Archive for February, 2014

Bigotry or faith? Confusing and obscuring the issue is a tactic

Tammy Bruce notes that the assault is on the small guy, it is a tactic of attrition where victories over those less able to defend themselves sets precedent and defines the battlefield. It’s Why the veto of Arizona’s religious freedom bill is alarming – Houses of worship now vulnerable to ‘Gay Gestapo’

“Under these rules, freedom of conscience is squashed under the jackboot of liberals, all in the Orwellian name of “equality and fairness.” Here we are dealing with not just forcing someone to do something for you, but forcing them in the process to violate a sacrament of their faith as well. If we are able to coerce someone, via the threat of lawsuit and personal destruction, to provide a service, how is that not slavery? If we insist that you must violate your faith specifically in that slavish action, how is that not abject tyranny?”

The law of the land (U.S. Constitution – Amendment 1) is supposed to be:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yet the campaign is tearing this to shreds. The new ‘state sponsored’ religion doesn’t have a solid name nor a formal church nor formal leadership but it does exist and laws are being passed to promote its establishment, prohibit competitors, and supress any objection to its practices.

Worried yet? You might be next.

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Don’t want to hear it. Shut up, I say!

Ed Lasky provides a catalog: Shut up, they explained.

“The Democrat-Media complex works to in effect silence conservative critics rather than engage their criticisms and debate the issues.  They employ a variety of programs and techniques to ensure that substantive points from the other side will either be ignored, distorted, demonized, or delegitimized.  Shut up, they explained.”

Then, as an example, is Robby Soave: Harvard writer: Free speech threatens liberalism and must be destroyed.

“In a recent column, Korn unambiguously insisted that the university should stop guaranteeing professors and students the right to hold controversial views and pursue research that challenges liberalism.

“If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals?” asked Korn in her column.

The column’s subtitle was even more direct: “Let’s give up on academic freedom in favor of justice.”

but wait, there’s more! … Consider the previous post about how noticing logical fallacies – a lack of intellectual integrity – was denied. Or look at the Mann v Steyn lawsuits. The phenomena is gaining notice. Some are calling it for what it is. A few are perhaps even fighting back.

The problem is that of cognitive dissonance. Honestly working through viewpoints that are not in line with one’s world view is difficult and stressful. The degree to which people will go to avoid such hard work and stress is absolutely amazing. We can only hope it gets to them before the results get to all of us.

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Inductive fallacies

Interesting. In the blog he notes that logical fallacy claims are becoming more prominent. Then he (Stephen Downes) asserts that the observations of logical fallacies are wrong and that awareness of such fallacies should be for personal feedback and not a part of dialog or discussion. He then cites his web site on logical fallacies. One should examine the section he titles Inductive Fallacies and compare and contrast to his own assertions. The ‘missing the point’ section might also be of interest.

The fact is that an observation can be a misperception and that can lead to a spurious accusation. That is why care is needed in describing what one observes. It is also why one needs to consider one’s own behavior when observing others. It doesn’t mean finding fault and then illustrating the fault in one’s own behavior and that is what the author of this fallacy dictionary seems to have done.

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Analysis of tactics

Cathy Young describes why The Left Still Harbors a Soft Spot For Communism and much of it is about the tactics in the debate that boil down to symptoms of psychological denial and defense.

“Myerson’s muddled screed might not merit a second thought if it his defense of communism was just a personal eccentricity. Unfortunately, toned-down versions of such whitewashing are fairly common not only on the left but even in mainstream liberal opinion.”

“For all the revelations, the romanticized view of communism as a failed but noble venture has yet to get a stake through the heart. Just last weekend, narrating an NBC News segment on the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics and surveying Russian history, actor Peter Dinklage referred to “the revolution that birthed one of modern history’s pivotal experiments.” That brings to mind an old-time Soviet joke in which a schoolboy asks his father if Marxism-Leninism is a science. “I reckon not, son,” the father replies. “When scientists do experiments, it’s always on animals, not humans.””

There is the straw man, the diversions, the nit picking, psuedoscience, and “other well-worn excuses.” The question is why it continues to plague society.

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Silence speaks volumens but sometimes time is needed to hear the word

“One might almost think that the antiwar movement was all about politics, not principle. That it was really an anti-Bush, anti-Republican movement. And that once a Democrat was in the White House, its purpose had been served and the protest signs went into the trash. There is precedent for this, as we have written before. The anti-Vietnam war movement, which also was celebrated by the press, wasn’t really a movement against the Vietnam war. It was led mostly by people who were not at all opposed to the war, but wanted the other side to win. The rank and file were not so much anti-war as they were anti-draft. On the day the draft was abolished, the anti-Vietnam war movement ended. Whatever you think of the merits of the Vietnam war, there never was anything noble or idealistic about the anti-war movement.

History may, perhaps, say the same thing about those who protested the Iraq war so passionately, but have been so strangely silent about Afghanistan.”

John Hinderaker is wondering what happened to the antiwar movement? He observes that these ‘anti-war’ movements aren’t really that at all but rather a ‘pro-enemy anti-U.S.’ political expression. Hidden agendas, socialism oriented terror and violence, and much misery and death, over and over again. When will we ever learn?

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Blame shifting, the California Drought, and the climate bogeyman

The IBD says California’s Drought Isn’t Due To Global Warming, But Politics. The President illustrates the point.

“His aim, however, is not a long-term solution for California’s now-constant water shortages that have hit its $45 billion agricultural industry, but to preach about global warming. Instead of blaming the man-made political causes of California’s worst water shortage, he’s come with $2 billion in “relief” that’s nothing but a tired effort to divert attention from fellow Democrats’ dereliction of duty in using the state’s water infrastructure.”

The fact is that a system of aqueducts and storage was designed long ago to take care of normal droughts and water cycles. Recent ‘environmental’ policy has been to set aside that system to promote a more ‘natural’ state. That results in misery and poverty as the $45 billion California agricultural business is laid to waste. That, in turns, leads to seeking out a bogeyman to blame the misery on. Human caused climate catastrophe is a much more comfortable excuse than ignorance and stupidity.

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Little (useless) cuts

One tactic for the phalanx of advocacy groups is that of death via a thousand small cuts. The 2nd ammendment brouhaha illustrates this. A Washington Times FoIA request reveals that Current background checks stop very few firearm purchases. Another recent story is about how minor cosmetic changes to an ‘assault rifle’ made it comply with New York law. Then there’s the recent 9th Circuit ruling against San Diego in regards to the rights to carry as well as own firearms.

The fundamental assumption that gun ownership is positively correlated with crime has been shown to be faulty but that doesn’t seem to have any impact on the phalanx. Making it difficult to own a firearm on the pretext of keeping the felons and insane from owning guns also appears to be a worthless effort – unless you consider hassling citizens in expressing Constitutional freedoms a plus. The assault weapons ban has repeatedly been shown to be meaningless, but that doesn’t stop renewed efforts time and again as in New York.

Then there is efforts to restrict ammunition types and access. On and On it goes. Results don’t seem to matter. Neither do effects or implications. That should be the biggest worry.

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Pundit dump – history lessons, the phalanx of advocacy groups, and sophistry

The Washington Times this morning:

ALEXANDER: Resisting the Medicaid-expansion temptation. “Obamacare’s promise of federal funds won’t offset the costs” and that isn’t all. There is that persistent, demanding, ‘phalanx’ – “Indeed, a phalanx of welfare-advocacy groups, health care consultants, hospital systems, and managed-care organizations continue to lobby the legislatures of the holdout states.

CHARLES: The enduring presence of the Founders: Old rebukes to tyranny still refresh the love of liberty.History casts important shadows that don’t fade with time.

GASKI: The liberals’ new ‘McCarthyism’ – How Republicans could trump the race card tactic. “There is a reason why liberal Democrats resort to sophistry and other dishonesty so regularly, whether on national television, around the water cooler, in Congress or the White House.

There is a disturbance in the force as Star Wars fans might say. The pundits are beginning to notice. Will the people pick up on the tremors, too?

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The optimists view on Ivanpah

You may have heard the stories about fried birds or remember from a while back about the desert tortoises and you may even be sufficiently mathematically literate to wonder about effectiveness but all of that is set aside as Katie Fehrenbacher says The Hoover Dam of solar is now live in the desert of California. Here’s why it’s so important.

“Less than a hundred miles from the rim of the Hoover Dam, just outside of Las Vegas at the edge of dusty San Bernardino County, sits a symbol of how the sun will some day provide copious amounts of electricity for entire cities. This is Ivanpah, the world’s largest operating solar farm, which uses 347,000 mirrors (173,500 heliostats) and three huge 450-foot towers to harness the sun’s heat to generate electricity.” … “enough solar power into the grid to power 140,000 (average American) homes”

… “the 5-mile by one-mile long colossal clean power project, Ivanpah is the Hoover Dam for this generation”

“Ivanpah took years longer to get built than expected. It was one of the first projects to be developed on controversial Bureau of Land Management land, and the location ended up having more desert tortoises than originally thought.”

“Average panels convert about 10 percent to 12 percent of the light, while more high efficiency panels like those from SunPower convert about 20 percent.” … “Ivanpah uses dry cooling instead of water cooling to manage its heat. That’s important because as we’ve seen with the California drought, the future will be increasingly water-constrained.”

“Connectivity and computing is playing a role in Ivanpah as well. Each heliostat is connected by not only a power cable but also a data cable that controls each one ensuring they track the sun, or change position according to the facilities’ needs. When there are high winds the mirrors go into a safety flat position. When it rains they also go into that position to get a free mother nature washing. Data commands all aspects of the Ivanpah facility.”

The optimists gloss over many things. If you don’t gloss over the column, you can see them. Time may also reveal these things.

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The evil demon. Really?

Thomas Lifson takes a look at the Stuff Bush didn’t do.

“In the face of five years of Obama failure, the American Left still invokes the specter of George W. Bush as the all-purpose explanation for everything that has gone wrong. Yet the 43rd president is steadily climbing in public esteem, as his sunny disposition and serious demeanor toward the duties of office sit well in the public memory. So, too, his dignified behavior as ex-president brings credit.

“One good way to force the Left to confront President Obama’s own responsibility for his conduct in office is to compare his abuses of office with the record of President Bush 43, who was reviled by by his opposition as a dictator-wannabe, Constitution-abusing, moronic ogre straddling the line between simian and human. Doug Ross of Director Blue has produced an amusing comic-book approach toward explaining the differences between the two men:

This particular phenomena exposes the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy. The extremes are to place complete blame on one side or the other with the ‘both equally culpable’ as a supposed moderate, in the middle position. Integrity demands a better placement of responsibility for behavior and evaluation of the consequences and implications.

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The green war on the poor

“Before around 1960, anybody other than a crank would have been flabbergasted at such suicidal stupidity and policies one would expect from an enemy or a rival. An illiterate farmer in the 19th century knew you had to husband natural resources and protect them for the future, but he would never have idealized a harsh natural world that only stubbornly and by dint of hard labor produces sustenance for humans. But that was before environmentalism evolved into a cult for an affluent society of people so rich that they can take for granted their protection from nature by technology and industrialism, all the while it demonizes a modern world those same people couldn’t live without for five seconds.”

Bruce Thornton: The Costs of the Environmentalism Cult. To deprive farmers of the water they need to grow fruits and vegetables, to deprive people of the fuel they need to keep warm in the winter, these sorts of actions are a war of the wealthy on the poor.

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Must call the lie out

“Nasty, brutish – and false – as was the Progressive assault on George W. Bush: e.g. “Bush lied, people died,” Michael Moore’s “Farenheit 9/11,” etc., was very much part of a free society, in which people freely contest each other’ view of reality. Alas, the Progressive ruling class is instituting a regime in which no one may contest what it knows full well to be false without suffering consequences.”

“This is the sort of thing that one expects from the North Korean regime”

“For ordinary Americans, calling the regime’s lies by their name, deviating from political correctness, carries far stiffer penalties, because the regime has labeled each such deviation as an antisocial pathology: racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, “denialism,”etc., any of which mark you as an opponent of those who count. They may fire you, pass you over, or just exclude you from that to which you wish to be included.

This is new and incomplete. But only in America. It is the very routine, the very constitution, of totalitarian society.”

Angelo M. Codevilla says to Live Not by Lies, quotes Solzhenitsyn as one who ‘been there, done that’ and has seen the consequences. The message is that dishonesty cannot be excused, ignored, or let to be without disasterous consequences.

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Recognizing the fight

Rick Moran: Dems Trying to Blame IRS IG for Targeting Scandal

“The Obama administration has well-documented problems with assertive inspector generals, so this kind of pushback is to be expected from Hill Democrats. It’s an attempt to smear the IRS inspector general and only shows how desperate the Democrats have become. It’s a hail mary pass that is going to fall incomplete in the end zone.”

John Hinderaker: America’s Latest Heroine Fights Back. The heroine is Catherine Engelbrecht, President of Engelbrecht Manufacturing, founder of the King Street Patriots, and chair of True the Vote. In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, she described what she experienced after filing for nonprofit status for the King Street Patriots and True the Vote organizations.

“The more we learn about the rot and corruption in the Obama administration, the deeper it goes. Obama’s misuse of federal agencies to target and intimidate citizens who disagree with him politically is the worst abuse of executive power in my lifetime, by a wide margin. We all need to fight back, at every opportunity.”

It is ugly. It is persistent. It is dishonest. And it is a broad front. Perhaps some are beginning to understand what they are up against, what we are up against, what the country is up against.

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FUD Mongering, Organic GMO

“Using scare tactics and propaganda campaigns, anti-GMO activists are trying to convince Americans that GMOs are dangerous — that they are some kind of “Frankenfood.” This ignores more than a century of evidence that shows that the genetics of plants can be manipulated safely to produce better yields, bigger fruits and heartier products.”

“There are plenty of issues America’s farmers and food producers can focus on to better mankind: increasing food production, reducing or eliminating tariffs that keep the food prices artificially high around the world, and finding better methods to provide food to those who cannot grow it themselves.

“Spending time needlessly arguing over whether foods containing GMOs must be labeled is not one of these most important issues. Rather, it is just a way to make the government a part of an advertising campaign intended to enrich a few at the expense of the many.”

George Landrith: Labeling foods with genetic fears – Shoppers wanting organic products don’t need new warnings.

If this keeps up, pretty soon anything you buy in a grocery store will have a little pamphlet of fine print like prescription drugs do. The effectiveness of such labels and warnings gets to be much like the story of the kid who kept crying wolf (wikipedia). The behaviors are characteristic: big, evil, corporate farming out to kill their customers, the common people, and so on. The fact that modern genetic modification is simply a new and faster way to implement the ages old tactic of breeding for characteristics is swept under the rug and anytime it creeps out, it is attacked with vigor and a plentitude of logical fallacies.

It is just another expression of the Left’s war on the impoverished.

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Fighting tooth and nail

Thomas Lifson says the Dems declare war on Inspector General uncovering IRS scandal. What he describes is a dedicated, unforgiving, no holds barred, effort of defense.

“The IRS scandal is so bad that Democrats are unleashing total war in an attempt to beat back a full airing of the abuse. The old adage, “The best defense is a good offense,” is all the more valid when the major media outlets are on their side. It is not necessary to have any actual facts to use as rebuttal for the indefensible; it is enough to simply throw a cloud of dust, so as to discredit any charges – in the eyes of supporters and media sycophants.”

“Inspectors General are the taxpayers’ best friends in Washington, DC, charged with investigating waste and corruption, and for that reason have been the targets of the Obama administration’s  Ongoing War on Inspectors General, documented by Ed Lasky over the past several years. It is Chicago-style politics to threaten anyone who can uncover inconvenient dirt. Obama is notorious for his “they bring a knife, you bring a gun” style of political hardball, and an inspector general who threatens to uncover scandal is an obvious target.”

That tends to stimulate positive feedback, the artificially created fallacy that there’s no smoke so there’s no fire and what has got these Republicans upset, anyhow? The scary thing is that the Democrats are working as a solid block despite clear indications of impropriety that need to be repaired. Mass hysteria?

Also see John Hinderaker Barack Obama: The George Wallace of Free Speech

“Bitterly hostile to free speech when exercised by their political opponents, Democrats have done whatever they can to undermine Citizens United, just as they did decades ago with Brown vs. Board of Education.

“The I.R.S. scandal can best be seen in this light. The Democrats are using the levers of the executive branch, particularly the I.R.S., to deter Americans from exercising the First Amendment rights that were guaranteed them by the Supreme Court.”

A fear of inspection of ideas is a danger of magnitude.

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From entertainment media you’d think the entire population was mostly gay and black

Alan Caruba says it’s The Gay Attack on American Values. It would be one thing to ‘live and let live’ but that just isn’t enough for the minority.

“It is 3% of the population demanding that 97% toss aside their faith and their values to accommodate the aberration called homosexuality. And, yes, it is an aberration because homosexuality cannot be interpreted as “normal” in any species.

MassResistance correctly says “This is madness and should not have any legal leg to stand on.”

If the homosexual assault on values and practices that have existed for centuries in the Catholic Church and in other religious faiths succeeds, the whole of our society will suffer for it.”

It is a campaign of lawsuits and selective targeting. The persistence in these efforts is enough to make one wonder what would happen if that effort was turned towards more productive ends.

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A tale of compounding droughts

“The wages of both nature’s drought and human folly are coming due. Unless it rains or snows in biblical fashion in the next 60 days, we could see surreal things in California — towns without water, farms reverting to scrub, majestic parks with dead landscaping — fit for Hollywood’s disaster movies.

Instead of an adult state with millions of acre-feet stored in new reservoirs, California is still an adolescent culture that thinks it has the right to live as if it were the age of the romantic 19th-century naturalist John Muir — amid a teeming 40-million-person 21st-century megalopolis.

The California disease is characteristic of comfortable postmodern societies that forget the sources of their original wealth. The state may have the most extensive reserves of gas and oil in the nation, the largest number of cars on the road — and the greatest resistance to drilling for fuel beneath its collective feet.”

HANSON: A tale of two California droughts – water for everything but people, farming and commerce, it seems. The natural climate cycle and anti-human ideology make for two droughts.

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