Archive for May, 2007


There are some issues where a decision must have tenure. The decision sets circumstances in motion that have momentum and consequence. One cannot later just decide that the decision was a bad one and renounce it because that momentum will still exist and the consequences will continue to occur. This is true when a nation decides to go to war and that is just what happened when the U.S. Congress passed a law in 1998 stating that regime change in Iraq was state policy and again when it authorized the use of force to implement that change.

“The most powerful case for the war was made at the 2004 Republican convention by John McCain in a speech that was resolutely ‘realist.’ On the Democratic side, every presidential candidate running today who was in the Senate when the motion to authorize the use of force came up—Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd—voted yes. Outside of government, the case for war was made not just by the neoconservative Weekly Standard
but—to select almost randomly—the traditionally conservative National Review, the liberal New Republic and the center-right Economist. Of course, most neoconservatives supported the war, the case for which was also being made by journalists and scholars from every point on the political spectrum… [Perhaps] the most influential tome on behalf of war was written not by any conservative, let alone neoconservative, but by Kenneth Pollack, Clinton’s top Near East official on the National Security Council. The title: ‘The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq.’ Everyone has the right to renounce past views. But not to make up that past. It is beyond brazen to think that one can get away with inventing not ancient history but what everyone saw and read with their own eyes just a few years ago. And yet sometimes brazenness works.” —Charles Krauthammer (http://PatriotPost.US/opinion/entrylist.asp?source_id=48

The provenance leading to the war in Iraq as a front in the GWOT is long and involves its building by all of the major political parties. Yet now, there are those who attempt to disown their previous behavior and decisions, who attempt to separate themselves from a history in which they were a participant. This is a betrayal of themselves which is also a betrayal of their country and its citizens who delegated to them responsibility for conducting the affairs of state.

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Dragon’s breath

There is a brouhaha about how the evil administration is shortchanging soldiers by not providing them with necessary equipment or proper equipment. Harold C. Hutchison at Strategy page takes a look at one chapter in this saga in Dragon Skin Deconstructed

Now that the armor has failed, the manufacturer is going to the court of public opinion to overturn the verdict of the Army, based on its tests. Now, the Army is caught in a battle to not only save the lives of its troops, but the reputation of those who test equipment for the troops.

As is usual, the allegations never stop, any evidence collected is never enough, any study is biased, and any conclusion is suspect. To support the claims against ever mounting evidence to the contrary, an ever broadening conspiracy is alleged. Anyone who does not agree is suspect and subject to yet more allegations and innuendo.

This is the battle on the home front. The dragon’s breath of distrust, suspicion, and pessimism. On this Memorial Day we remember those who faced the enemy directly and did their duty to our benefit. We should also not forget that we here at home have our duty as well and that is to stand against the corrosive effects of the war against political enemies that has become more important than anything else to some. Without an intellectual integrity to accept reality and strive for truth and keep our commitments, the war at home will tarnish the memory of those we honor this day.

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The betrayal of Vietnam

A New York Sun Editorial Timeline of Defeat (May 24, 2007) reviews the betrayal of the South Vietnamese.

What was it about the Communists that the Democrats wanted to give them Indochina, a region with as many persons as Eastern Europe? And what is it about our Islamist enemies that makes the Democrats so determined to abandon a free Iraq? The tragedy of Vietnam taught that this is the question that needs to be asked and answered and that a default will haunt the politicians now in power for generations, as their own children and the children of our GIs demand to know their motives.

“The question needs to be asked and answered.” The behavior does not need to be rationalized and the questioner trivialized. It is a serious question and needs, demands, a serious and intellectually honest answer that fully accounts for history and consequences.

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Where are these guys going?

Dr. Sanity on Tragedy and Farce – well worth reading in its entirety but here’s the theme.

By discarding reason and reality; by abandoning the past and embracing moral and cultural relativism, the left has brought us to this place where we are morally and physically paralyzed and cannot distinguish between the deliberate targeting and killing of innocents and the accidental killing of innocents despite herculean efforts to avoid it; between waging war to give people a chance at freedom and democracy; and waging war for domination and imperialism; between standing up for what is right and accepting the consequences, and abandoning one’s values and surrendering with “honor” to the scum of the earth.

This is the postmodern quest. To establish themselves as the arbiters of moral behavior by behaving immorally; of calling themselves “reality-based” without the necessity of having to acknowledge reality; by speaking “truth” to power, without even being capable of recognizing truth (isn’t all truth relative, after all?); and by teaching history that fits the marxist/socialist template.

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Roger makes a good point

There is a need to be careful when our ideas become strong enough to flavor our reality. Roger Simon notes this in Living in Ideology vs. Living in Reality: Immigration Revisited

The more people live in ideology – defining themselves exclusively as liberal, conservative, anarchist, libertarian, marxist, Freudian, whatever – the less they seem to be living in reality. They see the world through their belief systems and rarely anything else. …

The extreme example of this is someone like Ahmadinejad, when it starts to be delusional and becomes dangerous.

Recent history, especially in the collectivist ethos following Karl Marx, shows many efforts to bend reality to fit an ideal. The result has been horrific. Mass slaughter in the past has been conquest of territory and riches but is now ideology. From flavors of socialism and communism we now face a radical terrorism attempting to reject cultural differences.

An ideal is something to work for but we don’t want to fall into the trap of justifying means to achieve the ends that belittle the ends.

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Who’s the authority: your own eyes or someone else?

Ben Pile & Stuart Blackman take a look at The Royal Society’s ‘motto-morphosis’. It is an ominous sign that the prestigious scientific institution has changed its motto from ‘on the word of no one’ to ‘respect the facts’.

Unrepresentative evidence has morphed into scientific fact by a process that owes more to Chinese whispers than scientific rigour. …

The Royal Society also makes much of the motivations of so-called ‘deniers’. …

And let’s face it; it would be handy to be able to trust the Royal Society on matters of experimental evidence. Because the alternative is that we all have to go out and do all the experiments ourselves.

The case in point for this example is global climate change. The symptoms are consistent. The argument moves away from evidence to speculation and authoritative pronouncement. The opposition is labeled and their motives questioned.

Check out The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking by Thomas E. Kida

* We prefer stories to statistics
* We seek to confirm, not to question, our ideas
* We rarely appreciate the role of chance and coincidence in shaping events
* We sometimes misperceive the world around us
* We tend to oversimplify our thinking
* We have faulty memories

Everyone can learn from this book because, of course, smart people are just as able to make errors in thinking as are less smart people. Degrees do not make one immune from falling for bad reasoning or believing nonsense.

Or see why Newmark’s door declines to bet on global warming. This is because of the difficulty in getting our own evidence:

1. I’m mildly skeptical that global temperature can be defined to the complete satisfaction of betting parties.
2. I’m a bit more skeptical of how advocates of the global warming hypothesis address lay audiences.
3. I’m even more skeptical about the amount of the warming, if any, that is anthropogenic.
4. Finally, I’m most skeptical… that public policies centered on controlling carbon or some of its compounds are anything close to economically sensible.

But then you can review Michael Le Page’s Climate change: A guide for the perplexed in New Scientist and see how simple it all is.

Our planet’s climate is anything but simple. All kinds of factors influence it, … and there are subtle interactions between many of these factors. …

Yes, there are still big uncertainties in some predictions, but these swing both ways. …

With so much at stake, it is right that climate science is subjected to the most intense scrutiny. What does not help is for the real issues to be muddied by discredited arguments or wild theories.

So for those who are not sure what to believe, here is our round-up of the 26 most common climate myths and misconceptions.

There is also a guide to assessing the evidence. In the articles we’ve included lots of links to primary research and major reports for those who want to follow through to the original sources.

While the NewScientist tows the line and is a proper advocate, its myths are not quite as clearly squashed as they try to portray. The problem is that you have to read carefully and take note of what they say about uncertainties and nuances. There is an inherent contradiction between the clarity of the myths squashing and the science. In that fog is as much to be learned as there is in the ability of some to see clearly through it, or think they can.

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Can’t win for loosing

Ever been in one of those situations where you can’t do anything right? Michael Rosen describes one in Damned if They Do… over on TCS.

Here, perhaps, is the crux of the issue: nothing Wal-Mart does—no matter how praiseworthy—will ever find favor in the eyes of “progressives” since its motivations will always be assumed to be profit-driven.

But in fact, the very opposite conclusion should be drawn: the company deserves high marks for finding creative ways to make socially-beneficial changes profitable. Far better that the private sector devise efficient ways of improving our environment, ensuring health coverage, and providing affordable prescription drugs—all while furnishing goods at very low prices—than that unions, green activists, or government officials dictate the way they run their businesses.

The prompt was a column by the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Goldberg who is cited as “a fair-minded left-of-center writer”

But in this piece, he spouts all the old anti-Wal-Mart talking points: the retailer’s wages and employee benefits are meager; it wipes out local businesses while driving jobs overseas; it busts unions; it makes babies cry.

Goldberg just can’t bring himself to evaluate Wal-Mart on its merits.

Sounds just like BDS but with a different target, doesn’t it? Thomas Sowell took note of how this ‘always damned’ view is expressed in his column Anger of the left at the Washington Times.

Particular issues can arouse passions here and there for anyone with any political views. But, for many on the left, indignation is not a sometime thing. It is a way of life.

Those on the other side may have different arguments. However, the question here is not why the left has different arguments, but why there is such anger. Often it is an exercise in futility even to seek to find a principle behind the anger.

If it is hard to find a principle behind what angers the left, it is not as hard to find an attitude.

That attitude is shown by selecting a target that does not convey the proper ideology. That target is then defined as evil incarnate. From there the game is one of always finding a way to maintain this illusion.

The same attitude can be seen in responses to observations such as those of Rosen or Sowell. Exceptions are found. They are elevated to typical examples, and that is used to attempt to turn the argument back on the observers. That is where Dr. Santy comes in.

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QOD 07ma16

The Quote Of the Day (QOD) is from Dr. Sanity referring to the projection in a cartoon and the dogma of the left.

Does all this sound vaguely familiar to you? It should. It is the same old Marxist/socialist/communist bullshit we’ve been innundated with for decades by the proponents of that pathetic ideology who simply won’t go away and leave the human race alone. These people are so out of touch with reality they will cling to their socialist fantasies even if it kills us.

There are three concepts that come together here. One is the derivatives from the philosophies of Karl Marx, another is the out-of- touch-with-reality idealism and the third is persistence in trying to make fantasy real. These concepts have consequence.

This perversion of intelligent thought–which has resulted in more human death and misery; more suffering and oppression; more subjugation and destruction of individual freedom; and more poverty and hopelessness than is even remotely conceivable under the auspices of it’s arch-enemy, capitalism–remains like a lingering malignancy that hides in the bloodstream and plagues the human species long after its necrotizing tumors have been surgically excised. This cancer of socialism drains away all the vital energy that makes us human, and perverts all the goodness of which humans are capable.

It feeds on envy and greed and all those aspects of human nature that civilization works to control. Yes, capitalism needs those aspects of human nature to function, too. But capitalism allows the transformation of all those same negative human traits into something positive for each individual as well as for all of humanity; while socialism institutionalizes and encourages the acting out of all that is destructive in human nature.

So much here, so many things to discuss. That is why it is today’s quote of note.

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The perfect world syndrome

One of the means to challenge some argument is to highlight something that contradicts it. When it comes to matters of politics and war and governance, such a tactic often presumes a perfect world. Things are either right or they are wrong. Efforts either succeed or fail. When a law is passed then order will follow. Every problem has a clear, clean, and complete solution.

You can see this with those who passed a law to authorize the use of force in Iraq. They now seem to think that that should have been followed by a quick bang-bang, a surrender, and peace forever more. It’s a perfect world. All decisions are fully informed and provide definitive outcomes else they were fraudulent. There is no provision for learning as you go or any changes in circumstances.

Betsy’s Page on Not studying military history discusses one potential source of this perfect world syndrome.

Given that our nation is at war, and the long war against terrorists won’t end anytime soon, there are lessons from past history of wars that would be enlightening for young people. One lesson they could learn is how no war ever was fought without setbacks and mistakes, sometimes massive mistakes. Changes in strategy are quite common. Replacement of generals as we searched for better results is common. And people would remember the importance of morale on the homefront and how that affects the ultimate success or failure of the fighting on the battlefront. People would have more context by which to evaluate the fighting that is going on today. Instead, many seem to judge this war against some ideal that has never existed in the world’s history. Perhaps this idea that there is a perfect, ideal way to fight a war would disappear if people knew more about war’s history.

This, of course, is also a perfect world syndrome. We hope that those who express their own ideas about perfect generals, perfect wars, and so forth are doing so in all honesty. They truly believe that there is a perfect, ideal way to fight a war. Then, again, maybe not and perhaps their view about the fraudulent source of the current real, flawed, and ugly war are just a projection of their own behavior.

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Never enough

One of the methods that should raise questions is when a response to someone is never enough. When an environmentalist can never be satisfied with the efforts to reduce environmental impact, when the socialist can never be satisfied with efforts to solve social ills, when these folks are never satisfied and every effort is never enough for them, then you have reason to question their integrity.

Wal Mart is an excellent foil to illustrate this. Michael Rosen talks about Damned if They Do… over at TCS.

The same Sierra Clubber goes on to say that “you can’t be a good progressive and support Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart is saving money on energy—that’s all they’ve done so far.”

Here, perhaps, is the crux of the issue: nothing Wal-Mart does—no matter how praiseworthy—will ever find favor in the eyes of “progressives” since its motivations will always be assumed to be profit-driven.

But in fact, the very opposite conclusion should be drawn: the company deserves high marks for finding creative ways to make socially-beneficial changes profitable. Far better that the private sector devise efficient ways of improving our environment, ensuring health coverage, and providing affordable prescription drugs—all while furnishing goods at very low prices—than that unions, green activists, or government officials dictate the way they run their businesses.

In many ways, this is like the church that foments anti Iraq war efforts. In doing so, it forgets that what its efforts implicitly approve include those 23 points that were defined in the authorization to go to war in Iraq. It forgets its Christian ethos by selecting only one target and then attacking that target on suspicious grounds. Like the anti Wal Mart contingent that is so focused on corporate greed that it forgets the positive social impact, the church gets focused on the word ‘war’ and forgets the human misery that led to it.

Every now and then you can find an honest environmentalists who realizes that the goals of the movement would be best served by the global human population being reduced to a few hundred thousand. But even those sidestep the reality of their conclusion. The rest of us need to come to grips with reality, solve the problems in front of us the best we can, and keep our attention on making the world a better place rather than on attacking what we think are our nearby enemies.

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A non-zero sum game

One of the primary reasons for prosperity is an increase in productivity. This means getting more for less. Such an idea is sometimes difficult to grasp. It is easier to think in zero sum terms. Those are when more in one place means less in another. The brothers Judd cited an Economist story that illustrated how technology can make for more with less.

In this case, the technology was cell phones. Off the coast of Kerala, a part of India, cell service slowly became available to fishermen for twenty or so kilometers off the coast. As the fishermen became able to communicate with shore, they were able to find the best markets for their catch. The result was less wastage and more uniform pricing. The fisherman got more because he had a better chance of selling all of his catch. The buyer got more because the prices were evened out in markets up and down the coast as the competition broadened from a local to a regional focus.

Another example is in the agricultural extension services in the U.S. That effort to increase the efficiency of farming resulted in greater crop yields at much less expense.

There is also the incremental change, the little things that add up. You have to stop and think about things and look for these else they creep into your life and take their place as a given. If you look at the history, the very recent history, of technology, you can see this. The internet just became public in the early 90’s and is now a major avenue for commerce. Cell phones make portable communications assumed which reduces the time to respond to roadside emergencies and other incidents. And the entertainment – from LP’s to tape to CD’s to MP3 players. TV from a couple of over the air channels to hundreds via satellite.

So when you hear about the doom and gloom about the future, stop to think of how much more you will be able to do with what you have in just a few years!

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Another myth in the making

A Kansas town wiped out by Tornado. The Governor out of state. Tragedy! Disaster!

It took the governor two days to get on scene and then she complained according to Reuters as follows.

A shortage of trucks, helicopters and other equipment — all sent to the war in Iraq — has hampered recovery in a U.S. town obliterated by a tornado, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said on Monday.

“There is no doubt at all that this will slow down and hamper the recovery,” Sebelius, a Democrat, told Reuters in Kansas, where officials said the statewide death toll had risen to 12 on Monday.

“Not having this equipment in place all over the state is a huge handicap,” Sebelius said.

Contrast this to what one of the residents observed. (National Review)

In Greensburg itself, a “slow” relief effort certainly isn’t quite what people are seeing. “I’m very impressed,” Deborah Factor, one of the few homeowners in Greensburg to still have a home, told me by phone yesterday. “There are Guardsmen everywhere — picking up, cleaning up, shoveling stuff. And there’s food everywhere. I have not found one single person from Greensburg with a complaint. We’re grieving our losses, but most of us are grateful for friends and family and glad to be alive.”

As in the New Orleans Katrina response, it is politics uber alles. Facts and reality be damned. For New Orleans, all you have to do is to look at neighboring states with equally devastated areas to see how wrong the blaming of the federal response is. For Kansas, it was noted that the town could have been paved with heavy equipment if the Governor had had the temerity to ask for it. Instead, the surrounding neighbors, many farmers with heavy equipment, were not allowed to the devastated area to help clean up.

What kind of America does this country want? One that is always whining, accusing, and blaming? Or one where people chip in and help their neighbors, where people find solutions and fix problems, and where politicians take the lead?

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Wow, first class rant from Dr. Sanity

Dr. Sanity discovers the children of postmodern nihilism! The issue is “the internal enemies this country faces.” Our choices about what is right and what isn’t determine our destiny. When the standards for these choices are not firm then our footings are lost. This is not a situation of simple expression but one that goes back to the communist’s propaganda ethos: ‘own the children and soon you will have the country.’ It is the modern sales technique of FUD mongering – promoting fear and uncertainty and doubt in order to shake a customer loose from proven values to a new product.

Without a rational metaphysics–or worldview–that explains the nature of existence and reality; and without an epistemology that says our minds are able to acquire knowledge of that reality; then it is easy to enforce conformity, totalitarian thinking, and political passivity.

Ethics, or the study of how man should behave in the world–or, what is good and what is evil–is totally dependent on both metaphysics and epistemology, because it is impossible to make choices withoug knowledge; just as it is impossible to have knowledge without a reality that can be known by our minds.

What matters in the postmodernist’s convoluted thinking is not truth or falsity–only the effectiveness of the language used. Lies, distortions, ad hominem attacks; attempts to silence opposing views–all are strategies that are perfectly satisfactory if they achieve the desired effect. Ideas and reason must make way for reification of feelings; and freedom is replaced by thought control.

The pervasive and unrelenting trickle down of postmodern theories and thinking in education, art, politics and all the social areas of life has resulted in a crop of humans who are opposed to thinking because it is far to dangerous to their secular religious beliefs. Even science has not been immune from the nihilism and anti-reason, anti-reality agenda of the postmodernists.

If you want to understand why nothing seems to make sense and the most blatant contradictions and relativistic meanderings are presented as absolute truth; why language is abused and words don’t seem to have the same definitions anymore; and can sometimes even mean the opposite of what they used to; why photographs can lie; why contradictory discourses and distortion of truth; and ad hominem attacks and a distinct reluctance to face reality are all a part of the “reality-based” community–you need look no further than postmodernism.

And finally, if you want to understand why that which is truly evil –embracing death, slavery, and nihilism–is now presented and even trumpeted as the “good” while the good is dismissed, denigrated and mocked; then you would do well to understand the psychology and ideology of the covert enemies of America and of civilization–the adult children of postmodern nihilism.

A realization in the early nineties in an encounter with the public school system was one stimulus for this rant. That is one that has been encountered by many and has lead to the growth of the home schooling phenomena and the cries that choice in public education be made available to parents.

Another counter trend can be seen in the arguments about honor and pride and patriotism. There is a yearning for these standards that can be seen in the military’s ability to recruit. This counters the effort at many universities to attempt to squash and demean anything military.

Another corner of this is in the management of crime. A turnaround for New York urban crime occurred when it was decided that even ‘small’ crime was bad. The success of that ability and willingness to stand for values brought the city back from the brink and may now be a resume item in the next presidential campaign.

The postmodern nihilism is not something that someone someday just decided was cool. It grew. Its attractive sounding memes insinuated themselves in the gullible, especially the young. Like terrorism and crime it will never be completely removed. It will take a long struggle to help its victims look up, become more mature in their thinking, and the see the world around them and the consequences of their philosophies. It will require growth. It will require constant attention and vigilance to promote intellectual integrity as a habit of life.

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It’s the hype

Uwe Buse wonders Is the IPCC Doing Harm to Science? in Spiegel Online. The view is sympathetic to the climate catastrophists but trying to understand the critics. The US is, of course, in the wrong. Dr. Lindzen is selected to present as a lone critic with worthy credentials.

First, the group raising the most recent brouhaha is described.

The IPCC is a scientific panel created by the UN Environmental Organization (UNEO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Once every five or six years it issues a report summarizing the current status of research on climate change. It operates on a minimal annual budget of only €5 million ($6.8 million). To be able to fulfill its mandate, the IPCC is dependent on assistance from UN members. They finance the conferences and provide the scientists who, as authors, are responsible for the contents of individual chapters.

This, as is usual in government organizations, indicates a charge to come up with results that rationalizes the funding. That is another topic that is a concern, especially in funding for science related activity. It is a self reinforcing loop where ideas and money chase each other and nonconformity is minimized. That may be an issue in the difficulties with Dr. Lindzen.

In his speeches, articles and studies, Lindzen concedes that climate change is a reality, but he also insists that it is unclear whether the warming measured to date can be considered dramatic. He criticizes the models that are used to estimate climate change, calling them too imprecise and therefore unusable. Lindzen also says that the results achieved by his opponents in the scientific debate are based on arbitrary assumptions. He calls the SPM, the summaries of the IPCC reports prepared for the politicians, “alarmist” and the tone of the debate “hysterical.” In his opinion, mankind would be better off addressing the world’s true problems: wars, epidemics and hunger.

These are valid concerns for intellectual integrity and Buse illustrates that they create an irritation that must be scratched. They must be rationalized. That brings in the sociologist.

Peter Weingart, a sociologist of science from Bielefeld, a city in northwest Germany, believes that the climate experts’ lack of distance has something to do with their training. Scientists usually learn only to reflect on the results of their work, not on their role within the social decision-making process. As a result, they join forces with politicians who share their views. And in this way they do harm to science.

The ‘distance’ is what scientists often call observer bias. It is a particular concern when measures are subjective but also rears its head even in supposedly objective measures. It is a factor that must be considered by every scientist in interpreting experimental outcomes. One component of this bias is when the meaning of an outcome is pondered and extrapolations to social significance start to wander around the brain.

The same question haunts IPCC chairman Pachauri. This week he will be in Bangkok, where the subjects of debate will be possible solutions, distribution of the burdens and the structure of the future. Pachauri will sit on the podium, follow the debate and do what he believes he has to do — be on the side of a good cause and not on the side of science.

This same difficulty was noted by Michael Barone in Prioritizing Our Problems.

But for some, global warming is more a tenet of religious faith than a matter of scientific inquiry. Al Gore is sure that the oceans are going to rise 20 feet — 240 inches. He sounds like Jeremiah: All argument must be over, you must have faith or you will meet your doom; you have sinned, and you must pay the price.

The damage in this approach is that of making decisions that cause regret later. Priorities get confused. The utilization of resources is not focused for maximum effect.

Sometimes politicians get things upside down. They ignore problems that are plainly staring them in the face, while they focus on dangers that are at best speculative.

Consider two long-range issues that are not pressing matters this year but pose, or are said to pose, threats a generation or two away. One of them you don’t hear much about: Social Security. The other you hear about all the time: global warming. Yet this gets things upside down. We have an unusually precise knowledge of the problems that Social Security will cause in the future. But we don’t know with anything like precision what a continuation of the current mild increase in temperatures will mean.

In the long term, the integrity of scientific inquiry and the analysis of the real world is a concern. In the shorter and political frame it is the proper assessment of priorities in light of what we know, how we know it, the risks involved, and the costs to address problems. Those are reasons why it is appropriate to be concerned about the nature of the debate and how emotional is seems to have become.

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Another marker in the scandal ridden whatever

There are those like E Clift of Newsweek who think the current administration is scandal ridden. The only problem they have is in trying to come up with scandals that are scandals of the administration and not scandals of malignant accusation and allegation. This week there are two more markers in this ‘war of the scandal ridden’ that is often said to be a horse ridden to victory in the last election.

One point is the Sen. Frist was cleared of the allegations against him. Another point for the scandal being that of unfounded allegation.

The other is that McDermott’s appeal was turned down and he is being held accountable for illegally conveying a cell phone conversation to the media.

The pattern continues to become more clear. Berger gets convicted of stealing documents from the archive while Libby gets convicted of not remembering a straight story about something that wasn’t improper in the first place. And then there’s the latest ‘tell all’ book trying to — oh well.

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What is said vs. what is heard

Dr. Sanity describes how what is said is often not what is heard. An example is given in showing the speech the President gave on an aircraft carrier. It so irked his opposition that they are using the anniversary of that event to play politics with the lives of soldiers in the field. And any rational person comparing what was actually said to what some say was said is going to be very puzzled at the mismatch.

Frankly, you don’t have to imagine it at all. Just look at the great harm the current Democrats are doing to the prosecution of this war. Just take a gander at the flippantly casual vitriol and unveiled hatred the left slings from the ideololgical caves they hide in; and where they can be found chortling at their own cleverness.

To paraphrase Obi-wan as he entered the Mos Eisley Cantina, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany than those who have taken on the “mission” of destroying this country–both from within and without. Their deepest desire is to raise a banner that says “Mission Accomplished” themselves…and I for one will do everything I can to make sure that day of surrender never happens.

Dr. Sanity notes that “There is no magic cure for this type of psychopathology. All the treatments that exist take years–and even then there is no guarantee of success” and in many ways that is the same challenge we face with the GWOT. We have two contingents in this war and both seem to be suffering malignant psychosis. They support each other and, in that support, gain confidence in their own misperceptions of reality. It is the kind of feedback that builds – much like the screech you used to hear with PA systems where the mic is too close to the speakers.

What can be done? In the GWOT, 9/11 was a point where everyone said “enough, let’s go get ’em.” Even the 5th column took a break from their delusions and joined in this. But time has allowed them to regress and they are backpedaling and rationalizing their behavior as they get back on track. The question is whether this can be turned around with ‘therapy’ or whether it will require revolution or, indeed, whether it can be turned around at all.

There is a revolution in progress although one wonders about its effectiveness when looking at polling data or elections. This revolution is based on holding people to account for their perceptions. Blogs like Dr. Sanity’s are one way to do this. Talk radio is another. But all such efforts still depend upon the public because it is the public that must discern reality from rhetoric and must hold those who cannot accept reality accountable for their behavior. There must be a demand for intellectual integrity else fantasy will continue to wreak havoc.

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