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Deception and misdirection

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. Also, lying is OK (according to the Left)

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

“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” That’s from Shakespeare, not, as some people think, the Bible. The underlying idea is certainly true. Even the most evil ideas are justified with Biblical citations. Henry Brinton, a pastor in Fairfax, Virginia, noted that supporters of American slavery found verses that, they claimed, supported their position.

They asked who could question the Word of God when it said, “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling” (Ephesians 6:5), or “tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect” (Titus 2:9).

Abolitionists grounded their arguments in the Bible, too.  The concept of “separation of church and state” (which is quite different from the concept of religious liberty) was first invoked to get preachers to shut up their complaining about slavery.

During the Jim Crow era, segregationists pointed to the Curse of Ham as justification for keeping the so-called “races” separate. At the same time, the Good Guys, including key leaders of the civil rights movement, found support in the Bible for their cause.  (Of course, that includes the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom we honored yesterday.)

Recently, Labor secretary Thomas Perez, speaking at an AFL-CIO summit, invoked the Bible to support so-called minimum wage laws, which prohibit unskilled workers from getting jobs. Perez, who wants to make the laws even more harsh, said, “This is really about biblical teachings. This is about what is taught in the Koran and what is in the Torah and what we learn about making sure we ‘do unto others.’”

President Obama recently cited the Bible in support of amnesty for illegal aliens. “The Good Book says, don’t throw stones in glass houses,” he said, “or, make sure we’re looking at the log in our eye before we are pointing out the mote in other folks’ eyes.” OK, that part about glass houses isn’t in the Bible Read all »

Leader of the Free World—not

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

When they held a march in Paris against “terror”—really, against the kind of terror perpetrated methodically by Islamofascists—the turnout was massive: millions of people, including presidents or prime ministers (or the equivalents) of Germany, Israel, the U.K., France, Italy, and Turkey. Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Norway, and Ukraine were represented. The king and queen of Jordan were there. Even the Palestinian president and the Russian foreign minister, hypocrites respectively on Islamic extremism and freedom of the press, were there. French Muslim leaders were there, as were the leaders of Qatar, the UAE, and Tunisia.

But not President Obama. Not Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, who was in Paris but left early. Not the secretary of state, so obviously proud of his ability to speak French. Not the principal designated attendee for funerals and the like, also known as the Vice President. Nobody ranking higher than the U.S. ambassador to France/Monaco, who got her job mainly because she was a big bundler of campaign contributions.

It was a rally intended to send the message that the leaders of the Free World (et al.) stand united against the Islamofascist assault on what we in the U.S. call First Amendment rights. The Founders considered the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, including Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and Freedom of Religion, to be the birthright not just of Americans but of all mankind. Indeed, the Bill of Rights can be considered as the first universal declaration of human rights. When Islamofascists target a satirical newspaper for mass murder, they are waging war on humanity.

“You let the world down,” declared the headline in the liberal New York Daily News. Liberal reporter Jake Tapper of CNN wrote of the absence of a major U.S. official, “I say this as an American—not a journalist, not as a representative of CNN—but as an American: I was ashamed.” Read all »

Allen’s Countdown: The Top 10 Political Deceptions of 2014

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

For my first column of the new year, here’s a quick look back at the top political deceptions of 2014.

I used to be a radio disc jockey, so we’ll do a Casey Kasem and go with the Top 10. I base this ranking on a combination of the audacity of each deception, its effectiveness, and the importance of the underlying issue. YMMV.

First, tied for the #11 spot:

The pretense that the surge of illegal alien children caught the Obama administration by surprise, and the claim that President Obama’s “executive action” on illegal aliens was (a) constitutional, based on “prosecutorial discretion,” and (b) the sort of thing that had been done by previous presidents such as Ronald Reagan.

The claim that deserter Bowe Bergdahl, who was traded for five top-level Taliban fighters, had, in the words of National Security Adviser Susan Rice, “served the United States with honor and distinction.” Not surprisingly, the Obama administration has been sitting on the official report about Bergdahl’s actions that led to his capture.

The hoax that the name of the Washington Redskins is somehow insulting to American Indians (often wrongly referred to as “native Americans”). One of the main proponents of the hoax, Suzan Shown Harjo, recently received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

Now the Top 10: Read all »

The War of All Against All

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

Once upon a time, when I was a reporter, I uncovered a number of schemes by which politicians perpetuated themselves in office. Often, these involved “giving” people things without accounting for the cost of those things.

One exposé early in my career involved a job-swap between the districts of Congressman A (not his real name) and Congressman B (likewise). The federal government would move a few dozen jobs from Fort A in Congressman A’s district to Fort B in Congressman B’s district. In turn, the federal government would move a few dozen jobs from Fort B in Congressman B’s district to Fort A in Congressman A’s district.

Congressman A took the opportunity to put out a press release announcing the new jobs at Fort A, with the clear implication that he, Congressman A, through his hard work on behalf of his constituents, had secured these jobs. News stories about the new jobs strongly implied: We’d be fools to get rid of this guy, Congressman A, who’s doing such a great job for us.

Congressman B took the opportunity to put out a press release announcing the new jobs at Fort B, with the clear implication that he, Congressman B, through his hard work on behalf of his constituents, had secured these jobs. News stories about the new jobs strongly implied: We’d be fools to get rid of this guy, Congressman B, who’s doing such a great job for us.

It was a good deal, except, of course, for taxpayers, who had to pay for moving the jobs from one place to another, and for the federal employees who had to pull up roots and move hundreds of miles. From the standpoint of the politicians, it was a win-win for all concerned. Although the number of federal jobs in each district stayed the same, each Congressman got to show that he was one of those guys who bring home the bacon.

I lived in the district of Congressman A. When I figured out the scam, I called a counterpart of mine in the district of Congressman B, and we shared information, and we broke the story jointly. It came as no surprise that I got a call from Congressman A’s press secretary, tell me that I was completely irresponsible, and may have ruined things for everyone by ruining the deal that was bringing new jobs to our district. Who was I, a lowly reporter, to interfere in the workings of great men?

It’s the kind of thing that happens all the time in politics. Read all »

Your own lyin’ eyes

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

Last year, I wrote about Type B deception—a form of deception that can be so powerful, it works even after it has been exposed.

Here’s how I described it (http://capitalresearch.org/2013/04/that-arms-race/):

. . .  Edward J. Epstein calls [it] “Type B deception” – a type of deception aimed at “distorting the interpretation of the meaning of a pattern of data, rather than at the observable data itself.  Type B deceptions are designed to confuse, confound or mislead the cognitive processes of an adversary.  Type B deception need not rely on camouflage or concealment.”

In Type B deception, the more closely one observes, the more likely one is to be fooled, as when Hitler convinced himself (with Allied help) that the Normandy invasion was a carefully planned deception and refused, day after day, to let himself be tricked by it. Supporters of President Obama’s policies often point to the failure of those policies, from the “stimulus” to support for the “Arab Spring,” as proof that the President’s ideas weren’t followed with enough zeal. People who believe that Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement are racist see the election, due to Palin/Tea Party support, of the majority of the country’s “nonwhite” governors and U.S. senators as vindication of their belief (because those officials are Republicans, therefore Uncle Toms and traitors to others of their ethnicities). James Hansen, a leading proponent of the theory of catastrophic man-made Global Warming, wrote recently in the Washington Post that the failure of Global Warming theory to predict actual events meant that proponents of Global Warming theory were even more correct about the threat than they had realized.

Here’s an example that shows how our brains are hard-wired to “see” certain things. Which square is darker, A or B?


Are you sure?

Read all »

Wintertime, and the lyin’ is easy

Enjoy the winter! (It was 70 degrees in DC today. Darn that Global Warming!!) Yes, if you’re reading this on December 1, this is the first day of meteorological winter in the United States. In other words, it’s the beginning of the three-month period with the coldest weather, relative to the three months at the opposite point on the calendar, is December through February, more or less. (It varies by location, but, for nonscientific purposes, it’s close enough to the December-January-February period for us to “round it off.”)

Of course, you’ll hear it stated often—by TV weatherpeople, especially—that the “official” first day of winter is the winter solstice, sometimes even narrowed down to a specific time. (The Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice, which falls between December 20 and 23, is when the North Pole is tilted farthest away from the sun.) In fact, there’s no “official” beginning of winter. The “official” first day is one of those things that everyone knows but that isn’t true.

Well, not everyone. Last Friday on “CBS This Morning,” WBBM-TV meteorologist Megan Glaros, at the end of her weather report, said, “By the way, meteorological winter starts Monday, Michelle,” to which Michelle Miller of CBS News replied, “Is that so?? Well, thank you, Megan, for letting us know.”

Here’s an article I wrote a while back about lies about the calendar, from ancient Rome to the (fake) holiday President’s Day to the (fake) beginning of the 21st Century on January 1, 2000: http://capitalresearch.org/2014/02/presidents-day-not-they-even-lie-about-the-calendar .

Lying, or spreading untruths, about the calendar may seem like a little thing. But ever time politicians, bureaucrats, academic pseudo-intellectuals, and people in the media lie or spread false information about little things and get away with it Read all »

Harvard students: How stupid are they? (and the case of the Louisiana literacy test)

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

One of the great deceptions in American politics is that students at Ivy League schools such as Harvard know more about the great issues of the day than, say, students at a typical state university. In fact, a study conducted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute suggests that students at “elite” schools such as Harvard and Yale are less knowledgeable about economics, politics, and American history than students at other schools—and, incredibly, that seniors at Harvard and Yale and some other prestigious colleges and universities know less than freshmen at the same schools.

[Information on the ISI study is available at http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/2007/summary_summary.html. When I was editor of the magazine Tea Party Review magazine, I published an article about the study. It’s no longer available online, but I’m posting it below.]

Schools like Harvard and Yale are designed not to promote knowledge but to perpetuate an aristocracy. That is a task they perform well. Members of prominent political families, children of the rich, and other highly privileged kids attend such schools alongside a certain number of students who are genuinely gifted in physical sciences, the arts, and other fields (but not especially in fields directly related to public policy). The truly gifted children give cover to the privileged blockheads. Read all »

They. Hate. You.

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

Jonathan Gruber is not a bug. He’s a feature.

The people who run Washington are so-called Progressives—that is, they think that you are a bunch of rubes, ignorant hicks who need smart people like them to tell you how to live your life.

Needless to say, they’re a bunch of idiots. They’re “economists” who believe in Keynes and Obamacare, and “scientists” who believe in Global Warming theory.  They’re “Constitutional scholars” who oppose the very idea of Constitutional law, because Constitutional law protects people like you from bullies like them. They’re “public health experts” who believe in banning trans fats and jumbo sodas and e-cigs and non-bureaucrat-approved restaurant menus instead of protecting public health (that is, protecting the public from infectious diseases, like EV-D68 or, for that matter, the Ebola virus about which the President lied: Read all »

The right to vote any way you want, while we watch

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

“Today the practice of casting secret ballots is so commonplace that most voters would not consider that any other method might be used.” – Wikipedia

Well, not anymore, if the Progressives have their way.

In three states (Washington, Oregon, and Colorado), the secret ballot has been abolished, and it’s barely surviving in a number of other states.

Washington, Oregon, and Colorado have a system of universal mail-out voting. Every voter gets a ballot in the mail—at least, that’s what’s supposed to happen—and every voter returns his or her ballot by mail. There is absolutely no protection if your employer, an official of your union, your preacher, someone from the department of welfare, or a member of your family demands that you vote in front of him or her or that you sign and mail the ballot after it’s been marked “for” you. Or, for that matter, if vote harvesters show up at your door to “help” you vote. Read all »

Tragedy, as politics: Exploiting Ferguson

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

African-Americans have long been the victims of oppression by politicians and bureaucrats. That’s been true from the 17th Century when slavery, a practice older than civilization, began to be associated with the concept we now call “race,” through the era of Jim Crow and one-party Democratic Party rule in much of the country (a time that included FDR’s racist National Recovery Administration), to the present time (when, for example, in Washington, DC, African-Americans are eight times more likely than others to be arrested for marijuana offenses, and are disproportionately the victims of horrific public schools and of laws that restrict small-business opportunities).

Often, law enforcement officials have been part of that oppression. During Jim Crow, African-Americans were often framed for crimes, then rented out as laborers, a practice that was, in effect, a partial restoration of slavery. During the Civil Rights Movement, police often looked the other way when violence was visited upon civil rights workers and on everyday African-Americans, and sometimes police were active participants in these crimes.

I grew up around police officers, studied law enforcement beside them in college, and worked as a police reporter. I have the greatest respect for these men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day. But I understand why many African-Americans are deeply distrustful of the police.

If, in fact, an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, had shot and killed an unarmed young man, Michael Brown, in the back, or while Brown was trying to surrender with his hands up, and if that officer did not have full justification for his actions, I would support punishing the officer to the fullest extent of the law.

The problem is that that version of the story, it appears, is not Read all »