Archive for May, 2013

Deceiving themselves and other denial behavior

There was a recent story about how great and wonderful it will be: California health insurance costs were predicted to be well below anticipated and inexpensive and all that. The reality shows something a bit different. Via Meadia describes how ACA Supporters Spin Obamacare Disaster into Good News by Cooking the Books.

“Upon closer examination, health care scholar Avik Roy noticed that the comparison used by the state to say that the new rates would save consumers money was spurious. Rather than comparing individual plans to individual plans, the state was comparing individual plans to small business plans. And lo and behold, when you compare like plans to like plans, the numbers look much worse.”

For a bonus, as an indication of the bias of the author, you have this:

“That said, the world won’t end with Obamacare. It’s not the worst policy ever created. The pre-2010 system was seriously flawed and driving the country towards bankruptcy, and Republicans who hate Obamacare should ask themselves what the GOP majority in the Senate and the House did about health care between 2001 and 2007. Both parties share the blame for this mess; Republican immobility enabled bad Democratic policy.”

It’s all the Republicans fault, you see. There are two pre-2010 efforts pushed by the Bush administration to improve the health care situation that have been proven to be quite effective. One is the HSA and the other is Medicare Part D. Both put market forces to work and both have resulted in much venom from political opposition and both are under assault by ACA provisions. As for “Republican immobility” one needs to note that ACA was only passed when the Democrats had both legislative and executive branches of government and even then needed some questionable shenanigans to get passed. There isn’t much you can do when in the minority and being opposed by folks who don’t care much for whether they can get buy-in from their opposition.

The lack of intellectual integrity, whether cooking the books or using logical fallacies such as ‘everybody is to blame’ are key behaviors to look for in determing the quality of a position.

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Psychological committment and how it is expressed: climatology edition

The global warming scientific establishment is starting to look like the final days of the Soviet Union.  On the surface it appears impregnable and the dissidents are a minor problem.  But the huge soviet edifice quickly collapsed when people lost their fear of the system and the functionaries stopped following orders.  There came a point when everyone decided to stop living a lie.  I can’t believe, for example, that every faculty member at Texas A&M is really happy about signing a climate loyalty oath. ”

Norman Rogers uses Roy Spencer’s case as the example to illustrate the behavior of those who are deeply sunk in the ‘human causing global climate catastrophe’ camp.
When the Texas A&M Oceanography and Meteorology department started, its concerns were things like oyster farming in the Gulf of Mexico and understanding how Gulf temperature profiles influenced the track of hurricanes. Things seem to have changed.

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It’s cool to be rude if you’re a liberal

Leften Wright asks why are liberals so rude to the right?

“Why is it that liberals feel no qualms about being rude? Far too many people who are perfectly polite and courteous, otherwise, think nothing of insulting you for not sharing their political opinions. They look at us with disdain, thinking we’re unenlightened conservatives and never hesitating to say so.”

The issue is getting noticed and discussed. That is a first step towards improving civility and understanding.

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There is a story on Drudge about a town that cancelled its Memorial Day parade because there were insufficient veterans in town to support it. What part of ‘memorial’ don’t they get? Another view is by Peter Collier described on Powerline: America’s Honor.

“Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: those who had given all their tomorrows, as was said of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, for our todays. But in a world saturated with selfhood, where every death is by definition a death in vain, the notion of sacrifice today provokes puzzlement more often than admiration. We support the troops, of course, but we also believe that war, being hell, can easily touch them with an evil no cause for engagement can wash away. And in any case we are more comfortable supporting them as victims than as warriors.”

from the book Medal of Honor: Third Edition (Amazon affiliate link)

Honoring a memory is something one does not just for those who are still in your face. It is for those who are gone, especially for those who can exist only in memory. The parade is to reinforce those memories and to highlight those values and attributes of others that make a civilization what it can be.

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Stand up and be a target: childhood vaccination edition

You’d think that the loss of a child would temper some folk’s feelings but it appears there are many out there who just know what isn’t quite so and can’t deal with reality.

“The couple has been accused of being on the payroll of drug companies; they have had their daughter’s death questioned and mocked; they have even been told to “harden the f . . . up” by an opponent of vaccination.

“The venom directed at us has just been torture and it’s been frightening, abhorrent and insensitive in the extreme,” says Toni, who has not had the strength to talk about this until now.”

Denial comes in many forms and it seems a lot of them are on public display. In this case, it is the anti-vaccinationists. Jane Hansen describes to what happened to grieving parents who dared to speak out against anti-vaccination extremists. You can find the same phenomena in the debates about climate change or nuclear power or food additives or many other issues.

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Corporate taxes and show trials in Congress

Rand Paul appears to have stepped up to the plate on  a Levin and McCain effort at vilification of big corporate interests using their tax code within the law but in a way they don’t like. See the post at Powerline Blog. It’s the left going after the feed corn – again.

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Definition of civility: Brazille version

It seems to be a matter of viewpoint. “Incivility” Defined: It Means Criticizing Obama.

“Each sentence here as a master-stroke of the spinmeister’s pen trying to defend her guy in the White House.

  1. Note the effort in the first sentence to shift this to a bipartisan issue.  Both sides are upset.  It is a good government issue.    The implication we are supposed to draw is that this no longer can be a critique of this particular administration.  It has transcended.  This is how red-blue team political invective works.  If the outrage is coming from just one party, it should not stick to the President because because it is petty partisanship.  If it comes from both sides, it should not stick because it is a larger issue for all of us that transcends this particular Administration.  In fact, through the article, she actually makes both arguments simultaneously.  Brilliant!
  2. It’s Bush’s fault.  This is just so well-worn that Obama officials simply cannot help themselves.   How can a man the Left thought to be so stupid and incompetent still be directing affairs four and half years after he left the building?
  3. This one is really funny.  Is, as implied by the structure of this sentence and the world “even”, Carl Bernstein the least likely imaginable person to excuse Obama of such a charge?    I think I am going to start writing this way.  Even Warren Meyer thinks climate change has been exaggerated.  Even Kim Kardashian thinks its important to get a lot of PR.  Even Tia Carrere says its OK to make a bad movie once in a while.  Hey, this is fun.”

One of the diversions that should be noticed in the current scandal crop is about connecting dots. If there is any gap between point A and point B, then those in denial will refuse to accept any connection between the two points. If person A did not explicitly order event B with certifiable provenance, then the idea that A may have caused B is considered false. In certain areas, the level of evidence must surmount unrealistic barriers. That is a defense to go along with the other logical fallacies. One wonders if intellectual integrity will ever surface.

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Cognitive dissonance: why the right can’t understand the left

“I will frankly admit I find it increasingly difficult to share the same planet as leftists. That’s because I believe they are all insane. They say such things as “We all belong to the state” or “It takes a village to raise a child” with a straight face. One might say that a North Korean belongs to the state, but an American?

To tell the truth, the only way I have found to cope with liberals is by ridiculing them every chance I get.”

Burt Prelutsky then goes on the describe many phenomena he sees and his Coping Mechanisms. He touches the Gonell late term abortion examples, the CBC looking for an ‘any but white’ host for an afternoon TV show for kids, the recent study about hospital treatment costs, the Benghazi situation, and the high esteem in which certain politicians are held despite being deep in political scandal muck. There is much to puzzle over.

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Freedom {from|of} religion: which?

“politicians and judges constantly misapply the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment in an effort to rid the public square of religious references. Did our forefathers really intend to make an invocation of God before supper roll call at Virginia Military Institute unconstitutional? Is an Air Force commander announcing a base chapel program the same thing as the government establishing a religion? Who better to interpret the Constitution than those who wrote it and passed it into law?”

A former military commander notes that the modern trend is towards freedom from religion rather than the freedom of religion that was in the mind of those who wrote the Constitution.
“The only way to purport a purely secular government today is to reinterpret the words of the founding documents in a way the Founders did not originally intend. The legal and correct way to change the Constitution is to amend, not reinterpret it. The fear of the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 is being realized in 2013: If the government has power to grant religious freedom, the government has power to take it away. Today, “separation of church and state,” is being used as a weapon to intimidate military leaders to tread lightly concerning religion or get sued or prosecuted by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Our military members fight to guarantee our freedoms. Now it is time we stand up and fight to guarantee theirs.”
The laws and interpretations being advocated take an active approach towards regulating religion and reducing tolerance, especially towards Christian religions. “Make no law” seems to only apply if the law is advocacy and not if the law is restrictive. Intolerance in religion is yet another front in the war on Western Cultures. “A weapon to intimidate” indeed.

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“it’s been personally disheartening to stand by and watch this beloved American icon as it is pressured and attacked by those who have little or no stake in the organization or interest in its mission. Their actions raise the question: Who really cares about what is best for the Scouts?”

Steven Palazzo provides his take on The Boy Scout debate. The real question is why people who have no real interest in the organization continue an assault on its values. That is a hallmark of the left: they just can’t let it be but rather have to form and shape everything into their world view whether it fits or not; whether it touches them or not. Just the existance of an organization like the Boy Scouts irks them and has to be scratched.
As Palazzo, the targets strive to accommodate, even if they win lawsuits on the extremis. That willingness to try to go along is used as a lever to push for ever more compliance with what those on the Left think should be. This, perhaps, is why one poll suggested that many see armed revolution in the future. Compliance with standards violations will only go so far before something breaks. The Left continues to push to the breaking point as, it seems, they have as much sense about that as they do reality. It has happened before and history is not providing the lesson needed to prevent it from happening again.

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Denial: Communist Spies?

Two cases: Hiss-Chambers and the Rosenbergs. Both deemed innocent by the Left; both found guilty; prosecutions labeled persecutions of the innocent by those in denial. Scott Johnsom talks about commies and their friends and two books about these cases.

“Much of the opposition to Weinstein…derived not from the facts uncovered by his work, but from the need to demonize his findings lest the public realize that there really was an internal Soviet apparatus seeking to discover our nation’s top secrets. And primary in that effort was the Nation, which editorialized that Weinstein had “misquoted and misrepresented” sources and written “false history.” Weinstein, added the Nation, had “aligned himself with those Cold War intellectuals who presumably sleep better at night secure in the knowledge that there was an internal Communist espionage menace.””

Denial in these cases means trashing anything that threatens the desired view. Sound familiar?

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Defining deviancy down: Torture?

The Russians have retailiated. They have banned 18 Americans from their country because the U.S. banned Russian officials involved in the 2009 death of a lawyer in Moscow who was representing a whistleblower about government fraud. John Yoo, a frequent target of the left in the U.S. was one of those banned and he addressed the false equivalence the Russians (and the Left) have sought to create.

“There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia in their treatment of prisoners and detainees. The most obvious difference is in what constitutes “torture” in the Magnitsky case and the American war on terrorism. In the former, even according to Russian officials, Magnitsky was kept in squalid prison conditions, physically beaten by guards and denied medical treatment for serious gall bladder and pancreatic problems. All contributed, it appears, to his death. There is also speculation that he might have been murdered. Yet his treatment should not be considered anomalous. Conditions in Russian prisons are notoriously abominable and the treatment of prisoners routinely brutal.

Antiwar critics likewise claim that the U.S. has similarly mistreated and tortured al Qaeda leaders. This is a willful misreading of the record.”

Scott Johnson tells the story as John Yoo fulfills a dream. He always “dreamed of being declared persona non grata by Moscow.” What the story illustrates, though, is the very common false equivalence used to condemn the U.S. Words such as ‘torture’ lose much of their impact as illustrated in this example. Compare and contrast the treatment that Magnitsky received to the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Compare and contrast the reasons that these people were imprisoned in the first place. Excusing extreme behavior and going fanatic over mild behavior distorts definitions, belies integrity, and defines deviancy down to where it is simply a matter of one’s fantasies and not of any substance.

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The crazy ideological desiderata

The instruction used to be to hate the sin but love the sinner. No more it seems. Emmett Tyrell describes why he thinks the left really, really hates us. Us, of course, is anyone not in sync with the left. “They were always irritable. In fact, I wonder which came first: the irritable disposition or the crazy ideological desiderata. At any rate, here we are in 2013, and boy, do they hate us.

It is very difficult to have an intellectually honest debate with someone whose emotions distort reality and distract from reason.

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Mixed up values; mixed up history

A good example of the moral equivalency nonsense that shows up as an assumption or given truth is provided by Via Meadia: Japan walks back official whitewashing of war record.

“finding a way to come to terms with the evils done by the Imperial Japanese Army is a very real dilemma for some in Japan today—much as it still is for many Turks regarding the Armenian Genocide, or even for some Germans and the Holocaust (and, we hasten to add, some Americans and the legacy of slavery).”

What is telling here is that it puts slavery in the early U.S. history as something unique, tragic, and outrageous on a par with mass murder and worse. That ignores history. It also ignores the fact that slavery is endemic even today in some places but it is what is considered ‘educated’ these days. There are many lapses of intellectual integrity in this sort of allegation. One is that of singling out the U.S. as villain, another is taking historical events out of their context, another is conflating evils as equivalent as a means to avoid making proper judgements, and another is selection of evildoers that tends to whitewash the true evil.

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“We need to get some experts to solve this problem!”

It’s got to be experts who opine in a way we like – like the climate change alarmist climatologists. Social violence is another issue where the plea is for some experts, but only those who can help rationalize irrational opinions.

How can we “gun people” honestly be expected to come to the table with anti-gunners when anti-gunners are willfully stupid about guns, and openly hate, despise and ridicule those of us who own them? There must first be respect and trust — even just a little — before there can be even the beginnings of legitimate discussion of the issue.”

The president is making assertions to young folks that ‘the government is your friend’ and all this talk about tyrany is bogus. That presumes an ignorance about the discussions and insights of those who founded the country.

An anti-gunner reads a book though, or sees a documentary on TV — or perhaps worst of all, gets a degree — and suddenly they have the almighty authority and expertise to tell us how we ought to live our lives, replying to our objections to their onslaught by throwing pictures of dead kids in our faces and commanding us to shut up, because we’re just a bunch of stupid radicals and liberals alone know what’s best for America.”

Barry Snell at the Iowa State Daily discusses Walking the dragon — How Feinstein fiddled while America burned. Compare and contrast how the sides of the gun control argument differ and see why there are so many who think there may be a rather violent rebellion somewhere down the road. Father knows best is one thing but government knows best is entirely another, especially when intellectual integrity goes out the door in trying to support viewpoints.

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The nature of the debate

Ann Coulter does the background work to lay it on the table.

“You can tell the conservatives liberals fear most because they start being automatically referred to as “discredited.” Ask Sen. Ted Cruz. But no one is called “discredited” by liberals more often than the inestimable economist John Lott, author of the groundbreaking book More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws.”

If you want names and numbers, check out why AC calls Lott America’s most feared economist. The tactics described are common and nearly indicative of which side of the political spectrum one chooses. One one side, careful research that stands up to scrutiny and on the other, name calling and manufactured results.

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