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Jim VandeHei’s Four Fake Ways to ‘fix’ fake news

I don’t know Jim VandeHei, and despite being a heavy consumer of news and information, don’t frequent Axios news, unless it is referred to me.  In fact, that’s how I saw his article on ‘4 ways to fix fake news‘; I saw it on the Drudge.  I don’t have an ax to grind about Axios.  I’m indifferent.  But, if his article achieved anything, it is to persuade me that I should take a position re: Axios:  against it.

He lists 4 ‘provocative’ ideas.  I’m going to take serious issue one of them in particular, and then circle back to touch on the other three, but I’d like you to observe in advance that only 1 out of the 4 ideas he gives are directed at those who produce the news in the first place.  In my opinion, that is suggestive.

His first terrible idea was this:

News organizations should ban their reporters from doing anything on social media — especially Twitter — beyond sharing stories. Snark, jokes and blatant opinion are showing your hand, and it always seems to be the left one. This makes it impossible to win back the skeptics.

Emphasis added.

So, VanderHei wants to restore faith in the media and his big idea is for… wait for it… the media to hide and conceal its bias.

Great idea!  Because presenting yourself as objective and neutral when in fact you are an ideologue is a terrific way to win over those who are skeptical!  [That was ‘snark,’ by the way.]  In point of fact, VandeHei is encouraging the media to return to its previous posture, which fueled the current distrust, distaste, and disgust, that people have with the media.  Irony alert!

At least he’s honest enough to note which direction most of the bias is coming from.

This bias has been obvious to any rational and objective observer for as long as I’ve been paying attention.

Quick autobiographical note: the Clinton-Lewinsky fiasco was a big catalyst moving me out of my childhood liberalism.  There was no FoxNews to blame, no Breitbart.  There was Rush, but I didn’t listen to him.  All I had was the regular media, which at the time I did not realize was drenched in partisan–liberal–bias.

And what a bias it was!  I recall vividly how much the media gave Clinton a pass on his behavior, pooh-poohing it as simply Clinton’s ‘private life.’  I distinctly remember reading Europeans doing the same.  (More than a little ironic, in light of the current liberal progressive hysterics about Trump’s behavior… while voting for Hillary Clinton.)

Naive young man that I was at the time, I thought that getting blowjobs from an intern and using a cigar as a dildo to masturbate her while in the Oval Office and while conducting presidential business (eg, taking calls while Lewinsky did her business) goes well beyond one’s ‘private sex life.’  But according to all the news I read at the time, it was NO BIG DEAL, and the evil Republicans were making it into something it was not–like, our business!

Remember, at the time, for my own reasons, I already believed the Republicans were evil. Yet, I found that it was the Republicans expressing concern about something that I was concerned about, not the Democrats.  Cue an important component of my ideological transformation…

To say that the kid glove treatment of Clinton at the time in the media was not liberal bias in the media is insulting to anyone with intelligence.  And its just one example out of many.

However, unless the liberal admits to the bias, you can only see it if you are rational and least somewhat impartial.  But if you are rational and at least somewhat impartial, the biased reporting in the news and what we see in the entertainment industry has been patently obvious for the two decades or so I’ve been paying attention.

VandeHei proposes we go back to that?

In point of fact, I am glad that media figures have been broadcasting their bias.  While folks like myself have been calling attention to it for years, there are large numbers of decent individuals who can’t bring themselves to believe that people could really be as indecently biased and still ascend to the highest levels of the NY Times, the WAPO, or CNN.   But now, thanks to people at these and other outlets transparently and shamelessly ‘showing their cards,’ all doubt has been removed–if you are rational and even slightly impartial.

Moreover, many Americans have been reticent about taking a ‘side’ in the culture wars, but just as I was surprised to learn that it was the Republicans that cared about sexual misconduct inside the Oval Office and shocked to learn that the media elites looked down on me for having such an old fashioned view, many Americans are surprised to see their values mocked by the media and Democrats so blatantly, even as they lecture us incessantly.

I’m not talking about conservative Americans being shocked.  I’m talking about moderate and even liberal Americans.  To discover that the people supposedly representing your values think you are a vile, bigoted hick for thinking people ought to stand for the anthem and keep men out of girls’ locker rooms (for example) creates a disillusionment that I myself remember full well.

For myself, I believe that a source is more trustworthy if it admits its bias and is transparent about it.   When I said I was a heavy consumer of news, I did not mean ‘conservative’ news.   Most of my reading is of liberal sites, such as the Huffington Post, Salon, and Politico.  Precisely because they don’t lie about who they are, and precisely because it is easier to identify their bias and factor it out, I prefer to develop my understanding of what’s going on in the world from such sites.

I recommend the same approach to everyone.  Scroll down to the ‘pro tip,’ for example.

VandeHei says:  “The Axios social media policy, which applies to all our colleagues, prohibits the sharing of political views or derogatory snark online”

In other words, the Axios policy is to encourage their contributors to conceal from readers what they really think.  If I wanted rank deception from a news source, I already have CNN, the NY Times, and WAPO.

Bad advice, VandeHei.

Better advice:  each contributor should clearly list their party affiliation, who they donate money to and in what amounts, and disclose their ideological stance.  By all means, beyond that, the Axios contributors can be encouraged to produce fair, even handed, ‘news,’ and keep their insults off of Twitter.  However, if you keep your insults off of social media, but embed your contempt instead in your news articles and present them as ‘objective facts,’ you will have only fueled the growing skepticism for the ‘media.’  How will we know if Axios contributors are doing that or not?  Disclosing their biases would be a good first step.

Now a quick word about the other points.

First, regarding his ‘advice’ to politicians to stop using the term ‘fake news.’

This is a great example of concealed bias.  When VandeHei says ‘politicians,’ that is obvious code for ‘Trump,’ as among politicians, the only one who has had the audacity to call out the ‘fourth estate’ is Trump.  Are Democrat politicians complaining about ‘fake news’?  Give me a break.  He means, simply, Trump.

Instead of having the courage to be straight about what he really means he frames it in terms he hopes sounds ‘fair and reasonable.’  That’s because he knows that if he says what he really means, his bias will be exposed; or, perhaps more charitably, he knows it will give the appearance of bias.

I think the best way to get ‘politicians’ to stop invoking ‘fake news’ is for the media to stop… publishing fake news.

I know, its a genius idea.

Another of his ideas is for social media companies to ‘self regulate’ or even allow government regulation to ‘stanch… the flow of disinformation or made up news.’

Again, my only experience with VandeHei is just this article, but if I only had this one article to go on, I’d have to conclude that he is a wildly biased progressive elitist ideologue.   We’ve already seen what liberals consider ‘real news’: only that which other liberals declare to be ‘real news.’  What is ‘disinformation’?  Why, whatever the fair, objective, impartial ‘experts’ at the WAPO and NY Times determine!  Or SNOPES!  LOL.

Or we need are a thousand faceless bureaucrats determining what is true and false??!?! At least with most of the media, you get a byline telling us the name of the person.  When a government bureaucrat acts, we never learn their name.  We are never informed about their bias.  There is no way for us to hold that person accountable.  Moreover, many, if not most of these individuals are likely to be as biased towards liberal progressivism as those in the media are.  These are the people he wants to intervene?  This is his proposal?

Give me a break.

VandeHei says, “The worst thing for a country is having people believe lies, or trust nothing. One day soon, something bad will happen, and it will take faith in information to fix it. You erode trust at our collective peril.”

Well, ‘information’ as the totally fair, objective, ideologically-neutral VandeHei and the other totally fair, objective, unbiased contributors at various MSM outlets, construe it.  Right?

This is one of the few times VandeHei accidentally makes a good point in this article.  Certainly, one of these days, something bad will happen, and we will need faith in information to fix it.  But it is the MSM which is undermining that faith, not the people (VandeHei means specifically Trump) who have caught on to the MSM’s contempt for their fellow Americans.

I have proposed that the MSM should transparently disclose their biases as a better step forward.  However, I doubt very much that the MSM can restore faith in its assessment about what is ‘good information’ unless it radically re-constitutes its entire enterprise.  However, there are reasons why liberal progressives gravitate towards the media in greater proportion than those with other ideologies.  Simply put, they see the media as one of their most potent methods for creating change, and creating change gives their life purpose.  Reporting ‘just the facts’ so that others can make up their own minds?

Get real.  It’s never going to happen.

And yes, that means that some day, something bad will happen, and yes, it will take faith in information to fix it–but no, that faith will not be restored, and yes, we will be a nation in peril.

And it will be largely the fault of the MSM.

Finally, VanderHei makes another decent point in his advice to “You”, but I’m afraid he does not go near far enough.  He says:

“Quit tweeting your every outrage.”

Ok, I’m with you as far as it goes, but to frame it as though there isn’t an outrage industry which is encouraging it to begin with is itself outrageous.  On this blog, I have been documenting the fact that the ‘powers that be’ positively rely on stoking outrage in order to move society in the direction that the ‘powers that be’ want society to move.

The whole point of much of our media coverage is to generate and facilitate ‘outrage.’  In the first place, that’s how you get things done if you are a liberal progressive–they call it ‘direct action.’  (The rest of us call it mob action.)  In the second place, its obviously part of the business model of much of the MSM.  They want people to share their articles willy-nilly, and need the income to compensate for falling ad revenue.  I assume Axios welcomes the web traffic.

I don’t think VandeHei is out of line putting some of the responsibility on the individual to abstain from the outrage du jour.   I have a half dozen posts on this very blog suggesting the same.  But let’s not act as though certain institutions in our country are not greatly responsible for provoking ‘national outrage.’

VandeHei’s entire proposal seems designed to get the rest of us to lend more credibility to the MSM and increase its prestige, and cast himself as some kind of ‘white knight’ coming to the rescue of the ignorant, gullible masses.   His one–the one, mind you–suggestion for the media for restoring that prestige is to encourage the media to stop insulting the American people publicly.

Sorry, but Mr. VandeHei, you need to go back to the drawing board on the ‘fake news’ front.


*** Because of the inevitable idiot who comes along and says, “Oh yea, well why didn’t you disclosed YOUR bias!!??!?!?” I am compelled to point out that I am not a member of the media, you big dummy.
Still, I will tell you my bias:  While I leaned liberal all the way through my coming of age in the 1990s, the events of 9-11 marked a turning point for me.  Today, I would call myself a ‘constitutionalist libertarian.’  I am frequently disgusted with the Republicans for their failure to uphold small government principles and individual liberties, but nonetheless recognize that they are presently the only viable entity ostensibly advancing that agenda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Accusation as Political Weapon

So, here we go again.

The Democrats have once again turned to alleging that something occurred in the distant past, with no way to come close to what could count as a proof or disproof that the incident occurred.  I have already detailed my principled objections to this as it related to Roy Moore so the reader can look at that for more background.

What’s setting me off as I am writing this is the overwhelming hypocrisy and even rank stupidity surrounding this approach, by people who have built their entire political machine around the ‘victim.’  Meanwhile, they have no compunction about victimizing people who may very well be innocent.  Or have we forgotten about ‘innocent until proven guilty’?  Or does that only apply to liberal/progs?  Then they have the audacity to claim they are on the moral high ground, and even that they are taking the Christian perspective.  It’s not even worth going into all of it.  I’d be writing all day.

How about we start with this article: “Every man should be worried. At least, I’m worried. ”  It is an opinion piece by a certain Alexandra Petri at the Washington Post.  She starts out with this quote as her baseline… it is literally the first thing in her article:

“If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried.” — A lawyer close to the White House, speaking to Politico

And now she begins to mock this.

“Look, who among us? If, apparently, a single alleged assault at a single party decades ago is to be frowned upon, then no man is safe, right?”

This is literally the second thing she says.   Now, if you have even half a brain and a shred of honesty and integrity, you will spot the problem right off.

Not counting on that, let me spell it out.

The person writing at the Politico says… “brought down by accusations” … Petri skips over the word ‘accusations’ and writes the rest of her article as if the assault actually happened.  From ‘accusations bringing someone down’ we go straight to ‘the person really did the thing he is accused of doing.’

(The word ‘alleged’ is included as pure CYA.  She doesn’t mean it.  The whole article is premised as if what is ‘alleged’ is actual fact.)

The person she is quoting… that SHE is QUOTING… at the VERY BEGINNING of her own article, says…. “BY ACCUSATIONS.”

Anybody who is literate and even slightly honest would be able to tell that Petri was being blatantly deceitful.

However, based on such vile tactics, there will be people who nonetheless infer that it must be known that he actually did what he was accused of doing.

We have no way of knowing if the accusations are true.  Kavanaugh has no way of disproving them.  Ford has no way of proving them.   If Kavanaugh’s friend corroborated Ford’s story, that might be more damning–in the political arena.  Alas, he did not.

So, here we have a case where someone’s career is going to be brought to a complete stop because of uncorroborated assertions by a single person.

If the ability of ONE PERSON to make accusations against someone, without evidence, without corroboration, without, dare I say it, shame, and threaten that person’s livelihood, which the person quoted in Politico was referring to, then absolutely Petri should be worried.  She could be next.  We all could be.  Petri, like most progressives, have not considered what life would be like in a society that has fully embraced her methods.

I’ve heard more than a few atheistic secular leftist humanists thump their chest on this (and Moore, and other #MeToo allegations) as though they are the ones more authentically Christian.   Actually being a Christian, and actually knowing Christians, I have yet to come across anyone that condones rape or assault.  I can’t think of a single friend or acquaintance that is not repulsed by such behavior–genuinely.

IF it were shown that the person ACTUALLY did the things in question, most Christians would dump them (and even Moore, who was only accused, was not elected).

Let me say that again, using little words so that Petri and WAPO readers can understand.

IF.

IF.

IF.

SHOWN.

SHOWN.

SHOWN.

IF.

IF.

IF.

IF is a conditional clause, meaning that what follows only applies IF the conditions exist.

ACCUSATIONS do NOT equal DID THE DEED.

There is something else in that Bible that atheists-who-are-more-Christian-than-Christians would do well to remember:

One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. — Deuteronomy 19:15

This principle is repeated several times throughout the Christian Scriptures, and for good reason.  In the days before DNA, fingerprints, and surveillance cameras, it was not easy  to prove or disprove that a crime took place in a manner that did not involve the testimony of a witness.  This reality made was ripe for abuse.  In cultures where a single accuser could literally end someone,  people inevitably took advantage of the system for their own personal gain.

Thus, when God gave the Ten Commandments and included, “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness” he was not issuing a trivial, ad hoc, statement.    A ‘false witness’ was not merely someone who told a lie.  A ‘false witness’ had the power to essentially murder someone via third parties (eg, tribal chief, etc). God was countermanding a despicable trend within many societies, past and present.

The IF matters.  You are NOT representing a Christian worldview if you focus solely on the crime, and omitting any consideration of the Bible’s many warnings about false accusations.

When the founders wrote the US Constitution and included in it robust measures for defending THE ACCUSED, they were doing more than recapitulating a biblical principle.  They were responding to realities on the ground:  the ability of the state to run roughshod over individuals by the force of accusation alone was vividly displayed.   And, it is important to remember that the ‘state’ could be influenced by the rich and powerful who had the knowledge and means to get the ‘state’ to malign people for their own benefit.

What the Founders tried to prevent, the Democrats and their rabid base are going out of their way to do, over and over, and over.

What could go wrong?  I mean, besides destroying the career and reputation of your political foes?

One doesn’t have to look hard to find examples, but of course that would require actually looking.  Let me suggest you start with Solzhenitsyn and his The Gulag Archipelago.

Literally millions of people had their lives utterly demolished, and even–literally–ended, because of a system where false accusers were given unfettered ability to send people off to the interrogators.

What the Democrats are playing with was not too long ago the ‘law of the land’ in Russia.  The system that chewed up Solzhenitsyn and millions of others is precisely the kind of system that the Democrats are facilitating in our own country.

Democrats are constantly tearing at the fabric of the various checks and balances and guiding principles that have allowed the United States to be free of the many horrific abuses that have permeated the rest of the globe throughout times past and present.  The sincere ones think they are doing it for a good cause, that their treading on basic rights enshrined in the Constitution is justified “for the common good.”  The ends justify the means; and not to worry, things won’t get out of control.  They can always walk it back.  After the political foes are suppressed, they can return to the enterprise of ‘progress.’

Unfortunately, such malicious behaviors and attitudes tend (historically) to metastasize and spiral out of control.  Mere accusation as a means to destroy someone who deserves destroying (historically) fuels a system where people who don’t deserve destroying are likewise destroyed.  People like Petri, who engage in irresponsible accusations today, may find themselves targeted for destruction in exactly the same way.

And next thing we know, we’re all sharing a cell in the gulag.

People like Petri, who cannot even tell the difference between the idea of mere accusation vs actual commission of the deed, will be utterly clueless about how it happened.

The hyper-partisans I expect to happen upon this post will disregard all that I just said and accuse me of mounting a blind defense of Kavanaugh.  Thus, I have to issue this disclaimer:  I don’t even like Kavanaugh.  He’s uber-establishment, which I detest.  THIS IS NOT ABOUT KAVANAUGH.  This is about liberal/progs continuing to tear at the threads of the fabric of all that gives us freedom and liberty, probably escalating finally into a ‘hot’ civil war.   Maybe its just me, but I would prefer we didn’t see such a conflagration.  Others seem hell bent on bringing it about ASAP.

Now, a quick word on the hypocrisy stuff.

Watching people froth at the mouth about Kavanaugh with so little evidence, about a crime that is tame compared to what many other–liberal–politicians have done, I am starting to consider a proposition that seems unthinkable.  Their support for Bill Clinton, Edward Kennedy and Chris Dodd (eg, the “Waitress Sandwich”), their support for Hillary Clinton who enabled her husband who was doing all sorts of things liberals aren’t supposed to approve of, not to mention the great irony of Ford’s attorney defending Clinton over accusations of far more severity… makes it look like they don’t actually believe ANY of the stuff they are saying.  Can it really be?  Surely, there must be some liberals that genuinely frown on sexual assault.  Funny how we only hear their condemnations when its alleged against their political foes, though.

And they call me the partisan!

—————————————-

* This is the same kind of stupidity we see in other areas of dispute in American society.  For example, liberals relentlessly accuse conservatives of hating immigrants, etc, deliberately omitting the word ILLEGAL.  Anyone with half a brain and an ounce of integrity will notice that objections raised by conservatives are to ILLEGAL immigration.  I personally have trouble believe that people are really so stupid as to not notice this qualifier, which raises the specter that they are deliberately ‘bear false witness’ in order to achieve their political goals.   But I could be wrong.  They really could just be that dumb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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South Dakota vs. Wayfair: Taxation without Representation

One of the complaints that fueled the American revolution was that the colonialists were enduring ‘taxation without representation.’  The British king was levying taxes on people who were subject to the king, but did not have the same rights to advocate for themselves that others who were subject to the king had.

Let us propose a scenario:  I, an author and a publisher, sell a digital download to someone living in, say, France.  Should I be collecting tax on that sale and sending the tax to France?  Since I am not a citizen of France, there is no sense in which I could represent myself or advocate for my concerns about this tax.  Now let us suppose I should be collecting the taxes on sales for every country.  Now the problem is compounded radically.  This would be ‘taxation without representation’ pushed to its limits.

Add to this the reality that as a (very) small businessman, there is no way I can keep track of the different laws in all the jurisdictions of the globe.  If there was a way for the thousands of jurisdictions to enforce their laws on me (eg, each had their own battalion of ‘red coats’ circulating around the village), I simply could not do business.

Now, I ask you, how is the recent Supreme Court ruling much different than the scenario I have laid out above?

I live in Wisconsin.  If California decides to have state sales tax laws that are onerous, precisely what avenue do I have to petition the state of California about my grievance?  And lets not forget the other forty-eight states!

In the minds of some, if SCOTUS rules something is constitutional, then by God, it is constitutional.  Since SCOTUS has ruled in favor of South Dakota,  that means the definitive word has been spoken on the Constitution.  I say that SCOTUS has rendered a decision that is fundamentally at odds with the very soul of the Constitution.  It has effectively repudiated one of the core principles of the American revolution: ‘no taxation without representation.’

The US has already gone leaps and bounds away from the Constitution, stretching back to well before I was born.   I can do nothing about that, and I can do nothing about South Dakota vs. Wayfair.  I was already at the mercy of 49 other states, without meaningful representation, on a myriad of other matters, and this just adds to them.

However, as I sit here and ponder the implications to my operations, there is still one decision I can make:  will I remain in business at all?

I remember a few years ago I did a conference in the state of Ohio.  Ohio requires exhibitors to collect sales tax.  The hassle involved in complying with Ohio’s laws for just one weekend’s event convinced me that I would never do business in Ohio again.  And I haven’t.

People who don’t own businesses fail to understand the practical impact of regulations, and can be frequently found proposing even more regulations, and then pooh-poohing the businesses for chafing at the regulations that already exist.  Its a different story when you’re the one who is seeking to comply with the law and its your neck on the line if you mess up.

For the Ohio thing, I had to first of all, FIND OUT what the law was, then MAKE AN ACCOUNT, which required PAPERWORK, then I had to determine WHICH COUNTY I would specifically be doing business in, because each COUNTY and EACH MUNICIPALITY was potentially DIFFERENT.  Then I had to calculate the appropriate tax, which requires RECORD KEEPING, and then MAKE THE PAYMENT.    Then I had to cross my fingers and hope that I did everything right.

Its a pain in the butt just to make sure I am good to go in Wisconsin.  To put myself through that process for just 3 days in Ohio was just not worth it.

Now imagine that I would have to do this for all 49 states!

It isn’t enough to say, “Oh, well, this state exempts you, or that state makes it easy!”  The point is you have to KEEP UP with the laws of ALL FIFTY STATES and potentially face PENALTIES if you fail.  People forget that one of the big differences between the government and a corporation or individual is that the government has COERCIVE authorities.  A corporation can sue you and take you for all you have.  A government can throw you in prison.  Rare?  Perhaps, but like I said, if its not YOUR NECK on the line, its easy to forget.  What do YOU care if I get audited, right?

To give you just a small taste, take a look at this link, which has very helpfully created FIFTY links for you to click on.  If you were a small business, just think about the fifty different accounts you would have to set up, with fifty different usernames and fifty different passwords (for your own safety!) and navigate through fifty different sets of regulations and laws, and write checks to fifty different states, remitting according to fifty different schedules.

And in only one of those fifty states could you ring up your representative and say, “Holy smokes, man.  I can’t keep up with this stuff and stay in business!”

Ironically, the people who most despise the rich and big businesses and advocate for more regulations fail to understand that the rich and big businesses are far more able to work through regulations.  Your rich fat cat can afford to pay top dollar for smart accountants and lawyers… your average small businessman can’t.  So, for all the talk about people hating on big corporations like Amazon or Walmart, etc, the ones who will suffer are the very people the bleeding hearts say they want to help.   (Quick side note to the bleeding hearts:  please stop trying to help.  I beg you. You’re killing us.)

In other words, in S.D. vs. Wayfair, Amazon and Walmart (and Wayfair) are not subject to ‘taxation without representation.’  They can afford to put lobbyists in every state house and they can field an army of lobbyists in D.C..

Wayfair is going to perpetuate a trend towards consolidation into larger and bigger businesses, with small businesses getting squeezed out.

I mention all of this because the idea of ‘taxation without representation’ is not an esoteric platonic principle.  It is tied intimately with the idea of liberty, because (this will be new to many readers, I fear), economic liberty and personal liberty are themselves intimately joined.  You cannot have personal liberty–not really–if you do not have economic liberty.   If you do not have the ability to enter and exit commerce as you see fit, then your livelihood, and therefore your life, is subject to the will of others.

Even if you have never considered that idea before, hopefully you can see that meaningful representation is an important mechanism for maintaining liberty.  Insofar as S.D. vs Wayfair demolishes representation, it is a body blow to the liberty of small businessmen.

I fear, too, that the response to the mess that Wayfair is making will be resolved by the time honored response (that not coincidentally, also favors the big businesses) of Federalizing the matter in order to ‘simplify’ the laws.  In this case, some kind of national sales tax, or Federal department set up to collect the sales tax and disburse it to the various states, is almost a foregone conclusion.

Small businesses, faced with the crush of trying to comply with hundreds, if not thousands of taxing jurisdictions, will welcome such simplification.  Of course,  when the laws are written, you can be quite sure they will be written to protect the interests of the big businesses, because, after all, only the big businesses can afford to hire full time individuals to advocate for them.

Once Federalized, there will be even less ability to pursue meaningful representation.   The regulations will fall into the hands of hundreds of faceless bureaucrats, and if you didn’t like the way the agency was being run, hey, all you have to do is persuade 50 million people or so to elect the president you like and then hope that the president is able to make changes to the agency and its regulations without it turning into a political knife fight.

The result is that it will be taxation with even less representation on state sales tax issues than the virtually nil we have now thanks to Wayfair.  Tell me I’m wrong.

I’m not the only person who has noticed the sword of Damocles hanging over the necks of small businesses in the United States.  However, its doubtful that the resolution will be a reversal of Wayfair.  I see some congressional actions being proposed which appear to be sensitive to the issues, but I’m skeptical.

Still, I’m waiting a bit before taking definitive action.  As it stands, the only prudent action–since I’m not a rich fat cat, and I care about my neck–is to simply withdraw from the marketplace, or at least strictly confine my activities to my own state, along with perhaps a small handful of states with easy to understand systems for collecting sales taxes.  All the other states will just be out of luck, deprived of my products.

God help us if the rest of America’s small businesses come to the same conclusion.

 

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The Athanatos Apologetics Festival is Coming Up

I probably don’t talk enough about what I’m doing through Athanatos on this blog, but I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention our third annual apologetics (and culture) festival.  AthanatosFest is held in Greenwood, WI, where ACM is based out of.  Details:  www.athanatosfest.com

Some high points for this year’s festival includes a debate between a certain Dannyboy who has been known to haunt this blog, and the rare and elusive Sasquatch, who also is occasionally sighted here.  This debate will be transpire over the entire three days of the event.  (Details on the fest website).

We’ll have a number of people involved in Christian writing, Christian apologetics, and both writing and apologetics together.  We’ll screen two movies.  One is called “Fatal Flaws” and is a documentary on euthanasia/assisted suicide, which by the by I learned after getting authorization features one of the books we publish!  Another is produced by Dallas Jenkins, whom some may recognize as the son of a co-author of the Left Behind series.

One panel conversation that I’m interested in is the one we will have with a handful of Wisconsin state legislators and an Egyptian Christian and perhaps another person who has escaped persecution.  The panel conversation will address human trafficking, refugees, our immigration system, etc.

There of course are many other things, including a concert, and a session by yours truly on the Resurrection being a real event and history, but you’re better off just going to the website to check it out.  www.athanatosfest.com

Hope to see you there!

Beyond all that, let me opine a bit about the philosophy behind the event.

The upshot is this:  we need more events like mine where deep, complicated issues are hashed out.  The Christian church certainly needs it.  Most Christian festivals are exercises in entertainment; indeed, most church programming is.  Whether its Sunday School, or VBS, or youth group stuff, or even actual Bible class, if ‘fun’ is not the emphasis, it at least informs the planning.

Unfortunately, ‘fun’ isn’t enough once the challenges of real life present themselves.  You’d think this would be evident to all these days, with so many people falling away from the faith, even with so much ‘fun’ going around, but it seems not.

A Superficial Faith = Substantive Falling Away.

Substantive in what way?

Well, for one thing, it doesn’t help anyone to ignore the hard topics that real life itself presents.  How can a loving God tolerate suffering?  How can we be sure the Bible is a reliable guide for knowledge and practice, especially when the media is mocking you left and right–not to mention what college professors are doing to students.

Many Christians dismiss these kinds of issues as unnecessary ‘intellectual’ exercises.   I once had a Christian I had met at a festival send me a message saying, “How is that being intelligent thing working out for you?”  He meant it playfully, but I didn’t bother replying.  What could I say?  “How did your trust in God work out when your child died in your arms in a car accident?”

Not that that had happened to him, but obviously, if it DID happen, I could NEVER say it then because of how rude it would be (and make him even angrier at Christians and Christ).  The time to address such topics is BEFORE the tragedy strikes, but if those things are waved away as trivial intellectual matters, people set themselves up for a fall.  A hard fall.

There is also something to be said about hearing objections to the faith “from the horse’s mouth.”

That’s why we have an actual atheist as part of our event, instead of a Christian merely talking about atheism.

If you have experience talking with people who have doubts (which is the basic work of the apologist) you will eventually have people say, “I hear what you’re saying but how do I know you’re not just putting words in their mouth?  How do I know the REAL objections aren’t stronger?”

Well, if you hear the objections straight out of the mouths of people who reject Christianity, you are immunized from that rejoinder.  Moreover, when you are able to answer the objection pretty easily, well, then, you’re golden.  🙂

My own crisis of faith occurred in large part not because it seemed Christians had no answers, but that they didn’t even know there were questions.  In retrospect, I was very wrong in that assessment, but it is still easy enough to get that impression.

God willing, that will never be the impression one gets after leaving Athanatos Fest.

Hope to see you there!

 

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The Weaponization of the Media by the American Left, Today’s Case Study: White Nationalists running for office

In a recent argument with a friend, he asserted that I single out examples of left wing nonsense but don’t mention the stuff on the right.  This missed my point completely.  There is, of course, nonsense across the board.  Pick an ideology, and you will be able to find worthy advocates of it mixed in with those that even the ideology’s adherents would like to jettison if only they could, along with a big lump in the middle that is a smorgasbord of anecdotes.  My point–made with a series of illustrations–was that the left has WEAPONIZED the various institutions, picking and choosing which stories they will fixate on, with the express purpose of harming their political foes.  And anyone who dissents is a foe.

I gave some examples of this in my last post.

There is biased reporting on the right as well as on the left, but there is this critical difference:  the bias on the ‘right’ is not just transparent, but admitted.  If you see something on Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, or Breitbart, you know what you’re getting.  But the NYT, CNN, and the WAPO… why, they’re just reporting straight news, ya know?  They’re objective folks!  Not only do they cast themselves this way, but they are received by the masses this way.  This naive acceptance by the American public is what makes reporting by these ‘objective’ sites prone to malicious slanting.

That acceptance has dwindled over the years, and its effectiveness as a weapon weakened somewhat.  If the MSM continues to do stories like the one I’m about to talk about, they will probably all go out of business.  Some of us long for the day.  Still, we’re talking about people who believe its their right and purpose to drive public opinion, and have no shame in using their position to do that.  Nor do they have any shame in lying outright along the way.  They’re called the ‘drive by’ media for a reason.

One of the purposes of these folks is to characterize conservatism and Republicans as racists.  They want conservatives to think there is something horribly amiss with their ideology when it can make racists feel welcome.  They want the big ‘lump in the middle’ to think that the GOP has a ‘racism problem.’  Of course they will say, “Sure, sure.   Not ALL Republicans are racists.  But “There clearly are genuine racists on the Right.”  Uh, well, there are clearly genuine racists on the left, too.  There are racists across the spectrum.  Is there any particular reason to think its more of a problem on the “right” than the left? 

That’s what the elitist libs in the various institutions (school, media, etc) want you to think, and the liberal base, already prepared to pat themselves on their own back for their own moral virtue, are happy to accept it as obvious fact, because they too can’t imagine anyone disagreeing with them unless they were bigoted somehow (because their positions are SO reasonable!).  I have documented elsewhere the fact that, in point of fact, even allowing that all ‘white nationalists’ align with the ‘right’ (a spurious belief, seeing as it was the Democrat party that embraced institutionalized racism OPENLY for almost the entirety of its existence), the numbers are paltry.

In this 2016 blog post titled, Putting Hysterics Into Proportion: The Alleged Threat of the Rise of White Racism I provide some numbers…

Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute had just had their NATIONAL conference.  Attendance? 200.  TWO HUNDRED.  That’s IT.  Oh, by the way, take the media covering the event and the number drops to around 120… ACCORDING TO THE Southern Poverty Law Center.

120 people at a national event for white nationalists.  Why yes, of course, OBVIOUSLY 60,000,000 people who voted for Trump have a ‘racism’ problem!

More numbers.

According to the SPLC, there are only about 8,000 members of the KKK.  Even accepting the fiction that they all vote Republican and all voted for Trump, we’re talking about spectacularly small numbers.

Fast forward to this morning.

So this morning, NBC’s “Today” was on, and I was greeted with a story that perfectly illustrates what I mean by weaponizing the media.

Apparently, it was a rehash of an article that had already run on MSNBC.  Both NBC and MSNBC are known for being total straight shooters, ya know?

Media Matters reports the story with this headline, which of course went viral:

Surge in Candidates Running on an Explicitly White Nationalist Message’ Dominates 2018 Midterms

A surge, you say?  Phew, must be a lot!  The original NBC Nightly News account of the same story offers a different perspective:

At Least 8 White Nationalists Running For State Or Federal Office

8!

But of course if someone does not see the title of the video or segment and only watches the segment, here is what they see:

You see it, right?  The words on the screen, which are there throughout almost the entirety of the segment, are “Record Number of White Nationalists Running for Office.”

Unless someone happened to catch the split second where they reported that there were just 8 candidates, they will be left with the distinct impression:  “OMG, White nationalists are increasing in number!  They are emboldened by Trump!  I’m not a racist!  What am I to do?!?”  Or, if you are a liberal, well, that’s for a different post.

That’s how it is done, friends.  That’s the weaponization of the media.  The total viewership of the NBC programs that broadcast this segment in some form that I’m aware of, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, and the Today Show, are, respectively:  1 million, 8 million, and 4 million.    So, almost 15 million people are estimated to have seen this segment.

By the way, Fox News has a morning viewership of about 1.4 million another otherwise seems to be around 2 million a night, 3 million max.  So, NBC, by itself, has 5 times the viewership of Fox News.  Now add in the other two networks (nightly news numbers only, from the above link), and its ABC: 4.051M and  CBS: 3.305M.

Fox News taps out at around 3 million viewers.  The total of all the other networks combines comes in (back of the envelop calculation) at around 50 million.

Yea, so you can piss and moan about the influence of FNC and its known, transparent bias, but you are delusional if you think it outmatches the other networks, which have a viewership of more than ten times together what FNC has alone–and FNC is very much alone.

But this is not a defense of Fox News.  I’m just putting the NBC segment into some kind of perspective and proportion.  A very large number of people had set in front of them this line for a solid 2 minutes:  “Record Number of White Nationalists Running for Office.”

Now, first of all, if 8 White Nationalists is a record number, I want you to think about that.  That means that for a hundred years or so, the United States has never put up more than 8 ‘white nationalists.’

That’s pretty damn good, if true.

Although, probably not true.  Not that it matters, since the purpose of the piece is obviously propaganda.  I noticed their carefully couched language, “That’s more than any election in modern history.”

Hmmm.  And on the Today Show, where the segment is titled,   More White Nationalists Are Running For Office, the intro was:

“What we’re seeing right now is something we’ve never seen in recent history.  White Nationalists coming out publicly, espousing their views and then running for national office in historic numbers.

Emphasis added.   In modern history?  In recent history?  And yet its historic?  8 is historic?  And just what is meant by ‘recent’?

Hmmm, the curious listener wants to know what is the catalyst for this ‘surge’!  The very honest and objective reporter has the same question:

But the question this morning is why do they feel emboldened now, why do they think this is their year to win?

Yea, wow.  What happened recently?  Gee, I just can’t figure it out.  Oh yea, now it has come to me.  Donald Trump.  (The rest of the segment makes it perfectly clear this is exactly what you are supposed to conclude.)

So, 8 candidates–HISTORIC!–in recent history.  These qualifiers are meant to protect themselves from criticism, claiming that they were technically accurate in their reporting.  Meanwhile, they title their segment a more generalized and inflammatory way like “More White Nationalists Are Running for Office” and “Record Number of White Nationalists Running for Office” and, on the Media Matters website, “Surge in Candidates Running on an Explicitly White Nationalist Message’ Dominates 2018 Midterms.”

The message of these EIGHT candidates who are going to be completely slaughtered in their respective elections DOMINATES the 2018 Midterms! lol.

Truly, these are either some of the dumbest people on the planet or among the most evil.  With this kind of inflammatory rhetoric, people will inevitably get hurt.  But I digress… or do I?

Anyway, I’m not a tool, so I figured if they are being so careful to couch their language, the actual truth must not be as provocative.

In truly laborious research taking all of five seconds, I managed to turn up this:

White Supremacists Running for Political Office in 2012 in Growing Numbers
A startling number of white-power candidates are running for public office. Eve Conant reports on their under-the-radar strategy.

2012.  For you in Rio Linda, that’s just 6 years ago.  Here we don’t see it cast as “historic’ numbers, but just ‘growing numbers.  And how many might that be?

Mayo and others date the current spike to 2008, and the election of the country’s first African-American president  […]

 What followed in 2010, say extremism watchers, was the biggest electoral push by white supremacists in years. “We’ve seen increasing numbers of white supremacists and others on the radical right running for electoral office for several years now and we likely had more in the last election than in any other in recent memory,” says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Although extremely few of these people are elected, especially if their views become known during the campaign, the fact that there are so many openly running for public office reflects the growth of white nationalism over the last 10 years.”

Potok’s group tracked 23 candidates in 2010 with radical right-wing views, nine of whom they described as white supremacists or white nationalists.

Emphasis added.

How many?  *squints hard at screen*

23!

TWENTY-THREE.  Of these hundreds of millions of radical right wingers… er, sorry, 23… how many are ‘white nationalists’?

9.

Ok, so help me out here.  Because all I have is a bachelors, a masters, and a PhD, I find simple arithmetic difficult. Is 9 bigger or smaller than 8?

Now, this is a bit interesting, because NBC says that their source (at the 55 second mark or so) for the ‘record surge’ in white nationalist candidates–8– is the SPLC, but in 2016, the SPLC itself said that there were–9–such candidates; not a peep that this might be a ‘record’ amount.

As an aside, if you look at the article,  it singles out David Duke running for office.  I doubt any of the 23 people running for office won, but I know for sure that Duke didn’t. I documented his results in the aforementioned Hysteria piece:

So, it just so happens that David Duke ran for election this year in the ‘deep south,’ that bastion of bigotry.   Consider how horrible we must feel as a nation that as of now, a US Senator from Louisiana is a former leader in the KKK.  We’ve sunk so low as a nation!  Sooooooooooooooo loooooooooooooooooow.

Waitasec.  He didn’t win.   He didn’t win?!?!?!?  But with all this talk about David Duke endorsing Trump as if that meant something, I can only assume that he did exceedingly well in his election?  Funny, the media told me all about Trump’s tenuous relationship with Duke (ie, its non-existent) but failed to mention that Duke not only did not win the election, but he was seventh in the list, pulling just 3% of the votes.  SEVENTH.

Anyway, the idea that there is a ‘surge’ or that there are ‘more’ or ‘record numbers’ or ‘historic’ is a blatant deception.

This is the weaponization of the media.  The whole point of the story is to demonize political opponents.  Nothing more, nothing less. The NBC piece is a non-story when it comes to white nationalism.  But it is a good illustration when it comes to showing what is meant by liberal media propaganda.

I bet that ‘white nationalists’ have been running for political office in tiny numbers for decades, both before Trump, and before Obama.   A research project for another day.

Let’s deal with one last claim they made.  The Today show episode says that the number of murders by white nationalists has “doubled.”  Now, at least with the “surge” language, they tuck in at least SOME context, telling us we’re up to 8.  However, here we get no context at all.

I suppose the reader understands that if there is 1 murder in 2016 due to white nationalism but there are 2 murders in 2017 from it, the number of murders has, truly, ‘doubled.’  In a population  of 300,000,000 with tens of thousands of homicides each year, I can’t imagine any reasonable person would look at a jump from 1 to 2 murders as representing a real trend that justifies mention in a national news broadcast.  So just how many is it?

This appears to be their source for this claim, and thankfully they provide us that context.

So, how many?

18.

How many murders are there in the United States each year?

About 15,000.

The ADL site says,

“We cannot ignore the fact that white supremacists are emboldened, and as a society we need to keep a close watch on recruitment and rallies such as Charlottesville, which have the greatest potential to provoke and inspire violence.”

Oh yea.  Real emboldened.   If there were any doubt, this cinches it! We’ve shot up from 9 to 18.  Clearly, we need to keep a close watch!

Remember, the Today piece told us that the homicides ‘doubled’ and that the ‘numbers’ are rising, but provided no context to understand whether or not that was a non-trivial fact.   This was intentional.  If not, its pure stupidity.  In either case, it should challenge you to consider your sources of information.

Now, someone might say “That’s very well, but there are other reasons to think….”

But you’re not understanding.  What if all the reasons you thought justified your concern about racism on the right were all as contrived as this?  How do you know ANY of it is true?  How do you know that you haven’t just been fed this stuff for decades, and because of your high view of your own concern for the ‘poor,’ you just bought it all, hook, line and sinker?

What if you’ve been lied to THIS WHOLE TIME?  How would you know?

One thing is for sure, if you’ve bought this narrative whole sale, its no wonder that you see a racist behind every tree.  Its no wonder that you cannot understand the real position of people who disagree with you, since you know that deep down that they disagree with you because THEY ARE RACISTS.

(Maybe if you see a racist behind every tree its because you are the racist.)

There are, of course, racists.  We ought to oppose them.  On the other hand, the number of ACTUAL racists is quite small, unless you expand your definition significantly, and perhaps recklessly.   If you keep calling people racists who are not racists, what do you think is going to happen?

Incidentally, if you’ve been lied to about this, who knows what else you’ve been lied to about?  Perhaps everything?

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Tips for Knowing that What you Know is True and Real: The Fake News Edition

In the previous two entries, I have laid out my approach to gaining knowledge.  This one was the preamble (theory and concept), and this one laid out specific approaches.  They are roughly ‘stand alone,’ and this one is more of an application of the aforementioned principles.  I have been wanting to discuss these principles for awhile, but my son asked me how to detect Fake News, so I was prompted to finally sit down and do it.

“Fake News” is a strange animal.  Throughout history, there have been examples of deliberate deceit, propaganda, falsification, etc.  Some of these were of little consequence.  Others left epistemological devastation in their wake.  Sometimes that devastation consisted of only of very wrong ideas that terribly skewed a worldview that nonetheless only impacted the people who accepted the lies.  Sometimes it’s worse, and people die.  Lots of people.

But that old pattern has manifested in bizarre new ways today, thanks largely to the Internet.  It is relatively easy to fabricate credible looking websites that make credible sounding claims.  It is very easy for such websites to spread like wildfire through social media, often by virtue of their headline alone.  The makers of these sites get advertising revenue or other returns on their investment–such as skewing the perception of a person or incident in a way that they favor.

This all sounds like the realm of people we know intuitively as malevolent actors merely out there to make a buck.  And indeed it is.  However, the so-called ‘mainstream media’ is also interested in making a buck, and members of the MSM are also interested in slanting our perceptions of persons and incidents in a way that they favor.  I could go on and on about this, but I think most readers can agree with this much and I don’t need to expand on it further here.  For the purposes of this post, the goal is to detect ‘fake news,’ not explain it.

To begin with, we need to observe that there are different kinds of ‘fake news.’  For example, there are parody sites, such as The Onion or The Babylon Bee.  These are meant to get a laugh, not to trick anyone, but with the real world increasingly as insane as anything we ‘make up,’ it is possible to confuse their articles as actual news.  Then there are intentionally deceitful sites, which sometimes have an agenda, but more often than not, probably are more interested in getting advertising revenue.  They justify themselves as ‘satire’ but since the ‘joke’ is impossible to detect, it is hard to trust them at all.

Finally, there are the ‘mainstream’ news outlets.  We’re going to use them for our analysis in this article because the techniques for recognizing ‘fake news’ in the ‘mainstream’ are roughly the same across the board.

‘Fake News’ of the MSM variety falls into 4 categories, all of which are dangerous specifically because the MSM presents itself as objective repeaters of FACT.  It is precisely because they are taken seriously as ‘objective’ that they are able to get away with nefarious content.

In the first category, we have articles which are ‘fake’ in the sense that we are only enduring them because the journalists themselves are inclined to report on them.  The topic itself might be insignificant, or blown out of proportion, or irrelevant.  Since there is limited air time on television and radio, and print space must be carefully deployed, the consumer’s assumption is that if the article is being published at all, it must be of some importance.  Nope.  The article just scratches the journalist’s itch, and the publisher felt it too.

This describes a huge proportion of the content that we see out of the MSM.  The articles themselves might not have faked content, rather its the content’s importance that is faked.  Now multiply that over 365 days a year times 500 different outlets.  How does one know how much of that content is important or not?  That is the question.

In the second category, we have articles which are presenting (we will assume) actual newsworthy content.  However, in any reporting, decisions have to be made about what to include and exclude.  The journalist’s own judgement about what is important, relevant, and significant, determines what is included and not included.  Again, our natural inclination is to assume that if something is included, it must be important, relevant, and significant.

However, we can actually only know that if we are privy to the same details and able weigh them ourselves.  But the whole point of getting the ‘news’ is to bring to our attention material that is not otherwise available to us.  Thus, if the journalist’s ideology has hopelessly slanted the article–not malevolently, but merely by virtue of the journalist being an ideologue (something that they usually are unaware of, themselves)–the consumer is basically over a barrel.  The individual details in this content might be true, but the manner in which they are constructed and presented might be faked.

Pro tip: many people believe that overtly biased websites are to be distrusted from the get go.  Actually, the overt bias is a big help, because you are aware of it and can factor it in to your analysis.  Its also useful when applying the ‘criterion of embarrassment’ (scroll down).   Its the sites that pass themselves as unbiased and objective and ‘non-partisan’ that are epistemological landmines, since they are not straight forward about their ideology (everyone has one!), its difficult to factor it into your analysis.

In the third category, we have the deliberate alterations of the factual record.  You’d think that reputable organizations would never do that, but I assure you that they do, and more often than not they get away with it.  They get away with it because much of our ‘news’ is consumed by headlines or short blurbs which for some strange reason many people believes counts as knowledge–but the consumer does not pay attention to the full arc of the developing story.  In other words, a media outlet can broadcast an entirely false story, get called out on it, and even eventually issue a full retraction.  But the consumers never knows about the ‘calling out’ and the retraction is not ‘broadcast,’ leaving the ongoing impression in the consumer’s mind that the initial story is correct.

This phenomena falls into the category of what is referred to as the ‘drive by’ media.  Think: ‘drive by shooting’ except with news.  The media comes, shoots to kill, but even if it wounds, it is long gone.  Whether or not its just because they need to move on to the next news story or they were actually being malicious isn’t always possible to detect, but I’m talking about what appear to be actually malicious incidents.

Three examples that come to mind are Dan Rather’s ‘expose’ of Bush’s national guard service, the editing of George Zimmerman’s 9-11 tape, and within the week of this writing, accusing Trump of calling illegal immigrants ‘animals’ when it is a demonstrable fact that he was referring at the time, specifically, to MS-13 gang members.

Realize that if it was not for the Internet, Dan Rather’s ‘expose’ would now be cemented into our history as collectively accepted fact–now ask yourself about all the things you think you know that were reported prior to the Internet.  How many exposes were similarly fabricated?  How many people never learned that Rather’s source documents were likely frauds, and voted accordingly?

The personal consequences to George Zimmerman have been significant, a substantial portion of them due to the altered 9-11 audio.  The abuse came even from the president…  “If I had a son…”  Zimmerman was cleared in the trial, which created its own controversy–controversy that would not have existed if there had not been an edited 9-11 call to begin with.  In short, even though it was known to many that the call had been edited to make it more inflammatory, vast numbers of the American public never heard the news.

I offer the MS-13 story in the (unbiased, objective!) NY Times only as an illustration, not to dwell on, but as it is instructive in its own way, its worth a quick word.   In the original story, MS-13 is mentioned but the impression is left that Trump is talking about illegal immigrants in general.  Someone might argue that it was inadvertent, as the title itself of the article is “Trump Calls Some Unauthorized Immigrants ‘Animals’ in Rant” [my emphasis].   Of course, the article doesn’t say WHICH immigrants are the ‘animals.’  If this seems like an innocent oversight, since the NY Times itself appeared to miss the ‘nuance’, the American public can be forgiven, too.  The NY Times tweeted the piece as follows:

Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting, calling those trying to breach the country’s borders “animals”

No nuance there!

And my point here is that any of they NY Time’s 42,000,000 ‘followers’, 42 MILLION, who read only the tweet would be left with a distinct impression–forever.  Even reading the headline of the article and the article itself wouldn’t have altered this impression very much.  It was left to the ‘biased’ White House and alternative media to take the time to review the actual recording and report the full context.  If it had been left to the NYT and the AP, etc, most Americans would be none the wiser.  But most Americans will never learn about the wider context.

Its worth pointing out that a similar smear was made on Trump, with the lasting effect being that many people believe that Trump is racist.  I’m speaking specifically of this portion of his announcement speech when still a candidate:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

  Granted, this was not artfully put–but no one has ever accused Trump of eloquence–but you would have to be a truly, utterly, stupid person to derive from this the view that Trump believes all Mexicans are rapists.  Just a smidgen of literacy or ability to comprehend the English language would understand what “And some, I assume, are good people” means.

But that didn’t stop Tim Kaine from saying that Trump said that ALL Mexicans are rapists.  The WAPO (the WAPO!) also dispensed with that generalization, but how many Americans have the time to go around following up on every news report or tweet to make sure that what they heard the first time was fairly and truthfully presented?

Both of the ‘fact checking’ sites I just linked to take the trouble to ‘debunk’ Trump’s claims, even as they set the record straight on what Trump actually said.  After what I’ve written so far, you’d be a fool to accept even their fact checking on its face, as if it is relevant or even important for documenting what TRUMP actually said.  They went behind the FACTS they were checking to then insert their opinion about what Trump said.

That’s why in this instance I linked directly to the transcript, and did not just post the fact checkers; however, both fact checkers lean liberal, so on the criterion of embarrassment, if THEY repudiate that characterization, the characterization is almost certainly false.  Funny how large swaths of the American public failed to get the memo.  Many Americans proceeded to interpret later comments and policies in light of this false narrative, manifesting even in this MS-13 incident. Thus, my point.

I have used some instances that expose the ‘left’ because frankly its usually the ‘left’ that engages in such tactics, and usually liberals that fall for it, hook, line, and sinker.  This is primarily because 90% of the mainstream media are leftists, so when I’m trying to show how the MSM pushes fake news, it stands to reason that the cases are going to be oriented towards liberals.  It doesn’t at all mean that you’re not going to find cases where Republicans or conservatives engage in some form or another of ‘fake news’, only that you won’t find it in the MSM.

Can you imagine the NY Times posting a contrived article that makes Trump (or any conservative) look good?  The idea is laughable on its face.

Can you imagine Breitbart contriving an article that makes Obama look bad?  Or falsifying a story to make Trump look good?  For better or worse, I bet many people can.  But then, Breitbart is not ‘main stream media.’  The New York Times is.

A reader would probably be LESS likely to be deceived if they got their news from a site like Breitbart because the bias is transparent.  They are MORE likely to be deceived if they get their news from the NY Times, because its portrayed as ‘objective’ and impartial.  But of course–and here is the problem–you would be hard pressed to KNOW what it is you have been deceived about, unless you took the time and energy to investigate each and everything you read about.

No one can do that.

– – – –

I had wanted to discuss the fourth category and then provide some more specific methods for actually detecting fake news, but now that this essay is more than 2,000 words long, I think I just need to leave it here for now.  If you really can’t wait, I suggest you read the preamble and the first article of application (you’re reading the second), as detecting fake news will just be an extension of those principles.

 

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Baby Alfie as Warning to the Rest of Us

About 12 years ago, a doctor sat across from my wife and I and confirmed from the ultrasound and amnio test that our daughter had spina bifida and then, admittedly with more tact than I’m putting it now, asked us if we wanted to kill her.

I document the devastation we felt about this diagnosis in my book, “We Chose Life.”  But a couple of weeks later, I began thinking hard about that encounter with the doctor.  “How is it the case that in our society a doctor can sit across from parents and openly submit that their child should be aborted?”

This event put me on a research path which has been eye opening, to say the least.  Yet, the fact that even I, a fairly educated pro-life individual, was surprised by this encounter (and the later discovery that 70%-90% of children diagnosed with a birth defect are aborted), might be one of the most important parts of this story.  The fact that the weak and defenseless are being quietly targeted for destruction, even right here in the United States, is something that should definitely be more well known.  Let me use the story of Alfie as a stepping stone to explaining what things we ought to be aware.

Let’s start with my daughter.  We did not get that abortion.  If you spend even a moment with my daughter today, you’ll wonder why on earth anyone would think the world would be a better place without her in it.  You’ll wonder what possible basis someone might have for suggesting she be killed before she even takes her first breath.  That’s a picture of her right there.  Look at her.  That smile you see is the one she has on her face almost all the time.  Her’s is not a life of suffering.

She has spina bifida, but spina bifida does not have her.

But I was being generous in my imagining that it was the welfare and quality of life for my daughter that the doctor had in mind.  As my research deepened, I would encounter arguments like this:

[Children born with Down Syndrome and other severe disabilities are “often reported to be happy.”]  “Nonetheless, to bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.  On these grounds, the fact that a fetus has the potential to become a person who will have an (at least) acceptable life is no reason for prohibiting abortion.  Therefore, we argue that, when circumstances occur after birth, such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”  (italics theirs, bold, mine)

Read that again, and read it closely.

A.  they acknowledge that not only are these people not suffering, but they are “reported to be happy.”

B. so, obviously, whether or not the child is suffering is not the controlling idea.

C. the rationale provided is not merely about the family but….

D.  SOCIETY AS A WHOLE, when the STATE ECONOMICALLY PROVIDES FOR THEIR CARE, which has an interest in terminating this life.

E. And oh yea, we’re talking about children who are actually born.

F.  And, elsewhere it is clarified that by ‘when circumstances occur’ the fact that the child has a birth defect isn’t relevant either.  You could justifiably kill an infant for all the same reasons one would get an abortion.

G.  The authors of this study were academics who were shocked at the outrage that their article generated.  After all, they were only extending an argument that was already prevailing in the medical ethics community.

Let me repeat:  they were only extending an argument that was already prevailing in the medical ethics community.

And they were quite right about that.  And you could extend the argument further, and point out the obvious:  if the same circumstances that justify abortion can be extended to infant, then the same circumstances that justify killing infants can be used to justify killing ANY of us, at any time, healthy or not healthy, “when the state economically provides for their care.”

Let that sink in.

As should be clear by now, England thinks this is perfectly fine.  Before there was Alfie, there was Charlie Gard.  And before that, there was Ashya King, whose parents were actually arrested for taking her out of the country to receive care (Ashya lives today, free of cancer.)  These are the ones that make the news.  It is almost certainly the case that there are a great many parents who simply acquiesce to the judgement of ‘experts’ in United Kingdom, and allow their children–who may actually be healed, if only they could escape socialized medicine, which the parents might not even be aware of–to die quietly out of the harsh glare of the international press.

And here is the thing.  The arguments put forward for these actions in England are almost exactly the same as the arguments put forward by Nazi doctors.  Same-same.  Not that you would know it today!  After World War 2, you can imagine that even in England it became less than socially palatable to utter anything remotely similar to what the Nazi doctors had proposed and implemented.  But they didn’t go away.  They just refashioned and restated their arguments, and today its just the nature of the English health care system, which most Brits are perfectly content with.  See also the Liverpool Care Pathway.

If you find the Alfie situation surprising, you will probably find my claims to be very radical.  Surely ‘civilized’ Britain cannot be as I’ve described! If you would like to see for yourself the substantiation, you need to get moving down that research path–the one that I myself was unexpectedly thrust upon.  To corroborate these specific claims, I’ll suggest two sources to get you started:

compare and contrast with the Nazi T4 program and its intellectual heirs, such as Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, discussed at length in:

Because sometimes you just need to see it for yourself.

Just as the fall out of WW2 put cold water on the British euthanasia movement, it put cold water on corresponding advocacy in the United States of America.

In 1915, Helen Keller was calling for panels of physicians to determine when handicapped children ought to die.  (Yes, THAT Helen Keller: “It is the possibilities of happiness, intelligence and power that give life its sanctity, and they are absent in the case of a poor, misshapen, paralyzed, unthinking creature.”)  Binding and Hoche likewise suggested physician panels, and the Nazis took their advice.

In 1941, Foster Kennedy argued:

I believe when the defective child shall have reached the age of five years-and on the application of his guardians-that the case should be considered under law by a competent medical board; then it should be reviewed twice more at four-month intervals; then if the Board, acting, I repeat, on the application of the guardians of the child, and after three examinations of a defective who has reached the age of five or more, should decide that that defective has no future nor hope of one; then I believe it is a merciful and kindly thing to relieve that defective- often tortured and convulsed, grotesque and absurd, useless and foolish, and entirely undesirable-of the agony of living.

As Kennedy was writing, full knowledge of the T4 project was not yet known, let alone what happened under the direction of doctors (link) at the concentration camps, but you can see he may quibble with the method, but not the intent.

But even cold water eventually dries.

Prominent bio-ethicist Joseph Fletcher argued in 1968,

[People] have no reason to feel guilty about putting a Down’s syndrome baby away, whether it’s “put away” in the sense of hidden in a sanitarium or in a more responsible lethal sense. It is sad; yes. Dreadful. But it carries no guilt. True guilt arises only from an offense against a person, and a Down’s is not a person. There is no cause for remorse, even though, certainly, there is for regret. Guilt over a decision to end an idiocy would be a false guilt, and probably unconsciously a form of psychic masochism.

There is far more reason for real guilt in keeping alive a Down’s or other kind of idiot, out of a false idea of obligation or duty, while at the same time feeling no obligation at all to save that money and emotion for a living, learning child. The learning child might be a retarded one with a viable potential, or just an orphan in need of adoption.

In 1972, John Hopkins already had a ‘God Committee.’

“then you logically come to the destruction of extrauterine life.” […]

The touchiness in the medical literature regarding euthanasia is akin to the silence a decade ago on abortion. “Over a drink I could tell you that I would like to see laws allowing active euthanasia,” said one department head, “but for publication I can’t.”

Ironically, one of the most eloquent opponents of laws allowing active euthanasia in infants is the physician who admits to having actively killed six deformed infants over the course of his long career. “The danger of active euthanasia is not to the aged or to the defective child,” this man argues, “but to the person who does it.”

You see it, right?  The doctors themselves see that the arguments justifying abortion justify active euthanasia… even up to and including the aged.

I could go on and on about this, but I think you’re getting the idea.

It is no surprise that during the trials of the Nazis after the war, they offered as their defense that they were only carrying out the principles that were considered acceptable SCIENCE outside their country.  And, well, they had a point.

In this short survey, I have tried to get the reader to understand that what is happening to Alfie right now is a manifestation of a philosophy that has been percolating throughout the world right through to the present moment, and includes the United States.

This philosophy is incompatible with the worldview of many Americans, and yet it is becoming dominant in America’s medical system, right underneath our noses.  America could be the next England; and both could become the next Germany… when the state economically provides for our care.

You cannot get the full measure of it from a few international news stories, some pointed articles, and blog posts like mine.  You need to begin researching all of this right now.  You must be prepared to challenge your own good intentions with the actual logical conclusion of those intentions, and deal frankly with the rationales and worldview which this whole mindset entails.  And if you don’t like it, the time to make a change is NOW.

Your life, or the lives of those you love, or even the lives of hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans you’ll never know personally, may very well hang in the balance.

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What ‘Knife Control’ Says About One ‘Gun Control’ Argument

Most of my American readers are going to know about the London mayor’s recent ‘ban’ on knives, inaugurated in this hilarious–but evidently sincerely put–tweet:

It just doesn’t get funnier than that. Or sadder.

This whole affair reveals the absurdity of the whole mode of thought that undergirds the ‘gun control’ viewpoint.  To tell you the truth, Sadiq Khan has probably single-handedly unraveled the entire propaganda victory of the David Hogg crowd; if we see a resurgence of support for the second amendment, we can lay it at the feet of Khan, who has merely extended “March for our Lives” logic to its inevitable conclusion.

I wanted to touch on just one component of this affair.

If you spend any time talking with gun control proponents, you will witness an exchange like this:  “Guns kill such and such number of people every year!  We must do something (and by something I mean banning all guns, but I’m a bit coy on this point)!  YOU HATE THE CHILDREN!” met with a response, “But here are all the things that kill as many or more people (eg, auto accidents, drownings, knives…) and you don’t think that banning them is appropriate….”  And the answer they give to that is “Oh yea, but those things have other purposes.  Guns only have ONE purpose: killing people!”

Rinse and repeat.

Now, there are a thousand things wrong with this last rebuttal.  It is a pure non sequitur.  They can’t (I’ve never seen them try) explain how having only one purpose (allegedly) somehow puts guns into a different category.  Its one of those things you’re expected to just “see” as if it is “obvious.”

It is not the purpose of this post to rebut this lame argument, although I would take great pleasure in doing so.  Some other day, perhaps. The purpose of this post is to call attention to the fact that in London, they were perfectly happy to ‘ban knives’ (overtly, not coyly) even though is patently obvious that knives have uses other than killing people.

Now, the mayor said, “there is never a reason to carry a knife”, making him leading competitor for “Dumbest Person on the Planet.”  Presumably (!), even the emasculated British people recognizes that there are a myriad number of reasons for carrying a knife besides stabbing one’s fellow man.  (A man can dream.)   And yet, despite there being ‘other reasons,’ this did not stop them from banning knives.

While I did see some language here and there to the effect that they were targeting ‘knives designed only to kill people’ (lol, no really), the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.  In the pic of one of the ‘surrender bins’ you can see here, you can plainly see on the far right a measly pocket knife, Swiss Army-style, perhaps, and next to it, a screwdriver! (they’re killing me, lol), and then next to that a regular steak knife (I think), and what looks like a cleaver.  To the far left is the silhouette of baby Groot.  The horror.

Again, presumably 99.99% of my readers will have at least 2 brain cells to rub together and will know, without me listing them, all the different ways these things not only have uses other than killing, but how they are not specifically designed to kill people at all.  And yet they fall within the scope of the War on Knives.

So, the bottom line here is that this whole idea that guns are singled out for special treatment because they only have ‘one purpose’ is pure horse-excrement.  It is doubtful anyone who makes that argument really believes it.  It is more likely they’re willing to say anything, hoping for the tiniest window of opportunity to win consideration of their ‘common sense’ gun laws.

As I said, in a later post, I might give a more robust thrashing to this line of argument.  What we need to understand from this development in London (and England more generally, since it appears the sentiment is common there), is that ‘alternate utility’ is utterly, 100%, completely irrelevant to them.

Listen to me:  they don’t care ONE LICK about the number of other uses for an item might be.  That’s not actually what is motivating them to do what they do, nor does it inform what they choose to ban (although it is revealing what they choose NOT to ban, but that’s for a different post).

Read my lips: they only care about the ‘alternate utility’ argument as a wedge argument to get YOU to compromise.

If it was up to them, every citizen of every country of the world would be completely disarmed.  (That’s not to say that they are opposed to weapons–governments can have all they want!)  If you needed any evidence that this was the case, the London ‘knife ban’ gives you all you need.

This is not (necessarily) a nefarious goal on their part.  Their error is even more fundamental than all of this.  The reason why they focus on instruments is that they cannot admit the truth of human nature, effectively summarized in the Christian doctrine of ‘original sin.’   But this is no mere ‘doctrine.’  Its an observable part of real life.

But its one of those truths which has implications which are more intolerable than the truth itself.

So they focus on guns.  And knives.  And any other absurd thing that might be next on the list.

This makes them very dangerous.  Not only because of their easy tendency to restrict the liberties of their fellow man, but because failing to recognize the capacity of evil that each human has sets them–and us–up for calamity.

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This Illustrates What I’ve Been Warning About

[This article is 3,500 words long.  If you want to live, you’ll read it to the end.]

Not too long ago, I updated my disclaimer to the right with the note:

Because I believe that people are being manipulated into regularly scheduled outrages, … I will generally abstain from opining on ‘national conversations’ until I am good and ready to do so.  Obviously, I reserve the right comment immediately as I see fit.  …

By this standard, followers of my blog will recognize that the gun debate is one of those places where I exercised my right to comment immediately.  The fallout from the Parkland shooting, like the Sandy Hook shooting, had all the earmarks of the “rule by mob” mentality I’ve been warning about.  I understood how it all works: the goal was to parlay the noise in favor of gun control into action, the relative silence from the other side would be perceived as consent by politicians, etc.  So, I knew that in this case, I had to break my own ‘rule.’

Read on to understand this process and the reasoning behind it.

Now, most of my readers don’t need me to spell out for them how manipulative the whole thing was.  Obvious  to almost all adults, David Hogg and his ilk are tools of the highest caliber.   We know that the Parkland students did not organize the “March for Our Lives.”  We know that tons of third party money and expertise flooded in, and used the Parkland students as their human shields.

We saw how effective those shields were with what happened to Laura Ingraham.  Thanks to the hard work of our self-appointed social engineers, you are not allowed to criticize victims, and certainly not the victim du jour.   You don’t think this is just an accident, do you?  Now that you’ve seen all you’ve seen?  Really now.  It’s right there in Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals“:

The thirteenth rule:  Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

What you need to understand is that it doesn’t matter that the people who lashed out at Ingraham have probably not even heard of Alinsky, and are not thinking they are acting according to a playbook.  In fact, its the fact that they are acting on Alinsky’s methods and don’t know it that make them so dangerous.  This is how they’ve been trained to do ‘democracy.’

Listen to me.  They think “This is what democracy looks like.”

They really do.

They really think that marches, riots, ‘days of rage’, assaulting dissenters, etc, is democracy in action.

That whole thing where you elect people who represent your values, and the very fact that you elected them serves as a mandate for them to advocate for your values–that is not democracy to them.  (Unless its their people, then of course “elections have consequences.”  See how it works?)  No, to them, democracy amounts to whoever shouts the loudest–simply a manifestation of the ‘might makes right’ ideology that is their ultimate position.

For the social engineers of this persuasion, it’s all about the mob, and ‘democracy’ means directing the mob in a manner that the Managers perceive is ‘best for society.’

This is not conjecture or smearing on my part.  People of this persuasion will actually admit it, nay, advocate for these methods, when they are speaking privately or don’t think they will be overheard.  I mentioned the Alinksy book.  This won’t stop them from denouncing me, of course–see rule 13, above.  And remember, they don’t actually have to know Alinsky and his rule 13 to employ it.  Even the Managers have been conditioned without knowing they were conditioned.  (Think: C.S. Lewis and The Abolition of Man.)

Or, perhaps we should call them ‘technocrats.’  Here is how Jacques Ellul put it in his book, “Propaganda“, where the managers are given that term [all emphasis mine]:

In our society, man is being pushed more and more into passivity. He is thrust into vast organizations which function collectively and in which each man has his own small part to play. But he cannot act on his own; he can act only as the result of somebody else’s decision. Man is more and more trained to participate in group movements and to act only on signal and in the way he has been taught. […] The individual becomes less and less capable of acting by himself; he needs the collective signals which integrate his actions into the complete mechanism. Modern life induces us to wait until we are told to act. Here again propaganda comes to the rescue. To the extent that government can no longer function without the mass (as we have demonstrated above), propaganda is the signal to act, the bridge from the individual’s interest in politics to his political action. It serves to overcome collective passivity. It enters into the general current of society, which develops multiple conditioned reflexes, which in turn become signals for man to pay his part in the group.

Then, later in the same:

…propaganda offers release on a grand scale. For example, propaganda will permit what so far was prohibited, such as hatred, which is a dangerous and destructive feeling and fought by society. But man always has a certain need to hate, just as he hides in heart the urge to kill. Propaganda offers him an object of hatred, for all propaganda is aimed at an enemy.[2] And the hatred it offers him is not shameful, evil hatred that he must hide, but a legitimate hatred, which he can justly feel. Moreover, propaganda points out enemies that must be slain, transforming crime into a praise-worthy act. Almost every man feels a desire to kill his neighbor, but this is forbidden, and in most cases the individual will refrain from it for fear of the consequences. But propaganda opens the door and allows him to kill the Jews, the bourgeois, the Communists, and so on, and such murder even becomes an achievement.

Tell me, on your first encounter with David Hogg, are you not left with the impression that if they don’t get their way, you can easily see how they could be the next Weather Underground?  The Revolutionaries always forget that a Counter-Revolution soon follows.  The hippies of the 70s ran aground on the harsh counter-revolution of ‘becoming adults.’  At some point, Ayers realized that to continue his revolution, bombs weren’t going to help; what does it tell you that he decided his best strategy was to become an educator?  But he is not opposed to bombs if it would get the job done.  What will Hogg and his sort turn to if they are thwarted?  Mild-mannered professor?

In another work which encapsulates the methodology of the Democrat party (and almost every liberal progressive, and certainly a fair number of ‘moderate’ Republicans):

This phrase [The engineering of consent] quite simply means the use of an engineering approach—that is, action based only on thorough knowledge of the situation and on the application of scientific principles and tried practices to the task of getting people to support ideas and programs. […] The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest.

This would be Edward Bernays, writing in the 1950s.  Bold text added.  I’d highly recommend picking up this work by Bernays (The Engineering of Consent) to gain important insight into the mindset, which persists.

Delving into this would require another post (or book!) but since I know many readers will look at that phrase and wonder what the problem is, let me point out the latent assumption Bernays is working off of.  Bernays, and the people who think like him, believe that the government ought to proactively be enacting policies, which they, in their great wisdom, guided by an army of experts, believe should be enacted, despite the fact that there is not otherwise any public clamor for it.

The alternate view–that the best government is the one that governs less–and only intervenes when absolutely necessary to facilitate the movement of citizens within society, is nowhere in view.  Bernays just assumes, like most progressives, that the government should be constantly tinkering with the machine in a never ending quest to make it ‘perfect.’  And since the rubes might misunderstand the efforts, and might rise up and slit the throats of the Managers for their (always!) benevolent actions, the idea is to engineer the viewpoints of the rubes themselves so that they will support the efforts of the Engineers.

One straight forward way this works out in real life is precisely what we saw with the March for Our Lives, and we’re still in the thick of it.  Essentially it is like this:  a number of politicians and vested interests have wanted gun control all along, but lacking political cover, have not been able to act.

Now, the people with the vested interests are easy enough to understand, but the politicians have their own reasons, which require a moment to reflect on.

It goes without saying that the Democrat party is chafing at the bit to repeal the second Amendment and looks longingly towards the day when the United States is like Australia and England, and the government can do to its people whatever the hell it wants without fear of serious consequence (granted, in those countries, a great number of the citizens WANT the government to tend to their every need, so…)  However, there are quite a few Republicans who want gun control, too.

Why?  Quite simply, because they want the issue off the table.   These sort are basically career politicians who love the perks who want nothing more than to ‘govern.’  Controversial issues are like landmines, where stating a position and acting on it is sure to annoy at least one large chunk of the electorate.  (They could also just be cowards, or liars.)  So, if you can summarily dispatch such an issue, that’s to be welcomed.  Below I’ll talk about a great example of this.

But how to arrange for the necessary political cover?  An Orgy of Outrage, of course!  And how to measure?  Opinion polls, that’s how!

Indeed, for the Democrat party, it is practically standard operating procedure to justify their actions based on polling.  Think about all the articles highlighting the apparent surge in support for gun control in the polls.  To your average liberal, they’re like, “WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED?”

Take a look at this screen grab, and scan the descriptions of the articles.  (Click on it for a larger view.)

“Someone please show Marco Rubio this Fox News Poll” … oh, right, because all Rubio needs to know is found in a poll!

 

This WAPO post article is an excellent example of the whole thing.   Here is the quote you want:

Those numbers are surprising, given that virtually no political leaders in the country are publicly advocating for a repeal or modification of the Second Amendment.

You see, to a liberal, a simple 51% majority on an opinion poll is sufficient justification for enacting public policy, and if politicians aren’t pressing forward on issues in line with (supposed) public sentiment, they are mystified.  “WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED?”

With this attitude, you can see just how valuable events like “March for our Lives” are for pushing their agenda.  The simple majority in an opinion poll may be sufficient basis for implementing a policy, but that’s often not enough to push you over the finish line.  What really helps is anger.  Riots are even better, if you can get them.  Set a city block on fire, and you can really get things moving.  But anger alone will do in a pinch.

And, as Ellul, observed (in the quote above), people want to be angry.   So, its a win-win as far as those engineering orgies of outrage and those who are participating in them are concerned.  THAT’S WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE.

None of this is put forward as exaggeration or hyperbole.  As soon as you are alert to it, you will see it everywhere, and you will understand that I’m merely reporting to you the way things really are.  The reason you may not have recognized it before is because you innocently believe that there couldn’t possibly be anyone as Machiavellian as all this, so even when you see it, you assume the best.  I am here to tell you this assumption is dangerous, and will be used against you!

A good example of how this plays out occurred recently in California.  You may recall a couple of years ago, there was an outbreak of the measles in California.  Spurred on by this, California removed the personal exemption from vaccines.

No one had died from the measles in the outbreak.  Indeed, many of the people who got the measles HAD been vaccinated [click here for corroboration and another illustration of ANGER; actually, 1/4 of those who got it had been vaccinated.].  And none of them died.  In point of fact, very few people have gotten the measles in the United States for decades, let alone died from it–despite all those people who have been claiming the personal exemption all these years!  No way! Yes, WAY.

[If you check out slide #9 in this link, you’ll see there was a huge spike in 2014, but otherwise, the average number of cases per year in the US is around 100.  In 2014, there was a huge jump to almost 700.  You’re not allowed to wonder why that may be.]

Almost over night, the compulsory vaccination law in California was overhauled to deny personal exemptions.  Now, do you really think that the politicians in California were sitting around, minding their own business, and then BLAMO! measles outbreak!  Whatarewetodo?!? Skyisfallingskyisfallingskyisfalling! Quick! We need to do something!  What?  Remove personal exemptions?  Right! The reason all the vaccinated people are getting the measles is because of the unvaccinated, those selfish bastards!  [You’re also not allowed to ponder the logical contradiction intrinsic to that statement.  No critical thinking allowed for YOU.  Just be a tool and get mad and support whatever they do!]

Of course it didn’t happen that way.

No,  there almost certainly was a cadre of public health officials ready to act as soon as the iron was hot, and there were a large number of like minded politicians who were just waiting for the political cover to justify doing what they wanted to do all along.  With a little research, I am certain you could find the actual names of every one of those public health officials.   I gayr-un-tee you that whole process was engineered.

You’re not supposed to ponder what else America’s little cadres in hiding are wanting to do, pending sufficient political cover.

So, this kind of thing happens often, with examples big and small.

The biggest one in recent years is the Obergefell decision.  In this post, I go over the overwhelming national support for ‘traditional’ marriage, documenting in detail how 30 states, including very liberal states like California, engaged in the arduous process of passing actual amendments to their constitutions ensuring that ‘marriage’ would be understood the way it has always been.

I know what you’re thinking.  In nearly all of those cases, the amendments were passed with huge majorities–far more than the 51%!  Doesn’t this disprove your point?

lol come on, son.  Public opinion polls have consistently shown that Americans do not like the idea of abortion on demand, while open to cases of health, rape, and incest, but you have never seen a liberal say, “Ah, well, I suppose our policies should match public opinion.”  We’re not talking about honest people here.  Per Alinsky, their whole tactic is to bend and break the rules as it suits them, while making their foes follow the rules.  It’s all there in Rules for Radicals.  I’m not making it up.  (And again, just because they aren’t cognizant of it, it doesn’t mean they haven’t been conditioned to behave that way.)

But I’m not talking about public opinion polls.  I’m talking about more people than voted for Obama going to the ACTUAL polls and pulling the lever for their proposed amendment.  Remember, THESE polls count for nothing to the Managers.  What counts to them are the public opinion polls.  Why?  Duh.  They are easier to massage, manipulate, shape, and of course you can pick and choose which polls you rely on.

It is true that by the time Obergefell came around, ‘public opinion’ had shifted towards accepting gay ‘marriage.’  This is after a good 15 years of After the Ball style social engineering.   And lets not forget that we were enjoying our regularly scheduled outrages and fits of violence, about that, then, too.   The proper way, if there had been a real change of opinion (eg, not manipulated and manufactured), would have been to unravel those amendments, one by one.   But SCOTUS overruled the votes of tens of millions of people based, not on the law, but on their sense of public opinion.

But that’s not even the real point.  The real point here is how quickly legislators and governors from around the country acquiesced to the ruling.  Even Republican ones.  Even conservative ones.  Why?  Because they too had changed their minds?

No.  Because they were glad the issue was off the table.  That’s why.

So, too, there is a very real risk that supporters of gun rights (supposedly) will suddenly go along with [insert catalyst here] and give in to the ‘common sense gun laws’ movement.  They will be tickled pink just to have the issue off the table so they can go back to ‘governing.’  Read: enjoying the perks of an elected official, without all that unpleasant stuff where people disagree with you.

But there is a lesson to be found in Obergefell.

Obergefell has fully exposed the truth that the rule of law in the United States is a farce, a sham, an illusion.  It only exists insofar as it serves the pleasure of the ‘might makes right’ crowd.  For the little people, the dissenters, the ones eager to self-govern… the rule of law is a set of shackles, that only they have to wear.  Americans noticed, and they didn’t forget.  Nor did they forget Justice Roberts strange contortions to find Obamacare constitutional.

[In that case, again, we find that elections matter less than the Outrage Industry.  Opponents of Obamacare had elected THEIR representatives to majorities in state, local and Federal elections in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016.  Roberts did not think THAT was sufficient political cover.  Sadly, he is probably right:  if Roberts had declared Obamacare unconstitutional, the liberals would have made sure there was blood in the street, and no doubt one or two of them would have been trying to make sure that some of that blood was, literally, Roberts’.]

Not only that, Obergefell did not actually take anything off the table.

All Obergefell did was validate the methodology.  In a classic example of “If you give the mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk,” the gay marriage thing has devolved into a veritable sexual anarchy, where small minorities throughout the country agitate for the right to flap their genitalia around however they please with whomever they want, call themselves by whatever gender they want regardless of their actual biology, knowing full well that no one will be able to stop them.  A grown ‘woman’ with a penis could go into a locker room where small humans with vaginas (we used to call them ‘girls’) are stripping, show her full ‘womanhood’ to the other small humans, and you’re just supposed to roll with it.  Don’t JUDGE!  Don’t impose your social construct on that ‘woman’!

Oh sure, you could pass a law if you wanted.  Hell’s bells! you could even pass an amendment to your state’s constitution!

But we see what that’s worth now, don’t we?  Less than the paper its printed on.

These are not the sort of people to ever stop agitating, because agitation is what gives their lives meaning and purpose.

So too, if every proposed gun control measure was enacted, there would still be school shootings, which they’d use to justify the repeal of 2nd amendment.  And they wouldn’t stop there, either.  The goal posts will move AGAIN.   THIS IS HOW THEY OPERATE.

So, here we are.  Day in and day out, watching the social engineers capitalize on this or that event to inspire today’s daily outrage.  And people, daily, are outraged.  This, they call ‘democracy.’

No.  It is the prelude to tyranny, albeit, it may end up like the ‘soft’ tyranny experienced even now in Europe.  But, there is no good reason to think we may end up there, as even in Europe there are signs that their ‘soft’ tyrannies are descending into the real thing.  With their people almost universally disarmed, there is nothing to stop it from happening except the benevolence of their Masters.

And Masters have a historical habit of remaining benevolent, don’t they?

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Thou Shalt Not Be Easily Manipulated

I suppose it wouldn’t take a particularly astute observer to notice that most of my posts for the last 6 months or so have been more orientated towards dissuading people from participating in the ‘national outrage’ rather than addressing whatever it is we’re ‘outraged’ about.  The reason for this is twofold: 1., my research has shown ample reason to believe that there are people who deliberately wish to create and direct mobs and 2., I consider a mobocracy to be one of the most dangerous threats to freedom that history has ever seen.

Thus, I try to avoid ‘national conversations’ and I am definitely not keen on participating in our collective ‘two minutes of rage.’  But I am interested in trying to awaken people to their manipulation, and that means to some degree referring back to whatever people are rabid about today.

Well, what everyone is frothing at the mouth about today are guns, inspired by the latest school shooting.

I have very strong feelings about these shootings, and recently argued that if we were serious about stopping them, we would come to grips with reality and harden our schools with armed guards.   I believe that a big part of the reason people resist this obvious solution (after all, we have armed guards at banks, sporting events, air marshals, etc) is that it is a bold admission that there is something dark in the heart of man which cannot ever be legislated away.  It won’t be deterred by ‘No guns allowed’ signs.  Opposing guns is a cheap way to avoid hard philosophy.

But what if its worse than that?   What if a big part of it the fixation on the guns is simply because so many people are easily manipulated?  What if they lack all ability to think for themselves and WANT to be angry every day, treating their anger as action, and letting their good intentions mask their impotence?   How would one know?

Well, dear reader, that is precisely the question I want you to ask yourself.

Most people are disgusted by the accusation that they are simply a tool.   That will be little consolation if some future outrage you participate in morphs unexpectedly into a Bolshevik purge.  I’m sure the outraged Russians of 1910 didn’t think they might help usher in one of the bloodiest regimes known to human history… and yet they did just that. So, how might one actually know?

I want to give you some tips, and I want to give you a concrete example of something you ought to be outraged about, but you’re not, because… because… because… because the national media has chosen not to look at it, and since YOU ARE A TOOL, you do NOT look at it.  You only look at the things the media tells you to look at.  Sad!

So, one of the best ways to tell if someone has gone off the deep end is when they’ve lost all ability to keep things in proportion and view them in perspective.  The latest school shootings are a great example.

As I said, I am not at all indifferent to school shootings.  However, I know where they sit in the larger context.  I know, for example, that despite a high rate of gun ownership in the United States, the homicide rate is fairly low, and if you exclude Baltimore, Chicago, and a handful of other towns, the homicide rate is comparable to any of the countries with low homicide rates and strict gun control.  Eg, the UK.  Meanwhile, there are plenty of countries with strict gun controls where the homicide rate is absurdly high.  One almost gets the impression that the problem isn’t the gun!

This chart appears to have data from 2016 (I welcome correction):

Would you rather live in Honduras, or the USA?

As you can infer from the fact that America’s top 10 cities have more than 50% of the gun homicides, one of the other things we know is that school shootings, despite being horrible (probably preventable) incidents, simply are not the national problem that the national media would have us believe.

Per this researcher in this Politico piece of a few years back, the number of shootings has remained roughly the same over the last 40 years:

(I wish he would have shown the data on longer timeline.)

The number of victims of school shootings has generally increased, but still remains a very small proportion of the overall fire arm deaths.  In this Vox article, it shows that in 2013, the number of victims from mass shootings was only 2% of the total.   (The author makes some good points, but doesn’t seem to understand the implications of his own data.)

Unfortunately, when listening to gun control advocates talk about guns, they also lump in SUICIDES with homicides.  The Vox article above does a better job than most in parsing that out.  But the Vox article comes closer to revealing the dirty little secret about the whole issue when it says this:

For homicides, one big factor seems to be that the everyday shootings happen out of sight and out of mind for most Americans, since so many occur in poor, black, urban communities. In 2013, for example, more than 51 percent of homicide victims (75 percent of whom were killed by guns) were black, even though they make up 13 percent of the general population.

It is not uncommon for Chicago to put up as many deaths in any given weekend as are killed in a school shooting, but you don’t see any national outrages inspired by those!  Why is that?   Setting aside the possibility that gun control advocates are RACISTS, the real reason is worse in a way: school shootings better fit the gun control narrative.  Mass deaths in crime ridden areas do not fit that agenda, and in fact, may actually contradict that agenda, therefore NO ONE CARES.  The national media can’t make a strong connection between the conditions that leads to gang violence and legally owned weapons… so they simply don’t talk about it.

And because they don’t talk about it, YOU, dear reader, don’t think about it.  I’m not trying to insult you here.  I’m just pointing out that you don’t think about things unless they are put in front of your nose.  (And I’m also aware that MY readers are more sophisticated than this.)

One big way to avoid being being a tool is to read widely, of various sources of different political persuasions.  Read books, too.  Every day, I read multiple LIBERAL websites.  My daily pattern is this:  I start with the Drudge Report, and then from there see what’s going on with the WAPO and the NY Times, and then will mosey on to Huffpo and Salon.  I never read conservative media unless its linked from the Drudge or it pops up on my Facebook feed.

In my experience, my pattern is similar to other conservatives.  That is to say, conservatives read liberal media as much as anything else, whereas liberals and mainstream Americans only read liberal media.  And that is a big problem when it comes to keeping things in perspective.  The liberals like to paint themselves as the objective, non-partisan ones.  It is not so!

I want to give you a case in point.

Back in December, the Politico published a damning expose on how the Obama administration deliberately shut down prosecutions of drug smugglers in order to preserve their ‘deal’ with Iran.  Specifically, Obama and his team looked the other way as Hezbollah enriched itself by smuggling cocaine into the United States.

This is staggering, if true.  And it appears to be true.  But you would not know about it AT ALL if all you read was the NY Times.  It has now been almost 3 months, and the NY Times has yet to follow up on the Politico’s reporting. The WAPO is hardly better.

Well, who cares if loads of cocaine come into the country?

It is interesting–the NY Times didn’t feel like following up on the Politico piece, but when the report came out that opioid (and cocaine) deaths were on the rise, including in black communities, it covered THAT.  The Politico piece came BEFORE the NY times article on the rise of drug deaths, so it is quite the omission.

Well, just how many people died from drug overdoses in the US in 2016?

60,000+.

How many people were murdered by a firearm in in the US in 2016?

11,004.

Which number is bigger?  60,000 or 11,000?

60,000… BIG.

11,000… LITTLE.

60,000… BIG.

11,000… LITTLE.

Media attention on a relatively small amount of school shootings?  MASSIVE.

How many deaths to school shootings in 2016?

10.

Outrage for school shootings?  MASSIVE!

Outrage over 60,000 deaths PER YEAR to drugs in the US?  Zero.

Zilch.

Nada.

60,000 very big.

10…

Media attention 60,000 dead to drug over doses?  Sure, its there, but you don’t see any hyperventilating, do you?

What?  No calls to make heroin and cocaine illegal, despite there being 6 times the number of deaths due to them as opposed to guns?

Oh, that’s right.  Drug smuggling and drug use is already illegal–and it didn’t stop anyone.  It doesn’t fit the narrative, so we don’t have hourly fits of panic and rage about it.

But this Hezbollah story justifies outrage if every outrage was justified.

This chart is interesting in that context:

First of all, note that drug overdoses in general have gone up for everyone, but one of the hardest hit groups are BLACKS.  When did the blacks start getting hit the worst?  Shortly after Obama was elected.  Shortly after Obama thwarted prosecution of Hezbollah.

Now, you KNOW that if a Republican president had looked the other way on drug smuggling and at roughly the same time drug over doses in the black community sky-rocketed, there would be hell to pay.  We’d be hearing about it every day.

If it was the Trump administration, The NY Times, which has not followed up on the Politico piece AT ALL, would be asking the obvious question:  just how many of these drug overdoses are from drugs brought in by Hezbollah’s smugglers? If it was Trump, we’d have a rough answer to that question, and impeachment proceedings would have already been initiated.

But since it was Obama:  silence.

Don’t lie to yourself.  You know its true.  You know it. 

In fact, if you are a liberal, this may very well be the first time you have even heard about the giant pass that Obama gave Hezbollah.  The odds are equally unlikely that you heard that Hezbollah recently shot down an Israeli jet plane… where did Hezbollah get the money for that missile, I wonder?   What other capabilities does Hezbollah have (eg, striking America?) thanks to the veritable cash donation the Obama admin made to Iran’s terrorist expeditionary force?

I could have focused only on the fact that there are more gun fatalities in cities, largely by blacks murdering other blacks.  But my goal here was to expose 2 things:  1., if you had any sense of proportion whatsoever, you would know that even in THAT regards, blacks and whites together are dying in far greater numbers to other things which 2.,  are barely a glimmer in the eye of the media.

This raises profound questions about the health of this society.  And its not by any means the only questions that arise if you really try to assess the true state of the country.   There are many things to get angry about.  But let’s keep it in proportion, and lets take the time to study and research it ALL.

Eventually, our national outrage machine is going to cause serious, perhaps irreversible harm.  Harm that perhaps dwarfs any of these other things we argue about.  There may be no going back.

If we’re going to get angry, we should be getting angry because of the results of our own research, not because the media has whipped us up into a daily frenzy.

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The Right Tool for the Job of Securing Liberty

Last year, I needed to move a large item, but had no way of lifting it.  A couple of years ago, I had learned of something called a ‘farm jack.’   I picked up one, and the job went super smoothly.  I thought to myself: why didn’t I get this thing sooner?  There had been sooooo many times when there had been no better tool than a jack like this, and my life was harder than it needed to be for lack of one.

For some reason, people fail to understand that a gun is simply a tool, and like many tools, can be used in different ways, or even abused altogether.  If someone charges into your house while you’re sleeping, the tool you want is a gun.  If you haven’t a gun, then a baseball bat may be the next best thing.  Just as I found ways to lift heavy items without the proper tool, you might be able to defend yourself with the baseball bat.  But there may very well be a time when the baseball bat simply is NOT going to work.

Now, gun control advocates speak out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to this issue.  They may want guns to be removed–but by that they mean moved… exclusively into the hands of the State.  In other words, if they are disarmed, and someone breaks into their house and has bound them up and is raping their wives and children, they don’t want the police to come armed only with baseball bats.  They want the police to come fully equipped for the task at hand.

Similarly, you can usually get a gun control advocate to very reluctantly admit that SOMEONE has to have guns, if only because of the existence of tyrannies like North Korea.  They understand that North Korea isn’t leaving South Korea alone simply out of good will, but because South Korea bristles with weapons.

But what they never can imagine is that their own country could become more like North Korea.  They can’t conceive of a reality in which the police, being the only armed individuals, comes to abuse their powers in an overwhelming manner.  In short, gun control advocates are afflicted with an ideology which sees threats everywhere–except by the State.  In fact, gun control advocates seem to be doing all in their power to engorge the State, chalking up its many failures as merely ‘blips’ which we can progressively eliminate until one day, viola! Utopia!

Now, the framers of the U.S. Constitution were acutely aware of the horrors an armed State could inflict on its unarmed populace.   To ensure that the United States did not become such a state, they recognized that the best tool for the job was a gun, and they built into the foundational documents the right to keep and bear arms.  (‘Arms’ being short for ‘armaments.’ The 2nd amendment is NOT about conferring a right to HUNT.)

This is a basic disagreement between gun control advocates and those who support the 2nd amendment.  Gun control advocates tend to think it is absurd to believe that their country could ever become a tyranny.  2nd Amendment advocates are convinced it is entirely possible.  Gun control advocates believe that society can be progressively perfected, and they often slip into a state of mind that would have you believe they think that ‘world peace’ is possible.  2nd Amendment advocates do not think that world peace is possible (unless Jesus himself establishes it) and that the civilization we enjoy at present is only skin deep, and is only held together by significant checks and balances from the bottom of the chain to the top.  And the final check and balance on the State is an armed citizenry.

Now, there really is no conversation possible between these two camps.  There is a saying, “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.”  Likewise, I believe one only moves out of the gun control camp after they’ve been thumped by reality–and facts, logic, and reason don’t count.

I used to be in the gun control camp.  I advocated for the confiscation of guns.  I mocked the idea that guns don’t kill people.  I was not talked out of this viewpoint.  No, I was violently shaken from my position by the events of 9-11.

9-11 came just as my first child was about to be born and I was suddenly awakened to the realization that MY GOVERNMENT CANNOT PROTECT ME.  I am the first AND the last line of defense for my family.

There were a few other terrifying things that occurred in the background.  For example, there was the guy who barged into my house and stood nose to nose with me, angrily shouting at me.  (I was in Illinois at the time, so it almost goes without saying that I was at the mercy of any random person off the street–which is basically what this guy was).

But it was 9-11 that marked the most profound change.  You see, if you soberly assess what 9-11 represented, you will see that it was not just a monumental lapse of the Federal government’s security apparatus, resulting in 2,000+ dead.  The bombers of 9-11 targeted the United State’s economic (WTC), military (Pentagon), and government (Congress/White House).  It was a serious attempt to literally dismantle the American way of life, sending it into anarchy and leaving the United States unable to defend itself further.

Now, the attempt did not succeed, and perhaps it could not have succeeded.   (Certainly, you’ll need to do more than take out a portion of the Pentagon in order to render our military powerless.)  But the fact that anyone thought the attempt was worth trying–and our government was incapable of preventing the attempt–reveals in very stark terms the fact that we have no good reason to assume that the circumstances of today will be the circumstances of tomorrow, or a month from now.

What is to say that in the near future, some of those famed nuclear ‘suitcase’ bombs might not finish off Washington DC, NYC, or a handful of other strategic locations?   Are we so sure that our civilization could survive such an event?

9-11 was not more than 20 years ago.  It was within living memory.  Who knows what ‘black swan’ event could occur tomorrow where it becomes perfectly evident that the ONLY way liberty can be secured or re-secured is by an armed populace asserting itself?  You can’t know, and while the odds may be remote, they are plausible.  Eg, a massive meteor strike, an earth quake swarm, an EMP attack, etc.

These are the ‘sudden’ scenarios, but there is something to be said about a sober look at history, too.  You don’t even have to go too far back, but why not?

Before the Cherokees were forcibly removed to Oklahoma, they were disarmed ‘for their own good.’  Before the Young Turks murdered millions of Armenians, the Armenians were disarmed.  You can sure as hell bet that the Jews in Germany were disarmed!  You can be certain that the Tutsis of Rwanda wished that they had owned weapons–in fact, it was only the armed Tutsis that effectively survived in order to displace Hutu Power and take control.  This was only in 1994!  Include Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, and a host of others, some of them within the last 50 years, and it becomes clear that we should not be resting on our laurels.

These are all examples of STATE-inflicted mass murders.

Freedom and liberty must be carefully preserved and maintained.  It is an exception in history, not the rule.  While you may believe otherwise, there are many of us who believe the founders were absolutely correct to be concerned, and we believe that their concern is valid to this very day.

This is sometimes countered by mocking us  with comments like, “Do you think you could stand up to America’s military?!?!?! Idiot!”  But this shows you’re not listening.  There are any number of scenarios (eg, an EMP attack) that do not involve pitting the American State vs its citizens, per se.  Its also worth mentioning that (I regret to inform you) that American soldiers take an oath of allegiance to the US Constitution, and at least at present, they vote overwhelmingly conservative.  In case of a societal breakdown, America’s military won’t be on the side of the Statists…. they’re with us, not you.

But like I said, there is no particular reason to limit our analysis to scenarios where we need to worry about our own military.   In point of fact, America’s way of handling its military is another one of those important checks and balances on tyranny.  Eg, being subject to civilian authority.  If you read primary sources, you will discover that early Americans saw the citizen-soldier aspect of America’s military as a profound check on government overreach.

The bottom line is that if you want to have a ‘conversation’ about gun control, and your argument is that there is nothing to fear from the State, or black swan events, you’re never going to get anywhere.  Moreover, I should advise you that history suggests that if you succeed in disarming the citizenry, its almost certainly the case that in due time, you will deeply regret it.  Not just because tyranny has come upon you, and you are powerless to do anything about it, but because thanks to your naïveté, you were probably part of the reason it came about in the first place.

 

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A ‘Solution’ to Mass Shootings at Schools

Listen.  I will tell you a secret.  It isn’t the gun.  Indeed, if Nicholas Cruz had wanted to kill even more people, he could have waited until after school and drove his vehicle 60 mph into the kids lined up as they were getting onto their buses.

In the Nice, France, attack, 86 people were killed and 458 others were injured–not by a gun, but by a truck driving down the street.  This is more fatalities than the Vegas shooting.  Not too long ago, 8 were killed in NYC due to a truck attack.   There have not been calls to ban vehicles.  Because that would be stupid.  (You might be surprised at how many such incidents like this there are.)

In Japan, 19 were killed and 26 were wounded in a stabbing attack in 2016.  This surpasses what Cruz ‘accomplished.’

For those having trouble keeping up, truck attacks are attacks by TRUCKS.  Not guns.  Stabbings are attacks by KNIVES.  Not guns.

In this murder spree, these two gents killed 21 people–with a hammer.

A HAMMER.

Are you starting to get the picture?

And lest we forget, France has very strict gun control laws, but that didn’t stop thugs from getting them and wiping out 12 in the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could focus our attention only on the objects, and solve our problems.  Alas, the problem isn’t objects, it is subjects.  If people decide they want to kill there is little to stop them–except other people.

It is not my purpose to get into why exactly we see schools targeted by shooters.  The basic answer is one that no one wants to contemplate–SIN.  But call it whatever you want–or don’t call it anything.  All you have to do is come to grips with the reality that people are going to continue to murder other people en masse using whatever tool they decide to use. Unless you want to enclose every person on the globe in their own private padded rooms, or ban knives, trucks, hammers, rocks, machetes, ropes, …. , this is an unalterable state of human affairs.

Now, when the grown ups began to appreciate the fact that people were using trucks as weapons, they did not say a peep about banning trucks.  Instead, they worked within the reality that they found themselves in.  They analyzed their situation, erected barriers, trained themselves to spot potential assailants, etc.

Yea, it SUCKS that it became necessary to think in those terms, but THAT IS THE REAL WORLD.

I am convinced that one of the reasons why no ‘solution’ to the mass shooting problem has emerged is because the ‘solution’ means acknowledging not only that people are not intrinsically good, but worse… they are intrinsically bad.  The implications of that realization are far more uncomfortable than the feel good alternative of focusing on the object used in the slayings; well, only if that object is a gun, right?  The point is not trivial.

Now, before I go further and help you all out with the ‘solution’ to this mess, let me submit to you that there have been guns widely dispersed in American society for many decades, but school shootings are only a more recent development, inaugurated more or less with Columbine.  This should tell a tale, except the tale it tells is one that no one wants to hear.   What it means is that there is something that has changed IN THE CULTURE.

If there have been semi-autos back into the 30s and 40s, and bad men even then, but mass school shootings didn’t begin in earnest until the late 1990s, it means a CHANGE has occurred that has NOTHING TO DO with the existence of bad men or the availability of guns.

I’ll have to leave the reader to ponder some ideas on why that is for now.  Yes, I have some distinct ideas of my own, and agree that these dynamics ought to be addressed, but right now my purpose is to save lives, and what I wish to dispel is this fanciful, veritable childish line of reasoning, which supposes that if suddenly every gun was removed from the planet, mass murders would stop.

NO.  They WOULD NOT STOP.  The murderers would merely SWITCH tactics.  Whatever dynamics are driving people to shoot up schools are still going to be present if there are no guns to shoot.

If you want to save lives, you’re just going to have to come to grips with this reality.

To put the point somewhat differently, when you put obstructions up around a soft target so that a truck can no longer mow people down, then you can FULLY EXPECT that perpetrators are going to adapt.  YES.  Good Lord, people.  Can’t you get it through your thick head?  They do one thing, we do another, they react, we react, they react again, THIS IS THE REAL FRIGGIN WORLD.

If you want to save lives–really–then you need to get your head in the world we’re actually in, rather than the world you wished you live in.  Two seconds on Google news will dash any illusions you have about the nature of the world… but you’re a stubborn fellah, aren’t ya?

(Oh yea, and just as a quick aside, if you broaden your research a little further, you will discover that there are no mass murderers that rival the murdering that various States have inflicted on their unarmed subjects.)

So, here is the solution:  abandon the fairy tale about schools being safe environments just by virtue of having locked doors.  (such silliness.  The Sandy Hook shooter just shot his way through the door.  I mean, duh.  What did you expect?)   Abandon the goal of FEELING safe.  Do what is necessary to BE safe within the current environment.

And that means 2-6 sufficiently armed men on the school premises, authorized to intervene ASAP.

Every school.

Every day.

Period, end of story.  No brainer.

If you have your undies in a bundle about having private parties stationed on the school campus armed to the teeth, you could just suck it up and bite the bullet (no pun intended) and factor in the hiring of armed police officers as part of the school budget.  I know with budgets being tight as it is, that’s a hard thing to do, but if you really think you’re going to eradicate every gun in America any time soon you desperately need a reality check.

There is potentially a more cost effective way to do it that might make for a good compromise, and that is to ask any of the hundreds of thousands of veterans that are in our country and ask them to do it.  I will bet you a good chunk of money that almost every community in the country could come up with a sizable security force of trained former soldiers who would gladly be willing to step up to the task, and charge next to nothing for the privilege.  (They would consider it an honor.)

You do this, and mass school murders–not just shootings–will come to a screeching halt.  But if you do it, you gotta really do it.  No half-measures.  No skimpy security details.  For something like this, you have got to do the job right.

Does it strike you as tragic that one would need to have armed guards in a place of learning?  Oh well!  Have you never given any thought as to how we can generally live our lives in peace from threats, foreign and domestic?  That’s not an accident, my friend.  While you might like to nurse your utopian ego and pretend that it all works because at lease we civilized folk are singing Kum Buh Ya, but in point of fact, we only have our relative safety because, as Richard Grenier said, “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

If you want to stop the killing, you have to suck it up and realize that people have decided that schools are great places to find defenseless people to kill, so if you want to make the change, you need to insert into the equation people who are NOT defenseless.

Do you know what is tragic?  I’ll tell you what is tragic:  people who understand that we rely on ‘rough men’ to secure our peace and freedoms against tyrants and various foes but somehow think its a PERFECTLY BRIGHT IDEA to leave our children defended only by … a hippie delusion that OF COURSE no one would target places of higher learning!  THAT is tragic.

It’s time to come to grips that our schools have practically been designed as actual kill boxes which are known to be absent of ‘rough men’ defending them–with outcomes almost so obvious its almost embarrassing that anyone is shocked, SHOCKED, when sees them as the kill boxes they are.  It’s time to give the ‘rough men’ their proper place, and give up this asinine self-delusion that all we have to do to protect our children is to get rid of the guns.

You either hire a bunch more police officers, ‘enlist’ our vets for the cause, or allow private citizens to step into the breach, or a combination of all three.

Let it now be said: “Parents calmly go about their day and students confidently go about their studies only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

This is the solution.  There is no other.

You’re welcome.

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My Interactions on Social Media Explained

By social media, I basically mean Facebook.  I hold Twitter in contempt.

The purpose of this essay is to offer some explanation for why I post some things to Facebook, which some may find helpful.

My Facebook posts fall into 2 basic categories:  cat videos and hard hitting commentary.  ‘Cat videos’ would be me just chillin’ with light-hearted fare.  Hard hitting commentary is pretty self-explanatory.

Here is the deal: the hard hitting commentary is reserved for those that I deem able to cope with it, which means that for the most part, this commentary is ‘preaching to the choir.’  But even these might be interested in knowing the driving principles behind my remarks.  You can find them summed up to the right on this page under “Anthony’s Three Principles.”  But, if I post on Facebook, its usually with this principle in mind:

Prevent the next holocaust-level event from occurring and stop the ones that are presently on-going. He does not share the optimism of some that humanity has ‘progressed’ enough to avoid it…

In other words, my commentary is meant to ring alarm bells.  People who see this commentary may be sympathetic to my perspective, but they may not have the time, energy, or resources, to investigate them in the way that I can.  My commentary is thus intended as a service–specifically, to alert those who have ears to dangers that are out there that could potentially threaten them or their loved ones.

There is not a 3rd category: debate and argue (I mean ‘argue’ in its technical sense).  If ever there was a time when I argued for the sake of arguing, that time is long gone.  If I contribute to someone else’s conversation, rest assured it is not because I find it entertaining.   I tend to stay off of other people’s FB pages, but if it is on my own Facebook profile, it still isn’t posted because I like debating.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  My time is worth far more to me than people are likely to realize.   No: my goal is to lend my expertise to those who might be interested in hearing my perspective.

And what is my expertise?

I study death.  I study mass murder.  I study genocides.  I study the collapse of societies.  I study repressive regimes.  And by study, I mean, I actually study.  I read, and read, and read.  I seek out primary sources.  I do not rely on others to tell me what to think. I do the work so that if I speak on a topic, I am qualified to do so.  I have a personal library of some 3,000 books, paid for out of my own pocket.   I don’t say it as a boast, but as evidence of my quest for genuine insight into the world.

Here is what I don’t mean by ‘study’: “I saw a meme, once…” or “I read a paragraph in a text book when I was in 9th grade,” or “I learned it in Sunday School!” or “The NY Times says it, so it must be true.”  I have no time or patience for people who argue a position which rests on such infantile foundations.

Unless I have some kind of relationship to warrant putting up with such childish opinions, I’m not going to waste my time talking to them.  Viola! And like that, they are moved from my list of people who can see my hard hitting commentary to only those who see my cat videos.

A sizable number of the books on my shelf are written by people I disagree with completely.  I spend 90% of my time reading the websites frequented by those I disagree with completely.  Why?

Answer: To make sure that my perceptions of an issue are not filtered through the words of another.  I don’t need person X to tell me what Person Y believes.  I listened to Person Y in his own words.  And you can sit there on the other side and piss and moan that my view of Person Y is skewed, or biased, or whatever else someone wants to throw out there, but I will not be cowed by belligerent, ignorant, uninformed rants to the contrary: because I know.  I KNOW.  I heard it out of their own lips. 

As I have taken to saying: Don’t pee on my leg and tell me its raining.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but there is no good reason to think that any of history’s worst calamities cannot unfold right here in the United States.  More bad news:  we are never as far from it as we suppose.  Even more bad news:  all the elements that have enabled Americans of divergent viewpoints to co-exist (relatively) peacefully since its founding are steadily being eroded, corroded, and purposefully undermined.  (Hint: the people doing this are not Christian conservatives.)

This of course doesn’t mean that we’ll see a Bolshevik revolution tomorrow.   Things don’t work that way.  On the other hand, things can happen faster than anyone could have guessed.   There are a number of potential scenarios, and all of them require some kind of catalyst, which almost by definition cannot be predicted (eg, an assassination, such as Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.)

It is not my purpose here to go into all those scenarios, or discuss likely catalysts, etc.  My purpose is to explain that I believe that, as in other times and places in world history, the fuel is being gathered for the fire, and whether by lightning strike or by arson, a conflagration is more likely by day–not less.

Before I sign off on this post, its worth mentioning too that in rejecting the utopian vision of those engaged in the perfection of society, I firmly believe that the best explanation for this state of affairs is as the Christian scriptures lay them out:  people are fallen and sinful–everyone of us.  And the rest is true, too: this world is going to be burned.  There is one hope, and only one hope, and his name is Jesus.

If you want to hear more from this perspective beyond what is on this blog, you can friend me on Facebook.  You ought to send me a note telling me that you are worthy of more than cat videos, otherwise that may be all you ever see.

[Caveat: there are other reasons why I might not show all of my Facebook posts to all people beyond my feeling that they cannot handle commentary.  For example, I use Facebook to keep in touch with family somewhat, and there is no particular reason to expose THEM.  So, if you are currently a FB ‘friend,’ the fact that all you see are ‘cat videos’ doesn’t necessarily mean I find you unworthy of more.]

 

 

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Trump’s War on the Media Explained

It will be hard for my readers to believe, but for more than half my life, I was effectively a liberal.  Except on the issue of abortion, I more than leaned to the left.  I once seriously advocated for confiscation of all guns as well as legislative re-distribution of wealth.  I was sympathetic to unions until around 1995, and even walked a picket line in 92.  There were a variety of factors that pushed me away from liberalism:  the fall out of the strike I just referred to, the Bill Clinton experience, and 9-11.  Some others, but you get the picture. Despite this transition, I considered liberalism to be a respectable viewpoint held by otherwise reasonable people who happened to disagree with me.

Watching what happened with George Bush brought this to an end.  Although, I should be clear, that when I say ‘what happened with George Bush’ I also mean, ‘what happened to anyone who happened to disagree with liberals.’  Because this idea I had–that you could be a liberal and still be a good person–was emphatically not reciprocated by liberals.

Shortly after 9-11, I distinctly remember hearing some liberal politico, complaining about the popularity that Bush was enjoying,  saying something to the effect of “We have to destroy this man.”  (If anyone knows who this person was and the full quote, I would love to hear it.  I can’t find it now.)  Not long afterwards, Bush Derangement Syndrome set in.

I had and have significant disagreements with the man, but all the information publicly available suggests that he was a decent guy who did his best for the country as he understood it.  And yet he was mocked and heaped with derision that  was never ending.  The media heaped scorn upon him.  I’d be sitting there watching the news and some minor thing that Bush had done (and Republicans in general) was a national nightmare.  It got worse and worse.  It was unrelenting.

And I remember that Bush never fought back.  He didn’t defend himself.  As his regard among the populous was deliberately degraded, the pile-on continued.   It overflowed onto every other Republican, and any other person who disagreed with liberals.  We saw it manifest into red hot silliness with McCain and Palin, and then again with Romney and Ryan.  And I remember that as all these people were subjected to the politics of personal destruction, they did not fight back.

I believe that Trump remembers this too.

Let’s remember that until he declared his candidacy for president, Trump was generally accepted within the wider culture.  As a media figure in his own right, he belonged to the ‘club.’  But as soon as he entered the race as a Republican, and certainly as soon as he strengthened his lead, the contempt amassed, built up a head of steam, and brought us to today, where Bush Derangement Syndrome has been officially replaced with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

I believe that Trump pushes back on EVERYTHING, not because of a personality disorder or ego trip, but as a matter of calculus.  He has watched relatively good people be destroyed at the hands of the press, and he is not going to let it go unanswered.

On this view, if you are in the media and you don’t want Trump to continue tweeting, then stop posting malicious and obviously biased smears and slanders and passing it off as ‘news.’

Whether or not carrying out this counter-offensive on Twitter is a good idea, the counter-offensive in principle is almost certainly the smartest thing that Trump can do.   I can’t help but notice, too, that Trump, in defending himself, is defending 50 million people who have been subjected to one slander after another for as long as I’ve been paying attention.  And I’ve only been paying attention since c. 1996.

I have seen little in this time to suggest that the liberal ideology is interested in co-existing with people who have disagreements.  To them, it is open war, and it is utterly justifiable.  My strong suspicion is that Trump has come to the same conclusion, and refuses to acquiesce to it.

If only the rest of the GOP would follow suit.


Just as a side note– Trump’s Twitter account is accessible to Twitter–by definition. Twitter, like the other social media networks, is run by liberals.  Fighting back using this platform is a recipe for disaster, setting aside the intrinsic problems of communicating in under 300 characters.  It is entirely conceivable that someone at Twitter could hijack Trump’s account, potentially causing yuuuge problems (beyond any that Trump himself might cause 🙂  ).  I don’t know what else I’d suggest, but if I were Trump’s teams, I would take precautions if they hadn’t already.

 

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