The problem with the courts

William J. Olson and Herbert W. Titus take a look at a SCOTUS ruling that medical precautions in abortion are unduly restrictive in Whole Woman’s Health: Justice Thomas Exposes the Court’s Corrupt Abortion Jurisprudence. A dissent describes a broader view of just where the problem in the SCOTUS decision lies.

Justice Thomas concluded: “Our law is now so riddled with special exceptions for special rights that our decisions deliver neither predictability nor the promise of a judiciary bound by the rule of law.” Concluding with a frontal assault on balancing tests, Justice Thomas warned: “As the Court applies whatever standard it likes to any given case, nothing but empty words separates our constitutional decisions from judicial fiat[.] … If our recent cases illustrate anything, it is how easily the Court tinkers with levels of scrutiny to achieve its desired result.”

“The Court has simultaneously transformed judicially created rights like the right to abortion into preferred constitutional rights, while disfavoring many of the rights actually enumerated in the Constitution. But our Constitution renounces the notion that some constitutional rights are more equal than others. A plaintiff either possesses the constitutional right he is asserting, or not – and if not, the judiciary has no business creating ad hoc exceptions so that others can assert rights that seem especially important to vindicate[.]”

In other words, the courts have become so politically active that the only way to tell what decision they make is to examine the political ideologies of the judges. The actual law has very little to do with anything anymore. 

Think of the movie Red October where a captain orders that the safeties on a torpedo be turned off is the first two attempts did not get the desired results. That is what is happening with the courts: the safeties for governance are being turned off. In the movie, we found out why the safeties were there. Let us hope we avoid analogous results from court actions to remove the safeties on government.

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Tactics and kindergarten

It was a set up job trying to get the opposition into a ‘no win’ scenario. John Sexton describes the tactics in Paul Ryan: I won’t tolerate another sit-in from Democrats.

After Democrats held what the Speaker of the House has called a fundraising stunt last week, some Republicans have recommended he file ethics charges against anyone who violated House rules. Ryan doesn’t seem ready to go there quite yet but he did tell WISN news that if Democrats try it again his response will be different … The Hill reports that Ryan chose not to have Democrats removed from the House floor last week because he had heard that was exactly what Democrats were hoping would happen

Speaker Ryan was put in an impossible situation by Democrats who were clearly hoping he would walk into a trap set for him. Had he cleared the House, Democrats would have turned an argument over a failed gun control bill into an argument over race and civil rights. … Any reaction by Ryan will be portrayed as a racially-charged overreach against a civil rights icon. So it’s hard to see how can Ryan ever win this showdown because whatever he does the media will ensure that he loses.

The same media that has been consistently dismayed by every government shutdown driven by Republicans was giddy over Democrats turning the House floor into an Occupy camp. Despite the clear breaking of the rules and Ryan’s restrained response, the media gave Democrats’ glowing reviews.

In other words, as long as people buy into this behavior, it will continue.

Then there’s the idea that Democrats release their own Benghazi report.

Democrats on the Select Committee investigating the Benghazi attack released their own report on the matter Monday. The report is intended to undercut the forthcoming report by the majority on the select committee which is expected to be released this summer

The report is 339 pages but fully 50 pages of that is dedicated to attacking the Republicans on the committee directly. The report offers 12 recommendations, 3 of which are aimed at the select committee itself.

Democrats have apparently produced exactly what they have accused Republicans of attempting to produce, a completely politicized Benghazi report.

And, if that isn’t enough, consider Jazz Shaw about Washington state to begin teaching “gender identity” in Kindergarten.

Earlier this month another dubious milestone was reached in the state of Washington, already home to many such distinctions. We learned that beginning in the fall of next year, kindergarten students being sent off to school for the first time will be learning about more than the A,B, C’s and which juice box to select before nap time. Teachers will begin instructing the five year olds on the ins and outs of gender identity… just in case they didn’t have enough to be confused about already. (Daily Caller)

Before going any further, allow me a moment to offer some advice for all the parents in the Evergreen State as well as young couples considering procreating. Get out. Pack your things and rent a U-Haul or whatever it takes. Flee the state. There is nothing left worth fighting for there and you should really strike out and find a job somewhere sane.

Childhood is confusing enough and setting off on the path to adulthood is a road with many pitfalls awaiting you. Having the state engage in this sort of destructive behavior should be criminal, but it’s now treated as the new normal. This idea probably works wonderfully to indoctrinate a new generation of Democratic voters, but the damage they may potentially leave in their wake is a tragedy in the making.

It seems that there may be a pattern or correlation here. Throwing a temper tantrum on the floor of the House is a tactic for 2 year olds. So, perhaps, they see kindergarten students as being their peers and that is why they push gender identity and sexual fantasies on these children.

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Using the courts as a political weapon

A unanimous SCOTUS ruled on The McDonnell Case: Another Study in Criminal Law as Democratic Partisan Warfare. Clarice Feldman explains.

It’s common for those unhappy with a decision to criticize the partisanship of the judges involved, but the weakness of the case, which was evident when it was argued in the Supreme Court (and during the trial itself), and the fact that it was reversed unanimously warrants a raised eyebrow. It comes on the heels of the reversed prosecutions of then-Senator Ted Stevens, Governor Rick Perry, House Majority leader Tom DeLay, the IRS war on Obama’s opponents in the tea party and other conservative groups, and the outrageous trampling the rights of those who worked for and supported Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. This case and those matters lead to an inescapable conclusion: With the endorsement of partisan juries and/or judges, the Democratic Party seeks to and will use the power of the prosecution to destroy Republican political leaders and anyone who supports them.

The law was thus rather well settled on this point, and neither the prosecution nor the trial and appellate courts gave it the required deference nor exercised any reasonable (or fair) judgment on the salient issue.

In the meantime, McDonnell’s political career, finances and family have suffered greatly by this strained reading of the law to cover conduct which the Supreme Court and ordinary common sense supports was not criminal , but rather ordinary and perfectly proper official conduct.

What I would bet on is that Democrats will continue to stretch the criminal law for partisan advantage, and that, if elected; Hillary will appoint prosecutors and judges willing to continue to mount such legal warfare.

“Warrants a raised eyebrow?” That seems to be a bit of understatement, especially in light of the previous post about a cohort of partisan AG’s going after the First Amendment for the cause. The Left, and the Democrats, loose many and suffer many casualties but they keep going, keep at it, knowing that there will be an occasional victory and another small push forward in the cause.

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Don’t need no stinkin’ data – we have our imaginations!

This falls into the ‘never let a catastrophe go to waste’ department. Michael Mann, scientist: Data ‘increasingly unnecessary’ because ‘we can see climate change’.

Leading climate doomsayer Michael Mann recently downplayed the importance of climate change science, telling [the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee] that data and models “increasingly are unnecessary” because the impact is obvious.

The panel’s draft, which now goes to the full platform committee for approval at a meeting July 8-9 in Orlando, Florida, includes a recommendation to call for a Justice Department investigation into “alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies who have reportedly misled shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change.”

The recommendation, adopted by unanimous consent, comes on the heels of a campaign by 17 attorneys general — 16 Democrats and one independent — to pursue Exxon Mobil Corp. and its supporters for climate change “fraud.” At least three attorneys general have issued subpoenas to Exxon.

Exxon is challenging subpoenas issued by the Virgin Islands and Massachusetts attorneys general, denouncing the probe as a fishing expedition that violates the company’s free speech rights.

Any flood, any big storm, any unusual weather, provide meat for claims about being able to “see climate change.” You’d think a person with the credentials and position of “Mann, scientist” would be well aware of the problems of perception and bias in measurement and, especially with his previous problems with statistics, especially careful about phenomena that are not simply measured.

It is telling that the pattern persists. Deceit and a lack of intellectual integrity in espousing a position, a call for the suppression of fundamental rights, moral preening, and the platform of the Democratic Party. Modeling that party with this pattern yields much more verifiable outcomes than climate models provide.

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Political fact checking: tool of the trade

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. calls is a Fact checker fandango — “Research of the record fails to trip Trump.”

Mr. Potato Head was working with CNN’s posse comitatus to bring down Mr. Trump for his revelations about Crooked Hillary, but it is they — the so-called fact checkers at CNN — who were brought down.

After last week’s speech, it appears Donald Trump’s charges against Hillary Clinton are absolutely copper bottom. CNN’s “fact checkers” should be retired. Like all politicians, Mr. Trump might occasionally exaggerate a trivial matter. Hillary lies repeatedly on things that matter.

It is an interesting use of “copper bottom.” That comes from efforts to keep the hull of wooden sailing ships free of barnacles and other sea creatures that destroyed the hull and reduced sailing efficiency. Here, the implications are that the ‘fact checkers’ are analogous to the barnacles and other destructive creatures.

The tragedy is that so many are willing to go so far in trying to defend the indefensible. Calling themselves “fact checkers” is doing a disservice both to facts and to checking for integrity and honesty.

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Rights? What rights?

Democrats Attack 3 Of The 10 Amendments In The Bill Of Rights — An IBD editorial explains.

Democrats have long expressed frustration, if not outright contempt, for the Constitution whenever it hinders their ability to enact some new government program. President Obama has repeatedly complained about the “messy” process the Constitution’s co-equal branches created, and has several times acted as though the Constitution’s limits on the president’s authority simply don’t apply to him.

But the fact that a major U.S. political party — which still considers itself mainstream — is now willing to specifically target amendments designed to protect Americans from tyrannical government control is alarming, to say the least.

Then there is the SCOTUS ruling that allows reverse discrimination, despite laws for equal treatment. What next?

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Utah v. Strieff, does SCOTUS have a racism problem (tell me it ain’t so!)?

Jazz Shaw thinks The Fourth Amendment wasn’t created to protect the guilty but one SCOTUS case got some riled.

The Libertarians are up in arms over yet another Supreme Court decision this week which involves the question of when police are allowed to use evidence of a crime in the prosecution of a suspect. In a five to three ruling which crossed the normal ideological battle lines of the SCOTUS justices, the court found in the case of Utah v. Strieff that evidence of a crime discovered during a traffic stop could be used if the suspect has an outstanding warrant for an unrelated offense. (New York Times)

The responses from Justice Sotomayor in her dissent and from the Libertarians who are bemoaning the death of the Constitution are equally maddening, though for different reasons.

An officer with a gun. (Every lethal force encounter between police and minority suspects)

No one can breathe. (“I can’t breathe” Eric Garner)

Until their voices matter. (Black Lives Matter)

This wasn’t a Supreme Court dissent. It was a series of excerpts from a Black Lives Matter diatribe in a case which wasn’t even addressing questions of profiling or any other related issue.

In this case, Shaw is illustrating racism by example. Paul Mirengoff describes how those illustrating racism and calling for decorum and such might be expressing projection in A penny for your thoughts — “Here’s the measured response of a British leftist, Laurie Penny, to the Brexit:”

“So, here’s the thing. This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world, and yesterday the frightened, parochial lizard-brain of Britain voted out, out, out, and today we’ve all woken up still strapped onto this ghost-train as it hurtles off the tracks.”

There is, of course, more to the Brexit than the desire to curb immigration by low-skilled Europeans. Many Brits wanted to wrest control of Britain’s destiny from EU bureaucrats. In other words, they wanted much more say than the EU will allow them in determining what the “modern world” will hold in store.

They shall have it. No wonder leftists like Penny are incensed.

The Brexit vote also prompted outrage at xenophobia and other such contemptuous moral failings. As with the similar flailing against Trump, the level of the outrage says more than the allegations and accusations.

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The most amazing. Trying to catch up with the Clintons

Bruce Bialosky: The Worst Part Of The Email Scandal

The most amazing part of this entire scandal is that Mrs. Clinton maintained the email and personal server for the four years she was Secretary of State and it never became public. It was not until the State Department turned over eight emails to the House Benghazi Committee in August, 2014, that the world learned of clintonemail.com. This was more than five years after the domain was established in January, 2009, during Mrs. Clinton’s approval process in the U.S. Senate.

Not one person questioned this practice publicly. Not one met a Washington Post reporter in a dark corner of a garage and whispered how the Secretary of State was using her own email on her own domain and exposing nationally-sensitive material to tawdry or dangerous elements on the internet. This scares the wits out of me and it should scare the wits out of you. The Obama Administration was running such a cabal that no one challenged this questionable behavior.

In speaking to colleagues about this matter, they asserted various rationale for this lack of response. Most of their rationale centers on the fact that whoever it was, whether they be people in her department, the White House staff or other people in other departments, they were essentially afraid of challenging Ms. Clinton.

As I said this is the worst part. A major part of our government and hundreds of our employees refused to blow the whistle on an obvious dangerous behavior. That should scare us all.

Then there’s Lloyd Marcus trying to explain to his brother that experience in Washington D.C. is not necessarily a good thing. Hillary: Savant of Washington Insider Corruption.

Hillary is well-schooled in DC insider corruption, becoming a multimillionaire while crushing little people along the way. Though she portrays herself as a champion of women, Hillary’s history confirms that she is the complete opposite.

Hillary has learned how to put her political best interest above American lives. This was exposed in the bestselling book and accompanying movie, 13 Hours, which tells the horrific account of how Americans were left to die in Benghazi.

Hillary has learned how to create a charity in which only 10% goes to the people she claims to champion.

Hillary has truly mastered the technique of portraying herself as a champion of various groups while stabbing them in the back.

My low-info voter brother’s time is consumed coaching kids football and working a full-time job. He gets his news from mainstream media. His only knowledge of Hillary’s email scandal is the media and Democrat operative’s spin that says evil Republicans are out to get her. My brother does not know that as secretary of state Hillary broke extremely serious national security protocols, putting American lives at risk.Government employees with far lesser violations have been thrown into jail. Hillary has learned that being a Democrat in Washington permits her to arrogantly function outside the law without consequence.

It is out there in plain sight just like the temper tantrum of Democrats on the floor of the House of Representatives trying to raise funds with a faux 60’s sit-in advocating overturning the Bill of Rights. But, instead of being aghast at such behavior, it is praised and lauded.

Worried, yet? Or are you one of the plurality that is wondering what all the fuss is about, one that gets angry at those who think there is a problem here?

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Why do they do that? Bureaucrats and Organization Directors, too.

The Coyote Blog takes on Government, Arrogant Ignorance, and the Power of Incentives.

As most of you know, my company operates parks on public lands, so I work with government agencies a lot. Years ago, from this experience, I coined a term called “arrogant ignorance.” It comes from numerous times when government employees will be completely ignorant of some process, perhaps even their agency’s own rules and procedures, but will fight to the death any suggestion that I might be able to enlighten them or that they are doing something wrong.

For a while, people had me believing that I had just rediscovered the Dunning–Kruger effect. But I am now convinced that this is not the same as my “arrogant ignorance”. And the difference between the two highlights a key point about failure of government I have made for years, which is that government does a bad job not because the people are bad, but because it hires good (or at least average) people who have terrible incentives and information.

But my concept of arrogant ignorance is not really a cognitive effect, I think, but rather a symptom of incentives. The problem with most government jobs is that they have no service or output metrics so that they are instead judged mainly on conformance to procedure. And even that is not quite correct, because most agencies I work with do not even have formal standards or quality review processes for their employees, at least below the executive level.

I want to take an aside here on incentives. It is almost NEVER the case that an organization has no incentives or performance metrics. Yes, it is frequently the case that they may not have clear written formal metrics and evaluations and incentives. But every organization has informal, unwritten incentives. Sometimes, even when there are written evaluation procedures, these informal incentives dominate.

This isn’t a phenomena restricted to government employees. For example, see the 2014 Acceptance Speech by incoming WBCCI President, Joe Perryman and WBCCI life member Phil Pons Presentation on Leadership and Presentation Concerns for WBCCI. The WBCCI governing board has been accused of Arrogant Ignorance for a long time and many of the incentives for board members are the same as the Coyote describes for government employees. The WBCCI does have a service metric – its membership and participation – but it does not appear that the organization leaders can connect this to their own behavior even though presidents such as Perryman have laid it out for them. The leaders show themselves to be “completely ignorant of some process, perhaps even their agency’s own rules and procedures” yet blindly dedicated to “informal, unwritten incentives.”

So, I try to learn from this. One thing, for example, I always do is ask myself when someone who works for me screws up, “Is this really my fault, for not training them well.” A surprising number of times, the answer is a reluctant, “yes”.

A business that wants to continue to exist must learn like this. Any organization that wants to remain healthy must do likewise. Business, social organization, or government all need leadership and responsible executive behavior to remain viable and useful.

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You will think correctly. Or else.

Jacki Pick: Why Exxon is not the problem — “The greatest threat to the environment is unrestrained government.”

What the prosecutors are doing to Exxon and scientists is moving from the Rule of Law to the Rule of Man.

When the Constitution no longer has meaning, its protections are lost to the mercy of whoever is elected or appointed. What a capricious game. So, if the prosecutors’ favored climate scientists are refuted by a future President Trump’s climate experts, does Mr. Trump get to jail them under RICO for propping up the fortunes of green tech groups who contributed to their campaigns? How do you like the climate inquest precedent now?

Counter to the president’s claims, the greatest threat to Americans is not climate change, nor is it Exxon’s climate change research; the greatest threat is unfettered government, and the threat looms larger as the election year wears on.

The case of Peabody Energy is mentioned. That was a ‘do whatever they say’ effort to appease the prosecutors. Funny, that is what some members are saying about how their local  chapters should deal with the WBCCI. The current Exxon exercise shows just how futile it is to try to appease the beast.

And the news this morning is that the British decided to abandon rule from Brussels and Hawaii is implementing a database of gun owners and the bureaucrats have more guns than the marines. 

Worried, yet?

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Power corrupts, academia version

On The Reference Frame: Leonard Susskind vs Donald Trump.

A co-father of string theory and lots of other creative ideas in physics and my once co-author Lenny Susskind (he’s been surely more important for me than the very modest paper indicates) is the current director of physics at Stanford and he wrote a “letter on the lunatic” which he agreed to turn into an open letter.

It’s often being said that left-wing ideologies are unavoidably totalitarian in character and every leftist is a Stalin to the extent to which he is allowed to act as one. One’s firm fist – either literally or metaphorically – is the only thing that protects tens of millions of lives from a leftist. It’s hard to disagree when you read this Susskind’s rant.

For some reason, this director’s assault on a leading presidential candidate – and, equally explicitly, on about 50% of the U.S. citizens who support him – is considered OK and faces no backlash. Susskind claims that “all of them agree” that Trump is a lunatic. Just try to imagine what message this is sending to regular students, postdocs, or faculty at Stanford who naturally support Donald Trump.

Now, when the director of physics writes that the politician enjoying the support of some 50% of his nation is a “lunatic” and that these supporters are “exceedingly dangerous”, everything seems to be fine. The political atmosphere at the U.S. universities is broken beyond repair.

But when I heard the phrase “my right-wing friend” for the fifth time, it started to sound sick. Why did he feel the urge to expose my politics whenever we appeared at the same place?

At some moment, I decided that he had a psychological problem with my being right-wing, exactly the same – if not greater – problem that the communists in Czechoslovakia used to have with the right-wingers.

You know, I’ve fought against a left-wing totalitarian regime for some years and I can sense such things instantly. This is the same thing. Boy oh boy, all of us agree that Lenny Susskind is clearly a part of this extremely serious problem. Shame on you, Lenny.

A distinguished physicist in a prestigious university shows that his intellectual integrity is quite restricted in scope. That is what bothers another such physicist who lives in a part of the world that has ‘been there, done that’ with such nonsense – and suffered what results when folks like Susskind forget or ignore reality.

Lubos notes the important points: a proper issue to pursue would be to try to understand why Trump has garnered such significant voter support. Resorting to childish name calling (e.g. “lunatic”) to decry childish name calling and resorting to logical fallacies (all agree) invalidate the rant. Then there is is acceptance in Susskind’s academic circles of his rant and the worries that should bring to the surface. Academia is painting itself into a corner with an identity that destroys its credibility and reputation.

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Those mean, dirty, evil, anti renewable energy corporations and their sympathizers

As per usual, when you don’t have reality on your side, argue the opposition. James Rust examines an example as Questioning “The Secret Dirty War to Stop Solar Power”.

There are many disadvantages to solar energy because it is unavailable most of the day—availability is expressed as capacity factor defined as the fraction of total annual solar energy produced compared to a facility operating 24-hours daily, 365 days per year. Capacity factors of solar plants in Southwest desert areas are 0.19 compared to capacity factors of 0.9 or greater for nuclear and fossil-fueled electricity plants.

Other disadvantages are solar plants require vast land areas when used for utility-scale power generation (6 acres per Megawatt) and have limited useful plant lifespans of about 25 years. Nuclear and fossil-fueled power plants have small land requirements (less than one square mile for 1000 Megawatts) and lifespans of 60 years or more.

A report from The Taxpayers Protection Alliance “Filling the Solar Sinkhole” said, “American taxpayers spent an average of $39 billion a year over the past 5 years financing grants, subsidizing tax credits, guaranteeing loans, bailing out failed solar energy boondoggles and otherwise underwriting every idea under the sun to make solar energy cheaper and more popular. But none of it has worked.”

In spite of all the subsidies, promoters of solar energy complain they are treated unfairly in what they claim to be a competitive electricity production market.

In Nevada, Solar Energy Fairness is trying to get the word out about just how much damage is being done, especially to the more needy ends of society, by those pushing for the government support of businesses that are not able to stand on their own.

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Paradigms, due process, and civility: guns

Scott Adams thinks he knows Why Gun Control Can’t Be Solved in the USA. One problem is the idea of “solved” as applied to gun control as the debate has little to do with guns and a lot to do with control. The Democrats temper tantrum in the House yesterday showed that. The temper tantrum was about due process, not gun control, as due process was the only sticking point on a Senate bill the Democrats otherwise supported. Adams also illustrates the misdirection problem.

So it seems to me that gun control can’t be solved because Democrats are using guns to kill each other – and want it to stop – whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats. Psychologically, those are different risk profiles. And you can’t reconcile those interests, except on the margins. For example, both sides might agree that rocket launchers are a step too far. But Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as “Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”

Let’s all take a deep breath and shake off the mental discomfort I just induced in half of my readers. You can quibble with my unsupported assumptions about gun use, but keep in mind that my point is about psychology and about big group averages. If Republicans think they need guns to protect against Democrats, that’s their reality. And if Democrats believe guns make the world more dangerous for themselves, that is their reality. And they can both be right. Your risk profile is different from mine.

Fear always beats reason. So as long as Democrats are mostly using guns to shoot innocent people (intentionally or accidentally) and Republicans are mostly using guns for sport or self-defense, no compromise can be had.

When fear drives people to solving the wrong problem, there is a solution to be had. In the Adams scenario, this would be for Democrats to address the reason why they are killing each other – e.g. inner city crime. The problem here is that they oppose the effective and proven methods. Stop and frisk has been set aside in New York. Black Lives Matter works on a false premise to emasculate proper policing. Releasing criminals from prison on a false pretext of racial disparities in the prison population is another. None of these have anything to do with gun control but they do have something to do with murder and mayhem.

What is missing in the efforts to solve a political problem is first the lack of intellectual integrity. There is no common basis in reality upon which to build any solution. The House tantrum shows just how deep a denial exists. That tends to lend credence to the idea that “Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats” as that is one of the fundamental reasons for the second amendment in the first place: citizen defense against irrational tyranny that eschews such concepts as due process much like the Democrats are advocating.

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Not the least bit funny

Thomas Sowell on The Gun Control Farce.

Virtually all empirical studies in the United States show that tightening gun control laws has not reduced crime rates in general or murder rates in particular. Is this because only people opposed to gun control do empirical studies? Or is it because the facts uncovered in empirical studies make the arguments of gun control zealots untenable?

In both England and the United States, those people most zealous for tighter gun control laws tend also to be most lenient toward criminals and most restrictive on police. The net result is that law-abiding citizens become more vulnerable when they are disarmed and criminals disobey gun control laws, as they disobey other laws.

The facts are too plain to be ignored. Moreover, the consequences are too dangerous to law-abiding citizens, whose lives are put in jeopardy on the basis of fact-free assumptions and unexamined dogmas. Such arguments are a farce, but not the least bit funny.

Why does so much of what the left advocate result in death, misery, and suffering? Another big push for gun controls trying to leveraging grief for political gain at the same time there is a push for leniency of convicted felons in both voting rights and even outright sentence reduction. Whether it is big city crime or Venezuela food riots, the result is not pretty.

Try to discuss or explore this reality and the door slams shut, defensive barricades are erected and denial goes full force. 

Worried yet?

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lingchi

Scott Johnson calls it a death by a thousand euphemisms.

The phrase “death by a thousand cuts” is so concise and descriptive that I thought it must be Shakespearean, but it is a translation of the Chinese word “lingchi” (alternately transliterated ling chi or leng tech). The word is translated variously as death by a thousand cuts, the slow process, the lingering death, or slow slicing. It was a venerable form of torture and execution used in China from roughly 900 A.D. until it was banned in 1905.

President Obama is inflicting lingchi on the Constitution’s restraints on the executive branch. Here, however, he is acting consistent with a tradition that, while it doesn’t date back to 900, dates back to around 1900 and the onset of the Progressive Era in American politics.

He is also inflicting death by a thousand euphemisms. George Orwell wrote the book on it, so to speak, but here Obama is plowing new ground in American politics.

Obama acts according to what he believes is a higher wisdom behind the apparent denial of reality that makes him look stupid.

Now the Obama administration refuses to release the transcript of Orlando mass murderer without redaction of his pledges of allegiance to the Islamic State.

The higher wisdom is a component of Obama’s strategic withdrawal of the United Staters from the Middle East. It is getting us killed now with more to come later. See, for example, the accounts of CIA Director John Brennan’s congressional testimony last week

It requires a bald denial of reality. While Obama’s courtiers (paid and unpaid) tell him that his intellectual finery makes him beautiful, the intellectual finery is stupid and Obama is naked.

You may encounter The denial of reality in conversation, too. It comes with the sound of a door slamming shut as someone makes it clear that they do not want their idea of reality exposed or their lack of integrity put on the table. The Orlando incident provides a lot of opportunity for this as people insist on ‘facts’ about weapons that are easily disproved but will slam the door on any exposure of their fantasies.

The cuts do not heal, are not allowed to heal. We all bleed.

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Just not in the game

Ari Halperin: Is Attorneys’ General Mischief just the Tip of the Iceberg?

The recent escalation of rogue Attorneys General persecuting conservative political organizations and their real or alleged supporters suggests that Climate Alarmism has been playing a much wider role in politics than it seemed. The Left has been riding Climate Alarmism to muzzle and defund its opponents since at least 2000.

Apparently, the extreme Left bought the Democratic Party in 2004, and openly boasted about it: “Now it’s our Party: we bought it, we own it, and we’re going to take it back.”

Their modus operandi can be observed as follows:

1) Hostile foreign entities and their domestic accomplices compile lists of individuals and/or organizations that they want to muzzle and/or destroy for any reason. The political targets are invariably conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans. Other targets include vital industries and defense, but those campaigns are beyond the scope of this article.

2) These lists are merged, sorted, and truncated to obtain an actionable target list.

3) The targets on the list are declared “climate deniers,” industry shills, and so on. Their names are publicized and smeared. Their friends and supporters are intimidated.

4) Finally, the targets list is handed down to the purchased congresspersons and government officials, who persecute them by abusing the power of their offices.

What is clear here is that one side is fighting a war and the other just wants to do research. The opposition just isn’t in the game. And it isn’t just climate research, either. Right now, the gun owners who just want to defend themselves or get out on the range are having to repel an assault, too. Want to just run a small business? Ditto. Even many WBCCI members who just want to go camping with friends in their Airstream RV’s are finding themselves embroiled in ideological power plays.

Not in that game? Too bad. There are some very committed people out there who are going to drag you in to controversy and their false reality whether you want to go there are not.

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Now here’s a rant for you: Derek Hunter on Why They Hate Us. The problem is that he isn’t that far off the mark as his examples illustrate.

If you only watch network news and read the New York Times you easily could come away with the impression that last Sunday morning a conservative Christian man, draped in crosses and screaming “Make America Great Again,” walked into a gay bar and murdered 49 people on direct orders from Republican National Committee headquarters located in the basement of the National Rifle Association’s headquarters, naturally, in a space they rent from Fox News.

What kind of sick monsters blame the horrific actions of one man on their political opponents? A lot of them, it turns out.

Although the poltroon declared his reasons, unambiguously, to the police and a local news station, Democrats saw an opportunity to advance their agenda of limiting the rights of all Americans. Ignoring the truth, every branch of the progressive left simultaneously and sanctimoniously struck the same cord – it was the gun’s fault.

Pure hatred is the currency of the Democratic Party in the 21st century. Democrats try to blame their political opponents for every act of evil or terrorism committed on US soil. The media parrots these nefarious charges as gospel. The truth eventually comes out but only after the lie has taken root with many.

The ends justify the means for the political left – and always have. Motivated by hate – for opponents, the Constitution and anyone who won’t submit to their belief of moral and intellectual superiority – there is no depth to which they will not sink, no pile of bodies on which they will not dance to advance their agenda. In then end it’s sad, it’s disturbing, it’s fascistic, and it’s progressive…and we are not, which is why they hate us.

You don’t have to look far to find your own examples, unless you are one of the very many who are in denial and joining in on the irrational and harmful behavior. What are your feelings? What is behind your perceptions? Do you cut off any who raise questions about your views?

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Is evidence a matter of belief? (a problem in healthcare)

Robert Centor illustrates the problem as The conundrum of clinical medicine is what makes it difficult.

The term, “evidence-based medicine” (EBM), provokes strong feelings from its proponents and its skeptics. I spent a full day recently in discussions about EBM. As the day proceeded I understood that evidence is wonderful when it fits the clinical question, but that too often the clinical question does not, and probably will not have adequate evidence.

Even if one believes in EBM, controversies among guidelines must give one pause. These likely occur because differing guideline committees have differing priorities and values. Data are not cold hard facts that we can always apply to our patients. Rather we must filter data through a screen of patient preferences, co-morbidities and social concerns (including money).

Evidence, i.e. what can be observed and measured, has both proponents and skeptics and is a matter of belief in the medical community? That is (or should be) scary.

What is also scary is the really bad science education in the discussion. Evidence is based on measurement and that always comes along with a proper consideration for precision and accuracy. And both of those concepts consider the impact of the conditions of the measurement. When Centor talks about EBM and its fit to a clinical question, he ignores these measurement issues and tries to create a straw man making a complex scenario into a binary measure.

The comment about “filter data” tells of an effort to squish evidence into a small hole, a subset of measures that have specific numeric results. The issue in medicine has been, for the last century or so, that of trying to find objective and repeatable measures for the many situations a practicing encounters. It is one of trying to decipher the evidence and the models that were once just the province of gifted practitioners to the realm where they can be understood and applied by the less gifted.   

Why this is an issue is that medicine has been plagued by those who eschew evidence and use a longing for a cure and the issues in measurement and knowledge to sell their snake oil. 

Another example in clinical medicine where evidence gets short shrift is illustrated in the medical establishments efforts to bring gun control into their realm. If a sign on a local clinic was taken seriously, patients would need to leave their pocket contents at home and park canes and other assistive devices outside the clinic. The medical profession has taken leave of their charge to examine the person in favor of putting a focus on the tools their patient uses. This makes the false assumption that the tool is used for only one thing and, from that, concludes that the patient is mentally unhinged (but can be re-hinged by a sign on the door). Evidence and intellectual integrity go out the window.

Clinical medicine is difficult because it deals with interacting complex systems that are neither fixed nor consistent in their behavior. That requires a respect for evidence coupled with a proper understanding of measurement and a good awareness of what is known and what is not.

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This is how it works

Mary Grabar wanted to set up a small tax exempt association “resisting the re-education of America.” She tells her story: Here’s How the IRS Treated Me Because I’m a Conservative.

We waited, long past the three-month mark. And past our opportunity to hold a 2013 year-end fundraiser. I continued to post and speak, and I published three educational guidebooks.

But over a year passed. I called my senator’s office. After several correspondences, we were told we had been assigned an agent.

On May 16, 2014, our – ahem — Cincinnati-based agent sent an “Information Request” consisting of seven multi-part objections — with a two-and-a-half week deadline to respond. I was floored. She ended up granting us several extra days.

The IRS had three types of objections to our application: minor paperwork, a financial inquest, and ideological accusations.

Remember, it was pretty much me in the basement. I described my one-woman efforts in a recent post.

We finally received approval on September 2014. They forced me to waste money and time when we should have been building on the momentum of our launch and fundraising. Other groups also lost opportunities, namely in 2012.

That’s how this IRS, this administration, works.

On the other side of such tactics, it appears that some Republican District Attorneys are telling their Democrat colleagues that going after climate skeptics also puts climate alarmists as valid targets. You can only expect the opposition to lie down and take it for so long. Grabar is now a part of a lawsuit challenging Democrats misuse of the IRS. The efforts to shut down debate about using climatology as a path to power and control are also being challenged. The efforts to use a tragedy to gain control to deny a right to self defense is being challenged with significant increases in gun sales.

In smaller associations, lawsuits and such things are usually not worth the effort. With the WBCCI, for instance, membership suffers when bullies take over. While it is a lot easier to leave a social RV club (and form your own alternative) than it is to leave a country, the parallels in behavior are worth study. Well meaning people seem ignorant of just how destructive their behavior really is and turn to denial and defense rather than introspection, examination of consequences, and intellectual integrity.

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The Trump Wince

There were stories this morning about yet another Trump Wince. This one was due to a perception that Trump was accusing U.S. troops of mishandling money. That goes along with denigrating prisoners of war, accusing illegal immigrants of being a source of other crime, accusing all Muslims of being terrorists, and more. The rumor, based on polling data, is that even Trump advocates are beginning to wince when he comes up with another one.

The difficulty is that traditional politics parses words. This is often done to ‘expose’ hypocrisy, falsehoods, flip flopping, and other bad things about the politician. Trump doesn’t seem to be participating in this tradition. Words provide examples or analogies or illustration of a broader point. That point often hits feelings and values that resonate with many voters.

The Trump Wince is being used by Democrats as a weapon. It is a weapon they have often used. It is to shame and humiliate their opposition and they have gone to significant extremes in its application in the past. Trump really can’t avoid this else he becomes one of the traditional politicians that would betray his base.

It will be interesting. Democrats are playing an established game. Can Trump play another?

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