How do you fight Goliath?

William Perry Pendley: When the National Park Service overreaches — “The federal government is a terrible neighbor and a worse landlord.”

A tale out of Washington State, however, involving a private concessionaire within a unit of the National Park Service (NPS), reveals that the federal government is a worse landlord, one that holds the rights of its tenants in the lowest regard, believes itself unconstrained by the law of the land, and uses its power and its hundreds of lawyers to beat American citizens into submission. Whether it will get away with such tactics this time remains to be seen.

Find the Coyote Blog for more tales of how the government treats concessionaires. It is ugly.

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White togas and spackling the records of opponents

Clarice Feldman takes on the ‘holier than thou’ in Trump Storm Troopers Mob Sanders Rally: Force Cancellation.

Some years ago I wrote here of my contempt for conservatives who flee the forum for fear of getting their spotlessly white togas spattered with mud and blood when their colleagues are being savaged by liars and thugs. This week my White Toga award goes to Ted Cruz. As thousands of rent a mobs from Soros funded Move On, the White House approved Black Lives Matters fabulist race baiters, and Bernie Sanders fans mobbed and threatened the thousands of people who’d waited in lines for hours to attend a rally in Chicago for Donald Trump. Even Obama pal and admitted terrorist Bill Ayers, doubtless reliving his “glory days” as a Weatherman was there cheering the mayhem on

Cruz’ offering up a justification for this behavior also played into the press game of targeting Republicans while spackling the records of their opponents. Of particular amusement is this piece in the Washington Post (whose editors must be on permanent leave):

Trump is known for his massive, raucous rallies — part campaign events, part media spectacles, part populist exaltations for his most loyal supporters. But the events have also become suffused with the kind of hostility and even violence that are unknown to modern presidential campaigns. The candidate himself often seems to wink at, or even encourage, rough treatment of protesters.

What is conveniently ignored is that these demonstrations are set up by Trump’s opponents specifically to provoke tensions and fights which the press then propagandizes. By this means they hope to set him up as what he is not — a racist — to scare off supporters and drive Blacks and Hispanics to the polls to vote for his Democratic opponent.

Rather than excusing the offended or incited, it is time to hold them accountable for their own behavior. It is ugly already. It is likely to get only worse unless people are held to account. And this account can be for violations of national security to rioting while free speech should be held free.

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Chicago protests and the blame game

A campaign rally had to be ‘postponed’ due to violent protests. The candidate is being blamed because of his tough language about “bad dudes.” That sort of blame the victim and not the criminal media propaganda is what is driving the popularity of the candidate. Paul Mirengoff observes:

This is beyond bad dudeism. The left is attempting to “shut all the way down” the leading contender for the presidential nomination of one of our two major political parties. If the left has its way, Trump will not be able to speak in public. He will have to run the modern equivalent of a front-porch campaign.

With no sense of irony, the protesters, having successfully shut Trump down, chanted “this is what democracy looks like.” Many of them also chanted “Bernie,” suggesting that they really mean “this is what Democratic Socialism looks like.” In so, they probably aren’t wrong.

The violence is from the left. It ranges from violent disruption of campaign rallies to several senators who have written a letter accusing the Inspector General at the Department of State as being too political. These intimidation techniques ranging from actual violence to efforts at intimidation have been all too successful. The fact that much of the electorate notices this and is not happy with the ‘go along to get along’ methods is why the candidate, Trump, has such a popular following. There is a rising to meet that violence and intimidation – the bullying – in the manner of the last resort. That does not bode well as bullies don’t pay much attention to the ‘kinder and gentler’ of the available methods for honest discourse.

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Case study comparisons

Rick Wallace takes a look at A case study bearing on the nature of “consensus” in normal science and in the AGW controversy. He looks at the idea of consensus in evolutionary biology and the definition of species, quantum mechanics, and other areas.

But I would contend that this is what real scientific consensus looks like. In such cases, discussants never take the ideas in question as sacrosanct, and because – at least in a normal, healthy science – intelligent inquiring intellects are constantly evaluating ideas for themselves and setting them against their own experience, such ideas are subject to vigorous and even harsh examination, often leading to a range of opinion, especially if there are serious conceptual or semantic difficulties (as there are in the case of the species concept).

Thus, in real science any state of agreement is labile at best – and establishing a consensus is about the last thing on peoples’ minds. I would go so far as to say that under these conditions, as often as not, a leading idea is a target to take aim at rather than a flag to rally ‘round.

Obviously, this cast of mind is utterly different from what we find in the AGW arena. Which in itself is compelling evidence that the motivations are different in normal science and in (C)AGW.

What is perhaps most fascinating about modern spectacles like the AGW movement (and here I’m thinking in particular of the Moscow show trials of the 1930s) is that the truth is always right there in front of everyone – and it is always apparent to those who can see.

Once again it is the point that the observable behavior can tell you about the quality of the intellectual integrity.

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It’s our response to the radiation

The BBC has a short video exploring the question: Has Fukushima’s radiation threat been exaggerated?

Five years after the devastating earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plant in north-eastern Japan, one expert is asking if the impact of the radiation was massively exaggerated.

Professor Gerry Thomas, a leading authority on the effects of radiation, walks the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes through the deserted exclusion zone and measures radiation levels.

What goes totally by the board is the mass casualties due to the earthquake and tidal wave. That has now become history while FUD mongering about the nuclear plant hit by that event continues to make headlines. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island also come up on a regular basis in the same vein. The abandoned cities and other responses to fears are shown to illustrate a danger that has never been realized by any measure that makes a clear distinction from the normal.

It is the same with climate where the measures of an ideologically desired effect are so small that they are difficult to separate from ‘normal’ that FUD mongering has to take the place of actual reality.

Dragons and demons are real, it seems, but the still only exist in the minds of those invested in fairy tales and fears. The cost of the response to those fears is not considered in any rational way. Fukushima was hit by a natural disaster outside of its design considerations yet still did not provide a worst case scenario. How much is spent on trying to be perfectly safe in an unsafe world? What is the implication of such spending on the lives and health of the populace? How is the balance?

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Self-identifying behavior

All of this has been known for a decade. Only conspiracy theorists and manipulative demagogues continue to claim that “Bush lied us into war in Iraq.” Consider it a self-identifying behavior and choose accordingly.

Ed Morrissey makes the point about the Iraq war. The key isn’t so much what the opinion is, it is the behavior in response to reality. The “Bush lied” meme is one that sweeps history under the rug and that sort of behavior self identifies those who choose fantasy over reality.

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The romantic eco-left

The romantic eco-left consists of upper-middle-class people who can’t put two and two together when it comes to economics or science. They just assume that water will come out of their faucets and electricity out of their outlets. These people love global warming because it provides a story that allows them to pursue their bizarre, anti-modern goals under the guise of saving the world.

Since science is no longer scientific, but political, global warming belief breaks down along political lines. The Democrats believe, and the Republicans are skeptical.

Norman Rogers: Yet Another Hottest Year on Record

Other than the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy (“Neither party pays much attention to the scientific facts”), Rogers brings up a few good points worth considering.

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Core competence. Do we have enough to hold the structure (of civilization) together?

Sarah A. Hoyt goes on a tear about The War On Competence.

We’re reaching a critical point where everyone is running on make-believe competency, certainly in any large organization. This cannot go on. What can’t go on, won’t.

And when it collapses, we’ll need competent people.

An abundant society can survive incompetents. A lean society, living close to the bone, can’t.

Are there enough of us to keep things up when the walls collapse? I don’t know. Impossible to tell. Though the proliferation and popularity of youtube videos on how to do stuff from basic to complex would seem to indicate so, as would the maker movement, as would a lot of millenials who can detect bullsh*t a mile away and who want to learn to DO. And then there’s the fact the human animal is infinitely adaptable and when adaption is learning, it will learn.

Maybe even in time.
Teach your children well and build under, build around, build beside. Our makeshift structures just might end up uplifting a crushing load. Maybe not tomorrow, but certainly not far off now.

The fact that we have an abundant society has been sufficient to maintain progress. What has created that abundance is under assault and that has reduced progress to a mere dribble. The fear is that, as the assault continues, progress will change to regression. Survivalists and Home Schoolers have this driving their efforts. The Makers and other hobbyists who build and create and invent just do it for the joy of it. Any who chose to “build under, build around, build beside” have more resources available for their education and learning now than ever before but even that is under assault with taxation, fears about privacy, and protectionism. Worried, yet?

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Straw men in consensus – is that science?

Another survey by ‘social scientists’, another example of the problem. Ronald Bailey: The Debate Over Global Warming Is Just a Big Misunderstanding, Says Study — “Or is it?” The stimulus here is a study by Princeton psychologist Sander van der Linden and his colleagues.

Overall, the authors espouse what they call the “gateway belief” model of persuasion: If Americans are told that most scientists think man-made climate change is happening, they will think so too. Not only that: They will become more worried about it and start demanding government action to stop it. And so the study essentially endorses more science education as the way to resolve climate change rows.

These findings contradict previous research from the Yale Cultural Cognition Project, which concluded that beliefs about politicized areas of science are generally treated as cultural signals telling fellow partisans that you are a good person who is on their side. According to the Yale researchers, getting people to change their minds about a politicized issue amounts to trying to persuade them to betray their tribe. This dynamic makes them highly resistant to attempts to bombard them with alleged widely agreed-upon facts. Contrariwise, the folks at the Cognition Project find that the smarter a person is, the easier it is for them to find “proof” for his or her beliefs.

There are a few items mentioned that should lead to skepticism about the study report. First up is the political bias differences. When Democrats and Republicans disagree, the issue isn’t science, it is politics. Second on the list is the straw man based on fuzzy definitions and misdirection. The political disagreement is about governmental interference and cost versus benefit differences regarding the importance and level of understanding of potential human caused climate catastrophe. Exactly what global warming means and the specific items of ‘scientific consensus’ happen to be are not clearly defined nor placed into an appropriate context. A third item on the list is putting scientific consensus as something of value above all else. In science, skepticism is the value that takes precedence as it leads to learning and the advancement of knowledge. That leads to another item which is mislabeling appropriate skepticism as a denial and ideological ignorance.

The idea that ‘more science education’ will solve the problem has been around for a long time as well. It is a simplification of human cognition that has been around for ages and is as much a historically demonstrated falsehood as the idea that socialism will lead to economic prosperity. The correlation between the populations holding these two beliefs is something to consider carefully as well. An esoteric example of this is the argument about whether to teach the traditional biology then chemistry then physics order or to reverse the order to provide a more logical presentation based upon dependencies. From a cognition standpoint, it is a matter of learning to handle abstractions effectively. High school biology is mostly hands on observation and description while physics tends towards the abstractions of algebra and calculus. This, in turn, gets into the efforts to change curriculum away from algebra towards something ‘more useful’ like statistics or to implement programming techniques rather than intellectual development.

The amazing thing is that the U.S. does so well in STEM despite the populace fascination with alternative whatnot, snake oil cures, FUD mongering, and political candidates who make absurd promises and intellectually vacuous rationales for their behaviors. 

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A fickle nation and predictable results

The history professor goes over The tough choices of overseas intervention.

As a general rule over the last 100 years, any time the U.S. has bombed or intervened and then abruptly left the targeted country, chaos has followed. But when America has followed up its use of force with unpopular peacekeeping, sometimes American interventions have led to something better.

Donald Trump has rightly reminded us during his campaign that Americans are sick and tired of costly overseas interventions. But what Trump forgets is that too often the world does not always enjoy a clear choice between good and bad, wise and stupid. Often the dilemma is the terrible choice between ignoring mass murderer, as in Rwanda or Syria; bombing and leaving utter chaos, as in Libya; and removing monsters, then enduring the long ordeal of trying to leave something better, as in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The choices are all awful. But the idea that America can bomb a rogue regime, leave and expect something better is pure fantasy.

There are examples where the U.S. maintained a presence and there are examples of where it abandoned its efforts. When it comes to people and their nature, quick fixes are often just a poor band-aid on a festering sore. Without proper attention, infection will destroy.

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Unraveling the meme with reality: Where is the real racial violence?

Colin Flaherty describes The Great Racial Hoax of Albany. An accusation about whites beating up blacks stimulated riots and demonstrations and other such public denunciation of racial violence. The problem is that the buses where the alleged incidents happened had cameras.

The Great Hoax of Albany started out straightforwardly enough: a dozen violent and racist white students harassed, threatened, tossed N-bombs and attacked three black coeds — hurting them really, really, really badly.

For no reason whatsoever.

It ended Wednesday when Albany police charged the three black women with assault, and charged two of them with filing a false police report about the racial violence.

No one pointed out — or cared — that in Albany, racial violence is a common and one-way thing: Black on white.

Then came the cameras: First, a camera phone from the bus. Though the audio and videos were sketchy, at no time did anyone see or hear anything like the scenario the black coeds described.

No threats. No violence. No racial slurs. In fact, some insist that the camera phone shows one of the white guys trying to stop the fight.

Then came the other cameras: the city bus had 12 of them.

The Albany Hoax is just one of several racial fairy tales to come and go over the past year. But Albany columnist Chris Churchill is urging us to pay them no mind. They are the work of the devil, he said, because everyone knows that black people are victims of relentless white racism all the time, everywhere, and that explains everything.

There is a plague of such false allegation and Flaherty lists several examples. This phenomena is part and parcel of the allegations about “mass incarceration” of blacks that only looks at the race of prison population and not at crimes committed. There is a problem. It is racial. It is internal to that race. It is related to the 70% or more babies without fathers. It is still in the denial stage. It festers. It destroys. And it is fed by those such as the Albany columnist. 

Just who is it that feeds civil disruption? What happens when they are successful?

Worried yet?

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So easily let him do it

Does actual history even matter any more? VDH considers Iraq: The Real Story

Donald Trump constantly brings up Iraq to remind voters that Jeb Bush supported his brother’s war, while Trump, alone of the Republican candidates, supposedly opposed it well before it started.

That is a flat-out lie. There is no evidence that Trump opposed the war before the March 20, 2003 invasion. Like most Americans, he supported the invasion and said just that very clearly in interviews. And like most Americans, Trump quickly turned on a once popular intervention — but only when the postwar occupation was beginning to cost too much in blood and treasure. Trump’s serial invocations of the war are good reminders of just how mythical Iraq has now become.

In October 2002, President Bush asked for the consent of Congress — unlike the Clinton resort to force in the Balkans and the later Obama bombing in Libya, both by executive action — before using arms to reify existing American policy. Both the Senate (with a majority of Democrats voting in favor) and the House overwhelmingly approved 23 writs calling for Saddam’s forced removal. The causes of action included Iraq’s violation of well over a dozen U.N. resolutions, Saddam’s harboring of international terrorists (including those who had tried and failed to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993), his plot to murder former president George H. W. Bush, his violations of no-fly zones, his bounties to suicide bombers on the West Bank, his genocidal policies against the Kurds and Marsh Arabs, and a host of other transgressions. Only a few of the causes of action were directly related to weapons of mass destruction.

It is legitimate to change opinions about a war or to rue a flawed occupation. But it is not ethical to deny prior positions or invent reasons why what once seemed prudent later seemed reckless.

We can surely argue about Iraq, but we must not airbrush away facts. The mystery of the current Iraq fantasy is not that a prevaricating Donald Trump misrepresents the war in the fashion of Democratic senators and liberal pundits who once eagerly supported it, but that his Republican opponents so easily let him do it.

The example of Korea is also mentioned with comparison and contrast. The key though, is the “so easily let him do it” notice. This concern should be in regard to the broader propaganda picture and not restricted to just one episode. The fact that so many swallow the propaganda is bad enough. The fact that so many just allow it to exist without protest should be a more significant concern. Does actual history and reality even matter in governance anymore?

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Pushing snake oil and using voodoo while calling it science

jccarlton is asking What Is “Science”. Between the videos and links that prompted the question and illustrate why it is a question, there is enough material to peruse to spend a day or two or more. The focus is on behaviors and how they reflect the quality of the ideas being presented. Behaviors can be observed and that means they can provide an objective insight into subjective bias and presenter issues.

It’s rather amazing that nobody points out the logical fallacies involved stating that the opposition HAS no arguments and are all “deniers” rather than actually addressing their supposedly false arguments. Somehow in all the debate, the side that says that they are on the side of “science” never seems to present any, well science.

We, as human beings want to trust that there’s somebody who knows more than we do. That trust though is often misplaced. The problem starts when other factors influence research. When there’s agenda driving things the science becomes yet another tool to push the politics to drive the agenda and get the desired policies. When the policies are the desired result, all you end up with is people in lab coats spouting nonsense.

The problem with the scientist as prophet scenario is that science is ultimately about discovery, not prediction. So when you treat science like a religion you are no longer dealing with discovery of what is, you are preaching what you want things to be. That’s not science, it’s using the appearance of science to legitimize your agenda.

The integrity of the activists and the media friends is never called into question. Though maybe it should be. Whether it’s creating a consensus about AGW or attacking a pesticide the activities of these people leaves a lot to be desired. But this was inevitable. Give power to people and the corruption and all it brings soon follows.

The problem is to separate the good from the bad. The power of seeming reason is a powerful tool when you are pushing snake oil. Add to that that much of what science is surrounded by jargon that may be impenetrable by outsiders seemingly. Which is actually the point. The problem is that all it takes is one bad study surrounded by all the trappings of authority to do tremendous amounts of harm.

The typical pronouncements that we see should peg our BS meters. Especially when, like Tyson and Nye strong language is used to suppress dissent and debate. If there is an effort to suppress argument, that’s your first huge clue that what you are getting is BS.

So how do you tell real science from hokum. Simple, you don’t allow anybody to keep you from asking questions.

One of the big issues to consider is not only how to distinguish between real and hokum but why nobody seems to care. The examples of AGW, GM foods, vector born disease, and vaccination are one thing. Having the two leading candidates in a national election having to testify about their potentially felonious acts is another.  There was some wondering when there was so much enthusiasm for a socialist despite the reality of history but it seems the concerns are almost in the noise. It seems other issues, the promise of the snake oil, has overwhelmed reason and integrity.

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Jason Willick worries about the End of SCOTUS due to the judicial nominations ruckus. There is reason to worry but it is not a matter of the political shenanigans in the nomination and confirmation of judges but rather in the behavior of the court.

Jonathan Chait predicts that, if the parties can’t arrive at some sort of compromise on nominations to the Court, the institution’s very legitimacy will eventually wither away … In some ways, Chait’s dire prognostication is probably premature—nomination fights have been intensely political for at least three decades … But Chait is right that the Supreme Court was designed to embody some kind of super-democratic consensus that would be more durable than temporary political majorities, and that escalating trench warfare over nominations threatens to puncture that image in the long run.

Indeed, the prospects for the Court could be even more grim than Chait suggests. Polarization and congressional dysfunction are eroding the old system of judicial nominations (where near-consensus confirmation votes were common) but they are also, paradoxically, investing the Court with ever-more power. As Congress retreats from its traditional role as the “center of political life in the United States,” the Court is asked to declare the final answer to broad range of fundamentally political questions.

In other words, its possible to imagine a scenario where the Court gradually hemorrhages legitimacy even as it accumulates more and more power. … If something doesn’t give, however, there is a risk that the bubble will burst—that Americans decide that they are effectively ruled over by an illegitimate council of philosopher kings, and that they start openly defying its decisions.

When people can correctly predict outcomes in important cases based on the political leanings of judges the problem is in the judges. The message to the people is that it is politics that is determining decisions and not justice. That means that defiance of court decisions becomes a matter of political dissent rather than a matter of jurisprudence. The worry should be about the number of high profile five to four decisions, not the political wrangling over nomination and consent.

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Casual with the truth

On the ‘everybody does it‘ front, the Coyote provides a good example. The topic is ‘every politician lies’ and the error is the underlying assumption that all misstatements of fact are the same from the trivial typo to the propaganda meme. The latter is noted at the Coyote Blog (in confusion with the former).

I really don’t like the meme that Bush lied about Iraq (on WMD’s, possession of yellow cake uranium, whatever). Here is why: the implication is that if we just had smarter, more honest politicians, all of our interventionist foreign policy would work great. But beyond the fact that we never have smarter and more honest politicians, this meme prevents us from learning the right lesson from the Iraq war.

This is indeed the cost of the propaganda meme type lie and one that separates it from other types and should also serve as a reminder that just casually tossing around the ‘everybody lies’ accusation is an evasion and not a proper truth. Consider this:

The lesson from the Iraq War is that we are never going to have a sensible foreign policy until we adopt some humility — a lot of humility — about our ability to understand other countries and manipulate them by force.

Humility. That starts within. It is a personal characteristic. It is, perhaps, in taking the view that each of us ‘lies’ and we need humility to accept that we may even be lying to ourselves. That means we should be a bit reserved in casting stones and making gross assumptions about others. Sometimes we reveal our own issues in subtle ways.

I grew up in a Texas conservative Republican family, though I shed a lot of the social conservative baggage, as well as any team allegiance to the Republicans, decades ago.

Humility? This not only blasts an entire ideology but sets one as above those heathens. That is called hubris, not humility. He notes that “They say that a converted Christian is more passionate that those who have been Christian all their lives”. Yes, well, Christians are Christians because they accept the fact that they are sinners (i.e. liars) and must atone. That aspect is missing in those who see faults in others but not themselves.

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Simple Sabotage

The blog is about organization leadership and the post is about tactics that sabotage one’s own efforts. 9 Ways We Sabotage Ourselves is a book review relating tactics manuals for WW II undercover operatives to modern organizational leadership.

In Simple Sabotage, authors Robert Galford, Bob Frisch and Cary Greene explain that in January 1944 the OSS (Office of Strategic Services—predecessor of the CIA) published the Simple Sabotage Field Manual to train resistance members in the art of sabotage. “The Manual detailed easy ways to disrupt and demoralize the enemy’s institutions without being detected.”

One thing you will notice from each of these tactics or behaviors is that none of them are all that bad on the surface. One could easily find a rational explanation for engaging in them—to a point. And that’s the problem. That’s why these are insidious.

You can see these tactics in practice in government and politics and campaigns as well. The effect is not productive.

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Apple’s Straw Man

Mark Wilson notes that Apple is using a straw man argument to fight the FBI. The key he notes is that the court order says nothing about encryption yet encryption is a key part of the objection raised by the Apple CEO.

Apple is being utterly disingenuous in suggesting that this is a story about encryption. It’s not.

That’s not to say Apple is completely wrong, of course, but it is certainly being misleading.

The thing is, putting forward the idea of breaking encryption is a far, far more emotive issue. It’s something that everyone — every company — cares about.

No company wants to be seen to be siding with the enemy, even if the “enemy” is fighting terrorism. The real enemy here, for Apple, is Apple’s image. Apple is terrified of any of its sheen becoming tarnished. Sadly, the company has resorted to poorly thought out arguments based on flawed logic and unsound reasoning to support its position. The damage to image has already been done.

Part of the question in that of figuring out just who is the enemy. Apple has well know leftist leanings and that leads to suspicion that they consider the U,S. government (but not other governments, it seems) as the enemy – just look at the Snowden hagiographies from this crowd. The tactics are common. Use a straw man to divert the topic and confuse the issue. Logical fallacies do not foster honest discussion and this one provides yet another example of socially important issues corrupted by a lack of intellectual integrity.

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Koch and Sanders Agree

Charles Koch: This is the one issue where Bernie Sanders is right.

The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him.

Consider the regulations, handouts, mandates, subsidies and other forms of largesse our elected officials dole out to the wealthy and well-connected. The tax code alone contains $1.5 trillion in exemptions and special-interest carve-outs. Anti-competitive regulations cost businesses an additional $1.9 trillion every year. Perversely, this regulatory burden falls hardest on small companies, innovators and the poor, while benefitting many large companies like ours. This unfairly benefits established firms and penalizes new entrants, contributing to a two-tiered society.

Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers. That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare

The issue is currently at debate in Nevada after the PUC decided that the subsidies for household solar systems should stop. For Koch, this is a step in the right direction but for the Sanders crowd this is likely a step backward. Those on the left like to rail against corporations whose profits always seem to depend upon screwing their customers. When it comes to corporations in certain areas that are in ideological sync with them, though, using taxpayer money to screw customers is a good thing.

One of the rationalizations often used to cover over this dissonance is to confuse subsidy with tax breaks. The issue here is whether to allow certain costs to reduce taxable income or to pay money in one form or another to help defray the capital costs of a plant. 

Nevada also has its “who you know” examples in the tax breaks companies like Tesla and Amazon have been able to obtain to bring business into the state. The small guys without connections are seeing ever more taxes and fees because they don’t have the privileges and contacts that the big corporations do. 

So Charles Koch and Bernie Sanders do have some common ground. The problem is that one doesn’t have to travel far off that ground to find who has exceptions and who has consistent values.

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From talking to Saddam Hussein

Ronald Kessler describes the secret FBI debriefings done by George L. Piro as Behind Saddam Hussein’s deception — “Saddam faked having weapons of mass destruction, but he had nuclear ambitions.” It sheds light on the primary accusation of the Code Pink types picking out G.W. Bush as lying about Iraq having nuclear weapons.

The mainstream media have largely ignored Saddam’s admissions about faking WMD and his aspirations to pursue nuclear weapons. In an example of how inept Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are at public relations, neither has referred to Saddam’s admissions in explaining the rationale for taking him out.

But given that Saddam realized he was about to be executed and had nothing to lose by being forthcoming, his admissions to the FBI help illuminate why Mr. Bush and the CIA were convinced that Saddam was indeed a threat.

Of course, even Donald Trump, despite what he says today was condemning Hussein much in the same way he is talking about going after ISIS now. He joins a lot of Democrats on that bit of altered history recollection. What is also interesting is that Hussein engaged in a deliberate deception as a part of an effort to keep Iran at bay in a manner that they have now been released due to recent agreements between Iran and the U,S,

So, in this example, we have history being re-written and its consequences re-visited in a way that encroach upon world war and nuclear Armageddon. Worried yet?

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History by Personal Pique

It is another propaganda victory in that more than half the populace believes the war on Iraq was a President Bush mistake. Carl M. Cannon takes the covers off reality in Donald Trump, Iraq Demagogue.

These Democrats weren’t saying anything controversial. They were reflecting a bipartisan national will that echoed official U.S. policy. That policy, regime change in Iraq, was an actual law—The Iraq Liberation Act—signed by Bill Clinton on October 31, 1998.

This was the environment inherited by George W. Bush when he took office. The September 11, 2001 attacks only upped the pressure on Saddam, especially after Iraq became the only Arab nation not to condemn them. Weeks later, Bush received a letter signed by nine members of Congress, including John McCain and two Democrats, noting that U.N. inspectors hadn’t visited Iraq in three years.

George W. Bush made more than 150 speeches and public comments between his State of the Union address in 2002 and the March 19, 2003 announcement of the invasion. In almost all of them he cited multiple reasons for his tightening vise grip around Saddam’s regime. These include Saddam’s habit of invading his neighbors, including Iran and Kuwait; his support for international terrorism; his depredations against the Kurds; his violation of U.N. sanctions; his hostility toward Israel, which included missile attacks on civilians; his destabilizing influence in the region; his frightful crimes against his own people that included “rape rooms,” a phrase Bush invoked.

The human rights dimension was the one that seemed to motivate Bush the most. On two occasions, he recalled that Saddam had conspired to assassinate a former U.S. president, namely, his own father. This brings us full circle: Donald Trump’s apparent motivations for smearing George W. Bush is that the 43rd U.S. president has the temerity to campaign for his brother. Trump represents a new school of historical revisionism. Call it History by Personal Pique.

Yet casually accusing Bush of bad faith is another matter. When Trump does so, it has the feel of calculated misdirection. The reason? He’s the one lying about Iraq.

Yet even Cannon asserts that “an accurate recollection of the facts, however, does not absolve the Bush administration of blame for policies that led to the spiraling disintegration of the Middle East“. As indicated by Hanson (cf earlier post), it can be argued that the “spiraling disintegration” is not the Iraq war but rather the abandonment involved in ending it to appease the nationalist and sectarian interests, the isolationists, and the peace at any cost crowd. Consider the events after WW II and Korea where the U.S. commitment was honored  vs those after abandonment in Vietnam and Iraq.

But it is so easy to avoid discomfort by blaming some villain no matter how vacuous such efforts be. 1939 is in front of us again.

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