Lost causes

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

I was a child in Alabama at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. One day in 1961, a bus carrying Freedom Riders (people attempting to break the system of segregation in bus travel) was attacked and burned in an incident that started four blocks from my home; I discovered recently that the attack was planned in a meeting hall across the street from my home. The bus burning was so significant that its 50th anniversary was noted with programs on HBO and PBS and a show hosted by Oprah Winfrey.

I remember the day in 1963 on which four little girls were killed Continue reading →

Labor Watch June 2015: Scott Walker vs. The Unions: Part 1: Wisconsin reforms lead to protests, recalls, and battering rams in the night

Labor Watch June 2015

Scott Walker vs. The Unions

Part 1: Wisconsin reforms lead to protests, recalls, and battering rams in the night [PDF here]

Summary: In politics, it’s said, you’re known by the enemies you make. Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) is best known nationally for his battles with unions—from his reforms that brought 100,000 protesters to the state capitol, to the efforts by the unions to throw him out of office, to the passage of a Right to Work law. Now Walker is expected to run for president. This is part 1 of his story.

The invitation-only ceremony was held March 9 at Badger Meter, a manufacturing company near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As he prepared to sign landmark Right to Work legislation, Governor Scott Walker (R) sat with rolled-up sleeves at a table with a “Freedom to Work” sign emblazoned across the front. In front of a group that included Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Walker said the legislation he was about to sign would send “a powerful message across the country and around the world.”

Only months earlier, Walker had seemed cool on Right to Work, calling it a “distraction.” Now, with the stroke of Walker’s pen, Wisconsin became the nation’s 25th Right to Work state—the 25th state to give workers the freedom not to join a union or pay union dues.

During the event, Rich Meeusen, chief executive and chairman of Badger Meter, said that even before this legislation was signed into law, it had had an effect: It had swayed Badger Meter management to expand in Wisconsin instead of Mexico, immediately creating 12 jobs, leading to 30 to 50 new jobs later on. (Mike Brown of the left-wing group One Wisconsin Now described Meeusen’s remarks as those of “a millionaire campaign contributor who threatened to send the jobs of hardworking skilled Wisconsin workers to another country unless the system was tilted further in his favor.”)

The signing of Right to Work was the latest blow delivered by Walker to labor unions in his state. It was Walker’s latest victory in a battle with unions that has run throughout his governorship, that made him, in the words of the publication Politico, “Public Enemy No. 1 for organized labor nationwide.” In this protracted struggle, unions have attempted to paint the governor as a rabid union-hating right-winger, and in the process they have helped catapult Walker to the top tier of candidates, declared and undeclared, for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

The road to the governorship
Scott Kevin Walker was born Continue reading →

What heroes are made of

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

When the writer Lillian Hellman was buried, America’s elite turned out for her funeral.

Katherine Graham, chairman of the board of the Washington Post, was there, as was MIT president-emeritus Jerome Wiesner, who had been President Kennedy’s science advisor. Also present were Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes,” New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, journalist Carl Bernstein, movie directors Warren Beatty and Mike Nichols, playwright/cartoonist Jules Feiffer, and novelists William Styron and Norman Mailer. And the executors of the $4 million Hellman estate–Kingman Brewster, the former president of Yale and former ambassador to Britain, and novelist John Hersey.

It was a star-studded sendoff that summer day 31 years ago. “Lillian Hellman was remembered as a courageous woman who stuck to her principles,” reported United Press International. Said MIT’s Wiesner*, “I have been able to see young people’s faces light up when they hear her name. To them, she is one of the heroine of our time.”

The Reuters news service eulogized Hellman as “a heroine to United States liberals.” The New Republic called her “a model for independent women everywhere,” while the Washington Post said she was “a woman of wit and charm, a gracious hostess and a great fisherman.” An Omni magazine survey released shortly after her death named her as one of the 13 best role models for young girls, right after leftist feminist Gloria Steinem.

And she was a Communist.

One of the highest-paid writers in Hollywood during the late ’30s and the ’40s, her income reached $150,000 a year ($2.6 million Continue reading →

You’re what you say you are, except when you aren’t

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

 

“I was born a poor black child.”

 

The ideology of so-called Progressives  is full of contradictions.

It’s almost comical to watch them tie themselves in knots over the case of Rachel Dolezal. The Spokane, Washington NAACP leader (who resigned from her position yesterday) appears to be a pathological liar—claiming falsely to have been raised in a teepee and to have hunted her own food, to have been mistreated by her parents for being too dark-skinned, to have been the victim of a series of hate crimes that appear to have been faked. But none of that mattered until she got caught pretending to be “black.”

Actually, we are told by her estranged parents, she is “Caucasian,” although they add that she is one-quarter American Indian through two of her eight great-grandparents. The category “Caucasian,” by the way, was popularized by a scientist named Johann Friedrich Blumenbach who divided the human race into Caucasians (white), Mongolians (yellow), Malayans (brown), Ethiopians (black), and Americans (American Indians, red). His categories were absurd, of course—there is no scientific basis for the division of humans into so-called “races”—but Blumenbach’s work became the basis for the “scientific consensus” that blacks were inferior. I do not need to point out the harm that has been done by this piece of pseudoscience.

Today, many of our nation’s leaders are obsessed with putting people into imaginary categories (now defined by so-called Progressives  and their enablers as “white,” “black,” “Asian,” and “Hispanic” or “Latino”). Rather than build a society in which a person is judged by his or her talent, experience, hard work, and values, the Progressives seek to divide us all into “identities” based upon which we are to distribute jobs and government contracts, college Continue reading →

Redefining bigotry / Don’t mention badminton!

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

People with Asian ancestry have to be careful when they fill out their college applications. As noted by the Boston Globe, they are advised by experts to downplay their Asianness: no badminton, because too many Asian-American students play racquet sports; no Asian Club; no essay “about your family coming from Vietnam with $2 in a rickety boat and swimming away from sharks,” as one admissions consultant put it. Don’t mention your interest in medicine or biology.

Colleges discriminate in all sorts of ways, of course. Kids get into an elite school because, like President Obama and the Bushes and the Kennedys, they’re “legacies,” i.e., a parent or both parents went to that school. “Development admits” get in because daddy gave lots of money to the school. Kids from top prep schools—“feeder schools”—get in because they’re presumed to be inherently superior, I suppose. You can also get an advantage if your folks can afford to send you to some poor country to do charity work, or if you’re an activist for a fashionable left-wing cause such as promoting ignorance about Global Warming. (Meanwhile, if you mention in your application that you’re a leader in the 4-H program or Future Farmers of America or ROTC, it reduces your chance of gaining admission to some elite schools by two-thirds.)

Asian-Americans are among the biggest victims. It’s reported that 20 or 21 percent of Harvard students are of Asian descent. That’s less than half as many as would be admitted without racial discrimination. A 2009 Princeton study of seven top colleges indicated that an applicant with an Asian background needed 140 more SAT points than “whites,” 270 points more than Hispanics, and 450 points more than African-Americans to get the same chance of admission.

—–

One of the most effective techniques in political deception is redefinition—changing the meaning of terms and concepts. Redefinition allows you to achieve policy goals without the necessity of going through the democratic process or abiding by the Constitution that is supposed to limit the power of politicians, bureaucrats, and judges.

Want to funnel money to alcoholics and drug addicts? Redefine addiction Continue reading →

Green Watch June 2015: Fear Itself: The EPA’s reliance on bad radiation science frightens Americans and increases vulnerability to terrorism

Fear Itself
The EPA’s reliance on bad radiation science frightens Americans and increases vulnerability to terrorism [PDF here]

by Jon Basil Utley and Steven J. Allen

Summary: U.S. government policy on radiation exposure is based on irrational fear and on discredited science called “LNT.” The policy doesn’t just deny Americans access to useful technology and raise the price of electricity. In an emergency, the policy could be more dangerous to people than the radiation itself. What’s worse: The LNT concept goes beyond radiation exposure; it underlies other policies that cost billions and destroy jobs.
Bad science leads to bad decisions. When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relies on an absurd theory of how radiation affects human beings, it threatens Americans’ access to life-saving medical technology and cheap electricity, it wastes tens of billions in storage and cleanup expenses, and it greatly increases the chance of ruinous overreaction to disasters and to security threats.

What kind of overreaction do we mean? Consider what happened in Japan. The 2011 earthquake and tsunami killed more than 18,000 people in Japan, including an estimated 1,607 people in the Fukishima prefecture. (Japan has 47 prefectures, akin to U.S. states.) Yet 1,656 died, mainly old and ill persons, during the panicked evacuation of the area around the Fukishima #1 power plant, according to Japan Today, a major Japanese newspaper. The evacuation was in response to following U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.

You read that right. More people were killed in the evacuation—which was ultimately shown to have been unnecessary—than were killed in the Fukishima prefecture by the earthquake, the resulting tsunami, and the resulting meltdown combined.

The number killed by radiation, fear of which was the basis for the evacuation? Zero.

Similarly, in Europe and the Soviet Union after the Chernobyl disaster, some 100,000 women reportedly had abortions out of fear that the radiation would cause thousands of cases of birth defects. The actual number of birth defects believed to have been caused by the radiation? Zero.

The name of the theory behind this hysteria is “linear no-threshold” or LNT. By the phony logic of LNT, any tiny amount of radiation will kill some number of people out of every million or billion people exposed.

And the theory is not just used with radiation. LNT is also how the government came up with many of its dubious risk guidelines for chemicals and minerals. Thousands of jobs are being sacrificed and billions of dollars are being spent by industry and municipalities in trying to comply with these limits.

The theory’s harm has worsened as science has progressed to the point where we can actually measure in parts per billion, which adds to the fear that almost any product may be dangerous. By ultrastrict standards, human breath itself can give you cancer (and, by environmentalists’ standards, it can cause “climate change”).

 

Linear No-Threshold

The “linear no-threshold” idea, in essence, is this: If 100 aspirins would kill the average person, then that same person would be killed by 100 aspirins taken at the rate of one a day for 100 days. Or, if one day 100 people each took one aspirin, then one of those hundred people would die.

The LNT principle is simple—the effect of something is proportionate to the dose you receive of it. For radiation, the standard [Click HERE for the rest of the article.]

Trust no one

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

 

But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

– Publius (James Madison), The Federalist #51, February 6, 1788

What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?

– Hillary Clinton (on the Benghazi hoax she and President Obama perpetrated) at a House Oversight Committee hearing, May 8, 2013

Character matters.

Barack Obama tosses off the whoppers as easily as you and I breathe, from 97 percent of scientists believing in Global Warming theory to “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it” to Al Qaeda being “on the run” to how you can’t get Ebola from sitting next to someone on a bus and how there’s “not even a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS that targeted his adversaries to secure his reelection.

A president today has such unbridled power that I don’t think we as a nation can survive another four or eight years with a habitual liar in that position. Continue reading →

Green Watch May 2015: The New “Useful Idiots”: Putin’s Russia backs anti-fracking groups to maintain Western dependence on Russian energy

The New “Useful Idiots”
Putin’s Russia backs anti-fracking groups to maintain Western dependence on Russian energy [PDF here]

by Will Coggin

[Also inside this issue: The Fracking Revolution and Putin’s Counter-Revolution by Steven J. Allen]

Summary: When it comes to stopping America’s push for energy independence, two groups have a powerful shared interest: Radical U.S. “green” groups and Russian energy oligarchs. As Putin’s Russia bullies its neighbors—and sometimes invades and conquers them—a key element of its strategy is to prevent the spread of fracking, a technology that is unlocking vast energy reserves in the U.S. and Europe but weakening the wealth and power of Russia. New research into one shady foreign funder of the U.S. environmental movement reveals extensive ties to Russian energy interests, with a sidetrip through, of all places, Bermuda.

“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas.” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark, made that extraordinary claim last June at the Royal Institute for International Affairs, known as Chatham House, the British counterpart to the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations in the United States. (NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is the alliance of Western nations that was created in 1949 to resist the Soviet Empire. It currently includes the governments of 28 countries.)

During the Cold War, the Soviets had a term for people in the West who, blinded by ideology, served as half-witted or unwitting tools of the Communist Party: полезные дураки (polezniye duraki), which means “useful fools” or, as it’s often translated, “useful idiots.” The term is used today to describe people who serve a malignant cause, especially as agents of propaganda, because they naively believe that cause to be good. Such people are held in contempt not only by people who are actually on the side of good but also by the evildoers who cynically make use of them.

Today, that role is played by people who wildly exaggerate or outright fabricate the dangers of fracking Continue reading →

What’s in a name (“rightwing” “fundamentalist”)

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

In public policy, one the major sources of error is taxonomy.

Taxonomy (or systematics): Classification into categories based on presumed relationships

But how valid are the presumptions?

In biology, we could classify living things into “things that fly” (bats and birds and bumblebees) and “things that don’t” (elephants and dolphins and apple trees).

It’s a perfectly logical system of classification… and scientifically worthless.

But in the world of public policy, nonsensical classification systems are used all the time.  The meaning of many classifications is simply changed whenever Continue reading →

Kingdom of the Screwdriver

For a while yesterday, many on the Left were jubilant at the shooting (falsely reported, it turned out) of George Zimmerman, a Latino who, one day in 2012, dared defend himself as his head was being bashed against the concrete in a (mistaken) gay-bashing by a doped-up teenager. As the evidence showed, he was quite reasonable in his belief that he was shooting the teenager before the teenager could kill him.

In Baltimore over the weekend, the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince held a concert in which he sang of victims of police brutality like Michael Brown, who was not actually the victim of police brutality but who assaulted a convenience store clerk half his size, then went after a police officer, trying to take the officer’s gun and presumably kill him with it. The officer killed him first—a shooting that even the Obama administration was forced to admit was fully justified.

From Mumia Abu-Jamal to the perpetrators of the Tawana Brawley, Duke lacrosse, and University of Virginia fraternity hoaxes… Why, so often, do people on the Left glorify liars and criminals? Why do they so often direct their anger and hatred at the victims?

It’s a pattern we’ve seen Continue reading →