Archive for December, 2016

The Russians Did It!

Or did they? Dan Goodin says the White House fails to make case that Russian hackers tampered with election — “US issued JAR billed itself as an indictment that would prove Russian involvement.”

Talk about disappointments. The US government’s much-anticipated analysis of Russian-sponsored hacking operations provides almost none of the promised evidence linking them to breaches that the Obama administration claims were orchestrated in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

as Lee was quick to note, strong technical evidence is likely to be included in reports to Congress that later may be declassified. Still, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Thursday’s Joint Analysis Report provides almost no new evidence to support the Obama Administration’s claims Russia attempted to interfere with the US electoral process. Absent something more, the increasingly bitter debate may rage on indefinitely.

There are many telling indicators to consider. One is the conflation of election interference with IT intrusions and malfeasance. That’s issue deceit by misdirection. Others including finding someone, anyone, to blame; timing; history of concerns, actions, and precautions; distortion of opponent statements; refusal of sources to testify to their oversight committees; vagueness of allegations; fabricated, implied, and non-existent support; anticipating the future will come up with affirmation sometime; anticipating that the “bitter debate will rage on indefinitely” anyway’ and outrage mismatch with substance.

Sadly, the JAR, as the Joint Analysis Report is called, does little to end the debate. Instead of providing smoking guns that the Russian government was behind specific hacks, it largely restates previous private-sector claims without providing any support for their validity. Even worse, it provides an effective bait and switch by promising newly declassified intelligence into Russian hackers’ “tradecraft and techniques” and instead delivering generic methods carried out by just about all state-sponsored hacking groups.

Security consultant Jeffrey Carr also cast doubt on claims that attacks that hit the Democratic National Committee could only have originated from Russian-sponsored hackers because they relied on the same malware that also breached Germany’s Bundestag and French TV network TV5Monde.

Indeed, the Joint Analysis Report makes no mention of the Democratic party or even the Democratic National Committee. The lack of specifics and vagueness about exactly how the DHS and FBI have determined Russian involvement in the hacks leaves the report sounding more like innuendo than a carefully crafted indictment.

This is how you play games in politics. The argument is between one side making allegations and innuendo with the other side asking for clarity and support for the claims. Governance is not the goal but rather personal ideological rationalizing and emotional comfort take precedence.

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Another round for gun control, another hysteria episode for media, and caring for an unclaimed veteran

Here’s a few more from the morning’s news and comment scan. Shaw provides links to the NV AG on the problems with the narrowly passed effort at more restrictions on self defense. Hinderaker provides an example of the bias and hysteria in the State Propaganda Machine with foreboding about what this implies is coming. Finally, there is an “unclaimed veteran” and a few high school kids who stepped up.

Jazz Shaw: Oops. Bloomberg’s $20M gun control bid in Nevada has fallen apart – (but, don’t worry,you can bet they’ll fix the problems and try again)

Having the plan in place only works as long as the facilities are available for sellers to obtain the mandated background check and the only avenue provided under the legislation was to have the FBI do it. But they don’t have the resources available to cater to this program so they won’t be participating. This leaves a situation where otherwise legal sales couldn’t take place due to reasons beyond the control of the seller. In other words, the measure is completely unenforceable.
We could spend another year debating the need for a father to get a background check on his son or daughter before passing on a hunting rifle to them, but that’s really not the point here. As Bob points out, this is a case of a poorly thought out plan which relied entirely on their program being paid for by somebody else. And in this case they put the law up to a vote before even asking the “somebody else” in question whether or not they were willing and able to provide the required resources.

John Hinderaker – Trump Press Conference Prompts Hysterical Reaction – it’s off to the races!

Yesterday Donald Trump gave a very brief press conference at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, and spoke again with the press later in the day. If the reaction by reporters and editors is any indication, we are in for a long four years.
Similar stories go on for pages. The Associated Press jumped into the breach with a piece headlined, AP Explains: Did Trump just create 8,000 jobs? If you read carefully, you find out that the answer is Yes.
So Trump has taken credit for this particular job creation twice? The horror!
I don’t know whether Trump’s effort to promote job creation in the U.S. will succeed or not, but the alacrity with which the press tried to deny him any credit for these developments is troubling.
The moral of all this is that the press declared all-out war on Trump long ago, and his election has done nothing to cool the anti-Trump ardor of American reporters and editors. We are in for much more of this partisan coverage over the next four years.

The feel good story of the day is by Lauren Katzenberg. 6 Teens Serve As Pallbearers For Navy Vet They Never Met – An “unclaimed veteran” needed pallbearers. A funeral home worker’s son had another commitment but he had friends at Long Beach High School in Mississippi who volunteered for the duty. “All six decided they would have it placed in the Bearcats’ locker room. Warden said she would have a case made with a plaque that bears Pino’s name to display the flag.”

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boys, girls, social constructions, and why Nat Geo?

Ace takes note: Shock: Boys Prefer Puzzles and Games to Dolls, and This Somehow… Is Harmful to Girls

I thought National Geographic’s mission was to take us to little-seen corners of the globe, not to pluck stories off the Jezebel Network.

Apart from the routine stupidity you’d expect — that gender is a social construction and that kind of garbage

So, if I have this right: Boys are more prone to play with “boy” toys because boys are afforded less freedom by social norms, and are essentially forced to play with boy-toys, and girls are afforded more freedom to play as they choose, and this means that… girls are the oppressed sex?

It is interesting how this ‘social construction’ idea gets used in contradicting ways. When it comes to differences between genders, it is the cause but when it comes to LGBT lifestyle social construction is dismissed in favor of biological imperative. The reasoning gets about as convoluted as trying to rationalize performers dissing the inaugural festivities out of ‘conscience’ while asserting Christians have to cater to gay ceremonies.

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Two views: Lame Duck session or Wounded Duck interregnum?

Here are two views of the actions of the outgoing president and the president-elect since the election in November. Keep in mind that one of the top ranking rules in politics is when you are in a hole the first thing to do is to stop digging.

Kelly Riddell: A graceless exit – “Outgoing President Obama buries land mines for the Trump presidency.”

“Since the Nov. 8 results, Mr. Obama has taken a blow torch to the Oval Office, ensuring through his last minute executive actions and agency rulings, that Mr. Trump will have anything but a smooth transition into office.

“Mr. Obama — looking to protect his legacy — has unilaterally made several moves to undermine and undercut Mr. Trump’s ability to deliver on his campaign promises.”

Marcus: Does Trump realize there can only be one president at a time?

“One of the hallmarks of our democratic system is its commitment to the peaceful transition of power. This practice comes with two important, linked corollaries that fall under the umbrella that there can be only one president at a time. The first is that the incoming president, especially in the arena of foreign policy, takes care not to trespass on the prerogatives of the incumbent. The second is that the outgoing president, once departed, remains largely mute, giving his successor space to operate unimpeded by post-presidential backseat carping.

“President-elect Donald Trump must have missed this memo.
“This public tussling is as disturbing as it is unprecedented.”

Quite a contrast!

One way to look at this is that Marcus is telling Trump to ‘shut up’ as the left has a habit of doing when its ideologies are being opposed and it has no reasonable support for its views.

While Trump is talking to nearly anyone and everyone to prepare for governance — as per usual — Obama is doing and acting without factual support (Russian sanctions, EPA war on coal, …) and without any consideration for the public or Congress — as per usual for him.

Check MRC on how the discussion went in 2008. Not only is there the ‘shut up’ meme but there is also the ‘goose — gander’ thing that what’s good for me is bad for you idea.

The president-elect might have missed some unwritten memo but it is the current president who has dismissed the election.

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PotPourri Thursday 29 December 2016

Too many air passengers fly with phony support pets, critics say  by Jennifer Dixon , Detroit Free Press

How do airlines know whether these pets are true service animals and not impostors wearing an official-looking vest bought online for $39.99? The answer is, they don’t. Critics say many travelers claim their pets are service or emotional support animals because they don’t want to pay for them to travel.
“The law is so ambiguous the airlines don’t know what side to come down on. Everyone is afraid of the ramifications of not allowing someone equal access,” Haneline said.

He said blind people fought hard to get public access for their dogs, and that right is “diluted” by a proliferation of questionable service and support pets.
“It’s the Wild West,” Haneline said. “Animals are much more connected to our daily lives, and the last thing people want to do is put their dog into a pet carrier and put them in the hold of an airplane. This is kind of an easy way to (avoid that) without paying.”

13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful

”Somebody once told me the definition of hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” — Anonymous

“Sometimes, to become successful, and get closer to the person we can become, we don’t need to add more things, we need to give up on some of them.

“There are certain things that are universal, which, if you give up on them, you will be successful, even though each one of us could have a different definition of success.”

The photograph at the top of the essay looks like it might have come out of

Fact Checking John Kerry, the Man who Knows Everything but Understands Nothing by David Israel

“There’s something almost religious in Kerry’s repetition of the 2-state mantra, in the face of so much failure. It reminds one of the devout Communists of years past, who rejected the examples of Communism’s path of repression, violence and economic failure, arguing that in a place like the Soviet Union it wasn’t done right. If only its principles were applied the way Marx and Engels had intended them to be, you’d see…

“There are, in fact, many competing ideas, with their strengths and weaknesses, which claim to achieve the goal of resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict in an equitable manner – ideas John Kerry rejected out of hand Wednesday night, like a true believer.”

You can apply this observation to a whole raft of issues such as climate alarmism, too.

Fury as Charlie Sheen says Trump should be the next celebrity to die prompting backlash from web users calling him a ‘scumbag’ and a ‘useless cockroach’

It appears that a lot of folks are taking note of hypocritical depravity. The also has a list of celebrity deaths in 2016, almost fifty of them.

Ace notes another Obama goodbye: On Way Out the Door, Obama Administration Changes Rule So That Now Those Who Receive SSI Payments Will be Categorized Officially as “Mental Defectives” and Thus Flagged on Gun-Purchase Background Checks as Ineligible to Buy Guns – need to check into that to make sure it’s not Fake Newsâ„¢ but it does fit patterns. Jazz Shaw also notes Another 1.5M acre federal land grab: “These eleventh hour moves are becoming tedious and repetitive at this point … There was a time when we didn’t need to worry about “undoing” these sorts of actions. That’s because previous presidents acted on the honor system, exercising restraint and not attempting to bend the rules in order to advance their own agenda. Sadly, those days are gone.” Allahpundit adds a few more: “Obama has tried to “permanently” ban offshore drilling in certain parts of the Arctic and Atlantic and he ordered the dismantling of the NSEERS registry for visitors from terror countries, which Trump has talked of reviving. The biggest box-in, of course, is the review Obama has commissioned of Russian hacking operations during the election and the reprisals he’s planning (or has already ordered), both of which will make it harder for Trump politically to make nice with Putin next year. For all the nice-nice talk between the outgoing administration and the incoming one, Team O is doing what it can to screw Team Trump.” And, of course, Allahpundit has to show his TDS with an everyone does it logical fallacy: “But it goes both ways, too.”

John Sexton takes on a new idea for what Obama is leaving behind and notes the denial and tactics of the Democrats in Hey, maybe Obama should use recess appointments to pack the courts before leaving office –

“What’s interesting about this article is that it seems to perfectly encapsulate a common line of thinking on the left these days. It goes like this: Republicans have violated all the norms and Democrats have held back and played by the rules. And this, some add, is why Democrats always lose.

“Needless to say, this is not quite how things have gone. The passage of Obamacare via reconciliation, the decision to use the nuclear option, the Senate Majority leaders lies about Mitt Romney’s taxes, the aforementioned “recess appointments” to the Labor Relations Board, the President’s unprecedented expansion of prosecutorial discretion under DACA, his kill list and use of drones against U.S. citizens, the payment of subsidies to insurers despite a requirement to make payments to the Treasury. Not to mention the Democrat-led attempts to request a blanket pardon for “dreamers,” to rally faithless electors to attempt to change the outcome of the election and to demand a special classified briefing for electors—all of which took place in the last month. Granted those last three didn’t work out but not for lack of trying.”

Roger Kimball takes a look at The Wages of Trump Derangement Syndrome:

“By now we have a bulging dossier of absurdity, a folder that would put a frown on the face of any mental-health professional. The incontinent displays of anger, anguish, and apocalyptic melodrama are evidence of a serious derangement. And the fact that the entire performance takes place in an unctuous jelly of narcissistic self-absorption makes one fear for the sanity of a large swathe of the privileged class.
“More and more, we doubt not just the explanations and rationalizations and imprecations and animadversions directed at the phenomenon of Donald Trump’s election. The scales have fallen from our eyes and we find that we don’t care about almost anything they have to say about any subject. That subtle unspoken contract of implicit trust — between news providers and news consumers, between pedagogues and students, between experts and the rest of us — that bond has been broken, that trust shattered.”

At Climate Depot is How To Tell Who’s Lying To You in Climate Debate: ‘Same method used by judges & juries’:

“If you are a reasonably intelligent person, and you are willing to spend a few hours on an issue, there is a very workable method to discern which side of a debate is not playing straight with you. This method is the same method generally used by judges and juries in deciding which side is going to win a trial. The method is this: look to which side has and provides the best answers to the hard questions posed by the other side. If one side refuses to answer hard questions, or is evasive, or refuses to provide the underlying methodology by which it came up with its answers, then that side has a problem. And rightfully so.

“I’ll give just a few examples of this phenomenon relevant to the climate change issue.”
“Real, honest scientists would gladly provide the full, unedited computer code that made the adjustments, and would answer any questions that would help an independent researcher to replicate the results.”

Victor Davis Hanson describes Fifteen Easy Ways to Ruin the Middle East :

President Obama had lots of choices in Middle East. Unfortunately he made all the wrong ones, guided by pop ideology rather than unwelcome facts on the ground. The result is chaos at best and millions dead or displaced at worst. It didn’t have to be this way. Here are 15 turning points since 2009. There is one common theme: bombastic self-serving declarations coupled with weak or nonexistent concrete follow-ups — all in a weird landscape of punishing friends and empowering enemies.

We do live in interesting times!

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Notes from the day’s information stream

So much is flying by. The pot is boiling. People are observing, thinking, and posting their results. Here’s a sampler.

Remember the Christian bakers – “Liberal dancers who scoff at others’ beliefs, suddenly find their conscience”

That ended up being fake news promoted by one woman on Facebook, not associated with anyone involved, and unaware of the fact that Rockette participation in the inaugural event is completely voluntary. Moreover, they had more dancers volunteering than available slots for the Inaugural gig, so no one will be dancing “with tears in their eyes,” as the one gloomy Rockette dramatically predicted on her Instagram.
Yet it’s fair to say the same liberals who support the Rockettes’ right to not perform are the same people who have no problem with Christian businesses being attacked for declining to participate in something that violates their conscience and faith. In their cases, the refusal to cater or bake a cake for a gay wedding.
Arguably, Donald Trump’s ascendancy is the result of eight years of liberals punishing those who are not protected groups of the left or who do not pay allegiance to that point of view.

This Christmas season was different – “Donald Trump brought ‘Merry Christmas’ back, leaving the crybabies at the door.” Then there’s New York Times’ St. Nicholas picks a bone with Christ on Christmas. – “Just imagine it is one of the holiest days of the Muslim calendar and The New York Times decides to “celebrate” the occasion by asking incredulous questions aimed at obliterating the very foundation of the entire religion of Islam.”

Thomas Lifson: DC Court of Appeals re-opens search for deleted Hillary emails – this time with grand juries and subpoenas, if necessary – “a ruling from DC Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Williams. His ruling reversed a lower court decision that halted FOIA lawsuits by Judicial Watch and Cause of Action that had sought Justice Department probes into the possible existence of records of the deleted emails.”

Editor Barry Shaw: The vote was not about “settlements” – it was much worse – “The Security Council vote was not about settlements. It was about something far worse.” Learn about the deceitful and dishonest gotcha’s.

The UNSC vote was not about “settlements.” It was an Arab subterfuge, a trap into which the United States, the UK, New Zealand and other naïve or cynical diplomats took an active role.

It was all smoke and mirrors, a con trick holding up the settlement issue to dazzle the voters while the real intent was to disown Israel of territories to which they have genuine claim and turn them into “illegally occupied Palestinian territory.”
For certain, President Obama latched on to the idea. It was pay-back time, a golden opportunity not to be missed to hit back at Bibi before handing in the keys to the White House. For shame!

On Israel, also see Ed Morrissey: Hoyer to Kerry: Shut up – “Barack Obama came into office fumbling on the issue of settlements, and it looks like he’s determined to go out in the same manner.” Instapundit notes “the leak is quite damaging. This is what you get when you spend eight years ignoring communications security and then try to pull a fast one. I guess that’s called “smart diplomacy.”” Betsy Newmark cites David French explains how international law is being used to try to delegitimize Israel with a good rundown on how war and conflict, winners and losers get all confused when it comes to Israel.

Brian C. Joondeph: The Media That Cried Wolf –

“Many of these fake hate crimes occurred before Trump’s election. Only now, post-election, are they increasing in an effort to delegitimize Trump’s presidency and his supporters.
“The moral of Aesop’s fable is that habitual liars are not believed, even when they are telling the truth. Americans are tuning out the news and parade of supposed hate crimes. There will come a time when real outrage is warranted but America will simply yawn and say “here we go again”.”

Examples by ACE:: Stay Woke: Yet Another “Hate Crime” Revealed As Staged and a “we’ll see” Obama: After Leaving the White House, I Need to be “Still” With My Own Thoughts So I Can “Process” What Just Happened.

On the Allahpundit front there is Your depressing poll result of the day that illustrates why Fake Newsâ„¢ is a real concern. See YouGov poll: 52% of Democrats believe Russia tampered with the vote totals to get Trump elected president. On the TDS front Allahpundit gets in his dig:

“Exit question: When YouGov asked if it’s true that millions of illegal votes were cast last month, 52 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Trump voters said it definitely or probably is. Er, why would you believe that about an election you won? Is it a way for Republicans to explain Hillary’s popular-vote victory to themselves, with most of the illegal votes being cast in California rather than in the Rust Belt states where Hillary really needed them? If Democrats were capable of turning out illegal voters en masse, you would think they could have cranked out enough of them in Florida and Pennsylvania given the narrow margins of Trump’s victories there to give her the presidency.”

Instapundit cites: Wisconsin John Doe probe will never be over for furious Democrats and wonders “Why do these people still have jobs?” – The Sowell Patrol provides :14 Amazing Thomas Sowell Quotes in Honor of His Last Column. And another citing Powerline: Words of wisdom over the years from Dr. Thomas Sowell.

There’s been a lot going on in 2016 besides the death of celebrities. Gordon Govier lists Biblical Archaeology’s Top Ten Discoveries of 2016 – “A glimpse at the important excavation work revealed this year.” – “Archaeological discoveries announced in 2016 help us better understand the Bible and the biblical world, and affirm the Bible’s details about events and people.”

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Road Trip Bouncer. Tidbits

This morning’s tidbits …

Allahpundit: “Waters is showing you what that looks like here. The answer to the party’s problems is to be less nice.” That answers the question about what is important to a Democrat and how they approach problem solving.

Ed Morrissey: Alan Dershowitz is not happy about current foreign policy. Very not happy.

Scott Johnson compliments as Thomas Sowell signs off by remembering a first encounter: “[I]n the picture that Galbraith presents, there are no real issues. There is only the Keynesian truth and those too blind to acknowledge it. Franklin D. Roosevelt coined the phrase, “economic royalists.” There are also intellectual royalists, who rule by decree and give the peasants no reasons, but only the time-honored “bread and circuses.” Galbraith omits the bread.”

Then there’s the Coyote on what to do with the Christmas tree: “If you are worried about greenhouse gasses and global warming, then I have some Christmas advice for you. When you are done with your Christmas tree, do NOT take it to one of those “recycling” locations most towns have. The recycling process is typically chipping and mulching the trees, which just accelerates their decomposition into greenhouse gasses. If you are really concerned about catastrophic warming, you want to use your tree as a carbon sink. Have it shrink-wrapped in some sort of plastic what won’t biodegrade and then landfill it — the deeper it is buried, the better. Those folks trying to get you to “recycle” your tree are secretly in the pay of the Koch brothers and trying to trick you into ruining the environment.” Let’s assume this is ‘tongue firmly planted in cheek’ as a comment about the modern Green Blob.

Then there’s the Christmas feel good as Selema Zito describes a Miracle on the Old Lincoln Highway. American ingenuity is finding ways to help those in need and finding a way to qualify that need with some degree of fiscal management. A layaway defines a need and shows priority, budgeting, and a commitment for success. So now there’s a layaway angel hitting Walmarts.

Instapundit notes Jason Riley: Why Liberals Oppose Ben Carson: Trump’s HUD nominee grew up poor, and he knows public housing isn’t where people prefer to live.. “HUD’s original goal was to establish voter farms for the Democrats, and it’s been wildly successful in that. Everything else is just noise. What worries Democrats about Ben Carson is that he might upset that applecart.”

Also in Instapundit Krauthammer’s Take: It’s As If the U.N. Passed a Resolution Declaring Mecca Jewish Territory. They’d never do that. Someone would kill them.

Newt Gingrich says The New York Times is having a hard time understanding President-elect.  “Trumpism is a process and a philosophy of action and leadership so different from the normal Washington systems that the Times just seems incapable of understanding it. — Furthermore, there is an Orwellian quality of deliberation misinformation and disinformation to the Times’ coverage.” He ought to know what with a recent public Trump experience.

There is a story in American Interest about a new concept being applied to infrastructure projects. (AI is still rather old school on publications protection so beware) The Design-Build process is the one being used for the USA Parkway at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Complex. As a side note, there was a good essay on historical context for the Gospels on the AI website yesterday but the protections inhibited its reference.

How about busting metrification myths?

James Louis gets into psychiatric analysis. “In this season of despair for the left, liberals are not just going through a hissy fit after Hillary lost. They are showing us a bunch of primitive, infantile defenses.” This sort of thing is becoming more common as the behavior is getting hard to avoid.

Phil Shapiro thinks science needs and upgrade to open. This is interesting because science, by definition, is an open, social process. The implication is that modern science is somewhat lacking in this basic value. I guess you could get a glimmer of where this comes from by looking at the climate debate or the many efforts resorting to legal processes to obtain data or many other items in the news these days.


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It gets old fast: Celebrity Pimping

Karol Markowicz says The entertainment elite’s Inaugural boycott will backfire — again. This is a response to the attempts of the Left and Democrat efforts to get celebrity performers to boycott the Trump inauguration ceremonies. It’s so bad even Robert Reich is promoting a Freedom United Concert to coincide and compete with the inauguration. Boycotting just isn’t good enough. That’s why riots and other mayhem are so popular. At least a concert is (or should be) a bit more civil.

The real issue is the bubble created by the left’s Stalinized airbrushing of non-liberals out of American popular culture.

The liberal bent in everything goes far beyond just Broadway or Hollywood. It permeates everything. And it gets old fast.

It’s a world Democrats don’t inhabit. They would never be reading a home magazine and find themselves knee deep in conservative political conspiracy theories. Same goes for women’s magazines, which are all automatically liberal with uniform opinions on “women’s issues,” as if conservative women don’t exist. Then there’s a shock when 53 percent of white women choose Trump.

As liberals continue to draw cultural lines that leave conservatives out, they have to notice that it’s translating to ballot-box losses.

The all-encompassing liberalism in popular culture might not be hurting the performers’ financial bottom lines (so far), but it’s certainly not doing anything to help their political causes, either. As we learned this election, we ignore whole segments of the population at our peril.

It’s like what the Democrats tried to do on the campaign trail: pimp the celebrities hoping some of their popularity would rub off on Clinton et al. It didn’t. What this sort of effort did tend to do, it appears, is to generate more of an us versus them thing and that reinforced the opposition. You’d think the Left would have learned something from that experience but learning from reality seems rare in that direction so they’ll try again. It’s like that definition of insane: doing the same thing over and over expecting different results this time.

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Harry Reid and other examples of the empty moral compass

This from Betsy Newmark cruising the web:

Harry Reid continues to brazenly lie. It’s what he does.

“Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he “did what was necessary” in 2012 when he falsely accused Mitt Romney of not having paid his taxes for 10 years.

“Reid was asked about those comments, which he made during a speech on the Senate floor, in response to call during a live interview on Las Vegas’ KNPR.

“The caller asked Reid if he thought that “the brazen lie he told about Mitt Romney not pay his taxes has in anyway contributed to the fake news debate that we now find ourselves in.”

….“First of all, there were no brazen lies. What I said is the truth,” he maintained.

“There’s no brazen lies. I did what was necessary,” he said a few moments later.

“By “necessary,” he means what was necessary to defeat Romney. Of course, there was no evidence that Romney had not paid his taxes in 10 years.

“In an interview with CNN last year, he suggested that his statement was warranted because it was effective.

“Romney didn’t win, did he?” he told CNN’s Dana Bash.

“And in an interview with The Washington Post in September, Reid said that lying about Romney’s taxes on the Senate floor was “one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

Think of empty moral compass it takes to think that way.

Other topics in the post include the dismay about foreign policy,  Fake News(tm), and stunning hypocrosy – A good summary from a history teacher’s perspective.


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The kind of people who serve, the kind you that give Merry Christmas a special meaning

First person testimony at Dallas News: What I learned about Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson after spending a week on jury duty with him.

I didn’t vote for Trump. This is not an endorsement of Tillerson for secretary of state. I’m sure that the coming days and weeks will be filled with speculation and political discussion over this clearly controversial pick. I certainly appreciate those concerns and the process that ensures significant scrutiny for this important position.

But during a recent news show, I heard the term “corrupt” applied to this man who I spent five days with back in 2007.
All I know is that this man who holds one of the most powerful positions in the world and clearly has the means and ability to side-step his jury responsibilities, served as a normal citizen without complaint or pretense.

I know that a scared little girl who was finally persuaded to come public with her account of abuse was inches away from a decision that would have sided with her abuser, yet this man put his negotiation skills to a noble use, and justice was served.

There is a dissonance that is becoming ever more apparant. It first became visible when people like Limbaugh and others who played golf with Trump or dealt with him as a business leader conveyed their impressions of Trump that contrasted to the villification of those who considered Trump evil incarnate. It shows up in the confusion people have about Trump’s selection of people to run government. It is something Scott Adams noted a while ago and has been a topic of discussion as the swamp people in WDC trying to figure out what is coming their way. It shows in the viginet about the guy in a business suit with an earpiece.

From the first day of jury selection, we all noticed another suited man always present in the courtroom. His presence was intriguing due to the ear piece in his ear. While grabbing lunch at Denton County Independent Hamburger on the square the second day of the trial, we noticed this mysterious man dining with our fellow juror who’d declined the foreman spot. The intrigue grew, and it was the talk of the jury: Who were these men?

Finally, during a break in the jury room, one juror had the nerve to ask: “Who are you? And what do you do?”

Our fellow jury member was reading the paper again and pointed out an article with Exxon in the headlines.

I work for them, he said humbly. There are a lot of people in this world who hate me for what I do, so they give me and my family guys like that to protect me.

Then there’s the story about a General and his wife who baked chocolate chip cookies, lots of cookies, that they took around to give to soldiers on duty in the WDC area Christmas day and an anomaly he encountered. The Daily Beast has that story.

There is also discusion, about time discussion, concerning this dissonance. Whether it is harassment of Trump’s family on a public airliner, the many hoaxes, the actual Fake News from the state propaganda machine, or the dripping condescension and dellusional judgment, fresh air is circulating and the ugly is being exposed for what it is. The hate being spewed by people that accuse hate may be getting a mirror. We can hope the new year shows us many good things that have been missing for a long, long time. 

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+49% ? Say What? Really? Rush Indeed.

In the last year, The Rush Limbaugh Show experienced combined audience growth of +49 % with Persons 12+ and +23% with Adults 25- 54 on Cumulus-owned stations in Chicago (WLS-AM), Detroit (WJR-AM), Washington, D.C. (WMAL-FM), Dallas (WBAP-AM) and San Francisco (KSFO-AM). Nationwide, the program has experienced significant year-over-year audience growth in 2016 with Persons 12+ (+21%), Adults 25-54 (+13%), Adults 18-34 (+12%) and Women 25-54 (+17%). (Sources: Nielsen Audio, JAN-NOV Avg 2016 vs 2015, PPM Exact Times, AQH – Combined AQH; Nielsen Audio, JAN-NOV Avg 2016 vs 2015, PPM, Exact Times, AQH).”

per a press release from Premiere Networks and Cumulus Media cited by Jeffrey Lord in Talk Radio Thriving as Rush Limbaugh Signs New Contract That Shows His Dominance. Limbaugh messes with the minds on the left something fierce somewhat like Trump does and Lord lays it out. He cites ex-Bush speechwriter David Frum as an example:

“On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of “responsibility,” and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.

And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as “losers.” With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence—exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we’re cooperating! Those images of crowds of CPACers cheering Rush’s every rancorous word—we’ll be seeing them rebroadcast for a long time.

Rush knows what he is doing. The worse conservatives do, the more important Rush becomes as leader of the ardent remnant. The better conservatives succeed, the more we become a broad national governing coalition, the more Rush will be sidelined.”

Look at the modifiers being used then look at the perceptions described and then look at the ad hominem. Think about how many times Obama excoriated Republicans and blamed them (as a race) for everything evil and bad and try to fit that into Frum’s description. Consider the ‘keep your doctor’ claim and many other (significant) falsehoods used to sell or rationalize as well. Then listen to Limbaugh for a while and try to fit what you can actually hear every day on the radio with how Frum describes it. Then, of course, the lack of intellectual integrity is put on parade with the assertion of “ardent remnant.” Here’s Lord’s conclusion.

In other words? In other words not only have the critics of these talk hosts and talk radio in general gotten it wrong repeatedly. But in not paying attention to the audience all of them have – or worse contemptuously dismissing them as (to borrow from Hillary Clinton) a “basket of deplorables” who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it” — they completely missed the outcome of the 2016 election. Completely and totally.

As this politically tumultuous year comes to a close it is worth noting that it closes, most fittingly, with the good news that Rush Limbaugh has been re-signed. There is a reason. For those paying attention to Rush there is not the slightest surprise the election ended as it did.

Merry Christmas, Rush! and for thinking, open-minded people who listen to Limbaugh’s, Mark Levin’s, and Sean Hannity’s talk radio you have a gift under your tree that should brighten 2017 all year. From the numbers provided, it’s a very Merry Christmas for Premiere Networks and Cumulus Media, too. 

Also see: Robert Feder: WLS Locks in Rush .. (Dec 14, 2016), Premiere Networks PSA (Dec 14, 2016)  – incredible news needs comparable support!

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Climate Conspiracy: bonkers? or may you’re not paranoid if they are really after you

This is a guest essay by Leo Goldstein at WWUT: The Command & Control Center of Climate Alarmism.

As one environmental activist explained it to me, “climate change isn’t just an issue anymore, it’s the issue, a meta-issue for everything we work on” (Interview, Danish 92 Group, 2009).

Starting in 1989, these organizations came together to form a coalition: the Climate Action Network (CAN). CAN was founded as a vehicle for transnational coordination among sixty-three organizations. … Much of CAN’s efforts promoted the work of the IPCC and helped establish its centrality in the international climate regime. … In fact, CAN consolidated its coalition structure during this period [1990’s] by creating a high-level political group to facilitate policy and strategic coordination among member groups.

Central to CAN’s advocacy has been the idea that member organizations must “speak with one voice” to influence the international negotiations.

… the members are organized in a top-down fashion, like military units, not volunteer organizations.

America is specifically targeted, and the new enemy perceives our Constitutional political system with its “separation of powers and weak political parties” as a weakness to be exploited, apparently repeating mistakes of America’s past enemies.

… explains its ability to forcibly spread a perfectly synchronized message, despite its internal inconsistencies, disagreements with high school science, and frequent flip-flops in response to shifting international alliances and focus group research results.

… The presence of front groups, which often pop up from nowhere and catapult to the focus of media attention, is another telltale sign.

… CAN was founded in 1989, but it took about a decade and a half for climate alarmism to become the main ideological glue for multiple transnational and international groups. Accordingly, the consolidation of power into the hands of a few has been happening gradually.

… Centralized financing of climate alarmism goes hand-in-hand with centralized command & control. Today, most climate alarmism money comes from the public sectors of the US and EU. In the past, the EGA was a large factor. Money from the primary sources is laundered and transferred between climate alarmism units in various ways. The following tables are from an official legal complaint in 5:16-cv-211-C, verified under penalty of perjury.

Interesting that after reading a WW II battle story centered on the Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA) loop, I see a similar analysis about climate alarmism. Goldsteing offers Observation in response to a propaganda campaign. He is up against ‘the incredible claim needs incredible evidence’ axiom. That particular axiom tends to be used as a weapong by the propagandists and alarmists yet Goldstein appears to be up to the challenge no matter how ridiculous it gets.

This should also be considered in light of the Steyn v Mann free speech court case and how that is being twisted. One of the factors in that case was the email message leak that did show collusion if not outright conspiracy.

The facts about the Emporer’s New Clothes are becoming known. That may produce results.

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Legal Insurrection

Legal Insurrection has a couple of posts on TDS this morning. One is about how a Propane Vendor’s Threat to Trump Voters Explodes into Controversy posted by Leslie Eastman — “Michael Turner calls Trump a “hater” and refused to sell gas to supporters.” The other is by Kemberlee Kaye on The Eight Worst Anti-Trump “Hate Crime” Hoaxes — “There are plenty of legitimate Trump criticisms and no need to concoct stories of his supporters.” (note the qualifiers that there “are plenty of …” i.e. ‘both sides do it’ logical fallacy).

The most valuable lesson to be had in 2016 may be that tying your firm’s products to politics is a bad business model.

The latest person to learn this lesson is a Maine propane distributor who recently refused to sell gas to Trump voters.

Considering that he referred to Donald Trump as despicable and the Anti-Christ, I might suggest Turner spend some time reflecting on his use of the term “hater”.

As Hillary Clinton is discovering, a dramatic display of hubris is usually followed by a visit from Nemesis. Because Turner decided to exercise his First Amendment right to express himself, other Americans exercised their right to indulge in some due diligence.

It turns out the Propane dealer wasn’t properly licensed since 2012. Whoops.

On the other post with the “plenty of” qualifier, note that hoaxes like those being seen now are not rationalized by any legitimate criticism and are also quite lopsided in target selection.

As if faith in establishment media wasn’t depleted enough, there seems no end to stories recently exposed as hoaxes. In fact, just about every story where someone was supposedly the victim of pro-Trump hate has turned out to be nothing more than wish casting.

The TDS brigade is not known for considering the implications of their actions and these two stories reinforce that view. The propane dealer didn’t consider the implications of no fuel for heat, especially on the poor in a remote area of Maine. The hoaxer is also not considering the damage done by their actions.

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The Apollo Astronauts on Christmas

It’s Instapundit as the source is behind a Wall Street Journal obnoxious wall.

It happened on Christmas Eve, 48 years ago. Three men took turns reading from the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis. They were nearly 250,000 miles away from Bethlehem, but since it was the night before Christmas, and there was no chimney from which to hang their stockings, the three astronauts inside the Apollo 8 capsule orbiting the moon thought it would be appropriate. So as Jim Lovell,Frank Borman and Bill Anders looked at the faraway Earth through the small window of the spacecraft, they read the verses: “In the beginning, God made the heavens and the Earth.”

Their distant-sounding voices from far beyond our atmosphere were broadcast live to the whole planet that night over radio and television. It was one of those moments that brought the world together, that helped us to see our common humanity as children of God whom he loves equally, and whom he placed on the beautiful planet that he made.

Seven months after this extraordinary event, in July 1969, another NASA spacecraft, Apollo 11, carried two astronauts to the surface of the moon itself. One of them, Commander Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, thought he might do something similar to mark what was certainly an epochal moment in the history of our race.

After the Eagle had landed and he and Neil Armstrong sat in the Lunar Module, Mr. Aldrin said this over the radio:

“This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.”

He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, read a Bible verse, and took communion. For reasons he explains in his own account, none of this was made public until Mr. Aldrin wrote about it in Guideposts magazine the following year:

“In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup.”

Then Mr. Aldrin read Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.” He explained that he had wanted to read this over the radio back to Earth, but at the last minute NASA asked him not to because the agency was in a legal battle with the outspoken atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair. As it happened, she was suing over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis on Christmas Eve. And that of course is why so few people have heard of this amazing story.

I sometimes wonder what’s more amazing, this story—or the fact that so few people know about it.

Even back then, the effort was to quash Christians and everything they stand for. This year, there is a bit of pushback. Merry Christmas is back in vogue and those who want to silence such words and what they represent are getting heat. A stolen Nativity scene was replace by people placing empty cribs in its place.  The spirit and message of Christ is still in hearts and minds and expression.

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Examples of a milder case of TDS

Allahpundit at Hot Air is providing a lot of good examples of the milder form of Trump Derangement Syndrom (TDS)

In a post on the decline of belief in Santa Clause: “Declining cultural confidence is a western contagion without borders: It starts with Brexit, it spreads to America with Trump, and pretty soon you’re no longer putting out a plate of cookies by the chimney on Christmas Eve.” So Trump is part and parcel of the decline in civilization and not a reaction to it? Seeking independence from irrational government as in Brexit is part and parcel of the decline in civilization rather than a reaction to the decline?

On Trump’s criteria for employees: “Either Trump has disgruntled aides inside his tent who want to damage him by making the public believe he’s making major personnel decisions based on things like height or whether the candidate has a walrus-y mustache, or … he really is making personnel decisions based on those criteria.” And on a less frivolous note: “What Corker’s doing here, whether he fully realizes it or not, is further weakening the expectation that high public officials starting with the president should be fully transparent in their business dealings.”

This last is assuming that “fully transparent” is a matter of simply implementing procedures to strip a politician of any privacy whatsoever. It goes hand in hand with the ‘conflict of interest’ controversy that attempts to strip a politician of any involvement whatsoever in anything that could be construed as commerce anywhere. One only needs to consider Obama, Pelosi, and Reid to see how off base these ideas are in reality.

Here’s another one: “slobbering over Putin” – this one is about Trump’s America First and Strong Defense postures. The stimulous can be seen in “What does he really mean, though, when he says we should “strengthen and expand [our] nuclear capability”? The Times has a fun piece out parsing his tweet word by word, noting how many different ways it could be interpreted.” And, course, rather than work on the confused, the idea is to ridicule those trying to explain: “One amusing consequence of yesterday’s tweet is watching people on both sides of the Atlantic instantly start spinning on Trump’s behalf.”

It took a few years for BDS to really get going. TDS has a head start. Bush considered himself above the fray and the mechanisms to get out to the public weren’t what they are today. Trump appears to be willing to get into the mudwrestling with pigs and the pigs are squealing because of his use of modern technology. Things are different and it will be interesting to see how the future unfolds. Will Allahpundit go bonkers like much of the left in the news right now or will the TDS symptoms fade to honest debate, perception, and observation? In other words, there is a TDS spectrum and the curve of intensity vs insanity is quite elevated. We can hope that at least one side of the curve drops into the sane region.

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More last minute, in your face, bullying. Antii-semitism edition

Despite Egypt withdrawing its resolution, the rest of the U.N. Security Council pushed it through anyway. See Obama Intended to Pass Anti-Israel Measure at UN; Netanyahu Called Trump; Trump Tweeted Against the Measure; The Measure Has Been Withdrawn
Update: Obama Abstains, Letting Measure Pass
(warning, the post is NSFW as the writer was rather upset)

Update: Although Egypt withdrew the motion, four other Security Council measures forced the motion to be considered.

As Obama initially planned, the US disgraced itself by abstaining from the vote, permitting it to pass, rather than vetoing it.

“President Obama allowed a resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction in disputed Palestinian territory to pass through the United Nations Security Council, marking a dramatic change in U.S. policy just weeks before leaving office.

“The U.S. did not go so far as to vote for the resolution, but allowed it to pass by abstaining from the vote after decades of vetoing such proposals at the Security Council. Obama ordered the veto of a similar resolution in 2011”

This then becomes another example of the U.N. despising the principles upon which it was founded and also of the outgoing President’s true sympathies with terrorists. There is a lot of popular sentiment that the U.S. should stop propping up the U.N. and this is going to feed that sentiment to an incoming President who listens to the people.

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Are they the evil they pretend to despise?

Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Colonel who has personally observed many of the effects of Saddam Hussein and his sons’ rule. He calls out Kevin D. Williamson and says the National Review owes an apology to the Trump family.

I have stood at the side of a mass grave, seen the bodies and smelled the horrific odor of victims of Saddam, Uday and Qusay. Mr. Williamson’s comparison of the Trump family to the likes of the Husseins is so far beyond the pale as to defy description.

Williamson is not alone in his deranged behavior. Consider the Jet Blue Gay Harrassment team (JBGHT). From a story this morning, it appears the JBGHT is getting called on its behavior, too, albeit with tweets and comments that are rather over the top as well.

There is a need for intellectual integrity and equating those you do not like or do not agree with as evil personified is way short of that need and perhaps an example of the evil you pretend to despise.

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Free Speech vs Climate Alarmists

Jonathan H. Adler provides a good overview of the situation as Making Defamation Law Great Again: Michael Mann’s suit may continue.

While a direct accusation of scientific fraud may be actionable — particularly when made against a non-public figure — challenges to scientific conclusions and interpretations of scientific studies are clearly protected by the First Amendment. So are erroneous interpretations of scientific conclusions and — particularly relevant here — criticisms of the conclusions of investigatory bodies.

In refusing to dismiss claims against Steyn and Simberg, the D.C. Court of Appeals placed tremendous weight on the fact that Penn State and other institutions investigated Mann and did not find evidence of academic misconduct. Yet it is the alleged inadequacy of Penn State’s investigation that was the focus of the very posts at issue.

It cannot be that once some official body has conducted an investigation of an individual’s conduct, that further criticism of that individual, including criticism that expressly questions the thoroughness or accuracy of the investigatory body, is off limits. … The court’s approach is particularly problematic here because both Simberg and Steyn offered reasoned (if also intemperate) explanations for why they did not credit the investigations and why they believed that these investigations failed to uncover the misconduct they believe occurred. Yet according to the court, the existence of these investigations could be sufficient for a jury to find, by “clear and convincing evidence,” that they acted with actual malice.

Mark Steyn calls it a Walking in a Legal Wonderland.

Santa has come early and left a lump of coal in my stocking

I was not a party to the appeal, mainly because I’d concluded – after spending the autumn of 2013 listening to two trial judges issuing competing rulings on the same case – that the DC courts were a proceduralist swamp and we might as well move straight to trial. That view of DC’s dysfunction was subsequently confirmed by the lethargy of the Court of Appeals. A month before the appeal’s third anniversary, the court has now issued a very belated ruling as a Christmas Eve news dump. You can read the full order here.

The takeaway is that Mann’s suit against National Review editor (and my old boss) Rich Lowry has been dismissed, but those against me and Rand Simberg will proceed

You won’t be surprised to hear that I disagree with their ladyships. The “sufficient evidence” Dr Mann has supplied are a series of mendacious claims to have been “investigated” and “exonerated” by multiple Anglo-American bodies that did, in fact, do neither.

So I was right not to bother with this proceduralist bollocks

The purpose of the whole sclerotic racket of American jurisprudence is to obstruct up-and-down trials with a nice clean guilty/not-guilty final score, and instead bury the thing in proceduralist flimflammery only the experts can follow.

Then there’s this in another Mark Stetn post

Spot on. It reminds me of the old joke about the procedure for separating the sane from the insane, back when there were “mental asylums” and society tried to keep crazy people inside them instead of running the country.

The intake assessment involved giving each patient a mop and bucket, then locking them in a room and slowly flooding it with water.

As the water level rose, the insane went to work with the mop and bucket.

The sane located the valve and turned off the water.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Rick Darby

Then there’s Greg Laden: Michael Mann Wins Court Decision (Updated with statement by Mann)

The brief version is this: Mann sued the National Review and others over defamation. That’s a good suit and he’ll probably eventually win it. Climate science deniers have been trying to paint that as a frivolous suit for years, but it isn’t.

This is the sixth out of six decisions that have come down in favor of science

What gets interesting in that is the idea that using the logical fallacies of appeal to authority and ‘vox populi’ (many voices) are good science. The authority is the one that was subject to questioning by Steyn that prompted the lawsuit and the many voices is the “decisions” referenced.

This history condemns both the judicial system and the science establishment by illustrating how a lawsuit can be used to bully opposition and how reason and intellectual integrity can be tossed aside for political ideology.

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Two airplane harassment incidents

It gets confusing with all the acting out going on. One incident was a professional agitator on a Delta flight generating fake news about ‘how the U.S. hates Muslims’ and the other was about a gay guy that Jet Blue moved to a later flight because he could not stand flying with Ivanka Trump and her family. Paul Mirengoff described the latter as Freakout on an airplane with this summary:

And, as at the play “Hamilton,” the American public got another look at how leftists ignore the norms of civility, and at the classy way in which Trump’s close associates respond.

If the left keeps this up, Trump soon will be fully “normalized” and a clear majority of Americans will be on his side.

The agitated professor was asserting that the Trump family should have been flying private instead of public carrier coach. This gets interesting in light of the condemnation of the wealth in the Trump family. 

But first we get the incredible display. Now comes the incredible rationalizations. Hopefully there will be enough laughter to sink in and inhibit the incivility.

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Awareness: Code Words

Jazz Shaw describes how Activists fret over “which crimes are eligible for deportation” under Trump. The worry of activists is notable as it is based on a fear of what might happen and that fear is based on perceptions that exaggerate and distort reality. If this isn’t enough, wait, there’s more!

All of the code words in this article are predictable and common among amnesty proponents. The government is “targeting” people. Some of those being deported are only charged with “minor crimes.” No matter what Trump winds up doing on immigration you can expect to see these sorts of stories repeated ad nauseam in the press, always highlighting the one person they find who came from truly tragic circumstances in their original home and who committed the least serious offenses possible.

There’s a rather crucial observation missing from this story, however, and likely from all those to follow over the next four years.

What these liberal authors seem to be getting confused over is the fact that we’ve been prioritizing the deportation of the felons who are the worst of the worst.

Those code words are often modifiers, adjectives and adverbs. It is like seeing “billionaire” to describe Trump’s nominations. This morning, “Democrats accuse” should have been a clue that code words were in full swing. Shaw also notes the logical fallacy that is often used in misperceptions, that of the binary interpretation of graduated phenomena. Then, of course, there is the absurdity of some of the FUD Mongering. “Complaining about Trump deporting people who have done something less serious than murder or sexual assault is complaining that he’s enforcing the law.” That’s like not realizing what you are saying when you accuse more than a third of the people of the country of wanting to starve children and abuse women.

First things first. Know one’s self and consider just how accurate and reasonable your perceptions and views might be. Listen to others with a goal of trying to understand them, not with the goal of confirming your fantasies. And be aware that others see you and learn from some of the highlights of “election remorse'” that have been subject to discussion and ridicule. They might just be talking about you.

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