Archives for category: Propaganda

In my arguments, chiefly against the left, these days, I often do not get argument in return, I get counter-assertion, restatement, and laughing emoji reacts.

Arguing against these approaches pointlessness, and usually I just roll my eyes. But one must occasionally make a stand for reason.

A neighbor of mine is an old progressive. I would say he is an “un-reconstructed progressive,” but that would be wrong. All the old progressives I know do the pomo thing: racism, sexism, classicism, partisanship, relentless promotion of big government. Here is a typical Facebook interchange:

Now, my neighbor’s name I have obscured in black, his friend in red. The linked article was inapposite, so I responded:

Notice the only responses? Laughing emoji. I did not say anything funny, and my criticasters merely pretended not to be agelasts.

Then, not long after, my neighbor offered up another lame “meme”:

And here we get some argument, at last:

I leave laughter for other occasions: on the issue of group violence I am a stickler.

And even Paul Jacob strikes me as bending way too far backwards for the forces of chaos:

I give him some pushback, for I do not really agree with his general perspective: mass violence cannot easily be met with normal police action. It is warfare — Portland’s mayor calls it “urban warfare,” but more than implies that the federal government started it . . . which it did not.

Actually, Paul himself champed at the bit of this nonsense on Wednesday:

Cops vs. Mobs, Tyranny vs. Law?

“He was stuffed into what may have been a rental van operated by unmarked federal agents,” explained Cato Institute’s Patrick Eddington, “and taken to the federal courthouse, where he was interrogated without counsel. He wisely refused to answer questions and was then subsequently released without any kind of charges being filed.”

Eddington concluded: “I think most people would call that kidnapping.” 

The “he” — detained and questioned by federal agents* in Portland, Oregon — is Mark Pettibone. Whether the van was rented is irrelevant, nor do these agents or their vehicles require any marking.

And criminal suspects can lawfully be held for questioning. 

“So that we understand how police may remove someone from the streets,” Cato Daily Podcast host Caleb Brown adroitly offered, “we understand that they need to identify themselves. . . . that people who are placed under arrest retain certain rights to communicate with the outside world, to assert their ability to have a lawyer present for questioning.

“It seems that perhaps,” added Brown, “asking for a lawyer was the trigger here” resulting in Mr. Pettibone’s release.

Eddington agreed, but then announced that it “really does have the feel of Argentina or Chile in the 1970s, with the disappearances that took place. The only thing lacking was Mr. Pettibone being murdered by those agents.”

That is one big “only”!

“This is being done essentially to try to suppress protests in this country,” argued Eddington. “It has nothing to actually do with protecting monuments.” 

“We’re talking only about violent rioters,” Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told NPR. “We’re not talking about actual protesters. We’re not seeking to interfere at all with anyone peacefully expressing themselves — period, full stop.”

Following the rule of law means protecting peaceful protests. And welcoming an investigation into the federal role in Portland. More concerning than Mr. Pettibone’s detention is the continued use of so-called non-lethal weapons, which seriously injured a protester weeks ago.

But the rule of law also means protecting Portlanders and their property against violence and destruction. And welcoming an investigation into the state and local dereliction of duty in Portland. 

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* The Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that agents with the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) were “cross designated to support FPS” (the Federal Protection Service) in Portland “because of the demand for more manpower in light of the violence.”

So here Paul is resolute in opposing what I object to, the way our dominant culture bends over backward to cover for leftist mass violence strikes me as part of the post-modernist mind-rape that constitutes the psy-op of the Deep State and the old, old memeplex that is totalitarianism.

If it were not so dangerous I would laugh.

Maybe I will laugh at it tomorrow. Right now, eyerolls only:

Charlie Day Eye Roll GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
You’re on, Costanza!

It seems like a nifty analogy to me. But the big differences between the two situations are several:

  1. if bombed, survival was, shall we say, not likely, but most people who catch the coronavirus weather through just fine;
  2. the more people who survive the virus, the less of an epidemic it is, since we reach the herd immunity threshold — but the more people bombed and survived had no similar salutary effect for the non-bombed;
  3. what if masks are more like venetian blinds at full open, and they would only diminish the risk by a little, thus giving people false confidence so they would be less likely to go into a shelter when the sirens skirl?
  4. while lights-out was good for manned bombing runs, it made no difference with V-2s — so what if SARS-CoV-2 is more like a V-2 than a bomber run?

There are probably many more, but I think this meets Mr. Alexander’s request for debate.

twv

So, if slavery is bad because liberty is good, and if the American conception of liberty is bad because of slavery, why is slavery bad?

At issue, you will immediately recognize, is the Project1619-adjacent notion that the existence of slavery in American history discredits the government and general political complexion of the United States of America. I have argued against/around this poison pill [meme] before, chiefly on Quora:

The leftist idea is to use the mere existence of past slavery as a rationale to set up a completely different kind of socio-political order. Since most of these ninnies are promoting some form of socialism, those of us who identify socialism with slavery must express some alarm.

The idea is bizarre when you break it down. But most young people seem not to move beyond statement and restatement of the core notion:

The temerity of the Left! One of today’s leftists’ characteristic charges is that capitalism and slavery are a package deal, somehow, and that American capitalism depended upon the institution of chattel slavery for its success, and that the wealth Americans now revel in is tainted by the institution of slavery that was abolished over a century and a half ago.

An astounding assertion, and utterly without merit.

As I stated in the piece quoted directly above, it is an extraordinarily loopy notion even to pretend “to redress past harms caused by slavery” by working “to oppose freedom generally.”

Americans have promoted the idea of freedom while not successfully living up to the idea. Sure. And slavery was the most obvious failing of freedom-loving Americans. But to say we should give up liberty and embrace socialism — servility to the coercive horde or the maximum state — because of this, is . . . witless.

Or, maybe, the wit of the Devil taking the hindmost brains. He loves a good laugh, and to urge his minions to abandon freedom “because slavery” is too droll even for a mere human archon.

twv

We are not supposed to doubt what the elites tell us. This imperative is enforced. They ridicule us — and we ridicule each other — when we express doubt, or indeed any deeply contrary opinion, about what they tell us.

For example, we are supposed to think it is just accidental that the major media outlets that sat on the Jeffrey Epstein pedo-sex slave story for years then mock as ‘conspiracy theorists’ anyone who doubts their credulous/credulity-stretching story that Epstein killed himself.

And we are CERTAINLY not supposed to then wonder if ‘Pizzagate’ is as ridiculous as elitist opinion leaders have said it is. How could we believe that our illustrious elitists (who have admitted to engaging in pagan blood rites, though they assure us it is only performance art) would also engage in the rape and murder of children? Unthinkable!

I do not know the truth about Epstein, or, for that matter, the Clintons and John Podesta and their creepy emails published onto Wikileaks.

Though I think I know something about pizza.

I also do not know that much about NSA General Michael Aquino who got the Temple of Set recognized as an official religion within the U.S. Government (allowing, I am told, chaplain services in the military). Is this all just nonsense? And why would you worship Set instead of Osiris? I mean, if you have to go back to ancient Egypt for your religion?

I know almost nothing. But it is difficult not to suspect a whole heckuva lot when we catch major media sources conspiring to keep the truth from us — and who go all the way to vindictively lash out at mere suspects for revealing the truth.

By the way, ABC’s suppressed Epstein story was said to have exposed Bill Clinton in a big way.

Just how weird does this get?

Are we hearing about this now because, in the deepest corridors of the Deep State, some deep secrets about UFOs had been threatened by the Podesta/Clinton agenda of disclosure? Or is it all coming out in an as-yet incomprehensible jumble merely because the truth, whatever it is, is almost too hard to understand . . . or keep secret?

Yes, the Epstein story may be linked, in some shady way, to the UFO story.
But we know almost nothing because that has been what we are supposed to know. Nothing. Or the opposite of the truth.

Yet UFOs likely have nothing to do with it. Ufologists often leap for evidence where evidence is lacking. Of course, when evidence is routinely suppressed, we are all find ourselves in an epistemic pickle.

Consider what William Casey is alleged to have said to Ronald Reagan — that success, for the CIA, would be when everything Americans think they know is the opposite of the truth. What did he mean? Well, the source for this now-infamous quotation says this:

Casey expressed astonishment when reporting the huge percentage of CIA ‘intelligence’ that was, and almost certainly still is, based on open sources, and he was absolutely serious when he said that the agency would be successful when everything the American people believed was false.  Though not explicitly said at that time, it was made clear in other contexts during my two years in the West Wing in the highest level meetings that the pretext for this mentality was the claim that in a Cold War era when communications were essentially instantaneous, the vast majority of “the enemy’s” — then the Soviet Union’s — “intelligence” was also based on open press and media sources, so the most efficient way to lie to the Soviets was to lie in the U.S. and allied media, which meant the American public believing the lies was considered a kind of ‘collateral damage.’

Barbara Honegger, November 25, 2014.

This I do believe. Its implications are many, but one stands out: If the source for the CIA’s information is open, particularly from major media, but CIA uses said media for disinformation purposes, U.S. intelligence operatives are always in danger of finding themselves with their heads so far up their own assets that they themselves could not tell truth from their own lies.

How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.

Karl Kraus

I have always known that governments lie, that politicians are congenital liars, and that, furthermore, secrecy is something the State requires, in addition to all those fantasies necessary to obtain compliance from the masses. But recently I have greatly expanded my estimation of the scope of state prevarication.
Some of this is the result of the brazen ways in which the shallow end of the Deep State has attempted to oust a president it did not approve of. But it goes far beyond this, and much of it is related to keeping the military-industrial complex going through incessant warfare. The insanity of these wars, their sheer idiocy and lack of coherence and even hints of efficacy to the attainment of stated goals, suggests to me something far beyond my packet of previous explanations:
1. greed and corruption via Pentagon contracts
2. powerlust by media folk, ideologues, politicians, military men, and bureaucrats
3. greed
I now think that an additional secret realm of operations has been at play, and has been kept running by an elaborate if stumbled-into plan of psy-ops. Most Americans have pictures of their government utterly at variance with reality — perhaps even their view of bedrock, non-political reality is greatly shaped by a startlingly coherent state agenda.
Funny thing is, my fellow individualists have such a low opinion of state competence that they buy into most of said government psy-op, are indeed routinely controlled by Deep State psy-ops. Their error is in underestimating the State.
For this truth is long established, and libertarians should know it best: the State is not an efficient instrument of the general interest, but, instead, a hyper-efficient conduit through which private interests can gain at the exploitative expense of other private interests, and to the general detriment of the general interest. And the key to this is the ultimate in psy-ops, the confidence game of political ideologies that promote the State as a necessary entity for the promotion of that phantom, the public interest.


“I’m not going to call them ‘conspiracy theories,’” said podcaster Michael Knowles about the growing reports and rumors surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, “because I guess they could be true.”

Well, that was embarrassing.

Look, I recently said something witless like this, too. But can we admit it? Conspiracy theories — conjectures as to secret schemes, plans, intentions, operations — can be true.

We are so programmed to think “ooh, conspiracy theory BAD!” that we cannot even speak logically in public.

Maybe we should all grow up.

The main trouble with conjectures regarding possible conspiracies is that they are hard to falsify. The nature of the beast. And this puts us in a sort of flapdoodlish epistemic situation. In the end, it matters most how you react to such a theory, and whether the theory is correct. Not that it counts as an “x theory.” Ah, that dreaded x!

There are a number of reasons we tend to like conspiracy theories, of course. One is that we know people to be purposeful actors as well as liars. So, realism. But only a few people can keep a secret. So, fabulism. More important, though, is that we like a good story. I think it was Iris Murdoch who wrote that “characters who plot make for well-plotted novels.”

twv

For three years, Democrats have driven themselves mad hallucinating a Russian conspiracy to elect Trump — when the most that could be said is that some Russians were sowing ideological discord in a rather goofy way. But now we have good evidence that a major corporation is trying to “influence” the next election through e-chicane.

We have Project Veritas to thank, having not only recorded a Google insider admitting to the company’s conspiracy, but unearthed a whistleblower, too. Tyler O’Neil summarizes:

The video shows leaked documents calling for Google to establish “a single point of truth” for news. An admittedly unscientific PJ Media study found that 96 percent of Google search results for “Trump News” came from liberal sources.

“We have gotten accusations on around fairness is that we’re unfair to conservatives because we’re choosing what we define as credible news sources and those sources don’t necessarily overlap with conservative sources so we’re getting accusations of fair from one side,” [Jen] Gennai admits in the video.

“They are not an objective source of information,” the Google whistleblower says. “They are a highly biased political machine that is bent on never letting somebody like Donald Trump come to power again.”

Ms. Gennai is head of Responsible Innovation at Google Global Affairs, of all things. And biased is right:

“We all got screwed over in 2016. Again it wasn’t just us, it was, the people got screwed over, the news media got screwed over, like, everybody got screwed over so we’re rapidly been like what happened there and how do we prevent it from happening again?” she says.

This is far from the first time that anti-Trump bias has been revealed at Google. A Google executive bragged about efforts to boost Latino turnout “in key states” in 2016, expecting that voting bloc to pull for Hillary Clinton. Employees at Google and other tech companies heavily favor Democrats in political contributions.

Google is taking upon itself to steer the course of these United States — in a clandestine way. O, the Democratic Party should be proud, now! The left’s cultural hegemony is really paying off.

Or is it? The Veritas revelation could effect a backlash — in votes. After all, a majority in America are not hard-core, lockstep supporters of the Democracy. Their temptation to vote left may vanish.

Of course, no single voter’s vote elects anyone. One must find an extra-instrumental reason to vote. Google may have inadvertently provided an unexpected reason to vote Trump: spite.

Against Google.

Remember President Barack Obama’s annoying “You didn’t build that”?

Today I watched President Donald Trump “explain” how awful trade deficits are. In that explanation he basically said to China, “You didn’t build that.”

The line should still be familiar. Obama had purloined it from the lips of Senator Elizabeth Warren. With this argumentative gambit, these two politicians revealed themselves for what they are, demagogues out to fan the flames of resentment and entitlement. In trying to give to government the credit for the entrepreneurial accomplishments of businessfolk, they were honing an agenda: de-legitimize the achievements of the successful the better to take their wealth away.

But while Obama gave to government the credit for business successes, Trump gave America the credit for China’s.

His logic?

Trump said previous presidents had allowed China to get away with trade policies that disfavored the U.S. to such an extent that no future deal could be 50/50; then, that a deal had been made, but China changed it, so he put up the wall of high tariffs.

Next, Trump boasted of the huge increase in government revenues from his taxes, er, tariffs.

And then the kicker: “We rebuilt China because they got so much money” under freer trade.

That is how Trump had America take the credit for Chinese growth.

And he was more than implying that there is something wrong with Americans helping Chinese grow in this manner.

Trump seems not to understand that when people trade (it is not, really, countries trading) both sides gain. The farmers who support Trump can imagine selling more agricultural product had President Xi’s own protectionist measures been lower, and it is on the basis of those lost opportunities that Trump makes his pitch to American farmers. But it is Chinese consumers who have the greater cause to complain for past Chinese protectionism, for had Xi allowed more trade, China would have grown even faster. Because of all the exchanges. 

Like in all trade, neither side to a trade is irrelevant. China could with just as much justification take credit for American progress in all that past trade.

Every instance of which was an advance for both sides.

The Chinese built what they built, with American help. And could’ve built more had their government gotten out of the way.

And right now, with Trump’s high tariffs in place, American consumers will have to pay more for what we buy from China.

And elsewhere.

Trump is apparently trying to get Xi to take down his protectionist barriers by putting up American barriers. And if Trump succeeds, we do indeed all win. If he fails, we all lose. Meanwhile, we are hurting as much as the Chinese.

And what Trump is saying encourages resentment and economic superstition. So, even if he wins, what we may end up with is more resentment and a greater reservoir of protectionist sentiment in the American electorate.

And that almost guarantees disaster.

twv

One of the great public relations coups of all time has been to identify “the left” with goodness and “the right” with “wrong.”

This is especially droll, since, in olden times, “the left” was identified with “sinister.”

Defining “sinister”. . .

Further, and especially before the introduction of toilet paper, the left hand was not a hand you offered in public, especially in handshake or salute. Why? Because in private it was the hand one used to wipe one’s anus after defecation. The idea that “the left,” today, would be synonymous with good intentions and moral goodness and all other things pure and holy is almost hilarious.

But it is just the kind of thing you should expect to happen when the State comes to dominate society.

twv

Sea level rise has been ongoing . . . for a long time. And steadily. Why?

The standard story, in recent times, has been anthropogenic global warming (AGW): increasing levels of greenhouse gases produced by human civilization warms the planet and melts the polar glaciers, thus raising the sea level. A very common answer. But it hardly seems like the right answer.

Though I have never denied that this standard story seemed a plausible explanation for climate change, on the face of it, in this particular case there is an obvious and grave reason for doubt.

We are coming out of the Little Ice Age, which has been the most significant glaciation period in the Holocene epoch so far. Humanity almost certainly had little to do with either the onset or the ebb of that cooling event. The warming since then has constituted a long trend.

But remember something: continents tend to sink and those that are not offset by countervailing geological forces are indeed sinking. Some apparent sea level rise is not the result of “global warming.”

And, if you have been listening to Jim Hansen and Al Gore and the politicians of a few tropical island nations, the summer Arctic ice sheet was supposed to be gone already, and our lowest-lying beach property under water.*

Why do the prophets of doom keep having to postpone and re-date their doomsday scenarios? Well, could it be because their science is bad? Maybe, even, that their data have not been honestly presented?

To those who have been paying attention, it has become clear that AGW shills have perpetrated a number of data frauds in recent years. Their reporting on sea level increases sure looks to me like one of them. The trend line was on its way up before the dramatic increase in greenhouse gases by the introduction of widespread internal combustion engines, and so attributing later oceanic trends to a new and separate cause hardly seems honest.

And we witness this in other intellectual areas — especially regarding a great number of issues where partisans for the dirigiste state proclaim great success for their programs. What these advocates do is cite trends after the introduction of their favored nostrums, to “prove” how well they work, ignoring that the favorable trend lines they identify had been running in their direction before their programs were put in place. The classic case is workplace fatalities, which decreased after the introduction of OSHA. But of course workplace fatalities had been trending downwards for some time.

An even more startling case is poverty reduction, which leveled off after the introduction of LBJ’s War on Poverty. America would probably have seen greater alleviations of the conditions of America’s poor if the federal government had done nothing. And if you wonder why that would be the case, contemplate, at length, the Cloward-Piven Strategy.

Those of us who doubt the nature, extent and popularly identified causes of climate change get called “climate deniers,” of course. It is a typically idiotic charge. I have my usual response:

From my memevigilante.com pages.

But, when it comes to climate trends, today’s “climate science consensus” seems to be suffering, itself, from denial. Today’s “hockey stick” pushers play down not only the Little Ice Age but also, more infamously yet, the Medieval Warming Period.

But it is worse than that. They ignore the even bigger picture, the events at the beginning of our own Holocene epoch: the end of the last Ice Age.

It was catastrophic. Sea levels rose hundreds of feet in very short periods of time. The piddling secular incline in sea levels in the last century or so is nothing compared to that deluge.

So I demand of AGW-obsessed climate scientists a great many explanations. Until they can explain how Ice Ages start and end, I cannot trust them about our recent climate trends.

They are, embarrassingly and monomaniacally focused on greenhouse gas emissions and the feedback effects of warming on oceans and their consequent, heat-induced emission of carbon dioxide. And, by the way, they never seem to explain how Ice Ages have not spiralled to total global freeze and warming periods have not spiralled to hothouse infernos. Their fondness for simple models that show positive feedback loops after a “tipping point” — that they almost invariably say would be “irreversible” — is bizarre. They seem immune to recognizing factors leading to homeostasis. Climate is determined by multipe causes, and the limited models of the AGW pseudo-consensus strike me as not merely notoriously bad predictors, but absurd on the face of it.

So, I have a lot of questions. Many, many questions. And these questions — only one set of which I ask here — seem rather obvious to me, but which I never encounter from the over-ballyhooed “climate consensus.” I guess I should ask Tony Heller of RealClimateScience.com (whose recent videos inspired some of my ruminations here), since he recognizes the complexity of climate processes and the importance of a geological perspective on climate — recognition of the Big Picture. (In full disclosure, I have been following popular climatology since The Coming Ice Age was a thing, and helped edit a magazine that published one of the first scholarly critiques of the then-new AGW craze, back in the 1980s.)

Sticking to recent trends allows many AGW advocates — usually and suspiciously pushing for ever-more intrusive government — to engage in cultic behavior. Anyone trying to win an argument about science who resorts to the “overwhelming consensus” canard loses his Science Card. Science is about public testing — conjectures and refutations — and, as Richard Feynman astutely suggested, distrusting “the experts.”

I would add one heuristic we non-scientists must keep in mind: the reasoned distrust of those whose public “checks and balances” — vanishingly small in an age when the peer review process has been shown to be in crisis — can be so easily swamped by grant checks and their own bank balances. And let us apply some caution here. Government funding can be as corrupting as corporate funding, and is likely more so, since much greater, and is far more prone to political capture and the prejudice elicited by the public-interest halo. Alas, that halo is ever-present, with most folks giving governments the presumption of efficacy, authority and good will. This prejudice is rank bigotry, of course, almost certainly the result of an evolutionary programming to favor in-group hierarchies.

In fine, I remain confident in saying that mainstream of climatology is now addicted not only to cultism but, specifically, to Ice Age Denialism.

twv

Trying to make sense of the world, one book at a time.

* Of course, there is a major caveat here: melting Arctic sea ice cannot cause a sea level rise. Melting glacial ice on the land masses of Greenland and Antarctica would be the almost sole sources of any future sea rise by melting.