Archive for October, 2017

Discrimination and equality

Byron York: In Trump media coverage, audiences left and right get what they want – that’s one way to rationalize it: pandering to their audience. The problem is that issues of Fake News™ and misperception are glossed over. The predominance of various outlets in the discussion is glossed over. One item did get note:

Pew discovered that one recipe for bias, in both directions, is focusing news stories not on policy but on the single person of Donald Trump. All the outlets, no matter their orientation, did that, Pew discovered.
Pew discovered that one recipe for bias, in both directions, is focusing news stories not on policy but on the single person of Donald Trump. All the outlets, no matter their orientation, did that, Pew discovered.

York provides an example of a destructive bias in his essay in that he is rationalizing to try to get to a ‘both sides do it’ equality rather than expose the differences and contrasts.

IBD: Do The Media Hate Trump? Yes, And From The Very Start Of His Presidency, New Survey Shows – “The mainstream media don’t like Trump, but it’s not really anything he did as president, a new survey by the Pew Research Center shows.”

Some 62% of the media coverage of Trump was negative, Pew found. For Obama it, was just 20%; for Bush, 28%; for Clinton, also 28%. In other words, the media from the get-go had decided Trump was a bad president — before any of his policies had a chance to take hold.
“And it’s not a case of overwhelmingly negative coverage on one subject drowning out some moderately positive coverage on other matters,” noted the political blog Hot Air. “It was resoundingly negative across the board.”

Or, as Pew put it, “Compared with past administrations, coverage of Trump’s early days focused less on policy and was more negative overall.”

Same report, different takes. That’s how bias works. Whether it is constructive or destructive depends upon whether you can learn anything or not about the underlying reality.

Sadly, there’s no solution for this. In the digital age, we can all self-segregate on the web by tuning out discordant voices. Increasingly, that’s happening across the country, leading to a kind of ideological Balkanization. There’s more shouting, and less conversation. And we’re all poorer for it.

For all this, the media deserve much of the blame. They have abandoned all pretense of fairness or objectivity in their reporting, in favor of rank politicization of the news and even basic facts. The Pew report on their biased coverage of Trump’s initial months in office, unfortunately, confirms this.

Peter J. Boyer: How Donald Trump Has Disrupted the Media – “Pew study shows not just expected biases but also that publications have become strikingly self-referential.” Yet a third take to consider.

The Pew researchers found that only 11 percent of the content about Trump and his presidency could be considered positive. Four times that number of stories, 44 percent, offered a negative assessment.

That will not surprise anyone who has paid any attention to the news since inauguration day. What might be surprising is the way Trump—to whom the news media constitute “the opposition party”—has disrupted the media’s rule book.

One of traditional journalism’s basic tenets was the need to maintain a distanced objectivity (or, at the very least, the appearance of it). Dan Rather’s 1974 confrontation with President Richard Nixon made a lasting impression precisely because it was a stark departure from the norm. But the Pew study found that, in the age of Trump, journalists increasingly consider themselves at liberty to directly refute the president or representatives of his administration. This happened in 10 percent of the stories studied.
“One of the things that was interesting to see was that, while the topic of the news media was not a huge percentage of overall coverage, journalists were both the second most common source type as well as the second most common ‘trigger’ of the stories,” says Amy Mitchell, director of the Pew Research Center.*

Betsy Newmark got away from her Trump hate problem in today’s Cruising the Web – for some clarification of the gerrymandering court case, the gun control arguments, California’s attempt to legislate nirvana, and Michelle Obama’s tribalism.

Jazz Shaw: Some possible gun legislation to consider – he had not been aware of the devices that enabled rapid fire from semi-automatic rifles. Allahpundit has the other half: Statistician: After researching gun violence, I no longer believe in gun control – “Alternate headline: “Statistician obviously never wants a job in media again.””

Her name is Leah Libresco, formerly of Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site, where she crunched the numbers in a study of all 33,000 gun homicides in the United States annually. She went in thinking that the usual liberal menu of anti-gun policies would reduce that number dramatically. She came out concluding that “the only selling point [of those policies] is that gun owners hate them.” That’s an interesting way to phrase leftist conventional wisdom in an era when the right’s tribalism draws so much scrutiny. Often in the age of Trump it really does feel as though conservatism is defined as “whatever makes liberals cry.” Libresco’s takeaway on the efficacy of mainstream gun-control policies is that they’re appealing to the people who support them mainly to the extent they make gun aficionados cry.

Many of Libresco’s arguments will be familiar to right-wingers, but it’s one thing to endorse them as a matter of ideology and another to endorse them as a matter of hard data.
Her advice? Instead of focusing on feelgood policies that won’t do much of anything to reduce gun violence or on massively heavy-handed policies like confiscation, which have zero chance of passing, instead consider policies that will address the social pathologies that drive the three most common forms of gun homicides

Knee jerk gun control has a sister example: Houston Chronicle: Preaching Climate Alarmism Post Harvey – “What is physically possible can beat the odds, from time to time. It does not have to be God’s hand, the Devil’s paw, or fossil-fueled climate change.” But reality doesn’t make much difference for those who want to ‘feel good’ by passing a law or engaging in moral preening or whatnot.

In the days and weeks after, the Houston Chronicle inundated Houstonians with biased–even angry–news reports, unsigned editorials, guest editorials, (chosen) letters-to-the-editor, and cartoons blaming man-made climate change for the severity of this event. Even the headline editors have gotten into the spew.
Houstonian Charles Battig, a diligent student of the climate debate, documented the bias in the hometown paper in a September 6 post at MasterResource: “Politicizing Harvey in the Houston Chronicle.”
The Houston Chronicle can be surnamed The New York Times of Houston. The editors (Progressive all; there are no known conservative or libertarian members of the editorial board) had such arrogant editorials as this one (lead editorial, September 14): “Climate Change: Let’s Talk Openly and Honestly,” subtitled A warmer planet threatens wetter storms, higher surges and more Harveys. The verbiage miscited climate facts and got preachy:

Dr. Joy Bliss at Maggies Farm noticed an interesting poll result that suggested Conflicted: Women in medicine – “At the obvious risk of being assaulted for stereotyping and demeaning females in my profession, I will share some of my observations.”

When I was sent this article, Majority of U.S. Physicians Now Support Single-Payer, I thought “That’s the women!” Then I felt conflicted.
For better or worse, the coming dominance of American medicine by women will be changing the culture of the profession. Other influences, like the emergence of large group practices, and of hospital-owned practices, are changing the character of American medicine too.

Elise Cooper: ‘You Have Gone Too Far’: Vets Respond to the NFL – “The players are making a sham of the National Anthem by insulting the flag, the nation, those serving, and those who have served, as well as the police, who run into a crisis instead of away from one.”

“We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth. We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right. But now you have gone too far. You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country.”

Taya Kyle, the widow of legendary Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, issued a bold challenge to the NFL via Facebook on Tuesday in response to the national anthem protests sweeping the league. Like many other NFL fans, she is tired of seeing the sport focus on “division and anger” instead of the message of unity that it once represented. “If you ever want to get off your knees and get to work on building bridges, let me know.

Another tragedy out of the Las Vegas massacre is that is illustrates so vividly just how corrupt and cowardly the NFL player protests really are.

Mike Konrad: Confusing the Evolution Debate – “Most Americans would not object to all sides of the evolution debate being taught to their children, and that is what should be allowed.” This is another example of the equality fallacy. There is also the binary positions fallacy. Konrad also engages in other disingenuous arguments.

Confusing the debate is what exactly is meant by evolution. To scientists, what is usually meant is the process of change, directed by natural selection and natural law, apart from any non-natural input. At the other side, are literal six-day creationists who feel the earth is only a few thousand years old, and everything was created by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, through the second Person of the Trinity,
To the academy, Evolution must be defined as 100% naturalistic. There must be no appeal to any divine input. To six-day creationists, one must accept the literal understanding of a Biblical six-day creation, roughly six thousand years ago, with a world-wide flood, et al. There is no room for compromise.

The fact is that evolution is a critical part of biology while creationism and its relations are a part of religion and philosophy. Evolution is an interpretation of the record that God has laid out in front of us in the real world and that puts it in the realm of science. Creationism is the word of God as expressed by prophets in the Bible and interpreted by believers. To conflate the two as Konrad does is false witness.

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Tragic incoherence: as lies are the root of evil, this lie must lead to something awful

Victor Davis Hanson: The Tragic Incoherence of the NFL Protests – “It has become a sort of reflex to object to the National Football League’s players’ bended knee/sitting through the National Anthem—while also conceding that their complaints have merit.”

But do they?

To answer that question, one would have to know precisely what the protests are about. But so far the various reasons advanced are both confused and without much merit. That is why the players will eventually stand for the anthem before their tragic incoherence loses them both their fans and their jobs with it.
The Left often does not pay much attention to such facts—though it grows angry when others do.
Were the players then frustrated about general racial disparities in landscapes beyond their own privileged positions? That larger question of why African-Americans have not yet statically achieved the same level of education, income, and family stability as the majority is more complex.

The exegeses usually break down politically.
The point is not to dismiss the unique historical ordeal of African-Americans, but rather to suggest that a majority of Americans does not any longer believe race is destiny, much less that being “white” governs one’s fate, especially at a time when intermarriage and integration are at an all-time high, and when the white working classes are increasingly disengaged from and at odds with the bicoastal white elite class. In other words, working-class white people often have much more in common with working-class blacks than they do with elite whites.
The idea of multimillionaire professional athletes—as part of the 0.01 percent of the nation’s income earners, in a meritocratic but quite un-diverse league made up of 75 percent black players—refusing to stand for the National Anthem out of anger at their country, racial unfairness, the president, or history is nonsensical.

Jazz Shaw: That FBI report is making the Ferguson Effect hard to ignore – “one disturbing trend can be found by matching up locations recording rising murder rates with the homes of of widespread riots and anti-police protests.”

Dennis Prager: The Greatest Libel since the Blood Libel – “America does not oppress minorities or women, and it’s a lie to say so.”

That America today oppresses minorities and women is as far from the truth as was the notion that Jews used Christian blood for matzo.
Last year, ESPN’s Paul Finebaum said, on air: “This country has issues, but this country is not oppressing black people.” After being widely denounced, two days later Finebaum felt it necessary to issue this abject apology: “I could spend the rest of my life trying to talk my way out of it, but I can’t. I blew it. I simply did not have a good grasp of the situation. I know better. I’ve lived in this country. I see what is going on all across the country from North to South, East to West and I have no excuse. . . . All I can say is that I made a terrible mistake. In trying to express a feeling that I probably — not probably — I had no right to express.”
Such examples are endless. America oppresses blacks, Latinos, women, gays, and everyone else who is not a white, male, heterosexual Christian. It is a great lie. But it is the dominant narrative of the society. And, as lies are the root of evil, this lie must lead to something awful.
the charge that America is a land of oppression has utterly cheapened the word “oppression.” The truly oppressed of the world will have to find a new word to express their condition. If blacks and women in America are oppressed, what word shall we use to describe the condition of Christians in Iraq or Egypt? Of gays in Iran? Of women in much of the Muslim world? Of the Untouchables in India? Kurds in Turkey?
The Jews survived the Blood Libel. But America might not survive the American Libel. While the first Libel led to the death of many Jews, the present Libel might lead to the death of a civilization — indeed, the least oppressive ever created.

Alicia Colon: The Consequences of Media Weaponized Hatred – “What is it about social media venues like Facebook and Twitter that make people express vile, despicable comments?”

Yes, it is true that many CW fans lean right, probably vote Republican, probably believe in the second amendment and may own guns, as is their right.

They are also loathed by most Hollywood celebrities and are mocked nightly by late show hosts like Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel.

This antipathy has flooded the airwaves since last November when Donald Trump was elected president.

The venom is unprecedented and like many conservatives I have felt its wrath personally in my own family.

The inability by many Democrats to accept what 63 million Americans voted for last year has divided this country as painfully as during the Civil War.

The mainstream media agree with failed candidate Hillary Clinton when she described those who supported Donald trump: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

The Weekly Standard: Supreme Double Standard – “The effort to discredit Neil Gorsuch is disingenuous garbage.”

These protests—and we assume there will be others—are intended to discredit Justice Gorsuch and so provide a feasible excuse for Democrats to block any second Supreme Court nomination by this president.
We hope the tendentiousness of this complaint will appear as plainly in the future as it does now.

If Gorsuch’s critics are searching for improper remarks made by Supreme Court justices, they ought to consult Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s open hostility to the current president.
The main point of Gorsuch’s address, meanwhile—that self-governance requires an ability to “treat others as our equals, as persons, with the courtesy and respect each person deserves, even when we disagree”—seems acutely relevant.

Allahpundit: Pew: Media coverage of Trump through first 60 days vastly more negative than last three presidents – “A fine companion piece to the factoid Bob Schieffer dropped yesterday on “Face the Nation,” that one out of every five reporters in the U.S. now lives in either New York, Washington, or Los Angeles. In 2004, claims Schieffer, it was one out of every eight reporters. The bubble’s getting thicker.” There is bias showing even in this report. Allahpundit ignores what VDH noted in his essay cited above. The crude, rude, and vulgar isn’t “a degree unusual” if you take an objective comparison to Obama or Clinton yet Allahpundit’s bias blinds him to that.

Again, the obvious counterpoint is that leadership and character are a perpetual elephant in the room with Trump and therefore the coverage should logically track that. When you elect a guy whose deep thoughts about “p***y-grabbing” were preserved forever on the “Access Hollywood” tape, who’s known for Twitter-farting whatever grievance happens to be bugging him at any given moment, who seems invested to a degree unusual even for politicians in his own image and perceptions of his “strength,” you’re going to end up with more stories about the presidential persona than you would if, say, Ted Cruz were president. Even so, Trump was dealing with Big Stuff early on after being sworn in — overturning ObamaCare, filling a SCOTUS vacancy, and feeling his way towards a nationalist foreign policy that had the potential to break with decades of American fo-po consensus. Notwithstanding his essential Trumpiness, 69/31 seems out of whack. Go figure.

The New York Sun: Aldean’s Army – “The smell of cordite and the stench of blood — to use the famous phrase — was still over Las Vegas when a reference to Aldean’s Army showed up in dispatches.” It is a shaming of those who kneel for nonsense by example of what is true courage and character.

We first read it in James Freeman’s column — “Americans Under Fire” — in the online Wall Street Journal, which linked to an editorial of earlier today in Chicago Tribune. It referred to the courage of those who had come to hear country crooner Jason Aldean, who has long described his fans as the Aldean Army.

An apt metaphor. Their courage under fire will be talked about for years to come — even if we have so far witnessed on the internet only glimpses captured on cell phones.
No doubt in coming days we will start to learn more about the dark side of the story, the killer’s descent into whatever madness came over him. What a contrast to the thousands of ordinary Americans who, when fired upon, sprang to help one another and inspired their countrymen in a time of terror.

David Harsanyi: When You Politicize Shootings You Make It Harder To Find Solutions – “There are two kinds of social media reactions to horrifying events such as the Las Vegas shooting. One of them makes debate impossible.”

There are generally two kinds of social media reactions to heart-wrenching events like yesterday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas: one is to offer prayers and sympathy to the victims and their families, and the other is to reflexively lash out in anger at those who don’t share your political agenda. Although emotionally satisfying, one of these responses makes it nearly impossible for the country to engage in any kind of useful discussion moving forward.
The more horrifying realization is that once a person has lost his moral bearings the killing part is pretty easy.
Maybe Paddock evaded or abused some gun law. Maybe it can be tightened. But those who reflexively call for more restrictive gun laws without even knowing how or why Paddock got his hands on guns — or what kind of firearms he used — give themselves away. Those who conflate automatic and semi-automatic guns also give themselves away.

Those in the press who mislead the public on all these issues give themselves away, as well.
ideological stridency and partisanship feeds into the distrust gun owners have towards politicians. For many of them, gun laws feel a lot like incremental steps to undermine access. It’s difficult to disagree with this perception when you read and listen to the rhetoric of most liberal gun-control groups. The only thing this kind of partisanship creates is a spike in legal ownership.

David Post: This American madness – it a case study of the American Libel and it sounds so nice. Where does he err? One is that he obsesses on “a military-grade automatic assault rifle and plenty of ammunition.” Another is his perceptions about who fits into the ‘two kinds of reactions’ described above by Harsanyi.

I know the arguments for why we permit people to own weapons of this kind, but none of them seem remotely plausible or persuasive to me. Whatever one thinks of the scope and nature of the rights bestowed by the Second Amendment, the idea that the Constitution renders us completely powerless to limit the sale, distribution and ownership of weapons that are this efficient at mowing down large numbers of people — and that have no other real or legitimate purpose — is surely a symptom of a kind of political insanity.

He shows that he does not know the arguments nor does he understand the U.S. Constitution nor does he know about existing gun control laws. This is gross ignorance and that is a bad place to be in expressing opinions if you want those opinions to be worthy of any consideration.

This is particularly disturbing, because there seems to be a lot of hate out there these days, and hate plus military-grade weaponry is a truly terrifying combination. It’s not confined to either side of the political divide; people don’t seem to disagree so much as despise these days.

A critical flaw here is the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy and it ignores the Boston bombing or the recent vehicle assaults in Europe in the obsession about guns.

Of all the things I dislike about the Trump presidency — and it’s a long list — his calculated strategy to make us all hate each other more than we already do is perhaps the most unforgivable. It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Of course President Trump didn’t somehow “cause” the Las Vegas shooting to happen, and he isn’t responsible for this massacre. But he feeds off our hatred for our fellow citizens and stokes it up, because he believes — possibly correctly — that it is to his political advantage to do so, whatever costs it may impose on our social and political discourse and institutions.

This one needs a compare and contrast to the response Trump offered to that offered by Clinton and others. Just who is it that is promulgating hate? Who is it pushing politics into a tragedy as a first action? Note also the “long list” and consider the logical fallacy.

The National Football League/national-anthem controversy was the latest dispiriting example. He found an applause line to fire up his base of supporters

See above from VDH about just how disingenuous and falsely based this particular assertion really is.

I look forward to the day when we once again have a president who actually believes it is part of his or her job to help us get over our divisions, not to insert hot pokers into the wounds from existing divisions. Self-government is pretty much impossible if we all think that those with different views on difficult questions are all SOBs.

Here Post shows that his perceptions are not based on what was said but rather what he imagines. He shows no awareness of the attempts to shut down political debate even to the point of beating up people that has occurred recently. The fact that he is so far from reality and so resistant to any effort to express intellectual integrity is the real tell on the problems with divisiveness and political discord.

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A catalog of tactics: dirty, mean, dishonest, etc.etc.

First: horror, condolences, and prayers for the victims of a guy with automatic weapons firing down on a country music festival from the 32nd floor. There are many questions to be answered but those questions and the victims will likely be swept to insignificance over political ideology is history trends holds out (already showing from the usual suspects). Meanwhile, United Blood Services is seeking donations.

Jeff Sessions: When colleges became echo chambers of the politically correct – “The search for truth has suffered, with the imposition of truth-by-censors replacing it.”

Our legal heritage, upon which the Founders crafted the Bill of Rights, taught that reason and knowledge produced the closest approximation to truth — and from truth may arise justice. But reason requires discourse and, frequently, argument. And that is why the free speech guarantee is found not just in the First Amendment, but also permeates our institutions, our traditions, and our Constitution.
We have staked a country on the principle that robust and even contentious debate is how we discover truth and resolve the most intractable problems before us. This is the heritage that we have been given and which we must protect.

Charles Hurt: Puerto Rico the latest crisis Democrats see as too good to let go to waste – “Is there no third rail of American politics this president fears? Obviously not.”

In this case, San Juan’s mayor tangled with the wrong guy. Politics 101 has always instructed presidents to lie down and take any beating — no matter how politically motivated — that is offered up over federal response to natural disasters.
It did not help Ms. Cruz that she accused Mr. Trump of killing her people while standing amid aisles of food and bottled water on giant pallets. This only highlighted the fact that ships have been delivering cargo containers of rations and relief into the San Juan harbor, but local officials have not been able to distribute the goods to the people who need them.

Just one more tragic example that the federal government is not the answer to every problem. Even the weather.

Steven Hayward In Re: Puerto Rico – “The only surprising thing about the total catastrophe in Puerto Rico is that it took so long for the “Trump-Is-A-Bigot-Who-Hates-Brown-People” refrain to get cranked up to eleven.”

One difference today that is Bush was too much of a gentleman to respond to the demagogic attacks from the left. And one thing we know about Trump is that he is no gentleman and won’t take these attacks.
Even before the hurricane, it was clear that bondholders were going to take a large haircut in any restructuring; now I suspect Puerto Rico may default completely.

Prediction: The end result of the Puerto Rico disaster will either be statehood, or independence. I prefer the latter.

Jorge Rodriguez: ‘Inept’ Puerto Rican government ‘riddled with corruption’ – “For the last 30 years, the Puerto Rican government has been completely inept at handling regular societal needs, so I just don’t see it functioning in a crisis like this one.” Those seeking similarities with Katrina need to look at local government, not federal.

I’m really tired of Puerto Rican government officials blaming the federal government for their woes and for not acting fast enough to help people on the island. Last week I had three federal agents in my office and I was so embarrassed; I went out of my way to apologize to them for the attitude of my government and what they have been saying about the US response. When the hurricane hit we had experts from FEMA from all over the US on the ground and I was really proud of their quick response. The first responders and FEMA have all been outstanding in this crisis, and should be supported.
I have a message for the U.S. Congress: Watch out what relief funds you approve and let our local government handle. Don’t let the Puerto Rican government play the victim and fool you. They have no clue what they are doing, and I worry that they will mishandle anything that comes their way.

They don’t need another aircraft carrier. They need experienced people to run a proper disaster command center.

Via Instapundit: U.S. Military On Puerto Rico: “the Problem Is Distribution.” – “They have the generators, water, food, medicine, and fuel on the ground, yet the supplies are not moving across the island as quickly as they’re needed. It’s a lack of drivers for the transport trucks, the 18 wheelers. Supplies we have. Trucks we have. There are ships full of supplies, backed up in the ports, waiting to have a vehicle to unload into. However, only 20% of the truck drivers show up to work. These are private citizens in Puerto Rico, paid by companies that are contracted by the government,” says Col. Valle.”

Rowan Scarborough: Tormenting Manafort is seen as Weissmann’s way to snare big prosecution targets for Mueller – “Facing indictment and millions of dollars in legal debts, President Trump’s onetime campaign manager maintains his innocence and has nothing incriminating to offer Special Counsel Robert Mueller, associates say.”

“Manafort will be looking at several counts to begin with,” said Ms. Powell, who wrote the book “Licensed to Lie,” about what she considers Justice Department corruption. “If he doesn’t cooperate, in response to that, they’ll indict him for many more counts, which will ratchet up his cost of defense significantly, and he’ll be looking at a lifetime in prison.”
But people who know Mr. Manafort have a contrarian narrative. They wonder why Mr. Mueller and his staff of nearly 20 prosecutors had the FBI conduct the shock-effect raid.

They suggest that the trail to finding Russia-Trump collusion has become so cold that Mr. Mueller’s game of hardball led by Mr. Weissmann is a last-ditch effort to scare Mr. Manafort into becoming a prosecution witness.

Associates say Mr. Manafort is not a cooperating witness for one clear reason: He has nothing to reveal and has witnessed no illegal collusion.
Mr. Trump has called the Russia collusion investigation by three congressional committees and Mr. Mueller a “witch hunt.”

IBD: Is Any Part Of The Russia Election Hacking Story True? – “Instead of building up to a troubling conclusion about the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russian to interfere in the 2016 election, the “facts” about this story keep turning out to be untrue. The latest is the claim that Russian tried to hack 21 state election systems.”

This sparked renewed outrage from Democrats about how the election results had been “hacked” by Russia.

But then the story started to fall apart, when Wisconsin and California said DHS was wrong about their systems being targeted.
But that didn’t stop various Trump critics from claiming that this was further evidence that Russia stole the election for Trump.

This has, unfortunately, become the norm since Trump unexpectedly won the election in November. Headline-grabbing stories claim that Russia was involved in some nefarious election-related business, and then days or weeks later the stories turn out to false or wildly exaggerated.
As we’ve noted in this space repeatedly, after more than a year of investigations by law enforcement and the press, we’ve yet to see a shred of credible evidence that Trump had anything to do with whatever Russia actually was up to during the 2016 election. Or any evidence whatsoever that whatever Russia was up to had any impact on anyone’s votes.

It’s shameful, and a disservice to the public. Even Chicken Little didn’t claim the sky was falling this often.

Byron York: As fight enters second month, FBI still withholding dossier documents – “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with committee chairman Devin Nunes last Thursday — the committee can perhaps take comfort in the fact that it is being put off by progressively higher-ranking officials — but it is not clear if the committee is any closer to receiving the documents than when it first issued its subpoena on August 24.”

Investigators in both House and Senate are serious about wanting to know the dossier story. They want to know why the FBI would have taken up, during the height of last year’s presidential campaign, an opposition research project in which a former British spy, paid by supporters of Hillary Clinton, collected what Comey called “salacious and unverified” allegations about Donald Trump and Russia. Grassley said the episode raised “questions about the FBI’s independence from politics.”

Now, the FBI and the Justice Department are resisting Congress’s effort to understand what the bureau did in the 2016 campaign. It seems clear that if it were up to the FBI, the public would never know what went on in the dossier affair. Which means that right now, the House and Senate are the public’s only chance.

David Catron: Tom Price’s Real Crime – “He was guilty of being a fierce and powerful opponent of Obamacare.”

Anyone naïve enough to believe that Tom Price’s ouster from HHS was actually about his use of chartered jets may wish to consider this: The same transgression was committed on a much larger scale by numerous Obama administration officials, yet neither the “news” media nor the Democrats ever exhibited any outrage over far worse abuses by repeat offenders like Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.
The search for dirt on Price by the Democrats and the media continued apace, of course, and this effort to find damning information only increased after he was confirmed by the Senate and promptly initiated an extensive review of the more than 1,400 intrusive health care regulations promulgated by his predecessors.

Betsy McCaughey: Exposing Democrats’ lies on the Trump tax-cut plan – “Intent on stoking envy, these class warriors are willing to forfeit economic growth. But the nation can’t afford to.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders smears the Trump plan as “morally repugnant,” claiming the rich don’t pay their “fair share.” You’ll hear the same complaint in the “Not One Penny” TV ads paid for by and other left-wing groups. They warn Congress not to allow one cent of tax cuts for high-income people.

But the top 10 percent of earners pay 80 percent of federal income taxes. Do the math.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren rages that the plan “delivers massive cuts to corporations” and “kicks working families to the curb.” Wrong, Senator. Business tax cuts don’t just benefit businesses. They produce higher wages and more job opportunities for workers.
Pelosi warns Trump’s plan will “blow a huge whole in the deficit.” That’s a new religion for Democrats. Don’t be fooled. The real problem isn’t that taxes are too low. It’s that spending is too high, and Dems want to push it higher.
Expect more demagoguery as Democrats battle Trump’s tax relief. They claim to want a bipartisan plan. Their rhetoric proves otherwise. Unwilling to help govern, they call themselves the “resistance.”

Don’t count on them to help rebuild America’s economy.

Thomas Lifson: How many $ billions will the NFL lose over its kneeling fiasco? – “Signs are evident that the NFL has done permanent damage to its business by appearing to side with the Colin Kaepernick-initiated kneeling during the National Anthem.”

Almost half of the public would be pleased to see them suffer financially! They are angry, and no longer identify with those teams.
Fans become a tribe of sorts, sharing a common identity and common hopes. Part of the reason people like to go to games is the glorious feeling of togetherness, sharing thrills and disappointments. They “affiliate” with the team.

The flag, the National Anthem, and the nation itself are an even larger identity, vastly larger and more important. The nation is a glorious tribe, one that is multi-racial and multi-everything, because it includes every American. It is a tribe for which Americans have willingly died, in fact, whom we honor by standing for the National Anthem and saluting the flag.

When identities clash, people are forced to choose between them.

Paul Mirengoff: The Vietnam War Gets The Ken Burns Treatment – “I found Burns’ version of the war biased and superficial.”

Burns consistently deploys the “iconic” music of the Vietnam era in service of the anti-war movement. When protesters appear, we often hear pop music rather than the voices of the protesters, e.g., “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Min, NLF [the ones killing Americans] is gonna win.” Burns wants to associate the anti-war movement with music most people like in the hope that it will make us like the movement. It’s one of the oldest advertising tricks in the book.
Ironically, Burns doesn’t let us hear the one song of the era that was explicitly about Vietnam and that made it to the top of charts. I’m referring to “The Ballad of the Green Berets” by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler. This was a pro-war song written by a member of the Green Berets, a special forces unit, while he was in the hospital recovering from an injury sustained during the war.
Gussying up the anti-war movement with the sounds of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, etc. is a minor problem compared to gussying up North Vietnam. I’m being unfair. Burns doesn’t so much gussy North Vietnam up as give them something of a pass.

The Vietnam War was an attempt by a murderous Stalinist regime and the its proxy in the south, aided massively by the Soviets and the Chinese, to seize through military conquest an internationally recognized neighboring country. In the 12 or so hours of the series I watched, Burns and his crew downplayed this reality.

The U.S. and South Vietnamese governments came in for relentless criticism. The North Vietnamese mostly skated.
Ironically, Burns, who says he hopes his documentary will help end divisions over the war and facilitate national healing, has come under fire from the left. The contemporary left is so virulently anti-American that it objects to the few crumbs Burns has offered those who think the war was justified or was a mostly honorable mistake.

Ordinarily, I would find this sad. But in this context, anything that might prevent Burns’ version of the Vietnam War from becoming the received wisdom is okay with me.

John Hinderaker: How The Associated Press Spins The Supreme Court – “The Associated Press is a loyal servant of the Democratic Party and its liberal components. If you doubt that assertion, consider today’s AP article on the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court term by reporter Mark Sherman.”

So how does a liberal reporter spin his coverage of the Supreme Court? It’s easy: he just frames every legal issue with the liberal narrative, and turns exclusively to liberal sources for comments on the Court’s controversial cases.
the law favors arbitration of disputes. But Sherman doesn’t tell you that. Instead, he turns to a left-winger for comment: … The other side is not represented.
The issue is whether a public employee can be forced by law, against his or her will, to contribute money to a union that siphons off much or most of that contribution to support political candidates and causes of which the employee disapproves. But Sherman doesn’t tell you that. Instead, he goes for comment to a representative of a union that has a major financial interest in the case.
Next up is redistricting. … Sherman goes to former Obama administration official Donald Verrilli.
The Colorado wedding cake case comes next. … Sherman turns to–who else?–another former Obama Justice Department official, who speaks for the anti-baker side of the case: … Sherman didn’t think it necessary to find anyone to speak on behalf of Phillips. That’s not the side he is on.

Next, a gratuitous swipe at the Trump administration: … “Civil rights groups” are advocating for the voting rights of dead people, apparently. To continue his attack the Trump administration, Sherman turns to a neutral observer–the ACLU.
The Associated Press plays this game every day, in pretty much all of its coverage. Frame issues the way the Democratic Party wants them framed, then turn to liberal “experts” for comment. Are reporters like Mark Sherman fooling anyone? No, which is why trust in the media is in the toilet. Yet the incessant repetition of left-wing talking points has an effect, like rain wearing down rock.

Many examples and, no, both sides aren’t the same.

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Resisting the resisters

Cheryl K. Chumley: National anthem supplanted by national anger – “What a sad commentary on the state of modern America when even the national anthem can’t be sung without controversy.”

But that’s a left-of-left way of thinking. That’s a very dark and negative way of looking at life. It’s also the line of crap that’s being sold as reason to rebel against the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence — the one that says since some of the writers of America’s founding documents were slave owners, well then, the entire compass of America’s government must be racist, too.

Radical — and ridiculous.

So are these ongoing football field expressions of anti-patriotism, though.
nowadays, like the flag, the anthem’s become a political wedge — just another tool for the left, for the anti-President Donald Trumpers, for the disgruntled and perennially offended, for all these progressive forces to band together and showcase their anger. And they’ve managed now to turn a display of peace, togetherness and pride in nation into a tool of hate and division.
what was good has been twisted into bad. The national anthem has been supplanted by a national anger. And why?
So how to defeat all this angry politicking that’s taken to America’s football fields in recent times?

By resisting the resisters. These anti-anthem rebels aren’t making a valid argument. They’re simply agitating and fueling anger to score political points, or further personal agendas based on arguments and narratives that don’t stand up to fact-based scrutiny.

The hate shows up everywhere. Consider Jim Hoft: San Juan Mayor to Liberal Media: We Are Getting No Help From Trump – As She Stands In Front of Pallets of Aid – “Caren Yuliz Cruz Soto is a Democrat so she expects everything to be given to her for free. So now she’s out on all of the liberal mainstream news outlets trashing President Trump.” There are those who are in despair that Trump responds to the attempts to ‘Katrina-ize’ him by a Democrat partisan and the usual media propaganda campaign (e.g. Allahpundit casting judgment and hubris with the “POTUS’s insane decision”) but we saw what happened when the President played nice the last time a hurricane devastated a politically spoiled state. Trump is “resisting the resisters” and many appreciate the effort.

Neo-neocon has More on “Trump’s Katrina” – “believe Trump’s picking a fight with the mayor of San Juan has been counterproductive and in fact stupid.” Anytime anyone gets into opining that Trump’s behavior is counterproductive or stupid it is a clue that it might be time to climb down a bit and be very very careful about jumping to conclusions. There are just too many examples where Trump has been right and the negative judgments, especially those about personal characteristics, have been wrong. One can see some realization of this in the hyperbolic condemnation and the rationalizing that often goes along with the Trump condemnations.

this is one PR war I think he’s going to lose. He is tone deaf on this one and comes across as childish and petulant and defensive, not a good presentation during a humanitarian disaster
It is certainly possible that every single word Trump said is true; I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter; it would still be the wrong response from him.
The mayor holds all the emotional cards here. Trump holds none. It’s time to be “presidential” rather than petty—which would give a lot of weight to his claims that the administration is doing all it can.

The key here is whether Trump has tapped into something that neo-neocon has missed. One might get a handle on this by looking at Texans and Floridans responding to their disastrous hurricanes. Yes, there is a lot of pity for the victims but there is also an American ethic about self sufficiency, preparedness, and make-do at play. That is, in part, why the opposition to the naval base in 2003 and the economic situation in Puerto Rico float by in the hurricane response conversation every now and then. There is a comparison and contrast which leads to a ‘what is wrong with Puerto Rico’ question.

Howard McCrum: Democrats Are Addicted to Lies – “What we need is a national conversation on lies. Without this one, all the other conversations are worse than useless.”

The most self-destructive lies are the ones we tell ourselves to avoid the discomfort of admitting our imperfections. Think “eating crow.” Honest people use the discomfort of self-awareness as a spur to self-correction and self-improvement. The Democrat mind evades the pain.
when a Democrat speaks, don’t ask, “Is he lying?” Ask, “Is he lying to himself, or only to me?”
Here are some examples of Democrats engaging in each type of lie (italicized).
Screaming “LIAR!” at Democrats only deepens the pain of self-awareness and reinforces their withdrawal into self-deception. Instead, we must break the thrall of Democrat leaders over the rank-and-file by patiently explaining their leaders’ lies. Most importantly, we must set the example and invite them to join us in honest self-examination and the rejection of lies.

It’s a means of resisting the resistors. It is standing witness to deceit and dishonesty.

James Lewis: Living on a Paranoid Planet – “After decades of watching propaganda scare bombs in the mass media, aided by worried kindergarten teachers and parents who get freaked out by anxiety-provoking headlines, we have a whole population of planetary hypochondriacs.”

This kind of thing has been known throughout history as “mass hysteria.” Children and people living under tyrannical regimes are easily whipped into mass hysterias, which can also turn into murderous mobs. If the Jews poisoned the village well in Pinsk, Russia, a mass hypochondria might be turned against the Jews by mob leaders (AKA politicians and journalists). Or witches would be burned by a frantic mob after children spread rumors about getting the evil eye from an old, solitary woman, walking at night.
It takes a lot of mental effort to spot and shut out an endless stream of industrialized lies.
Propaganda is now taught in our film and drama departments to students too young and brainwashed to think critically. Even then, “college students” are so fearful, so paranoid and weak, that they can’t bear to hear anyone disagreeing with their brainwashing. Our robotically marching Antifas in the colleges must have some secret seed of doubt about the nonsense they are being taught every day.

E. Jeffrey Ludwig: Vietnam, the Flag, and Me – “Although in the decades since the Vietnam War, I had moved away from my anti-War activism, many of the old leftists from the sixties and early seventies have not changed.”

Yes, they are still proud of their anti-Vietnam War position. But what in God’s name are they proud of? The communist takeover of Indochina? The millions of South Vietnamese sent to “re-education” camps? The killing fields of Pol Pot in Cambodia? The experience of one of my colleagues who, as a little boy, was put in a boat in Vietnam by his parents along with his brother and many other children, a boat that drifted into the lonely darkness to finally end up in a refugee camp in Thailand? Many of those children didn’t survive!

I had also supported the anti-War movement, but upon seeing these consequences, upon seeing the ascension of the Left in America with a Jimmy Carter presidency, the error of my thinking became quite apparent. The reds had not only won in Vietnam, but had made a giant step forward in U.S. politics. And those flag hating, America hating brigades of leftist egotists — with hearts and minds filled with grievances — hearts and minds lacking gratitude for the blessings of this country — are still here in greater numbers, taking a knee (not in prayer), supporting those taking a knee, and wallowing in a leftwing self-righteousness that is truly ignorant. It is a rejection of a living patriotism and the dead who kept us going.

Kerry Lutz: Trumps Puts Another Nail in the MSM Coffin with NFL’s Help – “Tweeting at daybreak, when most reporters are starting to come to grips with the day’s hangover, or trolling them with deliberate minor factual misstatements, which throws them into a frenzy, he never lets up. Trump is this war’s aggressor and he’s totally gotten into their decision loop.”

We all know that President Trump is a buffoon, has low intelligence and is incapable of any strategic thought or planning. The media and the democratic party has beaten him at every turn. The White House’s prior occupant laid out a carefully placed minefield, which has blown up on various Trump personnel and family members. And yet, Trump won the presidency with something carefully resembling an ingenious strategy, which saw him winning in Blue states, formerly believed to be unwinnable by a republican.

There must be something more at play here than meets the eye.

Jon Evans: Capitalism without consequences – “technology also has an increasingly nasty habit of decoupling authority from responsibility.” This is another case where there is “something more at play here than meets the eye.” Evans even provides an oxymoron.

That is a remarkable claim. It is also deeply disingenuous. If advertisers started showing Facebook users hardcore pornography, you can be absolutely certain that they would very quickly find a way to stop this and prevent it from happening in the future, without defending the porn on the basis that “we don’t check what people say and I don’t think people should want us to.”

The power is in the people … or isn’t it?

This disjoint isn’t inherently endemic to technology. And there’s a lot tech can do to improve the correlation between authority and responsibility. But we can’t expect major companies to do so; almost by definition, the more authority-without-responsibility they have, the more money they can make. We’ll have to find other ways to balance those scales.

“almost by definition” it is those evil greedy corporations without accountability and that illustrates the bias that blinds. Just look at the NFL. Is it decoupled from the behavior of its players? Or reconsider Evan’s example of Uber and the problems it faces in cities trying to protect their taxi unions and defend itself from lawsuits and tax efforts that are based on the behavior of its ‘decoupled’ drivers and riders.

The whole FOSS ideology is based on a ‘power to the people’ ethos much like the current fantasies about crypto-currencies. There are very many examples that show Evans as blind to his bias and reality and logic. He, like so many others these days, doesn’t even seem to realize that there is “something more at play here than meets the eye.”

Another post from a member of the geek squad notes the technical side that refutes his own ‘green’ fantasies. Timothy B. Lee: Why electric airplanes within 10 years are more than a fantasy – “Startups plan to make hybrid airplanes, and eventually purely electric ones.”

Jet fuel has a specific energy of 12,000 watt-hours per kilogram, Clarke told Ars. For comparison, battery systems work out to around 200 watt-hours per kilogram. In other words, jet fuel is about 60 times as efficient for storing energy as batteries are. This is somewhat offset by the fact that electric motors are about three times more efficient than jet engines. But that still means that you can go a lot further with a kilogram of jet fuel than you can with a kilogram of batteries.

These basic facts of chemical and thermodynamic reality are behind any effort to electrify transportation. Add in the energy commerce and handling factors involved with fuel choice and you get a better understanding of why things are the way they are and the nature of the hurdles to find something else that can actually compete.

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