the Democrats have made their bed with the Biden principles of 1992 and the Reid assaults on minority protections. They are now facing having to lie in the bed they made.

Then there’s Tyler O’Neil on 7 Desperate Liberal Lies About Trump’s Education Pick Betsy DeVos – the Senate Majority Leader is pointing out the contrast to how Republicans treated Obama’s nominees, too. And that doesn’t even get into the ‘dead wrong’ which so often typifies the Democrat’s attacks (Think Reid on the Senate Floor and his comments about Romney).

Every time President-elect Donald Trump names a cabinet pick, liberals have a field day— how can they paint a Trump pick as racist, elitist, extremist, and all-around evil? These attacks reached a fever pitch against Trump’s selection for secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. … Here are seven attacks liberals launched against her, and explanations of why they are dead wrong.

How about Fake News™ with motive? From an IBT editorial: The Russian Election Hacking Case Is Getting Murkier.

Jeffrey Carr, writing for the liberal site The Intercept, also blasted the DHS/FBI report, saying that it “adds nothing to the call for evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC.”

He goes on to say that “this entire assignment of blame against the Russian government is looking more and more like a domestic political operation run by the White House that relied heavily on questionable intelligence generated by a for-profit cybersecurity firm with a vested interest.”

Added to these concerns is the fact that the mainstream press has been incredibly irresponsible in reporting on Russian actions during the election campaign.

All we do know is that Democrats — from President Obama on down — have an obvious vested interest in blaming Russia, even if there’s little actual evidence to support those accusations.

Jazz Shaw: Facebook’s fight against court issued warrants – he picks up on the moral preening absurdities in the techie community.

What Facebook is doing here is not protecting the privacy of their customers. It’s obstruction of justice. And their insistence on telling the suspects that the government was interested in their postings goes a step further since it could easily be considered aiding and abetting them in escaping prosecution if they immediately went back and deleted any old posts which might have related to Social Security fraud.

Between this and the fight with Apple over phone encryption, the modern tech sector has gotten completely out of hand. Simply owning control of the access to user data doesn’t make one exempt from the law and the government should be asking questions about Facebook at this point, not just the alleged criminals they may be providing cover for.

Steven Hayward: Judith Curry Bids Adieu To Academia – Why? She says: “The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.” It’s time for another venue, one that isn’t so hidebound, bigoted, and leftist.

Betsy McCaughey: Why Medicare isn’t actually going bankrupt – some interesting factoids with implications on future planning.

Medicare spending on end-of-life care is dropping rapidly, down from 19 percent to 13 percent of the Medicare budget since 2000. … in truth, disability and chronic illness are declining among the elderly. … Scientists call this overall improvement in aging “compression of morbidity.” The elderly live longer, stay healthier and have shorter illnesses at the end of life.

The US Preventive Services Task Force … guidelines alarmingly resemble those of Britain, where patients over 75 are routinely denied knee replacements, mastectomies and other surgeries. It’s a slippery slope.

Medicaid spending now is nearing $8,000 per recipient. That’s thousands more than is spent on people in private plans. And for all that money, studies show Medicaid isn’t improving patients’ health.

By contrast, Medicare is a success story. It has transformed aging, enabling older Americans to lead longer, more independent lives than our grandparents did. The average man turning 65 today will live five years longer than in 1970. Not just more years. Quality years. What a gift.

And reports are that Obama has started putting troops in position facing Russia – yet it is Trump they worry about? It is going to be an interesting year.

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That popular vote

Election results have settled. Hot Air reports National popular vote now final: Clinton finishes 2.1 points ahead, Trump has highest vote total ever for a Republican. This is Allahpundit’s story so be aware of the NeverTrump bias.

Dave Wasserman of Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight has been tracking the numbers day by day for weeks and says they’re now official.

Trump’s total of nearly 63 million votes is almost a million votes better than the second-largest total by a Republican in history. … Second place belongs to George W. Bush, who received a little more than 62 million votes for his reelection bid in 2004 …

As for Hillary, her margin over Trump of more than two points was four times as large as that of Al Gore, the last popular-vote winner to lose the electoral college, who won by half a point in 2000. She finished with the third-most votes of any presidential candidate in history, just slightly behind Obama’s 2012 mark

Only two polls measured correctly that Clinton would hit 48 percent and no poll had Trump doing as well as 46 percent.

As is noted in the report, the population is growing so vote counts against history make a poor metric. Of course, that growth in population might also be related to why Clinton’s entire edge in the popular vote was in the California vote. See Snopes for how a left leaning organization tries to rationalize this. Or check CBS News:

Looking at the vote totals in each state helps explain it: Clinton’s entire popular vote margin, for example, is less than her overall margin of victory in California (which she won by more than 4 million votes). New York, too, is a populous state that delivered Clinton 1.7 million more votes than Trump but couldn’t help her overcome the Electoral College deficit.

Because of these two recent examples where the Electoral College outcome defied popular opinion, some clamored for its abolishment after Nov. 8, protesting that the college had outlived its usefulness.

Note the use of “defied” and then check out The Nation for a flavor of the dissonance.

But one thing is certain: Clinton’s win is unprecedented in the modern history of American presidential politics. And the numbers should focus attention on the democratic dysfunction that has been exposed.

When a candidate who wins the popular vote does not take office, when a loser is instead installed in the White House, that is an issue. And it raises questions that must be addressed.

What is important here is to recognize that there was no Trump mandate,

The questions were addressed. See the Federalist Papers. From Allahpundit to left wing rags, the question about foisting California rule on the rest of the country is shovelled under the rug. The election results by county map is set aside. The Clinton Archipelego map makes no impression. “No Mandate?” the map says otherwise. The majorities in Congress, Governorships, and state legislatures would be to disagree.

There is a reason why the U.S. election system is the way it is and it is to prevent the big guy from bullying the smaller folks. In this election, the smaller states said “enough” and these examples show that the bully is having a hard time getting the message.

Oh, and one other thing: have you seen the rumor mongering about the California immigration problem and how California accomodates illegal immigrates in a manner that makes it easy for them to vote? There’s already some wondering about voting irregularities that have shown up in Democrat dominated big cities. It looks like California might be another field for entertainment and fun with data mining. 

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If you are worried about interference in the election …

The excuse and blame game brouhaha of the past week has been about the Russians hacked election computers to influence the election results. This is despite no evidence and a bit of confusion about interfering with the voting and the differences between hacking and leaking. Russian and other foreign agents as well as the hobbyist and criminal elements are well known for probing any computer they can find. That’s why security is a big deal and why Clinton’s lack of attention to National Security and her own communications security was a concern.

The evidence is mounting, from what Wikileaks says and from the President’s own behavior in the matter over time, and from a careful reading of the opinions offered by intelligence agencies, that the election computer problems the Democrats encountered were most likely due to leaks by a disgruntled employee or volunteer made easy by loose security practice.

But that’s all distraction. If you are worried about election integrity, consider Harvard Law School professor Lessig and his compatriots. See the story: Harvard Law professor reveals at least 20 GOP electors to vote against Donald Trump — “Convincing 37 GOP electors to break with Trump would throw election to House of Representatives.”

“Our goal is to let the electors exercise their judgment, and what we believe is at least 37 electors will make the judgment not to support Donald Trump” Mr. Lessig told MSNBC. “And if that happens, then of course it goes to the House, and the House has to pick among the top three candidates.”

In other words, it is an explicitly expressed goal to circumvent election law, custom, and procedure. The legal establishment isn’t enamoured with this idea.

At least three states — California, Colorado and Washington — have grappled with lawsuits filed by electors seeking to deviate from the popular vote.

In Washington, a federal judge rejected Wednesday a bid by two “faithless electors” — in this case, two electors who would be expected to support Hillary Clinton — for an injunction that would allow them to vote their conscience.

Washington state’s secretary of state spokesman Dave Ammons said any Democratic electors in Washington who bolt from Mrs. Clinton will face the possibility of civil penalties, which would be a first since the law binding electors to the popular vote was passed in 1977.

In Colorado, Secretary of State Wayne Williams wants to stop the electors before they become faithless. After a judge ruled Tuesday that such electors may be replaced, he began working with the state Democratic Party to line up substitutes.

But the Democrats are nothing but creative, persistent, and totally without integrity. See how they are using the manufactured Russian allegations and innuendo for political ends:

Another group of more than 50 electors — again, mostly Democrats — led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s daughter Christine, a California elector, have signed a letter demanding an intelligence briefing on allegations of Russian interference in the campaign.

Only one member of the Pelosi group, Chris Suprun of Texas, is a Republican.

opponents of Mr. Trump are determined to fight until the last Electoral College ballot is cast. Left-wing groups such as Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Americans Take Action and Democracy Spring are organizing protests at the 50 state capitols to coincide with the electoral vote.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia bind their electors to the popular vote, but Mr. Lessig said Mr. Trump’s victory gives them a “moral reason” to deviate from the will of the voters.

“[T]hey have a moral or ethical obligation once they take the pledge, and they must vote that way unless there’s a moral reason not to vote that way, and the disqualification or failure of a candidate not to live up to the qualifications would be one such reason, and that’s exactly the issue that’s raised by this election,” Mr. Lessig said. “The Electoral College was made for this election precisely.”

It is incredible that a Harvard Law professor would completely dismiss the basis for his profession and show such ignorance of the Constitution. The electoral college exists to protect minorities from just the kind of moral supremacy and hubris that he thinks should be supreme. That lawyer should be aware that he is involved in a conspiracy to thwart the law and improperly influence election processes. This is the depth to which the Democratic Party has sunk and if there is any need for fear, it isn’t the election result but rather the extent to which the losing party is willing to go to impugn, discredit, and overthrow it.

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History of Empire

A YouTube video on The Mexican American War History with Natalie Gray provides some insight into a formative era of U.S. history often passed over. It is the period between the Revolution and the Civil War where a lot of small things happened that set the stage in the U.S. growing from a collection of colonies on the coast to a great nation spanning a continent.

The video was narrated by a sports hero with dual citizenship and its theme was an agressive U.S. bullying its neighbor with force and mayhem. This seems typical of modern history education. What was revealed was a bit more nuanced. The Mexican American war was a continuance of the Texas war for Independence. Mexico even dug up the losing general of the Texas war from exile to run the new conflict. The war was about territory Mexico claimed as a part of their heritage from the Spanish Empire. It was territory where ownership was by inheritence and not by other interest or involvement. Those who did get involved and interested in the land, such as those Americans invited to Texas by Mexico prior to 1836, were not Mexicans at heart or inclination. Mexicans had little interest in settling their inheritence ripped from Spain in revolution but the Americans did.

The U.S. offered to purchase the lands from Texas to the Pacific but Mexico refused even though its presence in that land and the interest of its citizenry in that territory was minimal. It was, after all, about half of the Mexican land area even if nostly uninhabited and nearly unusuable. Mexico was also suffering internal political strife and a lack of unity. This is why they had to reach out to Santa Anna and why the war dragged on to a final conquest of Mexico City where the government needed to arrange surrender was missing. Even a foreign invader could not unify Mexico.

This meme about the awful U.S. needs proper consideration of  the context of the period. The land in dispute was not settled, established, or a part of any nation in anything but name. The U.S. tried to repeat the Louisiana purchase methods but Mexico was not in the position of Napoleon in France. Conquest and empire by force were the normal means of resolving conflicts. The war was a last resort effort to recognize the virility and vigor of the people of the U.S. in building a civilization and a nation. If the U.S., as a nation, was as depicted in histories such as this video, Mexico itself would be a member state of the U.S. Instead, it was paid for the territory occupied by U.S. citizens and allowed to remain an independent country in the territory occupied by its citizens. It is not often in history that one country conquers another and then restores the sovereignty of the conquered country plus pays for territory taken. Look at how Germany acquired territory prior to WW II as an example of the more normal course of international events.

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Fake News: subtleties and the Time cover

Time did its thing with a new Person of the Year cover controvery. Again. Here’s one description of the issue: The TIME Magazine Cover Controversy — “creative work is usually more intentional than casual observers give it credit for being.” For an analysis of what the photographer was doing, see JP Danko on Trump Trolled by Time – a photographic deconstruction of the man of the year 2016 cover.

I think George Takei totally nails the the negative subliminal queues present in this image (in under 140 characters too in his Tweet “Trump trolled by Time”): “Devil horns, monster shadow, unretouched bald spot, delapidated chair, literally resting on laurels…Trump trolled by Time.” h/t N. Freedman

Note that Takei is the Star Trek Star who is taking heat (ridicule) for his overt Trump Derangement Syndrome expression. He illustrates what the ‘never Trump’ clan perceives in the Time cover. Danko’s analysis shows why this perception was intended artistic expression as well as how different people can get different impressions from the cover.

First of all we need to understand that Time Magazine’s 2016 person of the year cover was meticulously planned. There is nothing in this image that was not deliberate – Kander’s image of Trump is crafted to tell the viewer a specific story.

The obvious story at the surface of this image is that of a successful, powerful, tough businessman – and Trump certainly embodies that narrative.

The viewer’s interpretation is dependent on the viewer’s world view – in other words, if you are a Trump supporter, or Trump himself, you’re probably going to look at this image, interpret the obvious story and come away with a positive impression of Trump the businessman.

Of course, the real story that this image is trying to tell is the opposite of the obvious. … lets deconstruct the image further, from a photographer’s perspective.

Trump’s pose in this image is designed to convey the feeling of an elite with a palpable disdain for his inferiors.

Given the subliminal queues provided by Trump’s pose, his expression becomes a lot more ominous.

Next we have the prop – a tattered old gilded chair.

Then there is the lighting.

Finally, if there was any doubt about intentions of the true story Kander and Time are telling about Donald Trump there is the caption “President of the Divided States of America”.

This single statement ties all of the positive and negative visual subliminal queues together into a neat concise story.

Time will tell how Nadav Kander‘s image of Donald Trump will be judged, but there is no question that it is a powerful image telling an interesting story.

This is an example of Fake News ™ in the form that many do not notice and that can be denied by minimalization logical fallacies. It is also a testiment to the power of the arts in propaganda. The hyperbolic shrieking in headlines and the ‘interesting’ adjectives and adverbs so visible in much of today’s commentary is crude by this standard. Either way, the mark of dishonesty is indeed something “time will tell” whether graphic or written.

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The fundamental nature of people must be considered.

The story is about What GitHub did to kill its trolls. The problem is the age old social issue where formal structures are needed to inhibit inappropriate behaviors.

GitHub is not the only Silicon Valley company to have realized that ugly online behavior will not go away on its own.

Github is a social internet resource for tech types to share their computer code. It’s full of the free and open source ideology that couples with the dismissal of control and structure.

It was 2014 and the company was growing rapidly as a hub for programmers to collaborate on coding projects. But as its user base grew, so too did its problems.

To make matters worse, GitHub soon realized such problems weren’t limited to the office. Bullying and discrimination ran rampant on the site. … Petty disagreements devolved into flame wars in project comments.

It might surprise you that a website built for programmers to share code could become a hotbed of online harassment. But GitHub, valued at $2 billion, is a social network in nature, a combination of Facebook and LinkedIn for computer programmers, and involves a lot of user-to-user interaction. And along with that, on the internet, usually comes abuse.

Since its beginning, the company had been non-hierarchical, with no managers or titles, but Sanchez helped to kill it, finding that without bosses, people weren’t held accountable when their actions were in the wrong. She tweaked internal processes to make the environment more diversity friendly, like by creating a formal feedback process for complaints.

It was a difficult stance to take given the existing culture in Silicon Valley. GitHub, like so many tech companies, had long feared tamping down on what its users could say and do. Many techies feel that the internet is supposed to be open and free and that cracking down on even the most unseemly user behavior infringes on rights to free speech.

“It’s not just that harassment is unpleasant,” Sanchez told me. “It’s that we were losing people.”

GitHub is not the only Silicon Valley company to have realized that ugly online behavior will not go away on its own.

This is relearning. The Founding Fathers were well schooled in the source of these problems and installed their learning into the governmental structures they built. The newly stimulated discussions about the electoral college and the checks and balances are teaching the wisdom of their creation. The need to discuss these governance principles and the difficulties that companies like Github have in learning them does not speak well for civics education, either.

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Alt Reality

By Tom Trinko notes that The Problem Isn’t the Alt-Right – It’s the Alt-Reality.

We hear about the alt-right and the alt-left, but the real issue is the alt-reality.

Most Americans’ perceptions of the world are shaped by information they get from primarily liberal sources such as the media, academia, and government.

That’s why many Americans live in an alternate reality where Hillary did nothing wrong at Benghazi, abortions occur only due to rape, global warming is supported by 97% of scientists, the economy is doing great, emotions are good and reasoning is bad, Republicans are racists, Castro was a kind and caring man, and Trump is an insane tyrant.

What led to the Trump win is that the liberals have become so out of step with reality that many Americans decided to completely distrust them.

And Professor VDH expands on this with Universities and the media: arrogant, ignorant, and ripe for reform.

In media land, Donald Trump is a reckless tweeter; Barack Obama’s outreach to GloZell and rapper Kendrick Lamar is just kicking back and having fun (Lamar’s latest album portrayed the corpse of a judge to the toasting merriment of rappers on the White House lawn). In media land, Donald Trump risked world peace by accepting a phone call from the democratically elected president of Taiwan; Barack Obama’s talks with dictators and thugs such as Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and Raul Castro were long overdue. In media land, jawboning Carrier not to relocate a plant to Mexico is an existential threat to the free market; not so when Barack Obama tried to coerce Boeing to move to Washington State to produce union-made planes, or bullied a small non-union guitar company, or reordered the bankruptcy payouts of Chrysler and essentially took over the company.

The university and the media share two traits: Both industries have become arrogant and ignorant. We have created a climate, ethically and professionally, in which extremism has bred extremism, and bias is seen not as proof of journalistic and academic corruption, but of political purity. The recent election, and especially its aftermath, embarrassed journalists and academics alike — and should not be forgotten.

Instead of introspective self-critique, the media have now gone postmodern, doubling down on their biases, under a new project of attacking supposed “neutrality” and “objectivity” themselves.

Awareness is a first step. It may take a while for the alcoholic to accept he has a drinking problem but his friends certainly will notice the problem and they will, eventually, get the message across. Is this the process we are seeing here?

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psychology of belief

The context is a Canadian Journal and LGBT activism and the topic is free speech. ‘We’re teaching university students lies’ – An interview with Dr Jordan Peterson by Jason Tucker and Jason VandenBeukel on December 1, 2016. There are many ideas and they are rather scattered as in the nature of a conversation. Another celebrity case concerning free speech in Canada is that of Mark Stein’s. While the U.S. is in the bullying stage on this, Canada appears to be one step further along. Dr. Peterson is on the receiving end, too, and here is a sampler of some of his thoughts.

My primary interest has always been the psychology of belief. … I was particularly interested in what led people to commit atrocities in service of their belief.

what I was learning in economics and political science was just not correct. There was too much emphasis placed on the idea that economic interests were the prime motivators for human beings, and that was not obvious to me at all. I was spending a lot of time thinking about the Cold War, and the Cold War was not primarily an economic issue.

One of Jung’s propositions was that whatever a person values most highly is their god. If people think they are atheistic, it means is they are unconscious of their gods.

I’ve learned that you cannot remember what you don’t understand. People don’t understand the Holocaust, and they don’t understand what happened in Russia.

Part of the reason I got embroiled in this [gender identity] controversy was because of what I know about how things went wrong in the Soviet Union. Many of the doctrines that underlie the legislation that I’ve been objecting to share structural similarities with the Marxist ideas that drove Soviet Communism.

The thing is if you replace compassion with resentment, then you understand the authoritarian left. They don’t have compassion, there is no compassion there. There’s no compassion at all. There is resentment, fundamentally.

If you stop talking to people, you either submit to them, or you go to war with them. Those are your options and those aren’t good options. It’s better to have a talk. If you put restrictions on speech, then you can’t actually talk about the difficult things that need to be talked about. I have about 20,000 hours of clinical practice and all I do for 20 hours a week is talk to people about difficult things – the worst things that are going on in their lives. These are hard conversations all the time. The conversations that are the most curative are simultaneously the ones that are most difficult and most dangerous.

There’s also this idea that you shouldn’t say things that hurt people’s feelings – that’s the philosophy of the compassionate left. It’s so childish it’s beyond comprehension. What did Nietzsche say: ‘you can judge a man’s spirit by the amount of truth he can tolerate.’

Now groups that were discriminated against. What are you going to do about it? The only societies that are not slave societies are western enlightenment democracies. That’s it. Compared to utopia, it sucks. But compared to everywhere else – people don’t emigrate to the Middle East to live there, and there’s good reason for that.

He can see what is in front of him. Much of what passes for academic pursuit now sounds like Radio Moscow back in the 70’s. That prompted his interest in what it is that drives humans to such a committed investment in false and destructive paradigms. As this sampler indicates, he is synthesizing many observations and ideas of others. There is a lot of truth to be contemplated.

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1984

VDH describes Newspeak (wikipedia) as it is being promulgated today by those he calls Enemies of Language.

Throughout history, revolutionaries of all stripes have warped the meaning of words to subvert reality.

And now here we go again, with another effort — spearheaded by the media and universities — to use any linguistic means necessary to achieve political ends.

To prevent this endless cycle of corrupting words, members of the media and academia should act as our linguistic guardians. Instead, for short-term political gain, they have abandoned their professional responsibilities to become our worst subverters of language.

re wikipedia: “According to Orwell, “the purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.”

The problem might be that George Orwell is one of those dead white males and 1984 [was] considered classic western culture literature. That rather condemns his work as a proper subject of study in modern academic studies. “The left-wing manifestos of Eldridge Cleaver or Malcolm X seem to have priorities for teaching these days. The actual reality of the human condition seems to be the last thing to worry about.

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Actions have consequences

One of the problems in ‘modern’ debate is that of confusing correlation and causation. Trying to determine the consequences of actions can be difficult when it comes to expression of values, multiple contributing factors, and indirect paths of causation. The assault on cops provides a study. It correlates with the left’s obsession with racism over the last few years, the construction of outrages based on false narratives such as police racism, and the equality in criminality fantasies.

John Hinderaker takes up the situation in describing how The War on Cops Comes to San Antonio.

San Antonio police officer Benjamin Marconi was writing a traffic ticket outside police headquarters earlier today when a motorist pulled up behind him, got out of his car, approached Marconi and shot him twice in the head. The murderer got back into his car and drove away.

A law enforcement officer here in Minnesota sent me a link to an article in Police magazine titled “Why So Many Police Are Being Murdered.” The author, Dr. Ron Martinelli, describes the recent killings of police officers in Lancaster and Palm Springs, California. He recounts the perpetrators’ lengthy criminal records; as usual, the first question is why these men were not in prison.

The American educational system no longer teaches civics in school. Students no longer learn about our justice system and its components. They know nothing about what their civil rights are and, more importantly, are not. They have no knowledge of the important role of police in our society and therefore have not been taught proper behavior and respect for police authority during police encounters. This allows subversive groups such as Black Lives Matter to spew the false narratives of hate and to perpetuate the lie that police are the “bad guys” and armed recidivist offenders are somehow the “good guys.” This circumstance breeds resistance and exacerbates violent, armed and deadly encounters with police.


Martinelli identifies broader societal trends that underlie the War On Cops:

While a new administration in Washington won’t solve the problem overnight, Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions will not contribute to the undermining of law enforcement, as Barack Obama and Eric Holder have done. This may prove to be one of the greatest virtues of the Trump administration.

Even now, those who riot are not being condemned. Those who abuse their positions in the name of “free speech” are being lauded and not shamed. There continues to be stories about teachers making lesson plans for subversion and ideological propaganda that belie true history. These actions have consequences. Police assassinations are one but only a link in a chain. Baltimore and other leftist run cities face the conundrum of their support of an anti-police ethos and it is a downhill slide.

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They’ve literally pathologized masculinity

Women now comprise 60% of college graduates and are trouncing boys across all measures of academic performance, save one–SAT scores where the boys beat the girls by a significant margin in math and slightly in reading.

The response to this disparity, of course, is to label boy’s superior SAT scores to, you guessed it, gender biased testing that favors boys.

It cannot be the case that boys are better at something. Boys are never better at anything.

Our schools are stuffed full of left-wing, female educators who largely despise boys and see their very nature as a problem to be corrected. They’ve beaten them down, broken their spirits and stuffed them full of Ritalin to shut them up. Is it news to you that 20% of 14 year old boys have been diagnosed with ADHD?

He’s mad – ain’t going to take it anymore. War on Women? The Real War is on our Boys [Warden]. Think he is alone? See if you can find anything on the web about the Free Range Kids movement.

UPDATE: This shows up in the Trump campaign. Warden talks about his work with his wife regarding his sons. A male feminist ponders how you could possibly like Trump if you know any women is looking at the gender split on Trump support and wondering why women can still have any man in their life.

So today the proponents of such snake oil have a new chew toy to play with and the women in your life may need a moment alone for a word with you. Even if they never noticed your inherent misogyny before, should you mention that you’re considering voting for Donald Trump, the depth and breadth of your subconscious hatred of women will have been exposed. Hopefully you’ve got a comfortable couch to sleep on after you return from the Hillary Clinton reeducation camps.

Perhaps it is time for some introspection about the split being between those who put gender over issues?

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