Friday, September 08, 2017

Biased 'News'

From a recent e-conversation:

Correspondent: 'Then again, since the press is biased I hardly know what is true and what isn't.'

My reply:

That has become the big problem I see, and a huge part of that problem is that the majority of people DON'T see it. It is almost impossible for an interested person to figure out what is fact and what is lie, and the average person watching TV news and reading news and commentary will not even be aware that they might be on the wrong end of a very big and very successful propaganda campaign, like 'Trump is a virulent ant-Semite (whose son in law, daughter, and grandchildren are Jewish but don't bother me with facts, you racist. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, NPR, PBS tell me it is true, so it must be.'

Whenever I take the trouble to find source documents on a controversial issue, such as the Google engineer's 10 page memo a couple weeks ago, I discover that the the news people have been lying through their teeth.

I frequently can't tell what the lie is. In the James Damore/Google case, did they lie by implying they had read it ie were competent to characterize/comment on it, or did they read it and deliberately misrepresent what it said? Either way, while I don't know which lie they told, I know they lied, because I read the memo and know what they said about it was not merely a different characterization, but utterly removed from what he actually said, AND I read what respected biologists and evolutionary psychologists said about Damore's memo and they said he was right about the science.

Now we have the vast majority of so-called news people and bien pensant commenters claiming that Trump is a neo-Nazi because he pointed out correctly -as did the ACLU- that BOTH the racists and the Antifa fascists went to the rally prepared to commit violence. The "news" position, as well as Trump's political critics' position, seems to be that if the white racists are bad people, then the Antifa angels who showed up with paint balloons, ink balloons, apparently with urine balloons, were peaceful civil rights advocates who were attacked without provocation. And that despite Antifa violent behavior elsewhere, which of course is routinely characterized as 'mostly peaceful', much like the Berkeley response to conservative speakers coming to campus.

It is really scary that most of the country is falling for the lies told by propagandists in the so-called news services and in high government positions. This really is not a lot different from Europe in the early 1930s, and I think it is going to get a lot worse, especially if the propagandists succeed in overturning the results of the election. Too many people are aware of what they are doing for this to remain peaceful.

Now we have Google shutting down websites -offensive ones, to be sure- based on their political positions. Where does that stop?

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

'War for the Planet of the Apes'

Valerie and I went to the latest incarnation this afternoon. Not awful if you take it straight, not particularly good, either.

As anti-white, anti-American, anti-US military metaphor, though, it couldn't get much more heavy handed.

White American Special Forces troops herd all-black apes into Nazi-like concentration camp, play the Star Spangled Banner, beat the black folk mercilessly, starve them mercilessly, wave the American flag, suffer attack aka civil war from other American troops who come from the North, the American flag goes up in flames, avalanche kills all the white people, and the black apes hike off to the Promised Land, free at last from white people. Just what you should expect from a Woodie Harrelson movie.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Post-Apocalyptic Erotica

I went to Amazon's Kindle book section and started typing 'post-apocalyptic fiction' into the search field to find something inspirational to read, but among the suggestions for the search was 'post-apocalyptic erotica'. Well, I accidentally clikked on that of course and found that there are 28 pages of 435 post-apocalyptic erotic offerings for your panting, I mean prepping, pleasure. Prepper porn: Who knew?

This could open up a whole new market of potential preppers among the erotica-inclined: "Marsha stroked her shapely AN-M14 TH3 incendiary grenades as she softly moaned 'Oh, yes, Dirk, yes! I love it when you go full-auto!'"

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

18 U.S. Code § 241 - Conspiracy Against Rights

Let's see Donald Trump start vigorously enforcing "18 U.S. Code § 241 - Conspiracy against rights: If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same...

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section...they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death."

Start with the DC City Council and Mayor for their gun control laws. Move on from there.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Our Responsibility: Preparing for Low Probability/High Consequences Events

Juliette Kayyem, in The Atlantic magazine :
The “never again” standard is as absurd as it is simplistic. It is as vague as it is damaging. It tried to convince Americans, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that invulnerability was a possibility. This has hindered homeland-security planners for a decade and a half: Knowing that no security apparatus can stop all forms of harm, including “lone wolfs,” progress is better measured in how well people prepare and educate themselves for the inevitable. What if the United States simply accepted, as a nation, that bad things happen and get ready for that possibility?
I agree with Juliette Kayyem about preparedness rather than a hopeless focus on prevention, but what does this really involve at the personal level?

With the exceptions of hurricanes in hurricane zones, major earthquakes in earthquake zones, and the like, most threats are individually highly dispersed and/or low probability/high consequences events.

Just as we reasonably expect our home to never burn down, but have insurance anyway, should we consider these individually improbable events like terrorism against us personally something we should individually insure against? If so, what to do?

I suspect that government in a relatively free society cannot deal easily with highly dispersed threats like terrorism or even random crime: police cannot be everywhere at all times, nor should we want them to be.

Several million Americans have gotten concealed carry licenses, while millions more have gotten their state legislatures to do away with the need for CCW licenses entirely. So far as I can tell, there have been no great negative consequences to either of those events. If there have been, the news media, no friend of law-abiding private citizens carrying handguns, has done a lousy job of covering them.

Imagine what might have been different in Orlando or Paris if if even a few people had been carrying guns. Given the US experience with legal concealed carry, background crime would not have been 'blood in the streets', while one or two people shooting back might have saved dozens of lives.

Even a strong defensive mindset might have made huge differences in the kill counts: apparently no one in Orlando or Paris counter-attacked even though the murderers had to pause multiple times to reload. Imagine if someone had the defensive mindset to attack, either with a chair, a bottle, or even barehanded. Instead they got out their cell phones and shot videos.

Wrong mind set.

The less radical preppers may be on to something: personal responsibility for one's self and family. I'm not talking about the quasi-millenarianist End Of The World As We Know It people, but those who take preparing for disasters quite seriously, with food, water, medical supplies, defensive weaponry, communication equipment -at least battery powered receivers so one can hear news reports- a ready reserve of cash (actual cash in small bills, in case the ATMs and cash registers are down for a few days or weeks), sanitation, and the like, sufficient for a few weeks.

It seems outright foolish not to have such preps if one lives in a hurricane or earthquake zone, but perhaps people in the rest of the country might do well by considering their own circumstances and prepare for the more likely disasters.

An interesting aspect to preparing for 'normal' short term disasters is that the preparations are pretty much the same: preparing well for the more probable issues also prepares one for the less probable.

I have come to believe—as a security expert but also as a mother of three—that among all of its flaws, the worst aspect of “never again” was that it let experts like me run the show. We have failed to show that the conflicts and choices inherent in protecting the homeland are really not that different from those Americans and people around the world encounter every day. In our day-to-day lives, people try to protect those closest to them, but they also plan for the bad things that will happen. The essential aspects of those two priorities—preparedness, planning, flexibility, communication, back-up systems, learning from mistakes—are essentially the same. By too easily separating the homeland from the home, experts have failed to nurture the vigor and resiliency which is the greatest strength of a nation that was built on vulnerability: the American public.

And if the United States could build resiliency one home at a time, maybe, in another 15 years, the country will have stopped asking the question to some anonymous bureaucracy with strange acronyms and esoteric risk assessments: “Are we safer?” Instead, people should start embracing, “Am I ready?”
Taking personal responsibility is self-empowering. What is right about that?

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Friday, February 10, 2017

The Good Old Days of Carrying Guns On Airplanes

Back in the 1960s it was not all that unusual for people going hunting to carry long guns in soft cases right into a plane. Hard cases hardly existed, except for some leather ones, because no one in his right mind would put a gun in checked luggage: too big a chance of damage. While few people could get a permit to carry a handgun in those days, those who had a revolver or pistol in their briefcase would never have been challenged, either, because no one looked. Or cared.

I remember as a kid going through General Mitchell Field in Milwaukee with my Dad and a pair of Browning A-5 semi-auto shotguns in soft cases. After checking in we went up the escalator to the concourse, where a couple very polite gentlemen in grey suits buttonholed us and asked if they could speak to us. Asked when our flight left, looked at our tickets, then sent us on our way with "Have a great hunt!"

We continued through the concourse and onto the plane. The very nice stewardess, knowing they would not fit in the overhead hat racks, took them and put them in the coat closet until we got off at the destination. We then walked off the plane and through the concourse with our shotguns. Repeat on return home, with dead ducks in our luggage.

It turned out that LBJ was coming in an hour or so after our plane departed. No sweat at all, which in retrospect is interesting, given how LBJ happened to be President in the first place.

My guess is that if we went back to that there would be surprisingly few incidents.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

8 U.S. Code § 1182 - Inadmissible aliens

Yes, President Trump DOES have the legal authority to stop people coming in from other countries. Any people, all people, any country, all countries.

That pesky 8 U.S. Code § 1182 - Inadmissible aliens
"(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President.
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline."
This is not a new law: It was enacted in 1952. IIRC, Jimmy Carter used pesky 8 U.S. Code § 1182 (f) to prohibit the entry of certain Iranians aka "any class of aliens", and to track down some lranians aka "any class of aliens" already here legally and deport them.


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