Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 26, 2014, 03:03:50 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
83420 Posts in 2260 Topics by 1067 Members
Latest Member: Shinobi Dog
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 26 27 [28] Print
Author Topic: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces  (Read 294418 times)
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1350 on: August 29, 2014, 10:07:17 AM »

Actually Top Dog could do some AMAZING reads (first time he met my then girlfriend he turned and looked at me and said "She must drive your crazy interrupting you when you are reading".  There was NO way he could have known that!

I too had many a read where the woman was surprised at how I could have known that.  If you break down the analytical framework, the variables assessed followed a lot of Jungian pyschology (thinking, feeling, sensation, intuition, introverted, extroverted, etc) and a lot of it simply made sense; a hard thick stubby muscular hand would tend to correlate to a personality that was more impulsive than a hand that was long, slender, and delicate.

 
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12130


« Reply #1351 on: August 29, 2014, 10:23:50 AM »

http://www.secrets-explained.com/derren-brown/cold-reading

How would it differ from cold reading?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1352 on: August 29, 2014, 11:34:22 AM »

My secrets revealed!   cheesy
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1353 on: August 30, 2014, 04:15:49 PM »



http://www.steynonline.com/6543/the-reformation-of-manners
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1354 on: September 02, 2014, 08:02:24 PM »

No doubt this will get the same level as Cindy Sheehan's utterances to Bush-2:

=============================

"After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace.

My offering was my only son — Aaron Carson Vaughn. Aaron was a member of SEAL Team VI. He was killed in action when a CH47D Chinook, carrying thirty Americans and eight Afghans was shot down in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.

Many times over the past three years, I have been asked what drove my son to choose his particular career. What made him want to be a Navy SEAL? My answer is simple.

Aaron Vaughn was a man who possessed the courage to acknowledge evil. And evil, once truly acknowledged, demands response. Perhaps this is why so few are willing to look it in the eye. It is much simpler — much safer — to look the other way.

That is, unless you are the leader of the Free World.

As Commander-in-Chief, your actions — or lack thereof — Mr. President, cost lives. As you bumble about in your golf cart, slapping on a happy face and fist-pounding your buddies, your cowardly lack of leadership has left a gaping hole — not only in America’s security — but the security of the entire globe. Your message has come across loud and clear, sir: You are not up to this job. You know it. We know it. The world knows it.

Please vacate the people’s house and allow a man or woman of courage and substance to seize the reigns of this out-of-control thug-fest and regain the balance we, America, have provided throughout our great history.

Thanks to your “leadership” from whatever multi-million dollar vacation you happen to be on at any given moment, the world is in chaos. What’s been gained, you’ve lost. What’s been lost, you’ve decimated. You’ve demolished our ability to hold the trust of allies. You’ve made a mockery of the title “President.” And you’ve betrayed the nation for which my son and over 1.3 million others have sacrificed their very lives.

But this should come as no surprise, since your wife uttered a vile statement on Feb. 18, 2008, during the primary campaign — one that speaks volumes of your true convictions. “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country,” she said.

I am sure my deceased son thanks you for that, Mrs. Obama. Oh, and you’re welcome.

Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such despair and such growing fear that the world’s last best hope, America, has finally been dismantled. Perhaps the better word is transformed — fundamentally transformed. Come to think of it, it’s become difficult — if not impossible — to believe things haven’t gone exactly as you planned, Mr. President.

Amazingly, in five short years, your administration has lurched from one disaster to another. You spearheaded the ambitious rush to end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan — with no plan on how to do so effectively. Also, the release of “the Taliban five” in exchange for one American — without consulting Congress — is also on your shoulders.

You have been at the helm during unprecedented national security leaks — including, but not limited to the outing of SEAL Team VI on the Bin laden raid, the outing of the Pakistani doctor who provided the intelligence for that raid, the outing of Afghanistan’s CIA station chief, and the outing of your personal “kill list” to make you look tough. In addition, 75 percent of American deaths in Afghanistan and 83 percent of Americans-wounded-in-action have occurred on your watch, according to icasualties.org.

And now, we have this recent, heinous event: the beheading of an American citizen by a barbaric organization you foolishly referred to as “the JV team” in your statements to the New Yorker magazine in January.

You, sir, are the JV team. It’s time for you to step down and allow a true leader to restore our honor and protect our sons and daughters.

America has always been exceptional. And she will be again. You, Mr. President, are a bump in our road."

Reprinted with family's permission



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...sident-Obama-s-resignation.html#ixzz3CCH02irl
Logged
objectivist1
Power User
***
Posts: 598


« Reply #1355 on: September 03, 2014, 09:31:07 AM »

I think this is an excellent analysis of the question.  I've been mulling this over myself for some time, as I've heard cries from both libertarians and those in our camp regarding their alarm over "police militarization."  My question has always been - as long as the citizens have access to the same weaponry - what's the issue?

The ‘Militarization’ of the Police?

Posted By Jack Kerwick On September 3, 2014

Making the rounds through libertarian (and other) circles in the wake of the police shooting death of Michael Brown is the notion that the “militarization” of local police forces is a huge problem besetting the country.

Though I self-identify as a conservative, I have a considerable affection for libertarianism. In fact, it is precisely because of this fondness that I am compelled to put out to pasture all of this “militarization” talk.

(1)The mere possession of weaponry of a kind on the part of police is no more objectionable—no more a justification for the charge of “militarization”—than is the mere existence of guns or SUV’s objectionable.

For starters, it is unclear as to what libertarians even mean in claiming that the police are “militarized.” From what I can gather—sorry, but no self-avowed libertarian writer who I have yet encountered is clear on this—it is the fact that today’s police forces are equipped with weaponry of a technologically sophisticated sort, the sort with which our soldiers are armed when confronting enemies overseas, that warrants the charge of “militarization.”

How the mere possession of things is a cause of alarm for, of all people, the libertarian, is beyond me. In personifying inanimate objects he comes perilously close to sounding like just those enemies of liberty against whom he’s tirelessly railing, those who would personify guns, wealth, and, say, SUV’s.

Moreover, libertarians are the first to champion the (law-abiding, adult) citizen’s constitutional, even “inalienable,” right to bear virtually whatever arms he prefers. How, we must ask, does it turn out to be permissible—not “militarized”—for the janitor next door to possess a machine gun, but somehow impermissible—“militarized”—for the police to do the same?

(2) The distribution of arms among the police, on the one hand, and the citizenry, on the other, utterly fails to establish that the police, or anyone, haven’t a right to arm themselves like Rambo—i.e. it fails to supply a single warrant for the charge of “militarization.”

If the libertarian insists that it isn’t the possession by police of weaponry as such to which he objects, but the fact that, as things currently stand, the police have access to these weapons to which other citizens are denied, then it is the distribution of this access, and not the access itself, that has him upset.

But if this is the case, then the proper complaint is not, “The police are ‘militarized’!” The proper complaint is that, “We should be allowed to be ‘militarized’ too,” or something like this.

In other words, the charge of “militarization” makes no sense here.

(3) The concept of “militarization” encompasses the concepts of collective purpose and coercion.

Government, by definition, has a monopoly on force. Yet, theoretically, the libertarian, unlike the anarchist, has no objections to this: the libertarian recognizes the authority of government to both enact and enforce laws. Since police officers are government agents, the libertarian affirms their authority to deploy the power at their disposal to coerce citizens into abiding by the laws that police are committed to safeguarding.

So, the sheer fact that police are endowed with the power to coerce prospective and actual violators of the law can’t be something with which the libertarian has a problem, for he has no problem with government per se.

In other words, that police are using force to maintain law and order—precisely what police have always done and what they’ve always been meant to do—can’t be the spring of the libertarian’s howls of “militarization.”

Only if government agents—whether police or otherwise—are coercing citizens in the service of fulfilling some grand collective purpose will the charge of “militarization” apply. Coercion, in and of itself, is insufficient to constitute “militarization.”

But this, in turn, means that the actual weaponry with which the police (or any other agent of the government) are endowed is irrelevant to determining whether the police, or any other agent of government, are “militarized.” If police were armed only with clubs, but used these clubs in order to insure that citizens were exercising three days a week for the purpose of producing “The Physically Fit Society,” say, then this would indeed show that the police had a “militarized” set of mind. Conversely, if the police are armed to the teeth with the stuff of soldiers but used their arms only to insure that the rule of law was preserved, to protect the life, limb, and property of citizens from those—like the rioters in Ferguson—who are intent upon undermining civilization, this would fail to establish that they are “militarized.”

(4) Police brutality, dereliction of duty, abuse of power and the like are issues that should count for much for all decent people, especially the libertarian. But none of these things are necessarily a function of “militarization,” much less equivalent to it.

That there are police officers that abuse their authority and power is not only an empirically verified fact; it is a no-brainer to the lover of liberty who knows, along with Lord Acton, that while “absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely,” even a limited degree of “power tends to corrupt.”

But when police do violate their oath to serve and protect, then we can and should call out their violations for what they are. Conflating or obscuring issues with bumper-sticker friendly misnomers like “militarization” is counterproductive.
Logged

"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1356 on: September 15, 2014, 11:33:08 AM »



The Rectification of the Names!

As the guy with the shovel despairingly said from the bottom of a deep pit in the woods, "How did I get started on this?"

Oh right. I meant to say earlier, I am crawling like Andy Dufresne on his exodus from Shawshank toward an idea for a new book. It's just an idea. As Marcus Aurelius (the Richard Harris version) might say, it's a dream. I can only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it might vanish.

In the course of my developing this whisper-of-an-idea for a book, my AEI colleague Michael Auslin pointed me to a Confucian concept called "the rectification of names." Maybe you know all about it because you're a smarty-pants Confucian scholar, which would be an interesting twist on who I imagine you, my "Dear Reader," to be. But it was new to me and it's really an exciting idea because it connects a lot of different exciting ideas into a potentially fully functional Death Star, I mean book, idea.

Anyway, the gist is that society goes ass-over-teakettle (to borrow a phrase from the academic literature) when names no longer describe the things they are assigned to.

Take it away Confucius:

"A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."

Now, I'm just starting my reading on all of this and, so far, I don't much care for the way the concept was used to justify castes and classes in feudal China or any of that jazz. And, yes, I am aware that a similar concern was in fact a central point of my last book (Now out in paperback, noodle-salad-eaters). It's central to Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" — never mind to 1984 — and Ludwig Wittgenstein had much to say on the subject as well. And anyone who ate funny brownies in college has grooved on the relationship between words and reality (and the puzzle of the Skipper & Gilligan's limited wardrobe).

But I very much like the idea that societies get themselves into trouble when language becomes a tool not for describing reality but concealing it.

This is one of the many reasons I loathe the self-described pragmatists who insist they want to solve problems by getting "beyond labels." You cannot solve problems if you cannot describe the problem — and the solution — accurately. Try fixing a flat tire with a wet hamster. Now, call the hamster a "tire iron." Has it gotten any easier? Shakespeare tells us that a rose by another name will smell just as sweet, but if you can't tell sh*t from shinola, your shoes are going to smell awful.

When Facts Are Treason

The disconnect between names and the named becomes most pronounced in totalitarian societies where words become weapons of the State. When language ceases to be a tool for labeling reality and higher truths and becomes one for upholding the agenda of a regime, the society rots and invites revolt. Try as they might, tyrants rarely have much success at persuading miserable people they are happy or hungry people they are full. As a result, regimes feel required to tighten their grip on society even more. Use of the wrong word — or the right word the wrong way — becomes ever more damning evidence of disloyalty or treason. And you know what? The tyrants are right: It is disloyalty and treason to an evil regime to accurately tell the truth.

I think there's something very profound about the Chinese idea that revolutions are primarily an effort to bring about the rectification of names; that the demand for justice is first and foremost a demand that words and reality come back into alignment. Nothing is more infuriating than to be told not to believe your lying eyes — or your empty stomach. Take a moment to ponder various revolutions around the globe over history and ask yourself if there isn't something to that.

One last point before I fulfill my obligation to put some news-related content in this "news"letter: Free societies are not immune to this problem, it's just that we have better antibodies. We have more opportunities and mechanisms to get words and things lined up properly. In a society where children won't be beaten or executed for pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, the nakedness of the emperor will be a much more frequent topic of conversation.

But that just means it takes longer — and more work — for names to get messed up. Who can dispute that political correctness is, to a large extent, an organized effort to keep truth from being applied to the problems of reality? Who can deny that our politics is shot through with words that don't line up properly with what they are supposed to describe?

They're Not Islamic, They're Not Even I-Curious

For instance, my column today is on the president's contention that the Islamic State is not Islamic. The assertion fits perfectly with the extended philosophical throat-clearing you just waded through. I mean talk about letting names and things wander off from each other!

Imagine, just for the sake of argument that, say, the State Department's Jen Psaki sat down to interview an Islamic State fighter over coffee.

Psaki: "Hi. What's your name?"

Mohammad: "Mohammed."

Psaki: "Were you named after your father?"

Mohammed: "No. I am named after the One True Prophet Mohammed."

Psaki: "Interesting. So what's the name of your organization?"

Mohammed: "The Islamic State."

Psaki: "Oh, that's exotic. What does that do?"

Mohammed: "We have sworn to Allah that we will bring about a global caliphate as he commands us through Mohammed and the Koran. Inshallah, we will kill the pagans, Jews, and infidels and convert the Christians to the one true faith.

Psaki: "Oh my, that sounds like quite a project. So, let me ask you, what religion should I put down here, Mohammed."

Mohammed: "I am Muslim. I will give my life for Islam. It's right there in the name: Islamic State."

Psaki: "Well, I can see that this will just remain one of those mysteries. I'll just put down agnostic."

Large-Scale Counterterrorism Operations Are Hell

Sadly, only after I wrote my column did I learn that not only does the administration insist that the Islamic State isn't even a smidgen Islamic — as the president might say — but we aren't at war with it either. "If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with [the Islamic State], they can do so, but the fact is that it's a major counterterrorism operation that will have many different moving parts," Secretary of State John Kerry explained yesterday.

"We're engaged in a major counterterrorism operation," he told CBS, "and it's going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity."

Okay, wait a second. I can understand — no matter how ridiculous I think the claim may be — the argument that we are not at war with the Islamic State. I can certainly understand the argument — again, even though I reject it — that we don't want to pay the terrorist group the "compliment" of saying we're at war with it.

But hold the phone. John Kerry is saying that "war" is the wrong analogy? Really? It is okay to analogize the fights against poverty, cancer, climate change etc., to war, but we can't analogize sustained bombing campaigns with coordinated ground offensives to it? Oh my stars and garters.  It's like the effort to get rid of the Islamic State is the Moral Equivalent of Pension Reform.

It gets worse. Olivier Knox of Yahoo News asked White House press secretary Josh Earnest, "What does victory [in the fight against the Islamic State] look like here?"
Earnest earnestly replied, "I didn't bring my Webster's dictionary with me up here." Meanwhile, the disconnect between names and things has gotten to the point where a senior administration official thinks Saudi Arabia is "galvanized" against the Islamic State because it has an "extensive border with Syria." Except for the fact that it doesn't, this is a very powerful point. So much for Mark Twain's observation that "God created war so that Americans would learn geography."

Of course, the administration is simply following the president's lead. Given how rabid Kerry, Hagel, and others were just a few weeks ago, it's pretty obvious that Obama has told his team "opstay ayingsay arway." In his heart the president just doesn't like words like "war" or "win." That's why he "ended" the Iraq War. That's why when asked to explain what "destroy" means he said it meant to reduce to a manageable problem. That's why the administration keeps talking about mitigation. That's why they long ago replaced the "War on Terror" with "overseas contingency operations" and rogue states with "states of concern." Hey, maybe we should just start calling it "the Islamic State of Concern"?

This of course reminds me of Winston Churchill's famous line, "We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall mitigate on the beaches, we shall degrade them on the landing grounds, we shall reduce them to manageable problems in the fields and in the streets. . ."

Really, anyone can play. Release the dogs of overseas contingency operations! Haven't you read Sun Tzu's "The Art of Mitigation"?

Look, as I suggest in my column, there's room in a war for bending the truth if it helps win the war. The problem here is that when you're bending the truth that you're even at war, what truths are worth telling? As I wrote last week , I still think Obama's greatest concern isn't how to conquer — or even "manage" — the Islamic State or terrorism in general but how to find the right words that will rescue him from political hassles, responsibility, and blame. Rather than say he misjudged the Islamic State, he told Chuck Todd he never even called them the "Jayvee" team, which was a lie.

If Obama's theory of the world is right, this may all work out for him. If jihadism is a minor nuisance that we can manage without much distraction or effort, then his word games might even make sense. But if we are really facing a more substantial and long-term threat, then his word games are not just stupid, they are dangerous because they put further distance between names and reality, between problems and solutions.

I am not a fan of the philosopher Carl Schmitt, but I always liked his line, "Tell me who your enemy is, and I will tell you who you are." I don't think it captures anything like the whole truth, but it does capture an important truth: To stand for something requires standing against something. If you stand for democracy, you must stand against tyranny. If you stand for truth, you must stand against lies. It is a tactical and strategic question whether we need to go to literal war against the Islamic State. But if we are not figuratively or spiritually at war with what the Islamic State stands for, then, my God, what do we stand for?
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4201


« Reply #1357 on: September 17, 2014, 09:38:10 AM »

http://theweek.com/article/index/268182/this-is-what-happens-when-republicans-actually-enact-their-radical-agenda 

« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 03:38:51 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1358 on: September 17, 2014, 03:39:22 PM »

Please post on "The Way Forward" thread.
Logged
objectivist1
Power User
***
Posts: 598


« Reply #1359 on: September 24, 2014, 10:00:35 AM »

iSocialism, Science and Stupidity

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On September 24, 2014 @ frontpagemag.com

Every ideology needs to believe in its inevitability. Religions get their inevitability from prophecies; secular ideologies get theirs from the modernist fallacy.

The modernist fallacy says that history is moving on an inevitable track toward their ideology. Resistance is futile, you will be liberalized. Marxism predicted the inevitable breakdown of capitalism. Obama keeps talking about being “on the right side of history” as if history, like a university history curriculum, has a right side and a wrong side. All everyone has to do is grab a sign and march “Forward!” to the future.

The bad economics and sociology around which the left builds its Socialist sand castles assume that technological progress will mean improved control. Capitalism with its mass production convinced budding Socialists that the entire world could be run like a giant factory under technocrats who would use industrial techniques to control the economic production of mankind in line with their ideals.

The USSR and moribund European economies broke that theory into a million little pieces.

The dot com revolution with its databases and subtle tools for manipulating individuals on a collective basis led to a Facebook Socialism that crowdsources its culture wars and “nudges” everyone into better habits, lower body masses and conveniently available death panels.

The iSocialist, like his industrial predecessor, assumes that technology gives superintelligent leftists better tools for controlling everything. The planned economy failed in the twentieth because the tools of propaganda posters, quotas and gulags were too crude. This time he is certain that it will work.

Intelligence is to leftists what divine right was to the crowned kings of Europe. They frantically brand themselves as smart because in a technocracy, superiority comes from intelligence. Their vision is the right one because they are the smart ones. Their shiny future is backed by what they call “science.”

Science, the magic of the secular age, is their church. But science isn’t anyone’s church. Science is much better at disproving things than at proving them. It’s a useful tool for skeptics, but a dangerous tool for rulers. Like art, science is inherently subversive and like art, when it’s restricted and controlled, it stops being interesting.

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s defenders reacted to his basic errors by asserting that even if he had made a mistake, science, collectively, was right. Science is of course neither right nor wrong; its methodology can be used to determine whether something is right or wrong.

In Tyson’s case, science determined long ago that at least one of his claims was wrong. Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn’t embody science. No individual does. What Tyson embodies is manufactured intelligence. Manufactured intelligence is how we knew that Obama was smart. But manufactured intelligence has the same relationship to intelligence as a painting of the ocean does to the real thing.

The real ocean is complicated and messy. So is real intelligence. Manufactured intelligence is the fashion model playing a genius in a movie. Real intelligence is an awkward man obsessing over a handful of ideas, some of them ridiculously wrong, but one of which will change the world.

Real intelligence isn’t marketable because it doesn’t make an elite feel good about its power.

Biblical fake prophets were often preferred to real prophets because they made rulers feel comfortable about the future. The modern technoprophet assures a secular elite that it can effectively control people and that it even has the obligation to do so. It tells them that “science” is on their side.

The easy way to tell real religion from fake religion is that real religion doesn’t make you feel good. It doesn’t assure you that everything you’re doing is right and that you ought to keep on doing it.

The same holds true for science. Real science doesn’t make you feel smart. Fake science does.

No matter how smart you think you are, real science will make you feel stupid far more often than it will make you feel smart. Real science not only tells us how much more we don’t know than we know, a state of affairs that will continue for all of human history, but it tells us how fragile the knowledge that we have gained is, how prone we are to making childish mistakes and allowing our biases to think for us.

Science is a rigorous way of making fewer mistakes. It’s not very useful to people who already know everything. Science is for stupid people who know how much they don’t know.

A look back at the march of science doesn’t show an even line of progress led by smooth-talking popularizers who are never wrong. Instead the cabinets of science are full of oddballs, unqualified, jealous, obsessed and eccentric, whose pivotal discoveries sometimes came about by accident. Science, like so much of human accomplishment, often depended on lucky accidents to provide a result that could then be isolated and systematized into a useful understanding of the process.

Modernism is a style that offers a seamless vision of perfection that doesn’t exist. The accomplishments of our age haven’t changed human nature and they have not made us infallible.

Real science tells us that we are basically stupid. A close study of history proves it. And that’s a good thing. Stupid people can learn from their mistakes. Self-assured elites convinced of their own superior intelligence can’t. Everyone makes mistakes. The future belongs to those who recognize them.

The inability of Neil deGrasse Tyson and his defenders to acknowledge that he is wrong is a revealing look at the rotten core of the liberal elite which is incapable of admitting its errors, but sneers and smears its way out of a moral reckoning every time. Its ideology with its assumption of central control over lives and economies is too dependent on its own illusion of genius not to lie about its failures.

It is too big to fail and that makes its failure inevitable.

Tysonism is why ObamaCare suffered a disastrous launch, why the VA reorganization didn’t work and why we’re back in Iraq. Technocrats don’t make mistakes. They can’t. They’re only at the top because they’re smart. If they ever admitted to being stupid, they would lose their right to rule.

Like Lysenkoism, Tysonism uses ideology to determine the outcomes of science. That’s how we keep ending up with Global Warming as settled science no matter how often the actual science contradicts it.

Tysonism appropriates science without understanding it. Its science consists of factoids, some right and some wrong, which simplify and clarify everything. Its manufactured intelligence makes people feel smart without actually giving them the critical tools to question the false assumptions of a Tyson.

What the left calls science is really a hypothesis accepted as a fact without the skepticism. Its intelligence is a conclusion without bothering to determine whether it’s true. Science and intelligence are perpetual processes that are never truly settled. But in law and government, as in all other fields, the left discards the process and asserts an inevitable outcome by virtue of its superiority.

Intelligence as ideology is at the heart of the left. Its Orwellian twist discards the need for using intelligence to question its ideology by asserting that the issue is settled. To be smart is to be left and to be left is to be smart. And only stupid people would question that.

There is no need to think about anything because the smart people have already done all the thinking. You can show you are smart by accepting their conclusions or show your stupidity by questioning them.

Science and skepticism are the tools of stupid people. As Socrates put it, I know that I know nothing. We have the most to fear from the smart people who don’t know and will never admit how little they know.
Logged

"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1360 on: September 24, 2014, 01:49:57 PM »

Islamic Jihad -- Target America
Should You Be Concerned?
By Mark Alexander • September 24, 2014
"The establishment of civil and religious liberty was the Motive which induced me to the Field." --George Washington (1783)


Despite assurances to the contrary from our nation's commander in chief, it turns out that global Jihad is thriving. And it constitutes a greater threat to our nation's security today than at any time in history.

Should you be concerned?

Of course, the answer is "yes," but with qualification.

The most imminent domestic threat to your life and property, statistically, emanates from the sociopathic drug/gang culture, which continues to metastasize on urban poverty plantations and is now spilling into suburban and rural communities. That threat has been cultivated for the last five decades by ruinous political and social policies that were, ostensibly, enacted to eradicate the poverty those policies institutionalized.

That notwithstanding, the elevated threat to your life from Islamic extremists should be a concern -- not because the probability of being an individual victim of an Islamist assault will soon be higher than the drug/gang culture threat, but because the probability of being among the cumulative victims of a catastrophic attack on our homeland -- be it conventional, nuclear or biological -- is escalating largely unabated.

The 9/11 attack on our country was perpetrated by 19 al-Qa'ida operatives. Its immediate effects -- the loss of lives and the longer-term economic impact -- were devastating. It would only take five to 10 al-Qa'ida operatives to create destruction on a 100-fold scale, with a little help from Iran or other terror-sponsoring states.

How real is that threat?

Islamic terrorist groups are surging worldwide, including Jabhat al-Nusra, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban, Jamaat-e-Islami, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Khorasan Group and now, front and center, ISIL, a.k.a. the Islamic State -- all of which together constitute Jihadistan, that borderless nation of Islamic extremists aligned under the Qur'anic umbrella.

Currently there are many American Islamists actively fighting among the ranks of ISIL in the Middle East -- and they have significant networks of support in the United States. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper concludes that the direct links between ISIL and those domestic networks has created "the most diverse array of threats and challenges as I've seen in my 50-plus years in the [intelligence] business."

How did this surge get underway?

In 2012, amid the cascading failure of his domestic economic and social policies, Barack Obama centered his re-election campaign on his faux foreign policy successes, which were built upon the following two boasts: "Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. I did." And "al-Qa'ida is on the run."

The reality, however, is that Obama's "hope and change" retreat from Iraq left a vacuum for the resurgence of a far more dangerous incarnation of Muslim terrorism under the ISIL label, which has displaced al-Qa'ida as the dominant asymmetric Islamic terrorist threat to the West.

Clearly, it is Obama's foreign policy malfeasance that poses the greatest threat to U.S. national and homeland security.

So, is the Islamic State actually, well, Islamic?

Not according to Obama. While he subscribes to the hate-driven rhetoric of Afro-centric theology, six formative years of his early life were spent attending Islamic schools in Indonesia.

In his address to the nation last week, he claimed, "Let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not Islamic. ... And ISIL is certainly not a state.”

Reasonable people may disagree on whether the Islamic State now occupying much of Syria and Iraq is, at least by the Western definition, a state, but it certainly is a state in the Jihadistan context given the Islamic World of the Qur'an recognizes no political borders.

But for Obama to suggest "ISIL is not Islamic" is flatly absurd. Why else are American taxpayers providing Islamist prisoners at Gitmo copies of the Qur'an and payer rugs?
It is equally asinine, of course, for Secretary of State John Kerry to perpetuate the lie that "Islam is the Religion of Peace™" by claiming, "We must continue to repudiate the gross distortion of Islam that ISIL is spreading."

Their errant assertions prompted this rebuke from Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani: "[Obama and Kerry] turned into Islamic jurists, muftis, sheikhs and preachers, standing up for Islam and the Muslims, so it appears that they no longer have confidence in the ability or sincerity of their sorcerers..."

So, is Islamic Jihad really "Islamic"?

There are many excellent resources for understanding Islamic extremism and the rise of Islamic terrorism. But allow me to offer a brief overview of Islam and the schism that gave rise to global Islamic Jihad.

In 570 AD, Abū al-Qāsim Muhammad was born in Mecca (in modern-day Saudi Arabia). In the year 610, Muhammad went into the hills and claims to have received instruction from an angel to spend the next 22 years as the exclusive transcriber of Allah's message, the Qur'an, which means "recitation." Its 114 Surahs, or chapters, outline the religious, military, civil, social, commercial and legal systems of Islam. Most Muslims believe that Islam originated with the prophet Adam, and that Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus were Islamic prophets.

After Muhammad's death in 632, Islam split into two factions, Sunni and Shi’ite -- a split originating from a dispute about whether the religion should be led by strict adherence to the Qur'an, or led by Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad. The Sunnis (from "Ahl al-Sunna," meaning ”people of the tradition”) bonded through Muslim orthodoxy. The Shias (from “Shiat Ali,” meaning ”party of Ali”) were a political alliance formed around Muhammad's descendant.

Despite the split, Islam thrived, and by the 17th century, a vast Muslim empire was controlled by a powerful military and was the cultural cradle of mathematics, architecture, art, law and science. But the rise of Western military power would divide and conquer the Muslim empire by the end of the 18th century, followed by European occupations of much of that former empire over the next century.

By the end of World War I, Islam's Ottoman Empire was lost. Many Muslims adapted to Western culture, while some held to old Islamic traditions. But the re-constitution of the State of Israel in 1948 seeded a resurgence of Islamic fervor, a fervor that would unleash itself 30 years later under the watch of Jimmy Carter's administration.
In 1979, the powerful and strategic state of Iran fell to the Islamic Revolution, and Shia cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to power. Student revolutionaries seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage, and that act galvanized both Shia and Sunni Islamist activists throughout the Middle East.

Today, Shia Muslims represent majorities only in Iran, Iraq and Bahrain.

But Islamic Jihad, including al-Qa'ida and subsequent terrorist groups, is rooted in Sunni orthodoxy. Sunnis represent about 85% of Muslims worldwide, including countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

So again, is Islamic Jihad "Islamic"? Indeed, it is.

The Suras of the Qur'an and the Hadith (Muhammad's teachings) require jihad, or "holy war," against all "the enemies of God." For the record, orthodox Sunnis understand that these "infidels" include all Muslim or non-Muslim people who refute any teachings of Muhammad -- which is why ISIL Sunnis are slaughtering Iraqi Shias.

Rebutting Obama's assertion that Islamic Jihad is disconnected from Islam, Hoover Institution Fellow Dennis Prager writes: "Killing 'unbelievers' has been part of -- of course not all of -- Islam since its inception. Within 10 years of Muhammad’s death Muslims had conquered and violently converted whole peoples from Iran to Egypt and from Yemen to Syria. Muslims have offered conquered people death or conversion since that time. ... More than 600 years after Muhammad, Ibn Khaldun, the greatest Muslim writer who ever lived, explained why Islam is the superior religion in the most highly regarded Muslim work ever written, 'Muqaddimah,' or 'Introduction to History': 'In the Muslim community, the holy war is religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.'"

Thus, if you're among those who resist or refute Muhammad's teachings, you're a de facto enemy of Islam.

According to Muhammad in the Qur'anic verses, Allah commands, "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them."

Do you refute any teachings of Muhammad?

Based on the Sunni Islamist history of violence, it is clear that Islam is not "the Religion of Peace," though there are obviously many Muslims worldwide and in the U.S. who do not subscribe to Islamist Jihad theology. But the number of Sunni Muslims who do support that totalitarian theology is staggering.

According to the Pew Research Center, there are 2.75 million Muslims in the U.S. today. Notably, about 90% of American Muslims are Sunni. The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Nation of Islam have now established more than 2,200 mosques, some of which have become hotbeds of support for Sunni Islamist extremists. The ethnic group with the fastest growing conversion rate to Islam is Latino -- 12 million of whom are now in the U.S. illegally, and who continue to pour across our southern border.

Do any of those grim statistics concern you?

At the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War, George Washington wrote that our nation has its roots in "the establishment of civil and religious liberty."
Islam, on the other hand, is founded on the abolition of civil and religious liberty -- which is to say it is diametrically opposed to the notion that Liberty is "endowed by our Creator."

Pro Deo et Constitutione -- Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis
Logged
objectivist1
Power User
***
Posts: 598


« Reply #1361 on: September 25, 2014, 08:01:36 AM »

Obama Brings the Ferguson Lynch Mob to the U.N.

Posted By Matthew Vadum On September 25, 2014

President Obama used an opportunity on the world stage this week to encourage America’s enemies to continue promoting the tired old left-wing narrative that the U.S. is an irretrievably racist hotbed of injustice.

Instead of just focusing on the topic of the day, namely, what the U.S. government is planning to do to undermine the extraordinarily brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), Obama suggested that his own country’s race relations problems are on par with leading world crises. And Islam is perfectly innocent. Only bad people who aren’t real Muslims are causing trouble in the world.

It’s bread and circuses, with America’s own Caesar running the show.

According to Obama, the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, a black man, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in itself is proof that race relations are poisonous in the United States. As the Left sees it, Brown was the latest in a long line of helpless black victims mowed down by racist cops who are part of America’s corrupt criminal justice system. It’s just more left-wing sloganeering, staples of which are knee-jerk cop hatred and making excuses for black criminals.

Anti-American fanatics, such as the Iranians, have used the events in Ferguson as propaganda to defame the United States. Obama is telegraphing to the Islamist totalitarians that they are on the right track and have entirely legitimate criticisms.

“I realize that America’s critics will be quick to point out that at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within its own borders,” Obama told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday in a speech that focused on foreign policy and national security issues.

“This is true,” he told the gathering of delegates from nations that enslave people, chop off their hands and heads, mutilate their genitals, and sanction the gang rape of infidels, women, and youngsters. He continued:

In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri — where a young man was killed, and a community was divided. So, yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions.

Apart from the vile moral equivalency, that is, the implied comparison of the Brown shooting with Islamist atrocities, Obama never bothered to point out that there is still not even a scintilla of evidence that what transpired last month in Ferguson was in any way racially motivated. Investigators keep digging and coming up empty-handed.

Nor did he point out that his administration is leading the way, trying to inflame racial and ethnic tensions. Egged on by violent left-wing mobs and race-obsessed profiteers like Obama allies Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson Sr., the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting a race-baiting witch hunt aimed at the entire police force in Ferguson.

It is nothing more than a taxpayer-funded Democratic Party voter registration drive disguised as a civil rights investigation. Such hoaxes are the stock in trade of the radical community organizers who run the Obama White House.

But it’s a costly hoax. At least 40 federal agents have reportedly been on the ground in the St. Louis area desperately searching for proof of racial animus on the part of Darren Wilson, the decorated Ferguson police officer who shot Brown Aug. 9 after the suspected gang member beat him and tried to take his handgun.

That figure of two-score agents is apparently more than the Obama administration has assigned to all the other major scandals embroiling the administration combined. Those other scandals include Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi bungling, IRS persecution of conservative groups, New Black Panther Party voter intimidation charges, the Fast and Furious gun-running episode, and the NSA’s domestic spying.

The rest of Obama’s UN speech consisted of bromides and inane mantras about the Islamic world he holds so dear.

Although Islam has been generating terrorists and Islamic supremacists for over a millennium, Islam’s been done wrong by those who have hijacked it, Obama argued.

A “more lethal and ideological brand of terrorists“ have “perverted one of the world’s great religions,” he said. These terrorists are “employing the most brutal methods to intimidate people within their communities,” he said, without mentioning that his allies in SEIU and Saul Alinsky-inspired activist groups do much the same to American communities.

Obama glossed over the centuries of Islamic irredentism and religious violence to claim that, notwithstanding the often-graphic verses of the Holy Koran, that “Islam teaches peace.” In his view, “Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice,” he said without mentioning that to many Mohammedans the world over justice consists of Jews’ and Christians’ severed heads on public display.

Obama even said that “we reject any suggestion of a clash of civilizations,” even though a clash of civilizations is precisely what is taking place.

Now that Obama’s approval ratings on national security and terrorism have taken a beating, the president feels he needs to sound like an actual president who cares about the good of the nation and is willing to use the nation’s military might in a just cause.

What ISIS is doing is outrageous, Obama complains. But his hatred of ISIS is conditional, based on polling. As long as voters are concerned about ISIS, he’ll pretend to be concerned about ISIS.

“No God condones this terror,” he said. “No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning — no negotiation — with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.“

This is likely the same pep talk Obama gave to former IRS enforcer Lois Lerner as she geared up to harass and intimidate Tea Party nonprofits.

In Obama’s eyes, only American conservatives, not medieval Islamic savages, are permanent foes worthy of eternal enmity.
Logged

"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12130


« Reply #1362 on: September 25, 2014, 01:30:16 PM »

Churning up racial hatred is the only card Obama has left in the wake of his failed presidency.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1363 on: September 27, 2014, 08:17:47 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDFrNQAjDYA
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1364 on: October 02, 2014, 06:23:51 PM »


INNOVATION STARVATION
Neal Stephenson

MY LIFE SPAN ENCOMPASSES the era when the United States of America was capable of launching human beings into space. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on a braided rug before a hulking black-and-white television, watching the early Gemini missions. In the summer of 2011, at the age of fifty-one—not even old—I watched on a flatscreen as the last space shuttle lifted off the pad. I have followed the dwindling of the space program with sadness, even bitterness. Where’s my donut-shaped space station? Where’s my ticket to Mars? Until recently, though, I have kept my feelings to myself. Space exploration has always had its detractors. To complain about its demise is to expose oneself to attack from those who have no sympathy that an affluent, middle-aged white American has not lived to see his boyhood fantasies fulfilled.
Still, I worry that our inability to match the achievements of the 1960s space program might be symptomatic of a general failure of our society to get big things done. My parents and grandparents witnessed the creation of the automobile, the airplane, nuclear energy, and the computer, to name only a few. Scientists and engineers who came of age during the first half of the twentieth century could look forward to building things that would solve age-old problems, transform the landscape, build the economy, and provide jobs for the burgeoning middle class that was the basis for our stable democracy.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 crystallized my feeling that we have lost our ability to get important things done. The OPEC oil shock was in 1973—almost forty years earlier. It was obvious then that it was crazy for the United States to let itself be held economic hostage to the kinds of countries where oil was being produced. It led to Jimmy Carter’s proposal for the development of an enormous synthetic fuels industry on American soil. Whatever one might think of the merits of the Carter presidency or of this particular proposal, it was, at least, a serious effort to come to grips with the problem.

Little has been heard in that vein since. We've been talking about wind farms, tidal power, and solar power for decades. Some progress has been made in those areas, but energy is still all about oil. In my city, Seattle, a thirty-five-year-old plan to run a light rail line across Lake Washington is now being blocked by a citizen initiative. Thwarted or endlessly delayed in its efforts to build things, the city plods ahead with a project to paint bicycle lanes on the pavement of thoroughfares.

In early 2011, I participated in a conference called Future Tense, where I lamented the decline of the manned space program, then pivoted to energy, indicating that the real issue isn’t about rockets. It’s our far broader inability as a society to execute on the big stuff. I had, through some kind of blind luck, struck a nerve. The audience at Future Tense was more confident than I that science fiction (SF) had relevance—even utility—in addressing the problem. I heard two theories as to why:

1. The Inspiration Theory. SF inspires people to choose science and engineering as careers. This much is undoubtedly true, and somewhat obvious.

2. The Hieroglyph Theory. Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place. A good SF universe has a coherence and internal logic that makes sense to scientists and engineers. Examples include Isaac Asimov’s robots, Robert Heinlein’s rocket ships, and William Gibson’s cyberspace. As Jim Karkanias of Microsoft Research puts it, such icons serve as hieroglyphs—simple, recognizable symbols on whose significance everyone agrees.

Researchers and engineers have found themselves concentrating on more and more narrowly focused topics as science and technology have become more complex. A large technology company or lab might employ hundreds or thousands of persons, each of whom can address only a thin slice of the overall problem. Communication among them can become a mare’s nest of e-mail threads and PowerPoints. The fondness that many such people have for SF reflects, in part, the usefulness of an overarching narrative that supplies them and their colleagues with a shared vision. Coordinating their efforts through a command-and-control management system is a little like trying to run a modern economy out of a politburo. Letting them work toward an agreed-on goal is something more like a free and largely self-coordinated market of ideas.

SPANNING THE AGES

SF has changed over the span of time I am talking about—from the 1950s (the era of the development of nuclear power, jet airplanes, the space race, and the computer) to now. Speaking broadly, the techno-optimism of the Golden Age of SF has given way to fiction written in a generally darker, more skeptical, and ambiguous tone. I myself have tended to write a lot about hackers—trickster archetypes who exploit the arcane capabilities of complex systems devised by faceless others.

Believing we have all the technology we’ll ever need, we seek to draw attention to its destructive side effects. This seems foolish now that we find ourselves saddled with technologies like Japan’s ramshackle 1960s-vintage reactors at Fukushima when we have the possibility of clean nuclear fusion on the horizon. The imperative to develop new technologies and implement them on a heroic scale no longer seems like the childish preoccupation of a few nerds with slide rules. It’s the only way for the human race to escape from its current predicaments. Too bad we’ve forgotten how to do it.

“You’re the ones who’ve been slacking off!” proclaims Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University (and one of the other speakers at Future Tense). He refers, of course, to SF writers. The scientists and engineers, he seems to be saying, are ready and looking for things to do. Time for the SF writers to start pulling their weight and supplying big visions that make sense. Hence the Hieroglyph project, an effort to produce an anthology of new SF that will be in some ways a conscious throwback to the practical techno-optimism of the Golden Age.

SPACEBORNE CIVILIZATIONS

China is frequently cited as a country now executing the big stuff, and there’s no doubt they are constructing dams, high-speed rail systems, and rockets at an extraordinary clip. But those are not fundamentally innovative. Their space program, like all other countries’ (including our own), is just parroting work that was done fifty years ago by the Soviets and the Americans. A truly innovative program would involve taking risks (and accepting failures) to pioneer some of the alternative space launch technologies that have been advanced by researchers all over the world during the decades dominated by rockets.

Imagine a factory mass-producing small vehicles, about as big and complicated as refrigerators, which roll off the end of an assembly line, are loaded with space-bound cargo and topped off with nonpolluting liquid hydrogen fuel, then are exposed to intense concentrated heat from an array of ground-based lasers or microwave antennas. Heated to temperatures beyond what can be achieved through a chemical reaction, the hydrogen erupts from a nozzle on the base of the device and sends it rocketing into the air. Tracked through its flight by the lasers or microwaves, the vehicle soars into orbit, carrying a larger payload for its size than a chemical rocket could ever manage, but the complexity, expense, and jobs remain grounded. For decades, this has been the vision of such researchers as physicists Jordin Kare and Kevin Parkin. A similar idea, using a pulsed ground-based laser to blast propellant from the backside of a space vehicle, was being talked about by Arthur Kantrowitz, Freeman Dyson, and other eminent physicists in the early 1960s.

If that sounds too complicated, then consider the 2003 proposal of Geoff Landis and Vincent Denis to construct a twenty-kilometer-high tower using simple steel trusses. Conventional rockets launched from its top would be able to carry twice as much payload as comparable ones launched from ground level. There is even abundant research, dating all the way back to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of astronautics beginning in the late nineteenth century, to show that a simple tether—a long rope, tumbling end over end while orbiting Earth—could be used to scoop payloads out of the upper atmosphere and haul them up into orbit without the need for engines of any kind. Energy would be pumped into the system using an electrodynamic process with no moving parts.

All are promising ideas—just the sort that used to get an earlier generation of scientists and engineers fired up about actually building something.

But to grasp just how far our current mind-set is from being able to attempt innovation on such a scale, consider the fate of the space shuttle’s external tanks (ETs). Dwarfing the vehicle itself, the ET was the largest and most prominent feature of the space shuttle as it stood on the pad. It remained attached to the shuttle—or perhaps it makes as much sense to say that the shuttle remained attached to it—long after the two strap-on boosters had fallen away. The ET and the shuttle remained connected all the way out of the atmosphere and into space. Only after the system had attained orbital velocity was the tank jettisoned and allowed to fall into the atmosphere, where it was destroyed on reentry.

At a modest marginal cost, the ETs could have been kept in orbit indefinitely. The mass of the ET at separation, including residual propellants, was about twice that of the largest possible shuttle payload. Not destroying them would have roughly tripled the total mass launched into orbit by the shuttle. ETs could have been connected to build units that would have humbled today’s International Space Station. The residual oxygen and hydrogen sloshing around in them could have been combined to generate electricity and produce tons of water, a commodity that is vastly expensive and desirable in space. But in spite of hard work and passionate advocacy by space experts who wished to see the tanks put to use, NASA—for reasons both technical and political—sent each of them to fiery destruction in the atmosphere. Viewed as a parable, it has much to tell us about the difficulties of innovating in other spheres.

EXECUTING THE BIG STUFF

Innovation can’t happen without accepting the risk that it might fail. The vast and radical innovations of the mid-twentieth century took place in a world that, in retrospect, looks insanely dangerous and unstable. Possible outcomes that the modern mind identifies as serious risks might not have been taken seriously—supposing they were noticed at all—by people habituated to the Depression, the World Wars, and the Cold War, in times when seat belts, antibiotics, and many vaccines did not exist. Competition between the Western democracies and the communist powers obliged the former to push their scientists and engineers to the limits of what they could imagine and supplied a sort of safety net in the event that their initial efforts did not pay off. A grizzled NASA veteran once told me that the Apollo moon landings were communism’s greatest achievement.

In his book Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, Tim Harford outlines Charles Darwin’s discovery of a vast array of distinct species in the Galapagos Islands—a state of affairs that contrasts with the picture seen on large continents, where evolutionary experiments tend to get pulled back toward a sort of ecological consensus by interbreeding. “Galapagan isolation” versus the “nervous corporate hierarchy” is the contrast staked out by Harford in assessing the ability of an organization to innovate.
Most people who work in corporations or academia have witnessed something like the following: A number of engineers are sitting together in a room, bouncing ideas off one another. Out of the discussion emerges a new concept that seems promising. Then some laptop-wielding person in the corner, having performed a quick Google search, announces that this “new” idea is, in fact, an old one—or at least vaguely similar—and has already been tried. Either it failed, or it succeeded. If it failed, then no manager who wants to keep his or her job will approve spending money trying to revive it. If it succeeded, then it’s patented and entry to the market is presumed to be unattainable, since the first people who thought of it will have “first-mover advantage” and will have created “barriers to entry.” The number of seemingly promising ideas that have been crushed in this way must be in the millions.

What if that person in the corner hadn’t been able to do a Google search? It might have required weeks of library research to uncover evidence that the idea wasn’t entirely new—and after a long and toilsome slog through many books, tracking down many references, some relevant, some not. When the precedent was finally unearthed, it might not have seemed like such a direct precedent after all. There might be reasons why it would be worth taking a second crack at the idea, perhaps hybridizing it with innovations from other fields. Hence the virtues of Galapagan isolation.

The counterpart to Galapagan isolation is the struggle for survival on a large continent, where firmly established ecosystems tend to blur and swamp new adaptations. Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author of the book You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, has some insights about the unintended consequences of the Internet—the informational equivalent of a large continent—on our ability to take risks. In the pre-Net era, managers were forced to make decisions based on what they knew to be limited information. Today, by contrast, data flows to managers in real time from countless sources that could not even be imagined a couple of generations ago, and powerful computers process, organize, and display the data in ways that are as far beyond the hand-drawn graph-paper plots of my youth as modern video games are to tic-tac-toe. In a world where decision makers are so close to being omniscient, it’s easy to see risk as a quaint artifact of a primitive and dangerous past.

The illusion of eliminating uncertainty from corporate decision making is not merely a question of management style or personal preference. In the legal environment that has developed around publicly traded corporations, managers are strongly discouraged from shouldering any risks that they know about—or, in the opinion of some future jury, should have known about—even if they have a hunch that the gamble might pay off in the long run. There is no such thing as “long run” in industries driven by the next quarterly report. The possibility of some innovation making money is just that—a mere possibility that will not have time to materialize before the subpoenas from minority shareholder lawsuits begin to roll in.

Today’s belief in ineluctable certainty is the true innovation killer of our age. In this environment, the best an audacious manager can do is to develop small improvements to existing systems—climbing the hill, as it were, toward a local maximum, trimming fat, eking out the occasional tiny innovation—like city planners painting bicycle lanes on the streets as a gesture toward solving our energy problems. Any strategy that involves crossing a valley—accepting short-term losses to reach a higher hill in the distance—will soon be brought to a halt by the demands of a system that celebrates short-term gains and tolerates stagnation, but condemns anything else as failure. In short, a world where big stuff can never get done.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1365 on: October 03, 2014, 11:25:48 AM »

The New Bureaucratic Brazenness
Official arrogance is the source of public cynicism.
By Peggy Noonan
Oct. 2, 2014 6:22 p.m. ET

We're all used to a certain amount of doublespeak and bureaucratese in government hearings. That's as old as forever. But in the past year of listening to testimony from government officials, there is something different about the boredom and indifference with which government testifiers skirt, dodge and withhold the truth. They don't seem furtive or defensive; they are not in the least afraid. They speak always with a certain carefulness—they are lawyered up—but they have no evident fear of looking evasive. They really don't care what you think of them. They're running the show and if you don't like it, too bad.

And all this is a new bureaucratic style on the national level. During Watergate those hauled in and grilled by Congress were nervous. In Iran-Contra, Olllie North was in turn stoic, defiant and unafraid to make an appeal to the public. But commissioners and department heads now—they really think they're in charge. They don't bother to fake anxiety about public opinion. They care only about personal legal exposure. They do not fear public wrath.

All this became apparent in the past year's IRS hearings, and was pronounced in Tuesday's Secret Service hearings.

Julia Pierson, the director, did not seem at all preoccupied with what you thought of her. She was impassive, generally unresponsive and unforthcoming. She didn't bother to show spirit or fiery commitment. She was the lifeless expression of consultant-guided anti-truth.

No question was answered straight and simple. Everything was convoluted and involved extraneous data, so that listeners couldn't follow the answer and by the end couldn't remember the question. I am certain government witnesses do this deliberately—the rounded words, long sentences that collapse, the bureaucratic drone—so reporters will fall asleep and fail to file. An hour in Tuesday I expected the TV camera to slowly slide toward the ceiling, with the screen covered in a cameraman's drool. "Mistakes were made." "Our security plan was not property executed." Yes, you could say that of a story in which a nut with a knife burst into the White House and ran around the ceremonial rooms. Ms. Pierson neglected to mention in her testimony the story that would break shortly after she finished: Secret Service agents in Atlanta a few weeks before had allowed on to an elevator carrying the president a private security man, who reportedly jumped around taking pictures and was later found to be carrying a gun.

Ms. Pierson resigned after bad reviews of her performance. That's a tragedy in the sense it's tragic she wasn't fired.

But does anybody in the government feel it is necessary to be truthful about anything anymore? Does anyone in the federal government ever think about concepts like "taxpayers" and "citizens" and their "right to know"?

Everything sounds like propaganda. That will happen when government becomes too huge, too present and all-encompassing. Everything almost every level of government says now has the terrible, insincere, lying sound of The Official Line, which no one on the inside, or outside, believes. The other day, during the big Centers for Disease Control news conference on the Dallas Ebola case, a man from one of the health agencies insisted in burly (and somehow self-satisfied) tones that the nation's health is his group's No. 1 priority. And I thought, just like a normal person, "No, your No. 1 priority is to forestall a sense of panic. To do that you'll say what you need to say. Your second priority, connected to the first, is to assert the excellence and competence of the agency with which you are associated. Your third priority is to keep the public safe."

Everyone who spoke was very smooth. "I think 'handful' is the right characterization," said the CDC director to a Wall Street Journal reporter who asked if the sick man had contact with others before he was hospitalized. (That became "up to 100" the next day.) The officials were relentlessly modern-bureaucratic in their language. They have involved all "stakeholders."

Was the sick man an American or a foreign national? "The individual was here to visit family." Oh. The speaker's tone implied he'll tell us more down the road if he decides we can handle it.

What about those who traveled on the same plane as the man, and which flight was it? "Ebola is a virus. It's easy to kill if you wash your hands," said CDC chief Thomas Frieden . You are only infectious once you are sick, not before.

Ebola will not, all agreed, produce a full-fledged American epidemic. "We are stopping it in its tracks in this country," Dr. Frieden said.

That may be true. But nobody thinks it because government doctors and professionals said it. Americans do not have confidence in what The Officials tell them anymore.

This is not only because we live in a cynical age. In this case it's because people know the truth always contains uncomfortable elements, and in the CDC news conference very few uncomfortable elements were allowed.

They say the only thing you have to fear is personal contact, but they shy away from clearly defining personal contact. They suggest it has to do with bodily fluids, so you immediately think of the man sneezing next to you on the train. They do not want to discuss the man sneezing next to you on the train.

They did not want to discuss who the sick man was, his nationality, exactly what flight he came in on. They are good to their global masters! Sorry, just reacting like a normal person. There was a persistent sense the professionals had agreed to be chary with information that might alarm America's peasants and make them violent.

We are locked in some loop where the public figure knows what he must pronounce to achieve his agenda, and the public knows what he must pronounce to achieve his agenda, and we all accept what is being said while at the same time everyone sees right through it. The public figure literally says, "Prepare my talking points," and the public says, "He's just reading talking points." It leaves everyone feeling compromised. Public officials gripe they can't break through the cynicism. They cause the cynicism.

The only people who seem to tell the truth now are the people inside the agencies who become whistleblowers. They call a news organization, get on the phone with a congressman's staff. That's basically how the Veterans Affairs and Secret Service scandals broke: Desperate people who couldn't take the corruption dropped a dime. What does it say about a great nation when its most reliable truth tellers are desperate people?

Sometimes it looks as if everyone in public life is in showbiz, only showbiz with impermeable employee protections. Lois Lerner of IRS fame planted the question, told the lie, took the Fifth, lost the emails and stonewalled. Her punishment for all this was a $100,000-a-year pension for the rest of her life. Imagine how frightened she was. I wonder what the Secret Service head's pension will be?

A nation can't continue to be vibrant and healthy when the government controls more and more, and yet no one trusts a thing the government says. It's hard to keep going that way.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1366 on: October 05, 2014, 03:07:56 PM »



http://time.com/3444749/camille-paglia-the-modern-campus-cannot-comprehend-evil/
Logged
MikeT
Power User
***
Posts: 89


« Reply #1367 on: October 13, 2014, 12:38:29 PM »

Pentagon preps for 'war' on global warming....


http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-hagel-climate-change-20141013-story.html

Ok, why I am posting this here: because this is complete hyperbole and conjecture on my part...  

A couple of months ago, I read about a war game developed by the army for a potential 'zombie apocalypse.'

My first thought was of course, 'hoax'.  But I looked it up and its real. The report itself basically says 'hey, this is just for a lark' in the introduction.  I recall that it was (from memory)  somebody's war college thesis or something.  But, in essence it was a plan for the implementation of martial law in the event of a widespread biological outbreak.  At the time I remember thinkoing:  it doesn't take a rocket scientist to either ask the question:  does the US Army war college really ever do ANYTHING 'on a lark'?, and b) to conclude that it's a pretty easy thing to mentally 'find and and replace' the farcical 'zombie apocalypse' with 'Ebola apocalypse', 'EMP apocalypse', 'economic apocalypse' and etc.  That's the impression I was left with anyway. 

Accordingly, what with everything that's going on in the world right now, when I saw this report today and was like 'really?!!!', I was suddenly struck by the admittedly quite paranoid possibility of asking huh,'what if global warming' (in the context of military preparedness) was just one big straw man?

Seems to me it would draw a lot less attention to say that 'the Pentagon is preparing for this [unlikely] event that most people think won't even happen' than 'the Pentagon is preparing for worldwide destabilization resulting from threat X that people see as being much more likely'.

That, or the idiots really are driving the bus. Presented with this alleged fact (the Pentagon's preparedness for GW), I don't really see other alternatives...?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 12:48:28 PM by MikeT » Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4201


« Reply #1368 on: October 21, 2014, 06:29:03 PM »

Oh really?  (This woman is definitely from Venus.)  Think again.  He will do grave damage to this country for 26 more months.  Then we have Hillary to contend with.  And the rest of the left machine.
We didn't even win midterms yet.  And even if we do we can't stop what he is about to do to us.  Yup.  He screwed this country over good.

***seen on Fox and Friends

President Obama told Al Sharpton's radio show that Democrats who are avoiding him before the midterm elections actually do support his agenda.

“The bottom line though is, these are all folks who vote with me, they have supported my agenda in Congress. ... This isn’t about my feelings being hurt, these are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me,” said Obama, citing agreements with these candidates on issues like the minimum wage, fair pay, infrastructure spending and early childhood education.

"I tell them, I said you know what, you do what you need to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn out."

The comments come after the president said that his policies are on the ballot on Election Day.

Laura Ingraham rejected Obama's comment about his feelings, arguing "it is all about his feelings being hurt."

She said the president can't get over the fact that he's "finished" and that his policies have failed.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4201


« Reply #1369 on: October 21, 2014, 06:45:34 PM »

Again what planet is Ingraham from?  Obama done?  Why, he is just starting.  Who is going to stop him?  A coup of Treasury agents?   The MSM?   Hollywood?  Silicon Valley?  Wall Street?  The hapless and truly helpless Republicans? 

****Obama to Unilaterally Admit 100,000 Haitians Without Congress

By: Daniel Horowitz

October 20th, 2014

While Republicans are playing defense on immigration – curled up in the fetal position waiting for the transformational executive amnesty – Obama is already issuing “smaller” unilateral immigration edicts to the detriment of the country. 

As noted before, Obama has already issued several executive orders expanding immigration or implementing incremental amnesty since Congress left town to hit the campaign trail.  This time, he plans to admit 100,000 more impoverished immigrants from Haiti without input from Congress.

At a time when hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Central America - which has demonstrated public health concerns - that will place additional burden on our already overextended welfare system are being dispersed throughout our country, Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson announced on Friday that they will extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras and Nicaragua.  On the same day, DHS announced that it would expand chain migration from Haiti with the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP), allowing as many as 100,000 more Haitians into the country beginning next year.




Obama is exploiting the generosity of our nation’s citizens and taking it to suicidal levels – all for his personal agenda of remaking America.


This is yet another example of Obama putting the priorities of Americans last by opening our doors to the third-world at a time when we have record legal and illegal immigration from some of these countries.  Obama is exploiting the generosity of our nation’s citizens and taking it to suicidal levels – all for his personal agenda of remaking America. 

Long before the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, we opened our doors to this very poor and uneducated country.  According to the 2013 American Community Survey of the Census Bureau, we have almost 600,000 immigrants from Haiti.  We’ve given out roughly 169,000 green cards to Haitian nationals since 2007, based on a quick glance of the most recent DHS yearbook on immigration.  Remember this is a tiny country with a population just under 10 million. 

Americans have been extremely generous to impoverished countries, particularly those from Latin America.  Americans have always pitched in with charity and adoptions more than any other country in the world.   And yes, we have opened our immigration system to these countries over the past few decades like never before.  Now, Obama is taking that generosity and categorically expanding it across the board so that the remaining relatives of those recipients of our generosity can come here – without any regard for their qualifications.   

Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) clearly states that barring temporary, catastrophic situations, immigrants must be assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they do not become a public charge.


(B) Factors to be taken into account.- (i) In determining whether an alien is excludable under this paragraph, the consular officer or the Attorney General shall at a minimum consider the alien’s-


As we all know, Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than 50% of the population is illiterate. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, Haiti and Honduras are among the countries from which the immigrant population has the lowest rate of entrepreneurship.

They [Republicans] must use all their leverage, including the budget process, during the lame duck session to execute their first duty: protecting Americans first.
Temporary Protective Status and parole were only designed for a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.  Categorically importing the third-world, especially given our current situation, certainly does not constitute a significant public benefit and it definitely is not being done on a case-by-case basis.  Something this consequential must certainly not be done without the input from the American people through their elected representatives.

Contrast the current leadership under Obama and situation with the past. During a speech before a group of newly-arrived immigrants in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge asserted a basic premise supported by both political parties: “As a nation, our first duty must be those who are already our inhabitants, whether native or immigrants.”

Between Obama’s continued unilateral acts breaking our immigration system, his backward policy with the threat of infectious diseases, and his incoherent policy dealing with the threat from Islamic terror, it’s time for House Republicans to reconvene in an emergency session of Congress. They must use all their leverage, including the budget process, during the lame duck session to execute their first duty: protecting Americans first.

Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4201


« Reply #1370 on: October 23, 2014, 10:44:50 AM »

It really is remarkable how as far as I can tell there is no mention of self responsibility or blame of Clinton or Hillary.  Just bash the Drudgereport.  And then turn it around to a politically correct agenda about online bullying...... angry;  Just remarkable.  And the left wingers scoop it right up.

*****Questions surround Lewinsky's return
    
 By Kevin Cirilli - 10/23/14 06:00 AM EDT

Monica Lewinsky is back — and this time she has a cause.

The woman who became a punch line for sexual encounters with Bill Clinton is returning to the spotlight after more than a decade, hoping to become an advocate for ending bullying online.



ADVERTISEMENT

While her speech on the topic in Philadelphia drew a standing ovation, it remains to be seen whether Lewinsky can escape her past — and the politics of being “that woman” — to help end what she calls a “culture of humiliation.”

Vanity Fair, which hired Lewinsky as a contributor, said the response to her first foray into public advocacy has been “very positive.”

"Even [liberal comedian] Bill Maher said, 'I was very moved by it,'" said Vanity Fair spokeswoman Beth Kseniak.

Lewinsky, who declined comment through a representative, said one of the “principal reasons” she decided to break her silence was the 2010 death of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student who committed suicide after intimate pictures of him were posted online to humiliate him and "expose" him as being gay.

"While it touched us both, my mother was unusually upset by the story and I wondered why," Lewinsky said in her speech. "Eventually it dawned on me: she was back in 1998, back to a time when I was periodically suicidal; when she might very easily have lost me; when I, too, might have been humiliated to death."

Lewinsky specifically mentioned The Tyler Clementi Foundation in her speech, providing a boom of publicity for the organization that his parents started.

"We're very appreciative she'd mention our foundation and our work," Clementi's mother Jane said in an interview with The Hill.

Jane Clementi said a "mutual friend" introduced her to Lewinsky after her first Vanity Fair column, and the two discussed her son.

"She shared with us how Tyler's story impacted her and her mom," Clementi said.

Some advocates say they do not want Lewinsky to become the face of the anti-bullying movement.

StopCyberbullying founder Parry Aftab said Lewinsky's involvement would "set back" their efforts.

"I find it a bit insulting to the people who have been cyber bullied to have Monica Lewinsky step out and say she's the poster-child for cyber bullying," said Aftab, whose nonprofit is organized in 76 countries and began in 1995.

Aftab said that Lewinsky's baggage would take attention away from the main issue.

"Look at her interviews — it's all about Monica," Aftab said. "She's setting us back years. She doesn't know what she's talking about."

Aftab argued that Lewinsky wasn't cyber bullied after her affair with Clinton was exposed by the Drudge Report, a conservative website, because she became "a public figure and it was newsworthy."

While StopCyberbullying has sought to appeal to young people by working with MTV, the Spiderman comic book series and celebrities such as Nick Lachey and Victoria Justice, Aftab said the group has no interest in working with Lewinsky.

"One of the housewives from 'Real Housewives of Orange County' came to us the other week — I don't even remember her name," Aftab said. "We said, 'No.' These people just want the publicity."

Forbes editor Randall Lane, who helped organize the Philadelphia event and book Lewinsky’s appearance, disagreed, arguing that Lewinsky has the “ultimate point of view” on cyber bullying from having experienced it “first hand.”

"There's not a single person in this age group — the first generation to grow up with the Internet — that hasn't either been cyber bullied or know someone who has," Lane said. "They innately get what she's talking about."

"Also, she made a mistake in her 20s that will haunt her for the rest of her life — that resonates, too."

The Clementi Foundation says Lewinsky’s advocacy is helping them reinvigorate the national debate on cyber bullying and share Tyler's story.

"Unfortunately, most people only think about Tyler's final hours," Clementi's mother Jane said. "That's sad because that's so not Tyler. He was a sweet, kind, caring, giving and thoughtful person.”

"In a moment of despair, he didn't find the right answer," she said. "This is all outside of my world — it's not what I'm used to, but there's an importance in sharing someone's story and starting a conversation."

But can Lewinsky help?

"I believe that she can," Clementi said. "If Tyler could see the impact he's had — I think it'd be overwhelming and amazing for him."

— This report was updated at 8:37 a.m.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 12:56:39 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1371 on: October 29, 2014, 10:32:59 PM »

Things You Wouldn’t Have Believed About President Obama and the 2014 Election

Think back six years to the day President Obama was elected. Tens of thousands gathered in Grant Park in Chicago. There was cheering in the streets across the country. Commentators were breathless and tearful. The president-elect gave an excellent speech. Most Americans exulted at Hope and Change.

Imagine if someone had told you that night that within six years, the man just elected president would have:

Pivoted from a campaign theme of unity to a habit of insinuating Americans who opposed his policies were racists, sexists, classists, or bigots.

Run one of the most divisive reelection campaigns in recent memory on a theme of class warfare.

Lost the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy to a Republican with health care as the issue.

Driven approval of the Democratic Party to its lowest point in 30 years, with Republicans on the verge of their largest majority in the House in more than half a century.

Allowed western Iraq, then a story of hard-earned recovery, to fall into the hands of a terrorist organization more extreme than Al Qaeda that would declare it had reestablished the caliphate.

Allowed Vladimir Putin to invade and annex a large territory of a major European country.

Done nothing when Russian militants shot down a civilian airliner flying over Europe.

Declared as a "red line" the use of chemical weapons in Syria and then done nothing when it was crossed.

Abandoned several longstanding U.S. allies in the Middle East in favor of Islamist agitators--allowing Egypt, a tourist destination in 2009, to fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and Libya to fall into the hands of terrorists.

Entered negotiations with Iran that did not require Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program.

Caused a humanitarian crisis with a flood of immigrant children on our border, who came here because the President promised not to send them home and declared his intention to grant amnesty by executive order.

Told the American people a Soviet-style lie about this crisis, saying the children on the border suddenly came to the U.S. because of violence which had been going on in Central America for years (a lie which the media accepted with barely a comment).

Signed a law reorganizing the country's health care system despite the fact that neither he nor a single person who voted for it had read it.

Passed his health care law supposedly to achieve universal coverage, only to have roughly as many people uninsured 5 years later.

Caused millions of Americans to have their health insurance plans canceled, after promising repeatedly they could keep them.

Caused premiums to increase by 100% in Delaware, 90% in New Hampshire, 54% in Indiana, 53% in California -- the list goes on.
Spent $2 billion on a health care website that became a national embarrassment.

Assured Americans Ebola would not spread to the United States, weeks before it did.

Insisted all employers provide free contraception to their employees, even over their religious objections.

Won the Nobel Peace Prize while waging two wars and killing hundreds of civilians a year with drones.

Allowed the U.S. to spend four years (and counting) without the capability to send its astronauts into space, forcing us to rely on Putin’s Russia for access to space.
Characterized supporting a traditional definition of marriage (as he did when he was elected) as divisive and discriminatory.

Spent weeks misleadingly characterizing a premeditated terrorist attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya as a spontaneous protest, apparently for political reasons.

Brushed off extensive evidence that senior IRS officials targeted his political opponents, calling it the work of "two dilberts in Cincinnati" which involved "not a smidgen of corruption."

Overseen an IRS that mysteriously lost the hard drives and backups of up to 20 IRS employees at the center of the targeting scandal.

Tolerated damaging national security leaks that cast him in a favorable light.

Placed a respected Fox News reporter under criminal investigation for his story about North Korean nuclear tests.

Employed for years an Attorney General who was held in contempt of Congress for refusing turn over evidence about his knowledge of a program that resulted in the death of a
border patrol agent, and who lied under oath about the DOJ snooping on phone records of AP reporters.

If someone had looked into a crystal ball and made any one of these predictions in isolation, you probably would not have believed it. If you had been read the entire list, you would have concluded that President Obama turned out to be the exact opposite of what Candidate Obama promised--and you would have understood why Democrats would be in such a precarious position heading into election day 2014.

Your Friend,
Newt
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 6094


« Reply #1372 on: October 30, 2014, 10:11:23 AM »

That is quite a post by Newt from Crafty.  Really it's sad that it's so easy to find fault with this President.  I failed to comprehend then or now what voters saw in him.  I think we nailed it here on the forum, that he was (intentionally) a blank slate where the voter could imagine him as their own wish list.  He was against gay marriage but those with that interest knew that he was not against it, just needed to say that to get elected.  He was for getting past racial divisions but he would still exploit them enough to win and advance an agenda.  He was against war but presumed to be smart enough to not let the world go to hell.  Whoops.  He opposed and dismantled all the precepts of growth economics but people believed the economy would magically grow anyway.  It didn't.

What should come out of this is that we learn from and focus on the failure of these policies rather than of the failures of this one man who is leaving office anyway.

We could learn (again) that peace comes through strength and deterrence, not through wishful thinking.  Economic growth comes from a foundation of economic policies that support growth, not from one that attacks vital components of the economy like energy and investment.  We get past racial divisions by adopting racial blindness, where we look past color into character *Who said that?), not from expecting people to vote for you because of color.  We get the best healthcare when we have a say in our own choices and decisions, not decries from far away bureaucracies.  
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 10:50:58 AM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4201


« Reply #1373 on: October 30, 2014, 10:30:48 AM »

"What needs to come out of this is that we learn more from the failure of the policies than the failures of this man"

Well said and in my opinion the key challenge confronting those of us on the right.  The left will NEVER admit to failure of policy.  They will only make excuses and blame the messenger or his political adversaries as being this diabolical evil entity that fights back their glorious agenda.  That is their self identity.  Their narcissism.  They believe in  a perfect fair and equitable world.  Just believing this and voting for party the deceptively pretends to champion this they think they are better, smarter, more righteous than the rest of us.  It absolves them of all sins.  They are GOOD.  We are EVIL.  They are the Democrats.  The Schultz's  (from my other post).

Like liberal aunt asks me when I explain why I am a Conservative, "what about the poor".   My response is why cannot the poor take care of themselves.  Who is stopping them?
She looked at me with an aghast look as though I am heartless.  I said your answer to everything is more government more tax.  Why is it my job to support those who make it a lifetime of being poor despite many programs already in place to help them?

No answer.  Just left with the her thoughts that she is for the poor and I am heartless.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 6094


« Reply #1374 on: October 30, 2014, 10:54:13 AM »

Like liberal aunt asks me when I explain why I am a Conservative, "what about the poor".   My response is why cannot the poor take care of themselves.  Who is stopping them?
She looked at me with an aghast look as though I am heartless.  I said your answer to everything is more government more tax.  Why is it my job to support those who make it a lifetime of being poor despite many programs already in place to help them?

No answer.  Just left with the her thoughts that she is for the poor and I am heartless.

She asks a great and serious question.  We need to answer it better. 
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4201


« Reply #1375 on: October 30, 2014, 11:40:17 AM »

Doug,

You and I both know that overall trickle down will work better than trickle up.  Yet the widened gap between rich and poor does give the enemy ammo that enriching bankers while everyone in the middle stagnates and those at the bottom do worse as a counterargument.

I still think the right has to do better with the concept of leveling the playing field.

As one who is a big victim of those without scruples and with access to influence and money I know full well how hard work and talent can be thwarted and robbed.

That said one idea the concept of leveling taxes to a falt rate.  I prefer one rate for everyone without deductions including all economic rungs.  Since the left will seize upon this to say this hurts the poor the most I would be willing to compromise for two rates.  Not a zero one but a lower and a higher one.

Republicans can do more to reach out to minorities and promoting them to positions of political power within our party (as obviously they are doing).

Would a minority rather be a member that promotes the welfare state or a member that promotes everyone has chances and opportunity to share in the American Dream.

Of course these are only a sampling of ideas (surely not new).

It would be highly ironic if the first Black President germinated the first real minority movement away from the Democrat party.  That is from within the urban areas and not just religious minorities.

In '08 Obama stated the way we were was not working.  Instead many are (finally) waking up to the fact this his way is the old way and already proven wrong.
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 6094


« Reply #1376 on: October 30, 2014, 01:49:59 PM »

"Doug, You and I both know that overall trickle down will work better than trickle up. "

   -  ccp, Trickle down was a misnomer.  We didn't give money to the rich hoping they would spread it around and some might get to the poor and middle class, as alleged.  We sometimes allowed people (including the rich) to keep part of what the earned, because it is the right thing to do.  Yes, producers tend to invest, grow businesses, build factories, hire people etc. and that is good too.

"Yet the widened gap between rich and poor does give the enemy ammo that enriching bankers while everyone in the middle stagnates and those at the bottom do worse as a counterargument."

    - Income inequality got worse under liberal-progressive policies.  We need to promise to do what is right and articulate it MUCH better.

"I still think the right has to do better with the concept of leveling the playing field."

    - Agree.  Social spending should be aimed at helping those who can lift themselves up and out of the need for assistance.  Not mentioned in your response to your liberal aunt, we DO support a good safety net for those truly in need.  It should be part government, part charity and it will be much better funded in the long run if we have a healthy, prosperous economy than it is in a sinking ship.

"As one who is a big victim of those without scruples and with access to influence and money I know full well how hard work and talent can be thwarted and robbed."

    - These crimes and so many others are already against the law.   Setting up a system where less influence is peddled is a start and enforcing laws already on the books is a must.  Rand Paul sends the opposite message when he says, let people out who committed only non-violent crimes.  Maybe some financial crimes could be paid back with something like three-fold damages instead of time served, but as you suggest, the perception of tolerance for white collar BS is part of our political problem, even while it seems to be Dems committing most of it.

"That said one idea the concept of leveling taxes to a flat rate.  I prefer one rate for everyone without deductions including all economic rungs.  Since the left will seize upon this to say this hurts the poor the most I would be willing to compromise for two rates.  Not a zero one but a lower and a higher one."

    - Agree!  There should be a minimum and a maximum tax rate based on efficiency and moral principles, and the only deductions should be the expenses incurred generating the income.  Tax capital gain same as ordinary income, but allow a subtraction for the inflationary component of the income at the same CPI adjustment rate that we use for social security.  Move corporate tax rates down from highest in the world to within the lower one-third of OECD countries, our economic competitors, and let companies operate where they want around the world.

"Republicans can do more to reach out to minorities and promoting them to positions of political power within our party (as obviously they are doing)."

    - Yes!  Reach out by treating them like people, not interest groups.
...
"It would be highly ironic if the first Black President germinated the first real minority movement away from the Democrat party.  That is from within the urban areas and not just religious minorities. "

    - That would be the logical reaction to what we learned from the effects of these policies.  They might also be tired of the pandering, pressuring, guilting, etc. in exchange for nothing but being stuck in bad place.

"In '08 Obama stated the way we were was not working.  Instead many are (finally) waking up to the fact this his way is the old way and already proven wrong."
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12130


« Reply #1377 on: October 30, 2014, 04:38:13 PM »

"What needs to come out of this is that we learn more from the failure of the policies than the failures of this man"

Well said and in my opinion the key challenge confronting those of us on the right.  The left will NEVER admit to failure of policy.  They will only make excuses and blame the messenger or his political adversaries as being this diabolical evil entity that fights back their glorious agenda.  That is their self identity.  Their narcissism.  They believe in  a perfect fair and equitable world.  Just believing this and voting for party the deceptively pretends to champion this they think they are better, smarter, more righteous than the rest of us.  It absolves them of all sins.  They are GOOD.  We are EVIL.  They are the Democrats.  The Schultz's  (from my other post).

Like liberal aunt asks me when I explain why I am a Conservative, "what about the poor".   My response is why cannot the poor take care of themselves.  Who is stopping them?
She looked at me with an aghast look as though I am heartless.  I said your answer to everything is more government more tax.  Why is it my job to support those who make it a lifetime of being poor despite many programs already in place to help them?

No answer.  Just left with the her thoughts that she is for the poor and I am heartless.

Capitalism is the greatest mechanism ever invented to raise people out of poverty.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1378 on: October 30, 2014, 09:19:19 PM »

 
Live and let live, but in fear.
by Pointman

This article is about terrorism, more specifically terrorism and its impact on the people and democracies of the developed world. It's time for some direct talking, not to the terrorists because they're beyond reason, but to the ordinary person who is their target.

I've heard on more than one occasion that the reason a few hundred thousand Britons could rule over the huge population of India in the heyday of the British Empire, was that they never interfered with the local culture or religion, and indeed even went native themselves in subtle ways.

That's a fundamentally erroneous idea springing from a basic ignorance of historical fact and reinforced by the residual feel-good attitudes of that failed experiment we called multiculturalism. If they found a local practice repugnant according to their own moral code, they outlawed it and simply hung or imprisoned anyone who persisted in doing it.
For example, the practice of Suttee involved the voluntary or sometimes involuntary burning of widows atop their husband's funeral pyre. They outlawed it. Another example would be them annihilating the Thuggee sect, who believed the people they strangled were sacrifices to placate the death goddess Kali. Anybody who aided or abetted those activities risked the hangman's noose, and that's why both the practise of Suttee and the cult of the Thuggees died out in India.

So, if you're the boss of the country and some small section of people in it are indulging in a practise you find deeply offensive, you have the right to forbid them from doing it and punish them if they persist. Stating that in an unvarnished way, it's your country and they do as you tell them or they suffer or get out of it. That's always been the rule, despite what some deluded people might have come to think in recent decades.

There are some stark realities in the coming years that various parties are going to have to face up to whether they like it or not, because as always, times change and you have to respond realistically to those new circumstances or accept being at the mercy of them.

The first one is we have to concede that the western attitude of live and let live without interfering in the lives of minorities is no longer viable when a terrorism threat is originating from that area and killing ordinary people. If ruling liberal elites continue to act as if there's no problem and consequently hamstring efforts by the police and security services to go after it and root it out, then after enough deaths they'll be forced to take the more draconian action demanded by their frightened electorates.

There is somehow an implicit assumption that terrorism only poses a threat to America, it's their problem and everyone else can relax. Don't kid yourself, whatever country you live in, no matter how enlightened you feel it is, you're under threat too; it's just a matter of time. After 9/11 in New York, 7/7 in London, the Madrid bombings and most recently the tragic murders in Canada, attitudes had to change. On every one of those occasions, people were genuinely shocked that it could be happening in their country, and was even being done by born and bred nationals of those countries.

What compounded the shock was that the then fashionable idea of multiculturalism had engendered the idea that being part of a minority made one good and above criticism. If you dared to disapprove of any aspect of their culture, you were automatically howled down as a bigot or even worse, a racist. Knowing they could operate under this cloak of virtual invulnerability, extremist sections within these communities relied on it to radicalise, recruit and train followers to carry out acts of terrorism. They did exactly that and we're now looking at the results of it; an enemy within.

Even the criminal element within those communities used this get out of jail free card to their advantage. For instance, the recent conviction of a large gang of Asian men in the UK who'd been sex trafficking white girls and boys for over a decade, did so with the police and social services turning a blind eye because they feared the race card would be played if they intervened. There was a different law being applied or not, dependent on nothing more than a person's colour or ethnicity. It was the children who suffered.
To quote Angela Merkel, multiculturalism failed "utterly" but the effects of that failure live on. The Chairman of the UK Commission for Racial Equality, said that the end result of multiculturalism was ghettoisation. I'd agree with that assessment though perhaps by a different line of reasoning outlined in a previous article. The attitude of live and let live combined with the natural opacity of what's going on in a ghetto, allowed the threat to grow unseen until it was far too late.

Even when the murderous threat materialised, certain sections of the liberal intelligentsia and media, after a suitable silence of a week or two, had the temerity to voice the opinion that in reality it was somehow all our fault for being oppressors of some or other minority. That's coming at you Canada. It's not just that they're divorced from reality of common opinion, but that they just cannot let go of that idea that being any sort of minority automatically makes you better than one of the local natives, whom to be frank they despise anyway.

That sort of attitude, while of course permissible in a democracy, plays into the hands of terrorists because terrorism does work on occasion, despite what we like to think. For instance, Spain in the immediate aftermath of the Madrid bombings withdrew what few troops it had deployed in the gulf. The intimidation worked and Spain by giving in to it, has put their citizens even further into harm's way. If some gang of terrorists wants to change Spanish government policy, just explode a few more bombs there. That's why we should never give in to terrorism, because in essence it's a transfer of power from an elected government to a few murderous thugs.

Terrorism combined with the residual delusions of multiculturalism even works to inhibit or suppress pointed comment in various forums. One of the strongest weapons we have against totalitarianism and extremism is to point out its inconsistencies using humour, and yet I've never heard a stand up comedian having a go at radical Islam. They're happy to constantly denigrate Christianity or Judaism because they're safe targets, but stay well away from the Muslims or they might suffer the death threats of that cartoonist in Denmark. There is an urban legend of an Aussie comedian who has a go but if so, he seems to be unique. If you feel too scared to laugh at them, then that's a big win for the terrorists.

There are equally pressing issues thrown up by terrorism for people who are members of minority communities who rightly or wrongly are being associated with their atrocities.
The major one is that the religion of Islam has been hijacked by the terrorists who use an obscene interpretation of it as justification for their outrages. For better or worse, people now talk about Muslim terrorists not extreme Muslim terrorists. Living in an environment of distrust and fear of any minority generates a simple view of the world, uncomplicated by such nice distinctions. Perception trumps fact every time and the only way of changing that perception is to demonstrate what a marginal influence extremists have in your communities.

A measured denunciation by some obscure imam in the wake of the latest mass atrocity just isn't making the grade. It merely reinforces the paranoid idea that the terrorists are just some deniable military arm advancing some hidden agenda of your community. That's neither fair nor true but that's the perception. You have to start actively preaching out against these people, rooting them out of positions of influence and yes, rendering to the police and security services all the help they need to combat such elements who injure us all. A bomb on a crowded bus or railway carriage doesn't stop to consider the religious persuasion of the passengers, whether Muslim or not.

Terrorism has changed the world for you too. Instead of the majority needing to be ultra sensitive to your cultural needs, the position has been reversed and you now have to be sensitive to their needs, because their attitudes and tolerance towards minorities have worn pretty thin. Things like lobbying hard to get a mosque built right next to the Twin Towers site was the worst sort of insult to the memory of two thousand slaughtered innocents, no matter what religious sophistry was being used to justify it.

To the terrorists, I'd say you've had all your cheap hits. Things are tougher for you now. The assumption that the apparently lax attitudes of democracies meant we were weak and a pushover will yet again prove to be baseless. We're not only on guard against you but we've got good men actively hunting you. You'd be surprised at how ruthless we can be to defend our freedoms, so you better be prepared to be dragged out of some hole for nothing better than a bullet between your eyes. If that means we're prepared to trade down an element of our personal freedom, so be it.

We all lost something in the fire.

On the day the planes hit the twin towers, a younger brother of mine was a lecturer in socialist economics. He stood and watched in the campus of a university in central London rich fee-paying Arabic students of his dancing around in joy of what was happening. That not only showed him how much he didn't really know what was their mindset but killed forever the unconditional live and let live ethos of his liberal politics which had always divided us.

On the day the planes hit the twin towers, I was managing a team at Canary Wharf, the financial centre of London. There was a rumour that a London bound plane nobody could get in touch with was heading in our direction. The top management were patently doing nothing more than denial and displacement activity with their thumb up their arse and in the meantime everyone should stand by their desk and await further orders, so I told my crew to go home. That's the duty of care. Nobody moved so for the first time ever I ordered them to just get the fuck out of there in a loud enough voice for other people to hear. They moved. What the rest did, I don't know.

When I was sure they'd all gone, I retired to a local bar and watched helplessly the tragedy unfold on television. I was joined by a friend who'd also told his team to go home but who also couldn't leave the vicinity because helping hands might just be needed if it all came down. He asked me what I was thinking and in an unguarded moment of anger I spoke what was on my mind. Three things. I told him it was a massive intelligence failure, a brilliant operation from their perspective and we'd kill their arse for doing it. All three were true.

Take a look at the picture heading up this piece. Take a really hard look. There's five men carrying another injured one in a chair because there's nothing like a stretcher available. They're getting him to safety. In the ordinary way of things, it should only take two or three at most to carry that weight but they're working in an atmosphere of choking cement dust which makes breathing almost impossible. None of them are looking to each other for support because each one of them is fighting their own individual battle against their own clogged lungs to get that injured man out of there.

I don't know whether the man they were carrying made it or not, and I do hope he did, but what I'm damn sure of is that every one of those men who got him to safety turned around and went straight back into that hell to save anyone else who'd survived the attack.

They're exactly why I know we're going to beat the terrorists.
©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:
Why Multiculturalism failed.
The times they are a changing and a righteous kill.
Click for a list of other articles.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1379 on: November 04, 2014, 10:40:08 AM »

http://www.dennisprager.com/lefts-tactics-personal-example/
Logged
objectivist1
Power User
***
Posts: 598


« Reply #1380 on: November 06, 2014, 06:01:37 AM »

The Democratic Party’s Civil War Is Here

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On November 6, 2014 @ frontpagemag.com

There are really two Democratic parties.

One is the old corrupt party of thieves and crooks. Its politicians, black and white, are the products of political machines. They believe in absolutely nothing. They can go from being Dixiecrats to crying racism, from running on family values to pushing gay marriage and the War on Women.

They will say absolutely anything to get elected.

Cunning, but not bright, they are able campaigners. Reformers underestimate them at their own peril because they are determined to win at all costs.

The other Democratic Party is progressive. Its members are radical leftists working within the system. They are natural technocrats and their agendas are full of big projects. They function as community organizers, radicalizing and transforming neighborhoods, cities, states and even the country.

They want to win, but it’s a subset of their bigger agenda. Their goal is to transform the country. If they can do that by winning elections, they’ll win them. But if they can’t, they’ll still follow their agenda.

Sometimes the two Democratic parties blend together really well. Bill Clinton combined the good ol’ boy corruption and radical leftist politics of both parties into one package. The secret to his success was that he understood that most Democrats, voters or politicians, didn’t care about his politics, they wanted more practical things. He made sure that his leftist radicalism played second fiddle to their corruption.

Bill Clinton convinced old Dems that he was their man first. Obama stopped pretending to be anything but a hard core progressive.

The 2014 election was a collision course between the two Democratic parties. The aides and staffers spilling dirt into the pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post and Politico reveal that the crackup had been coming for some time now. Now the two Democratic parties are coming apart.

Reid is blaming Obama. The White House is blaming Reid. This isn’t just a showdown between two arrogant men. It’s a battle between two ideas of what the Democratic Party should be.

Senate Dems chose to back away from Obama to appeal to Middle America. Obama wanted to double down on his 2012 strategy of energizing the base at the expense of moderate voters. Reid and his gang are complaining that Obama didn’t back away far enough from them. Instead he reminded voters in the final stretch that the senators were there to pass his agenda. Obama’s people are dismissing them as cowards for not taking him to battleground states and running on positions even further to the left.

Reid’s people think that Obama deliberately tied them to him and that’s probably true. It’s not just about Obama’s ego. His campaigns and his time in office were meant to showcase the progressive position that the only way to win was from the left. Obama and his people would rather radicalize the Democratic Party and lose, than moderate their positions and stand a chance of winning.

The left isn’t interested in being a political flirtation. It nukes any attempt at centrism to send the message that its allies will not be allowed any other alternative except to live or die by its agenda.

Obama deliberately sabotaged Reid’s campaign plans, as Reid’s chief of staff discussed, because that strategy involved disavowing Obama and his legacy. In the time honored tradition of the radical left, Obama would rather have a Republican senate than a Democratic senate won by going to the center.

Republicans benefited from a Democratic civil war. They were running a traditional campaign against a more traditional part of the Democratic Party. They didn’t really beat the left. They beat the old Dems.

The old Dems were crippled by the progressive agenda. They were pretending to be moderates while ObamaCare, illegal alien amnesty and gay marriage were looking over their shoulders. They married Obama and it was too late for them to get a divorce. And it doesn’t look any better down the road.

The Clintons became the public face of the Democrats, but instead of turning things around, they presided over a series of defeats. Bill Clinton couldn’t even save Mark Pryor in Arkansas. Not only that, he had to watch Republicans take every congressional seat in Arkansas and the governor’s mansion.

Bill had wanted Hillary to play Sarah Palin, turning her into a kingmaker and building on a narrative of female empowerment by having her back female senators. Instead Kay Hagan, Michelle Nunn, Alison Lundergan Grimes and Amanda Curtis lost. Not only did Hillary Clinton fail to deliver, but the War on Women narrative was turned inside out by the rise of Joni Ernst.

Ernst’s emergence as the definitive new senator of the election killed any chance that Democrats had of spinning the election results as sexist; even if Harkin’s Taylor Swift crack hadn’t done that on its own.

The Dems had gambled that the War on Women could offset Obama’s unpopularity, but voters were more concerned about the economy than the culture war. Not only novelty candidates like Wendy Davis, but incumbents like Mark Udall, tried for what they thought was a winning strategy. But the War on Women wasn’t a strategy, it was a fake talking point that their own consultants had forgotten to tell them was disinformation that they had created to seed the media and spread fear among Republicans.

Romney had won white women in every age group. Increased turnout by minority women had skewed the numbers, but those numbers reflected racial solidarity, not a gender gap. Progressives had not bothered to tell their old Dem cousins what they were doing. The Senate Dems marched into political oblivion by adopting the Wendy Davis platform to the bafflement and ridicule of female voters.

The War on Women meme was greeted with laughter in New York and Colorado. Senator Udall was dubbed Mark Uterus by his own supporters and performed worse with female voters than in 2008. Meanwhile in Iowa, Joni Ernst had split the female vote which Harkin had won by 64 percent in 2008.

Not only did Hillary Clinton do more damage to her brand by failing to deliver white and women voters, but the Democratic Party is stunned, confused and divided. And the damage is self-inflicted.

The Clintons thought that they could reunite a splintering Democratic Party by taking on a Republican midterm election wave. Obama sabotaged Reid to keep the Democratic Party leaning to the left. Reid is now attacking Obama openly in a way that would have been inconceivable a year ago. Obama’s people are returning the favor by going after Reid and Schumer. The war of the two parties has begun.

The old Dems have no ideas and no agenda. The progressives want to get as much of their agenda done even if it’s by executive order and even if it makes them even more unpopular than they are now. The old Dems have realized that they are the ones who will pay a political price for progressive radicalism.

And waiting in the wings is the 2016 election.

Obama has made it clear that he is willing to nuke his own party to get amnesty done. But for the first time his party seems less than eager to sacrifice its short term greed for the agendas of the left. And the only man who could tie the two wings together has emerged weakened from the Battle of Arkansas.

Amnesty promises radical demographic change, but red state Dems want to protect their positions today. They aren’t doing it for the ideology. They want to stay in office. The mutual backstabbing ended in disaster for the Democrats and there’s no reason to think that the backstabbing is going to stop.

Obama won’t just have to fight Republicans for the next two years. He’ll also have to fight Democrats.
Logged

"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4201


« Reply #1381 on: November 06, 2014, 08:05:22 AM »

"Obama won’t just have to fight Republicans for the next two years. He’ll also have to fight Democrats."

The right's analogy to this could be the Tea Party vs the  Republican McConnell/Bush crowd.

Maybe like a Marc Levin vs a Jeb Bush or a Boehner.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1382 on: November 10, 2014, 11:00:38 AM »



https://www.billwhittle.com/speaking/david-horowitz-freedom-center-palm-beach-fl
Logged
Body-by-Guinness
Power User
***
Posts: 2792


« Reply #1383 on: November 13, 2014, 02:28:31 PM »

Why Innocent People Plead Guilty
Jed S. Rakoff
NOVEMBER 20, 2014 ISSUE

The criminal justice system in the United States today bears little relationship to what the Founding Fathers contemplated, what the movies and television portray, or what the average American believes.

To the Founding Fathers, the critical element in the system was the jury trial, which served not only as a truth-seeking mechanism and a means of achieving fairness, but also as a shield against tyranny. As Thomas Jefferson famously said, “I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

The Sixth Amendment guarantees that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.” The Constitution further guarantees that at the trial, the accused will have the assistance of counsel, who can confront and cross-examine his accusers and present evidence on the accused’s behalf. He may be convicted only if an impartial jury of his peers is unanimously of the view that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and so states, publicly, in its verdict.

The drama inherent in these guarantees is regularly portrayed in movies and television programs as an open battle played out in public before a judge and jury. But this is all a mirage. In actuality, our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone.

In 2013, while 8 percent of all federal criminal charges were dismissed (either because of a mistake in fact or law or because the defendant had decided to cooperate), more than 97 percent of the remainder were resolved through plea bargains, and fewer than 3 percent went to trial. The plea bargains largely determined the sentences imposed.

While corresponding statistics for the fifty states combined are not available, it is a rare state where plea bargains do not similarly account for the resolution of at least 95 percent of the felony cases that are not dismissed; and again, the plea bargains usually determine the sentences, sometimes as a matter of law and otherwise as a matter of practice. Furthermore, in both the state and federal systems, the power to determine the terms of the plea bargain is, as a practical matter, lodged largely in the prosecutor, with the defense counsel having little say and the judge even less.

It was not always so. Until roughly the end of the Civil War, plea bargains were exceedingly rare. A criminal defendant would either go to trial or confess and plead guilty. If the defendant was convicted, the judge would have wide discretion to impose sentence; and that decision, made with little input from the parties, was subject only to the most modest appellate review.

After the Civil War, this began to change, chiefly because, as a result of the disruptions and dislocations that followed the war, as well as greatly increased immigration, crime rates rose considerably, and a way had to be found to dispose of cases without imposing an impossible burden on the criminal justice system. Plea bargains offered a way out: by pleading guilty to lesser charges in return for dismissal of the more serious charges, defendants could reduce their prison time, while the prosecution could resolve the case without burdening the system with more trials.

The practice of plea bargaining never really took hold in most other countries, where it was viewed as a kind of “devil’s pact” that allowed guilty defendants to avoid the full force of the law. But in the United States it became commonplace. And while the Supreme Court initially expressed reservations about the system of plea bargaining, eventually the Court came to approve of it, as an exercise in contractual negotiation between independent agents (the prosecutor and the defense counsel) that was helpful in making the system work. Similarly, academics, though somewhat bothered by the reduced role of judges, came to approve of plea bargaining as a system somewhat akin to a regulatory regime.

Thus, plea bargains came to account, in the years immediately following World War II, for the resolution of over 80 percent of all criminal cases. But even then, perhaps, there were enough cases still going to trial, and enough power remaining with defense counsel and with judges, to “keep the system honest.” By this I mean that a genuinely innocent defendant could still choose to go to trial without fearing that she might thereby subject herself to an extremely long prison term effectively dictated by the prosecutor.

All this changed in the 1970s and 1980s, and once again it was in reaction to rising crime rates. While the 1950s were a period of relatively low crime rates in the US, rates began to rise substantially in the 1960s, and by 1980 or so, serious crime in the US, much of it drug-related, was occurring at a frequency not seen for many decades. As a result, state and federal legislatures hugely increased the penalties for criminal violations. In New York, for example, the so-called “Rockefeller Laws,” enacted in 1973, dictated a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years’ imprisonment for selling just two ounces (or possessing four ounces) of heroin, cocaine, or marijuana. In addition, in response to what was perceived as a tendency of too many judges to impose too lenient sentences, the new, enhanced sentences were frequently made mandatory and, in those thirty-seven states where judges were elected, many “soft” judges were defeated and “tough on crime” judges elected in their place.

At the federal level, Congress imposed mandatory minimum sentences for narcotics offenses, gun offenses, child pornography offenses, and much else besides. Sometimes, moreover, these mandatory sentences were required to be imposed consecutively. For example, federal law prescribes a mandatory minimum of ten years’ imprisonment, and a maximum of life imprisonment, for participating in a conspiracy that distributes five kilograms or more of cocaine. But if the use of a weapon is involved in the conspiracy, the defendant, even if she had a low-level role in the conspiracy, must be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of fifteen years’ imprisonment, i.e., ten years on the drug count and five years on the weapons count. And if two weapons are involved, the mandatory minimum rises to forty years, i.e., ten years on the drug count, five years on the first weapons count, and twenty-five years on the second weapons count—all of these sentences being mandatory, with the judge having no power to reduce them.

In addition to mandatory minimums, Congress in 1984 introduced—with bipartisan support—a regime of mandatory sentencing guidelines designed to avoid “irrational” sentencing disparities. Since these guidelines were not as draconian as the mandatory minimum sentences, and since they left judges with some limited discretion, it was not perceived at first how, perhaps even more than mandatory minimums, such a guidelines regime (which was enacted in many states as well) transferred power over sentencing away from judges and into the hands of prosecutors.

One thing that did become quickly apparent, however, was that these guidelines, along with mandatory minimums, were causing the virtual extinction of jury trials in federal criminal cases. Thus, whereas in 1980, 19 percent of all federal defendants went to trial, by 2000 the number had decreased to less than 6 percent and by 2010 to less than 3 percent, where it has remained ever since.

The reason for this is that the guidelines, like the mandatory minimums, provide prosecutors with weapons to bludgeon defendants into effectively coerced plea bargains. In the majority of criminal cases, a defense lawyer only meets her client when or shortly after the client is arrested, so that, at the outset, she is at a considerable informational disadvantage to the prosecutor. If, as is very often the case (despite the constitutional prohibition of “excessive bail”), bail is set so high that the client is detained, the defense lawyer has only modest opportunities, within the limited visiting hours and other arduous restrictions imposed by most jails, to interview her client and find out his version of the facts.

The prosecutor, by contrast, will typically have a full police report, complete with witness interviews and other evidence, shortly followed by grand jury testimony, forensic test reports, and follow-up investigations. While much of this may be one-sided and inaccurate—the National Academy of Science’s recently released report on the unreliability of eyewitness identification well illustrates the danger—it not only gives the prosecutor a huge advantage over the defense counsel but also makes the prosecutor confident, maybe overconfident, of the strength of his case.

Against this background, the information-deprived defense lawyer, typically within a few days after the arrest, meets with the overconfident prosecutor, who makes clear that, unless the case can be promptly resolved by a plea bargain, he intends to charge the defendant with the most severe offenses he can prove. Indeed, until late last year, federal prosecutors were under orders from a series of attorney generals to charge the defendant with the most serious charges that could be proved—unless, of course, the defendant was willing to enter into a plea bargain. If, however, the defendant wants to plead guilty, the prosecutor will offer him a considerably reduced charge—but only if the plea is agreed to promptly (thus saving the prosecutor valuable resources). Otherwise, he will charge the maximum, and, while he will not close the door to any later plea bargain, it will be to a higher-level offense than the one offered at the outset of the case.

In this typical situation, the prosecutor has all the advantages. He knows a lot about the case (and, as noted, probably feels more confident about it than he should, since he has only heard from one side), whereas the defense lawyer knows very little. Furthermore, the prosecutor controls the decision to charge the defendant with a crime. Indeed, the law of every US jurisdiction leaves this to the prosecutor’s unfettered discretion; and both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer know that the grand jury, which typically will hear from one side only, is highly likely to approve any charge the prosecutor recommends.

But what really puts the prosecutor in the driver’s seat is the fact that he—because of mandatory minimums, sentencing guidelines (which, though no longer mandatory in the federal system, are still widely followed by most judges), and simply his ability to shape whatever charges are brought—can effectively dictate the sentence by how he publicly describes the offense. For example, the prosecutor can agree with the defense counsel in a federal narcotics case that, if there is a plea bargain, the defendant will only have to plead guilty to the personal sale of a few ounces of heroin, which carries no mandatory minimum and a guidelines range of less than two years; but if the defendant does not plead guilty, he will be charged with the drug conspiracy of which his sale was a small part, a conspiracy involving many kilograms of heroin, which could mean a ten-year mandatory minimum and a guidelines range of twenty years or more. Put another way, it is the prosecutor, not the judge, who effectively exercises the sentencing power, albeit cloaked as a charging decision.

rakoff_2-112014.jpg
Brittany Murray/Long Beach Press-Telegram/AP Images
Brian Banks and his lawyer from the Innocence Project at the dismissal of his wrongful conviction on rape and kidnapping charges, Long Beach, California, May 2012. Banks, who had been a high school football star with a scholarship to USC at the time of his arrest, served five years in prison for a crime he never committed after accepting a plea bargain under the advisement of his original lawyer.
The defense lawyer understands this fully, and so she recognizes that the best outcome for her client is likely to be an early plea bargain, while the prosecutor is still willing to accept a plea to a relatively low-level offense. Indeed, in 2012, the average sentence for federal narcotics defendants who entered into any kind of plea bargain was five years and four months, while the average sentence for defendants who went to trial was sixteen years.

Although under pressure to agree to the first plea bargain offered, prudent defense counsel will try to convince the prosecutor to give her some time to explore legal and factual defenses; but the prosecutor, often overworked and understaffed, may not agree. Defense counsel, moreover, is in no position to abruptly refuse the prosecutor’s proposal, since, under recent Supreme Court decisions, she will face a claim of “ineffective assistance of counsel” if, without consulting her client, she summarily rejects a plea bargain simply as a negotiating ploy.

Defense counsel also recognizes that, even if she thinks the plea bargain being offered is unfair compared to those offered by other, similarly situated prosecutors, she has little or no recourse. An appeal to the prosecutor’s superior will rarely succeed, since the superiors feel the need to support their troops and since, once again, the prosecutor can shape the facts so as to make his superior find his proposed plea acceptable. And there is no way defense counsel can appeal to a neutral third party, the judge, since in all but a few jurisdictions, the judiciary is precluded from participating in plea bargain negotiations. In a word, she and her client are stuck.

Though there are many variations on this theme, they all prove the same basic point: the prosecutor has all the power. The Supreme Court’s suggestion that a plea bargain is a fair and voluntary contractual arrangement between two relatively equal parties is a total myth: it is much more like a “contract of adhesion” in which one party can effectively force its will on the other party.

As for the suggestion from some academics that this is the equivalent of a regulatory process, that too is a myth: for, quite aside from the imbalance of power, there are no written regulations controlling the prosecutor’s exercise of his charging power and no established or meaningful process for appealing his exercise of that power. The result is that, of the 2.2 million Americans now in prison—an appalling number in its own right—well over two million are there as a result of plea bargains dictated by the government’s prosecutors, who effectively dictate the sentences as well.

A cynic might ask: What’s wrong with that? After all, crime rates have declined over the past twenty years to levels not seen since the early 1960s, and it is difficult to escape the conclusion that our criminal justice system, by giving prosecutors the power to force criminals to accept significant jail terms, has played a major part in this reduction. Most Americans feel a lot safer today than they did just a few decades ago, and that feeling has contributed substantially to their enjoyment of life. Why should we cavil at the empowering of prosecutors that has brought us this result?

The answer may be found in Jefferson’s perception that a criminal justice system that is secret and government-dictated ultimately invites abuse and even tyranny. Specifically, I would suggest that the current system of prosecutor-determined plea bargaining invites the following objections.

First, it is one-sided. Our criminal justice system is premised on the notion that, before we deprive a person of his liberty, he will have his “day in court,” i.e., he will be able to put the government to its proof and present his own facts and arguments, following which a jury of his peers will determine whether or not he is guilty of a crime and a neutral judge will, if he is found guilty, determine his sentence. As noted, numerous guarantees of this fair-minded approach are embodied in our Constitution, and were put there because of the Founding Fathers’ experience with the rigged British system of colonial justice. Is not the plea bargain system we have now substituted for our constitutional ideal similarly rigged?

Second, and closely related, the system of plea bargains dictated by prosecutors is the product of largely secret negotiations behind closed doors in the prosecutor’s office, and is subject to almost no review, either internally or by the courts. Such a secretive system inevitably invites arbitrary results. Indeed, there is a great irony in the fact that legislative measures that were designed to rectify the perceived evils of disparity and arbitrariness in sentencing have empowered prosecutors to preside over a plea-bargaining system that is so secretive and without rules that we do not even know whether or not it operates in an arbitrary manner.

Third, and possibly the gravest objection of all, the prosecutor-dictated plea bargain system, by creating such inordinate pressures to enter into plea bargains, appears to have led a significant number of defendants to plead guilty to crimes they never actually committed. For example, of the approximately three hundred people that the Innocence Project and its affiliated lawyers have proven were wrongfully convicted of crimes of rape or murder that they did not in fact commit, at least thirty, or about 10 percent, pleaded guilty to those crimes. Presumably they did so because, even though they were innocent, they faced the likelihood of being convicted of capital offenses and sought to avoid the death penalty, even at the price of life imprisonment. But other publicized cases, arising with disturbing frequency, suggest that this self-protective psychology operates in noncapital cases as well, and recent studies suggest that this is a widespread problem. For example, the National Registry of Exonerations (a joint project of Michigan Law School and Northwestern Law School) records that of 1,428 legally acknowledged exonerations that have occurred since 1989 involving the full range of felony charges, 151 (or, again, about 10 percent) involved false guilty pleas.

It is not difficult to perceive why this should be so. After all, the typical person accused of a crime combines a troubled past with limited resources: he thus recognizes that, even if he is innocent, his chances of mounting an effective defense at trial may be modest at best. If his lawyer can obtain a plea bargain that will reduce his likely time in prison, he may find it “rational” to take the plea.

Every criminal defense lawyer (and I was both a federal prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer before going on the bench) has had the experience of a client who first tells his lawyer he is innocent and then, when confronted with a preview of the government’s proof, says he is guilty. Usually, he is in fact guilty and was previously lying to his lawyer (despite the protections of the attorney–client privilege, which many defendants, suspicious even of their court-appointed lawyers, do not appreciate). But sometimes the situation is reversed, and the client now lies to his lawyer by saying he is guilty when in fact he is not, because he has decided to “take the fall.”

In theory, this charade should be exposed at the time the defendant enters his plea, since the judge is supposed to question the defendant about the facts underlying his confession of guilt. But in practice, most judges, happy for their own reasons to avoid a time-consuming trial, will barely question the defendant beyond the bare bones of his assertion of guilt, relying instead on the prosecutor’s statement (untested by any cross-examination) of what the underlying facts are. Indeed, in situations in which the prosecutor and defense counsel themselves recognize that the guilty plea is somewhat artificial, they will have jointly arrived at a written statement of guilt for the defendant to read that cleverly covers all the bases without providing much detail. The Supreme Court, for its part, has gone so far (with the Alford plea of 1970) as to allow a defendant to enter a guilty plea while factually maintaining his innocence.

While, moreover, a defendant’s decision to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit may represent a “rational,” if cynical, cost-benefit analysis of his situation, in fact there is some evidence that the pressure of the situation may cause an innocent defendant to make a less-than-rational appraisal of his chances for acquittal and thus decide to plead guilty when he not only is actually innocent but also could be proven so. Research indicates that young, unintelligent, or risk-averse defendants will often provide false confessions just because they cannot “take the heat” of an interrogation. Although research into false guilty pleas is far less developed, it may be hypothesized that similar pressures, less immediate but more prolonged, may be in effect when a defendant is told, often by his own lawyer, that there is a strong case against him, that his likelihood of acquittal is low, and that he faces a mandatory minimum of five or ten years in prison if convicted and a guidelines range of considerably more—but that, if he acts swiftly, he can get a plea bargain to a lesser offense that will reduce his prison time by many years.

How prevalent is the phenomenon of innocent people pleading guilty? The few criminologists who have thus far investigated the phenomenon estimate that the overall rate for convicted felons as a whole is between 2 percent and 8 percent. The size of that range suggests the imperfection of the data; but let us suppose that it is even lower, say, no more than 1 percent. When you recall that, of the 2.2 million Americans in prison, over 2 million are there because of plea bargains, we are then talking about an estimated 20,000 persons, or more, who are in prison for crimes to which they pleaded guilty but did not in fact commit.

What can we do about it? If there were the political will to do so, we could eliminate mandatory minimums, eliminate sentencing guidelines, and dramatically reduce the severity of our sentencing regimes in general. But even during the second Obama administration, the very modest steps taken by Attorney General Eric Holder to moderate sentences have been met by stiff opposition, some from within his own department. For example, the attorney general’s public support for a bipartisan bill that would reduce mandatory minimums for certain narcotics offenses prompted the National Association of Assistant US Attorneys to send an “open letter” of opposition, while a similar letter denouncing the bill was signed by two former attorney generals, three former chiefs of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and eighteen former US attorneys.

Reflecting, perhaps, the religious origins of our country, Americans are notoriously prone to making moral judgments. Often this serves salutary purposes; but a by-product of this moralizing tendency is a punitiveness that I think is not likely to change in the near future. Indeed, on those occasions when Americans read that someone accused of a very serious crime has been permitted to plea bargain to a considerably reduced offense, their typical reaction is one of suspicion or outrage, and sometimes not without reason. Rarely, however, do they contemplate the possibility that the defendant may be totally innocent of any charge but is being coerced into pleading to a lesser offense because the consequences of going to trial and losing are too severe to take the risk.

I am driven, in the end, to advocate what a few jurisdictions, notably Connecticut and Florida, have begun experimenting with: involving judges in the plea-bargaining process. At present, this is forbidden in the federal courts, and with good reason: for a judge to involve herself runs the risk of compromising her objectivity if no bargain is reached. For similar reasons, many federal judges (including this one) refuse to involve themselves in settlement negotiations in civil cases, even though, unlike the criminal plea bargain situation, there is no legal impediment to doing so. But the problem is solved in civil cases by referring the settlement negotiations to magistrates or special masters who do not report the results to the judges who handle the subsequent proceedings. If the federal rule were changed, the same could be done in the criminal plea bargain situation.

As I envision it, shortly after an indictment is returned (or perhaps even earlier if an arrest has occurred and the defendant is jailed), a magistrate would meet separately with the prosecutor and the defense counsel, in proceedings that would be recorded but placed under seal, and all present would be provided with the particulars regarding the evidence and issues in the case. In certain circumstances, the magistrate might interview witnesses or examine other evidence, again under seal so as not to compromise any party’s strategy. He might even interview the defendant, under an arrangement where it would not constitute a waiver of the defendant’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

The prosecutor would, in the meantime, be precluded from making any plea bargain offer (or threat) while the magistrate was studying the case. Once the magistrate was ready, he would then meet separately with both sides and, if appropriate, make a recommendation, such as to dismiss the case (if he thought the proof was weak), to proceed to trial (if he thought there was no reasonable plea bargain available), or to enter into a plea bargain along lines the magistrate might suggest. No party would be required to follow the magistrate’s suggestions. Their force, if any, would come from the fact that they were being suggested by a neutral third party, who, moreover, was a judicial officer that the prosecutors and the defense lawyers would have to appear before in many other cases.

Would a plan structured along these lines wholly eliminate false guilty pleas? Probably not, but it likely would reduce their number. Would it present new, unforeseeable problems of its own? Undoubtedly, which is why I would recommend that it first be tried as a pilot program. Even given the current federal rules prohibiting judges from involving themselves in the plea-bargaining process, I think something like this could be undertaken, since most such rules can be waived and the relevant parties could here agree to waive them for the limited purposes of a pilot program.

I am under no illusions that this suggested involvement of judges in the plea-bargaining process is a panacea. But would not any program that helps to reduce the shame of sending innocent people to prison be worth trying?

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/20/why-innocent-people-plead-guilty/
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31679


« Reply #1384 on: November 24, 2014, 04:03:08 PM »

The Next Prez and the Obama Way
Prosecutorial discretion? OK, how about not enforcing the 73,954 pages of tax code?
By Kimberley A. Strassel
Nov. 20, 2014 7:00 p.m. ET
Getty Images
Date: Jan. 21, 2017
To: POTUS
From: Your loyal and determined GOP advisers
Re: Your First 100 Days.

Hey Boss!

Congrats again (and fab party last night). Eight long years, and a Republican is finally back behind the Resolute desk. Pity about the Senate; Harry Reid is already vowing to shut the place down again. We put your chances of getting your agenda through that chamber in the range of slim to snowball.

But we’ve been thinking. Yes, the Constitution matters—Article I, Article II, blah, blah—though let’s be honest: What really counts in this town is precedent. And the ace news is that your predecessor blew up about 230 years of it. We’ve attached an 87-page list (check your spam box) of President Obama ’s unilateral actions: altering the ObamaCare statute; refusing to enforce federal drug laws; granting waivers to education reforms; using Justice Department suits to impose new industry rules; drafting agency regulations to go around Congress. Don’t forget 2014, when he rewrote federal immigration law. Like, all of it. By himself.

And here’s where it gets sweet. We’ve been analyzing the Obama team’s justifications. Some are p-r-e-t-t-y creative, but they boil down to this: Whenever a law is “unworkable,” or inadequately “funded”—and Congress won’t do anything—the president gets to act! How is that for new precedent? Think about it. This city has yet to produce a single statute or reg that is “workable” or that has, according to Democrats, enough money. Not a one. Remember that old Imagine Dragons tune, “I’m On Top of the World”? That’s you, boss. That’s you.

So here’s our plan for getting your entire agenda done—all of it!—by May:

Prosecutorial discretion: Love this. Your top item? Cutting taxes. We have two words and one number for you: Tax Code, 73,954 pages. Is there a more unworkable law? ROFL! We’ve got an executive order ready instructing IRS agents not to enforce the code on any person or company who refuses to pay more than our new rates. Goodbye Alternative Minimum Tax, death tax, capital gains, restrictions on nonprofits. Hello, flat tax on a postcard.

Speaking of taxes, do remember to thank Chief Justice John Roberts for declaring the ObamaCare individual mandate a tax. Not enforcing that one, either! That’s O-Care repealed. Check. You ran on reducing the regulatory burden. We’re sending a list of rules under major laws that you can instruct agencies and the Justice Department to no longer uphold. You know, the damaging stuff buried in the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Labor Relations Act, Dodd-Frank, McCain-Feingold. All unworkable!

We’re also readying a memo for the Justice Department, listing areas in which it should forgo suits for federal violations: Title IX, voting rights, affirmative action, wages and overtime. It’s not like anyone can “make” us do anything. Ask all those marijuana smokers in Alaska.

Waivers: You ran on fixing the debt, by fixing entitlements. Done. You know all those states getting waivers to experiment with Medicaid or welfare? Smart, but small. We’re thinking that with an elastic enough reading of laws, we can waive our way out of an entitlement system altogether. Medicaid vouchers? Child’s play. Did you know the Social Security Act allows sweeping waivers to its programs in the case of a national emergency? We so feel a national emergency coming on. A big one. Long—four years, maybe eight. Don’t laugh. Mr. Obama made anything conceivable.

Agencies: Justice now has time on its hands, so we’re setting up a task force to bring criminal charges against slippery characters (folks who, bonus, Americans love to hate): trial firms, union shops. Obama showed with his banking and BP BP.LN -0.22% suits that if we go big and ugly, we won’t even have to test legal theories; the targets will roll, and agree to new restrictions. That’s tort and labor reform done. And we’re already directing your agencies to start authorizing moves that Congress won’t: drilling off the East Coast and in ANWR; health insurance across state lines; school vouchers. Sky’s the limit! What the last guy showed is that the federal architecture is now so complex that you can always find a loophole. Look at his climate program. (BTW, we are shutting that down. Today.)

Is any of this constitutional? Meh. (Shred this memo.) We suppose you could ask legal advice, but Obama was certainly never that dumb. Here was his epiphany: Nobody can really stop a president. Congress can only complain. The judiciary moves too slowly to make a difference (look at Obama’s illegal recess appointments). Turns out the only thing that ever really restrained the chief executive was that oath he took. Our side has always taken that seriously. Hmmm.

We know you ran on restoring the Constitution, and the other side is counting on your base holding you to that. What they don’t understand is plenty of our people would be equally happy to see you stick it to them. We could do the right thing; arguably should.

Then again, who will they be to complain if we don’t?

Respectfully, Your Team.

Write to kim@wsj.com.
Logged
Pages: 1 ... 26 27 [28] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!