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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Barbara Kay: Fascism in America? Sure, but not because of You Know Who

...When leftists say “fascist,” it often means “right-wing people or opinions that offend me.” In fact fascism can arise on the left or the right. I’ve seen several tweets linking Trump with the protagonist of Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here, the story of an Illinois senator who parlays extreme nativism to the White House. But they fail to mention the novel’s protagonist was a socialist.

What exactly does fascism mean? In his bestselling 2007 book, Liberal Fascism (with an afterword on Obama in the 2009 edition), conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg offers this working definition: “Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or by regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival ‘identity’ is part of the ‘problem’ and therefore defined as the enemy.”

Sounds about right for Mussolini, but also for conservative-shunning American campuses and the velvet totalitarianism of their gender relations and speech codes...

Monday, January 30, 2017

Poll Indicates Most American Voters Support Temporary Ban on Newcomers from Terrorist Havens

Most voters approve of President Trump’s temporary halt to refugees and visitors from several Middle Eastern and African countries until the government can do a better job of keeping out individuals who are terrorist threats.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government approves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. Thirty-three percent (33%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Similarly, 56% favor a temporary block on visas prohibiting residents of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States until the government approves its ability to screen for likely terrorists. Thirty-two percent (32%) oppose this temporary ban, and 11% are undecided...

Scientists Criticize 'Hottest Year on Record' Claim as Hype

Claims that 2016 was “the hottest year on record” are drawing sharp criticism from scientists who say it reflects how global warming has become more social crusade than evidence-based science.

“The Obama administration relentlessly politicized science and it aggressively pushed a campaign about that politicized science,” said Steven E. Koonin, who served as under secretary for science in Obama’s Department of Energy from 2009 to 2011.

Koonin, a theoretical physicist at New York University who once worked for energy giant BP, also blamed a “happily complicit” media for trumpeting the now-departed Obama administration’s dubious claim.

The controversy began in mid-January when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a report declaring that “the globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2016 was the highest among all years since record-keeping began in 1880.”

The report buried the fact that the temperature increase detected by NOAA was 0.01 degrees Celsius. In other words, one-hundredth of a degree – a figure well within the scientific method’s margin of error and one many scientists thus dismissed as meaningless.

This tiny fraction, however, set the global warming bell towers ringing. Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was quoted at Climate Central referring to the past temperature record and saying “2016 has really blown that out of the water.”

Following the lead of the Schmidt and government press releases, USA Today wrote that “the planet sizzled to its third straight record warm year in 2016.” The New York Times’ front-page headline said, “Earth Sets Temperature Record for Third Straight Year.” The article declared that the latest readings were “trouncing” earlier numbers and the planet had thus “blown past” the previous records.

Such characterizations are absurd, according to Richard Lindzen, a meteorology professor at MIT and one of the world’s foremost skeptics that global warming represents an existential threat.

“It’s typical misleading nonsense,” Lindzen said in an e-mail. “We’re talking about less than a tenth of degree with an uncertainty of about a quarter of a degree. Moreover, such small fluctuations – even if real – don’t change the fact that the trend for the past 20 years has been much less than models have predicted.”...

A fascinating theory from the world of sports about Donald Trump’s first 7 days

That's an absolutely fascinating way to view the flurry of activity — executive orders, tweets and the rest — that have defined Trump's first nine days in office.

Trump's six executive orders in his first 10 days  as president are the most since World War II, according to Smart Politics. But it's not just the raw number. It's the subjects on which Trump has seen fit to exert his executive power. One EO set in motion the much-promised construction of a wall along our southern border. Another temporarily banned refugees from entering the U.S. and curtailed all visitors from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

What Trump is doing — under Jenkins's theory — is defining the landscape on which his presidency will play out. He's seeing how far he can stretch the system before it breaks and, thereby, setting the outer limits of what he can do very, very far out...
Scott Adams essentially has been saying the same thing. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

From Scott Adams: Be Careful What You Wish For (especially if it is Hitler)

I think you're going to see me posting a lot from Scott Adams over the next 8 years...

As a trained persuader, I’m seeing a dangerous situation forming that I assume is invisible to most of you. The setup is that during the presidential campaign Trump’s critics accused him of being Hitler(ish) and they were sure other citizens would see it too, thus preventing this alleged monster from taking office.

They were wrong. The alleged monster took office.

Now you have literally millions of citizens in the United States who were either right about Trump being the next Hitler, and we will see that behavior emerge from him soon, or they are complete morons. That’s a trigger for cognitive dissonance. The science says these frightened folks will start interpreting all they see as Hitler behavior no matter how ridiculous it might seem to the objective observer. And sure enough, we are seeing that.

To be fair, Trump made it easy this week with his temporary immigration ban. If you assume Trump is Hitler, that fits with your hypothesis. But of course it also fits the hypothesis that he’s just doing his job. We’re all seeing what we expect to see.

But lately I get the feeling that Trump’s critics have evolved from expecting Trump to be Hitler to preferring it. Obviously they don’t prefer it in a conscious way. But the alternative to Trump becoming Hitler is that they have to live out the rest of their lives as confirmed morons. No one wants to be a confirmed moron...

Denounce Trump or you're a racist idiot!

No, of course that's nonsense.

But I'm seeing a lot of that in the last 24 hours, since Trump announced a suspension on entry to the US from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen.

Personally, I think the way the travel ban was implemented could have been thought out better, and made more clear particularly in terms of people from those countries who are not US citizens but are already legal residents.  (UPDATE:  The White House has apparently come to understand that and has already issued clarifications.) But the policy of restricting travel from countries which house groups that are violently hostile to the US is not without logic or precedence.

One of my friends put up a post on facebook implying that unless I denounce Trump, I must be "a racist idiot." Here was my response (I've omitted some identifying stuff of the first few sentences and formatted it in paragraphs, but otherwise, this is it in its entirety):

Now if you want to rationally discuss his suspension of entry from those 7 Muslim majority countries, personally, I don't think it's a great idea. 

I'd be more disposed towards a more, as the term is, "extreme vetting," rather than a blanket ban. But the policy isn't insane. 

First of all, it's not a "Muslim ban" as there are about 43 Muslim-majority countries which aren't affected by this policy representing approximately 90% of the world's Muslim population. 

However, it is demonstrably true that all of the 7 countries on the list are breeding grounds for terrorism which house numerous terrorist organizations and are rife with extremism and lots of people violently hostile to the United States. 

It's also reasonable to assume that the President of the United States has access to information that the average person doesn't. Since Trump has publicly stated that he's going to take more aggressive action than the previous administration, you might consider the possibility that those hostile to the US would be planning some actions against the US, and this entry ban is a preemptive countermeasure. It's also possibly being taken in anticipation of measures that Trump has planned towards those countries but has not yet announced. That's a very definite possibility in the case of Iran in particular, and Iran has substantial influence in the other countries on the list. 

And by the way, while there have been numerous precedents for this, Obama set one himself in 2011, with a 6-month entry ban on Iraqi refugees. http://thefederalist.com/.../the-obama-administration.../ . 

Again, while I would not take the exact measures that Trump is, in practical terms, the US is at war with groups inside those countries, so as a matter of policy, it is not irrational to suspend entry from those places until, as Trump said, we figure out how to deal with it. And trying to use the "anyone who disagrees with me is a racist idiot" argument may play well with people who think inside the bubble, but it's just not carrying the weight it used to.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Outrage Dilution

From Scott Adams' Blog:
I’m having a fun time watching President Trump flood the news cycle with so many stories and outrages that no one can keep up. Here’s how the math of persuasion works in this situation:

1 outrage out of 3 headlines in a week: Bad Persuasion
25 outrages out of 25 headlines in a week: Excellent Persuasion

At the moment there are so many outrages, executive orders, protests, and controversies that none of them can get enough oxygen in our brains. I can’t obsess about problem X because the rest of the alphabet is coming at me at the same time.

When you encounter a situation that is working great except for one identifiable problem, you can focus on the problem and try to fix it. But if you have a dozen complaints at the same time, none of them looks special. The whole situation just looks confusing, and you don’t know where to start. So you wait and see what happens. Humans need contrast in order to make solid decisions that turn into action. Trump removed all of your contrast by providing multiple outrages of similar energy.

You’re probably seeing the best persuasion you will ever see from a new president. Instead of dribbling out one headline at a time, so the vultures and critics can focus their fire, Trump has flooded the playing field. You don’t know where to aim your outrage. He’s creating so many opportunities for disagreement that it’s mentally exhausting. Literally...

Friday, January 27, 2017

Scientists say extreme PMS symptoms may be caused by a parasite carried by your CAT

...those who suffer severe forms of premenstrual syndrome may be suffering from more than raging hormones – their symptoms could be caused by a parasite carried by cats, research suggests.

Scientists found women with extreme symptoms such as depression and anger are more likely than others to have the parasite in their bloodstream...

Student Sues College Over 'Social Justice' Activism Mandate

American college campuses are becoming the main battleground for the First Amendment, usually because faculty or administrators don’t respect the free speech rights of students. In November I wrote about such a case at Iowa State.

Another case showing the authoritarianism that increasingly characterizes the professoriate involves the master’s program in social work at Rhode Island College (RIC). A student who did not believe that lobbying the state legislature for “progressive” causes was properly a part of his education and suffered for it filed suit against the school in state court.

This remarkable case started way back in 2004, when William Felkner, a graduate student in the college’s social work program, objected to its internship requirement that called for all students to work to “advance social change.” To the faculty, that meant advocating the sorts of “progressive” policies they favor, but the conservative Felkner did not care to advocate policies that he found philosophically repugnant. He therefore accepted instead an internship in the administration of then-governor Donald Carcieri, a Republican.

hat bit of independence was too much for the Professor James Ryczek who reported his defiance to the chair of the Master’s in Social Work Program, Lenore Olsen. She then informed Felkner that he could no longer pursue his degree at RIC.

Writing here in 2005, Greg Lukianoff, then the Director of Legal and Public Advocacy at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), said “Forcing a person to publicly state one thing when he or she privately believes something else is one of the hallmarks of a totalitarian state. It is shocking that (RIC) President Nazarian would allow this.”...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump administration debates designating Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group

A debate is under way in the Trump administration about whether the United States should declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and subject it to U.S. sanctions, according to U.S. officials and people close to President Donald Trump's transition team.

A faction led by Michael Flynn, Trump's National Security Advisor, wants to add the Brotherhood to the State Department and U.S. Treasury lists of foreign terrorist organizations, the sources said.

"I know it has been discussed. I'm in favor of it," said a Trump transition advisor, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The advisor said Flynn's team discussed adding the group to the U.S. list of terrorist groups but said it was ultimately unclear when or even if the administration ultimately would go ahead with such a move.

Other Trump advisors, as well as many veteran national security, diplomatic, law enforcement and intelligence officials argue the Brotherhood has evolved peacefully in some countries, according to officials and people close to Trump's entourage.

They worry that a U.S. move to designate the entire Brotherhood a terrorist group would complicate relations with Turkey, a key American ally in the fight against Islamic State, and where the Islamist-rooted AKP Party that dominates the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in power...

Alan Shatter: Accusations against Israel hide the real issues

...France’s president Fran├žois Hollande’s misleadingly labelled “Middle East Peace Conference” resulted in the adoption of a statement solely concerned with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

All conflagrations in other parts of the Middle East were entirely ignored. The continuing death and destruction occurring in Syria were not mentioned.

With excessive ceremony and fanfare, in the absence of the principal protagonists, the states represented reaffirmed between themselves the blindingly obvious, that “a negotiated solution with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security is the only way to achieve enduring peace” between Israelis and Palestinians...  
...No mention is made of Hamas’s malevolent decade-long destructive rule in the strip; the divisions between the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas; their many failed attempts to implement agreed measures to resolve those divisions; the total rejection by Hamas of the two-state solution; President Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah and Hamas lacking any current democratic mandate to rule; Palestinian elections having last been held 10 years ago; and the factions’ mutual fear of the outcome of any poll that might take place.
The 70 states participating, including the Irish State, represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, chose to ignore the current realities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the real obstacles to a permanent peace. 
At their core is a complete lack of trust between the parties and the inconvenient fact that the Israelis currently have no party with whom to negotiate which credibly and democratically represents Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza and in East Jerusalem...

Monday, January 23, 2017

Whatever happened to former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant?

This is a fascinating story of what happened to Ontario's former Attorney General Michael Bryant, whose precipitous fall from grace was even more striking than the rapid rise of his political fortunes.

I met him many years ago when he first campaigned for a seat at Queen's Park. Michael impressed me as honest and capable to the extent that I even door-knocked for him for his election, with my extremely cute then-3 year-old son in tow, at the four story walk-up apartment where we then lived near Bathurst and St. Clair.

I met him a few more times while he was a politician; the woman to whom Michael was then married practiced law at the same firm, and in the next office beside a very good friend of mine, who introduced us. She too seemed a wonderful, impressive person. A series of terrible mishaps subsequently changed their lives and many others.

“I HAD NO IDEA THAT INNOCENT PEOPLE WERE, EVERY DAY, BEING TREATED LIKE GUILTY PEOPLE,” says Ontario’s former attorney general Michael Bryant. “I had no idea that the presumption of innocence is a joke.” It’s a brisk fall day, and we’re having lunch in the cafeteria at the largest courthouse in Brampton. Bryant, who turned 50 this year, is clean-shaven with short grey hair, his face framed by hipster-thick black glasses. In between bites of Caesar salad, Bryant laments how much he got wrong about Ontario’s justice system when he ran it from 2003 to 2007. But he’s starting to learn. And he’s appalled.

I’ve come to court to watch Bryant spend a day conducting bail hearings. For the past year, he’s done this a few times a week, using bail court as the staging ground for his long-term plan: to build a full-fledged criminal-law practice.

On such days, his job title is duty counsel. In return for a paycheque from Legal Aid Ontario, Bryant stands in bail court all day and represents people the police have charged, but who lack a lawyer to negotiate their release from custody. Sitting in the courtroom, I watch as police haul citizens up from the cells in the basement and plop them into a Plexiglas-encased witness box. Each person then meets Bryant, and the two chat for a couple minutes over the glass before the hearing starts. If anyone recognizes him as a former attorney general, they don’t show it.

Nor do they seem aware that Bryant was once charged with a serious crime himself. Bryant may in fact be most famous for his involvement, in 2009, in a car accident that left cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard dead — and Bryant facing charges for dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. (His lawyer, Marie Henein, built a defence so strong that the Crown dropped the charges before trial.) In court, Bryant looks anything but a criminal. He stands five foot eight, wears a grey textured suit with a matching vest, a crisp dress shirt, a bold red tie and brown leather shoes. He radiates the image of, well, a lawyer...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

What Obama Owes Putin—and Why Donald Trump Is Left Holding the Bag

Is Donald Trump a Russian secret agent? Did he pay FSB hookers to pee on the bed the Obamas slept in at the Ritz in Moscow, overlooking the Kremlin? It’s silly season, so any drunk on a fat oppo-research expense account can write down any crazy foolishness they want and Buzzfeed will let you decide if it’s true because that, as Buzzfeed’s editor, Ben Smith, solemnly explained to The New York Times, is where American journalism is at in 2017. Duly noted, Buzzfeed. Enjoy the golden showers.

What’s being obscured by this grotesquerie is the origin and the actual substance of U.S. foreign policy toward Russia, which in turn affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people living in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Or, to put it another way: Is Donald Trump likely to continue the policies of his predecessor, which set the Middle East on fire and led to 500,000 deaths in Syria, and to Putin biting off large chunks of the sovereign nation of Ukraine? Or is he likely to reverse those policies? Or can he, even if he wanted to?

The single-mindedness with which the White House and the remnants of the Clinton campaign have pursued the idea that Donald Trump is a pawn of Vladimir Putin is not based on silly stories about peeing prostitutes or secret computer servers that connect the Trump organization to the Kremlin. Rather, it’s an attempt to manufacture more smoke to obscure the reality of Obama’s own determination to collaborate with a hostile Russian leader in Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Sure, Obama recently sent 35 Russian diplomats packing and shuttered Russian diplomatic facilities in Maryland and New York, but this was after seven years of looking the other way while Russia seized Crimea, then Donbass; waged cyberattacks on the Baltic countries; brought down a passenger jet over Ukraine; sheltered Edward Snowden; and bombed schools and hospitals in Syria. All of these actions threatened global stability and American interests, yet Obama only puffed his chest after the cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s emails—long after it mattered, and after the moving vans have already started to haul his stuff out of the White House...

Facebook manipulates user posts to rig the game against Trump

This morning, I tried to embed a very funny tweet from Twitter wag Godfrey Elfwick about the Women's March.

This is the tweet:

However, when I tried to post it on facebook, the hashtag #womensmarch was identified by the facebook algorithm, and I was only allowed to select from a series of images below, none of which were of the tweet I was trying to embed, and all supportive of the histrionic anti-Trump protests yesterday.

Admittedly, the images facebook selected are less likely to kill your apetite than Godfrey's, but isn't that a choice we should be allowed to make for ourselves?

Silly me! I forgot, free choice is a classist privilege that is a product of the oppressive, hegemonic patriarchy. The only choice that should be allowed is #socialjustice, meaning facebook and the Women's March crazies' idea of social justice, and any other choice must be prevented.

Not only is the media biased against Trump, but in the case of facebook, it's trying to make its users appear biased against him as well.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Racist Organizes Toronto Trump Protest, Oppression Olympics Ensues!

At 2pm Friday afternoon, while their American counterparts were charging through Washington DC on a violent rampage, a group of Toronto anarcho-kiddies kicked-off an “Anti-Fascist Rally And March” to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration. Organisers described the event on its Facebook page as “a day of action and resistance” created “in defiance of fascism and hatred at home and abroad”.

If you’re already familiar with organisers Wesley Williams (a.k.a. Quasir Ali) and Lane Patriquin then you’ve probably already busted your gut laughing. Both were present and spoke at a hardcore racist Trump protest back in November, and both took prominent roles in the mayhem during Dr. Jordan Petersons October demonstration at the University of Toronto.

Williams is also well known for the racist patch he wore at a 2015 Black Lives Matter protest- “I am the Death of the Palefaces”, it declared!

Barely a handful or two showed up for the protest. So despite Williams calling for “diversity of tactics”, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for violence with an almost equal balance of cops and protesters. Observers and clickbait hungry media were instead awarded by a world-class demonstration of Oppression Olympics and tragically stupid rhetoric that might make even Justin Trudeau blush...
Read the rest at GENUINEWITTY 

Speaking Truth To Assholes

Friday, January 20, 2017

Day 1 of Donald Trump's Presidency: Kiss Kyoto Goodbye!

An America First Energy Plan

Energy is an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy. The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.
For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.
Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.
The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long...

Also with the new Administration, the White House is no longer afraid to use the term "radical Islamic terror":

Donald Trump's Inauguration Speech as 45th President of the United States of America


Virgin Birth: Zebra Shark Has Babies Without Mating

Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland
...Leonie had been living apart from males for the past few years, so her keepers were surprised when she laid eggs that produced three baby sharks in April 2016. Leonie could be the first shark ever observed to make the switch from sexual to asexual reproduction.

"We thought she could be storing sperm; but when we tested the pups and the possible parent sharks using DNA fingerprinting, we found they only had cells from Leonie," said University of Queensland biologist Christine Dudgeon, who described the case in the journal Scientific Reports Monday (Jan. 16).

Leonie's case marks the first time scientists have seen this type of asexual reproduction —known as parthenogenesis—in the zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum).

Parthenogenesis occurs when embryos develop and mature without fertilization by a male's sperm. Rather, an egg progenitor cell that usually gets absorbed by the female's body acts as a surrogate sperm to "fertilize" her egg. This reproduction strategy is more common in plants and invertebrate organisms. However, scientists have been documenting an increasing number of vertebrate species that can have virgin births even when their species normally reproduces sexually. For example, Komodo dragons, the world's largest lizards, have given birth by parthenogenesis. So have wild pit vipers, blacktip sharks, chickens and turkeys...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

4 Recent Examples Show Why No One (with any analytical ability) Trusts Media Coverage Of Trump

One may have hoped that the media would respond to their 2016 failures and resulting lack of credibility by reforming. Instead, it seems that many in political media are quadrupling down on the mistakes that served them and their readers and viewers so poorly in the lead-up to Donald Trump’s surprise victory in November.

It’s impossible to track all the ways in which the media are leaning into their bias, their unnecessary hostility, and their abandonment of journalistic principles. So let’s just look at a few examples from the last few hours.

Many members of the media would like to imagine themselves as brave heroes who will valiantly fight the excesses of the Trump administration. These examples show why people do not trust the media to tell the truth, much less hold anyone accountable for anything...

read the rest at The Federalist  

Scott Adams asks: Could a Climate Science Expert Change Your Opinion?

...Here’s a thought experiment:

Let’s say you are new to the debate about climate change and I put you in a room with the most well-informed climate scientist in the world. The scientist spends as much time with you as you want, answering every question and making her case that climate change is a human-caused disaster in the making. Let’s say this scientists is also the best communicator in the world, unlike most scientists. So now you have the best information, from the most knowledgeable person in the world on this topic, communicated in the best possible way, and answering all of your questions. Would you be persuaded by all of that credibility and good communication?

We know that a die-hard climate change skeptic would not be persuaded by this excellent source of information because humans rarely change their minds about important things. Instead we hallucinate reasons for why we were right all along. But in my thought experiment I said you are new to the climate change debate. So let’s assume you came to it without bias. Would you be convinced by the scientist?

Probably yes. If your first introduction to a topic involved a clear and detailed explanation from the top expert in the world, you would probably be persuaded because there is nothing stopping that persuasion from happening. You have no bias to overcome and the scientist is both credible and clear in her message.

The unbiased mind is likely to be totally convinced in this thought experiment. And that mind would also think it had engaged in rational behavior. After all, what could be more rational than getting the best information on a topic, from the best expert in the world, communicated in the clearest possible way?

But your new certainty about climate change would be a fraud that you perpetrated on yourself. If you don’t yet see in my thought experiment why the best information from the best source is still unreliable, even when clearly communicated, you probably don’t understand enough about the world to participate in decision-making.

I’ll simplify this even further so you can test your hallucination. Here’s the summary of the situation. Tell me why you should not automatically trust the scientist in this thought experiment. Assume the following three things ARE true. What’s missing?

  • Best expert in the world on Climate Science.
  • Currently works in the field.
  • Great communicator, answers all of your questions.

  • See what’s missing yet?

    The thing that is missing is that you can’t know what the expert didn’t tell you...

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

    Syrian oppositionist says Palestinians are ‘living in paradise’

    Credit: Reuvan Ramaz, Truman Institute

    A rare public meeting between Israelis and Syrians in Jerusalem on Tuesday was interrupted by Palestinian protesters who expressed outrage that Syrians would work with Israelis. The protesters met with a furious response from the Syrians, who accused them of failing to understand what true oppression involves.

    “You are living in a paradise compared to Syria,” Issam Zeitoun, a liaison for the Free Syrian Army with the international community, told the protesters as they refused to stop shouting and allow the event to continue. “You should be ashamed.”...

    In a full turnaround, Pride Toronto, which began as a plea for tolerance, is now a platform for hateful extremists

    When Toronto's Pride festival was in its infancy, I was there attending and usually try to make the festival. I went to Jarvis Collegiate, around the corner from the Church Street 'Gay Ghetto,' and as high school kids, our hangouts were along Church where we mingled with the gay proprietors, staff and customers of local establishments and everyone got along great.

    Pride started as a a reaction to police raids on Toronto bathhouses and a call for understanding and tolerance, but to be honest, I was fairly oblivious to the politics back then. I was interested in supporting the gay community, but there was also some self-interest. When Pride started out, it was small, friendly, and the bars and restaurants along the strip were anxious to promote the event, so they would sell beer at really cheap prices. A win-win.

    Pride has been no stranger to controversy from its outset. At one point, a debate occurred as to whether the pedophile group the North American Man-Boy Love Association should be banned from Pride. Eventually that group was banned from Pride as their participation became too discreditting for the growing gay rights movement. However, as the gay rights movement grew, so did Pride, and radical extremists saw an opportunity to advance their agendas through it.

    It's a common radical activist tactic, to parasitically attach itself to an organization, and then eventually try to control it and steer it in a direction completely different than its original purpose. That is how the odious anti-semitic group "Queers Against Israeli Apartheid" became such a force in Pride. For the overwhelming majority of North American gay (or straight) people, middle east politics is no more relevant than Mongolian politics, If anything, the gay community mostly sympathizes and empathizes with Israel, which is one of the most tolerant countries in the world insofar as gay rights are concerned and is home to one of the world's top gay tourist destinations in Tel Aviv, which has its own huge annual Pride festival.

    But radical neo-Marxist extremists who despise Israel and western capitalist culture in general infiltrated Pride and pushed the antisemitc agenda. The result almost derailed Toronto's Pride festival, when sponsors started withdrawing support and the City of Toronto threatened to withhold funds so as not to have any association with the anti-Israel fanatics.

    The same type of extremists have now gained control of Toronto's Pride through the fanatical Black Lives Matter group. Racial equality and the elimination of racism are important goals. Those goals are not what Black Lives Matter stands for. It's an extremist, racist, anti-western organization which exploits the stupidity of virtue-signalling "social justice warriors," who are afraid to be seen as opposing what they mistakenly believe to be a group that strives for equality and tolerance.

    Much has changed since Toronto's Pride festival began in 1981. Police are now supportive of and eager participants in Toronto's Pride festival and have been for the last two decades. That will now change, thanks to the Black Lives Matter extremists. Pride has capitulated to Black Lives Matters' demand to exclude Toronto Police entirely from Pride. Well, not entirely. They still expect Toronto Police to provide free security to the festival and parade.

    It's standard Marxist inanity: "We hate you, you're an oppressor. Oh, and give us free stuff that we've done nothing to deserve."

    The City of Toronto should withdraw all support from Pride until the despicable decision to exclude police from the festival is reversed. But perhaps, better still, the City should start an alternative Gay festival that is the symbol of inclusiveness and tolerance that Pride was meant to be, and leave the fanatics and hatemongers who dominate Toronto's Pride organization to have a tiny, masturbatory gathering of their own, which they can pay for with their own resources.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Sunday, January 15, 2017

    A typical day on the West Bank

    Are US Intelligence agencies about to go to war with their own Commander-In-Chief?

    If this report is true, then it bodes terribly for the state of affairs among certain quarters of some US intelligence agencies. It is a sign of a serious problem either way, since it translates to a either security risk or a terrible politicization of US Intelligence. 

    ...American intelligence officials expressed despair at the election of Trump during a recent meeting with their Israeli counterparts, Bergman reported. They said that they believed that Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump, though they did not elaborate. The American media reported on Wednesday that Russia has embarrassing intelligence about the president-elect.

    According to Bergman, the American intelligence officials implied that Israel should “be careful” when transferring intelligence information to the White House and the National Security Council (NSC) following Trump's inauguration – at least until it is clear that Trump does not have inappropriate connections with Russia.

    Cooperation between the Israeli and U.S. intelligence communities has intensified over the past two decades, with most of the joint operations directed, according to reports, against Iran. Hezbollah and Hamas were also intelligence targets. An official agreement in 2008 for comprehensive cooperation, including the exposure of sources and methods of action, reportedly led to impressive results, including the disruption of the Iranian nuclear program.

    President Barack Obama put an end to offensive activity against Iran in 2013, at the start of secret talks between the U.S, and Iran over a nuclear agreement...

    Saturday, January 14, 2017

    When the country that spawned the evil of Nazism teams up with Islamofascism

    A German regional court in the city of Wuppertal affirmed a lower court decision last Friday stating that a violent attempt to burn the city's synagogue by three men in 2014 was a justified expression of criticism of Israel’s policies.

    Johannes Pinnel, a spokesman for the regional court in Wuppertal, outlined the court’s decision in a statement.

    Three German Palestinians sought to torch the Wuppertal synagogue with Molotov cocktails in July, 2014.  The local Wuppertal court panel said in its 2015 decision that the three men wanted to draw “attention to the Gaza conflict” with Israel. The court deemed the attack not to be motivated by antisemitism...

    Friday, January 13, 2017

    Obama's farewell speech heightened divisions rather than healed them

    White voters in America aren't mostly underemployed, middle aged people who feel left behind, African-Americans aren't all oppressed, underprivileged victims who are the daily targets of racists, or angry activists blocking public thoroughfares, and Latino-Americans aren't mostly first generation immigrants, most of whom are in the country illegally.

    The average white Trump voter makes substantially more than the US median income, most African-Americans are solidly entrenched in the middle class, and most Latinos have been in America for generations, immigrated legally and a substantial number of them voted for Donald Trump.

    You'd never realize that from Barack Obama's farewell speech Tuesday night.

    The growth and entrenchment of Identity Politics has been the most divisive element of western culture in the last eight years and Barack Obama has made the issue worse by reinforcing rather than debunking many stereotypes.

    President Obama is one of the great political orators of his generation, and there was much good in his farewell speech. His telling Americans that they need to get out of their self-affirming bubbles is one of the most crucial things that needs to be heard at this juncture.

    But Obama also reiterated the patchwork of distinct, boilerplate categories of cliched racial, religious and ethnic divisions that would be described as racist generalizations if anyone other than the 'post-racial' President uttered them.

    The inculcation of those divisions has, during Obama's presidency, taken firmer root in education and government policy. It's destructive and divisive.

    When Americans are encouraged to be Americans, and we see pigmentation and ethnicity as another facet that separates people from each other no more than hair color or taste in music, then thge nation will grow stronger.  The Book of Proverbs predicts what the sort of divisions Obama's America may reap: "He who troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind."

    With an new presidency on the horizon, let's hope Americans can repudiate that prediction.

    Thursday, January 12, 2017

    Vampire Bats In Brazil Now Start To Feed On Human Blood

    Wild vampire bats in Brazil that are believed to exclusively feed on bird blood have started to feed on human blood by night.

    Better Adapted At Processing Bird Blood

    The hairy-legged vampire bat, Diphylla ecaudata, which lives in northeast Brazil typically targets large birds to feed on at night time.

    The bats primarily feed on birds because they have evolved to be better at processing bird blood, which is characterized by high levels of fat, than at digesting the thicker and high-protein blood of mammals. The nocturnal animals would suck a spoonful of blood from one animal as meal.

    Earlier experiments have shown that many of the bats would opt to fast and starve to death when only pig and goat blood was available.

    Enrico Bernard, from the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, and colleagues, however, have found evidence suggesting that the bats have started to eat something that is outside of their traditional diet.

    Traces Of Human Blood In Fecal Samples

    Bernard and colleagues analyzed fecal samples from a colony of the hairy-legged vampires that live in Catimbau National Park in northeast Brazil. The researchers found that of the 15 samples that they managed to get DNA from, three had traces of blood from humans, suggesting that the animals have started to suck on human blood...

    Cruz, Graham 'Safeguard Israel Act' aims to slay Obama's abandonment of Israel

    Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are set to introduce legislation Thursday to cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations until the anti-American organization rescinds its recently passed, vehemently anti-Israel resolution.

    U.S. contributions to the body’s regular and peacekeeping budgets stand at roughly $3 billion a year — about a quarter of the respective budgets.

    The senators’ Safeguard Israel Act of 2017 seeks to “prohibit voluntary or assessed contributions to the United Nations until the President certifies to Congress that United Nations Security Resolution 2334 has been repealed,” an advance copy of the draft bill obtained by Conservative Review states...

    Wednesday, January 11, 2017

    Terence Corcoran: Chavez’s Canadian fan club is awfully quiet about Venezuela’s utter meltdown

    It’s time for a break from the great media/Hollywood fixation on the imminent malfeasance of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Better, for sanity and perspective, to reflect on a former media/Hollywood fixation: The ideologically sainted Hugo Chavez, a national leader whose wondrous achievements as socialist president of Venezuela were hailed and celebrated for almost two decades.

    With Venezuela currently slipping deeper into financial and economic ruin, not much has been heard from the dead dictator’s legion of supporters, including those Canadian media celebrities who joined hands with Hollywood types such as Michael Moore, Oliver Stone and Sean Penn to support Chavez as a great South American democrat.

    One such Canadian, Naomi Klein, retweeted approvingly on the 2013 death of Chavez: “Yes, the Venezuelan president could be a strongman. But he leaves behind what might be called the most democratic country in the Western Hemisphere.”

    The Western Hemisphere?! More democratic than, say, Canada? I suppose Venezuela might be called that, but not with a straight face. What Chavez actually left behind is one of the most horrifically destitute countries in the world. In December, Transparency International listed Venezuela as the only country in the Americas among the world’s 10 most corrupt governments...

    Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    Against and For: Senators Al Franken (D) and Ted Cruz (R) question Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's nominee for Attorney General at confirmation hearings

    Jeremy Corbyn backs "idiotic" cap on earnings to reduce inequality

    Jeremy Corbyn has backed a cap on high earnings as a way to reduce income inequality, as the Labour leader makes a fresh pitch to UK voters.

    Mr Corbyn told the BBC on Tuesday: “I would like there to be some kind of high earnings cap, quite honestly.” 

    The Labour leader described the UK as a bargain basement economy on the shores of Europe. “We have the worst level of income disparity of most of the OECD countries,” he said. “It’s getting worse and corporate taxation is a part of it. If we want to live in a more egalitarian society and fund our public services we cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality.” 

     However, Mr Corbyn was reluctant to be drawn on details of an earnings cap: “I can’t put a figure on it and I don’t want to.”...

    Monday, January 9, 2017

    Imam who issued fatwa against Indian PM Modi now threatens Tarek Fatah with beheading

    Recently, the Shahi Imam of (India's) Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan Mosque, Maulana Noorur Rahman Barkati was in the news for issuing a fatwa against Narendra Modi. The Imam had declared an award of Rupees 25 lakhs for shaving the head and beard of the Prime Minister. He was speaking at a joint conference by the All India Majlis-e-Sura and All India Minority Forum, in a promotional campaign for Mamata Banerjee.

    Now it appears the Imam has gone quite a few steps ahead. The Imam was invited to a panel discussion on Zee News, to debate his controversial fatwa. Among the panelists, was Canadian columnist and staunch critic of radical Islam, Tarek Fatah.

    In a shocking incident of gross “intolerance”, out of nowhere, the Imam declared during the debate that Fatah “would be beheaded”...

    Piers Morgan: Sorry, Meryl but that hypocritical anti-Trump rant was easily the worst performance of your career (apart from that time you gave a child rapist a standing ovation)

    ...Really, Meryl?

    For starters, the incident to which she referred didn’t happen last year, it happened in 2015. There’s even been another Golden Globes in between then and now, at which it was never mentioned.

    Second, Trump has always furiously denied – and has again today on Twitter - he was mocking the reporter’s disability and a Conservative website produced video evidence of numerous other instances where he made the exact same gesture to fully able-bodied people when attacking them. (See here and decide for yourself)

    Third, the reporter is hardly a powerless individual with ‘no capacity to fight back’; he’s a long-time Pulitzer-prize winning investigative journalist at the New York Times, a paper that’s trashed Trump for decades.

    But putting all that to one side for a moment – and if Trump WAS mocking a man’s disability then I agree it was disgraceful - let’s move to what Streep said next: ‘Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.’

    At this point, I laughed out loud with incredulity.

    Not at the words themselves, which are laudable.

    No, it was at the hypocrisy.

    You’d be hard-pushed to find an industry that encourages more disrespect and violence than Hollywood...