Anti-military propaganda: just for fun?

Carl Forsling provides a rant about how Onscreen Science Fiction Is Not Doing The Military Justice.

“Everyone likes watching an epic sci-fi battle. But whether it’s Star Trek’s Federation versus the Borg, Battlestar Galactica versus the Cylons, or the Rebel Alliance versus the Empire, most veterans are left wondering, “It’s like a thousand years in the future. Why are they fighting like it’s the Bronze Age or something?”

“One might think that these futuristic battles are just idle fun, and in a way they are. They allow us to fantasize about the way we wish war was — straightforward battles between good and evil, and not the inhuman, horrific spectacle as it actually is. Nonetheless, they shape the way the public looks at war today. Pop culture shapes the subconscious, which shapes public consciousness. Public “knowledge” of war comes in more ways than we realize. Most of the biggest onscreen battles in recent years have been science-fiction. More often than not, they ignore military innovation, real warfare strategy, and the grim reality of loss of life in battle.”

“Probably the biggest disservice though, is portraying death as completely cost free, both to the attacker and the attacked. Princess Leia personally witnessed the destruction of her entire planet — something that could be considered the Holocaust, the Mongol invasion, and Stalin’s purges put together and multiplied by a thousand — yet is nonchalantly kissing her brother on Hoth a few weeks later. Luke single handedly took out a small planet’s worth of Imperials on the Death Star. Sure, he probably feels justified in killing the Stormtroopers, but even he has to feel a twinge of guilt having wasted probably hundreds of innocent space janitors along with them.

“The day Luke Skywalker is shown talking in a veterans advocacy group about the trauma of losing his arm fighting his own father in hand-to-hand combat, maybe that will be the day we know the public has finally abandoned the illusion that war is painless … or glorious.”

In reality it is going towards one, carefully selected, shot to produce one kill. In the movies, you’d think it was Ghengis Kahn and the Mongol Hord. But then, reality would be boring and not much fun. The question is just how much of an impact the fiction has on perceptions of reality.

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The eternal search for the magic bullet: learning calculus and nutrition

David L. Katz Cooks, Kooks, Culture and Calculus: a Lesson in How We Treat Nutrition — “We don’t sanction a daily dose of hogwash about how to best learn calculus.”

“If we treated calculus the way we treat carbs or calories, no one would ever learn it. We would be too busy arguing over the best magical way to teach it.

Health, weight and nutrition are just as meritorious as, and more intimately relevant to more of us than, all these other subjects. They, too, are products of imperfect methods and knowledge that can be improved. But they are also products of established methods and considerable knowledge that can be applied right now, to stunningly good effect. If any other legitimate field of inquiry does not invite experts, pseudo-experts and non-experts alike to reinvent our knowledge and methods every day, and disparage everyone who came before – why does nutrition? Maybe it just doesn’t matter as much to us. After all, it’s only the construction material for the growing bodies of children we love.

We don’t sanction a daily dose of hogwash about how best to learn calculus with no investment of time, effort or study. But we tune in routinely to just such nonsense about health, weight and food. We squander the opportunity to use what we know. We allow far too many cooks and kooks into the kitchen, with the inevitable outcome: a culture awash in spoiled stew.”

The problem here is that calculus proficiency has better metrics. Errors in a mathematical proof are much more concrete than errors in nutritional know-how. That is why you don’t get so much hogwash about calculus as you do about nutrition and health — or about how to learn. In education there is a fundamental issue of the difference between knowledge and skill that is often clouded. You can “learn” a new language but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can carry on a conversation with a speaker of that language. You may have acquired a skill with the vocabulary and the grammar of the language but are still missing the knowledge needed for effective communication with it. This dilemma is seen in the difficulties involved in getting computers to understand language. Computer programs express skill but not knowledge. In the trades, this distinction is shown in the classification of apprentice, journeyman, and master. 

But if you want hogwash in hard sciences, take a look at quantum mechanics or astrophysics where some who suffer in knowledge try to pretend they don’t. Or look at many of the issues plaguing politics like climate change or energy production.

Some people work to improve ideas and innovate. Others just wish for a genie in a bottle that can produce a magic bullet.

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The Big Ugly

Some call it the Big Ugly:

“Multiple far-left groups are using Ferguson as a pretext to rehearse widespread civil disobedience when the Welfare State taps the brakes.”

It’s a yearning for a vision of the old days and the Vietnam war “don’t draft me” violent riots confused with civil rights protests.

“leftist, community organizing groups — meaning those that openly define their guiding ideology with socialist/communist language (quoting Marx & Lenin, while avoiding any mention of Stalin) — have been using Ferguson to stretch their muscles, largely unused after the 2008 election of an ally in the White House. For them, the Ferguson protests have little to do with Michael Brown’s death, and more to do with anti-capitalist rants, punctuated by chants against police brutality against young, innocent, black men.

Their stage setting is Brown’s death — the play is about anti-capitalism.”

Lee Cary says Leftist organizers are using Ferguson to rehearse the Big Ugly and puts the welfare state as the prime motivation. That fits into the general rule of thumb to trace the money. In this case, it’s the issue of how to get someone else’s money.

“The means of inspiring leftist street zeal are justified by the end.

Lies have long been a tool used by the tyrants of fascists, socialist, and communist ideologies.

In contrast, capitalism — an economic system in great distress in America — is inescapably tied to Arithmetic.

Real math doesn’t lie. It requires unbiased calculation. Far-left community organizers don’t traffic in unbiased calculation.”

“The key leaders are savvy enough to understand that funding for the American Welfare State is living on borrowed time — or, more literally, on borrowed money. Borrowing from other nations, and from our own nation’s future, reflects the long-running prostitution of John Maynard Keynes’ notion of deficit spending as a means to stimulate a slack economy.

Deficit spending is a federal addiction.”

Ferguson shows just how deep it goes as well. Carol Brown describes an illustration in the reaction to Rich Lowery on Meet the Press as A few seconds of truth on Ferguson and progressives go nuts!.

“If you look at the most credible evidence [of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a Ferguson, Mo., police officer], the lessons are really basic,” Lowry said during an appearance on Meet the Press. “Don’t rob a convenience store. Don’t fight with a policeman when he stops you and try to take his gun. And when he yells at you to stop, just stop.”

Before Lowry got to the end of his statement, everyone on the panel started making faces, interrupting, waving their arms around, and nearly jumping out of their chairs.

It was just that hard for them to hear the truth.

You know, early on in my journey from left to write I often read comments on blogs that would say: “liberalism is a mental disease.” And I didn’t quite get. But now I do. I know no other way to explain the sheer inanity that is the left in action.”

The there’s the politicization of football. Evan McMurry reports that the St. Louis Police Demand Rams Punish Players for ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Pose.

““The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory,” the association wrote Monday.

“I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights,” said SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda.* “Well I’ve got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours. I’d remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser’s products. It’s cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do. Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it’s not the NFL and the Rams, then it’ll be cops and their supporters.””

Some are actually taking note of the nonsense and speaking out against dishonesty and destructive behavior. Those are first steps in pushing back against the ‘Big Ugly’.

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Uber and the taxi wars of the 60’s continue

You may have heard of Uber. It is a modern take on taxi service that is encountering resistance from the established business model. The Las Vegas Review Journal describes a bit of the history of this struggle: Taxi wars’ of ’60s predate today’s stand-off with Uber.

“Taxi regulations are overseen by the Nevada Taxicab Authority, which was established in 1969 after more than a decade of confrontations among cabdrivers that casino executives feared were getting so violent that they would discourage tourists from coming to Las Vegas.”

“Many of the “taxi wars” battles were waged between union drivers represented by the Teamsters Local 881 and nonunion drivers for companies such as Checker Cab”

“Over the years, statutes were modified and the five-member Nevada Taxicab Authority remains in place and only regulates taxis in Clark County. Cabs that operate in other counties are administered by the Nevada Transportation Authority, which also regulates buses, limousines, towing and moving van companies.”

“The authority board’s top objective is to best serve the riding public. But state statutes have other criteria that the public has been quick to criticize as anticompetitive and protectionist.”

Of course, the usual pattern: Union violence stimulates anti-competitive regulation that is promoted under the banner of public safety and order in commerce. What has changed? 

personal accountability via capitalist incentives.

The taxi companies primary service, that of dispatch, now no longer needs to be centralized as an app on the cell phone can do most of the work. Instead of having to depend upon the reputation of the taxi company, potential riders can now investigate the reputation of a particular driver. The scene is changing and it will take time to determine the implications and work them out to acceptable solutions. Once again, it is those playing by the old rules up against those who want to make new rules. Let’s hope it doesn’t repeat the violence from past taxi-wars.

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IRS as a political tool – it’s a slow drip

The various scandals about misuse of the IRS by the administration have not yet died. Congress may not have been able to pry loose IRS records and correspondence but private lawsuits are showing fruit as a result of court orders. John Hinderaker has a good summary about how the IRS scandal rears its head.

What does this tell us? 1) Based on Mr. Goolsbee’s comments several years ago, there is every reason to believe that Barack Obama’s White House has illegally received confidential taxpayer information from the IRS. 2) Confronted by a lawsuit, the Obama administration, instead of responding forthrightly, has danced around the issue for years and erected every possible procedural barrier. 3) When finally brought to heel by a court, the administration asks for a ridiculously long period of time to produce a tiny number of documents on its own investigation of criminal behavior by the IRS and the White House.”

“This particular story is farce, not tragedy. It will wend its absurd way through the court system for years to come, probably arriving at no conclusion until the scofflaw Obama administration is safely out of office. In the meantime, federal criminal laws governing the privacy of IRS data, like the criminal laws generally, are a source of hilarity among Democrats. Democrat cronies sip Scotch and light cigars–I hope not with $100 bills–laughing at the rest of us who work to pay the taxes that support them in the luxury to which they have happily become accustomed. I have always thought that the term “ruling class” was ridiculous as applied to the United States, but the Obama administration is causing me to re-think that view.

How many members of the Nixon administration ultimately went to jail? I think no more than five or ten. The Obama administration has violated criminal statutes with an abandon that Nixon and his minions never dreamed of. An accounting remains; I think there are a considerable number of Obama minions and cronies who should be behind bars.”

The real question is about why the administration has been able to get away with it – at least so far. That question is also gaining some attention as well.

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Race relations

The Ferguson Fracas has not helped in promoting sympathy for the minority. The administration has had to backtrack from his promotion of violence that has escalated out of a false story used to foment unrest. As one said, it was rather unnerving to see the President talking about ‘understanding’ the need for protest while the split screen news showed black thugs and rioters gleefully hauling booty out of a liquor store.

The problems in the black family are also being put on parade. M. Catharine Evans describes Michael Brown Parents’ Bad Influence Plays Out on the National Stage

“As bad as Sybrina Fulton’s neglect and financial exploitation of little angel Trayvon Martin was, Lesley McSpadden’s profanity-laced rant after the grand jury decided not to indict Officer Wilson makes Fulton look like Mother of the Year.

Take a listen to Mama McSpadden and Michael Brown’s convicted felon stepdad, Louis Head. Yes, the same pair, along with twenty others who allegedly tried to crack a few skulls after they caught granny and a cousin selling Michael Brown merchandise in Ferguson a month ago.”

“These poor excuses for parents are as much to blame for Michael’s death as Michael himself, so why isn’t the media blaming them instead of the cops? Maybe we’ll all worry about police accountability when issues of accountability are resolved with respect to the sperm donors and baby mamas raising or not raising these scourges of society.

Holding these two accountable won’t be easy. After the McSpadden-Head video went viral, McSpadden’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump, tried to quell the criticism. Crump suggested that McSpadden and Head were overcome with “raw emotion.””

As for the media, headlines still list it as cop vs ‘unarmed teenager’ rather than 300 lb 18 year old caught on video abusing a store clear bullrushing a cop.

The awakening is noted by Colin Flaherty who says Black Mob Violence Now a Sickness

“And no one is sicker than the reporters who ignore, condone, excuse, and even encourage it, as we learned from the latest riot.

For reporters, Mike Brown has always been a moving target: At first the Gentle Giant was cut down for no reason whatsoever. Reporters ate it up and black mob violence followed.

When that fairy tale evaporated, they replaced it — with ease.”

“I learned from a black reporter that because the district attorney of St. Louis took 25 minutes to explain the grand jury decision that was proof positive the cop should have gone to trial. And reason enough to riot.”

“I learned the rioters did not like the tone of the District Attorney’s remarks. And that is why they did it.”

I learned black mob violence is “understandable,” or so quoth the President of the United States.

“Megyn Kellly — the devotee of the damages of white privilege — agreed with a black guest who said the rioters threw molotov cocktails because St. Michael was left in the street for four and half hours.”

“a former Republican White House staffer said it was all about police-community relations. Roughly translated that means too many black people were breaking the law. And too many white cops were catching them.”

“I learned that cops in riot gear cause riots.”

“I learned that black mob violence is no big deal because white people do it too.”

“No one mentioned Louisville, and how last Spring 200 black people rampaged through that downtown, beating grandparents in front of their grandkids, destroying property, stealing, looting, and creating mayhem.”

“PBS was kind enough to report that all of that black mob violence was the result of “white racism.””

“Violent crime in America is a black thing. Like the T-Shirt says, I don’t understand it. But this I do know: as bad as black crime rates appear to be (compared with non-black rates) in reality they are even worse.

And here are four reasons why: stitches for snitches, witness tampering, Bronx juries, cutting arrests in half, for starters.”

The list of behaviors should be stimulating research papers in psychology and social studies as it fits a pattern of known illness. Denial runs deep. It is not healthy, either for its victims or its observers.

UPDATE: see also Trayvon and Mike at Powerline.

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Modern righteousness

The topic was the creation of religious excuses for laws prohibiting self defense but the same points can be made about other hot issues that tear our society apart. See the post Christianity and Family Defense on the SurvivalBlog.com:

“To misapply scripture taken out of context is the number one reason most of our churches today are apostate.”

“let’s look at another concept– fairness vs righteousness. When a man fights another man, we tend to think that it should be a “fair” fight. If it’s a fist fight, there should be no knives. If it’s a knife fight, there should be no guns, and so forth. However, that is not how God looks at it. We should not fight unless the cause is righteous. Righteousness is the standard that God and godly men use to determine if we should even be involved in a fight.”

“Those that are too afraid to do what is righteous and right have a special place reserved for them in hell.”

“If you want to learn more about this concept, the first resource is, of course, the Bible. From the beginning to the end, it is filled with stories of God and God’s people righteously using aggression and violence to protect themselves and those who can’t protect themselves. It is also filled with stories of those who inappropriately used violence and aggression to further their own desires and the punishment that God reserves for such abuses.”

The Bible does not tell us to lie down and let evil be. Remember the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers? “The hymn’s theme is taken from references in the New Testament to the Christian being a soldier for Christ (wikipedia).” Christianity is not all passive and submissive. 

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Innovation escaping

Dr. Kanav Kahol left Arizona to get back to India in order to develop his idea for medical testing.

“There, he and a team of researchers produced the Swasthya Slate, or “Health Tablet.” The machine, built from sensors and an Android tablet, measures vitals like blood pressure and glucose levels and tests for conditions like HIV and pulse oximetry. Medical labs certified that it was as accurate as pre-existing technologies, and the Indian government has underwritten successful pilot projects using the device in the field. Where it was introduced, the device worked wonders. For example, a complicated antenatal testing process that previously took 14 days can be performed in 45 minutes using the new machine.”

India Welcomes a Medical Innovation Rejected by America tells the story. Too many obstacles here doesn’t help anyone.

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Strategy and tactics. Standards and presence.

Michael Hall describes Economic warfare in FOSS and his observations apply to politics (currently known as Gruber) and even in associations that need effective coordination of personal efforts.

“Or, How to destroy a project rather than compete with it.

“Whether they are conscious of it or not, many parts of our community have engaged in it, and it’s hurting us all. When a project comes along that some people don’t like, but they can’t (or won’t) compete with it, they will too often revert into a series of attacks that systematically tear that project down.

“Those steps, as I have observed them, are recorded below. I do this not to instruct people on how to do it (nobody ever needed it described to them in detail in order to participate in it) but rather in the hope that it will help the rest of us identify it when it starts to happen, and call it our for what it is.”

The steps include demonization, the ad hominem, and intimidation. What sets this list apart are the suggestions for opposing these tactics.

“All of this happens only when it’s allowed to happen. It isn’t inevitable, nor is it unstoppable. It can be stopped at any point along this path, if enough of us decide that it ought to be stopped. I hope I don’t have to write another post convincing anybody that is ought to be stopped.

“Prevention starts with identifying that this is happening, which is the reason I detailed it’s progress above. Once we know that it is happening, and how far along it has gotten, we can start to roll it back and undo some of the damage already done.”

What that means is standing up, speaking up, and not being intimidated.

“If it has gotten all the way to the final attack on the head of the project we must, as a community, be outspoken in our defence of them as people and as members of our community. You don’t have to like their project, or even support it, to honestly give support to the person. Ugly attacks, threats of violence, and any other attack on a person or their character should never be tolerated, and we need to make sure everybody knows that it won’t be tolerated.”

In other words, there needs to be know standards for civil discourse and violation of those standards needs everyone to step up when these standards are violated or abused.

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Lies of the WoT

Stephen Hayes introduces a statement as An Interrogator Breaks His Silence

“What follows is the document written by Jason Beale — a pseudonym for a longtime U.S. military and intelligence interrogator with extensive knowledge of the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA on some high-value detainees. Those techniques are scrutinized a forthcoming report prepared by the Democratic staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Beale would not confirm to THE WEEKLY STANDARD that he worked in that program, but others with knowledge of the program and its personnel tell TWS that he served as a senior interrogator beginning in 2004.

Beale tells TWS that his document was reviewed, redacted, and cleared by a U.S. government agency. A CIA spokesman would not confirm that the CIA was the agency in question. Beale says he made minor edits for grammar and flow after the document was cleared.”

The interrogation of captured terrorists is one of those issues that was used in the political war starting about 2005 when a newspaper revealed a secret program. At that time, the left was going to any extreme to backtrack on its support for its earlier endorsement of the War on Terror. Beale describes the assault on reason and integrity in the area of intelligence gathering.

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Chew ‘em up. Spit ‘em out. Don’t expect excellence as a result.

Bruce Deitrick Price describes how American Public Schools Chew Up Teachers and Spit Them Out. What he describes was accurate even thirty years ago.

“New teachers, however naive and idealistic, often know before they enter the profession that the salaries are paltry, the class sizes large, and the supplies scant. What they don’t know is how little support from parents, school administrators, and colleagues they can expect once the door is closed and the textbooks are opened.”

Teacher education is almost as much of a joke as the teacher credential process. It is like a tradesman skipping the apprentice and journeyman stages and being treated as a master right out of school. Perhaps a few years of substitute teaching would be useful – if it was treated as an apprenticeship under guidance of a master and provided the opportunity for experience in the classrooms at many different schools, grade levels, and subjects. But the substitute teacher situation is not in very good repute, either. One district is outsourcing the substitute teaching in order to get around Obamacare requirements, for instance.

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All that FUD about hacking

Every now and then you hear about some business or other large entity being “hacked” and a lot of ID theft type information stolen. The impression is left that somehow some super talented ‘hacker’ found around security and into the system to steal the database. What you don’t often see is that the security breach is often a matter of sloppy security in system access credentials (like passwords). Then there’s the intrusions into personal systems. Strategy Page has an item on this: Information Warfare: Russia Strikes Back.

“What most of these large scale attacks have in common is the exploitation of human error. Case in point is the continued success of attacks via Internet against specific civilian, military, and government individuals using psychology, rather than just technology. This sort of thing is often carried out in the form of official looking email, with a file attached, sent to people at a specific military or government organization. It is usually an email they weren’t expecting but from someone they recognize. This is known in the trade as “spear fishing” (or “phishing”), which is a Cyber War technique that sends official looking email to specific individuals with an attachment which, if opened, secretly installs a program that sends files and information from the email recipient’s PC to the spear fisher’s computer. Since 2012 an increasing number of military, government, and contractor personnel have received these official-looking emails with a PDF document attached and asking for prompt attention.”

It is a problem but a first level solution is known – just a bit of care – but it is easier to blame somebody else, especially if its the Chinese or Russians.

Update, see also the story, and especially the comments at DailyTech on the Home Depot hack attack.

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Delusion and denial observed

Tammy Bruce is rather harsh about Democratic delirium and denial; post-election ‘analysis’ spins every name but Obama.

“One thing is clear: At least at this point, most liberal commentators, writers and “influencers” are refusing, or unable, to grasp what happened on Tuesday night. This is a bad sign for their party and agenda. We know the Democrats have always been out of touch with reality, but the degree of denial since the election has been stunning.

“Watching this meltdown is also instructive for Americans in general, who must ask the question: How did we let such a disconnected and dumb bunch of people gain so much power? We are romantics, but the midterms remind us if you scratch the surface of any smug, arrogant liberal, you’ll find a clueless, malevolent and incompetent harpy.”

The sad thing is, it’s not only about the results of the mid-term elections but also about positions on major issues. It is instructive to observe behavior, but even that is subject to denial from people who do not like their own behavior. 

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Another ten reasons

Danusha V. Goska describes Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist with experiences and examples. It is worth careful reading and consideration. The ten reasons often show up in observations elsewhere but this list provides context and is powerful in the compilation. The top reason: “If hate were the only reason, I’d stop being a leftist for this reason alone.” can be easily seen by anyone and is perhaps a base for the other nine.

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Quackademic

persistence, redefinition of words, anti Western Culture, … It’s quackademic! At Respectful Insolence, it’s  Tooth Fairy science about traditional Chinese medicine, promoted in the Wall Street Journal.

“There’s a term that I wish I had coined but do frequently use to describe this infiltration: Quackademic medicine. Over the last 30 years or so, what was once quackery, rightly dismissed in a famous 1983 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine as a “pabulum of common sense and nonsense offered by cranks and quacks and failed pedants who share an attachment to magic and an animosity toward reason” has become mainstream, evolving from quackery to “alternative medicine” to “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and finally to “integrative medicine.”

“At each stage, the idea was to rebrand medicine based on pseudoscientific, mystical, and/or prescientific beliefs as somehow being co-equal with “Western” or “scientific” medicine through the clever use of language, whose latest term, “integrative” medicine is a near perfect Orwellian twisting of language meant to imply that what is happening is the “integration” of what advocates of integrative medicine like to call the “best of both worlds.”

“If you want to see just how successful quackademic medicine has been at not only infiltrating itself into what should be bastions of science-based medicine but at changing the very terms and language under which it is considered, just look at this article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal yesterday by Shirley S. Wang entitled A Push to Back Traditional Chinese Medicine With More Data: Researchers Marry Modern Analytical Techniques to Centuries-Old Theories on What Makes People Sick

“In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at the article. It’s based entirely on the very hubris behind “integrative medicine,” namely that medicine based on prescientific and religious beliefs, like traditional Chinese medicine, is at least nearly co-equal with medicine based on science and rigorous clinical trials. Or, at least, it would be equal to scientific medicine if there were actually some evidence for it, which these brave maverick doctors and scientists are furiously searching for, no matter how much they have to torture modern systems biology and molecular biology techniques to shoehorn TCM’s fantasy-based “networks” into networks of gene activity being increasingly understood by modern molecular biology.”

“Lots and lots of research money is being wasted studying prescientific superstition such as qi, yin and yang, and “hot” and “cold” applied to human disease, and universities are embracing such twaddle with both arms.”

“It should anger you. It should anger anyone who cares about science and medicine. Sadly, the reaction of the vast majority of physicians is a shrug.”

That shrug seems to be common to many ideas being pushed that threaten who we are and what we have gained over the last two centuries. Do read the shrug link. Some are indeed getting worried.

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Stonewalled

A book review by Ken Allard, a retired Army colonel, military analyst, and author on national-security issues is for the ‘not wooried, yet’ crowd. For him, it was deja vu all over again. The book is Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington (Amazon affiliate link) by Sharyl Attkisson.

“Full disclosure first: I was one of those military analysts regularly seen on network television until a 2008 New York Times expose accused us of succumbing to improper influences by the Rumsfeld Pentagon. Because congressional Democrats howled for our heads, it took three years, four federal investigations and more than $2 million in tax dollars before The Times report was discredited and we were exonerated.

“Ironically, we were accused of precisely the same pattern of government-media corruption at the heart of Sharyl Attkisson’s new blockbuster,”

“Mrs. Attkisson’s phones and computers began acting strangely. As she prepared to confront Ambassador Thomas Pickering about his Benghazi report, “Suddenly the data in my computer file begins wiping at hyperspeed before my very eyes. Deleted line by line a split second: it’s gone, gone, gone.” While they might have been remaking the movie “Enemy of the State,” an exhaustive forensics analysis of Mrs. Attkisson’s iMac found evidence of classified documents planted deep in her hard drive; systematic intrusions allowing remote control of her personal files; most damning of all, “a backdoor link to an ISP address for a government computer.” It was slam-dunk confirmation of a deliberately planned government penetration, all predictably denied by Eric Holder Jr.’s Justice Department.”

“The differences between my 2008 experience and what Sharyl Attkisson reveals in this marvelous book: Intelligence has become more intrusive, the media more ideological and the government incomparably more powerful — and all seem determined to squelch either people or issues that get in their way. Just ask Dinesh D’Souza.”

Something’s not right here. Is anybody listening?

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Elucidating the differences

A top ten list going around (see Hayward at Powerline). “I vote Democrat because …

Number 10.  I love the fact that I can now marry 
whatever I want. I’ve decided to marry my German Shepherd.

Number 9. I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon at 15% isn’t.

Number 8. I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

Number 7. Freedom of Speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

Number 6. I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves. I am also thankful that we have a 911 service that gets police to your home in order to identify your body after a home invasion.

Number 5. I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive and comfy.

Number 4. I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits, and we should take away Social Security from those who paid into it.

Number 3. I believe that businesses should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the Democrat Party sees fit.

Number 2. I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

And, the Number 1 reason … I think it’s better to pay $billions$ for oil to people who hate us, but not drill our own because it might upset some endangered beetle, gopher, or fish here in America. We don’t care about the beetles, gophers, or fish in those other countries.

a concise contrast and comparison between the ideological views at issue in U.S. politics?

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Observing political zoology

“1) If you’ve ever known anyone with a serious addiction, the easiest thing for friends and family to do is pretend it’s not a big deal. Who wants to have a confrontation? Far easier to let things slide and have a good time. “Let’s have a nice Thanksgiving without any arguments, OK?”

“The tea party is like the cousin who’s been through AA and refuses to pretend anymore. As a result, he spoils everyone’s good time. For the enablers, and others in denial, he’s the guy ruining everything, not the drunk.”

John Hawkins lists The 20 Best Quotes From Jonah Goldberg.

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Some are worried – may have reason to be

A make it up world?

“Progressives thought that because traditional protocols, language and standards were usually created by stuffy old establishment types, the rules no longer necessarily should apply. Instead, particular narratives and euphemisms that promoted perceived social justice became truthful. Bothersome facts were discarded.

“So far, political mythmaking has become confined to popular culture and politics, and has not affected the ironclad facts and non-negotiable rules of jetliner maintenance, heart surgery or nuclear plant operation. Yet the Ebola scare has taught us that even the erroneous news releases and fluid policies of the Centers for Disease Control can be as likely based on politics as hard science.

“If that is a vision of more relativist things to come, then we are doomed.”

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He seems worried. Should you be as well?

Then there’s Christopher Harper who says Hard numbers can’t alter media narrative on vote fraud. An assertion that there isn’t any voter fraud is one that the Left uses to oppose such anti-fraud measures as Voter ID. Who’s right?

“A significant study detailing an incredible amount of voter fraud in the past two national elections was released recently, but few news organizations gave the results any notice.

“The study found that noncitizens registered to vote in U.S. elections and have cast ballots, largely supporting Democratic candidates.”

Sometimes the ‘make it up world’ becomes an effort to create a fantasy by trying to manipulate reality. Perhaps there is cause for worry.

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Here we go again: re inflating the housing bubble

“Is the Obama administration actively trying to create the conditions for another housing collapse? What everyone who follows the housing market knows full well is this: The major reason for the millions of home foreclosures during the meltdown was the policy of low down payments on home loans.

“One study by researchers at the University of Texas in Dallas looked at some 30 million mortgages issued before the bubble burst and found that “[t]he evidence strongly suggests that the single most important factor is whether the homeowner has negative equity in a house” — i.e., whether they paid a high or low down payment. This study found the down payment was a much stronger prediction of whether a loan would end up in default than the credit score of the borrower.”

Stephen Moore describes how The feds are pushing the same lax rules that triggered the crash.

“As the housing bubble kept inflating from 2001 to 2006, aspiring homeowners could walk into a bank or a branch of Countrywide Financial and walk out with home loans with as low as 2.5 percent or 3 percent down payment (including closing costs, which also could be financed through the loan). The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily and other free marketeers warned of the insane risk that taxpayers were underwriting on almost $1 trillion in mortgages. They were shouted down as alarmists.”

“None of these lessons from the last crisis have taken hold in Washington. The best and the brightest in President Obama’s camp want to roll the dice again and lower, not raise, down payments and ease the credit rules at banks. When sensible people protest this insanity, critics call us fear mongers. That, too, is what the housing lobby said on the eve of the previous housing crisis.”

Try, try, again. Hope for different results this time. Never stop to think about why the fantasy might not be reality and why trying to make it so is a sure path towards disaster (again).

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