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Happens every now and again, right?

13th-Jun-2019 10:49 am - Oh.
That moment when you're amazed at the connections people make.

In a way, this is impressive. Four bad stories in 54 seconds, while theoretically occupied with an interview. Could you lie with a straight face so effectively? If not, perhaps you aren't newscaster material. Notice I didn't say "journalist" -- that, as it turns out, is a word like "unicorn" -- a word with nothing real being described. This on what the network calls its "flagship" news program, "Meet the Press."

Now, some of the transcript is just funny: quoting Cohen as describing Trump as a "racist" for example. The sad part here is that Trump has been in the public eye for longer than his campaign and presidency, so the fact that NBC is utterly ignorant about the person they are covering is without excuse. But it's funny anyway, and should be a quick benchmark for how seriously to take the MainStreamMedia groups. My brother points out that he's quoting Cohen, and I just pointed out "He's quoting someone who's been convicted of perjury, lying under oath, before: if he lies about stuff, he lies about stuff. We don't take him seriously."

Read the article referred to in the first paragraph carefully. It's a masterful takedown of a low-down con man, Chuck Todd. Just so you know what NBC thinks you believe about the program "Meet the Press", check out their website: scroll down for laudatory text. The first paragraph is a good example of the self-praising style:

"Meet the Press" is America's most-watched and No. 1 Sunday morning public affairs broadcast. Every Sunday morning for more than 70 years, millions of Americans have tuned in to get answers from U.S. and world leaders, and to hear analysis, discussion and review of the week's political events from noted journalists and experts. Acclaimed by conservatives and liberals, newsmakers and television critics, "Meet the Press" consistently makes Monday morning headlines and has become the most-quoted television program in the world.

NBC may be doing its solid best to get us to disbelieve in the "expertise" of the establishment. It's succeeding. I certainly don't believe they know what they're talking about.
5th-Feb-2019 06:21 pm - "Learn to code"
Journalists, well, ex-journalists are upset that they are being told to "learn to code" upon being laid off. It helps that it's usually young people with no memory of the previous decade who make these charges: they don't have any idea where the phrase came from. Here's an example of the ignorant resentment.

Why display your ignorance so openly? Is this an occupational qualification? The phrase "learn to code" was the advice dispensed BY NEWSPAPERS to coal miners and others laid off during the Obama presidency. A little investigation with google would have revealed this to the clueless journalists: but google is, for many of them, a tool they don't know how to use.

That it's advice being given to those who dispensed it is merely part of the fun of those who send the notes: they resented it when they were told to learn to code. No one likes being told it. And it's advice that some of them should heed. The rest can go work for the merchant marine, I suppose.

"Journalism" -- a word whose aspirational meaning has no instances.
4th-Feb-2019 03:03 pm - WHEN YOU WALK INTO THE ROOM:
Just a reminder for those who notice that our common life is becoming a bit fraught, and wonders how to keep out of the scrum:

1. Avoid crowds. Avoid crowds. Avoid crowds.
-Possibly the most important advice.
-Wear neutral clothes.
-Don’t ‘daydream’ in public.
-Especially in public, keep your mental focus outward, not inward.
-When entering any environment, do a quick scan around you.
-Assess the baseline of the environment you’re in.
-Utilize your peripheral vision.
-Reflections in windows will reveal what’s going on behind you while walking.

2.Whenever you enter a building, identify the exits. Plan your exit.
-During a panic most people will exit the way they came in, creating a bottleneck.
-Most restaurants have an exit in the kitchen.

3.In a public establishment, sit where you can see the main entrance.
-Try not to sit with your back towards the majority.

4.When parking against a wall or barrier, back in for a quicker exit.
-Look around when walking away or towards your vehicle.
-In a parking lot, identify vehicles with people inside.

5.Observe others. ‘Oddness’ will stand out.
-Attempt to identify those who may be carrying concealed.
-If your gut is warning you, pay attention.
-Notice those who are themselves looking around, being observant.
-Observe others who are dressed outside that environment’s normality.
-Listen and identify conversation topics of those nearby.
-Facial expressions are often worth a thousand words.
-Look for aggressive body language.
-Look at the hands. Anything there?
1st-Feb-2019 03:56 pm - Evolution: my own argument against.
The planet has been around for billions of years, and we are expecting to use nothing but atoms, energy, and chance.

Sounds possible?

Let's try to put some numbers to that chance, and see how likely we are to get there.

We don't. We don't get there within the age of the universe, much less the age of the planet. If you're going to rely on chance, you have to accept what we know about the arithmetic of chance. Here, several shortcuts were made to make it work even at that pathetic level. In reality, those shortcuts would have knocked out the possibility of evolution entirely within the first time frame.

Keep in mind that Charles Darwin spoke as if chance was operating on undifferentiated live stuff, and producing that would be sufficient: but it's not sufficient for eyes and other sensory organs.

Some assembly required. End of story on undirected evolution.
Here it is! Your guide to interpreting pictures of people in the news!

Be sure to pay attention to details. Your local Social Justice Warrior will want to see if you understand, and threaten you with unemployment through community pressure.

23rd-Jan-2019 09:02 am - Nathan Philips: Twerp
I recognize that those who take his publicity seriously might disagree. But then, if the past couple of years have taught us anything, it's to distrust publicity and anything that follows a narrative.

As pointed out here, it is reasonable to think of him as a bully, but only if you disregard the ineffectiveness of his blows.

He's just a guy who will step into anywhere he can get attention, and who will echo the dominant narrative without question. Which makes him not a person, but a bunch of standardized opinions.

A twerp.

Ace of Spades has more. And, for those who doubt that Philips had spotted the kids as Catholics, and decided to attack because of it, a troubled incident.
Most of the objections that I hear about Trump are imaginary - he's racist, he's homophobic, he's Islamophobic, and other projections from the empty imaginations of progressives. None of them are true about most of the people they are applied to, but they get used because the person using them believes that if you might disagree with them about something, you have to disagree with them about everything, and since they are not "racist, homophobic, Islamophobic", and you are everything they are not, all your denials are lies. The bad premise in this way of thinking has been enforced on them from the time before they would be expected to learn how to make arguments, so they accept that it is uncritically true.

The objections are then stated as a form of "health and safety" regulation, picked specifically because no argument is permitted on the premise that more health and safety is better. See prior paragraph for the problem. Precisely this premise is used by the EPA to ban useful chemicals: something might be wrong with them that they are too difficult to catch, so it must be banned.

The name for the bad mode of thinking here is "the precautionary principle", which see, with all sorts of horrific examples, after a simple internet search. On the page, only the US Chamber of Commerce bothers to make a rudimentary objection.

The relevance to Trump? Look at artists like Kanye West, who supports Trump without seeking the permission of either the arts or media companies who wish to use his work. Those who object are those who bring up the problems already dismissed justly as "imaginary" in the first paragraph of this article. They "feel unsafe" because they believe their feelings are beyond criticism. Their feelings, however, are not the basis for anyone else's action. As it should be.
In the weblog "The Subject Supposed to Know" (general anarchist leanings, and some interesting posts), comes a discussion of the psychology of leftism, using as its source TED KACZYNSKI (yes, I tried to spell "Unabomber" wrong twice and gave up before spellcheck helped, and then went for parens).


The main thing that’s notable about all of this is that it can only exist by ignoring a major theme of the manifesto: fuck liberals.

After only five paragraphs, he’s already talking about “The Psychology of Modern Leftism.” It’s really worth quoting at length.

Though perhaps not here. You can look it up. Then you can wonder how little the descriptions have changed from the mid-90s when his manifesto was published -- and maybe from earlier in the 20 years of his terrorist activity.
Somewhat of a surprise to encounter while web surfing: a site called "Dissenting Leftism" (seen here), with many interesting points to ponder, including a reminiscence:

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason.

I've waited for a long time for someone to acknowledge that Chile under Allende would have been as big a human rights issue as Chile under Pinochet. Finally found someone who said it. I'm pleased.
11th-Dec-2018 09:23 am - Long past time to say
I am annoyed every time I read in the paper some utter idiot saying "lie-detector test". You'd think the fact that lie detector tests are as reliable as sacrifices to Cthulu would have gotten around by now (it was discussed publicly during the Watergate hearings in the early 1970's -- and no one has since established that they are of any use at all other than as a bluff by a policeman trying to elicit a confession.

Youtube has many videos on how to beat polygraphs. My friend Willie has only been asked to take one, and he showed up with a machete and a live chicken and a few candles -- when asked why, he said, "You invoke your god, I invoke mine. I'll just use this desk, here." He put the chicken on the desk, and over protests, held it in place as he got out the machete, and was chased from the room by an outraged administrator. His response to his boss? "You should pick calm, thoughtful people next time."

Further notes here.
9th-Dec-2018 07:58 pm - 'Nuff Said?
9th-Dec-2018 07:42 pm - Investigative Reporting Done Right
A good investigator asks questions, compares what people say they do and what they do in practice, and gets witnesses to the problem to talk.

Here is a good example, discussing the disparity between Title IX investigations as described by the administration and as applied to students.

Stanford University has “publicly misrepresented aspects of its own Title IX practices,” which give students greater protections in writing they they are given in practice.

The paper reviewed correspondence between Title IX staff and a lawyer for accused students, Bob Ottilie. It showed the university stopped parties in two proceedings from “gathering their own witness statements,” and in “at least” one case, didn’t let parties review “substantial information” that was redacted before a hearing.

“Both of these practices run contrary to Stanford’s public statements regarding the rights of students involved in Title IX cases,” the Daily says.

The documents contradict the statements of Stanford spokespeople going back to spring 2017, who insist the university only “discourages” students from getting their own witness statements.

Title IX has been criticized for some time for creating kangaroo courts which routinely violate student rights, and there are many court cases pointing this out at many colleges. Perhaps it's time to go back to the law?
8th-Dec-2018 04:47 pm - One too many times.
The most recent was at Liberty's Torch:

let’s presume that people don’t listen (and given just how much influence I don’t have–thank all the gods I’m not the only voice crying out about that–I would not be surprised). Suppose we get the violent insurrection that grew into civil war. And suppose one side finally won.

Now what?

Indeed. Have a few quotes from persons more widely respected than David and I:

Every revolutionary ends by becoming either an oppressor or a heretic. – Albert Camus
Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny; they have only shifted it to another shoulder. – George Bernard Shaw

Revolutions, as long and bitter experience reveals, are apt to take their color from the regime they overthrow. – Richard Tawney

Those who have seized power, even for the noblest of motives soon persuade themselves that there are good reasons for not relinquishing it. This is particularly likely to happen if they believe themselves to represent some immensely important cause. They will feel that their opponents are ignorant and perverse; before long they will come to hate them...The important thing is to keep their power, not to use it as a means to an eventual paradise. And so what were means become ends, and the original ends are forgotten except on Sundays. – Bertrand Russell

Now, I seem to recall that George Washington, a highly respected revolutionary leader (and a man who kept an army of volunteers going) served as president twice -- and then didn't take another government position. He could have. He didn't have to stop at two. But he did.

If you want a more modern example, take General Augusto Pinochet, of Chile, who, in a considerably more dangerous move, nonetheless devolved power from himself after assuring himself that the Communists could not come back, despite the example from Communists and socialists throughout the third world that giving up power was, at minimum, a requirement for exile. Admittedly, Spain caused him some regret on that when they decided to arrest him in the hopes of a legally dubious revenge being theirs: but he nonetheless died in his beloved Chile, despite the effort.

You don't even need to be a successful revolutionary to accept that continuing the revolution you are in charge of is a mistake: General Robert E. Lee had the option of waging a guerrilla war against the Union after Appomattox, but did not.

While you can make the case that these were men of character (and the headwinds of that argument are such, now, that I doubt you would convince a seminar), they all had a point where they stopped, and gave up power. The quotes presented are, therefore, only a partial view of history, not an inevitability.
2nd-Dec-2018 05:38 pm - Twitter posts
I had one email about the twitter feed I had posted here, wondering why it hasn't been updated. And the reason is that Twitter has banned so many people that I used to read I'm not going to the site any more to react to what's on there, despite it being a bigger field of [poop] to react to. I think blogs are suddenly showing up in my reading time more because no one is silencing the individual voices. I can still catch them.

For those interested, it doesn't take long to assemble a bunch of quality blogs with a search engine and a little time winnowing. I haven't updated my blog list on this site in some time, so that may be due for a retry. One blog I'm reading seriously is not, technically, a blog, but a newsletter: The Woodpile Report which comes out periodically (generally weekly). Check it out! Read the margins! Look at the back issues!
19th-Nov-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
  • Sun, 18:24: RT @KurtSchlichter: I have carefully examined my alleged privilege, and I have determined that every right, preference, advantage, edge, as…
10th-Nov-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
  • Fri, 13:45: RT @RealTT2020: Michelle Obama explains, "Barack has lead by example. When we took our trip to Africa & visited his home country in Kenya..…
9th-Nov-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
5th-Nov-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
3rd-Nov-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
  • Sat, 09:14: RT @chadfelixg: I wonder if any actual minority cultural groups ever get offended by Halloween costumes or if its 90% virtue signaling whit…
29th-Oct-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
21st-Oct-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
16th-Oct-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
  • Tue, 07:57: RT @chadfelixg: The Left has adopted the palestinian model. Attack unprovoked until the people you attack fight back. Scream you are a vic…
11th-Oct-2018 12:00 pm - My tweets
  • Wed, 17:50: "If you're going through hell, keep going." --Winston Churchill
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