Monday, August 21, 2017

Google Teaming with Left-Wing Groups to Drive Conservatives off the Internet



Google Teaming with Left-Wing Groups to Drive Conservatives off the Internet
John Hinderaker, Powerline

This is a big subject which I don’t have time to do justice to in this post. I am afraid that we will need to return to it frequently in the months ahead. The place to begin is this excellent piece by Paula Bolyard at PJ Media: “Is Google Working with Liberal Groups to Snuff Out Conservative Websites?”

Briefly, Google is partnering with far-left groups like Pro Publica, BuzzFeed and the Southern Poverty Law Center to create a database of “hate” news for use by journalists. “Hate,” of course, means everything from opposing mass immigration to failing to endorse the latest LGBTQIA fads, while trying to murder Republican Congressmen apparently doesn’t qualify. Pro Publica’s page titled “Documenting Hate News Index” is here.

Ms. Bolyard writes:

On the surface, this looks rather innocuous. It’s presented by Google as an attempt to create a database of hate crimes — information that should be available with a quick Google search, it should be noted. But a quick glance at the list of partners for this project should raise some red flags:

The ProPublica-led coalition includes The Google News Lab, Univision News, the New York Times, WNYC, BuzzFeed News, First Draft, Meedan, New America Media, The Root, Latino USA, The Advocate, 100 Days in Appalachia and Ushahidi. The coalition is also working with civil-rights groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, and schools such as the University of Miami School of Communications.
***

It’s easy enough to figure out the direction of this project by taking it for a test drive. A search for “Scalise” returned four results, one of which didn’t even mention Steve Scalise, the congressman who was shot by a crazed leftist in June. A search for “Trump” during the same time period yielded more than 200 results. A search of the raw data resulted in 1178 hits for Trump and not a single mention of Scalise.

Note that Google, which recently fired an employee for expressing his counter-progressive opinions, thinks this information could be used to “help journalists covering hate news leverage this data in their reporting.” What do they mean by “leverage this data”? They don’t say, but an email sent to several conservative writers by a ProPublica reporter may give us some indication. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer along with some others received this from ProPublica “reporter” Lauren Kirchner:

I am a reporter at ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in New York. I am contacting you to let you know that we are including your website in a list of sites that have been designated as hate or extremist by the American Defamation League or the Southern Poverty Law Center. We have identified all the tech platforms that are supporting websites on the ADL and SPLC lists.

We would like to ask you a few questions:

1) Do you disagree with the designation of your website as hate or extremist? Why?

2) We identified several tech companies on your website: PayPal, Amazon, Newsmax, and Revcontent. Can you confirm that you receive funds from your relationship with those tech companies? How would the loss of those funds affect your operations, and how would you be able to replace them?

3) Have you been shut down by other tech companies for being an alleged hate or extremist web site? Which companies?

4) Many people opposed to sites like yours are currently pressuring tech companies to cease their relationships with them – what is your view of this campaign? Why?

Leftists are trying to drive conservatives off the web by pressuring hosting services, payment services like PayPal, and other companies that provide technical support on a more or less indiscriminate basis to web sites. They already have had considerable success in this regard. Their pretense that the campaign is directed only at “hate” sites is absurd. No rational person would put pamelageller.com, for example, in that category.

And don’t think for a moment that this effort will end with the initial targets. Before long, the Left will try to make it impossible for mainstream conservative sites like Power Line, as well as Christian and Jewish web sites, to exist. Bill Jacobson writes at Legal Insurrection:

Attempts to induce corporations to silence conservatives are nothing new. We have seen years of pressure tactics from groups such as Media Matter to shut down voices such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity by pressuring and harassing advertisers. Campaigns are currently underway to force advertisers away from websites such as Breitbart and Gateway Pundit.

As discussed in many posts, this tactic can be effective when highly organized because major corporations are scared to death of bad publicity in general, but particularly bad publicity that could find it accused of supporting racism or other -isms. So the easy decision is to drop the advertising, rather than face protesters outside headquarters and in social media.

That tactic now has gone to a completely different level with attempts to intimidate internet hosting companies and companies that provide internet infrastructure to cut off access to the internet. So far, the effort has been focused on the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. People might not care that The Daily Stormer is taken down, but the history of leftist tactics shows that the target universe will expand dramatically and it will not be long before efforts are directed, as they are now for advertisers, at mainstream conservative and right-of-center websites.


This is an important topic, and one to which, I am afraid, we will have many occasions to return in the future.

Friday, August 18, 2017

What Identity Politics Hath Wrought



What Identity Politics Hath Wrought
 Michael Barone, RCP

There's a whiff of Weimar in the air. During the years of the Weimar Republic (1919-33), Germany was threatened by Communist revolutionaries and Nazi uprisings. Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau was assassinated, and violent street fighting was commonplace. Then Adolf Hitler took power in 1933.

America is nowhere near that point. But many surely agree with The American Interest's Jason Willick, who wrote Sunday that "this latest round of deadly political violence has" him "more afraid for" the United States than he has "ever been before."

But as he pointed out, this political violence -- identity politics violence is a more precise term -- began well before Saturday's horrifying events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and before the election of Donald Trump. Examples include the June 2015 murder by a white racist of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, and the July 2016 murder by a Black Lives Matter sympathizer of five police officers in Dallas.

This year, we've seen a Republican congressional candidate shove a reporter in Montana and a Bernie Sanders booster shooting at a congressional Republican baseball practice and seriously wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in Alexandria, Virginia.

In Charlottesville, there were multiple bad actors. White nationalists and neo-Nazis uttering vile racism demonstrated against removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. One drove a car into a crowd -- killing one young woman and injuring about 20 others -- a tactic of Islamic terrorists.

Many so-called antifa (anti-fascist) counter-demonstrators, some disguised with masks, attacked the Lee statue supporters with deadly weapons. "The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right," tweeted New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Charlottesville. "I saw club-wielding 'antifa' beating white nationalists being led out of the park."

As Stolberg noted, the police not only failed to separate the two groups but maneuvered them into direct and predictably violent confrontation. Antifa believe that hateful words are violence and that they're entitled to be violent in response, as they have been on campuses from Berkeley to Middlebury -- a view profoundly at odds with the rule of law. "The result," writes Peter Beinart in The Atlantic, "is a level of sustained political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s," led by a group that is "fundamentally authoritarian."

President Trump was widely criticized -- by many conservatives, as well as liberals -- for his Saturday statement condemning "this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides" without specifically denouncing white nationalism. Barack Obama faced much less criticism in July 2016 when he lamented the Dallas police murders but went on to decry "the racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system."

On Monday, Trump, obviously under pressure, said: "Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."

Then, in a Tuesday Trump Tower press availability, Trump defended his Saturday statement but was hectored by reporters for condemning the "alt-left" demonstrators and allowed himself to be drawn into a needless debate over the merits of Robert E. Lee and whether protesters will soon target George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Gratuitously and apparently without evidence, he said there were "some very fine people" in both groups.

Like Obama in 2016, Trump this week was (mostly) accurate. But both presidents made themselves vulnerable to the charge of sending dog whistles to favored groups -- playing identity politics. Both failed, to varying degrees and with varied responses, to deliver undiluted denunciations of criminal violence and bigotry.

What's ironic is that the percentages of Americans who support white nationalism or antifa violence are in the low single digits. "Groups like the KKK," reports political scientist Ashley Jardina on a 2016 survey of white Americans, "are deeply unpopular."
But Americans have grown increasingly accustomed to the view that your politics are determined by your racial, ethnic or gender identity. Politics is seen as a zero-sum battle for government favor. College and corporate leaders join in.

Universities sponsor separate orientations, dormitories and commencements for identity groups. (Are separate drinking fountains next?) A corporate CEO fires an employee who has challenged the dogma that only invidious discrimination can explain gender percentages in job categories different from those of the larger population.

America today is a long way from Weimar. But identity politics threatens to get us a little closer. Possible solution: Unequivocally condemn bigotry and violence and, in the fired Google engineer James Damore's words, "treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group."

COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM


Michael Barone is senior political analyst for  the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Liberal Crackup

Our fascist youth... it is verboten to disagree... interesting times!



THE LIBERAL CRACKUP


Steven Hayward, Powerline
The Wall Street Journal ran an excerpt from Mark Lilla’s new book, The Once and Future Liberal, coming out on Tuesday that we mentioned here yesterday. Here’s a link to the whole piece if you are a WSJ subscriber, but if not here are two of the better paragraphs in it:
As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.
Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X…This is not an anodyne phrase. It sets up a wall against any questions that come from a non-X perspective. Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions.
This phenomenon, I submit, is why conservatives have the advantage out in the real world, and why conservatives are more likely to win political battles in the long run, despite the left’s near monopolistic control of academic, the media, popular entertainment, and corporate human resources departments.
Two further notes: What Lilla describes as having burst the bounds of academia into the media mainstream now also applies to large parts of corporate America. See: Google. I’d love to see a study some time of how many graduates with degrees in Gender Studies or related politicized fields end up in corporate human resources department jobs, or consulting companies that put on “diversity” training seminars for corporate America.
Second, I’ll wait to read the whole book to see Lilla’s complete judgment, but one question the early excerpts raise is whether “progressive” students are in fact not liberals at all (and not actually in favor of progress for that matter: I saw Harvard’s Steven Pinker give a great lecture in June on the question “Why are ‘Progressives’ against progress?” He has a book coming out in March that will explore this question.) If it is the case that today’s so-called “progressives” are in fact anti-liberals, does it not require then that liberals go into explicit opposition to “progressivism,” and—horrors—ally with conservatives?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

ON NORTH KOREA, ANTI-TRUMP HYSTERIA REPLACES REPORTING



ON NORTH KOREA, ANTI-TRUMP HYSTERIA REPLACES REPORTING
JOHN HINDERAKER, Powerline

The threat from North Korea is real, and is growing more imminent. President Trump is trying to rally international opposition to the crazed North Korean regime, to prepare Americans for possible dramatic action to remove the threat, and–most important–to deter North Korea from moving forward with aggressive plans against the U.S. This is serious business, but it isn’t being treated as such by most of the news media, which see only an opportunity to continue their daily assault on President Trump.

The Associated Press is one of the worst offenders. When Fox News reported that U.S. spy satellites had detected the North Koreans loading anti-ship cruise missiles onto a patrol boat, the AP couldn’t focus on anything other than a tweet by Trump.

First, the Fox story:

Despite the United States’ insistence that North Korea halt its missile tests, U.S. spy agencies detected the rogue communist regime loading two anti-ship cruise missiles on a patrol boat on the country’s east coast just days ago.
It’s the first time these missiles have been deployed on this type of platform since 2014, U.S. officials with knowledge of the latest intelligence in the region told Fox News on Monday.
It also points to more evidence that North Korea isn’t listening to the diplomatic threats from the West. 
“The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in the Philippines Monday.
***“North Korea is not showing any evidence it plans to halt its missile tests,” said one official who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information. “It’s a trend that does not bode well for hopes of de-escalating tensions on the [Korean] peninsula.”
The latest moves by Pyongyang point to a likely missile test in the days ahead or it could be a defense measure should the U.S. Navy dispatch more warships to the Korean peninsula, officials said.

Thereafter, President Trump tweeted a link to the Fox News story. To the monomaniacal Associated Press, Trump’s tweet is the story: “Trump retweets Fox report based on anonymous sources.”

President Donald Trump has retweeted a Fox News report based on anonymous U.S. intelligence sources, despite his attorney general’s pledge to clamp down on government leaks.
On Tuesday, Trump retweeted a story that said U.S. spy agencies have detected North Korea “loading two anti-ship cruise missiles on a patrol boat on the country’s east coast just days ago.” The story was attributed to anonymous U.S. officials. 
Trump has repeatedly complained about leaks of government information to the press. Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed a crackdown, arguing such leaks could harm national security.

This is mind-numbingly stupid. Trump and his administration have denounced leaks of America’s secrets, not North Korea’s. Moreover, in this case it is obvious that the disclosure to Fox News was authorized. The administration wanted to send a signal to North Korea’s rulers that it knows about the cruise missiles and, more broadly, knows the North Koreans are not taking actions consistent with an intent to stop missile tests. President Trump’s tweet reinforced that message. An intentional release of information by a person authorized to release it is not a leak. The AP’s goofy analysis is on a par with saying that the Kennedy administration “leaked” the fact that Russian missiles had been installed in Cuba.

That was bad enough, but the AP had another story waiting in the wings: President Trump is just like Kim Jong Un! The AP’s headline is “Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ parallels North Korean rhetoric.”

President Donald Trump ventured into North Korean territory with his vow to respond to threats from the isolated dictatorship with “fire and fury” unparalleled in history.

***

“North Korea had best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said during a briefing at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

If the rhetoric sounded similar to North Korean pronouncements, it was. Here is a look at some past comments by Pyongyang:

The AP went to the vault to come up with five statements by North Korean officials that, according to the AP, are just like Trump’s warning to Kim.

Someone, somewhere, may be covering the situation with North Korea intelligently, but don’t look to the Associated Press for anything other than anti-Trump propaganda.

Friday, August 04, 2017

The Anomaly of American Immigration



The Anomaly of American Immigration


by Max Bloom, National Review

None of our peer countries place as little emphasis on skills as we do. 

In the first half of 2017, the United States dispensed slightly more than 560,000 green cards. Looking over the numbers yields a sort of awe at the breadth of American immigration: The biggest sources are not particularly surprising (81,000 from Mexico, 38,000 from China, 31,000 from India), but beyond that there is the vast constellation of global peoples admitted to America every year: 7,700 immigrants from Ethiopia, 5,800 from Nepal, 5,200 from Peru, 4,900 from Ukraine. Close to every single country in the world is represented. We accepted immigrants by the thousands from Yemen, Guatemala, Burma, and Pakistan; by the hundreds from Guinea, Georgia, and Kuwait; by the dozens from Mauritius, Suriname, and Niger. Even Luxembourg got 19 green cards. It might seem as if the rationale behind American immigration policy was in part to simply represent as many countries as possible. 

This, in fact, is exactly what is going on. 

The United States accepts more immigrants than anywhere else in the world — though in fairness, we also have a larger population than most other countries — but we do so in one of the most convoluted and unusual ways. Aside from America, the five Western countries with the largest immigrant populations are Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Australia. Each one of these countries has more or less the same system: Educated immigrants with certain skills may obtain visas as skilled workers, and they may bring their spouses and their children with them. There are, of course, some differences: The United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia manage skilled workers using a points-based system, for instance; the United Kingdom, France, and Germany all have to abide by the free movement of the Schengen zone; Canada also allows residents to sponsor immigration by certain relatives. But in all countries, the major framework remains the same: The free movement within the European Union notwithstanding, legal immigration is primarily about skilled labor. 

Now consider the American system. Of those 560,000 green cards, only 75,000 were granted on the basis of “employment-based preferences.” This means that approximately 13 percent of immigrants to America are selected for economic reasons. For comparison, Canada plans to accept 57 percent of its 2017 immigrants on an economic basis. We also accepted 76,000 refugees and 259,000 immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, children, and parents). 

What about the remaining 150,000 immigrants? Some 117,000 were “family-sponsored preferences.” This refers to a host of relations — adult children, siblings, etc. — of permanent residents and citizens who don’t fall under the category of immediate family members. Unlike spouses or minor children, these categories aren’t automatically eligible to immigrate to America. Yet these sponsored categories accounted for over 20 percent of American immigration. Even more striking is the diversity lottery, which randomly grants admission to applicants from “low-admission states” — countries that are not highly represented in American immigration figures — who have completed high school. This lottery accounted for 21,000 immigrants. This means that about 4 percent of American immigration is allocated purely for the sake of making America more diverse. Too few immigrants from East Timor? Increase the lottery figures for Dili. 

It is worth noting how unusual this is. The vast bulk of American immigration has nothing to do with merit, which is not the case in almost any of our peer immigration systems. Instead, most of the American immigration system consists of family-based immigration, about a third of which is under the family sponsoring system and is far more generous than the international norm. (It is true, as mentioned earlier, that Canada also has family-sponsored immigration — but once spouses are excluded, this accounts for only 7 percent of Canada’s permanent residents. Extended family members account for 0.1 percent.) Nor is there any international equivalent of the diversity lottery, which amounts, as Charles Krauthammer memorably quipped, to picking people “out of the Karachi phonebook.” 

In essence, while America doesn’t necessarily have the most open immigration system in the developed world (Canada admits more immigrants in proportion to its population, for instance), we do have the least rigorous immigration system. In part, this may reflect relatively open American attitudes toward immigration: Americans are far more likely than Europeans to believe that diversity is intrinsically good, and to welcome immigration for the sake of immigration. (Incredibly, American conservatives are more pro-diversity than German or Swedish liberals.) Hence the fondness for a diversity lottery that would probably be anathema to most of Europe, the lack of opposition to exceedingly generous policies of family reunification, and the relative tolerance for an immigration policy that doesn’t particularly prioritize the national interest. 

What this all means, without getting into the merits of the plan here, is that a skill-based point system along the lines of what Tom Cotton and David Perdue are proposing, and which the White House has supported, would represent a shift in line with international norms regarding immigration. (Cotton-Perdue would also cut the total amount of legal immigration roughly in half, which is a different issue.) This is in itself an argument neither for nor against immigration reform: Some international norms are good, some bad. But it does mean that the temptation on the left to view skills-based immigration as a descent into ethno-nationalism is unfounded. Really, it would just make us more like the rest of the world. 


— Max Bloom is a student of mathematics and English literature at the University of Chicago and an editorial intern at National Review.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The U.S. and Russia Almost See Eye to Eye on Venezuela



The U.S. and Russia Almost See Eye to Eye on Venezuela
By: Analysis | Stratfor.com / Bill O’Reilly.com


The political interests of Russia and the United States intersect in nations across the world, and Venezuela is no exception. Both global powers want political stability in the country, although for different reasons. The United States wants to avoid an escalation of violence there, and the Russians, as well as the Chinese, want to protect oil investments and the repayment of loans. And Washington and Moscow have ample reason to be concerned about Venezuela’s stability. A confrontation between government elites and a dissident faction of the ruling party is threatening to balloon into a wider conflict. Opposition-led protests have lasted more than 100 days, and unrest spurred by food shortages, inflation and deep dissatisfaction with the government is spreading. And because of the growing risk of a coup, middle-ranking officials in the armed forces are under increased surveillance. To further complicate matters, oil prices remain low and Venezuela's public finances are depleted, meaning that an economic recovery will take decades. In short, there is no simple way out of the crisis.

However intractable the country's long-term economic problems are, Russia or Cuba – a security ally to Caracas — may eventually provide some relief for Venezuela's immediate political problems through an offer of political asylum. Venezuela's deeply unpopular president, Nicolas Maduro, risks losing his office in an election scheduled for November 2018. The country’s ruling elites see this potential loss of power as an unacceptable risk to their political privileges and personal safety. In response, Maduro and political and military elites are pushing to rewrite the country’s constitution and purge dissenters from their ranks in an effort to cling to power. However, reports from Stratfor sources indicate that Maduro has also explored seeking political asylum. For more than a year, Stratfor has received persistent reports that he has considered asking for refuge in Russia or Cuba. He may have sweetened his request to Russia with offers of mineral concessions. But even if Maduro eventually secures an exile deal with Russia or Cuba, other military and political officials at risk of arrest in Venezuela or extradition to the United States will rely on the constitutional rewrite to improve their chances of political survival.

The talks on asylum appear to be part of larger discussions in which the interests of the United States, Cuba, Russia and China converge. According to a Stratfor source, Cuba is a key part of indirect talks between Russia and the United States on Venezuela. The government of Raul Castro conveys Russian and Chinese positions (as well as Maduro's) to the United States. And former Spanish prime minister and mediator Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero represents U.S. interests. Maduro ordered the release of opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez from prison on July 8 after months of negotiations involving Cuba and Zapatero. His decision, an apparent concession to the United States and the opposition, did not include input from key Venezuelan leaders like Vice President Tareck el Aissami or Diosdado Cabello, leader of the ruling party. Lopez's transfer to house arrest – a minor move compared to the larger forces affecting Venezuela — was likely intended to soften street protests. Lopez's release could also help Cuba curry favor with Venezuela's opposition. Given Cuba's reliance on access to Venezuelan fuel, Havana may hope that Lopez's release will help it curry favor with Venezuela’s opposition in case the Maduro government falls and the opposition finds itself in control.

For Moscow, its desire for a peaceful resolution in Venezuela likely lies in its vested interest in the country's resources. Russian oil company Rosneft owns stakes in joint ventures with the Venezuelan government in the Orinoco Belt. Separate reports from Stratfor sources suggest that the Russian government would like additional mineral concessions, although their nature and location are unclear. And an asylum deal may also have strategic implications. Brokering the departure of Maduro may give the Russians leverage in their broader negotiations with the United States on other contentious topics, such as Syria, Ukraine or the European borderlands. On the other hand, China is willing to work with any government in Caracas, as long as it respects China’s investments and repays loans made to the Venezuelan government, according to a source.

In contrast, specific U.S. interests in Venezuela are far clearer than those of the Russians. Although Venezuela is a secondary issue for Washington, a peaceful resolution is better than a violent confrontation. The United States would also like to see timely, fair elections in Venezuela, and the drug trafficking conduit through the country is also a continuing concern. However, Washington has few policy tools with which it can directly influence the political confrontation in the country. Aside from indirect discussions with Venezuela, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be relying on the limited avenues its predecessors used. In February 2017 the Department of the Treasury sanctioned Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami for his suspected role in cocaine trafficking to the United States. Additional sanctions may be implemented against individual Venezuelan political leaders. The Trump administration is still deciding whether to adopt a more aggressive stance, and the possibility of sanctions against the oil sector have been floated as a means of pressuring the government to hold free elections. The White House has also moved to tighten sanctions on Cuban entities controlled by its armed forces. In the near term, that move will drive the Cubans to continue to support the Maduro government.

A negotiated transition from the Maduro government — in which power passes to the vice president — could temporarily reduce confrontation between the opposition and the government. However, it is no guarantee of long-term political stability. According to a Stratfor source, the Russian or Cuban governments would be willing to accept the president and his wife, Cilia Flores, but not other political figures. Cuba may be willing to take in Maduro and his entourage, but large numbers of Venezuelan political figures could become a liability, given the potential for U.S. demands for extradition. In the absence of a political solution that protects their interests, vulnerable officials, who include El Aissami, Cabello, Interior Minister Nestor Reverol and members of the Francisco de Miranda Front, will keep pushing for an assembly to rewrite the constitution. And barring a drastic event, such as a successful military coup, this drive will move forward and remain a trigger for unrest. So, despite U.S. and Russian hopes, there is no easy way out of the turmoil in Venezuela.


The Tyranny of Pseudo-Science


Contributed by Mark Morton...

The Tyranny of Pseudo-Science
By Bruce Walker, American Thinker


The hysterical reaction of the left to Scott Pruitt's plan to create two competing teams of scientists to study from opposite positions the left's pet myth, man-made global warming, shows just how anti-science the left has become.  The left is a single, stupid collective mind that is utterly incapable of truly independent and free thought.  The left is very much like the Inner Party in Orwell's classic, 1984, where party members believe things that are obviously not true and in which dissent is – quite literally – unthinkable.

All totalitarianism purports to rest upon "science," and all totalitarian science slavishly follows what the state and the party of statism desire.  Institutions are inevitably infiltrated by leftists and used to rubber-stamp whatever the state wants.  Ben Stein in his documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed showed how any academicians who question Darwin's increasingly silly theory of evolution by natural selection are hounded, denied tenure, and even fired for questioning authority and deviating from orthodoxy.

The drones turned out by academia who willingly put on blinders and indifferently accept as scientific dogma whatever the left wishes are not scientists, whatever credentials institutions may give them.  They are simply cadres or hacks who reject scientific inquiry and embrace political correctness by blessing it as "science."

Global warming is a perfect example of how this works.  Leftists parrot the line of "settled science," oblivious to the fact that "settled science" is murdered science.  Science is a process, not a result, and science demands that conventional opinion be rigorously questioned.  The true scientists are those who do just that, but institutions vomit these true scientists out and recoil in horror that anyone dare question the party line.

The history of science has often been the history of a Newton or Maxwell or Kelvin or Einstein or Heisenberg proposing new explanations for phenomena that turned "settled science" on its head.  The consensus opinion of scientists has been wrong so often that it is a wonder that anyone who professes to be a "scientist" would ever present this sort of "majority rules" science as anything but comedy.

It is a sad commentary on life today that the will of the majority permeates almost everything we do as social creatures, including, now, the pseudo-science of institutionalized "science."  As sad as that is – because it means the death of real science – it is frightening that so many political leaders have so suspended any critical thinking or independent reflection that they follow the herd mentality even in this area.


What conservatives ought to do is push hard for Scott Pruitt to produce two teams that critique seriously global warming.  Conservatives also ought to push this approach for a whole raft of issues that have been presumably resolved by scientists dedicated to and beholden to institutions.

Why not have two teams of biologists and related disciplines each marshal the best arguments for and against evolution by Darwinian natural selection?  Why not have the Department of Education create two opposing teams to study the relative merits of public education and homeschooling?  Why not have two teams of economists, historians, and statisticians examine the success or failure of Keynesian economics?

So many things have been foisted on us without any real scientific method at all simply to conform to the party line of leftism.  Homosexuality is deemed normal, though psychologists and psychiatrists several decades ago believed just the opposite.  DDT was banned (and hundreds of millions of innocents in the Third World doomed) because the pop science of Rachel Carson went unchallenged – why not review that finding through competing arguments of teams of zoologists and related experts?  Many other topics could be put on this list.

The real benefit of this that if it can be shown that again and again, "science" is simply the tyranny of pseudo-science, then the whole rotten structure of modern academia can be forced into contrition and reform, assuming that we even need academia any longer.  All the awful and failed government policies based upon this pseudo-science could be thrown into the dustbin of history, along with the racial "science" of the Nazis and the bogus botany of the Soviet charlatan Lysenko.

At the federal level and at the state level, where Republicans dominate most states, this ought to be a high priority.  The danger of going with the slothful, craven flow of pseudo-science is great, and the blessings of debunking it are profound.


Friday, July 07, 2017

The Day the Music Died



The Day the Music Died

A stunning – and stunningly disturbing - event took place this past weekend.  But unless you were scouring the news very carefully, chances are you didn't even hear of it. 

The annual Bravalla Festival, one of the most popular summer music concerts in Sweden, was abruptly canceled.  There will be no festival next year.  Or ever. 

Given that tens of thousands of tickets were sold, the problem was not attendance.  Nor was there any difficulty booking big-name rap and rock stars.  No, this festival was canceled because of something far more ominous – Bravalla has become synonymous with rape and sexual assault. 

Festival officials, as they announced the end of Bravalla, complained that "certain men" don't know how to behave.  You might wonder if those "certain men" are strapping blonde Swedes with names like Erik, Viktor, and Gustav.  But in fact, the assailants are allegedly immigrants from the Middle East, North Africa, and other predominantly Muslim areas of the world.

One year ago the Bravalla Festival gained a measure of infamy when police reported five rapes and a dozen cases of molestation.  The story got minor coverage in some media outlets, including the New York Times, which described the assailants as "foreigners" and "refugees."  Predictably, the Times also warned of a "far-right" backlash. 

This year the situation was even more sickening, with four reported rapes and 23 instances of sexual assault.  And the Times?  The "paper of record" chose to run a brief Associated Press dispatch noting that the festival has been shut down.  Nowhere was there any mention that Muslim immigrants were the likely perps. 

Sweden, like many European socialist paradises, has been in a state of deep denial about its refugee crisis.  If you believe authorities and tourism officials, immigrants are fitting in quite nicely in the world's most liberal nation.  But what about those rumors of "no-go zones," where crime is rampant and where police fear to tread?  Well, we're assured that's just "fake news" perpetrated by anti-immigrant groups.

But earlier this year a courageous British reporter named Katie Hopkins decided to take a look for herself.  She ventured into some of Sweden's imaginary "no-go zones" and spoke with women who are absolutely terrified of going out alone, day or night.  They know that crossing onto the wrong street in some cities is an invitation to harassment, assault, even rape.

These women are also afraid of feminists and liberals, who accuse them of being racists if they speak the truth.  Hopkins wrote this about one woman she met in Stockholm:  "The migrant men scare her.  But it is the Swedish women who have silenced her." 

Bravalla is not the only music festival where women are in jeopardy.  There were dozens of rapes and assaults at another concert a few years ago, allegedly committed by young Afghan men who had been embraced by Sweden's outstretched arms. 

And of course it's not just Sweden.  In Germany, New Year's Eve of 2016 was marred by sexual assaults and rapes in many cities.  Police reported that more than one-thousand women were victimized by hordes of young men.  Again, the perps weren't Wolfgang, Hans, und Dieter.  They were described by the women as men of "Arab or North African appearance."

Governments in Europe and a compliant media do their best to ignore the unending and escalating threat of violence.  It simply does not fit the liberal narrative, which dictates that all cultures and all religions are pretty much the same.  But reality has a very harsh way of prevailing over fantasy. 

Sweden has the highest rate of immigration in Europe, having taken in tens of thousands of refugees from Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere.  So you can think of the country as the canary in the coal mine.  That proverbial canary is now gasping for air as European bureaucrats turn a blind eye. 

Most Swedes still embrace their reputation for tolerance and liberalism.  Many even seem quite willing to sacrifice a music festival or two if that's what it takes to display their virtue.  And they willingly pay exorbitant taxes to subsidize refugees who despise Sweden's libertine culture and sexual permissiveness. 

Let's put it this way:  The world's most tolerant people are inviting the world's most intolerant people into their nation and their cities.  The Swedes believe it's a noble experiment.  But whether noble or foolish, it is an experiment doomed to fail. 

The Bravalla Music Festival was just one casualty.  There will be many more.  Ironically, the festival urged fans to "choke hatred and violence and let the music win."  Well, hatred and violence won and the music lost. 

In the process, another small part of Europe has vanished, thanks to cowardly ideologues who so desperately cling to their open-border, one-world fantasies.  A once-great continent and its cultures are slowly dying.  To be more accurate, they are committing suicide.