Archive for October, 2013

Fukushima FUD exposed

Headlines about the Japanese nuclear power plant that was overrun with the tsunami and earthquake a while back still show up with regularity in a manner that implies doom and gloom – i.e. FUD mongering. Matthew Rave describes his view Radioactive water from Fukushima: don’t worry about it. Of course, his explanation has numbers and measures and other attributes of the real world rather than hyperbole, generalizations, logical fallacies and such things that FUD mongering depends upon so do be careful.

“Ok.  Time out.  We need a reality check.  First of all, what’s “radioactive water”?  If I take a Geiger-Müller tube and wave it over any seawater, I will detect radioactivity.  I will also detect radioactivity in any banana (from 40K), and in my dog Banjo (from 14C).”

“Here’s a summary of what I’m saying.  Fukushima was a disaster, sure.  But no one in America should worry in the slightest.  You get way, way, way more radiation exposure from the person you’re sleeping next to, than you do from some water in the western Pacific.”

Like a lot of things that deal with the margins between human bodies and the ‘world out there’ the matter is one of dose. Too much DHMO and it will kill you. Too little and you die. People live in a sea of radiation and sometimes the basement can be dangerous. When it comes to radiation, it is easily measured and there is a lot of good data about just what risk any particular dose over a given period of time has. That doesn’t stop the FUD mongerers, though, as reality never does.

Leave a Comment

The BGI and BMV – denial doesn’t see black

There is a self identity and it isn’t one of pride and civic virtue. It is one of mob violence and a grievance industry to support and condone it. David Paulin explains how Rioting black youths stun Austin, Texas.

“Austin’s police are clueless about why the riot occurred in hip and liberal Austin — a college town, hi-tech Mecca, and the state’s capital. Police Chief Art Acevedo and his commanders need to read Thomas Sowell’s recent article in the National Review, “Early Skirmishes in a Race War.” Sowell, an African-American and senior fellow with the Hoover Institution, related how blacks and whites have become dangerously polarized in recent years, with the most troubling example of this being the ominous trend of “unprovoked physical attacks on whites by young black gangs in shopping malls, on beaches, and in other public places all across the country today.”

“Austin’s political and cultural landscape is dominated by rabidly liberal Democrats. As the city’s social problems mount, it’s unlikely that many in Austin’s political class will get mugged by reality.”

There is a common factor here and it highlights a denial that, in itself, is creating dissonance and tension that threatens violence.

Leave a Comment

Railroading, the BGI, and the Treepers

Thomas Lifson’s book review of Jack Cashill’s If I Had a Son concludes that it “is an important work that deserves a large audience”. The book is about the Black Grievance Industry (BGI) propaganda campaign to railroad a mugging victim acting in self defense and the impact of a blogging group that dug up the facts to counter the propaganda campaign to railroad justice.

“But the most surprising heroes comprise a group of 8 previously unheralded bloggers, working at the website Conservative Treehouse, who made history. Although they scrupulously avoided any contact with the defense team, their work, relentlessly exploring and testing information related to the case, freely available online to anyone, provided invaluable support to the defense. Cashill believes that they may have made the difference in Zimmerman’s acquittal. The prosecution, despite having the resources of the state of Florida at its disposal, did not have an outside group X-raying information, and utilizing open source investigating techniques, dedicated to uncovering the truth.

The Treepers, as they are known, have ushered in a new era in not just the media coverage of important trials, but in the conduct of such trials. Historians of media and legal historians would do well to read this book and grasp the fact that the internet and citizen journalists have created a new era of justice.”

The saga has entered the collective and you can see its effect every now and then when it is used as an example in a way that takes the BGI narrative as axiomatic. The problem with a book exposing the problems with such presumptions is that it takes the path of reason and that is not in the same realm as those who espouse the grievances.

Leave a Comment

Income is a dream. Spending is a reality.

KNUDSON: The only worthy topic for budget talks — spending control.

“The only sure way to reduce these deficits, however, is to control spending — and that must be the focus of the budget debate.

Spending control cannot be achieved solely by reforming the budget process (though it does need reform), or through some mystical “grand bargain” or “budget summit.” It will require a sustained effort, over several years, at realigning government priorities, discarding those that are not true requirements of the national government, and fundamentally restructuring government programs, especially the entitlements.

Those who shudder at the thought of such “austerity” should remember that government does not create the resources it so generously redistributes — the economy does. The more government smothers economic activity under public spending, taxes, borrowing and regulation, the less there is for everyone — those who rely on the government’s safety net and those who don’t.”

That is a core problem with the current partisan split as one side of the debate does not agree with this but rather thinks that taxes can be raised as needed without consequence to the underlying economy. That is dreaming about income. The other side believes that spending is key as spending is a real thing you can get your hands on and control.

Leave a Comment

TEA Party assignment

KUHNER: Unfairly tarring the Tea Party

“The left’s latest tactic is not simply demagogic and vulgar. It has a deeper problem: The narrative has no connection — none — to reality. It is completely, almost laughably false.”

“It is bizarre, bordering on the perverse, that a movement that believes in limited government, individual rights, equality under the law and a colorblind society is called racist by the very party and ideologues responsible for the most heinous sins in American history. Liberals are resorting to slander and crass emotionalism because deep down, they know one simple truth: The Tea Party is right.

This is a sign of desperation. Progressives are unable to use logic or evidence to defend President Obama. Hence, the left can only do one thing: rage against his critics. Mr. Grayson and his ilk embody the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of modern liberalism.”

The underlying question is how so many in leadership positions can have such slander accepted with no questions, much less shaming, from the public at large.

Leave a Comment

Whose property is it, anyway?

“Private property owners can go bankrupt litigating to defend and protect their property rights, and government bureaucrats and lawyers rely on that as part of their strategy to push their extortive agendas. Property owners have skin in the game; government bureaucrats and lawyers do not.”

Mark J. Fitzgibbons describes how a Virginia Farmer Starts Property Rights Legal Revolution.

“When Virginia’s Fauquier County cited farmer Martha Boneta last year for hosting a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls because she did not have a permit and site plan, little did county officials think they would set off a revolution for legal remedies against such abuses.”

What is troubling is that there are groups that believe your property is their property. This includes groups like the Virginia Association of Counties and environmentalist NPO’s. The problems and issues involved include the presumption that legislation is constitutional even if it is very local and created by, say, three of five county commissioners. This is compounded by the fact that those who think society has primacy are often activists and quite agressive in promoting their ideas about the idea that their view of social needs surmounts and surpasses your rights as a property holder.

“For normal Americans, it’s “follow the law or face the consequences.” It’s time to hold overweening bureaucrats to the same standard. Hopefully Boneta Bill 2.0 will be the next of many steps toward stopping the legal loopholes for government, and toward consequences for government bureaucrats who don’t play by the rules.”

This idea is showing up in many debates. It was one of the sticking points in the budget confrontation recently in regards to health care legislation and subject to an idea for a Constitutional ammendment as well. Those in the government, the bureaucrat class, must abide by the same laws and the citizen. A part of this is responsibility and accountability for actions taken.

Leave a Comment

With a straight face, even?

Monte Frank provides a good illustration of just why modern debate is so debased. The column is Stand against stand-your-ground laws — “Many states empower ordinary citizens to act as vigilantes using lethal force. Do we really want to be a nation of Dirty Harrys?

“Welcome to America in 2013, where the culture of violence has taken over – so much so that Senate hearings on gun violence cannot proceed unimpeded by another mass shooting and the resulting senseless deaths of ordinary citizens who merely got up and went to work in the country’s capital city.”

This contrasts with

“Fortunately, my state, Connecticut, is not a stand-your-ground state. Connecticut adheres to the traditional common law “castle doctrine”, which provides that an individual does not have a duty to retreat when in his or her home, or “castle”, and may use reasonable force, including deadly force, to defend his or her property, person, or another. In certain circumstances, the law permits one to attack an intruder and use a firearm instead of first retreating. Forty-six states currently follow the castle doctrine.”

The obsession with Dirty Harry is perhaps one of the first clues that the argument is lacking in intellectual integrity. The created dichomoty between the “castle doctrine” and “stand your ground” doctrines is another. The false idea that “stand your ground” legalizes vigilantes is another. Labeling a victim of an assault as a “vigilante” and then pretending this is a “stand your ground” issue rather than a self defense issue just illustrates how loose and free Frank is when it comes to reality.

The fact is that “culture of violence” is another falsehood — violent crime with guns has been decreasing in recent decades. Stand your ground laws are simply supporting the idea that you can defend yourself if you have no other option. They do not allow you to go after anyone who you might think is after you. The only difference with castle doctrine laws is that you can defend yourself out of the home as well as within it.

The column is a good lesson in constructing a straw man in order to wail away at a perceived injustice with absolutely no regard for intellectual integrity. The real question is why such dishonesty gets placement in anything pretending to be a news source.

Leave a Comment

Why brag about an increase in mass murder on your watch?

John Hinderaker wonders: Have Barack Obama and Eric Holder Caused an Increase in Mass Murder?.

“So Holder is telling us that since he took over as AG, mass shooting incidents have tripled. Normally that might be considered an admission against interest, inasmuch as he is the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. But of course Holder didn’t take any responsibility for the trend he described. As far as I can tell, Democrats are interested in crime only when it serves as an excuse for gun control; never as a reason to consider more effective law enforcement measures, or to step up prosecution and punishment of criminals.”

What gets interesting is that mass shooting incidents by “individuals, almost always deranged, are extraordinarily rare.” That raises the question about what it is in the current environment that is causing more of these deranged individuals to act out violent fantasies. Hinderaker suggests maybe just coincidence or perhaps a follow along sitiuation. But might a “hope and change” disillusionment be a factor as well?

Leave a Comment

The government financial crisis is still there

“She, like many hard-left Democrats, clings to the false narrative that insufficient regulation, greed and risky private-sector behavior caused the crisis and that Washington should continue to prop up the housing market. … The views Mrs. Waters held a decade ago and still holds are what caused the financial crisis and will cause another one.”

“The state setting credit standards and owning the risk is political rather than market discipline, for which we all pay the price.”

GROVER: Solving the financial crisis by causing another

Sticking obstinately to a fantasy despite results is a crisis and, it appears, it is not going away soon.

Leave a Comment

Only following orders?

“The illegitimate orders that government workers followed during the shutdown might seem like minor infractions, but those who committed them should think about where they would draw the line. Authoritarian regimes often start by demanding that their staffs make minor infringements of civil liberties, but these tend to grow quickly until the people are cowed. Soon, government workers who are doing what they know to be wrong become too frightened of the monster they helped create to stop.”

RAHN: When shutdown orders overrule the Constitution.

After WWII, the excuse of “just following orders” was considered an invalid defense. That was military. What about civilian? The boundaries are being explored and the consequences might be significant.

Leave a Comment

Out for blood

“President Obama says that he hopes the Republican “fever” of opposition to his policies will break soon. There is indeed a fever infecting our body politic, but I think Obama has his eyes on the wrong patient.”

John Hinderaker wonders: How Crazy Are the Democrats? and lists behaviors that concern him.

“The Democrats have achieved a public relations coup that any ministry of propaganda would be proud of. Worried that the United States is $17 trillion in debt? Radical! Unconcerned about deficits that pile up as far as the eye can see? Responsible! Unhappy about an anemic economy in which a generation of young people struggles to find full-time employment? Traitor! Content with record levels of poverty and non-employment? Moderate! Want to get rid of a law that is opposed by most Americans, decimates the economy and is patently unworkable? Crazy! Delighted at the sight of millions of Americans losing their health insurance and being demoted to part-time employment? Public-spirited!

Only our one-party press makes this topsy-turvy world possible. But there is, in fact, craziness abroad in the land.”

The propaganda effort is only one side of the story, too. There is more on other fronts.

Leave a Comment

Disheartened? How about filled with a terrible resolve instead?

John Hayward has quite a rant about what he thinks is the Tea Party Vindication.

“The concept of “responsibility” is now limited to the President or one of his cabinet members intoning the magic words, “I take responsibility” after weeks of foot-dragging.  No one is ever held accountable for anything.”

“Certainly all of that is terrible and infuriating… but dispiriting to the Tea Party?  Nonsense.  Everything that happened over the past few weeks has been pure vindication for them.

They knew things were this bad.  That’s why they got involved in politics, often for the first time in a long and full life. Any disappointment they might feel is tempered by the understanding that their task would not be easy. They’re up against a system, not a few individual politicians, or even a political party,”

“The system has been growing larger, and more corrupt, for a very long time.”

“Throughout the shutdown, we watched the government go to war against disobedient Americans, inflicting needless inconvenience and loss of revenue through Obama’s Shutdown Theater antics.”

“That shutdown deal was no “clean” bill, by the way. Among the other things it contained was a “gift” of $174,000 to the widow of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg. ”It’s been a tradition to pay a year’s congressional salary as a death benefit to the spouse of a lawmaker who dies in office,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

What a lovely tradition. Lautenberg was one of the richest members of Congress at the time of his death, with a net worth of over $56 million. On the other hand, the Obama Administration just kinda sorta “forgot” to pay death benefits to the families of fallen military veterans, even though Congress passed a bill to ensure it before the shutdown.”

“Remember how President Obama said we had to surrender control of our health care because over 50 million people were dying for want of health insurance? Where did all those people go? Because they sure as hell aren’t rushing to sign up for ObamaCare.”

“All of this vindicates the critique of kamikaze Big Government that brought the Tea Party together in the first place. We’re being told we have to accept all sorts of things we never voted for. We’re told we cannot change course – we don’t even get to vote on major aspects of our national destiny any more, let alone pursue our own ambitions. The dead hand of the past guides us through programs that cannot be repealed, mandates that cannot be resisted, and a government that can’t be scaled back insulting us as deadbeats if we hesitate to pay its bills.”

Whew! Quite a rant. Good questions to ponder. He concludes “That sounds more like a challenge than cause for despair” which is probably a good thing.

Leave a Comment

When did you stop beating your wife?

Caroline Glick says it is The Bothersome, Annoying Truth. The stimulus this time starts with Israel’s War of Independence, a Master’s thesis that was an admitted fabrication, and a play called The Admission. The target, as usual, is Western Culture.

“Israel’s rights and justness are grounded in truth. But today truth isn’t worth as much as it used to be. Those who fight for it find themselves routinely maligned as close-minded extremists. Those who trounce it are congratulated for being open-minded and fair.”

“As Pappe sees it, truth is only important if it is aligned with his ideological goal. The French newspaper Le Soir quoted him saying, “The struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers.”

“In other words, a blood libel depicting Israeli soldiers – and the society that supports them – as mass murderers, is not beyond the pale. It is the beginning of an important conversation regarding whether or not Israel is a criminal state born in war crimes.

From the perspective of those who place ideology over facts, this is the best of all possible outcomes. Supporters of Israel – and of truth – are forced to spend hours gathering evidence to prove that a lie is false. Meanwhile those who propagate it are free to play the victim of a McCarthyite attempt to silence them. And then, they can have a debate that places on Israel the burden of proving that the lie you just watched on stage is untrue and maliciously so.”

The same phenomena was visible just recently in the budget battles. For some, it is ideology and not reality that matters and the end justifies the means. That is a recipe for a true disaster.

Leave a Comment

The shame of the National Park Service

It’s a case of getting too big for their britches. The recent government funding brouhaha brought out the worst from the National Park Service. CRAIG: Putting the ‘service’ back in the National Park Service:

“Unfortunately, recent actions of the National Park Service are an intensification of a negative attitude toward people that has been evident for decades. Just ask citizens and local elected officials who have to deal with the agency on a day-to-day basis. We must avoid the notion that everything will be OK after the government shutdown ends. We have an immediate opportunity for positive change — change that reflects the good will of American citizens.”

A no-fee camping area had this posted at the entrance:

It was accompanied by this explanation labeled as an order of the NPS:

The Chief of the U.S. Forest Service seems to think that the “lack of funding” is a critical matter of public safety or property protection – in an area that is not manned and open to the road. People like Tidwell are hired to prevent this sort of governmental abuse of power.

Leave a Comment

Crony Capitalism: it takes two to tango

He says its the most frequent argument he gets into. Is Cronyism Private Enterprise’s Fault or the Government’s?. For those on the left, any incident of a business taking advantage of the regulatory environment is all the fault of the business and a clear indication of a need for more governmental control. The Coyote points out that it takes two to tango and a better approach might be to not offer the incentive.

“But the implication that this is all the fault of corporations is just wrong, as is the the inevitable Progressive conclusion that somehow more government regulation and powers are necessary to combat this.

The Left has been the prime cheerleader over the past decades in creating the Federal behemoth that not only allows this to happen, but actively facilitates it. We have created a government whose primary purpose is to redistribute spoils from one group to another.

I put it this way – “invest in customers rather than DC bureaucrats” – because every new regulation, every new government power over commerce is essentially a dis-empowerment of consumers in the marketplace. Nowhere is this more true than in pharmaceuticals, where the government tells consumers what they can and cannot buy.

In a free market, accountability is enforced by consumers defending their own best interests and new competitors seeking fortunes by striving to serve consumers better than market incumbents. Every government intervention is essentially saying to consumers that the government is going to make yet another decision for them. So, having taken over so many decisions of consumers in those huge office buildings in DC, is it any wonder that companies go to DC to market to bureaucrats rather than bother marketing to consumers?”

The question centers on matters of incentive and accountability. The more power the government expresses, the more incentive there is to manipulate it. In a free market, it is a companies customers who have the power and they can hold the business accountable in their choice of product and service.

Leave a Comment

FUD mongering exposed: water filters

Steven Novella had a plumber come out to unplug his drains. As a bonus, he got a sales effort for a filtration system that warned about
Monochloramines in Tap Water. The literature, it seems, had correct information. The problem was that it was selected information that did not address the issues of risk versus benefit.

“decisions, however, should be made with full information, and in a proper context. It’s also useful to consider cost-effectiveness. How much money are you willing to spend to achieve what measure of risk reduction? Perhaps that money could be better spent somewhere else, and perhaps there is greater risk in the lost opportunity (for those of us without unlimited funds) from making a major purchase for dubious benefits.”

As with a lot of these FUD mongering efforts, a bit of consideration can shed a lot of light. Monochloramines have been used for 90 years and there has been no epidemic as suggested by the sales literature. Do you really want to spend thousands of dollars on something that hasn’t shown itself to be a real threat over nearly a century?

Leave a Comment

The new pope and the Church

George Neumayr says it is ‘A Pope Francis-Nancy Pelosi Catholic’ ethos.

““For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,” predicted St. Paul of worldly Christians. Egan’s ears are certainly tickling at the relativistic noises of Pope Francis.”

“God’s Rottweiler has gone to pasture and the Pope’s poodles are roaming free and happy.”

“At the field hospitals of the Catholic left, the sheep have choked and died on the “medicine of mercy,” the euphemism for people-pleasing heterodoxy among spirit-of-Vatican II liberals. There is no reason to suppose a strengthened dose will raise any of the patients from the dead.

The Egans and Kellers will remain lapsed even if they are “listening” to Francis with itching ears, for all they hear is a confirmation of their smug apostasy.”

Another article described how the new Pope is talking about idols, especially the intangible ones. Money and greed seem to top his list but the ghist is that people are looking to have their “ears tickled” with some desire that doesn’t come from Christ. In this regard, the allegations about the Pope are worries that his pronouncements are more about projection than church doctrine.

Leave a Comment

Power of the purse strings

Rep. McClintock (R-CA) breaks down the debt crisis

“If the Republicans acquiesce, the immediate crisis will quickly vanish, credit markets will calm and public life will return to other matters.

But a fundamental element of our Constitution will have been destroyed. The power of the purse will have shifted from the representatives of the people to the executive. The executive bureaucracies will be freed to churn out ever more outlandish regulations with no effective Congressional review or check through the purse. A perilous era will have begun, in which the President sets spending levels and vetoes any bill falling short of his demands. Whenever a deadline approaches, one house can simply refuse to negotiate with the other until Congress is faced with the Hobson’s choice of a shut-down or a default.

The Constitution says it is the House that has to allocate government expenditures. The reason for this is that the House is closer to the people with members elected every two years and should therefore be more sensitive to the mood of the citizenry.

Rep. McClintock describes the fallacies behind the ‘default’ talk and the nature of the ‘debate’ at hand. The only efforts to find ‘compromise’ have been from the House majority party but that bit of history is not getting through the pravda parade aka mainstream media which is supporting and defending the falsehoods rather than clarifying the reality.

Leave a Comment

We have met the enemy …

Cal Thomas says The ‘bums’ aren’t the problem: We are.

“Since Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” many Americans appear to have abandoned self-restraint, individual responsibility and accountability in favor of government as provider, protector and guarantor. The notion that people are “owed” what others have earned is primarily responsible for our enormous and growing debt. We once promoted individual initiative and people who overcame difficult circumstances. Now we seem to punish the successful and treat the unsuccessful as victims who have no hope of improving their lot without government. This is a fallacy of course, based on the results of the failed “war on poverty.”

Nothing would change Washington faster than the transformative idea that only we can make our lives better by our financial and moral choices. It’s long past time for politicians to say “eat your vegetables, they are good for you” and for citizens to comply.”

That tends to make it a ‘them’ vs ‘us’ thing and that means when ‘us’ don’t get what we want, it is ‘them’ that is at fault. That leads to the idea that the ‘us’ should throw ‘them’ (the bums) out. The conflict is between the powerful and the masses and not between ideologies. That then becomes another way that “We have met the enemy and he is us”. The ‘us’ is so busy with what we are owed, we lose sight of the fact that ‘them’ isn’t a cohesive collection and has parts that need to be supported and encouraged. ‘Both sides are the same’ is an excuse for laziness and denial.

Leave a Comment

Columbus Day

Jack Kerwick thinks Columbus Day is Still a Day Worth Celebrating. Why such a thought even comes to mind is because of the ideological driven historical revisionism that seems so popular.

“this campaign against Columbus—and that’s exactly what it is, a campaign—is not inspired by any disinterested pursuit of historical accuracy. In fact, none of this is about history at all. Rather, like so much else of what passes for “history” today, it is nothing more or less than “retrospective politics,” as the English philosopher Michael Oakeshott once labeled the enterprise of dressing up brute partisan polemics with references to “the past.”

The campaign against Columbus isn’t about history, it is true, but, ultimately, it isn’t even about Columbus.

It is nothing more or less than a wholesale condemnation against Western civilization.”

Diminishing Columbus also gets into finding – or creating – others who ‘discovered’ the Americas. The key in that effort is to note that Columbus marked a turn from individual exporers who visited and left to a global connectedness empowered by trade, ideas, and culture. It is the success of that effort in building a global humanity by western cultures that irritates some into severe dissonance.

Leave a Comment