Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Boilerplate Leftism is the default position, the ‘no thinking required’ setting; It is the ease of this rhetoric that must be defeated more than the rhetoric itself

Excellent article by The Declination's Thales (obrigado para Sarah Hoyt) on "a massive problem":
 … boilerplate Leftism … is seen, even by most Rightists, as the default position. It’s the ‘no thinking required’ setting. If you want to spout some kind of philosophical nonsense to make yourself look smart and cultured while your boob is falling out, you do Leftism. It’s easy rhetoric. Hey look, there’s a man with no fish. Saying “somebody should give him a fish, look he’s starving” is the easy rhetorical answer. Defeating this argument is simple with dialectic, but few people care about dialectic. It’s boring. Nerdy. Too many words. Better to just call somebody a bigot and move on.

Defeating Leftism with rhetoric is much more difficult. For not only must you use a convincing argument, that argument must be truthful and honest. The Leftist may use deceit without remorse, because to him the end justifies the means. You may not. Furthermore, Leftism itself is tailored toward sounding good. Rightism is full of unpleasant truths about human nature and the how things work in the real world. People don’t like to hear these things. …

 … This means superficial Instagram would-be porn stars are going to spout Leftism. It requires minimal intellectual investment. And in order to please these attention-seekers, hordes of thirsty men will likewise spout Leftism.

… Delusional rhetoric is the centerpiece of Leftist thought. These people believe – or at least act like they believe – that we live in the most oppressive, terrible society ever, when it is far closer to the exact opposite. If a more tolerant society has existed, it certainly wasn’t for very long. … the point is, the oppression they crave, the oppression they rant about (not the contradiction it first seems) does not exist.

 … Just notice how much society rewards people who claim oppression. It’s actually a benefit. People compete and jockey for oppression points, because the more you have, the more attention you get.

 … It’s all mass delusion, but it’s a strange sort of self-reinforcing mass delusion. It’s like a brain virus, and once you have it, obtaining a cure is exceedingly difficult – because you have to realize that you are sick in the first place, something Leftism explicitly tries to avoid. Don’t question the narrative heretic… er… I mean racist. If there is any sort of religious dictatorship threatening to micromanage every facet of our lives, it’s coming from the Left, not the Christian Right. Of course, their dictatorship doesn’t make women wear strange red bonnets, but it does make you sign a consent form to have sex, so there’s that. The boob on Instagram is free, though.

 … It is the ease of this rhetoric, the reward for it, that really pushes people into Leftism. Oh, sure, there will always be welfare queens and hardcore Marxists who spout this crap, but the regular Joe is responding to a need to be accepted. The middle manager trying to angle for promotion to the upper tier is saying what he thinks people want him to say. And yes, even the flaky Instagram girl is just responding to what will get her the most likes and comments.

 … It is the ease of this rhetoric that must be defeated more than the rhetoric itself. Even if a Milo or Ben Shapiro gets in a slick comeback; even if Thomas Sowell comes to the party armed with every economic statistic known to man and has them on immediate tap, it won’t be enough. Such victories are short-lived, and the culture at large goes back to ‘if you want upvotes, talk about Islamophobia!’ Rightists are fighting an enormous cultural current, and are doing so admirably. But it is the current itself that must be changed.

The bikini girl on Instagram should be at least as likely to talk about taxation as theft as she is to take rhetorical dumps on Donald Trump. Only then will the rhetorical battle be on level ground.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Hammers & Nails? If all you have is discourse, every party to any round of talks looks like Socrates


A Herblock cartoon in the International Herald Tribune from November 11, 1998, has Iraq and Serbia's bloodthirsty leaders laughing at the Western countries' propensity for talks. Of course, both Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milošević would eventually be taken out, albeit after many years (in Milosevic's case, only after half a dozen years of war in Kosovo, and in Saddam's case, it could easily be argued, only because of the 9-11 attacks), so the Herbert Block cartoon cannot be said to be far from wrong.

In any case, doesn't it seem that the attitude is something that the Kims of North Korea have been doing for decades, right up until the arrival in the White House of a fellow by the name of Donald Trump?

Based on an Abraham Maslow thought, an old phrase regularly brandished by the left's pacifists against the Pentagon and its conservative backers goes like this:
"if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." 
 Well, if all you have is discourse and debate, every party to any round of talks looks like Socrates.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

What Matter Human Rights When Faced with Chinese Contracts with the West?

As Emmanuel Macron visited China a few months ago, Le Monde's Plantu let it be known that he did not seem too impressed with the French government's legendary devotion to human rights in the face of French-Chinese contracts…

Saturday, April 21, 2018

George Bush of Iraq, Meet Little Trump of Syria…


Imitation may indeed be the highest form of flattery, 
reports Hollie McKay from the Syrian town of Kobane,
but one Syrian-Kurdish father here has taken that concept to a whole new level.

“My son is 'Trump,'” Rezgar Ramadan, 40, a pharmacy drug representative, proudly told Fox News this week. “He likes his name so much, everywhere we go people always ask us, ‘How is little Trump?’”

Ramadan said he thought of renaming the boy, originally named Mustafa, back in 2016, after Donald Trump won the presidential election.

 … The boy has become a celebrity of sorts in the village of Kobane, in the nation's north, his dad said. "Everyone knows him now. I am teaching him about America. He is already so smart, and wants to lead his brother and sister.”
 
 … The couple are also parents to 8-year-old twins  Muhammed and Rula, and are planning to expand their family in the very near future. The names are already picked out.

“If it's a boy, it will be 'Rex Tillerson,'” Ramadan declared. “And if it a girl, she will be 'Nikki Haley.'”

“I like Rex Tillerson because I like his character,” Ramadan said, unfazed by the fact that Tillerson had recently lost his job as U.S. secretary of state. “And Nikki Haley fights a lot for the human rights, and speaking out against Russia, who have been committing a lot of crimes here in Syria.”

Naming children after foreign leaders is no longer so unusual in parts of the Middle East. Some supporters of the Syrian regime have named their babies “Putin,” in honor of the Russian president. And "Bush" became a popular name after the 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq under the administration of George W. Bush.

Ramadan insisted he hasn’t received any backlash over his decision to name his son after the U.S. president. …
Related: On July 11, George Bush turns 15 years old…
Related: There's a new George Bush in Baghdad,
six weeks old and screaming in a crib
Nadia Jergis Mohammed, 34, … told Associated Press Television News:
"I tell you all Iraqis hated Saddam's regime. It was only George Bush who liberated us, without him it wouldn't have happened. If he hadn't done it the sons of Saddam would have ruled us for years. He saved us from Saddam and that's why we named our son after him"

Friday, April 20, 2018

During the CPAC Convention, a Conservative in Europe Is Interviewed by Lars Larson from Radio Row

On the Lars Larson show during the CPAC get-together, write Carl Sundberg and Donovan Sargent,
Lars talks with ex-pat Erik Svane who emigrated to France, Erik tells us what conservativism is like in Europe and how some things are the same but some are very, very different.
Among other places, the Lars Larson interview appeared on FM News KXL and on iHeart Radio.
 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

It seems as if there’s no end of “scientific truths” that just ain’t so

Half the results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals are probably wrong 
write Peter Wood and David Randall in a Wall Street Journal piece entitled How Bad Is the Government’s Science? (thanks to Instapundit).
John Ioannidis, now a professor of medicine at Stanford, made headlines with that claim in 2005. Since then, researchers have confirmed his skepticism by trying—and often failing—to reproduce many influential journal articles.

 … It seems as if there’s no end of “scientific truths” that just aren’t so.

 … The chief cause of irreproducibility may be that scientists, whether wittingly or not, are fishing fake statistical significance out of noisy data. If a researcher looks long enough, he can turn any fluke correlation into a seemingly positive result. But other factors compound the problem: Scientists can make arbitrary decisions about research techniques, even changing procedures partway through an experiment. They are susceptible to groupthink and aren’t as skeptical of results that fit their biases. Negative results typically go into the file drawer. Exciting new findings are a route to tenure and fame, and there’s little reward for replication studies.

 … A deeper issue is that the irreproducibility crisis has remained largely invisible to the general public and policy makers. That’s a problem given how often the government relies on supposed scientific findings to inform its decisions. Every year the U.S. adds more laws and regulations that could be based on nothing more than statistical manipulations.

All government agencies should review the scientific justifications for their policies and regulations to ensure they meet strict reproducibility standards. The economics research that steers decisions at the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department needs to be rechecked. The social psychology that informs education policy could be entirely irreproducible. The whole discipline of climate science is a farrago of unreliable statistics, arbitrary research techniques and politicized groupthink.
Mr. Wood is president of the National Association of Scholars. Mr. Randall is the NAS’s director of research and a co-author of its new report, “The Irreproducibility Crisis of Modern Science.”

Monday, April 16, 2018

"Do you realize I have not done a movie in 5 to 6 years? Why? Because I was totally blackballed by the … liberals in Hollywood," R Lee Ermey alleged; "They can destroy you. They're hateful people"


Samuel Chamberlain of Fox News has written the obituary of R. Lee Ermey, the former Marine Corps drill instructor known to millions of moviegoers as the sadistic Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket". Among other things we learn of the man who was 74:
An outspoken conservative, Ermey spoke to Fox News in 2016 about being "blackballed" from Hollywood over his political views.

"I've had a very fruitful career. I've done over 70 feature films," he said. "I've done over 200 episodes of [Outdoor Channel series 'GunnyTime']... and then [Hollywood] found out that I'm a conservative."

Actually, he corrected, "I'm an Independent, but I said something bad about the president. I had something unsavory to say about the president's administration, and even though I did vote for him the first time around, I was blackballed."

Ermey, who was an NRA board member, said at the time that his association with the organization and his disapproval of President Obama cost him acting jobs.

"Do you realize I have not done a movie in five to six years? Why? Because I was totally blackballed by the ... liberals in Hollywood," he alleged. "They can destroy you. They're hateful people [who] don't just not like you, they want to take away your livelihood ... that's why I live up in the desert on a dirt road ... I don't have to put up with their crap."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

New Paris Tour Company Offers Guided Tours Fitted to Your Wishes and Desires


 … sharing my knowledge and love of Paris is second-nature to me
writes an expatriate American corporate trainer who, after a decade in the City of Light, has taken the leap from trainer to tour guide through her Paris Personally company, which personalizes tours to your wishes and desires (see a sample of Tour Ideas). Gina Hunt continues:
 … if you've decided to hire someone to help you get the most out of your trip, then you're not just looking for a cookie-cutter tour. You're looking to see Paris in a personal way. You're looking to make your experience of Paris unique and memorable. That's why you're looking for Paris Personally.

 … because I know how to personalize your experience, you'll enjoy Paris in a unique and memorable way. I'm always professional, always focused on helping you have a great time, and I speak fluent French, bien sûr!
FAQ 

Contact Ms. Hunt at gina@paris-personally.com or through her contact page to see a sample itinerary and learn more details of how Paris Personally's small group trips work.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Racism in Canada: Swahili Cultural Appropriation with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra


This is your chance to sing in Swahili!
Horrible! A despicable racist named Roger Whittaker engages in Swahili cultural appropriation with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. And the appallingly un-woke members of the audience at the Jubilee Auditorium seem to be enjoying it…

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

While Calling Assad a "Gas Killing Animal", Was Trump Also Referring, Obliquely, to Putin the Poisoner?

Instapundit's Stephen Green links to Mark Hodge and James Beal's Sun story, which starts out thus:
DONALD Trump has told Russia to "get ready" for American "smart" missiles heading to Syria while blasting Putin for partnering with "Gas Killing Animal" Bashar Assad.
I can't help associating Gas with Poison — two largely invisible killers — and wondering whether, in the same breath, the "Republican firebrand" isn't referring to, and condemning, Putin's poisoning of a Russian spy and his daughter in the UK.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A foreigner who knew John Bolton during the Bush administration writes to the FT: he is a rational agent who is perfectly capable of engaging in constructive dialogue


So many people, both inside and outside the United States, have reacted with horror at the nomination of John Bolton to the upper echelons of U.S. power that the Armenian who served as his country's permanent representative to the UN during the time of the Bush administration, Armen Martirosyan, felt the need to write to the Financial Times to set things straight.
Since U.S. president Donald Trump announced John Bolton as his next national security adviser, the prospect of “possibly Washington’s most aggressive hawk”, as he was described by [the Financial Times’s] Simon Kuper (“Don’t get distracted. John Bolton is a huge threat,” April 7), having a central role in the formulation of American foreign policy has become a cause for foreboding apprehension for many.

In 2005, as the then permanent representative of Armenia to the UN, I was a first-hand witness to then U.S. ambassador Bolton’s aggressive campaign for an anti-Iranian resolution at the UN General Assembly. Armenia’s position on the Iran vote did not meet American expectations, so the U.S. mission contacted us with an urgent request for an appointment with Mr. Bolton.

It was abundantly clear that Mr. Bolton was not ready to take no for an answer, and this peculiar situation called for unorthodox solutions. After a brief welcome, to my guest’s utter surprise I unveiled a map of Armenia and rolled it out over my desk.

With this visual aid, I impressed on him the relevant regional complexities facing my country and thus justified our position on the resolution. Before his departure, Mr. Bolton accepted a sip of Winston Churchill’s favourite Armenian brandy, Ararat, as a seal of our new understanding.

My advice to all potential interlocutors is to treat Mr. Bolton as a rational agent who is perfectly capable of engaging in constructive dialogue and adjusting positions based on new-found insights.

Armen Martirosyan
Ambassador of Armenia to India
New Delhi
Be sure to subscribe to the Financial Times. It is worth it, for the daily is full of treasures like this one…

Voir aussi l'article de Philippe Gélie dans Le Figaro…
Peu d'hommes sont précédés d'une réputation aussi sulfureuse que lui - patiemment bâtie et totalement assumée.


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Did the CIA and the FBI become opposition research shops for the Obama White House and the Hillary campaign?


The left used to get very worked up about the CIA’s interference in foreign elections.
The American Spectator's George Neumayr has penned what is possibly the best single article on the 2016 election scandal (thanks to Instapundit), the alleged Trump Russia collusion and the real wrongdoing that has been (deliberately) hidden by the noise covering that alleged scandal.
Liberals [used to] quote solemnly the work of Philip Agee, a CIA turncoat who wrote articles and books about the agency’s manipulation of this or that foreign election. But these days ACLU-style liberals shrug at the meddling of John Brennan’s CIA in the 2016 American election, mischief that the FBI is still trying to conceal.

It was reported recently that the FBI refuses to show Congressman Devin Nunes an unredacted copy of the origination document that triggered the probe into the Trump campaign. What is the FBI hiding? Paradoxically, nothing — that is, no classified information showing collusion between Trump and Russia. The FBI is simply trying to hide the embarrassingly partisan origins of its spying on the Trump campaign.

Were the redactions covering material harmful to Trump, that material would have been leaked by now. So the redactions can only be concealing the fingerprints of Hillary’s partisans in the Obama administration. The FBI will eventually have to fess up to the politicization to which it succumbed — that the most virulent Hillary partisan imaginable, John Brennan, had put pressure on FBI officials to start the probe, that a Trump hater, Peter Strzok, formally opened up the probe, that the smears of a paid opposition researcher for Hillary, Christopher Steele, contributed to the probe, that scandalous “intelligence-sharing” between Brennan and foreign intelligence agencies shaped the probe, and that FBI officials suspected the probe was unfounded but pursued it anyways at the insistence of Obama officials.

The FBI says it is redacting “sensitive information.” That’s true in an ironic sense: the FBI is very sensitive about the information, in that it illuminates the agency’s transformation into an opposition research shop for the Hillary campaign. Take her partisans out of the picture and the probe would never have started.

In an attempt to sanitize the probe, the media has attributed its origin to a drunken conversation between an Aussie diplomat and a minor Trump campaign volunteer. But that’s a joke. Maybe the FBI threw that into the pot at the last minute, but John Brennan had been stirring it for months before then. As Brennan told Congress, “we were uncovering information intelligence about interactions and contacts between U.S. persons and the Russians. And as we came upon that, we would share it with the bureau.” Notice his use of “we” in that statement. By “we,” Brennan meant his retinue of Hillary partisans at the CIA who had been shaking foreign intelligence agencies down for any dirt on Trump.

The British intelligence, in cahoots with Brennan and Christopher Steele (who was on Hillary’s payroll), figured largely into this mischief. In all likelihood it will come out that the “information” British intelligence shared with Brennan was just recycled Steele material. The “allies tipped us off to Trump-Russian collusion” storyline is a sham, designed to distract attention from a chain of Hillary partisans who in the thick of a campaign were circulating smears among themselves and calling it “intelligence sharing.”

It was the blinding, viscerally personal hatred of Brennan for Trump, perhaps more than anything else, that turned all those phony “tips” into a counterintelligence probe. In the grip of that kind of feverish antipathy, combined with his desire to continue as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan could convince himself of any Trump monstrosity and made it his mission to prod the FBI into harassing him.

 … But it wasn’t enough for Brennan to push the FBI investigation. He also had to publicize it, which he achieved through another person in Christopher Steele’s orbit, Senator Harry Reid, whose Super PAC, as the Daily Caller reports, was run by the very Hillary lawyer who hired Steele’s services. Brennan briefed Reid on the beginnings of the FBI investigation he instigated, knowing that Reid would leak the contents of the briefing to the press.

About this astounding meddling in an election by a CIA director, the Philip Agees of the left have fallen completely silent. But that makes sense. After all, how can old radicals inveigh against the CIA as a “wilderness of mirrors” when it is John Brennan’s reflection in it?