The Pope and the ‘everybody does it’ fallacy

At The Guardian Pope Francis says it is ‘not right’ to identify Islam with violence — “Leader of the Catholic church says all religions have a ‘small fundamentalist group’ and that faith was not the only cause of terrorism.”

Pope Francis has said it was wrong to identify Islam with violence and that social injustice and idolatry of money were among the prime causes of terrorism.

“I think it is not right to identity Islam with violence,” he told reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome after a five-day trip to Poland. “This is not right and this is not true.”

The Guardian view on Pope Francis in Kraków: what religions are really about
Editorial: The pontiff shares some traits with John Paul II, but has a very different agenda
Read more
The pope was responding to a question about the killing on 26 July of an 85-year-old Roman Catholic priest during a church service in western France. The attackers forced the priest to his knees and slit his throat. The killing was claimed by Islamic State.

“I think that in nearly all religions there is a always a small fundamentalist group,” he said, adding “We have them,” referring to Catholicism.

Picking out money as the bogeyman despite plain evidence to the contrary is bad enough. Ignoring the teachings of the Koran raises things to a whole new level. A reasonable person might conclude that this is bearing false witness but the Pope is supposed to be above that. Confusing the sin in human nature with the teachings of false prophets is dangerous territory for any religious leader. Rather than bemoaning the evil of others concerning greed and money, perhaps some introspection about one’s own ‘wanting nice things’ is in order, especially when those nice things are for a reflection of humanity that does not exist and that your faith warns you about.

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How did it get this far apart?

Robert Knight calls it A tale of two platforms and says that “The glaring differences give Americans a clear choice.”

Regardless of the Trump-Clinton matchup, it’s instructive to contrast the Republican and Democratic Party platforms. While nearly identical in length, they reveal utterly opposite worldviews.

The 54-page Republican platform calls for greater personal responsibility; decentralizing power; a balanced-budget amendment; reducing the size and scope of government; parental rights; gun ownership and religious liberty; tax incentives for economic growth; reducing taxes across the board; a crackdown on the Internal Revenue Service; overturning the Supreme Court’s rulings on Obamacare, abortion and same-sex “marriage”; rejecting any treaties not vetted by the Senate; rescinding President Obama’s executive orders granting amnesty to illegal immigrants; withholding federal funds from “sanctuary cities”; building a wall on our southern border; rebuilding American military strength, and exerting international leadership against ISIS and other threats.

The 52-page Democratic Party platform promises a new War on Poverty and the Bernie Sanders-inspired Socialist War on the Rich [not their wording]; massive new public works projects; expanding federal programs at every level; more tax-subsidized abortions; cradle-to-grave health care; a “cradle-to- college pipeline”; free public college tuition for all; free childcare; mandatory national service; racial affirmative action; the LGBT political agenda; new regulatory mandates on businesses; a radical climate change agenda; leading “a broad coalition of allies and partners to destroy ISIS’ stronghold in Iraq and Syria,” and sky-is-the-limit confiscatory taxation, including a new levy on financial transactions, to pay for it all.

The question is how the politics became this divisive, how the two major parties became so separated in values and perceptions.

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Perspective and context

VDH ponders Trump and the Politics of Moral Outrage. The current brouhaha about Russian hacking is just one example that illustrates his points. That example is about perceptions, actual causes, the use of satire and humor, outrage, and political machinations.

No doubt, some of Trump’s flamboyant invective is isolationist, nativist, and protectionist. Certainly, we are in the strangest campaign of the last half-century, in which members of Trump’s own party are among his fiercest critics. In contrast, the ABC/NBC/CBS Sunday-morning liberal pundits feel no need to adopt NeverHillary advocacy. They apparently share little “Not in my name” compunction over “owning” her two decades of serial lying, her violations of basic ethical and legal protocols as secretary of state, her investment in what can be fairly termed a vast Clinton pay-to-play influence-peddling syndicate, and the general corruption of the Democratic primary process.

Amid the anguish over the Trump candidacy, we often forget that the present age of Obama is already more radical than most of what even Trump has blustered about.

Is Trump’s threatened “isolationism” worse than the present “lead from behind” or the empty step-over lines, deadlines, and red lines of the last seven years? Or than refusing to increase security at Benghazi and creating fables to hide the dereliction? I often hear the question: “Who knows what Trump might do?” I hear it much more often, in fact, than I hear anyone recall “We came, we saw, he [Qaddafi] died” or “What difference does it make?” The point is not to excuse Trump with “you too” moral equivalence, or to cynically race to the bottom of low-bar politics, but again to remind our ethicists that we live in an age characterized by Petronius’s Satyricon, not the elder Cato’s moral republic — and if they object to that fact, there were plenty of occasions to voice their outrage long before Donald J. Trump left The Apprentice. Trump may well be Trimalchio, but neither Clinton nor Obama is a Scipio (more likely a Catiline, Clodius, or Milo).

Like it or not, this election is about degree, relative political agendas, and comparative hazard, not about marrying ideological purity and consistency with sobriety and character — a sad fact that did not enter our politics with Donald J. Trump.

The current campaign is change and the state propaganda machine and established politicians are having a tough time trying to figure out what is going on. There are lessons to be learned about the people and about the wisdom of those who framed the U.S. systems of government.

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Diagnosing tactics: the AP

John Hinderaker: The Association Press Plays the Race Card.

The Associated Press was once a straightforward, relatively nonpolitical news source, but those days are long gone. Now some of the most hard-core Democratic Party advocacy comes from the AP. Thus, it is no surprise that the AP is trying to advance the Democrats’ narrative that Trump is a bigot.

Is that assertion true? The AP takes no responsibility, it is just what “some observers say.”

“Coded racial language” is big on the left, but note that so far, the AP hasn’t quoted a single word that Donald Trump actually said. Not one. The AP goes on in the same vein, quoting Trump’s far-left critics, but never citing any of Trump’s own words.

And tomorrow, the AP will run a story on how Communists and Socialists are cheering for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They won’t do that, of course, because fringe people are of interest only if they support Republicans. It’s just another day in the lives of liberal journalists who are devoted to advancing the interests of their party.

At least the propaganda is being dissected and exposed. There is still a significant gullible market for propaganda and that means that there will be those to serve the market. There is a lot of work to be done to shrink that market and education about tactics, techniques, and methods may help promote better integrity.

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People notice

At least Tammy Bruce thinks so. Chaos at the Democratic National Convention — “The chaos of the Democrats follows the noisy challenge of the GOP.”

Americans notice things like no American flags on the DNC convention stage. It might be small to some people, but it’s a statement. The Democrats think so because someone made a deliberate decision to eliminate the image of the Stars and Stripes. After criticism mounted, they added them the second night. What sort of people need to be proded into including the American flag at a convention for the presidency?

The contrast is there. It is not only in symbols such as the U.S. Flag and other Americana that usually overwhelms at a national party convention. It is also in the speakers and topics that are chosen to be on the agenda. As Bruce noted, it is also in the management of the convention itself, something that isn’t noticed if well done.

Politics seems to have risen above opinion and reason and even integrity. It has gone beyond patriotism and pride in one’s society. Do the people notice? Do they care? They will tell us soon.

Then take a look at the DNC platform. IBT describes it For Democrats, Is It ‘Great America’ Or ‘Hate America’?.

The bedrock of America has always — always — been its free-market system, which has provided greater wealth and opportunity for more people than any other system ever. Yet, there have been no comments made from the convention stage in unqualified support of our free-market system. None.

The truth is, as the Democratic platform clearly shows, the Democratic Party now is in near total opposition to the free-market system we have — favoring instead top-down control of nearly every aspect of American life.

or consider answering the question Why Are ‘Progressives’ Fighting Against Uber and Airbnb?/

So in other words, to help out rich, politically connected special interests, progressives like Warren are perfectly willing to cause direct harm to middle-income families.

This isn’t being progressive, folks. This is being reactionary.

An anti Airbnb notice even came out with the Washoe County property tax notice. Will people notice?

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Tactics

Richard Berman thinks he knows How to defeat activists. “The key is exposing the opposition’s hidden agenda.”

Having a first-mover advantage, then occupying the moral high ground, allows activists to shift the burden of proof to the opposition. This puts opponents in the impossible position of trying to prove a negative — e.g., explaining why a higher minimum wage won’t decrease poverty, and how food labeling won’t make consumers more informed.

So how does one respond? Not by continuing to try to win on an intellectual level.

It is getting more discussion about how integrity – the intellectual level – isn’t much of a factor in today’s political arguments. Berman’s problem in envisioning tactics is that his proposed solution falls back to that of the honest person. That dissonance is a significant internal dilemma: how do you prevail when you are up against an opposition that has no boundaries on its behavior?

Consider, for instance Ed Feulner on Challenging the climate change bullies — “Despite what Democratic lawyers say, free speech isn’t debatable.”

Actually, Mr. Schneiderman can assert that all he wants. Unlike him, I believe in free speech for all, even those I disagree with. What I find abhorrent is the idea of using the power of government to compel groups who express a politically incorrect point of view to open their files for investigation.

Sorry, Mr. Whitehouse. The only fraud being perpetrated here is by those who would deny basic First Amendment rights to their fellow Americans. Let’s hope those who recognize your bullying tactics keep turning up the heat.

Keep turning up the heat – that’s another tactic and it is an effective one. It means selling the people to join you in exposing the fallacies and absurdities and in pushing back against improper behavior.

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A malaise in science, a failure in culture

Dr. Tim Ball thinks that the Credibility Loss in Climate Science is Part of a Wider Malaise in Science.

There are a widespread malaise and loss of direction in western society promulgated by bizarre ideas and theories produced by completely unaccountable academics. How can anyone promote ideas that were so wrong and did so much damage, like Paul Ehrlich, yet continue to practice?

Lack of accountability is endemic among the financial, political, and academic elite trio. It is no wonder that the modern attitude, especially among the young, is that you only broke the law if you got caught. Even then, it is most likely nothing will happen to you or anyone who benefits from your absolution if you are in the elite trio. So the malfeasance expands as the practices and false rewards continue.

One of many incorrect assumptions made in education is that it can increase a person’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ). The difference is between nature (IQ) and nurture (education). Aristotle defined the issue when he pointed out that you can have a mathematical genius of five years old, but you will never have a five-year-old philosophical genius. Aristotle’s point was that most of the subjects’ students study in school require life experience, which they don’t and can’t have.

The give away in the entire climate debacle were the actions taken before and after the emails were leaked. The resort to denial of freedom of information requests for data, use of intellectual property claims to prevent other scientists replicating results. The examples in climate science appear to be extreme.

There is worry about a lack of accountability and differing rules and standards for different cohorts. Why is it fostered and allowed to stand? That is the puzzle.

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Dissonance and learning: A new political game.

Professor Hanson gets it. Ten Reasons Why Trump Could Win. One of the big problems in this election is that it is different and the usual suspects, the State Propaganda Machine, the Washington Elite, are in denial. That denial shows in how they view the candidates and ignores any attempt to understand the phenomena. Hanson and a few others are looking at the situation and figuring out what is happening. This isn’t a matter of advocacy but rather one of understanding. Here are his ten reasons:

That diagnosis is rehashed groupthink. By any definition, Trump is not a classical populist.

Do not underestimate the volatility of Barack Obama’s popularity.

Both Trump and Clinton are elitists in an anti-elitist year. But elitism is not all the same. … Like it or not, Trump can square the ridiculous circle of a raucous billionaire as man of the people far better than Hillary can handle the contradictions of a Wall Street–created crony multimillionaire pandering to the Sanders socialists.

The numbers of minority voters in key states who quietly vote Trump need not be great, but rather only must top by 2 or 3 percentage points the disastrous McCain and Romney levels of 2008 and 2012, given the likely historic percentage of white voters that Trump may win. Media elites are in denial over this possibility.

Trump struggles with embarrassing misdemeanors, Clinton with high crimes.

a vague foreboding that something has to give to avert catastrophe may favor Trump abroad and at home

Trump seems extremist in speech, but as the campaign wears on, Hillary may confirm that she is more extremist in fact.

If the polls are off a bit in this warped election year, they are more likely to err on Hillary’s side.

In my rural California community, when I meet pro-Trump welders, farmers, and tractor drivers of all races and backgrounds, I try to ask them just one question: Did you vote for Romney? So far 0 percent of that cohort of probably over 100 Central Valley residents said they had turned out for Romney in 2012. Again, the new Trump voters may not be numerous nationwide, but they may be able to swing one or two purple states.

Hillary is the far more disciplined politico, but she is not so much uncharismatic as downright off-putting.

Finally, it is suicidal to descend into the muck to battle Trump. … Brawlers know the rules of the street far better than establishmentarians.

There are a lot of concepts to consider in this list.

A factor in this is the meme that money is a corrupting influence is also on the examination table. Clinton is adamantly opposed to Citizens United as that SCOTUS case ruled that organizations have a right of free speech despite their being an aggregate able to raise large sums for political speech. But money isn’t showing the envisioned corruption of the public voice. Some note that Jeb! spent $50 million for each of the three delegates he has in his corner at the Republican Convention. The polling data has Clinton and Trump near even despite massive campaign spending on the Clinton side to nearly none on the Trump side. Clearly there are factors other than money involved in politics.

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Struggles with guns

The dissonance is on display. Paul Marantz is wondering: More guns or fewer? The problems with evidence-based gun research and provides an illustration of asking the wrong question and avoiding logical inference by avoiding selected data.

To me, it seems patently absurd to suggest that fewer people would have died in that movie theater in Aurora, CO, if more theater-goers were toting firearms, or that fewer children would have died in Sandy Hook, CT, if there were armed guards in all schools, or Donald Trump’s more recent statement that if more people in that Orlando nightclub had been carrying guns, “you wouldn’t have had the tragedy that you had.”

Absurd? It is one thing to not understand but entirely another to pre-judge. The use of ‘toting’ is also an indicator of this bias. Why would it be absurd to think that an armed citizenry would increase the odds of reducing the tenure of a mass murderer? The he poses a hypothetical to support his view: “But since we can’t actually know something that didn’t happen.” The logical fallacy is trying to apply a single case to a statistical phenomena. Rather than limit the observations to one specific and selected event to determine definitive result, why not look at the broader, statistical, population? If you do, then you will find cases where an armed citizenry did indeed cut a mass murder short and other evidence that your judgment of “absurd” is off base. This is only a part of the problem.

why not take a scientific approach to determining whether there is such an association and in which direction it points? While my heart resonates with this argument, my head finds a few significant problems:

1. The powers that be don’t want this sort of information.

Just how is assuming a conspiracy taking a “scientific approach”?

2. Even when information is available, we tend to ignore or disbelieve evidence that doesn’t comport with our beliefs. While there hasn’t been enough research on gun violence, there has been some, and it generally supports the notion that having fewer restrictions on gun access is associated with more, not fewer, fatalities

When you start to allege bias, the first place to look is always in the mirror. In this case, the need is shown by a questionable allegations. This is about not enough research – like the research that has been done and the measurements taken don’t support the view I like so we need more to find some that does. Another problem is the “fewer restrictions” means more fatalities which flies in the face of the overall statistic that violence has reduced over the last couple of decades as gun ownership and CCW permits have increased. The only ‘research’ to support his allegation is highly selective and bypasses proper consideration of pertinent variables in a complex situation.

3. Americans’ mistrust of science. This last point is perhaps the most problematic; although as troubling as I find it, I do understand it a bit. First, while science represents a methodology and an approach to thinking about and understanding the world, the way “science” is taught tends to emphasize what we’ve learned from science (often focusing on fact retention) rather than the methodology itself. While the latter is more interesting, it can be intellectually challenging, and one wonders whether our educational system is up to the task

How is this mistrust measured? Is it a sop for an ad hominem attack on those who do not agree? Perhaps a place to start would be to start to examine one’s own views of science. Think about the values of science and how poorly they are reflected in your own conclusions and rationalizations.

In sum: I’m hoping for effective, evidence-based policies to curb gun violence and reduce firearm-related deaths, but I am of little faith.

What are these “effective, evidence-based policies” that are going to do what what is already happening? Why is this restricted to just one type of violence and what does that indicate about the real target of the plea – and why is that target hidden? 

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Soros v Koch

A number of Democrats in the Senate are having a go at the Koch brothers claiming that they are defrauding the public and should be silenced. Meanwhile, there’s George Soros. Kelly Riddel says Beware the Soros zombies — “They’re headed to the Republican convention with a mission to disrupt and distract.”

Civil rights group Color of Change — which Mr. Soros gave $500,000 to in his Foundation’s latest tax return — collected more than 100,000 signatures on a petition to demand Coca-Cola and other companies withdraw their support from the [Republican] convention. The petition that featured a Coke bottle with the label, “Share a Coke with the KKK.”

Brave New Films, which received $250,000 from Mr. Soros‘ foundation, tried to make waves for Republicans by creating misinformation about their convention through social media.

Deceit and lies — that’s what these groups are up to — and they’re using the mainstream media as their pawns.

Last weekend, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a progressive organization that was given $900,000 by Mr. Soros’s Foundation, held a People’s Convention in Pittsburgh, to organize social justice movements ahead of the political conventions both in Cleveland and Philadelphia.

That’s right, Mr. Soros is actively working to build another ACORN.

It is one thing to voice an opinion, another entirely to fund demonstrations to disrupt and destroy and silence the opposition. Soros v Koch illustrates the difference and tells much about the ethics and values that are at play in current politics and the stark differences between parties.

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An IBD collection

Investor’s Business Daily has a parade of solid thinking today. Start off with Walter Williams on why We Don’t Need Another ‘National Conversation’ On Race. Then take a look Kerry Jackson: June Hottest Month On Record? It’s Just One More Overheated Claim. Both illustrate how measures of reality are in dissonance with political desires and fantasies.

The primary victims of lawlessness are black people. To address this problem and most others, black people should ignore the liberal agenda. If civil authorities will not do their job of creating a safe environment, then black people should take the initiative. One example comes to mind. In 1988, at the request of residents, Black Muslims began to patrol Mayfair Mansions, a drug-infested, gang-ridden, unsafe Washington, D.C., housing project. The gangs and drug lords left.

Without self-initiative, there is not much that can be done about the high crime rate in black neighborhoods. Black and white liberals and their allies in the ACLU, as well as many libertarians, will not countenance the kind of tools needed to bring about civility.

Similar to the ‘foolishness’ and many falsehoods driving the anti-police movement is that driving the climate propaganda.

One of the points that has to be taken from this is the foolishness of trying to determine an average temperature for a country, let alone an entire planet.

And it is indeed foolishness. Bjarne Andresen, a professor at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, says the concept of a global temperature is thermodynamically as well as mathematically impossible to establish.

“It is impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth,” Andresen, an expert in thermodynamics, says.

“A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system. Furthermore, the climate is not governed by a single temperature. Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate.”

NOAA would have more credibility if it simply reported that summer had arrived in the Northern Hemisphere in June and reminded Americans, particularly those in regions where June was cooler than usual, that, yes, summer is hot.

Yes, it’s a hot summer and some are saying it was planned – at least the race riot type things. 

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Jay Stalien on Facebook 

The more I listened, the more I realized. The more I researched, the more I realized. I would ask questions, and would only get emotional responses & inferences based on no facts at all. The more killing I saw, the more tragedy, the more savagery, the more violence, the more loss of life of a black man at the hands of another black man….the more I realized.

All of my realizations came to this conclusion. Black Lives do not matter to most black people. Only the lives that make the national news matter to them. Only the lives that are taken at the hands of cops or white people, matter. The other thousands of lives lost, the other black souls that I along with every cop, have seen taken at the hands of other blacks, do not matter. Their deaths are unnoticed, accepted as the “norm”, and swept underneath the rug by the very people who claim and post “black lives matter”.

I realized that some of these people, who say Black Lives Matter, are full of hate and racism. Hate for cops, because of the false narrative that more black people are targeted and killed. Racism against white people, for a tragedy that began 100’s of years ago, when most of the white people today weren’t even born yet.

I realized that some in the African American community’s idea of “Justice” is the prosecution of ANY and EVERY cop or white man that kills or is believed to have killed a black man, no matter what the circumstances are.

I realized the African American community refuses to look within to solve its major issues, and instead makes excuses and looks outside for solutions. I realized that a lot of people in the African American community lead with hate, instead of love. Division instead of Unity. Turmoil and rioting, instead of Peace.

I realized that they have become the very entity that they claim they are fighting against.

I realized that the very reasons I became a cop, are the very reasons my own people hate me, and now in this toxic hateful racially charged political climate, I am now more likely to die,… and it is still hard for me to understand…. to this day.

hard to understand indeed. go read the rest as it is a powerful plaint.

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Democrats v Bill of Rights

Peter Roff on Freezing Free Speech — “Democratic senators are trying to put the First Amendment on ice.”

This coordinated attack on what the Democrats are calling the “Web of denial” is a hideous affront to the right of a person or an organization to hold and to propagate an opinion running counter to the political interests of the powerful. That those participating are making use of the tactics they accuse their opponents in the climate change debate of using would make for delicious irony were the stakes not so high.

Whitehouse and company understand well they cannot yet make a difference of opinion a criminal matter. They can however make it a costly one – and they are not above using the resources available to them as officers of the United States government to do it. No matter what your beliefs about climate change you should all be sickened by the spectacle. Open debate is healthy, but that’s not what this is. It’s an effort at oppression, the kind many of our forebears fled in deciding to first come to America.

If you can’t make it illegal, you can at least make it costly to oppose you. The assault on the Bill of Rights by the Democratic Party is indeed “a hideous affront.” What is frightening is that it is a major political party supported by a good portion of the citizenry.

update: the minions are falling into line: Calling out the Koch Brothers. Note the picking of a personal target and how it is rationalized and defended in the comments. 

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Victory Disease

History is not a closed book and the WW II battle at Midway illustrates both how new understanding can be gained and how old stories are similar to new ones. In Explaining the “Miracle” at Midway, the idea of “Victory Disease” illustrates behaviors readily visible in many of today’s political arguments.

The authors also faulted Japan’s lack of ingenuity in using battleships as close escorts for the navy’s carriers, an overemphasis on quality over quantity in naval aviation, the lack of radar on Japanese vessels, and, perhaps most important of all, Japan’s sufferance from “Victory Disease”— the clouding of judgment resulting from the many easy victories of the early months of the war. “There is an irrationality and impulsiveness about our people which results in actions that are haphazard and often contradictory,” Fuchida and Okumiya conclude. “Indecisive and vacillating, we succumb readily to conceit, which in turn makes us disdainful of others. . . . Our want of rationality often leads us to confuse desire and reality, and thus to do things without careful planning.”

[T]he Japanese defeat was not the result of some solitary, crucial breakdown in Japanese designs. It was not the result of Victory Disease, nor of a few crucial personal mistakes. Rather, what appears is a complex, comprehensive web of failures stretching across every level of the battle—strategic, operational, and tactical. . . . They were the end products of an organization that failed to learn correctly from its past, failed to plan correctly for its future, and then failed to adapt correctly to circumstances once those plans were shown to be flawed.”

There is an irrationality and impulsiveness about our people which results in actions that are haphazard and often contradictory.” “Our want of rationality often leads us to confuse desire and reality, and thus to do things without careful planning.” If you don’t see these human characteristic behaviors driving modern politics, you may need to look in the mirror and do some introspection. It isn’t a “Victory Disease” but rather a narcissism and a defense of self that is an inherent part of identity run amok. It is a bit too much confidence that one’s perceptions are entirely correct, such a confidence that allows no objection even when reality is offering one.

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Race riots and behavior patterns

The American Thinker offers up two columns this morning of note. They are related because violence and crime are matters of morality and law and those ideas are fundamental to the behaviors of individuals in a civil society.

Trevor Thomas: The Law Is Dying because Morality Is Dying

To illustrate the death of morality, Dr. Zacharias recalls the comments of Robert Shapiro, the famous attorney who helped represent O.J. Simpson in Simpson’s murder trial. While being interviewed by Megyn Kelly, Shapiro was asked if justice had been served in the Simpson trial (Simpson was found not guilty of murdering his wife Nicole and Ron Goldman). Shapiro utters a “pathetic answer,” telling Kelly, “There is legal justice and moral justice. Legal justice was served.” Thus, as is common among those corrupted by liberalism, Shapiro divorces law from morality.

Scalia continued, “The Court embraces … the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice.” He concluded, “This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation.”

The biggest obstacle to writing one’s own moral code is Christianity. As The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (of the Southern Baptist Convention) recently put it, “in the twentieth century, more and more people began to see Christian morality as standing in the way of a new moral code: the morality of self-fulfillment. Throwing off burdensome traditional mores, people began to imagine life without a bothersome God standing watch.”

Again, all law is rooted in someone’s idea of morality. We either are going to be governed by the morality of the Law Giver or the “morality of self-fulfillment.” Americans must simply decide by whose morality we wished to be governed.

That choice is distinguished by a racial divide where the desire to hide that divide crosses racial boundaries. This is ‘discussed’ under the mantras about profiling and diversity. That leads to Colin Flaherty: Media Ignore the Tsunami of Black Violence against Cops

The reason for the demonstration was simple and beyond pushback:

White cops shoot black people all over the country, all the time, for no reason whatsoever.

Everybody knows that. So sad.

Not one reporter at any point even hinted at how black violence is wildly out of proportion.

Not one reporter talked to any cop willing to tell the truth about how police are relentless victims of black hostility and violence and murder — all over the country.

And how black on cop violence and defiance are now the default response.

Not the other way around. A brief magical mystery tour of black on cop violence over the last few weeks.

The videos show the crowds fleeing the gunfire as the officer runs towards it. When her backup arrived, they found the cop on the ground, surrounded by a large group of black people beating and kicking her and trying to steal her gun.

One black man was running around, pleading for a gun to shoot the police.

A few days before that in Miami Gardens, a black man unhappy at a traffic stop pulled up to a cop and shot the cop at point blank range, somehow missing.

In Ireland, a young man disturbed a family gathering by announcing he had been following the shootings in Dallas and said he was happy black people were finally fighting back because cops had been picking on black people in America for a long time for no reason whatsoever.

He learned that from CNN. From a story featuring the President. Of the United States of America.

The racial disparity in crime goes deeper. One statistic often used is that of blacks being disproportionate in traffic stops and that, of course, must be because of profiling and targeting by police. The problem is that studies of even these minor crimes show that the police stops are related to traffic violations, not the race of the driver. The alleged profiling and targeting is not supported. A similar false meme exists about more significant crimes and in domestic violence in the city.  The racial disparity not only exists in crime statistics but also in such things as single parent homes or households raising children who do not have a solid role model for a father.

If you want to solve a problem, you have to first properly define it. The assault on police is not doing that but is rather an expression of denial. 

 

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Perfecting Hindsight: Chilicot version

It’s another ‘report’ to establish moral superiority by bashing and trashing leadership in unpleasant world affairs. This time, it is Tony Blair as the victim for supporting George Bush in the Iraq war. Not that it isn’t countries under examination, it is specific political leaders. Andrew Rawnsley reviews Ten things that Chilcot’s verdict reveals about Tony Blair and the Iraq war. One of the first things to consider in this review is the axioms that show bias.

What he can’t bring himself to say is: “If I knew then what I know now, of course I would never have taken Britain to war in Iraq.” Some react to his defiance by putting it down to self-delusion, denial and vanity. The most important reason is this: for Blair to accept that the entire enterprise was a mistake would be to say to the bereaved that their loved ones died in vain for a terrible folly.

“Folly” ? Notice the many ‘qualified’ assertions about this folly.

Chilcot concludes that the legal basis for the invasion was “far from satisfactory” and confirms that the cabinet never tested the advice from the attorney-general … On the other hand, the war was never condemned by a vote of the UN and the occupation was subsequently given a form of endorsement in post-invasion resolutions passed by the Security Council creating a framework for Iraq’s future.

Up to the cusp of the invasion, key members of the cabinet could have acted to stop British participation in the invasion. Any one of John Prescott, deputy prime minister at the time; Gordon Brown, chancellor; and Jack Straw, foreign secretary, could have halted it by resigning. … The late Robin Cook was the only member of the cabinet to quit

Even the original premise is qualified in item 10.

10 Could an Iraq war ever happen again?

That seems unlikely after the defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some policy thinkers worry there could be a sound case for intervention in the future and it won’t happen because the scars are so deep. Strategy is a mess. After the horrors in Iraq, Britain, with France and America, took a different approach when genocide was threatened by Colonel Gaddafi in Libya, using air power but not deploying troops. That form of intervention-lite has turned out badly. The failings in Iraq and Libya resulted in reluctance to intervene in Syria when anti-regime protesters rose up against the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. Even when he unleashed chemical weapons on civilians, parliament refused to sanction British intervention at the first time of asking. More Syrians have died since that conflict began in 2011 than Iraqis have died since the invasion of 2003. Non-intervention can be every bit as blood-stained as intervention.

The “scars are so deep” but these scars do not come from the war in Iraq but rather the political war at home. It is a political war driven by fantasy and hate and personal desires that run so deep as to stimulate massive reports trying to defend them by ignoring reality. That ignoring reality isn’t so much a creation of a new one as an emphasis on just one aspect of the whole. This is like the desire for a socialist dictatorship supported by ignoring the human suffering that results any time it surfaces.

The ‘other side’ of the Iraq war angst is in the Authorization to Use Military Force passed overwhelming by the U.S. Congress and in the U.N resolutions regarding Iraq and in the recent history of the late 20th century. These factors cannot be swept aside in ad hominem moral preening trying to pretend that humanity is what it is not.  History makes it clear that “Non-intervention can be every bit as blood-stained as intervention,” 

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False prophets

Luboš lets loose every now and then about false prophets in science. This time he thinks: Pesticides needed against anti-physics pests — “Their activity got too high in the summer.”

There’s absolutely nothing new about this particular rant – it’s the 5000th repetition of the anti-string delusions repeated by dozens of other mental cripples and fraudsters in the recent decade. To make things “cooler”, he says that many string theorists would agree with him and to make sure what they would agree with, he promotes both Šmoits’ crackpot books at the end as the “recommended reading”.

This particular rant has been read by more than 45,000 readers. The number of people indoctrinated with this junk is so high that one should almost start to be afraid to call the string critics vermin on the street (my fear is not this far, however). I am sure that most of them have been gullible imbeciles since the rant was upvoted a whopping 477 times. Every Quora commenter who has had something to do with high brow physics disagrees with Muller but it’s only Muller’s rant that is visible. Quora labels this Muller as the “most viewed writer in physics”. Quora is an anti-civilization force that deserves to be liquidated.

A more accurate formulation is that Mr Siegel doesn’t want to see any arguments in favor of grand unification because he is a dishonest and/or totally stupid prejudiced and demagogic crackpot. But I guess that Siegel’s own formulation, while totally untrue, sounds fancier to his brainwashed readers.

The number of individuals just like him has grown astronomical and they produce their lies on a daily basis without facing almost any genuine enemies.

It’s not only in string theory that you have the ignorant posing as experts pontificating nonsense. It is not only in arcane fields of study or science or technology that such people are doing their thing, either. String theory, climatology, genetics and farming, vaccinations, nutrition, criminal violence, and even the law all have false prophets garnering followings of the gullible. 

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was all nonsense but money gets spent, people suffer and die, and the followers waste so much. It does seem that the activity is rather high this summer.

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Flawed inflammatory: the GMO argument

Sarah Hartley seems a bit confused in an Opinion: Why scientists’ failure to understand GM opposition is stifling debate and halting progress.

Genetically modified crops are safe for human consumption and have the potential to feed the world and improve human health, scientists have been telling us for years. On June 30, 110 Nobel laureates from around the world signed a letter demanding that the environmental pressure group Greenpeace stop its campaign against GM crops. How many people must die before we consider this a “crime against humanity”? the letter asks.

Note the selection from the letter and remember that this is an opinion about scientists that fail to understand. Also note that the question is factually accurate and reasonable although it is a confrontation to denial.

Our research has identified five requirements for advancing a responsible debate about GM crops. These are a commitment to honesty; recognition of the values underlying the practice of science; involvement of a broad range of people; consideration of a range of alternatives; and a preparedness to respond.

This is nice, but such advice should start at home. How can there be “a commitment to honesty” when a whole litany of dubious allegations and logical fallacies are presented in support of the opinion? How is calling the letter “inflammatory” be considered honest? How are these “requirements” considered relevant when they appear more to be accusation by innuendo and presented that way because the accusations have no merit?

It is clear that the scientists accusing Greenpeace of crimes against humanity feel deeply frustrated about what they see as shackles on a technology that for them has clear benefits for the world’s poor. However, by signing the inflammatory letter, they reveal a flawed and naïve understanding of the debate. This approach is likely to result in further agitating and polarising the debate rather than achieving the desired outcome. Indeed, some may even see these scientists as using their privilege and authority to promote a particular technological solution to a political problem.

The quote provided refutes the accusation here showing that the opinion is based on flawed perceptions chosen to support a bias. That is supported by labeling and judging the Nobel laureates with words such as “flawed and naïve” and asserting that it is they who are “agitating and polarising” and using “privilege and authority.” The opinion also describes health and nutrition as a political problem and maligns technological solutions.

The fact is that the opposition to GMO is based on promulgating fear, uncertainty, and doubt and shows no consideration for the damage its efforts do to integrity or even the physical human condition. Hartley’s concerns about the scientists are misdirected. She chooses the easy target and, in doing so, demonstrates that she is a part of the problem and not a part of the solution.

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Up the ante

The Ace of Spades describes on of the tactics of denial in Trey Gowdy to Comey: As a Former Prosecutor, Didn’t You Routinely Establish Intent By Citing a Defendant’s Voluminous Lies Told to Cover Up Her Actions?.

No matter what you probe Hillary did, Comey ups the ante for what he claims must be proven, then says it’s not proven.

This is a variant of the technique of changing the rules or moving the goal posts during the game in order to avoid losing. 

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Understanding and Denial: Dallas underscores the issue

Rick Moran asks Did the false narrative about police killing blacks lead to the Dallas cop killings? and refers to Dallas police massacre: BLM demonstrators got what they called for?

Two tragic police shootings resulting in the deaths of two young black men have set the country on fire. And the politicians, eager to score points with the minority community, may have unconciously enabled the snipers in Dallas, who killed 5 police officers and wounded 6 others.

Before any evidence was gathered at all, and before any facts involving the police killings were known, several politicians rushed to judgment and declared a racial motive for the tragedies.

Since we haven’t a clue of what exactly happened, the idea that there is anything concrete to learn from the incidents is absurd. Once again, we have a politician pandering to people’s prejudices to advance a false narrative about race and the police.

The real question is, did statements of this type, that assume a racial angle to the police shootings, play any role in the deaths of five Dallas police officers? We don’t know yet. We don’t even know the race of the snipers as of early morning. But the possibility can’t be dismissed out of hand, and those responsible for pushing this narrative on us need to take a step back and examine their own consciences to discover if their political gamesmanship had anything to do with the attack on police.

Richard Fernandex says Denial Dies in Dallas.

The crime wave in Chicago illustrates how politicians trapped themselves in a vise of conflicting expectations from which there is no escape. It has proved impossible to do something and its opposite simultaneously, in this case withdraw the police and protect the community. It may prove just as impossible to require transgender bathrooms and guarantee no sexual harassment takes place or open the borders while promising there will be no terror attacks. When one thinks of it, making health care “affordable” while opening it to high risk groups was always a unlikely proposition.

Impossible, yet Big Tent constituencies are routinely green-lighted on both ends of a one way street and told to floor the pedal. For a while they could spin it with smoke and mirrors. But in the end, illusion does not last.

While the individual culprits of the shooting [in Dallas] have yet to be identified, the factors which have turned the summer of 2016 into a witches’ brew were clear for all to see. It is the culmination of decades of identity politics, the fruit of open borders, the outcome of an unwarranted disdain for Islamic extremism, the destruction of everything once held in common. Most of all it is the product of a collapse in legitimacy that has soured the public on nearly every institution: the political parties, the Supreme Court, the presidency, the police and the FBI. Now at the very moment when the public needs to trust someone the question is: whom can you trust?

The security system of America is trust, which manifests itself in legitimacy which in turn makes it possible to govern a huge nation largely on consent. The mistake was to believe it was possible to play the identity card endlessly, to set one against another, to destroy trust — without consequences.

Dallas leaves the Narrative with no place to go. What’ll it be? Withdraw the police from the streets? Crack down on the usual suspects? Announce this was the work of that Jayvee team, ISIS? Close the borders? Confiscate the guns? Call in the FBI?

Denial will no longer work. That is the single most important thing to understand.

That understanding does not come easy and the lessons of history show just how painful acquiring it can be – and often how incomplete and misguided the understanding obtained can be as well. Ponder the current state of Venezuela and how it came to such a tragic position. Denial has a comfort all its own that is extraordinarily difficult to escape.

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